Jonathanpenner_cookislands_cbs_240Several of this season’s Survivor contenders appear not to have ever watched this game before. How else do you explain the fact that last week’s episode was dedicated entirely to three players whining that another player had the audacity to swap alliances and reverse his strategy, as if Jonathan were the most duplicitous Survivor player in history.

Can we expect more moaning and complaining this week?

Pre-Credit sequence. Jonathan returns to camp still smarting from some of the low blows delivered by the dwindling Greek Row alliance at Tribal Council. Although he doesn’t take kindly to being called a "rat" and a "cancer" by Adam, Parvati and the departed Candice, he refuses to let those spoiled kids harsh his back-stabbing buzz.

Thumb’s down. Parvati, sensing she may be on the verge of elimination, decides to do a little bit of work around the camp. Bad idea, Parvati. A mis-wielded machete leaves her with a cleft-thumb, a deep gash through her nail. The Survivor medical scene rushes to the scene for the first time since they were called upon to unclog Bruce’s bowels last season. They give the shell-shocked Parvati some stitching and some local anesthetic and, in the process, gross Adam out. "There’s something about finger nails falling off that really bothers me," he admits.

Parvatishallow_cookislands_cbs_240Reward challenge. Parvati is instructed not to get her thumb too wet, which isn’t good, given that the Reward Challenge requires some measure of dousing. But the prize is worth it — the winner goes to a nearby island for a picnic with the locals and gets to send somebody to Exile Island. In addition, the contestants are joined by loved ones. Hugs and tears are exchanged before the castaways have to actively partner with their special guests. The players are blindfolded and toss buckets of water at their visitors. I don’t have a clue how it happens, but Parvati and her dad Mike top Jonathan and his wife. Who needs two good thumbs? She also doesn’t hesitate to send Jonathan to Exile Island. Parvati’s pops gets to invite two other survivors and their kin to join them. He goes first with Sundra and her mom. Then, perhaps sensing his daughter’s natural attraction to pretty-boys, he taps Adam and his doppelganger dad.

Family = Happiness, Solitude = Bitterness. Parvati’s giddy to have won a challenge, figuring this proves she still has a chance in the game. Adam’s giddy to have his dad George around, because George is his best friend. Sundra’s mom instantly begins backseat wood collecting, but Sundra doesn’t mind. She’s giddy too. Meanwhile, Ozzie’s bitter that he’s fed Parvati and Adam for weeks, letting them get strong enough to win the challenge. The winners head off to collect their prize, which comes with a native escort to a lovely cave, where they take part in a religious ceremony that involves splashing around in a fresh pool. Then they visit the island’s Kentucky Fried Chicken and devour poultry, corn and biscuits and revel in gluttony.

Let them not eat cake. Ozzie was serious about not wanting to feed Greek Row. There’s a plan afoot to keep catching food, but to hide it from Adam and Parvati. This feels like another Survivor first, a provider actually attempting to starve out his rivals.

Fine. Let them eat whatever they want. Ozzie’s deprivation plan lasts around five minutes until the winners bring leftover corn and biscuits and meatloaf back to the camp. This makes Becky and Ozzie feel bad. The only thing nobody feels bad about is Jonathan’s absence.

Immunity. There’s an obstacle course over the water and as we’ve discovered so many times this season, anything that requires swimming and balance automatically gives Ozzie a huge advantage. Only Yul is vaguely in his league, but Ozzie’s margin of victory is still massive. Adam and Parvati express concern at their chances of survival. Jonathan seems confident. Fool.

Everybody hates Jonathan. The King Rat’s presence at the campfire kills conversation and Jonathan recognizes that something may have shifted around camp. Although Sundra and Becky insist — without looking him in the eye — that everything is still cool, Jonathan knows it’s desperation time. "I feel like I’m kind of like the Godfather arranging a hit on somebody," Yul says before swearing to Jonathan that he’ll do whatever he can do keep him around, but if he can’t, he won’t. Jonathan insists that he isn’t a threat to immunity and he saved Yul’s hide, but the Godfather and Ozzie agree that it’s either Jonathan or Adam going home.

Tribal council. Candice, who cleans up well, shows up with the jury, prompting Adam to lick his lips and grin like a lunatic. Then, everybody spends a while talking about how much they enjoyed their Jonathan-free days. Adam goes on a rant about how Jonathan doesn’t deserve to be in the game anymore because he lacks sufficient integrity. Adam is a moron. Jonathan argues that he earned the right to be there. But apparently decisions were made that the editors didn’t want to show us for the sake of drama. As the third vote against Jonathan is read, Adam gets a smug look and leers at Candice. She smiles widely, obviously forgetting that she’ll be stuck with Jonathan for the next week-plus.

Was voting Jonathan off the right move? What did you think of Ozzie’s starvation plan?

Posted by:Daniel Fienberg