Survivor 21.04 “Pulling the Trigger” Recap

Did you miss last week’s ouster of NFL Great Jimmy Johnson? Catch up on my recap here.

This week’s episode starts with Espada back camp after voting out Coach Jimmy Johnson. The first storm of the season hits, depressing everyone. Everyone but Jimmy T, that is. He confides to the camera that what Coach (Jimmy J) considered his great leadership skills was nothing more than a couple of basic speeches. It was clear that Coach wasn’t a Jimmy T fan, so Jimmy T isn’t going to miss him. Jimmy (no longer Jimmy T from here on out in these recaps) starts singing, very poorly, and annoying his tribe. Marty confesses that Jimmy is just putting on the “Jimmy T Show.” “Jimmy needs to hear his own voice 24/7…, but if you give him enough rope, he’ll hang himself.”

The next morning, Holly looks out on the destruction caused by the storm. The rain washed out their beach, and left the ocean so muddy it is unfishable. Jill comments that they are all pretty hungry and are living on two cups of rice a day because they can’t fish. Jimmy grabs their fish net and casts it a number of times to try to catch something, but the former commercial fisherman is unsuccessful. Jane tells the audience that she misses Coach because every team she has ever been on, there was a captain. She hopes that someone on Espada will step up to fill that role.

At La Flor, NaOnka wakes and realizes that it has rained. She didn’t know because she slept so soundly. Brenda has the clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol, and thinks she has figured it out. She grabs NaOnka, marches out to Tree Mail, and walks off the eight yards west. Lo and behold, they find the HII, conveniently marked by an out-of-place stone. NaOnka confesses that even though she and Brenda found the HII together, it is really hers because she recently figured out that a million dollars is on the line. Therefore, no one is going to get in her way — not even a one-legged person. Speaking of Kelly B, she and Alina chat about how hard it is to pretend to like NaOnka. Alina says that she and Kelly B have become great friends. The friends decide to go look for the HII where they say NaOnka and Brenda searching earlier. NaOnka sees the two of them leave and decides to follow in order to make them scared, which will in turn make them weak. “Looking for something?” NaOnka cattily asks Alina and Kelly B. She then confronts them directly by telling Kelly B, “I don’t like you.” Kelly B knows that NaOnka is just looking for a reaction, so she won’t give her one. After the confrontation, and throwing a few more insults Kelly B’s way, NaOnka tells the camera that she doesn’t need a charity case on the Jury. She wants Kelly B and her fake leg gone. “Screw her leg. She better keep it away from the fire!”

That night, at the Espada camp, Jill and Marty express their feeling that the tribe is actually in pretty good shape, all things considered. Marty thinks that for challenges there needs to be only one voice. He nominates Tyrone for the job because he has performed so well in challenges. There are no objections, not even from Jimmy, though he does mention that he will continue to snap a couple times, here and there. Jimmy confesses that Marty, like Coach, isn’t a Jimmy T fan either. Further, he can’t stand listening to Marty talk. Sometimes he just wants the girl to shut up.

The next morning, Yve and Holly receive Tree Mail. The message speaks of receiving “warmth and comfort” and is accompanied by a couple blindfolds. Espada starts practicing for the seasonal blindfold challenge, with Tyrone barking out instructions. Marty confides that one reason he chose Tyrone to lead was to annoy Jimmy. He sums up Jimmy as a man with a combination of paranoia and delusions of grandeur. Anything he can do to accelerate Jimmy’s self-destruction is fine with him. With that, the tribe leaves for…

…the Immunity Challenge. Actually it is another Immunity/Reward Hybrid Challenge (seriously, I hate these). La Flor is shocked that Coach was voted out by Espada, but they don’t have much time to process that fact as Jeff begins to explain the challenge. Each tribe will have one caller, and three blindfolded pairs of teammates. The caller will lead the pairs out into a field to retrieve ten items provided by Sears (Blatant Product Placement #1 for the season!). Once all ten items are returned to the tribes starting mat, the caller will then instruct one of the pairs back out onto the course to retrieve a set of keys, and then open a chest with one of those keys. Once the chest is opened, the pair will bring the chest back to the tribe’s mat. First team to bring back their unlocked chest will win Immunity and will be allowed to select three items generously provided by Sears (BPP!). If La Flor decides to use the Medallion of Power, they will start with two of their ten items already on their mat. La Flor deliberates, and decides to use the MoP, which is handed over to Espada. The challenge only requires seven players form each side, so Dan, Kelly B and Purple Kelly sit out.

