And...challenge beach. Here come the tribes. Shrinking Ulong. Big hulking Koror, with all its hot firemen and feuding chicks. Probst explains the challenge. He pulls a lever, and a life ring pops up in the water. Your team member has to swim out and get it and bring it back to your tribe's "pontoon" in the water. The catch is that you're basically allowed to mug each other -- "no punching" being just about the only limitation on your behavior, which is good, because wouldn't you punch some of these people if you could? I certainly would. Anyway, you can wrestle and dunk and harass in whatever way floats your boat in order to get the ring and keep the ring and/or keep the other person from succeeding with it. Probst reminds the contestants, however, that you don't want to make too many enemies who might come back to haunt you if they've still got your claw marks on the flesh of their cheeks when the merge arrives. First round will be one man from each tribe, then one woman from each tribe, and then they'll go from there. First tribe to score three points -- meaning that they get back with the ring three times -- wins reward. And what is the reward? Well, it is the famous sewing kit and fabric from the Pearl Islands, so you can make...a tablecloth. Or a handkerchief. Or a boy's sarong or whatever. Probst says that since they were left with the clothes on their backs, he's seeing a lot of people in underwear, women wearing buffs as skirts, and so forth. And you know that if there's one thing the show does not want, it's people wearing small quantities of clothing. At any rate, it's just about time to get started, and for Koror, Caryn and Willard will be sitting out.
First round will be Jeff versus Tom. Ready? Go! Oh, I love Tom so very, very much. Jeff starts out by letting Tom get the ring. Tom puts it around his waist, which seems smart, but Jeff eventually wrestles the ring away. Tom wrestles it back. Jeff shows off what will be the winning strategy for the game by dragging Tom, rather than trying to get the ring away. So Ulong gets that point. But Tom is still cooler! Next round is Jen versus Steph. Steph gets the ring. Can I just ask...has Jen ever spoken on the show? Is she a mime? I sort of thought she might take Steph on in this confrontation by doing, like, Trying To Escape From An Invisible Box. But anyway. The two women splash each other. "Good old-fashioned catfight," Probst says approvingly. Ugh. I kind of hate him for saying that, and I kind of hate them for giggling and splashing and kind of leaving it open, you know? The ladies dunk each other a bit, and then Steph drags Jen over toward the Ulong pontoon. Ding! Two to nothing, Ulong. Way to have an advantage in terms of mass!