Thursday, July 2, 2009

1x01: Journey To Whaler's Way

Not taking the journey to Whaler’s Way: A decent cast; a host with personality; producers who know how to make bonfires; people who don’t quit; Raceguy’s sanity.

Previously and in the future on Boston Rob's Global Domination Empire Versus Australia: Australia's Nine Network was the first television station outside the US and Canada to buy the rights to the Burnett flagship, and we got to see the rats and snakes of Borneo, the Grade 3 history lesson that was Outback, and the assorted zoo animals designated to represent the concept of Africa. Unfortunately, when they signed the contract, the kinks hadn't been ironed out, and we had to make our own version. So this meant Nine couldn't show Marquesas to us. But! They promised to show it to us after the local version ended. But! They didn't. So! We went into the later seasons of Survivor not knowing who two of the All-Stars were, and without knowing what the hell a purple rock had to do with anything, and having to put up with the suckiness of, in order, Brian and Clay, Jenna and Heidi, almost everyone, almost everyone we've seen before, and everyone, before we finally got an almost completely decent cast again for Palau. And I'm still waiting for it to air. Anyway, here’s our crappy local version. Avert your eyes!…

A couple of helicopter shots of the ocean welcome us to Australian Survivor. Hey, shouldn't there be an island or a boat something around here? As if on cue, the second shot continues to land at a set of cliffs. Damn. I was hoping for Underwater Survivor. It would have solved the problems with dealing with people like Rupert or Boston Rob. Waves pound the shore. Snakes. A random bird of prey – is that an eagle? Token kangaroo shot, as though we Australians are Americans who have no idea what's in our own country. I appreciate the trying to make it like the Probstian version of Survivor, but that's just going overboard. It's like "Hey, Australia! You Are In Australia!" More cliffs. An Aussie-style windmill... windmilling. Screw you, Holland! Those shots, as well as the music of a stereotypical Wild West showdown are supposed to introduce you to Whaler's Way (though the show never actually calls it that on air, if I recall correctly), the setting for this first and only non-celebrity season of Survivor we produced. Feh.

An old surf bus (supposedly, although it was later revealed that the cheapskate TV network annoyed the parents of the nearby Port Lincoln by making them drive their kids to school while they hijacked and „renovated‰ the school bus) peeks over the horizon, with its bus driver possibly also hoping for Underwater Survivor too, if the passengers have been arseholes. The bus runs over a camera, so presumably the driver is deliberately trying to make us lose these people. As you watch this season, you’ll probably find that he’s not alone. More shots of the bus driving along a dirt road, accompanied by camerawork so drunken and careening you'd swear Phil Keoghan was about to do a voiceover. But instead, we get the dreary voice of one Lincoln Howes, a man who, I'm gonna save you the time of researching, has no hosting experience whatsoever, and was once a producer behind the scenes of our version of 60 Minutes. So, he claims a whole bunch of crap over shots of the blindfolded contestants in the bus, and I start an Imaginary Argument with him. Wanna eavesdrop? Good.

He: "These 16 Australians are about to embark on an adventure that will change the way they see the world".

Me: "'Embark'? Not the same without a Kiwinadian accent and the words 'on a racearoundtheworld for one MILLION dollars'."

He: "They've left behind civilisation as we know it."

Me: "So, they forgot common courtesy and basic toilet training? I know this is Survivor and all, but this isn't Big Brother. They should at least have the commonsense to not shit on the fire."

He: "For the next 39 days, and nights, they have to live off the land, and the magnificent coastline that gives this place its beauty and its danger."

Me: "Yes, cliffs will make a place dangerous. Underwater, I'm tellin' ya, it'll work!"

He: "They are all after the ultimate prize of five hundred thousand dollars..."

Me: "Thirty-nine days of physically wasting away just for half a tank of petrol? Not worth it."

He: "...but to win as an individual, they must first band together in two tribes, to outwit, outplay, and outlast both the elements and each other."

Me: "So... steal the petrol and put a hit out on the idiot who forgot to wear a balaclava during the robbery, thus forcing you to come out here in the first place?"

He: "Every three days, one will be ousted from the pack."

Me: "So, you're not as cool-sounding as Phil or David Attenborough, then? Well, at least you're less annoying to listen to than Trump."

He: "At Tribal Council, there are no second chances."

Me: "Yeah, you all get sent to audition for Underwater Survivor."

He: "They don't know where they are, they don't know anything about each other, and they don't know if they've got what it takes to win the first ever Australian Survivor."

Me: "The answers? In a bus; probably a wise move; and they do, unless there's another busload of people somewhere you were planning on dumping for the fun of it. Hey, it could be like Lost!"

