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Survival of the Quietest
This is where we point out that Mark Burnett, never one to recognize the snoozefest this series was, opted for the ironic title, "No Regrets." Insert sarcastic joke here.
Days 37-39 = August
Sadly, Tom's performances in the Dance Competition were not enough to win him the tiara.
Final episodes of Survivor have historically been a mixed bag.
There was the compelling, surprisingly entertaining drama of the Survivor
1 finale, from Rich's cunning throwing of the final immunity challenge,
to poor Rudy's slip and stunning dismissal, to Susan's rats and snakes
diatribe. Oh yeah, and Rich defying the odds to win. Then
there was the extended torture of the Survivor 2 conclusion, which
inexplicably went with a three-person format, giving Mark Burnett - apparently
inspired by NBC's insipid Sydney Olympics coverage - an extra half-hour
of space in which to pack extended "touching" memories of episodes past.
About the only highlight was Colby's laughable honoring of his vaguely
incestuous bond with Tina, bypassing a certain jury victory over Keith.
And this one eschewed S1's live voting format, opting for a ridiculous
"dramatic" sequence in which Jeff Probst flew the locked ballot box by
helicopter from Australia to L.A., taking six months to arrive, and somehow
landing in L.A. at nighttime, even though there was still plenty of daylight
at this "live" event.
So did Mark Burnett learn from his mistakes, and recapture the drama of his first effort? Well... yes and no. Much of this episode was a carbon copy of the S1 finale, but there were still tell-tale track-marks from S2 that didn't come out in the wash. The title was, after all, "No Regrets," so what could we really expect?
We open, in homage to the tradition of this series, back in the previous episode. Sort of. The four remaining Borans have just gotten back from voting out Teresa. We see Lex putting the immunity necklace on his torch, in exactly the position it was when the torch was shown in episodes 11 and 12, at times when Tom had immunity. Later, we see MamaKim hugging someone, and it's clear she's wearing the immunity necklace (as sharp-eyed viewers HCIsland and MommalovesherColby have noted). This is also a tradition of the series: showing "reality" footage out of chronological sequence. Artistic types might call this "foreshadowing." We prefer the term "false."
Anyway, as an homage to another series staple, everyone is whispering. Except Tom, of course, who is asleep. Clearly, the lesson here is that whoever makes the least noise in the series wins. Apparently the noise of Tom's snoring was lost on the editing room floor, but Lex is whispering animatedly to Ethan about Tom's betrayal of their alliance. MamaKim whispers quietly to Ethan about the same thing. Through it all, Ethan stands there stoically, uttering nary a peep. There's your action series hero, right there. Too bad there wasn't an episode 14: "Ethan stands around by himself and doesn't say anything." That would surely have boosted CBS's ratings.
Eventually, we move into day 37, the first day of the final episode. To tell us that we've made it, MamaKim informs us that they've now been there exactly five weeks, which to most people, works out to 35 days. Hastily, Mark Burnett rushes off to the production assistants, and tells them to toss out the multiplication tables challenge they had set up for today.
Suddenly, the omnipresent Dead Samburu Walking twister pops up, and we know either Tom or Lex is about to be booted. Since it's Tom, we once again get a bunch of footage in which Lex is portrayed as Evil Lex. Lex is paranoid, and takes Tom to task for his betrayal. Tom is forthright about his dislike for Lex, and fires back that the votes he picked up when Lindsey was booted were all Lex's doing. Just as it appears we've stumbled into an episode of Jerry Springer, the three guys are suddenly all friends again, and pledge to not vote against each other until the final three. To make up for their dispute, everyone hikes to the pile of rocks twenty feet away from camp. This is important, because it allows Mark Burnett to suggest that these people spent a lot of time interacting with the African environment, rather than sitting around camp 23 hours a day, arguing with each other. At this point, few viewers are convinced.
