Welcome to the next three episodes of Purple Rock Podcast’s (well, Matt’s) watch of Survivor: Nicaragua. Read my live blog below.
A reminder before I dive back into my running thoughts of Survivor: Nicaragua- I am spoiled on the following things: I know who wins, I am pretty sure I know who is second and third (I have figured out the order through the magic of editing), and I know who quits- so basically I know what is about to happen. With that out of the way, to the liveblog!
Episode 12 – “You Started, You’re Finishing”
Previously on Survivor: Severe storms almost washed away camp, fire burned up food, Holly melts down on day 5 and is now allied with Chase and Jane. On day 13 NaOnka wants to quit, Chase keeps her around. On day 15 Purple Kelly wants to quit (and we see her talk) but she is blindly obedient to Brenda and Sash. Holly and Jane led a “conspiracy” to take out Brenda, Sash doesn’t play his idol and Brenda goes home. Purple Kelly didn’t see it coming.
Purple Kelly gives the opening confessional! She is on the bottom.
Holly goes to NaOnka and tells her that she trusts her despite her name coming up. Naonka says she is aware that she scares people. Chase outlines the main alliance of himself, Holly, Jane and NaOnka. Benry and Dan not mentioned or heard from in the breakdown. (Fabio, Sash and Purple Kelly are seen as the outsiders)
Another major storm, and a scintillating discussion of mud.
NaOnka says she is anemic and this causes her joints to hurt in the rain and cold. Purple Kelly now melting down.
Fabio here to mansplain how to deal with the rain amid the complaints.
Fabio and Benry talking about how it would be great if NaOnka and Purple Kelly quit. (Editor’s note: If the seven other people also quit, that would be great too.)
Chase is talking to NaOnka about quitting and NaOnka gives Chase the idol and is basically about to quit. Chase is all, “Hey I got the idol now, if NaOnka doesn’t quit I’m not giving it back.”
Jane struggling with the numbers, Holly explaining it to her. They are trying to pull in Sash, but Sash wants NaOnka and Purple Kelly around (and doesn’t want to work with Benry, Fabio, and Dan for some reason).
I want to note for those not watching along that everyone here is talking about Purple Kelly and NaOnka quitting as if it was a done deal.
Oh boy! A reward to watch Gulliver’s Travels starring Jack Black and Jason Segel!
Dan was not selected for the reward challenge and he is sitting in this gigantic chair that makes him look like a child. He even wriggled his legs.
Dan makes a smart bet- I wonder what his bookie thinks of that performance.
Right after winning reward, NaOnka quits. Jeff asks if “anyone else wants to quit” and Purple Kelly is like “yo Jeff, right here.” Jeff says that NaOnka doesn’t seem like a quitter. Then says Purple Kelly what about you?
Jeff not willing to just let this happen, giving them the afternoon to think about it. (Editor’s note: We did the same thing to Matt when he proposed watching this season.) Really giving them the rundown here.
Jeff offers them something here: if one person stays behind, he will give them enough rice to last for the rest of the time and give them a tarp. Holly does this, despite NaOnka getting ready to quit and Dan not actually competing. Benry is killing those two for letting Holly do this instead. He is pissed. Holly is also pissed at NaOnka.
Fabio is thankful to Holly (he notes he wasn’t going on the reward anyway). Holly trying to get Purple Kelly to stay. Is this entire episode going to be people trying to convince them not to quit? UGH.
Holly is all, “I just got you a tarp and more rice. What are you still complaining about?” Purple Kelly in confessional: “I’ve been sucking it up for 28 days.” (Editor’s note: One thing she didn’t suck up? Air time, amirite?) Holly’s tough love is not the way to get through to her I don’t think.
NaOnka is now cheering and bragging about winning, despite moments ago talking about quitting.
Chase is now also killing NaOnka. NaOnka is not “no fool”, she says. Why would she step down? Of course, it would not occur to a fundamentally selfish person to do something selfless.
Benry is laughing at this movie like a 3rd grader.
