Survivor is back, people! Well, for one week anyway. We can all pretty much agree that this season hasn’t been among the franchise’s strongest. But even in weaker installments like Nicaragua, you still see flashes of the show’s greatness. And you saw it this week with the ouster of the person who was arguably playing this game the strongest: Brenda. Of course, that ended up being her undoing — people finally caught on to the fact of how well she was playing. Truthfully, I’m sorry to see her go; she was one of the few intriguing contestants that seemed to actually have a clue as to what they were doing out there. But her pain was our dramatic gain. This entire episode was firing on all cylinders. Let’s break down what made this hour of television so great.
PEOPLE TURNING ON EACH OTHER
A season always gets the most interesting when allies start thinking endgame and turn on each other. The episode began with Holly and Jane talking about how Brenda and Sash were running the show. Holly declared that she was going to make a power move before the next tribal. Awwwwww, how cute, I thought: The swim coach is finally ready to jump into the deep end. No way did I actually think she would pull it off. But she went right to work on Benry the next day, explaining how “Kelly Purple crawls right up Brenda’s a—” (which sounds slightly uncomfortable, all things considered). Benry was sold. Then Jane went and spoke to NaOnka, saying how Brenda was dangerous and, “I don’t like to associate myself with villains.” (Ummm…look who you’re talking to, woman!!!) But NaOnka wouldn’t sell out her best friend in the game, would she? Of course she would!
And NaOnka didn’t just go along with it. From that point on, she led the charge. She pulled Fabio aside from his volcano feast and shared the plan. She told Chase. She told Sash. She had no remorse whatsoever. And by the end, even Chase and Sash, who you figured would never abandon the hottie ex-cheerleader, wrote Brenda’s name down at Tribal. The entire thing was completely ruthless. And I loved it.
BOYS ACTING STUPID AROUND WOMEN
As a male, I really should be upset at the way men consistently are made to look moronic by women in this game. But I can’t be, because it’s freakin’ hilarious! How many times have we seen dudes be completely blinded by babes in bikinis? The latest drooling numskull has been Chase. “What the f—is wrong with Chase?” asked Holly. Well, I think Jane can sum up that answer for us pretty succinctly: “Chase is sucking up to Brenda like he wants to get in her pants.” B-I-N-G-O and Bingo was his name-o! This entire season has been Chase playing puppy dog to a woman who doesn’t even have the slightest interest in him. It’s been kind of sad to watch. But also funny. And it was especially side-splitting watching him take everything everyone told him about Brenda and then run straight to her to fill her in. I half expected her to give him a milkbone treat every time he returned a bit of intel to her feet. And then, after giving her all this intel, he went and voted her out anyway! I wish I could say this was a case of Chase growing up and maturing in the game. More likely, he’s now merely under the thumb of another woman — in this case, mother figure Jane.
NEXT: Let us all celebrate Jeff Probst’s barely masked disdain for sad-sack competitors!