Surviving the Cook Islands, Episode 5: Mentally Checked Out?by David Bloomberg -- 10/13/2006
Last week, J.P. was ousted after getting a little too comfortable and being a little too bossy. Thus, the revenge of Billy continues – two members of original Aitu have been voted out in a row since they threw the challenge to rid themselves of Billy. Will the curse continue with Cristina or Ozzy? Or will somebody else go home this week? Sit back, relax, and let’s find out!
We begin at Raro on day 12. Adam and Nate are cleaning their teeth with sticks and complaining that the ladies are sleeping in and don’t do anything all day. Whoa, talk about role reversal. Nate tells us the guys will have to watch their backs as a unit because the women could go after them. Uh, Nate, they could have done that anyway because they have always outnumbered you. Where have you been? Anyway, he says the guys need to let the women know the men are needed.
Cue shots of the men working hard – gathering firewood, fishing, collecting crabs, getting water, etc. Parvati is happy to see the guys really stepping it up. She thinks they’re trying to prove themselves to the women. Bingo.
Over at Aitu, Cao Boi is gathering food while Candice, Becky, and Sundra sit around comparing how much hair they have under their armpits. I kid you not. This is what a lack of TV drives people to! Cao Boi is annoyed that they are relaxing too much and says that while he hopes they keep winning challenges, if they don’t, the women “will be eliminated.”
Treemail arrives, announcing a reward challenge that they’ll compete in as duos, though it looks like the whole tribe will be rewarded if the duo from that tribe wins. We quickly move to the challenge itself, which host Jeff Probst describes. He says each tribe will select three pairs. Each pair will stand on a platform with each person using one arm to hold onto a handle connected by a rope to a hanging hook. Every two minutes, members of the opposing tribe will load up one of the pairs with five-pound weights on the hook. Last pair standing wins reward for their tribe.
And what is that reward? More fishing supplies, spices, and wine. Also, the winning tribe will send one of the losers to Exile Island until the immunity challenge.
The pairs are chosen as follows. Aitu: Jonathan & Yul, Sundra & Candice, Ozzy & Jessica. Raro: Nate & Adam, Rebecca & Stephannie, Cristina & Brad. That leaves as the loaders Cao Boi & Becky, and Parvati & Jen.
The first set of weights are loaded up. Adam & Nate each get five pounds, as do Candice & Sundra. So a difference in strategy here – Aitu is putting the weight on the strongest while Raro is going for the weaker link.
Time passes. Adam confides to Parvati that he hopes they continue to pile it on him and Nate, because they’ll hold it as long as they can. More weight is added, with Nate & Adam getting more, but Yul & Jonathan getting their first five pounds. Probst says they will “wait a little more” and Jonathan chides him on his bad pun.
More weight: Nate & Adam again, but Jessica & Brad get their first. How are Adam & Nate feeling? Nate says he feels like they’re getting some wine tonight. Jessica counters that they will be “whining” tonight. That elicits some laughs all around.
More weight is added, but we see only glimpses. Here is where we’re at: Adam & Nate and Jonathan & Yul each have 30 pounds. Dang. Brad & Cristina and Candice & Sundra have 15 pounds each. Jessica & Ozzy and Rebecca & Stephannie have 10 pounds each.
Yul & Jonathan are struggling with the weight. I expect Jonathan to drop first, but Mr. Muscles, Yul, is the one who causes them to go out. More weight is added: Rebecca & Stephannie and Jessica & Ozzy.
Jessica is struggling. So is Nate, and Adam clasps onto him in a bear hug to help him out. Cao Boi jokes that they are handsome boys and make quite a pair. Nate starts singing “Ebony and Ivory.”
Rebecca drops her weight, so she and Stephannie are out for Raro. Sundra drops her weight and Candice is visibly annoyed. So it’s down to Jessica & Ozzy for Aitu – and they aren’t looking so hot. Jessica starts singing, “Oooh she’s gonna drop it,” etc. to Cristina. She taunts them a little bit more, but Brad & Cristina are having none of it.
More weight is added. Obviously, Jessica & Ozzy get theirs, while Cristina & Brad get for Raro. I think that’s a mistake – they’re already struggling, so they might drop without adding anything. They should have put it on the strong guys. Then again, the guys are having problems of their own, though Adam pulls through.
Cristina almost loses it, but recovers. Jessica looks like her arm is being pulled out of its socket, but she struggles on… for several more seconds and then loses it. Raro wins! I have to say, not really a surprise in a strength-based challenge. So who do they send to Exile Island? They choose Jonathan for a return trip. He is, needless to say, thrilled.
