Surviving the Cook Islands, Episode 7: Out of the Loopby David Bloomberg -- 11/03/2006
Previously on Survivor, we saw what we’d seen before – and a little more – on a recap episode. But the week before that, Cao Boi tried to institute Plan Voodoo but instead saw Plan Deep-Doodoo as he left. Cristina couldn’t dig her way out of her difficulties either and she was likewise sent home. I held off on posting my usual columns until the two-week period between new episodes was almost up. But hopefully you’ve seen Why Cao Boi Lost and Why Cristina Lost. If not, go check ‘em out now – I’ll wait.
Meanwhile, in other previous news, Nate was kidnapped by Aitu and will stay with them through the reward challenge. That should prove interesting, though I still think they should have kidnapped Cristina just to put Raro into a tailspin and ruin their strategy.
We begin this week at Aitu the morning after Tribal Council. Nate is comparing the flora between the camps. He tells us he’s honored that they picked him to come over, and Jonathan starts asking him questions about what he’s good at, presumably so they can put him to good use at the reward challenge. Nate tells us he feeds them a few nuggets of information but nothing worthwhile, at the same time keeping his own eyes open to what’s going on around him.
And what is going on around him? A discussion about Cao Boi being voted off. Jessica is annoyed that she was not included in what was going to be happening, as she thought people were going with Plan Voodoo. She wants to know from people what’s going to happen next. Nate is just sitting back and taking it all in.
Candice, Yul, and Becky discuss what Jessica said. Candice thinks they need to come up with a story. Um, what kind of story? You voted out Cao Boi. I think she already knows the ending. Yul is just upset that she talked about it in front of Nate. But we already knew that, because we’ve seen this in a “next time on Survivor” clip for two weeks in a row.
The three of them move on to discussing what the order of voting off will be. Apparently it’s Ozzy, Jessica, Jonathan, then Sundra. The reason for Jonathan going before Sundra is because they feel a merge is getting closer and Jonathan will be a tougher competitor in individual challenges.
As we cut to the “opening” credits and theme song, let me just say that I really dislike this new method of putting new stuff before the theme. They used to run just the “previously” stuff. This is annoying. I don’t like it.
Moving on, we’re back at Aitu and it’s day 16. They have a clue for the reward challenge that tells them to go through a catalog and choose two items – apparently, those are the reward if they win. Some of the possibilities are a collection of oil and spices, sewing kit, peanut butter, potatoes, bread, etc.
Over at Raro, Brad is “trying to be the voice of reason” in picking which rewards they should try to get – he wants potatoes and peanut butter for their nutritional value, presumably. But most of the others would rather have bread.
The tribes show up at the challenge to find Jeff Probst awaiting them. He tells them each tribe will select three swimmers and two puzzle-makers. On go, the first swimmer will grab a club, swim out to a platform, climb to the top, and then leap off the platform. While in mid-air, they have to smash a plaster box, releasing a key. They have to dive underwater to get the key and swim back to shore. There are six keys in total, and each swimmer must swim out at least one time, and can only get one key at a time.
The two puzzle-makers will then use the keys to open six locks on a chest. Inside the chest are puzzle pieces. The first tribe to assemble a puzzle map of the world wins reward.
Raro chose to play for bread and peanut butter. Aitu chose potatoes and peanut butter. I guess Brad wishes he could be on Aitu. Anyway, Aitu is sitting out Jessica, Sundra, and Nate. Probst asks if he’s reading the situation right – they took Nate so he couldn’t compete for Raro, but they don’t trust him to compete for Aitu. Nobody answers, Jonathan just kind of shrugs. In other words, yes, Probst got it right. Nate will rejoin Raro after the challenge. So then I would say it’s perfectly logical not to let Nate compete – why would he try to make the tribe he’s going back to lose?!
Oh, by the way, the winners send a member of the losing tribe to Exile Island.
Rain starts to fall as the competition is ready to begin. The swimmers for Aitu are Ozzy (duh), Candice (who is shivering), and Yul. For Raro, it’s Rebecca, Parvati, and Adam.
And they’re off! Ozzy hits the water and flings his club ahead of him so he can swim with two free hands. Smart man! Rebecca tries to swim with it and quickly falls behind – although, frankly, I think Ozzy could swim with a club in both hands and he’d still outpace just about anybody else.
Ozzy gets onto the platform and smashes the box. He dives under to grab the key and swims back while Rebecca is just arriving at the platform. Yul heads out as Rebecca breaks her first box. But she swims back without the key! What the?
Yul is on the platform and smashes a box. He has Aitu’s second key and actually passes Rebecca in the water to make it back before she does. Meanwhile, on the beach, Nate asks Brad why he isn’t swimming; Brad says he’s better at puzzles. Yeah, but I bet he isn’t worse at swimming than Rebecca!
Candice heads out as Rebecca drags herself onto the beach with enough of her top out of place that her chest needs to be blurred and Becky calls out for her to pull it down. Candice is at the platform while Rebecca stumbles up the beach to tag in Adam. He swims out and starts looking for Rebecca’s key, already in the water. But Candice is already breaking a box and looking for Aitu’s third key, but she’s having difficulty and comes back without it. Wow, I just don’t understand this “give it up” strategy being employed by both tribes.
