By: Josh Wigler
The Other Idol: It was another Espada heavy week out there in SURVIVOR: NICARAGUA, but La Flor wasn’t without its developments. First and foremost, NaOnka and Brenda discovered the hidden immunity idol — well, NaOnka did, at least — but Brenda is no dummy, and after her boy toy Chase found himself with a clue to the idol’s location, she decided to confide in him that Nay already has it.
Some might call it a dumb move. It’s certainly a risky one, but I don’t think it’s dumb. Brenda has Chase wrapped around her finger and she knows it; he betrayed his all guy alliance by voting out Shannon just to save her life in the game, after all. Securing Chase’s loyalty that much further isn’t a bad move at all. The only hole I see is in not telling NaOnka. If Brenda keeps the truth from her for too long, Nay will eventually explode like the ticking time bomb that she is.
Hurricane NaOnka: Have you ever looked pure evil in the eye? Kelly B. certainly has. Nay’s completely unwarranted rant against Kelly strikes me as one of the most brutal and vile moments in SURVIVOR history, packed with enough venom to make Susan Hawk drop her jaw.
Before I continue, let it be known that I am not a fan of NaOnka — entertaining as she is, she’s petty and toxic and offers very few redeeming qualities in life. But as I’ve said before, she is great at playing for second place. Nay is an expert bully, bringing fear tactics to bear upon those she considers her enemies. Kelly B. was flustered, unable to retort, barely holding her composure — the only thing she could do, really — as Nay verbally ripped her to shreds and feasted on the scraps in front of her. It was awful to behold.
But if she can continue to bully people into submission, Nay could go quite far into the game; and depending on how far she goes, she has the potential to become one of the most memorable villains in SURVIVOR history.
“Master” Mind: Moving onto Espada, it was really the Jimmy T. show this week. Marty was absolutely right in his assessment of Jimmy: he’s a pain in the ass and he’s tightening his own noose with every passing second that he’s out there. The dude’s a total joke. But if you think that Marty’s assessment makes him a master strategist, you’re kidding yourself. The best games of SURVIVOR require surgical precision in order to win, but getting rid of a guy like Jimmy T. is akin to applying a band-aid on a booboo. There’s no swerving maneuvers required in executing a poor player like Jimmy from the game; it’s nothing to gloat about.
Marty continues to think he’s on top of the world, and over at Espada, perhaps he is. For the most part, the players on this tribe are some of the poorest thinkers I’ve seen on SURVIVOR, with the exception of those who voted for Dan instead of Jimmy T. and maybe Jill, who continues to let Marty think he’s in control. But the fact that Marty truly thinks that voting Jimmy T. over Dan is the better move speaks volumes about his gameplay. True, Jimmy is a leach on morale, but he’s physically capable of much more than poor old Shoeless Dan, who can’t even compete in the mud. And there are ways to get Jimmy to shut up without voting him out.
What Marty doesn’t seem to get is that there are opportunities to take out guys like Jimmy T. further down the line. Furthermore, Jimmy T. is not a threat to win — nobody can stand him. Dan, meanwhile, is an affable guy with a very strong likelihood of winning a jury vote should he make it that far. But he’s physically weak, and he’s mentally checking out. He’s hurting your tribe, and you’re only leaving him in the game because you think he’s a vote in your pocket. It’s because of this kind of thinking that Espada is doing so poorly out there.
Adaptability and foresight are two of the most crucial skills one can have when playing SURVIVOR. Marty thinks he has both; I’m far from convinced.
He Was An American Girl: Somehow, Dan is still around and it’s Jimmy T. that went swimming with the fishes. Jimmy, you provided some terrific entertainment over the last four episodes, particularly in this latest one. You had a big heart, but heart only gets you so far in SURVIVOR. Indeed, it sometimes gets you killed.
Over the past few weeks of SURVIVOR, we’ve watched as Jimmy T. dug his own grave in a far corner of Espada beach. He dug deeper and deeper and deeper with each passing episode until last night, when he finally hopped into the ditch and started pouring the dirt and sand all over himself. He buried himself alive, folks. It happens a lot on SURVIVOR — heck, it’s happened a bunch this season with Wendy Jo and Shannon — it just took more time for Jimmy T. to bury himself than the others.
Jimmy, I will miss your private struggle to become a leader of men. I will not miss your Tom Petty impression.
Next Time on SURVIVOR: NaOnka becomes her own worst enemy, as the hardships of roughing it in Nicaragua finally take their toll. At Espada, Marty arrogantly declares: “It would take something extraordinary, completely whacked out to disturb my plans.” Here’s hoping a tribal shuffle will do the trick.
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, like Jimmy T., he’s a heck of a leader where he comes from, the distant warrior planet Telius VI, where he is rapidly readying an army of transdimensional insect-like warriors to invade Earth and annihilate mankind. Uh, wait, did we say annihilate mankind? We meant bake them cookies. Yeah… cookies. Follow him on Twitter: @roundhoward.