Episode Five: I've Been Bamboozled!
By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis
This week, we skip straight to the Reward Challenge. That’s right, no frills, no meaningless dialogue, no random flare-ups between Survivors. Danger, Will Robinson, danger!
The three tribes are each delivered the equipment to make flotation devices – well, rafts, technically, but if you saw them, you’d agree with us. The problem that a couple of tribes have is *ahem* girth. We don’t mean that in the good way, either, folks. In fact, Mogo Mogo’s chief decision in how best to proceed is to consider how fat Richard’s ass is. Once that is determined, they decide their best course of action is just to say, “Screw it, we’ve lost” and go with the first thing they can create that floats. It’s just a reward challenge after all, right?
Chapera has a similar realization, as they don’t call that guy “Big Tom” for nothing. Therefore, he will be sitting this one out. He celebrates by getting liquored up and hitting on Alicia. After he is finished sweet talking the wimmen, he gets in another pissing contest with the tribe’s other alpha male – Sue. This one is a bit more literal than usual as Sue, that dame of high society, actually christens their boat by urinating on it. As she marks her territory, Alicia looks on in revulsion, and so do we. It’s not like we’re huge fans of Cesternino or anything, but could he possibly be worse than this?
It would then follow that Saboga would have a solid advantage here. After all, they went ahead and built the boat a couple of weeks ago -- they just called it “shelter.” Will this be Rupert’s Folly 2? The Magic 8-Ball is saying “all signs point to ‘yes’.”
Probst sighting! And boy, is it ever a good one this time. Jeff gleefully informs the troops that it’s time for Burnett to start fucking with them again this year. The reward challenge this outing offers a twist that would impress Keyser Söze. The team in last place disbands, and the members will be divided between the two winning teams. We think Major League Baseball should adopt this policy, because the Yankees and the Red Sox just don’t have enough talent. And here we thought Burnett had gone soft when he’d given everyone fire.
Needless to say, any previously unmotivated Survivors now have flames lit under their asses. Losing now would destroy any advances made in the game so far with regards to tribal alliances. No matter the outcome, everybody’s position in this game is going to be changed.
The event is quite simple as the contestants just need to grab a couple of flags, rescue a couple of teammates, and return to Probstland. In a shocking development, Team Fatass Hatch gets off to a huge lead and easily secures victory. The more nautically sound vessels, on the other hand, creep along in one of the most agonizing races since the NL Central. Fittingly, on a night where Cubs fans celebrate the destruction of the Bartman ball, the tribe that most equates to them with regards to historical success, the lovable losers of Saboga, well, lose. Rupert should have gotten in touch with Barry Bond’s personal trainer beforehand. Right, Turk Wendell?
Before Saboga has even returned to shore, Colby is already plotting exactly where he can stick the knife in Ethan’s back. You see, as the first place finisher, Mogo Mogo gets first pick in this sandlot “Pick me! Pick me!” game. As a result, Chapera attains the services of the artist behind Rupert’s Folly and its equally entertaining sequel Rupert’s Folly 2. Mogo Mogo then grabs Jerri, and to our surprise, Colby does so literally, offering up a warm hug. Chapera is thereby stuck with the goofy kid nobody else wants, Jenna. You can tell from her displeasure that this is an all-too familiar reminiscence from her childhood.
R.I.P. Saboga. Your constant failures were a source of inspiration to us all.
When they get back to camp, Ethan and Jerri have the look of lottery winners. Ethan’s eyes light up like Las Vegas when he sees that what Mogo Mogo calls shelter actually qualifies as -- wait for it -- shelter. For her part, Jerri looks like she’s just been dumped by Mickey Rourke only to discover Hugh Jackman has been carrying a torch for her as she bluntly states that she doesn’t miss her former tribe. At. All.