Apparently sick of Me pointing out every stupid comment He makes, Lincoln decides to move on to naming the Survivors. We get both first and last names for each player as well as their occupation and (on a graphic) age. But since all I have to go on at this point is the information presented and their looks as indicated by the creepy headturns which have plagued The Amazing Race for a dozen seasons now, that's all you're getting.

The Kadina tribe supposedly always wears green, even though their buffs are quite clearly yellow. And not even that sort of yellow you could mistake for green. It's Homer Simpson yellow. Are they providing this team with green underpants or something as well as the buffs? Interestingly, the background used in Kadina's graphics here is green and yellow, suggesting that not even the graphic people knew what was going on with the color thing. Anyway, Kadina contains:

Craig Abbot, a 27-year-old electrician who looks sort of like I envision the lovechild of Mario Lopez and Michael Jackson to appear, except much, much hotter; Lucinda Allen-Rhodes, a 43-year-old mother of three from Byron Bay, who looks bizarrely like my mother, except with a squishier face; 51-year-old contract painter Tim Dugan, who looks like someone burned Ryan Seacrest's waxy face after he went without sleep for a few months; Caren Shaw, a 28-year-old radio host and promotions manager from Darwin and this season's token almost-but-not-quite Gillian Anderson lookalike; 34-year-old IT consultant David Haas, who looks like a cotton bud; Sydneysider and 26-yearold media professional from Sydney Deborah Peart, who is vaguely similar to her cousin Mirabai, a housemate in our 2002 season of Big Brother (which aired at the same time as this show); author Sylvan Dorney, a 25-year-old who quite conceivably might have gotten dared to do this in the presence of items purchased in Amsterdam (or Nimbin), if you know what I mean, and I think you do; and 22-year-old Naomi Knight, a Melbourne school teacher and Generic Blonde Chick.

The rival Tipara tribe, always wearing a much less confusing blue, gets a blue-and-white graphic, and contains: 37-year-old ex-professional Aussie Rules footballer Rob Dickson; Sophie Woods, a 30-year-old mother of two and possible Lisa Kudrow impersonator; 22-year-old university graduate Joel Betts from Sydney, who was recently voted Most Likely To Appear In A Pornographic Dream In This Recapper's Mind; 49-year-old dark-haired Hillary Clinton Sciona Browne, a managing director from Perth and aunt to Marty, a contestant who beat the aforementioned Mirabai in BB 2002; 18-year-old student Jane Dalton, the epitome of cashed-up bogans (known outside of Australia as “the Lohan family”) everywhere; 39-year-old company director and non-bald George Costanza Lance Brooks; 24-year-old professional athlete and possible ferret Katie Gold; and 52-year-old garden gnome... sorry, "police superintendent" Jeff Brown from the ACT.

Okay, I've got to talk about some things from Tipara that struck me from that intro. Firstly, "university graduate"? In what, pray tell? Swahili, macrobiology, politics, Monty Python? Ugh. Secondly, and I swear this is true, I accidentally typed "mangina director" instead of "managing director" for Sciona in my sleep-deprived state. Hee. And, also: could be true. Finally, Tipara's combined age is fifteen years older than Kadina. 15 freaking years. You could have eliminated an entire contestant from Tipara, kept the tribes the same, and be four times closer than that. Bloody ridiculous.

And on that note, stormy sound effects play over a completely clear sky as we pan down to see the bus finally stopping next to the cliffs, and get our first sight of Lincoln, adventurous as the camera tries to make him look from behind and below and... you know, they're really trying to hold off on showing his face for some reason. I wonder why. He walks over to the bus as we get our first shot of his face, unhooks the flywire door and yells at everyone to get their blindfolds off and get out of the bus. Not doing a good job at being likable there, but still preferable to the Kenyan army guy with a gun that Probst used to do his job for him. Actually, I almost wouldn’t mind seeing some of these people threatened with guns. Almost.

Everybody gets out as Lincoln (and I am hereafter shortening that to Link, because I am lazy) tells them that they're literally at the end of the road. So apparently, the bus is going to be reversing all the way back to town. He tells them to organise themselves based on the colour of their buff/blindfold, and I don't know whether he can trust them with that. I mean, they're only 527 years old between them! Link also repeats "green", so I hate him already. When they're all sorted, Link welcomes them to the "very tip of the Great Australian Bight". This place sure seems to be edge of so much, doesn't it? He tries to blame the wind on Mother Nature, but mentions that there is no rain, thus confirming that the tribes will get hit by rain every day whilst they are here. Link prattles on about ships and how they have great respect for the ocean, which is totally appropriate because the two tribes are named after ships that didn't and became wrecks. And reiterates their names, and we already know. And reminds them of the basic concept of shipwrecks, lest they failed to graduate Grade 1. So... something to think about, if you're, you know, six years old.

