The next item, also covered, goes to Caryn and Steph, who split it and pay $260. That's an interesting idea, the cooperating. Kind of goes against the game's entire ethos. When they get up there, Jeff tells them that they can either keep their mystery item, or they can trade for -- this other mystery item! Which looks basically the same. Again, why is this interesting? Anyway, he gives them only a few seconds to decide, and what I think is awesome is that Steph immediately decides to try to smell them both through the covers to see if she can figure out what's inside. It doesn't seem like she's successful, but they do opt to trade in for the new item. Jeff first uncovers what they originally had, which was crackers and cheese. And it totally cracks me up when Katie, back on the bench, pounds her fists with frustration at how good the crackers look, and when Ian exclaims, "I would have loved crackers and cheese!" Hee. I guess the "Ah, the power of cheese" people aren't exaggerating as much as you might think. Jeff then uncovers what Steph and Caryn have actually wound up with -- a burger and fries and a Coke. That's some nice celebratory hugging between Caryn and Steph here, and the tribe is nicely enthused behind them. It's not that this tribe will remain entirely devoid of hard feelings, but it's also true that none of these people seem to be dyed-in-the-wool, hard-feelings sorts of people, and that apparently makes it possible for them to have substantially more pleasant moments together than have sometimes occurred in seasons past. Of course, I tend to undervalue overdramatic dipwads almost as much as dessert, so don't go by me. At any rate, Caryn and Steph do a little dance, and then Steph cuts the burger in half. "Oh, it's a double!" she cries out. Heh. They bite into their burger, which clearly tastes very good.
Next mystery item goes to Ian for $300 after Gregg chips in $20 for a bite, hoping it's food of some kind. Jeff brings out a box, specifically designed to make Ian think there are letters or something in it. And here comes the offer: Does Ian want to trade his item for the box? Ian does not. He will stick with what he has. And he has made the right choice, because out of the box, Jeff pulls a jar of crabs. When Ian gets up to the front, Jeff uncovers a plate of spaghetti and meat sauce and garlic bread. Ian leans over and hugs Jeff, and Jeff says, "Take a bite." And then it hits him. The wave of smell. "Wow, you smell, Ian. Wow, you reek!" You can tell that even after his years of experience, Jeff is really blown back by Ian's stench. The tribe is like, "You tell him!," which...again, funny! Odor politics are always one of those things that can sort of pop up at any time, and it's not always the people you would expect, either. And good-natured. I'm enjoying this season so much more than usual. Jeff actually gives one more watering-eyes-style shudder as Ian goes to spear a bite of spaghetti with his fork. He slurps it in joyfully, and then takes it back to his seat, where he pours on the parmesan cheese and then offers Gregg his $20 bite.