Surviving the Amazon, Episode 12: Burning Down the House!by David Bloomberg -- 05/09/2003
We begin the second-to-last episode with Jenna complaining. She has pharyngitis - or tonsillitis or something. She's tired of playing the game, tired of living with people you can't trust.
Still, the women both agree that things changed because of the previous night - they don't feel half as betrayed. If it weren't for Rob, one of them wouldn't be there. (Of course, if it weren't for Rob to begin with, both of them would still be there along with Alex, but hey, let's not get picky.)
Rob says he feels no animosity from them - they're grateful. So he decides to do something different than he has the entire time he's been there: He's completely honest with them. He goes so far as to tell them straight-out that he will probably vote for Heidi at the next Tribal Council. He says he thought about flip-flopping to take the two of them with him, but it would mean screwing over everybody in the game and looking like the biggest @$$#ole ever. Heidi wonders why he cares about that now. Heh.
After he leaves, Heidi and Jenna discuss that they have three days to formulate a new plan.
From there, we enter into a segment about firewood. Butch and Rob carry firewood, with Butch telling Rob to get firewood even though they have plenty. Rob doesn't know what Butch's obsession with firewood is or how he became the "Junior Deputy firewood bitch." He says the last thing he wants is to be a team with butch. Jenna notes that they have so much - it's under the shelter, by the fire, etc. Yes, this segment goes on and on and on. Butch: "I'm just a wood crazy nut, I guess." To prove the "crazy nut" part, he dances around for no apparent reason. He says his wife says he embarrasses her when he dances. I can see why. Oy.
Most people have seen the previews, so we all know that this whole segment was massive foreshadowing.
Next up is treemail, which says to succeed in the future, you must learn from past. The coolest reward is also the last. Ah, yes, the challenge that incorporates parts of previous ones. It's that time of the game. Before they leave, Butch puts on some more firewood.
Indeed, this challenge does revisit challenges of the past - but it also gives a sneak peek of a challenge in the future. First they have to untie knots to get out of a cage; next is a puzzle; then a rope swing - that's the one they haven't done but will in the future - on to a decoding station to figure out a message that will lead them to a key; take the key, climb a ladder, unlock the flying fox and glide down (that's the thing that Heidi swung down on in the first challenge to win it for the women). At the bottom, grab a key - to a Saturn Ion. The winner, in addition to the Ion, gets a tailgate party with burgers, hot dogs, chicken, and more.
And they're off! Matthew seems to be ahead but Butch is out of the cage first and to the puzzle. Matthew is right behind him. Then Rob. Then Jenna. Butch looks stumped. Rob finishes the puzzle first and heads to the rope swing and then the decoding station. Matthew finishes the puzzle. Butch… doesn't. But, hey, Heidi is still in the cage. OK, Butch finally finishes and then has some trouble with the rope swing.
Matthew is the first to decode the answer, "Second Bundle," and grabs the key. Up the ladder he goes and unlocks the flying fox. He glides down it and easily wins. Rob is still at the decoder. Heidi - well, she's still in the cage.
Matt jumps in the car and invites everybody in to share the air conditioning. He asks host Jeff Probst if he can share the tailgate with everybody. Sorry, no. Just pick one person. Matt tells the others that he made a deal before the challenge with Rob, so Rob it is.
Matt talks about how cool the car is and Rob wants to borrow it when Matt's out of town or he goes back to his home planet or whatever. Matt says sure, he can use it to cruise for chicks. Ah, some things never change.
Matt lights up the hibachi with charcoal and says Butch will be so jealous.
Now we come to some great editing. Eerie drums sound as we see the deserted camp while the five are still at the challenge. We see the fire. Then the fire spreads to the fire shelter. From the fire shelter it jumps to the surrounding area. This is a BIG honking fire! Cut to the hibachi. Like I said, nice editing. Matt and Rob are making hot dogs.
Back at camp, everything is burning. Butch's banner catches. The clothes that are hanging catch. Everything. Cut to Rob and Matt having fun and cooking up a huge dinner.
At camp, the fire continues to rage. The shelters are gone. Even the Magic 8-Ball is melted. Nobody will ever "ask again later."
As Butch, Heidi, and Jenna return, the camp is a smoldering wreck. Shoes are melted. The fire is still barely burning. The general reaction is one of "Oh my God." One of the women says, "all my stuff." Butch replies, "All our stuff." Yes, even after a fire, they are thinking only of themselves and Butch is thinking about everybody. Butch then pretty well states the obvious in saying that everything is gone. He surmises the wood we had must have caught on fire. C.S.I. has nothing on Butch. Jenna talks about her jacket, her letters, he clothes - all gone. Heidi's stuff is mostly intact, though. Hmm. I bet Grissom might have a few questions for her if this show were on an hour later.
