Cirie flames out in the fire-building challenge, leaving Aras, Terry, and Chiclets to fight it out in F3. First, Terry ekes out a reward challenge that gets him some food, and then we are delivered to our endurance challenge that turns out to be a not-that-long contest in which you balance in the water on little platforms. The only person with any talent for it is Chiclets, and Terry bombs out fairly quickly, followed by Aras, leaving her to make the call between which of them should win the money, since she has no chance of beating either of them. She correctly picks Aras -- against whom she seems to stand a slightly better chance -- but by the time the jury has its way with them, the writing is on the wall: Shane votes for her in one of those "pick a number" things, Bruce votes for her because he really likes her for some reason, and everybody else votes for Aras. Thus was the incredibly dominant, arrogant fighter pilot vanquished, while the irritating, passive-aggressive, touchy-feely guy took the prize. It's oddly anticlimactic somehow. Best line of the night goes to Shane for his jury speech, in which he classifies the two things that matter the most to himself and Aras: "My son, and your yoga." Now that is comedy, people.
Previously on This Show: Everything.
Credits. Long form! Old school! Remember Ruth Marie? Oh, the indignity of being picked up by the back of your shirt with your feet flailing like you're in a cartoon. So horrible. So funny. Good times.
You will recall that we left off midstream more than usual, so when we arrive, it is Tribal Council, Night 36. Now is the moment for Chiclets and Cirie to start their fire-building challenge. It's kind of like watching two chipmunks prepare for a wrestling contest. The jury watches anxiously, because they all like Cirie, but they'd all like to get their bloodthirsty claws into Chiclets come jury time. What would be the fun of, like, Cirie and Aras in F2? "I like you. I like you, too. I WANT AN APOLOGY. No, not really." But anyway, these are the people we have in the challenge, so there's nothing we can do about it.
Ready? Go. Cirie and Chiclets both make a little pile of coconut husks to start off with, and they both start scraping their little magnesium flint blocks. Cirie is the first to get a visible flame going. Cirie gets the flame up to a pretty good size, and she seems to have the early advantage. Chiclets gets fire, too, but they both have trouble keeping their fires going because they're just burning up the coconut husks -- there's no wood. These fires, so far, are like an affair with Ethan Zohn: short, unsatisfying, smelly, and built from inferior materials that doom the entire enterprise to an early demise.
On her second try, Chiclets smartens up and starts to build a stack of wood -- which is as intelligent as Colby Donaldson -- rather than just trying to immediately get the big flame-up from the husks as she and Cirie did the first time. Basically, what's admirable is that Chiclets figured out that she needed to be patient and not worry about Cirie getting the instant flame-up from the husks; she just has to work on getting a good fire going that would actually stay lit and build to the point where it would burn the rope. It did seem like when Steph did this challenge, her fire burned the rope a lot quicker than either of these. Chiclets fire builds nicely, and eventually, the rope catches fire, while Cirie is still trying to get any kind of a flame going. And then, just like that, Chiclets's flag pops, and she wins, meaning that Cirie -- lovely, enjoyable, initially overmatched Cirie, who was afraid of leaves and almost took the very first boot -- is going home. For some reason, this makes Austin and Sally really happy. Maybe they hate happiness. Aras, on the other hand, looks miserable, probably for a couple of reasons. Cirie and Chiclets share a hug. As Cirie says goodbye to Aras, she says, "Sorry," and he says, "You did your best." He's a dork, but he handled that okay, I think. Cirie walks over and is snuffed, which Jeff does with good-natured regret. Cirie blows kisses as she leaves, and I remark to the person watching the show with me that if I played this game -- which would never happen, because I hate drinking dirty water almost as much as I hate happiness -- I would really value walking away in a situation where people could still like me and feel like I was a decently nice person, which Cirie did a good job of achieving. I will miss you, Cirie.
Jeff tells the final three that there are two challenges left, two more tribal councils, and a vote. He leaves out "seven bitchy speeches from people who will try to draw the story of your victory as the story of their superiority as human beings." Cirie's goodbye speech tells us that she lasted far longer than she ever thought she would. She apologizes to her family for letting them down -- sniff! -- but she says she "can still hold [her] head up high." Well, exactly. One of my friends said, after Cirie had survived the first week or two, that he thought she would be around a long time, because there's just this thing about people who barely avoid elimination in the first couple of tribal councils. And it turns out to be true. (See also: Marquesas Kathy, Pulau Tiga Rudy, Guatemala Lydia, and so forth.)