Survivor Guatemala Recap

Episode Four: To Betray or Not to Betray

By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis

October 7, 2005

It's not easy being a cute girl this year.

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Previously on Survivor, Steph was on an extremely sucky team that lost a lot. No, this isn't a repeat of last season. You can tell this is the case because Bobby Jon is on a team that won a couple of challenges. Needless to say, everyone's favorite female Survivor is getting sick of losing and her dark side is starting to emerge a bit.

The theme for Day Nine at Nakum is "hot enough for ya"? Apparently, the South American jungle is not a great place to sunbathe without sunscreen. God forgot to give air conditioning to the great outdoors, and that pesky heat stroke is affecting everything from their layers of clothing to Cindy's math skills. She seems to think that the weather is increasing by a couple of digits each day, using an example that is was 104 degrees yesterday and 114 degrees today. At this rate, South America will turn supernova and become its own sun in another 17 days. On the plus side, that means Stephenie only needs to deal with losing for another two weeks or so.

Brandon and Judd express other concerns. They're focused on the bug bites that are slowly consuming their bodies. Unlike Yaxha's Rafe, they don't see these little guys as protein. In fact, the food chain is exactly reversed for them as they are the protein. Editing shows that pretty much everyone at Nakum is simply eaten alive, with some of the bite marks looking particularly painful. The only way for Brandon to hang on is to lay around and do nothing. The only way he can justify this to himself is to say that Yaxha must be doing the same thing.

Naturally, this means that it's time for a little cruelty in editing. Yaxha is hard at work and almost chipper about it. You expect a Disney musical number to break out any second, as Gary Hogeboom and his little friends are practically whistling as they forge along. Even so, things are not all hunky-dory. The producers decide that it's time to indicate that the contestants at Camp Yaxha might be imperiled, and the situation looks a lot like Anaconda. Well, actually, it looks like Lake Placid, but no one outside of Betty White's family knows what that is. There's a very large crocodile lurking in the waters where the Yaxha members do their fishing, and he seems hungry. We're teased with BOP's favorite theme of Animals Eating People as Jamie jumps when he feels a nibble at his feet. Fortunately for him, it's the SS Minnow. Oh, well, maybe next time.

It's Probst time! Rather than continue to beat the daylights out of the contestants with grueling physical challenges, the idea is to wage emotional warfare today. Events start out innocently, as the tribes are asked to vote for the players on their team most in need of a cheeseburger. Well, okay, it's not a cheeseburger, but when Danni and Jamie are chosen, they do get a shiny green apple. In order to better bait the trap, another award is given. The players are asked which of their tribe mates most needs a bath. Anybody who saw Bobby Jon last season knows he stinks, and anyone who watched Gary Hogeboom play for the Cowboys is aware of the same. So to the delight of their teammates, these gentlemen are given hot showers. The third part of the questionnaire seeks to reward the hardest working man and woman on each tribe. Margaret and Judd from Nakum and Yaxha's Gary and Amy are selected, and are sent off for a picnic with chicken and giant chocolate chip cookies. It's a nice moment as this foursome heads off.

While they're gone, however, all hell breaks loose. Probst asks which remaining tribe members have the most team pride. The Spirit Stick is not going to be awarded to them, though. For you see, everyone who is not Cindy or Brian has now switched tribes. A shocked silence strikes them all, with Rafe nearly in tears. Since the tribes are uneven, a drawing is made for one of the former five Nakums to stay with that tribe. Brooke wins this award.

For those of you scoring at home, that means that the new Yaxha tribe is Gary Hogeboom, Amy, Brian, Bobby Jon, Blake, Brandon, and Danni. Nakum is now comprised of Steph, Rafe, Jamie, Lydia, Cindy and Brooke, Margaret and Judd. At least, we think this is how it has added up. We honestly hadn't even figured out who all these people are yet, so it's just cruel to reboot this early.

As we come back from the commercial, we cut to the unsuspecting picnickers. Pleasantries are exchanged and acquaintances are made, and poor Gary Hogeboom has no idea that football stalker Danni awaits him as a new tribemate, meaning that he is soon to be outed. Or wait. Maybe he doesn't even have to wait that long, as Margaret asks him straight up if he was an ex-football player. He once again denies this allegation with an "I wish I was," putting him precariously close to "I did not have sex with that woman" territory. This gives his teammate Amy the opportunity to say that if he does happen to be a retired multi-millionaire, she'll "freaking kill him"

Moving on to the new Yaxha camp, Brian immediately recognizes the tricky nature of his plight, as he summarizes that the former Nakum's have four members to his group's three. Right on cue, Gary and Amy show up to discover that they are now in the minority. Amy puts it best. "Get the &!*#@ out of here! What the &!*#@ is going on?!"

