The Survivor’s trudge back to camp having just booted Christa.
Jon decides that now is as good a time as any to tell Sandra in nyah nyah fashion that Christa was actively campaigning against her. Sandra doesn’t appear to care.
The Survivor’s are up. While it would be overly generous to characterize their body language as making them looking raring to go, they do, with the exception of Sandra, appear to be ready to put in a decent days work around camp.
Burton is setting out the tasks for the day, which appear to be pretty much what you’d consider the tasks would be for every day, i.e. fire, water, food.
Lill, Burton and Jon decide to collect mussels, Darrah is occupied with a task that Burnett obviously doesn’t consider worthy of TV time and Sandra is “confessing” a dastardly plan. Sure she is next for the boot, Sandra has decided the best course of action to make her final three days bearable and to cause maximum havoc when she leaves is to basically hide everything in the camp. The spear, the masks, knives, machetes, water containers, nets, everything.
Of course, leaving aside the logistical issue of where on earth she would put everything, this would require her to work harder in the next three days than she had in the previous 33.
Without warning, we find ourselves at the reward challenge.
Jiff offers his congratulations on lasting 34 days in the game and making the final five.
He receives nothing more than lackluster nods and “thank you’s” in return.
He goes on to explain that today will see the “Second Chances”, challenge, i.e. the opportunity to atone for challenges you effed up in the past, or the chance to eff them up anew.
The Survivors will each be tied to a post by their wrists and ankles. The object is to obviously free yourself and take your two pieces of rope with you as you burrow under a bamboo gate. After that obstacle the next challenge is to use the two pieces of rope to plot the co-ordinates they will find atop a pole beside a crude “compass” marked out in the sand. Dig where the ropes cross until you find a key, which will let you into a bamboo jail cell. Once inside, make a pole from helpfully present sticks and twine, which you will use to reach for the set of keys that lets you out of the other end of the cell.
Move to the “firing range”, where you have to break three plates, each with a bag of letters on a long string, attached. Pull the bags towards you by the strings at your feet; rearrange the letters to form a well-known pirate term.
Jiff reminds them that Panama was once a wealthy city, with much gold and silver, until Morgan came over in 1671 and decided he wanted the wealth for himself.
Burton smiles and smugly nods his understanding an approval in an “it’s all about the survival of the fittest”, kind of way.
Jiff continues with the story, stating that the city was burned down and never rebuilt, leaving just ruins. The reward is to spend the night camping out at the ruins, which hardly seems the most attractive of rewards, even when Jiff throws in the promise of a bounteous feast.
Jiff has the Survivor’s line up according to his random drawing of numbers and prepare for his “Go”.
When they receive his confirmation that the challenge is underway, the Survivor’s begin feverishly trying to untie their rope restraints. Lill simply slips her left hand free of the rope, which seems impossibly easy compared to the efforts the others are being forced to expel.
When Jiff points out that Sandra is using her teeth to try and untie the knots, Burton quickly follows suit, lest anyone find a way to give themself any kind of an advantage over him. Burton seems the type to panic any time he isn’t leading the pack.
Lill is first to free herself and is soon followed to the bamboo gate by Burton and Jon.
Lill initially decides to make the pass under the gate, face down, “Savage-style”, but flips to the far better option of face up.
Burton makes light work of burrowing under the gate too and soon lays his two pieces of rope across the compass as directed by the co-ordinates, but doesn’t appear to start digging where the two intersect.
Jiff, noting that Lill has one piece laid across the corner of her compass and clearly not suspecting any other rope she lays will cross it at any point, repeats his instruction that the ropes must intersect, three further times. This only seeks to further confuse Lill, who apparently needs nothing short of Jiff to X his fore arms and scream “where they cross Lill, CROSS”, right into her face, before she’ll understand the concept.
She abandons the co-ordinates in favour if random digging. Had she been privy to the staffer run through, in which the keys were barely an inch below the surface, we saw when Jiff was explaining the rules, then I could almost understand her decision.
Jon finds his key first, prompting another spurt of activity from the anxious Burton.
Exasperated at Lill’s inability to follow his simple instructions, Jiff suggests she slow down and start again.
