Exile Island Episode 2: Breakdown

Previously, a new season where there were four tribes divided by age and gender and there was a prominent new twist throughout the entire season: any tribe that loses in a Reward Challenge will send one person to be exiled to Janu Island. It's like a "Hey, we don't like ya, really!" gesture but the exiled person can find solace in the fact that there's a hidden Immunity Idol we'll call Wally somewhere in Janu Island. Although I'm sure there will be times when Probby would annouce that a tribe must send someone to Janu Island just because he can, really. The older women tribe, called the Cadavers, won fire while the losing tribe, the younger women of Bimbonetta, sent Misty the missile engineer to Janu Island. At the Immunity Challenge, the Cadavers tanked and Tina, the person who could make fires and all, was sent packing. It looks this show is determined to make sure that capable people stay out of this show as much as possible! Who would be booted to Loser Lodge this week? Stay tuned. Survivor: Janu Island has started.

Night, day three. I don't what happened during the day, maybe someone performed a raindance too well, but a thunderstorm has hit the place. At LaDida, the camp of the Older Men, the shelter is, according to Shane, "somewhat useless". I suppose that's because the canopy of the shelter somewhat lets the rain enter the shelter and everyone and everything is therefore somewhat soaked and shivering and miserable all around. Shane says that the place has bad luck and that's when lightning, accompanied by huge thunderclaps, strikes and shocks both Shane and the cameraman out of their skins. It looks like Mother Nature is doing to these people the same thing that bad cowboys in Looney Tunes cartoons do when they start shooting at the feet of Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny to make them dance. It's the same thing at Camp Vancheros, where the beefcakes are trying not to huddle closely - the fear of coming off as too gay on TV is stronger than the cold out there - while Bobby takes the opportunity to slurp at rainwater dripping down some fronds. Ooh, that's one of the most erotic things I've seen on this show, I tell you. Someone moans that they are all dying, although I suppose it is possible that they will all die from pneumonia, and they all decide that maybe they need a better shelter than the one they are currently soaking wet under.

With the whole "the storms are here, which proves to everyone how dangerous the island is" thing done with, it's now on to day four, morning. Hello, Camp Cadaver. Silly Cirie, who claimed in the previous episode to be scared of leaves, is now catching up on lost time by burning leaves along with twigs and all using the flint that the Cadavers had won in the previous Reward Challenge. Take that, scary evil leaves! Silly Cirie owns all leaves in the place, muahahaha! Ruth Marie and Melinda stand nearby, huffing and puffing and hoping that Tina is watching them from somewhere and seething quietly because look, Cirie has conquered her fear of leaves and they are all still alive!

Over at Bimbonetta, the ladies decide to try plucking some papayas and after some jostling and squealings, they manage to grab one papaya. Equal opportunity is only the right thing to do, although be assured that because this is a Burnetto show, the equal opportunity thing arises only by accident, so there's Bobby sucking water from leaves for those who like hot guys and there's Misty declaring that eating papaya is like having an orgasm for those who like hot gals. Maybe it's because she doesn't eat papayas often, I suppose, because I often buy a slice of papaya for some light snack in the afternoons from the fruit vendor down the street and I certainly don't get seized by orgasmic sensations no matter how much I'd love to be.

Over at LaDida, Terry stands in the water looking out at the sea like he's some veteran sailor and announces that things look kinda stormy in the west and the north directions. Does this mean that it's time to pack up and move to the east? Meanwhile, Shane looks fed up and weary and tells the camera while wandering along the beach and in the water like a poster boy for detox centers everywhere that he misses his kid, especially when he remembers how his kid has ball games every Sunday. Today is Sunday, I suppose. He apparently starts to feel that he doesn't want to be here and he'd rather be back home. In a way, I don't think he is quitting as much as it is his smoking withdrawal kicking in mixed with some mild panic attack that one may feel when one is in completely alien surroundings and is suddenly seized by an irrational need to run home. Or maybe I'm just channeling myself in Shane, I admit: when I was a kid, I would always experience this feeling of being trapped whenever I went away for girl guide gatherings or trips that took me away from home and sometimes I would want to just pack up and go home. A few days later, I would be fine and ready to kick ass. If that is what Shane is feeling, I can totally understand what he's going through.

Shane now complains that it is boring living at LaDida where things are always monotonous, and then starts crying when he says that he really misses his kid and all that, although he is kind enough to lift up his shirt to show off his stomach as he wipes his eyes with the hem of his shirt. What? I'm sure there are some people out there who would appreciate the sight! Shane looks a little like Billy Bob Thornton and he has some crazy/mean kind of pretty that I can get used to enjoying and I think I'm not alone in that. Right? Right? To the other LaDidas, Shane shouts at the sky to stop sending them rainstorms. The other men look at him like he's gone crazy. Shane is just not fitting in, oh dear.

