Editor's note: After a trying few weeks, Survivor mostly re-found its footing this week. As we said on twitter, the opening half of the season was a lot like this week's reward challenge - a sandbag-laden slog around the same old track, again and again. But it looks like, with the merge approaching and factions present in each original tribe, the opposing team is within an arm's-length reach, and we can taste the dessert. So let's get on with it.
It being this week's recap, brought to you by Contestant R.
As the sun rose this morning, brightening the ravishing highlights in my hair, illuminating the twinkles in my devastatingly blue eyes, I reflected on how great I am at playing this game. My conclusion? Really great. I mean, amazingly, awesomely great. I have everything you could possibly need: Good looks, a sharp mind, handsomeness, incredible people skills, attractiveness, and a second hidden immunity idol. And a disarming air of modesty. But enough about me for this paragraph.
It was still pretty early in the morning when we received word that we'd have to show up the old people in the other tribe again before the producers would give us our reward. Something about "strong" and "weak." I didn't really pay attention. I assume they were talking about the two tribes, since we're obviously the strong one. I heard someone say "Hope," too. I don't what that was about. Do they bring people back on this show? Anyway, we were ready. Our main concerns heading out to the challenge were that we all look good for the cameras, and that we could convince the film crew not to get any shots of us with food stuck in our still-devastatingly white teeth, after we win. That would be embarrassing. The boys and I did some extra pushups to get a little more pec definition, checked each other's hair, then headed out. I think there are also some women on our tribe, but I forget.
Once we got to the challenge, I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. No rings to toss, no keys to unlock. What the heck? There were sandbags, but we had to carry them, not throw them. I know, weird, right? Let me tell you, there's a lot involved in these challenge things that you don't see on TV. I mean, they edit it down and stuff, so it's way harder when you're actually doing it. You know how this lasted like, two, three minutes when they aired it? It was probably a good second or two longer in real time. We won, of course. And we looked good doing it, which was most of the battle. Shirtless and moistened usually works out pretty well, I find.
Following our inevitable victory, we got to indulge in some pretty sweet stuff. I won't bore you with the details, but there were brownies, pastries, cookies, coffee-based products, and, of course, me. We were hungry enough that we gobbled up all those carbs without trying for more than 10-15 minutes to get them to give us some more protein-rich items, for post-workout muscle repair. I mean, we were that hungry. And the caffeine! Oh, the caffeine! It accentuated my natural loquaciousness, spurring me to new rhetorical heights in my interviews. Then, as the buzz receded, the producers were left to bask in my good looks. It was really a win-win all around. Except for Erik, who fell asleep and missed out on some of our charming, witty banter. Better luck next time, buddy.
After that brief respite, it was game back on, and I lured Malcolm into a strategy discussion down by the water. He could see he needed to include my tactical expertise in his plans going forward, with a merge coming up and whatnot. I could tell he was worried about being a target after the two tribes came together, since why would the ladies (or Michael, nothing wrong with that) need to keep him around after the merge, when they already had my more striking, stunning visage to admire? I played it cool, letting him ramble on for a while about banding together, then, just when he was at his weakest moment, sealed it with my ace in the hole: I mentioned my hidden idol. I could tell he was feeling vulnerable, that he wasn't entirely familiar with how Survivor works. It felt good to set his mind at ease. Of course, I didn't want to frighten him with my massive Survivor prowess, so I held back that I'd already played one, then found the second idol mere hours later. Always keep a card or two in your hand. Still, I think my air of confidence allayed his concerns. Going forward, he knows: if he needs help with playing Survivor, he's found the right guy to talk to. Good kid, that Malcolm. Even if he's not the hottest or smartest guy on our tribe. Somewhere in the middle there. That's why he's a good guy to work with.
Soon we were brought back for another display of our superiority over the other tribe, this time for immunity. I was stoked when I saw the setup included grappling hooks and keys. Totally my wheelhouse. Also some sort of rowing/diving bit, but nobody remembers that boring stuff. Pretty soon the focus was on me, as it always is, and it was my time to shine with the grappling hook. I blazed out to an insurmountable lead, as usual. I tried to make it a little dramatic on the last one, for extra focus from the cameras and praise from that Probst guy, but in the end, it was just too hard to not finish off. I'm a finisher. We won, we celebrated, and we claimed our prize. As expected.
I guess I should feel sorry for the people from my old tribe, who are probably going to get voted out of the other tribe because of my amazingness. Ha ha, just joking. When we together, they were trying to vote me and Eddie out, which would have deprived America of seeing us every week. I think the whole country will probably be thanking us for staving that off. But still, I feel for them. It's a tough break. Someday, maybe they'll learn how to play Survivor, too.
Recaps and commentary
Exit interviews - Julia Landauer