Lill reaches for the co-ordinates and reads them again. Her first point is NW and when she points first at North and then West, it becomes easy to see why she is having trouble. Meanwhile, both Burton and Sandra find their keys.
We’re back with Lill, who has resorted to reading the co-ordinates really slowly, as if trying to comprehend flat-pack furniture assembly instructions. She eventually finds her keys, but nothing will ever convince me judgment, outweighed luck, as far as the discovery was concerned.
She moves into the cell and begins the pole making section of the challenge, verbally encouraging herself to slow down and focus.
Burton soon reaches his keys and frees himself from the jail, moving quickly to the sling shot area, where he appears to break his three plates with his first three shots. He is pulling the bags of letters back to him as we look in on Lill in time to see her rickety pole break, it was just a matter of time.
Having rearranged his letters on his podium, Burton calls out “got it”, raising both arms into the air. Despite no one being within range to “RAOD TRIP” Burton out of the victory, Jiff still makes him call is answer aloud before declaring him the winner.
The others duck through their cell doors to join Jiff and Burton. Lill’s gets caught on the back of her neck and as she joins the group several seconds later I can only conclude that she backed up and took the long way round.
As has become customary, Jiff gives Burton the opportunity to take someone along on the challenge with him. He has no hesitation in selecting Jon or in accepting Jon’s resulting celebratory leap and launch into his arms.
After the break, we join Jiff, Jon and Burton cutting through the waves on their way to Panama city by speedboat. It amazes me why anyone whose pits haven’t seen deodorant for nearly five weeks would want to stand with their arms in the air, but Burton doesn’t seem to have a problem with it. Either does Jon apparently, who is exactly armpit high on Burton.
They ooh and ahhh as the boat passes whales and other marine life leap and play in the water. Burton confesses his pleasure that he and Jon are finally getting to enjoy a reward challenge with someone they actually like.
They arrive at their destination and leave the boat, Jiff thanking the crew for the ride.
They walk up the boat ramp and Burton confesses that at that point e caught sight of a lone GMC Envoy in the car park.
I strongly doubt he knew it was an Envoy specifically at first site, but no doubt GMC want to give the impression their models are easily recognizable and Burton seems only you pleased to help them with that.
Jiff explains that the Envoy will be their method of transport to the ruins, hands Burton the keys telling him they are now his.
Jon seems to clue in a little quicker that the vehicle also now belongs to Burton and appears most sincere in congratulating his alliance mate.
Jiff goes on to explain that the vehicle is a car/truck/SUV combo and hopefully completes the selling out for this series by walking the guys through a few of the trucks features, the most notable of which being you can somehow attach a tent to it’s arse end.
Jiff leaves the guys and they climb into the car. Burton soon shows himself to be one of those guys that negotiates corners by steering with just one arm, tightly locked at the elbow.
They drive toward the ruin, a Burton confessional providing us with an explanation of the close ups the camera is showing us.
Burton drives right into the area where their feast has been set up. They leave the vehicle and begin to tuck straight in.
Burton laughs at the food stuck in Jon’s beard, pointing at him and declaring “your face dude”, at which point Burnett cruelly orders a close up of the suckling pigs head.
They toast the women back at camp before Burton confesses that they will not be able to catch anything to eat other than the mussels he, Jon and Lill collected that day and goes on to point out all three of them have ridden coattails to get where they are.
Can you smell that? Me too. That my friends, is the smoky whiff of foreshadowing.
Back at the Balboa camp, the women do at least prove the “they won’t catch anything else”, part of Burton’s confessional is true, unless a fish is going to beach itself with sufficient propulsion to reach the floor of the shelter where the women look as though they will likely stay for the next 24 hours.
Lill begins their discussion by mentioning how many promises the guys have made to them all. Sandra suggests they have all been promised something different.
Suddenly, Lill decides to spill the beans and tell Darrah that she is next on the boot list.
She confesses that she just couldn’t lie anymore; she had to tell Darrah the truth.
She adds, “it pissed me off that these boys were so easy to break their alliance”.
I’d just like to point out to you Lill that the shreikemphasis you gave “easy”, does not mean your sentence makes sense.
Darrah, simply picks some crust off her lip, sticks it to one of the shelter supports and tells the other women that she thinks the guys should go home.
