For all its reliance on a set of newly minted underdogs who were remarkably un-rootable, this episode captured the essence of Survivor. It allowed the repurcussions of the previous episode's major event at Tribal Council to play out, and explored the social consequences of Penner's betrayal of the Raro alliance. Sure, it also showcased its own production-inflicted contestant suffering, sending Candice away from the auction for an absolutely pointless night on Exile Island. Despite that, the episode an in-depth look at the dynamics of success, failure, and betrayal in a social game. As Survivor was intended.
That's bollocks and you know it
Obviously, the decision (made mostly by Penner, but strongly supported by Ozzy) not to share Penner's fish with the lackadaisical Raro Three of Candice, Adam, and Parvati, was one of the major events here. But was it really that bad, considering that just three days earlier, they'd admitted among themselves that they sort of enjoyed laying around, forcing Penner to feed them in order to maintain his place in the game. So when the merge reversed that power relationship, all of a sudden it's Penner who's revealing his true colors, and an arrogant rat? Really, if the Raros were so hurt by Jonathan not sharing his fish, why didn't they just catch some of their own? Oh, right. Because Parvati has barely even bothered to watch someone gut a fish, let alone catch one.
One large plate of cruelty, covered. Bids start at $20
"Gee, Probst, thanks a ton for making me spend $640 on a punishment for someone else and, by extension, me. Signed, Becky."
As purely cruel as it was to force Becky to send someone to Exile Island, even after Yul pointed out, in front of everyone, that there was no idol there to find, it's important to note that this alleged "power" item was a total booby trap. Ever since this auction item, every "advantage" or "power" item sold has actually been helpful (unless we're missing something, but at least in Gabon, Tocantins, Samoa, Philippines, and Caramoan). Alert players have wisely been saving their cash in order to put down a $500 instant bid, shutting everyone else out. Why not mix in an advantage that's actually harmful, like this one, to keep players off balance? Secondary question: Why has the sharing of money been done away with as a feature?
That's out of order, and you know it
When Sundra gets her crappy sea-cucumber-in-a-jar, neither Parvati nor Ozzy seems to have gotten their auction items yet. Even though it's presented as the last item in the auction. Why show it out of order? Wouldn't Ozzy's faulty ice cream machine be more impressive closer to the end? Did we really need Parvati's bath jumped so far forward?
Penner to the Penner power, plus...?
Despite his obvious natural exuberance, one has to wonder if any of Penner's actions in this episode were production-coached. Or, dare we say... acted? He was over-the-top in his excitement at the auction, even by Penner standards.
It's not hard to imagine someone hinting, pre-auction: "Hey guys, we won't have time to air everything we sell here. This is like a game show, show some excitement if you want your time with the host televised. Don't be afraid to jump up and down, and cheer, and stuff." Also, having spent a huge number of confessionals the previous few episodes complaining about the Raros' complete absence of work ethic, one has to wonder if a producer ever asked him: "Do those kids really deserve all the fish you're catching them? Really, you think so? They seem awfully ungrateful." Not scripted, exactly, but a little nudge in the intended direction?
Of all people who could possibly win a recall-and-math challenge, Adam would seem to be one of the least likely victors. And yet, there he was, so far ahead in the final stage that he casually sauntered over to the flag to raise it, back turned in showboating douchebaggery. Most shocking, he's close to the only person in history to give a "I really need to win this immunity today" confessional prior to an IC, who then went on to win. Ha, Adam does everything wrong.
Um, whatever you say, big brother
The scene in which Yul and Becky are discussing whether they should switch things up right away and vote out Penner first, in order to make the Raro Three hate Yul less, is bizarre. Why is it Becky's job to make Yul look great to potential jurors? Isn't that just a tad condescending of Yul to be asking? And even though she doesn't actually say anything, why would Becky even respond with anything positive? And why would Yul presume that any advice she gives him in that situation actually benefits him, and not Becky? And finally, why are they talking about booting Penner, when this may be their only chance, ever, to boot Ozzy? Why? Why?
