I knew it was coming. I predicted it all week long, actually: This was probably going to be Denver dispensary owner Jim Rice's last shot at $1 million on Survivor. But I still found myself cheering for Rice tonight as he fought to stay on the game show he's been a fan of for more than a decade.
Last week, nerdy law student Cochran defected from his former Savaii Tribe alliance and joined up with members of the opposing Upolu tribe. After weeks in the role of a weak, subservient wiener of a man who played up his insecurities and lack of physical strength to no end, he flipped and decided that his entire former team had been nothing but mean to him. Dude didn't take into account the many times they saved his ass from elimination; he only focused on the bad times. And the player in cross-hairs at the end of last week? That was Rice.
Let me stop here. If you're just tuning in and have no clue what I'm talking about, but are still oddly curious, you can catch up on the last nine weeks of reviews in our Survivor archive.
Not having a Redemption Island challenge last week, producers were quick to get it out of the way this episode. The challenge was simple and grueling. All the three players had to do was balance a horizontal wood board above their heads by using two vertical wooden beams, one on the back of each hand. First player to drop one of the arms and cause the board to fall lost the challenge and was sent out of the game.
And of course, that person was Rice. Even before the challenge started, he was laughing as host Jeff Probst explained the clearly demanding obstacle. Keith dropped out next, keeping fellow former Savaii Tribe member Ozzy in the game for at least another episode.
And thus ends Rice's run for the big prize, and my run as a stoned TV game show critic. I didn't even get to spark up my Survivor bowl of the week. I'll admit that not having a few extra bucks on my paycheck for these reviews each week hurts more than anything, but I'll also admit to feeling a bit sorry for Rice that he didn't make it all the way.
Though he did a lot of things right in my opinion -- including speaking his mind about people who were the weakest link and attempting a lot of strategic moves early on -- he didn't make it all the way. So he clearly did a few things wrong as well. Here's my top three things that would have secured him the win and the money:
3. Be slightly nicer to Cochran. Not because he deserved it, but because he was clearly unstable from the moment you met him and needed the constant reassurance -- even as a grown-ass man. Who would hire that twerp as a lawyer is beyond me.
2. Take a machete into the jungle and brought back a wild boar. Far-fetched, maybe. But who would argue with you then? At that point, even the vegetarians in the group would have loved you.
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1. Brought a quarter pound of sweet, sweet ganja with you. I still think you played it smart not telling people you were a medical marijuana dispensary owner going into the game (thanks to stupid backwards views on cannabis). But in retrospect ,you could have not only come out of the grow room (see what I did there?) but blown the vent hoods off the mother-effer. I know that would probably violate the rules (as well as dozens of state, federal and international laws), but face it: There's some puffers on that island and you would have had total control over the nightly fireside pow-wow sessions.
Rice and Keith both now become the first two members of the jury that decides who walks away with the $1 million prize at the end. That means they'll head off to what's probably a much more plush part of the island and live it up for a while off camera until the final episode airs in a few weeks. Check back then for our recap, and in the meantime we'll see if we can't track down Rice himself for some one-on-one time.
Survivor Strain of the Week: Blended hash on top of Sour Diesel. Nothing special this week: Just something classic to get me good and stoned on my last Wednesday night glued to the TV.
William Breathes has been covering dispensary owner Jim Rice's journey through Survivor since the season started in September. Check out his reviews in our Survivor archive and keep up all your marijuana news at The Latest Word.