Previously on Survivor *said in my best Jeff Probsty-lilt possible* Tom brought in the big one (a shark, for those of you who need clarification…I don’t know what you were thinking) the tribes built an SOS signal, Caryn was actually happy for mere seconds, Koror got more food, Gregg and Jenn snuggled, and Ibrehem found himself with the previous losers, most likely drinking coconut wine, eating Pringles™ and playing pool to pass away the hours until they can finally return home.
It’s You And Me Baby, Against the World
Night 18 - Ulong
Bobby Jon and Steph get back to camp and commiserate around the fire, where BJ explains his vote by admitting that Steph performs better at challenges than Ibrehem ever hoped to, and he did what was best for the tribe…of two. Can two people even be considered a ‘tribe,’ or will they need to begin referring to themselves as the Ulong Duo? I ponder this a while, but not coming up with an answer, I quickly move on.
How Bad Things Can Get When Your Mother Isn’t Around To Make You Clean Up
Day 19 - Koror
Conditions are pitiful, as the gluttony of food has made everyone fat, sassy and negligent about cleanup, and they are littering the camp with their discards. Ulong certainly doesn’t have this problem. Why is that, you might ask? It can be assumed they are so hungry, they don’t even bother with a two-second rule. Any food on the ground for any length of time immediately gets eaten the minute it’s spotted. Either that, or it never hits the ground in the first place. In contrast, Koror has had so much food, they don’t have meals, they have orgies, where, after stuffing themselves, they discard what they can’t eat by simply tossing the less desirable scraps to the ground. My daughter did this when she was a toddler, but at least I had two Labradors who were never more than an inch away from the high chair during mealtimes. It’s not surprising that ants, flies, rats, and who knows what else have moved into their luxurious resort. It appears it’s been designated as the number one tourist destination for all Palau critters. There are probably flyers all over the island sporting such phrases as, “Tired of fending for yourself? Hungry for human leftovers? One-stop shopping at Koror Camp. All items free until stock runs out.”
Coby has had it, though, and takes the initiative to begin Camp Cleanup. He does so by removing the shark’s head that has been serving as their welcome mat for days. As Coby cleans up, he can’t stop himself from whining and moaning about how, of all the Koror women, he works the hardest. While Coby’s voiceover complains that everyone throws their coconut pulp on the ground, the cameraman films a quick shot of Janu doing exactly that. Reality tv is seldom subtle. According to Coby, he is responsible for everything getting done around camp, and the women do nothing. Even with all the food they’ve been gorging on, however, he apparently still has a hankering for Filet of Female, as he says he’d like to throw Jennifer, Katie and Janu into the fire. Or is it that he’s simply trying to get rid of the competition for Tom? *wink, wink*
I Love Eggs In The Morning
As if Koror hasn’t had enough to eat, today’s Reward Challenge consists of a regional delicacy known as Balut. I suppose they had to think of one way to get some kind of food into Ulong, but this is what they come up with? Balut is actually just a fancy (or not so fancy) name for a twenty-day-old-fertilized duckling egg. As Jeff explains the challenge, we get a shot of Caryn, and she looks stunned. Oh, how I hope we get a chance to see her try to choke down that appetizer. Please, oh please, let Caryn be in this challenge. First round they’ll eat one Balut, then two, then three, and finally four. Each round successfully completed gives one point to the team. The team with the most points, wins reward. This can only mean one thing…it’s time for this evening’s product placement. Da, da, ta da! Winners will have a fifty-five gallon drum of fresh water with shower head delivered to their camp. In addition, they will receive a luxury basket filled with mouthwash, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soaps and loofahs. Knowing how much toothpaste and mouthwash are appreciated to destroy morning breath under normal circumstances, it’s hard to imagine just how happy Gregg aanndd Jenn *sorry, the double letters just got to me* must be to know that kissing will be that much more enjoyable from now on if they win. The soap and shampoo are bound to bring the cuddling and snuggling to more of a fever pitch from now on, too. Cover your eyes and ears, everyone. The squealing in the middle of the night from now on will have nothing to do with the rats.
It’s disappointing to learn Caryn will not be chowing down…the participants will be Steph, Tom, Ian and Bobby Jon. Stephenie and Tom are first up for this tasty morsel, and each gets the duckling down easily. As Ian prepares for his turn, Skipper Tom passes along advice for his little buddy, “watch the beak.” Ha, ha. Good one, Tom. Bobby Jon and Ian seem to have a little more trouble, but get it done eating two each. Steph and Tom are back up for their second shot of three Baluts, and Tom, in rare form, says he heard a little cheep out of that one. Bobby Jon and Ian take their turn at four Baluts each, and also manage better than expected. I feel compelled to point out that Steph is an animal. Can you imagine any of the Koror women (excluding Coby, ha) even managing one Balut? To be fair, I think Jeff should have insisted one of the participants from Koror be a woman, and I was terribly disappointed that didn’t happen. The teams end up tying, and as a tie breaker, Tom and Bobby Jon, will need to eat five Baluts in a timed challenge. First to finish all five, wins. Tom stays focused, and quickly begins his attack on the fowl. There is nothing that man can’t do. *sigh* Bobby Jon gets the ridiculous idea to stuff as much into his mouth as it will hold, then just as quickly begins choking, gagging, and suffering the consequences of his rash idea. He’s adorable, but wouldn’t score too high on an IQ test. Inevitably Tom wins, and Bobby Jon is left with a fleshy, feathery, beaky glob of gunk in his mouth, which he then swallows. There must be some black magic in those ducklings, because the minute he swallows, he begins giving Tom a distinctive evil eye, and I expect Tom to drop dead where he’s standing. But, Bobby Jon is obviously an apprentice, and hasn’t quite mastered the skill. I bet Steph could have won the final Balut contest, and given the perfect evil eye. That woman could outwit, outlast and outplay everyone on Koror, even if she was the sole member of Ulong. Of course, they would never let a tribe dwindle down to one now, would they?