Birds are also chirping at Chapera, where Jenna is making the savvy move of sucking up to Boston Rob and Amber right off the bat. We can’t help but be amused at how bad she is at this game. We had written off her first outing as being young and not understanding the possibilities. Hearing her describe her position of “power” and bemoan its elimination, we wonder what fantasy tribe she dreamed up in her head. Alternately, maybe she’s just bad at math and doesn’t realize that 2-2 does not equal a position of dominance.
Rupert has a look of a Clampett on his first day in Beverly Hills. The swing is his cement pond. You wouldn’t think that two pieces of rope and a flat board would be that impressive, but it’s the first genuine smile we’ve seen the big guy offer since Burton came back.
And on a side note, there’s good news for Tom, as Alicia has started drinking. If he just had three more bottles of that stuff, he might have a fighting chance!
While Jenna is busy reminding one tribe how slutty she is, Ethan determines that his best course of action is to use that shiny, new fishing spear for dinner acquisition. A humorous interplay ensues between him and the tribe’s other former Survivor winner, Richard Hatch. They kill each other with courtesy before Ethan is given permission to go hunt. When he returns with a small specimen, Tricky Dick scowls, then drops trou, grabs his spear (the other one, pervs!), and hits the river himself. He returns with two Hemingway-sized fish, thereby wiping the smug right off Ethan’s face. Cheer up, Ethan. At least he had his pants on at the end.
Woohoo! Inappropriate for younger viewers stuff coming up!
Continuing the season’s tradition of recycling past challenges with the difficulty ratcheted up, this Immunity Challenge is a game of Capture the Flag. The catch is that the Survivors must walk across narrow balance beams. In addition, there is a bottleneck in the middle. If competing Survivors meet at that point, they must engage in physical combat. The first person thrown off the platform to the water below must return to the beginning of the course sans flag.
As the contest begins, it’s readily apparent that some of the Survivors – particularly Rupert – have no balance. Conversely, Amber looks like she missed a fine career in Cirque du Soleil. We are disappointed to discover that what passes for impropriety with the CBS censors is Sue grabbing Richard’s wham-a-lam-a-ding-dong. It’s like an R-rating for violence instead of boobies.
The challenge turns into an “Everybody Pick on Ethan” game. You can actually hear the song in Mariano’s heart as he senses the opportunity to physically assault Ethan without being kicked from the game. We don’t know what it is between these two, but if they headlined Wrestlemania, we’d pay the $39.95. Ethan wins the battle, but Rob undeniably wins the war. He somehow manages to bash Ethan’s head against the side of the pool while also twisting his leg in an odd position. Terry Tate would be so proud. Before Ethan can fully recover, Big Tom picks another fight, again body slamming Ethan into the pool. Maybe it’s just in our heads, but we get the idea that the other Survivors genuinely dislike the soccer-playing hottie.
In the end, Chapera is completely dominant, meaning that for the first time ever, Mogo Mogo is going to have to vote someone off. Maybe that’ll put the pants back on Hatch for awhile.
We said at the start that previous champions would be the most vulnerable. For the second time, Ethan finds himself in the rather enviable position of having another champion he can try to get targeted first. It’s not just that nobody likes Richard Hatch, it’s that he’s a little too open and free. These contestants signed up for a media whoring competition, not a nudist colony. Somewhere along the way, though, the situation is edited to make it appear that it’s changed to someone other than Richard. Survivor Australia might have been several years ago, but Jerri is still harboring a grudge that Colby was more into the real maternal types than the hot mama types. Hell hath no fury like a model/actress/whatever scorned.
As she starts talking to the other women of the tribe, Jerri is able to deduce that tribe loyalties are not as strong as they might have been perceived to be. For all of his immunity challenge heroics, Colby doesn’t seem to have much fidelity among the estrogen crowd. There is unusual suspense entering Tribal Council as any one of three victims makes sense.
Survey says – it was a snow job! That’s right, not only did Ethan come out scott-free, but Colby only received Richard Hatch’s vote. As the pantless wonder stated upon exit, he was bamboozled. Survivor is now proudly nude-free.