Purple Kelly making up for all her lack of screen time this episode.
So we go to a tribal council. It is of course raining. Jury reaction to them saying they wanted to quit: Alina is shocked, Brenda has a giant grin.
Holly mentions Jimmy Johnson, smash cut to Marty looking like he is holding in a fart. Holly and Jane trying to keep them in the game.
NaOnka starts complaining about her joints, and Dan gives her a look like “are you fucking serious?”
NaOnka says she has a shot to win and the entire jury starts cracking up.
Benry compares Gulliver’s Travels to the current situation. There is your plug.
NaOnka quits. Purple Kelly quits. Marty shakes his head in disbelief.
Jeff is really rubbing this in, he asks what should be done with their torches, NaOnka is all what you did to those other guys, and Jeff goes “but they didn’t quit.” I think that is the moment that NaOnka realizes that people will hate her when watching the show.
(Jeff does snuff their torches, but keeps them at tribal so they can see them every time.) Also Jeff is a lot more forgiving to Purple Kelly than NaOnka and there are probably a lot of reasons for this, but it mostly comes down to attitude.
Alina is literally crying. Brenda talking about NaOnka:”I gave her so much more credit.”
Episode 13 – “Not Sure Where I Stand”
Previously on Survivor: Sash had a day where everything went wrong- he had an idol, NaOnka and Purple Kelly. But then NaOnka gave an idol to Chase and then she and Kelly quit. There are now two alliances: Chase, Holly, and Jane vs. Benry, Fabio, and Dan. Sash is in the middle and actually in good position.
They propose naming the chicken after Kelly and NaOnka because they were both chicken. Sash thinks his path got harder because he doesn’t realize he is the swing vote and has an easy path to final four.
Sash is now saying he is playing the idol next tribal council because he thinks it is putting a target on his back. This is stupid. Why would they target him? He knows he is 4th, so why burn the idol now? (Editor’s note: But the characters, tho! This season is so underrated.)
Sash thinks Jane could beat Chase. Chase thinks Sash and Holly will be going on rewards soon. Let’s see if that actually does happen.
Chase is destroying this reward challenge. If he actually takes Sash and Holly that could decide the vote. Holy shit, Chase does not take Sash! HAHAHA WOW! That was stupid as crap.
I take back everything I said about Chase. That was dumb beyond belief- especially not taking Sash after telling him he would.
Fabio says Chase chose the two least strategic people to go with him. Fabio said this!
Sash immediately makes a pitch to the other side to go with them. Dan challenges Sash with “so you might side with them.” Dan doesn’t trust Sash. No one trusts Sash. But he does realize that, yes, he has to trust Sash. He has no choice.
Holly thinks Chase made the wrong choice and Chase admits it to Holly immediately. He calls himself stupid. Holly and Chase are having this whole discussion without Jane. Jane is not the brains here, Chase and Holly are. Chase says he will do damage control tomorrow.
Fabio wants to convince Sash that siding with them is the right decision. Benry says Sash knows what is good for him. Then later Benry calls Sash shifty. Also, the four guys kill the chicken. I love the pettiness of killing the chicken when other people are at reward.
Jane comes back and is crying over the dead chicken and saying, “They didn’t have to eat her.” Then says she would have released the chicken. She makes a chicken memorial complete with tiny cross.
Chase lays out the plan: yeah, we don’t trust Sash but we need to make him think we do by throwing Jane under the bus even if it isn’t true.
Benry is nervous because there are a lot of “variables.” There is one variable, and it is Sash.
Benry goes to Chase and suggests that he vote for Fabio not Benry.
Sash throwing Jane under the bus to Chase, trying to get him swear on his mother or father. Chase won’t do that. So Sash then asks him to do that without swearing, and Holly comes up and they agree to either Benry or Fabio.
Benry sees Sash talking to them and tells Fabio and Dan that they are doomed. Benry is going home tonight. Calling it.
Benry comes over and is trying to get allied with them instead of Jane. He says Jane is a threat to win. Is Jane that well liked? I guess so? I have no idea why. Jane sucks.
