QUIT DUET: NaOnka & Kelly Step Out, Holly Steps Up
“You Started, You’re Finishing” –The rain and lack of food continue to take toll on NaOnka and Purple Kelly, and despite a pep talk from a newly invigorated Holly, both decide to leave the game. Holly sacrifices her Reward Challenge spoils to get a new tarp and plenty of rice for camp, leading to consternation by the rest of the tribe when NaOnka, already decided to be leaving the game, didn’t take Holly’s place.
For one night, “Survivor” became “quitter.”
Two contestants quit the CBS game in an episode aired on Wednesday. That’s a first for the show, which has had only four others leave of their own choice in a history that goes back a decade.
NaOnka Mixon, a 27-year-old gym teacher from Los Angeles, said relentless rain at the show’s Nicaragua setting made her joints ache. Mixon hasn’t been a fan favorite, since cameras once caught her stealing food from her fellow players.
She left with one head-shaking act of selfishness. After being part of a winning team in a reward challenge where the prize was a movie screening with popcorn and hot dogs to eat, host Jeff Probst asked for one volunteer to give up the prize in order to give the losers extra rice and a tarp. Even though she had already said she was going home, Mixon wouldn’t volunteer — leaving the hero turn to Holly Hoffman, a 44-year-old swim coach from Eureka, S.D.
The other quitter was 20-year-old Kelly Shinn, a nursing student from Mesa, Ariz. Shinn said: “I just feel like I’m breaking down.”
Hoffman tried to talk her out of it, saying she’ll face tougher things in life, and that she’ll always be known as the girl who quit “Survivor.”
She quit anyway, leaving seven contestants in the running for a $1 million prize.
The women leaving didn’t get much sympathy.
“Get out,” Probst said as he snuffed out Shinn’s torch.
Hey, who likes Jack Black movies? Well, have we got a reward challenge for you! The reward, in this case, is the opportunity to appear in a covert advertisement for the new Jack Black–Jason Segel comedy Gulliver’s Travels. To win, your team (who is all tethered together) has to carry an 8-foot stuffed dummy named — you guessed it! — Gulliver through a series of obstacles. Fabio, Sash, Jane, and Silent Kelly are on the Yellow team. Holly, NaOnka, Chase, and Benry are on the Blue team. And Dan is on the I-Am-Unable-to-Physically-Move-More-Than-18-Inches-And-If-You-Think-I-Can-Carry-That-Giant-Dummy-Around-Then-You-Are-Even-Dumber-Than-Fabio team. He gets to sit and watch and practice his gambling skills by picking a winner, and if he’s right, he gets to join them at the Survivor cinema. The downside for Dan? He is forced to sit in an oversized chair that makes him look even more unimposing than he has appeared all season. (That was actually the funniest visual in the entire episode. My hat is off to the art department on that one.)
The challenge itself is an action-packed seasaw affair. In the end, the Blue team wins. But just as Probst is about to wax poetic about the comedic stylings of Jack Black, NaOnka has an announcement to make “This will be my last day.” And with that the angels can be heard singing throughout the land: Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelu-jah! Hallelu-jah! Hal-le-lu-jah! But in a truly bold move, Probst decides to double down: “So you’re quitting. Anybody else here want to quit?”
And then Silent Kelly informs him that she too wants to bail. Well, now the producers have a serious problem. These two women quit right here and right now, and they don’t have enough people to vote someone off every episode. Unless, of course, they do one of two things. 1) They convince both of them to hold out for a few hours more to do it all official and dramatic-like at Tribal Council. Or 2) They scrap the final three at the finale and go down to a final two. Lord knows, I’ve gone on record a million times already on how much I hate a final three, because an A vs. B head-to-head matchup is much more dramatic than a pick-one-of-the-above. The producers like a final three because they’re petrified that a great competitor (like Ozzy in Cook Islands) would otherwise not even make it to the finals, but final threes are just inherently lame. Unfortunately, the powers that be go for option #1, with Probst going all stall tactic and announcing that “I’m going to give you guys the afternoon to think about it. And we’re going to meet at Tribal Council tonight.”
Back at Libertad, everyone tells Holly how much they appreciate her sacrifice. They get to work to get the tarp in place before the next storm hits. After the tarp is in place, Holly pulls Kelly aside for a chat. Holly asks Kelly why she is quitting, and Kelly whines about how she is cold and hungry. Holly gives her a speech about sucking it up and dealing with it. She points out that the tarp will make the weather more bearable and the tribe has more rice. Kelly interviews that “she has nothing left to suck.”
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