Survivor Vanuatu: Episode Eight
By Reagen Sulewski
November 5, 2004

In the future, maybe I'll try to play nicer with others.

David and Kim are at a screening, so it falls to me to recap this episode of Survivor. It's something of an open secret that this has been one of the least memorable seasons to date, but there's still the endgame to hopefully pick things up. What we really need is a good villain to emerge.

Milking the volcano imagery for about the 1000th time, the Lopevi tribe returns to camp after having voted out John. The sex appeal weapon makes an early appearance in the episode as Julie, feeling vulnerable, sizes up the men at the camp and makes the best choice of a bad lot in snuggling up to Sarge around the fire. I'm sure the fact that he's the oldest of the men there had nothing to do with her choice, either.

Next morning, guy talk devolves into the male chorus in You're the One That I Want from Grease, though Sarge didn't really get very far. Desperate not to blow the attention that he's suddenly receiving, he decides his next move should be to... take off his pants. I'm not sure this maneuver has ever worked in the history of the world, but right here you have a nice glimpse into the male psyche. Twila and Julie do well not to run screaming from the bright white moon and reciprocate. It's a proud cultural moment, and a full-on Heidi Stratagem. Sarge is cool with it, cause, you know, he's been to Europe, and apparently no one wears clothes there. Chris and Chad, following the wingman code, try to rescue Sarge's dignity by throwing rocks at him. It's what any good friend would do.

Rory's a powderkeg of rage at Yasur, and he's not going to take it anymore. Just short of being the guy who's shaking his fist at the birds, Rory rips into every member of his tribe for being lazy and/or female. Hey, this is the price you pay for being the 'stud' of the camp.

It's reward challenge time! The challenge apparently is sponsored by Hooters, and involves tossing buckets of water down the line of tribe members, resulting in a lot of comically wet fronts. The Probst offers up milk, cookies and chocolate cake to the winning tribe, spoiling everyone's Atkins diets. All that refined sugar after 19 days isn't going to play nicely with their systems.

After a few rounds of plain awful tossing, Rory gets the idea to use his clothing to catch water and wring it out into the bucket. Inertia is not their friend, however, and Lopevi's greater co-ordination wins out. I hope they threw in some Pepto-Bismol with the dessert.

Talk back at Lopevi, besides Sarge's aching gut, is of Scout's sooper sekret strategy of the women's alliance, after practically leaping with joy that Twila was not voted out. For her part, Twila silently curses her, though with a 6-4 advantage, if the women wanted to exploit that, there's little the men could do to prevent it.

Chris and Chad have a sit-down at this turn of events and after inadvertently making fun of his missing leg, Chris promises to take Chad to the final two. This of course virtually guarantees that one will backstab the other at some point in the rest of the game. My money is on Chris, considering he immediately confesses to the camera that he's made similar ass-covering agreements with Sarge and Julie. Three dates, and what's a boy to do? Somewhere, Rob Cesternino is smiling.

At the immunity challenge, Yasur presents the immunity idol back, broken. Rory let the spirit stick touch the ground, and I think we can write him off as a champion after jinxing himself. No matter, as it's merge time. The Lopevi beach is chosen as their new home, and it's probably a smart move going to the non-lazy camp.

The challenge involves swimming rather than the usual boring, cramp-inducing endurance challenges, and thank Jeebus for that. Sarge wins his heat handily, with Eliza's... buoyancy helping her to advance as the second finisher, surprisingly outmatching Chris. Rory attempts to prove a point by busting ass to beat Queen Ami to the line, even though both advance easily. Sarge wins the first immunity going away in the final, finishing it off with a cry of "Go Army!", though it's more like, "Go Y Chromosome!".

The traditional feast of the merging tribes follows, which is just never stultifying, ever. Sarge demonstrates he's down with the kids, proclaiming the party is "off the chain". Oh, so close. Scheming starts immediately after with Chad and Rory shocked, shocked I tells ya, that the superior numbers of the women might be a problem for them.

Arts & Crafts day produces a truly excellent flag, with the new tribe named Alinta, but it might as well be the Desperate Housewives tribe as far as Ami is concerned. Then a hilarious bit of symbolism as Ami crushes a coconut on a stick, sending a collective chill up the four men's spines, and all the men in the audience as well.

The fight is Rory vs. Ami, with the men trying to break up Ami's harem. She practically holds court with her doting subjects as the men attempt to pull Twila and/or Julie away from the women's alliance. Alas alack, It's Anyone but Rory rules are in effect.

At the counting of the votes, it's the Probst Rollercoaster, as all four men's votes for Ami are read out first, allowing Rory the cruel illusion of hope. His smirk is soon wiped off his face as six unanswered votes for Rory are next, knocking him out in one of the least surprising revelations of all time. The three remaining men just got handed their asses.