Survivor: Palau Episode Three

Dangerous Creatures and Horrible Setbacks

By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis

March 4, 2005

Maybe I can get a Survivor girlfriend on All Stars 2.

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And on the sixth night, there was remorse. Team Ulong has returned from Tribal Council, and what they have decided is that losing is less fun than winning. Promises are made in the dark, but not of the “I swear I love you, so show me your goodies” variety. Instead, Kim (no relation) resolves never to return to Tribal Council. We hate to break it to her, but that means she is promising not to make it to the merge. No, wait. That means she is promising to quit at some point before a Tribal Council even occurs. Not a big thinker, that Kim.

Pharmaceutical rep. Stephenie (does that mean she’s a pusher?) lays between separated lovers Kim and Jeff, acting as a buffer to them of both a physical and emotional variety. It was her, after all, who targeted Kim for elimination simply because she was crushing on the alpha male wannabe. A priceless moment occurs where Stephenie pretends like it’s other people who have made that connection when the reality is that she has done everything but carve a map of their relationship on the wood of the hut. That’s some master manipulation right there. Kim is so concerned by what is said that when Jeff moves in to kiss her later, she just lays there and never lets his lips touch hers. Nobody likes a saliva tease, Kim.

James, one of the manipulated, parrots Stephenie’s thesis. “Everybody sees what they’re doing. Right now, they’re cuddling. Next week, they’re gonna be making out. You know, sucking face and stuff. She’s a woman, and all she has to her advantage is her sexuality. Kim’s got to go. I’m keeping an eye on them. I got ears like a bat.” Somewhere out there, last year’s winner, Chris the He-Man Woman-Hater must be beaming with pride.

Note: we think James was saying ‘sexuality’, but as thick as his accent is, it came out like ‘sectional couch’. But unless there is a Trading Spaces challenge, we doubt that Kim’s tasteful home décor would be a significant advantage.

Koror’s day seven is suffering through an extended rain delay. This is problematic since the group decided to move from a beachhead which had strong shelter in order to live at a facility which currently lacks a roof. If only Kim had been selected by this tribe, she could have implemented a nicely shielded loft area while offsetting the lower floor’s claustrophobic conditions using a seafoam area rug and some frilly leaf drapes. Currently, Koror is not only dripping wet but also completely lacking in feng shui.

As is the case with all dominant tribes in the early going, Koror’s members are beginning to get on one another’s nerves. And member is a particularly appropriate word in the discussion of hairstylist Coby for twin reasons. One, he’s walking around in his underwear, giving the effect of speedo attire. And two, he’s a dick.

Coby is not the only Koror contestant feeling the pain. The tribe has an unusual number of strong personalities, creating constant tension for one and all. Katie is demonstrative of this. She points out to Caryn the proper way to add a log to a fire then states that some roof work needs to be done on their shelter. She punctuates the annoying nature of her character by saying, “It’s not going to be me.” Everybody works with a person like this. “Here is the problem and someone needs to fix it. I don’t have to be the one, though, because I was person who figured out what the problem was. I’ve done my part of the job.” People like Katie have made Scott Adams a millionaire through Dilbert.

Caryn is annoyed that someone is trying to trump her as queen bitch of the tribe. So, she attempts to privately take Katie to task. “I’ve just had enough. This is between you and me. I’m not making a scene in front of the tribe.” Caryn must have done some Shakespeare in the Park, because she adds a kind of dance interpretation to her remarks. The comment “Don’t throw a stick in the fire” is enhanced by a neck bobbing followed by a full body heave. The effect is best described as Ronald McDonald trying to do The Robot.

For her part, Katie is stunned to hear that she might be feuding with Caryn. Apparently, her abrasive, bossy behavior is not emblematic of any dislike for the woman. Instead, she’s simply like this all the time. Oh, that’s a relief.

You know who wins a fight between Katie and Caryn? Society.

