Don’t you just hate to watch a guy cry? Especially one who’s a Dragon Slayer. Seems the Coach’s feelings were hurt at the last tribal council when Sandra called him out for slacking off around camp. So you’re having a little emotional crisis. Who ya gonna call? Tyson? That would not have been my first choice. Maybe all the other campers were busy making friendship bracelets or plastic lanyards.
Coach is distraught, “What did I do to deserve Sandra saying that tonight? There’s never been somebody like me out here and there’s never gonna be again…”
Coach and Tyson have a heart-to-heart talk. It’s like a ping-pong match: “I know Man.” Ping. “I know Dude.” Pong. “I know Man.” Ping. “I know Dude.” Pong. Coach is sickened that all his noble actions on the island may be for naught, all because of one sentence by the evil Sandra. It’s so awful he may just have to pack up his worry beads and leave.
Tyson offers his help. “No problem, dude. If you want me to coach you through it, I may tell you things you don’t like…but, it’s gonna turn out better for ya, I promise you that.”
That stops Coach dead in his tracks. He can’t believe his ears. “What things?”
Tyson has a list. “Like don’t wear feathers in your hair at Tribal. Don’t tell your stories; people don’t believe your stories; they mock you. No reason to tell ‘em. Do your tai chi in private where nobody can see you.” Nobody believes Coach's stories? Because I thought the one where the pygmy headhunters in the Amazon had Coach tied to the stake had a real ring of truth to it.
Even with the promise of the assistance of the fabulous Tyson, Coach is not convinced. “I can’t do it, man, my heart’s not in it. I might just leave tonight.”
The next morning at camp, Tyson spills all the juicy details of Coach’s breakdown . Boston Rob takes it with a grain of salt, “This morning there’s been a little shift in attitude. Coach had a little sob session with Tyson and wanted to quit the game or somethin’. If you ask me, that’s not being much of a coach.”
Still, Rob goes to Coach to find out what’s going on. Coach has a huge chip on his shoulder, and besides, his hero Rob isn’t paying enough attention to him, “I just wanta do stuff together. I feel like the only time you want to bond with me is when we’re getting up for a competition.”
Props to Boston Rob for not slapping some sense into Coach. Instead he sternly says, “You’re not on the outside. Trust me. Pick your [bleeping] head up and act like a man.”
It doesn’t take long for Coach to recover his self-love, “I’m different from most people, one of a kind. Last of the Mohicans. King Arthur. I’m Legend. Nobody out here’s got what I have.” Then he consults his mental Bartlett’s Famous Quotations, “Confucius says that the greatest glory a man can have is not in never falling but in rising again every time he falls and I fell hard last night.” Coach as King Arthur? Monty Python, maybe, but even that’s a stretch.
SLIP ‘N SLIDE
Each tribe receives Tree Mail. It seems junk mail is also delivered to Samoa. Oh, wait, it’s an important sales circular from our friends at Sears. The tribes will each choose what lovely merchandise they’ll get to bring home if they win today’s Reward Challenge—just like “The Price is Right.” I hear country folk used to keep their Sears Catalogs in their outhouses.
Both the Heroes and the Villains arrive at Challenge Beach, where a white linen sofa from the Sears Only For Those Who Will Never Own a Cat Collection, along with various appropriately product-placed Sears Craftsmen tools have been artistically arrayed. The Heroes are going for fishing gear and cooking utensils. The Villains are after a tarp and all-purpose tools. The couch feels unloved.
Jeff points out that Randy was the first to be voted off by the Villains. I wasn’t sad to see Randy go, but he was one of the two people easiest to pick out at challenges by his ugly red Hawaiian shirt—that and Danielle’s ruffled polka-dot bikini.
Today, the Survivors will be playing slip ‘n slide, a game seen first on the Fiji show. They’ll slather themselves in oil (I hope it’s the instant-dissolve-in-water kind and doesn’t require soap for removal—otherwise they’re all in Huge Trouble), and one on one launch themselves down a wet tarp to try to grab a numbered ball suspended on a string. They must then make their way to the edge of the tarp and score a point by throwing the ball through a miniature basketball hoop. This is harder than it might seem: some, like Cirie, find that crawling on all-fours is the only way they can manage the slide.
Coach bests Tom. Russell beats Cirie. Candice beats Courtney. Jerri drops in her first shot to take out Amanda. Sandra is bested by James. Danielle and Rupert have to shoot about a dozen times each; finally Rupert scores. It all comes down to a shoot-out between Colby and Tyson. They both keep throwing and missing: finally Tyson drops one and the Villains win reward. “All right Heroes,” intones Host Probst, “I got nothin’ for ya. Head back to camp.”
