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MrsGryn

Survivor 39 - Episode 7 - Thank You for Patronizing.

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MrsGryn   

I am just going to put this out there right at the top: I want to like Jamal. I really do. He just makes it So. Damn. Hard. This week, his smug, condescending patrimony was on full display and I really, really disliked it. I’m pulling out an old HT favorite for this one: he needs a punch in the scrum. But by the end of the episode, Jamal has managed to humiliate himself with a boneheaded move, so I am just going to revel in that.

Let’s go over the rest of the episode before we get to an epic Tribal Council, though. Post-council Vokai is subdued because the hubris effect is still strong. Lauren cries to Missy about how betrayed she feels, never mentioning that the original Vokai apparently were going to target Aaron that night (which is why there was whispering before the vote, in order to switch it to Elaine). Finding that information out in a post-show interview with Jason explained a lot of the action that night. It also makes me giggle just a little bit more at the absolute anger and devastation Old Vokai feels at being beaten at their own game. It is not that I dislike Lauren, Tommy, or even Handsy Dan, particularly in the case of Lauren. It is just that I love a good come-uppance and this was a prime example. Missy explains to Lauren that her goal is for no women to go home and that Lauren is the key to the women now on Lairo. Honestly, Missy is playing a great game and I love it.

Lairo is getting drenched and leave it to Weekend At Karishma’s to state the obvious: “I’m wet.” Thank you for that update, Captain Obvious. The next morning, there is a great shot of exactly how shitty their shelter is – basically a lean-to with bamboo and no woven palm fronds giving them extra protection. How very Lairo of them. Meanwhile, Rob is building a mansion based on some old Frank Lloyd Wright plans he found in a time capsule buried on Idol beach. Since everything is damp, much like Weekend At Karishma’s game play, getting a fire started is a big more difficult. Jamal gives it a try and takes forever with no results. Kellee decides to give it a shot but Jamal hovers over her, mansplaining everything she is doing wrong (in his mind) and just being a bit of a supercilious jerk. Finally having her fill of Jamal’s condescension, Kellee gets up and walks away to deal with her anger alone. Smart move in this kind of social game. Jack gently tries to bring it to Jamal’s attention that the older man was a dick but Jamal blithely explains that, “This (method) is what worked.” Well, no, it didn’t because – speaking of Captain Obvious – there is NO FIRE GOING. Eventually, Kellee wanders back to camp and what do you know? She gets the fire going when Moobs Galore was unable to manage it. HA! Is it just me or do the women on this season rock?

The next stop on the “Jamal is a jerk” train involves cooking rice. Of course the women are shown as the ones cooking it, while Dean, Jack, and Jamal lounge in the “shelter” and scoop rice into their faces. Noura and Weekend At Karishma’s examine the pot and realize there isn’t a whole lot of rice left. I assume someone hasn’t received their portion less. Noura asks if they used less water to cook it and Jamal pipes up that they started out with less so there is less rice. Then he snots at Noura that she a heaping portion of rice. In fairness, she has a full clam shell but it is impossible to tell if she had more than anyone else. In any case, she is incensed that Jamal would dare suggest she is eating more than her fair share. Noura is so mad, in fact, she discusses with Kellee and Janet about the women bonding together to vote out Jamal. Tiny Tank aka Janet is not for this idea. She believes voting out Moobs before the merge is dangerous, because she does not trust Dean, and she believes they have Weekend At Karishma locked up on their side since she was “ostracized” by her Old Lairo tribemates. Oh, Tiny Tank. Have you forgotten there are two sides to every story? Or do you need a reminder that it is important to think things through?

On that note, the skiff pulls up on the beach with a mail delivery. Janet has to get on the boat and head to Island of the Idols. So what does this obviously tough minded, slightly gruff, no-nonsense gal do? She starts to cry and says she’s scared. What the holy hell just happened? Where did Tiny Tank go? I seriously could not believe that was how she reacted to her name being pulled in the Lottery. Just get in the boat and go get thrown in the volcano already, Janet. Once on the Island of Giant Heads, she makes her way up the white sand beach to the wooden homages of Susan Sarandon and Tim Roth and spots Sandra and Rob emerging from the jungle. Like everyone else, she is taken aback at their appearance because there was no clue she would meet them. They go through the usual introductions and luring her back to their cozy encampment. Janet explains that she is pretty comfortable with her position in her tribe, and she is not wrong about that. No one seems to be targeting her, she is well-liked and competent and Mon Dieu! Her fingernails are FILTHY. Ew.  I regret stopping the recording on this particular frame. Bleech. Anyway, we are here for a reason. Rob makes his pitch and can someone please explain to me why Boston Rob gets to do all the talking and also why are Sandra’s wrists wrapped up in ace bandages like she is about to go for carpal tunnel surgery? Rob’s pitch to Janet: sometimes you have to think ahead. Today’s lesson is about calculated risk. He has three disks in his hand, two yellow and one red. If she wins the game – which I am guessing is a version of Three Card Monty – she will have a chance to claim immunity for one tribal council, up until there are seven people left in the game. And if the game is lost, she will lose her vote. Interestingly, she would have to walk away from the Tribal Council site before the vote so that everyone would know she was safe. Janet reasons it through, weighing her position with the tribe versus the desire for a safety net, and ultimately decides not to play the game. Rob has a huge grin on his face when he asks her why and she details her logic in making her decision. He tells her he is happy she understood the decision. Sandra is impressed that Janet was the first person to tell them flat out no on the risk/reward offer. As they watch Tiny Tank motor away in the skiff, Sandra tells Rob she is certain this season’s winner will be a woman and she wants him to bet with her on that outcome. Boston Rob grins and says, basically, no way. I, of course, immediately thought Tiny Tank was going to be voted out that night.

