Survivor Episode 11 (11/24): The Benching of the Monday Morning Quarterback
Previously on Survivor, one of Jamie’s personalities got into it with Gary. Lydia, Cindy, Rafe, and Jamie took an early lead in the reward challenge but Lydia literally got stuck in the mud and Stephenie and Danni led their team to victory. During the slumber party, Gary took the opportunity to try to convince Stephenie and Judd to team up with him and Danni but Judd wasn’t buying. Rafe squeaked out another immunity win. Judd reassured Jamie that Gary was going home but Lydia, Steph and Rafe, tired of sleeping with one eye open and concealing sharp objects from Jamie, conspired against him. Judd was almost as shocked as Jamie when Jamie was given the heave ho.
Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire
Night 27 and Day 28
When the final seven return to camp after tribal council, Danni remarks that was some crazy shenanigans. Stephenie quickly decides to take Judd’s temperature and asks him if he is okay. Judd proves to be savvier than I have given him credit for and does not go ballistic. Instead he is relatively calm and says he wishes someone had told him. Steph says she wanted to tell him but why put him in that position. Oh, I don’t know, so he’s not, to borrow Jamie’s word, blindsided?
In confessional, Judd admits that he was completely, totally shocked and pissed off that Jamie got voted out. They were supposed to have an alliance of six and it went berserk. He also says that here comes the backstabbing and lying. Actually that started some time ago Judd, just ask Margaret, but nice of you to notice.
Gary is still elated by his escape from near certain elimination and gives Lydia a one-armed hug and thanks her. Lydia says that she would rather have him here. Gary tells the camera that he thinks his old Yaxha ties from the beginning of the game helped him but admits that Jamie did him a big favor by driving everyone crazy.
As everyone is dozing off, Stephenie says that it already feels like a breath of fresh air and Danni and Rafe agree that all seems right in the Survivor World even if it is only for a minute.
The next morning, Gary and Lydia are the first two to stir as Judd is sawing some mighty big logs in the background. They give each other a little peace sign hand signal and work on stoking the fire. Lydia confesses to us that Gary was supposed to go home the night before but they had a little twist and decided to vote Jamie off. Lydia’s not sure whether they did the right thing or whether the alliance is still strong. She says that she really has to figure it out but that she has to do it carefully or she’ll be the next target.
As Gary and Lydia sit around the fire alone, he decides it is an opportune time to question her about who is going to be voted off next, what the order of elimination will be, and who is making the decisions. Unfortunately for him, it’s been so long since he played in the NFL that he has forgotten how to whisper in the huddle. As a result, a suddenly awake Judd is able to hear most of their conversation. It isn’t lost on Judd that Lydia seems to be enthusiastically participating in the conversation with Gary. When Judd tries to call Rafe over to listen, Gary hears him and abruptly stops talking.
Judd tells Steph and Rafe in the lean to what he overheard. Steph is dismissive of the idea that Lydia would side with Gary. Rafe thinks that Judd is looking for security since Jamie was voted out and that he and Stephenie can give Judd that. Stephenie soothes Judd’s insecurities by reminding him that they are fine as long as Cindy stays with them. We then see Cindy alone and chewing on her cuticles. This is apparently a bad habit of Cindy’s because we see her doing it several times during the episode. In fact, if you are looking for a tell regarding Cindy, just check to see if she is gnawing away at her cuticles.
Queen Stephenie is clearly annoyed that one of her subjects would consider rebelling and tells Judd and Rafe that she can’t believe how hard Gary is working Lydia. She announces that not only does she not want Gary to win the next immunity; she doesn’t want him to get the reward either.
Judd makes it evident that he has a hard time understanding the concept of playing the game versus lying. In confessional, he seems shocked that Gary is trying to make an alliance with Lydia and Cindy after Gary told him at the overnight reward that he didn’t think Cindy and Lydia should still be in the game. To Judd that’s a big lie. A self righteous Judd concludes that Gary may think that he’s no part of the lying game but the person you would least expect to lie is basically the biggest liar.
Gary continues to work on Lydia asking what her strategy is and pointing out that they have to have four people on their side for them to be able to succeed. Lydia says to him that she’ll go with him but the thing is that she’s not sure about Cindy. In confessional, Lydia talks about the majority alliance but says she has to cover her own ass. If someone approaches her with a better deal, she is going with it.
