Survivor
Panicked, Desperate, Thirsty As Hell

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The Removal Of Rudy

Time to vote. Jerri votes. Rudy votes. Ethan votes for Rudy, saying "it was an honor to be on [his] team." Ethan then solemnly adds, "This is purely strategical." He certainly will not be anchoring the relay team at the Dictionary Olympics, studly though he may be. Jenna votes. Rupert votes for Ethan, saying, "Ethan, you're tough. Rudy and I made a pact, and I am not voting for Rudy." I feel for him, but...on the other hand, it's fairly easy to do this, being Rupert, knowing that the girls and Ethan are going to vote Rudy out anyway, which he pretty clearly does. I mean, he knows the girls are voting for Rudy. If he voted for, say, Jerri, you could believe he thought Ethan and Rudy might vote for her or something, but he's making this vote knowing what's coming. Furthermore, had he really wanted to save Rudy -- as opposed to just avoiding voting for him -- he would have told Rudy what the girls were planning, and they would have gone to Ethan. You don't think Ethan would have taken a deal to vote out Jenna? Oh, yes. He would have. So while I know Rupert's regard for Rudy is sincere, the gesture is a little hollow.

Jeff returns with the urn. Jenna looks at him quite miserably. Rudy. Ethan. Ethan. Rudy. Rudy. So it's Rudy going home. He stands up and is snuffed, and he turns and gives a wave to the tribe. They all wave back. Jerri is in tears watching him go. I won't say I cried, but...you know that thing that's the first stage of crying, where you feel it in the back of your throat? Well, I'm not admitting that happened either, but if you wanted to make a guess that it might have, I'm not saying I'd throw you up against the wall and demand that you take it back. Jeff smirks that tribal council is "an interesting place, always emotional." He gives a little salute to Rudy and how awesome he is. "I know you didn't want to vote him out," Jeff says, "and yet, somebody had to go. Which is exactly what makes Survivor what it is: complicated." He sends them back to camp with their torches.

Although a lot of the focus in this episode was on Jenna and Rupert's affection for Rudy, I found Jerri's obvious respect for him and her obvious disappointment in voting him off the most affecting, somehow. It strikes me that she's probably -- between the first round of this show and all the crap she's taken for it and her time on The Surreal Life -- seen so many people who are so full of it in so many ways that I would bet she found this boot really depressing. Because she knows that Rudy may well be the only person among this entire group -- and is certainly the only person in her tribe -- who is not full of it, and yet she didn't have a viable choice except voting him off. It is, in a way, what makes Survivor complicated, but not so much strategically complicated as just complicated because it makes you align yourself with sleazebags and screw people you like, and yet it's something everyone has agreed to, so how much can you really hate yourself?

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Survivor

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