Welcome to the land o' spoils. Population: well, us and you. Read on to see our especially crappy attempt at ruining Mark Burnett's fun.
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Episode 6: "Underdogs" (Air date: April 4th, 2002; filmed November 27-29, 2001)

Our Picks:
Boot: Gina.
RC: Maraamu.
IC: Rotu.

Here's this week's misdirection from CBS:
Episode 6: "Underdogs" 
View the web preview here.
What CBS says What we think it means What actually happened
(1) Paschal, Kathy and Neleh are shocked when they learn Gabriel, whom Paschal considered a son, was voted off the island.  (1) Paschal, Kathy and Neleh are shocked when they learn Gabriel, whom Paschal considered a son, was voted off the island.  (1) Paschal, Kathy and Neleh are shocked when they learn Gabriel, whom Paschal considered a son, was voted off the island. 
(2) John relishes his newfound position of power, but Rob is quick to challenge it. (2) John relishes his newfound position of power, but Rob is quick to challenge it. (2) John relishes his newfound position of power, but Rob is quick to challenge it. Wow, CBS is going a bit overboard with the spoiler material here.
(3) One castaway encourages the tribe to throw the immunity challenge. The question is, will they? (3) Probably John, to boot an ex-Maraamu.  Will they go through with it?  No. (3) Again, no. Duh.

RC? - Rowing/Running Relay? - Controversy?
The web preview and TV promo show footage from one challenge, which appears to be the RC (thanks to Bungler and MESS for the shot of Zoe sipping something).  The challenge seems to be some kind of relay, involving both rowing (Gina, Kathy vs. Robert, John) and land-based (Paschal, Neleh vs. Rob, Zoe) legs.  Rob is running through the forest carrying a paddle, then tags Zoe, who runs after him fairly slowly.  Next, Gina and Kathy rush off past Neleh and Paschal, who seem to be standing around, doing nothing, and a gasping Zoe.  Maraamu trailing.  It's hard to imagine the Rotu men being beaten in a straight rowing race by Gina and Kathy.  Kathy's reaction shot, saying "Oh my God," is most likely post-challenge.  Our guess: she is reacting to a surprise addition to the reward.  Alternatively, Maraamu may end up winning through some sort of rules violation by Rotu.  Either way, Maraamu looks pretty good, despite having an apparent physical disadvantage.

Evidence that this is the RC.  Sierra Mist is the product to be placed in this episode, and that may be what Zoe is drinking.  Everybody else seems to be hoping for something better.

Neleh, before the challenge... note the rock wall behind her.

Rob runs up with a paddle, tagging Zoe, who starts running after him.

Gina and Kathy, paddles in hand, race past Paschal and Neleh. As SamBuru from MESS points out, Zoe is hanging on to the tiki, suggesting a Rotu lead.

Gina and Kathy, gritting their teeth.

Maraamu, looking bedraggled, react to something.  Note that Neleh is no longer in front of a rock wall.  Post-RC?

IC? - No previews
This would be an ideal spot for a team-based trivia challenge.  Since this is the last team-based challenge for S4, and we still haven't seen one, and a non-physical challenge would be a boon to the already weakened Maraamu, it seems like a good fit.  We'll see, but we still think Rotu will win this one, because they should have Tammy, Vee and Sean (plus someone else) competing.  Seems unlikely those people would throw it intentionally.  Plus, Gabe revealed in his EW interview that ep5 was John's "Last chance" to boot him, suggesting Rotu does not return to TC.  And, since the theme of the show is "Underdogs," it would be fitting that Maraamu win a physical RC, while Rotu would win an IC apparently specifically designed to let Maraamu win.

Boot - Gina
Gina sure seems to be fitting in with the ex-Rotus now on Maraamu.  She's finally part of a team, blah blah blah.  Yeah, well, she's still most likely number one on Paschal and Neleh's hit list if Maraamu returns to TC yet again.  She's bonded a bit with Kathy, though, but would Kathy double-cross Paschal and Neleh?  Maybe, since if they could beat Neleh in a 2-2 tie, they're both safe until the merge.  Such strategic plotting would fit the "Underdogs" title - Gina and Kathy are the two remaining outcasts from their original tribes.  But we suspect that, while an alliance may be played up, Kathy will stick by Neleh and Paschal.  Regardless, Kathy seems safe this episode, since with Gabe gone, it's unlikely Neleh and Paschal would betray their old tribe to boot her (yet).  Rather than re-thinking their alliances, it's most likely the ex-Rotu will simply band together more tightly.  Oh yeah, and one more thing: Jeff Varner's revised list of pre-merge bootees included Gina.  Take that for what it's worth.

Neleh could be targeted by Gina, and she does seem to have bonded with Sarah at some point, but Gina seems much more likely to get the boot.  There's no logical reason to boot her, though, unless Gina and Kathy form a new alliance, and Neleh goes in a 2-2 tie.  The previews do seem to suggest a symbolic separation of Neleh from the other three: when Paschal talks about being with three women, Neleh is shown alone, then a group shot of Gina, Kathy and Paschal.  Turns out, this was most likely intended to conceal the fact that Kathy's jaw-dropping take was actually after the RC, not when they saw Gabe was missing.  Neleh did meet Sarah on the show, so that could have been enough to start a friendship.

Rob seems unlikely to go this week.  The focus in the Ep6 previews on conflict between Rob and John smacks of misdirection, and this seems like fertile ground for drama for at least a few more weeks.  Rob's "First chance I get I'm gonna get ya" threat while voting at tribal council (presumably directed at John) is from ep5, so it does not necessarily indicate another Rotu TC trip.


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