Survivor Samoa: The Broken Cell Phone Reward Episode 10

What a great vote! Dave's face said it all. He could not imagine that one of his four allies turned on Laura. After 26 days with John and Brett he thought they were solid, and he was sure Monica would never vote out her best friend. The Foa Foa's ability to escape their seemingly-inescapable demise week after week must have been unreal. Eric said, "There goes the lead." But really, there goes the ballgame.

I'm sorry to see Laura go. In Survivor's early days the strong, sly older woman was as much a staple of the game as the schemer. But somewhere along the way players like Tina Wesson, Teresa Cooper, Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien and Vecepia Towery stopped showing up. Laura was always a bit of a throwback, right down to her faith-based background, which was so vital to the women who dominated early in the series' run.

Laura never quite measured up to those other women because she made boneheaded strategic mistakes like alienating Shambo and voting out Eric. But it was still good to see her win challenges and play the game actively, using her experience as a 39 year old woman as an asset rather than a handicap. You go, girl!

But what stood out to me this week was the reward. You'd have to be cruel to ask a starving man to cook your food for you, or to ask vampires to go to school with humans. It' s just as cruel to give an isolated group of Survivors a cell phone and ask them not to make any calls. You know what I usually call a cell phone that can't make any calls? Junk.

Great, the Palm Pre can take photos. But these guys are already on a television show. They happen to have some mementos of their time in Samoa already. Taking pictures of a reality show is very meta and everything. But maybe they'd like to call their kids!

Anyway, color me dumbfounded. Just last week the Purple People were blocked from finding the second Hidden Immunity Idol because they had the misfortune to win the reward challenge. While they were off getting the first clue Russell searched the forest like a bloodhound.

Having learned from their mistake, Galu knew there was just one thing they had to do this week. Really the six of them just needed to find the Hidden Immunity Idol before Russell did.

As it turned out John, Monica and Shambo got exactly that opportunity. They had a clear shot at the Idol and there was nothing Russell could do about it. So what did they do all day? Laid around and talked. Russell enjoyed a nice reward, then came home and took the Idol like candy from a baby. They were chasing after him like children in a nursery and they couldn't even get a peak at him doing it.

Survivor hasn't seen such inept contestants since Richard Hatch pantsed the Pagong tribe. Galu had an eight on four advantage. Now they're tied. What else do you need to know?It's like if the Indianapolis Colts just stood aside and let the Patriots come in for a touchdown. These guys would get their wallet stolen from them if they had it on a chain. Unbelievable.

On a final note, I continue to question the wisdom of shows that break for Thanksgiving. For many people in this country, Thanksgiving is not only an opportunity to hold hands and say thanks, but to make awkward conversation with people they would never normally talk to.

Maybe you have an aunt who can't hear very well anymore and you need to fill a whole day shouting at her. Or maybe you have a nephew or a cousin who's just discovered the joyous sound of their own voice as they sing without a song in mind. But the fact remains, there are few days people need an hour long excuse to quietly enjoy each other's company more than Thanksgiving. The rest can Tivo the show. Unfortunately, nobody listens to me.

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