Lots of talk about Russell & manipulation this week, so before I get into the recap, I want to touch on my Survivor pet peeve: people who confuse this game with real life. To use a Dawnism, it irks me. This house loved Russell. He was clever & opportunistic, not evil. In his first season, he was there to win $1,000,000 with a bunch of people who were there to get a great tan. I would be cautious playing the game with him, but I don't think who you are in the game has to be who you are in real life. Maybe he's an awful guy in real life, & I'm way off base. But I remember how much passion he had for the game, & I absolutely shed a tear with him when it was clear he was playing with a bunch of morons who didn't get the game the way he did. Everyone should play the game as hard as this guy did, & quit trying to play the game with integrity & honesty. It's too bad he completely forgot about the social aspect of the game, & lost it for himself. I also like Coach, which seems odd considering my integrity/honesty statement, but he has always struck me as a genuinely good guy, who really would like to be recognized for being a good guy. Don't even get me started about Coach ending up on the Villain tribe in Heroes vs Villains, because it was more blasphemous than Brandon's thoughts about Mikayla. Brandon should have kept his name secret for the purpose of trying to play his uncle's game. Instead, he tried (& failed) to keep it secret because he was ashamed & didn't want the association. This guy should never have even had the chance to be in this game because he doesn't understand it. Also, he might molest someone. OK, rant over, here we go...
We start at Steve Vai camp, where Ozzy & Elyse are swinging on a hammock. Elyse asks if his whole family is outdoorsy, & Ozzy tells her no, & that Robinson Crusoe inspired his survivalist ways, but I know the true answer is yes, BECAUSE HIS FAMILY IS MADE UP OF OTTERS & MONKEYS. Jim starts to worry about Ozzy & Elyse pairing up, so he goes to Cochran (finally a reason to like Jim) with a plan to vote Elyse out. Jim says "I hate doing this" while looking like he absolutely loves doing this, with his "suspiciously white teeth". Jim admits it's too bad Elyse has to go because "she's freaking hot". Think of how messed up Brandon would've been if he'd been on this tribe, with girls in bikinis who actually flirt, & not, you know, fish, & build shelters & stuff!
At OompaLoompa, Brandon is again struggling with evil, something good people do not have to do. "I've decided to be a better person, a better player, a better Survivor." So naturally, the first thing he does is start his tribe-wide APOLOGY TOUR, coming to a campfire, shelter, or Redemption Island arena near you! Brandon first gives a half-assed apology to Mikayla - half-assed because she doesn't even know the half of it. Will he apologize to Mikayla next week, for not apologizing for everything he should have apologized for? Imagine the apology he'll be giving her after this season airs in its entirety - most likely via cut up words from magazines that her security team will never let her see. Brandon then goes to Edna, where he unnecessarily tells her she's not really in the alliance she thinks she is. And the reason for this cruel confession that makes Edna sad? Because he feels bad about lying to her. This is when my husband & I just stared at each other in disbelief. IT'S A GAME, YOU MORON. After displaying the worst game strategy in the world, Brandon says "This is probably the worst game strategy in the world." Holy shit, this guy does not deserve to be here. I'm thinking Russell is legally changing his name to distance himself from that guy weeping in church with the "Hantz" tattooes.
At Redemption Island, the bean bag toss between Christine & Papa Bear is way more exciting than a bean bag toss has any right to be. The spectators are cheering & gasping, & there's even a clutch of hands to the head courtesy of Cochran, who gets more adorable with every episode. Probst is thrilled by how intense this bean bag toss turned out to be - you can tell by his dimples, which are so deep I'm concerned they might be cutting off his airflow. Now the threat of Probst choking makes it even more intense. There is no way I'm letting my kid do a bean bag toss ever again. The stakes are just too damn high. Christine wins her second duel & she still appears super tough & pissed. Papa Bear is really sweet & shakes Probst's hand on the way out of the game for good. I predict TeddyPapaBears will be the hot Christmas toy this year.
