Survivor rains cookies and breasts, and Probst finds a woman he can treat like a puppy

Despite the addition of the dick minute to last night’s episode of Survivor Philippines, which networks add to prevent us from changing the channel, but which for me had the effect of cancelling the recording of the episode because shows scheduled to record at 9 won the DVR battle, there wasn’t a lot happening during the hour.

The first half almost dragged, especially because it was so dreary with the rain and the shivering and the lack of a reward challenge (two challenges an episode: please!). There was also time when the cameras were shooting in infrared with more ambient light than usual, so it looked almost sepia-toned, like a 1950s episode of Survivor.

Yet the episode built to a Tribal Council that was incredible–and not because of strategy, and not even because Jeff Probst actually clapped at a cast member, as if she were a puppy who was getting too close to the couch.

First, it rained and rained and there was no challenge and virtually nothing happened except Lisa isolated herself and cried about her isolation, and Jonathan Penner found the immunity idol, which was, as we suspected, the icon on the top of the rice container. Mr. Subtle crawled around in the mud looking for it while his entire tribe found shelter in a cave, and then when someone came back (of course), pretended he was looking for his contact. At least he admitted it was an “insane story” and “ridiculous, fatuous lie.” What happens once everyone notices that the rice container is different and/or that he has a giant bulge in his bag?

Meanwhile, at the purple/Russell tribe, the rain and cold meant that two of the tribe members were getting close in the shelter, cuddling to stay warm. The footage of this was hilariously awkward, as Angie and Malcolm were perhaps aware that a camera was on them, or are just awkward cuddlers.

This annoyed Roxy, who last week painted her face with crosses and was nicknamed “Crosses Face,” a nickname I forgot to use until now. (And it’s accurate: She prayed and the sun came out immediately. Wow!) She said they were “full-on cuddling” like one would say “full-on fornicating.” She did have a good point: pairs of people can be deadly in the game, and physical closeness may signal other closeness. Malcolm was acutely aware that he should not “get booty blinded.”

The immunity challenge involved dragging heavy sleds and transporting puzzle pieces, which were then assembled with the help/distraction of a tribe member shouting from a platform above. Random aside: During the challenge, the helicopter shots of the Dream Team stand-ins switched the positions of Jeff Kent and the red-shorted male lesbian on Penner’s tribe. It was a rare continuity error.

Another aside: Let’s all stand up and cheer for Denise who gave some on-camera rejection of the “let’s pray to win the challenge” bullshit. “I don’t pray for anything,” she said. “No. Dig in, dig deep, and make it happen.” Bless you, Denise!

Of course the purple tribe lost, and of course Russell blew up, hurling a puzzle piece and shouting, “I’m pissed off” and “either go hard or go home.” He also said his tribe needed to “get their heads out of their butts or go home.”

The tribe is only five people, which is weird this early in the game (tribe mix-up/merge ahead, I bet!), and it came down to Roxy and Russell arguing that Angie was a challenge weak link/threat because she was so very, very close to Malcolm, and Malcolm and Angie arguing that Roxy did nothing to help out around camp.

Then we got to Tribal Council, one of those that’s better to just watch than try to summarize. There were a lot of body part references, Roxy saying that “Malcolm and Angie are too busy being up each other’s butt” and explaining Angie’s strategy: “just show the boobs: somebody will fall for it.” Denise tipped her hand and revealed the way she’d ultimately vote–against Roxy, and as the swing vote, she made the decision–by saying, “please don’t be blinded by the headlights.” Malcolm tried to write off his cuddling by saying Angie was like his sister, which Roxy replied was “creepy.”

But in the best moment of the season so far, Jeff Probst asked Angie to fill in the blank: “If I could change one thing about this tribe…” and she said, “…that we could have cookies?”

I love cookies, so this at first seemed like a perfectly reasonable response–at least until Malcolm tried to defend her response and did a laughable job, mentioning everyone’s “stomach rumbling” and how the women have had a hard time with that.

Probst was aghast: “Really? Really? In a game for a million dollars?” he said, and kept hammering at it, in his “I’m just an objective observer sort of way,” said, “Let’s get real honest here, Angie. Let’s wake up,” and then clapped at her like she tried to scratch the stump she was sitting on. Maybe that’ll soon be a segment on Probst’s new talk show: How to command your woman and your puppy at the same time.

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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.