By: Josh Wigler
Shoes Fly: If you thought Wendy Jo was a whackjob, clearly you haven’t met Holly Hoffman. After voting her ally out at the first tribal council of SURVIVOR: NICARAGUA, the 44-year-old swim coach took a swan dive straight into the deep end by stealing a boiling pot of food and sinking real estate executive Dan Lembo’s $1600 shoes to the bottom of the ocean out of pure spite — then confessing her actions to the entire tribe, entirely unprompted. Leave it to coach Jimmy Johnson, whose social game is improving tremendously, to talk Holly off the proverbial ledge. Had Espada lost this week’s immunity challenge, there’s no doubt that Holly would have gone home in a unanimous vote. I suppose that’s what next week is for!
Idol Hands: I thought the hidden immunity idol was actually supposed to stay hidden this year? It didn’t get ferreted out in total Russell Hantz fashion, but the idol has nonetheless found itself in the clutches of technology executive Marty Piombo after only two episodes. Marty has doctor Jill Behm to thank for the prize after she coached him towards the idol in a surprising display of loyalty. Unfortunately for Jill, Marty’s words upon discovering the idol says everything about his strategy: “I found the idol! I mean, we found the idol!” Marty’s slip of the tongue speaks to an undeniable truth about the game of SURVIVOR — out there in the jungle, possession is nine-tenths of the law, meaning that Jill has absolutely zero claim to that idol unless Marty feels like playing nice.
I Say Thee Nay: Holly is an absolute whackjob, but the La Flor tribe isn’t without its fair share of crazies. Chief among them is PE teacher NaOnka Mixon, a woman who has an inexplicable hated towards Jud “Fabio” Birza. Nay is one of those competitors who could easily make it to the final two or three because her overaggressive nature makes her a shoe-in to beat in a final jury vote. If her allies can stomach her presence for the first few rounds of the game, Nay could go quite far out there in NICARAGUA — or she could be sent packing next week if she proves too much to handle.
Black Widow: Parvati Shallow is a thing of the past, though her spirit hangs heavy on La Flor beach in the form of Brenda “Single Single Single” Lowe. Brenda has her hands in a few choice honey jars: she’s part of Sash’s minority alliance, but she also has Chase Rice wrapped around her pretty little finger. Despite being targeted for the vote at tribal council, Brenda was able to keep her mouth shut and let Shannon bury his own grave, very effectively guaranteeing herself another three days in the game. Everyone is busy freaking out about Kelly B. earning the sympathy vote due to her physical handicap, but La Flor should not discount Brenda; thus far, she’s the most dangerous player in the game, and she knows it.
Shannon Blows Up: If last week’s tribal council was one of the most awkward implosions ever seen before on SURVIVOR, then this week’s was one of the single most volatile explosions, certainly this early in the season. Just as Wendy Jo couldn’t keep her mouth shut, Shannon’s inability to stop his own lips from flapping proved too much for his tribe. Even Fabio, his closest ally, was smart enough to understand that Shannon was essentially snuffing out his own torch by verbally abusing Chase and obnoxiously questioning Sash’s sexual preference without any provocation. The only tragedy about Shannon’s departure is that he was good for a reliable one-liner. “New York City is full of gay people,” for example, should go down as one of the most memorable last words uttered by a contestant in the history of SURVIVOR. Beyond those gems, I can’t say I’ll miss the homophobic pretty boy.
Next Time on SURVIVOR: La Flor faces a game changing decision, Jimmy Johnson goes bananas for a pack of monkeys, NaOnka keeps the mean streak alive, and Fabio probably does something hilariously stupid.
Josh is an entertainment reporter based out of New York City. He is commanded with ruthless efficiency by his office manager, Pardo the cat, and writes regularly for MTV News, Comic Book Resources, Spinoff Online and more. He’s a SURVIVOR fanatic and has slept with more beautiful women than Shannon, Sash and every other male SURVIVOR contestant in the history of the game combined. For reals! Follow him on Twitter: @roundhoward.