To Shower, Or Not To Shower
Koror gets back to camp with their booty, and everyone begins anticipating spa time by swigging and swishing mouthwash, then spitting it all over camp. (Oh good, alcohol for the rats, to go along with the food. Let the party begin! *little rat feet click their heels, while toasting each other with little rat-steins overflowing with mouthwash* Everyone gathers around the water tank, ogling the likes of it, when eventually the conversation turns to whether they should actually use the water for showering. Skipper Tom decides it’s a better idea to save the water, and Coby and Jenn meekly argue the desire/need for showering. Not wanting to be seen as rocking the proverbial outrigger, the two of them back down, preferring instead, to whine and complain out of earshot of Tom. It seems quite obvious there is a third option of washing with the soap and shampoo in the ocean, but that logic seems to escape everyone at the moment.
Return Of The Caveman
On the long walk back to Ulong’s camp, Bobby Jon is miserable knowing Tom beat him once again. To work off his anger, he begins whacking at logs with the machete, and Steph confesses to us that half the time he scares her (and I’m guessing, the other half he disgusts her). Yeah, I’m with you Steph. Watching him chopping everything in sight with that weapon scares me too. Or maybe it’s the eerie music they have accompanying him...the drum that beats each time the blade meets the flesh of the wood. Does Steph hear the music, too? That’s got to make things even creepier for her. I guess as long as they don’t begin playing the horrifying Psycho music, you know what I’m talking about…the “wheee, wheee, wheee,” she’ll be okay. Maybe.
Bobby Jon continues reverting back to his caveman roots, as we watch him burp, scratch, and wallow in his manly filthiness. Then, as if things can’t get any nastier, we watch him shoot “snot rockets” out his nose (okay, everybody, say it with me now, “ewwwwwww”) right in the middle of their living quarters…well, if you can call a cave with a fire in it, ‘living quarters.’ With the way he’s degenerating into a primal mess, I’m now concerned about him reenacting scenes from the book, “Lord of the Flies.” Poor Steph, she needs to get out of there, and fast. She gets a little weepy when confessing to the camera just how hard life is at their beach. She’s a tough kid, and you can see her spirit getting a little dimmer, but she quickly gets herself in check because she knows she has to stay tough mentally, emotionally and physically if she’s going to kick everyone’s ass.
We watch as the two of them have a rough time getting their outrigger off the beach and into the ocean, but they eventually manage. They are tired and hungry, but they don’t give up. Bobby Jon catches a fish and a clam, and they devour it like they haven’t eaten in days. Well, they probably haven’t eaten in days, so I suppose that only makes sense.
On The Isle Of Sit And Stare
Back at Koror, the happy, lilting, banjo/lute music is playing as the fish swim in bigger schools, the sun shines a little brighter, and the pretty, defenseless jellyfish float about happily. Life is good at the Koror Resort…their biggest problem is *yawn* boredom. It must be torture living this life of ease. Even the rats are sleeping. Or could it be they're drunk from the mouthwash?
Tom and Ian get off by themselves to discuss the “State of the Union.” It’s become clear they will need to break up the alliance between Gregg and Jenn as soon as possible, by taking one of them out. Tom and Ian’s alliance with Katie is strong, and it is mentioned that Stephenie was to be part of their special foursome before the tribes were decided. No one has a clue about the prospect of bringing Steph into their Union, but I’m thrilled to hear she’s got some light at the end of her dark, dingy tunnel.
A Puzzling Dilemma
The clue to today’s Immunity Challenge is in the form of a puzzle:
Sink or swim…think and swim, today they mean the same.
But the tribe that can’t do either, one more will leave the game.
Bobby Jon and Steph know they have to win the challenge, or Ulong becomes Solong. Stephs tells us she’s pretty good at solving puzzles, but we’re reality television pro’s, and we recognize that as an ugly, not-so-subtle moment of foreshadowing.