Now that the whole group is together and before Gary can get his thoughts collected and recover his calm, he is once again pressed on his former life as a football player. This time, he chokes. When Danni says, "I thought you played at Central Michigan," Gary tersely responds, "I went to Central Michigan but I didn't play there." Gary, Gary, Gary. For all they know, you didn't even go to college. Why in the world would you say you went to the very college she mentions when you're claiming to not be "that guy". There are thousands of universities all over North America. You could have at least picked Bethune Cookman or something.

Over at the new Nakum, Magaret and Judd have a similar out of body experience, but at least neither one of them ever played in the NFL. They also have the good news that their numbers are of even strength with the other potential alliance rather than having to face a power play. Either way, Jamie sure is sucking down the alcohol. From there, we see the new tribe mates trying to sort out their various places. Judd feels like he is the new king of the jungle, and he almost immediately sells out his former teammates for people who seem cooler. He makes an alliance with Jamie and Steph, which should have significant impact in both the short and long term if it stands.

The strangest Survivor strategy comes when Blake and Bobby Jon cross the streams out in the forest. While adhering to nature's call, the pair affirms their intention to pick off the outnumbered trio of Brian, Gary and Amy. Blake smugly states to the camera that the order will be Amy, then Brian, then Gary. Blake, have you never watched Survivor before?

The camera cuts to Amy, who refuses a wrap for her ankle when Gary asks about it. She makes a note of the fact that she is very deliberately walking without a limp, as she wants her teammates to know that she can continue to be a hard worker and a valued member of the tribe. Too bad they've already selected her as the sacrificial lamb,

It's time for more Probst, as we have now hit the moment in the show where we Immunity Challenge. Imagine if Vikings had water Olympics involving bag retrieval. The contestants are asked to row out to a series of buoys and pick up a bag of projectiles. The goal is to return them to the island faster, meaning that it's as important to slow down the opposition as it is to acquire the booty. Nakum figures this out first, as they strong-arm (strong-paddle?) Yaxha off the course. This allows them to take a significant lead and forces Yaxha to circle around. As they hit shore, the gap between the teams is large.

Once they're on the beach, they must take the paddles from their bag and aim them at three targets, with the first team to break all of them emerging victorious. Steph uses the lead to break a tile before Yaxha even gets started. However, Judd proves utterly inept once his turn comes up and even worse, refuses to switch out so that someone with better aim might step in. The consequence is that Nakum is able to break their second tile while he struggles, but he eventually ties it up at 2-2. It's down to Jamie versus Brandon. Brandon partially breaks his, but it isn't over. Both men have near misses before Brandon finishes off the tile. The new Yaxha comes from behind to win immunity, and Steph is again a loser. At some point we just need to recognize that she is simply bad luck on challenges.

Back at the new Nakum, it's time to play It's Anyone But, oh, never mind. We don't even know who's on this tribe right now. We wouldn't be surprised to see Probst get voted off. Steph and Rafe see it as evenly divisible down former tribe lines, with one player (Judd) needed to flip and vote for Brooke. Margaret, Brooke and Cindy are a bit more naïve about the process. They still see it as voting off the weakest person, who they believe is Lydia.

Judd is caught in the middle here, because he knows that if he goes with Steph now, he will be vulnerable in a few votes when it's four former Yaxha plus him. Give him credit for deducing the long-term sensitivity of such a decision. He is in a position where his vote will go a long way in determining who is eliminated tonight, with the corollary being that he is deciding who will be in power at camp for the near future. You can understand his reticence to make a commitment either way. Unfortunately for him, there doesn't seem to be a way to play both sides against each other. This vote is going to be fascinating.

At Tribal Council, Jeff Probst has also noticed that Steph is an albatross around the neck when it comes to the challenges. He pointedly notes that she is 4-17 in her Survivor career. Her reply is that she would like to think she's not bad luck, but she's certainly having a hard time refuting it. She's the most hapless island resident since the passengers of Oceanic Flight 815.

The only other noteworthy moment from Tribal Council is when Margaret indicates that Judd was huddling with the enemy at one point. When Probst asks him if he was plotting with his new friends, Judd's denial of the conspiracy is transparently duplicitous. He attempts to make the discussion sound innocent, but everything about his body language indicates that he is sleeping with the enemy. Eight votes later, Lydia has somehow survived another day. Brooke is less fortunate, receiving five votes and a plane ticket home. Probst again pulls no punches with this final comment. "Tribal lines and personal loyalties are going to shift throughout this game. Just remember, every time you shift, you make it harder to trust."



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