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Uncommon Survivor: Nicaragua - Week 1

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Welcome to Nicaragua, home of volcanoes, a rotting animal corpse, and monkeys; monkeys everywhere. The Survivors have already been divided and are already stereotyping each other. I can't help but do a bit of my own when dark haired girl proclaims she's single fifteen times. Jeff sets the stage and the camera pans out to show he's standing on the rock that Gandalf the Grey fought the Balrog on.

All spoiler warnings are in effect, if you're stuck in the limbo that is waiting to watch something you have recorded in the minefield of the Internet after its airing, you're playing a dangerous game, friend.

Jeff brings everyone on as they walk along a beach. They line up and Jeff welcomes them. Jeff asks woman in the plaid (Eve) what she can tell about how the people are walking. A few side glances are shot over to where I assume the girl with the one leg was standing, because they went right to her after talking about judging someone by the way they walk. She is a med student named Kelly B. and she was born with a birth defect that resulted in the amputation of her leg when she was 6 months old. There, that's out of the way. Marty, the technology executive, spots Jimmy Johnson and wants no part of him. 

Jeff asks if everyone is ready and begins to explain the first challenge. Hidden somewhere in the jungle behind them is the medallion of power, which, when activated, summons the spirit of vengeance known as the Ghost Rider, and will provide what Jeff promises to be an advantage for the wearer's team. Everyone runs off to go look for it. The single lady spies it in a tree and starts climbing. She puts it around her neck and everyone returns to the beach. Someone else notices Kelly B.'s limp. When everyone's reassembled, Jeff drops the bomb that the teams they're divided in aren't going to be their actual teams and immediately separates the lot to be taken away by the Sunset Squad... the 40 and older group. The younglings go off to the other side and Jeff tosses them their buffs while telling them their team names. The younglings are the yellow team, called La Flor (flower), and the early bird special team is blue and is called Espada (sword). 

Brenda, apparently, the girl who won the medallion of power is present with a choice by Jeff; hold on to it for later to use its unknown purpose, or trade it for flint and a crate full of fishing gear. What she doesn't choose, the other team gets. After a short, disorganized debate, the children choose the fishing gear and Brenda hands off the medallion of power to Marty. Shannon, the pest control company co-owner, doesn't think the old people can beat them in challenges. Boy, will his face be red after the Hoveround/applesauce gumming relays.

The first title of the old folks at their camp says "Espada - Older Tribe," and that makes me smile. Jimmy Johnson gets his opening scene that is strikingly similar to what returning Survivors talk about: using their fame to their advantage. The tribe's paired off, telling each other that that is, in fact, Jimmy Johnson, former head coach of the Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys. Two women meet each other in the forest and one says to the other, "Hey, I really like you." One is wearing pants and sandals with socks, the other a cowboy hat, while she drags a large branch around.  They form an instant bond and I can't help but feel like this is testing for the next entry in the Brokeback saga. The sandal wearer's name is Holly and she's a swim coach from South Dakota. The other woman's name is Wendy, and they can't stop telling each other how much they trust in each other. It's unnerving. Wendy is a goat rancher and I can tell already that she's a nutbag. All her friends are goats and it shows. Jane, the dog trainer, has a coconut husk and is demanding some glasses so she can start a fire. As we're watching her start a fire with the power of the sun, she tells us her husband died last year, so she's single, too. You win this round, old people. Mister Magoo's glasses, something the kids would never have. 

Next, we're taken to the younger tribe. They all high five each other with youthful vigor. Sash, the real estate broker, is excited to be vacationing here in Nicaragua. Jud, the student, is excited to be with his new frat brothers and... I guess sisters; so excited that he gets an object lodged in his foot after taking just one step. It's not deep enough to do any real damage, which earns another high five or two. In the next scene, he tries to pick up a crab that promptly pinches him. He shakes it off, but the claw stays stuck to his hand. Shannon thinks Jud is a dumb blonde and rates him 3/2 chromosomes. The guys all start calling him Fabio and, in what is surely an attempt to get him medically disqualified from the game, send him off with the machete to collect bamboo and presumably lose a limb. The boxer brief bros walk off together to complement each others muscles. They form a tentative alliance before Shannon breaks the record for misogynistic remarks spoken in English in Nicaragua. If it's the last thing he does... a girl is not winning this time! Back at camp, the women are weaving baskets. Kelly feels self-conscious about her leg and thinks that people are staring. I would just tell people that I was in an accident on the set of Piranha 3D and some of the two million year old piranha escaped and ate my leg and hey, you wanna peep this femur? She decides she's going to make it known to everyone, which could have been done if she'd just worn shorts, and gathers them all around. There is a confused silence after she has everyone's attention, then she pulls down her pants to reveal her prosthetic leg. It's entirely steam powered, complete with coal-burning stove, ornate brass pipes, and shining, silvery pressure gauges. Just kidding, it's a perfectly normal prosthetic leg. Pulling her pants off causes Kelly to announce that now she's excited. Another volley of high fives is exchanged. This high five rate is astronomical and I think they're all going to need prosthetic arms if they make it to the end. Fabio asks how she tells it to move which makes her feel better since she's not the only one on the team with a disability. 

The first night at convalescent beach has the residents applauding themselves for their fire. The celebration is interrupted by someone heaving or vomiting. It's Jimmy, he thinks he overdid it getting wood. Nausea? Vomiting? Jimmy, those are some of the negative side-effects of ExtenZe. And I know what you're thinking, I just know that because I'm a Jimmy Johnson fan. Honest.

