Surviving the Amazon, Episode 9: Completely In Controlby David Bloomberg -- 04/11/2003
It's the morning of day 25. Rob and Matthew sneak away from camp to have a chat. Rob says he is privy to information that some of the women are unhappy that Deena has assumed a leadership role. He goes on as privately he voices over that each day he debriefs Matthew with a wild goose chase to keep his mind busy so he doesn't really figure out what is going on. Today's theme is apparently that all the guys are going to band back together to vote off the women one-by-one. They need Butch to do that. He says this is all on a need-to-know basis. They even split up and walk back to camp separately so it won't look like they've been talking. All the while, some Mission Impossible knock-off music is playing in the background. It's pretty funny.
But then, the spy game continues. Matt, looking quite serious, is out on the boat with Butch. Matt says he is Butch's lifeline - his link in the chain. He sounds like a cold war spy talking to his contact in the field. Matt says he will initiate all contact with Butch. They will not talk. Etc. Matt is a scary dude, let me tell you. Privately, Butch appears to be taking him seriously, telling us that he's a link in the chain, etc.
Meanwhile, Rob is definitely not taking it seriously, as he regales the rest of the tribe with stories he has told Matt. He privately says the fact is that Matt is who the group wants to vote out - he's unstable and may kill them. Rob asks the question to himself of whether Matt is a physical threat and then answers yes - to his safety!
Treemail brings an indication that the reward challenge will involve various weapons as they get a bow and arrows, blowgun, and spear, plus a target. All of them practice a bit. Heidi the gym teacher obviously is not experienced with these things as we get some amusing shots of her trying to shoot the bow; Christy isn't much better. Matthew, however, is downright dangerous and can hit pretty much anything. As for Rob, well, he says the only spears he knew before then was Britney, broccoli, and asparagus.
Matt and Rob talk. Matt says that he won't try his hardest because he doesn't want people to think that he's a threat. Rob tells him that he's finally starting to figure the game out. In case it's not obvious, Rob is not quite being honest here…
The Reward Challenge takes place in three rounds. First, all eight shoot the blowgun, then the top four will throw spears, and the remaining two will shoot arrows from a tower. The reward is an afternoon in the Amazon Café coffee bar. They all get to split a small piece of croissant as a taste of things to come.
Christy goes first and hits the three-point ring. Matt gets a bullseye as Rob makes a "that was throwing the challenge?!" face. Butch hits the five-point ring. Rob hits three. Alex seven. Jenna three. Deena five. Heidi hits… the dirt. Not even on the target. So Matt, Deena, Butch, and Alex move on. Matt gets another bullseye (or darned close to it). Deena hits the dirt. Butch hits the ring three from the center (suddenly they aren't using points anymore). Alex hits the ring one from the center. So Matt and Alex are in the finals.
Matt shoots first and hits the ring three from the center as Rob whispers to Jenna that Matt is a nincompoop. Alex hits the ring two from the center and wins! See, Matt did throw the challenge. (Insert eyeroll here.)
Of course, Alex gets to pick somebody to share his time at the coffee bar. He immediately picks Jenna. They get coffee, pastries, etc. Lots of mmmms and aaaahs follow as they chow down. Jenna says she really really likes Alex. Alex says it's nice to spend some time with Jenna. She says the both like to eat and they're both bottomless pits. They both like to eat? Where does she put it?
Back at camp, Rob is trying to fish with the net, but the only thing he catches is a bush. Deena is also trying to fish - but definitely a different type. Privately she says that the reward challenges tell you who is really here to play and sets up some people in a bad position, a la Alex. He showed how dominant he could be. So as they are sort of watching Rob try to fish, Deena asks Heidi how well she would advance against Matt or Alex. Not well, but they're getting rid of Matt anyway. Ah, but what if Matt wins immunity? Would she fare better against Butch or Alex? Butch, of course. So it's decided - if Matt wins immunity, Alex will go.
Back at the café, Alex and Jenna are happy that they can talk about other people without having to worry if anybody else is listening. They talk about how they, Heidi, and Rob have bonded as a group. Jenna says she doesn't know where Deena is at now - she's hard to get along with. Alex notes that Deena is only a few years older than him, but she's so different. Jenna says yes, and Deena is always thinking of another plot.
Cut to Deena thinking up another plot. She once again says that they all have no chance against Alex. Rob says privately that he has an alliance with Deena until the end - but the others have no clue. Deena says none of them should tell Jenna about the whole "Alex goes next" thing but that she would finesse Jenna when the time came. Rob summarizes that it's settled - if Matt wins immunity, Alex is going.
Deena says she's in control because she always has a backup plan to her backup plan. She's thinking 24/7… and it's making her head hurt. Speaking of people whose heads must be hurting, Heidi just mumbles that it's getting so interesting.
