A scant year ago, the nation was riveted before the television waiting to find out who would be elected President of the United States. Tonight, we are just as rapt, wondering who will be chosen to lead GALU. Without further ado, let’s pick up where we left off last week, as the tribe returns to camp after a tribal council where no one (“out of respect for Russell’s medical evacuation”, says Bwana Jeff) was sent home.
Erik, John, Brett and Dave huddle up, excluding the four female members of the tribe. They’d been comfortable with a 5-4 majority, but with Chief Russell gone, they need a new strategy. Hey, says big Dave, I think we should bring in Shambo, “even though she’s a Chick, Shambo doesn’t fit in with the other girls. When we get down to the final five, we can burn her. Bros before Hos.” Yes, he really said that. Erik, though, has the definitive thought on how grateful Shambo will be to them for taking her in: “She’ll be so flattered, she’ll be as deep in my pocket as the lint in the bottom.” It could have been worse; he could have said ‘the lint in my navel.’
When morning comes, the guys have fixed on the idea of sneaking a vote to install Shambo as what they envision their “puppet” Chief. Erik is the one to approach Shambo to tell her how overwhelmed they are by her obvious leadership skills. (To those who may question this assessment, may I point out that she single-handedly managed to lose both the chicken and the fishing gear, made the inane decision to give the clues to the hidden immunity idol to Erik and Bret—getting nothing in exchange, and has returned from FOA twice nattering on about how wonderful are the people over there.) Shambo eats up his flattery, visibly preening. Chicks do that: keeps their feathers shiny.
Before the women can figure out what’s going on, the guys have engineered a precipitate vote and Shambo is the new chief. She feels impelled to make an inaugural address with a bunch of hooey about her first act being one of “motivation and kindness.” And, she promises, “I will honestly honestly honestly do my due diligence to not be bossy ’cause you can’t really be a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps and not have an expectation when you say something things will happen.” Here’s how I understood that—I’m only going to say something once and then you’d better hop to it. And if I see any more stupid yoga when you should be out gathering firewood, there will be hell to pay.
Dave reflects: “The only strategic drawback [to using Shambo] that I can think of is that she’s just sooooo DIM. It could screw up our plans if we tell her anything.” Umm, Dave, I can think of a few other snags in this little Machiavellian scheme. Time will tell.
While GALU is having their big election, FOA has arisen to a new day and new hope. Even Russell isn’t too disappointed that he wasn’t able to get rid of Liz at tribal council: “I’d just as soon win the next three immunity challenges in a row, then dump her.”
PICK A PYRAMID, WIN A PRIZE
Both tribes have arrived for the day’s Reward Challenge. Facing them are rows of tables holding items hidden by pyramidal tents. The field looks like everyone in the sixth grade simultaneously decided to make a model of Machu Pichu for their science project. Bwana Jeff's description makes it sound like the TV show “The Match Game” with him in the role of Gene Rayburn. One tribe member at a time will go out and uncover one item. The object of the game is to remember the location of a specific item and uncover its match. Oh, but there’s a twist—each of the items is something that the tribes can use back at camp. Every time they make a match , they can choose whether to keep the item, or take the point for making the match. Oh, and there are four items which are ‘singles’ and don’t have a match. Reward will be an afternoon sail and lunch. I’m excited: this is a challenge even FOA can win—no physical exertion required.
But first let’s acknowledge that Shambo is wearing the Chief Necklace. Host Probst asks her if she’s surprised at have been accorded this tremendous honor. Heck no, says the sarge, “I’ve had a lifetime of leadership skills, raised a second-generation Marine, just gotta keep things in perspective and be calm.” About now the head of recruiting for the Marine Corps is cringing over his beer.
Since Shambo has chosen herself as one of the team to sit-out the challenge, Bwana Jeff tells her that she must designate an “acting” captain. She doesn’t hesitate before naming Erik. Dave nearly knocks her down screaming “Noooo, BRETT BRETT BRETT!” Oops, “I stand corrected,” admits Shambo, “It’s Brett.” I’m wondering if the people on GALU think everyone else on the tribe has a hearing problem: they repeat repeat repeat everything three times.
