Survivor
Me And My Snake

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Miss Alli: C+ | Grade It Now!
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On Lying Down With Snakes

Holding weight for Drake are Shawn, Rupert, and Christa. Holding weight for Morgan are Osten, Andrew, and Ryan-O. Morgan and Drake both start out by loading up each other's biggest guy, so Osten and Rupert take the weight at the beginning. Drake gives Andrew a little, meaning that as Rupert and Osten are showing down, Rupert has forty pounds more on his back than Osten. As things get more intense, Rupert makes the questionable decision to take his hands off the pole and lean over with his hands on his thighs. The other thing you might notice is that Andrew and Osten -- Andrew, especially -- have their feet quite wide apart as they're standing, and Rupert has his feet pretty close together. I would think the feet farther apart would be the way to go in terms of your sturdiness, although it's not an area in which I have any remote degree of expertise, given that I've been known to complain about carrying my own suitcase at the airport. By the way, for those who missed the detail regarding who's got what on their necks, Rupert has a piece of padding across the back of his neck, and Osten has nothing but his buff. Andrew, as he often does, is wearing his suit jacket, so he's got some fabric over his neck and shoulders.

You will be not at all shocked to hear that Osten drops the pole first. After one more set of weight is added, Rupert follows, so that strategy worked for both teams. They're pretty much equal now, except that Andrew's got eighty pounds on his back already and neither of the other Drake members has anything.

Morgan turns its attention to Shawn, while Drake continues to load up Andrew but also starts, finally, to load up Ryan-O after probably waiting too long. The next time we get a clear update, Andrew has 160 pounds, Shawn has 120, and Ryan-O has...some. When Shawn is at 140 and Andrew is still at 160, Shawn starts to tremble. (For those who looked for "cheating," by the way, it certainly sounds like Sandra is giving instructions to Jon and Trish, too, about whom to give weight to, so neither team is strictly following the "only two members decide who gets weights.") Before long, however -- despite Jon's confident remark that Andrew is "done" -- it's Shawn who drops out, leaving Andrew and Ryan-O to face Christa. What follows is a truly tremendous showing by Christa, as far as I'm concerned, mostly because she seems to leave her body temporarily. For most of the time, it doesn't even look like it bothers her. She reaches 160 pounds, the same weight Andrew's been holding at for quite some time. As they add what will turn out to be the last bit of weight, there is a voice that tells Darrah and Tijuana to wait on loading up Andrew because Christa's going down. But it doesn't sound to me like it's Andrew, as was initially reported on the forums. It actually sounds like Osten. It's true that Jeff should've probably made Tijuana and Darrah go ahead and load up Andrew's pole, but it wouldn't have mattered, because Christa is in the process of going down the entire time. She never gets stable with the final weight of 180. She does indeed finally give in and drop the pole, and although it's true that she didn't have to hold that weight for a tremendously long time given the early concentration on Rupert and then Shawn, she still kicked a whole lot of ass. Plus, she kind of made Osten look ridiculous, which I appreciated. Ryan-O and Andrew now drop their poles in relief, and Andrew collapses onto the ground. In a moment I really liked, Tijuana gets down on the ground, puts her hands around Andrew's head, and kisses his forehead. I just thought that was very sweet. There's something about that gesture that just looked really genuine. In, you know, the completely relative sense in which the word "genuine" is used on a show like this where half the breasts and one-fourth of the chins are fake. I think I like Tijuana, and I think I'm sad that she appears to be a nice enough person that she isn't on very much. Andrew takes the immunity idol and gives it a kiss. I would be very happy, by the way, with a no-kissing-the-idol rule. ["I would just like to add, for the conspiracy-minded (like me), that would be a very easy challenge for the producers to fix, by making the Morgan weights lighter than the Drake ones, since they're just bags of sand (or whatever) and not actual weights, and it's not like either team feels the other's weights and could compare whether a Morgan weight felt lighter than a Drake. Not that I'm saying anyone on the Survivor staff would do anything so unethical just to ensure that the teams went into the merge in equal numbers. But if they wanted to, which I'm sure they didn't, they probably could." -- Wing Chun]

By the way, Morgan is not yelling, hooting, or otherwise trying to rub Drake's nose in it, as Drake has done at the conclusion of every challenge it has ever won. Jeff remarks that Andrew has tears in his eyes. It really is interesting to wonder what that's about, aside from what I think was pretty overwhelming pain. Every once in a while, somebody on a show like this appears to have some kind of Life-Changing Experience, and it's often difficult to say why, but...there you go. Maybe Andrew remembered how his grandpa used to make him carry sandbags over his neck or something.

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