“CordCutting.com Watches” is a recurring feature in which the CordCutting.com staff watches and reacts to a streaming show or a movie.
DEANNA NGUYEN, Streaming Editor: Well! What did we think?
STEPHEN LOVELY, Editor-in-Chief: Another episode, another tragic elimination. These people can simply not stop voting off my faves.
SHARI WEISS, Editor: The world is out to get you, Stephen.
ANDREW COLE, Internet Editor: Do you have a bad history with any producers at Fox?
STEPHEN: Not yet. But I’m working on it.
SHARI: Within the first 15 minutes or so of this episode, we’d seen a confessional clip from almost every contestant about how they're nearing the end of the experiment and how determined they are to be named the “brightest star in the galaxy.” It’s getting real!
ANDREW: Take that Polaris. So much for the North Star being the brightest.
STEPHEN: These serious competitors still had time to do a little golfing.
SHARI: We always get some kind of filler in these episodes, but this was some unusual filler. Where did they get a newspaper and golf clubs on Mars?
ANDREW: If I had my drive with Mars gravity, I could finally move off the children’s tees.
STEPHEN:I enjoyed the golf bit. Good bit. Much better than the show-and-tell bit that followed, which was NOT a good bit.
SHARI: They each had to pick a personal item to leave behind on Mars. Like proof they were there, I guess, and offerings for future settlers. Because I'm sure future astronauts will find Porsha's ultrasound photo very useful.
DEANNA: I’m surprised we came this far and only just now heard Porsha talking about her family.
SHARI: It was sol day 16, which happened to be Mother's Day on Earth. I felt badly for Porsha as she broke down over missing her daughter on this special day. But also, like, why did you sign up for a project that would take you away on Mother's Day?
STEPHEN: Exploring the solar system requires great personal sacrifice.
DEANNA: I found the ultrasound photo symbolic. There’s hardly any life on Mars, and if sci-fi movies taught me anything, it’s that reproduction plays a central role, and perhaps future astronauts are looking for a solution to humanity’s downfall (someone write this down).
ANDREW: We’re moving into “Prometheus” territory.
STEPHEN: Excruciating. Either the producers didn’t tell the contestants in advance to bring something to share, or (more likely) these are just not interesting people. Adam Rippon just straight-up pulled out a photo of his family. Incredible that someone can be actively bad at a game as simple as show and tell.
DEANNA: I feel like family photos are the last thing you want to leave behind because they’re what keep you grounded in times of distress. It’s cute but yeah, the items that they’d leave behind got me raising my eyebrow.
SHARI: These photos mean so much to me. I'm okay with leaving them behind on another planet and never seeing them again!!!
STEPHEN: Though I did laugh at Paul’s dominoes. You say that’s mostly what you do in your spare time, Paul? I saw an Instagram Live broadcast that indicated otherwise.
ANDREW: My reaction to Paul Pierce saying dominoes embodied his favorite activity:
SHARI: I liked Paul and Marshawn's items, as much as I dislike them personally. You never know when dominoes and a near-empty bottle will come in handy. But I doubt Cat's cookbook will get much use.
DEANNA: Cat just always has a stack of her cookbooks on hand in case anyone wants an autograph from her.
ANDREW: Like, really? “I’m packing for Mars. I’ll bring one of my own books; yes, this is a good use of space for knowledge that’s already in my brain.” — Cat Cora, probably.
SHARI: We’d normally talk about the base commander election next. But, as the preview revealed: No more base commanders, and no more mission specialists either! They all have to go into the field for the remaining missions.
STEPHEN: I found myself really missing the base commander vote. It was consistently one of the more interesting parts of each episode, and I think this one suffered without it.
ANDREW:Yeah, the ritual of ripping tiny pieces of paper was extremely dramatic for television. Actually, it was a little exciting, but I didn’t really mind cutting that aspect from the show.
