Day 22. Exile Island. Aras makes himself a fire, and tells us in an interview that being on the island is good for two reasons: 1) he doesn't have to be around the other obnoxious assholes on his tribe, and 2) he can look for the idol. My favorite part is where they show him somberly picking up the map, looking at it, and then...turning it, because he was looking at it upside-down. Ha ha ha! He talks about how the clue indicates that the idol is under a rock, and that lots of rocks have been moved, so he has no idea whether he's digging in vain. He is, of course, and that pleases me. Aras tells us that Terry is the one he's afraid might have the thing, so he wonders if Terry sent him there, hoping to weaken him. Furthermore, the fact that Terry didn't worry that Aras -- his strongest competitor -- would find the idol might mean, Aras thinks, that Terry has it. I hate saying "Good thinking, Aras" also, but...again, there you go.
Gitanos, Day 22. The four who won the challenge return to camp full of peanut butter and family warmth. Chiclets talks about how she didn't want to see them, and didn't want to hear about the food and the family videos and so forth. What's more, for whatever reason, these four have been given their luxury items as part of their reward. Remember luxury items? We haven't seen any in a while, I don't think. Courtney has received the "fire toys" that she uses in fire dancing. Terry immediately unfurls his giant American flag over the tent, as if anyone is surprised. He goes on to explain how it was on the coffin of his father-in-law, a Korean War veteran. (I received a text message at this point saying, "I can't wait for the ceremonial burning of the flag at the end of the season.") It turns out that Sally has brought her journal, and Bruce has his sketch book. Cirie says that she thought Courtney's were still "the coolest." I agree! Courtney dances around with her "fire toys," which appear to be long straps -- or maybe thin rods -- with bulbs at the ends, and you set the bulbs on fire. It has a lot in common with baton twirling or rhythmic gymnastics, and honestly, it's pretty cool. I always think they should give people their luxury items, because they really tend to help distinguish people, just as they do here. Random Guy is one thing, Random Guy Who Sketches is something completely different. Where would Jerri have been without her drum? Cirie says that losing is hard, and that having everyone else filled with happiness over their reward is not too much fun. She doesn't care to listen to everyone's happiness and excitement. I can't really blame her too much. Courtney plays with her unlit fire toys on the beach.
We come back to find Courtney still in fire-toy mode, still on the beach. Now, however, it is Day 24. So apparently, there were a couple of real down days there, just kind of leaving Aras on Exile Island and whatnot. Day 23, for instance, was not action-packed. Bruce is sketching the beach, and he's doing a pretty nice job, too. Sally is telling Terry she doesn't want to leave, and Terry is telling her that if she wants to stay, she needs to turn somebody, and then Sally or Terry needs to win the next challenge. Sally reiterates that it's 6-2 at this point, which is pretty brutal, as far as odds go. I kind of wonder whether they should have stopped trying to come up with a new alliance at this point and tried to find a different plan to oust a specific Casayan. She tells Terry that maybe what they should do is try to win the next immunity challenge, and then tell Chiclets or Courtney, for instance, that they're going to play the idol and present the options of 1) jumping aboard with Terry and Sally; or 2) risking being the one from Casaya to be booted. Sally says that if one of them can win the challenge and Terry decides to use the idol, then a Casayan will go home. Of course, that becomes less meaningful by the week, since it would still leave them down 5-2. Sally sure hopes that things will change. She'd have to.