Monday, October 12, 2009

1x12: Who's The Odd Man Out?

In which the likelihood of getting a bearable winner manages to work its way into negative digits.


Previously on This Show: Stuff happened. Princess Jane was dethroned. Five people still fighting for the crown. Any questions?

Credits. Does anyone else think it's weird that, even though the players are in no logical order in the credits, the last six people shown all made the merge?

Previously on Hey! Didn't I Just Pretend To Recap You?: People fell off their pontoons again, because watching people fall is never not funny. Well, this is the same network that gave us Australia's Funniest Home Videos, after all. Unfortunately, they do not replay everyone falling on their way to the reward challenge. Sciona told Long Pole Joel he was going to be voted out, and he cried and whined. There was a tie, and as always seems to be the case, the less annoying person got eliminated. Sigh. Now remaining: five players, four Tribal Councils, three snuffages, two episodes, and only one way I will be happy with the winner. Who will be voted out... TONIGHT?

As always, there are waves. But these are very special waves, because today is Day 34. Knob confessionals that he figured out about the vote countback that got rid of Princess Jane, but he said that he didn't expect a re-vote to happen before that. Well, I'm sure if he didn't know about that little kink, Sue Hawk would be willing to remind him. He explains why it was so tough to not second-guess yourself, which makes no sense, because if he didn't want to vote Princess Jane out, he wouldn't have voted for her the first time. Hatie confessionals that she was shocked that Princess Jane got any votes. She says she immediately "smelled a rat". Well, that's good, because you're generously spreading cheese around Whaler's Way right now, with all this melodramatic soap opera acting.

At the real life camp, Sophie tells Hatie she figured out what was happening too, and that she's going to try beating Knob at his own game. Which I hope she does. She confessionals that they realised that Knob was actually playing the game much more than anyone realised. Well, except for the viewers, who have had to listen to every. Single. Fucking. Self-aggrandising. CONFESSIONAL. Hatie and Sophie agree they need to find a new plan. Let's hope this one won't be as Complicated.

Long Pole Joel yells out for Knob. Kangaroos look at him like he's an idiot, as do the rest of the world. Knob tells us in yet another confessional about how Long Pole Joel told them about his plan at almost literally the last possible moment. Yawn. He shows a rare moment of normalcy, thinking he may be an idiot for believing Long Pole Joel would take the dive at the final Immunity Challenge. Indeed he is. Long Pole Joel eventually finds Knob, who scolds him for scaring away all the stock-footage kangaroos and emus and making him forget that he's Still In Fucking Australia, Dammit!. Long Pole Joel wants Knob to know that if he really wants to hide, he should amputate his legs so that he doesn't leave footprints. Which Long Pole Joel apparently needed to yell at to find in the first place.

Knob is lazy and orders Long Pole Joel to help him stand up. Tool. He calls Long Pole Joel "a bloody loud bazooka" and bitches because he got woken up. So, now he doesn't even sleep with the tribe? What is this prick even doing out there any more? They hug.

Long Pole Joel is self-congratulatorially confessionaling about how he didn't get involved with the alliances until they were self-destructing. Well, that's a nice sentiment, but it's not why I watch this show. Go away, morals. And if you have to take Long Pole Joel with you in order to do that, leave the Long Pole.

Snake! Insert your own metaphorical joke there. Sadly, the editors think this snake requires a rattlesnake sound effect. ...No.

At camp, Sophie and Hatie are talking to Sciona, trying to get her to sway. Which almost makes sense, given that Long Pole Joel has no reason to switch and Knob isn't going to touch Hatie with a ten-foot-long pole. And we all know there's only one place out there he's going to find one of them, and it's not in his own pants. Sciona says her strategy is to let everyone else fight it out in order to win, while she'll be happy to finish second. Or something. She seems to think there's no way she can win the game. Again, this is not why I watch Survivor. Go away, Flying Under The Radar. Sophie asks is Sciona was going to vote her off a week ago, and Sciona says she wasn't. But Knob told one of the blondes that that was her plan. Which it couldn't have possibly been. Seven days before this was the Tribal Council where Craig got voted off (sniff). And Sophie was wearing the Immunity Lie Detector. Sciona tells them, after an attack of the st-st-stutters, that the Complicated Alliance Of Eternal Overplanning has stood, according to her. Which is also complete bullshit, because the votes were split 3 to 3 the previous night. Had she voted for Long Pole Joel of her own accord, instead of just blindly following what Knob said, then she could claim that, and these two could not tell the difference. But she didn't, so they can. Shut up, Sciona. She doesn't, and instead confessionals that she told an outright lie for the first time in the game. Which it isn't. Sophie asks whether the votes for Long Pole Joel are going to be revealed to him, and we know they already have been, because Long Pole Joel knows that he's only in the game because of Knob and Sciona. Sciona says she doesn't know what Knob's going to tell him, and then confessionals that Sophie's "got radar", claiming it's because she's a mother. Well, of course the fifty-year-old woman without kids is going to say that.