At Raro the next day, the wine bottles are empty and people slept well. Adam is already up and fishing, and returns to camp with a small octopus stuck to his foot! With Nate’s help, he eventually pries it off. They plan for a nice meal as Cristina talks about mixing it with coconut as Jenny tells us Cristina may think she’s an asset because she cooks, but coconut stew isn’t that difficult to make. Jenny says Cristina orders people around, too.
But then Jenny describes what happens in the preparing of the meal. They brought pots to the beach to wash the food. Jenny leaves and Cristina decides to rinse the cut-up octopus by dunking the whole pot in the water. Then she’s surprised that bits float out. Um, duh. Then she tries to blame Jenny for leaving! Rebecca, sitting at camp with Jenny, wonders if she’s horrible if she asks for Cristina to go next.
Adam and Brad go to help clean up and recover what they can as Cristina continues to try to blame Jenny for not being there. Oh please. Adam tells us it really bothered him that he worked hard to get the octopus and she just dropped it in the water. He then tells Jenny about Cristina trying to blame her and Jenny is not amused. In fact, she calls her “our new J.P.”
Over at Aitu, Jessica talks about wanting to go to “that other island” because they’re starting to run out of resources. So Cao Boi, Jessica, and Ozzy head out, but Candice wants to stay back at camp and conserve her energy. Besides, she seems to think the three of them are sticking together and trying to find a fourth person to vote with them. Sundra also turns down the invitation, for the same reason.
Yul says they have a solid foursome alliance – himself, Becky, Jonathan, and Candice. Cao Boi and Jessica voted with them, but it’s hard to be in a strategic alliance with them because you don’t know what will happen on a day-to-day basis. He says they need a fifth to have the numbers, and they are leaning towards Sundra because she is alone and would be loyal. They talk to her and she seems amenable to it – why wouldn’t she? Sundra tells us she’s happy she is over being the outsider and feels like she’s part of the alliance, but that could change.
The expedition party lands on the other island and start walking around. Ozzy finds some sort of fruit that acts as an antiseptic for cuts. They head off to look for coconuts and find… the Raro tribe camp! Whoops!
The three of them walk right into camp and get some laughs and other looks of “what the hell are they doing here?” Several Raros wonder out loud what they’re doing there and Cao Boi says they’re out exploring. The three of them just walk right up to them and start introductions all around.
Adam doesn’t like it one bit. And after the initial intros, an awkward silence descends. Then Cao Boi starts talking about Chinese symbology, or something like that. I’m sure they’re thrilled. Then again, I suppose it’s probably better than comparing underarm hair.
Then again… Cao Boi talks and talks and talks. Stephannie says it gets to be a bit much. Then Cao Boi offers to work together to get coconuts and split it with them. Adam says no – they can all go to their island and split it with them. Good for Adam! Then Cao Boi has the nerve to “beg” for some spices! Adam says no again, and the threesome leaves.
OK, that was kind of surreal. I kind of figured there were rules against tribes invading the camp of other tribes, so I’m not sure what happened here.
But now we travel to yet a different island – Exile Island. Jonathan is reading the clues and trying to find the hidden immunity idol. Of course, we know it’s a fruitless search, as Yul already has it. But he searches and digs for hours and has quite a trench – but no idol. So he figures it must have been found – or “I’m a complete moron.”
Time for the immunity challenge. The tribes arrive and Jonathan rejoins Aitu. At Probst’s prompting, Jonathan says he spent a lot of time looking and dug a big hole. He adds, “I think I know where it was… but it ain’t there now.”
Probst describes the challenge: They will race to assemble stepping poles. They will then use those to transfer two tribe members from one large platform in the water to another. All eight tribe members will then swim out to one very small tower. First tribe to get all eight to the tower with both feet on or above the top deck wins.
And they’re off! Both tribes rush to start building the poles. Aitu seems to have a good system, with Raro falling behind. In fact, Aitu has all three poles in the water first. Raro gets in the water a little bit behind, but not much.
The lead evaporates as the poles start to fall apart. Whoops! Jenny is first on the poles for Raro, Jessica doing the same for Aitu. Basically, the other tribe members are holding the poles straight up in the water (in other words, it’s not like they fit into some collar on the ground or anything like that). Jenny is squatting down to stay balanced while Jessica is standing straight up with her arms out and seems to be doing a better job of it. Aitu is also using only two poles and switching them one after another as Jessica takes steps, thus eliminating the complicating factor of the third pole. Interesting.
Raro has a small lead, but Jenny keeps getting close to falling. Raro sees the Aitu two-pole strategy and adopts it. Jenny makes it to the second platform and Raro goes back to get Parvati. Jessica seems close enough to jump, but won’t do it. They move the second pole and she takes one more step to make it before Aitu goes back to get Becky.
