Now that we're five episodes into what's shaping up to be a pretty strong season of Survivor, we're starting to get a better feel for the players themselves. For starters, we're actually starting to remember their names.
Oh, haha CBS. I guess the stupid nickname Jud's teammates gave him is now his official name. Terrific.
Anyway, after the Old People Tribe voted out crazy Jimmy T. last week, Marty realized that he had the rest of the game in the bag.
But due to the laws of ironic reality TV editing, this boast virtually guaranteed that something was indeed about to go wrong.
And that thing was a merge! Finally, Survivor decided to bridge the generation gap between the two tribes.
Holly and Brenda were randomly chosen to select new members for their teams. Clean buffs were distributed, and the Survivors proceeded to compete in their first-ever reward challenge (as opposed to the combo reward-plus-immunity challenges they've been doing all season).
It was a pretty cool Plinko-type deal. And the reward?
Winning tribe Espada returned to their camp, where Tyrone laid out the ground rules for all the new young'uns.
It went over really well.
Meanwhile Holly COULD NOT WAIT to sell out the older crew. She immediately cornered NaOnka and Alina and pinkie swore her allegiance.
Despite losing the reward challenge, Brenda was still pretty stoked about life.
This is Kelly Purple, who I'd forgotten was on the show.
Yeah, see, his name was this way during the interviews too. Oh well, stupid nickname aside, Jud is still A DREAMBOAT.
Brenda explained the camp rules to new members Marty, Jill, and Jane.
Meanwhile, Jane pulled a Holly and immediately sold out Marty and Jill.
Jane is awesome, basically.
Jud withstood Marty's condescending line of questioning.
Bonus Jud shot: ANNOYED/SMOLDERING.
Oh, hey, "Benry," if that IS your real name. (It is.)
It's hard to tell from this shot, but there was a truly miserable rain storm, and it definitely got the best of NaOnka. The episode's main point of suspense was whether or not she'd quit the show.
Alina tried to pep talk her, but NaOnka wasn't having it. They were former enemies who now only have a tenuous friendship due to their alliance.
But then Chase arrived with all the right words, moves, and moving words.
At first it just seemed like a nice thing for a teammate to do.
But then Chase went on to tell a really heartfelt story about his father's death, and how there was a rainstorm at the funeral and when he drove away, he saw a rainbow in the rear-view mirror, and NOW I'M CRYING AS I TYPE THIS. Seriously, it was a really nice moment.
Later, the tribes competed in one of the craziest, most sadistic challenges I've ever seen on Survivor. Three members from each tribe were strapped to this awful death wheel…
… Systematically DUNKED under water...
… And forced to SPIT WATER into funnels.
Over and over again. There was a second part of the challenge involving breaking tiles with a heavy ball. The hilarious thing was, the tribe members who were strapped to the wheel still had to hang out upside down in the background and observe while that happened. Truly nuts.
NaOnka's team didn't win, and she basically announced to the camera that she wanted to go home.
To cheer themselves up, her tribe decided to eat a chicken. Tyrone DID NOT approve but found himself outvoted.
This didn't stop him from eating more than his share, however. After 21 seasons, it's clear that there are two things that guarantee your expulsion: Ordering people around at camp, and eating too much food. Careful, Tyrone!
Just to balance out all the beefcake, it's only fair that I point out that Alina looked nice here.
At tribal council, the youngsters pointed out Tyrone's bossy attitude.
He was like, "Yeah, so? What of it?"
In NaOnka's SECOND humanizing moment of the night, she revealed that she has a better support group within her current tribe than she did in her real life when she went through her divorce. Jeff pointed out how sad and bizarre that is, and she sadly agreed. It's almost enough to forgive NaOnka for being a walking nightmare.
Seeing as NaOnka decided to stay in the game, the tribe voted out Tyrone. It's sad because he started off as a real promising player, but his missteps this episode were fatal. Bye, Tyrone!
... Do you think Marty will regain his strategy?
... Is Dan finally calling it quits next week?
... Should next week's recap include ONLY photos of Jud?