Just when Iron Steph looks like she might be on the verge of breaking (okay, she's already there), she gets the treemail she's been waiting for, telling her that it's time to head for Koror. There, she is adopted as a Kororian, so there is not so much a merge as there is an acquisition. Immediately, the maneuvering to bring her into some alliance or other begins, but Coby decides that for him, "maneuvering" will take the form of telling Steph everything he knows, up to and including his double-secret alliance with Gregg and Anonymous Jen, which his arch rivals Tom and Ian actually sort of know about, but anyway. Steph is relieved to hear from Tom that Tom, Ian, and Katie are still up for an F4 with Steph, and she seems less than receptive to Coby's overtures. At a pole-standing immunity challenge, Steph frankly shocks me by jumping off her post for a pizza, which I suppose means (1) she was outrageously hungry, and (2) she knew who was going home. At tribal council, Coby -- who jumped down from his post right off the bat when offered a couple of donuts -- takes a 7-2 beating and gets snuffed. Y'all, I'm not sure he had the game quite as thoroughly knocked as he thought.
Previously on Like A Loss To A Flame: Steph and Bobby Jon were a desperate little Ulong tribe of two. When they were out-eaten at a duckling-off, they lost out on a cleanliness reward that Koror took home. Tom pressed for water conservation, much to the annoyance of Anonymous Jen, who wanted a shower, the better to canoodle with Studly Gregg, the Non-Romantic Yutz Who Is Getting Action Anyway. Yet another puzzle challenge left Steph and Bobby Jon baffled, and Koror took the immunity monkey again. Doomed to a deadlocked vote, Steph and Bobby Jon played a fire-building challenge for survival, and when Steph came up with the incredibly tricky strategy of blowing on the fire, she took home the victory and Bobby Jon was rather heartbreakingly sent home. Stephenie headed back to camp and wondered exactly what it would be like to be on her own at the Camp of Great Suffering. Nine people are left. What in the hell can happen to Stephenie now?
Moon. Ulong, Night 21. A lone crab wanders out of frame at the request of the producers, who want as much of a sense of isolation as possible to greet Steph upon her return. And here she comes, with her paddle and her stuff. She tells us that being the last surviving member of her tribe is "exciting," but also "scary." She is alone, and her first thought is to check on the fire she and Bobby Jon left behind. She finds that it is still glowing, so she goes in search of the palm branches she knows are lying around. She trips in the dark. A rat munches on something nearby. Let's see, if that's pestilence, and the end of Bobby Jon was death, and the whole theme has been the military, and she's already done famine...she's completed the circuit! Hooray! Steph gathers up some fronds and starts to tear them up as she voices over that everything she knows about starting and tending fires, she learned from Bobby Jon. Which makes her victory over him a little ironic, and she doesn't even successfully identify it as such, meaning that once again, the word "irony" has suffered a blow, percentage-wise. Steph further explains that she's not sure it's a good idea for her to even fall asleep, because she's afraid of losing the fire, which scares her. She settles in under what looks like some kind of a thin blanket as she reiterates that it's scary being on her own in camp. "I'll never give up," she says as she stares from her makeshift bed up at the sky.
Morning comes to Ulong, and it is now Day 22, and Steph is on her own. She walks over to the tree where Ulong has been making hash marks to count off the days, and she notes that she's up to 22. "Twenty-two down, seventeen to go," she says." Sigh. We watch as she hacks a coconut with the machete. She calls being on the island alone "a huge shock," and she forces the coconut open. As she munches on it, she explains to us that she's been driven to wonder whether she can take care of herself in camp without anybody else there, what with the food and water and fire she has to think about. "I feel like I'm going to, like, starve to death," she comments. She stares out at the water and briefly sees a vision of a surfing pizza. Sadly, it is just a mirage.
And now, it's time to visit Camp Koror on Day 22, and a shot of Coby brushing his teeth with Colgate Total With Ennui, the better to emphasize the difference in conditions. And, I guess, the better to display Coby's mouth to what I'm sure are his six to eight loyal fans. Ian, meanwhile, counts off some little...fruits or something, and he distributes them in cups to the members of the tribe. Koror appears to be suffering, indeed -- in this case, from a lack of flatware. Brutal, these conditions! Ian interviews that the team is "getting skinnier," not that it shows all that much. He then comments that he thinks members of the team get "lethargic" because they're kind of being "drug down by each other." Heh. He goes on to show what are basically his first negative feelings toward anyone in the entire thing: "Coby and Janu have been pains in the asses for the past three or four days. Janu does nothing. She lays in the hammock all day. She's like the dysfunctional aunt who lives in the attic. [Hee.] Coby got, kind of, this attitude to him, and really has become the pouter of the tribe, and it's really getting annoying."