After all that melodrama about tears and storms and women having papaya-induced orgasms, the show decides to kindly give me a reprieve from my tumultous adrenaline-rush by making it time for Probby to conduct the Reward Challenge. But first, he has something to announce. Yes, it's a new twist, people! The guys will stand on rocks that are lighter-colored while the ladies will stand on darker-colored rocks. They are then told to lift the rock to check what's underneath. It turns out that there is one buff under one of the lighter-colored rocks and ditto for the darker-colored rocks. Danielle has one while Terry has the other one. Does this mean that those two are eliminated straight away? No, the twist is even more exciting - the four tribes are being merged into two tribes! How exciting! I suppose the camera crew must have gone on strike until Burnetto agreed to cut down their workload by merging the tribes back to two. Danielle and Terry will pick a member of the opposite sex to join them and the person picked will pick another member of the opposite sex, and so on. To keep it simple, let me just sum up the situation quick and easy. Danielle picks Shane whom she calls "the cool guy" (even Shane finds that amusing), Shane picks "little lady" Courtney, Courtney picks Aras (she winked at him in the first episode, remember?), Aras picks Cirie, and Cirie picks Bobby, who is then forced to pick Melinda. These people are the new Cadaver tribe. Terry picks Sally who picks Austin who picks Misty who picks Nick who picks Ruth Marie who then picks Dan. You'd notice, I'm sure, that the older women are picked last like they are unwanted baggages. How sad, really. This leaves Bruce as the last person chosen by neither tribe.

Probby asks Bruce how the man will feel being booted on the fourth day. Bruce says that he will be disappointed as he came here to win. However, Probby reveals that Bruce isn't going to be booted. In fact, he's guaranteed to be safe in the next Tribal Council because he's going to be spending the next few days at Janu Island until the next Tribal Council. Then, he would listen to the proceedings and then take the place of the person booted in that tribe. Bruce acts like he's given a huge advantage to save face and Probby consoles him by saying that "theoretically" (assuming Misty hasn't found it) Wally is still hidden in Janu Island. When Bruce leaves for Janu Island, the others act like they love and care for Bruce by telling him to keep going. Or maybe that's "keep going" as in "don't come back"? Hmmm.

With Bruce out of the way, it's now time for the Reward Challenge. It's an obstacle course thingie. One person from each tribe is designated as the person who will carrying six large wooden snakes that the tribe will have to find in this Challenge. Two snakes are tangled up among some obstacles that they must crawl under, two more along some obstacle courses that they must climb over, and two more buried among mud, leaves (oh, poor Cirie), and twigs in a pit. First tribe to "wrangle" all snakes (as Probby puts it) will win fishing gear and a raft. Now I know why they can now pump out two seasons a year at hyperspeed: the "rewards" on this show are dirt cheap and this show must be filthy cheap to make, especially now that Burnetto own Janu Island and can set the show there every time. Next season: Survivor: Outcast Island, set in Panama! The season after that, Survivor: Island Of Danger, set in Panama! And wait for Survivor: Island Of Skulls, also set in Panama! Back to the challenge, it's pretty hard to recap what happened in an exciting manner. The LaDidas are faster and they win the Reward, although the Cadavers nearly catch up in the third stage of the Challenge when everyone is digging for the last two snakes. There is some fun in watching Shane nearly brain himself in the second obstacle course and how Aras' shorts seemed determined to hang on to that man's hips only by the sheer will of his. That man is going to look close to an ugly zombie like Ian if he lasts longer into the show because unlike Nick who's got some brawn along with the beef, Aras looks like he will wear out and wear down very soon. Anyway, with LaDida winning the whole shebang, Probby sends the two tribes back to their camp, which happens to be that of the original Cadaver and LaDida campsites.

At Camp Cadaver, a clear division is formed between Cirie, Bobby, and Melinda versus Aras, Shane, Courtney, and Danielle. But first, a bonding ritual that involves dipping of one's body into the sea hoping that the scum and the muck on one's body will be cleansed by the sea to allow Shane to moan about how he's "thirty-four going on twelve". He tells the others that the old coots in the original LaDida have the nerve to treat Shane like some kid that has to be told what to do and now that he's among people who he is more comfortable being around (he tells the camera that he's more comfortable around young people), he's getting his spirits up again. I always wonder about people like Shane. He says that he loves being around young people, but do the young people feel the same? Shane declares to the camera that he is young for his age and he thinks about life the same way that young people do. That line may work if we're talking about an 80-year old man in an insurance commercial but in this case, I don't know. There is nothing more embarrassing than a man who insists on hanging out with people who are going to be embarrassed to be seen with him.