Finally, after avoiding actual action for the first twenty minutes of the show, word arrives that, shockingly, the first immunity challenge of the finale will be eactly the same as in the two previous series: the time-tested favorite, Fallen Comrades. This challenge allows Mark Burnett to hand-pick an immunity winner by asking trivia questions about former tribesmates that only one of the contestants could possibly know. Hearing this, a revelatory cloud darkens the clear blue expanse of Tom's mind: it's a mental game, and "I'm not that strong." True, Tom did none too well on the challenges requiring agility, either, but Tom is permitted only one revelation per day. Everyone comes to the conclusion that maybe, just maybe, MamaKim might actually win a challenge.
At the challenge, they prove the accuracy of their self-fulfilling prophecy. Nobody seems to recall Frank's Army rank. "Who was Frank again?" asks Lex, confused. "Was he really on this show?" Tom tries to cover for his lack of memory by putting his answers in the form of an illegible series of scribbles. When Jeff Probst picks up on this strategy, Tom explains "Ah writes the way ah talks. Ah ain't gonna change. Plus, ah'm drunk ag'in."
After seven questions, everyone is tied, except Ethan, who is one point back. So it all comes down to the final question: "What did MamaKim say to Kelly when they were whispering at the merge immunity challenge?" After this stumps everyone, they try another: "What color is MamaKim's favorite?" Sadly, everyone guesses this correctly. Time for one final try at getting MamaKim to win: "Kelly, who was closest to MamaKim, felt uncomfortable being partially dressed in front of the guys... does she have any piercings?" Shockingly, MamaKim gets this, wins immunity, and everyone votes against Tom. Even poor, intoxicated Tom, who is corrected by the producers, and is given a nice, clean ballot with the letters "LEX" neatly printed. In his final words, Tom pledges to spend the rest of his life as a peace-loving hippie.
Back at camp, the three remaining contestants are woken up by Jeff Probst a few short hours later. Somehow, despite his own warnings, Lex has managed to contract amoebic dysentery, and has taken the long hike with the shovel a dozen times since Tribal Council. Jeff informs them that times a-wastin', they'd better get moving, since they have to feign interest in Samburu tribal customs for a few hours, then stand on logs for a few hours more before Lex gets another bathroom break. But first, it's time to fill air space with haunting remembrances of the other 13 losers Lex will soon be joining.
After being greased up and jumping around for a while, the Survivors get to their final challenge, also taken directly from the Survivor 1 finale: Hands On the Idol, which involves standing motionless for hours at a time, holding onto a pole. Seeing this from the studio in L.A., Brandon curses under his breath, "Dammit, I was made for that challenge." So, it appears, was MamaKim. Exciteable, diarrhetic Lex quivers and twitches atop his posts. So does Ethan, until the cameraman vomits in front of him, and he leaps out of the way, taking him out of the game (we're mostly not making that part up). Ethan expresses mock disappointment at this development, then relaxes in the same assured confidence that Richard Hatch did after pulling out of his challenge. It's the retiree versus the guy who can barely stand up. He likes his chances, and resumes his usual activity of being quiet.
Three and a third hours pass, the temperature tops the century mark, and Lex is visibly straining against taking another dump. Meanwhile, MamaKim looks as if she's just pulled out the footrest on the Barcalounger. Eventually, the urge to purge is just too much for Lex, and the unthinkable has happened: MamaKim has won two consecutive immunity challenges, and she's going to the final two. And we stress the two part, because despite all the favorale editing Mark Burnett has been doing for her this episode, everyone in America knows that Ethan has this vote in the bag.
Still, for MamaKim there is the formality of actually going to tribal council and booting Lex. That and appearing to be upset about the decision, so that the jury inches ever so slightly more in your favor (that would be: one person considering voting for you over Ethan, versus none). So it's off to tribal council, and the only real question is: Will Big Tom continue the new jury member tradition of wearing a skirt to your first tribal council. Sadly, the answer is no. And after all the effort they went through to get Frank to participate! So, anyway, MamaKim goes through the motions of appearing torn over her decision, Jeff Probst goes through the motions of "tallying" her one vote, and Lex goes through the motions of taking the walk of shame. Luckily, there was a porta-potty at the end of it. Overcome with the dramality of it all, Brandon gently weeps.
