A very interesting episode despite the obvious letdown of not having a team immunity challenge. Probst announces that both tribes will be going to tribal council that night.
The reward challenge was for a barbecue with hot dogs, hamburgers and beer. Two-person subteams had to face each other in a contest to push a giant ball across a goal line. Not surprisingly, Danni won both of her bouts, as did Judd. Nukum wins immunity.
After the reward challenge, there is an immediate challenge for individual immunity. However, this was kind of banal, with the survivors having to untie bags and rearrange letters to spell out two words.
And here's where the episode gets really interesting and surprising. Judd makes a fairly careless effort at immunity, doesn't seem to be sweating it at all. Rather than working on his letters, he's looking at Rafe's and telling him, "Ancient ruin. Ancient ruin." Which of course turns out to be the solution to the puzzle.
Now, an arguable conclusion is that Judd was not trying for immunity because he wanted to give it to Rafe. And why did he want to give it to Rafe? Because that way Margaret couldn't have it.
But think about the logical conclusions if that's the case. First of all, Judd's a heck of a lot smarter than he lets on. To realize immediately that to get rid of Margaret it was smarter for him to help Rafe than it was to strive for immunity himself? And not only that, but to realize that the solution was "ancient ruin"? I'm sorry but that's totally out of character with Judd as we've known him. Gary might not be the only person pretending to be somebody he's not in reality.
The Nukum tribal council was one of the best ever, with lots of sparks flying between Judd and Margaret. The former is definitely back in character (and perhaps a little drunk). He's gotta be pretty annoying to live with but he probably is safe for now. He's been very successful in competitions, which means he has value to his teammates. He doesn't seem to be a threat mentally for the later individual, although as noted above, that may be an act. In the end, Margaret is voted off unanimously minus her own vote. She obviously suffered the most from the tribal rearrangement as the young men she had nursed back to health in the first few days were no longer in her group.
On the other hand, the Yaxha tribal council was noted for its friendliness. I had thought the vote might go against Amy, whose ankle has been injured since early in the game. She did perform gamely together with Danni to win a crucial game in the reward challenge.
In an interesting twist, Rafe, who won immunity, was allowed to both sit in and have a potential veto over the proceedings. He wrote down the name of one member to have immunity, then left. Oddly Probst did not announce then who had won immunity, but allowed the tribe to vote. Brian ended up getting five votes to his sole ballot for Bobby Jon. When Jeff opened up the veto envelope, Gary's name was written on it.
That was very curious. Why would Rafe assume that Gary was on the hot seat? IIRC, Rafe was in the original Yaxha with Gary, so they may have a deal going. If it had been me, I would have protected Amy, which in the end would have been as useless. It's obvious that everybody likes Gary; remember in an earlier episode, he got voted by his original tribe members to get a shower and then a picnic.
One conclusion. The notion that people are sticking with their old tribemates is obviously false.
Coming next week: Gary gets pressured on the NFL issue from Amy.