Surviving the Cook Islands, Episode 4: Zen Fire Masterby David Bloomberg -- 10/06/2006
Last week, the four racially-divided tribes integrated into two. And then the real battle began as Cao Boi and Jessica had to decide whether or not to vote against somebody they liked because it was a good game move – even though both proclaimed they didn’t want to play the game that way. Guess what? They did! Will it turn out good for them? We’ll have to wait and find out. Maybe we’ll know within the hour. Let’s see!
It’s the eighth night at Aitu, and the tribe returns to camp to find mice having a party. Yul, however, is not in a party mood, saying it sucked and he feels terrible. Becky tells us it was very close but she feels pretty comfortable with Yul, Jonathan, and Candice (when she gets back from Exile Island, of course).
Ozzy, though, feels on the outside after losing the only member of his original tribe, who helped him lay the foundations of everything the rest of this new Aitu tribe will enjoy. He figures if they want to vote him out, they should do it soon so he doesn’t have to keep catching food for them – he doesn’t feel like playing along. I’m thinking he doesn’t have to keep catching food for them. Of course, stopping would pretty much ensure he goes home.
The next morning, a boat arrives carrying Candice home from Exile Island. She tells them she didn’t find the idol. Jessica wants to know why Candice thinks she was sent. Because apparently, Candice has secret psychic powers and can read the minds of the other tribe. Candice guesses it’s because she’s the youngest, but Jessica suggests Adam and Parvati made the decision, obviously hinting they did it to save her. Candice is either dense or purposely avoiding the topic as she wonders if Jessica thinks it was a bad thing. Jessica cuts to the chase and asks if they were protecting her, but Candice says she doesn’t know. Then she tells us that she does indeed think Jessica is right, but she is playing dumb so the rest of the tribe won’t think she has a secret alliance with people from the other team. And let me tell you, she does do a pretty good job of playing dumb.
Over at Raro, the women are making the bed – that is, putting sand on the floor of their shelter to make a softer sleeping area. They are also doing other things to improve the shelter. But as the women slave away, the men sit around the fire drinking. Parvati, for one, is annoyed. She thinks they are getting a bit too comfortable because they know the women need their strength.
But at least one of the guys notices, because later, Brad (I think – might have been Adam, because we don’t actually see who was speaking) asks the others if they think the women were mad at them. J.P. doesn’t think so and further doesn’t think it matters because the women need their strength. Hmmm. He says the guys will stick together in an alliance. Um. Let’s do some math. Four guys. Five women. That means if you stick together and piss off all the women, you lose. Not smart.
It’s already time to test just how strong those strong men are, as the two tribes head to the reward challenge. Each tribe will select two members to be attached by belt to a very long rope that snakes over, under, and around a series of obstacles. The rest of the tribe will push and pull those two through the obstacles. At the end of the rope is a decoder table. Once the tribe gets there, one tribe member swims out to a barrel, dives, unclips a decoding wheel, and brings it back. Then the entire tribe can use the wheel to decipher a phrase. The first tribe to do it wins reward.
What is that reward? Three blankets, two pillows, one hammock. And the winning tribe will send one of the losers to Exile Island until the immunity challenge.
Becky and Candice are attached to the belt for Aitu. Jenny and Cristina are attached for Raro, and Stephannie is sitting out.
And they’re off! Up, down, and all around they go. Aitu gets a lead, with Raro a little bit behind when they get to a log they have to dig under. Yul pulls Becky under with little regard for her well being. Candice gets through in a bit of a kinder manner. Jenny gets through for Raro, followed by Cristina. The tribes are essentially neck and neck.
Aitu tosses the women around like rag dolls and get a bit of a lead, but not much. Raro is having some strategy disagreements while Aitu has finished up with the rope portion. Ozzy (not surprisingly) is the chosen swimmer. He heads in and dives down to get the wheel. He’s back while Raro is still trying to untangle themselves.
Aitu is working on the puzzle, and Raro finally gets to it. Brad heads into the water and gets the wheel. Aitu is having problems with the thinking portion of the challenge, meaning Raro is essentially tied with them now.
But with Yul’s leadership, Aitu figures it out first: “Last castaways back cast one away.” They win reward!
Who is Aitu going to send to Exile Island? Adam. Good play – get rid of a strong guy and hope to weaken him before the immunity challenge.
Aitu returns to camp happy. Jessica is glad to have won because they all feel threatened by the brawn on the other team. Meanwhile, Ozzy goes fishing and is called the fishing star by Jonathan. Hopefully for Ozzy, that means they’ll keep him around for a while.
