|Mmmm, cold rice.|
Russell's plan is to mount the greatest comeback anyone's ever seen. He again brags that he was willing to die for this game, but dude, come on: if the title of "Most Willing To Die For Survivor" is up for grabs, I'm putting everything on Skupin.
Over at Yellow, Pete plans on creating chaos that's beneficial to him. Good luck with that, Pete, is what I first thought, but I will admit when I'm wrong & damnit if Pete didn't surprise me. Who's got 2 thumbs & some actual game?
|Actually stroking his chin as he suppresses a chuckle.|
"I don't want anybody to be able to play their game. I want them to play my game."
At Red, Jeff is annoyed with the "really young group of kids that aren't married, that don't know how to carry a professional conversation." Wait - do you mean that they might resort to schoolyard tricks to convince themselves they're not deceitful bastards? Ugh, I hate when people are so un-professional when playing a game on an island in front of cameras. You know, the ultimate professional setting. And what does being married have to do with it? So confused by this man & his strange, strange ways.
Jeff has tried to fight it, but it looks like he's beginning to fall prey to Penner's charm. Winning Jeff's heart clam by clam, Penner even gets himself a real five-fingered handshake.
Fangirl rave time: Seriously, how genius is Penner? He knew Douchey McTool didn't trust him, so he made him feel trusted by sharing information. This really didn't hurt Penner at all, because everyone assumed he had the idol already. Instead of holding on to it & waiting for it to be flushed out, Penner told Jeff. Jeff gets to feel big & important (& one assumes, professional), & Penner has just switched it around so it's in Jeff's best interest to protect him instead of target him. Well played, Penner.
Penner then plays the fatherly card, going slightly Don Draper on Carter. "Have you ever done anything to make me feel like you're a young man who's not going to be true to his word? Who's not gonna want to play a straight up game?" & Carter is "No sir, I do want to play a straight up game, & golly would I be happy to learn from you, sir." He fixes Penner an Old Fashioned, & The Clam Alliance is born.
I wanted a screen shot of Carter to prove he had a confessional this week, & I actually tried for quite a long time to get one without his mouth hanging open, but you can see that I was not successful. Sorry, Carter.
The Red ladies are like the Pink Ladies except they are all Stephanie Zinone & don't need any men. "The Pink Ladies' pledge is to act cool, to look cool, & to be cool. Till death do us part, think pink."
|Yes, I am quoting Grease 2, & no, I am not ashamed.|
At Blue, Malcolm isn't threatened by Russell: "I think I sized Russ up pretty good, right off the bat, & he's met my low expectations the entire way through." The mystery of Russell & whether or not he's forgotten about the idol is solved as we now see him looking for it, & constantly walking by it. He comments, "The real frustrating part is, I have a feeling that I've been, like, past this thing, like, a hundred million times."
|Idol Hunting 101: Pay attention to where the camera is pointing.|
|Oh, a flash like this?|
What sucks even more for Russell is that Denise catches him searching. He totally convinces her otherwise, with non-stop talking about a banana leaf & a palm frond that doesn't sound shady at all. Denise shares her suspicion with Malcolm, & they go through Russell's things to see if he has the idol. They find nothing, but they assume he has it & a blindside is needed.
At Yellow, Abi-Maria wants nothing to do with RC's crazy need to have a conversation & talk things out. Pete continues to be the least enthusiastic would-be mastermind this game has ever seen. "She has one big problem: I'm here." is delivered with the same level of emotion Queen Amidala showed when addressing the Trade Federation. I'm a bit worried about his iron levels - dude needs a steak.
For the Immunity/Reward Challenge, each Survivor has to carry 2 pots of rice on a pole through obstacles, place the pots on stands & head back. When all the pots are in place, a wrecking ball will be used to smash the pots. First tribe to finish wins Immunity + steak & all the fixins'. Second tribe wins Immunity + a few of the fixins', & Probst has nothing for the third tribe.
|Probst called it a pole, but I know it's a yoke. Thanks, Grade 3 Pioneer Village trip.|
Red & Yellow have to sit out 3 members now, & both decide to sit out their 3 ladies.
|Look how disappointed Dawson is! :(|
Blue thinks sitting out all the ladies is hilarious, & whether it's because their lady is such a powerhouse, or because they can't even imagine what it would be like to sit someone out of a challenge, I can't say.
Carter breaks a pot, which is weird cuz he seems like a guy who would take really good care of his pot(s). Then he takes a face plant.
