Purple Rock Watch-Along: Survivor Nicaragua Episodes 3-5

Welcome to the next three episodes of Purple Rock Podcast’s (well, Matt’s) watch of Survivor: Nicaragua. Read my live blog below.

Before I dive back into my running thoughts of Survivor: Nicaragua, it was pointed out that I should let everybody following along know what I am spoiled about. I am spoiled on the following things: I know who wins, I am pretty sure I know who is second and third (but not the order), and I know who quits. Aside from that. I believe I know a few other people who make the merge (for instance I’m pretty sure I know one makes the merge based on getting invited back for Caramoan).  And that is it. Now with that out of the way, to the liveblog!

Episode 3 – “Glitter in Their Eyes”:

Previously on Survivor: “An epic battle”. Sure, right. Whatever you say, Jeff. Jimmy Johnson is the leader and Marty resents this? Huh? That wasn’t really shown, it was Jimmy T who resented Jimmy Johnson.

Also in the “previously on”, Shannon dug his own grave and Kelly B and Alina are the ones in trouble. Pretty sure Kelly B voted for Shannon, and Fabio didn’t.

NaOnka starts talking and yup still don’t like her and she didn’t even say anything overtly awful! Just kinda hate her entire attitude. Like even when she is playing “nice” she just seems mean-spirited. (And she clearly thinks she is hot shit, when she is clearly not. She kinda reminds me of Corinne).

The older tribe is trying to follow howler monkeys for food and Jimmy Johnson is “communicating” with them by hooting and making monkey noises. This makes sense, after all he did coach the Cowboys. (Yeah, not letting this joke die.)

Editor’s note: When Shirin did that, the monkeys banged. Advantage: Shirin.

Marty thinks Jimmy Johnson is a threat because… he is a celebrity? This is pretty silly. He is annoyed his shine is getting stolen.

Did Jill suggest that Marty should show everyone the hidden idol? For what reason?

Fabio is trying to suggest his idiocy is a front to make people laugh, and as he explains this he sounds even stupider. I mean I guess work with what you’ve got, right?

Wait, Marty is telling everyone he has the immunity idol? Wait why? This is bizarre. (The idol is a key going with the whole recycled-Pearl Islands aesthetic they are using this season.)

Jimmy T is kinda really weird. But he is all on board the Marty train. Also Jill sees Marty’s gain as her own? Hmm I don’t think Jill is aware of how credit gets given on this show and how it doesn’t get given to women.

Marty thinks the idol wouldn’t have stayed secret… not sure why.

Dan has a knee that looks like it is 3 times the size of the other one. Also he believes the women on his tribe are built like mooses. That’s insulting, Dan. The plural of moose is moose. Not mooses.

Purple Kelly is talking! Also, NaOnka thinks Alina and Kelly B need a shockwave because… I don’t know, she has made it abundantly clear to them that they are on the bottom. So why do they need a shockwave? Obviously you just want to rub it in.


In a season where you have an advantage that gives you a leg up in challenges (Editor’s note: Sorry, Kelly B), why keep combining reward and immunity? The younger tribe doesn’t use the Medallion of Power because the level playing field benefits them and the older tribe can’t keep up without it.

They actually showed some of the tribes planning for a challenge before it started. They never show that. Kinda interesting.

Oh sure, older tribe, use the black guy for a shooting challenge. Even if does require underhand throwing (well doesn’t require, but everyone is using it).

Tyrone built up a big lead and is blowing it, but won’t come out (and Jimmy T is hilariously insisting they are wasting him).

Jimmy Johnson really is running the show, he “pulled” Tyrone and put Jimmy T in.

Kelly B looks for and sees the idol clue, but NaOnka sees her see it and both…do nothing?

Hahahaha I spoke too soon. They both drop the basket at the end and literally fight over it and everyone else is just confused.

Fabio is mad the bananas are smushed and Benry says, “Come on, Fabio”. Seriously, the people on this tribe cannot believe how stupid/naive he is.

Man, fuck NaOnka. She is awful, and she is the biggest narrator on the young tribe.

You guys, this season has such wonderful “characters”.

Jimmy T: “Coach, my talents are being wasted. I am an obvious leader and threaten you, put me in coach!”

Tyrone thinks Jimmy T is a little league player. (I mean that was what I gathered).

Marty enjoys the tension because he hopes it gets the tribe to “play the game.” I feel that people that want that don’t actually value such silly things like trust and alliances.

Marty thinks Jimmy Johnson is the tribe’s daddy, and wants to make them all uncomfortable. Brilliant, Marty. Sure, throw the tribe into chaos. Great plan.

Dan can’t walk and is all “I’m in much better shape than Jimmy Johnson.”