But the sea can apparently also become your friend! For you see, food comes from the sea! Just use your fishing hooks and grab the rings on your cans of tuna and sardines! Food somehow reminds Link of "the Great White, Australia's killer shark". Because Greg Norman has a golf course underneath the sea, and he is setting it up for a challenge in Underwater Survivor. And is also a killer.

The tribes will camp inland, rather than on the shore. How will they ever survive? Well, by avoiding all the deadly brown snakes, scorpions, and giant ants (which locals supposedly call "inch ants" even despite Australia's refusal to downgrade back to inches and feet for anything other than measuring the size of penises). And they'll have to protect the food they do have from hundreds of kangaroos, emus, and foxes. Oh, great. A whole goddamned season of "Hey, Australia! You Are Still In Australia!"

But before we get to the constant reminders of where we are, we must first remind Jane of her age, because as the youngest Survivor she has to make an important decision. This important decision turns out to be a simple coin toss on behalf of her tribe, which she fucks up royally. So Kadina, which campsite do you want? Both are over the sand dunes, but one is closer to the ocean (and food), the other is closer to the windmill (and water). And before you think it doesn't matter, you're alternating days visiting both sites until the merge, so you can't just go get food or water when you feel like it like the piggy Americans, no sir-ee!

A nervous-looking Lucinda and Craig appear to be making the decision themselves, but then the camera pans over to see the rest of the tribe deciding as a group. Hee hee. The tribe comes to a decision, and Sylvan puts on a weird not-quite-British accent as he says Kadina wants the water. So, they get to drink tomorrow, and Tipara gets to eat. I'm not sure this is very well planned out. So instead of dwelling on the bad idea, we find out that teams are leaving for their camp, but still don't have a map or a compass. Link helpfully points out that both of these are floating on rafts in the Southern Ocean as a musical sting plays, like it's some surprise that people have to get wet in this game. And a tribe member has to swim out to the rafts to get them before they can head off. Katie volunteers because she actually swims, as someone congratulates her for doing her job, and Craig seems to think living on the beach will adequately prepare him for deep water like this, as Lucinda gives him a playful punch on the arm. Link removes any chance of me being a fan by pointing out that "these are the sort of challenge you will face every day on Australian Survivor". Coin tosses and choosing one person to wade out to a raft? All righty then, Admiral Exaggerate. Even the tribes aren't listening to you. Shut up already.

And, finally, Credits! Note the ending shot of the shark opening its mouth. Cool.

Very fast sweep over bush to the cliffs, and apparently Katie and Craig broke a world record during that theme song, because in the 43 seconds that song runs for, they have managed to get from the top of the cliffs to the beach, and wade pretty much all the way toward the rafts. In fact, that task, supposedly representative of the entire game, took only about a minute total, because we quick cut to the waders back up with their tribes. But! It's not over yet, because tribes still have to follow their map to camp, picking up their supplies and torches along the way. More rapid cuts show us a rope and a machete in trees, three pots, and blankets. Strangely, the bus hasn't left yet, which makes me think Link is going to hitchhike his way back to town with the driver. Everybody ready? Go! Kadina immediately stops to huddle over its map, shaped like a dingo as it is for some stupid reason. Craig and/or Sylvan tries to argue about the compass, and Lucinda immediately talks over them by claiming she can step a metre perfectly. Boy, that'll be a good reason to keep you around after Day 1. Not. Tipara is immediately off and racing, and Kadina continues looking like they’re lost.

Tipara find their water bottles easily and, it seems, read more directions given here. It's not exactly clear what is going on, nor is it that interesting, but that's what I expect from Survivor. To show you how much they pwn Kadina, we see them finding their next thing before we even cut back to Kadina, who are only just finding their bottles. Strangely, Kadina also gets their pots and a foam sheet before we see Tipara again. Pwnage revoked. For now.

Sciona has the compass for said Tipara tribe, and Lance confuses her by reading it and trying to run off. They argue, and Lance walks off in the original direction he wanted to go when Sophie walks up with the map, rather than the correct direction Sciona wanted to go. Asshat. Assorted running shots of the other Tipara actually finding the right place. Sophie goes arse-over-tits and the editors laugh so hard they forget to put the actual fall in the episode.

In other news, Kadina somehow beat Tipara to its camp, apparently solely because they worked a plan out before going, rather than running around like idiots. I like the appearance of competency, so one point for Kadina. One point off for bitching that there isn't enough shelter, Sylvan. This is Survivor, not Big Brother. Idiot. They find a small bag attached to their camp entrance, and someone wonders what's inside. Tim is licking his lips as though a three-course meal for eight is somehow stuck inside a bag just barely big enough to hold a digital camera. Speaking of, it is! Lucinda takes a nice family shot of the other tribe members, and on that sappy sponsor-pimping moment we go to our first...

