We're into Day Twelve, and Jenna unappealingly scratches both her legs as we lead up to the next challenge. We're made to suffer through another poem about which I'll only note that they rhyme "balance" with "talent" -- I always thought that was an example of a bad poetry, until I went to graduate school and learned it's an actual technique, known as "slant rhyme." So, logically speaking, either the editors know they are using slant rhyme, or they think they are authoring bad poetry; either way, it's apparent that it's a half-assed effort. While the poem is read, Greg brushes his teeth for a long time. Joel's sole contribution toward the entire show so far is to offer up the following options: "Plan A, we think everything out, and Plan B, we throw everything out the window when we get there and completely panic and do whatever we think we should." We then get various shots of Pagongers saying crap like, "Without a doubt," and, "We're here to compete and we're here to win these competitions, and we're gonna do 'em as a team," and, "I wouldn't say we're awesome; I just think we're the best." I'm expecting to hear at any minute my old favorite, "Go back! Go back! Go back into the woods!" cheer that we used to jeer at the team from the boonies in high school. Pagong is just Road Rules: Desert Island.
As the teams arrive at the challenge, Just Peachy tells us that the challenge is a relay, and really shakes things up when he declares, "If one person completely falls down, then the team could crumble." The relay is as follows: a team member swims out to a buoy under which there's a bottle containing a map; the swimmer retrieves the bottle and passes it to a rower, who then runs over a log bridge, hops in a canoe and rows back to shore with a partner. The fourth leg is a "sprint" into the jungle; the runner climbs up a rope ladder and grabs a key. The last two members of the tribe are diggers, who have to find a trunk and place it on a platform, to be opened with the key. The fifth leg can begin at the same time as the fourth, which confuses me a little.
Sean and Colleen are the swimmers; I remember her breaststroking her way through the trunk challenge, so needless to say, Sean gets there first. Kelly grabs the bottle from him, and jumps in the boat with Sue. Colleen (why didn't they just send Gervase?) finally gets to the bottle and hands it off to Greg; he and Joel row parallel to the beach and Greg screams that, if he had only brought his cocophone, he could call for directions. On the shore, Richard can't get the map out of the bottle, and he'd still be trying today if Dirk didn't start screaming at him to "break it!" Rudy hovers and looks like he wants to jump in on the action, but his pride and self-respect prevent him from doing so. Dirk takes off into the jungle; he's a good runner. When the Pagong bottle is finally broken, Gervase runs from the beach into the jungle, and that's about all the running he'll do. He wipes out, jogs a bit, then begins slowly walking. While digging commences on the beach, Ramoaner yells, "Alright, ladies, looking good," which would really be cause for a face-full of sand if I was out there digging in hundred-degree weather and knew she hadn't yet done a damn thing. Dirk continues to hustle in the woods, and then they slow down the music to show Gervase bumbling around. They intersect at a downed log and Gervase makes a half-hearted attempt to look like he's running. I could climb a log faster than Gervase, and if you knew me, that would mean a lot. Dirk, obviously, gets to the beach first. Richard hauls the trunk out and allows Rudy a moment of glory by letting him run with the trunk to the platform; the team is shouting, "Rudy! Rudy!" because he just caught that pass and Notre Dame won the game and whatever happenned to Sean Astin anyway? Gervase returns, throws himself onto the beach and hams it up like he actually exerted effort during his nature walk. Gretchen tells fellow digger Jenna, "We did our best," and Jenna ignores it, so Gretchen says it again. And then she says, "You answer when you're spoken to, young lady." For some reason they seem to think their leg lost the relay, and I'm not understanding how they failed to notice that Gervase went into the woods two minutes after Dirk and emerged from the woods twenty-two minutes after Dirk. During the Tagi celebration, Susan has an expression on her face like she genuinely likes Rudy. Must be bad lighting. Peachy says, "Pagong, I'll see you tonight at the Tribal Council," like they're all meeting up at McDonald's later on for a McFlurry. The dramatic music swells and the camera pans to a crumpled piece of paper with Pagong written on it. I'm glad it was only a piece of paper, because otherwise it would have really hurt when they pelted us over the head with it.
At Pagong, we get various shots of glum and guilty-looking team members, as they each express their reasons for dreading the Council. Gervase says, "The most difficult thing of this whole thing for me is to vote someone off. I think we're all dreading that," and then he's back in the inner tube, recovering from his marathon and telling us he'll vote for "Jenna, because she's more annoying than Colleen." Greg says, "We're all friends and then you boot someone. It's like that board game, Sorry. You pick the card, you gotta take your thing and smash the other guy out of the way. Knock him out, that's that. You move on. Saaaaahhhhhhreeeeeeeeee." Just keep your "thing" away from me, Greg. Gervase says, "We'll just keep Colleen around a little longer," and I find his manner of speaking really irritating throughout this episode, because it's like the thought never crosses his mind that he might be the one to go.