One of the oft-rumored season themes Survivor has yet to employ is "Brains vs. Brawn," pitting strategists against challenge beasts. But in retrospect, the recently switched Aitu and Raro tribes appear to have self-assembled themselves into two such groups. Well, not entirely; nobody would mistake Flica for a strategist. Nor Ozzy, for that matter. But on the whole, the seemingly invincible, gym-muscle-laden Raro brutes who easily dominated the strength/endurance "Steeple Chase" challenge just one day earlier were clearly overmatched in this episode's agility/swimming/puzzle-based reward challenge, and in the puzzle/swimming/fire-making immunity challenge. Even with Becky and Sundra being partially responsible for Aitu's IC-ending fire! Perhaps we'd be less enthusiastic if Brawn had emerged victorious, but based on these results, this episode was a great test of this concept.
Overall, however, this wasn't a great episode of Survivor, although it was still quite good. It dragged when it was forced to focus on the dull, generally lifeless Raro camp. But like the meaty, complex challenges and the surprise, late-blooming majority Raro voting bloc, it still managed to cobble together enough interesting, disparate pieces to reach a satisfying conclusion.
I may be a med student, but I'm an expert at playing dumb and getting people to believe it
Nobody will ever notice that I make this face when I'm pretending to act dumb
The quotes are there because we were too lazy to type the last five letters. Net savings: 3 characters.
I'm totally safe, because the ladies need my giant muscles
I'm going to close my eyes and pretend wardrobe did not pick this ridiculous outfit for me
Raro tribe, trying not to blinded by Probst's yellow shirt
Strung along... strunging along
More strung along
Ozzy becomes Poseidon
Aitu's decoder wheel
Aitu, deciphering and stuff
Brad finally shows up with Raro's decoder wheel
Technically, it's the first castaways to finish that get to cast someone away, but let's not argue semantics
And there's your final four (spoiler alert)
JP is starting to get a strange feeling there might to be more to this game than comically oversized gym muscles. Oops, no, wait. That was just gas.
Let's cheer again! Okay!
Parvati, does this throne make my pits look big?
I'm going to get all the confessionals this episode, and use them to complain about JP. Then I'll do nothing about it, until everyone else has already decided to vote him out. Brilliant, or what?
One of the strangest challenge set-ups, ever
Parvati seizes the opportunity to look her most damsel-in-distress-iest
Candice manages to just look bored
Raro's stretcher bearers, ready to go
Aitu's stretcher squad
Allegedly, Ozzy passing JP in the water (unless it's a Dream Team reenactment)
Penner and Flica, willing Ozzy onward
Candice and Ozzy return (and return again)
Wait, Aitu is having Becky AND Sundra light the fire for them? This can't be good...
Oh, right. They also have Cao Boi, who Probst calls 'silly.'
Aitu, within a few strands of victory
Nate knows he's being played
Jenny approaches Rebecca with her plan
You're doing what now? Why wasn't I consulted?
Come on, would I really blindside a big, strong guy?
The NuRaro visit Tribal Council for the first time
The blindside ringleader (center)
The blindside target (center)
Brad's first Tribal, dodging Probst with relative ease
More Raros, including a familiar one
First tribal council appearance by Parvati Shallow
End of the line
Recaps and commentary
Exit interviews - J.P. Calderon