Previously on Survivor a Palauan feast is attended by the winners of the Reward Challenge, one of which is Janu. Apparently eating is more of an occasional hobby for her, than a necessity, and the sudden protein distorts her thinking process. She purposefully fails at the Immunity Challenge in order to spend the night alone, which she thoroughly enjoys, going so far as to choreograph her own musical extravaganza, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in Vegas since she arrived on Palau. At Tribal Council, she takes Steph’s place at the guillotine, and lays her torch down quitting the game. I’ve heard of this malady before…I think it’s called food poisoning.
Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Strong
You’ve heard of The Big Chill, The Big Easy, The Big Sleep? Tonight we are introduced to the Big Plan (hereafter known as the BP). Back at camp after Tribal Council, everyone is still reeling from the derailment of their BP. Steph is supposed to be sleeping at Loser Lodge tonight, not Janu, and the tribe is furiously scrambling to determine their next move. Steph, realizing how close she came to the Fickle Finger of Fate, is grasping at any port in the storm, and in this case, it’s Port Tom who’s looking most attractive. His way of trying to keep everyone calm, or to stay in control (depending on how you look at it), is to tell Steph that after Janu’s speech, they had all decided to give Janu a permanent exile anyway. Tom knows it’s imperative to make Steph comfortable, to keep her from disrupting the BP. The BP leader depends on who is talking at the time. Gregg’s BP is lead by (surprise) Gregg. Tom’s BP is lead by (say it with me now) Tom. Basically the BP is to get as far in the game as you can. It’s brilliant. It’s surprising no one has ever thought of this before. The fact that they seem to think they’re the first to come up with this strategy makes me believe all the food they’re eating is clouding their thinking. Does this make Janu’s no-food plan look more credible? Discuss amongst yourselves. To show how loyal Koror is now to Steph, Tom goes so far as to place his immunity necklace around her neck. Sure, Tom, it’s easy to do that when you’re not at Tribal Council, and it doesn’t mean anything. Who’s he kidding? Not me, and I don’t think he’s fooling anyone else either, although there’s a good chance he could be fooling Caryn.
Steph’s game is in high gear, and she is attempting to outwit everyone around her. As she tries to find a way to place herself squarely in the middle of the BP, she begins with Katie. Katie is shrewd, however, and responds to Steph’s questions of who is in power, and what is Koror’s next move, with shrugs and mumblings. Not getting anywhere with her, she moves on to the Skipper, Tom. Tom assures her he is still looking out for her, but needs to keep it on the down-low, because he doesn’t want to expose himself. (Yeah, like he’s been a shrinking violet so far.) He feels for her, but he recognizes that she is a supreme player, and therefore, dangerous. He also figures he’s quite a threat to others advancing in the game, and that he’ll be voted off next. He’s not the Skipper by accident, folks.
In a weird display of desperation, Tom gathers the tribe and makes an emotional plea for everyone to remember they won a lot of the challenges directly due to his strength. He says he’s strong and he didn’t hide it, damn it. Well, actually I added the ‘damn it’, but he was thinking it I’m sure. He adds that none of the previous final winners have been strong players in the reward challenges, and that he hopes they don’t penalize him for being a big, strong, manly man (yeah, I added that last part, too). Caryn’s probably thinking she’d love to ‘penalize’ him for being a strong, handsome man, *swoon* but unfortunately we don’t get to hear her view on his speech, and can only use our imaginations.
As Tom floats calmly in the ocean water, the tides are changing back at camp. Ian, Katie, Gregg and Jenn discuss Tom’s plea, and Ian admits, the simple fact that Tom keeps winning immunity, makes him the obvious target. Am I the only one who’s somewhat saddened watching Little Buddy Ian turn on Skipper so quickly? It was bound to happen, but it’s still hard to watch. I’ve liked the whole Skipper/Gilligan thing they’ve had going, however Ian’s a smart guy, so quite possibly he’s just pretending to go along with the crowd. These crazy kids, you never know what they’re thinking. Gregg, Captain Obvious, points out the sole reason no physically strong player has ever won the million is because they’ve been voted off, and everyone chuckles at this revelation.
