Welcome to our frightening new section, the free-cap. It's kind of like a recap, but our budget is fairy low, our memory poor, and our standards exceptionally sketchy. So if you're hoping for an accurate rehashing of what actually happened on this episode, "Glitter In Their Eyes," you may want to look elsewhere (such as the links in the section below).
So anyway, there was an episode of Survivor on this week (CBS informs us it was #NowOnWed, which is a bit confusing and possibly some sort of terrorist code, so we waited until several days later to write this, just to be safe). We vaguely remember watching it. That qualifies us to write about it.
As (which in free-cap terms means "at some point after") the show opened, we were treated to a touching scene: the "older tribe," as Probst calls them, talking to the "younger tribe." No, wait, that was merely a troop of howler monkeys. You see, Probst had insisted that half the La Flor tribe was up in trees at the previous week's tribal council, so you can understand their, or possibly our, confusion.
But one man was on top his game: Jimmy Johnson. Clearly cut out for exactly this event, he pulled out a blackboard and diagrammed a play in which the monkeys would make a Hail Mary pass of all of their food to Marty in the end zone. Sadly, there appears to have been some sort of miscommunication. Perhaps Coach Jimmy neglected to take into account that, being in Nicaragua, these were Spanish-speaking monkeys. Had the younger tribe been with them, they might have asked Dora and Boots to translate. Curse this division by age! Perhaps it was the lack of a telestrator and full video replay. We may never know. On the one hand, the monkeys did indeed start throwing stuff. On the other, it sure didn't look like food. Didn't smell much like it, either. Although to be technically accurate, it had once been food.
At this point, as Espada started screaming and taking cover from the fecal fusillade, Jimmy T was pacing about, flailing his arms angrily, clearly upset that nobody was paying attention to him. "Listen here, monkeys, I will not be not heard! I was born to fling poo! I have skills! Put me in!" But as he bent down to pick up some freshly landed turds, to demonstrate his innate prowess as a tosser, he got a threatening look from Holly, and decided it would probably work out best for his shoes if he didn't start collecting things that aren't really food.
You really have to like Jimmy T. Really, you do, both Sears and CBS say so. He got onto the show by talking about how tough he is, how smart he is, and how he'll play rings around the lesser beings who call themselves contestants. And if that worked for casting, it'll probably be aces during the game, too, right? True, it may have been more productive to watch an episode or two of the actual show instead, but hey, he's on a roll, and if there's one thing Jimmy T hates, it's being interrupted. We interrupt this paragraph to tell you that Marty! has found a hidden immunity idol, which he's sharing with the tribe because Jill told him to, but it's really his, see? Here, he's hanging it up on this tree, which is also his, but technically also the rest of the tribe's, being as it's in the middle of camp. Wasn't that nice? Back to you, Jimmy T.
Sooner or later (we'd rewatch the show to find out, but we're far too lazy), there was a challenge. And by challenge, we mean "Something you might find at your local county fair, if the carny was too lazy to set the game up beforehand." After running around collecting barrels (or in Dan's case, standing around and watching people collecting barrels), the game ground to a halt, and everyone had to stand around, watching one person throw things. But it wasn't your usual Survivor "throwing stuff" challenge, where plates are smashed with slingshots, or crossbows, or the like. No. That might run the risk of injuring the 67-year-old. Projectiles, sharp edges, you know. Loud noises. Dangerous. That's why we salute the new Survivor challenges: Safe enough for a toddler, yet exciting enough to be broadcast on a network reality-competition program. Next week: jumping in a bouncy house, one at a time, and no touching your friends!
Eventually someone managed to get all 10 yellow beanbags on the yellow barrels, meaning that La Flor won the stuffed panda. Or possibly immunity plus a fruit basket plus an herb garden plus a clue to a hidden immunity idol. One of the two, one choice per winner, no refunds. La Flor (they're the younger tribe) picked the panda, because it was cute, and looked cuddly. Several cried when Probst informed them that he was fresh out of pandas, and they'd have to take all the other stuff, instead. But not NaOnka. She shoved some poor amputee (whose sole previous role on the show had been as an able-bodied amputee) out of the way, snatched the idol clue out from under the bananas, and flung it back in Probst's face.
"Does my name look like 'fool' to you, Probst?" she bellowed. "This clue has confusing pictures on it! I don't need this kind of pressure! When Russell Hantz was on, he got a video clue that showed him the exact rock to look under! Now I have to solve a puzzle? Do I look like I have that kind of time? I have socks to steal, people to browbeat! Don't make me whip my hair at you! Also, I politely request that you find us a panda instead, because somebody has smooshed these bananas. Thanks in advance. We'll keep the immunity idol as collateral."
And with that, Espada (solely known as the older tribe) was forced to take a trip to Tribal Council, which Probst had recently converted to a sweatshop, where he forced them to assemble sufficient numbers of stuffed pandas to keep La Flor quiet at night, to serve as safety-friendly bowling pins in the next three challenges, and to supply a small stand in the Managua airport, where they were sold at $20 a pop to gullible American tourists as traditional Nicaraguan "Bruins of Power." But first, Espada needed to figure out who to boot.
"I don't think you should boot me," volunteered Jimmy Johnson. "Okay, I haven't bothered to make any alliances, and I'm kind of tired, and hell, I'm probably weaker than old one-knee Dan over there. But I'm pretty sure you'll keep me around, because I've won two Super Bowls. And lost two of three challenges on Survivor. But remember those Super Bowls."
At this point, NaOnka stormed into Tribal Council, snatched a mostly stuffed panda from Jimmy Johnson, shoved him to the ground for looking old, then stared at the panda in disgust. As Jeff Probst tried to point out that NaOnka technically wasn't supposed to interrupt the other tribe's Tribal Council, he was immediately shushed by an angry glare: "This panda only has one leg! I hate it!" After spiking it like a touchdown football, she stalked off, and Probst regained his composure, saying: "In 21 seasons of Survivor, I've never had someone disparage the knock-off merchandise we generate at Tribal Council. Wow. Okay, time to vote. By the way, if you vote for Jimmy Johnson, your vote will not count, because this partially-stuffed panda here contained a hidden immunity idol! What a remarkable coincidence!"
But the noble Jimmy Johnson refused such charity, asserting, "It's okay, Jeff. I've watched every episode of this show. I love it! At least the parts I've actually seen, which is usually just the theme song, and then I fall asleep. Marty here keeps talking about something called 'strat-uh-G.' Do you know what he's talking about? Some rap singer, or something? No matter, I'm sure my Super Bowl rings will protect me."
Still, as a producer, Probst wasn't about to let such a ratings-killing event be left up to the mysterious powers of circular metal objects. Instead, he explicitly warned the Espadas, "Listen up, people: Jimmy Johnson is our ticket out of this Wednesday night hellhole. Don't screw this up for me, or I swear to Mark Burnett, none of you will ever work in Hollywood again."
At this point, Jill calmly pointed out that as a group of people over 40, none of them would ever work in Hollywood again, anyway. Then the Espadas coldly, calculatedly, cruelly, cravenly, collectively ended the toughest eight days Jimmy Johnson has ever been through. As they marched silently out of tribal council, Jeff Probst could be seen rocking back and forth on his stool, clutching a one-legged stuffed panda to his chest. As the closing credits started to roll, you could almost hear him in the background, whimpering "It'll be okay, Coach. Take the immunity idol. It'll be okay. Heroes vs. Villains 2 is just around the corner. It'll be okay."