Episode Four: Gender Bender
By Dan Krovich
Sook Jai returns to camp late at night after their first trip to tribal council, where they voted out Jed. As they discuss the voting, Robb relates his surprise in the tribe's decision. He also seems to be surprised that it's dark out at nighttime. There are also comments about never wanting to go through that again, but I suggest they check their rulebooks, because I think that's a fairly regular occurrence in this game. Then Penny, the new girl, spells out the reasons Jed was voted out (he was too bossy) and that she is happy with the decision. No one seemed too worried, but personally I don't think it's fair that they let Penny join the show after the third episode. Stephanie, meanwhile, seems to be sticking to her strategy of aggressively isolating herself from the rest of the tribe, going so far as to sleep out in the rain rather than join them in the shelter. A unique strategy in a game that revolves around voting. She is at least gathering food by picking up some squid that has washed up on the beach, making it as well-hidden as Stephanie's contempt for her tribe-mates.
Strange things are afoot at Chuay Gahn, as they are still feeling the effects of Ghandia and Ted's excellent adventure. Oh yes, that's all that this tribe can talk about now, and the "one big happy family" is now split along gender lines. Ted and Ghandia are now ignoring each other, and Ghandia compares herself to an arm that is bitten off by a shark. Now that's what this show needs; more shark attacks.
The tree mail comes with a new guest: A life-size dummy that will come into play in the reward challenge. The two tribes decorate their dummies. Chuay Gahn makes a female dummy, named Chuay Gal, which Ted proceeds to grind with. Sook Jai decides to make their dummy more fierce, so they consider various names, including Genghis, after that great warrior from Afghanistan (They said it; not me). The challenge is a race around the island carrying the dummy. Dullest. Challenge. Ever. The younger, stronger Sook Jai tribe leads from start to finish, and it's never in doubt. The prize is a supply of bananas and a mystery prize.
Sook Jai learns that the mystery prize is four live chickens. Robb seems to particularly enjoy these chickens because there is finally someone in the tribe on his intellectual level. The mood at Chuay Gahn just gets grumpier and grumpier. Yes, they have no bananas, and the men place the blame squarely on Ghandia and Jan. The division of labor is pretty simple: The men fish, which apparently means to stand two feet away from fish flopping around on the beach and lounging around in the water. Brian then goes on to explain his thoughts on gender, which basically boil down to "a woman's place is in the kitchen." Brian apparently learned all he knows about women from his role in the Virgins of Sherwood Forest. Helen notices the situation, too, but she truly displays her knowledge of how to deal with men to get them to do what you want; "Sometimes you got to swallow."
The all-important immunity challenge is a puzzle, so at least Sook Jai doesn't have an obvious advantage here. The tribes have to complete two puzzles, and the first tribe done wins. I take back what I said before. This is the dullest challenge ever. Amazingly, it's Robb who seems to make the breakthrough on how to solve the second puzzle, and I think that maybe I have misjudged him. I bet if you spilled a bunch of matches on the floor, he could tell you how many there were, too.
With the vote coming up, the gender issues continue to dominate Chuay Gahn, so it's looking like it will split along gender lines, and be a tie between Clay and Ghandia. As they discuss strategy, we get some clues into the tiebreaker rules, which are, at least to the contestants' knowledge, the same as last season, which could ultimately result in the person being evicted determined by random. Helen is apparently wavering a bit in sticking with the women. Ultimately, she decides to vote off Ghandia instead of risking the tiebreaker, so Ghandia is eliminated. Clay survives the vote, but he doesn't escape the wrath of Jeff Probst as Jeff gives Clay a spanking because of his use of silly nicknames in the voting. The good news is that the scenes from next week do intimate the possibility of a real shark attack this time.