Episode Twelve: The Tides Are Turning
By Dan Krovich
Meanwhile, back on the island, the game has finally begun. The past few
weeks have simply been about eliminating the final Sook Jai members, so now
with the final five consisting solely of Chuay Gahn, strategy becomes more
of an issue. They now will have to turn on each other to advance, and
hopefully that will create some fireworks. Lord knows we need them because
this group has gotten this far by playing extremely close to the vest. Yes,
it's a good strategy, but the result for us is that we are left with five
dullards. No, I'm not accidentally watching Friends. Yes, I know there are
six Friends, but Joey is still kind of funny. You have to hand it to Chuay
Gahn, though. When Jan went about drafting her tribe, there didn't seem to
be much of a chance that they would be the last ones left; yet here they
Brian explains the end game strategy with a metaphor comparing the game to
ice-skating. You need to have long skates. You need to cut corners. You
need to be cold. You need to hit your triple axle, double salchow
combination. Okay, so I made that last part up, but it makes as much sense
as whatever Brian was babbling on about. Tree mail arrives with a
full-length mirror so they can all see how much weight they lost, and the
guys hog the mirror time, standing in front of it preening. Mirror, mirror
in the sand, which one of them is the most bland? Turns out it's a tie.
Then, we get a bit of strategy talk, which is essentially pointless from our
perspective at this moment because everyone is being noncommittal and
telling whomever they happen to be talking to at the moment what they want
to hear. Brian and Ted talk about maybe eliminating Jan next, though Brian
intimates that their alliance may not be as strong as it once was. Helen
and Ted chat and suggest voting Clay out next because Clay does no work.
The scheming gets broken up momentarily for the reward challenge.
The product placement...err...reward challenge, is a word scramble. They must
run through an obstacle course picking up letters along the way, and at the
end, they must unscramble the letters to make a phrase. The winner gets an
SUV for later and a day at the spa for right now. First, the dodos all
ignore Jeff's instructions that the first letter is right at the starting
line, and they all take off without picking it up. Then it's a close race
at the end, but Ted wins when Brian misspells "road trip" while saying the
answer out loud, thereby allowing Ted to get the letters in the correct order first.
Ted then picks Helen to share the award with him.
Along with the food that they get for the reward, there is some wine in
which they both partake even though neither of them drinks. We quickly learn
why Ted doesn't imbibe - he is a loud, obnoxious drunk. There's nothing like
trying to enjoy a nice relaxing massage while Ted constantly screams out
second by second updates and makes loud groaning noises. Helen better watch
out that he doesn't get frisky. Of course, the negative aspect of being
away on a reward is that the rest of the tribe is back at camp strategizing
without you, and it seems like they've come to some conclusion by the time
Ted and Helen arrive back.
Helen makes her pitch to Jan about voting Clay out, but Jan doesn't jump at
the opportunity, and then during a water run, Brian apparently lets Helen in
on something. Helen plays both angles and distances herself from
Ted. The immunity challenge involves putting together puzzle pieces to
complete ten steps that will lead to a platform. Brian wins the challenge,
which means that the three potential players who have been
discussed to be voted out, Clay, Jan, and Ted, are all in play.
Surprisingly, the editors are fairly free about giving away information
during the pre-tribal council period. Ted straight up asks Brian if he's
next to go, and Brian basically responds, yeah but he's not sure. Then when
Brian lines up his pawns for the camera, he discusses the role that Jan,
Helen, and Clay will play in his little game, but leaves out any discussion
of Ted as if he is a playing piece that's already been discarded. So tribal
council is uneventful and unsurprising as Ted gets voted out, leaving the
final four. Thankfully, next week is the season finale and we can put
perhaps the dullest season of Survivor (it at the very least challenges
Africa for that title) behind us.