Now we're entering the home stretch. We see MamaKim and Ethan milling around the camp. Unlike in seasons past, this stuff is getting auctioned off on e-bay, so they can't ritually destroy it. But we do get to see a lengthy exposition of their autographing of the water cooler. (In 20-20 hindsight, it's too bad the props from the first two series couldn't have been auctioned, and all of this stuff burned, but if selling these "artifacts" means some good can come from this series, we're glad the people behind the show came up with this idea).
Anyway, the final tribal council is approaching, and the outcome is obvious, so it's time for one more dose of misdirection, for old times' sake. KimP talks about how playing the game is important to her vote. This is a little mysterious, since KimP never visibly appeared to be playing the game herself. Lex swears that it's "anyone's game." By this he means, of course, Survivor 4. Meanwhile, back at camp, there's a lot of hugging and hand-holding going on between MamaKim and Ethan, and...
We politely cut to the Tribal Council. Ahem. Yes, well, it's important that the jurors take their responsibility very seriously here, because at least one person has to cast their ballot for MamaKim, otherwise the producers might have to resort to their usual tactic of slipping in old footage to make the vote seem dramatic. First, the two contestants address the jurors. Ethan announces he's achieved his goal of being nice. MamaKim levels her steely subliminal gaze at Frank, and says the jurors have helped her be all she can be, and made her an Army of one.
Next the jurors ask questions. Brandon's first up, and uncovers the depths of Ethan's confidence by asking him who he'd least like to see in the final two. Ethan, figuring he has a unanimous vote anyway, takes the bait and says simply, "You. Please vote for MamaKim. Someone has to." The rest of the questions fall along the lines of: "Please say something nice to make the people on the jury feel better about themselves." MamaKim meets these demands handily, laying it on extra thick for KimP. Tears cascading down her face, KimP says, "Oh, what the hell, I like your name, so I'll vote for you too." Kelly and Tom, however, will have none of it. Auditioning for a post-Survivor career in Hollywood, Kelly tries her best to quote Susan Hawk's rats-and-snakes speech while appearing sincere, later quoting The Graduate while voting. Tom, meanwhile, appears to have a beef with MamaKim's cooking, and doesn't care who knows it.
Finally, it's time for the actual voting. Jeff Probst reminds the jurors, and we're not naming anyone in particular here, Big Tom, that they have to vote for someone, not against them, this time. They cast their votes fairly uneventfully, except poor KimP, who is stuck for several hours, trying to remember how to spell "Kim." Tom extends his assault on MamaKim's cooking to her strength, behavior, forthrightness, overall smell, and her ancestry. And a good time was had by all.
After a brief commercial break, we're back in camp to read the votes. Except the sound quality in camp is drastically different, Ethan has shaved, and he and MamaKim each seem to have gained about 30 pounds in the space of five minutes. Jeff Probst reads the votes, and in a stunning turn of events, which 30% of America had foreseen since at least the week before the show started, Ethan Zohn wins Survivor 3. Even though Tom, apparently cranky that he never got to eat Big Red, voted for someone named "Eathen. Bryant Gumbel, however, insists that someone named Ethan Zorn was the actual winner.
Mercifully, Survivor 3 has come to a close. We are at least given a ray of hope that Survivor 4 will be better. It appears, at least superficially, to have avoided the traps that befell the African edition: The contestants will be free to hunt and fish, and may actually be forced to, since they won't be given food (at least until the first reward challenge). They also won't be locked in a boma, as this Big Brother, whoops, Survivor cast was. Whether there will be any new challenges or twists to spice up the game play remains to be seen, but we can at least hope it won't be as bad as this was. Can't we?
Lies, Lies, Lies - Yeah!
The actual title was "Truth Be Told." We just thought our title more accurately reflected Mark Burnett's editing.
