This episode (and its titular question, "Why Aren't You Swimming?") highlight one of the problems with Survivor: people are often irrational, and make decisions based on their perceptions, rather than results. Brad took the blame for Raro's loss in the reward challenge, even though his tribe had lost it before he even got a chance to do anything. Admittedly, he was pretty good at the swimming leg of the last challenge in which he swam (Episode 4's RC, "Strung Along"). Even so, though, the hypothetical scenario in which Raro could have won if Brad had just done some of the swimming is by no means assured, and at the same time, there's overwhelming evidence staring them in the face that someone else really did hurt them: Rebecca was completely useless in that challenge. (To her credit, even Rebecca herself admitted this.) Furthermore, it's not even the first time Rebecca's absolute lack of challenge ability has cost them a victory (see pretty much every other challenge). Despite this, nobody to this point has even bothered to mention Rebecca as a boot target, as more competent tribemates, such as Stephannie, JP, and Cristina, have been tossed aside. So why does Brad take all the heat? Because he wanted to do the puzzle. Puzzling.
Where is it?
The set-up of the "Smash & Grab" reward challenge raises a question that has remained unanswered, even through all the repetitions this challenge has undergone. Namely: is there any reason someone from the other team couldn't grab an unclaimed key from the other tribe, and fling it as far as humanly possible, to delay their opponents? Particularly in this version, where people were unable to find keys, and opted to swim back in sans key, while the other tribe was already heading out. True, in the more-recent versions, the keys have floated, making them much easier to find. But still, unless it's explicitly against some rules that Probst never announces, why hasn't anyone tried this?
We're guessing that Yul Kwon is looking forward to the mutiny
If only so that Penner no longer feels inclined to call him "Yulie."
Reward loss ugliness at Raro
Nate (paraphrased): "I was planning to fill my tribe in with all the discoveries I recorded in my 'notebook,' but instead I'll just turn Parvati's vaguely off-color threat against Brad ("I want to punch him in the mouth!") into something more like gay-bashing, by calling Brad a Nancy Boy. Now I've gotta go fish instead of eating peanut butter and bread, which I didn't get because I had to sit out, because I was kidnapped, which I'm pretty sure is also Brad's fault."
Rebecca (paraphrased): "Zzzzzz."
Also after the reward loss, Jenny asks, "How hard is it to do a puzzle?" Ironically, her single-handed, dominant completion of the puzzle in the subsequent immunity challenge was an impressive feat, or at least it might have seemed that way if she hadn't just pooh-poohed doing puzzles to her entire tribe. Oh well. And to think she'd finally found a niche.
Exile Island, again?
There's really no good reason to be sending people there now, so why bother? Adam suffered for one night for no good reason. On the plus side, this is the first episode in a long time that they've even bothered to show the person who's been exiled, perhaps because they thought it was pretty exciting that they'd sent someone off for a night on a tiny island with no shelter, right as a massive storm hit. In reality, though, it turns out it's not really "good TV" if all you see of the person is a nightvision shot of some unidentifiable tattooed body part otherwise exposed, while they spout inspirational poster quotes in a voiceover.
Did anyone else catch Probst's badgering of Parvati during both challenges this episode? Near the end of the reward challenge, he bellowed, "You've gotta keep moving, Parvati!" And in the immunity challenge, he let loose with, "Let's go, Parvati! What are you doing, walking?" (To be fair, just about every time Parvati was shown swimming here, she was doing breaststroke, which is a bizarre choice, since it's the slowest of the four main strokes.)
Also, we would be remiss if we did not mention Probst's out-of-context inappropriate quote of the week: "Parvati, up for a second hit at her box!"
How did Raro win a swimming/puzzle challenge?
Not to mention one in which Adam had spent the previous night at Exile Island, although to be fair, all he did in this challenge was stand around the puzzle table while Jenny solved it. As you might expect, the Aitu combo of Yul/Ozzy/Candice outswam Raro's team of Nate/Brad/Parvati. Aitu also did better at the sorting/teamwork pole puzzle leg at the start. Yes, Penner is probably better at puzzles than Sundra and Flica, but Becky seemed to do well at the reward puzzle. Apparently you have to chock it all up to Jenny. Puzzles, über alles.
Penner and Ozzy, the almost-prejurors
It's weird to see how close both Ozzy and Penner came to being voted out in this episode. Both were mentioned throughout as possible vote targets for Aitu. Ozzy because Yul, Becky, and Candice were worried (rightly) that Ozzy might be difficult to boot post-merge if he goes on an immunity run. Penner because "he's untrustworthy," even though all he's ever shown doing is fishing or sitting around camp, mostly alone. Would either Ozzy or Penner have been invited back if they'd actually gone home here?
Jeff Pitman is the founder of the True Dork Times, and probably should find better things to write about than Survivor. So far he hasn't, though. He's also responsible for the Survivometer, calendar, boxscores, and contestant pages, so if you want to complain about those, do so in the comments, or on twitter: @truedorktimes