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'Survivor: Caramoan' Recap: Episode 9

Reid Nakamura |
April 11, 2013 | 12:33 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

"Survivor Caramoan" cast being tortured (CBS)
"Survivor Caramoan" cast being tortured (CBS)

We know that Corinne getting voted out last week will have its consequences. She was the first of the Favorites (excluding Brandon, who doesn’t really count, and Francesca, who is all but a fading memory at this point) to get sent home before a Fan. “Stealth ‘R Us” cracked and set a dangerous precedent. No names are off-limits at tribal council anymore and it’s time for the Favorites to panic.

As the Favorites run around afraid for their lives, the Fans all seem to sit somewhere between complacent and confused. Sherri has a new home in “Stealth ‘R Us,” Michael is busy trying to fold himself up into a tiny little ball so everyone forgets about him, Eddie probably thinks he’s on the castaway edition of “The Bachelor,” and Reynold is trying to pass his alliance’s loss last week as a “victory.”

Sherri hasn’t done much strategizing since she lost Shamar. Her only plan was to manipulate the loud, outrageous black man and somehow ride him to victory. Unfortunately, Shamar’s itchy eye got him evacuated and she found herself up the creek. But this week brings good news for Sherri: she’s got a brand new loud, outrageous black man! I’m not sure what she stands to gain from cultivating a relationship with Phillip. A migraine, maybe.

Almost as inconsequential as any of Sherri’s actions is this week’s reward challenge. Split into two teams—excluding Sherri, who wasn’t picked—the Survivors have to throw balls into a net as they jump off a platform and someone from the opposite team tries to block them. Brenda scores the first shot, but loses it for her team in the end, so Erik, Eddie, Reynold, Cochran, and Michael win the reward.

The guys get to propel down a waterfall to an awaiting picnic where Reynold and Eddie try to bring Cochran into a guys’ alliance. Their pitch is to “bro down” and vote out all the women. “Hope’s gone, so there’s nobody worth f---ing, anyway,” reasons Reynold. Unsurprisingly, Cochran isn’t taken in by this “masculine tomfoolery” and scoffs off their proposal.

Clearly unable to rely on Eddie, Reynold, and Michael to help him, Malcolm himself has to go find a fifth person to flip and give his alliance the majority. But the poor guy decides to go to Dawn. The same Dawn who tattled on Corinne, Julia, and Francesca when they all tried to flip. The only thing Malcolm had going for him this week was that no one knew how large a role he played in Corinne’s planned coup from last week (that and his idol, of course). But now Dawn knows how aggressively he’s playing and can’t wait to tattle.

Malcolm thinks the Favorites are going to split the vote between Eddie and Reynold. If Dawn votes with him, he’ll have enough votes to send Andrea home. What he doesn’t know is that the Favorites, now onto his scheming, are planning to blindside him. Andrea and the others will pretend to trust him, while Dawn pretends to be willing to vote for Andrea. If all goes according to plan, Dawn will actually vote for Malcolm, sending him home.

Meanwhile, Andrea is doing some “island dating” with Eddie, a flirtatious relationship designed to squeeze out some information and win his jury vote. She tells him that she wants to keep him around, but only as long as he’s useful. If he can give her something valuable, she promises to work with him “vote to vote.” Eddie is willing to play along, not only because he likes her, but he also needs to be “dragged” for just a few more votes before he can get up and “start punching people.”

After all of that strategy, it’s hard to believe that the Survivors haven’t even gone to the immunity challenge yet. Had Malcolm won individual immunity, all the talk would’ve been for nothing (although if he had won immunity, the producers never would have shown us all of that in the first place). The challenge involves the Survivors floating beneath a metal grate as the tide slowly rises. One-by-one, they quit as it gets harder and harder to breathe until only one person remains. By the end it’s a battle between Brenda and Andrea, but Brenda pulls out a victory (probably because she’s used to drowning).

With Malcolm seemingly unprotected, the plan to blindside him continues. That is, until Eddie throws a wrench into the works. He’s upset that Andrea is won’t tell him who she’s voting for, so he lets it slip that there’s an idol in play. It quickly dawns on Andrea that if an idol gets played for Malcolm, she’s likely to get sent home.

The whole scene is fascinating to watch. The conversation is largely unedited, most likely because this was the only shot the producers got that explains Andrea’s realization that she might be going home. Because we see the scene in its entirety, we see it dawn on her in real time, and what exactly he said that helped her figure it out. It takes a lot of editing to turn three days into a cohesive forty minute narrative, so it’s refreshing to see this play out naturally.

With new information about the hidden immunity idol, Andrea changes the plan at the last minute. She doesn’t want to risk having the vote bounced back to herself, so she begs everyone else to vote for Michael, the safest bet to not have an idol. Everyone but Dawn agrees to play it safe. Dawn really doesn’t see any danger for Andrea and pleads with her to stick to the original plan. Malcolm is a much bigger threat, so Dawn thinks now is the only time to send him home.

Heading into tribal council, we have no idea what version of the plan is getting played or who is going home, but the Survivors talk a lot about idols and betrayal, making it seem like they’re all willing to cut Malcolm loose. The terrified look on his face gives the impression that Malcolm has drawn the same conclusion. He realizes that they all know about his scheming and he’s not as in control as he originally believed.

Before Jeff reads the votes, Reynold stands up to play his idol, but to the shock of everyone, Malcolm asks for it instead. He tells Reynold that all the votes are coming his way, so he needs the idol to protect himself. Reynold gives it up (a little too willingly, I’d add) and Malcolm plays it for himself. The joke’s on him, though. The Favorites were putting on a show the whole time—probably to scare Malcolm into doing exactly what he did. He didn’t get a single vote (though Reynold did get one—Malcolm’s) because all the votes went to Michael instead, making him the first member of the jury.

If nothing else, this proves that Malcolm has gonads the size of Texas. He was so confident in his plan to blindside Andrea that he couldn’t see that he was getting played. Even when the plan fell apart, he took the risk of playing Reynold’s idol rather than exposing his own. It’s in stark contrast from the rest of the tribe, who were mostly motivated by fear (see: Andrea, Reynold, Eddie). It’ll be interesting to see where he goes from here, having completely removed himself from the Favorites and voted against his strongest ally, the one who gave him his hidden immunity idol.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Was this the best episode yet? Did Andrea outsmart Malcolm? Or did she get lucky?

Reach staff reporter Reid Nakamura here.



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