The teams line up with Brenda and Tyrone as the callers. Survivors ready…Go! Immediately, all three La Flor pairs fan out across the course. Brenda is calmly and effectively guiding them to their items. Sash bumps into a barrel (the best part of these blindfold challenges), but the three pairs quickly retrieve an item each, giving La Flor a 5-0 lead before Espada gets their first item back. Marty goes head over heels across one of the chests, but Yve is able to get one of their items back. The tribes then alternate to items each. La Flor then gets items 8 and 9 back, while Espada brings back number 4 and 5. Finally, La Flor gathers item 10, then quickly secures their keys and the chest. They open the chest, and rush it back to their mat. La Flor wins Immunity and Reward! Jimmy complains that he couldn’t hear Tyrone, but no one is listening to him. La Flor chooses the Sears fishing kit, the Sears tarp and the Sears cooking supplies, before Jeff sends both tribes back to their camps.

Back at Espada, Dan says that the challenge was tough, but that it was really the MoP that was the difference. Tyrone agrees. Unsurprisingly, Jimmy does not. He thinks it’s great they all think they did a good job, but he wants to make it clear that he still believes he deserves a shot at leading. Tyrone asks him if he thinks if he was in a different role during the challenge, the result would have been different. Jimmy doesn’t think so; he just wants an opportunity to help the team win. “Doesn’t everyone get at equal opportunity?” Jimmy asks Tyrone (Now, I don’t know if he meant it this way, but the way Jimmy emphasized “equal opportunity” when speaking to Tyrone, an African-American, it sure seemed like he was making an affirmative action reference.).

At the La Flor camp, the tribe returns with their reward. Sash thanks the BPP gods, shouting, “God bless Sears!” As the tribe unpacks their booty, Chase opens the tacklebox and finds a clue to the HII inside. He tells the camera that he trusts Brenda, so he immediately goes to her to inform her about the clue. As they trek off to find it, Brenda confesses that she feels bad letting Chase believe he can find the HII. She trusts NaOnka, and she doesn’t want to alienate her (especially because NaOnka has the HII), but she can’t lie to Chase either. She asks Chase who he trusts, and he immediately replies her more than anyone. Slowly, Brenda reveals that NaOnka already has the HII. Chase, not really detecting the alliance between Brenda and NaOnka, says that as long as NaOnka isn’t after him, he’s cool with her. He wants to tell NaOnka that he’s all good with her, but Brenda puts the kibosh on that, saying that if NaOnka thinks Brenda betrayed her, then she and Chase are screwed.

The Espada tribe spends the afternoon looking for sea urchins, the only available protein at their beach. Seeing Marty dining on a few, Jimmy criticizes him for not being a team player and not gathering sea urchins for everyone. Marty immediately feels personally affronted and goes to Yve to say he wants Jimmy out. Marty goes further in his confessional, stating that Jimmy is out of his mind for calling Marty out in front of the tribe. “That’s like putting a gun in your mouth, pulling the trigger and blowing your brains out.” So begins Marty’s crusade to oust Jimmy T. While Marty goes to his lieutenant, Jill, for her support in voting out Jimmy (“whatever you say,” Jill replies, despite wanting to vote for Dan), Jane tells Holly that it should be Dan who goes home. He’s a nice guy, but absolutely no help in the challenges.

Marty marches over to Tyrone next, but he wants to vote for Dan as well because Dan can’t walk. Marty won’t take no for an answer though, and continues to work Tyrone (I do find the Marty-Tyrone dynamic to be very interesting. As much as Marty can push around and intimidate everyone else, Tyrone doesn’t seem to be effected by it. He may vote with Marty, but it seems like his own decision.). Marty tells the camera that Jimmy is volatile and pushing the boundaries of his patience, so he has to go. To illustrate that point, the action cuts to Jimmy talking Yve’s ear off. Again, he says that he just wants one shot to prove his leadership abilities. Yve confesses that Jimmy is ridiculously insecure. She doesn’t coddle her kids as much as she does Jimmy. For his part, Jimmy says that he just feels alone in the game. He won’t for long, as the tribe heads out to…

…Tribal Council. Jeff asks Tyrone what happened at the Challenge. Tyrone replies that their plan actually went very well, causing Jimmy’s eyes to widen so quickly, I was afraid they would knock the buff off his head. Jeff, incredulous at Tyrone’s answer, asks Marty if he agrees. He does, pointing out that they were only one item short when La Flor won, so if the MoP hadn’t been used, they were right in it. Jeff corrects him, noting that they still would have had to retrieve the keys, the chest, and opened three locks. Jeff asks Dan if he feels in danger because he keeps sitting out challenges, that he is a burden to his tribe. Dan says that they agreed he wouldn’t participate in challenges in the mud. If he is on flat, dry ground, he’s as strong as a bull (uh….right), but he just abide the mud. Does Dan’s response factor into Jill’s vote, Jeff wants to know. She replies in the affirmative.

