"Survivor" is a brutal game, so it's no wonder many players have had to leave early due to an injury or illness. Who can forget Michael Skupin burning the flesh off his hands in Season 2?
At least he got a chance to return and try again in "Survivor: Philippines" last season (and got to the final three). We'll have to wait to find out if Shamar ever gets a second chance.
Yes, indeed, it's the Iraq war veteran who had to be medically evacuated. It's ironic because he'd been rubbing people the wrong way this entire game, and he had to leave because he rubbed his own eye the wrong way.
But Shamar's departure didn't make things any easier for the fans.
What's in a name?
After the last tribal council, the fans return to camp dejected and divided. Reynold and Eddie blast the others for setting them up, with Reynold particularly angry at Laura for revealing his idol. "It's pretty much over for Eddie and I," he huffs.
Over at the favorites's tribe, Phillip's strutting around like king of the camp, or excuse us, "The Specialist." He's giving everyone names, a strategy he learned from Napoleon (yeah, because things worked out so well for that guy).
Brandon is The Commodore, Andrea is The Eliminator, Cochran is The Intelligentsia, and so on. Oh and the entire alliance is called Stealth R Us. We'll give Phillip this: He makes things interesting.
Onto the reward challenge (yes, separate challenges this week -- finally!). It's a relay race involving walking across water, then the whole tribe crowding on a platform together. The tribes are neck and neck, but the favorites manage to win by a hair.
Their reward is a local bushman who'll come to their camp with chickens, veggies, and fruit. When Tata shows up, he's just about the cutest little old man you've ever seen -- as Malcolm notes, about 4 feet tall, 60 years old, and made entirely of muscle. "He's like a Filipino Gollum," Malcolm observes.
Tata cooks them a feast, shows them some fire tips, and rebuilds their shelter. Then he danced with the ladies. We're in love!
The fans return to camp, miserable and frustrated. It doesn't help when Shamar demands the others to bring him rice in the shelter while he naps all day. We get that he's a big guy, but he really doesn't do anything around camp.
A wet storm blows through the area. Things only get worse for the poor fans as island rats try to cuddle up with them in the shelter.
At some point, a bit of sand gets into Shamar's eye and he rubs it. His eye becomes swollen, and he can barely see out of it. Jeff Probst arrives with the medical team, and they put some dye into his eye to assess the damage. The doctor advises him to leave the game -- or else endanger his vision.
Shamar decides to leave, and the others gather around to say goodbye (well, Reynold tries to look concerned, but you can practically see his mind dancing). And with a misplaced grain of sand, the war veteran becomes the latest victim of the brutal battle that is "Survivor."
Strength or numbers
It's time for the immunity challenge, which involves climbing a pathway through the water, swimming for a platform, climbing a structure, and then jumping to break a tile.
This one becomes close only at the end, when Reynold makes a mighty effort to close the gap, but it's too little, too late -- the favorites win. Again.
This loss might be the thing that breaks this tribe apart, or at least the main alliance. Matt talks to Michael about maybe switching their votes to Laura, who is a useless challenge player. We have to keep the tribe strong, Matt argues. Michael is undecided.
Matt then takes the plan to Reynold, but he's not sure whether to believe this. After all, Reynold says, they told him last week that they'd vote for Shamar. Instead, Hope went home. Reynold doesn't want to waste his idol, but what if Matt is lying again?
Meanwhile, Sherri hears the vote-switching rumblings and tries to persuade her alliance members to hold true.
When tribal council gets under way, she hammers this point. Sure, they've lost challenges, but they lost them with Reynold and Eddie anyway. Plus, can either guy be trusted after the merge?
Everyone votes, and Reynold does, in fact, use his idol. And, in a bit of a surprise, Laura gets four votes and is eliminated. So, Reynold wasted the idol … oh well.
It's the worst outcome for Sherri: The once-feared couples alliance has now morphed into a boys alliance. And with her main man, Shamar, out of the game, she'll have to scramble should they go to another tribal council next week.
Check out Twitter reactions to the episode, and then sound off in the comments below!
Shamar must be the only person in #Survivor history to get a game-ending injury doing absolutely nothing— Lisa (@Litzz11) March 7, 2013
That awkward moment when you play the idol and no one votes for you #survivor— Jason Kramer (@JKKountry) March 7, 2013
Next week on "Survivor":
"Survivor" airs Wednesdays at 8 PM on CBS.