You will be shocked to learn that GALU wins in a walk. In fact, they’re so far ahead, they’ve used a couple of their matches to acquire a tarp and a nice fire-starting kit. Shambo’s second duty as Chief will be to choose someone to go visit FOA and miss the reward. She names Laura, with the lame excuse “I need to keep my guys strong for the challenges.” Laura is obviously galled, but grudgingly says she’ll “take one for the team.” Kelly is even more displeased at Sgt. Shambo’s seizure of power, “Now that Shambo’s chief, it’s like she was raised in a trailer park, married a rich guy, and now she’s driving around in a Jaguar.”
GALU rows out to a three-masted schooner to the swells of majestic patriotic music. (I would not be the least bit surprised to learn that the sound editing for Survivor is part of an occupational therapy program for recovering substance abusers.) I’m hoping there are real pirates aboard and somebody is going to have to walk the plank. Oh, sorry, wrong tribe—I was thinking of the squatty Troll with the hairy back and the giant over-hanging belly, but he’s on the other tribe.
Erik is overwhelmed with his good fortune: “My god, we’re in this rowboat, headed out to a pirate ship in the islands of Samoa and honestly I just feel like I don’t even deserve that. Like what have I ever done in life to deserve that kind of an opportunity?” Honey, it’s just a boat, not a winning lottery ticket.
Once aboard, the guys are allowed to help raise the sails—one thing for sure, this show is not about girl-power. Dave is exhilarated to be at the wheel, “I feel like the captain of a pirate ship, ready to go rob some booty—a little gold, a little grog, a little wenching, a little more wenching.” Note to Dave: get rid of that rat’s nest on your head and maybe the wenches won’t need so much grog to put them in the mood. Lunch is served. I’ve always wondered what exactly is “Swill” and I’m pretty sure this may be it: from the looks of it it’s a stew made of bilge-water and goat-jerky.
At FOA, Laura is making new friends. While Liz struggles to get a fire started, Natalie and Laura bond over their shared passion for the Bible and the wondrous marvels of Book of the Month Club. (I’m betting they both opt for the Reader’s Digest Condensed editions.) Laura tries to impress Natalie with her cool factor: she launches into a rapturous description of how often she and her husband and their pastor and his wife ride Harley motorcycles. Of course, she says, that doesn’t make them any the less good Christian soldiers—it’s all just good clean fun, and shoot, half the time they just end up at Starbucks.
Liz is beyond annoyed at their lack of help. She complains to Russell, “All they’re doing is sitting there picking their toes and catching up on good times. It’s a real crisis and they’re talking about Book of the Month Club.” He contemptuously ignores her: “Liz is so stupid, I don’t see how she can even walk without fallin’ down. Liz has a mouth on her and I don’t think she knows when to shut up. I’m gonna keep my eye on her.”
Now it’s time for Russell to add to his dumb-girl alliance; he takes Laura for a walk on the beach. “See,” he explains to her, “if we can work together I can protect you at the merge. It can be me and you and Natalie at the final three.” (Russell’s made this promise to so many people that I’m thinking the fire marshall will be closing down the last tribal council for overcrowded conditions.)
The two of them quickly find that they are kindred souls. Russell claims that his father is a preacher. What a coincidence, exclaims Laura. “I’m a theology student, going into women’s ministry. Don’t want to be a pastor of men; I don’t believe that’s the woman’s role.” Yes, she really said that.
Russell is not surprised, “I can spot a good Christian any time. It’s easy.”
Laura is thrilled at the connection, “A brotha from another Motha.” Yes, she really said that.
Off to himself, Russell gloats, crudely demonstrating with fist-pumps: “I’m just workin’ her, workin’ her, workin’ her. Jes like a fine tool, ‘til she’s sharpen enough to just where I want her.” Yes, he really said that.
GALU and FOA are back at Challenge Beach for the Immunity Challenge. Bwana Jeff gives Laura permission to rejoin her tribe. Welcoming her back, Shambo gives her a kiss on the cheek. It looks a lot like the one the Godfather laid on Fredo right before he sent him to sleep with the fishes.
And speaking of fishies, today’s challenge involves rowing out to buoys where six strings of wooden fish-shaped puzzle pieces are tethered, snagging the lines with over-sized fish-hooks, rowing back to shore and correctly assembling the pieces into a puzzle. Shambo opts to sit-out Monica, Laura and John, whose name she nearly can’t recall. Suddenly, Bwana Jeff notices that Mick is not wearing the Chief’s Necklace. He asks if Mick has been relieved of duty. Nah, Mick confesses, we’ve just been wondering if the thing has a curse on it, so we decided to leave it at home.