DEANNA: I like the free-for-all aspect, honestly. Even though they were still put into teams, this made them forgo any alliances and just reiterate to the camera that they’re in it to win it.
SHARI: As Deanna said, the mission required them to break into two teams of three. There were weak distress signals coming from two different locations, requiring each team to drive out in a rover and arrange satellite dishes based on the order of the planets. That would boost their range and get the coordinates for the locations of the signals.
STEPHEN: I was very disappointed that both teams had someone who knew what order the planets were in. Each team appeared to only have one such person, so you could really feel how close we were to getting to watch some idiot team run around desperately guessing. A missed opportunity.
DEANNA: Don’t you know the rule of thumb for these competitions is to make sure the teams are balanced?
SHARI: Tinashe and Adam both knew the correct order, thanks to a “Blue's Clues” song. The problem? They were on opposite teams. So they basically raced to beat one another and seemed to be neck and neck the entire time.
ANDREW: What a failure in strategy. The OG 3 — Tinashe, Porsha, and Adam — should’ve grouped together. They would’ve had the planet order task on lock. Why they decided to throw Adam to the other team is beyond me.
SHARI: Adam was none too pleased to be paired with Cat and Paul after Porsha claimed Tinashe and Marshawn for herself.
DEANNA: I can’t count how many times Cat kept saying she and Paul came in the middle of the competition so they’re bonded. Is that supposed to be a flex?
STEPHEN: The joke was on Porsha in the end: Adam’s team won, and they completed their rescue of (drumroll, please) William Shatner.
DEANNA: I believe Andrew’s prediction from last week’s episode was correct!
ANDREW: If this doesn’t work out, I think I have a spot open on Fox’s writing staff.
STEPHEN: Which brings us to something that was 100 percent the highlight of the episode: Did anyone else notice that a fly landed on William Shatner’s face in this scene?
DEANNA: Oh, I noticed.
ANDREW: I’m not 100 percent.
STEPHEN: You doubt the fly? Open your eyes, Andrew! Computer — ENHANCE!
ANDREW: No, no, I’m just saying that I’m not 100 percent sure that it was the highlight of the episode.
SHARI: I did not notice this! There are flies on Mars??
DEANNA: If he had just worn a proper spacesuit…
SHARI: Shatner said he “crash-landed.” He wore no helmet. The man is invincible.
ANDREW: William Shatner was out here like Paul Freeman in “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” just acting through all the flies on his face. What a professional.
DEANNA: Man was decked out in black and a leather jacket. I know he was sweating up a storm under all that.
STEPHEN: Sometimes you’ve gotta get hot to look that cool.
ANDREW: What a major missed opportunity. They should’ve had Shatner show up in a super suit (I mean, it could’ve been made of leather if that’s what he wanted). Having him without the suit breaks the immersion. And, when he gets to the hab, no decontamination? Afraid they might blow his rug off?
STEPHEN: Once again I am forced to wonder whether “Stars on Mars” is being scientifically accurate.
SHARI: I did notice that he was wearing those same clothes the next day. Was it really the next day, or did they just shoot it all at once? #ConspiracyTheory!
STEPHEN: Why do you guys think that Shatner wasn’t in the hab all along? Do you think he just had a scheduling conflict or something? Maybe it’s just a post-COVID hybrid schedule thing, you know, working from home a few days a week.
ANDREW: Who’s to say he wasn’t in the hab all along, hiding behind the walls, having RADDOGs carry him through the secret vents?
SHARI: Hmm, let's see, Stephen. What's easier? Spending a few hours recording a couple of remote video messages or living in close quarters with Lance Armstrong and Ariel Winter?
DEANNA: I guess his appearance makes the competition more “serious.” Like he’s there in person now to give the missions and probe the crewmates as to who they should extract. Real business stuff.
STEPHEN: Speaking of extractions, let’s talk about the losing team.
