Despite medevac, Survivor is still infected

For most of last night’s Survivor, I felt like I was watching the same episode we saw last week. And the week before. The same people got attention; the same tribe lost. Those who left offered a glimmer of hope, and the preview for next week dashed it: this is a season designed to be annoying, and I don’t care for it.

The good news, besides the appearance of our friend the reward challenge, is that Survivor‘s editors no longer have Shamar to focus on, since he quit–I mean, was medically evacuated due to a scratch on his eye that threatened his vision. At least, that’s according to the medic who first diagnosed him by saying, and this is a direct quotation, “the whole eye just looks very red at the moment.” Stating the obvious meant that Jeff Probst even missed a great Phillip joke, telling Shamar they’d “get you to see a specialist.”

Incidentally, Probst revealed that he’d previously been to the fans camp to talk to Shamar when he was going to quit, but the tribe talked him out of it, and Probst’s visit never aired. Also Jeff Probst reveals that there weren’t puzzles after the challenges because of Dalton Ross’ complaining about then in EW. Dalton is all-powerful.

The challenges, despite being derivative of previous seasons’ challenges, were fun, and though there was some tension, the conclusions seemed inevitable. The fans are so bad they thought they won when they lost, or at least, Shamar did.

The returnees’ reward was a visit from a local, Tata the Bushman, who was obviously skilled and hilarious (“no bitching in the jungle”) but it was played way too much as Look At This Weird Person that it just felt uncomfortable for me, especially when Malcolm called him “a Filipino Gollum” and Cochran described him as a “bizarre little woodland creature.” Um, I wonder what he thinks about you weirdos.

Later, Tribal Council revealed that the fans tribe decided how to “prioritize physical strength or our loyalties” and “which one’s going to get us further in this game,” as Laura said moments before she was voted out. They’d decided the opposite of what she decided, apparently. Also Reynold played his idol.

The bad news is the editors still have Phillip and, on the fans side, Reynold, who is apparently the only person who was filmed. I exaggerate, but only a little. Eddie did appear to say that last week’s evictee, whose name I’ve already forgotten since she was basically introduced as she was kicked off the show, “was the prettiest one here and she was a threat to everyone because of that.” More importantly, he added, “I really don’t care for any of these people right now.”

You and me both, Eddie.

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.