We visit Airai on Day 7, as they receive some treemail. It tells them to pick three items for their reward, and suggests that they should put on war paint to go tackle people. Excellent! Alexis is really excited about this, like, to an awesomely unseemly degree. The same news reaches Malakal, and then we watch as the two tribes paint themselves up. Eliza once again gives the football coach's pregame "we're ready; we're going to kick some butt" speech to the camera. "There's no way we're losing this challenge," says Eliza. And then over at the other camp, Joel -- apparently missing the irony, if that's possible -- says that you have to fight "logically" and not "emotionally." And then he adds, "Logically, if somebody invades my home, I'm gonna kill 'em." Will these people be invading your home? He...he lost me there. Is this more of the baseball bat thing? There's also something about a war cry, but it's got a combination of lameness and vague, Jungle Book-ish offensiveness going for it that really makes me tired, so can we just pretend I talked about it? Oh, thank you.
When Malakal sees the new tribe of fans and sees that Mary went home, Eliza makes the best "whuuuuh?" face and noise of the season thus far. Alexis, incidentally, has painted her face like Ronald McDonald. I'm not sure she got the point, really. Okay, so the way this challenge works is that each team starts in the other team's "end zone" at opposite ends of a perhaps knee-deep "lagoon." Each team has three canvas sandbags, which are fairly heavy. You have to get your three bags, plus two that you swap from the other team, across the goal line. You can steal bags even after they've been carried into the other team's end zone. First tribe with five bags in their end zone at the same time wins. Jeff originally said you had to get your three bags and two of the other team's bags across, but it appears that it's just five total (it could be two of what were originally yours and all three of what were originally theirs instead, I'm saying; nobody's tracking which is which).
For the reward, Malakal has chosen a shelter, a lighting kit, and a "survival kit," whatever that is. Airai also chose shelter, but they chose a kitchen set and a fishing kit. Winning tribe gets the things they picked. Worth playing for? Oddly enough, Jeff, yes. It is. And then, tragically, Jeff Probst says, "Lez geddit awwn," and he immediately ages about twenty-three years.
By the time the contestants are ready to get going, it's pouring down rain again. So this will be kind of a clusterfuck, I'm thinking. Ready? Go! You'll note that Joel first goes after Amanda and Yau-Man. Because you have to fight logically, not emotionally, and logically, you would rather fight a smaller woman and a little old man than a bunch of big, strong dudes. Interestingly, when James and Joel ultimately face off, James takes Joel down with no difficulty, so if Joel thought he was going to bring an end to the Era Of James Is The Big Dude, At Least With Regard To Big Dudes, he is sorely mistaken. Other highlights include a moment where Eliza is literally holding on to the waistband of Erik's shorts, pulling them halfway down as he drags her while carrying a bag. Eventually, Erik turns and -- in my opinion, as gently as he really can, conks her with the bag to make her let go. Amanda decides to go over and take on Erik, who's got a bag under one arm. Unfortunately for Amanda, she approaches him from the side, and it's the side with the free arm, so it's very easy for him to bend over, slip an arm around Amanda's leg, and lift her up, followed by dropping her in the water. Again, I don't think Erik does that much more violently than necessary, and I can't truly think of a more efficient way he could have dispatched Amanda with one hand when she approached from that side. I mean, she literally comes up from the side and wraps her arms around his neck. I think they teach this at Wrestler College, because it's the most obvious takedown in history.