Survivor: Palau 5/5 recap: "Shady Ladies and the Yacht of Doom"
Last week on Survivor, Stephenie’s last-ditch attempt to save herself by orchestrating an all-woman alliance failed when Caryn backstabbed her sisters and blabbed the plan to Tom in her own attempt to save herself. With the last remaining member of Ulong now safely on the jury side, will Caryn’s two-timing save her scrawny butt? Read on.
Koror, Day Whatever
It’s the morning after Stephenie’s boot, and the remaining tribe members are rehashing the vote. Tom tells us he was afraid it was going to be him, but is glad his alliance of five is holding true and hopes it stays that way.
He and Caryn go off for a walk, in which she expresses her worries that now she’s the next target. “She’s more nervous than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs,” Tom says, in a colloquialism that nearly channels another Tom from another Survivor. Thankfully this Tom is both easier to understand and easier on the eyes.
Tom tells Caryn he can appreciate her concern, but that he’s not swerving from his original alliance and that she needs to save her own butt, he won’t do all the work for her. Caryn changes tack smoothly and says that it doesn’t make sense to get rid of her – no? to who? – as she isn’t a threat. It would make more sense to get rid of Gregg, she says.
Showing Your Hand Much?
As that’s apparently the only strategizing going on, we move quickly to the reward challenge. Tree mail warns the tribe to be prepared for island trivia, which Jeff describes as questions about Palau and “Micronesia” when they arrive at the challenge arena. The tribe members will answer multiple-choice questions, and those who get the right answer can lower another member’s torch towards the water. Three torch drops and you’re extinguished and out of the game. Last torch burning wins.
Jeff then asks the completely rhetorical question, “You want to know what you’re playing for?” A yacht glides into view from the inlet where it was lurking. Reward is a night on the yacht, complete with a shower and a feast. You can see in these people’s eyes that they’d run over their own mothers for a chance at that. It’s noted in passing that Ian and Katie had earlier promised to take each other on rewards if possible.
The game begins, and they all answer question one correctly, meaning they all have to target someone. Gregg, Tom and Katie get one hit apiece, but three people go after Caryn – Ian says it’s because she “gets all the food” rewards – and just like that, Caryn is out of the game. And they wonder why she’s nervous.
The second question – which reveals that some island culture used stones as money, including a 10,000 pound stone, which I think is ludicrous, because how would you even move it to pay for anything? Who would even want a five-ton rock? – is harder. Only Tom gets it, and he hits Ian.
On question three, Ian and Jenn both hit Tom, and Tom’s out. Gregg hits Ian, and convinces Katie to do the same by promising not to hit her, even though Ian says he’d hate her if she did. Hmmm.
Question four asks about Palau’s location relative to the equator, which Jenn doesn’t know, which doesn’t surprise me. Gregg is torn – he can keep his promise to Katie, dunk Jenn, and keep his own alliances a secret. Or, he can ask Jenn’s permission, stab Katie in the back, and lay his loyalties out for all to see. Inexplicably, he chooses the latter. When he sits in Loser Lodge later contemplating where things went wrong, I’m thinking he could safely say this is that point – unless he’s later going to write in the sand, “Jenn is my island girlfriend and she and I and Katie are going to kick y’all’s behinds.” That’s the only thing that could make it more obvious.
Katie gets the next question wrong and is out of the game. Only Gregg and Jenn are left. Gregg wins reward and, surprising no one by now, decides to take Jenn with him. But hark! He can take *another* person! Instead of taking Ian, or Tom, both of which would be smart moves, he decides to throw Katie a bone (like she needs any more). She’s delighted at the chance to play chaperone to Palau’s lovebugs.
Gregg apologizes to Tom and Ian, saying he’ll pay them back. “Oh no, we’ll pay you back,” Tom replies threateningly. Gregg looks uncomfy.
The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Friend
Back at the beach, the losers get down to business. Ian isn’t stupid – he realizes that if Katie threw him over for a night on a yacht, she wouldn’t quail at doing so for a million bucks. Ian thinks he spots an inner alliance between Katie, Gregg and Jenn, and puts it to Tom and Caryn that the three of them should buddy up too, or they’re going to be picked off like flies.
Tom is surprised to learn that Lazy-Ass Katie is also “shady lady Katie.” Ian, however, assures him that it is so, and that Katie was gunning for Tom at some previous point. Tom is won over, and says they’ll go after Gregg tomorrow. But wait! That means a tie! Doom! You can see Tom’s mind working slowly over the ramifications of that.
