Scheming! Flipping! Voting! Voting again! Voting some more! After tonight's dizzying installment of Survivor: Nicaragua, I'm dizzier than a spectator at a Guillermo Vilas grand master chess tournament. Or is it tennis match?
Either way, it was almost impossible to keep score.
Is it fair to say that the right Castaways went home?
We're going to miss you, Yve and Kelly B., even if NaOnka won't.
Grand Master Flash: When we talked before the game in Nicaragua, Marty cited a famous quote by Mexican revolutionary-tennis star Emiliano Zapata: "It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees." (A motto apparently not endorsed by Dan.) But tonight, he almost went out with his ass on fire in the Tribal Council hot seat. Marty told me that to succeed in Survivor, he'd "have to find a way to ingratiate" and "tame [his] aggressive, alpha part." Is it fair to say he's failing miserably? Even gullible Fabio—who said he "was taking orders" from Marty after his chess superstar "reveal"—followed the lead of his original tribe in the final voting.
Queen Gets Her Color: Tonight it became clear who's really controlling this chess game: Brenda. She put a target on her back, but the older group is a decided minority and Jane isn't even playing on their side anyway. She'll be picking off players until they wise up and sacrifice her strength in challenges to improve their own individual odds.
Outwit, Outwit, Outwit! Like Jimmy Johnson, no one wanted to be sitting next to Kelly B. at the final vote—and she knew it. "To convince anyone to take me [to the end] with them—you know, build an alliance—that's going to be my biggest challenge," she told me before the game. Unfortunately, she seemed so focused on proving herself physically—quite unnecessarily; no one seemed to doubt the Ironman triathlete's abilities—that she neglected to focus on the mental strategy.
Purple Power: Is it because of Spirit Day that we paid more attention to Purple Kelly tonight? Now that Kelly B.'s gone, is she going to Natalie White her way to the finish? She's in a comfortable alliance and doesn't pose a threat to anyone except viewers bored to death by her.
Well...Done? "Dan is done," both Holly and Yve announced to their tribe, but how can someone be finished when they never started playing the game to begin with? Even in today's nonphysical Kitty Litter challenge, Mr. Martini's feeble performance couldn't escape Jeff Probst's scorn. I sort of get (and resent) the rationale to keep around a nonthreat, but isn't anyone worried he'll quit or be forced out by the medical staff? It's a sad day when we're nodding our heads in agreement with NaOnka, who predicts he'll soon be crawling around camp on the "nubs" of his worn-out knees.
Karma Chameleon: Yve told me her strategy going in was to "be a chameleon"—which worked while she was on the Antiques tribe. After the shuffle, though, it was fair to say, to repeat once again the phrase Jeff uttered 47 times tonight, that her days were numbered. "I'm certainly not here to make any friends," she told me. "But at the end of the game, I hope they respect the way I played it." It's fair to say she succeeded on both counts.
NEXT TIME, ON SURVIVOR
...Another over-30 will be sent home. These kids do not respect their elders (and that includes grand masters at chess)!
TWITTER: Follow @drumoorhouse for more Survivor scoop.
Got questions for Kelly B. or Yve? Tweet me or post 'em in the comments, and I'll ask when I talk to both Castaways Thursday morning.