Commercials! Hey, do you remember a TV show called The Lone Gunmen? Yeah, me neither.

Stormy looking skies, this time inappropriately without the sound effect, welcome us back to the show and to Tipara, finally finding their camp. Rob assists us all by counting the number of torches the tribe collected on their hike, except they either forgot to bring two torches, or the editors cut away too early. Lance asks if anyone's an expert tent builder and then, in a completely different shot, he suggests a possible sleeping area (I think). Rob shoots him down, pointing out that it's unsafe to build under trees, but Lance continues bitching as we teleport ourselves to Kadina.

There, everybody is standing around doing nothing. Sylvan suggests the logical idea of getting a couple of people to build fire while everyone else works on shelter. So of course Tim and David immediately try to work out where to sleep, under the not-necessarily-false pretense that, skills unseen, mothers and schoolteachers are better at making fire than they are. Whatev. It needs drainage, because Tim doesn't want to get soaked, so apparently one of the tribe members has already announced they are a bedwetter. I'm betting on Sylvan.

Naomi wants to know if they brought the compass with them, so they know which way is east for the sunrise, which is totally the right thing to ask given that (1) they are already at camp so obviously have it somewhere, and (2) the sun is already up. NoMind confuses Craig too -- one point for Craig -- and tries to explain that they want afternoon shade. Which, again, would make sense if there were any chance you could get a shelter built that well on the very first day.

David is trying to explain how to make a tent with their tarp and a rope. Interesting stuff. Except not at all. And yet it's Craig, not either of the guys from before, who points out that a moat would work as drainage. Heh. Not auditioning for Underwater Survivor might also work. Somebody grabs a shovel, and because they were given a dinky little thing, the first problem is trying to open the scoopy bit. Sylvan and Caren begin laughing at how stupid the shovel is. Or perhaps they’re laughing at the lame Irish jig music playing over this sequence. Tim ties a rope in a tree. But back to the shovel! They think there's a latch of some sort, and that's all we get in this update. Whee! Tim continues to tie the rope, and one of the men (David, I think) claims that "all those late night bondage sessions are some good". Ew. But it's Caren's turn to wrestle the shovel! Some wrestling, more tent assembly. NoMind and Caren have found the food, in a tin helpfully labelled "RICE". She reads a sign on it and opens it to lift out a fairly small bag of what I can only assume actually IS rice. David has joined in on Shovel Hijinks 2002, and bitches that he has a different model shovel. Gah.

Lucinda makes her first appearance at camp (as you may notice, the non-Lucinda women -- and Craig -- seem to be ignored in this whole Kadina sequence, and I'm not exactly sure why that is) as she spots a scorpion right in the middle of where the tent has been placed. She asks who wants to pick it up, as we see her poking it with a stick. She then finds a millipede and everybody starts laughing, because Bugs Are Funny. Lucinda earnestly makes the suggestion of using their giant tarp as both a bed sheet and a blanket by folding it over itself. But everyone else is having none of that, thank you very much. She tries to explain what she means, and NoMind points out that tall people won't be able to sleep properly. Lucindork's brilliant solution? Stick your head further out into the insect infested ground. You may or may not have realised that Lucindork is one of the shortest people on the tribe. David improves on Lucindork's idea by suggesting to just put the tarp on the ground and then build something to cover them. Sylvan thinks that they should just use it on the ground for tonight, and build something in the morning. Aww, he wants to spoon. Lucindork speaks on behalf of her entire gender (do any women reading this remember voting for her as a spokesperson?) and claims that the girls are all for a groundsheet. But if it rains, everybody gets up and resets the tent as it is now. Or was, as Craig uses that exact moment to pull the sheet down. Craig is officially my favourite Kadina. But David still wants to switch camps.

And so do the editors. At Tipara, Lance makes a general comment about wanting someone with knot-tying experience, and Sciona immediately pipes up from behind him that she can do it. Cue shot of Sciona looking confused. And no cut in between. Bwah! There’s nothing like skilled editing to make you feel like an idiot. Joel points out that tying that knot is wasting the rope because they already have a tree they can use.

Back at Kadina, they have once again lost the compass. Luckily, Tim has it. Crisis averted. For now. But now they need to wait for the sun to use the compass's magnifying glass for fire. I'm not sure why Craig feels the need to whisper this, quite frankly. Apparently later on, Tim and Sylvan find somewhere where the sun isn't blocked by the trees, and try to set Tim's arm on fire. Yes, you heard me. The rest of the tribe gave up on the magnifying glass for the day, and have started to use the bow method to get fire. Long story short, it doesn't work. In fact, they keep going until the sticks are squeaking like a rusty gate. I'm beginning to think getting to camp first was a fluke. This tribe sucks.