Privately, Jenna says they always leave the fire burning so they don't know what happened this time. Heidi's pack was the only survivor. Jenna says she had stuff in her pack that can't be replaced, like her pledge crown and zeta jacket. I have to admit, I'd be upset if I lost stuff that was "irreplaceable." But on the other hand, it's a pledge crown and zeta jacket. Puh-lease.
Heidi says it kills her how much everybody lost. She feels guilty to be the only one who still has her stuff. In fact, she wishes her stuff had burned too so they'd all be on the same level. As far as fault goes, she says Butch was the first one who came to mind, but they don't know. It's time to start over.
While the camp is toast, Rob and Matthew are making a toast to "two." Matt says they are two really different people with different strategies who came together. Rob helped him initially and he's helping Rob now.
Rob notes that nobody trusts him. Matt chimes in - "except me," because Rob gave him enough info to get them to this point. Rob says that just like Matt wouldn't be here without him, he wouldn't be able to continue without Matt. Not one other person would trust him, he continues. Matt, Rob adds, is in the driver's seat. For his part, Matt says privately that he's stoked to have crafted such strong relationships with both Rob and Butch - both of whom think they are going to the final two with Matt. Matt says if he has to choose, he'll have to stab one in the back and that will be the first time in the game he's had to do that.
Meanwhile, Butch is restarting the fire at camp. He wonders about whose fault it is and settles on it being everybody's. They shouldn't have had the wood there. Jenna says you're damned if do, damned if don't. Er. I don't think so, but she's being polite for a change.
As Matt and Rob come back, Rob says he is eternally grateful to Matt, etc. Then they find out about fire. Everything is gone. The other three started some rebuilding while the two of them were gone.
Rob says everything he had to help with his survival is gone as we get another shot of the half-melted Magic 8-Ball. Heh. Outside of somebody getting hurt, Rob says this is the worst thing that could happen. Matthew realizes that he doesn't have anything warm to wear - he's only wearing shorts right now. He says he's not going to point fingers because this tribe doesn't do that. But in hindsight it was an inferno waiting to happen. Butch says it all caught on fire and it doesn't make any difference how it happened. Rob privately notes that he's not one for conspiracy theories, but he knows that with a lot of dry wood, the camp burned (er, I don't see where the conspiracy theory comes in). He, like Matt, says he's not one point fingers. Then he does with a "
So it's rebuilding time. Matt says the point is to build a new fire shelter and the new plan is to not stack wood near the shelter again unless somebody is there to watch it very closely. Sounds like a good plan. Too bad they didn't think of it earlier!
Heidi says she wants Butch be voted out first because she and Jenna have worked their butts off, and they didn't burn down camp. You know, I'd really like to know where Jenna and Heidi keep coming up with these claims that they worked their butts off. Apparently, they have a different concept of "work" than most people. Anyway, Heidi continues that the three guys are too tight for there to be any chance of getting Butch voted off.
So the two women sit and watch the three guys rebuild. Heidi starts to tell Jenna that she feels bad not helping, but then says nah, she really doesn't. Jenna wonders why they should help. The guys are voting them out. She and Heidi won't make life any easier on them in the meantime.
So basically, they don't work when they're in the majority. And they don't work when they're in the minority. Yet they've worked their butts off. It must be nice to live in a fantasy world…
Matt says if he were one of them, he'd be working hard to convince the guys to vote out the other one first. They're digging a deeper grave as far as he's concerned.
But before the grave can be fully dug, there is an immunity challenge to deal with. Heidi shows up wearing the necklace that Jenna gave her at the last Tribal Council, except that half of it is scorched. They tell Probst what happened (as if he didn't already know).
The challenge involves five parts of a rope course. They have to go through - in no particular order - a disc walk, a web tunnel, a rope swing, swing steps, and a v-shaped rope tunnel. At the end of each they retrieve a colored feather and have to come back to put it on the center post. The first to get all five feathers wins immunity.
And they're off. Rob begins with the disc walk, Butch on the rope swing, Matthew the web tunnel, Heidi the v-tunnel, and Jenna on the swings. Butch is having trouble, but Heidi, Rob, and Matt get their feathers fairly quickly and head back. Jenna is not moving too quick. Matthew is the first to the center. Butch gets his. Matthew moves to the swing, Butch to the rope web tunnel. Heidi gets her feather, Rob gets his and he heads to the v-tunnel as Heidi takes the disc walk. Matthew is already swinging back with his second. He then heads to the swings and quickly passes Jenna coming back with her feather but going much more slowly than he is. Heidi and Rob have two. Rob tries to go up the web tunnel but is blocked by Butch coming back. Matthew has three. Jenna gets her second. Matthew gets his fourth. He heads to his last event, the disc walk. Jenna is already on it but he speeds right by her and gets his feather. He returns to the center post triumphantly and claims immunity! I tell ya, with Matthew there, the others don't stand a chance at any physical challenge.
