Survivor
The Instigator

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After a commercial, also known as "a quick visit to the Friends retrospective," we return to a wailing voice, a newly sunny sky, and Rob's truck zinging down the beach. He even drives it through the shallow water a little ("Stunt Idiot. Do Not Attempt") as he voices over that he's well aware that the person who wins the car never wins -- but that wasn't going to stop him from going for the car. You've gotta give the kid this much -- he's playing a full-throttle, brute force, cranked-up game, probably as much as anybody ever has. He pulls up to the "drive-in," and screeches the truck to a stop. Jeff is much too happy about the aggressive driving, and giddily shouts, "Nicely done, Mariano! What up!" That was sad. Jeff was only a regular dork up until "What up!," at which point he became a huge, huge dork, of the type that cannot be rehabilitated unless he develops a sense of self-awareness regarding his own dorkitude, and that just does not seem likely. Which is really, really too bad. I liked Mean Jeff better than I like Jeff Who Wants To Be Everyone's Friend.

Everyone de-trucks, and Jeff allows Rob a moment to soak up his happiness now that nobody (well, nobody but his girl) is there to feel all gloated at. Jeff shows Rob and Amber the snack bar, the juice bar, and the huge screen -- where they will be watching Lord of the Flies. Wow, romantic. I'm surprised it wasn't Animal Farm. Speaking solely for myself, nothing gets me hotter than Stalin. Anyway, at the mention of the title, Amber has this great look on her face, like she's keeping a bland smile on her face and trying to figure out if that's the guy who's with Riverdance. Jeff goes into a pathetic "I guess that's about it, I'll just take off, then" dance, which makes it perfectly obvious that he has more to say. "Oh, wait, one more thing," he says, all faux-casual, and he walks Rob and Amber off into the trees. Jeff tells them that there's one more benefit for Amber of being picked by Boston Rob for this particular reward. "Shut up!" she shrieks. "Are you serious?" Because, you see, it's a car. Rob and Amber hug, in a way that looks pretty genuine. They jump into her little silver car, and he looks over at her, grinning. "This is too much right now," he says. She smacks him on the arm. "You just gave me a car, do you realize that?" "You earned it, you earned it," Rob says. In what I think is not only the cutest moment of this episode but one of the cutest moments of Survivor ever, Rob first drums his hands happily on the dash, but then reaches over and honks the horn. "Meep meeep!" It's pretty heartfelt, I think, and he really is almost as excited that Amber's getting a car as he is that he got a truck. Then he leans out the window and laughs, "What's behind Door #3, Jeff?" I thought he was totally lovable in this sequence, I have to say. I know he's kind of a tool. Seriously. I really do, I swear. And yet? I don't think he's a terrible guy, and I've watched him reach over and honk the horn about four times, and it always makes me laugh. Jeff interrupts all this vehicular excitement, however, and makes them go off to watch the movie.

The movie starts as Rob voices over how great it was to get to spend time with Amber alone without having to think about the game. Amber interviews that she has no complaints about her first date with Rob. She claims that she'd already been thinking about what they'd do for a date after the show was over, and she'd thought maybe they'd go out to a movie and he'd bring her flowers -- and here, she got her movie, and he gave her a car. Yay, a car! I have to admit, that would work on me. They snuggle in the bed of the truck and watch the movie. I must say, even with the stink and everything, that looks extremely pleasant. Again? That would work on me. Except maybe without the part where they have to watch the really unsettling movie with the pig's head on a stick. As they watch, Amber turns to Rob and says, "We're going to have to eat...at least two more hot dogs each. Two or three." I guess the pig's head kind of got her thinking. "I'm havin' an unbelievable time, you know that?" he says. "Me too," she says. Rob interviews: "Amb-ah's definitely special ta me. A lot more special than when we stah-ted this adventure." But he clarifies -- as he always does -- that he's playing a game, and it's a game for a million dollars, and he's not rolling over and giving up the money for anybody. Not even her.

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