Again, I love love love Malcolm & Denise. Probst yells that Denise is falling behind. Malcolm immediately yells "You're all right! We're doing fine!"
|Hell, yeah, you're doing fine. Look at those pipes!|
Russell yells for Denise to "dig deep" & Malcolm looks like he's going to strangle him.
Malcolm is working the wrecking ball for Blue, Artis for Yellow, & Jeff for Red. Artis has a great swing that takes out 2 pots, & Yellow quickly wins Immunity & the steaks. For Pete's sake.
When it's down to 1 pot left for both Blue & Red, it is intense. Like, screaming-at-our-TV-along-with-Probst intense. Malcolm misses, Jeff misses. Malcolm misses, Jeff hits a pot but it doesn't break...until the wrecking ball hits it again on its way back.
Blue loses for the fourth time in a row & Russell decides now would be a good time to lose his mind. Russell Smash. "Same old crap!" he yells, after smashing a pot to the ground. Then he prays loudly & Malcolm & Denise pretend to have never seen this guy before in their lives.
Probst isn't one to miss an opportunity for a breakdown, so he asks what the deal is. "I don't know who you're talking to, if you're talking to God, or..." "I'm talking to God, Lord. I mean Jeff."
|Finally some recognition. Suck it, Emmy's.|
"I'm a guy who was formed by God's hands...I'm a perfect creature."
Everyone stares blankly at Russell for a few minutes, & then Probst gives Yellow their food & Immunity & they back out slowly lest Mike slices his chest open on shards of smashed pot.
Red makes the choice to trade their little food reward for a tarp & Jeff is like "For realz?" And Penner is like, "Yes, dummy. We can live without spicy bad breath."
|Thanks, but no thanks. We have clams the size of Carter's head.|
Malcolm was so upset after losing the challenge that he almost cried. He didn't, though, because Malcolm never cries - not even when the dog he had for his whole life died. Look, I think Malcolm's a monster for saying that, too...but in his defense, if the dog kept escaping the fence in the backyard, he probably had to eventually shoot it. It's just a thing that everyone knows you have to do.
Blue is a flurry of everyone telling everybody something different, but I believe in the Smart Alliance that Denise & Malcolm have going. I doubt that either one of them would find Russell more valuable than the other.
Denise tells Russell to pull up a chair, & Russell opens up, telling Denise he doesn't know how to deal with problems. She asks if that's how he's always dealt with things, & Full House Music begins to play, so Russell tells a childhood story.
Now, my guide said that on this episode of Survivor, "an aspiring sole survivor shares a shocking story from their childhood", so what I had in my head was a lot worse than his actual story of being bullied & beaten up, & then realizing when he stood up to them that he didn't have to be afraid. Not that it wasn't a touching story, but I thought he was going to reveal that he accidentally killed that kid or something. Basically, my guide had higher expectations of Russell than Malcolm did.
Once again, Denise makes me smile with her logical, completely reasonable approach to Survivor: "Yes, I'm a Midwesterner, yes I have faith in human beings - I have to. That's what I hang on to, & if I get bamboozled tonight, you know, it's not gonna shake my faith that these are two good guys...it'll tell me that, you know, I screwed up & they played the game better than me."
At Tribal, Malcolm takes full responsibility for taking on the wrecking ball position, but it's not like Russell would have been a better choice, because this is where he was during that stage of the Challenge:
With just 3 Survivors going to Tribal Council, we get a bit of a Final Tribal Council vibe, with each tribe member stating why they should stay. Malcolm says he's got 20 years on Russell, & although Denise is "a little ox of a woman", he has a foot on her, vertically. Russell calls Malcolm a young stud & a threat. "When I grow up, I wanna be like Malcolm." Russell also says he can provide knowledge going forward, based on what he knows "experientially". The first time he played, he never made it to the merge, so really, what more could he offer? He couldn't even find the Immunity Idol when he needed it most.
There is a ton of Denise love coming from the guys, & it's confirmed: Denise is the best. Russell says she has to go because he imagines a jury where we hear "Can I write you my own cheque along with the cheque you get from Survivor? To hell with the taxes."
We see Russell & Malcolm vote for each other, leaving Denise's vote the only mystery. Russell is voted out with an audible sigh & his pecs deflate right there. Denise must be a great therapist, though, because he doesn't set the little hut on fire with his torch, or cry to the heavens. He calmly walks to Probst & leaves quietly. The Smart Alliance survives, & maybe now they can mount that epic comeback without Russell getting in their way.