Survivor recap: The Spy Who Shacked Me

Tony's scheming doesn't seem to rattle anyone in his alliance except for Jefra, who must make a life-altering decision over ribs.
Ep. 09 | Aired Apr 23, 2014

INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY: Tony demonstrates that his bag of tricks is still chock full of surprising talents, including (but not limited to) prehistoric architecture, low-level espionage, and general sneakiness.

Michael Yarish/CBS

Act IV: Tinker Tailor Soldier Ball-on-Stick

Balance challenges are among my least favorite on Survivor if only because they stress me the f--- out. Add in dramatic music and fake-out edits and they’re a regular episode of Homeland. It’s your standard balance-ball-on-increasingly-elongated-pole-on-increasingly-skinny-beam (oh, that old thing) and Jefra’s the first one out, followed quickly after by Trish, Tony, and Kass within the first three minutes. LJ [EDIT: OOPS, JEREMIAH] drops, then Woo, who strikes a great Master Splinter pose that makes me think he might pull off a miraculous recovery when oh, no, never mind, he doesn’t.

With this challenge, Tasha scores her second consecutive individual immunity win. I'm suddenly wondering if I’ve been underestimating Tasha. I haven't been rooting for her, likely because it was easy to loop her into the ineptness of Kass and J’Tia early in the season, but now she’s becoming more of a force in challenges, and we already know she stands to survive longer than Spencer (future immunities notwithstanding) since he has the bigger target on his back. With the inevitable departure of Spencer, could Tasha be the one to root for? I’m keeping my eye on you, girl.

P.S. Raise your hand if you giggled when Jeff said "Place your balls on the platform."
P.P.S. This is a good time to admit to you all that I'm 14 years old.

Act V: It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's... Just Tony

After the challenge, right when we get back to camp, Tony takes off running again, but not to his spy shack (which I pray makes a reprise appearance later this season). No, Tony’s not chopping down no wood. Not making no fire. Not boiling no water. He's finding that idol, and he won't rest until he finds it, no matter how many silly-looking trees he has to investigate.

Now, I personally have a love-hate relationship with players searching blindly for idols because I really don’t care for dumb luck. When I was in seventh grade, my best friend beat my Minesweeper score and gloated about his stupid luck for months. But if Tony is anything, it’s determined (among other adjectives), and lo and behold he gets dumbly lucky and finds an idol buried underneath a “rocket ship tree.” And it’s not just any idol. It’s the buzzy idol bestowed with special powers, turning this ordinary, mild-mannered Jersey cop into…

…SUPER TONY! Super Tony comes complete with x-ray introspection into human behavior, superhuman strength of poker face, invisibility (though he already has the spy shack so consider that one extraneous), and the ability to fly high into a cloud of paranoia. But don’t wait! Call now and your Super Tony action figure will come with such catchphrases as “I’m not a cop,” “Everybody’s eyes say bing!” and “Lime and papayas! You gotta be kiddin’ me!” Order now!

(Jokes aside, the idol’s rules state that it can’t be given to another tribe member, but it can be used after the votes have been read. Of all the people who could have found it, I just can't believe it's actually Tony who has it. Ugh. If you're a fan, that's the best news you could imagine for Tony, whose love story with his new idol is still more developed than Twilight. Now if you’ll excuse him, he’s gotta go wash up, gotta go wash up, gotta go wash up.)

NEXT: Jefra goes back to the dark side

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