Tipara, Night One. Joel takes his shirt off (mmm-mmm-MMM!) and crawls into bed, where someone is snoring. Wow, that was fun.

Kadina, Day Two. It appears as though Deb, about to speak for the first time, used the tent rope as a washing line for her clothes, even though she didn't wash them. Whatever floats your boat, I guess. When Sylvan and David wake up, she bitches about how cold it is and how she felt warmer sitting up and blah blah frozen fishcakes. I bet she'd be used to the cold if this were Underwater Survivor. To get her mind off of it, Sylvan asks for her advice about where to dig a toilet. She suggests where everyone has already been going. So she has to take her hat off for people to dig a hole in. Cut to a dug hole, and Lucindork laughing as if sticking toilet paper on a holder is the funniest joke she could have made for this. Really? Nothing coming to mind about your approximate level of fame going down the toilet?

Tipara is bitching about the cold too, and they also apparently have toilet paper, because it is Jeff's luxury item. In Australian Survivor's first ever confessional, about 20 minutes into the episode, he says that everyone is only allowed two squares per day, so that they can use the rest to T.P. Kadina's camp. Except for the last part. There's some sort of arguing between Jeff and Rob about where and when to dig the latrine (answers? "Not at camp" and "As soon as possible‰), except I can't figure out who's arguing what. Or why. Jeff walks off after telling Katie (and by extension all of us) to "get used to it". Oh, great.

And that means it's a perfect time for commercials. The Simpsons Season 11 DVD = Worst. Packaging. Ever.

Quick cuts bring us back to the show. Snake. Kadina watching the snake. Sylvan confessionals about watching the snake. Sylvan seems to believe that snakes were just a myth. Also, he's wearing his sunglasses in that really vain, 1980's over-your-hair look that went out of fashion right around the time I was born. Sylvain sucks. Craig, Caren, NoMind, and Tim head to fetch water. Their animal hunt continues with emus, which look like chicken drumsticks, at least according to NoMind. At the windmill, they find a stupid rhyming note that basically tells them to boil the water before they drink it. Please can the rhyming. Unlike in the American version, the tribe's water supply appears to come out of a giant tap underneath the windmill. Feh. So much for survival skills coming in handy.

Sweeping shots of grass, seemingly showing us that the only two places with trees anywhere around here are at the two tribe camps. It turns out that this is taking us to Tipara's fishing expedition at the coast. Nice dolphin shot, although the tribe might actually get hungry enough to go and eat it in a month's time. They definitely would on Underwater Survivor. (Besides, dolphins are just effeminate sharks anyway.) In the meantime, Lance finds a crab, which pinches him after he drops it. Heh. Jeff and Rob catch some fish and Jeff claims they're the first fish he's ever caught. It's nice to see he prepared for this game then. Because they don't have water today, Tipara has apparently decided to eat their catch raw. Is it not possible for them to distill seawater, and then reboil it to cook their food? Jane princesses that it was disgusting, but that she didn't complain so she wouldn't get voted out. Princess Jane seems to think that Katie is more important than any of the rest of their tribe for whatever reason, though it isn't explained. And, as you’ll soon find out, never really will be.

Kadina's tribe flag flails in the wind. The magnifying glass is out again and both David and Lucindork remind us in confessionals about how important fire is. Lucindork adds that if they don't get fire, they'll eat raw rice for dinner. But she can cope, in case you thought otherwise. Make a note of it.

Tipara again. They're using paper and kangaroo shit to make fire, and Sciona succeeds. Dude, Sciona rocks. Well, she would if she could get the stench of burning manure away from the camp. The paper comes from Rob's journal, his luxury item. What a boring choice. Joel tries to make the best of a humourless situation, with "You can write it in your journal. 'Today, we got fire, 'cause of you, journal'." Even ignoring the fact that Rob's journal is now burning, who the hell would ever do that? Feh. I’m beginning to think it’s lucky Joel is good-looking, because he has the brain capacity of a Jerry Springer guest. I wonder what episode he’d be a guest on. Actually, it’s probably best not to wonder.

Lance takes Tipara's photo, and we get a Katie confessional as she bitches about the cold night and wanting walls. Like I’ve mentioned twice above already, this isn't Big Brother. I hate her already. Shut up, Hatie. Sophie confessionals about the bossy personalities but doesn't name names. Heh. A Katie confessional tells us she likes teamwork as long as they're doing what she wants.

