It’s episode 6 already – boy, that went quickly. Back at camp after the ousting of Anna (the poker player with built-in flotation devices that would have made diving challenges tricky), Tai thanks his tribemates for keeping him and is relieved he didn’t show his idol.
He jokes that he should at least outlast the chicken. (Hmm, who do we think would be on chook-killing duty in this tribe? Joe?)
Dr Evil decides now is the time to change his status as bottom-rung Brain and chats to Tai about alliance. That’s Tai, who we know from last episode can’t stand Dr Evil – and Tai loves all living creatures.
Doc tells Tai he wants Joe gone, which is odd because Aubry is far more strategic and has a strong bond with Neal on the other team.
Over at blue team beach, we finally start to get some confessionals from Nick (always a dangerous sign). He is focused on getting in tight with his new tribe and reckons he has Debbie sussed out: she wants someone to listen to her and work hard. “Whatever person Debbie admires – which is herself – just be her,” he tells the confessional. (Please tell me Debbie isn’t falling for this and is playing him just as hard.) Debbie thinks Nick looks like a Greek god and has great features for modelling, and she should know – she’s been a model for years. Here the editors cackle with glee and up flashes another of the ever-changing Debbie occupation chyrons.
She hopes he gets a modelling contract out of the show “but it’s going to have no effect on my strategy”. Phew.
Nick entertains the idea that she’s just stroking his ego but then, because he has a Dr Evil-sized ego, dismisses the notion.
They learn the reward challenge involves throwing balls through hoops, which Yellow team’s Scot, ex-professional basketballer, should smash. But Nick shot some hoops in school and is tall, so he’s the one who gets to practise back at camp with coconuts and what appear to be juggling beanbags. I’m surprised Debbie did not add basketballer to her list of careers.
So, come on in, guys, says Jeff, as always. I’m going to have to rewatch Borneo and see if he used that phrase 31 seasons ago. The challenge has a loooong course.
Exile over, Julia appears, and black-and-green-capped Jeff ushers her to the yellow team. Everyone’s hungry and wants to win this:
Aubry – who looks like a total nerd – is a challenge beast for the yellows and gives them a good lead, releasing the buoys way before Michelle – who looks like a pilates instructor or something. I know nothing about Beauty Michelle because we’ve barely seen her.
It get to the basketball stage and Scot takes a while to get the hang of out, allowing Nick to catch up and at one point to overtake him. Scot is worried.
But he gets it together and wins. Over at blue, Michelle knows she’s in trouble for not releasing the buoys sooner, but she really wasn’t that bad.
Julia is stoked to be out of exile and on a team which has food, but not so stoked to see her alliance member Anna was voted off. Dr Evil is thrilled, though, to have someone young and seemingly naive to work with. He takes her for a dip and bitch session for more “I hate Joe” talk.
And then he reveals he actually has some smarts: “Aubry is more important to get out because she’s the bigger player.” Julia plays the Sandra Diaz-Twine strategy of “as long as it’s not me”, which is really her only option at this point.
Watching from the sidelines, Joe and Aubry (who is wearing Joe’s jumper – nice one, Joe) can’t believe how obvious Dr Evil is being. Aubry in confessional: “Peter’s a little rogue and desperate right now. Which makes me feel like I need to seriously consider whether now is the time for Peter to go.”
Over at blue, Michelle is bummed they lost the challenge, knowing she will be held accountable. But she gets to work trying to build new alliances and goes to see the Oracle.
Debbie says it’s ok; she wants Jason gone because he does *&@! all around camp, and she wants a woman to win. Good one, Debbie. Michelle recounts the convo to Nick, who tells her bluntly Debbie is lying because she just wants her to be calm. “You are definitely the target,” he says.
All of which is true but the way he says it is all wrong, and gets her hackles up. But she’s smart enough to let it slide. We get a lot more of Nick saying how much better at this game he is than Michelle – total shades of Dr Evil and Liz’s boasting just before the Liz blindside.
Speaking of His Evilness, he’s over at the other beach telling Scot he wants Aubry gone, then Joe. And Joe is not happy to see yet another tete-a-tete with a non-Brain.
