The camera guys swoop hungrily over the island landscape, and the tribe members gradually make their way out of the jungle and onto the beach for the reward challenge. Jeff sits them down on a set of mini-bleachers, as he so often does. Don't you wish there were cheerleaders at a moment like this? Anyway, Jeff explains that the reward challenge will be the inevitable walk-the-plank rip-off that you have known was coming since the first "arrrr" escaped your lips during the first episode. Asked who he'd like to see walk the plank, Jon eagerly names Sandra and Christa. Jeff -- taking one more opportunity to crush Jon like a bug -- explains that this will not happen, because the challenge will be much more intense than sending each other to walk the plank. This is the "loved ones" challenge, and you're actually going to be sending each other's nearest and dearest to walk the plank. There are a series of wooden diving boards, basically, suspended over the water, and serving up other people's beloveds to the sharks is the order of the day.
The first to appear is Sandra's husband Marcus, a pleasant-looking fellow who runs over and gives her a big hug. Just seeing them hug makes Lill burst into tears, because she is as nutty as a fruitcake, as they say. Tijuana is greeted next, by her "high-school sweetheart and still great friend" Billy. Hmm, I wonder what that relationship description means, exactly. It sounds from the description like it could be the "loves her dearly; discovered he's gay" friendship, but that's not quite the vibe I get from them. Might be a fortieth-birthday marriage pact thing, I suppose. Anyway, Billy's very cute, and Tijuana's very cute clapping excitedly about seeing him. I definitely have the most actual affection for her out of all the people who are left. Next up is Burton's mom, Didi, who didn't quite dress for the Pearl Islands, in that she's in a fairly fancy black pantsuit. Man, that getup will take a while to recover from a trip into the drink. Mother and son share a nice hug. Lill's husband Lonnie shows up next, and she predictably cries all over herself embracing him. There is Titanic-esque tin whistling. Lonnie doesn't even get the open-mouth kisses, though. Scandale! Darrah's boyfriend Bradley comes around the corner, looking for all the world like the president of the Young Republicans of Tupelo, and they hug, too. At first, Darrah looks a little numb about seeing him, but before long, she's all weepy, too. Christa's fiancé is next, and she's crying, crying, crying as he comes over and hugs her. See? A real boyfriend loves you even when your roots are showing. "Hey, I'm about to cry," Jeff observes with what passes for warmth.