Days 34-36 = August
Teresa tries to extend her Shaba stay by attaching MamaKim's head to her shoulders.
There were quite a few themes covered in this episode: boredom, tears,
boredom, hating Lex, liking Lex, hating Lex, and of course, more boredom.
It's easy to see where the boredom comes in - there were four Borans and
one Samburu left, so guess who's getting voted off? Well, if you
believed CBS's previews, it was definitely one of the Boran men.
Thankfully, nobody believes CBS's previews any more, so the entire viewing
public got exactly what they were expecting: a rerun of the second-to-last
episode of Survivor 2. That would be where Elisabeth, the
last of the Kuchas, failed to win both the SUV reward, failed to win a
combination of past challenges, and didn't get the immunity that would
save her from a predictable ousting. And while we would never suggest
that these things are scripted (no, never, not us), this one went according
We open and move to a shot of the immunity necklace hanging on Lex's torch. This is a little odd, since Tom last won immunity, but they showed the same shot immediately after Tom won immunity in the last episode, too. So either Tom can't figure out that his torch is the one with the raccoon testes hanging off of it, or this is some sort of creative "foreshadowing," by which we mean Mark Burnett showing "reality" footage out of chronological order. But we digress. The important thing, as Ethan tells us, in case we have trouble counting to one-hand totals, is that there are five people left. And by five, of course, he means the four Borans sitting around chatting collegially with each other - plus Teresa, who is wandering around the campsite uncomfortably, much like Big Red, the almost-escaped chicken. Both will soon be Lion Tom's dinner.
But first, we need to see the large pile of turds an elephant has left in the water hole. Lex talks at length about this, and rightfully so, because CBS will use this as evidence that he was aware of the risks, should he ever take them to court for his case of amoebic dysentery. Especially once he figures out next week that he didn't win the jury vote (we suspect he will come to this realization a couple of hours after the votes are read... with luck, it may happen before the end of the reunion show). It's also here because, well, Mark Burnett likes putting fecal matter on national TV.
Next, it's time for some misdirection. Usually, this starts in the segment before tribal council, but since there's no chance Teresa wins immunity this week, MB gets a head start. Basically, everyone in Boran, uh... Moto Maji, hates everyone else, so there's no chance they'll vote for Teresa this week. Tom talks about his theory that MamaKim's leathery, hide-like skin comes from her ritual bathing in the elephant toilet water. Being the big man (ahem) he is, Tom has nobly stopped telling her this every day. We think it's actually that they ran out of paper the last week, when MamaKim made cards, so Tom is now forced to communicate with his tribe verbally, and he just got tired of repeating himself enough times for MamaKim to understand. Ethan, for his part, thinks Tom's feet stink. Not as bad as Mama "eau de elephant piss" Kim, mind you, but pretty bad nonetheless.
Tired of sitting around, waiting to die, and suffering the long slow torture of the discussion of Tom's shoes, Big Red makes a break for it. T-bird, seeing the opportunity, thinks if she follows the chicken out of the boma, and only shows up for the challenges and tribal council, the Borans will forget she was there, and vote out one of their own instead. Sadly, Tom swiftly chokes the chicken, and another sparkling Samburu strategy is foiled.
Having beaten the boredom drum for a while, it's time to switch to another trusty Survivor standby: tears. Long-time viewers will note that, Jenna and Kimmi episodes notwithstanding, the fewer the remaining contestants, the greater the percentage of the episode devoted to crying. And this episode is no exception. We start the lachrymation off with letters from home. Lex sobs. Teresa bawls. MamaKim sniffles, then reads a long poem about someone named 'Kippy Grant." Somewhere in America, someone spends way too much money to register the currently available "survivorkippy.com" domain name. Sensing this tragedy in the making, Mama cries again. Teresa reflects happily that soon she will be free of these people.
