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Thursday, November 17, 2005
 
Survivor Update

Jamie continues his descent into madness, trying to figure out who voted for Cindy. It must have been Gary! He's clearly getting on everybody's nerves.

The reward challenge this week is that old Mayan sport of tying two people together with a rope and making them walk through a mud bog while going over and under obstacles. Once to the other end, they have to bring back a jar filled with corn. The teams are supposedly chosen randomly, but Gary, Judd, Danni and Steph somehow end up together. That's just a little too convenient for the producers.

Jamie and Rafe take the lead early, but when it becomes Cindy and Lydia's turn, it is obvious that the latter is having a tough time making it through the course. Both sets of players on each team must make it through the course twice. About the main entertainment value is watching Steph and Danni get covered with mud, and watching their butts as they slide under the obstacles. Predictably given Lydia's problems the first time through, Gary, Judd, Danni and Steph win the reward. In something of a flashback, Jamie urges the women to continue the task even thought they've lost. Didn't he do the same thing earlier in the season with that cart ride challenge?

It's a helicopter trip to a wealthy man's home, complete with a pool, showers, and lots of Folger's coffee in a very unsubtle product placement. The showers turn out to be outdoors, so we get to watch them scrubbing the mud from their bodies. Unfortunately, Judd is the only one who nudes up.

Gary asks whether Judd and Steph are happy with their alliance, and talks about about how it should be the best players left at the end. Of course this is rather nonsensical; if I were playing I'd rather be with the crappiest players at this point in the game. He also says that if Lydia or Cindy are among the final two, they'll win the vote, which strikes me as unlikely. Lydia? Come on, she just got lucky and was on the right team. And Cindy's done nothing to indicate she deserves a million.

They all sleep together which strikes me as a little odd. The next morning the owner of the house stops by with a gift. It turns out to be videotapes from home. We see Judd's daughter and wife, and get a hint of his home. I'm suspicious of Judd, ever since "ancient ruins" earlier in the show. Seems like a pretty nice house for a young doorman.

Back to camp, where Cindy gets some of that Folger's coffee. The immunity challenge is rather oddball, where you have a belt with a ring on it. The ring goes through a rope which is tied around a series of obstacles. As with last week's challenge, this seems to presen extra difficulty to the taller players like Gary and Danni. The four who move on to the second stage are Cindy, Steph, Rafe and Jamie; at this point it looks like none of them will need immunity anyway.

Cindy and Rafe end up in a close race for the necklace and Rafe wins. He worries that his success in the individual immunities may be making him a threat--two firsts and a second so far.

But once they get back to camp, Jamie's paranoia begins to show once again, and Rafe, Steph and Lydia appear to be considering voting him off. My rule on this is that generally the person you expect to leave after the immunity challenge is over is the one who's going and today there's little doubt that's Gary. But for once the interlude between the immunity challenge and tribal council means something, as Gary gets the first two votes (Jamie and Judd), but then Jamie gets the rest. He exclaims, "Now that's the way to vote somebody off--blindside them!" Jeff comments that is very good advice, which of course is going to make everybody nervous coming up.

I do think Gary or Danni is cooked next week, unless the folks get more adventurous and decide to take out Judd or Steph, the two biggest threats to win individual immunity. Rafe, Cindy and Lydia seems safest to me, because nobody's worried about them, although at this point you've gotta wonder about Rafe.
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