Caryn, meanwhile, can barely control her glee. If these two big strong men aren’t targeting her, she’s happy as a clam. All she has to do, Caryn says, is stick close to Tom and Ian.
Did Gilligan and the Skipper Get Massages?
The lucky three yachters arrive at their reward to find their own bathing suits laid out on real beds. They rush through showers to get to a massage. “I felt like finally I was on a vacation in Palau,” Gregg sighs.
But wait, there’s more! During his massage, Gregg says he noticed a difference in the hands of his masseuse – they felt colder, and just different, and I’m starting to worry we’ve warped Quantum-Leap style into the beginnings of a porn movie. Especially when Gregg’s cold-handed masseuse smacks him on the ass. But ha – *sigh of relief* -- it is not “Cabana Boys Gone Wild” after all, it is just Gregg’s friend Greg. Yes. Gregg and Greg. Real original with the naming in their neck of the woods. Greg wanted to bring their other friend Grreg, but he couldn’t make it.
Turns out Gregg isn’t the only one with a human surprise from home. Jenn’s sister and Katie’s brother-in-law are there too. Hugs and screams all around. Katie says her sister just had a baby and couldn’t come, which is why her husband came instead. (aside: I still thought that was strange.).
Manly Men Pick Purple Rocks
Back at camp, the machinations continue. Tom says he had hoped to win the immunity, get Katie on the yacht, and firm up their game. (Sure. “Firm” up the game. Heh.) But as Katie is on the yacht, firming up her own game and Tom’s on a beach with the two skinniest people in the world, he’s going to have to agree to force a tie, and accept that whoever gets the purple rock will go home.
At this point, Ian gets all gung-ho. There’s no need to fear the purple rock, he says. They came to play the game! You don’t play the game by being afraid of a rock! Rawr! Tom buys it, saying desperate times call for desperate measures, and they both get to feel all noble. (I think they agreed, actually, to try to co-opt Katie when she gets back, to avoid the scary tie. Which is a bit like bravely leaping off a building, onto the sand five feet below you. But Katie is quicksand, so it’s more dangerous than it looks.)
Tom, Ian and Caryn agree that this is a delicate operation they’re going to carry out, this ambush. Tom warns Caryn to keep acting like she’s going home, with her hangdog look and her quietness. Caryn is all about that. “I’m a very good actress,” she claims.
What Price A Dolphin Swim?
The yachters are getting to swim with dolphins. Poor Ian. Later, they dine and talk strategy. “It’s us three to the final three,” Gregg says. He believes their bond is tight.
Katie notes that she’s the one in danger because she’s the one jumping alliances. But, she says, jumping was always her plan. I wish while she was in mid-jump, someone would yank the lilypad out from under her, but hopefully that time is coming.
The three agree that if for some reason they can’t take out Caryn this time, they’ll go after Tom. Yeah, right, like Caryn could win immunity if you spotted her a half-hour lead.
The three and their relatives finally return to camp, which tells the other tribemates that a family visit was part of this reward. The idea of his own loved ones being nearby, but unable to see him because he didn’t win, seems to not sit well with Tom.
Meanwhile, Gregg talks with Greg, and cries about something involving father issues. And Ian makes a promise I’m thinking he’s going to regret – he tells Katie’s brother-in-law that he’s watching out for Katie. Why would you promise that, knowing she already stabbed you in the back once? Sounds like Ian’s as naïve as he is tall.
Tom looks around at the happy campers and says this is the last love fest. “That little trip that they took may cost them big,” he intones.
A Shotgun -- Bang! What's up With That Thang? I Want to Know, How Does it Hang?
Now that everyone's eyeing everyone else with suspicion, it's time for the Immunity Challenge. Tree Mail warns the tribe that while the challenge will be something some of them have done, to others it will be new and fresh. From this I, and the tribe, assume it to be a mishmash of previous challenges, most of which half these people sat out. I guess if Willard were still here it would be all new to him.
The group arrives at the challenge and Jeff, after lifting the immunity necklace from Ian, helpfully explains how it will all work. First there's a rope maze sort of thingy, and the last person to finish it is out. Next they have to put a "sea star" -- which looks just like a regular star -- puzzle in order, then eat three balut, then untie a box and raise a flag, then shoot at plates with the gun. In each leg, the last person is out, so it's down to two by the time the shootin' starts.
