Survivor season premiere recap: Brain Drain

The Brains tribe makes one stupid move after another, displaying a complete lack of Survivor smarts.
Ep. 01 | Aired Feb 26, 2014

SITTING DOWN ON THE JOB J'Tia didn't exactly make a great first impression

Monty Brinton/CBS

Whatever. If they win, it won’t matter. Which brings us to the next immunity challenge. Good news! We’re heading into the water. This one has the teams swim out to a bamboo cage, jump over and into the cage, open the gate door, bring four fish traps back to shore, and then one tribe member uses the pieces inside to solve a puzzle. Since Brawn and Beauty are one member up, they each need to sit someone out. It is right around this time where I clasp my hands in prayer and chant, “Please don’t sit the black person. Please don’t sit the black person.” Samoa’s Jaison notwithstanding, Survivor has a long, unproud tradition of casting African-Americans who do not fare well in the water. It’s an uncomfortable stereotype that I never enjoy seeing played out, so I’m looking forward to seeing it smashed here. And then what happens? Brawn sits Cliff and Beauty sits Brice. DOH!

But you know what? DON’T LET THAT FOOL YOU! Because J’Tia is going to come out here and show everyone how it is done! She is going to be like Aquaman, only a female version of Aquaman that does not know how to build shelters or wear weird orange shirts. (Orrrrrrrrrrrrrr not.) J’Tia is the slowest swimmer by far, but that’s okay, she can show her worth during the puzzle portion. (Orrrrrrrrrrrrrr not.) But somehow, despite J’Tia’s lack of prowess in the water, the Brains tribe gets a huge lead going into the puzzle. The Brawn tribe is well behind and the Beauty tribe is not even in the picture. Seriously, I can’t even see them on my TV screen, that’s how out of it they are. But here’s the problem: J’Tia is on the puzzle.

Sprinkling some sort of magical witches potion (which contains the blood of two tribe members) the Brawn tribe makes a startling comeback, getting all eight pieces in before J’Tia can even get her second one in. “Are they still working on their puzzle?” marvels Sarah when she sees the Beauty tribe now beating the Brains as well. A contest that appeared to not even be close does not end close, but it is the Brains on the bottom, with J’Tia only getting two pieces in by the time Beauty comes in second place. It's is impossible to overstate what an absolutely awful performance this is by J'Tia. And when it rains, it pours. This time, literally — as buckets of water fall from the sky. Too appropriate. Obviously we’ve seen plenty of big comebacks on this show before, but this result is truly shocking. The nuclear engineer in the “I Love Nerds” t-shirt just got absolutely smoked in a puzzle by a cop and a horse trainer. I actually think she’d still be there trying to solve that thing if Probst hadn’t whisked them away.

After a slight detour to the Brawn tribe to watch Tony coo and make weird orgasm noises while making out with his new hidden immunity idol, we head over to the Brains beach to watch the seemingly inevitable goodbye to J’Tia. As long as nobody does anything completely stupid like telling…wait, what is Garrett doing? NO! No, you don’t hold an open forum and tell someone she is the one going home and then attempt to forbid any and all strategic talk after that! Even Spencer is shocked by the stupidity, calling his alliance-mate “a first class grade A moron.”

NEXT: No scoops of the crispy for the Brains tribe

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