Credits. Hi, Billy! Billy's cool, it turns out.
It's still Day 34 at Aitutonga. The big tribe flag is waving. As the EEFPs talked about this week, everyone just sort of wrote their names on the flag, except Jonathan, who included his wife's and kids' initials, and Adam, who wrote "ADAM GENTRY" in big block letters like he was writing it on the cubbyhole where they keep his enrichment exercises. Yul and Ozzy are strolling through the woods. They are bringing home the treemail, it turns out. The treemail includes a bucket of mud along with the usual bad poem. "Shirts will not be allowed," it says, which of course makes Parvati very happy. It also implies that the reward for victory will be some kind of lush vacation experience, which makes sense at this stage. Sundra also reacts with great excitement over the promise of mud, and I don't really know why this makes Sundra happy. Yul interviews that it might be "the naked mudwrestling competition." Okay, now I know why it makes Sundra happy. Adam tells Parvati that the two of them "need to pull out this victory." Parvati agrees, in an interview, saying that if they don't win, Adam will go to Exile.
Jeff welcomes the remaining six to the challenge clearing, which consists of a minor-league obstacle course (just a few things to climb over and duck under) and a giant pit of mud. I never know what they make mud from in these situations, and I always sense that I don't want to know. Jeff explains that, in this challenge, you dive into the mud pit and cover your body with mud. Then you race back through the course and scrape the mud into a bucket. You can't carry it in your hands or your arms -- it has to be on your body. Whoever has the most mud after ten minutes is the winner. The reward is a "luxury spa reward": massage, pool, laundry, bed for overnight, and lots of food and booze. The winner will also send someone to Exile Island, but the winner will not choose anyone to go along with him or her on the reward. Instead, the second-place and third-place finishers will get to go. I suspect that's designed to make this stage of the game a little less predictable, which is probably smart. In other words, rather than allowing the split to be engineered by the winner, let the split be determined by individual performances.
Ready? Go! Everyone starts out at first kind of rolling around in the mud, and the women are predictably trying to get it all in their hair, which would be my strategy as well. Yul and Ozzy are the first two to head back to the mud for a second around. (Incidentally, it is Billy's position, as he related it to me, that Yul has not fully strained himself trying to win challenges -- not that Ozzy isn't awesome at all, but that Yul has little interest in winning challenges. It sounded like bullshit, but when you think about it, Yul is already seen as such a power player and such a brainiac and such a nice person that I have to think that if he had really won very many challenges, the need to eliminate him would have been so obvious that it would have happened really quickly. I'm not saying it's necessarily true, but it's true that Yul has been right behind Ozzy for significant parts of various challenges without actually winning any of them.) People start trying to find various ways of transporting good amounts of mud. Naturally, Parvati gravitates toward using her chest, and it's really interesting to see her trying to carry mud back with her little boobs -- which are really not up to the task -- while grinning like a buffoon. It's like, in her mind, she has huge boobs. She has huge mental boobs, like one of those people who loses a limb and can still feel it. Ozzy starts loading up his hair. Yul's abs, I have to say, are out of hand, which is emphasized by the fact that he's covered with a sheen of mud. Jeff remarks that this entire thing, with all of them covered in brown, is "like watching bad performance art." Ha! Jeff gets off one good line every season. I hope you enjoyed it. ["But I was like, 'As opposed to GOOD performance art?' and then I remembered I was watching alone, with no one to appreciate my bons mots." -- Wing Chun] Ozzy continues carrying loads on the back of his neck; Parvati brings back a big pile on top of her head. You can tell already that the actual winner is not close -- everyone else's bucket is about half full, and Ozzy's is full. The kid has certainly found the setting in which his skills are put to highest and best use.