Jeff explains about the new challenge, which is for reward. Or, as it turns out, "reward." The teams will swim out to a pair of platforms. One tribe member at a time will swim to a buoy and dive to retrieve a marker. The markers are located along a rope that stretches from the surface to the bottom, with the markers two feet apart. So there's a marker at six feet down, eight feet down, and so forth. After ten minutes, whichever tribe has the most markers will win. Jeff asks them whether they want to know what they're playing for. They say they do. They are playing for a food reward, and the food turns out to be Pringles. No, really. It's Pringles. Granted, they are also giving them beer, which would soften the blow slightly. ["Although you'll note that they didn't get a beer sponsor this year, because we don't see the label on the bottle." -- Wing Chun] But you've been out there for almost two weeks, and their idea of a treat is Pringles? On the theory that nothing sates an insanely cranked-up appetite quite like pressed potato slurry? Product placement is one thing, but this has reached a ridiculous point. (Next week's reward: all the Bugles you can eat!) The teams pretend that they're incredibly excited about the Pringles, and Jeff proceeds to hand out one chip per team that they can split and salivate over. Man, this is stupid. They enjoy their bite of "chip," or "potato chip food," or whatever it is that Pringles are actually allowed to call themselves under existing FDA regulations, and then Jeff explains that the Pringles and beer festival will take place at a waterfall where they will be transported after the challenge is over. Yasur has to sit someone out, as it turns out, and they choose Bubba. I think that, indeed, he is not so much the swimmer. The rest of the castaways head out to their platforms.
The first to dive are Twila and Scout. Scout emerges with a marker, but Twila cannot seem to get hers untied. Once Twila gives up and returns to the platform, Chad heads out next. Leann, at the same time, swims out for the second marker for Yasur. Chad unties the marker for Lopevi, and returns to get them in the race, sending Julie next. Leann returns with the eight-foot marker, so Yasur has a 2-1 lead. Bubba cheers from the sidelines. Julie comes up with the eight-foot. Rory heads for the 10-foot marker. Sarge does, too. Rory unties the marker with little difficulty, followed closely by Sarge, so now, it's basically a dead heat. Next out are Eliza and Chris, for the 12-foot markers. Eliza gets hers okay, but as Chris unties his, he lets it slip out of his hands, and as tense music -- which literally sounds like it has "more cowbell," or at least "more percussive dented instrument of some kind" -- plays, we follow the marker as it falls and falls and lands on the bottom. When Chris surfaces and confesses to what happened, Jeff tells the team that the marker is gone; they'll have to just go for the next one. The marker rests uselessly on the bottom of the ocean. Tragic! John dives for Lopevi; Ami for Yasur, currently leading 4-3. John brings one back to go 4-4, and then he goes right back and gets another. He and Ami return at the same time, making it a 5-5 tie. You can tell from John's collapse on the platform that the pressure at 14 and 16 feet really put the squeeze on him. Julie claims the 18-foot; Rory claims the 16-foot. Still tied at six apiece, with three minutes left. Ami goes again; Chris goes again. He comes up with the 20-foot; she comes up with the 18. Sarge goes for the 22-foot; he can't do it. "It's unbearable; my ears," he says to the team. Man, if I had a nickel for every time I had said that while watching this show, I would be watching it on a much bigger television. Rory comes up with the 20-foot, putting Yasur ahead. John goes for the 22-foot and nabs it. Chris goes out for Lopevi; Ami for Yasur.