Aitu is taking bigger steps between the poles to try to make up ground – and it seems to be working as they close the gap. Parvati gets to the platform! All of the tribe climbs up and jumps in to head off to the small tower. Aitu is not far behind.
When I say the tower is small, I mean that maybe two people could stand on it reasonably – but they have to get all eight up there! Raro is on the tower and trying to figure out how to get everybody on or above the platform. Aitu is doing the same until Cao Boi falls off. Raro is one person away before almost the entire tribe goes into the drink!
Aitu is trying to figure out how to do it. They’re close, with only two feet left to get onto or above the platform. At this point, I’m wondering how long they need to be above the platform. Can they just pull their feet up, declare victory, and all fall down? Doesn’t matter, as the owners of the feet (in that mass of people, I have no idea whose they are) are pulled up for long enough for Probst to declare Aitu the winners, then they jump into the water.
Aitu celebrates, but Raro is not happy. Nate is positively pissed, slapping the water. Stephannie just sits atop the tower, looking depressed.
Raro returns to camp, trying to cheer each other up. Cristina wanders off and immediately the plotting against her begins. There seems to be a general consensus in favor of booting her. In fact, Jenny calls it “unanimous.” They’re all annoyed by her talking a big game but not performing around camp.
But then Stephannie opens up her mouth again and tells Nate she could see herself going home to get some mashed potatoes and gravy. Oy. Will she never learn? Nate wonders if this means she’s done, especially after her comment last episode admitting she was the weakest link.
Nate tells the other guys what Stephannie said. Brad says she’s already “mentally checked out.” He relates it to Parvati, who says she’ll think about it. Parvati talks to Stephannie, asking if she wants to stay in the game. Yes, she does. So Parvati mentions the mashed potatoes comment. Stephannie laughs and says it’s amazing how things can be taken out of context. Parvati lectures her on something she should already know by now – that if she slips up and says something, they’re going to use it against her (I presume the “they” in question are the guys).
Stephannie tells us she needs to just keep her mouth shut. Agreed! She says she was just having fun and didn’t expect Nate to turn it into a big deal. She wants to be there, but she won’t beg.
Parvati relates the discussion to Rebecca and Adam and says she doesn’t think Stephannie said what Nate claims. She states, “I’m voting my conscience.”
And that voting will take place soon – but not before Tribal Council. They arrive and Probst begins the questioning with Adam. Why is the tribe not doing well at challenges? Adam says they are improving and their communication is better. They were “dominating” until the end. Uh, not really – you had a small lead. Anyway, Adam is proud of them and says they’ll be fine.
Who does Brad get along with best? He gets along with everybody. He wishes he could say he doesn’t like a certain person, but he can’t. Where does Stephannie think she fits in the group? She says she hasn’t formed any close-knit bonds with anyone, though she’s friendly with them all. When she’s needed, she’s three; when she’s not, she’s not.
Nate is asked about the vote against J.P., who was deemed “bossy.” Is there more harmony now or is there a new boss in town? He says Cristina can sometimes be a little overbearing and dominating.
Probst calls it “a big batch of brutal honesty” and Cristina says she never knew they felt that way. She says it may be because of her normal environment, which is around police officers. She didn’t mean to offend and it’s done. Maybe too late, officer.
Does Adam think the tribe has been honest with each other? He does – he thought Cristina knew she was that way. Does Rebecca think the tribe should be more candid with one another. Oooh, I’ll answer: Hell no! Look what that’s done for Stephannie twice now! But Rebecca says she’ll know better after tonight, because this is the most honest thing that’s come out of Tribal Council. So she’ll see how it goes back at camp.
With that, it’s time to vote. Cristina votes against Stephannie with nothing bad to say. Stephannie returns the favor, saying, “just because.” And those are the only two votes we see.
Probst tallies and reads the votes: Cristina, Stephannie, Stephannie, Stephannie (uh oh), Stephannie (buh-bye), Stephannie. I guess Parvati’s conscience said “Stephannie,” as did everybody else. One thing is certain: Cristina lucked out big time that Stephannie opened her big mouth again. And thus the curse of Billy is (barely) broken.
In her last words, Stephannie says she would have loved to stay in the game a little longer. But if your mind’s not completely there 100%, then your tribe will feel that you don’t want to be a weak link. She had wonderful tribemates and is thankful for the experience – she wouldn’t trade it for the world. But maybe for some mashed potatoes and gravy. OK, that last sentence was mine, not hers.
Next week: Tribal Council repercussions from the statements about Cristina. And Cao Boi has some weird dream about spirits and the immunity idol. Also, both tribes will vote somebody out. I’ll be there – hope you’ll join me!
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David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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