A crappy graphic tells us that "Challenge Mail" (yes, they even use the quotation marks) has arrived. This time, it's a spear with a note attached. Curiously, neither tribe's spear is set up as shown in the camera shot before this. Kadina has the matching Rock Pile Mail, but their spear is pointing straight out as if to attack poor Caren, while Tipara's is coming out of the ground correctly, but is stuck in their tribe's non-matching Tree Mail. (Wow, I have got to get a life.) (And shut UP about me recapping a show filmed over seven years ago.)

Anyways, the note (and Jane follows Tim's lead by assuming they fit the buffet into the tiny rolled-up piece of paper) is in a normal bad rhyme. Wanna listen? Too bad, you're going to anyway:

The nights are cold and long
The sun is not yet strong
The things you most desire
Are Immunity and fire
So take this spear and throw
Or to Tribal Council you will go

Hatie immediately says she can throw a javelin, because all professional athletes are world champions at every sport under the sun. But on the other hand, even Lucindork over at Kadina throws it somewhat competently. NoMind confessionals about what the word Immunity means and why it's good to have.

Sand dune shot for no reason.

Still at Kadina. David feeling sick and getting a head massage from Lucindork. NoMind makes a pun about rising "to the Immunity Challenge occasion" that’s so bad I'm surprised the rotting corpse of Groucho Marx doesn't reanimate itself, get to Camp Kadina, and revoke her licence to make jokes. David explains that his lethargy is because he hasn't eaten, and hopes that the team understands that his body sucks.

On that uplifting moment, commercials! In the Nein Newsroom: Barack Obama declares that his first task as President of the United States is to fire Bitsy Hasselbeck from The View. The only people not happy with this news are Bitsy's husband and Sarah Palin. And Bitsy. Because you can never forget the Bitsy.

Water. Bird. Waves. Fire. Kadina. Torch. Fire. Tipara. Fire. And what's missing? Link, to describe today's challenge. But first, he apparently wants to annoy Kadina by asking about food and fire, which Tipara have in spades. Kadina? Uh… not so much. But ask about water and annoying team members, and they're way ahead. Fire is the reward for this challenge, which almost certainly makes Link's question redundant. Fire takes on the form of waterproof matches, and the much more important Immunity Idol is an ugly turquoise bell with a big dongle (Sounds dirty! Isn’t!). Tipara has to be cajoled into giving it back to Link, and he walks it over to Kadina. Sylvan claims he'll touch it later that night. And he's wrong, for more reasons than one.

So, how do you win? You start by swimming into the ocean, where there are two large logs for each tribe. Go to one of your own tribe's logs, grab it, bring it back to the top of the cliff, and run down a torchlit path to a wall of fire. Put your log down as a bridge. Backtrack all the way to the beach, get the second log, and carry it across the bridge as you walk over the fire. You grab a torch from a platform, and position your log against a tower so that one person can use it as a ramp to light the torch from a cauldron on top. Run down the hill with the torch to a barrel of spears. Light the spears and throw them at your tribe's unlit bonfire. First to light the fuse behind their bonfire wins the matches and the bell. Losers get a date with Link. I gotta be honest; this is a lot less confusing to explain than it looks in the episode. Huh. Also? Decent task. Especially compared to the coin toss. However, David is sick and wants to wuss out, so Tipara has to sit someone out. In a huddle, they choose Princess Jane to not have any chance of accidentally singeing her hair. Wow, that was an exciting twenty seconds of television.

Everyone ready? Well, off you go! It appears that most of the problem with getting the logs is the knots, because they are -- literally -- in ankle deep water. So, next-to-no chance of a surprise crossover with Underwater Survivor. Damn it. Tipara is leading on the way back up the cliff, and gets to the fire wall first, because Kadina looks like they're not even trying to catch up. A series of smash cuts bring us to the beach and back, where Tipara is still in the lead. Rob and Deb light their torches, and as they start to throw their spears Link decides to helpfully suggest that they take their time. All the better to burn you with. Craig is first to hit the bonfire for Kadina. Joel hits for Tipara in roughly the same spot. Except, you know, on their target. Katie wastes her throw, because that's how good an athlete she is. Everybody else is even further off, until Craig hits again. After the tribes run out of spears, they all scramble onto their platforms to watch the fires. But the night is windy, and so the fires are burning out instead of upwards.

Forty minutes later, Link stops the challenge and reminds us of his tenuous alliance with Mother Nature. In fact, the alliance is so successful she wants him to have the bell for the night instead of the contestants. He does offer both tribes the matches instead, which is pointless right now, and would only help if it wasn’t so damn windy. And if it wasn’t so windy, they could have finished the challenge properly. Sigh.