“There are some people that are definitely smart… actually not that many” (camera cuts to and holds on Jimmy T). Good work Survivor editors.

This is interesting, but Jimmy Johnson is actually closer with the women on his tribe it seems. I say interesting because I would think with his background he would’ve bonded with the men, but he seems to threaten them.

Marty to Tyrone: “Can I count on you?” “For what?” “For everything” “Oh, of course. Absolutely… Wait, what is everything? Oh, that. No, not that.” So… no, you can’t count on Tyrone.

This season seriously lacks narrators. NaOnka is the only prominent narrator on the young tribe; Marty is the only one on the old tribe.

I think Jimmy T isn’t getting more “court time” because he is using basketball metaphors on a football coach. Rookie mistake Jimmy T.

The reactions to Jimmy T remind me of the reactions to Judd in Guatemala. People find them weird, and find their self-absorption and out-of-whack self-esteem hilarious. And then they just ignore them. I wonder if Jimmy T has Ayyy Deee Deee?

(Oh, the other good narrator on the old tribe is Jimmy Johnson.)

So the only person on the old tribe who thinks he is a weaker player is Jimmy Johnson, so he is the only one not lying.

Probst slams Marty when he wants to get people thinking about all aspects of the game. Probst comes back with “if I didn’t think people were thinking about that I wouldn’t remind them.”

Jimmy T finally uses a football metaphor (to vote out Jimmy Johnson).

Jimmy T is so happy to vote for Jimmy Johnson, he is beaming like a proud papa to see him go home. (Jimmy was a unanimous vote, so despite the “drama” this was an easy decision).

Should’ve doused his flame like this, imo.

Episode 4 – Pulling the Trigger

Previously on Survivor: Hey, remember when Jimmy Johnson was on the show? Also they show a confessional from Brenda that she did not give in the previous episode.

Jimmy T doesn’t think much of Jimmy Johnson’s leadership despite the fact he was dying for his approval just two episodes ago.

Jimmy T is singing Tom Petty so I was totally right in comparing him to Paul last time. Just acknowledge that Jimmy T is the superior version of Paul, Sharculese.

Hard to convey this via text, but after the rain the beach is covered in mud and debris and just looks disgusting.

Jimmy T, who I will remind you is a fisherman, decides to model his fishing after a bird. He is pretty terrible at it. (This is feeling like a Jimmy T boot episode.)

NaOnka: “I pay so little attention to my surroundings that I missed that it rained last night. Also I have no idea what the clue says and if not for Brenda I would be lost.”  This might not be an exact transcript of her confessional…

And of course NaOnka gets the immunity idol despite Brenda doing all the hard work. “I figured it out!” Brenda literally led you to the spot and said I think we should dig here, but sure NaOnka you figured this out.

Alina and Kelly B decide to follow and search where NaOnka and Brenda were looking. NaOnka decides to scare them because she gets off on lording her power over them. She is like a 4th grade bully.


Now NaOnka wants to force Kelly to quit the game. Ugh. Again I remind you that she is the most prominent narrator on that tribe.

The old tribe is now discussing who should be the leader. No one nominates Jimmy T, Jimmy T gets mad. He now thinks Marty dislikes him because of his insecurities… which was exactly what he said about Jimmy Johnson.

Jimmy T, I am going to break it to you right now: no one is threatened by your obvious superiority.

Jimmy T is literally explaining what 15 steps forward mean. Marty is not a fan and apparently meant to rile up Jimmy T because he is a ridiculous person.

Young tribe uses the Medallion of Power so they get an advantage of 2 items to start.

Also I just want to point out that NaOnka is literally huddling behind Alina while blindfolded because she talks shit but is a goddamn coward. (She will obviously talk about how she was awesome in the challenge).

“Damn, that boy don’t listen”- Tyrone talking about Jimmy T (Brenda overhears and laughs). Jimmy T: “I couldn’t hear you.” Tyrone was literally screaming.

Dan is a horse-racing guy, saying he is not a mudder. I am becoming more and more convinced that Dan might be in the mafia. Jimmy T asks to do more, Tyrone calls him out on it asking if he could have done more today and Jimmy T is like, “Oh, probably not.”

Tyrone is not a Jimmy T fan.

Chase sees a clue in the tackle box, and hides it while everyone else is celebrating. Shares it with Brenda, because everyone is just coming to Brenda.

Editor’s note

So Brenda is helping him look for an idol that was already found. Whoops. Damn, Brenda just like stabbed her stick at Chase to tell him to listen to her about the idol.

Brenda had to tell Chase because he knew where it should be, but if he lets NaOnka know then NaOnka will turn on Brenda because NaOnka is crazy. That won’t come up again I’m sure.

