Survivor
Don't Cry Over Spilled Octopus

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Miss Alli: B | Grade It Now!
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The Week All The Challenges Had Hugging

Raro still has a small lead when Parvati lands on the platform before Becky, so they're the first team to scramble up and over the wall. They jump down and run through the water toward the little tower, just as Becky finishes with the poles and Aitu goes up to the platform and over. Raro is now working on getting up the tower and getting everyone on top. The tribes don't come up with a particularly inventive way to get people up -- there's no one on anyone's shoulders, which surprised me, and there's nothing all that surprising -- both sides approach it by trying to form a mass of people that will balance even without almost anyone individually being balanced at all. Cao Boi falls off for Aitu and climbs back up. But then all of Raro falls off except for Rebecca, and Aitu is close to the victory. Jonathan is kind of anchoring them from the middle, with a lot of people hanging onto him, and I think that's working for them. It's very close and very hold-your-breath, right down to the wire, but Aitu is very slow and methodical, lifting one foot at a time, and finally, they all get up there. The way they do it at the end is glorious -- Cao Boi and Yul, on opposite sides of the tangle of legs and arms, lift their second feet up at the same moment, and it actually does appear that the coordination helps the entire tangle stay in balance. You can't tell if it's a "1...2...3!" situation, but it seems like it could be.

You can't quite see everybody, but you can sort of see how they did it as an engineering feat. They have Jonathan, Yul, and Ozzy in a sort of a ring, with Becky, Sundra, and Flicka squashed in between them. So that's four. Candice, who's light, is hanging on the back of Yul. Cao Boi, who pretty clearly has balance like a mofo, is almost dangling in the air, but he's hanging off the outside as well. Part of Raro's problem was that they tried to dangle Rebecca off the side, and she's a little too heavy to hang like Candice and not quite graceful enough to hang like Cao Boi, and their inability to place her was one of the things that made them fall. When they got back up, they didn't have anybody in the middle; they just tried to make a circle, and that was not going to work. It's really true that without necessarily having a brilliant idea, Aitu was not just lucky -- they did actually do that better. I think their structure was much more sound, and it was going to take Raro a long time to get themselves situated. Of course, with Adam and Nate, they also had a honkload of bulk to accommodate, which also made it harder, I'm sure. I really think Cao Boi and Ozzy, who both are sort of tree-climbing, nimble, wiry dudes who probably climbed on everything as kids, were a huge part of that victory. Which, incidentally, was shockingly exciting. Oh, and you know what? Flicka had her foot woven through the bodies and coming out the other side, which is fucking awesome. Probably just to get it the hell out of the way, but all hail her ass, because standing on one foot in that mess to balance? Not easy. Aitu is very, very pumped about this win, and they deserve it. That challenge was fucking hard, dude. And weirdly, I must admit to a small but growing soft spot for Flicka. I do know one real live roller girl, who is awesome, so it might just be that. (If you've never seen a web page of roller-girl injuries, you are not living right.)

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