Cliffs, clouds, and a wonderful drum beat which nonetheless feels out of place here.

Bucket Mail. Long Pole Joel. Knob. Message:

Line up your target and hook your prey

Then run to the rocks and smash away

Sort the puzzle in the appropriate way

A sound sleep for the winner will make your day

I would have thought a sound sleep would make your night, but what do I know? I'm only going over this show with a fine-toothed comb. Also, dear whoever writes these: Please stop giving away everything about the challenges. Knob bitches about how there's apparently no food on offer. For no reason at all, we get a shot of the moon.

Commercials. Young men, there's a place you can go; I said ... Oh, forget it, that was six episodes ago. ["No! Don't forget it, young men! MY bedroom's a place you can go!" -- WhoreBoy]

Challenge beach, which has many violent waves nearby. There are boxes and hooks. Link acts like he's auditioning for the role of Amazing Race Greeter, thinking that The Beach is an actual location that makes the whole Port Lincoln area unique. Yeah, not so much. He tells us of how whalers used to hunt Southern Right Whales. He probably actually would need to explain that to these people. He adds that they don't do it anymore because the whales are a protected species. Again, necessary because these people are idiots. Also, can someone forward this to Japan?

Link tells the castaways that, just like the whalers got great rewards, so will whoever wins the challenge. The prize is a camp bed (which Link makes sound less like a bed you'd get camping, and more like one Elton John would use), a sleeping bag, and a pillow. They'll also get a warm meal -- either minestrone or a roast chicken, their choice. But whichever one they get, the serving will probably be big enough to share with everyone else. (At least $100,000 is an even amount to give everyone. Producers? Guys?) And, in what instantly makes this the best reward of the season, they get a teddy bear. Hee! Cute. Link smiles very widely when he picks up the teddy, and it really stands out how cute his smile is. And how he hasn't seemed all that happy to be around these people all season. In most cases, I would agree with him.

My only question about the reward is this: Does the bed fit under the boat, or does whoever wins it have to sleep outside?

So, onto the challenge. You run down to a row of shark hooks, and use one to retrieve a net, like that challenge a few weeks ago did with ropes and shovels. When you have the net, take it along the beach to a marked station, grab the wooden box from inside, and smash it open with a rock. Take out the hessian bag inside, and run all the way to the end of the beach. Open the bag to find a bunch of cards with letters printed on them. Use some of the letters, but not necessarily all of them, to form words. The first person to show Link the only correct word wins the Best Reward Ever.

Dear Fans Of The American Version: We're sorry for inflicting all those "do something mildly physical, then solve the puzzle" challenges on you. Really.

Survivors ready? GO! Everybody runs. Unsurprisingly, former athletes Knob and Hatie are leading the pack. People throw their hooks, all sucking at it. Sciona sucks the least, but she breaks the rules by taking the box out before she gets to the rocks. Cheater! Long Pole Joel also gets his net and does the same thing. So does Knob. Cheaters! The whole lot of you! Sciona gets her box smashed open easily, by smashing the rock onto the box rather than the other way around. Just keep that in mind, in case, you know, you end up deserted on an island in, like, Fiji or somewhere. Long Pole Joel smashes his box twice, just to prove how easy it is. The music guys add two of the Harpsichord Flourishes for emphasis. Knob also takes two tries, but it's because his first attempt sucks because his hand gets in the way (or, at least, that's what it looks like). Sciona is still leading, with Long Pole Joel and Knob in second and third respectively. Sophie gets her net, which means Hatie is the only hooker left. Sciona gets down to the end and starts laying her letters out, as Link reminds her that she's only looking for one word. Long Pole Joel is right behind her. Sophie runs away with her box (cheater!) while Knob gets to the end. Sciona clarifies that Link will be checking their guesses. She must have thought it was going to be done by glowing cat wizards or something. Long Pole Joel thinks DREAM is the word, which it isn't, but which makes more sense for this particular reward than the actual answer. As Sophie gets to the rocks, Hatie finally grabs her net. Long Pole Joel tries DREAMS next, which is also wrong. We hear three Harpsichord Flourishes for Sophie, but we're too busy watching Hatie getting her box out of the net (cheater!) to see the last one. As Hatie runs, Knob guesses DIVE. No. Long Pole Joel seems to think DREAMR is a real word. Hatie needs to attempts to open her box, missing so hard the first time that she actually lets go of her rock. Sciona seems to have SAW, RAVE, and DIVE on her pallet at the same time. Knob makes another guess. Loser. Having arrived at the pallets at last, Hatie quickly arranges her letters to form the word AURORA. Which is correct, as Link shows us. Hatie wins, and when Link reminds her of the meal she won, she says she feels sick. Well, at least the teddy bear won't betray her. Probably.

Side note about the challenge: It might be just me, but could they seriously not find a better font to use for these letters than Comic Sans MS? They want a shipwreck theme; they get... something that reminds me of circus clowns. Stupid.

Hatie's camp bed is at camp when the tribe arrives, and indeed appears to be too big to fit beneath the boat. So she has to sleep outside. Oh well. I don't think most of these people would care, especially considering they now get some more room under the boat. Knob is convinced the bed is a double, because he wants to usurp it for himself. And also, because he gets close to Hatie in a non-imaginary way if he shares. Hatie tells us she named the bear Ben, and puts him on the bed to "warm it up for [her]". Sciona tells Hatie that the prize is "wonderful", giving off the impression she doesn't realise it would be here regardless of who won. Either she's thinking that, or she wants the extra half of the bed for herself. Whichever it is, shut up, Sciona.

Did you know there are waves in the sea? Well, you do after watching this nice long helicopter shot here.

The tribe sits around their fire and cooks their shellfish. Kangaroos pretend to watch, and then hop away.

Sophie and Hatie meet up away from camp, with Hatie still holding onto the bear. Well, of course she does. It's the only friend she has left. Sophie confessionals that she doesn't know who to trust, and was trying to figure out what Hatie's all about. Let's watch. Hatie explains of the final two agreement between her and Knob, and it turns out Sophie has the same deal. As does Sciona, you'll remember. Hatie tells Sophie they can't trust Knob, and then tells us that Knob and Sciona have "betrayed" her, because they've been playing the game "behind [her] back", and that their trying to win is "going to cause hatred in [her]". Well, isn't that nice?

Knob returns to the others at camp, bitching about how an emu he chased got away. I didn't think emu was edible. I certainly didn't think they'd let you kill one and eat its carcass, especially not in a national park like Whaler's Way is. But Knob has Hatie's roast chicken instead, which as it turns out is now tainted. Sorry! Hatie confessionals that as soon as they saw the chicken, everybody was talking about how they were dividing it up, just assuming that she would share. Surprisingly, the chicken is small as far as roast chickens go, and Hatie is completely right in saying she has no reason to share with everyone. Doesn't mean she's not a complete bitch about it, but she's right. Just this once. She muses about whether she should share and keep the peace, or keep it for herself and risk being voted out. Sadly, she shares. Knob automatically assumes he's going to sleep with Hatie, and Sciona remarks that she's "just lost [her] toyboy". Oh, EW. After that scene, I... whoa. I think... I want Hatie to win. How the fuck did that happen?

Commercials. My baby takes the morning train, he works from 9 'til 5 and then, he takes another home again, to find me waiting for him. Unless, of course, Connex cancels his morning train and he never gets to work in the first place.

It's Day 35. Or it would be, if they put up the damn graphic. I can't imagine why we'd be getting the Standard It's A New Day! shots otherwise. Knob tells Sciona they're voting Hatie off next, and she orders him that it'll be Sophie, because Hatie is weak. Sciona must have short-term memory loss or something, because otherwise she'd realise that Long Pole Joel is the bigger threat than either of them. He's won two challenges, the life rings and the measurement, while Sophie (the eating challenge) and Hatie (the reward challenge here) have only won one each. And, for the record, out of the final eleven players, only Caren and Knob have not won an individual prize to this point. Even Sylvain got the car. So vote off Long Pole Joel, convince the girls that the alliance of four is still real, and then side with them to get rid of Knob. Win the final challenge and you're in the final tribal council anyway. And, this way, there's no chance someone could be bullshitting you into taking them to the final three under they impression they'll throw the challenge. But of course she can't hear me. Sigh.

Knob idiotically confessionals that nobody knows about the final-two deal with him and Sciona. Except for Sciona, who's in the deal. And Long Pole Joel, who's agreed to ensure they get to the final two together. And Hatie and Sophie, who have figured it out from a combination of their own final two deals and the way the previous vote went. And Link, who's getting updates from the crew, if his Tribal Council snark is anything to go by. Knob also says nobody knows about the Long Pole Joel deal, and while they may not know the specifics (because I can't see anyone else being stupid enough to believe Long Pole Joel's offer, even with their past actions), Hatie and Sophie could again guess something happened based on the votes. Deluded prick.

Knob and Sciona finalise their deal. Wasn't that an interesting four seconds?

And just to show that Hatie and Sophie have figured out that Long Pole Joel has done some sort of deal, we get them trying to figure out how Long Pole Joel fits into Knob's Grand Plan. Hatie proposes telling Long Pole Joel about everything that's happened, and then hoping he'll side with them. It's nice to see that Hatie is now planning on doing the exact same thing she called Craig a "manipulative little snake" for trying. And it worked so well that first time, didn't it? Hatie confessionals of her plan, and then tells Sophie that Knob and Sciona are "rats and weasels". Mark them off your Hatie's Animal Insult Bingo card. I'm still waiting for "ferret". They agree to do it when they get water, apparently counting on Knob and Sciona to be lazy bastards. Eh, one out of two is true, but Sciona will probably want to go.

At the coast, Sophie talks to Knob. Sophie gives him the brush-off he so richly deserves. Knob confessionals that he deliberately tried to figure out what they were saying as soon as they finished. He does not seem to realise that the brush is high enough that he could have just hidden and eavesdropped. Ever the tool, Knob demands to know what Hatie was doing talking to her. Fuckwit. They don't have to explain what they're doing to you. You're not Link. You're not Probst. You're not even Dicko. Though four out of those five letters are accurate. Sophie confessionals that she's never wanted to lie, but she lied to Knob because he's been doing deals with everyone. Knob whines. What else is new?

Knob confessionals that he then found Hatie and demanded she tell him the same stuff, because their alliance is at risk. We then get to see this exact thing, because the editors are auditioning for The Biggest Loser. They know, of course, that he's been doing even more dirty work than either of them, so this won't work at all. Knob tells them his reason for needing to know is because he's the only guy in the alliance. Whatever.

Hatie confessionals that she can hardly look at Knob. Hey, me too. She says he's been... something... with his strategy. It could really be either "haphazard" or a really weird pronunciation of "half-arsed", but either way it sounds like "have acid". She knows that she should at least pretend to be nice to him, and hope that what goes around comes around. How ironic. She is still holding onto Ben, as Knob tells her that she should tire Long Pole Joel out. I'm sure he can't possibly get any more tired than he was during those early days when Jeff was snoring. Shut it, Knob. As is usually the case, he ignores me and confessionals about how he can't even think straight any more. Yeah, well, neither can I, and I turned out all right. Assuming by "all right", you mean "thinking about imaginative ways to wipe Knob off of the face of this earth, but not acting on them".

As soon as Knob leaves, Hatie remarks to Sophie about what a "sleazebag" he is. Can I replace "toad" with "sleazebag" on my card? Sophie is still shocked that people can make deals with more than one person. Hatie adds "rugrat" to her insults (and I cross off "sloth"), as they laugh at how he's so stupid he set up a chance for them to talk to Long Pole Joel without him. HA! What a dumbarse. Hatie says she's so good she gives herself goosebumps. Let's not go overboard, but she is certainly better at this game than Knob is.


Knob meets Long Pole Joel and Long Pole Joel thinks the absolute most important thing they could talk about is that Knob gave him a high-five. Wanker. Knob instead explains that Hatie and Sophie are "demons". He tells Long Pole Joel to just follow their plan no matter what. Which is stupid for Long Pole Joel if he does it. This way, he'd be dropping out third guaranteed. If he switched, he'd have no such promise to break, and thus would actually compete in the last challenge. If he wins, he'd be pretty much guaranteed to get three jury votes if he takes Hatie over Sophie -- one from Lance and two from the Kadinas. Which would almost be enough for him to win the game. And if he switches but still loses the challenge, then there's no damage done to his final position, given Hatie and Sophie will do the same thing Sciona and Knob are planning. Long Pole Joel looks excitedly pissed that he has to get water with Sophie and Hatie. He confessionals that he doesn't like liars and lying. Well, he's in the right game, then. He also says he doesn't want to get involved in any of that. I must have missed the part when his helping Knob and Sciona to boot Princess Jane didn't count as lying. Hypocrite.

The girls and Long Pole Joel walk up to the Water Windmill, fresh from another round of time-lapse-induced schizophrenia. The girls tell him about the alliance, and how it's main goal at the start was ensuring Tipara didn't get Kadina'd. Long Pole Joel confessionals that this is the first he's heard of people playing the game. Yawn. Hatie and Sophie tell him that people have been badmouthing him in an attempt to get them to vote for him. Sophie confessionals that she wanted to tell Long Pole Joel about this because she feels sorry he hasn't had to lie to get as far in the game as he has. And I'm sure it might also have something to do with trying to get his vote. But she doesn't say that. Sophie explains how the concept of alliances work, as though even though he hasn't been a part of one before, he also has never seen this show. Long Pole Joel confessionals that he'd have a stronger chance of winning the final challenge against the girls than he would against Knob and Sciona. Well, there's also the little matter of him agreeing to throw the challenge for the other two, but that's not particularly important at the moment. Especially considering he seems to be thinking as though that deal doesn't count. Hatie tells Long Pole Joel their plan for the vote: If Knob wins the Immunity Stay Of Execution, Sciona goes home, otherwise Knob gets the boot because he's more of a threat. And either way, I'm happy. Long Pole Joel appears to be interested.

Commercials. EmoHunk is convinced that the one way people will actually believe he's straight (which he is, sadly) is to join the armed forces. Specifically, the Navy. For someone who's not gay, he's very gay. And I'll bet that in the navy, they'll put his mind at ease. (Okay, NOW I'm done mocking the Village People. At least for this season.)

Another cliff shot, which this time appears to have been filmed from a boat.

Bucket Mail. Sophie and Long Pole Joel retrieve it, and if she didn't offer a final-two deal with him on the way to help get him to swing, she is an idiot. The message is caught in a mousetrap. Perfect for all those rats and weasels you'll need to get rid of to win.

This challenge will amaze, this challenge will confuse

At each stage there's a winner, whose task is to choose

The partners who will join the next round in the game

Until only two are left, then your path will appear the same

One will fall, the other stands tall, to claim Immunity's fame


Sweeping helicopter shot, teaser shots of a bunch of random stuff.

Link welcomes the tribe and grabs the Immunity Ninja Panty-Raider from Sciona. Today's Immunity Challenge is one of my favourite challenge ideas, not only in this season but also in any season ever, and is designed to get the tribe thinking, and to do the Coconut Chop's normal job of revealing whom you can and can't trust. Link provides a warped pronunciation of "can't" for some reason. There are a whole bunch of separate stages, like there were with the merge episode challenge. This time, the first is not a jigsaw puzzle, but is a maze. The last person out gets eliminated, which makes it seem as though the Bucket Mail message was written before the challenge was finished being planned.

We get a crane shot of the maze, which shows us that there are different obstacles inside the maze. Disorienting! Survivors ready? GO! Everybody seems to have trouble even finding the entrance to the maze, five feet in front of them. It looks like Long Pole Joel and Sciona head to the left, while the others head right. Hatie is out first. Woo! Knob is second, trying and failing his Thunderbird walk again. But if he's doing That Person In The Thriller Video Who Gets Confused Between Zombie-Walking Forwards And Zombie-Walking Sideways, he's pretty damn good at it. Link brilliantly points where Knob is to go and wait, even though he's still wearing the blindfold. Heh. As he does, Sophie comes out behind him. More Sciona and Long Pole Joel fumbling. Link seems impressed with how stupid they can be to fuck up a maze this small this much. I like Link. Long Pole Joel gets out, and he's the last person through in this round. Probably some time later, considering she's coming through from the same way she entered the maze, rather than the exit (you can see the poles which were near the start of the maze), Sciona finally escapes. She walks all the way around the outside of the maze to Link, who tells her that she's out of the challenge. Which is good, 'cause she'd probably still be in that maze right now if he told her she had to do it properly before he can eliminate her.

Now, the challenge gets into the actual stuff that both Link and the Bucket Mail were referring to. There's a simple task. Whoever gets it done first gets a cryptic, Bucket Mail-esque clue. Then, you decide who goes to which of the several traps laid out. Only one of the traps in each round is rigged to work. Whoever gets sent to the real trap in each round is out. Last one remaining wins the Immunity Pixellation Device. Brilliant idea. And because of the trap component, you could either screw yourself over by not understanding the clue properly, or you could screw yourself over by understanding it correctly and then pissing off the wrong person.

Have I mentioned I love this challenge?

So. The second round is fairly easy. You've got six coloured sticks, all the same length, and you have to use them to make four equal-sized triangles. And you can't cross the sticks over each other. To do it, you've got to make one triangle on the ground, and then use the other three as the vertical edges to make a pyramid. Not hard at all. Well, unless you're THESE people.

Survivors ready? And... GO! There is a lot of people being idiots and trying to make them all on the ground, until Link spoils the fun of this particular challenge by telling them to "think laterally, it may not be on a level surface". So now it's basically a race to see who can pick up three sticks and hold them the right way. Spoilsport. And it's Knob.

Link tells him he gets to read the clue. The clue is: On your head be it if the killer is close... Not a great clue. Link reminds him of what he has to do now. This time, there are four walk in corridors, sort of like changing rooms in a store, and each person has to go in one. There are four animal pictures on top -- a turtle, a shark, an octopus, and a dolphin. At least, that's what the pictures look like they're supposed to be. Knob sends Long Pole Joel to the turtle, Hatie to the octopus, Sophie to the dolphin, and he takes the shark for himself.

Everybody moves to their traps. When Link tells them to, they step inside. The trap turns out to be pretty ordinary, with two nets just rolling down around the victim. Who turns out to be Knob. Woo! Link does what I would do and reminds Knob that he is an idiot. He also explains the clue: the shark room was the trap, because the shark was the only animal that kills humans. Supposedly, but it looked to me like the pictures may have been drawn in dark blue, which would mean we had a blue-ringed octopus up there, and that kills too. I like this challenge idea, but it doesn't appear to be executed very well. Still, at least they can't share the prize. (EmoHunk suggested that the hint could also have been taken another way from its ungrammatical writing. And it looks like it could have. Using the “on your head be it” part only could possibly tell you that trap B would be the unsafe one – and, reading from left to right as the players saw it, the bad trap was the second from the left, which would be trap B.)

The next stage is a three-layer Tower of Hanoi puzzle. For those who don't know, that's the game where you have three poles, and on one is a pile of stuff, with the different layers increasing in size as you go down. You've got to move them from one pole to another, without putting a piece on top of a smaller piece. This time, you've got to move the three layers from one pole (let's call it #1) to the pole at the other end (#3, with the middle one obviously being called #2). The correct way to solve this only takes seven moves. Put the smallest piece on #3, then the middle one on #2. Move the smallest one onto #2 (i.e., onto the middle-sized one) and then take the biggest one over to #3. Now move the smallest one back to #1. Take the middle one onto #3 and then the smallest one, and you're done. Simple. So simple, in fact, that the task later got recycled in both the American Thailand season, and our own Celebrity Survivor Vanuatu. But I'll deal with having to re-recap it when I get up to that episode.

Survivors ready? GO! We see Hatie (with the yellow poles) clearly make the wrong move and put her smallest tyre onto the middle pole. But then we cut to a shot of all three and she's dumping it on the right pole at the end. So, who's to say? Long Pole Joel throws one of his tyres away, thinking one of Hatie's orange poles is one of his pink poles. It wouldn't be the first time this show has gotten colours mixed up. There is a lot of rapid running, and this, just like that square puzzle back in the merge episode, is a task that would have been better with more pieces. Three layers just aren’t enough. Anyway, Hatie wins.

There are three tiger traps. One has a shell inside it, one has a Danish or a coffee scroll or something (WhoreBoy and I were having trouble trying to figure out what it was, but it's definitely a pastry of some kind), and one has a pear. The clue is: Tiger, tiger, burning bright; there'll be no supper for you tonight. So, here's her dilemma. Does she play to win the challenge, saving herself in case Long Pole Joel doesn't switch over to their side, and force Long Pole Joel to take the bad cage (assuming she can figure it out, of course, which is never a safe assumption around these parts); or does she give herself the bad cage, like Knob will likely say he did, in order to get Long Pole Joel to be more likely to trust her, but lose her chance at winning? I'm not sure which would be best. Hatie sends Sophie to the pastry and Long Pole Joel to the shell, and takes the pear for herself. As they crawl in, Long Pole Joel's cage slams shut around him. Link explains that the clue was the word "supper", and one of the traps didn't have food inside. Hatie laughs. While on her hands and knees in a tiger cage, looking hungrily at a pear on the ground. She really has no sense of irony, does she?

The final stage involves handling balls. Which makes Hatie lucky she booted Long Pole Joel. All Hatie and Sophie have to do is stand outside a circle marked on the ground, and throw juggling balls at a hollowed out Tribal Council torch. Whoever lands a ball into the torch first gets the final clue.

Survivors ready? GO! Sophie throws underarm, Hatie throws overarm. Both throw like girls. (What do you expect me to make jokes about? People throwing stuff really isn't conducive to snark.) Hatie wins.

There are two planks over a ditch. The message: Choose the right path; decide your fate; only the correct path should you take; what's left should only bring misery. Now, I was twelve years old when I first saw this episode, and I could figure out which one she should take, that's how easy it was. Hatie takes the right hand side, and gives Sophie the left. Link confirms, and reminds them what's at stake. They walk. About halfway across, Sophie's bridge collapses under her weight. That can't feel good. The resulting dust causes some big splotches of dirt to land on the camera. Hee.

Link hands Hatie the Immunity Tubular Bells. Surprisingly, he does not hug her like he did when Joel and Craig won their challenges. Huh. She does get a hug from Sophie, however, so all is good.

The tribe walks away, from the start of the maze, which they apparently had to walk back through to get out, from the way the shot appears. Weird. Great challenge, though.


Apparently, it's only Day 35 NOW, which means that somehow we had both challenges on the one day. And also means we've either got to fill up two days within about ten minutes of airtime before Tribal Council, or we're having a four-day finale. In which case we get an extra day of "look how far we've come" reflection. Yay. Hatie wakes up. She confessionals over a shot of Knob doing... something... that they were in the tent last night and he tried to touch her, but she didn't feel anything. Doesn't that make you a Reaper or something? I might watch Supernatural, but I don't get how much of it actually works. Anyway, he asks Sciona something about the engraving he's supposedly making. In case you can't tell, I find it even more difficult to care about sentimentalist crap when it stars people I don't like. Sciona tells him that saying friendship and trust had anything to do with Survivor would be the biggest lie he's told "all decade". That is complete and utter bullshit, given friendships do play a part in who you form alliances with, and also because it's not even the biggest lie he's told this episode, and because the decade at the time this was filmed was less than two years old. That's like calling a film coming out in the first two weeks of January "the greatest film you've seen this year". Knob confessionals that it's only the last few minutes of a game that counts. No wonder he wasn't very successful as a footballer. He continues whining while I have a laughing fit because of his stupidity.

When I recover, Hatie and Sophie are walking, with Hatie holding the teddy bear again. That teddy bear is easily my favourite character in this episode. Sophie tells Hatie that she's used to being cheated on (too much information, lady!), and that it feels like that sort of situation. Hatie says they're like Knob's two girlfriends finding out about each other, but this isn't like real life because they're working together to get rid of Knob rather than bitchslapping each other. Heh. Hatie confessionals that Knob's "messed with the wrong girl" and "he's going down". Not on her anymore, apparently.

The tribe eats breakfast. Knob bitchily confessionals that he's eating as much food as Princess Jane used to, even though she was smaller. So... being a bigger jackass means you deserve more food, does it? He adds the fun fact that Long Pole Joel tried to get more food and burned his fingers doing it. And you'll notice we never saw that, considering we've seen you whining about everything and we had to devote practically the entire Tipara portion of Episode 2 to Sciona burning herself. I wonder why. Everyone tells Sciona how well she cooked the rice. Sciona confessionals that she's decided to start being lazier than she was before, because she wants to win the challenges. Good strategy, but the only physical challenge from this point on in the seasons we'd seen before was the second chance challenge in Outback. We had two rounds of Hands On The Immunity Idol, a match-the-pairs memory game, and three games of Fallen Comrades, but it's traditional at this point that the last couple of challenges aren't exhausting.

Long Pole Joel tells the tribe that he has callouses on both sides of his arse bone, and offers to let people touch it. On the one hand, that's too much information. On the other, WhoreBoy probably would. ["Only if he showered first." -- WhoreBoy] Sciona tells him he needs to do more work then. She tells him this (1) as she herself is sitting down, and (2) as she herself is actively trying not to do work. Sciona is on my List. Long Pole Joel tells him the callouses on his hands and feet are much worse, so she can shut up. Exactly.

Knob plays with the boat. Yeah, I have no idea why either. Sophie and Hatie both confessional that they hate Knob's trying to find out everything about what they're doing. He's not Jebus, you know. Knob tells Sciona what they told him, which is that they're both voting for her. It would have been more fun if they told him to his face that they're both voting for him, wouldn't it? Knob confessionals that Sciona is upset about this, and that he just assumed they would vote for Long Pole Joel. He does a bad Sophie impression, which doesn't sound all that different to his actual voice. Sciona tells him to relax. He explains that he has three votes against him already (love ya, Craig) and that he thinks they think he's going to join them in voting for Sciona. Knob confessionals that Sciona is his "rock", but that even she sounded like she was angry with him. Which I normally wouldn't excuse her for, but Sciona has been an angry bitch these last couple of episodes. Shut up, Sciona. Knob tries to reassure Sciona, who throws his telling Lance and the other girls that he was voting for her back in his face. Good point, but I already TOLD you to SHUT UP.

There are waves, because the editors are trying to pass off that this place is nice to visit, even though everyone's wearing winter clothes in thirty-degree weather.

Sophie and Long Pole Joel find a decent place to fish, and Long Pole Joel confessionals that he shocked that the alliances have problems. Does he not realise from the dwindling numbers that this is the "serious business end" of the game? Suddenly, the pair is at the fishing spot they found, and are doing pretty well. Sophie catches a big one. And not in the way I would normally say that with Long Pole Joel around. Long Pole Joel is happy.

Meanwhile, Knob is searching for shells on his own. Blunt metaphor alert! He confessionals about his mood swings. Yawn. Knob and Sciona talk about their lies. It's not the most interesting scene in the episode, shockingly enough. Knob tells us that they wound up reaffirming their faith to each other. Whatever. Sciona tells him they have to trust Long Pole Joel.

Sophie tells us she's not going to go without a fight. Which certainly seems like it'll happen, because Hatie won the Best Challenge Ever, and now she's the only one outside the Al-liar-nce. She and Long Pole Joel continue fishing, and he confessionals that it seems like he would get to the final three regardless of whether he switched alliances or not, but that he'd have a better chance of winning the final challenge against the girls.

The tribe grabs their torches. Sophie confessionals that she won't enjoy voting for Knob, but she'll do it anyway. Go on, have some fun. Add some exclamation marks. We all know how much Knob likes them. The tribe leaves.

Commercials. Shut up, Dora the Explorer.

Tribal Council after dark. Link gives them the spiel and even he sounds bored about it this time. NoMind is wearing one of those red teacher tops that's supposed to be prudish but actually shows off a fair bit of your rack. Jane is wearing a random beach skirt, but she is at least smart enough to wear a jacket over it. Lance is in random clothes, Craig is still smokin'.

Sciona, how has your Journey! changed you? She Sarah Palins the question, instead talking about how she didn't expect to have to deal with a tough environment on top of everything else. She has not watched this show before, then. Shut up, Sciona. Hatie, how much do you need the Immunity Rat And Weasel Trap? She tells us that "the tension in the camp is paramount", and that it's "getting closer and closer to D-Day". Well, yes, but I'd be surprised at this point if it happens in the way she thinks it will all go down. Knob, are you happy with all the lying and scheming and arseholery you've displayed during the game, and do you think anyone has gotten pissed off with said arseholery? He is, and he doesn't. He gives a standard "This Is A GAME" speech. Yawn. Sophie, I don't know anything about what's happened to you since you turned up, so how are you? She explains that the game changed since the merge, and that it's harder to make decisions now that you're nearing the end of the game and only people you consider friends are left.

Time to vote. Knob votes for Sophie, lying and misspelling her name like she's some Bulgarian immigrant. Does she look Bulgarian to you, tool? Hatie votes, patting down the voting papers before they fly off. Sophie votes for Knob, because she doesn't like how he treated her. Fair reason. Sciona votes. Long Pole Joel votes. Someone must really love that camera shot of the voting papers, because we saw it as every single person walked up this week.

Link retrieves the votes. Knob prays. Or something. Everyone else looks bored. Link returns. Time to put Link's reading lessons to the test. Knob. Sophie. Knob. Sophie. Links tells us they have "two each", and then reminds us who the "two each" are for some reason. Feh. And the next person booted, after shots of pretty much everyone looking nervous, is... Sophie. Which means Long Pole Joel is an idiot. She brings her torch over and is snuffed. She looks sad, but thanks Link. Aww. Once AGAIN, that insensitive prick of a Knob does not take any notice of her saying goodbye. Link confirms that we're in for a four-day journeyfest of a finale, and sends the tribe back to camp.

Next week, on the "last ever" episode of Cancel My Subscription, I'm Tired Of Your Issues: Knob yells at someone for lying. Oh, the irony. Hatie finally snaps at Knob. WOOOOO! Hatie confessionals that Knob is "going down". But I already MADE that joke! No fair! Hatie wants a hug. Everybody else gets at least one. Four people remain standing, but Link makes them all walk the plank anyway. I knew I liked Link. Also, somebody finally wins this bitch.

Sophie tells us that she has no regrets about the "enriching" experience. She'll miss "living on the edge", but won't miss the lack of food. She played how she wanted, and is happy she got booted before the game got really tough. It very much echoes how gracious Teresa was back in Survivor: Africa, when she got the boot at this time of the season. And anything that reminds me of T-Bird can only be good, considering how bad some other contestants have been over the years.

One episode to go!

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