Me In the Chops (Tandang)
TO READ THE HAPPENINGS AT KALABAW AND HERE
The big two-fiver! Who'd've thunk in
2000 that this king fo reality shows would make to its twenty-fifth
encarnation. Here, in the Phillipino archipelago, 18 Americans (including
THREE that played but had to be hauled out due to serious injury)
will try to do what twenty-four others have already done: outplay,
outwit and outlast the others in a hostile enviroment in order to
head home with one million bucks in their bank account (minus taxes,
of course; you can't escape Uncle Sam even in Southeast Asia!).
It's Season 25 of SURVIVOR!
DAY 1: YOU GET HURT, YOU GET
BETTER, YOU COME BACK, YOU KICK BUTT!
Here come the fifteen
newbies on one boat, naught with the clothing on their back to start
this new adventure. The tribes are already divided between Kalabaw
(Chico's tribe, wearing red, named for a Philipino plant), Tandang
(my tribe, wearing yellow, named for a revolutionary) and Matsing
(Jason's team, wearing blue, named for a monkey). Here is how they're
Sarah Dawson (28, Silver Spring, MD)
Katie Hanson (22, Newark, DE)
Jeff Kent (44, Austin, TX)
Dana Lambert (32, Winston-Salem, NC)
Carter Williams (23, Shawnee, KS)
Abi-Maria Gomes (32, Los Angeles)
Roberta "RC" Saint-Amour (27, New York City)
Artis Silvester (53, Terrytown, LA)
Lisa Whelchel (49, Dallas)
Peter Yurkowski (24, Holmdel, NJ)
Malcolm Freberg (25,
Hermosa Beach, CA)
Zane Knight (28, Danville, VA)
Angie Layton (20, Provo, UT)
Roxanne "Roxy" Morris (28, Brooklyn, NY)
Denise Stapley (41, Cedar Rapids, IA)
(And, yes, I specifically
chose Tandang because of Lisa "Blair from Facts of Life"
Whelchel. What can I say; I was hot on her in the 80s...well, her
and Jo...in a tie. She does NOT intend on telling anyone of her
W-wait...Zane (the Frankenstein-looking
guy) is from a place called DANVILLE? REALLY?! Wonder if he knows
Phineas and Ferb personally? (chuckles)
And, on another smaller
boat, here comes the Chris McLean-wannabe, good ol' Uncle Jeff Corwin.
Nice to see he still has time to do this despite his recent foray
into daytime syndicated talk shows. He asks the other Jeff (as in
Kent, the former Major League Baseball player) about how it feels
being in a Tribe of only five to start. Jeff K. feels nervous about
that. Zane says he's fine with it "as long as there ain't celebrities".
Doubtful he suspects the blond in the Tribe to his right was once
a teenage actress. Roxanne remembers Russell Swan who collapsed
during a Challenge in Samoa...so she knows of the toil this
game takes on the body.
And, lo and behold, here
comes a THIRD boat. Uncle Jeff explains that on the boat are three
players who had to be evacuated during previous versions for medical
reasons...and one will join each Tribe! Whaddaya know? Russell Swan
is ONE of them (he was dehydrated and passed out during a Challenge)!
He'll be in Matsing. Jonathan Penner got injured and had an infection
in his leg in Micronesia - Fans vs. Favorites; he's going
to Kalabaw (BTW, he was also in Cook Islands). And my Tribe
gets the first-EVER evacuee: Michael Skupin, who passed out into
a fire during the second season in the Australian Outback.
Uncle Jeff gives each of the three comeback kids their Buff(TM)
and a map to their camp, naming them quasi-leaders like they were
in their original season (since they have the experience the others
do not). When Michael hugs Lisa, the name "Blair" ALMOST
escaped his lips; he DEFINITELY recognized her.
OK, let's get this game
started! Uncle Jeff lets everyone know that each Tribe will have
a hidden Individual Immunity Idol (which I cleverly call "3I")
somewhere at their camps. The boat they are on is loaded with supplies
like fruit, water jugs and even a live chicken or two. The Tribes
have sixty ticks of Jeff's Rolex to gather as much stuff as they
can, get it onto their assigned raft and get themselves overboard...starting...NOW!
