So Eliza and Parvati are being moved for Airai, while Ami and Tracy are being moved for Malakal. But the weirdest thing has happened. Airai has decided to simply carry Eliza by scooting one pole all the way across. They have the advantage of James -- whose brute strength is super-valuable if you're going to do this -- plus four other people to help balance the pole and keep it stable. You can't really do this without one giant person who can be the stabilizer, but James is perfect for this. Also, Eliza has a lot of focus and balance, and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if this were her idea, though I also wouldn't be surprised if James basically was like, "Whatever; I'll just carry her across." It takes them two tries to do the same with Parvati -- she moves a little too early at the other platform, and she falls backward as a result. But it's still faster than what the other tribe is doing. Malakal just lacks the muscle to do what Airai is doing, I think, and they're immediately totally hosed, unless it turns out that Airai can't balance.
Interestingly, Airai has precisely the right mix of people for the balance part -- one big guy (James) in the middle, and then everybody else can just wrap around him, because it's mostly little people, except him. Remember, not only does he have only women and Jason, but Jason's a small guy and he has the small women (as opposed to the more solidly constructed Cirie and Ami, for instance). So although Malakal (just barely) gets Tracy across before Airai wins the challenge, Airai basically takes this one in a walk. And I just want to point out that once again, Eliza was a big player in that challenge. Like I said, focus and balance. Parvati needed two tries and got a hand from Eliza getting from the pole to the platform. Eliza got there all on her own. James provided the muscle, absolutely, but the person on top of the pole in that situation has to curl into a ball and not move, because if you shift your center of gravity around, it won't work. You have to be able to be a rock, and I think Eliza and Parvati both -- but especially Eliza -- have to be credited with a chunk of the success here.
Malakal, Day 17. First, there has to be a little bit of talk about Jonathan being gone. Amanda can't believe it, and Cirie tells them all that if he had to have surgery, it was really serious. That's kind of her, because it's all too easy for doubts to creep in, the way a lot of people concluded that Jenna Morasca was a quitter who left because she didn't like bug bites, even though her mom died eight days after she got home, and even though it was totally obvious that she'd been tipped off that if she wanted to say goodbye, it was time to go. No matter how compelling your reason for leaving, people cast a negative eye, especially when they don't, and can't, know what really happened. So I'm glad Cirie shut that down pretty early, applying her medical credibility and being like, "Dude obviously needed to get the hell out."
And then Chet limps up. He asks if anyone has a fishhook. Why? "I need to do some surgery on my foot," he says. He seems to be showing us the back of his heel, which...does look swollen. It does. Ami tells him flatly not to open that up. He tells them he thinks if he opens it up and drains it, it will help the pain. What I don't understand is that if he's being tended to by medical staff -- as he's since said he was -- then they would presumably provide advice about whether that's the thing to do or not. Like, the back of his foot is definitely swollen. I feel him on the infection, and as I said: with an infection, you don't wait around until it's systemic. But at the same time, the fact that he seems to be improvising treatment -- as Jonathan emphatically was not -- makes me wonder kind of what's going on, you know? Can he really believe that medical would let him open up his foot with a fishhook, or that they wouldn't simply open it up in a sterile fashion and bandage it, if that's what's needed? Anyway, when they all tell him not to open up the foot, he tells them he has to go tonight, then. I'll also say that on the side of his foot, not quite on the heel, but on the inside of the foot toward the back, there's one of those spidery-looking red things that can, I think, be a sign of an infection that's spreading. That's when you hear about "blood poisoning" and so forth. (Incidentally, if you ever would like to pass out instantly, you should get my mother to tell you the story of how my grandmother treated my grandfather's suspected blood poisoning once upon a time.)