Day 36, and Butch is chopping wood. Jenna is lying around. So things are pretty much back to normal.
Jenna says she can't do this anymore. She feels like crap. She hates every minute being there. So many things are more important to her. Yadda yadda yadda. She can't even walk more than five steps. She's having chest pains. She's falling apart. Blah blah blah. The last thing she wanted to do on her last couple days was to be a big baby. Millions of people yell at their TV sets, "Why change now?"
Heidi says Jenna's physical state is not good. Phew - good thing she told us. I wasn't quite getting that message! Anyway, Heidi decides she wants to make sure that she has every chance of staying because of it. After all, turning on your friends is wrong. But using your friends' physical ailments to get them voted out, that's okay. In Heidi's world, anyway. Heidi continues by saying that having Jenna voted out definitely works to her advantage. Duh. 'Cus that means it's not you!
She campaigns for this result with Rob, but he doesn't appear to be taking the bait. Heidi claims to be concerned about Jenna's health. Rob says it's just one more day. Heidi counters that Jenna is concerned she won't even make it that one more day. Rob asks what she means by "not making it" - is she going to die? Well, no, but…
Privately, Rob says Jenna is whining and sick and those are two things you should generally avoid. If you're willing to put your head on the chopping block, he's willing to chop it off.
Time to sharpen the axes, because it's Tribal Council. The jury walks in and I realize that it's not just a jury, but a list of people who have been screwed by Rob. Dave - screwed by Rob. Deena - screwed by Rob. Alex - screwed by Rob. Christy - screwed by Rob. This guy is in serious trouble if he makes it to the final two.
For the jury's benefit, Probst has the final five narrate the previous three days. Butch says it was a total destruction fire - the whole camp was burned down. What we see on them now is what they have left. The jury can't believe what they're hearing. Probst asks Matthew how he suspects the fire started. Well, there was a lot of wood drying behind the fire. He figures the fire they left ignited the dry wood and then the fire shelter - and then everything else. Jury members are shaking their heads. They actually look quite upset.
Probst asks Butch if he feels responsible. Butch says initially he did, but there are so many variables that could have happened that he feels comfortable that it wasn't his fault. Ah, denial is a wonderful thing. Heidi, meanwhile, looks a bit skeptical. Or else she's trying to figure out what the word "variable" means.
Moving on to other topics, Jenna is asked how she's doing. She says she doesn't know what's going on. She has some sort of tonsillitis and can't recover because they aren't eating enough. It's hard. Continuing with her, Probst asks what the criteria would be to bring somebody to the final two if she had that choice. Jenna says everybody there knows it would be loyalty. She'd rather go up against somebody she cares about and who is a great player. She doesn't want to go up against somebody she knows she could beat because that's no competition. Oh please. You know what that's called? That's called $900,000 poorer and a Reality TV Hall of Shame Moment. For example, see a guy named Colby for more on that type of situation.
Moving on, Probst asks Heidi if she deserves to be this far along. Yes, definitely. She says she is the mastermind behind half of the plans that go on from day to day. The three guys are scared to death of her! Matt provides a great "huh?!" look as Rob gives a similar one. Dave, on the jury, obviously can't believe what he's hearing. I hope - I really really really hope - that she gave that speech because she knows she is going and wants to have some fun first. But based on her earlier statement at Tribal Council when she said she brought brains to the tribe, I can't really be too sure…
Matthew is asked what the basis for his vote tonight will be. He says it is allegiance to the alliance. How far does that allegiance go? Matt says if they are down to the final three, it's every man for himself. If Jenna needed another sign (which she shouldn't), that was it.
And so they vote. We see none of them, but we hear Rob's speech. He says something to the effect of, "Two girls, one brain, divide by two. Only one half-wit left." Ouch! But I had to laugh out loud at that one, especially after Heidi's inane speech.
Probst reads the votes. Rob, Heidi, Rob (with a smiley face), Heidi, Heidi. Big surprise - Heidi is gone. She leaves with a big smile and in her final words talks about what an awesome time and awesome adventure it was. She has a lot of heart, a lot of soul, and a lot of pride. (Um, pride? Most people with pride don't need to take off their clothes at the drop of some peanut butter and cookies…). She says she's Jenna's number one fan and without her, she'd never have made it this far. She's so excited to be part of the jury and will see Jenna in a couple days.
For that matter, we'll see them all in barely more than a couple days. On Sunday, this series of Survivor will wrap up with a two-hour finale followed by a one-hour reunion live in New York City. In the last three days they will face three Tribal Councils, two immunity challenges, and we will be left with one sole survivor.
As for me, I'll be right there in NYC - hoping it doesn't rain and that it warms up a bit from the current forecast. See ya there!
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at email@example.com.
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