Back at New Lairo, the skiff is pulling up to the beach and everyone is screaming at Janet, “SHOW US THE IDOL!” She lifts up her tank top and flashes her boobs at everyone and they all laugh hysterically. Fun moment and really, what is modesty on the island at this point? The funniest moment, though, is when Janet turns to the skiff operator and apologizes to him. He gives zero reaction, which makes it even more amusing. Once on the beach, Tiny Tank gives her story, which is a reasonable facsimile of what actually happened. Are you taking notes on how to lie, Noura? Because this is how it is done. She had a chance to play a game, if she lost there would be a consequence, and she chose not to play. So on New Lairo, Kellee, Noura and now Janet all share the Giant Head Island secret.

New Vokai features a segment where a discussion of Handsy Dan bonds the rest of the group as they demonstrate the ways he asks permission to cuddle at night. Hey, at least he is asking permission! Also, am I the only one whose gaydar is pinging with Dan? Not that there is anything wrong with that, of course. Anyway, part of this is a calculated ploy on the part of Tommy and Lauren to paint Dan as the next likely target by the Old Lairo folks. You know who isn’t fooled by their antics? Old Lairo folks. But hey, at least they are trying. It seems like Lauren is leading the charge on this, which is what she needs to do. Missy, however, figures the next vote will be the one to take Tommy out so that Lauren is forced to turn to Missy and her all-girls plan once the merge happens.

Immunity Challenge time! Probst is wearing a Glidden Paint Elegant Charcoal shirt, for those keeping score at home. From the non-reaction New Lairo has to the missing Jason on Vokai, I would venture to guess a reward challenge happened prior to the immunity challenge, because otherwise you would figure someone is going to gasp aloud at the revelation. This might be a good moment to point out I write the recaps just based on what I see on the show and read interviews and watch deleted scenes, etc., afterward. The challenge is multipart: three tribe member will have to toss coconuts into a basket hooked to a pulley that will raise once enough coconuts are in the basket. A set of large, square puzzle pieces will drop – seriously, they look like they are three feet by three feet – and the tribe will have to race to put together the puzzle, which is the same “Outwit, Outplay, Outlast” art that is on their doo-ra…uh, buffs. Survivors ready? GO!

Jack, Dean, and Janet toss coconuts for New Lairo, and Missy, Tommy, and Elizabeth toss for New Vokai. There is a learning curve and the underhanded method seems to work best, though Vokai is the first one done so they get a start on the puzzle. The tossers have to sit out the puzzle making while everyone else works on the large and heavy pieces. Lairo seems far behind but suddenly they pull up close to Vokai, who has a big error on their puzzle. Elaine shouts and tries to draw Lauren’s attention to the mistake but she is not heard and Lauren calls Jeff over. He declares them WRONG and Elaine finally gets them to play attention to her. Meanwhile, Lairo is almost done and Jack is screaming at Weekend At Karishma’s to get the final piece laid flat when Vokai manages to correct their error and win at the very last second. So New Lairo same as the Old Lairo, headed to Tribal Council. They leave the Challenge Thunderdome with an air of dejection and all I can think is yeah, well, you are the ones who kept the albatross known as Karishma tied to your necks so just wallow in Loserville. Kellee reminds us that she has an idol from her time with Rob and Sandra, and this is the last tribal council where it could be used. She hates to see an idol go to waste. Hmmm, I wonder if anything will come of that random thought.