Immunity challenge is a spatial puzzle involving gold coins. Jane is “cheering” them all on and driving them all nuts.
Sash wins! Benry and Fabio both had a chance, and they are the two names on the chopping block.
Sash comes back from the challenge tooting his own horn, saying he is ready to win the million. He says that Fabio/Benry won’t make it to the final because they are physical threats.
Fabio asks Sash to let him know if his name comes up. Because he thinks it is him. Fabio thinks that Sash is still a swing vote but that they are close. Fabio sitting back and being “cool.”
Chase tells Dan that everyone is saying Fabio. Sash wants to keep Fabio and Benry guessing and is telling them different things. Benry and Dan want to know who the other name to tell Fabio is. They say Jane at first, Benry says no he won’t believe that, he would vote Holly.
Fabio believes it’s Holly.
Sash is speaking off screen while the editors show a snake. METAPHOR.
This episode is giving me a good idea why Sash is not liked. He makes this overly complicated, in a way which leaves bad feelings for sure. And he enjoys this extra twisting of the knife.
Probst introduces NaOnka and Kelly as “our two quitters.” Awesome. Love it. (Editor’s note: Probst has his faults, but he’s a great host.)
Talk at tribal is about how Benry and Fabio are physical threats. Jane on Fabio: he’s “not the smartest on the puzzle.”
Benry is pretty confident it will swing his way tonight, he says as he stares down Sash.
Fabio says people approaching Sash doesn’t concern him, Holly says it should because you have to talk to people and know what is going on, can’t just sit back. (Editor’s note: Well, actually…) Camera cuts to Brenda grimacing.
Marty is super confused by the two votes for Fabio (they were from Benry and Dan). Benry goes home.
This episode came down to Sash as the swing vote, but he really never felt in play did he? It seemed like a foregone conclusion that he would go with Chase, Holly and Jane. It makes sense too, especially with everyone admitting that Jane is a jury threat. The episode even set everything up for Benry and the guys to make a pitch to Sash, with him not being chosen for reward. But there was maybe about 5 seconds of doubt as to where Sash would go.
Episode 14 – “This is Going to Hurt”
Previously on Survivor: Since the beginning of the game, Chase has been a portrait of indecision- he was allied to Shannon, crushed on Brenda, then NaOnka gave him her idol. Now he is in an alliance with Holly, Jane, and Sash, and voted out Benry (despite telling Benry vote would be Fabio).
Sash pulls Fabio aside and tells him that Benry was targeting him. Sash says he is in control, and Fabio is out next unless he wins.
Fabio: “They believe I am more gullible and naive than I am.” He wants to make them say, “I didn’t know Fabio was that smart.” (Editor’s note: And thus we witnessed the first and only time anyone has ever said, “I didn’t know Fabio was that smart.”)
Seems like we are at the family visit portion of the game.
Chase observes that they are all people and not alien replicons from beyond the moon.
Dan’s kids are exactly what I imagined.
Fabio goes to Chase and pitches a reward that is them and Sash. Hmmm…..
Jeff announces the loved ones are here and says, “Chase, here is your mom.” Chase looks to the ocean, not understanding where she is hiding.
I wonder if Fabio’s mom is like, “Wait, why are they are calling you Fabio?” Oh wait, Probst told her and she said, “That is a good nickname, they used to call him Jud the Stud.” Jeez mom, overshare much?
We went three moms for Fabio, Sash, and Chase. (Editor’s note: Motherfucker, if I have to edit in one more Oxford comma…) Dan has his son. Dan’s son can’t stop kissing him. Jane has her daughter. And Holly has her husband. Would’ve been funny if we had the perfect old/young divide with kids and parents.
Chase and his mom win. Lets see if Chase brings Sash this time. Jane says Chase will probably pick Sash, and he does. He gets another pick and he takes Holly. (Dan: “He’s a scumbag.” His son: “Don’t worry about it.” I feel like they have had this discussion a lot.)
