Survivor: Nicaragua - Stuck in the Middle

Filed under: Recaps & Reviews

After Sash and Brenda took out the crazy-haired Marty last week, things got even crazier this week -- and I'm not talking about the destruction at camp. The "power couple" were suddenly on the outs, as everyone apparently realized who was running the game. There was lots of talk from the first minute, spearheaded by Jane and Holly (and eventually Benry and NaOnka), trying to convince everyone else that Brenda should be the next to go, and this week was basically the "Let's Boot Off Brenda Show". But with Brenda's BFF Sash holding an Immunity Idol, could she be saved by playing it, blindsiding someone else?

The answer, of course, was no. In an insanely shocking move, Sash didn't give his Idol to his tightest alliance member, and Brenda was sent home with an overwhelming majority. I can't even remember the last time an entire episode so focused on sending someone home, and then that person had their torch snuffed out. It was surprising in its lack of surprise. Brenda, who had pretty much been running the show up until now, is now out of this game, and I'm very curious to see who steps up as the main decision-maker going forward.

Anyway, onto a summary of events that led up to Brenda's ouster. The Reward Challenge, for a trip to an amazing volcano, was a random team challenge involving barrels and wooden boards, and the yellow team (which included the always-challenge-challenged Dan) was behind the whole way. The blue team -- NaOnka, Fabio, Purple Kelly, Jane, and Chase -- won the pizza and "volcano surfing". Apparently even getting there via helicopter -- and actually, even holding a passport -- completely blew NaOnka away. I don't know about the U.S., but in Canada it only costs $85 for a passport -- doesn't seem like that crazy a dream.

The volcano itself was actually pretty cool. The "surfing" was more like tobogganning, except instead of a snow hill it was volcanic ash. The ash and rock probably hurt a little bit more than snow does when you fall on it, but man, would it be cool to go flying down a hill without worrying about getting frostbite! While they were all eating their reward meal, NaOnka took Fabio aside to explain that everyone wanted Brenda out, but it was followed by a great line from Chase. Purple Kelly commented on how it was weird that NaOnka suddenly walked away with Fabio, and Chase said to Purple Kelly, "You never talk, really." It's what everybody watching has been saying this whole season -- if they even remembered who Purple Kelly was to begin with! Who is she? She never talks. Why is she even still around?

While the blue team was flying down the formerly fiery ash at the volcano and enjoying a meal on top of it, disaster struck the Libertad camp, as a real fire had broken out. The yellow team got back from the challenge to find nearly everything -- all the food, machetes, a good chunk of the shelter -- burned to a crisp. The geniuses of Libertad had tried to build a barricade to prevent the rain from putting out their fire while they were at the Reward Challenge, apparently, and of course the WOODEN barricade caught on fire. The fact that the barricade was made with chests containing pretty much all their stuff was even more brilliance.

Once everyone got back to camp (and the fact that everyone was pretty much without food going forward was completely ignored), Chase spilled everything to Brenda about the rest of the tribe's plans, because for some reason he trusts her (even though she's running the show with Sash, not him). Then he proceeded to tell NaOnka that he told Brenda, which her blabbermouth of course spread to everyone else. Chase is so ridiculously clueless (well, for the game of Survivor, anyway -- I'm sure he's an incredibly cool and nice guy in real life), and NaOnka can't keep her mouth shut (though I'm sure -- no, never mind, she just has a big mouth).

Come Immunity Challenge, Sash and Purple Kelly fell quickly, with Holly, Brenda, Dan, and Fabio shortly behind. It was a 3-person race between Benry, Chase, and Jane holding onto the rope to avoid the water. Benry eventually cracked, and Jane was about ready to quit when Jeff told her she better not. It was a good call, as the oldest woman in the game outlasted all the strong guys to win Immunity. Granted, this was probably the one week that Jane wasn't on the chopping block, but good for her for winning a physical challenge!

Back at camp, everyone outside of the trio of Brenda, Sash, and Chase were pissed at Chase for siding with Brenda, while NaOnka tried to work out another "power move" with Sash to take control of the game (not sure what that was about). Brenda chose not to scramble -- it was beneath her, apparently -- and just hope things would work out, even though it was clear the numbers were WAY against her. There was a tentative plan to blindside NaOnka by Brenda using the Idol, but as the votes were read at Tribal, only Brenda voted for NaOnka. In fact, her alliance even voted for her, with the lone Benry vote coming from the completely in the dark Purple Kelly.

So where do you think things are headed now? Previews for next week show more chaos from NaOnka -- how she's still in the game after all the crap she's pulled, I have no idea. Then again, we're down to 9, and there's several people still playing that completely baffle me. Purple Kelly has done nothing at all, and even said at Tribal Council that all the dirt about Brenda, NaOnka, and Chase was news to her. Dan is basically a cripple. Benry comes across as a complete douche. This is such a strange season, but I keep watching, and I keep eating it all up!

Tags: Survivor, Nicaragua, NaOnka, Chase, Brenda, Sash, Jane, Benry, Holly, reality

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Paul Little is the founder and Managing Editor of When not interviewing his favourite musicians and comedians, he can also be found putting on and promoting music and comedy events with The Purple Room in Winnipeg, or co-producing the live comedy game shows Pants on Fire and The Great Patio Showdown. (@comedygeek)

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