Jenna and Alex each have plenty of coffee and are buzzing on the caffeine. They return to camp and offer to take the first couple of fire watches 'cus they aren't going to sleep any time soon. Oh, and they also brought back enough cookies for two per person. They're a bit crumbled, but they're better than a half-sucked mint! Rob tries to convince the others that since Butch and Matt are out fishing and don't know about the cookies, those who are there should eat theirs. He says they're both on the outside anyway, so what are they gonna do about it?
Speaking of Matt and Butch on a boat, there they are, fishing. They say that it's been getting more difficult. They caught 12 fish the first day, six the second, and so far today - one. Ah, but then Butch catches one. He pulls in a piranha, knifes it twice in the head, and starts to gut it. As he's doing so, he makes the mistake of putting his finger near its mouth and with its dying breath, it takes a bite outta Butch. Ouch! Well, you knew somebody had to get bitten by one of those things.
That night, the fishermen return with good news and bad news. Good news: they caught some fish. Bad news: they're small. The others inform them that cookies (or, more accurately, cookie crumbs) await them. I guess Rob didn't win out in that discussion.
Then the real action starts. Although Deena had sworn everybody to secrecy about the whole "we'll vote out Alex if Matt wins immunity" thing, Heidi runs off with Jenna to spill the beans. Heidi says privately that she, Jenna, and Alex were in the original alliance, and she wouldn't stab them in the back. Um… Now wait a minute. It seems to me that she was in an alliance with Jenna and Deena long before Alex ever entered the picture… Anyway, she tells Jenna knowing full well that Jenna will tell Alex.
She does, and claims that Deena is stabbing them all in the back because she's pissed at them. Um… OK, I guess I missed that too. Deena isn't pissed - she's trying to play strategically. I have no idea where Jenna came up with that. But in any event, she says Deena is causing trouble and they have to figure out where Rob stands.
So Alex goes to Rob and asks what's going on. Rob is stunned and says that was just discussed earlier this afternoon - how does he know already?! Alex responds that he knows because he's good. In any event, he tells Rob the plan should now be to get rid of Matt and then Deena.
Rob privately says that things are getting interesting. It's Deena vs. Alex and both think they are calling the shots.
In other news, Heidi has apparently been bitten near her knee by a spider. Her leg won't bend. It's sore, black and blue, and she can't touch it without extreme pain. OK, then don't touch it. Rob describes it as having a knee the size of one of her breasts. Hopefully, she'll have it drained. (I'm presuming he means her knee, not her breast.)
The next day is treemail and it asks if they want food or immunity. I immediately think "gross food challenge," but the wording makes it questionable. In any event, Deena reiterates that the plan had been Matt first, but if Matt wins immunity, Alex is gone. Period. End of story. Written in stone. No chance of it being changed.
They arrive at the immunity challenge with Alex carrying Heidi. Host Jeff Probst asks what happened and she explains the spider bite. He points out that, so, in a physical challenge, she's in trouble. Yup. But it's not. It deals with food - but there's a catch. Isn't there always? Indeed, it is the gross food challenge. Or as Probst says, "delicacy." Yeah, right.
The challenge takes place in four rounds. Two people are dropped out for each of the first three rounds, and then the last two battle it out for immunity.
All eight line up with covered dishes in front of them. Probst says, "Take off your tops." Heidi and Jenna instinctively remove their shirts. Whoops! No, wait. That didn't actually happen. He means the tops of the dishes. Inside are big Amazonian grasshoppers. Yummy! And they're off! Jenna is nibbling at it. Christy is gagging. Matt is crunching it down. He finishes first. Deena is second. Alex third. Jenna officially gives up, saying she can't eat it. Rob is next, then Butch. Christy is still gagging while Heidi is chewing. Christy manages to get it down just in the nick of time to beat Heidi for the final position.
The second round is coconut worms. Matthew quickly downs them all, with Deena, Alex, and Christy right after.
Third round features five beetles, baked and crispy. Christy is back to gagging. She's making some great faces. Ooooh, now they're not so great. Matt finishes. Christy gives up and pukes. Deena gets 'em down. So it's Matt against Deena at the end.
The final round is a live beetle larva which Deena describes as "nasty ass." Probst says they took off the pincers so it wouldn't bite on the way down. What great guys! Probst tells 'em to go and Deena just steps back and points to Matt. He swallows it whole. Probst looks on in wonder and asks, "You didn't even kill it?!" Matt says he hopes his digestive juices will win the battle. Ick.
Now it's time for plotting as Tribal Council approaches. Deena takes Jenna aside to let her know about the plan to get rid of Alex. Deena says the mistake Alex made was to lose the immunity challenge. For her part, her ass would have had to be on the line to eat that grotesque thing - no way. Why do I hear echoes from Roger when she is speaking?
Anyway, she tells Jenna that Alex has to go next. Remember, Jenna isn't supposed to know this part of the plan yet. So she plays along, telling Deena that's understandable. Deena says it's time for Alex to go bye-bye, and they (herself, Jenna, and who knows who else) are completely in control.
