Survivor Nicaragua literally on fire

There were literal flames last night and a spectacular flame-out on the part of the season’s biggest apparent strategist: it was a fiery episode of Survivor Nicaragua. And those are all the fire references I’ll make.

After Brenda helped take out Marty last week, everyone turned on her and sent her home. Even Brenda’s allies joined in voting her out, trying to save their own asses. Only Kelly voted for someone else, because she’s obviously in a different dimension, phasing in and out of the game, apparently. (When she finally talked at length during Tribal Council, it was suddenly clear why the editors have ignored her.) Holly noted that “Kelly Purple crawls up Brenda’s ass,” so maybe that explains where she’s been all season.

Somewhat interestingly, the editing credited Holly with the strategy, approaching Jane and NaOnka about turning on Brenda. Once Chase learned of the plan, he told Brenda–and then appeared to tell NaOnka that he told Brenda, but that was suspiciously edited: the audio was off and we didn’t see him say it. And NaOnka didn’t tell anyone else that Chase told her. The editing fudged other things with Chase, too. Chase seemed to want to stick with Brenda, awkwardly telling us “I’ve put my game plan in her” as we saw footage of him glancing down at her breasts.

The reward challenge was super-lopsided despite the fact that it wasn’t old versus young, or men versus women. It was just dumb people versus slightly less dumb people. Chase, Kelly, Jane, Fabio, and NaOnka won a trip to a volcano where they sledded down its ashy side, which was all kinds of awesome. Then they had a meal, which NaOnka interrupted by dragging Fabio off to the side–in plain view of everyone–to talk strategy. She’s subtle, that NaOnka.

Meanwhile, the morons burned down their own camp. Fabio explained, “We moved all of the chests around the fire to protect it from the rain. That’s important.” Yes, they put wooden chests right next to a burning fire and then left it unattended. I think the real look of shock would have been if the camp hadn’t burned down. Oddly, the editing moved on from this, and didn’t even deal with the reward challenge winners’ reactions; that team was just suddenly back at camp, talking strategy.

Probst had particularly great color commentary during the challenges. As the tribes attempted to move from one end of a field to the other using just barrells and planks, one team fell off and Probst said, “Dan smashed his hand! Huge setback from the yellow team.” In fairness, having Dan on your team by itself is a huge setback. Probst later said, “Brenda trying to roll on one of the barrels. That’ll work–for a minute,” and when Benry backflipped off the barrels once his team lost, Probst called it the “ceremonial loser dismount.” ZZZING!

Immunity was a simple but great endurance challenge held in the pool Fabio peed in; they had to hold on to a rope while leaning backwards, moving back one knot at periodic intervals. Dan actually managed to hold on more than three seconds (“using those guns, you worked hard for those guns,” Probst said to Dan), but ultimately it came down to “arguably the most fit guy out here going against the oldest woman out here,” as Probst said.

Jane almost gave up: “I’m gonna let go,” she said, and Probst was having none fo that: “Why are you going to let go?… Don’t you dare give up on this challenge.” She didn’t, and beat Chase–although not because Chase let go. “I’m glad I lift 80-pound dogs,” Jane said after winning individual immunity. I’m glad, too, and hope she can hang on until the end.

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

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.