Jimmy T tried to call out Marty as selfish and I am pretty sure that Tyrone overheard him complaining and is just laughing in the background.

So the thing about this season and this old tribe in particular is that Marty is talking about swing votes, but I have no idea where the alliance lines are because every vote has been basically unanimous. With unanimous votes we need a clear explanation of where the lines are in the tribe, because there are clearly lines and we don’t see them.

Jimmy T is again going on about not getting the chance and Yve asks him what he would do differently. “Well nothing, but I want the chance”.

Yve: “I don’t coddle my kids as much as Jimmy T needs.” Jimmy T, no one listens to you because you are an insane man who is totally delusional.

Reminder: this is Yve. She wasn’t on this season much because Nicaragua hated nice things.

(Jimmy T’s redeeming feature is that he gives funny facial reactions at tribal council. When Tyrone says their plan worked out well, he jerks up like the dog in Up).

Marty is like, “No I’m not open to Jimmy T leading, because look at this guy.” (Someone stuck up for Jimmy T, but I wasn’t sure who it was because the women on this tribe outside of Jill have gotten no airtime and blend together. I think it was Holly?)

I think Holly and Jane were with Jimmy T. So I think the alliance on that tribe is Marty, Jill, Yve, and Dan, with Tyrone as the swing. But again, the only part of this I’m sure of is Marty, Jill, and Yve because they haven’t supported this in any way beyond that.

Jimmy T said his plan was to keep his mouth shut. That was never gonna happen, buddy.

Episode 5 – Turf Wars:

Previously on Survivor: The younger tribe is winning a lot, Marty is happy to be in control. Brenda is in control of the younger tribe, I guess?

Holly is the one person that has been consistently on the outside, so sounds like the coming swap is up her alley.

Marty: “You can’t get cocky in this game.” Immediately gets cocky.

Also he’s apparently not watched enough Survivor to anticipate a swap.

So NaOnka is the main narrator here, because she can actually articulate who is in her alliance (Purple Kelly, Brenda, Sash and Chase). No one else has even done this much.

Lot of people shocked and unhappy at the swap, but I think I caught Chase with a big giant grin. (Swap captains are Brenda and Holly- Brenda gets to pick three people from the older tribe, Holly 4 from the younger).

Brenda picks Jane, Jill and Marty… not sure what the reasoning was there. Why not Tyrone? Holly chooses NaOnka HAHA TAKE THAT NAONKA. (Also the Medallion of Power is out of the game, what a great twist).

Marty is happy to be going to a new camp. NaOnka admits her allegiance is to the young tribe.

The reward challenge is Plinko-esque. This would be fun to play. (Marty seemed to be the weak link of his team, by the way.)

So the old tribe added Alina, NaOnka, Chase and Benry. I think Tyrone is already pissing off all the young people. Alina is not a fan.

Holly is already flipping to the kids. (Pretty sure Tyrone is first gone from this tribe, though. Maybe Dan.) Alina and NaOnka are making nice so far.

Saying it is ironic that you and Alina are both on the same tribe is not ironic NaOnka. That isn’t even Alanis Morrisette ironic.

Dontchu think?

Marty and Jill are saying that they are willing to be used and in talking about working around camp literally every young person’s face falls as if they ate a bug at the thought of work.

Marty criticizing them for not going after NaOnka for stealing the clue and then admits he has the idol, which he has to do because Jane knew. He is very arrogant, Brenda is right about that, and very stupid, Brenda is right about that too.

I’m still not sure why Marty told everyone in the first place and it is just causing him more problems.

NaOnka doesn’t like the rain and is worried that she will lose it because that happens when she is cold. So this is a reminder that she hasn’t lost it yet, everything before this was normal NaOnka. (She is also already talking about quitting.)

Alina accuses NaOnka of being a high school girl on her period all the time, and is relishing her suffering all while pretending to care. Again I like Alina, but that is mainly because NaOnka doesn’t. Chase is doing a better job of convincing her not to quit because he actually cares, the monster. Chase tells NaOnka a story to calm her because she is a literal child.

The challenge has tribe members attached to a giant wheel where three people get periodically dunked in the water and being the awful person I am I want NaOnka on that wheel suffering. (She is not on the wheel.)

This honestly seems like a torturous challenge. The old tribe decides going slower is better because they can actually hit the target and yep they are right. Also after releasing the ball they leave someone still in the water, producers should have thought that through.

The tribe that is split 4-4 is going to tribal, but Holly seems set to jump. I could see it being Tyrone for being bossy, or Dan. Also NaOnka talks again about quitting… sigh.

Tyrone is the only one who doesn’t want to eat the chicken. And he gets outvoted. Chase is brutal in killing that chicken and everyone reacts in horror. (Editor’s note: Could it be that Chase was too… indecisive with the chicken killing?)

