It's only the third week of "Survivor: Caramoan" and we're already treading familiar water: Shamar, the troubled Iraq veteran continues to lash out; pretty boys Eddie and Reynold show anew that they're annoying elitists; and another one of the cool kids posse is kicked out.
Was I the only one getting uncomfortable with the race/class dynamic developing on the fans tribe? I hope some of the other members of the tribe can develop plotlines because the one we have now is yucky.
On the one hand is Shamar, the troubled war veteran who keeps shooting himself in the foot by angering everyone in the tribe. Shamar served two tours in Iraq; in a calm moment he confided to some of the tribe mates the pain of seeing fellow soldiers blown up and in body bags. It could have been a tacky staged reality TV show moment -- but I actually believe Shamar is troubled. We all know people like Shamar, who just can't get out of their own way.
"I want to get my happy back," said Shamar, who at one point was considering bailing on the show.
And then there's Reynold, the handsome San Fran real estate broker who oozes privilege and loathes Shamar -- and vice versa. At the top of the show, thwarted narcissist Reynold scolded his tribe mates for turning on his pretty people clique and voting out Allie last week.
"Revenge of the nerds," sneered Reynold to vacuous Eddie, the buff New Jersey firefighter who is dimly becoming aware that his early cool-kids voting block is shredding and he might have to do business with the non-cool people.
So it's eight white people in various shades of attack against Shamar, a lone African-American who alternates between telling people to shut up and feeling completely alone and defeated.
"Everyone here is, like, let's throw Shamar under the bus," said Shamar at tribal council.
But Shamar does have in his corner Sherri, the fast food franchisee in her 40s who says she's met "lots of Shamars" in her line of work.
"I've worked with a lot of 24-year-old brats," says Sherri. "I've met lots of Shamars. I get him. Once you cross him, you can't go back. And they've crossed him and in his mind, that's it."
At tribal council, the first vote ended with three votes each for Shamar, Eddie and Hope, a pretty pre-law student.
So after a rare tie on the show, a second vote was held -- but with the three finalists, as it were, unable to vote.
In one of the most interestingly staged scenes of the night, Shamar the shark floating in the shallow water gave some advice to Hope sitting on the shore. It reminded me of the children's story "The Lady and the Tiger."
As Hope bemoaned her likely ouster, Shamar told her she wasn't completely gone if she was willing to change gears and change her vote from him to Eddie. As it turned out, that was 100 percent correct. If she could have taken that bold step, then Eddie would have gotten four votes and gone down in the first ballot.
But Hope was unable to make such a radical move and thus ended up as early round carrion.
When the dust cleared, Shamar survived to annoy his tribe mates another day and Hope was booted off. So the initial cool kids voting block of Reynold, Eddie, Allie and Hope is now down to the two men, who are being kept around for their prowess in winning athletic challenges. And Reynold does have that immunity idol which he will need pronto if he remains as arrogant as he has come across in the first three episodes.
Hope's exit speech was just as bland as her trajectory on the show:
"You know, I'm really, really, disappointed. I definitely think that, you know, I should have stayed out here longer. I thought I was a strong player. I feel like I'm leaving before my time. But I will say that this has been an incredible, once in a lifetime experience and I feel really grateful for having the opportunity."
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