Thursday, October 9, 2014

Recapping Survivor Blood v. Water San Juan Del Sur Episode 3: John Rocker lives up to his reputation

It only takes two tribal councils where her name is written down for Baylor Payne to realize she may not be in the best position on her tribe.  With only two girls remaining on Coyopa, and she being the physically weakest, it's time for Baylor to scramble.  But what she doesn't realize just how lucky she was that Josh Canfield was paying attention back at camp and how his quick thinking, and second straight tribal council vote switch, saved her.  She was smart to try and pair up with him early and, even if he can't be trusted farther than she can throw John Rocker, he's a good ally to have.

Josh is playing HARD.  He watches what goes on around camp, who is talking with who, who has the numbers, how the next few votes would go.  He is paying lip service to being part of the guys' alliance, but he is the founding and sole member of the Josh alliance.  The only problem with his game so far is that he's had to explain his shady behavior too much already and after just six days he already is seen as someone who will go rogue.

On Hunahpu, you would think life would be great  They haven't lost a challenge and they're still enjoying their shiny new piece of flint whick will keep the home fires burning.  But this wouldn't be Survivor if everyone sat around singing Kumbayah.  So we have Drew Christy, aka Sleeping Beauty, aka Douchey McDoucherson, lazing around the camp while everyone else works on improving their shelter.  He actually finds weaving palm fronds too taxing.  He has violated one of the cardinal rules of Survivor, he is standing out (technically lying down) and being the subject of conversation.  In an otherwise cohesive, tranquil tribe he is the odd man out.

While we're talking about violating basic Survivor rules, John puts his enormous foot in his even bigger mouth by telling everyone at Heroes' Arena that he had made a deal with Jeremy Collins while they were both on Exile Island to protect his wife, Val, that he tried to execute that plan, and that he failed.  Now his tribe knows that he had tried to form a side alliance with someone on the other side, failed to tell them about this alliance, and was working with Val.  Tangentially, they also know that having John on your side does not guarantee you another day in the game.  And Josh knows that his suspicions were correct and that John is a weak link in the guys' chain.

It's time for the Reward Challenge and Coyopa picks first and they decide to have Wes Nale take on his dad Keith in a challenge where balance, stamina and focus are the key.  At first, unexpectedly, the elder firefighter takes the lead, but he fatigues and is passed by his son, who gives Coyopa its first (narrow) victory of the season.  Keith tears up and at first you don't know if he's upset that he lost or that he's not able to keep up with his son, but Jeff Probst gets him to admit that he's proud of his son and that gets Wes to tear up as well.  Awww.  From Jeremy's stunned and hurt reaction to seeing his wife had been voted out, to the hug between Wes and Keith, the heart-string pulling Blood versus Water twist is one of the best Survivor has come up with.

Back at the Hunahpu camp, Julie McGee storms off sulking about what Jeremy said about "my  boyfriend John."  She's worried that "my boyfriend John" will now be targeted at his tribe.  I think she should be worried how stupid she looks repeatedly referring to him as "my boyfriend John."  She should also be worried that now absolutely everyone knows all of the sordid past of her boyfriend John the raving homophobic bigot. 

Keith is getting savvier and this time on Exile Island he makes a deal ahead of time to share the information about the location of the hidden immunity idols.  He and Josh open their clues and discuss that they have to be wary that their fellow tribemates, including Jeremy and John, may already have found the idols.  Josh and Keith are bonding as well as a "southern hick" and a "gay guy from New York" can.  Keith is still a little too aware of Josh's homosexuality, and makes some uncomfortable comments, but Rome wasn't built in a day and hopefully this experience will open his eyes.

As night falls, Baylor is working it, girl.  She knows she's the low woman on the guy's totem poll, so she tries to talk to the younger guys on her tribe - Wes and Alec Christy (aka the least annoying Christy brother) - about flipping the script and voting out John next.  They listen and show interest, then Alec tells us in his confessional that he's just stringing her along.  They're playing it the right way.  Lie to her, tell her what she wants to hear, but focus on winning the challenge.  But maybe the idea she's planted will grow once Josh is back at camp.

The Immunity Challenge looks like a spidery maze that took a lot longer to build than the actual competition will last.  It will pit pairs against each other crawling, climbing, dragging, pulling, and pushing and I'm getting exhausted just watching.  With all the physicality involved (including Alec taking a cheap shot at Julie and John later shoving Reed Kelly), the biggest key to this challenge is being able to throw a ball into a basket.  We learned that while Josh and Baylor are a fast twosome, Baylor is not a great shot as they lose both of their rounds thanks to her shooting.  Hunahpu wins again and, ever gracious, Natalie Anderson explodes after the win and decides to go on the attack against John of the losing tribe.

