Welcome back, loyal Survivor fans! We're three episodes into the season, and boy, can you believe these lazy, entitled millennials are still around? I thought 20-somethings were only good for spending their parents' money and tweeting on the Snapchats, and yet here they are: outwitting, outplaying and outlasting in Fiji. Well done, whippersnappers.
During episode three, four members of each tribe get to mingle with each other — an opportunity to carry out reconnaissance and make plans for the future. After a disappointing challenge performance, Generation X heads to Tribal Council, where Paul Wachter becomes the third person eliminated from the competition.
Things are tense at the millennials' camp when they return from Tribal Council, where Hannah Shapiro blindsided Adam Klein and Zeke Smith and helped vote out their ally, Mari Takahashi. Hannah begs forgiveness from Adam and Zeke, but the boys aren't interested in talking (perhaps because Hannah says "dude" at the end of every sentence). Adam and Zeke now have to fight their way back from the bottom of the tribe, or from "dumbass island," as Adam puts it.
Over on team Gen X, it's David Wright, Ciandre "CeCe" Taylor and Ken McNickle who are stuck on the bottom, and Ken, noted snarer of octopi, is "baffled" as to how that could be. Ken's particularly irked by Paul, who's all talk, no walk; he blabs about fishing tactics, but when he gets in the water, he can't even walk in his flippers — let along catch a fish.
People talk about CeCe and David being on the bottom — "But what about Paul?" Ken asks the camera. "What is he currently offering the tribe?"
Hey, there's some cool tree mail! The members of both tribes have to draw rocks from a bag; those who draw orange rocks get to leave camp and mingle with the orange-rock-drawers of the opposing tribe. That's Justin "Jay" Starrett, Jessica "Figgy" Figueroa, Taylor Lee Stocker and Will Wahl from team Millennial, and CeCe, Dave, Paul and Chris Hammons from team Gen X.
The eight gather for some good ol' fashioned PB&J; a classic sandwich to unite even the most disparate of generations.
Aware of his lowly status on team Gen X, David knows he needs to make some millennial friends. Grabbing Taylor for a 30-second chat, David says if he ends up in a swap or a merge, he wants to work together. "I trust you," he tells the 24-year-old snowboarding instructor, who mostly just wants to go make out with Figgy again.
Back at Gen X's camp, when the minglers are home from mingling, CeCe tells Ken the Millennials call him "Ken Doll" — yet another blow to his fragile masculinity. "When you're a boy, the last thing you want to be referred to is a plastic boy with no penis," he wails. Ken proceeds to flaunt his extreme manliness by catching a feast's worth of fish.
But it's not enough. Bent on restoring his strong, manly image, Ken begins actively conspiring to get Paul eliminated. He tries to convince Jessica Lewis, a member of Gen X's powerful six-person alliance, to join him, David and CeCe in voting out his nemesis — should they end up at Tribal Council.
That's exactly where Gen X is headed after a lackluster performance at this week's challenge. Competing for reward and immunity, the contestants have to maneuver a 40-pound bag through an obstacle course. I hope I never have to carry heavy objects across a wacky balance beam, because it looks hard. CeCe takes about 73 hours to make it across. By the time she finally lands on the other side, it's almost time for next week's episode.
Why are the bags so heavy, you ask? They're filled with sandbags! In an annoying final leg of the challenge, the tribes use the sandbags to knock down a puzzle — then race to put the exact same puzzle back together.
Due in part, perhaps, to CeCe's weak beam performance, the Gen Xers lose to the millennials. The millennials ask to exchange their reward — a bunch of shabby chic home furnishings — for fishing gear, but the Gen Xers don't agree to the swap. That means the millennials have to tote two crappy-looking "custom Survivor lounge chairs" back to camp — but at least they're safe from Tribal.
At Gen X's camp, the alliance of six wants to vote out CeCe; how can one survive in Fiji if one cannot speedily complete a balance beam challenge? But those on the bottom — David, CeCe and Ken — aren't giving up yet.
Lo! In a stirring act of women's empowerment, Jennifer, Sunday Burquest and Lucy Huang realize they're on the bottom of Gen X's six-person alliance. Maybe they shouldn't uphold their ties with Paul, Chris and Bret LaBelle — and instead, declare allegiance to David, CeCe and Ken. Get it, girls!
It's time for Tribal Council. To further force this season's contrived generational divide, host Jeff Probst asks the tribe members how many people use text messaging — and of them, how many write "you" instead of "u." It's supposed to be a metaphor for change or adaptation or efficiency or something, but all I remember is cringing excessively.
Blissfully, Jeff stops talking and lets the contestants vote. When he reads them out, the first six votes are evenly split between Paul and CeCe.
Which way did Jennifer, Sunday and Lucy decide to go? The answer is clear when Jeff reads the next vote: Paul. That's four votes Paul, three votes CeCe. The next vote — another for Paul — seals the deal: Paul is gone. Bye, Paul! Maybe you'll learn to fish someday.
"Whether you're a millennial or a Gen Xer, a blindside is a blindside," Jeff says sagely.