Katie tells us now that the individual game is on, Tom’s status as leader is definitely in jeopardy. Since there are four women and three men, the women might be able to go further in the game if they make a new all-female alliance. They believe Caryn is “on the fence” as to who she’s uniting with, but they all agree that the first person they should vote off when they get the chance is Tom. Jenn points out that Steph is a strong player, also, but Steph quickly says she doesn’t see herself as a threat. Perhaps that’s because she’s looking from the inside, out. A brief look at her reflection in the water might help her see herself as the others do…someone who has the true potential to win the whole enchilada, or more appropriately, the whole coconut. As the girls discuss this new idea, Steph asks Jenn if she’d really be able to break her alliance to Gregg, and Jenn says she’s considering it. We’re left to wonder if she’s truly considering it, or just giving lip service to the women so they’ll think she’s with them. Unless Jenn elaborates more later on, this will remain one of life’s many unanswered questions, along with did Sirhan Sirhan act alone, and where is Jimmy Hoffa.
Let’s Make A Deal
Everyone on the island seems to have a specific job, a specific duty they have taken on in order to keep camp life moving along like the gears in a fine-tuned piece of machinery. It has finally become apparent that Katie’s job is the Official Tree Mail reader, and she has risen to the challenge again today. She reads:
The rewards you play for today
Mostly involve eating and drinking.
The only way to the good stuff
Will involve strategic thinking.
These Kororans are obviously familiar with all things Survivor because once Katie reads the mail, they zero in on the idea that this challenge could possibly include money and the buying of food. Tom hopes there might be food for the soul also, in the form of something from home. I assume he means something with sentimental value, not just socks, or a tie with a picture of Homer Simpson standing in front of Moe’s.
Each person gets a wallet filled with $20 bills totaling $500. You can tell it’s been a while since they’ve seen cash, because they gaze at it like a newfound love. Tom even goes so far as to hold it up to his nose, taking a long, hard sniff. The options are to either keep it and leave Palau with it, or spend it at the Survivor auction. Jeff will bring out a series of objects, and the bidding will begin at $20, increasing in increments of $20. He warns them the auction will stop without warning, so if they want something, they need to act quickly. They all feel the anticipation, and Caryn even bursts into a broad smile, chanting, “fun, fun, fun, fun, fun.” That’s the most excitement I’ve seen her exhibit the whole time she’s been on the island…excitement that didn’t involve Tom, that is, heheh.
Bidding begins with an item hidden under an opaque cover. Ian begins the bid at $20, followed by Jenn and Caryn. The three of them continue bidding until Jenn makes the final offer of $120. She is rewarded with a chocolate sundae, and she obviously thinks it was well worth it…her hands are shaking, she is so thrilled. The next item up for grabs is brought out, also covered. Ian begins bidding once again with $20, and is joined by Caryn, Gregg, Katie, and Steph. Gregg offers to split the reward with Ian, allowing each of them to spend $120, for a total of $240. Steph offers to split it with Caryn for a total of $260. Ian and Gregg decide to back out, allowing the girls to get the mystery plate. Pulling a Monty Hall maneuver, Jeff offers an exchange by bringing out a new covered item they can opt for instead. Caryn suggests they smell the mystery items, and their noses steer them toward the new one. Jeff reveals what they could have originally bought…cheese and crackers. The suspense builds, and they worry for a moment they’ve made a critical error. Then Jeff reveals what their booty is. Well, not their booty, as in their hiney, but booty, as in pirate booty, aaarrggh. Suddenly I’m reminded of Rupert, I apologize, because I think we’ve all had enough of him for a while. A cheeseburger, fries and coke is laid out on the plate, and Steph and Caryn hug in excitement, jump up and down, squeal, and then proceed to devour the meal.
With increased enthusiasm, the bidding continues with the next item. Ian cuts right to the chase offering $100, followed by Katie and Jenn working together offering $160. The bidding continues to rise between the three of them. Gregg offers Ian $20 for a bite of whatever the item turns out to be, and Ian’s bid increases to $300, and the girls bow out. Before Jeff reveals what Ian bought, he brings out a metal box, asking if Ian wants to trade. Ian sticks with what he bought, and Jeff reveals the box to house a jar of live crabs. What Ian actually bought is a plate of spaghetti with meat sauce, garlic bread, and parmesan cheese. Hey, that’s what I had for dinner, too, although I didn’t pay $300 for it. Come to think of it, I didn’t charge my husband $20 for a bite, either. Hmm…I need to think about that. Anyway, Ian is so thrilled, he hugs Jeff, to which Jeff promptly informs Ian that he stinks, reeks as a matter of fact. Someone’s not making much use of all those bath items, I guess. Gregg reminds Ian of the $20 bite he’s owed, and Ian makes good on the agreement.