When Sandra agrees, declaring she will vote for whichever one doesn’t have immunity, there are definite signs that a plan is being formed.
Of course, the success of the plan will rest on the hunched shoulders of flaky old Lill, so we can’t get too excited just yet.
Sandra and Darrah do their best to convince her that she stands a better chance of going to the top two with them as opposed to the guys, who Darrah says would take each other to the final, when Lill protests that top three is likely the best she can hope for no matter how she votes.
She mulls Darrah’s comment over for a short while, before declaring that they should wait to see wins immunity before deciding on a boot plan.
Darrah, eager to have the finer points of the plan thrashed out, says that should Burton win immunity they boot Jon, if one of the ladies wins immunity they boot Burton.
They agree on the plan and cement it by touching fists, clearly seeing no need to discuss tactics should the ridiculous happen and Jon win immunity.
Satisfied with her new alliance, Sandra confesses that her complicated “hide everything” plan is now on the back burner.
We rejoin Jon and Burton at the reward, where the food had been consumed and talk has turned to the ability of the women to form an effective plan of attack in their absence.
They decide that even if the women did come up with a plan, they could easily squash it, because they’re men, they’re superior intellectually and they can discuss tactics while assembling a tent.
Jon suggests Sandra is a better bet to align with since Lill is unimpressed with their proposal to boot Darrah next.
They congratulate each other on a game well played to this point, and settle down for a night in the back of the truck.
Lill is up early as always, looking tired and lifeless.
Sandra thinks Lill’s lack of sleep last night was due to stressing over their new alliance, Lill herself, queen of the dramatic, thinks it’s because her legs were on fire.
Sandra tries her best to convince her that the plan will work well, but Lill is concerned about the revenge Burton will seek should Jon be booted out next.
The boat speeds through the water, bringing Burton and Jon back to shore. Lill and Darrah walk to meet them and take the opportunity to discuss the boot plan one last time.
They both agree not to change their minds; the plan will proceed as discussed.
Jon and Burton get out of the boat and exchange hugs with the women on the beach.
After which starts a curious display of theatre from Darrah and Lill where they try to convince Burton and Jon that not only has no strategy talk gone on since they left, but very little talk of any type has been forthcoming from Sandra.
“She’s had enough, she wants to be gone”, asserts Lill. Unconvinced by her performance, Burton asked if she at least floated the idea of forming an all-female alliance against the men. Lill tells him no, shaking her head to place more conviction behind her answer.
Wary of her responses, Burton decides to speak with Sandra direct, who has yet to emerge from the shelter and finds she has no intention of helping out around camp if she’s being voted out next. Looking slightly confused, Burton brushes off her petulance in favour of further discussions with Lill. Meanwhile, Jon decides to speak with Sandra.
In a bid to keep any the details of their discussion secret, particularly from Darrah, who is currently roaming free without an assigned man to tell her what to think, Jon tells Sandra that “the pelican flies over the hermit crab into the belly of the big snake”, and quickly offers her third place when she tells him to speak English. She makes him swear on his granny, he in turn will only accept her word if her kids are used as bargaining tools. Sandra complies with his request to see her fingers, which are not crossed and stops short of cackling “if you lie, the kids are mine”.
Jiff calls them into the challenge area and takes the immunity cutlass from Darrah, remarking on how she ahs won back-to-back challenges. Hmmm, is the deck being stacked in her favour?
Now of course, the fact that Christa, T, Jon and Burton, took themselves out of the running for the fist IC she won through their inability to spell could not be forecast. Without resorting to stereotypes, doesn’t Darrah strike you as the sort of person who was given a gun to play with instead of a rattle? She could probably part a possum’s hair at 300 paces, so always seemed to be in with a very good chance at the “shoot the flag game”. If this challenge calls for something ridiculous, like the successful candidate to have really skinny arms to win then we’ll know there is something wrong.
Jiff explains that the challenge will require the Survivor’s to “walk the plank”.
Each has a series of five planks, locked in the upward position. The key for each is attached to a float and placed inside a thin plastic tube. Hmmm, it might help to have skinny arms after all then. They must use their canteens to fill the tubes with water, get the key and unlock and lower their planks. Once the fifth plank is lowered, they need to retrieve a flag on a platform at the end of the course and take it back to the beginning.
