Pirate Master: Episode 10

Following Azmyth’s departure, Jay, Ben, and Christa pulled Nessa into the Captain’s Quarters in order to tell her that she’d be coming with them to the Final Four. Nessa left the cabin secure in her position, not knowing that the meeting had been a ruse — set up by Jay, of course — to keep Nessa from trying to mount a resistance against them.

Sides were chosen for this week’s challenge, and the odds could hardly have been more in the favor of the Captain’s Black Crew. Christa had the help of Ben, Jay, and Laurel to fend off the Red Crew of Nessa, Louie, and Kendra.

With only two people to row their boat, the Red Crew fell behind early. But they were able to catch up when the Black Crew incorrectly calculated that 16 pints equals four gallons (the correct answer is two).

The Red Crew’s meager lead vanished as Kendra lagged behind on a run through the jungle, and when the teams had to dive into a chilly pond and search underneath a waterfall for a clue, Kendra stayed on shore — leaving her team with half as many people searching for their clue as the other team.

Kendra’s reasons: the water was really cold, and she’s not a very good swimmer anyway, so she’d probably just get in her team’s way if she tried to help. For someone who’s always talking about how she doesn’t quit during challenges, it sure looked like quitting.

The Black Crew got their lead back by finding the clue first, but, since this is Pirate Master, the final task was a dig-about-randomly-until-you-find-something task. The Red Crew caught up, but Christa found the buried treasure first, retaining her captaincy.

Members of the Red Crew each received $10,000.

Christa employed the same strategy for assigning Black Spots as she did last week. She let crew members give her names and assigned the Spots to the two most popular suggestions, allowing her to deflect blame for the decision onto the crew.

Kendra received her fifth Black Spot, and Nessa received one as well. She went straight to Jay to complain about being back-stabbed by Christa, and he hugged her, knowing full well that he’d insisted that Christa give a Spot to Nessa.

At Pirates Court, Kendra gave the same "I’m not a quitter" speech she’s given on four previous occasions. Nessa seemed genuinely flustered that she was up for elimination. She asked the crew to consider whether her strength during challenges was really more dangerous to the them than Kendra’s weakness was. Nessa asked, if she was such a threat, why she had $10,000 fewer than anyone else on the ship.

Then she asked Christa, Ben, and Jay if they’d been plotting against her. All of them lied, "No." Then she received a unanimous four votes from the crew and was cut adrift.

After the crew eliminated Nessa — one of the few entertaining characters left — the preview for the next episode gave me insight into why CBS pulled Pirate Master from the air with only a handful of episodes left. In the preview, Kendra overhears Jay plotting with Ben to take Laurel to the Final Three, and Kendra reports the news to Captain Christa.

Based on the preview, I’m pretty confident that Jay doesn’t reach the finale. And a finale in which Jay — the undisputed mastermind of the season — doesn’t have a shot at winning isn’t a finale worth watching.

Ben, Louie, Laurel, and Christa are all okay, but they’re not that interesting. And Kendra’s overestimation of the value of not quitting — and underestimation of the value of knowing how to swim on a pirate-themed show — is tiresome, and certainly doesn’t merit $500,000.

None of those five deserves to win the show more than Jay, who not only understands the concept better than anyone else, but whose plans have created most of the drama and entertainment throughout the season. Jay not winning Pirate Master is equivalent to dopey, chest-shaving Dr. Sean outwitting Richard Hatch on the first season of Survivor.

A Jay-less finale will disappoint and alienate the few fans the show has left. Maybe CBS knows this, and that’s why they pulled the show.