SHARI: Since Porsha's team lost the mission, they were automatically up for extraction. But their journey wasn't over yet. At the location of their distress signal, approximately an hour and a half away from the hab, they found an empty transport capsule and some supplies. With their oxygen supply dwindling, they had to camp out overnight.
DEANNA: The camping bit looks so fun! I would prefer staying out there and sleeping under the stars/galaxy than a stuffy hab.
SHARI: A message from the disembodied AI told them there was only enough oxygen remaining for two of them to stay in the tent, and the third person could take the supplemental oxygen supply and race back to the hab — and that person would be safe from elimination. They playfully argued over who should go and settled on Tinashe.
DEANNA: I love that even the crewmates know how valuable of a player Tinashe is. She’s a tough opponent, and you can’t deny that she has the skills to win this whole thing.
ANDREW: If Marshawn or Porsha left the bubble to be safe before Tinashe, I was going to lose it.
SHARI: The next morning, Porsha was upset that no one had come to rescue them. Now she was ready to rescue herself. And I quote: “I didn't come this far to lay here and die.”
DEANNA: Brb, getting a flash tattoo of this quote.
SHARI: Porsha convinced Marshawn to walk back to the hab with their remaining oxygen canister. It wasn't exactly a warm welcome, as now one of them had to be extracted. I'm not going to lie: I got a little emotional watching those montages of their time on Mars!
ANDREW: The Marshawn montage was pure gold; best editing I’ve seen on this show thus far.
SHARI: Both Porsha and Marshawn had to plead their case, like always, but also like always, I found the speeches a bit underwhelming.
DEANNA: Marshawn never has the best speeches, but at least he didn’t turn sour when he was the one eliminated. Despite him trying to get on Porsha’s nerves an episode or two ago, this time he sees her as an aunt and I guess he recognized that she was more valuable than him and he couldn’t argue with that.
SHARI: An aunt?! Porsha is only five years older than him! I like when she referred to her and Marshawn as brother and sister.
STEPHEN: This show remains committed to jettisoning anyone interesting. I’m amazed we managed to get rid of Tallulah way back when, given everyone’s commitment to keeping the show as boring and un-famous as possible.
SHARI: Don't worry about Marshawn. He has a future in acting. Over the weekend, I saw the (NSFW) trailer for “Bottoms” and was stunned to see him in it. He came off so natural!
ANDREW: I think the director of that movie just said, “Okay, Marshawn, just do you, and we will film it.” Ayo Edebiri and Marshawn Lynch, yessssss. It comes out this weekend!
STEPHEN: I’m grateful that at least nobody volunteered to go home this time. A good honest elimination. Do we think the crew voted the right person off?
SHARI: Tinashe and Adam voted to keep Porsha. Paul pulled for Marshawn. And Cat was torn, trying to figure out which decision would be better for her game. And that's where I think she made a mistake. Cat could beat Marshawn in the end. I'm not so sure she can beat Porsha. Yet she chose to save Porsha over him!
DEANNA: Shocked but glad she chose the stronger opponent to stay.
STEPHEN: I’m shocked by this reaction, honestly! All of the athletes have had their ups and downs politically, but we are moving on from democracy and into a challenge-based finale. The preview showed people running around! As I wrote in this week’s power rankings, I would want nothing to do with Marshawn (or Paul Pierce, or Adam Rippon, or any past departures like Lance Armstrong or Ronda Rousey) in a final challenge. Give me Porsha a hundred times out of a hundred.
SHARI: I don’t know if it was the right move, and I don’t know if Paul Pierce did, either. I couldn't decide if Paul looked sad or pissed over Marshawn's exit.
DEANNA: What do you mean? That’s his normal look 25/8.
ANDREW: Later on, he looked a bit pissed, in my opinion. I felt that Cat betrayed his vote and his trust by getting rid of Marshawn.
STEPHEN: We’ll see, folks, we’ll see. Only one episode to go! I’ll see you all again next week to discuss the winner.