Probst sighting! Tonight’s reward challenge seems like a missed opportunity for Life Savers product placement. Life rings (which look just like gigantic Life Savers) are released from beneath the water. When they float to the surface, the players are to swim out to the rings then return them to home base. The trick is that the players are allowed to do anything short of punching one another to prevent the return of the rings to the base. The reward strikes us as lousy. It’s a sewing kit, which Probst assures them will be useful for things other than getting Coby’s speedos covered up. Wait, if it gets Coby’s pants back on, we think this is the best reward challenge of all time.

Tom and Jeff face off first. Recognizing that Tom could swim laps around him (literally), Jeff determines his best strategy is to wait for Tom to retrieve the flotation device then attempt to steal it away. Tom counters this strategy by using the flotation ring for its original purpose. He puts it around his waist, thereby preventing Jeff from overpowering him for it. Jeff is momentarily befuddled, but then cleverly uses the ploy against Tom. He simply pulls the man and his flotation device toward the Ulong home base. Since Tom is trapped by the ring, he is unable to fight back, so he is forced to remove the flotation device. At this point, the two men begin a tug of war, which the younger opponent wins. Jeff touches home base and scores a point for his tribe. This is one of the better Spy vs. Spy moments in the show’s history. Both men demonstrate intuition, creativity, and brute strength during their tête-á-tête.

Battle two is Stephenie vs. Jen. Steph proves to be the stronger swimmer, so Jen is reduced to trying to steal the ring away. What Probst describes as a cat fight ensues with Jen trying to dunk her counterpart underwater only to have the idea turned back upon her. Stephenie proves once more that she is a force among the women, winning the tug of war and scoring a second point for Ulong.

Round three is a mixed tag team affair with Bobby Jon and Angie opposing Greg and Janu. Ulong only has to win one of the remaining three heats to earn the reward, but they go for the kill right off the bat. Bobby Jon swims out to get the flotation device while Angie hangs back. Janu plans to pearl harbor BJ once he gets to her, but that idea never comes to fruition. The Suicide Girl kamikazes the showgirl before Bobby Jon gets there. Then, she works as a downfield blocker against Greg while her man continues to work his way to the base. Both Greg and Janu are flat out stunned by how zealous Angela is in her bodily sacrifices for the team. If Randy Moss had ever blocked like this, he’d still be in Minnesota. BJ makes his way home, and Ulong wins the challenge. Janu looks shell-shocked as she is consoled by her teammates while Angela receives the MVP adulations of her peers for her dominant performance. She’s so great here that the only thing left to do is turn to the camera and say she’s going to Disneyland.

The mood is once again celebratory at Ulong after their reward challenge success. Various members determine how to use the various items in the kit to maximize efficiency. Ibrehem declares himself lacking in seamstress skills and goes off on his own. Bobby Jon figures out how to use some of the items to improve his fishing skills, so he heads off to test his strategy. The results are disappointing, but nowhere near as frustrating as the contestant feels when he returns to camp. Everyone else has decided to sunbathe and/or nap, leaving him to catch up on the needed tasks of the day such as coconut retrieval. He bitterly monologues that the others in camp have been letting him do more than his fair share thus far. Since Bobby Jon has shown quite the mean streak so far, we don’t think it’s smart for the other players to be getting on his bad side. He’s the Locke of the troop, and we don’t mean that in a good way. He looks capable of turning psychotic any minute.

Koror handles their feelings of impotence stemming from their recent shutout loss in a truly macho way. They go head hunting. Literally. They find a group of sea snakes, and proceed to lop off their heads. It’s like an Iron Chef episode with blood everywhere and bodies twitching on the ground. Allez cuisine! But that’s not enough! Apparently, none of these people have rented Open Water, as they next determine to eat shark steak for dinner. When they see the water’s most ferocious of predators swimming toward them, Tom and Ian grab some pointy sticks and try to snare Jaws. Judging from their lack of success, they're going to need a bigger boat. Err, pointy stick.