As the two teams meet up with Jeff, the members of Koror look like they just woke up from a nap. Literally. They all have that rested, but still kind of drowsy look you get after napping. Immunity is back up for grabs, and Jeff explains they will be swimming out to a series of pontoons. Underneath the pontoons is a rope that leads to four bags of puzzle pieces spaced out along the course. The first person will swim out, pull themselves along the rope, unhook the bag of puzzle pieces, hop up on the pontoon, cross the balance beam, and come back to the start. The next person then goes out and repeats the exercise. Once all the bags are gathered, they will empty them, and put together a word-scramble puzzle. Once the puzzle is put together, they’ll start circling the words that are on the board. Anytime two words intersect, they’ll take that intersecting letter and write it on a letter cube. When they find all the words, they’ll take the intersecting letters and use them to form a three-word phrase. Phew. I’m exhausted just explaining it. Only two members will participate from Koror, and they choose Coby and Gregg.
Steph and Gregg begin the challenge and although they’re both pretty close, Gregg gets in a little quicker than Steph. Coby and Bobby Jon are next and Bobby Jon gets in ahead of Coby. Steph beats Gregg and Bobby Jon gets ahead of Coby, and Ulong is able to begin their puzzle just a little ahead of Koror. Ulong is just not having any luck putting the puzzle together, but Koror gets it in no time. They begin finding and circling the necessary words, and as Ulong finally gets the pieces in order, Steph unashamedly looks over at Koror’s words to copy. Mr. Got-To-Announce-Every-Little-Thing-Probst, shouts to everyone that Steph is copying Koror, and Coby covers their puzzle with a piece of burlap. Hrmmmph. Killjoy. Koror completes the phrase, “Victory at Sea,” and with that, it’s over. Once again, they win Immunity. The well-groomed, well-fed, well-rested tribe just cannot be defeated. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist *coughDavecough* to understand the benefits of protein and rest. Jeff tells Steph and Bobby Jon there will be an individual Immunity Challenge tonight instead of Tribal Council, to decide who goes home.
He’s So Happy, He Could Just Cry
Koror celebrates their winning streak and it’s fun to watch the people who have done absolutely nothing the past several days, puff their chests out and strut. The teammates consider themselves the underdogs, and they are amazed they have won Immunity Every. Single. Time. You can bet that will be on a Pringles™ chip in the near future. As they relish their success, Coby gets emotional and admits that he had a rough time in high school. The jocks would make fun of him, he’d run off and cry, and he eventually quit school because he couldn’t take it anymore. (I’d like to poke fun at him, but honestly the mom in me is taking over, and I want to hug him.) I’m glad he feels included. He’s worked hard for his team. Besides I’m sure they will all plummet back to earth, once they begin the individual challenges, and they’ll start clawing each other’s eyes out soon enough.
Let’s Face It…We Suck
Steph laments that they lost today’s challenge because they suck at puzzles (and swimming, building toilets, making SOS signals, etc). The mood is definitely bleak, as all they can do is wait for tonight’s challenge. As Bobby Jon lights the final fire for the evening, Steph makes the comment, “It caught fast. You always get the fire started.” Dun. Dun. Dun.
Let’s Get Fired Up
Tribal Council/Individual Immunity Challenge
Jeff starts things off by asking what it’s like being a tribe of two (again, I ask…can there be a tribe of two?) Steph says they have enjoyed their time together, and they know the strongest member will remain. Bobby Jon says at times it feels like they’re the final two, but in reality, they’ve only come halfway. The highlight of his stay on Palau was catching a fish today, and realizing it is possible to live off Mother Nature. Steph says she’s learned a lot from Bobby Jon, and he agrees, saying she can do anything a man can do. Of course, my first thought is can she pee standing up? They both agree the ability to make fire, and keep it going, is the most important thing they have learned being on the island.
Jeff tells them their challenge will be to make a fire (no one is surprised to hear that). They will be given 25 matches, a box of kindling and coconut husks. First person to build a fire high enough to light their torch, wins immunity. Loser takes the walk of shame. Bobby Jon is confident in his fire skills. Steph, not so much. She tells Bobby Jon good luck, and they begin. Bobby Jon starts with coconut husks, then the kindling. Steph begins with the kindling, then adds the husks on top, making her pile a little higher. Bobby Jon gets his fire lit first, but Steph is right behind him, and she blows on the flames, adds more husks, and her torch lights. With that, it’s over.
As Bobby Jon leaves he tells her, “win this thing, all right.” Hey….wait a minute. He’s leaving with an oar. Can he do that? Was that his luxury item? Steph admits she’s scared about returning to the camp alone. At least she won’t be completely alone…the cameramen will be there. You’ve got to wonder how she’s going to manage that outrigger in the dark, by herself, though. Am I the only one who wonders if the cameramen will actually be able to stand by and simply watch?
Tonight was definitely a show of firsts: this was the first time one team has won every challenge, first time one team has lost every challenge, first time we’ve witnessed a snot rocket on camera, and the first time a woman has been the sole Survivor of a team, in the middle of the game. Most likely it will be the first time a team will need to head straight to Weight Watchers™, too, the minute they leave Palau. You can bet Pringles™ will get a lot of mileage out of tonight’s show.
Next week on Survivor: Tom offends Coby, and Steph struggles in the dark, alone. I guess that answers the question of whether the cameramen help or not. What would you like to see on a Pringles™? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.