Survivor Cagayan: totally drenched in all kinds of fun

Coming off two incredibly strong episodes, Survivor Cagayan delivered not quite as much suspense or surprise, but still a strong episode with lots of “what?!” moments. (Also, last night’s episode had some special meaning for me.)

Has miserable rain ever been more fun (well, for Woo, one of the few who embraced it: “This is what Survivor’s all about, baby!”)? Has miserable rain ever looked more gorgeous? Some of the shots even captured individual drops, and continued to provide evidence about Survivor‘s enduring success: it’s just incredibly well-made. The music alone was worth the hour, especially Strauss’ “The Blue Danube” over the Brains’ tribe’s challenge practice session.

Also, its host makes sure the audience constantly understands the rules of the game, which is very helpful, especially when he repeats them five or six hundred times during the challenge, and then reminds the players of a key part of the challenge that they might have missed: “all you want to do is make sure you don’t finish last.” So, the point is to not lose? I’m so confused.

The Brains tribe is, as J’Tia said, channeling Probst, “a disaster, but it’s entertaining, so we’ll see what happens.” She’s a major part of that, of course, saying at one point, “I gotta have some rice.” Uh, maybe you should have thought of that before reenacting a scene from a previous season and dumping all your tribe’s food on the ground.

The Brains tribe did think to practice for the challenge, in that great sequence, but it didn’t seem to help them much, thanks to J’Tia, who has now firmly become one of those classic Survivor contestants whose bio and on-location performance are thoroughly and bafflingly mismatched.

But in a challenge designed by a member of the Dream Team, they pulled ahead, incredibly. They looked miserable in their happiness, like they didn’t know how to win.

There was a lot of setup about Tony and Sarah’s cop alliance, and I thoroughly expect he’ll be out in the next few weeks because of all the attention he and his overwrought cockiness have been getting.

The strategy talk at the Beauty tribe seemed to be about as logical as Jefra telling us about the “soaking wet water” and the “strategies I’ve never heard of.” (I think that might mean, roughly: I watched one of the DVDs casting gave me when I was recruited and thought we were just supposed to reenact that.)

Jeremiah, who apparently speaks, explained, “my may goal is to take over this try,” but LJ also thought that he was in control: “I have all the power.”

Then they went to Tribal Council and split their votes three ways, voting in two-person alliances. For this early in the game, with that small a tribe, it was a pretty astonishing vote. It was perhaps less surprising that Jeremiah changed his vote and they sent Brice home, yielding a fun exit speech from Brice who called himself the “cutest” and “most fashionable,” and said “I’m sure [Jeremiah] doesn’t really understand what happened” and was “surprised he could even spell my name.”

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.