Fabio is crying and saying he would have taken Chase. Stop winning rewards and pissing people off, Chase!
Fabio asks why Chase keeps taking Holly, Dan says he is done with the three of them (grouping Jane in there). Jane takes it hard, too. The three of them are just stewing. Jane thinks she is 4th in that alliance (probably true).
Chase wants to keep Holly close, but he is worried about the jury. Probably a legit concern. He keeps making unpopular choices, but the only way to avoid that is to not be in position to make the choice.
Fabio asks Chase how it was, Chase says it was great, Fabio says, “That was a rhetorical question,” and Chase is like huh? Fabio may be smarter than we give him credit for. Fabio is pissed at Chase. Decides he has to win immunity.
Challenge requires memorizing a puzzle blindfolded. Fabio wins!
Sash thinks Fabio winning screwed up the plan. This is true. This vote seems like either Dan or Jane- Dan as the last outsider, and Jane because she is a threat. Fabio is lecturing Chase about voting Jane out.
Chase, Sash and Holly are meeting to decide if they want to take Jane to the final 4, because they want Fabio next. Honestly this does make sense as a Jane vote because Dan ain’t ever winning a challenge.
Holy shit, Jane comes up and asks if they are still 4, and no one will say anything. She asks if it is her and no one says anything! This can still be a 3-3 vote tonight! What the ever-loving fuck are they doing?
Jane is spending more time now cursing out Sash and Chase rather than, you know, going to fucking Fabio and Dan and forcing a tie vote! What the fuck?!? Jane: “I am not going to give up” (neither will she talk to Fabio and Dan). She does douse the fire, though. (Fabio is standing there with just this expression like if he doesn’t move, maybe Jane won’t see him. Jane is not a T-Rex, Fabio!)
Dan: “Listen, there’s things- ah, nevermind” Probst: “Just tell me or I’ll dig.” I love this exchange.
Jane laying into them, Jeff wants more. Jane going down swinging and calls Holly a thief for stealing Dan’s shoes.
Chase basically says Fabio and Dan are next, then confirms that that is the plan in front of everyone. Again, this is a clear 3-3! What the fuck are they doing?
Jeff is now doing a voice. He asks why they don’t vote together. Jane says vote for Holly, which defeats the purpose of dodging the idol. This is apparently the last time they can use their idols, which makes this a stupid time to band together. If they play their idols for themselves and tie the vote then Dan goes home. That would definitely help Jane, but not Dan.
This tribal council is so fucking stupid. Like they had a chance here if they discussed it before, but airing it all like this makes it useless. And since this is the last time to play idols anyway, it wouldn’t have worked.
So, yeah, Sash and Chase play their idols. We get 5 votes for Jane, and Jane voted for Sash (I actually like this because Sash might have been too arrogant to play the idol but Chase wouldn’t be).
Hoo boy, these episodes. If the Brenda episode last week made me mad, these just depressed me.
Let’s start off with the double quit episode, or what I will call “the one way that Nicaragua stands out as truly awful.” We talked earlier about how Nicaragua does everything bad, but nothing all-time spectacularly bad. But I can make an argument that this is the single worst episode of Survivor ever. So I will do just that and let you decide.
Quite simply, Survivor works because it has a rise and fall of action that must culminate in a tribal council at the end of the episode sending someone home. Now, sometimes this is twisted so that there is a medical evacuation, or even occasionally, someone quits. When this happens, the episode is usually enervating, just drained of its typical energy because the show is building to an anticlimax. There is more dead time typically. Occasionally, the show uses this time to find something interesting. One of the best quit episodes is in San Juan Del Sur, where they use the extra time to set up the strategizing that typically happens at the merge. And while it is subverted at the end, it also sets up the reversal in the next episode.