Every episode thus far has had long sections between the challenge and immunity where there is no strategy but character stuff and that is how they decide who goes home. Tyrone eats too much chicken, so he is probably going home. No strategy here, just people reacting to the latest slight or insult.

Benry gets a long confessional. Alina wants to send NaOnka home and I’m pretty sure that when Tyrone goes home and NaOnka has a change of heart next time, she will pay for this.

NaOnka is divorced? NaOnka has enough self-reflection to blame herself for a divorce? I don’t believe that for a second. Also how did anyone meet her and know her long enough to marry her?

Benry plays dumb when Probst tries to say that you should vote out NaOnka who is breaking down, and Yve tries to play dumb as well and Probst isn’t having any of either of them.

NaOnka keeps explaining her expressions because I’m pretty sure she doesn’t expect white people to know them. (Example: Keeping it 100, which I guess back when this aired white people might not have known. It wasn’t an emoji yet.)

Also Benry gives a “badass” speech voting for Tyrone and clumsily knocks over the weight saying Benry’s here baby! (Tyrone laughs, Benry apologizes to nobody).

Tyrone is gone. I liked Tyrone but he also was not good at the game, a little too blunt, wore too much emotion on his sleeve, and was way too bossy. Being on an older tribe was perfect for him, but he couldn’t play with younger people.

Closing thoughts:

So last week I was not yet totally down on the season. After this batch, I am quickly getting there. Quite frankly the game in this season has been lurching from vote to vote with the main explanation behind the boots being the current fits of pique plaguing the tribe going to tribal council. Oh, this is the person currently pissing us off? Well s/he is the one going home!

There is also a real muddle about what the alliances are, only I don’t think this was a muddle on island, I think this is a muddle to the viewer because no one can explain the divisions.

Finally, there are a lot of invisible people in this season beyond the obvious. Yve has barely been on, Kelly B is only on so NaOnka can bully her, Benry is largely absent, Sash disappeared after the first episode, Holly was totally absent for two episodes, and Jane is a non-entity. Meanwhile, all three of the last boots received a fair amount of screen time and were big personalities on their tribe. So we are losing the loudest people and not having anyone else talk in their absence.

So in thinking about these episodes and this season, I think I have identified what I believe to be the fatal flaw. The primary narrators on this season are Marty- who is sub-competent at explaining the tribe dynamics, not very interesting, but is willing to talk- and NaOnka, who actually can explain the tribe alliances and what is happening in the game, but is someone I already cannot stand. Relying on NaOnka to explain what is happening is really problematic from a show perspective because when you put the narrative burden on the villain of the season, it casts the season from her point of view. But the show cannot use someone else because no one else is competent (or will last long enough I suppose).

Similarly, Marty is at least willing to talk about the game, but is a little too cagey in confessionals to explain the divisions, which is odd considering he has no secrets on the island. There is a tertiary narrator, and that is Fabio. But he poses his own challenges as a major narrator because 1) he is a dope, and 2) he has no idea what is going on in the game. But at least he laughs at himself, I guess. Anyway, my point is that bad narrators undermine a season fatally.

Narrator of the season: NaOnka. Delightful!

What else? Well I promised to talk about Jimmy T, who went home this week. If you didn’t realize, Jimmy T got on the show by winning a fan voting contest that was run by Sears. So this should prove that fan voting should be reserved for returning players. And yet in many ways, Jimmy T was one of the most enjoyable people in this cast.

Some other thoughts on the cast:

  • Chase might be nearly as dumb as Fabio.
  • Sash has completely disappeared since the premiere.
  • Brenda is the power player, but also isn’t seen doing much aside from having people approach her with idol clues (though she at least seems set to target Marty).
  • Marty is arrogant and honestly kinda terrible at the game, just constantly overplaying.
  • Jill shows some promise but has tied herself too close to Marty and doesn’t realize he is a millstone.
  • Now that Yve has appeared on screen I actually really like her! This means she is going home next week I am sure.
  • Alina I think might have game, but will suffer from being in the NaOnka doghouse.
  • I have no idea what is going on with Benry other than his terrible name.
  • Jane and Holly are there.
  • Not sure the same can be said about Purple Kelly.
  • Kelly B has also faded from view and her current trait is NaOnka’s victim.

I think I disagree with the assessment that the cast is all terrible people. It isn’t all terrible people, it is half terrible people and half boring people and it places the narrative burden on the terrible people.

Still, this season is not a tire fire yet, it is just a run of the mill shitty pre-merge. However, the narrative muddle and reliance on unlikable or under-competent narrators does not promise the season will get any better. Some people have said Nicaragua is like a parody of Survivor, only I’m not laughing.