Last week, America was introduced to Jim Rice, former Wall Street suit-turned-poker player-turned-Denver medical marijuana dispensary owner. Jim Rice "survived."
And while he quickly became somewhat of a focal point of that episode for causing waves, Rice played it cool this week and positioned himself for the long run.
The episode started out painting Rice and Savaii Tribe teammates Ozzy and Keith as the strong, front-runners of their tribe, though that was pretty evident from the last episode. Nerdy Cochran still plays up his insecurities and becomes the camp bitch, which doesn't seem to get him the respect it he seems to think it will. And although Papa Bear is endearing, he is still seen by the others as too old to make it far. That said, he hauled is weight, literally, later in the team competition.
Rice, Ozzy and Keith solidified their alliance later in the episode on a boating & fishing expedition, though Keith and Ozzy think they have the upper hand by letting Rice initiate the plans. Using poker jargon, Rice compares his strategy to a card tournament and says he's thinking three or four moves ahead. Despite what the other two guys in the pact think, Rice admits he's "at the cool kids table, but I'm barely at the cool kid's table." From my perspective, he seems to be reading his position well.
The biggest move for the red team in the episode came when veteran Ozzy sneaks off on a "fishing expedition" and finds a hidden immunity necklace, protecting him from being voted off whenever he decides to play it. Otherwise, the red Savaii team didn't get much play during this episode, as much of the drama seemed to be happening on another side of the island with the blue Upolu tribe.
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Though he spent the entire first episode talking about how he was going to keep his relation to former survivor villain Russell Hantz a secret, bumbling Brandon tells coach almost right away in the second -- citing his struggles with his faith as the reason for coming clean. He spends the rest of the episode struggling with his "demons."
He tries endlessly to rally the team against tribe member Mikayla simply because he can't stand being around her in her underwear and using what he sees as "seductive ways and young girl attitude" on the rest of the team. He truly thinks that "temptations" will get the best of him and he'll somehow get with this woman, which gets borderline weird.
First off, dude is married. Second of all, even if he did 'submit to temptation', what in the hell does he see from her that says she would ever give him the time of day? His strangeness and laser focus on Mikayla doesn't go unnoticed by his fellow teammates, several of whom comment that he seems a bit intense about the whole thing.
Competition time was a series of two puzzles. The first was for half of the team to work together to unwrap a maypole until a set of keys at the top slid down one of the ribbons. The keys allowed the first four to unlock the second four, who worked pushing large crates around until the largest crate could be freed and carried over to a pedestal.
The blue team women took the lead quickly, mostly due to fumbling Cochran on the red team fouling up the rhythm of the women he was partnered up with. The four men on the blue team were unlocked first, and had a good minute lead on the red team. But Rice, Ozzy, Keith and Papa Bear with the red team blasted through the puzzle and eventually won the round for the Savaii tribe.
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The blue team ended up freaking out on one another in tribal council, with Coach spilling the beans on everyone's strategy but his own, throwing teammates Christine and Stacey under the bus and forcing everyone to confront one another about who they planned to vote on. Despite Brandon's campaigning against Mikayla, she remained safe and loudmouth Christine was sent packing.
But most importantly, our hometown guy remains safe for another episode (and so does my position as marijuana TV critic). Next week looks to be more interesting for the Savaii tribe, though, with the preview hinting at another loss in the team challenge.
This week's Survivor strain: Durban Poison with a glob of OG Kush hash on top.
More Surviving: "Medical marijuana center owner Jim Rice on how posing with pot helped get him on Survivor."