Joe decides he’s going to confront Dr Evil, using his lie detecting FBI skills.
And Pete, looking guilty as hell, fails to shoot back with: “It’s a game, I’m making sure the other three don’t team up against us by pretending to want an alliance. Brains forever!”
It’s immunity challenge time and Jeff is in his orange cap. It’s one of the more straightforward land-based challenges, but I’m still hanging out for the merge and some endurance-based or balance challenges. And the merge can’t be far away, as we’re down to 12 players and they usually do it at around 11, and we’ve already lost Caleb. The challenge starts and Giant Scot helps Tiny Tai and his teammates over the rolling barrel.
The next part is even more challenging, with the most athletic guys having to leap for a handhold on this structure and pull themselves up, while their teammates give each other boosts so they can be hauled up. Luckily Debbie only ways about 45kg by now as she’s just skin, bones and hair.
Of course, Scot is the booster for his team and Jeff delights in yelling: “This is like a dad with his kids.” The blues are leading and it’s interesting to see the next bit has Nick and the strong but short Jason poking blocks with poles – a task surely more suited to taller members of the team.
Now, Neal is taller than Jason and yet he’s not on block duty. Is this a case of Jason’s ego winning out, or Neal being smart and “non-threatening”. For yellow, Peter is proving an asset – he knows he’d be in danger at tribal if they lose.
At the block-stacking station, the lead goes back and forth and it’s proving a tricky challenge.
Poor Joe cops a couple of wooden blocks on the noggin’ but seems ok. He can always consult the tribe’s resident ER doctor. Oh, that’s right, he pissed him off earlier so that could be a no go.
Yellow tries a new approach.
But Debbie goes one better …
… and blue wins by a hair.
Back at yellow camp Aubry tells Joe they still need Peter on side, so they still have a numbers advantage. Joe concedes she makes sense “even though he’s a big pain in the butt”. Aubry says Joe needs to talk to Peter about their earlier spat and “work it out as guys”. (Have I mentioned how much I like Aubry?) Joe swallows his pride.
Peter agrees with their plan to take out Julia and then tells Scot he’s shelved his mutiny and is voting Julia. Why would you tell Scot that? Just nod and say yes to whatever Scot tells you.
So Scot, Tai and Julia discuss who they want gone.
“We need to talk to Aubry,” says Julia, knowing she’s the Brain of the Brains. They lay out Dr Evil’s deception for her and she plays it cool.
I’m not sure why Aubry has not approached Scot about joining up with her and Joe – although maybe she has and we’ve just not see it. Tai is worried by her lack of reaction, which leads to this adorable scene:
Joe is not impressed that Aubry is thinking of switching her vote to Peter, after she just made him eat humble pie when he wanted to do the same. He’s sticking with the Julia vote, which means if Aubry flips she’ll lose Joe as a future ally. “I feel that no matter what I do, it’s going to blow back and bite me in the ass,” Aubry says. Since we’ve seen no other footage of Aubry talking with Brawn and Beauty, I reckon she’ll vote for Julia. Unless Peter says something really douchey at tribe, and that’s not likely, is it?
It’s tribal council time and Jeff leads the chat in the direction of making it obvious either Julia or Peter is going home. And while he’s talking to Aubry, this happens:
And then, while Jeff is talking to Joe, Aubry whispers:
And Scot replies “Peter”. Well, this is fun. Poor Aubry looks so stressed and we see her pause immediately before and after finally writing Julia’s name. Darn it.
And then Jeff reads the votes and it looks like it will be a tie until this awesome thing happens:
And Dr Evil gets his comeuppance. Well, that made for great TV.
The preview for next week’s Survivor: Kaoh Rong shows what looks to be the merge. So, left in the game are Beauties Nick, Julia, Michelle and Tai; Brawn Scot, Jason and Cydney; and Brains Aubry, Joe, Debbie and Neal. And we get footage of Jason boasting about “shoving geeks in lockers”. Urgh.
In other news, check out this article on Fishy. Nothing much new but good to see Survivor on the home page of news.com.au.