Spoilers for tonight's "Survivor" coming up just as soon as I loan my wife a shirt...
Am I right that this is the first time the hidden idol has been successfully played since Hogeboom? I didn't watch China but know James failed to play two different idols, and from what little I remember of Fiji, Earl's group tricked the wrong guy in the other alliance into playing it while they voted someone else out. Terry didn't need to play his (and was too stupid to figure out a way to use his strategically), Yul didn't need to play his (but was smart enough to swing the votes his way), and Ozzy and Jason obviously both choked. You get the feeling the "Survivor" producers were starting to get frustrated that their brilliant new twist to the game never got used correctly?
I'm glad, by the way, that they thought to bury it at camp this time, which helped defuse the distasteful business of people searching the bags of whomever returns from Exile Island. And while Amanda has been sleepwalking through the game until now, allowing Ozzy and then Parvati and (of all people) Natalie do the thinking for her, she played the whole thing brilliantly, pouting and whining and completely lulling everybody into thinking she was powerless and would be an easy boot. The only thing that would have made her maneuver better was if she had stuck to her guns and insisted that she and Parvati vote out Natalie. Alexis is no threat in challenges with that leg wound -- and could have wound up getting med-evac'ed in another day or two, the way this season is going -- plus it would have knocked the gross Natalie out of the game.
(I'm not sure I've ever seen a contestant go from invisible to hateful as quickly as Natalie did last week. Parvati's kind of an awful human being too, and the events tonight benefited her, but at least she's been a presence this season, and has played well. I'd rather have to see her go to the end than Natalie.)
What a weird season. Two med-evacs (and Penner's completely changed the game, where James was basically finished unless he want on an immunity run), a third contestant who might as well have been med-evac'ed (Chet), a quit, blindsides left and right and now a contestant in the final five who can barely walk. (NOTE: Whoops. I was thinking of Alexis, who obviously went home tonight. The rest still stands.) Since James gets to be on the jury, I'm assuming there's no change in whether there's a final two or final three, but I hope the entire "Survivor" production team takes a long look at this season and tries to figure out why so many people wound up getting hurt. Penner and Chet both got injured in challenges (Jonathan during the idiotic stick-and-mud race, Chet in the capture the flag thing in the water), Alexis just fell down and I'm not clear how James hurt his finger, but it's frustrating to see the game be changed so much by things that have nothing to do with Outwit/Outlast/Outplay.
Still, much better than last week. Amanda's smirk at the end (pictured above) made the episode worth it all by itself.
What did everybody else think?