If you're like us, you find yourself nearing the approach of another Survivor episode, then saying, "Oh yeah, it's on Wednesday now." Then you'll probably find yourself trying to remember what happened in the previous episode (probably some old dude got booted, except not the one who can't move). You might then try to look up a recap to refresh your memory. And chances are, if you're like us, you'd look at this very recap, simply because it was published most recently, and must therefore have the most recent and accurate information. And if you did, you'd be completely, horribly wrong.
But fear not, we've watched this episode at least twice now, and although both of those viewings were long ago (days, even), we saw a video synopsis on the web while drinking the other day. Sure, the sound was off, but we think we got the gist of it.
So, as the show opened, Jimmy T had been sent to sleep with the fishes, making poor Holly (who had previously dispatched Dan's shoes to the same fate), very worried. We didn't see much of Tyrone, perhaps he was busy guarding his shoes. Also, Marty exalted in his newfound kingly status by making his hair stand up in the shape of a crown. Or possibly a tiara. Or a papal miter. Or maybe it was a Darth Maul thing. Regardless of his intent, we'd like to see Russell Hantz try that! Actually, no we wouldn't, because that would involve seeing Russell Hantz again.
But no matter, the point is that this sufficiently impressed the producers that they made the wise decision to focus the rest of the entire series on King Marty, at least until he's booted or wins, no matter how many times he has to be on the show for that to happen. Let that be a lesson to you future Survivor contestants: actual ability to play the game is no substitute for bragging and/or elaborate hairstyling when it comes to getting airtime. If spending hours dolling yourself up to look like Princess Amidala annoys your tribe and causes you to lose every challenge, that's their problem. At least your friends and family back home will be able to say they saw you on the show. Yve and Kelly Purple? Not really.
But as we were saying, King Marty was confident that not one solitary thing could possibly upset his dastardly plans, mainly because the producers had removed tribal switches from the past two seasons, to avoid interfering with Russell Hantz's delusions of grandeur. Also because those were the only seasons Marty's ever watched. This is what you get, Survivor fans clamoring for an "Applicants vs. Mactors" season, after not learning your lesson from "Fans vs. Favorites." The "Fan"/"Applicant" side will always be filled by people who are either unclear on what the show is (Jimmy T appeared to believe he was auditioning for Simon Cowell), or forget what happened 10 seconds after the final credits roll (Just like us! Except for the being on the show part), to ensure that the poor, strategically-challenged pretty people (mactors) don't all get booted early.
Which means, of course, that Marty and his tiara hair (which induced audible jealous grumbling from Brenda as he appeared for the RC: "Did the judges not WATCH my talent segment? What will I do with my Sash now?") were destined to be switched up in a tribal shuffle. Brenda and some old person who doesn't count (upon review, it was the South Dakota PETA-phile who liberated Dan's alligator skin shoes back to the swamps) just got to list people they wanted on their tribe. Foolishly, Holly picked neither Brenda nor Sash, but did pick Alina (who?), Benry (who?) and NaOnka (why?). Brenda just wrote down some random names, because all old people look the same, anyway. One of them was "Jeff Probst." This made Probst somewhat bitter and angry (old people tend to get that way), so he sent the king and his tiara over, after which Brenda gave Marty the most completely believably warm hug any pageant winner has ever seen.
With that settled, the new tribes got to play a game the challenge department stole from some show that old people watch, that involved lots of balls dropping. They probably played to about 7,048 points, but edited it down to three for TV. At least that's what the contestants will tell you, after they explain how they hiked all the way to the challenge through three feet of snow (old people tend to do that). Eventually, the older tribe won. Wait, what? There isn't an old people tribe any more? Oh! So that's why Probst suddenly started calling the tribes the names that have been on their flags and buffs since well before the first episode. We thought he just couldn't read Spanish, and, being old, couldn't hear the La Flor tribe announcing themselves as they arrived at each challenge. "Eh? What's that, sonny? No, no, keep up the dancing, young ladies! I likes me some shimmying."
So anyway, there was good and bad news for the Espada tribe (formerly known as "older tribe"). On the plus side, as a reward for winning the RC, they got some chickens. On the minus side, they were also received Shambo, who instructed them on how to care for, pee next to, clumsily release, then eventually recapture chickens. Sadly, this part was also edited out of the TV version, so you'll just have to trust us. Master Tyrone Windu proceeded to lecture the newly arrived youngsters on the ways of the Force, but being headstrong padawans full of midi-chlorians, they refused to listen. For instance, when he tried to blindfold them all for lightsaber practice, they objected loudly to his "be conscious of your neighbor" instructions, pointing out that the last group he'd instructed had performed quite atrociously at that blindfolded stuff. To be fair, they may have been a tad upset that someone (we'll call him "Dan" to avoid confusion with people actually on the show) had "accidentally" lightsabered Shambo while he was blindfolded. Happily, however, they all agreed that with the right amount of boiling and rotisserie, she did make for slightly better eats than the usual Espada diet of snails. (Note: We're well aware that jokes about cannibalism are not funny. But there exists a rare exception, and that is when the meal in question is Shambo).
As usual, nothing of interest happened on the La Flor tribe (formerly, "boring tribe plus NaOnka," now simply "boring tribe"), apart from King Marty demonstrating his regal prowess by whipping a massive, uh, "key" out of his pants.
Finally, there was an immunity challenge. And by "challenge," we mean "the most spectacular use of both water torture and human spitting in a competitive sports event, ever." It was an orgy of disgusting treatment of contestants and/or general disgustingness. Dunk. Spit! Dunk. Spit! Around and around, now faster, now slower. Dunk. Spit! Almost done! And then... the goodwill engendered by this most hideously beautiful of all challenges was instantly dissipated with... more carnival games (breaking plates with a ball). This is not unlike the coolest bottle rocket ever shooting straight up into the sky, exploding brilliantly in a massive avalanche of colors and fruit flavors (at least for all the synaesthetes), and then continuing to rain still-exploding sparks down on the viewing audience, as they ran, screaming in terror, for cover. This was entirely necessary, you see, because the producers were deeply concerned that one tribe might have unfair advantage, from having too many people on their tribe with experience being repeatedly dunked under water then spitting into tubes, all while strapped to a giant wheel. Eventually, Jar Jar Binks, for some reason called "Fabio" on this show, managed to win for the La Bore tribe without being paralyzed by anything. If you looked carefully as the tribes hiked away, you could see the challenge department hurriedly scurrying to gather up all the shattered plate pieces, to recycle them as a puzzle in a subsequent boring challenge.
The semi-soggy Espadas returned to camp to snack on their leftover Shambones (See? We told you. It just works), and decide who to vote out. Tyrone tried to use Jedi mind tricks on the youngsters ("I am not the boot you're looking for. Also, if Holly is looking for boots, you'd best hide yours, Alina"), but they were sadly immune to such chicanery, as non-sentient beings tend to be. He looked for help to Dan, who had been mysteriously replaced by a Jeff Probst standee while nobody was looking, and Yve, who turned out just to be a hologram with malfunctioning audio. In the end, Tyrone's lightsaber, er, torch, was extinguished, along with (thankfully) this tired metaphor.