DON'T TOUCH THAT IDOL
At Villa Villain, the tribe members are gather round and begin to examine their treasure-trove of handy tools. Russell pulls out a long knife with a serrated blade. Something is rattling in the handle. He unscrews it and there in front of Boston Rob and everybody a piece of paper falls out. Coach grabs it and proceeds to read it aloud. It’s a clue that there’s an Individual Immunity Idol hidden in camp.
Russell can’t believe how careless he’s been, “I grab the knife; I think it’s something to hold the blade in place. I blew it. Man if I could find that hidden Immunity Idol, I will become powerful in this game. No way could I get a clue to the hidden Immunity Idol and not find it.” Judging on his past performance in Samoa, this is not hyperbole. But since when has he needed a clue to find one?
Coach wonders aloud what everyone is thinking, “What are we gonna do?”
The consensus seems to be that the Idol can only cause trouble, that the best thing to do is get on with their shelter-building and let it lie. Russell can stand it for only a few minutes. He announces, “I’m going for a walk” and trots out of camp toward the beach as fast as his stubby legs will allow.
Coach immediately tattles: “What did you say, anybody who goes for the Idol is done?” Rob is annoyed that Russell is acting so stupidly; he sends Sandra to follow him. Watching Russell dig away under the tree where he thinks the clue has directed him, Sandra spits out in disgust, “He’s such a dumb-ass.”
Rob totally agrees with Sandra’s assessment, “Russell, he’s like a Hobbit on crack. Somebody like that, the thing to do is get rid of ‘em right away.”
I wonder if it’s entirely sporting that, in a season of all-stars, not one of the competitors has seen the Samoa season where Russell finds hidden immunity idols the way French pigs root out truffles.
JACKALS ON THE SCENT
The Heroes discover their clue to the Immunity Idol hidden in camp when they open the canister to make breakfast coffee. JT is rueful that everyone is in on the action, “Think one person was supposed to find this?” James and Cirie grin like hyenas at the thought of being the one to find the idol. Tom knows possession of the idol may be ‘make or break’ for him and for Colby.
After reading the clue aloud, everyone makes a mad dash. James heads out, with Amanda and Tom hot on his heels. JT is overturning rocks, “Damn, I wish we’d kept that to ourselves.” Tom spots a leaning tree, which has been mentioned in the clue. Amanda is watching him like a hawk and quickly joins him. James is not far behind. Tom spies the idol, “I dug quickly, saw the sand was loose, found the idol and stuck it in my sock.” He ducks behind the tree.
Unfortunately for him, Tom has not been quick enough to evade Amanda’s surveilllance; she’s spotted Tom stuffing something into his sock and knows it’s the idol. Tom reports to Colby that he’s found the idol but that Amanda knows. But, he thinks, it’s still useful. He tells Colby, “It’s our way into that alliance.”
Today’s immunity challenge is a repeat of the one which took Chief Dreadlock Russell out of the game last season. One person from each tribe will be harnessed into a giant geometric ball (think “American Gladiator”) and by voice only must guide two blind-folded team members to roll the ball down a course and position it at the edge of a puzzle platform. The person in the ball will then direct four other blind-folded tribe-mates supporting the four corners of a huge wooden platform to maneuver a ball through a series of obstacles and into a hole at the opposite corner.
For the Villains, Rob will be strapped into the ball and pushed by Coach and Tyson. For the Heroes, it will be Tom in the ball propelled by Rupert and James. I’m thinking that anybody who volunteers to be the person strapped into that contraption and sent tumbling helter-skelter by a couple of guys who can’t see deserves to get a couple of weeks of Immunity just for bravery. It’s as hazardous as it looks: Rob gets slammed into a tree with enough force to stop an elephant in its tracks.
The puzzle boards are being manned by Colby, Candice, JT and Amanda for the Heroes and Parvati, Russell, Danielle and Jerri for the Villains. It’s an extremely tight race, but in the end, Rob’s mastery of direction allows the Villains to finish first. The Heroes tonight will be once again sitting fireside.
I DON’T TRUST HER AS FAR AS I CAN THROW HER
Back home in Hero Town, Tom apologizes for having been unable to direct the tribe to victory, “I just couldn’t get the timing right.” I don’t think it was really Tom’s fault, but he’s probably smart to shoulder the responsibility.
Cirie is relaxed. She’s confident of how the day will unfold, “We goin’ back to Tribal Council and get rid of Colby or Tom tonight.” They been on the outs since Day 3.”
