Editor's note: Okay, okay, we can see why Jeff Probst liked this season now, even though the pre-merge episodes were unrelentingly awful. Still, even as entertaining as the past five episodes have been, think of how great this season might have been if they'd actually had two competent tribes, instead of just one. *Sigh* But instead of dwelling on what could have been, we'll re-focus our attention on what we have, as told by the brilliant vote-avoiding (both casting and receiving) mastery of...
This week's guest voice: Contestant E.
As you may already be aware, when it comes to pirouetting through the hazards and machinations of the electoral system we refer to as "Tribal Council," I have developed something of a reputation as The Artful Vote Dodger. I flutter, I roll, I masterfully avoid both being voted out from the game, and voting others out of the game. It's historic! (Seriously, you can look it up.) Some of my detractors may attempt to cast me in more negative light, accusing me of being some sort of "bad luck" charm, whose alliancemates are constantly getting voted out. Superstitious poppycock! It was merely a coincidence that Allie, Hope, Matt, Corinne, Michael, Malcolm, Reynold, and Andrea have all been voted out. Not my doing! Nonetheless, this episode tested my abilities in ways that even I, Ed E. Fox, Super Genius, had not anticipated.
Curse you, Acme™ Corporation!
When we returned from the previous episode's Tribal Council, in which my "bro," "amigo," and alliance partner Malcolm was (through a remarkable stroke of wholly unpredictable chance) removed from the game, I was briefly concerned. For some reason, the Acme™ Immunity Idol I had requested had failed to reach me in time. When I used my coconut phone to call the company and enquire as to the status of my order, I was met with stone silence. Luckily, I quickly realized my error: while I had requested same-day shipping, I recalled that sometimes, packages may take up to 72 hours to leave the distribution center. My reticent interlocutor did not seem particularly amused at my jest that, (whoops!) my package was located right here, in my undergarments, where it usually resides. Not even a chuckle! Someday, I shall deduct a star from my Yelp! endorsement of their products, due to their customer service department's continuing lack of appreciation for fine comedy. But tonight, I instead turned to my allies, and applied my rapier strategic acumen to this predicament.
Andrea and Reynold seemed quite amenable to forming a final three alliance with me, replacing my previous Three Amigos collective. Smiles all around! With that settled, I retired to another restful evening of calculating the speed of expansion of the universe, based on the meticulous measurements of stellar locations I have been making whilst reclining on the beach.
Curse you, Red Baron!
There were howls of lamentation from several of our group once we learned that our next test of agility was to be undertaken for the purposes of immunity, in place of reward. Not from me, of course, I had little time for such outbursts. Instead, I immediately began calculating the odds of extracting reward from an otherwise dimly winnable competition. I found them quite favorable.
When we arrived at the site of our aquatic adventure, I examined the floating triangular structures, and images leapt to me, unbidden, of a leather-helmed beagle, shaking its fist at a German aviator. As I considered it further, the beagle metamorphosed into a desert dweller, Canis latrans, licking its lips at the prospect of juicy roadrunner. Even in my debilitated state, I could discern that these visions were telling me I needed some nourishment, post-haste. And in mere moments after our competition began, such sustenance presented itself. Donuts, in all their splendor! Representing both the endless, unbroken surface of the torus, as well as the simple perfection of the numeral zero. Oh, but it would not do to partake of this rare delicacy alone. I swiftly ensnared the ideal companion: Erik. Yes, Erik, hero and friend to all, enemy of none. He would be my shield, protecting me from the donutless enmity of our companions, as I sat and indulged.
Later, my laughable competitor, Cochran, having failed to concoct a similar scheme to allay himself of criticism for indulging in some processed meat product, had to beg our fellows' forgiveness. At times, I pity his inferior intellect. Suffice it to say, his entreaties did not meet with willing purchase. In the end, one of my closest confidantes, Andrea, won both immunity and a clue to additional safety within the game, cementing the security of our bond. Truly, my mastery of the subtleties of this dance is unrivaled.
Curse you, incalculable random misfortune!