Personal trainer Jeff is having an even worse time of it than simply getting the Heisman from Kim. He steps on a coconut while attempting to make a call of nature. While this does not sound serious, it turns out that he injured the same ankle the previous year and the injury had never fully healed. It swells up like a mother’s pride during a school play. He hopes that the situation might improve by the morning, but his limp says otherwise. Just his luck, they get treemail announcing an immunity challenge. If they lose, his debilitating injury might be cause enough for elimination. Stating the obvious, Jeff needs a win at the challenge in the worst of ways.

The challenge is best described as a game to tag while doing laps and carrying dead weights. Each of the contestants is given a 20 pound backpack of sand. They are asked to go around in a circle around a path in the water until such a time as one tribe catches the other from behind (i.e. laps then tags them). When they are no longer able to compete, the players are required to hand their backpack off to someone who continues. Effectively, the strongest players wind up carrying a large amount of weight on their backs while the weaker ones beg off and watch from the sidelines. Ankled Jeff is forced to immediately give his weight to Bobby Jon while the 100% healthy Caryn fares little better for her tribe. Kim falls down while bickering about whether she can do the challenge, so Bobby Jon grabs her pack as well. From his perspective, he has been figuratively carrying her dead weight this long, so he might as well do it now for real. As the backpacks are redistributed, Tom winds up with 60 pounds while Ian and Greg carry 40 pounds each. The real man monster of pain is Bobby Jon, though. He carries a grueling 80 pounds of weight after James is forced to retire. Stephenie also once more proves what a badass she is, being the only woman to make it to the finish. In the end, Koror’s men prove too tough for the combination of the weighed-down Bobby Jon, the struggling Ibrehem and the overachieving Stephenie. Ian’s desperation dive allows him to catch Ibrehem from behind, winning the race for his team. Koror continues its immunity challenge streak, leaving Ulong to once again return to Tribal Council. Sorry, Kim.

The instant the group makes it back to camp, Jeff offers himself up for execution. Rather than pretend that his injury is not severe, he admits that the injury will probably linger for several weeks. As such, he feels it’s his duty to acknowledge he should be the one eliminated at Tribal Council. Something unexpected happens at this point. Stephenie, who had previously indicated she feared a coupling of Jeff and Kim, says that he should not be voted off. She indicates that his presence is a positive for camp. It makes us wonder if the real reason Stephenie wants Kim gone is because she has a bit of a crush on Jeff herself. No matter the cause, a negotiation ensues between the other members of camp about who is more useful, a wounded Jeff or a perfectly healthy Kim. It’s not going to help Kim’s self-esteem any to discover how much debate occurs on this point.

Tribal Council sees lively discussion ensue about what the difference was during the challenge loss. Ibrehem feels that Jeff’s health issue is what cost the team. This clearly warms the cockles of Jeff’s heart, but he has no time to enjoy it. Bobby Jon immediately refutes this assertion by arguing that the difference between winning and losing was Tom from Koror. It’s obvious that he has been targeted by both teams as the strongest physical threat, and Bobby Jon offers a hero worshipping amount of respect toward the fireman. Ibrehem continues to disagree, stating that Bobby Jon was better than Tom (which he was) and that a healthy Jeff meant victory.

After further pressing by Probst, the cracks begin to show beneath the surface. When Ibrehem is asked whether the laziness of unnamed contestants (hi Kim!) impacts his voting, he quickly answers yes. Kim freaks at the news of this, growing wildly insecure that Jeff will not be voted off despite his request. She defends her behavior by saying that weak by tribe standards does not equate to being weak by ordinary standards. That’s hardly a winning answer, Kim. “Sure, I’m lazy by your standards, but not by everyone in the world’s!” It doesn’t matter, though. The cardinal rule of Survivor is to never keep anyone around who has asked not to be there. For this reason, Jeff is (rightly) the latest person voted off the island. So much for the next Rob and Amber.



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