Jeff greets the final seven at the reward challenge. He explains that each Survivor has three pots of corn hanging across the way. Jeff will ask a series of questions about Maya culture and Guatemala. They will answer each question using individual cubes which have “A, B, C, D, true, and false” written on them. Each time a person answers correctly, he or she earns the right to smash another tribe member’s pot of corn. When all three of a Survivor’s pots have been smashed, they are out of the game. The last person with a pot left hanging wins reward. In other words, it’s a pecking order challenge.
The winner gets to leave the challenge and head to a hot springs waterfall which cascades into a pool of cool water. At the waterfall, the winner will enjoy mojitos; shrimp, beef, and chicken kebabs; and a massage.
The first question: Maya recorded their stories by carving hieroglyphics into stone monuments known as:
c. Sanskrit; or
d. Dockerocks (At least that’s what it sounded like).
The correct answer is a. The only one who misses is Stephenie who answered c. Let’s just say brains aren’t her strong suit.
Judd is the first to wield a stick. After Steph jokingly tells him don’t do it, he quickly heads over and smashes Gary’s first pot. Lydia is next and much to the Queen’s displeasure, she breaks one of Stephenie’s pots. Danni whacks Steph’s second pot leaving her with only one. Cindy takes out Gary’s second pot. Rafe breaks one of Danni’s and Gary gets revenge on Cindy by smashing her first pot.
The second question: In the Maya courtball game, members of the losing tribe were frequently killed. True or false: Often they would be decapitated and their heads would be encased to be used as the ball in future games.
Steph initially turns her cube to “true” but changes to “false” after sneaking a look at Judd’s cube. Honey, if you are going to cheat, why would you look at the class bully’s paper? The correct answer is true. The only Survivors to get it right are Lydia, Danni, and Cindy.
Lydia quickly eliminates Stephenie. Ever the good sport, Stephenie announces that “Jealously will get you no where.” Lydia, not knowing when to keep her mouth shut, says that she is hungry and she wants to eat. Steph, in a watch your back kind of way, says “We’ll see about that.” Lydia explains to Jeff that Stephenie has eaten three times. Steph says through clenched teeth so has Gary. Trust me, this is not the last we’ll hear about the number three and meals.
Danni breaks Judd’s first pot. Cindy then winds up and takes out Gary’s last pot with gusto. Gary goes to join Stephenie on the bench.
The third question: The Ancient Maya believed the gods fashioned man from which spiritually important crop?
b. Cocoa beans;
c. Corn; or
d. Ramon nuts.
Judd tries to cheat but everyone else covers their papers. He is the only one who does not correctly answer c. Lydia breaks Judd’s second pot and Danni finishes him off. Cindy continues to show where her loyalties lie by taking out Danni’s second pot and Rafe breaks Danni’s last pot. The last three Survivors remaining in the challenge are Lydia and Rafe who have all three of their pots left and Cindy who is down to two pots.
The fourth question: Which of the following countries does not border Guatemala?
c. Costa Rica; or
d. El Salvador.
Rafe is the only one to correctly answer c. He breaks Lydia’s first pot leaving him as the only remaining player with all three of his pots still intact.
The fifth question: True or false: The Temples of Tacal are the only ancient Maya structures to be built during the Mayan Empire with the aid of modern machinery.
Jeff is relieved that none of them is stupid enough to answer true. Cindy quickly smashes Lydia’s second pot. Rafe then finishes her off. Lydia still gets her swing and uses it to break Rafe’s first pot.
The sixth question: True or false: There are thirty active volcanoes here in Guatemala.
Cindy correctly answers true while Rafe gets it wrong. From the sidelines, Stephenie appears to be a little too startled that Cindy is in such good position letting out a big, “Wooowww!” Jeff tells Rafe that if Cindy gets the next question right she wins regardless of whether he answers correctly.
The seventh question: True or false: The most active time of day for crocodiles is at dawn.
Rafe turns his cube to true while Cindy answers false. Jeff strings them along for a minute before telling them that the answer is false. Cindy wins reward and gets to symbolically smash Rafe’s last pot.