The scramble on the narrow boat is hectic, the "leaders"
directing traffic and telling the others what to get while, of course,
helping along. When the minute elapses, the Tribes untie their rafts
(Kalabawa making the mistake of putting stuff ON the raft first,
causing all their stuff to go overboard when it slides off), gather
their stuff and jump over the side. A LOT of fruit is lost from
the unstable flat rafts, but all three head their seperate ways.
AFTERNOON 1: THE GIRL FROM
IPANEMA GOES FLIRTING...
BEACH HO! Tandang washes
up on the shore of their beach-front property. Michael seems to
take the leadership role that the others want to evade, helping
the other five with setting up camp. He is very happy with the tribe,
feeling it's the right mix of brains and brawn. He's concerned,
though, that his "legend" might be a minus.
RC and Abi-Maria talk
about where to put the shelter. RC, a true type-A personality, trusts
Abi (though she knows you shouldn't trust ANYONE in this game).
SHE can't be trusted because she tells Abi she's an executive assistant
rather than the truth that she's an investment banker. What with
all the crap going on with banks over the last few years, RC doesn't
want any stereotypical prejudices to bubble up. The two girls talk
about an alliance. They want to bring in Michael for his experience
and Pete for his strength and...relative dumbness. Pete, however,
is not fooled by Abi's Brazilian sexiness; he thinks she has evil
plans for this game. Still, he accepts the alliance. RC works on
Michael and he accepts as well. His plan for the game is to "move
with the Tribe"...and that means, to keep up with his young
alliance buddies, he has to move FAST.
AFTERNOON/NIGHT 1: YOU TAKE
THE GOOD, YOU TAKE THE BAD...
Later, the girls wade
in the water and Lisa chats it up with Abi and RC. Her way of play
is a) not volunteer she was a TV star and b) connect with others
one-on-one as she obviously CAN'T be cutthroat. She tells the girls,
instead, that she runs a ministry for single mothers (which she
does now, actually). But she DOES need the money, believe it or
not. Most of the money she made in acting was lost in investing.
She's ALSO looking for something else: her identity. And she's excited
about this opportunity to be on a show she loves so she can figure
out what kind of person she really is.
But while she tries to
start a fire on her own, the alliance get together to discuss her.
RC doesn't trust her aloofness and thinks he smiling is hiding a
far-too-dangerous mind. Michael inwardly thinks Lisa should let
the young ones KNOW who she was...although he thinks they might
not have heard of Facts of Life and thus lose that "trump
"I recognized you
That's what Michael says
to Lisa that first night. And Lisa...she ambiguous about that knowledge.
But she lets Michael know that she wants to keep it a secret for
now. If someone from another tribe figures it out post-Merge, she'll
volunteer the info...but, until then, it's all hush-hush. Michael
doesn't WANT to lose Lisa as he related to her more than his young
alliance. But he knows he must go with the game, not his heart
DAY 2: SOMETIMES A LEADER'S
GOTTA BLEED...ER, LEAD
The shelter is meh, there's
no fire, there's no drinkable water and it's been raining since
dawn. Michael decides he needs to get his tribe motivated into getting
stuff done NOW! He starts chopping on some bamboo for framework
for the shelter...and gets a cut on his head from said bamboo (just
a scrape, though). RC is concerned that Michael, while going 110%
all the time, misses the little things. The bamboo also cuts his
finger and, a little later, he cuts his FOOT on a rock. And, after
THAT, he cuts ANOTHER finger cutting coconut with a machete. Pete
is starting to be concerned as well. I mean, it's all small potatoes
right now but...what'll happen when a fire gets started?!.
DAY 3: REWARD/IMMUNITY CHALLENGE:
SHARE THE WEALTH
It's another overcast
day as the Tribes meet Uncle Jeff on Challenge Beach. Apparantly
they were giving "war paint" in the Tree-Mail because
everyone seems to come in with SOME weird markings on their bodies.