Ozzy tells us he caught nine of the 11 fish they brought home today. He feels he has power because of it – if they lose him, they will lose a lot of strength. I guess he’s gotten over feeling sorry for himself from the previous night.
Raro is not quite as jovial. Nate says they needed to be humbled, and they were. Humbled, maybe, but J.P. hasn’t been reduced to, you know, working. Instead, he tells the women what to do. Put on a new log, put it there, put the water on the rocks, not wood. Etc. All the while, he just sits back and watches. This behavior is, of course, noticed by Parvati, though she says he’s sly about it and some people might not even notice. I’m not sure who these people are, ‘cus it looks pretty blatant to me.
That night, Parvati continues her strategy of flirting with Nate. She asks him if they made a serious alliance. Yeah, they’re tight. But Nate assures her he’s even tighter with her and he has her back. Nate tells us Parvati is a cool and smart girl he can trust and use as his ace in the hole.
Parvati figures out that J.P. is calling the shots, and Nate agrees. But he says they should let the king make the decisions and sit pretty… for now.
Back at Aitu on day 11, several tribe members find boobie nests and wonder how the birds taste. Or maybe the eggs. Cao Boi heads up a tree to see if there are eggs. Mama bird squawks at him as she tries to protect the nest, so he pushes the nest over with a stick. Um, if there were eggs in there, they’re scrambled on the ground now, Cao Boi.
But there weren’t – there were chicks. Jonathan is sad as he picks it up – it still appears okay. Awww. Oh, give me a break. They decide to put the chick back in the nest and replace the nest in the tree as they apologize to the bird and Cao Boi tells us he did something stupid and feels bad about it.
With that side trip done, we head to the immunity challenge, where Adam is reunited with his tribe. Probst describes the challenge: On his go, four tribe members will race to assemble a stretcher puzzle. Then they will run through the jungle and to the beach with the stretcher. There they will find another tribe member shackled to the top of a mast out in the water. Hey, depending on who it is, they might want to leave them there!
Anyway, one tribe member will swim out and climb up to release the prisoner. Then they both swim back holding onto a life preserver. They put the rescued tribe member on the stretcher and run back to the start. There, the three remaining tribe members have to build a rescue fire. First tribe to build a fire big enough to burn through a rope wins.
This time, Raro sits out Cristina. On the masts we have Candice and Parvati. Hot young women tied up in their bathing suits – sounds like a teenage boy’s dream! Raro has Brad, Nate, Adam, and J.P. building the stretcher. Aitu has Jonathan, Jessica, Ozzy, and Yul.
And they’re off! Raro gets a small lead in putting together the stretcher, but Aitu figures it out too. Raro heads off, with Aitu in pursuit. They get to the beach and J.P. hits the water. Not surprisingly, Ozzy goes in for Aitu – running further into the water before swimming and making up a lot of time. He takes the lead and heads up to unlock Candice. J.P. makes it up to let Parvati loose.
Aitu makes it back to shore first and Candice gets on the stretcher. They get back to the starting area, with Raro a little behind. The fire-making begins. Cao Boi gets a flame for Aitu and then starts waving around a smoking bunch of straw. Probst calls it his own system, but then says, “Cao Boi is either going to be a hero or very silly.” Ha!
Raro is trying to start a flame but Jenny ends up with a bloody hand instead. Cao Boi, meanwhile, seems to have accomplished his goal as he gets a big flame. Raro still has no flame. Aitu’s flame is burning the rope – it burns through and Aitu wins! Raro never even got a fire started.
Raro returns to camp, looking rather dejected. Parvati says it’s too bad they were up against a “Zen fire master.” Heh. Stephannie tells us she feels like she is the weakest link, and feels bad about it, like she should have done something better. Brad says when he was on Cao Boi’s tribe, Cao Boi was always the one making the fires and tending to it. Nate says Cao Boi’s been making fire since he was like two!
Stephannie tells the rest of the tribe what she already told us – that she caused them to lose the challenge and is probably the weakest link. No! Shut up! You never say something like that!
Nate tells us she just came out and said it. He’s got her back, but when he thinks about it, everybody is playing a game and if somebody is doubting themselves this early, he’s not going to keep them here.
Nate talks to a few other people about it and Cristina says he should talk to her and tell her how they’re going to vote. He wants her to leave on a red carpet, giving her the respect she’s given them. Nate goes off to talk to her, J.P. heads into a tent (obviously to rest from all his hard work). Jenny and Rebecca talk about how Stephannie made it easier on them, but it makes the women as a whole weaker.
They head into the jungle and talk about how J.P. has something up his sleeve. Rebecca tells us how it’s important to keep strength, but the women need to align against the guys if they want to have any chance. The two of them talk more and decide they should switch things up and align right now. You go, girls!