Jeff tells Cindy that as per usual she can take one person with her on the reward. She hesitates, announces it is the most difficult decision of the whole game and munches away on her cuticles. In the end, she picks Rafe much to Lydia’s dismay.
Let Them Eat Cake
Back at camp, it doesn’t take Queen Steph long to explode. We are “treated” to a long confessional vent about her being the first out and everyone saying she has eaten so much. Most of her wrath is reserved for Lydia who had the nerve to go after her majesty. Steph tells us that Lydia is lucky she’s still in the game. Steph also notes that Danni broke one of her pots. Steph says that people are sadly mistaken if they think the challenge didn’t show her where their loyalties lie.
Steph’s ranting is not reserved for the camera alone. She keeps bellowing at Gary, Judd, Lydia, and Danni and won’t let anyone else get a word in edgewise. She engages in some suspect math maintaining that she hasn’t eaten more than a lot of other people. She keeps saying that other people have eaten three times too. I’m not sure how she’s arriving at her numbers because unless you count pre-merge rewards and equate Gary’s modest slice of pizza with the steak, hamburger, lobster and dessert she downed following one reward, she’s simply off. Steph even tries to make it seem like she did something noble by choosing not to compete in the first individual immunity challenge and eat instead. Amusingly, almost the entire time she is going off on the others, Stephenie is eating corn or nuts.
Gary in confessional says that Stephenie eats a stinking ton and speculates that she hasn’t lost any weight. Lydia tells us that she wanted to give everyone a chance for a food reward. Lydia can’t believe that everyone is putting Steph on a pedestal and not doing anything about her despite the fact that they know Steph is the biggest threat.
Meanwhile, things are much more harmonious at the reward. Cindy and Rafe are amazed at how beautiful the waterfall area is. Cindy tells us that she is completely ecstatic that she won such a cool reward. She feels like she couldn’t have picked a better person to share it with.
When they arrive, two women greet them and show them the food and pitchers of mojitos. The women will give them massages when they are ready. Rafe says that it was hard to know what to do first. In the end, they, of course, decide to eat. The two of them toast to enjoying exotic locations together and are clearly having a great time. Cindy tells Rafe that back at camp Lydia is probably really irritated she’s not eating, Gary’s mad because I took him out, and Steph and Judd are probably sitting up on the ruins laughing at it all. Cindy clearly overestimates Steph’s sense of humor and ability to laugh at herself. Rafe brings up that Lydia is easily swayed. As Rafe explains, it was a flood of strategy talk between the two of them while they ate. He tells us that after that, it was kind of Cindy and I are in this together for better or worse.
After stuffing themselves, the two of them swim together in the waterfall. Cindy says that the water coming out of the waterfall is taking a shower hot and that the water in the lagoon is cool and clear. Rafe thinks the best part is that Cindy let him hold her and help her move around in the waterfall. He’s a touchy person and Cindy’s not so it was nice to be able to experience that touchy feely connection.
After the massages, Cindy is barely able to put her shoes back on she is so relaxed. She says it is the most relaxed she has been in over a month. Rafe thinks this was the best day ever. He comes away with the feeling that they can make it for the rest of the game. As they leave to return to camp, each has a flower tucked behind their ear and is munching down one last skewer of kebabs.
Back at camp, Danni, Gary, Judd, and Steph are sitting on the ruins now that Storm Steph has been downgraded from a Category 3. Steph asks the others if they are thirsty and says that the nuts (which she has still been munching) make her thirsty. She then asks Lydia to bring her some water. Like the good servant Steph prefers, Lydia brings her the water and a cup.
Rafe and Cindy return and are greeting by the four on the ruins. Steph asks them how it was. Rafe tries to downplay the reward telling them it was like a plate of kebabs and that it wasn’t a ton of food. Steph commands that Rafe and Cindy tell them about the reward from the beginning. While the two recount a toned down version of their experience, Lydia is sitting on an overturned barrel away from the others eating something out of a cup. Stephenie tells them she is so glad they got to have the experience. I guess the nuts took the edge off both her hunger and her temper.