Jimmy, unable to not speak for more then two minutes, says that he wants to mix it up. Obviously the tribe isn’t winning, so they should change up their leadership, and give him a shot. Jeff asks Marty if he would be amenable to that. Marty replies, “Not really,” before essentially gutting Jimmy for being annoying, in the most passive aggressive tone ever (man, Marty must have loved firing people over at Yahoo, don’t you think?). The tribe starts looking around, wondering why Marty is laying into Jimmy. Holly comes to Jimmy’s defense, saying that all the man is asking for is a chance to try being the leader. Jeff asks Tyrone if Jimmy has value to the tribe. Tyrone says he does, but perhaps that value lies in him being more of a follower than a leader. Jeff asks Jimmy if he is willing to accept that role. Jimmy tears up, and asks for a minute. Tyrone mentions that this is a way for Jimmy to look to improve himself as a person. Jimmy agrees(!), saying he is willing to be a worker bee and nothing more. With that, it’s time to vote.

Espada votes, with Holly voting for Dan (and apologizing for ruining his shoes), and Marty gleefully voting for Jimmy. Jeff retrieves the votes. The first for is for Dan, as are the next two. Then there are three votes for Jimmy. The seventh vote is for Jimmy. “The fourth person voted out of Survivor: Nicaragua…Jimmy T.” Jimmy grabs his torch and brings it to Jeff while Marty, wearing a Cheshire Cat smile, shakes his head. Jeff snuffs Jimmy’s torch, and the Gloucester fisherman (and Sears Online Casting Call winner, how apt!!) marches off into the Blue Light of Death. Jeff sends the decimated Espada back to camp.

Next time on…Survivor!!

NaOnka starts to lose her mind (she hasn’t lost it yet?!?). Marty crows about his self-confidence and the perfect way his game plan is playing out (at a Challenge no less!). He says that it would take something major to change his game. Jeff and Mark Burnett then decide to save this season from Survivor: Fiji status. Jeff says, “Drop your buffs!” It’s time to mix up the tribes!

The tribe mix-up is always a great point in the seasons it is deployed, because, obviously, it turns the game on its head. People that were in a vanishing minority alliance have the opportunity to start over, and be on top. The knowledge about who has an HII becomes all that more important. Questions about who will remain loyal to whom at The Merge also arise. It’s the best way to improve a lackluster season, and with Espada looking on the brink of utter destruction, I’m glad they are going this route. There are a couple ways to mix up the tribes, including picking the three strongest members to unknowingly switch tribes, a representative of each tribe picking new teams by themselves (a personal favorite), or the schoolyard pick-em. As Jeff announces “Drop your buffs,” at a challenge with both teams present, I expect captains will be nominated there, they will each pick someone from the opposite tribe, and then those people chosen will pick the next person so on and so forth. The results could likely change the Odds in dramatic ways, but for now, let’s assume everyone winds up in a relatively ideal situation.

Odds to Win

Brenda: 3-1. Brenda could go down as one of the best Survivor players ever. She is in a majority alliance, no one is even thinking about ousting her, and she was able to actually get Chase to not tell NaOnka he knows about the HII. Further, she has done all of this maneuvering without any confrontation. I think she can even charm Marty if they end up on the same tribe. Until she errs in some way, she will remain the favorite.

Yve: 5-1. I move Yve back up because I think no matter how the tribes mix, she will come out ahead. She is clearly liked amongst Espada, and I can see some of the guys on La Flor appreciating a certain Mrs. Robinson factor, and wanting to keep her around. Plus, she seems pretty good at the challenges, so I contend she’s still a very strong player.

Jill: 7-1. I think Jill has, potentially, the most to gain from the mix-up. Yes, she has a great ally in Marty, but she is so deferential to him, that she doesn’t seem to be playing her game. If she is separated from him, she will have the benefit of having to play for herself. I think she is more than able to get in well with members of La Flor, and should they both make The Merge, she and Marty can reconnect.