Once we returned to camp, I dispatched Andrea on a quest for her additional immunity. In order to avoid arousing suspicion, Reynold and I elected to play no part in the search, and I encouraged my catspaw, Andrea, to enlist the aid of her fellow favorites, including my trusted shield, Erik. In no time, the talisman was unearthed, and we were off to enact my complicated, but eminently sophisticated voting plan.
Which was as follows: As a show of solidarity, fraternity, and sportsmanship, everyone would vote for the person whose name came next, alphabetically. Thus, I would vote for Erik, Reynold for Sherri, and so on. Everyone would receive one vote, except poor Brenda, who would be stuck with two (thanks to Andrea's immunity win). Andrea would then give her hidden idol to Brenda, canceling those votes out, leading to a six-way tie! Then we would revote, and Andrea and Brenda would vote against poor, unwitting Cochran. (He was told that Reynold would be the victim, hee hee!) It was foolproof in its elegant mastery.
But alas, as oft occurs when great intellects are tasked with guiding the weaker-minded to their ideal outcomes, at some point the lesser members of our group became confused, or simply lost sight of their tasks. To be fair, Reynold and I did, for our own amusement, swap our vote targets. But for some reason, Erik apparently thought that my name followed his alphabetically, Andrea forgot to play her idol, and Lord knows what the likes of Brenda and Sherri were thinking. Probably nothing, I would imagine. Thus did poor Reynold fall prey to the vagaries of poor memory and cruel, unpredictable fate. Fare thee well, faithful amigo.
Curse you, disappearing ladder!
As you can undoubtedly surmise, as a rule I prefer to refrain from melodramatic hyperbole. But Reynold's departure caught me off guard. One second, it seemed as if we were marching, bro arm in bro arm, across a rock-hewn bridge to victory. Then, as I looked down momentarily, I discovered the bridge had disappeared, and I began plummeting to a distant canyon floor, far below. That Cochran fellow even turned, glancing askance, extended his tongue, and uttered something like "Meep! Meep!" Or perhaps that was merely a dream I experienced, after Andrea's delicate fingernail caresses set me drifting into somnolent oblivion.
When I awoke, I immediately commenced preparing a new blueprint for success. It involved a few necessary ingredients purchased from the Acme™ Corporation; I'm sure they won't let me down again. Another component required immunity, but that shouldn't be too difficult to acquire, given my track record in previous competitions. The competitive affair itself was pleasingly straightforward: a simple float-and-rope obstacle course, some knots to untie, and a ladder puzzle. As a firefighting enthusiast, ladders are my speciality.
Or so I foresaw. In practice, the puzzle planks were confoundingly lacking in the appropriate endings, limiting my puzzle's progress. In the end, Erik emerged with a protective necklace, and my plans again collapsed beneath me, tossed asunder by my disappearing ladder. The impact they made, crashing below into the distant earth, raised a circular dust cloud, tauntingly reminiscent of the immunity necklace. And donuts. And zeroes.
Very well then, I shall simply need to reformulate my calculations.
Curse you again, still-incalculable tarsier-based misfortune!
Once again forced to rely on my wits and limitless creativity, I rapidly envisioned a brilliant new scheme. Luckily, my Acme™ Trap Kit arrived! It consisted of a series of springs, boulders, levers, and nets, which I hastily assembled at Tribal Council. The plan was simple: Andrea and I were to vote against Brenda, while all the remaining voters would be ensnared in my trap, resulting in a 2-0 victory! Sadly, just as this plot was about to "spring" into action, one of the many tarsiers that infest our location triggered the trap, which, lacking a human-sized counterweight, collapsed in a humiliating heap, just outside the voting area. Worse yet, Acme™ Trap Kits carry a strict no-returns policy. In the end, through some blind luck on their parts, the remaining competitors managed to cobble together three votes against Andrea, ending her showmantic run. Some of them even voted against me! Of course, I managed to escape eviction, once again.
Some of my companions claim the stress of this game is driving them crazy. Maybe this is also happening to me. Or am I just crazy like an Ed. E. Fox, Super Genius? I shall leave that for you, dear reader, to decide.
Recaps and commentary
Exit interviews - Reynold Toepfer and Andrea Boehlke