Alicia and Rob sit around and talk about how weird the game is, and how hard it is to tell who your allies are going to be. He proposes to her a "side alliance." He interviews that he has a "mark" on him, and that if Amber is gone, he's going to be isolated. AH! See, this is one of the more insightful things that's been said, and it almost went right by. See, I think what has made the Rob/Amber alliance so powerful is that he has scheming, and she has likeability. If Rob had teamed up with any other woman -- any woman who wasn't sweet as candy, any woman who wasn't nice to everyone -- then obviously, resentment of their position of power and fear of their dominating behavior would have caused people to gang up on them a long time ago. He may do all the planning, but Amber has been absolutely key in protecting Rob from other people's vengeance, and he knows that if she's gone, his alliances with Jenna, Rupert, and Alicia are imperiled. Because what he's saying is pretty profound -- he's theoretically got an alliance of six if Amber is still in the game, but he's got nobody if she's gone. If nothing else, Rob and Amber have done a perfect job of using each other's strengths to compensate for their own weaknesses. Rob is a good schemer, but irritating; Amber is a sweetheart people naturally like, but no power-monger on her own. See? Brilliant. That's why it wouldn't bother me if either of them won. They're playing the hell out of this thing.
Anyway, back at Rob and Alicia's little talk, they promise each other, "I will never write your name down." Now that is how you make an alliance. I mean, he still doesn't mean it, but at least they agreed on terms, and I respect that. Part of Lex and Kathy's problem is that they didn't really get an agreement from Amber and Rob on terms. Obviously, Lex can't have believed that Rob would protect him at the expense of himself, or of Amber. So what does "take care of you" mean? Rob and Alicia, on the other hand, have at least made a specific deal. Rob also tells Amber that he has not promised anyone else that he would never write their name down. Of course, if he promised Amber final two...maybe he means "anyone who's left." Or maybe he's lying. Wow, look at me trying to explain it so he's not lying, even in the middle of an episode in which his propensity for remorseless lying is the chief plot. How do I not get my wallet stolen more often?
Challenge time. We swoop over a beach where, once again, platforms are floating in the water. Jeff calls in Fauxgo Mogo. He then calls for FakeChapera, and all Fauxgo Mogo eyes turn to watch for Amber. FakeChapera files in. Kathy...Shii Ann...Amber! Rob and Jenna, in particular, are very happy to see Amber. As FakeChapera approaches the mat, Rob throws Amber the little chin-jut smile, and she says "hey" back. So romantic! Next they'll be digging their toes in the sand and talking about what they did over vacation. ("But...eooew...those su-huh-mer...NAAAAA-HAAAAAHTS!") Rob finds it difficult to stop staring at Amber as Jeff starts to explain the challenge. Jeff says that although they're still two tribes, this reward is individual. It's a pretty simple challenge, in which all of them will dive for clay pots. There are two fewer pots than there are people, and whoever comes up without one is eliminated. They'll do that to cut from nine to seven, then seven to five, then five to three. Then the final three will dive and retrieve heavy crates off the bottom and drag them to shore. The first to get his crate (let's face it, it's not a very woman-friendly final round) to shore will be the big winner. The reward is a trip by helicopter to a resort where there will be food and a bed and all the other niceties that generally accompany boring luxury rewards. Moreover, you'll get to take two people with you, and you can select them from either tribe. Three people out of nine get to go? Good grief. They should really just have held this thing at a spa in Cancun. Give them all valets and get it over with. Bunch of spoiled Belly-dwellers.