Survivor
The Sole Surviving All-Star

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The Triumph Of The Waif

The contestants all get set at their spots, and Jeff gives the holler to start. From the middle of the maze, they all take off. Amber is first to get a rung. The rest follow. You know, honestly, there's not that much to say about a challenge like this. They run a pretty close race between the four of them. There's maze running, there's crawling under branches, there's weaving through ropes...it's nothing you couldn't see at the Adventure Games at summer camp. Gorp for everyone! Anyway, late in the game, Rob falters and starts to go in circles, as Amber continues to go full throttle. At the end, it's pretty much down to Amber and Rupert, and while he makes a valiant effort, she beats him. So it's Amber the Universally Underestimated, standing at the top of her tower with immunity. The rest come back to the center, and Amber crawls down and collects the immunity necklace. Sure, sure, it's always the pretty girls who get the really rad jewelry. Jeff reminds the group that somebody will be going home shortly, and then he sends them back to camp.

When we return, it is still Day 37 at Chaboga Mogo. Rob sits on a rock staring out at the water as Amber works away on the scrapbook, the only person with no worries. Jenna and Rupert sit by the fire. "We vote for Rob, and see what happens," he says to her reassuringly. Jenna tells him that they have to talk about that a little bit. He asks her why they would need to talk about it. "They came to me last night," she says, and she goes on to explain the offer she received from Rob and Amber. She tells Rupert that she's given it a lot of thought, and in the end, she decided not to vote with Rob and Amber. Rupert smiles. "I would rather sit there and pick a rock than give them the smug satisfaction of knowing that they're guaranteed a spot," she says. It's weird -- part of me thinks Jenna meant this at the time that she said it, but since she hasn't seemed to hate Rob and Amber enough to justify that comment, it's a little jarring. Furthermore, if that's true, it's stupid of her, because as much as I hate smugness, I don't hate it as much as I like a million dollars. Though it's close.

Rupert earnestly looks at his interviewer. "My fate rests on the honor of a twenty-six-year-old single mama who really, really wants to win badly." Now, when I first heard this comment, it struck me as incredibly galling -- what does the fact that Jenna is a single mother have to do with jack? Read in a certain way, it seems to imply that young single mothers are not to be trusted, and that is certainly very much in line with many of Rupert's condescending attitude toward everyone who isn't him, and specifically with his really obnoxious attitudes about women. However. The second time I watched it, it seemed at least plausible that his reason for bringing up Jenna's status is to link it to how much she wants to win -- in other words, that she's a young single mother and therefore wants or needs the money especially badly, making her more likely to be mercenary about it. I don't know. I think Rupert has shown himself to be enough of an ass to say it and mean it in the first way, but I kind of think that at least consciously, he was thinking of it in the second way. My feelings remain mixed. Either way, it's not resting on anyone's "honor," Rupert -- it's resting on what Jenna thinks is strategically best for her, which is exactly as it should be.

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Survivor

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