Meanwhile, is anyone as uneasy as I am with the possibility that Cirie has only one bathing suit and it's that tiny brown bikini that is way too small for her? She is all but popping out of that tiny thing and I'm sure that are war sirens created at some places out there to warn people should such an incident happen. Wait, it happened in the last episode and... oh dear.

The Cadavers admire the shelter that the original Cadavers (read: Tina) have built and marvel at the apparent fact that the shelter can actually function as a shelter. What a revolutionary idea! Cirie tells the camera that oh no, her camp has been invaded! She is also exasperated by Courtney's tendency to use "like" in her conversation and the show helpfully cuts to a clip of Courtney using "like" and "you know" all the time before giggling and announcing that she's "like, gangsta Hollywood". Of course, if Courtney is gangsta Hollywood, I'm practically the Yakuza spokesperson. Let's file Courtney under the braindead category for now and see how she fares in the long run. Melinda tells the camera that she and Cirie clearly stick out like sore thumbs. Why, because they aren't young and cute like Danielle and Courtney? Shane announces that it's great to have ladies around and I have a sad feeling that he's not including Cirie and Melinda under his category of "ladies".

Shane later approaches Danielle and says that they, Aras, and Courtney should form an alliance all the way to the end. He wants that alliance to happen without much drama and tells them that he swears on his son's life that it will be the four of them to the end. And that's how he loves his son, I suppose, because his son is as important as his word. Let's hope that his word is worth a lot. A lot. Shane then says that if the others betray him, he'll kill them. Courtney laughs but Shane tells her that he is being very serious. Danielle points out to the camera that the Fat Ladies and One Black Guy are missing out on the Cool White Kids Alliance and says that hey, if you don't talk and pay attention to other people, you'll miss out on important alliances. Yeah, as if they really intend to include Melinda and Cirie in their alliance if those two chat up a storm with them. How high school, really. "We cool kids would have liked you if you would, like, talk to us more," they would say, but good luck to any unpopular kids that try to approach them later for some friendly bonding.

Over at LaDida, Dan tells the camera that phew, he was the last man picked but it was a close call and he was so happy that he's still in a tribe with Terry because, you know, they had a deal and Dan is now 100% safe. Or something. Something tells me that Dan is more invested in this alliance than Terry is and he will learn that the hard way sooner or later, heh. Meanwhile, Terry approaches Nick and Austin to suggest an all-male alliance to to boot out the women. At this point, I am somewhat amused that the same furor that arose over the "sexist Feminazis" of Vanuatu when they decided to form an all-female alliance does not arise when the men decide to form an all-male alliance. But that says a lot about the attitude of many of the more ridiculous viewers out there than this show, I suppose. Nick and Austin are somewhat non-commitant in that they don't embrace the idea fully but they don't reject it either. Nick tells the camera that he thinks this all-male alliance makes sense in the short term (read: before the merge) but hey, one never knows what will happen. As an aside, why do the hot guys of this season have to be so corny and dull when they speak? I mean, we have Aras who oozes cheese from his pores and then we have Nick who is square in the head as well as his jaw. Ugh. Meanwhile, Sally approaches Nick and Austin to propose an alliance between her, Misty, and those two men. They will be the Hot Young People Forever alliance, I suppose. Austin agonizes to the camera about how it isn't all "fun and games" when they are stuck between two parties all wanting a piece of them. Oh, the pain of forming alliances on this show! Why can't everyone get along?

At Janu Island, Bruce reads a map that comes with some clues to the location of Wally. The word "why" is in quotation marks in that same sentence that Probby told Misty in the previous episode and also on the map is an area marked to show where Wally is not hidden. Bruce says that he is also given a new clue: that Wally is hidden above the tide line. That means nobody has to swim around the sea looking for Wally and risk drowning in the process. This show pampers its contestans more and more, I tell you. Bruce tries to start a fire but screws up so instead he decides to do a Pat Morita on everyone as he performs some tai-chi thingie. I'm sorry but I actually laugh out loud at that scene because there's something about a man doing meditative exercises after he can't start a fire while a storm is about to start that tickles my funny bone to no end. Later that night, a storm breaks and poor cold and miserable Bruce says that he won't wish Janu Island on his worst enemy. He probably won't, because it seems like you'll get more clues to Wally's location the later you are sent to Janu Island and assuming that no one else gets Wally, being sent to Janu Island may make a difference to one's gameplay when one's back is against the wall. Bruce will not want his worst enemy to go to Janu Island armed with a hundred clues to Wally's location!

