By: Josh Wigler
Last Week: I missed last week’s recap, so here’s a brief rundown on everything that went down: the young and old tribes are no more thanks to a tribal reshuffling. Marty is on La Flor now and still thinks he’s in control, despite the fact that everyone on his new tribe thinks he’s fishy. Over at the new Espada, Tyrone disagrees with his tribe’s decision to slaughter and eat one of their chickens so soon, then turns around and eats the whole frickin’ thing on his own. After losing immunity, Espada cries fowl and Tyrone is out of the game, wearing egg on his face all the way home. Which brings us to this week’s episode…
Double Execution: Ah, the double boot. I love these episodes, particularly given the recent trend for SURVIVOR to include 20 contestants as opposed to the traditional 16. There are simply too many players for us to get to know everybody, and as a result, there’s weeding to be done. But the double boot is a double-edged sword; on the one hand, you get rid of unmemorable contestants like Yve. On the flip side, you lose the more interesting players like Kelly B. I suppose you can’t win ’em all.
One Foot in the Grave: I’ve made no secret about the fact that I’m not a Marty fan. He’s arrogant, borderline delusional, and nowhere near the player that he thinks he is. You could argue that Marty’s ability to manipulate Fabio this week was a sign of his genius, but I view it as more of a testament to Fabio’s obliviousness than Marty’s brilliance. In summary: Marty’s no mastermind, a B-grade SURVIVOR player at best.
With that said, I feel that I’m still being objective when I say that La Flor made the absolute wrong choice in keeping Marty over Kelly. Was it smart to split the vote between the two of them to flush out Marty’s hidden immunity idol? Sure, of course. But after Brenda alienated Marty during tribal council, and after he declined to play his idol, he was completely revealed and defenseless in the tiebreaker — why not go for the killing blow and lop his head off, taking the idol with it?
Perhaps Brenda, described by Marty as a “black widow, king cobra and black mamba all rolled into one,” simply wants to toy with her meal before devouring it. I can respect that; it’s a demonstration of power, and while Brenda has already proven her worth in this game, there’s something to be said for empowering herself even further. At this stage, Brenda probably feels that she has time: Marty won’t be able to sway the numbers on his side — at least not on La Flor, not with Jane as an enemy and only Fabio and Jill for allies — so he’s not exactly a threat.
Except for that damn idol.
The idol is more threatening than Kelly’s disability, at least at this point in the game. Later down the line, Kelly’s handicap could earn her some sympathy points, but there’s time to address that in the future. For now, there is an idol out in the open that Marty can and will use (unless he’s a fool) at a future tribal council, possibly disrupting the entire flow of the game. There was an opportunity to kill Marty off right here and now, but La Flor instead opted to cannibalize one of their own. It not only doesn’t make any strategic sense, but it’s a disappointing ending for Kelly B., one of the season’s most promising personalities.
Yve Bites the Apple: Over at Espada, again, the wrong choice may have been made here… but I’m less certain about this one than I am about booting Kelly over Marty.
Dan is absolutely the weakest player in the game, both physically and mentally. Despite what he tells Probst, he’s dying to go home. That’s an easy person to pick off. Yve, on the other hand, is desperate to stay. She’s physically fit, mentally sharp and socially gifted, essentially a triple threat in the game of SURVIVOR. Her honest revelation that she has strong ties to the old folks at La Flor could have paid off for Espada had they kept her around, but it was also a declaration of her abilities. Yve, already on the outside looking in, basically tells the world that she’s super talented and brings a lot to the table.
From the majority alliance’s perspective, Yve is a potentially untamable lioness, while Dan is a tired old dog waiting to be taken out behind the shed and done away with. Who do you vote out: the guy with zero worth in this game — a guy who is very much diminishing his tribe’s chances for success by sticking around — or the woman who can keep the tribe strong in challenges for now, but poses a great threat when the game goes individual?
For me, this is a tougher call than Marty versus Kelly. Shaving off Dan excises a cancer, certainly, but hanging onto Yve plants seeds of dread in the majority alliance’s stomachs. Was the wrong choice made here? Very possibly — but only by a very slim margin.
Next Time on SURVIVOR: Sash makes a power play to take Marty’s idol, Jane creates a secret fish hatchery in the woods, and Fabio goes pee-pee.
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 Brenda, he is a black widow, king cobra and black mamba all rolled into one, with a little bit of gefilte fish thrown in for good measure. Follow him on Twitter: @roundhoward.