So, there's going to be another challenge in the morning. Both tribes will get to keep their matches, and the challenge will be for Immunity only. He sends them back to camp, and the ugly Australian Survivor logo becomes all windswept and blackscreeny just as if a famous person died. And, I suppose they sort of did from a producer's point of view, presuming you count any minor chance this show had of succeeding as a celebrity.

Commercials. Bitsy is still ranting about being fired, saying that if she loses her job then the terrorists have won. Even though the rest of the world thinks her KEEPING her job is a sign they won.

We return to Tipara, who are walking to the windmill and bitching about their hunger. They probably should have caught more fish yesterday, then. Joel confessionals about how the challenge last night sucked and about how the flies seem to like his face. I don't blame them.

Hatie is trying to strategize with the rest of the tribe about how to get Kadina so demoralised and shattered that they'll write off any chance of continuing. I smell foreshadowing, of some sort or another.

And on the other end of strategising, we have Kadina, who are stripping and playing football. NoMind explains that you can only have one luxury item, so she chose a football. Her graphic clearly reminds us that she's from Melbourne, the home of Aussie Rules, so therefore anybody from the rugby-loving New South Wales and Queensland is probably not going to be overwhelmingly great at kicking it. Cue shot of Lucindork, kicking and missing. Unintentional cultural levity from the editors. On the other hand, cue shot of Sylvain surprised at kicking it well.

I'd like to take a moment now, if I may (and of course I may, because it’s not like you’re writing these), to mourn the loss of fun from the later seasons of the American version of Survivor. There are no coconut phones, no rum, and no playing cards made out of leaves anymore, if the editing is anything to go by. Rest in peace, wackiness.

We get a David confessional about the failed challenge over him fishing, which seems like a weird choice. He thinks he has to perform extremely well now or he'll get booted if the tribe loses, which at this point is a fair assumption to make.

Nice rainbow effect shot, and a cut to the "Immunity tie-break". Rather than greeting everyone, Link immediately goes into Defensive Mode and tries to congratulate the tribes for putting in 100%, but comes off sounding like a tool, especially when he brings up Mother Nature again. She's gonna have to get a restraining order out on him soon. Anyway, the challenge, clearly created on the fly, is a straight question-and-answer quiz. Link hands each tribe a two-sided plaque, with "TRUE" on one side and "FALSE" on the other. He'll tell a story (Yay! Storytime!) about the history of the area, and the teams have to answer. First one to fuck up gets that date. Keeping in mind that most of this story is told over location shots rather than the teams, here's Link's story:

"As you saw last night, the winds in this area can be ferocious, the seas massive, and the terrain inhospitable. But I'm sure you'll agree it's one of the most glorious places in Australia. The first white man to sight this peninsula was Matthew Flinders from his ship, the Investigator, and that was back in 1802. He was only 27 years old. Before that, there were two Aboriginal tribes that called this place home – Penggala and Nayo. The Southern Ocean that surrounds this area is the most powerful and forbidding ocean on earth, and over 340 ships wrecked off the South Australian coast since Flinders sailed past here. He lost eight men, when one of his small boats was swamped by a freak wave. Others who've managed to survive the seventy shipwrecks off this very peninsula have had to live off this land for months before they could reach help. As far back as 1837, there was a whaling station in the bay just over the hill. These days, it’s the tuna that bring in the big money. The tuna boats can chase the bluefin all the way across the Bight to Esperance, and it's worth it. They're part of an industry that brings in fifty million dollars every year."

This isn't that hard, given most of the facts aren't even related. For each question, one person stands up to show the group answers. Got it? Good.

First: Abel Tasman was the first whitie to gatecrash. Both Sylvain and Princess Jane are right in showing False, and Link reminds us of the correct answer. Second question: The two local tribes were the Penggala and the Nepo. Again, both false, both right, and both reminded. This isn't a very interesting challenge. Next: Up to 90 idiots crashed their ships offshore. Same thing again. Yawn.

Even Link thinks this sucks, so he tries to speed it up a little. Each tribe has to pick someone from the other tribe to compete, without help, from here on out. So, in essence, the tiebreak sucked so much it needed a tiebreak. Kadina picks Princess Jane, who was answering them anyway. Tipara picks Lucindork, which goes against their previous strategy of "get rid of the sick guy". Tie-breaker-breaker #1: the whaling station was in Esperance. Princess Jane says False, but Lucindork says True. So we finally have a result. It's false, so Kadina wins Link and Tipara wins the bell. The bell probably has more personality. Tipara cheers like hooligans, and it should be noted that Lance does not partake. Interesting! In any event, Kadina hugs each other out of sadness, and Joel kisses the bell. As Tipara walks off happy, wave goodbye, because we won't be seeing them again until next week.

