It's raining at the challenge site, and Tanya grins, but doesn't look particularly happy. Peachy tells us that surviving on the show requires mental ability for problem-solving, as well as physical ability in the face of the unexpected -- like rain. And if he can tell me how either of those things accounts for the success of people like Vecepia Towery, I'll give him a million dollars. Tonight's challenge, of course, will involve both attributes: it's a race around the small island. The tribes will paddle out to the first station, which features two buoys that each bear a rope maze. One member from each tribe will move the rope through the maze, causing a flag to drop. Once the tribes have paddled to the next station, a different member from each tribe will dive down ten feet and unhook a flag from the buoy. The final station is a "traditional Thai puzzle." A third tribe member will move the pieces of the puzzle around the board until the piece with a knife in it slides through a slot, releasing it from the puzzle. They will then use the knife to cut through the rope, which drops the flag. The first tribe to paddle back to Peachy with all the flags wins the challenge. Peachy is particularly proud of this season's immunity idol as he boastfully says, "And I gotta show you this immunity idol." It is Asian-flavored and beautifully decorative. It may be cool, but Peachy's still not. Peachy reiterates that immunity guarantees all the members of the winning tribe three more days in Thailand. The losers, of course, will have to vote someone out.
Tinkle, tinkle, and the boats are off! Chuay Gahn takes an unlikely, fairly substantial lead. Meanwhile, at Sook Jai, Shii Devil looks like she's just going through the motions; it's not clear whether her hands are actually touching the paddles. Jan swims out to the first buoy for Chuay Gahn, and she's a surprisingly good swimmer, although her "diving" (translate: "flopping") skills rival Kathy's from last season. She begins the rope maze, while Penny dives in for Sook Jai. The members of both tribes are astonished as Jan makes short order of the rope maze and releases her flag, as Penny is just beginning. Chuay Gahn increases its lead, and Brian quickly brings up their underwater flag before Sook Jai has even reached the second leg of the challenge. Ghandia begins the knife puzzle while Jake is just diving to release his team's underwater flag. Ghandia will still be working on the knife puzzle while Jake brings up the flag. And also while Sook Jai paddles over, Jed dives from his boat, swims to the buoy, navigates the maze, releases his tribe's flag, and swims back to the boat. Seriously, she takes a long-ass time to complete the puzzle. During this time, her tribe is getting increasingly anxious, while the members of Sook Jai realize that they still have a chance. Not only does Ghandia lose the challenge for her tribe, but her outfit's incredibly unflattering. Even kindly Ted loses patience and yells at her to hurry up. Finally, Ghandia releases the knife, and yells something -- most likely obscene or insulting -- that concludes in "mother!" Then she swims to the boat and Ted hauls her ass back on board. It's not pretty. Even though Chuay Gahn is much better at paddling, Sook Jai has taken too great a lead. I'm sure Erin's inspirational battle cry of "Work hard!" has a large part in this. Has she ever played a competitive sport? Work hard? The familiar dramatic music swells as Sook Jai takes the victory. Peachy congratulates them on their unexpected win, and then fakely laments Chuay Gahn's loss. Ghandia apologizes to her team while Sook Jai celebrates.