Tom knows he’d better do some fancy footwork before the vote, “I have the idol but I’m still a target ‘cause they know I have it.”
Candice and Cirie work out the numbers. They decide their alliance must split their votes 3-3. If Tom plays the idol, then he’ll be out; if he doesn’t there will be a tie, and a revote and they’ll be prepared with a 4-2 split.
JT tries to convince Amanda it would be good to be rid of Candice. Amanda would consider that but she worries that Tom’s having the idol gives him power.
JT alone, is thinking aloud: “I’d like to have Tom in my alliance. Candice, I don’t trust her as far as I can throw her.”
Tom makes his case to JT and Amanda that getting rid of Cirie and Candice is in their best interests. In that case, JT tells them, he wants a promise Tom would never use the Idol as a weapon against the two of them.
Heck, no, Tom hastens to assure him. In fact, if it would make them feel better, he’ll give them the darn thing. It’s like a curse to him, “I just want the stain of this idol off me.” If they’d been smart, they’d have taken it off Tom’s hands then and there.
Amanda rushes back to Cirie to tell her of the new plan. Cirie is alarmed, “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”
Cirie remarks to the camera: “Amanda is not the sharpest tool in the shed.”
As Amanda and Cirie talk, JT is behind the bushes, spying.
JT goes back to Tom and Colby: “Cirie is the mind behind this deal.” His thinking has changed; he’s pegged Cirie as a far bigger threat to his welfare than Candice. Colby and Tom do their best to gain JT as their third, and deciding, vote.
JT hasn’t made up his mind, “My heart’s telling me to keep the good guys in the game. In this game, you listen to your heart: you’re gone. I know how everybody’s voting, ‘cept me.” I presume the ‘good guys’ are Tom and Colby.
SAY ONE THING AND DO ANOTHER
Host Probst opens Tribal Council by scolding the Heroes. “Last time you voted off Stephenie. Seems like a mistake to me.” He turns to JT: “Where’s the wisdom in having alliances this early that cause you to vote out somebody strong merely because they’re on the wrong side of the numbers?”
JT agrees with Jeff: “It’s way to early to vote out people who could be useful against the other tribe. You need to stick to people who will keep their word.”
Yeah, Jeff challenges, but “I’m looking at a tribe that keeping your word is the reason you keep coming to Tribal.”
Rupert ruefully confesses that he’s going to vote against his better judgment because he’s loyal to the alliances he’s made.
Jeff clearly thinks Rupert’s approach is suicidal. “What part of that makes sense? Keeping your word in a game called outwit, outplay, outlast?… ‘Cause I’m looking at a tribe that, you’re all keeping your word. Great. All it’s doing is giving you more time with me at Tribal Council.” When Rupert complains, “being at Tribal Council sucks,” Jeff chides, “You’re a part of the reason based on that philosophy, Rupert!”
Host Probst turns to the others to get their take on the pending vote. Colby observes that it will “take a bold move to keep me in the game.” James claims to be voting to keep the tribe strong. JT admits he isn’t worried for his own safety, “Probably a lot of people hate me for saying that, but if I didn’t trust the people I’m trusting, I’d already be gone.”
The vote: Tom casts his vote for Cirie, “You’re way too good at wrapping some of these weak minds around your little finger.” Cirie votes for Tom, thinking she’s part of a big majority.
Jeff retrieves the vote pot and says, “I’ll read the vote.” Hold on, Tom interjects, “I was hoping not to have to play this but…” He pulls the idol out of his sock and hands it over. Jeff confirms that it’s genuine and Tom cannot be voted out.
The vote goes Tom, Tom, Colby, Colby, Cirie, Cirie. And the last vote goes to—Cirie! She’s shocked. Her mouth forms the word “WOW.” Candice and Rupert shake their heads; James frowns. (For the record: Candice, Cirie and Amanda voted for Tom; James and Rupert voted for Colby. JT “switched” his vote from Colby to join Colby and Tom in voting for Cirie.)
Jeff sends the Heroes home with a lot to think about, “I’d say that qualifies as your first blindside.” I’m thinking JT had better be thinking fast. He has some major ‘splainin’ to do. Personally, I wouldn't trust him to water my house plants.
In her exit interview, Cirie is quite puzzled, “Maybe I said too much, but I couldn’t just sit back and play into JT’s hands. I’m playing for myself.” And now she’s playing by herself.
You won’t want to miss next week: otherwise you’ll never know whether Rupert finds that idol!