Now it's time for the traditional Reward Challenge That Gives The Challenge Whore A Really Big Prize. In many cases, this actually backfires. Kelly Wigglesworth had to go on a date with Jeff Probst. Colby got stuck with the first of his two Azteks (on the plus side, he did get that conjugal visit from Mom). For Lex, it's no different. This challenge is mental (at mention of which, Tom yells, "we're screwed!"), in the sense that the placemats kids draw on with crayons at McDonalds are educational conundrums. Yup, it's the Jumble (TM) challenge, slightly altered to include Swahili words, as well as an extremely discrete product placement in the final solution. (Word has it that next season's merged tribe will inexplicably select the tribe name "Cingular Wireless" for themselves). Naturally, Lex finds all twelve words and unscrambles the SUV name in roughly the time it takes Tom to realize that the words on his mini-chalkboard may bear some relationship to the letters in front of him.
Like we said, winning this challenge is not without its downside, and Lex appears to be girding himself for just such an eventuality. But a sincere joy is evident in his voice once he realizes that the wheels and chrome he sees concealed behind a bush do not belong to a Pontiac Aztek. "Hallelujah!" he cries, kissing the ground. Thankfully, this euphoria gets him through the rest of the day, which he has to spend with Jeff Probst, hauling heavy boxes around while his teammates disparage him in his absence. Here, there is a brief flip-flop in the editing, as we learn that "Lex is really a nice guy," as we see him helping HIV-positive orphans, and missing his kids. Meanwhile, we learn that "Ethan is really a petty, whining bastard," as we see him pissed off that there haven't been any soccer-based challenges recently, and missing his curling iron.
With that out of the way, it's back to the misdirection. Everyone, it seems, hates Lex. Tom, who forgets that he broke away from the tribe and voted for Clarence twice, is still smarting that Lex voted with Brandon once. MamaKim, perhaps spliced in from the night prior to the next tribal council, tries frantically to get Ethan not to vote for her, and backstab Lex or Tom. Lex comes back, and tries to interest his buddies with stories of charitably-funded HIV clinics in Africa, to which everyone replies, "Screw you, hippie! Can't you see we're busy talking about how much we hate corn meal, and, uh... you?"
Eventually, after several more minutes promising that Lex will be voted off tonight, the immunity challenge approaches. But not before Teresa reminds us that she's the last Samburu left. O...kay, T-bird. We hadn't noticed. Anyway, this challenge is a combination of all the previous physical challenges, designed to give immunity to the person who is the most well-fed at this point. Colby won this challenge in Survivor 2, and, of course, Lex does so rather handily here.
The previous 45 minutes of obfuscation now obsolete, Mark Burnett now pulls out the stops, switching gears to suggest it's really Tom that's going this week. To clue us in, MamaKim is a party to the plotting, much in the same way that she was a part of the "female alliance" that never materialized in the last episode. Teresa tells Lex that she cast that vote for him way back at the merge, but Tom's been gunning for him. We see vibrant scenes of bug-eyed Lex, forehead vein throbbing, threatening to cut Tom's throat. MamaKim herself derides Tommy's selfish game-playing. Meanwhile, 20 million or so pairs of viewer eyes roll heavenward, and say, "Get on with the Teresa boot, why dontcha?"
At the tribal council, Jeff Probst tries to distract from the obvious by saying, "Hey everyone! Let's stare at Kelly's chest." Tom's speech is spliced in digitally from the episode in which Lindsey got booted. Frank, now clean-shaven, shows to America that you can't trust anyone from Odessa, NY (where they claimed he returned with a full beard). Finally, Teresa tries the last-ditch attempt of trying to convince Tom that he doesn't remember she was originally a Samburu. After a few minutes of thoughtful braying, Tommy concludes that he forgives her original tribe, but by God he had to live in that slum while she was enjoying a carefree life in Boran, so he won't forget. Teresa joins her fellow brilliant Samburu strategists, who a mere four episodes ago should have had an unbeatable 4-3 majority, on the jury. Is it over yet? Nah, one more week.