Rowing the canoes is chaos. They can’t decide whether to row or jump out and push the boat. Dave is wielding a line for GALU; Shambo shouts encouragement at him. Dave’s reaction is to snap back and snarl at her to shut up. As the teams have retrieved the lines of fish and are headed back, Jeff points out that “Jaison is being no help at all.” He’s right: it’s all Jaison can manage to trudge back to shore under his own steam.
Both teams begin assembling the puzzles. Jaison squeals, “I think it’s a sunset.” His team shushes him. Nobody is making much progress, so Jeff clues them in—the puzzle may not be solid, there could be some open spaces. Hey, Bwana, why don’t you just go over there and put it together for them? And while you’re there, maybe give them each their own individual immunity idol. I suppose the problem is that this crew may be so dim-witted that without some serious coaching, they’ll never finish.
On the FOA side, it’s apparent that Jaison is useless; he’s just standing there looking at the puzzle pieces as if they might be coated with a deadly poison. GALU, exhibiting its usual great teamwork, wins again. They get to take the Scary Immunity Idol back to camp and FOA will have to annihilate another of its own.
FOA BACK AT THE FIRESIDE
Afternoon at the FOA camp is not exactly pleasant. Russell is PO’d at losing: “These idiots are gonna cost me a million dollars.” He’s torn about his vote, “Maybe it should be Jaison; he’s just standin’ out there lookin’ at the puzzle like it’s gonna move itself. “ He rants to Mick, “He’s sure not gonna by my attorney. While you went to medical school he went to friggin’ Oxford, Stanford…” Mick is bemused, “I cannot explain it my friend, I cannot explain it.” Camera on: Jaison lolling on the beach.
Liz and Jaison have a chat. Liz wants to crawl into a hole into a fetal position; Jaison is rueful, “I’m embarrassed; I’m incredibly embarrassed.” I wish these people would just say “Ditto” or something instead of repeating themselves like scratched vinyl records.
Russell want to make sure Liz isn’t fomenting a secret revolution. He tells her they’re voting for Jaison—but like the White Rabbit, he has to hurry off. Otherwise Jaison might get suspicious. She’s a bit surprised that it’s not her or Natalie going home, but Liz takes Russell at his word and relaxes. Will these people please wake up and smell the cyanide?!
At Tribal Council, Bwana Jeff says it would be useless to dwell on FOA’s sorry state. Too bad, so sad: that’s part of his job description. He starts ticking off their disgrace: “losing eight out of ten challenges, after tonight you’ll be down to four while Galu stands strong at eight; one of the worst overall performances of any tribe in the history of the game.”
Jeff feels he needs clarification about FOA’s state of mind, “Russell, do you still wake up and think ‘today’s the day?’”
Russell, for one, hasn’t lost his moxie: “Yeah, all we can do is pray for a merge. Cause if we get to a merge there’s no way in hell them kids over there can out-wit me.”
Liz avers that she trusts everybody there one hundred percent. Mick claims he too is one of the premium members of the trustworthy club.
Jeff comments that Jaison looks like a kid who just lost his puppy, with his chin hanging nearly to his his knees. Jaison owns up to his incompetence in the puzzle challenge. So, asks Bwana Jeff, would it be fair if they sent you home? Does Jaison use his lawyerly skills and make the case for himself? Nooo, he just sits there, sad-sack, and allows as how if his walking away will let the tribe win tomorrow, that’s what’ll happen. I’m hoping he got a nice signing bonus for coming on the show: with absolutely no inside information, I feel confident in predicting Jaison is not going to be going home with jackpot. And I can’t see this whiny do-nothing winning the “fan favorite” prize.
They vote. Liz apparently didn’t get the memo—she votes for Jaison. Everyone else opts to put her on the next canoe off the island and allow Russell to continue as zombie-master.
Tune in next week, when all the lemmings get brand new blue buffs and are thrown together as one big happy family. Study Question for Episode 8—Russell at FOA and Erik at GALU have found and secreted away the Individual Immunity Idols. What happens at the merge if the tribes are sent to one of the camps, and the idol has been left back at the other?