Caryn's out first, then Katie, then -- surprisingly -- Gregg fails at the balut while Jenn makes it. Jenn loses at the box untieing, though, leaving Tom and Ian to shoot it out. Ian makes quick work of it and wins immunity.
Tom says the gun is his Achilles heel, and it's lucky he became a fireman and not a cop. Hahaha! *slaps knee* Oh, that's funny. Not.
Back at camp, a few whispered conversations confirm the plan is still in place -- Gregg is going dooowwwnnn. Tom and Ian are still willing to take it to the tie stone, if necessary, because they think it's better to play hard and lose than ... not play hard, I guess. Caryn presumably agrees, although she doesn't really get much of a voice in this at all.
Meanwhile, The Targeted One says he was nervous about being off on the yacht -- they might have plotted behind his back or something! -- but was comforted to come home and find everyone behaving like normal and no one sending him mysterious looks. Well, Gregg, that's a basic rule of the ambush; you don't want to give away your position. Did he expect Tom and Ian to scream and run into the jungle, crying "The jig is up!" when they saw him? As they have at least the capacity of a seven-year old to engage in some minor deception, he has not caught on and thinks Caryn's still going home.
Caryn has been mooning around camp like Marie Antoinette about to face the guillotine. Tom says she deserves an Academy Award.
And Jenn just feels so rejuvenated by the reward she didn't earn! Counting his chickens before they hatch, Gregg asks her whether the next vote should be Tom or Ian. Jenn graciously says majority rules. Yes, it does, sugarbunch. And majority might bite you in your rejuvenated ass.
There's only one little -- or not so little -- thing standing between Gregg and oblivion: Katie. Between the fickleness of the purple rock and that of Katie, Ian chooses the latter and decides to let Katie in on the plan. Wisely, he does so right before they leave for tribal council, effectively backing her into a corner.
Ian says he told Katie's brother in law he'd watch out for her, and he means it. Her reaction to the Gregg decision is a resounding, "Whaaattt?" as she watches her safety net collapse like a Rupert shelter in a rainstorm. Ian tells her unless she votes for Gregg, they're forcing a tie. But Katie has issues with this plan, not surprisingly. She says she was in a good place, and that she can't win against Ian. He tries to tell her it would be closer than she thinks -- like hell it would be -- but she says they just want her vote so they (presumably Tom and Ian) can win. Well, nothing gets by her, huh?
Surprise, Surprise, Surprise <---said in Gomer Pyle voice
The moment of truth has arrived -- or nearly so, after Jeff finishes asking probing questions and making profound pronouncements like, "We're down to the nitty gritty here for a million bucks."
Jeff says winning reward is two-sided -- you want to be rewarded, but you don't want people plotting while you're gone. Gregg says that's pretty much it.
Jeff also notes that the RC is designed to bring out the statuses within the tribe. He asks Caryn if she really thinks her quick demise in that game was due to her eating lots of food, or if it's really because she's a whiny slacker? <--last bit added by me, but you know he was thinking it.
Probing Probst also calls Jenn out, telling her it's obvious she and Gregg have some sort of relationship. She claims to be playing an individual game, and her double-lettered soul-mate agrees.
Caryn says she's always felt vulnerable because she
foolishly threw in with Coby and Janu wasn't in the original alliance.
And Tom says they're all friends, just looking to slit each other's throats. In a friendly way, of course.
After wading through that pap, it's finally time for the vote. And... *drum roll*... it's two for Caryn, four for Gregg. See ya, Greggy! Don't forget your extra G. Over on the jury, Coby covers his mouth in a fit of shocked and hysterical giggles. Jenn sits open-mouthed in surprise and -- if she's thinking ahead at all -- horror. "You guys are good," Gregg says, handing Jeff his torch. He later says he was completely surprised and wishes Jenn luck, saying he appreciates her "friendship" and looks forward to "hanging out" after the show. Practically a proposal there, Romeoo.
Next week: Katie and Ian have a falling-out, in which Katie says Ian lied to her and he offers to "step out," whatever that means. Hopefully it doesn't mean out of the game, as I doubt anyone wants to see Katie go further than Ian here. Maybe he meant it as in, "let's step outside and fight this out like men." They both practically qualify.
Plotting behind someone's back? Tell me at firstname.lastname@example.org