'Survivor: Samoa' Recap: Divine Intervention Required, Perhaps? Episode 14


Now, the inevitable: Foa Foa going up against Foa Foa. We begin Survivor: Samoa tonight with six castaways: four original yellows, one true-blue purple, and Shambo, who's been floating around for the longest time. With the game reaching its last days, someone's gotta give--but whoever's letting go last is still a variable.


For Russell, the plan is simple: let go of Brett as soon as possible, but he's perfectly aware that he can only do that if he loses the next immunity challenge. Brett, on the other hand, starts connecting with the remaining castaways, and he's found something common with Natalie: their faith. "I'll just work with what I have here," he says, which leads to this heartwarming yet odd moment between the two, when Brett quotes the Bible and she feels all warm and fuzzy. Might be working. She's calling him a "sweetheart".


Russell and Shambo, on the other hand, are talking about her "Shambolicious" hair (or her "terrible mullet"), which she's apparently had since 1986. She wants a haircut. He thinks she needs a shave.


This week's reward challenge is critical: a team of three could win a trip to a local village, with lots of food and a mattress to sleep on--very important at this point in the game. The challenge is particularly nerve-wrecking: a bunch of ropes act as a basket to coconuts, and each team has to pull a drop while dropping the least number of coconuts to the ground. The first team to drop a hundred nuts loses. Natalie's team captain, and she picks Brett and Mick; Russell, as the other team captain, chooses Jaison and Shambo.


The thing starts pretty slow, but slowly transforms into this unusual mix of social commentary and slapstick routine. Natalie and Brett start praying--I never expected to hear the term "prayer warrior" on Survivor, but there's got to be a first time, right? The prayers did keep them ahead, dropping only four coconuts against Russell's 29. Then Mick drops 19. Then Jaison drops 48. Then Natalie drops 58. Watching them stare at the coconuts go down, down, down was oddly funny. After Brett drops an extra 23, Russell's team wins reward.


Watching the three head to this village and accept them warmly feels pretty weird. Every single time. It always feels slightly exploitative--at least until I see the food, at which moment my tummy grumbles. A whole roast pig! Lots of grilled fish! Much, much more! Jaison acts as if he's only known how it feels to be happy now--then again, he "doesn't know what a reward means" until today.


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