This is getting pretty Boran.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, the real title was something about Buster's Excellent Adventure, or something. Oh yeah, "The Big Adventure." Big deal.
Days 31-33 = August
do y'all think about a female alliance?
Reality TV has come to Christmas, and bowing to tradition, Mark Burnett
has taken his lump of coal, concealed it in a festive box, wrapped it
in pretty paper, and tied it up with an attractive bow. With six
people left, four of whom were originally on the Boran tribe, the "suspense"
aspect of the show, with respect to who gets booted, has largely become
obsolete: The straggling Samburus, Teresa and KimP, are dead meat.
Not that that has stopped Burnett and CBS in their obfuscatory campaign
of misinformation. It is, after all, Christmas, the time for lies
and deception, and hoping, wishing for phantom benefactors that just aren't
In the previews for this episode, CBS played up a snippet of a discussion between Boran's MamaKim and Teresa, putatively a secret plot to form an all-female alliance, breaking up the Boran juggernaut, and allowing the two women in question to reach the final three. In context, of course, this was a waterless fish of a scene, flipping around pathetically on the ground, gasping the horrible, horrible air. Just as on every other Survivor series, MamaKim stuck with her original tribe, there was no suspense, and the majority of the episode was instead an extended experiment in "Let's get Tom drunk again, and see how much screen time we can milk out of it!"
Not that this is not an entertaining way to waste thirty or so minutes, but the lingering hangover of CBS's propaganda campaign reveals what people around the country figured out a while ago: Survivor is rapidly becoming little more than The Real World in some foreign country, with slightly less food, and older, less-attractive castmembers. It's largely an exercise in putting random people in embarassing situations, and rolling the tape as the hilarity unfolds. The strategy-filled machinations people initially found intriguing have all but disappeared, and the "game show" aspect of the series is becoming as stagnant as the tribe's turd-infested water hole. One tribe gains a majority over the other, and the post-merge shows are simply the dominant tribe picking off the weaker one. Ho hum.
But this episode did make up for its shortcomings by tossing in a little ho ho ho. For once, the editing dispenses with reactions to the previous tribal council vote, and opens directly in the first morning of the episode's filming. Since Frank is gone, everyone is asleep. And in record time, we leap directly to the reward challenge. Fittingly for an episode aired during a family-oriented holiday period, this one involves extensive tear-jerking by way of videos from the contestant's families back home. Of course, this was more touching back in the second series, when the contestants actually got to interact with their families through an internet cafe hookup, but who's counting?
Each contestant, and a chosen family member, has to answer several questions: Most embarassing moment, least-liked personal attribute, biggest fear, greatest achievement. If the family member lists the same embarassing personal detail as the Survivor, a point is awarded. Most points wins a luxury safari with food and drink aplenty. On the plus side, the taped responses do set up uniquely funny situations, as the greedy contestants curse the very people they were just crying over, for the crime of not knowing their most intimate secrets, or at least, not having the audacity to broadcast them on national TV. Highlights included KimP revealing her desire for the Tina Wesson Memorial post-Survivor breast augmentation surgery, only to have her secret shame be trumped by her own Mom telling her, "Waitta second, Missy, you've got much bigger problems than your flat chest!"
Through it all, Lex and his wife seem to share more than just their tattoos, and match answers on three questions. Tom and MamaKim come a close second with two, and as Lex rips Jeff Probst's Visa card (TM) from his hands, he bows to the producer's wishes, and takes Tom along with him, since everybody else would be duller than an overused butter knife, and they have a half hour of the show to fill.
And boy does he deliver! As luck would have it, this week's special guest playing the role of Tom Buchanan is Dr. Gonzo himself, reclusive outlaw journalist Hunter S. Thompson. In a remarkable coincidence, Mr. Thompson is also completely unintelligible without subtitles, and he's not even Southern. How about that? Anyway, Lex and Tom are whisked away to a luxurious safari resort (by which we mean, of course, a tent on what appears to be Astroturf, somewhere in the middle of Kenya). Upon arriving they demonstrate that, in Kenya, you can steal anyone's Visa card and use it to purchase copious amounts of food and liquor, and nobody will ever ask you for a picture ID, or check your signature against the one on the back. Budding thieves, take note.