Uncle Jeff tells us that
the Challenge is three-fold, involving three pairs of Tribe members.
First pair gets latched together by a length of rope, race into
the forest behind them, head up a cargo net and release two paddles
from a box before heading back. They hand it off to the second pair,
who will use them to paddle out in an outrigger to a colored bouy.
They then dive down to release a chest anchored to the sea bottom
and then swim the crate back to sure. The FINAL pair open the chest
and use the pieces inside to build a Lego-style pagoda from ground
to roof. First TWO tribes to finish the puzzle wins a wooden bird
sculpture with a fish dangling from its beak. These are the Tribal
Immunity Idols and the Tribe that holds either of them is exempt
from travelling to Uncle Jeff's Pagoda of Doom tonight and voting
someone out of their small tribe. The OTHER tribe? Not so lucky.
Tribal Council awaits them.
Ah, but there's MORE!
The Tribe that takes the Gold in this Challenge also wins a complete
fire-making set: flint, lighter fluid and a lot of DRY wood (a rarity
out here). The Silver medalists just gets a flint piece. And the
Bronze...STILL goes to Tribal Council! The three Tribes huddle up
to strategize about who will be in what pairing (and we get a VERY
rare look at the Tribes as they discuss...and how Russell is DEFINITELY
showing himself the "alpha male" of his Tribe).
Aaaaand they're OFF! And
it's RC & Artis for Tandang out, Katie & Dana for Kalabaw
close behind, Russell & Zane for Matsing making like a mother-in-law
and nagging in the rear. They reach the cargo nets and get up without
a fuss. And Matsing gets their paddles out first, followed closely
by Tandang and Kalabaw starting to lag. The first ones out of the
forest with the paddles...are RC & Artis! They hand off to Michael
& Pete who get their outrigger into the water. Second out is
Matsing, with Russell treating Zane like Gunnery Hartman treated
"Private Gomer Pyle". Pyle...er, Zane is literally PULLED
to the rest of the tribe before handing off to Malcolm & Denise.
And...where's the Kalabaw pair? Oh, THERE they are, WAY behind.
Carter & the injured Jeff have a LOT of ground (or, rather,
sea) to make up.
Michael & Pete treat
their canoe like they're in London before a crowd and cameras instead
of in the Phillipines before just cameras. A nasty wind makes everyone
list to starboard as they paddle out. But Tandang has the big lead
and reach their buoy first. Supplied with swim masks, they dive
into the sea and down about eight feet to tug at the ropes holding
the puzzle chest down. As they swim back, Kalabaw passes Matsing
and gets to the red buoy, diving in and releasing their chest. Inevitably,
Matsing gets THEIR chest undone and head back to shore.
Once they cross a flag,
everyone is allowed to help haul the chest in before the last pair
start building. And that's what Tandang does first. Now it's up
to Lisa and Abi to build the pagoda. As they do that, Kalabaw reach
the shore and the Tribe helps roll the chest to their puzzle place.
Matsing is dead last...and Russell is NOT happy. Jonathan and Dawson
start for Kalabaw and Roxanne and Angie struggle to make up for
lost time. Tandang are methodical, looking for the right piece to
fit into the previous one. Kalabaw is frantic, trying each piece
quickly. Matsing is...being yelled at by Russell at every step.
At the second angled pagoda
floor, red and yellow are neck-and-neck...and blue is not even halfway
to THAT. They stay that way all the way to the roof...which Roxanne
slaps on SECONDS before Lisa! KALABAW WINS IMMUNITY AND FIRE KIT!
TANDANG WINS IMMUNITY AND FLINT!
Well, THIS sucks for Russell
and company, don't it? At least they ALREADY made fire...but it's
for naught as the group of six will be down to five by the end of
TO READ WHAT HAPPENED WITH MATSING AT TRIBAL COUNCIL
view this episode in its entirety, along with extras and blogs,
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