Commercials! In protest against the increasingly annoying Travelocity product placement over on The Amazing Race, I urge you all to use Expedia.

Kadina. NoMind exposits about how sad they felt after losing. She mentions that Lucindork is annoyed because she thinks she cost the team Immunity, but adds that she doesn't think it was Lucindork's fault. She is mistaken. Who else’s fault could that have been? Lucindork was the only one answering the questions, and it was because of her wrong answer that Kadina lost the challenge. But anyway. Deb, NoMind and Sylvain try to comfort her, and she explains exactly what I just did. Sylvain points out that you never know what's going to happen in this game, and says he's feeling very insecure at the moment. I kinda get the feeling he's like that all the time, though, so that's really not worth anything.

Caren confessional. She wonders how bad it'll feel to be the first booted.

Under the tent, Lucinda says it's okay for everyone else to vote her out, and that she'd be gutted to be the first boot, but that she's not physically as strong as the rest of the tribe. That's... a little bit of an understatement. She thinks the challenges are only going to get harder, and that she knows everyone is having trouble deciding who to vote for. She is clearly on the verge of tears saying this. Craig points out the guts self-pity takes in this game, and NoMind makes the intelligent observation that killing someone's chances of winning $500,000 will be harder than throwing spears and answering true or false questions.

Tim confessionals about how people might be voting him off because he's old. He hopes they don't but says that “if that’s the conclusion they come to, well, that’s their judgment”. It’s a very deep statement, but what’s even deeper is how far you’ll have to dig to make some sense out of that remark. Mining hats on, people!

Sylvan and Deb talk about how they're “going to still be a team” after Tribal Council. Well, yes, that would help. Deb voices over about knowing who she was voting for since the challenge. Gee, I wonder who it could be. David confessionals that he'll be voting for Caren. Caren herself confessionals about how the person getting voted out will understand that the tribe sucks with them around, but she doesn't want to vote. Someone should tell her which game this is.

Sunset, and we are shown a shipwreck, which is somehow pretty far inland from the water. Given the cliffs, I'm not sure how it got there, but this is Tribal Council. Kadina walks in with their torches and Link tells them to light them in the cauldron. For some reason, there's this big huge pit for the fire, and all we get is a little barrel with some burning coals. Blecch. Everyone lights their cauldron, and they put their lit torches in a barrel. Link prattles about Fire Is Your Life and all the usual crap. He wants everyone to look around and explains why Tribal Council is a shipwreck, as if Kadina cares.

Sylvain, how hard is it to come to Tribal Council? Very difficult, especially because Kadina lost their compass yet AGAIN. Deb, is there a leader in the tribe? No, Kadina sucks as a team, as you may or may not have noticed. Tim, why did you freeze your arses off on top of the blankets rather than in them? Because they are gentlemen and the ladies didn't want to be that close so early in the game. Tim has apparently forgotten that the women were on top too. David, did you let the team down by not being part of a challenge which was cancelled, and which Kadina would have won had they only had to hit the bonfire as opposed to the fuse? Clearly, he is as confused as I am, because he answers an entirely different question. NoMind, is anyone doing it? And are there any alliances? No and no. Lucindork, how did you feel when you found out that even the other tribe thinks you suck? Gutted and delusional.

Time to vote! David votes. Sylvain votes. Tim votes for the weakest link. Deb votes. Craig votes. Caren votes for Lucinda. NoMind votes. Lucinda votes.

Link confirms that eight is enough (and it really will be), and goes to count the votes. Opening the gunpowder keg urn, we see some of the votes. Lucindork. Lucindork. Lucindork. Lucindork. Lucindork. And Lucindork is out, and buh-bye. She brings her torch over and is snuffed. She walks the plank, and Link reminds Kadina that they need the numbers, so they should probably start sucking less at challenges. Except for the last part. I think that might have been the most pointless and least helpful post-boot Host Pep Talk ever.

Next week: Everybody acts like it's the world's lamest Schoolies Week. Sciona cries over spilled water, and Hatie doesn't care. Things heat up in Kadina's kitchen when nobody volunteers to go home if the tribe loses again. Princess Jane, Hatie, and Sophie learn about rocks and suntan.

Lucindork's final words are all about how she thought she could do it but how she said she was going to die, and how this is so much harder than Underwater Survivor and all the Probstian versions, and how physical it is. You know, I'm surprised she's whining about the physical when it was the answering a trivia question wrongly and the volunteering to vote herself off that got her booted. As for who voted for who, well... if you didn't vote for Lucindork, you weren't in the tribe. She even voted for herself. Wow. Talk about an anticlimax.

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