We're only on our second week of "Survivor: Nicaragua," but things have taken a decidedly nasty turn on both the 40-and-older Espada tribe and the 30-and-younger La Flor tribe. (The 31-39 demographic is apparently not that important to CBS this season.)
Shoes are damaged. Socks are stolen. Sexual preferences are questioned.
And our North Carolina homeboy Chase Rice, below, finds himself torn between allegiance to his Alpha Male buddy and an increasing attraction to a flirting female. "I am definitely in a mess right now," Chase says at one point. I'll say.
The episode opens at Espada, where the older players are having trouble sleeping. But never fear, Espada has two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Jimmy Johnson, who is always ready with a pep talk and a football analogy. He quickly tells his teammates how they can improve their shelter. "Coach gave us our assignments," Jill, the ER doc, notes. Meanwhile, the tribe's other Jimmy, Jimmy T. (or as I call him, "crazy-eyed fisherman Jimmy") is jealous that no one wants to hear his ideas.
Over on young La Flor, we meet Sash, a real-estate broker. (Because who wouldn't want to buy a house from a dude named Sash!) He thinks teammate Kelly Bruno, the Durham resident and UNC-Chapel Hill medical student, is a threat because her artificial leg could win sympathy votes from a jury should she make it to the end. NaOnka, the PE teacher, is more harsh with Kelly B., referring to her as a "charity case" who doesn't have "100 percent of the body."
Our third North Carolinian in the mix this season, Jane Bright, who shined in last week's premiere, doesn't get much camera time this week. But the Moore County dog groomer does a great job running a physical obstacle course in a mud pit.
The Espada player who does stand out -- and not in a good way -- is Holly the swim coach. First, she thinks the snails her teammates found on the beach aren't good to eat, so she throws them out. Then, Holly really loses it because she believes New Yorker Dan is making fun of her. So, she fills his shoes with sand and submerges them in the water.
Dan is furious, noting that they were $1,600 alligator shoes. (Pause now to ponder the wisdom of bringing $1,600 alligator shoes to a reality show set on an island!) Holly's apologies don't set well with the rest of the team. "Holly keeps getting stranger and stranger," says Tyrone, a fire captain. "I'm keeping one eye on her and one eye on my shoes."
Holly continues to have a hard time and even considers quitting the game. But then she goes for a walk with Coach Jimmy J., who says this is no different than a football player wanting to quit the team. (Of course, it isn't.) As if to re-enforce that he used to be, you know, a football coach, Jimmy J. even quotes Vince Lombardi: "Fatigue makes cowards of us all." Holly bucks up and decides she'd like to either stay in the game or play center in next year's Super Bowl.
Dan's not the only one with footwear issues. Over on La Flor, NaOnka has lost a sock. Yes, a sock. And it's a crisis of epic proportions. After lashing out at her teammates, she proceeds to take the socks of dumb Jud (aka "Fabio"). Bless his heart, he's too dense to notice, even when she wears them right in front of him.
The Immunity Challenge is the aforementioned mud race. Players must maneuver through the obstacle course, then find a series of balls hidden in stacks of hay. After that, the balls are tossed from player to player, then into a barrel. The first team to get four balls in its barrel wins. Espada uses the cheesy "Medallion of Power" to get an advantage -- one ball in the barrel before the challenge even begins. That comes in handy, and Espada wins!
At least the losing La Flor team is impressed by Kelly B., artificial leg and all. NaOnka tells us she specifically sat out the challenge just to see how well Kelly B. did. (Well, that and NaOnka was still recovering from that whole sock turmoil.) NaOnka says she still doesn't like Kelly B., but she does respect her now.
Back at camp, the younger players begin turning on each other, and Chase, the North Carolina native and former UNC football player, is right in the middle. He has alliances with both musclehead Shannon and tempting Brenda, left. And each wants the other gone.
Tribal Council is contentious from the get-go. Shannon is furious, saying that he thought Chase had his back, but that now Chase seems to be aligning with "his girlfriend," Brenda. Chase tells Shannon, "Nobody here trusts you, bud."
Sash the real-estate guy pipes up to say that Shannon is "digging his own grave." Shannon's very mature response is to ask Sash whether he is gay.
Poor, dumb Fabio wonders whether they all can't get along, but host Jeff Probst says this is clearly a tribe in conflict. "Fabio, get your head out of the trees."
There's more bickering that makes you wonder whether this is a 30-and-younger tribe or a 3-and-younger tribe. Sash tells Shannon that he's had more girlfriends than Shannon's ever had. Shannon reasons that New Yorker Sash is gay because "New York is full of gay people." NaOnka tells us how much she doesn't like Fabio.
Finally, our gal Kelly B. gets the last word, saying she plans to cast her vote based on what will unify the tribe the most.
And the tribe seems to unite against Shannon, right. He's voted out -- Brenda got the other votes -- and he wanders off into the graveyard of doom. In casting his vote for Shannon, Sash says Shannon should never have questioned the "biggest bachelor in New York." Whatever, Sash.
Next week: NaOnka's rivalry with Kelly B. seems to intensify, as NaOnka says, "I'll push you so hard that damn leg will fly off!" And Jimmy J. heads into the jungle to talk to some monkeys. Betcha he's telling them a football story within 10 minutes.
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