Lydia isn’t feeling nearly so charitable. In confessional, she says that she had to listen to Cindy and Rafe talk about how good the food and the mojitos were. Lydia feels insulted and that Cindy should have chosen her to go on the reward. Given that Lydia had earlier said she would have taken Rafe if she won, it is apparent that Lydia is a recent graduate of the Stephenie School of Entitlement and Logic. Lydia tells us that she feels like an outcast.
After Rafe and Cindy are talking about their adventure, the ever diplomatic Rafe speaks to Lydia and asks her what she is eating. She explains it is fish soup and offers him some. He politely declines and she says to him that she made it out of water, salt and the leftovers no one wanted to eat.
Cindy says that Lydia was eating some sort of corn soup in a little coffee cup like she was literally dying and eating whatever she could find. Cindy explains that it was almost like they were supposed to feel sorry for Lydia and let her win something but they are there to compete. As far as Cindy is concerned you’ve got to step it up at this point or you are not going to be around. Who is this Cindy person and where has she been the last 10 weeks?
Steph states to Rafe, Judd, and Cindy that the four of them need to stick together when the four of them are alone. Rafe says that he thinks so too. Steph continues to kick Lydia telling the others that it is beyond her how Lydia made it to Day 29. Cindy says that it is because Lydia is nice and she smiles. Steph hands down an edict declaring that Lydia wasn’t nice today and she’s completely out of their alliance. In confessional, Rafe says that the next couple of days are going to be crucial for Lydia because they could mean she goes really far in the game or that she is one of the next people to go.
Fourth and Inches
As the day begins, Cindy and Judd are making coffee. Cindy tells us that the first couple hours is one of the better parts of the day. She, Steph, Judd, and Rafe sit around and talk and have coffee and breakfast. Cindy says that they have talked about how cool it would be for the four of them to spend the last few days that way. As Cindy climbs the ruin to join the others, Steph says here comes the coffee queen in a sickly sweet voice. Cindy thinks that the coffee gets better every day. I guess everything does taste better with power.
Meanwhile back on the ground, Gary says that there is definitely a foursome that feels they have the most power. He admits that he would rather be in the power class but he is not.
Gary and Danni hold a desperation pre-immunity challenge strategy session. Danni says that Steph is kind of running the show. Gary asks her who she would like to get rid of next. Danni says Judd or Cindy but Cindy’s strong. Gary says that Cindy is going to be tough. He tells Danni that the only people he feels totally comfortable with are her and Rafe. Danni reminds him that he needs to be sure to talk to Rafe. She says that the final four could be me, you, Rafe and Lydia.
Danni tells us that there are three outsiders. She’s hopeful they can work something out with Rafe. Otherwise, she is going to have to look at who is in control of the game and play up to it. Danni is determined to keep trying because she is not ready to go home.
As the seven remaining Survivors arrive at the immunity challenge, Jeff greets them. After taking the immunity necklace back from Rafe, Jeff explains the challenge. Jeff is going to tell them a story about Maya folklore. They are then going to race from starting platforms to a series of seven stations. At each station, they will find a puzzle to put together to find a question about the story. They then have to choose between two answers on the top of boxes. If they choose the correct answer, they will find colored flags inside the box. They have to grab their flag and bring it back to their starting platform and hang it. If they choose the wrong answer, they will find marked sticks inside the box. They then have to grab their stick and throw it in a fire before they can go back to that station or to any other station. The first person to have all seven flags hanging from their starting station will win.
After the Survivors take a seat, story time begins. Jeff gives a dramatic rendition. Jeff intones that one of the most popular figures in Maya mythology is the Moon Goddess, Ixchel. She was also the inventor of weaving. Ixchel was married to Itzamna. He was the creator of the entire Maya culture. Together they had four sons. They were responsible for holding up the four corners of the sky but that marriage ended. Ixchel married again. This time she married the Earth God, Voltan. Voltan was a human hero who had been turned into a god. But after a short while, Ixchel grew tired of that and began having an affair with the Sun God. This frustrated her grandfather. He threw lightening down on her killing her but dragon flies sang over her body. She came back to life and went right back to the affair she was having with the sun. This lasted just a few days. She began having another affair with the sun’s brother, the Morning Star. This devastated the Sun God. He banished her from his sight forever. Today, Ixchel spends her nights alone in the sky nursing the women of earth through their pregnancy. As for the sun, when the sun is in sight, the moon stays hidden.
