''Survivor''

Over Played

Challenge do-over! Fish thrown out! Dead-grandma lies! What could it all mean? Whatever, it adds up to one bizarro episode, says Dalton Ross

Tijuana Bradley, Survivor: Pearl Islands | OUTCAST Tijuana, we hardly knew ya' -- well, actually, we got to know ya' pretty well, but now you're on the jury, so congrats!
Image credit: Survivor Pearl Island: Robert Voets/CBS
OUTCAST Tijuana, we hardly knew ya' -- well, actually, we got to know ya' pretty well, but now you're on the jury, so congrats!

Can you believe they had a challenge do-over?

What an insane episode of ''Survivor.'' First we had Burton throwing out all the fish, Then Darrah lied to everyone about her grandmother dying, and then Lil won immunity! It was such madness, the whole thing, and I really don't thinkā€¦. What's that? Sandra was the one who actually threw out the fish? Jon was the one who lied about his grandmother dying? And Lil didn't win immunity? Oh, are you sure? Hmmm, well, it seems that -- not unlike my man Jeff Probst -- I need a do-over!

A DO-OVER!!!! THEY ACTUALLY HAD A CHALLENGE DO-OVER!!! You know what, I should be all over Probst and company for incorrectly handing the bitchin' immunity sword over to Burton and then taking it back once they realized he had actually misspelled ''liaison.'' It was awkward and somewhat amateurish. But you know what? The easy thing for them to do would have been to ignore the mistake and just let the contestants keep on strutting back to camp. Who would've known? Instead, they copped to screwing up and figured out a fair solution.

Yes, it was still bizarre, and yes, it was a mistake you'd expect from Julie Chen rather than Jeff Probst, but truth be told, I'm not sure I could've deciphered half of that chalk handwriting myself. But wait, there was yet ANOTHER bizarre twist to this challenge, but to find out about it, you'll have to check out my piece on it in the new Entertainment Weekly hitting stands this weekend . (Or you can read it here -- but don't let that stop you from picking up this week's EW!)

So, let's move on to the other insane aspect of the evening -- Johnny Fairplay's lie that his grandmother had passed away. First off, that was some pretty lame acting on his part. It seemed so forced form the get go: ''Dude, how's grandma?'' Did any of the contestants, after 28 days, think this would really be the first thing to come out of his mouth upon encountering a buddy named ''Thunder D''? I mean, c'mon! I'm sure a lot of people think what he did was despicable. Personally, I just think it's a move with a risk that outweighs the reward.

DO you really think people are going to hand you a million dollars because your grandmother died? Hell, they voted out Tijuana on her freakin' birthday! And the risk of slipping up on your story and having someone find out is too great. If that happens -- you're gone. And how much were we all DYING for Probst to spill the beans to the other contestants at tribal council? At times, while asking questions like ''Did you get the information you wanted?'' it looked like he was going to do just that, but informing people of other players' lies would have been too serious a violation of the rules -- sorta like handing immunity to someone who hadn't actually won. (Sorry, Jeff. Couldn't resist.)

But who knows, maybe Jon's ruse is what convinced Sandra and Christa to side with him and not vote off Burton's ass. Even though it appears the two ladies may form a trio with Darrah, I still can't help but feel they would have been better served by breaking up the new Big 3 of Burton, Jon, and Lil. Of course, what the hell do I know? I'm ALWAYS wrong about these things. If only I could have some do-overs for all my incorrect ''Survivor'' predictions. Apparently, they're not as hard to come by as I thought.

Originally posted Nov 27, 2003