Survivor Guatemala Recap
Secrets and Lies and an Idol Surprise
By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis
November 11, 2005


Previously on Survivor, Jamie put on a solo show of Men Behaving Badly. He was whiny, abrasive and combative, particularly toward Bobby Jon. His punishment was a tense vote at Tribal Council and a stern rebuke from Scout Leader Judd.

Night 21 at Xhakúm finds Jamie drooling the drool of regret into the pillow of remorse. He sits by the campfire and laments the injury done to his character. He tries to rally his allies to his side, but they treat him about as well as Californians treated the Governator on election night. Realizing he's the least popular person at camp (in a game where popularity matters, no less), Jamie experiences extreme regret over his churlish actions. Surprisingly, Bobby Jon is conciliatory and the two shake hands, giving the entire world hope for peace in the Middle East.

The next morning, breakfast comes and with it are the season's normal refrains. The group is hungry and the former members of Yaxha are screwed. Judd passes on another meal of corn and corn by-products, while Gary and Danni discuss survival strategy. The point driven home here is that while the tribe might be called Xhakúm, it's the six members of Nakum who hold all the power. Gary Hogeboom is so stress out about the situation that he revels in his football glory days, remembering the one game he came from behind to beat Detroit. He takes credit for it, but everybody knows that it was the awesome power of Tom Landry's hat. Rather than give Gary time to go back to his very most favorite football game of junior high, we cut to an reward challenge.

It's sort of difficult to describe the challenge, which is something like a spear-throwing contest, except you have to stick your spear into some sort of contraption and heave it. Each contestant will have only one chance to stick it. All of the Survivors will be given a "dinner" of some sort, with the winner receiving steak and lobster, and each subsequent meal declining in quality according to the order of finish (until eventually people are stuck at KFC). Judd's first out of the gate and first in our hearts (yeah, right), making a throw that proves impossible to beat. He is starting to remind us of Colby in the way he's starting to stand head and shoulders above the others in these challenges. Perhaps they should have chosen a real football player instead of the 15 years retired Gary Hogeboom. He probably wouldn't have been able to throw for 300 yards in that Detroit game if Judd had been on the other team.

Jamie is the last one to compete, and finishes in fourth place. He does something unexpectedly classy, saying that he will take the last place spot and allow everyone else move up one spot because of the awful way he acted the previous day. We say that his actions are classy, but given that he had a big meal while badmouthing the Yaxha members the day before, it's really not much more than a draw.

The meals are revealed, and the whole thing turns into a mini-episode of The Sopranos. Tony (aka Judd) gets the table of honor, while his lieutenants are awarded meals based on their performance. Christopher (aka Jamie) gets the worst meal and has to pay for it all, to boot. This is exactly what got a waiter killed last season.

Here are the meal results:

Judd gets steak, lobster and an open bar. That's right. We said an open bar. We're moving our AAA (Angry Alcoholic Alert) up to Defcon 3.

Cindy is given a giant plate of chicken and veggies.

It's spaghetti and meatballs for Danni, which should keep her alive for another 48 hours or so, but we're really worried about this girl.

Stephenie gets a burger and a beer, which Probst gleefully points out could have been Jamie's. The lout's empty reply is that nothing could possibly taste as good as his self respect. Mmm...self respect. We hope it tastes like purple.

Football legend Gary Hogeboom is rewarded with a single slice of pizza, while Rafe will be dining on a ham and cheese sandwich. Bobby Jon will feast on a semi-loaded baked potato. Fishmonger Lydia guessed it, a fish. This reduces her to tears for reasons we don't quite understand. Finally, in addition to his delicious self respect, Jamie is given ramon nuts and dirty water from their lake. Good news, though! It's been boiled!

