Surviving the Outback, Episode 11: Water, Water Everywhereby David Bloomberg -- 07/10/2002
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Day 31 in the Outback begins with most of the Barramundi tribe resting, except Colby, who is messing with the rather smoky fire. Careful, pal, don’t pull a Michael on us!
As in past episodes, food is on everybody’s mind. Elisabeth says they’ve gone primal – nothing matters except the basic needs, and this is a group of people who need food. Amber says they are measuring out the rice carefully to avoid going through it too quickly – which is what happened to their original food. Tina joins Amber in expressions of hope because they actually have some food now. Amber hopes for catching a fish or having a dry night or even making it past the next Tribal Council.
Speaking of which, we get pretty much the only voting discussion as they move from food to Amber’s hopes of continuing in the game. Elisabeth says Keith, Tina, and Colby are still a voting bloc, but they don’t see Amber as strong. Tina says Amber has been flying low under the radar, and that’s not the way to stick around; she hasn’t proven she could stand on her own – though she has shown herself to be tougher than Tina originally thought.
Elisabeth talks some more about the people in control (that would be the K/T/C bloc) pushing the eject button one at a time. So she knows the next challenges are very important. Colby shares virtually the same thoughts with the camera, saying Rodger and Elisabeth will be eliminated if they don’t win immunity.
But first we move quickly into the reward challenge. You always know something’s up when they get to the challenge portion of the episode so quickly. And this is no exception. But first, the challenge – a rope maze race virtually identical to one from last season. They each have two hooks and have to move from rope to rope, and hit all four checkpoints before a race to the finish. The prize will be a trip with some Australian cowboys to their camp for hearty food and a dry cot. Oh, and all the Bud Light you can drink, of course. Funny, no mention of Doritos this time. I guess they used up all their ad money in the previous episode.
And they’re off! Amber takes an early lead while Keith falls to last place. Colby is running neck-and-neck with Amber and eventually passes her. Rodger is in third, Tina fourth, Elisabeth fifth. Keith is still last. Colby gets past the fourth checkpoint, with Amber close behind. Colby extends his lead as he races to the finish. And Colby pulls it out! The rest finish in the order they held during the race – not that it matters if they’re not first. Host Jeff Probst gives Colby a little taste of food to come. When Colby asks if he can share it with the others, he is surprisingly told that he cannot. And Probst talked last episode about how concerned he is about their eating habits. Yeah, right.
So, the cowboy joins the cowboys as they ride off into the…well, rain. Hard rain. Nasty rain. Rain that makes the horses skittish and is so thick you can barely see. It’s an interesting ride.
But as least he’s riding. The others are three miles away at a creek they passed easily to get to the challenge. Now it’s raging rapids. They have to wait for two-to-three hours while they all wonder if their camp – built on a “dry” creek bed – will still be there by the time they get back.
We get to see what they don’t. The water creeps slowly along the creek bed, picking up speed (and items) as it goes. Eventually it rushes through camp, and we see clothing pulled into the river. And what’s that? Yes, it’s the rice tin floating along the river. Bye-bye, food! Remember how I said I knew something had to be up for them to have the first challenge so early? This is it.
The group eventually makes it back and first thinks everything’s okay because Rodger sees clothes on the line. But as they get a little closer, they see that everything is definitely not okay. As Rodger says, camp is there, but only barely. He is also the first one to wonder aloud where the rice can might be. Good question. But it, like much of the rest of camp, is washed away. The food is gone; the knives are gone; the tackle and fishing hooks are gone. They don’t have food and they have no way to get food. They’re pretty well screwed.
But, hey, Colby’s living it up, as the first scene we see of the Ranchers’ camp is a big bucket of Bud Light. Did I mention that Bud Light is a sponsor of the show? Maybe if I keep saying Bud Light they’ll sponsor this website too. Nah. Never mind. I don’t even like Bud Light and wouldn’t drink Bud Light if I were stuck on a desert island (or the Outback) with it. But I digress. Where were we? Oh, yes, the Ranchers’ camp with Colby, who is busy stating the obvious – that this reward was perfect for him. Jumping on a horse, sitting around a campfire, eating beans and beef stew (what, he forgot to mention the Bud Light?) – these are things he’d be doing at home. But one thing he wouldn’t have to do at home is talk to Jeff Probst, who is there asking him how he assesses his shot at winning. Colby says that while he may get a leg up physically because he has food, politically he is a step down because of winning two challenges in a row. But he feels fortunate to have a hot meal and a dry bed. And he even has a cowboy singer who plays a song about drinking beer (would that be Bud Light?) with your friends on the guitar. Yee-haw!
Meanwhile, Tina and Keith go on an evening journey downriver to see if they can find any of their stuff. Lo and behold, Keith spots the rice tin on the other side of the river! The two of them discuss where the better crossing point is – swimming across a bit downstream (Tina’s idea), or walking across where there is a mini-waterfall (Keith’s plan). Keith goes ahead with his walk across as the others cringe with every step. Eventually Tina just jumps in and swims across, making it to the tin before Keith does. They meet there and, with some help from a rope tossed by Rodger, make it back with the food.
