Episode Three: Family Values
By Dan Krovich
So last week was pretty dull, but this week we've been promised both sex AND violence, so here's hoping that it isn't just another fake-out. Chuay Gahn still maintains the role of the tribe where everyone gets along and is one big happy family. Ted and Ghandia seem to be getting along particularly well, as they trade affectionate but innocent touches and glances, and Ghandia even states that she has a connection to Ted because he reminds her a bit of her husband. That night they spoon while sleeping.
Sook Jai, on the other hand, is anything but a happy family. The tribe looks absolutely miserable, especially for a tribe that has won every challenge thus far. They are weak from lack of food. They can't figure out how to use the net they won, and they apparently have caught one fish to share among the eight of them. The resident Mensa member, Robb, pontificates about how it's strange to see where all the fish he usually eats comes from. Hey Robb, it's called the ocean.
Back at Chuay Gahn, Ghandia is stewing about something. Apparently, the night before she was sleeping next to Ted and he hugged her close and then started grinding against her. She found this too sexual for her comfort. She brings up the issue with Ted the next day, and they discuss the matter. Ted explains that in his half-sleeping state he sometimes doesn't realize that he's not at home with his wife, and he acted inappropriately. He apologizes and suggests that they should cut down on the hugging, etc., because it makes her uncomfortable. Ghandia accepts the apology, and all seems to have been handled very reasonably. What a rip-off.
On to the reward challenge, which seems pretty simple on the surface. Each tribe has to go across a bamboo latticework and grab ten baskets, one at a time, and bring them back to their boat. The twist is that there is a marked "attack zone" where the teams may try to knock each other off the bridge, preventing them from getting the basket back. Anyone who initiates contact outside that area is eliminated from the challenge and a basket from that tribe's boat is moved to the other tribe's boat. So basically, we have a bunch of people who sleep outside in whatever temporary shelter they can put together, don't have enough to eat, and eat whatever they can pick up off the ground. Then, for the promise of a reward, they compete against each other in a physical confrontation. I think I've heard of this. This is bum-fights, isn't it?
As usual, Sook Jai takes the early lead, so it is Chuay Gahn who first takes advantage of the attack zone. Ted waits in the attack zone for Robb to show up, and we have our first showdown. Ted takes out Robb's legs and Robb splats face first. Ted is my new favorite person. Now that the attack zone has been baptized, the intensity picks up, and things begin to get out of hand. First Ken pushes someone off the bridge from slightly outside the zone and is eliminated; one basket to Chuay Gahn. Then, in the best example of rule clarification ever, referee Jeff: "Robb, you were not in the attack zone when you grabbed Clay around the throat." Another basket transferred to Chuay Gahn. It happens twice more, so four of Chuay Gahn's ten baskets were ultimately given to them by Sook Jai rule violations, and Chuay Gahn finally wins a challenge.
Robb is not taking the loss well as he yammers on, surely further endearing himself to all. Shii Ann puts it best, saying that there's no way a logical thought could ever go through his head because his mouth is always moving. He continues his Rockne-esque pep talk. "We lost by a bunch of rules." Chuay Gain, on the other hand, enjoys their first victory, which is a day with two Thai red beret soldiers who teach them survival skills. Unfortunately, the one thing they can't teach them is how to deal with the backstabbing and gossiping that takes place next. Ghandia tells the other women about the incident with Ted, hoping to embellish all along and neglecting to bring up the apology that she accepted.
Sook Jai does not receive any survival lessons so they must become creative in trying to get food, and they decide to experiment with a new fishing method, of which Jed and Robb seems to be the mastermind. This method involves throwing the net into the ocean and then taking a nap. It seems like a foolproof plan, so you can imagine their surprise when they wake up and the net is not only not full of a bounty of fish, it's not there, period. As Jed and Robb search for the net in the ocean, you can almost see the camera shaking from the cameraman's laughing as he focuses over Jed's shoulder on the net bobbing in the water. They never do find the net, however, and it floats out to sea, where it's sure to entangle several dolphins and perhaps an endangered species or two.
At Chuay Gahn, the only net to worry about is the net of lies and intrigue as the Ted-Ghandia incident continues to spiral. Helen relays to Brian the story that Ghandia told her about how Ted tried to get it on with Ghandia in bed. Brian is in shock as he walks away, saying, "Oh boy." They cut to commercial, but what I'm pretty sure he said after that was, "Ted and Ghandia were getting it on last night? That reminds me of that movie I was in." Still, Brian is not willing to just take Ghandia's side so he talks to Ted, who gives the short story that basically nothing happened and that it has all been resolved. When that gets back to Ghandia, she goes completely whacko. Clay compares her behavior to that of a two-year-old and then proceeds to proudly explain how he used to beat his children. So by my count, this "family" now contains a child abuser, a soft-core porn star, a sexual predator, and a serial liar. And you thought the Osbournes were dysfunctional. They have a tribe meeting, which resolves nothing, and by this time I'm sure that the red beret soldiers would rather be undergoing 72 consecutive hours of high-stress training than be here.
The immunity challenge is next, and several Sook Jai members begin to think that they wouldn't mind losing so they could get rid of some people. If there was any doubt that they were going to throw the competition, that's erased when they decide not to have Robb sit out of this challenge, which is basically a mind teaser. Chuay Gahn takes the time to figure out the puzzle strategy before just moving pieces around willy-nilly, while the Sook Jai members generally just do what Jed says, following his move pieces first, worry about strategy later. In the end, you know they are in trouble as they are relying on Robb to figure out the puzzle. Chuay Gahn wins the challenge, and that means Sook Jai will have to make its first trip to tribal council.
Robb tries to take control and get the tribe to vote out Shii Ann because she basically annoys him, while others seem to want to get rid of Jed because he doesn't contribute much to the tribe on a day-to-day basis. The tribe has a bout of sanity and votes out Jed 5-3, and Jed drifts out of the tribe's life much like the fishing net. (Come on now, we don't want Robb booted out yet. Who would be our whipping boy then?)