I don't know what happened on day five because it's now day six, morning. Sally and Nick decide to raft out to sea and try using the fishing gear they have won to catch some fish. Maybe these two want some quiet time for nookies as well, I don't know, because Terry sure seems like he knows how to use the fishing spear when he demonstrates how to use it to those two and I don't know why then Nick and Sally tell each other that no one in that tribe knows how to use the fishing gear that they have won. As they are out at sea, Misty takes hold of the spear and tempts karma by saying that it will be really terrible if she loses the spear. Oops, she then loses the spear. The editors for some reason do not want to show me exactly how she loses the spear so all I get next is a scene of Sally quickly diving into the sea in an attempt to retrieve the spear before it's lost for good. She fails to do so and Nick reassures her that hey, these things happen. Sally however is not so confident about how the other tribemates will react to her losing the spear. Indeed, as she nervously explains to Dan and Terry at the shore when she returns that she has lost the spear, those two scowl fiercely at her. Terry tells the camera that the LaDidas would have had "tons of fish" if that spear hasn't gone missing. Well then, he should have gone fishing himself then, shouldn't he?

It's time for the Immunity Challenge and Probby awaits the tribes by the sea. First, he asks the LaDidas how things are and Misty says that everything is great. Shane however says that everything is dire and everyone is about to die and if you say otherwise, you're just trying to intimidate him and it's not working because he knows. This season is the worst season ever! It's so tough! And so hard! Probby pretty much cuts him short and proceeds with the explanations of the rules of this particular Challenge. This time around, each tribe has to get in a boat. However, instead of paddling the boat, the tribe has to send two people down to the water to drag a heavy log at the bottom that the boat is anchored to in order to move it along. The boat has six holes that will become unplugged as soon as the Challenge begins so it will start taking in water. The other tribe members will have to quickly bail out water if they want to still have a boat to sit in. Throughout it all, each tribe will carry what Probby calls hilariously "a giant zombie head" and the first tribe to pitch the zombie head (haw, haw) onto a pole at the finish line on the beach will win the Immunity Idol - a small totem pole with three skulls hanging on it that I will call the Skull Stick because that's what it is.

At Probby's signal, the two tribes grab the styrofoam skull - oh, excuse me, Probby, giant zombie head from the poles at the starting line and run to their boats. Bobby and Aras get down to pull for the Cadavers while Nick and Terry will do that for the LaDidas. Nick and Terry don't know what to do, it seems, because they aren't making any progress until Austin tells Nick to switch places with him. He then tells Terry to push the log while Austin will pull the rope attached to the pole. Apparently Nick and Terry both tried to pull the rope at the same time and that didn't work. Austin's approach works and the LaDidas are on their way. The Cadavers, on the hand, struggle. Shane even tries to take over the task of pulling the log but he lasts only three seconds underwater, guffaw. As Probby says, the LaDidas are doing good if only because the Cadavers are being absolutely inept! Finally, Courtney takes over from Bobby and Shane - Aras the yoga dude apparently has mastered the skill of holding one's breath underwater, I suppose - and believe it or not, she and Aras get the boat moving. Meanwhile, Shane bails without a care on the boat, obviously not caring now that it's clear that his tribe is going to lose. Indeed, the LaDidas reach the shore first and poke the zombie head onto the designated pole and voila, the Skull Stick is theirs for now! Shane curses at his tribe's giant zombie head. Stupid zombie head! It causes the tribe to lose!

At Camp Cadaver, Shane is lifelessly walking around muttering that he's "wiped out", he hates to lose, he wants coffee, he wants cigarettes, and he wants out. He tells the camera that coming to this place is the most stupid thing he has ever done and apparently he can't function without his kid around him. I'm sure his kid must be most embarrassed watching his daddy like this. Shane tells Courtney and Danielle that he wants to go home so they should just vote him off. I don't get these people. They do know that they don't get to go home once they are voted off, right? The two ladies assure him that the worst is over now that they have a shelter, fire, water, and of course, the upcoming banquets that the show will give them under the guise of rewards. Aras asks Shane whether his grouchiness is due to mental or physical issues. Aras seems like that kind of guy who is forever stuck in zen-speak and if that's the case, he would be a complete pain to carry a conversation with. I know, I know, who cares about conversations, right? Men like Aras - and Nick - are better off when they are silent, obedient, and easily gotten rid of when we're bored of them two days later - "No, Aras, it's not physical or personal, it's mental - yours - it's been fun but it's time for me to mindmeld with someone else, bye!" Shane insists that he doesn't want to be here anymore and the Courtney accuses him to his face and to the camera that Shane is letting their alliance down. Poor Courtney will be forced to ask an old lady or some Black guy to be her friend and that will be like, eeeeeeeuw! Shane insists that he's not letting them down even if he actually is.