Parvati heads out for Raro and breaks a box. Ozzy goes back out for Aitu and realizes Candice couldn’t find the key ‘cus she didn’t break the box all the way and it’s still in there. But he thought he was looking in the water, so he didn’t bring a club! So he gets on the platform and busts the box with his fist!
Ozzy comes back with the third key and Parvati brings back Raro’s second. Yul and Adam get to the platform at roughly the same time, but Adam finds his key before Yul. Raro is gaining some ground, but they’re still almost a full key behind.
Parvati goes back out and gets Raro’s fourth key. Candice gets Aitu’s fifth pretty easily. Adam goes back for Raro while Ozzy does likewise for Aitu. Adam has the fifth key and Parvati heads out again. Ozzy brings back key number six, so Jonathan and Becky get to work.
Parvati breaks the box but the key doesn’t fall. At least she realizes it, rather than swimming around for a while first. On her second leap, she gets the sixth key. Becky and Jonathan have a bit of trouble with the puzzle, but a light bulb goes on for Becky and she quickly realizes where the pieces go. Aitu wins!
Nate is sent back to Raro, where he receives a welcoming hug. Aitu then sends Adam to Exile Island. I was thinking they should send Nate, so he doesn’t have time to pass along any secrets.
Aitu returns to camp and enjoy their peanut butter. Apparently it’s laced with alcohol, because they’re all acting drunk! Candice says she’s in love with all of them (good thing Billy didn’t hear that) and actually kisses Jessica! Jessica tells us she hopes they continue to grow as a tribe and work some things out – you never know, things change constantly in the game.
At Raro, the mood is not quite as happy. Nate consoles Rebecca, saying at least she stepped to the plate. Is that a shot at Brad? Sure sounded like one. Rebecca says her body is just done, she couldn’t even complete a swim. She blames herself.
Nate is frustrated because he couldn’t compete and they really could have used him. Brad again defends his choice to be the puzzle-maker. Nate says they needed his swimming, but Brad says they keep choking at the end and he’s good at puzzles. Nobody seems to be buying it. Nate straight-out says he’s pissed off and doesn’t know what the problem was – Brad was cold, didn’t want to get wet, or is a “Nancy-boy.” Um. Wow, that’s rude.
Jenny and Parvati talk in the same vein, with Jenny getting really bitchy about it. Then again, Brad was the only person who sided with Cristina, so I’m sure that has something to do with it. Parvati says she’s so angry she wants to punch Brad in the mouth. Yikes.
Over at Exile Island, Adam says he’s starting to doubt his tribe. “Challenge after challenge, they just don’t come through. It’s hard to soar like an eagle when you’re surrounded by turkeys.” Hmmm. I wonder how good a swimmer Cristina is compared to Rebecca. Just thinking out loud.
A storm moves in and Adam tries to hunker down in a rickety shelter made up of pieces of the faux shipwreck. Adam complains about the rain and wind, but the guy I feel bad for is the cameraman, who has to stay out in the storm and film Adam!
The next day, Ozzy comes walking into camp carrying a bird he caught. There is some debate as to whether or not they should eat it. The vote goes against the bird and Yul takes it out to make it into a meal.
Ozzy goes out to climb some coconut trees as Candice describes him as part man, part fish, part monkey. She’s in awe of his abilities to bring them food, and even sighs heavily as she’s talking about how great he is. Yul seems to agree as he also tells us how great Ozzy is – but at the same time, they feel they should get rid of him while they can.
Ozzy, Jessica, and Candice settle in to some hammocks and discuss the future. Candice tries to avoid answering questions about what the plan is. Jessica asks if she really trusts Jonathan. Ozzy says the three of them could make a strong alliance if they bring somebody else in. He points out that if he gets voted out, they’re going to be short on food. Food will start to become an issue. Candice appears to be thinking about this, but who really knows?
The tribes show up at the immunity challenge and are joined by Adam. Probst notes that it’s safe to say Adam had the worst night ever on Exile Island. Adam says the storm was tough and he was in pain.
Probst explains the challenge. Each tribe races to arrange a series of logs from shortest to tallest. This makes a staircase to the top of a tower. Then the tribe has to go onto the tower and three tribe members head down a zipline into the water to retrieve a bag of puzzle pieces. The three remaining tribe members use the pieces to solve a puzzle. I wonder which part of the challenge Brad will do! Aitu sits out Jonathan.
And they’re off! People run to the logs to drag or carry them to the holes. Ozzy and Yul start laying them down so they can figure out which log goes where. But on Raro the guys debate which log is longest.
Aitu has their staircase and all six head up. Yul is the first on the zipline. Into the water he goes while Raro still works on their staircase. They have it finished but Yul is already heading back to shore with a bag.
Brad is the first one down the zipline for Raro. Imagine that. He grabs a bag and heads back as Yul reaches shore and Candice hits the water. Brad makes it back and Parvati zips down.
