Now usually when the secret advantage comes around, it is treated like any other auction item. So if you bid the max right off the bat, it’s yours. But with three players holding all their money, a new twist was introduced. Although Tony tries to blurt out “$500” first to grab it, Probst instead informs everyone that $500 will merely get you a chance to win by pulling rocks. Black rock wins, white rock loses. So it's kinda like the blue pill and the red pill from The Matrix, only without all the cool bullet-time photography and Laurence Fishburne refusing to use contractions. I actually really like this new wrinkle and applaud the powers that be for having the foresight to put it in place. If multiple people are holding out of regular auction items to wait for the advantage — as well they should — then it should not just come down to who blurts out “$500!” the fastest. So I like the $500 only giving you a chance.
But I’ll take it even a step further. How about next time, instead of making it a game of chance by pulling rocks, why not make it a competition? Since this is a food auction, why not have a disgusting dish —balut comes to mind — that the players have to race to wolf down? Winner gets the advantage. Already have a food challenge that season? Fine. Have them do some other competition on the spot. Whaddya think, Probst? Pretty good, right? You can have that one for free.
Anyway, Tasha doesn’t want to spend $500 without a guarantee so she bows out, leaving Tony and Spencer to pull rocks. Tony pulls black and wins, leaving Spencer with the most expensive plain ol’ rock in history. Just for perspective, Spencer spent 20 times more for his white pebble than European explorers/exploiters did for the entire island of Manhattan. So there’s that. Still, he did the right thing. You have to do everything in your power to give yourself the best chance to win the game. So no, you are not “the greatest loser at the auction in Survivor history,” as you claimed, Spencer.
The advantage itself is not an advantage in the next immunity challenge but rather a clue to another hidden immunity idol. I guess I prefer that. I am have gone on record as HATING, HATING, HATING when they give away advantages in the final immunity competition, which I feel should be a straight up battle. I mean, why would you want the most important challenge of the season to not be on the level? I have less of a problem with doing it at an earlier challenge, especially if everyone else was too dumb to bid on it, but we have seen too many times where it gives someone too much of a clear advantage (like Cochran in Caramoan) that renders the rest of the entire challenge moot.
Like I said, it didn’t register a huge amount on the old Rage-o-Meter when they gave away advantages to non-final challenges, but it’s probably better to do it as an immunity idol clue as they did here if for the sole reason that it makes the challenge more interesting to watch. Anyway, it takes him a while to find the white tree, but once he does, Tony locates the idol, and immediately shows Kass and Trish and Woo and Jefra and anyone else that wants to see it — including, but not limited to, Jeff Probst, Tata the bushman, and the composer who came up with that skeezy ribs porn music. Awwwwwww, baby, Tastes so right!
The thing about Tony is that as hard as he’s playing the game, he can also get played. And Spencer does just that here, playing into Señor Spy Shack’s paranoia about a possible female alliance by talking about how Jefra wanted to get rid of him two days ago. At this point you could probably convince Tony that his #SPYSHACK had transformed Michael Bay style into a breakdancing robot assassin capable of destroying any and all immunity idols within its path and he’d probably believe you. (“It sounds crazy that my Spy Shack could turn into a breakdancing robot assassin because, you know, for one thing I did not use any metal when making it. But I gotta keep my eyes on that thing. It may have a mind of its own. Maybe it got into my bag of tricks or something. By the way, could you call me The Opportunist from now on?”)
NEXT: Can I win immunity from inadvertent double entendres?