We got to the family visit, and I didn't realize the extent to which I was stewing about Missy & Elizabeth* until I realized, "But I hate everyone."
Which is totally unfair, I only kinda hate one of them, but it's true -- in comparison to those two, I have truly no interest in seeing any of these people weep and wail about loved ones other than maybe Elaine, if she brought her dad or something. The family visit is like my favorite thing in good years, and this one meant NOTHING to me. Also, once it got going it seemed like everyone was extra embarrassing this year at first (GET IT TOGETHER, KARISHMA), but finally I calmed down enough to enjoy it so here are some thoughts, in no particular order.
(*I did watch Elizabeth's Ponderosa and she landed in the lucky spot where family members are already there, so her brother visited her at Ponderosa and it was pretty adorable. IDC what anyone says, including what she actually said. I still love her as a person. Missy too, although her Ponderosa was slightly less great for having to share it with Aaron.)
Noura: Was actually my favorite?? Her sister seems awesome. It must be hard for her (the sister) to support a crazy older sister like that. But very sweet as well.
Dean: FIRST TIME HE HAS BEEN ADORABLE ALL YEAR. What a cute little mama's boy. What a great mama.
Janet: She and her husband are amazing couple/grandparent goals.
Lauren: Aw okay her (boyfriend? husband?) is super ridiculously cute and they are cute together.
Karishma: I don't know how to feel about this. It was awkward that we thought he was her dad at first sight (I keep forgetting she's 37, but still). The breakdown crying was over the top. I feel awkward remembering about what she said about them being roommates. I know she more recently tempered it with sobbing about how grateful she was to have someone who loves her/accepts her unconditionally, but I also think that wasn't necessarily a great commentary on love -- someone choosing to be faithful and a caring, supportive, even loving spouse isn't necessarily the same as being in love. Maybe that is enough, plus I know you can fall in love after the fact in this situation, but I don't see the romance here.
Tommy: It is the most bizarre thing; his girlfriend seems super sweet and normally I would be shipping them with everything I've got but I...don't? I am as emotionless about them as a couple as I have been about him in the game despite his 100% appealing qualities on paper.
Dan: I can't even find this heartwarming because it is so cringey to me when Survivor panders to its kid/family audience. Children are even worse than adults at coming up with something worthwhile or at least not embarrassing to say in response to Probst Prompts. Plus now social media will have to talk about the fear of Dan not teaching his son how to respect women's boundaries and I have to feel bad about a kid this age hearing all of the controversy and rage about his dad. Do u think middle school is kind?
Elaine: "Let's meet your girlfriend!" says Jeff, to which I become the epitome of a cartoon character spitting out their drink and stretching their lips out 2 feet in front of their face for good measure. WHAT THE HUCK, WHO IN THE WHERE IN THE WHUT?????????? Not in a thousand years would I have guessed this possibility. Plainspoken as she is, she seems completely like the archetype of a traditional country woman who hangs with the guys but is just straight and traditional as an arrow. I know people get Big Mad when you act like there's a way to tell if someone isn't straight, but so often if they're serious about dating the same gender, there is. And this is not it. I am SHOCKED good, and I love it. More people like this plz. I don't want to be able to tell that someone is always two steps away from lecturing about oppression, I want there to be literally no difference in attitude or outlook on life/society between a woman who dates men and a woman who dates women except their S.O.'s pronouns.
In other news, Crackhead Noura has a total meltdown over not being picked to go on reward, joining a long line of non-picks who theoretically understand that someone in an alliance will be left out if there are more people in the alliance than can be chosen for reward, yet are stunned that it wasn't someone else who was left out. It is sort of hilarious to watch the glaze-eyed and vaguely terrified hostages held captive by her rant because choosing to leave the circle might, for all they know, draw enough ire for her unpredictable witch powers to target them next.
Something interesting ALMOST happens when the underdogs band together, but then Dean inexplicably decides to destroy the alliance he proposed in the first place. Noura's head explodes in the confusion and all of her crazy comes pouring out in a frenzy of truth and/or lies. Everybody freaks out. Elaine has to waste the idol she so recently and awesomely found. And Karishma finally goes home after all and I...find myself kinda smad about it. I really thought she might make it to the end at this point!
New rankings as of episode's end:
Noura (IDK WHAT HAPPENED. The less bearable this season gets the more entertaining her insanity becomes!! It's Coach 2.0!!)