At this point, it would seem as though the Godfather might give his loyal subordinate Jamie a reward for his unexpected display of decency. Probst informs Judd that he can invite his two favorite underlings to his table to share in the spoils of victory, including the open bar and the dessert menu. We're hoping he'll chose Johnny Tightlips and Jimmy the Squealer, but he instead selects Bobby Jon(!) and Stephenie. Now it's exactly like the Sopranos episode where Christopher killed the waiter. Jamie glowers while his nemesis, Bobby Jon (who in this case must be the Paulie), feasts. He's not the only one, though. Gary Hogeboom is disgusted by the proceedings, and resents being reduced to the Fredo in this scenario (yes, we know he's not on The Sopranos). He's particularly annoyed at being forced to observe his alpha male counterpart drink and smoke cigars, while all he has is a single crappy slice of Guatemala's answer to Dominos.

Back at camp, Judd's so soused that we're a little worried for him to get too close to the campfire lest he fall in face first a la Mike whatshisname from season whatever. At least he gives the Survivor producers a chance to break out their bloopers music. Dick Clark would be proud. The next morning consists of a hangover, some vomit in the shelter (courtesy of Judd) and oh yeah, a little deceit on the side. In addition to winning the best meal at the reward challenge, Judd also got a clue as to the whereabouts of the secret special immunity idol. Since he is apparently nothing more an old biddy, he feels compelled to share this information with someone as quickly as possible. That someone is Stephenie.

At this point, we really must comment on the disturbing relationship that is burgeoning between fat, balding, angry alcoholic Judd and Survivor's most popular loser, Stephenie. He has obviously noticed that she is flat-out hot and way out of his league, which makes more than happy to accept any attention she is willing to give him. Meanwhile, Stephenie sees Judd as a winner, which is the equivalent of catnip for her. Suffice it to say that the whole thing creeps us out to a degree that we haven't seen since, well, Dudley Moore was still among the living.

After letting Stephenie read the clue with him, Judd goes to the other contestants and tells them that it says something completely opposite from what is written on the paper. Put simply, he says that the clue indicates that the idol is on the ground somewhere, but it's not. If any of these people are actually stupid enough to trust Judd on this point, they deserve whatever they get.

A weird segment occurs wherein Gary "Judas Iscariot" Hogeboom informs Jamie that he will vote whichever way the remaining Nakums are intending to go. At this point, Jamie goes to directly to his allies and tells them the exact opposite of this conversation. Stephenie's bullshit detector explodes, and she goes off into a short rant about how much she hates Jamie. For some reason, Jamie has decided that lying on Gary Hogeboom will somehow give him an advantage because people apparently "go crazy" in the jungle. Jamie's already beaten them to the punch.

The Immunity Challenge is Walking the Tightrope. Three different segments involving various forms of balance comprise the race. This instantly eliminates Judd before the competition even begins. It's probably for the best, as someone with Judd's –ahem- girth would probably just cause the tightrope to sink into the water below. In the end, Jamie messes up everything by winning, meaning that the producers are really going to have to scramble to make it look like anyone other than a member of Nakum is going home tonight. In reality, no one other than Danni, Bobby Jon or Gary Hogeboom needs to be packing their bags tonight.

Heading into the segment before Tribal Council, the producers are faced with a daunting task. Anyone watching the show has deduced that tonight's evictee will be one of Gary Hogeboom, Danni or Bobby Jon. As soon as the indication is made that Gary Hogeboom will be the night's victim, we know how this is going to play out, and painting it otherwise is an exercise in futility.

But wait.

While Gary Hogeboom is out and about, searching for the Immunity Idol, he notices that Judd is wandering around, looking for the idol as well. The thing is, he's looking up. Gary Hogeboom notices immediately. Is it possible that Gary Hogeboom could extend his stay another few days due to Judd's stupidity?

At Tribal Council, when Probst asks anyone if they have found the Immunity Idol. Gary Hogeboom waits to see what happens next. Sure enough, Judd looks expectantly at Gary Hogeboom to make sure "the plan" is safe. If they were playing poker right now, Gary Hogeboom would own all of Judd's chips. This second "tell" gives the former NFL quarterback all the information he needs. He proudly presents the idol to Probst, and he couldn't be happier if it was a Superbowl trophy (not that it would ever have been a Superbowl trophy). This spells doom for Bobby Jon, as the fallback plan is to eliminate the second-most threatening alpha male from the minority tribe. We don't know how much further Gary Hogeboom will advance in the game, but we are extraordinarily impressed with his cerebral game play tonight.