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TV Review: Survivor: Nicaragua, Episode Three

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It’s only episode three, and Jimmie Johnson is gone. I can’t imagine the producers are happy about that. You’ve got a celebrity, a star—I would imagine you’d like to have him around for awhile. He has to have added some few points to the ratings, if only in Texas. Besides, if he wasn’t the strongest, wasn’t he the motivator? It would have been nice if his geriatric tribe mates had agreed. I mean who else could be dropping Terry Bradshaw’s name into the conversation with any credibility?

But they didn’t. And, why not, because Marty has decided this is the time for him to go, and Marty, with the immunity idol as his tool, has emerged as the major schemer in Espada. At Jill’s suggestion, he reveals to the tribe that he has the hidden immunity idol, creating, at least for the time being, a ton of good will for himself. Why Jill lets him get all the credit is something of a mystery. You would think she’d feel some sense of ownership in the idol. After all he would never have found it, if it weren’t for her help. Clearly she has more respect for Marty’s integrity than she should, because just as clearly, he’s quite sure that ownership of the idol belongs to him.

Marty, in one of the solo interviews they like to use to give the viewer insights into what the castaways are thinking, doesn’t care for the “kumbaya” feeling around camp; people are too comfortable, perhaps, not physically, but emotionally. Things need to be stirred up. Other things are important in the game besides strength and weakness. It’s time, he says, that people start playing the game.

Meanwhile over at La Flor, the young ‘uns win the immunity/reward challenge (what happened to the good old days when there were two challenges per show?), and in a fruit basket that is part of the reward, Kelly B. and NaOnka spot a clue. When they get back to camp, NaOnka knocks Kelly B. away (so much for sympathy for her artificial leg) and makes off with the clue. This is followed by some face time trash talk for NaOnka where she (or the editors) continue to set her up for the next time the producers want to do a “Heroes and Villains” season.

So, then, as we go into week four, we’ve got the great motivator gone. We’ve got turmoil possibly on the way for the lovey dovey older tribe. We’ve got turmoil already there for the youngsters. We’ve got a big time manipulator and we’ve got a villain you love to hate. Potential targets abound: Danny has a bad knee and he seems to need to be oiled. Jud grins and wants to be loved for himself, not just because he makes people laugh. Alina made friends with the wrong people. Tyrone didn’t quite make the full commitment Marty was looking for, when the vote for Coach was suggested. The old formula is back; Survivor: Nicaragua is hitting its stride. If things continue to roil and tumble, we’ll be in for a good season, even with Coach Jimmy’s fire quenched.

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About Jack Goodstein