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Now that’s more like it, right? Survivor: Caramoan has really been a tale of two seasons, and only a few episodes into the merge the show has really begun to right itself. The first half of Caramoan pales in comparison thus far to the second half, and some of the stuff in these last two episodes might just go down as legendary in the Survivor canon. On one side, we have golden boy Malcolm, rebelling with his bro-lliance of Erik, Reynold, and Eddie. On the other side lies Stealth R’ Us, Phillip’s team of “operatives,” wherein Dawn, Cochrane, and Andrea are really running the show. The Specialist, long the bane of Survivor viewers, is actually one of my favorite characters of all time. Now that the show is taking the direction of essentially Phillip vs. Malcolm, things are going to get really good.
The first challenge in tonight’s episode featured two teams of five (Sherri was not chosen to participate in the school yard pick ‘em) squaring off against each other in a ball-throwing competition. One member of each side stood as the goalkeeper, while the other four attempted to throw a ball into a net to score a point. Of course the side with Reynold, Eddie, and Erik wins the challenge, but Cochran performs admirably, scoring two of the team’s four goals. The reward they win is a picnic lunch at a waterfall, leading to some great Survivor jungle shots and some gross looking sandwiches for our contestants to munch away on.
Back at camp, Malcolm approaches Dawn and Andrea, essentially desperate to make a big move. What Malcolm doesn’t realize is that Dawn is now sneaky good at Survivor, so while Malcolm plans to pull off a blindside and vote out either Phillip or Andrea (who is perceived as running the show, not incorrectly), Dawn counters with a bold plan to vote out Malcolm. The problem lies twofold: No one is sure if Malcolm has an idol (he does) and Eddie has been cozying up to Andrea. Eddie sets off a major alarm in Andrea, and she goes nuts with paranoia at the thought that a few votes might get thrown her way.
Somewhere in there the game has time for an immunity challenge, which Brenda easily wins. The challenge consists of the tribe holding on to a grate in the ocean, as the tide slowly rolls in. The water gets higher and higher and the castaways are left with a decreasing level of room to breathe. It is a fairly anti-climactic challenge, and also fairly boring to watch. Unfortunately for the quiet-as-a-mouse Brenda, not even an immunity win can get her a confessional. Seriously, what is going on with Brenda this season? On Nicaragua, Brenda was a big personality who demonstrated a fair amount of tact and an affinity for the game. On Caramoan, she’s damn near invisible.
Ten minutes before tribal council, Andrea goes into major scramble mode. She wants to change the plan from a Malcolm blindside to either an Eddie/Reynold vote split, or a unified vote against Michael, who they know does not have the hidden immunity idol. Dawn tries to reassure her, but Andrea is having none of it. Going into tribal council, anything can happen. What happens is, of course, chaotic. Phillip makes a long speech about loyalty and betrayal that actually makes him look fairly savvy and Reynold has a mini freak-out, playing his idol … for Malcolm. That’s right, at Malcolm’s behest, Reynold plays an immunity idol for him. Unfortunately, Malcolm makes a miscalculation, as Michael is the target that Stealth R’ Us has finally decided on for the evening. Malcolm’s bro-lliance continues to crash and burn. Where he goes from here is anyone’s guess.
Next time on Survivor: Dawn has yet another break-down. This is getting old.