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Surviving Thailand, Episode 12: The Alliance Shell Gameby David Bloomberg -- 12/12/2002
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Day 34 starts off for viewers as we are treated to a variety of local animals attacking each other. Hmmm. You think there's a message in there? Oh, yes.
Helen is the first human we encounter today as she notes that Chuay Gahn has not faced Tribal Council where they've had to vote one of their own off since Day 12. Whoa. I knew it had been a while but I guess that puts it all into perspective. She says they started as the joke tribe of Survivor, the old people, the misfits, but they never gave up and here they are. She ends by noting that now the game is really on.
Brian says the key skill at this point is ice skating - cutting corners, going in circles. You have to be like ice, cut friendships, be cold. He has his skates on. The real question is whether or not he has his boxing gloves, though, as he will need them later when his wife punches him in the nose in November. But that's another story (which you can read about at the link to the Smoking Gun archive).
But first there is some mail - not a challenge, just a mirror and photos of each remaining contestant from before the game. They all take turns oohing and aahing about how much weight they've lost, how much older and more wrinkled they look, etc. Well, except for Helen, who thinks she's still fat. Sheesh. Women.
On a more political note, Ted pulls Brian aside to ask who is next. Brian tells him that Jan is the target, but he also says it may degenerate to every man for himself, so Ted should stay on his toes. Ted is a little concerned by the comment and the idea that Brian might be wavering on their deal. Brian says that no matter what happens, it's only business. Ted wonders just what kind of signals Brian is sending here.
Ted says he trusts Brian 80-85%, but he won't sit back and base the rest of the game that trust. It's been his strategy to adapt. So he draws in the sand to ask Helen who she thinks of in the top four and what she thinks about removing Clay. He gets the idea that she is on the same path as he is. Ted says Clay does nothing but lay around all day. Logically, he should be the next one out.
More mail, and this time it's a book that discusses their final reward challenge. As they go walking off to the location, host Jeff Probst pulls alongside them on the beach in a Chevy Trailblazer. He has them all hop in and lets them know that Chevy is one part of the reward for today's challenge. The winner also gets a day at the spa, a massage, and a Thai meal.
The challenge is to collect eight letters and unscramble them to form two words. First they have to unlash a letter from the block on which they begin the challenge; then they have to search through a bin of Thai symbols to find the English letter mixed in; next they have to untie a flag to get a letter; then it's climbing up a cargo net; get one down from a tree where the letters are also mixed in with Thai letters but they are all covered; pull in rope on a pole - there are 17 poles but only five letters; finally, they get a key to a treasure chest and the last two letters are there. Then they go to an easel to unscramble them all.
All immediately race away from their starting blocks, despite the fact that Probst repeats that they are standing on the first piece. Clay is the first person to realize that Probst is actually talking to them and goes back to get the first piece. Brian seems to stunned to know what to do and ends up waiting until Clay comes back with the piece before he turns around. However, he rebounds quickly. Position comes and goes for everybody but Jan, who is solidly in last. Eventually, Clay and Brian get to the easel, followed by Helen and Ted. The letters, while English, are rather stylized, which makes it more difficult to figure out what the words might be.
But Brian figures it out. He calls over Probst, who has to ask what the words are. Brian says, rather loudly, that it's "road trip." Probst replies that what he has spelled is not "road trip." And he's right - it's "raod trip." Oops. But Ted overhears Brian and quickly arranges his own letters into the correct spelling. He wins! Brian notes that he shouldn't have yelled it out. Ya think?
Ted is given the opportunity to bring somebody along on his reward. He says that in an earlier immunity challenge, one person had the opportunity to take him out early and didn't, and at the time he said he owed her one. So he's bringing Helen along.
As they drive off, Ted is happy because he's never won anything before in his life, and now he just won the car. But before they get to their destination, Ted talks to Helen about the whole voting situation, expanding on the pictures he was drawing in the sand. He asks Helen where Jan stands on the vote right now. She says that Jan doesn't like Clay because he lies around, doesn't work, and orders the others around. Ted proposes they join together to get rid of Clay. Helen says she thinks she can get Jan to their side.
Now it's time for dinner, drinks, shower, and massage. Both are happy with the food - and the wine. Neither normally drinks alcohol, but since this is a special reward, they decide to go ahead and imbibe. And boy can you tell when it comes to Ted. He gets drunk and, in Helen's words, "silly." Still, she says, it was his reward so she doesn't say anything about his behavior.
Meanwhile, back at camp, Clay says he is pissed off whenever he doesn't win something. Brian is upset because he not only didn't get picked to join Ted, but didn't even get a "thank you" for giving Ted the answer! Clay and Brian discuss how Helen and Ted were whispering to each other (the whole sand drawing thing) and wonder what's up with that.
The next day, we see a snake slithering around, and then we cut to Brian and Clay golfing. Hmmm. More animal references. Helen and Ted arrive back with Ted yelling, "Merry Christmas" and both of them bearing gifts - of wine and food. Jan looks quite happy to get a bottle of wine. Uh oh.1 2 Next-->
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