Survivor: Thailand

Episode Six: The Power of One

By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower

His eminence, the banana swallowing machine.

This week's episode begins at the Sook Jai camp, with a level of paranoia usually reserved for potheads and Art Bell listeners. Angry young bartender Robb does a mean Lex impersonation when he discovers a couple of his tribe-mates almost voted for him. The difference between the two tattooed freaks is that Lex had actually received a vote when he snapped. Robb, who apparently didn't read his Survivor Rulebook before being stuck in the middle of nowhere, goes OJ over the fact that people were even considering voting for him.

First he confronts Penny, America's favorite drugstore clerk...excuse me, pharmaceutical salesperson, about her intentions. When Penny indicates his behavior is even more erratic than normal (which is really saying something), the Tommy Lee look-a-like storms off to confront Ken. We assume the thought process revolves around the fact that Ken is a professional narc. The New York City cop manages to look incredulous, an impressive feat for a human being who makes vanilla seem spicy. He proceeds to slowly explain to Robb (using very small words and the occasional stick-figure drawing) that Robb is out of his mind and needs to get back on the stronger medicinal herbs in his backpack ASAP.

Robb, never one to let logic stand in the way of a good rant, starts dredging up events from the first week on the island to support his insane theory that Ken is ready to et tu his brute. The law-enforcement official politely states that he had said he was going to vote for Steph, that he actually had voted for Steph, and that Robb has "some set of balls", (kinky) thus making them Survivor Thailand's first love connection (assuming you're as gullible as Ghandia's husband). Here's to sexy biting, fellas.

We cut over to the Chuay Gahn tribe, where Jan continues to dress as though she is 17 rather than 70. The most wrinkled woman this side of the Evil Dead trilogy continues to bemoan the loss of the boat and fishing net. Somewhere off in the distance, Tom Hanks is laughing at the incompetent boobs. Ted, whose plastic surgeon did some magical things with saline, and Clay, who does a mean Ernest T. Bass impersonation, resume floating in the water for an extended period on the off chance the abandoned skiff might suddenly decide to join them. Amazingly, this strategy fails.

Returning to the embattled Sook Jai camp, we see Robb again winning friends and influencing people through his Donkey Kong impression. The compulsion of his oral fetish draws the ire of Shii Ann as the David and Maddie show continues to develop. The less we say about this discussion, the better, but we're pretty sure Guinness is going to list it as the most times the word "banana" has ever been uttered in a single conversation.

So basically, 15 minutes of nothing.

The reward challenge mercifully begins. This turns out to be one of the better games in recent memory and a particularly close match-up to boot. A feast is promised to the winners, and both tribes show unusual drive to win. The contest involves a six-foot tall slingshot, some sort of Thai whiffleball, and a reverse lampshade on a stick. The players need to catch five balls while preventing the opposing team from catching their share. 'Roid Rage Robb is a man among boys in the competition (though that's not too tough, what with Clay using his "fall on the ground" strategy and Brian daydreaming about his next role with costar Shannon Tweed). He scores the first four goals for his team, giving them a 4-1 lead. In the process, Helen and Ted engage in a shouting match over his inability to remember his own instructions.

At this point, Chuay Gahn calls time out, and the five of them are able to piece together the fact that perhaps one of them should defend Robb. Ted and his man breasts are up to the challenge, as he starts boob-slapping the alpha male. Even Erin is impressed by his prowess. All of a sudden, the score is tied at four apiece, and both sides fail on an opportunity to convert the winning goal. Sook Jai takes their time out so that they can yell at each other, with field sergeant Penny taking charge and finally coming up with the winning strategy. Ken makes the final catch, and the buffet is theirs.

We cut back to Chuay Gahn, once again rationalizing away the fact that they don't care whether they win. Frankly, they're old. And tired. Even the Cincinnati Bengals think these guys need better conditioning. They go back to bitching about picking delicious seafood from beneath the rocks as Survivor 2 Tina, still tasting the wet rice during the monsoon, curses their very existence.

We cut back to the ungrateful brat tribe as they shock the television audience by bonding some. Even Robb receives compliments as we wait for them to start mentioning how they'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. In the background, some Thai people are...I don't know, dancing and singing and putting on a once-in-a-lifetime show or something, but Ken and Co. can't be bothered to turn their necks 30 degrees to the right in order to appreciate the festivities. Maybe if it had been a Vines concert.

After the commercial break, we return to find Algonquin Round Table members Brian, Clay and Ted sussing out the fact that a merger might be happening in the next three days (way to compute that there are currently 11 people, guys). At this point, Ted and Brian reveal their bond to one another. Combining this with the earlier balls comment and banana swallowing, tonight's episode is officially the most homoerotic ever. We also find out that poor Clay is always a bridesmaid, as the other reindeer decide not to let him play any of their reindeer games.

At the other camp, Ken and Robb bond some more as they take another romantic walk in the woods. Ken patronizes Robb as the skateboard dude finally discovers he's vacationing in Thailand. The older man helps the confused younger man deal with his issues of self-discovery. Somewhere off in the distance, Pamela Anderson feels the loss.

The next several minutes are best spent in fast-forward mode. Granny Clampett discovers a dead bat and goes into mourning (No, we're not kidding). She insists on a funeral procession and cries for poor, lost, embryonic Oscar the Bat (Yes, she named it). During an aside to the camera, she weeps for the lost innocent as Brian laments the lost meal.

Tree mail!

Tonight's immunity challenge is called 21, and it's a puzzle, so we know it's Shii Ann against Chuay Gahn. In a move that surprises no one, Robb sits out for his tribe. The goal is to capture the final flag out of a set of 21. The trick is that each tribe can only grab one, two or three poles during its single turn, at which point they wait for the other team to make its move. A back-and-forth occurs which is too mundane to describe in detail. Suffice it to say that Shii Ann miscounts, leaving an opening for the opposing tribe. Shockingly, it's Clay who does the math, which secures the final flag for the five members of Chuay Gahn. Sook Jai is going to tribal council.

With the merger on the horizon and food and ale still available for consumption, the losers decide to get ripped. The peace, love and understanding from the reward challenge continues to build, as Robb enjoys a Saul/Paul conversion. He becomes something of a Dalai Lama to the young group of Richard Geres. He shares stories of his father and himself, which amazingly draws everyone closer to him, even Shii Ann. Needless to say, we suspect the wine was laced with some other substances but the fallout is unmistakable. The tribe really, really likes Robb.

As the group joins Mr. Probst at tribal council, it's evident that a sense of peace has swept over the group. They discuss the previous days with a mixture of pride and serenity which is difficult to mock. We'll simply say that it's been evident for some time that there is an alliance between several of the Sook Jai players and equally apparent that Robb is not a part of it. The vote comes in at five for Robb with the stray vote being his last shiv of Shii Ann, who now seems to look at her former sparring partner with a newfound desire in her eyes. We knew it! Probst wastes no time in pointing out that they had achieved spiritual growth then assassinated the man who led them to that sanctified position. Chesty Erin looks away in shame as the credits roll.



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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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