I'm not sure why Natalie is so pissed at John, unless she blames him for the fact that two women, both non-White, have been voted out on his tribe.... Yeah, that does look like his handiwork doesn't it. She calls him a racist, homophobic, and a bad sportsman.  Julie tried to defend her boyfriend John but he doesn't need her help because Dale Wentworth comes to his defense saying, in effect, we don't care what hate John spewed in the past, he's our tribemate and we're solid.  John makes Dale immediately regret coming to his defense when he tells Natalie, "If you were a man, I'd knock your teeth out," and the adding, for good measure, "you look like a man."

At this point, even Julie wishes her boyfriend John would shut his mouth.  Natalie continues to yell at Coyopa that they should vote him out and John mostly keeps his cool.  Finally he says he's willing to throw down and fight but instead Jeff cools things by giving Coyopa their Immunity Idol and sending the losing tribe back to their camp with Natalie's words echoing in their heads.

John is not worried that his teammates will take anything she said to heart and he believes he's in a solid all guy alliance on his tribe.  He regrets that the past is being brought up again and he says he regrets the comments he made in the past and he doesn't quite fall back on the "some of my best friends are" excuse while still pointing out that his closest ally is a gay guy.  John's plan at camp is to deflect attention away from his past is to tell Baylor and Jaclyn that his target is Dale the old guy. Meanwhile, he tells the rest of the guys that his target is Baylor. 

A pretty good plan, until John decides to tell Josh that he has the Immunity Idol.  Warning, warning!!!  You hear the alarm going off in Josh's head as he manages not to look shocked or worried to John.  But the wheels are turning.  Josh already knows that John is volatile and unpredictable, but the fact that he has this advantage makes him dangerous as well.  Josh should also realize that if John is voted out, or forced to play his idol, then it's back up for grabs - and Josh has the clue to where it would be buried.  In a badly edited voice over, John had said he was somewhat concerned that he might be the target tonight, but that seems to guarantee that he isn't. But we'll pin our hopes on that bit of foreshadowing, plus Josh's comment about thinking about targeting John, that Baylor won't be the next domino to fall.

Josh makes a good point in one of his confessionals about the pitfalls of making an alliance too early as he slowly discovers the truth about John.  It's a good idea in life as well not to jump too quickly into things whether reality TV alliances, stereotypes about people or changes in your hair style.  So Josh is now having second, third and fourth thoughts about being allied with someone who he can't trust, let alone respect.  While not officially cutting John loose, Josh says of him, "If I don't have to use him, then I don't want to."

Josh and Wes are hanging out in the water and Josh starts to lie to Wes about how the clue they found on Exile Island was for the other camp, but Wes wises up and asks Josh if he thinks that John has the idol from their camp.  Wes is no dummy.  He saw Josh and John hanging out and figured that John probably told Josh about the idol.  I love when I'm surprised by someone playing the game!  Wes can't wait to throw out the idea of blindsiding John.  Baylor conveniently comes over just as they're setting their plan into motion

Wes tells Alec the plan, but Alec is not keen on the idea of "getting rid of our biggest athlete."  Apparently, Alec hasn't noticed how having John on their team has not resulted in ANY IMMUNITY WINS.  He also forgets that having a strong physical threat with an immunity idol is a bad thing post merge.  So he's nervous and unconvinced about the plan.   Josh isn't feeling too confident either - both John and Baylor think they have an alliance with him and they are the two main targets for the vote.  John tells us that he is bringing his idol to tribal just in case.  Because the last thing you want to do is get voted out holding an idol.

At tribal, the plan was to let John feel confident so he wouldn't play his idol.  Jaclyn did not get that memo.  So she let the potential target, who was sitting with an immunity idol, know that the vote is not a slam dunk.  She dropped clue after clue that he might be in trouble.  She was supposed to pretend that she knew a girl was going out next, that she was relieved it was Baylor and not her.  Nope.  She could not have made it more obvious that there was something else going on.  You know who also didn't get the memo?  Baylor.  Because instead of acting like she knows she's the one and only target, or throwing attention off of John and saying something like, I hope we vote the old guy off, she's also giving off huge, neon bright, freeway billboard sized warnings to John.

Do we even have to tally the votes?  Josh and Wes now know that John HAS to be aware of their plan.  Is it even worth throwing votes his way at this point?  Truly, the only question is does John play the idol, which will still be a minor victory in that it keeps that power out of a strong player's hand.  Oh, and, how much will Missy cry next week when she sees that her daughter Baylor is gone.

WHAT????  The third member voted out is JOHN?????????????  But, but, but.  Any idiot could tell that there might be a fissure in the alliance.  Any idiot could tell that the girls had some hope that one or more of the guys flip and vote against the guys' alliance.  Any idtiot would see the looks passing between the tribe, Josh's discomfort, Jaclyn and Baylor's surprising confidence.  Any idiot knows you don't want to go home with an immunity idol in your pocket.

Well, never let it be said that John Rocker is just any idiot.

Baylor (4)
John (2)
Josh (6)
Keith (2)
Jeremy (3)
Alec (2)

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