Oh, there you are
After a mere hint that verged on empty bragging during the immediate post-switch Raro days, we were finally shown Parvati Shallow playing Survivor in this episode, as she attempted to pry her way into the crack she saw emerging between the Aitu women and Penner. It didn't actually work in this episode, and really only advanced her cause by a single boot, but still, it was nice to see something that suggested her return invitation in Micronesia wasn't just because she didn't get along with Penner. But the best part was that Adam had not even the faintest idea what she was talking about when she mentioned seeing these cracks in Aitu after the auction.
Penner's betrayal makes Parvati want to vomit. Adam and Candice kissing is fine, though.
Adam: Wait, Yul has the idol? I thought I did!
Elated Yul, post-idol play
Yeah, Penner's a former Oscar nominee, whereas you sell copiers. Seems accurate.'
We're sure it's just a coincidence that this image immediately followed Adam saying 'sucks at life.'
Parvati gives a gutty performance.
Adam: Wow, this is like three paychecks for me.
And the rest of the auction attendees
Hot dog! I bought a tube of meat product!
Whoa, better cut that guy off there, Probst.
I could fit that entire piece of chocolate cake in my mouth right now. See?
So could I!
Yay, a brush. Now please leave, everyone. A little privacy?
Oh sure, go ahead and outbid me on the power item, Becky. Fine. I'll put it behind me and keep smiling.
Now that I have all yours and a third of Yul's money, spoiler alert: This sucks.
Bad news just seems more palatable in Apple Chancery font.
Exile someone? Please don't say Candice. Please don't say Candice.
Worst. Auction. Ever.
Oh, by the way, Candice? There's also no hope of finding an idol there. Bon voyage!
Ozzy: Mutineers are the first... oh, sorry, got distracted by my ice cream.
Did somebody say 'ice cream'! Well, it has the same ingredients, anyway. Except the ice part.
It explains a lot about the Medallion of Power that Probst is the only person who got Ozzy's 420 reference.
Oh, sorry Ozzy. I said 'ice stream.' You must have mis-heard.
Hot dogs and beer make Penner go something something
That's cute, Probst.
That sea cucumber is so unfair, we went back in time to groan about it.
Penner and Adam. Feeling the love.
420! Ha. That was a good one.
It's a mystery how Parvati picked up on Becky and Sundra's displeasure with Penner. Probably psychic or something.
Day 30! Time to start playing!
I miss Adam
I can't believe I missed out on getting sea cucumber. Those bastards.
I'm still smiling
This Exile thing makes me so upset, I've gone back in time to before the merge, to cry again
Whoo! A treemail! That mentions 'add up.'
Me win immunity? With math? Come on, I have 'add' right there in my name!
Aitutonga, now with more Candice. Ready to add.
Ozzy checks the 420 box, just on a hunch
If you are a former Aitu, all your boxes will contain metal, not keys. Sorry.
I got a perfect score on my Math SATs!
Round two: if all else fails, just open random boxes.
No way, Adam is winning this?
Yes, yes I am
I just rocked some digits, like a gangsta.
It's a unisex necklace, that goes mostly to the one sex Probst respects
No, seriously. I got a perfect score on my Math SATs. Adam winning this makes no sense.
Ha ha! Joke's on you, Yul! We're both voting for Ozzy.
Parvati: Three's a crowd, Candice. Time for you to go.
The ethics seem kind of murky here, Penner
Are they eating? No worries, I'll just sit here for a while like this, catch some flies. They're full of protein, you know.
How dare you do for these people keeping you in the game what you did for us when we kept you in the game?
I mean, why can't you just laze around the camp like we do? So selfish!
Seriously, Becky. Let's do what's best for me. You're not interested in winning, right?
Keep smiling, something will turn up. Parvati is a master strategist, after all.
Expounding on the arrogance and true colors of the guy they kept around as slave labor
Oh sure, we haven't really done much this game, but we still have four more shots at the million between us. Patience, Probst.
A 23-year-old model/boxer just called me immature for starting to play the game before Day 30? Nice show you have here, Probst.
We're still smiling!
There's no way this scene will ever be awkward, like if Candice marries some other guy, then goes on Survivor with him. That would be crazy.
Can I get a do-over on the mutiny thing? Or two?
Recaps and commentary
Exit interviews - Candice Woodcock