The next item brought out is an icy cold, label-removed beer. What’s this? How come Pringle’s and Home Depot have their name plastered all over everything, but not the beer? Maybe beer doesn’t need a plug, but I’m presently distracted thinking of slogans that could come from this. It could be “Schlitz, The Beer That Made Palau Famous.” Or maybe, “It’s Always Miller Time On Palau.” But I digress. Back to the bottle of beer…Jeff tells them the first $40 gets it. I was expecting alcohol-loving Tom to snatch the beer up within mere seconds, but it’s Ian who buys it. With that, the food wars are over, and Jeff brings out letters from home. Gregg starts the bidding at $20, with Tom, Caryn, and Steph, joining in, but Tom wins his letters for $220. Although he wants to wait until later to read them, he decides to take a peek, and brings out a sheet of paper with an outline of his young son’s hand. Everyone oohs and aahs, and Jeff tells them they can each have their own letters if they match the $220. Ian’s out, since he ponied up for that expensive Italian feast of his. Steph, Gregg, Katie and Caryn all pay for their letters, but it’s not clear if Jenn didn’t shell out the money to get hers, or if they just didn’t show her pay for them. She did get letters, didn’t she? Could it be she doesn’t have loved ones at home? No wonder she’s glommed onto Gregg with that death grip of hers.
Steph lays a blanket out in the sand, and brings out her letters from home. She’s got 12 letters, from her brothers, nieces and nephews, her parents, boyfriend and her sister-in-law. She recognizes she can’t trust anyone in this game, and tells us the letters are all the food and energy she needs to hang on a little longer. She says she will read her letters, and then win the game, she just “knows it.” Oh, Steph, I am now officially worried for you, because being a veteran reality tv junkie, I know that is the kiss of death. I was really pulling for you, too, kid.
Ian must be the equivalent of a real-life Pig Pen from Peanuts, because after Jeff’s comments about how badly he reeks, he announces he’s going to take a bath, and camp throws around statements like, “we’ve heard that before,” and “I’ll believe it when I see it.” Now, it’s understandable you’re going to get dirty living on an island, but they do have soap, and they’ve got plenty of water, so just why is it he should smell so bad and look so dirty? How does this fit into the BP? Maybe it’s to keep the rats away? I don’t know, seems like rats probably prefer things that smell bad. Maybe he’s rebelling against his father-figure Tom, much like a teenager pulling away from his parents. He is truly filthy, and the camera gives us a birds-eye view of the dirt caked on his back. Gregg decides to make it a bathing party, and two of them begin to scrub and wash. Ian informs us that even with his “long, monkey arms,” he still couldn’t get all the dirt off his back, so, he asks Gregg to help him out. As Gregg scrubs Ian’s back, Jenn thinks it’s very funny for some reason. Katie jokes that maybe that’s a secret alliance no one knows about. *wink, wink, nudge, nudge* Paranoia is setting in, as Ian then asks Tom to make sure his neck is clean. Tom assures him it is, and then displaying his own paranoia, tells him even if it wasn’t, he wouldn’t clean it for him. He knows the women are watching and laughing at them, and he doesn’t want any part of that.
Tom knows things are changing in camp, and the serious game playing has begun. He gets Caryn off to himself, and as they walk along the beach, he discusses strategies with her. He decides to lead her to believe he’ll look out for her interests, if she’ll look out for his. He tells her he wants her to go as far as she can, and he wants to help her do that. Her head must be swimming with visions of romping along the shoreline with Tom, as his muscles glisten in the moonlight (or is that my fantasy?), because she appears to be so gullible and naïve…it’s hard to imagine that she could be duped so easily. While watching them, I cannot believe she is a civil rights attorney, although, perhaps she’s just not a very successful civil rights attorney. She just doesn’t seem to be wise to the ways of the world, Palau world, anyway. She did watch Survivor before coming on the show didn’t she?
We’re Cuckoo For Coconuts
Today’s challenge consists of them standing on a platform twenty feet away from a grid made up of 35 ceramic tiles (five tiles per person). Using coconuts, they’ll try to knock out their own tiles. If they knock out an opponent’s tile, that counts for their opponent. First person to break all five of their tiles, or have them broken by someone else, wins immunity.
