When we left Just Peachy, he was hopped up on Mountain Dew and heralding Brian's victory as the fifth winner of Survivor. Brian was whispering something long and urgent in Ken's ear, and a buttoned-to-the-neck C.C. was crying from an acceptable hundred yards away. The unrecognizable first seven booted contestants had filed onto the stage and were milling about trying to act as though we remembered who they were, while a tumbleweed had mysteriously settled atop Clay's head, perched jauntily beside Brian's brand-new mullet.
A very excited Peachy tells us we must be wondering, "How did this happen?" And I am wondering, because the switch between Thailand and Los Angeles was virtually seamless save for the aforementioned new coifs, Brian's beefed-up arms, and Jan's black eyeliner. But that's not what Peachy means. Instead, he's wondering how Brian -- known to everyone to be a "player and a threat" -- made it to the Final Two, and managed to bring along Clay, a "guy that not only didn't do his fair share of the work, but half his own tribe didn't even like him!" What Peachy finds most "confounding," however, is the failure by Jan, Helen, and Ted to wise up and "take one of those two guys out." In the following hour, Peachy tells us, we'll also "get to the bottom" of the Grindia-and-Ted incident, which is an unfortunate choice of words. Well, fortunate for us in the viewing audience because it's funny, but unfortunate for Ted and Grindia's families, who have probably long since moved on from that particular embarrassment and on to the myriad others life with their spouses undoubtedly presents. Peachy promises that the show will be quick, but says nothing about its being painless. Still, he insists that we'll have fun and urges us to stick around. As we go to commercial, the camera pans out to show Brian giving the thumbs-up to someone in the audience -- most likely, C.C.'s hardworking parole officer.
Back from commercial, the audience is prompted by some unseen element to applaud wildly. Most likely, Peachy has just announced that Penny will be unable to make tonight's show. Or else Rudy walked in. Yay, Rudy! Peachy gleefully tells us that this is the first time since Thailand that the entire S16 have been gathered together. Peachy tells us that after several seasons, he still can't make any sense of what it takes to succeed in the game. He points out that Richard won by being in control; Tina won "basically because people respected her"; Ethan's likeability led him to victory; and Vecepia won by flying under the radar -- not to mention God's grace, of course. Peachy thinks that Brian did the opposite of flying under the radar, but by my count, he pretty much perfectly fulfilled the other descriptions. He did control the game; people -- for what reasons, I don't know -- respected him; and they also seemed to like him a great deal. In any case, Peachy tells us that he's still clueless, because based on first impressions, he would never have predicted the game's end result. He congratulates a somber-looking Brian, who does his standard, humble-man "thank you, thank you" routine before standing, waving at the audiences, and extending a hand toward the players seated behind him, as if sharing his success with them. Brian sits back down and casually flips back his mullet as Peachy snits that he's "already taken his curtain calls."