Alas, their happiness lasts only a short while. Then they realize that they can’t light a fire because the matches have gotten wet. No food. No heat. No light. So it’s time to huddle up under what’s left of the shelter and try to sleep.
Colby has other problems on his mind. Apparently, he didn’t learn anything from the digestive problems experienced by most of the others after eating too heartily from the food auction. He dives right in and the food starts going straight through him. He says he feels awful. Poor guy. I know I felt sorry for him, lying in a dry cot after having eaten a hot meal, while his cohorts freeze and starve.
But he makes an astounding comeback and starts chowing down peanut butter and jelly sandwiches first thing the next morning. He says he’s going to stuff himself and then stuff himself some more, and he doesn’t care how many times he has to go to the bathroom on his way back to camp. That’s the spirit!
When he arrives back at what’s left of camp, he sees a lot of glum faces. Keith says it was the most miserable night of his entire life – and hopes that will remain true for the rest of his life. They all decide it’s time to move camp out of the not-so-dry creek bed. Ya think?
We next move directly to the immunity challenge. Probst brilliantly greets them by noting that they look worn out. No, really? Amber says they’ll make it. You go, girl!
Anyway, the challenge is target shooting. Each person has three plates with their name on them hanging up. They each get a sling shot and Australian macadamia nuts as ammo. The object is to shoot the plates of the other people; last one with a plate left wins. It’s not a test of speed – each person fires at the same time. So there’s plenty of time for banter and apologizing as they shoot each others’ plates.
Keith hits Colby’s first, but only takes off a small piece. Colby returns the favor but breaks the whole plate. Elisabeth and Amber have plates shot up next. Then Amber gets a second. Tina and Colby lose one each, and then Probst mentions that Rodger is the only one without a broken plate. Rodger points out that Probst really didn’t have to say anything! So Colby destroys one of Rodger’s plates. Amber is first out, then Keith, and Tina. Colby is doing most of the breaking, and he’s killing off his fellow Ogakorans. Rodger is out next, leaving Elisabeth with two left and Colby with about a half of a plate left. Still, Colby takes out both of Elisabeth’s before she can hit his, winning his third challenge in a row.
We hear a few comments about how hard it is to go to Tribal Council now. Keith, Amber, and Elisabeth all chime in about how the group has gone through a lot and how they hate to get rid of somebody. Still, it has to be done. So off to Council they go.
Jeff Probst opens by asking Rodger why they put the camp in the middle of a dry creek bed, knowing that the wet season was coming. Rodger says it wasn’t his idea, but when the tribes merged, there was a consensus decision, and the girls mostly wanted to have camp in the sand so they could sleep better. With Jerri sitting on the jury, he might not have wanted to come out and point the finger directly at her, but my recollection is that she took a lead role in this decision (hell, what decision didn’t she take a lead role in – other than her own ouster, of course). Still, Rodger says they all pitched in today and they’ll be alright.
Next, Probst asks Elisabeth how much more difficult it’s been than she expected. She responds that each day has gotten more difficult. She used to live from challenge to challenge. Then from day to day. Now, it’s minute to minute.
Probst starts trying to get some discussion of politics going (though not as bad as he did in the first season, when he revealed alliances to one and all). He asks Tina if her plan has been to play politics in a friendly way. She answers that it pretty has been her plan, and that she would rather spend the last two weeks with people who get along and are team players. Oooh, was that a slap at Jerri I just heard? I sure think so. Probst follows up by asking if she thinks the six most deserving people are remaining. Tina won’t quite agree to them being the most deserving, but says they all definitely deserve to have made it this far.
Moving back to Rodger, Probst asks if he feels secure. Rodger says he absolutely does not! He says it’s only a matter of time until Kucha is extinct. And with that, it’s time to vote.
We get to see Elisabeth voting for Amber, saying that it’s the toughest vote yet, but it has to be done and is nothing personal. We also see Rodger vote for Amber, saying she’s a sweet girl and it was a tough decision. Then Colby votes for Rodger, saying he’s sticking with the batting order. Amber also votes for Rodger, thanking him for the comfort at camp and saying it was like having dad around. Keith’s vote is hidden from us, but we hear him say the person he’s voted for is a tough competitor and at this stage is hard to beat. Hmmm.
So the votes are tallied. Amber gets four votes to Rodger’s two. The K/T/C bloc has broken! And considering what Colby said about the batting order, it appears that Tina and Keith didn’t bother to tell him that Amber was next. While this may have surprised some people, it’s actually what I predicted last week. Okay, so I’m still a bit surprised to have been right.
Amber’s final words aren’t terribly interesting – she says she doesn’t hold anything against anybody and that these were the best five people she could have been with. Jeez, these people are too danged nice.
But nice might be out next week. Colby is apparently a bit annoyed with Keith, who is cooking too much rice. Of course, the promos usually tell a very small part of the story, but if Colby is already miffed at being out of the loop with the last vote, things may come to a head next week. So will Colby or Keith be voted off? Or will it be Rodger, who wasn’t even mentioned in the promo? A few weeks ago, the Unbelievable Bloombergini predicted that Rodger wouldn’t make it to the final four. I guess we’ll see next week…
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