The seven questions located at the stations and the answers are:
True or false: Ixchel had an affair with the Morning Star?
Why did Ixchel’s grandfather kill her? Because she married Voltan or because she had an affair?
Because she had an affair.
Ixchel had four children who were responsible for holding up the corners of the sky. Who was their father? The creator of the Maya culture (Itzamna) or the Earth God (Voltan)?
Creator of the Maya culture.
Before Voltan became the Earth God he was . . . A human or an animal.
Ixchel was the Goddess of . . . Moon or sun.
Now whenever the sun is in sight, Ixchel . . . Is hidden away or something about clouds and rainstorms.
Is hidden away.
Ixchel was the inventor of . . . Weaving or pregnancy.
Judd and Stephenie fall behind almost immediately missing the questions at their first stations. Danni and Lydia start off all right and then stumble. Gary, Cindy, and Rafe hang their fourth and then fifth flags closely together. Cindy misses the question at her sixth station. Gary and Rafe hang there sixth flags at the same time. Each has to race to a far part of the course to get his last flag. Although Gary appears to get his flag first, Rafe barely beats him back to the platforms and wins immunity again.
Going Out in a Blaze of Glory
Day and Night 30
Back at camp, Rafe, the self-described little, gay Mormon, is feeling great about winning immunity for the third time. He feels especially great because when he was growing up he never saw someone who looked and acted gay who was also athletic, had confidence in themselves, and could do well in competitions like Survivor.
Judd, Rafe, Steph, and Cindy appear to be solid. Steph is a little nervous because it almost seems too easy for the four of them to get to the final four together. Lydia whines to Danni about her former alliance abandoning her now that the numbers game is over. Gary basically tries everything he can to stay in the game including chatting with Rafe and trying to convince him to vote with Gary, Danni, and Lydia. Rafe doesn’t encourage him but does admit that he doesn’t trust Judd and feels like he’s lied a lot. Gary sees this as a glimmer of hope for his survival for a few more days.
Judd admits that at this point he doesn’t trust anyone. He thinks that Lydia is lost and that she has got to go. Judd is also really irritated that Gary has had the nerve to try to save himself and has been running around trying to get everyone on his side.
At tribal council, Jeff jumps right in asking Lydia about the hostility between her and Stephenie at the reward challenge. Lydia says that she had the feeling that Steph might win again and that she wanted to eat but it was nothing personal. Lydia also says that Steph is running the show. Jeff gives Steph whose eyes are in danger of rolling out of her head, a chance to respond. She tries to stuff the cat back into the bag saying she’s definitely not running the show. Jeff then asks Gary for his take. Gary says that he likes Steph but that there are some people who are star struck by her. He suggests much to the delight of the jury that they can probably all get her autograph after the show.
Jeff also manages to get the hostility between Judd and Gary out in the open. Judd tells Jeff that he hasn’t lied yet, but he’s thinking about starting to lie now because everyone else is lying about everything. When asked for an example, Judd again brings up Gary saying during the overnight reward trip that Lydia and Cindy shouldn’t still be in the game. Needless to say, Cindy and Lydia do not look pleased at this revelation. Gary admits saying this but asks Judd what he lied about. Judd is still clueless and whines that now Gary is trying to make an alliance with them.
Gary tells Judd that isn’t a lie. That’s playing the game. This is a lie: “Hey you guys, the idol is on the ground. That’s a lie.” When asked to explain, Gary tells Jeff about seeing Judd looking for the hidden idol in the trees. Judd is forced to admit that he lied about the idol. The whole time Steph, who was in on Judd’s lie, looks uncomfortable while Rafe and Cindy look like this is news to them.
In the end, Judd being busted makes no difference. The vote is not even close:
Gary is the third member of the jury. If I were Judd or Cindy, I wouldn’t be counting on his vote. I wonder if Bobby Jon and Jamie greet Gary at Loser’s Lodge with high fives for his autograph remark.
Next Time on Survivor
Danni tries to pull a rabbit out of her fugly Chiefs’ hat, Lydia tries to dig herself out of a mighty big hole, and there is shock as well as tears.
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