Hey, what’s the only thing strategically dumber than ousting your own ally this early in the game? Bragging to people about how you did it! That’s what Brad’s doing over on the Tadhana beach, boasting about how he hooked and deceived John from the very beginning before slitting his throat. If I’m in that alliance all I can think upon hearing that is: If he did it to John, he’s gonna do it to me. But shockingly, Brad doesn’t see this as a problem. Say what you will about Brad Culpepper, but I don’t think the guy is dumb, which is what makes this horrible gameplay so odd. All I can do is chalk this up to how the man is used to acting in a football locker room type setting — you know, talking smack while you use your towel to homoerotically slap a few asses. Maybe he thinks this is “the team” bonding and celebrating the victory of vanquishing an enemy, but trust is the single most important entity in this game, and he just obliterated any that anyone had for him.
Over on Redemption (non) Island, a reunited John and Candice are arguing over whether they are happy to be back together as husband and wife. John thinks it’s positively swell, while Candice has to keep reminding her hubby that it is perhaps the worst way they could have possibly begun the game. Not only that, but poor John is getting Woodcock-blocked by now super awkward third wheel Marissa, who according to Candice, is herself an expert spooner.
You know what Candice is an expert in? Giving the finger! She demonstrates her perfect form — full extension on both the arm and finger, triumphant facial expression, delivered right in stride — when she walks into Redemption arena (or, as I like to affectionately call it, Brad Culpepper’s House of Pain) and gives the one-finger salute to the man responsible for John being voted out. The dude has already been lit up by both Marissa and Tyson, and now he just got fingered by Candice? Wait, that didn't come out right. In fact, that sounds positively disturbing. You know what I’m trying to say here. What I’m trying to say is that Brad is about as popular at Redemption arena as that urn that burns all the buffs so contestants cannot bring them back home as souvenirs. (Hey, maybe Colton was onto something with the quitting business. Maybe he just wanted to keep his buff! Or maybe not, judging by what he told me when I asked where it was.)
But the fireworks have only begun. Candice decides that while it is often wise to let your fingers do the walking, your fingers can’t do all the talking as well, so she starts verbalizing her Culpepper rage, calling the former football player “a child,” accusing him of hushing women, and also accusing him of being scared to hush her husband lest her husband unleash a can of well-mannered and perfectly coiffed whup-ass on the offender.
But it’s halftime — look, another football reference! — for the smack talk as we need to get to the actual duel. John vs. Candice! Husband vs. Wife! Absurdly Attractive Human vs. Absurdly Attractive Human! What could possibly make this loved ones battle any more dramatic?!? Well…um…maybe not having a random third party also in the mix? The problem with three person duels — besides the fact that by definition, they make no sense — is the same problem with a final 3 vs. final 2. A vs. B is inherently more dramatic than pick one of the above. And “win to stay alive!” is inherently more dramatic than “um…don’t get last place to stay alive!” While I am not a Redemption Island fan, the twist has undeniably worked better with the loved ones component this season. However, it would have worked even better if they had made all the duels actual…you know, duels.
NEXT: The mysterious power of persuasion