Chase: 9-1. Oh Chase. Like Odysseus, other members of Chase’s tribe need to tie him to something so he can resist Brenda’s siren song. He will do practically anything she says. Yes, he’s still in the majority, but he, like Jill, might benefit from being separated from Brenda for a little while. I actually would like to see him united with Tyrone, because those two could likely do some damage. Plus, that could keep the “let’s get rid of the big guy” target off his back.

Tyrone: 11-1. I’m moving Tyrone up because of the way he handles Marty and everyone else on his tribe. This guy never loses his cool, and even when he’s essentially insulting someone, his tone is so reasonable, that he just seems to be making good arguments. He still has his physicality working against him in the long run (Yul was really the only big, young contestant to win. Maybe J.T. can be considered “big.”), but I like what I’m seeing from Tyrone.

Fabio (Jud): 13-1. Was he even in this episode? I don’t think we heard one word from him. Though he obviously did nothing wrong, if he ends up with Marty, I could see Marty gunning for him because he is jealous of Fabio’s lustrous hair.

Sash: 16-1. Another non-factor this week (well, I guess he did secure the keys in the challenge), Sash’s odds worsen a bit because for someone who seemed so damn obnoxious during his pre-game interviews, there’s no way he can keep that attitude from popping up for an entire 39 days, right? Right??

Purple Kelly (Kelly S.): 20-1. Uh…Purple Kelly sat out the challenge and didn’t speak. Floaters win sometimes. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.

Kelly B.: 35-1. Next week can’t arrive fast enough for Kelly B. With a little luck, she’ll land on a tribe without NaOnka, with Alina, and with one other sympathetic player (Jill, perhaps?). If so, her prospects will shoot up because she is one tough cookie. I do think her chances of winning the game are still not very good (she’ll never make the Final Three), but her chances at the Jury should vastly improve next week.

Alina: 37-1. Like Kelly B, Alina’s deliverance is likely at hand next week. I do think she is a strong player who just happened to get on the wrong side of her tribe because of her chosen alliance. With that possibly blowing up soon, Alina’s chances change for the better.

Marty: 48-1. I can’t say I’m upset Marty’s game is about to explode in his face. This guy is such a jealous, petty man that I hope he gets knocked on his ass. He’s like Russell, but without the balls to play his maniacal game out in the open. As soon as Holly, Jane, Yve, or Tyrone end up on a different tribe, the first thing they are going to say is that Marty is the ringleader and has an HII. If he makes The Merge, I see him being targeted immediately.

Jane: 50-1. It appears Jane is on the outside of her current alliance, so she may benefit from a tribe mix-up. Then again, if she’s with the “wrong” people (not “bad” people, jsut wrong for her game), I could see her being targeted for being the “old woman,” as often occurs early in Survivor.

Benry: 55-1. See “Sash” above. With less brains.

Holly: 60-1. Holly has been able to keep the target off of her, but, like Jane, she is on the outside of her alliance. The right mix on her new tribe might benefit her, but I still dont’ see how she makes it far unless she somehow becomes the swing vote between two opposing alliances.

NaOnka: 400-1. Jizzy Crizzy. Is it possible for NaOnka to become even more of a villain? She gleefully admitted she knocked over the one-legged woman, and says she’d be happy to do it again, if not incinerate the leg! Anyone who goes out of their way to purposefully antagonize people on her tribe is just begging to be voted off. Can you imagine what will happen if she and Marty end up on the same tribe? I am praying for this. I would love to see them take each other on, both be worried about getting voted out, and both playing their HIIs at the same time. If all the votes were for those two, the tribe would have to revote. That would be pretty awesome.

Dan: 499-1. I improve Dan’s odds by 1 because perhaps he is being protected by ancient Nicaraguan gods or something. Don’t want to piss off the gods, right?

Alright, that’s it for this week’s Survivor. What did you think? Are you excited for the Tribe Mix-Up? Who would you like to see ending up on the same tribe, for better or worse? What do you think of Chase’s utter devotion to Brenda? Can NaOnka get any more despicable? When will Marty start hearing voices leading him to be jealous of Jeff and declaring he should be host, too? Do you disagree with my Odds to Win? Please leave your questions and comments below or in our Survivor Forum. Make sure you follow us on Twitter: @TVOvermind and @MikeNJD. I’ll be back next week with a recap of what should be a great episode. Until then, I’m off to fish like a pelican.

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