Jenna runs back to Alex and talks about how shocked and disappointed she is that Deena would stab them in the back. She won't forgive her and tells Alex this is the first time she's been pissed off. She adds that Deena told her they were in control of the game, but she probably says that to everybody. They need Rob to support them - if he turns on them, they're screwed.
Rob realizes the dangerous position he's in. He says he's in both circles, and it could backfire. But Deena thinks that Rob is working with Matthew to get rid of Alex, and Matthew is passing that along to Butch. Everybody is playing their part.
Rob summarizes: Deena and Alex both think the same people are voting the other one off. It's like he's in the mob and knows there is a hit on one friend. He has to look the other way like everything is hunky dory, but the person who gets hit in Tribal Council is least expecting it.
Um, I think Rob just gave it all away. I mean, Alex is expecting it. So… Well, never mind. We'll get to that in a minute anyway.
And here we are - at Tribal Council. Probst asks Heidi about her knee again. She says it's getting better. Does it concern her? Yes. Her strongest asset is her athleticism and her intelligence - one is gone. OK, I'll wait for you to stop guffawing at her remark about her intelligence.
Alright, that's enough. Time to move on. Deena says the game is on and people are jockeying for position. It's a struggle to see who has the power and people are on edge. Alex is asked if he notices people whispering more. To some extent, yes. You do get a bit paranoid. And you have to wonder if you'd stab somebody in the back.
Probst asks Matt if he needed to win the immunity. Matt says it's nice to have, but based on what he knows, it was not absolutely necessary. So would he give it up? No.
Deena is asked if she feels good. She says yes, if her name comes up, it came to a bug from the pit of Hell.
Time for the vote. We see Christy vote for Alex, saying he's too much of a threat and so she's trying to get rid of him. Jenna votes for Deena, saying Deena lied to her, betrayed her, and screwed her - so now she's screwing Deena. Ouch. Deena votes for Alex, again with the threat line, but also saying he stands between her and the big prize. And Alex votes for Deena, saying she couldn't stand by her word for three days. He'd love to face her in court because she's the worst liar he's met in his life.
The votes are counted. Deena. Deena. Alex. Alex. Deena. Deena. Deena. Uh oh! Deena is gone! It turns out Christy and Deena were the only two who voted against Alex. I bet Christy feels out of the loop.
Deena's final words talk about how they should vote off the strongest, but things happen and people form attachments. She got nixed, but the others will have to live with that decision. I'm guessing that's a threat for the finals, but since everybody but Christy sided against her, I don't know how much of a threat it really is.
OK, let's talk about what happened here. Once again, Rob has done something that I simply don't understand. Early on, I didn't understand why he didn't side with Ryan and Daniel and Matt to take out Roger. Remember, in the first vote if he had joined them, it would have been four votes Roger, three Ryan, and one Daniel (because Dave said he wouldn't vote against Ryan). But Rob didn't do it, even though he hated Roger and already didn't like Dave. Now, he's in a similar situation where he could have gotten rid of a threat, and he chose against it. Why? Why? Why?!
Sting7 explained it pretty well in an e-mail, and I'm going to quote him talking about how the votes could have gone: He had Deena, Deena had him. (2) He also had Matt (3), who had Butch (4). Alex can be assumed to have Heidi and Jenna in his pocket. That's three. Christy had plenty more reason to be loyal to Deena (5) than to Alex, who doesn't seem to know Christy is on the island. Physically, Alex is muuuch more of a physical threat to Rob than Deena. Once Alex was gone, they could have gone after Matt next then pick off Heidi and Jenna eventually (they are so weakened, chances are they won't win immunity). That leaves Rob with Deena, Butch, and Christy in the final four. If I'm Rob, I like my chances... Why didn't the game master think of this?
All of these are good questions, and ones I wish I knew the answer to. Rob kept going on about how he and Deena had this super-secret alliance to the end. So why not keep it? And he still has Matt under his control just in case. I don't get it.
Then again, Jenna and Alex seem to think that they are tight with Rob, too. So he may figure he has as good a chance with them. He's wrong - because Jenna and Heidi will certainly keep each other around before keeping him, and they'd probably rather keep Alex as well. So even if he gets into the final four this way, he's gone before the final three unless he wins immunity.
So, as I said, I just don't get it. Maybe it was peer pressure from others his own age. Maybe he is just not half as bright as he thinks he is. We simply don't seem to have enough information. (After some e-mails and more in-depth pondering, we now have a working theory - click here to find out why Rob voted Deena off.)
Next week, the alliance of four flaunts their power as Jenna and Heidi do less work. Oh, that's so unlike them! Also, there is an emotional event that leads to tears as Heidi says she's so happy for Jenna. Looks like we have letters from home. Ah, but they didn't tell us on the show that next Thursday, the 17th, is actually the "recap" episode, with stuff we've seen before plus some new footage thrown in as well.
Now that you've read the recap, be sure to check out Why Deena Lost!
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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