Cirie and Bobby are swimming in the sea when Melinda approaches them with the news that Shane wants people to vote him out. Cirie is like, "Yes, vote him out! Vote him out!" She can't believe that Courtney and Danielle are trying to talk Shane out of quitting. She tells the camera that Shane quitting will definitely be to the advantage of Cirie and Melinda, saying, ""You have people begging to stay here. If somebody wants to quit, let 'em quit!" Meanwhile, Aras is trying to persuade Shane to stay until there is water and all, and then if Shane wants to leave, he'll vote Shane out. Sheesh. But I understand where he is coming from, I suppose, assuming that he is thinking about the tribe trying to win the Skull Stick as often as possible. Shane seems like a better asset in physical challenges than, say, Cirie or Melinda. Shane agrees to stay a little longer, making me wonder whether he likes creating a fuss for the sake of drama.

Now Aras takes Shane to tell the others that Shane is staying after all. Shane says that he has sort of gone crazy for a while there but hey, he's back on earth, so to speak, for now. Then Aras goes completely crazy. He announces that he wants the tribe to be as physically strong as possible so it's either Cirie or Melinda who has to go. He then has the cheek to point out that Cirie is staring daggers at him. Cirie correctly points out that she doesn't hate him, it's just that she honestly doesn't know how to respond to Aras. Aras haughtily announces that there will be honesty and openness in the tribe and asks whether Melinda or Cirie will volunteer to leave at Tribal Council tonight. Is this man serious? It is times like this that a coconut should appear and break Aras' ankle so that I will revel in seeing this man having to eat his own BS and talk out of "volunteering" to be eliminated. After all, when some twatwaffle ass says something about "honesty" and "openness", it's always BS-speak for "do as I say and let me win this game like I am telling all of you to!".

For the second time in a row, Courtney pleasantly surprises me when she tells the camera that she thinks it's stupid for Aras and Shane to let their strategy out to the others like the way those two are doing now, especially when Aras never let her or Danielle know of this beforehand. Ah, but didn't she get the memo? She and Danielle are girls whose roles in life is to be pretty. They should be quiet and let Aras and Shane lead them all the way to the end! Shane, trying to help Aras, says, "There's been an arrangement, obviously, made. What he said sounded insincere... I don't know what to tell you. Like, I don't care which one of you goes. I just don't, like... whoever doesn't go now is going next." That will of course reassure Cirie and Melinda. Whoever doesn't volunteer this time will get to volunteer to leave at the next Tribal Council! Courtney tells the camera that if this is how unstable Shane is going to be, she isn't sure that he will be a reliable ally in the long run. Hmm, could Courtney be a stereotype-breaker like Janelle in Big Brother 6? Stay tuned!

Cirie and Melinda now have a sad talk about the inevitable. Cirie says that she is sure that she is the one to leave but Melinda says that she is the last person picked for this tribe, which could also mean that she may be the one to leave. She tells the camera that she doesn't want to leave but at the same time, she can't change who she is and it's clear that there's nothing she can do to stop the inevitable. As they all leave for Tribal Council, Shane says that he doesn't care whether Melinda or Cirie goes because those two are on the chopping block this and the next Tribal Council. Oh, and he wants everyone to know that he still feels like quitting. Maybe he wants a medal for that.

Night, Tribal Council, grab your torches and shove them down Shane's throat, that sort of thing. Probby gives Shane plenty of opportunity to moan and bitch about his state of mind, culminating with a comparison of his mania to "a psychotic, bad-idea detox". Cirie says that life at camp is fine but it is not easy knowing that she and her buddies are outnumbered and they are sitting ducks. Melinda says that it's not fair to say that she and Cirie will be useless at challenges because it's still early to prove that they are that bad at challenges. That's true, but then again, Cirie and Melinda are in trouble because they aren't like the others. They just don't fit it. That's the sad truth. Anyway, Probby lets them vote. Melinda ends up getting four votes to Shane's two and that's it, Melinda's off to Loser Lodge. Cirie and Melinda share a goodbye exchange of two people who know they will be seeing each other again soon and Bruce comes in to take Melinda's place. Oh, poor Bruce. Hopefully he'll kung-fu his way into the tribe somehow!