Put down your popcorn, because that was just nasty. If you were eating while watching Survivor‘s merge episode, your snacks probably weren’t sitting very well. Throughout the last 15 minutes of the show, gobs of ghastly close-up camera shots splashed across the screen with oozing, gooey bodily wounds.
It all came after several of the castaways revealed their various injuries before the Immunity challenge. Concerned for their safety, Jeff Probst and one of the medics later made an unexpected “house call” to the newly formed Dara tribe to assess everybody’s situation.
First up was Tai. His inner thighs had long gashes from the moment his skin scraped down a palm tree. Probst winced away when he first laid eyes on the cuts, but the medic didn’t feel Tai was in any danger because the area was “healing nicely.”
Next up was Scot, who clearly had an infection forming on his leg. Gross to look at? Yep! But he, too, was not in any immediate need of medical attention.
This is where things got grosser. When Aubry was evaluated, the medic said he could feel how firm the wound on her leg was, saying he had two options: Lance it and drain out the infection or start her on antibiotics. He took the conservative approach and put her on medication because he feared opening the lump and leaving her in the game might make things worse.
Then there was Neal who had an open, puss-leaking hole in his leg. It had been gushing so much gunk that he even nicknamed it Mount St. Neal. It looked like something straight out of a horror movie, and I bet it was a moment millions of heads looked away from the screen. Neal was even turned off by watching himself.
Even nastier? Neal took off his shirt to reveal a gag-inducing black blob growing on his back. No matter how bad it looked, the back injury wasn’t worrisome because the medic said it didn’t appear to be life-threatening. Mount St. Neal, however, was a different story. Concerned that an infection could destroy his joint in a matter of hours, the medic opted to remove a teary-eyed Neal from the competition.
But that’s not the last we’ve seen of Neal. Although he may be out of the game, he will be back as the first member of the jury to help decide who will win it all.
His final minutes in the game were highlighted by one last unsuspecting moment. Instead of opting to give his hidden Immunity Idol away to help his main ally, Aubry, he left the beach with it in his pocket. “That son of a bitch,” Aubry said with distress that her pal was gone and took the Idol with him. Twitter was shocked by it, too.
Although nobody wanted to see Neal get hurt, it was perfect timing for the former Brawn tribe members who were working to oust one of the Brains. Even better? His hidden Idol is gone, which gives them the ultimate power if they can maintain the numbers.
So far, this season is living up to its label as being one of the most brutal ever. With less than 20 days played, two castaways have already succumbed to the Survivor beast by biting the dust with game-ending medical emergencies. There’s likely going to be at least one more leaving the competition for a medical reason before it’s all over with, thus clinching the title of “toughest ever.”
Now, some are asking if the show is going too far. Well, it is called Survivor. There have been numerous medical evacuations throughout its history, so this is nothing unique just yet. We’ve had a variety of scary moments, including Michael Skupin falling into a fire on Season 2, Bruce Kanegai having an intestinal blockage in Season 12 and Russell Swan passing out at a challenge in Season 19. Meanwhile, the record for medevacs in one season is two castaways, which is where we stand with this edition now. So how did this season get chalked up as the toughest, most brutal ever? It’s clearly hard on the castaways, but let’s remember this much: Survivor has been on the air for 32 seasons now, and on the heels of the amazingly well-received Second Chance edition, there was definitely a need to create hype. The injuries are obviously the story line being sold to make things more exciting.
But, again, is this season going too far? By comparison, Survivor seems much more tame than its Discovery Channel counterpart Naked and Afraid in which strangers are abandoned in treacherous conditions with nothing. They don’t even get to keep the clothes on their backs, and many have been medically removed from that experience as well. What many viewers may not realize is that Survivor is made up of a small army. There are hundreds of people working behind the scenes to ensure the show is a safe environment. They are prepared for any significant life-threatening moment and I applaud their ability to get anybody with medical needs out of the game immediately.
It’s only a matter of time before we get a likely third medical evacuation this season. Who will it be?
What do you think of this season? Do you think Survivor is pushing the limits too far as more people keep getting hurt? Are you surprised Neal didn’t give Aubry his hidden Immunity Idol? Would you have given it away? Join the conversation and leave a comment now.
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