Survivor: One World - Look Who's Dysfunctional Now (spoiler alert)
It's funny what a rainstorm, a carefully chosen challenge and a new storyline will do, isn't it?
The perpetual losers of the women's Salani team have started to win on Survivor: One World and the pretty boys of the men's Manono tribe are now at the mercy of a group of average joes, led by a gay Republican.
Things weren't looking so upbeat for the ladies at the beginning of Wednesday's episode. A savage-looking rainstorm rolled in, punishing the tribes with cold and wet.
With their fire out and no tarp like the men's, the women sat up all night, huddling together in a vain attempt to stay warm. They beetled over to Manono when day broke to crowd around the guys' fire and share their tale of woe.
"I just wanted somebody to punch me so I could be knocked out last night," Sabrina said.
Matt was pitiless, complaining that the women were sitting in the shelter, on the bed, soaking wet. "There's no extra room for the girls," he grumped.
The lightning and rain were still coming as the tribes headed to the reward challenge. So what were the chances the waterlogged women would find the wherewithal to beat the men? Extremely good, it turned out, when the challenge had nothing to do with physical strength.
The teams had to square off one by one, memorizing a series of objects displayed behind a curtain then racing back to their stations to recreate the series.
The women had it in the bag, well, up until Kat stepped up. It took her seven tries to get it right. She was just lucky she was up against Troyzan, whose memory was just as awful. One might argue Kat's age, 22, means she has the short attention span of a kid raised on the Internet, but Troy's 50. What the heck is his excuse?
Christina clinched the win for her tribe and the women returned to their beach with fishing gear and a canoe waiting for them. But that didn't help with the problem of restarting their fire. After Monica discovered that all their coconuts were wet, rendering their flint useless, she and Kat went to the men to beg an ember from their fire.
The men grudgingly handed it over but told the women they wanted use of the canoe in exchange for their kindness. The ladies stonewalled on that and the men were losing patience by the time Chelsea and Alicia came back over to warm their hands at the fire (guess the ember didn't work).
"I love some of those girls, but if they aren't going to give me anything, I'm sorry, I am not the type of person - I'm a Republican; I am not a Democrat. I don't believe in handouts," said Colton.
After Alicia exchanged testy words with some of the men - "Don't come at me like I'm crazy," she said - the welcome mat was withdrawn from the men's camp until the women could reach a consensus on lending them the canoe.
Luckily, the sun finally came out and the women took the canoe out and managed to catch some fish. But were three little fish enough fuel to beat the men at the immunity challenge?
The tribes entered to the shocking site of Jeff Probst in a black rather than a blue shirt (I was kind of shook up by that, weren't you?).
Jeff explained that the teams would be blindfolded in pairs, with one member calling out directions and guiding them past obstacles to water towers, where pulling a rope would douse them with coloured water (man, those producers are sick puppies, aren't they? more water after a night and day of rain?) and release a bag of puzzle pieces. Once all five bags were collected, the caller on each team would solve the puzzle.
Despite all her colourful sayings, Sabrina turned out to suck as a caller. Bill was already working on the puzzle for the men by the time the women had collected their five bags. But in the kind of turnaround that makes you wonder if these things are fixed, the women suddenly discovered the value of teamwork and finished their puzzle first.
So we got to see the men scrambling for a change.
Colton and his alliance of Tarzan, Troyzan, Jonas and Leif had the numerical advantage and were deciding whom to vote off. Colton was keen to gas Bill, whom he called "ghetto trash." Tarzan argued for ousting Matt, whom he saw as a danger.
Speak of the devil, Matt came strolling up while the five were chatting but wandered away again when it became obvious they weren't going to tell him anything. They allowed fellow musclehead Jay to stay, though, and told him they were voting out Bill.
It might have stayed that way had Matt not decided to try to take control of the game, not having grasped the reality that it's Colton's world and he just lives in it. Matt pulled aside Troy to invite him to join a counter-alliance that Matt dubbed "the roosters": Matt, Troy, Mike, Jay and Jonas.
"Things have changed around here and I'm still in the front of it," Matt boasted to the camera.
Too bad his "ally" Troy was already confessing that he had no intention of voting with Matt. "It ain't Survivor unless you're lying," Troy smiled.
At tribal council, cards were cheerfully laid on the table, including the alliance of the five ordinary joes and the fact that Colton had an immunity idol, which he swore he was going to play. "I'm not gonna be a James. I'm not gonna have an idol and go home. That's stupid," he said.
Colton and Jeff had an amusing exchange about whether Colton would be a target because of his close ties with the women. Colton insisted there was nothing untoward about all the time he spent at the women's camp. "You look at me and say 'duh.' It actually is a reverse duh double dare on you," said Jeff as Colton's tribe mates snickered.
Colton explained that the women were more nurturing: "They pet you and tell you you're gonna be okay."
"Do you realize what kind of a target you put on your back when you say that?" asked an incredulous Jeff.
"Well yeah, but that doesn't mean I'm gonna vote with those women," replied Colton.
Bill, asked by Jeff to explain how Colton's stance made sense, said that Colton had judged the other men and assumed they wouldn't "take him in" because he's gay.
Then Tarzan defended Colton. "Colton's highly intelligent. He' s invaluable with regard to understanding how this game plays. He already has allegiances with females over there and when we combine, he's already set. He's real smart. If we value our survival, we need him in the first few plays here."
Alpha male Matt sure didn't like that.
He objected to Tarzan's use of the word "we" and then said, "I think Tarzan's put out a cry for help to whoever it is, that the five guys are with him. It does seem like Tarzan's shivering in his boots over here and I'm just getting sick of him using big terms. I want him to talk turkey."
Tarzan laughed it off, but Matt continued to glower, prompting Jeff to ask him if he was agitated.
"Some of the things that have been said here tonight agitate me, mainly Tarzan. Tarzan's always talking and everybody's always laughing at Tarzan, but the downside of that is you don't know how much of him you can take seriously. I'm more of a guy that when I speak I want people to listen and take me seriously," said Matt.
Oh, I just bet you do.
Asked by Jeff how the vote would change the game for him, Matt responded, "We all get one chance to make a move that sets the ball in motion and that's tonight. I think the game does change all the time; you always have to be willing to reassess and always be changing what you're doing."
How'd that work out for you, Matt?
The men were sent off with a rousing call to vote from Bill. "This is intense, man. This is emotion right here, you know what I mean? Like we're sitting here, nobody knows who's gonna go home. I'm on the edge of my seat to see what happens. I'm so jacked up right now," he ranted.
"I might go home, I might not, but I am so happy I got to play this game, man. Like this is real intense and there's nothing else like it, man. I'm so ready to do this."
Anyway, Matt soon discovered what everybody else knew, that he was in charge of zero and he was going home. He voted for Colton, who didn't play his idol, and everybody else voted to oust Matt, except Mike, who voted for Bill.
"I was probably Enemy No 1, the biggest threat they had and that spelled my disaster," Matt philosophized after the fact.
Next week, it appears that a betrayal shakes up the men's tribe and Colton wants somebody's head on a platter.
Tune in at 8 p.m. Wednesday on Global TV and look for the recap here.
(The photo of Colton is by Monty Brinton for CBS.)