Survivor
Burly Girls, Bowheads, Young Studs And The Old Bunch

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M. Giant: C+ | Grade It Now!
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Goodbye, Dolly

Sadly, before JP's head explodes, we cut to the reward challenge beach. A couple of long balance beams are set up above the water, just a few yards offshore. Jeff welcomes the Yasur tribe, noting helpfully that they're "nine strong." He points out the newly shrunken Lopevi tribe, and when the women ask who's gone, Jeff answers for the men that Brook was voted out at the first Tribal Council. The women ponder the significance of this, thinking, "Who's Brook?"

Both tribes line up in formation so that Jeff can explain the challenge. Each tribe member will have a number from one to eight painted on his or her arm, and then they'll line up on one of the balance beams in numerical order with his or her tribemates. Then number eight has to squeeze past each tribe member, one at a time, until he or she reaches the finish platform at the far end. Then number seven has to do the same, and so forth. Anyone who falls off into the water, or touches more than one teammate at a time, has to go back to the beginning and start over. The first tribe to get all eight on the finish platform wins. It looks fairly tricky, because that beam appears to be maybe twelve inches wide. And I can tell you that it is in fact tricky, because the challenge we're seeing tonight on this groundbreaking, culturally relevant reality show is nearly identical to one that I did as a team-building exercise with my co-workers back in 1994. Except we used a railroad tie in my boss's back yard and there were a lot fewer volcanoes around. Jeff unveils the reward and the women kvell; the winning tribe gets one hammock, two pillows, and three heavy blankets. And if Lopevi wins, they also get flint. Which seems to excite them a lot more than does the prospect of sharing one hammock. Scout sits out the challenge for Yasur. The tribes take position, and Jeff gives the order to begin.

On the Yasur beam, #8 Eliza and #7 Julie immediately grab onto each other to try and swap positions. It seems like the only way to do it, because it's not like there's room to step around each other. #8 Agent Brady and #7 John K. do the same, the latter looking distinctly uncomfortable. And then falling off. They have to start over. Eliza runs into trouble getting past #6 Lisa. As she loses her balance, she grabs for #5 Twila's hand, which is against the rules and doesn't help her anyway, because she falls in as well. Agent Brady's now full-contact-slithering past #6 John P., whose expression tells us that he's wondering how the hell he ended up on Oz. Eliza succeeds in passing Lisa, as Agent Brady's pec-cradling embrace with a tottering #5 Chad leaves the latter in a cold sweat, having just begun a waking nightmare behind his eyes from which he may never awaken. Eliza is past #2 Dolly. Agent Brady swaps with #4 Sarge, but Eliza's already moved past #1 Mia and is on the finish platform. Julie, Yasur's #7, gets started while Agent Brady is still passing Travis. I'd just like to say that if there isn't a character on Days of Our Lives named Agent Brady, why the hell isn't there? "Not sure Bubba likes this," Jeff comments, while Bubba makes a mental note to tell everyone later that he's never even seen Deliverance. Julie falls on her first attempt to pass Lisa, just as Agent Brady passes #1 Chris and steps onto the finish platform. We see Julie already past #3 Leann while #7 John K. and #6 John P., in Jeff's words, "hold that hug just a little too long." But not long enough for some viewers, I suspect. Not to worry; that's why God invented the pause button. Julie's all done by the time John K. gets to Sarge. Agent Brady coaches them from the finish platform: "You gotta trust each other. If you lean back, he'll hold you." And indeed, John K. does, but Travis dumps him in the drink. A little too much trust on one side and not enough holding on the other. Isn't that just always the way?

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Survivor

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