God was busy with reality shows this week: After being given all the credit for Russell’s SYTYCD win, he had to pick sides in Survivor Samoa‘s reward challenge. But how does one choose between prayer warriors and someone who’s praying?
Picking sides was the theme of the episode: Choosing teams for the reward challenge may have moved Foa Foa toward fracturing, because Natalie chose the last remaining true Galu, Brett, and then prayed with him and Mick throughout the challenge, causing Russell to question their alliance and consider voting off Mick.
Ultimately, though, after Brett won immunity, Russell thought about the endgame, which means eventually getting rid of saintly Brett, and that means having more physical players who can actually win challenges (unlike, say, Russell). Thus, Mick was spared and Shambo left, and Shambo was okay with that. More on that in a minute; first, to the prayer warriors!
At the reward challenge, Natalie joined hands with new cast member Brett, and said, “Brett, you’re a prayer warrior, aren’t you?” When it was his turn to pull a rope to see how many coconuts would fall, “Let God’s hand guide Brett.” Alas, they lost, perhaps because on the other reward challenge team, Shambo was also communicating with a higher power: “You rock, God,” she said after her team inched closer to winning a reward. All of this was very amusing and very annoying.
Having faith is one thing, but it’s so arrogant and obnoxious to assume a higher power would interfere in a stupid reality show game and then a few months later let a bunch of people die as a tsunami destroys the very land used for the challenge. What, the dead and affected Samoans weren’t prayer warriors? Please.
That challenge, by the way, took four hours to complete, which Jeff Probst writes was “simply too long” in his “final Samoa “blog” for Entertainment Weekly. He adds producers considered changing the reward challenge because of the way that would affect the rest of the production. (There’s a lot of insight in his column this week, and he even disclaims his predictions by writing, “Even though I do know the outcome of who makes it to the final, I am still going to give you the same predictions I felt at this point when we were shooting the show.” Clearly, Jeff made my prayers come true.)
Anyway, Shambo’s clairvoyant dreams haven’t ever really worked out, but she did–incredibly–predict exactly the number of coconuts that would drop out at one point in the challenge (58), a nice point on which to exit the show, because it made her seem slightly less crazy than usual. Or it was just creepy.
In my conversation with her a few minutes ago, Shannon “Shambo” Waters was the upbeat, positive person that we didn’t always see on TV, although not quite as annoyingly exuberant as she was when we talked pre-season. For example, I asked her what she thought of Russell saying, hilariously, that she has “ass breath” and that “she should shave that whole head” because “her hair is funky” and “she sneaks food” and “puts it in her hair. She puts bananas in there, and pieces of coconuts, peanuts.”
Shambo laughed at that, and said “Russ is pretty much an open book” and “nobody was off his radar” in terms of “anything nasty or disparaging” that he had to say. She says they have a “great, great friendship,” and “nothing that he said last night that didn’t just make me laugh. It’s just Russ, man.” She also noted, “Russ was great at causing hate and discontent and manipulating people” to serve his own purposes.
In her exit confessional, Shambo didn’t seem angry at all that they voted her off, and she’s still not, even though she was the reason they’re in power. “I don’t think that it was disloyal at all” to vote her off, she told me. “Who else in the real world was going to go home? I think they absolutely had my back to the extent that they could without voting one of their own off.” She added, “nobody owes me anything.”
On the jury, Shambo said, “I absolutely, positively voted with my heart” for “the person that I thought played the best game.” That jury is composed of several people who didn’t exactly get along with Shambo, and who still aren’t happy with her now.
When I read Dave’s comments to me that “Shambo’s world is clouded by fear, mental and emotional illness, Shambo said, “Wow. Did he really say that? That is unbelievably inaccurate. I’m dying laughing right now. That’s hysterical to me. I’m absolutely shocked.” Shambo said that she hasn’t followed any of the conversation about the season, so that’s the first time she’s ever heard such criticism. “I’m not on the Internet, I haven’t been reading people’s interviews.”
“Everybody is entitled to his opinion,” she said, noting that his comments were “borderline hilarity. Was I emotional? Absolutely. Am I an emotional person by nature? You bet I am. She said if someone is “mistaking me being high strung and incredibly ADD for being emotionally unstable, I think they are sadly mistaken. My life is absolutely fabulous,” and she said, “I hold no ill will.” She said her lingering memory of Dave Ball is that “the guy gave me a big hug” when she wasn’t feeling well.
That’s also true of her conflict with Laura, who said that not only did she not go after Shambo, Shambo “would constantly come after me.” Shambo told me, “I’m not going to go there because it’s over and done with. We all know what happened out there.” Shambo added, “I’d be really curious to hear the interviews that will follow mine” because “the five people that are left” could offer insight. But she also said “let’s just bury the hatchet, because it’s over and done with,” and pointed out that having people who are malnourished and dehydrated “are going to go off on each other.”