Jeff Pitman's Survivor: Vanuatu recaps
Survivor: Vanuatu recaps - Episode 4
"Now That's a Reward"
By: Jeff Pitman | Published: June 20, 2012

trollyThe Russell Hantz Memorial Troll of the Week award (the "Trolly"): Lisa
Honorable mention: ?

There was a LOT of Lisa in this episode. Right from the get-go, she was bickering with Eliza over Lisa's betrayal of the younger women's alliance at the previous tribal council. Later, at the reward challenge, she busted out a triumphant victory sashay as she uncovered the winning pair of items. Which means two things: (1) since Mia did the same thing in episode 2, she's the second coming of Mia, against whom she just voted, and (2) we were probably robbed of another amazing Rory rant about the women's in-challenge celebrations.


All your cane are belong to me

But Lisa really stepped to the forefront during the Dah visit. First, she greeted him with "¡Hola!" Which is to be expected, as it's well known that all non-English-speaking people speak Spanish. Then, as Dah proceeded to point out the various edible flora, Lisa was front-and-center with various oohs, ahs, and eye bats. Wait, there's sugar cane here? All samples must be personally tested by Lisa! And so on, as the dusk drew ever closer, dangling from its lacy tendrils the possibility that Dah would have to snuggle next to someone in the newly comfortable shelter?


Sadly, we can but speculate as to what survival techniques Dah taught Yasur over that long, dark night. Because soon enough, it's time to bid farewell to Dah, who apparently needed to be serenaded by some sort of call-and-response marching song that's also vaguely spiritual and worship-y. Led, of course, by Lisa. Sure, Dah can leave the shore in great haste, paddling his outrigger up to escape velocity, but the cameras? They stay on the beach. With Yasur. And the singing. That beach!


icuThe Purple Kelly Memorial Invisibility Cloakee Unmasked! award ("ICU!"): Julie
Honorable mention: John K, Leann

While at this point, a lot of the women remaining on Yasur have established their places in the show's narration (except perhaps for Leann), there's one who casts a large shadow of white space, standing out by not standing out at all: Julie. She's never shown in the middle of any of Yasur's many arguments (on the periphery, yes... silently). She's the sole remaining contestnt on either tribe who's never voted for the person booted, yet she's also never had a vote cast against her, either. She's had maybe one or two confessionals the whole season. Who is this Julie person, and why did Jeff Probst suddenly start dating her? If we knew, we'd keep talking about her, but... time to move on. (How's that for a segue?)


Julie's counterpart on Lopevi is clearly John K. Outside of his IC win and post-IC trip to Yasur in the last episode, he's barely been seen at all. Nor had Brady, for that matter, up until this episode. So what are we to conclude when, all of a sudden, this mystery man, this Actual Federal Agent Brady is shown making desperate self-preservation attempts (catching tiny fish, pointing out that Rory is annoying... to the guy he most annoys), yet John K is still unseen? Very little mystery which of the two is in trouble this week. (The kiss of death is probably when Sarge is shown appreciating Brady's work ethic. This shall not stand.) All in all, a poor attempt at obfuscation by the editors, and somewhat self-inflicted for hiding these people (Julie, John K, Brady) since the season began.


beastyThe Colby Donaldson Memorial Challenge Beast award (The "Beasty"): Dah
Honorable mention: ?

Let's be honest: clearly as a result of the lingering men-vs-women twist, the challenges in this episode were pretty pathetic. Both involved the tribes standing around in one place, and the IC even featured one person from each tribe sitting. And perhaps most damningly, Scout competed in both challenges (!), yet Yasur still managed to win each challenge handily. So instead of actual challenge dominance, we'll broaden to just general dominance, allowing us to give an award to Dah, for his all-around Beastitude.


Lesson one: Food grows on plants

From the moment he stepped foot in camp, Dah was a one-man survival machine. Sure, he may have tried to escape them a few times, sprinting through the jungle, so we should probably knock off a few points there (he couldn't outrun Scout?). He showed Yasur the basics: "See all of these plants? Here, here, here, and over here? You can eat ALL of them." He moved on to more intermediate courses: "Bamboo is hard and round. Not good for sleeping on, without modification." And finally the advanced stuff: "Crabs live by the beach. Some people pick them up and eat them. I predict a grave time in the future, when others will wear pink underwear, and stab at them with sticks, for no apparent reason." Sadly, most of this was lost on Yasur.


But perhaps Dah's greatest effort was in feigning a language barrier, in order to prevent himself from blurting out to the Yasurians, "You're camping in the middle of our communal garden, you idiots!" That's self-discipline, right there. And his reward for all this hard work? Voted right out of Yasur the next morning, all while being subjected to their singing. Such is always the fate of the star-crossed Beasty recipient. Alas.


slittyThe Cirie Fields Memorial Smiling Backstabber award ("Slitty"): Rory
Honorable mention: Chris

We had been planning to award Chris with the Slitty this week, for (by process of elimination) apparently keeping his alliance intact to vote out Brady, overcoming growing doubts from both Bubba and Sarge. But we only came to that conclusion because Chris had previously been shown telling someone (Chad?) "this is NOT the time!" to start breaking up their alliance in the name of creating tribal harmony. So since the actual alliance preservation attempt was not shown, we're forced to go with Rory and his proto-goat strategy.


Running his tribe (into the ground) like a boss

Eleven seasons later on Heroes vs. Villains, Russell Hantz would take much the same approach as Rory: wandering off to do his own thing near camp (interpreted by his tribemates as avoiding work), speaking his mind whenever he felt the urge, and generally getting on people's nerves. The major difference between Rory and Russell is that Vanuatu did not feature hidden immunity idols that would otherwise save Rory's grown-ass manhood from the vote. So with that in mind, he gets points this week for keeping up the abrasiveness, despite being nominally dispensible to his alliance (which had a 5-2 advantage, and could have trimmed itself down to 4-2 with minimal fuss). Which is enough to earn a Slitty.


Even without the goat-preserving powers of hidden idols, the benefits of this strategy were clear to those playing: Brady correctly pointed out to Sarge that, should Rory make the merge, he would essentially have a free path to the finals, because nobody would see him as a threat. Sarge failed to counter with: "Yeah, but who would vote for him to win?" Still, Rory's is an interesting strategy from an archaeological perspective... shown here in its embryonic form, stripped of the later embellishments that would be added by the Coach Wades, Phillip Sheppards and Tarzans of the Survivor world.