Stephannie tells Cristina she hates that she said that – join the club! Stephannie says she was thinking they were family and she could share her honest feelings. Hello? You do know you’re on Survivor, right? Cristina tells her the others saw it as a form of weakness. Stephannie realizes she set herself up, but she tells us she’s not giving up.
Jenny joins the two and says there is a way to save Stephannie – if the women band together. They are ready to jump in, especially when they hear Rebecca is game. Cristina advocates booting J.P. because he knows how to play everybody and she doesn’t trust him.
But what about Parvati? Cristina is afraid she’ll tell Nate and Nate will tell the other guys. Jenny hops up to grab Parvati and bring her up to speed. She tells Parvati they’re switching the game up and voting out J.P. Parvati says she doesn’t know if that’s a good idea. Um, why not?
Jenny tells Parvati they have to stick to the numbers and explains how Stephannie just had a momentary lapse of reason. “It’s all on you,” she says, but Parvati just doesn’t know if it’s in their best interest and wants to think about it. I’m betting the translation of that is: “I want to talk to Nate.”
But, as Obi Wan once said, “there is another.” Brad comes walking down the beach and joins the three women. Stephannie tells him, “I need you.” They bring him up to speed. Jenny tells us she doesn’t completely trust him and she hopes he does what’s best for the tribe and not just what’s best for him. Can somebody please clue Jenny in that Survivor is an individual game and only has one winner? Thanks.
Raro arrives at Tribal Council and Probst starts the questioning. How is Nate feeling in the game? He says they’re all still feeling the water – he isn’t breaking out of his shell yet because it could bite him in the butt. If you’re too assertive in the beginning, the rest of them will eat you up.
Jenny is asked if there is a leader on the tribe. Not really, she says. What does that mean? He presses her and she says J.P. likes to take command. J.P. says he has no problem with her saying that – he doesn’t tell people what they have to do. In fact, there are times, he says, when he goes to take a nap! Really? Nobody had noticed. Snort. He continues that he gives suggestions but doesn’t tell people how or when.
Why was it Rebecca, Jenny, and Stephannie lighting the fire? Rebecca says they were all confident – they have started fire on a daily basis. Unfortunately, they just couldn’t get the right spark.
Stephannie is asked if it would be right to vote one of the three of them off just because they couldn’t get it done? She says no, it could have been any of them. To vote somebody off, you should consider the big picture.
J.P. nods along with Stephannie and Probst asks if that means he agrees. Yes! He says he admits he got his butt kicked in the swimming portion, but that’s not a reason to vote him off. (No, it’s not – there are so many other reasons!) So he agrees 100%.
Brad is asked if there is a philosophy he brings to the game, and he responds that trust is everything to him. He goes with his gut, which is right 95% of the time. Does Parvati trust everyone in the tribe? For the most part. How about Stephannie? No, this is a game, but she does feel comfortable enough to share certain things.
When Rebecca goes back to camp, will she be able to easily let this vote go? Not easily, but she knows they have to move forward. J.P. says it will probably be his hardest vote. Hey, he might not know the half of it.
With that, it’s time to vote. Rebecca votes for J.P., saying she’s sorry but it’s either him or her. J.P. returns the favor. Cristina votes for J.P., saying none of them want to be played. Nate votes for Stephannie, saying, “Your wish is my command.”
Probst tallies and reads the votes: Stephannie, J.P., Stephannie, J.P., J.P., J.P., and… J.P.! He says, “Wow.” And continues, “Holy crap… you guys outwitted me big-time.” With that, his torch is snuffed and he says, “That was pretty good,” before walking off.
Probst says they just voted out somebody who appeared to be one of the strongest members of the tribe, and he obviously did not see it coming. He’s hoping this means they have a plan on how to get the tribe working together and winning challenges.
In his last words, J.P. repeats his “Wow.” He says he never saw it coming. It takes more than being physically strong and mentally tough – you have to watch your back. He says there are no hard feelings, that’s the way the game is played. And man, they really pulled one over on him! You just can’t trust anyone in this game.
In looking at the votes, not only did the women pull in Brad and Parvati, but Adam too! Ironically, they were afraid Nate would be the problem, but instead he was the only one apparently left out of the loop with J.P.
Next time: Cao Boi fumes over the women’s work ethic and says they should be eliminated. Raro gets unexpected company – apparently somebody from Aitu. All in all, a pretty meaningless preview. But I’ll be right back here when the episode airs, and I hope you’ll join me again.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Survivor: Cook Islands articles here on RealityNewsOnline:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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