Contrast that with what we saw in the double quit episode here. In this episode, the intention to quit is announced at the reward challenge, immediately after it has been run. That is roughly 1/3 of the way into the episode. We have seen the show deal with boots this early; typically they just forge ahead and have a regular episode for the rest of the time. And that is good! Instead, we spend almost the entire episode waiting for two people to quit. There is little suspense that they actually quit- NaOnka gives her idol to Chase, so she has already made up her mind. And Purple Kelly is talking so much (relatively) that you know she is gone too. So we merely endure a long grueling march to the inevitable finish, complete with Jeff Probst moralizing. It is quite simply a slog, and a slog is the worst possible thing an episode of TV can be. (Do I actually think this is the worst episode ever? Maybe. It is certainly in the conversation.)
So let’s move on and talk about the other two episodes this week, or as I call them, “The moment where Chase reveals he is a giant idiot over and over and over and over again.” Let us take his many mistakes in turn.
First is the one where he realizes is a mistake soon after he makes it. He wins the reward, knows he should take Sash, and doesn’t take Sash. Now to be fair to Chase, he realizes this is a mistake the second he leaves. This mistake doesn’t bite Chase in the ass because Sash was always going to be with Chase anyway. Chase was at least an erstwhile ally, whereas Fabio, Benry, and Dan were never his allies. So while this was a mistake, it was not a huge one. It merely demonstrated again that Chase’s head was not in the game. It does demonstrate how bad this episode was, though. Once again we have an episode where the conclusion seems foregone, Sash is always siding with Chase, and the show is not very effective at hiding this. The only question is whether it will be Benry or Fabio and frankly I think they were right to target Benry.
But then there is the last episode we watch this week where the tribal council might just have caused my head to explode in frustration. So let’s talk about how everyone just flat-out fucks the fuck up.
First of all, everyone knows the vote is going to Jane. So why don’t Dan and Fabio get together with her before tribal to try and force a 3-3 tie? Maybe if they were smart they could even have caught Sash or Chase napping and not playing their idols which would actually mean that the tie would have value. (If both Sash and Chase play their idols, then a tie would lead to a rock draw where Fabio wouldn’t draw because of immunity, Sash and Chase wouldn’t draw because of their idols, and Jane and Holly wouldn’t draw because they were tied, so Dan would go home rendering a tie useless, but Dan should still tie the vote the first time to see if this is the case and then change his vote on revote).
Still, if the players had thought this all through, we saw no evidence of it. Instead, we are left with no reason why Fabio and Dan are not voting with Jane. Even if they aren’t voting with Jane though, Chase’s sheer clueless bravado is incredible to witness.
Chase announces to everybody who the final three is when the vote can still go 3-3! And his allies clearly don’t want to admit this, because there is no value to it, but Chase basically forces them to do so. I can’t even adequately describe how bad this clusterfuck is, you have to watch it to truly grasp it, but the entire thing is a series of blunders and missteps that is unbelievable to behold. I would never have expected this sequence to play out on Survivor because I would never expect people to be this goddamn stupid.
That said, if Chase realized that the idols made tying the vote useless, I wish he had said so because then it’s a power move that has the jury impressed at his foresight. But again, there is no indication he knows this, he is just blithely sure his three will get their way at this vote.
So what of the other remaining players? Dan is still around because everyone knows they can get rid of him at any moment: he is never winning a challenge. Sash is a snake and that final 7 episode showed why he didn’t get more run, because he overcomplicates everything to rub in his eventual decision to the losers. The way he plays Benry and Fabio off each other is just unnecessary. Holly has shown over the last set episodes that she does have a strategic idea and I could see her beating Chase and Sash if that was the final three. But we also got a glimpse of her flaws in the game when she lectured NaOnka and Purple Kelly to stay in the game, which was the exact wrong tactic to take with them. She sees the game from her point of view and not anyone else’s. Not a fatal flaw, but certainly a significant one.
Finally, there is Fabio. Let me just say that I actually think Fabio is a deserving winner at this point. He has done a good job of staying below the radar long enough to give him a chance to go on an immunity run to the end. Is it a good game? Hell no! But it is a respectable path to victory.
Favorite seasons: Micronesia, Heroes vs. Villains, Palau, Philippines, Pearl Islands, Cagayan