TDT Survivor: Africa recaps

Silas and EthanSo we've known since August that some change in the rules was coming this episode.  CBS swore up and down that we should sell our first-born children before missing the first 15 minutes of this episode, and peppered the previews with exciting footage of this part of the show, featuring various people standing around, to help convince us.  So without further ado, pull up a sucky couch, grab yourself a relaxing stopwatch, and join us in our fifteen minutes of delightful, all-encompassing pleasure, won't you?


  • 8:00, Ooh, it's starting!  Be still our throbbing pulses!  Okay, okay, "last week on Survivor..." yeah we saw that the first time, get on with it. 


  • 8:02, Yes, the Survivor intro!  There's Diane!  Is she back?  Let the huzzahs rain down among the common folk!


  • 8:03,  Fantastic, thrill-a-minute, mega-exciting commercials.  There is a God.


  • 8:05,  The best fifteen minutes of our pathetic lives are now one-third over.  Good thing there's this extra minute of commercials to enjoy them with.


  • 8:06,  Samburu, Night 12. There's the moon... we've got it! The exciting twist is that the RC winner gets to go up on the International Space Station?  Oh wait, that's another show.... More spooky night vision.  We learn Teresa's navy Braves cap looks baby blue in this light.  Okay, it's starting to get good!  In a stunning departure from the last episode, Lindsey is pissed off about Tribal Council.  Silas is helping build Samburu team morale by ranting and raving.  He lectures Frank and Teresa on the importance of honesty and trust.  Teresa actually gets to speak on camera when other people are present.  KimP looks on, dozingly.


  • 8:09, Nearing the two-thirds point.  It's morning in Samburu, and Frank and T-Bird are pleased as punch at their Silas-riling power.  We hear endlessly about their excitement.  We see them collect their tree mail, and then, we switch to Boran. Tick tick tick....


  • 8:12, Okay, time's running out, but we're finally there.  Samburu has to pick three people to go on a quest.  Brandon, Lindsey and KimP quickly decide that that sounds way too much like work, what with all the walking and moving around and such, and nominate Frank and Teresa.  They rochambeau for the last slot, and decide this would be a good time for Silas to give the old farts another extensive lecture on teamwork and trustworthiness.  Off they go, to meet Jeff Probst at the original drop-off point.  Frank gets them to hide behind bushes for a second, while he secures the area, to make sure it's clear of gun-toting truck drivers.  After Frank makes a hooting sound, signalling "all clear," they join Probster, Lex, Kelly and Big Tom.  Jeff anounces stentoriously that they must switch Buffs™, which is very important, because CBS is now selling them!  Be sure to buy your Boran and Samburu ones quickly, before they become passé at the merge!  So many uses!  You can wear them any way you want!  They also have a million uses in cleaning your house!  It's a dust mop!  It's a toilet brush!  It's an attractive lampshade!


  • Wait, where were we?  Oh yeah:  8:14, Frank, Teresa and Silas are now Boran; Kelly, Lex and Tom, sorry, but you're Samburu.  Hey, those are the breaks.   Better luck next reality show.  They hike back to their new camps.  There is no sign of the water Boran dumped out the first time, although Tom mumbles at length something unintelligible about running and water and buffs.  We could go rewind the tape and decode it, but we're pretty sure we don't want to know.


So that's it.  Oh wait, it's still 8:15, and, just like clockwork, we have our prize: a telling confessional with Silas.  He admits that, on "my other tribe, I had an alliance with four of the young people."  See, this is important.  We now know Silas has a few problems telling his threes and fours apart.  He's also revealing a deep secret to America, in case they were watching Friends the last four weeks.  Good, hearty stuff.  Whew!  After all that excitement, we need a break.  Guess it's time to relax, read a book, and get ready for The Tick in fifteen minutes.  Aaaahhhh.  Now our lives are complete.


Dammit, the remote's broken again!  Guess we'll just have to sit here and watch the rest.  Frank and Teresa look so happy to be out of Samburu, they could cry like Lindsey.  Unfortunately, their counterparts - Lex, Kelly and Tom - are now busy collecting firewood for their new tribe, while the remaining AllRats take a five-hour power nap.  Lindsey needs her beauty sleep, you know.  Think how bad that scabby bruise and those greasy braids would look with only twelve hours' sleep!  Seriously, it's in your best interest, guys.  Meanwhile, the former Borans are beginning to suspect they may not have gotten the long end of the stick here.  Words like "lazy," "castrated," and "lame" start to float around, gradually settling on the mosquito nets covering the slumbering AllRats.  Tom has some choice epithets, which were apparently dubbed for the audience's benefit, since these are the first words out of his mouth we've understood.  Meanwhile, as those sneaky ex-Borans hustle off to fetch some partially-runny mud, the AllRats scuttle about, plotting strategies for hiding Lindsey's personality.  Brandon offers to eat it while the others are away, but can't seem to figure out the right spices to go with it.  Clearly, as CBS has promised us, All Alliances And Friendships Are Shattered... Forever!