Post challenge moping and planning on New Lairo involves Jamal unilaterally deciding that everyone is voting for Dean. This would make the vote six to one, which is pretty stupid on Jamal’s part. If the tribe were truly unified, a split vote of two on either Noura or Weekend at Karishma’s would only make sense in case Dean has an idol. You must always take that into account! But Jamal is still living off the early victories of Old Vokai and does not seem to be able to fathom that Dean may have something up his sleeve to save himself. He does. Only it’s not Dean. It is Kellee.

Jack and Jamal work to make Dean think the vote is Noura, and so earnest are they that he believes that tonight really will be Noura. However in what may be my favorite confessional ever, Kellee mentions that she and Dean have a connection from his old girlfriend, who is currently friends with Kellee, and she would like to work with Dean going forward. As she is talking to the camera, Kellee suddenly stops and her eyes start darting around as she thinks. The drum music in the background slowly halts to a very low, slow beat as Kellee continues to run through possibilities in her head. She tells us she just had a moment of inspiration. She is thinking of giving Dean the idol as long as Dean writes down the name she wants, which is either Jack or Jamal. Kellee’s main goal is to find a creative way to use the idol while still holding on to the secret that the idol was hers to begin with. The trust part of the plan is that it is possible Dean would write down Kellee’s name and she could do nothing about it. The only way out of that is convincing Noura to write down either Jack or Jamal’s name. If she can pull this off, it is going to be an epic use of an idol and also put an epic target on her back in the future game. Also, I am still convinced at this point that it is going to be Tiny Tank going home.

Tribal council. Probst is wearing a Glidden Paint Fresh Hyacinth shirt, for those keeping score at home. Boston Rob and Sandra sneak into their little grass shack and did you see that, gforce? Just making sure you are paying attention. Probst starts off talking about numbers and asks about the chances of an original Vokai leaving that alliance and going against them to pair with an original Lairo member. Noura launches into a long-winded speech about trusting the people you started out with and exclaims that Dean barely looks her in the eye when she is speaking to him, although my guess on that is that it is due to her inability to sit still for a minute more than anything wrong with Dean. She also cackles like a maniac, and Rob shakes his head in the hut. Dean tosses Noura under the bus by saying hey, why keep someone who has brought up voting out one of her own. She then further cements her place as Crazy Noura by explaining that sure, she might hate Jamal sometimes but that is better than the indifference she has toward Dean because sometimes you hate your loved ones and I have to agree with Jack and Kellee who both exhale, “Wow” at that proclamation. I mean, you can be frustrated with loved ones and annoyed by loved ones and pissed off at loved ones but I would never say I hate them. Personally “hate” is one of those words I am trying to eliminate from my vocabulary entirely, unless I am talking about spiders or the latest Big Brother cast members. Jamal is stunned that Noura is actually trying to get him out and he questions her on it. She admits it has gone through her mind, which is entirely fair. Jamal, living in the center of his universe, is appalled someone would vote him out. Jack defends Noura somewhat to Probst by saying they had a couple of weeks to develop trust with Noura and that he certainly trusts her more than he does, say, Dean. She thanks him sincerely. Considering what happens at the end of the vote, I find their shared moment together amusing. Jamal, in response to Probst, says he is not certain he will be there for the merge because he is “fearful of a girls’ alliance.” No, no, let him explain. Jamal works at an all-girls school and he has seen “the collective power” when women get together and understand that they have power together. Kellee rolls her eyes and right there with you sister. Kellee speaks up and says she finds what Jamal said incredibly sexist and YES! EXACTLY! Last week Jamal spoke beautifully to Jack about the racial element in an otherwise innocuous term, and now Kellee is calling Jamal to the carpet on his own bias. He refers to the four women as “girls” which I don’t necessarily have a problem with in general, but his tone is so patriarchal that it is hard to ignore. Kellee goes on in her rant, asking why there is talk of fear of a women’s alliance when there is never talk of fear of a men’s alliance and YES! I am LOVING her right now. She wants to know why it would be a thing if three women are sitting together in the end when it isn’t a thing when three men are sitting together in the end, and Probst is, wisely, keeping silent in this. When she is done, Jamal, again, condescends in his language, both verbal and body, and asks Jeff to ask Noura if she has ever considered an all-girls alliance. Probst complies and Noura cackles and says, “Of course, I would be dumb to not consider that.” Jamal somehow thinks this is a great revelation and dramatically says, “Wowwwww.” Patronizing asshole.

So then Probst turns to Janet, an older woman who has made a career in an essentially male-dominated profession. He asks her about her perspective and she gives, quite frankly, one of the best speeches about this subject, on gender, on equality, on humanity, that has ever been seen on a reality show. It is worth preserving: “To assume that women are going to bond based on gender is very negative. That is putting women down. That is saying women don’t have a brain to say maybe Jamal has something to offer me as a human being, you know, not based on their sex or their education or their socio economic background. It is who they are. And to think there have been some wonderful things that have happened with women in the last year and, trust me, that reflects on the men who have been supportive of women because in my experience you can’t be a powerful woman without men AND women backing you. You need to earn your respect, your dignity, your position, who you are as human beings to each other. I know, I’ve lived it…” and with that, Tiny Tank stopped speaking as she choked up.

