Galu finally loses after Jeff Probst takes time off; Yasmin says, “I was ready to go”

Galu’s streak of winning, which started with Survivor Samoa‘s second challenge and continued through four straight challenges, ended last night as they lost a block-stacking immunity challenge. Yes, apparently the challenge team is holding back on us and saving the good stuff for all-stars, because running across nets, crossing a monkey bridge, and stacking two towers of blocks didn’t exactly rank high in the all-time greatest challenges list.

Speaking of challenges, Probst didn’t bother to show up for the reward challenge–kind of a risky move since it worked fine without him, and his absence was pointless. As a result, the challenge was dangerously similar to a Big Brother one, with the houseguests–I mean, survivors reading instructions off a piece of paper and then playing an overly simplified, not-very-creative game. Of course, Survivor‘s version of bocce ball didn’t fall apart and have ambiguous rules, so there’s that. I think it would have been far more interesting for Probst to have been MIA if determining a winner required negotiation or argument; maybe producers were hoping the game would have had a more ambiguous outcome, requiring them to debate which tribe actually won.

Anyway, Probst wrote in his EW.com it’s-not-a-blog-you-morons, “We have talked about doing something like this for a long time. A challenge in which nobody is there. Nobody tells them anything. We just watch to see what they do. This was a major experiment. How would it work without having me there to moderate and oversee everything? And for the record, I wasn’t hiding in the bushes, ‘just in case.’ When we commit, we commit. I was back in my tent reading an old copy of Rolling Stone. Poor Michael Jackson.”

I’m not sure how much he’s bullshitting here, since the crew stayed in a luxury resort, not tents, but I think the experiment wasn’t a good one, because giving them written instructions kind of killed the possibility of real drama. It did, however, offer the night’s best visual, once again courtesy of Shambo, as she walked around with chickens’ necks in her hands. Runner up: Erik being clotheslined–by the clothesline!

When deciding who to vote out, Galu had a number of options, starting with Shambo, whose conversations with the chickens freaked one of them out so much it flew away, leading Erik to chase after it and get “clotheslined by the clothesline,” as Dave pointed out. Another option was Monica, who gave away Galu’s lead in the immunity challenge; or Yasmin, who did little more than nap. Although Russell wanted to send Monica home for underperforming in challenges, he eventually voted with everyone else against Yasmin. Everyone except Shambo, that is: She remained an outsider by voting for Monica.

Yasmin argued at Tribal Council that she’d do anything anyone asked, which seemed to be an impossibly weak excuse; you don’t sit around waiting for someone to tell you to do something in a social game like this. Earlier in the episode, she said, “If you want to penalize me for stepping up, than so be it. Vote me out because my body could use a rest, dammit.” Well, she certainly got a lot of rest, napping constantly. For what it’s worth, while the editors’ highlighting her napping–and she wasn’t the only one, as there was a lot of Galu napping footage this week–might have been unfair, when I visited tribe camps during the first three days, Yasmin was covered with leaves and asleep for my entire 30 or 45 minutes at Galu’s camp.

I talked to Yasmin a few minutes ago, and she said leaving “was the happiest day of my life. I was ready to go.” She said that she can admit when she’s made a bad decision, and said the experience “was horrible. I was like, Oh my god! did I sign up for this?” When I asked specifically what was horrible, Yasmin said, “I was defeated … by the energy around me.” By that she meant her fellow tribemates, who she said “were so confused” and were also “draining” to be around. “I was so happy I was away from the madness,” she said.

As to her napping, Yasmin said her tribemates “were able to lay around because I worked my butt off in those challenges,” and said many of them “weren’t participating in challenges” like she was. In addition, she said she “had a lot of cold nights” because she slept outside of the central camp, since there wasn’t enough room. She laughed about being like “any old person taking a nap.” Yasmin, who appeared on Style’s Split Ends, said, “because I’ve done reality TV before, I know how things can be misconstrued.”

Yasmin’s biggest contribution to the seasons was exposing Ben’s bigotry in her fight with him, and she told me that since Ben’s most egregious comments came after their fight, “I think I would have went hood if he’d said all those things to my face.” In addition, she pointed out that “he never heard me say ‘the hood is not the woods,'” because she said that in a confessional, and said his racist comments were because “he judged me basically from saying I was from Detroit and I was African-American.” She also said, “If you are going to attack me, get it right, baby. Get my name right.”

Post-elimination at Ponderosa, Yasmin said Ben “never initially apologized, but he did say to me, you are much different than I thought, which he should say since he did not know me.” She also said that while “I can’t lie to you, I don’t have a problem with Ben. He’s damaged goods.” As to their conversation, which she initiated, she said “I was trying to talk to him woman to man,” and Ben “was upset that he was defeated. He couldn’t believe that this woman was asking him about” his behavior in the challenge, because she “was totally shocked” that he went after her and as a result, got a “knot on [her] head the size of a golf ball.”

I asked about the other remarkable part about her visit to the other tribe, when she basically told them to her faces that they were losers and she’d help them out. (Her outspokenness was consistent with the great stuff she told me pre-game, like, “Disrespect me, and you’re going to feel the wrath, baby,” and “if speaking my mind gets me thrown off, so be it, because again, I won’t compromise who I am, what I stand for, my integrity or dignity for nobody.”) “I believe that they were shocked,” Yasmin said of Foa Foa, but she pointed out that “after that infamous speech,” she spent about 30 or 40 minutes with each person. “I was braiding up their hair, I was having conversations with them,” she said.

By the way, Yasmin volunteered an apology for calling Ben “a big sissy,” which she referred to as “a very nasty, derogatory name.” She said she “called him a sissy because I didn’t want to” curse, but citing gay friends who mentioned that remark to her and saying that she has respect for all people, Yasmin said, “If I have offended any of them, that was not my intent.”

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.