Survivor
While The Cats Are Away

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When an Elephant Walks By With an Itty Bitty Waist and a Round Thing in Clay's Face...

It's suddenly time for the challenge, and maybe I'm speaking to soon, but they appear to have completely done away with the clues. Whew-hoo! The camera pans over a bunch of colorful, obstacle-course-looking things. Peachy welcomes the tribe to "another hot day in paradise," and then reveals that the reward challenge is a four-part obstacle course, with each stage designed to eliminate players. The first phase of the challenge is called "Blown Bridge," which they'll run it in pairs. However, one of the S7 won't get to run it at all because on Peachy's self-important "go!" the odd man out will be eliminated immediately. Jan seems to think this is really amusing, but I think it's harsh. The remaining six players will in pairs maneuver across six "towers" of a color-coded course using two planks. If they fall off, both members have to go back to the beginning and start over again. The first two pairs advance to the "Belly Crawl," which is aptly named: they will crawl on their bellies military-style under a bamboo course. Three then move on to the wall-scaling phase, in which they are required to use the aid of one of their competitors to progress. The remaining two will race along a series of bamboo balance beams to the finish line. The reward is a display of Thailand's varied transportation system: rides on/in a boat, helicopter, van, and elephant. Not to mention the rickshaw, tandem bicycle, and bobsled. They also get Thai lunch. Peachy embarrasses himself even more than usual by announcing that the best part of the challenge is that it's free, because "Visa, baby, is pickin' it up!" I hope Visa paid him a godawful lot of money to muster up that much excitement over a credit card. I guess I can see how credit would be exciting for Clay, at least.

The S7 assume their places, and on Peachy's start, pair up. Actually, Clay and Brian pair up on Peachy's start while the others fumble around and look confused. Basically, every other person ends up pairing with the person to his or her left; Jake, who has no one to his left, ends up without a partner. He seems to have missed the fact that this would eliminate him and starts running before stopping and looking curiously at Peachy, who tells him to have a seat. Jake looks wistfully at the other competitors before sitting down. So Jan and Helen are one pair and Penny and Ted are the other. We see shots of lots of wobbly, walking competitors before Clay and Brian -- who clearly work well together -- complete the course. The other teams are having a little more difficulty. Ted decides to hold one end of the board while Penny walks across to the other side, which is supported by the tower, but Peachy stops them before they kill themselves. He says they'll have to use only the boards to get across. Not that using only the boards would prevent serious injury, as Jan stomps onto an ill-secured board and takes a major digger. Actually, she pretty much jumps off the plank after having decent opportunity to right herself. She falls about four feet and lands on her feet, but Peachy still makes a very delayed, cringing face. He recovers and orders Helen and Jan back to the start, and Helen asks, "The start?" in an annoyed voice. She doesn't move, and Peachy snits that she should "hustle up," because it's a whole new race. He also tells both groups to make sure their boards are secured because "there's a way this'll work and way you'll get hurt." Although Helen and Jan make decent headway, Ted guides Penny across the finish line then tiptoes his way across the last board after checking that it's "nice and firm, right?" And those are some boards, because Ted weighs about three and a half Pennys. So he and Penny advance to the next round, while dejected Helen and Jan take a seat on the losers' bench.

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Survivor

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