Over at Boran, Frank and Teresa think long at hard about all they've learned from Silas about "trust, honor."  After that second passes, they tell MamaKim, Ethan and Clarence that not only does Silas have three votes against him, but hey, if we don't even go to the RC, can we vote him off today?  Is there some rule against that?  Back at Samburu, Kelly discusses the new Samburu's chances in physical challenges with Lex.  They quickly come to the conclusion: "We suck!"  Later, Tom and Lex demonstrate, using Lindsey's ass, that boiling water does not, in fact, cause a tick to release itself.  Sorry, Carl, those are the breaks.  Better luck next reality show.  Speaking of ticks, it's now 8:28, and time to switch over to FOX.


Dammit, the remote's still broken!  Ah well, at least we get to see Probster in a fetching, authentic, traditional African tribal cowboy hat, because today's RC is goat herding.  Yee haw!  Apparently, MB overheard Kelly's cutting remarks about her new team's physical prowess, and hastily redesigned the caber-tossing challenge into one that Tom couldn't possibly, in a million years, lose.  Yes, goat herding (next week's challenge: "Who has the most tattoos?").  This week, the entire cast was been digitally spliced in from cable-access footage of last year's Yoknapatawpha County Fair.  We also have some leftover footage of the cow-bleeding Masai tribesmen, which is thrown in for good measure.  Brandon, as is his wont, helps out Samburu by standing around again.  Lindsey appears to communicate with the goats by jumping up and down, frantically.  Tom cracks a broad grin, and looks around for his tractor.  Not finding it, he leisurely picks up a goat and saunters back to the corral.  Maybe the tractor was back there.  Remarkably, despite MB's best-laid plans, the six-member team that has the four strongest men on the show, several of whom toss goats around two at a time, manages to win this.  The tribesmen chuckle at the thought that these silly Americans running around trying to pick up goats actually think they are locked in a life-and-death struggle with survival.  Ethan looks at the chickens his tribe has just won, and starts naming them.


Ethan and MamaKim now discuss intentionally losing the IC. The topic is then immediately switched, and all references to it are tragically lost to the alcoves of game show history.  But we still have time to kill before the Immunity Challenge, so this is as good a time as any for more footage of Lindsey crying.  Here she is, crying to KimP and Brandon.  Next, we see her crying alone in her confessional.  Top it off with some complaints from Brandon that the AllRat women bitch and moan too much, and we're good to go.


Mark Burnett huddles his production crew for an emergency meeting.  "Look, I could've sworn they'd send Lindsey with Silas and Frank.  How was I to know this would happen?  We've got to come up with something that will allow us to air more footage of Lindsey crying in episode 6!  I mean besides the flashbacks!"  Eventually, they settle on puzzles.  Sadly, they failed to realize that Silas is a brilliant strategist, and an effective leader.  MB's nefarious plans are sure to be thwarted.  "Ethan, you're the center guy," Silas commands, putting the soccer player in charge of arranging the pieces.  Then, being the kind of quarterback who isn't afraid to run the ball himself once in a while, Silas immediately commences screaming orders about where the pieces should be placed.  Remarkably, Brandon finds another opportunity to stand around himself, performing a similar role for Samburu.  Eventually, the cohesive power of Silas' endlessly motivating shouts of "come on, let's go!" win out, and Boran manages to not put their puzzle together before Samburu does.  Off camera, MB exhales deeply, and wipes several gallons of sweat from his deeply-furrowed brow.  Sensing Silas' promise to take her to the final two may now be in jeopardy, Lindsey shrugs, then stares deeply into the eyes of the immunity idol, slipping it some tongue.  "Don't talk, baby," she coos, "we're going all the way."


8:50, and it's time for the misdirection to start flying.  Clarence is dead meat, we're told, and Silas is sure that Frank, Teresa, Ethan and Kim will all vote against Clarence.  It's lock solid.  Okay, maybe some of them might vote for me.  At TC, Silas convinces Jeffy that, "Once we put on the yellow buffs (Buy one now!  Be the envy of everyone in the office!)  we're a team."  Probster suspects that Silas may have been using the royal "we" in this case, as he gives up reading  the votes against Silas after the fourth one.


Sadly, as Silas gets up to leave, there are no hugs for the Great Motivator.  Dammit, I knew we shouldn't have voted off Linda last week, he thinks, as his torch is snuffed.  Silas trudges off, thinking about that million-dollar check he had Mark Burnett fill out three days ago.  Was that with three zeros, or four?  Aw, what's the difference!