Ian - takes out his own
Katie - Misses
Gregg - takes out his own
Jenn - takes out Caryn
Caryn - misses
Tom - takes out Katie
Steph - takes out Caryn
Ian - takes out his own
Katie - takes out Jenn
Gregg - takes out Ian
Jenn - takes out Tom
Caryn - takes out Katie
Tom - takes out his own
Steph - misses
Ian - takes out his own again (4)
Katie - takes out Jenn (2)
Gregg - takes out his own (2)
Jenn - takes out her own (3)
Caryn - takes out Steph (2)
Tom - takes out his own (3)
Steph - misses (1)
Ian - takes out Steph
Katie - takes out her own
Gregg - takes out his own
Caryn - miss
Tom - takes out Ian, which means Ian wins Immunity. I find it interesting that Ian, who wears his glasses while swimming under water, and while bathing, doesn’t need them when he’s playing a game for Immunity. Just thought I’d point that out, because I find that baffling. Those long monkey arms may not be good for bathing, but they’re apparently quite useful when flinging coconuts.
There’s Always At Least One Idiot
Right on cue, the rain begins pouring, for added drama, and our lovable castaways huddle together for shelter from the storm. Because of the close quarters, no BP discussions can take place. As Tom so acutely points out, they are all waiting for the sun to come out, at which time they will scatter into little groups like cockroaches when the lights come on. (I added that last part again…recapper privilege, you know *wink*). Mark Burnett eventually orders the rain to stop, and throws in an additional rainbow just for fun. It must be something to have such powers…I guess he isn’t considered the god of reality television for nothing. Katie and Caryn tell the group they’re going to go hunting for snails…to eat. Ack, that’s got to be a sentence they never thought they’d utter on television. As Katie talks to Caryn about uniting with an all-girl alliance, Caryn is obviously waffling. She is under the Shii-Ann Hypnotic Trance, and thinks she’s going to be everything to all people. Immediately she runs off to tell Tom the girls are talking about an all-girl alliance, and they’re trying to decide which guy to take out. Can she really be that stupid? Surely she knows this will get back to the women, and they just might be a little angry. Tom can’t believe that she’s actually telling him this, and even he thinks she would have been better off holding onto that information herself. Being out in the sun for a month, has finally shriveled Caryn’s brain to the size of one of Bobby Jon’s fish…that is to say, miniscule. Tom immediately informs Ian what’s brewing, and as they talk, Ian’s back is to the camera. It’s obvious that he’s filty again. There’s no doubt about it…he is the human Pig Pen. Naturally Ian tells Katie Caryn is spreading the word around about Katie’s female alliance, which as predicted infuriates her. Like Shii Ann, the target on Caryn’s back is screaming louder and louder, and her days are numbered. What an idiot.
Night falls upon Koror and the tribe members take their seats around the sacrificial fire. Jeff is waiting for them, when Coby and Janu enter. We now see that Janu has had a make-over at Loser Lodge, most likely in place of eating. We know Jeff has had his spies checking on the tribe, because his first question is directed at Ian. He wants to know if paranoia has crept into camp. Ian admits when he’s going to the bathroom, he wonders if the group is talking about him. I had a co-worker like that once…yes, she was great fun to be around every day. Oy. Ian says, in spite of this, he does feel they are still a pretty strong group. Jeff brings up the fact that they wanted to vote Steph out last time, and he wonders about the reaction once everyone went back to camp. She says, she knows about the BP, but that everyone made her feel really comfortable. Jeff asks Caryn when she noticed things getting tense around camp. She tells him the day after the last Tribal Council. Jeff points out that Tom has been quite strong during challenges, and a leader. He asks if that was a conscious decision on his part, to be that obvious about it. Tom tells him, no, that he did well, because there was a need for Koror to beat Ulong. He hopes they won’t hold it against him, but he will live with the consequences. Not surprisingly, Ian hangs onto his necklace, and the voting begins.
Steph votes for Caryn, while everyone else votes for Steph, and with that, the 12th person is voted out. She tells the rest of the team, good luck as she walks off into the distance. Later she says, she’s quite proud of herself because she was outnumbered, and she was one of the final seven. I’ll miss you, Steph.
Next time on Survivor, loyalties get tested (can you believe it), and Tom’s worst fears are realized. We see a spider spinning a web as he says this, but it’s probably safe to say he’s not talking about the spider…unless he’s got a bad case of arachnophobia we don’t know about yet. If you know why Ian doesn’t bathe, let me know me at firstname.lastname@example.org.