Candice is back and Ozzy flies down. Parvati is slow in returning to shore as Probst notes that Raro is losing ground on the swimming leg… “again.” Ozzy makes up even more time, but that’s a given.
Parvati makes it back and Nate is in the water as Ozzy returns to shore. The three Aitus head up a rope ladder to the platform to hand off the puzzle pieces. The other three start on the puzzle as Nate gets back to the beach. They have a good lead before the Raros can even start working on the puzzle.
But Raro is making pretty good progress on the puzzle and it’s damn close! In fact, I think Raro’s going to pull it out! And they do! Raro wins! Unbelievable!
Back at Aitu camp after the loss, Jonathan (who was a bystander) says it’s not like Raro handed them their asses – not like the way they tend to beat Raro. Ozzy feels bummed that somebody has to go home, but he doesn’t think it will be him.
Candice and Jessica are carrying water, with Jessica asking questions and Candice insisting she doesn’t know what will happen. Candice says the debate on who to vote out is between Jonathan, Jessica, and Ozzy. Ozzy brings in a lot of food and does well in challenges. Jessica drives people crazy with her constant paranoia. And Jonathan is on the cusp in their alliance because people don’t really trust him. Sounds to me like Jessica is in the most danger.
But she’s giving it a go, as now she’s talking to Sundra. But Sundra is no dummy – she knows Jessica is trying to be everybody’s friend and is bothering them all “like a mosquito that won’t die.”
To illustrate this point some more, we see her tag-team with Ozzy on Becky to try to convince her to go after Jonathan. They make the point that they can win challenges without Jonathan, and Becky seems to think that’s a good point.
Meanwhile, Candice and Sundra meet up with Jonathan on the beach as he’s coming back from either a swim or an attempt at fishing. Candice says there was a funky vibe and camp and they wanted to get the hell outta there. Jonathan says the decision is whether to keep Ozzy, depending on how long it will be before the merge. So maybe it’s time to take out Jessica.
Jonathan tells us that people already think he’s thinking too much, playing too much. But he’s trying to pick his battles and stay one step ahead. But he recognizes he may trip.
Jonathan talks to Yul. Later, Ozzy talks to Yul. Ozzy doesn’t think of Jonathan as really a potential competitor but rather as somebody who’s always plotting and scheming. Hmmm. He never gives any information, he only asks questions.
Yul tells us that Jonathan inspires distrust in pretty much everybody. Oh, that’s not a good sign. That includes people within the alliance. Oh, that’s a worse sign. Yul hasn’t seen it, but acknowledges that everybody else’s suspicions rub off on him.
As the tribe prepares for Tribal Council, Jessica thanks them all for being up-front and honest, even though nobody seems to know how the vote will go. To me, that’s an even worse sign than the two with Jonathan. If you don’t know how the vote will go, odds are it’s going against you!
So they arrive at Tribal Council and Probst begins the grilling. He notes to Jonathan that at the beginning of the game, they were divided based on race. But the tribe now has at least one member from each of the original tribes, and yet Probst doesn’t have any sense that race plays any part. Is he surprised? Nope. It’s the game of Survivor. They’re all here to play it and some connections have held while others disappeared based on personality, not ethnicity.
Sundra agrees that you can’t plan who you’re going to bond with while others won’t gel. When you can’t get along with somebody, you try to find a common ground.
Jessica says in general they all get along with each other, but some more than others. She likes to go out fishing with Ozzy, the girls do their things in camp, while Jonathan and Yul go clamming.
Probst tells Yul that whenever he asks Jessica a question, she gives a “delightful” answer that’s all sunshine and roses, but provides no info on how it impacts the game. He says it’s nice to have somebody like that because they’re not a threat. They’re not trying to undermine you or outscheme you or backstab you.
It’s been brought up a lot that Ozzy is a provider. Is there a point in the game where you can provide too much and become a threat? He says he hopes not – he wants to make everyone fat! Heh. He’s never been in a position of being the hunter, and it’s kind of nice to know he holds that little bit of responsibility. If that ends up being his demise, then it’s the best way he can think of to go out.
With that, it’s time to vote. Jonathan votes against Jessica, saying he really admires her spirit but she would have been more comfortable with another group of people. Jessica returns the favor, saying she didn’t trust him before and she’s not going to start now.
Probst tallies and reads the votes: Jonathan, Jessica, Jessica, Jessica, and… Jessica. Like I said, if you don’t think there’s a plan, then there is a plan and you are the target!
In closing, Probst says some meaningless words about momentum and sends the tribe back to camp.
In her final words, Jessica says it’s been the adventure of a lifetime and she couldn’t have asked for anything more. She guesses she wasn’t playing the game as hard as she should have, but it’s hard for her to change who she is when she just wants to be herself. She wishes Ozzy good luck and says she’ll be rooting for him. She ends by saying she has great memories and is thankful for the experience.
Next week on Survivor: Brad loses Raro’s trust. But a surprise twist could change everything as Probst tells them they have ten seconds to decide whether or not they want to change their fate in the game. Does that mean the potential for a voluntary tribal swap? Could be!
But until we know, I encourage you to stop by RealityNewsOnline every day to read our commentary articles!
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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