Jimmy wakes up the next morning telling everyone about how miserable his night was. Over at baby beach, gray boxer briefs is chatting up Brenda about Jimmy, asking if she knew who he was. She knew because she used to be a cheerleader for the Dolphins. Gray boxer briefs is Chase, the pro race car jack man, and he thinks Brenda's cute. He hints to her that the guys have already aligned. Meanwhile, Alina the art student and Kelly have found the first clue to a hidden immunity idol. They can't decipher the clue so they hide it again somewhere else. Alina is disappointed that she had to find the clue with the one-legged girl and be in an alliance with her because of the sympathy vote. She's not rude or anything, she just doesn't want to be friends with her because she has one leg. 

Day 3 brings tree mail hinting that they should not go chasing waterfalls, but rather, stick to the rivers and lakes that they're used to. Jimmy gathers the team around to give them one of his time-honored pep talks. 

It's challenge time! Jeff tells everyone to come in and the old people walk on first and wait while the children have invented some sort of marching chant. Jeff asks the old people if that was intimidating. Jimmy speaks up saying that he doesn't understand these kids today with their stomping of the yard and whatnot. Jeff gets the updated names of the the younglings, Fabio and Purple Kelly (the blonde one... with two legs). The challenge is the ancient Nicaraguan ritual of pouring blue or yellow-colored water down a chute and into a bucket that, when filled, will drop a bag of puzzle pieces. Solve the puzzle first and win the immunity conquistador! Jeff then explains how the medallion of power comes into play. The old folks will have the option of using it to gain a slight lead in the challenge and, if used, the medallion will be given to the children for use in the next challenge. The fogeys decide to make a statement by trying to win the challenge without using the medallion. The challenge begins and both teams arrange their chutes. The blue pourer is pouring too quickly and spilling a lot while the younglings' pourer is making nice, easy pours. The blue team's water looks like toilet water. The kids release their pieces first and the girls rush over to free them. The oldies drop theirs soon after and the old ladies start theirs, too. The younglings get going right away and get one piece from finishing before realizing something's not aligned right. The oldies try to make up some time but the younglings correct the problem and win immunity. Jeff asks Brenda if she would have used the medallion and she says she would have because she's playing for today. 

 Back at camp old timer, The Other Jimmy has Other Jimmy syndrome. He's irate that he's the second Jimmy and shouts everyone down, saying he's voting for the coach, then he runs off, saying he needs to calm down. Holly and Best Jimmy go for a walk where he explains that they need to make the team stronger and that he and the goat farmer are the two weakest ones. Holly, in the presence of the shirtless Super Bowl champion coach, begins to regret her alliance with Wendy. Wendy, despite being raised by goats, can already tell she's on the outs. She's not entirely sure, but she's noticed that Holly's stopped talking to her already. Did anyone get the official time on that one? The old "alliance on the first day, broken on the third" maneuver. Holly tells some of the others what Best Jimmy said and that it's between him and Wendy, even though they may already have alliances. I'm pretty sure she just gave away that she has one, too. Nobody wants to commit to anything. They decide to go around in a circle and say who they want to get rid of and then stare at each other blankly. One of them just repeats that they feel they should keep the tribe strong and still none of them can say a name. The tribe gathers in the common room to watch Matlock before heading off to tribal council.

At the council area, Jeff does the little "fire symbolizes life" spiel. Then he dives right in, asking Jane what impressions she might give to people. She calls herself a hillbilly and grins with a smile that doesn't disagree. Her fire-making skills are mentioned and she says she learned because Jeff said everyone who comes on Survivor should know how to make fire, so she practiced for two months. Jeff asks The Other Jimmy what it's like to be the other Jimmy. He says he's used to everyone listening to him, probably because he's the best Jimmy they have, and finishes by pointing out the fact that here, he's the Jimmy who hasn't won any Super Bowls or college championships. Jeff asks Best Jimmy what that's like and he says he knows no jury would award him the million dollars, he's just here for the adventure. Jeff asks The Other Jimmy if be buys thats, and of course he doesn't. Marty nods in agreement with The Other Jimmy's words. Marty is asked about leading before Jeff asks everyone who is afraid they might be going home tonight to raise their hand. Over half the tribe does, and Jeff asks Holly why she thinks this. If nobody knew before, they definitely know now - she's already in an alliance. Jeff turns to Wendy to ask her, and she thinks nobody connected with her or talked to her very much, citing that nobody even asked her how old she is. One of the girls claims she asked and Tyrone (did they introduce him yet and I missed it?) says that it's rude to ask a woman that. Welcome to people society, goat lady. Then she keeps talking and talking and talking while eyes roll and long sighs are completed. She finishes by saying that being quiet isn't her normal thing, her nickname is the chatterbox. If nothing she said before that convinced people to vote her off, that would have done it for me. Voting time! Jeff starts to tell everyone the deal before Chatterbox butts in, wanting to say one thing. Jeff sits back down (he must have loved that moment) and asks her what she has to say. She begins to list reasons why she should be kept while everyone looks around the council area, scratching the sides of their mouths, twiddling thumbs - anything to distract from having to listen to this woman. She finishes by telling everyone she has no blisters on her feet. 

Voting actually begins, Jane starts first. We're shown Tyrone's vote; Wendy. She talked herself out of the tribe. Jeff goes to tally the votes.

The first one is Tyrone's Wendy vote. The next is Eve. The third and fourth are Wendy. The fifth, six, and seventh are also all Wendy, and the goat rancher is eliminated in the first round. 



See you at the finale, Wendy, where I'll try to remember you.

Next week, the whoop-assiest opening question Jeff's ever asked, and Fabio and Naonka go at it. Same Uncommon time, same Uncommon place! 


Like what you read? Comment below and feel free to recommend! The author collects them all and puts them in a jar with some sugar and pectin to make a delicious marmalade of love!