Jiff gives them the “Go”, and they all drop to their knees and begin filling their canteens.
Darrah’s fills up first, she walks across to the first tube and although the canteen contents only fill it half way, she manages to reach far down into the tube with her skinny arm and grab the float attached to her key.
Darrah lowers the plank, goes back to the beginning to refill her canteen and has the second plank lowered before Lill has even unlocked her first.
Falling off the structure and having to wade back to the start barely hampers Darrah’s progress and she is soon reaching into the tube to get her third key.
Seeing that D obviously has a winning tactic in reaching down far into the tube, Lill decides to try her luck, failing to realize she is lacking one crucial element in Darrah’s success, damn skinny arms. She eventually manages to tear her stuck arm free of the tube and unlocks the plank, which is only prepared to lower half way.
Obviously aware of how tricky this type of pesky challenge can be to follow, Jiff kindly assists with a recap of the current standings, telling us that Jon and Darrah are on their fourth locks, Burton is on his third.
Jon and Darrah both lower their fourth planks and we cut to a shot of Burton in time to see him trying to lasso the float with the end of his canteen strap. Surely that wasn’t in the rules?
Darrah lowers the final plank, gets the flag and walks back along all the planks to deliver it to the starting platform, giving her a third consecutive immunity win and the whole tedious challenge is drawn to a close.
Back from the break and straight into a Jon confessional where he confirms the players are in place to take Lill out of the game tonight.
He goes over to see her as she paddles aimlessly in a few inches of water along the shoreline, but is turned away. For once, Lill does not want to talk.
Jon’s next course of action is to go into discussions with Burton about how Lill is becoming increasingly flaky. Burton is sure it’s her regular fruitcakiness ramped up a few notches by her failing body, but Jon sees things differently. His theory is that Lill has agreed to vote out Burton, which is why she is looking so upset. Burton’s having none of it though and even though we don’t get to hear Jon pass comment on it, I doubt he questioned Burton’s assessment of Lill as a sultana filled sponge.
Now back at the camp with them, it is evident that they have fully decided their best course of action is to power to the final two without the assistance of Lill. They receive the word of both Sandra and Darrah that they will be voting for Lill at the next TC.
After all, he adds, none of us can beat her in a jury vote. I still have no idea why they all seem to feel Lill’s success is assured she should be up before the jury. None of us would vote her, would we?
A final Jon confessional is squeezed in before they head off to TC.
The women are just followers, can’t come up with a plan, foolish, should have talked to each other about an alliance at least etc.etc. Oh, Foreshadowing, come in, take a seat. Can I get you something to drink?
As usual, the Survivor’s file in and take their seats before Jiff calls in the jury.
Rupert is in tie-dye again, but although the pattern looks the same as before, this week’s incarnation has sleeves. Call me a sentimental old fool, but I like to think that Rupert and Laura made a big batch of them one weekend. They lived off the land and tie-dyed his shirts in the juices of the berries they scavenged for. Or he just got them from Target, whatever.
Jiff moves into the questioning, which produces a very diplomatic response for Fairplay, who finds reasons why each of the remaining women is deserving of their place in the game.
He claims TC has become “surprise” TC. He throws his hands in the air, bugs his eyes and his perm grows visibly as he graphically illustrates just how surprising surprise TC is.
Burton claims that blindsiding people is a necessary evil, and don’t forget folks, I was blindsided too once, draws the “roll eye” from Sandra and an unblinking stare from Christa.
Jiff has the Survivor’s vote, removes himself to tally and begins to read the ballots.
Crafty sorting reveals two votes for Lill, followed by two for Burton, who is deliciously blindsided when Jiff reveals his name on the final vote.
Christa and Rupert exchange “potatoes” as his torch is snuffed.
Now, I don’t usually bother to comment on people’s final words, unless they’re really good, such as John Carroll crying about his abs. Come on, that was classic.
Burton chooses to use his final few moments to criticize Lill for voting against him.
He hopes she can live with herself for turning her back on their alliance. I guess he feels that the fact he did the same by voting for Lill is neither here nor there as his plan was not successful.
Hypocrisy, they name is Burton . . . and thy nickname is, uh, Burton.
Next time on Survivor: