Burly Girls, Bowheads, Young Studs And The Old Bunch

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Goodbye, Dolly

Time for the Immunity Challenge. There's a large, multi-level platform set up on the grass above the beach, which is also littered with large, colorfully-painted slabs of wood tied together in pairs and set up like advertising sandwich boards. There are also several tied to buoys floating in the water. Jeff takes the Immunity Pole from Yasur, as Twila promises quietly, "We'll git it back." Jeff explains that the challenge will "test communication and the ability to work together." I love the way Jeff always says "test" when he really means "display your tragic and almost complete lack of." He explains that the wooden sections lying around are puzzle pieces. Each tribe will choose one member to be its eyes, and the rest will be blindfolded, tied together at the waist in three groups, and dispatched to the various corners of the field, the beach, and the water to retrieve the puzzle pieces, directed by the sighted tribe member. They are to bring the puzzle pieces back to their tribal mat, and once they're all collected, they take off their blindfolds, untie themselves, and start assembling the puzzles. Each tribe has three levels of the platform, and they need to complete a puzzle on each level. The first tribe to complete all three wins immunity. And, of course, the challenge represents yet another chance for Lopevi to win a little flint. I'd just like to say that I originally thought this challenge would be more entertaining if they had to put together the puzzles while still blindfolded, but as we shall soon see, I was just being greedy. Dolly agrees to sit this one out, and Yasur unanimously chooses Scout as its eyes. Lopevi nominates Sarge. Yeah, that must have been a tough decision. Pick the guy who makes a living shouting at hundreds of people at a time, or the guy who sounds like Boomhauer from King of the Hill? (I'm making a weighing motion with my hands as I type this.)

The tribes are blindfolded, tied together in teams of two and three, and lined up at the foot of the platform. Jeff gives the go command, and Sarge is immediately barking precise orders to his men. He's using phrases like "fifteen paces...ten o'clock" while Scout is hollering helpful instructions like "Pick that up!" Super. Sarge calls Travis to the sound of his voice, and Travis and his partner make a beeline for him -- until they smack their puzzle pieces into Mia. And these are pieces of wood that are roughly four feet square, so having a couple of galoots plow one into you from behind probably stings a little. Yasur gets a pair of pieces first, and I'd just like to say how unfair it is that I barely know who all these people are yet as it is, and now I'm supposed to recognize them with their buffs tied over the entire upper halves of their faces? Fuck that. Lopevi is close behind with their first pair. Scout steers two of her groups right into each other, while Dolly sits and watches and laughs. It's a little hard to hate her. JP is about to walk his team into a tree, but Sarge orders him to stop just in time. "Nine o'clock," Sarge bellows, meaning turn ninety degrees left, and JP obediently turns ninety degrees right. Oh, brother. Sarge yells, "Okay, six o'clock," meaning do a one-eighty, but by the time he gets that far, JP has already interpreted the "Okay" as "Go" and led them into a knee-high tree root that trips them both up. Sarge is still hollering, "SIX O'CLOCK, JP," but JP has, sadly, already built up a good head of steam in the direction of down o'clock. "Sorry, Sarge," he says lamely.

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