At OompaLoompa, Edna's idea of being cordial & polite & playing a great social game is excruciating to everyone else. Stacey imitates her donkey-braying-laugh, & says Edna "doesn't have an off switch. She needs to be disconnected." Mikayla is annoyed by the constant questions Edna asks, but when Edna dies in a buffalo hunting accident all because she didn't ask Rick enough questions, you'll be sorry, Mikayla.
Back to Steve Vai, where Cochran manages to make Dawn think getting rid of Elyse is her idea. Very subtle, & nicely done. I love Cochran's line: "Getting rid of Elyse is going to devestate Ozzy & it might make the other pretty people feel a little bit less secure."
The shot of a double rainbow sweeping right into the Immunity/Reward Challenge is beautiful. But what does it mean? This challenge is all about weightlifting, & the reward is a cage of 2 chickens & a rooster, which Probst reminds us can provide you with "eggs, or the other". Is PETA a sponsor now? Since when is there a problem saying you can also decide to kill these birds & eat their tasty roasted flesh? Dawn is a rockstar in the challenge, winning for Steve Vai, owing perhaps to her spiffy new Mormon-approved swimsuit.
Back at OompaLoompa, Coach attempts to lift Stacey's spirits, as she dropped her weights, leading to Dawn's victory. Obviously, he assumes too much, as her spirits aren't down at all. Stacey's actually quite rude to Coach, who is just trying to keep his tribe united, & I really like Coach, so why doesn't everybody?
Coach: "That was awesome."
Coach says something nice (because he's Coach!), but in his head you know he's all like "um, you know, holding all that weight for as long as you did, & you know, not losing the challenge for us, but oh wait, you did, but maybe if you'd been holding it not in a weird-ass way you wouldn't have lost?" Stacey thinks Edna should go before her, because she's weak. She says something about "Bones on bones can't lift bones on skeletons that are just bones." She tries to get info from Coach, then says something snarky, to which Coach replies "I really like you.", & then she makes a face after he walks away right into the camera. Again, blasphemy. You don't break the fourth wall, Stacey. You are not Jim Halpert. Then she says something like "I will lie to kick it, to get in, to fit in, to kick it." I liked Stacey more when she spoke in comic book captions. KAPOW!
Coach proves his awesomeness again as he shuts Brandon's panicking down right away. I love how he talks to him like you would a child. "Stop it. Just stop it. I want you to stop it." Yes, they respond to repetition. Brandon says "I think I'm a good judge of character." which is pretty laughable, but then Coach says "I think that Brandon is a great guy & I want to be with Brandon every step of the way." Um, Coach might be a worse judge of character than Brandon is. Coach, I love you, but you have to stop trying to find the good in everyone while you're playing this game.
Tribal confirmed one thing I had been thinking - there is absolutely nothing annoying about Albert. I feel like Rick was thinking "his extreme handsomeness is annoying", but instead went with snoring. Mikayla says Brandon is a good kid, & part of me is thinking about how much she must regret saying anything remotely nice about him, & the other part is thinking I should start brushing my teeth with a twig & ash, because damn, her teeth look super clean & white. Brandon gets emotional about the negative effect this game has had on his family, regarding Russell. Again, holy shit people, it's a game. A game Russell played better than anyone, although I will admit his social game needed work. It's a travesty that he didn't win that first time he played, as that was his only real shot at winning. I am very, very curious as to what a Survivor scholar such as Cochran thinks about Russell & his game, & what Cochran will think if & when he finds out Brandon is a Hantz. Well, obviosuly he knows now, but I meant, while still in the South Pacific.
Stacey is voted out, & Coach misreads the situation again, & tries to offer a hug that gets walked straight through by pissed off Stacey. Poor Coach.
Mikayla, Edna & Christine are now the proud owners of a lovely tour t-shirt; design shown here: