Probst welcomes the teams to a challenge beach. He starts by taking back the coconut monkey from Koror. I swear, if Ulong ever wins immunity, the coconut monkey is going to psychologically traumatized by being separated from the only home it has ever known. Jeff then explains that, just as Steph suspected, this is a sumo-style battle on a platform out in the water, and they'll use the padded bags with the handles -- in fact, they have to keep both hands on the bags at all times. So basically, the bags aren't really there to hit people with; they're there to keep you from hurting each other. The object is to knock your opponent off the platform, and you can't use your feet. Koror has to sit out three people, two men and a woman (because the challenge is man-man and woman-woman). They sit Willard, Ian, and Katie.
The first round is the epic battle of Tom and Bobby Jon that I felt from the beginning would control this entire thing. It would set the tone, for one thing, and it seemed like a lot of the rest of the battles could go either way -- both tribes have strengths and weaknesses. But this, to me, was the one to watch. And...go! Tom goes down first, and looks to be on the ropes. Bobby Jon is pushing him toward the edge of the platform when Tom...just stops being able to be pushed. Gradually, Tom gets to his knees, then does a spin move and hops to his feet. And then he gets Bobby Jon just slightly off-balance, and with a mighty couple of steps, hurls him off the platform. It's a sign of my growing affection for Bobby Jon that I honestly could have been happy with that one going either way. Have I mentioned I also have no defense against the demographic of Moderately Insane And Potentially Ill-Tempered But Probably A Lover Of Animals And Possessed Of Excellent Shoulders? Because it's a little bit true. Anyway, an excited Koror hoots and hollers.
Next up, Steph versus Anonymous Jen. Anonymous Jen comes at Steph hard, but Steph just pushes back, and I think Anonymous Jen is just so little that she can't do a whole lot, and Steph just kind of shoves her off the side. Which is awesome. I love Steph.
The next battle is Gregg and Ibrehem. As they tussle, Ibrehem first loses his bag and picks up the DQ, and then goes into the water anyway, so Koror is up 2-1.
Now, it's time for Angie versus Caryn, also known as the one match in which I am actively rooting for Ulong. Because Caryn should get thrown in the water a lot. The continually tough Angie takes a couple of shoves, but gets Caryn out in a hurry.