Then Jamal just goes and ruins it. I’m sure he doesn’t see it that way. I am certain he sees himself as being supportive and on their side. But what he says is so patronizing and belittling. He says he is beaming with pride at the women in front of him to be able to speak about their experiences, and yeah. Thanks for the permission to speak and have our own thoughts as women. Ugh. Can we just get on with the vote? Thank you, Probst.

Time to tally the votes. We see Weekend At Karishma’s comment as she tries to zing Dean for attempting to vote her out three times while she is nailing him on her first vote for him, and I love the editors for once again making her seem like a drama queen bitch. They can only work with what you give them, lady. Probst brings the voting urn back to his little dais and he offers that if anyone wants to play a hidden immunity idol, now would be the time. Dean says he has a little some-some and brings out Kellee’s idol, confirming that he is playing it for himself. Noura whispers a question to Kellee, asking why Dean didn’t play it last week and she pretends, with an excellent shocked look on her face, that she does not know. Oooo, I know! And now that Noura has watched this at home, she knows too. Probst announces any vote cast for Dean will not count. And then the tribal takes a turn as Jamal stands up and brings his own idol to Probst. He tells Jeff he is playing it for Noura, which….what the hell? Why at this point is he using an idol on her? Even if the plan stuck and Dean was the only vote for Noura, which an idol used on her, none of the votes would count and they would have to revote, without being able to vote out either Noura OR Dean. Jamal just made his chances of going home that much greater. Amateur move. In their grass shack, Rob whispers to Sandra that Jamal’s move was a mistake. Duh. Finally Probst reads the votes.

Dean. Does not count.

Dean. Will not count

Dean. Does not count.

Dean. Does not count.

Dean. Does not count.

Jack. That’s one vote Jack.

Jack. That did it. Jack is gone. Sandra LOVES it and whispers, “Dang, they got his ass.”

They sure did. And I LOVED it.

Next week: merge time! Whatever name the merged tribe comes up with, I am going to pretend it is Fijian for “Poopbox” because sitting through that damn commercial for Cologuard every week is wearing down my sphincter.

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Thank OGG for your recap.  Otherwise the only thing I would have remembered about Jamal was the two honking pustules on his face. Seriously, call Dr. Pimple Popper to remove those gross growths (say that three times, fast).  When he was on the screen I couldn't see it hear anything else.  

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tlh9   

So wait -- why did Kellee vote for Dean then?

I mean, I've got the flu and all, and i don't get why she voted for him.

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chrysana   

Probably so she could honetly tell her peeps that she went along with the plan. 

She's hoping Dean doesn't spill the beans about where he got the idol.  The problem is Dean is low man in his old tribe - they voted out his girl and he was blindsided.  He's also low man in his new tribe - he was a gonner without the idol.  Being low man means you need to use what you have to take the target off of you and put it on someone else. 

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Tsylyst   

Right, she did it so she could honestly throw her hands up and say "I voted for Dean! I followed the plan!"

She got other people to do the dirty work of voting out Jack. The blood isn't on her hands, as long as Dean keeps his trap shut.

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tlh9   

Ooohhh..... okay.  now i get it and of course that makes sense.  thanks!

And yeah -- that's taking a big risk on Dean!

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uaintjak   

So...I just want to say that there's almost always a proposed woman's alliance, so I think calling Jamal out for being worried about it is kind of bullshit...especially since there's one on the other tribe as we speak.  Yes, forming alliances based on gender or age or sexuality or hotness IS arbitrary, but it happens literally every season.

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tlh9   

I have to agree with Jak..... while in theory it shouldn't be a thing, so to speak; in reality, it is.

There is a point that an alliance of all guys is rarely referenced by gender though.  Perhaps that's just because a "girls alliance" that works is like a unicorn.

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uaintjak   

I think because it's a very male mindset for guys to just assume their alliance is a guy's alliance without calling it that (they will talk about getting the women out though) while women, having dealt with a male-dominated society all the time, would label their alliance as a woman's alliance, if that makes sense. 

I also don't see anything wrong with alliances based on any of these trivial traits.  Yes, assuming an alliance will hold together just because everyone is one gender or sexuality or ethnicity or age is a bit naive, but these alliances usually form because people are desperate to not be on the outs, so trivial similarities can be enough to draw people together for protection.  Sometimes it works, usually not for long though.

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