Survivor: All-Stars
Episode Eleven: A Thoughtful Gesture or a Deceptive Plan?
By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis
April 16, 2004

She's three decades too late to audition for Charlie's Angels.

The new members of Chaboga Mogo are still feeling the ill effects of the Tribal Council monsoon, as a puddle the size of the Mediterranean Ocean has developed, washing away their fire. It’s almost as if Rupert had just built a fort there.

Catty Alicia is quick to point out that Kathy is off pouting. Stunningly, it seems Kathy is taking it personally that the good faith alliance she had with Amber has been broken and her days are numbered. For her part, Kathy is left to wax philosophical about the similarities between Rob and Angel/Angelus. She can confirm that Rob has a soul, but she isn’t completely clear on whether the new gig at Wolfram & Hart makes him evil.

Demonstrating just how in control Rob is, Kathy winds up apologizing to him on behalf of herself and the now-eliminated Lex, while Rob professes to the camera that his good friend Lex said some hurtful things. This is akin to OJ Simpson complaining that his glove got bloody. As Rob drives his white Ford Bronco away, he paints Tom as a potential co-conspirator with Kathy and Lex. The ever-paranoid Robfather has somehow interpreted Lex and Kathy’s comments that they wanted a final four of them + Rob + Tom to indicate that the big redneck might have sold the Boston bad boy out for Lex. Yes, this is the same Tom who just VOTED AGAINST LEX. Even the biggest potheads at a Grateful Dead concert aren’t this paranoid.

Unlike Eddie Rabbitt, our heroes do not love a rainy night. The adage, “When it rains, it pours” has never been quite as true as it is in the case of these Survivors. Jenna’s complaining. What a surprise. Do you know what game we’re certain Jenna’s never won? One, Two, Three, Quiet Mouse. At least Chatty Cathy dolls unwind after awhile. Won’t somebody please switch her setting off auto-bitch?

Tree Water Mail! As if to kick the Survivors while they’re down, tonight’s challenge combines reward and immunity. Before sending the group off on what Probst calls the most grueling challenge ever, the horses are all offered a small carrot as an incentive. Master manipulator Burnett has sensed that on the one hand, the Survivors are demoralized, and on the other, nobody likes them at this point. To remedy the situation, he seeks to humanize and redeem them a bit. Nobody with a family that loves them could be evil, right? Each of the remaining eight Survivors is shown a snippet of a video tape sent from home. The winner of the challenge will not only have exclusive immunity, but also will have the opportunity to view his or her entire tape. And with some hot chocolate as a refreshment!

Random thoughts from the videos:

1. We’re not surprised that Amber is the owner of three tiny dogs.

2. The only difference between Alicia and her mom appears to be roid rage.

3. Tom’s son is named Bucky Bo. Doesn’t that sound like a Dukes of Hazzard character?

4. Rob’s brother is even stranger than he is.

5. Shii Ann's cat and parents are so adorable that we feel slightly guilty for all the cheap shots we’ve thrown her way. That doesn't mean we're going to stop, of course.

6. Kathy’s situation is the very definition of “Like mother, like son.” All he cares about is the bling.

7. After a season and a half of hearing about them, we finally get our first look at Rupert’s wife and little girl, and she is absolutely worth the hype. The way she mimics Mommy’s blowing of a kiss is enough to make a person melt.

8. Leave it to Jenna to leave a tender moment alone. She gets her first view of her daughters in a month, and what does she notice most? Their lousy haircuts. We foresee a lot of therapy in these girls’ future.
The challenge is brutal and takes place in two parts. The first divides the tribe into two teams of four, with each team collaborating to complete an obstacle course. The winning team will receive a rain poncho for each person and letters from home. Once this leg is complete, the four winners will compete in a puzzle game for individual immunity for one winner.

One team has Boston Rob on it, and the other does not. For those of you who suck at math, that means that the team with Rob is the winner, giving him, Amber, Alicia and Shii Ann the reward of rain ponchos. The round of four is such a no-brainer that Las Vegas stops taking odds on it. Suffice it to say that Rob wins in an effortless walk.

The Robfather, sensing that there is enough tension in the tribe that he could benefit from some goodwill, offers up a trade to Probst. He says that he will forego watching his video if all of his teammates are given their letters. Probst agrees, and it’s happy endings for all.

We’re back on the beach, where Shii Ann is lauding the enormous generosity and integrity of Mariano. We realize that she really reminds us of the Heather Graham character in Bowfinger. Power is the only aphrodisiac that gets her motor going.

What follows is a segment that shows all of the various Survivors reading their letters from home. There’s nothing surprising or revelatory here other than the fact that Rob actually gets fairly emotional. This fleeting moment of humanity passes quickly, though, as he remembers how much he likes currency.

It’s time to play “It’s Anyone But Kathy!” Of course, we can’t stand Kathy, so we hate this game, and the next six minutes are an insult to the intelligence of anyone watching the show. “Suspense” is built by making it seem as though Big Tom and Alicia might consider switching alliances. The odds of this happening are roughly the same as Rob losing the earlier immunity challenge. We twiddle our thumbs until Tribal Council begins.

The major noteworthy thing that happens when the show gets underway is that first jury member Lex comes out with a mohawk, thereby demonstrating the type of wisdom that got him voted off last week. Our favorite moment is when Probst says, “This has been an odd Survivor.” Replace “odd” with “terrible” and we’re right there with him.

Hey, guess what? Kathy got voted off. What a shock. Think the sun will also rise in the east and set in the west tomorrow (ignore if you’re in the eastern hemisphere).