After stuffing themselves, the Bosom Boran Buddies hustle over so that Tom can check out the nads on that wildebeest over yonder. Then it's back to more food and drink. Tommy unhinges his jaw, and consumes 50% of Kenya's national food supply in one sitting. For dessert, he empties the national liquor cabinet. Most likely after siphoning off Kenya's entire stock of ether, he then proceeds to hallucinate, apparently a post-traumatic stress flashback to the days when Frank was marching Boran around like a drill sergeant. After sitting through several hours of marching songs, Lex remembers that he didn't like Frank all that much, and enlists the help of the production crew, a large crane, and some small explosives in dislodging Tom from his chair and rolling him back to his bed.
The next day, Gonzo Tom gets even higher. By balloon of course, and no, we mean the kind you can ride in. Unfortunately, there is a struggle to keep the balloon aloft, and since the pilot is British, he's far too polite to suggest the obvious remedy of tossing the chubby Mr. Rourke and Tattoo over the side. As they dip perilously close to treetops, then near some more wheezing lions, we get some authentic Wild Kingdom footage of two lions attacking a wildebeest. Or possibly mating with it, it's kind of hard to tell. But it was gripping, nonetheless. Tom confesses that there may be more to life than goats. There's wildebeest too, which kind of look like slightly bigger goats.
Meanwhile, the hapless contestants back at camp Moto Maji are griping about having to eat maize again. The first two seasons of Survivor had the contestants roaming the countryside, battling the elements, and hunting for food to stave off starvation. This time, we're treated to four people with barely enough screen presence to illuminate a single pixel, sitting around for weeks on end, whining about how it never rains, and how they have to eat the same thing every day (except of course on about every third day, where a good number of them gorge themselves to the point of popping, as all good Americans should). Soon enough though, the lives of the party (Lex and Tom) return, and it's off to yet another recycled immunity challenge.
This one is a rerun of the plate-busting challenge from S2, in which Colby should have been eliminated with three broken plates, but the producers let him keep going, so that boring Amber could get voted off. Except this time, it's totally different. These are pots instead of plates. And instead of slingshots, the contestants break stuff by flinging femur-like objects. Or not, as is the case for pretty much everyone but Tom. Since this challenge requires arm dexterity, soccer player Ethan is hopeless, although he does demonstrate his foot control by executing a high-flying midair kick to Tom's ass after beling eliminated. Cynics would note, of course, that this is not unlike a major league pitcher being able to hit the broad side of a barn. Regardless, Tom destroys pretty much every pot, and wins the immunity toilet seat, a festive, African-themed accessory for his pet boil, Buster.
With that out of the way, it's time for Mark Burnett's patented misdirection about the vote. Even though KimP is on the short end of a 4-2 minority, and has no visible allies, MB would have us believe that everyone is going to vote off Lex. Teresa masterminds a female alliance, but forgets that Lex has six prior votes, and would lose in a 3-3 tie, and gives up, since she can't recruit Tom to her female alliance. And, in the height of misdirection, immediately after Tom's immunity challenge win, the camera pans down across the immunity necklace sitting on Lex's torch. That's some nice editing there, CBS.
Anyway, Tribal Council inevitably comes, and the highlight is Brandon's appropriation of Kelly's skirt. Also, Frank has mysteriously not shaved since being booted three days ago, perhaps because Brandon was celebrating his membership in the "naughty jury" by playing hide-the-razor under his skirt. Tom talks about how proud he is about getting drunk with Lex, at least what he can remember of it. Everybody talks about how much they love the person they're voting off, and KimP goes in a predictable 4-2 Pagonging. That leaves four Boran and one Samburu. This is getting pretty Boran.
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