All-Stars Episode 14: The Instigator

Previously, Bucky Bo and the Robbrother join the Cheap Broken Egos for a while and their absence will be sorely missed. Oh, and the Shii Devil really has nowhere to run to anymore after failing to win Immunity and she and her eyeroll are finally booted off the islands. Five Survivors remain, if there's anyone left in this place who cares enough to keep count.

Credits. "All-Stars" - what a joke.

Morning, day thirty-four. Rain falls. It's always raining, but these annoying creatures on the TV screen never once get washed away into the sea. Sometimes nature conspires to vex me so, especially when I am treated to Hagrid and Big Red Tom the first thing into the show. Damn rain. They never wash away the ugly things when I need them to. I think those two are trying to protect the fire from the rain using a piece of wood. Hagrid wheezes to the camera in that way of his where every word feels pre-rehearsed in his head. Oh, it rains everyday, they all stink like "rotten dogs", everything leaks, everything's wet, life is hard, et cetera. Poor babies. If they aren't getting more money than an average person will earn in six months at the end of this season, I would feel so sorry for them all. Shut up, Hagrid.

The Robfather and Ambore are looking miserable as they rest in the shelter. The Robfather tells the camera that everyone's mood is low and everyone's fed up with everyone else. He's reading my mind - how does he do that? Then there's his hair, which seems to have grown overnight and will soon sprout arms and legs to leap off his head and dance with Big Red Tom before the fire. I don't think I like that hair, even if it's the same hairdo that Dr Evil sported on Big Brother 2. To emphasize the Robfather's "shut up, don't talk to me" mood, the show zips to Big Red Tom talking in that indecipherable accent of his to the Robfather, who merely looks as if he wishes that he is dead at that very moment. He just nods lifelessly at intervals and goes "Yes!" at various pause points in Big Red Tom's rambling. He tells the camera that he rarely understands Big Red Tom throughout the thirty-odd days they have lived together - all he hears are "unintelligible noises".

The Robfather may have to be concerned about more sinister matters than Big Red Tom's accent, however. At another part of camp, JennaLoo sits Hagrid down while they are ridding the camp of evil man-eating coconuts and tells him that one, they have to get rid of the Robfather and two, Hagrid has to win the next Immunity if they both want a chance at winning this game. Hagrid and the bits of dirty thingies and leftover food stuck in his beard nod. To the camera, Hagrid says that he happens to look over JennaLoo and oh no, the Robfather is standing there! Has he heard anything? JennaLoo doesn't know what to do and whacks silently at the coconut while the Robfather just keeps staring at those two while he scratches his stomach. Finally, Hagrid just offers the Robfather a coconut and mutters that they all have to "beat" Big Red Tom. In that particular scene, Hagrid actually looks intimidated by the Robfather - he is practically cowering as he offers a coconut to the Robfather. Awesome! JennaLoo adds weakly that Big Red Tom is annoying her. The Robfather shrugs again and says vaguely that "it" is no big deal before walking away.

Hagrid tells the camera that the exchange between them was "scary" and JennaLoo is worried to the point that she's becoming paranoid. Hagrid says that he doesn't need the Robfather to be paranoid as well. Because the Robfather is being paranoid to suspect that Hagrid and JennaLoo are planning a coup, even though the Robfather has heard them discussing it, I guess. Or something. I've long stopped trying to make sense of Hagrid's logic to focus on the hate instead, just like I've stopped reading angry emails from Hagrid's fans telling me that Hagrid is "deserving" because he is "honest", "trustworthy", and "honorable" despite me pointing out in my recaps for two seasons now why Hagrid is anything but honorable and trustworthy, and just focus on ignoring these emails altogether. Hagrid provides an insightful parting statement in his confessional: "Paranoia will destroy you!" Because it's paranoia to suspect Hagrid of betrayal even when you've overheard him and his henchwoman plotting to do so, you know. Hagrid will never plan to betray you! And when he does, it's not because he wants to, he has to - you're lazy!

Ambore is now busy giving evil perverted plantains the smackdown when the Robfather sits down beside her and tells her that they have trouble brewing in paradise. He tells her that Hagrid and JennaLoo have "no intention" of going to the Final Four with them. She asks him whether he'd confront those two about the matter. He says no. Ambore tells the camera that the Robfather and her have planned since the beginning their alliances and strategy so that they will encounter as few problems as possible at this stage of the game. Well, she is wrong, she says with a chuckle. I don't know what kind of logic is that because this game is fluid and alliances change, so it's a stretch to imagine that their plans will go without a hitch. To the Robfather, she asks whom he thinks those two future Judas wannabes will go after. He thinks that it will be him who will be the target. Ambore laments that she will go after him, it sucks, but she thinks that the decision is now out of their control. Don't tell me that she giving up already!

It's now time for the Reward Challenge. This one is a busy one and it's an even bigger combo of reused obstacle courses. Jeff "You Colby Mine Tonight" Proboscis poses and preens beside a shiny red GM Chevy Colorado truck. Oh no, it's the reappearance of the Dreaded Car (technically, a truck, but still)! I'm too tired to describe the obstacle course this week - let's just say that it involves a lot of balance beam runnings, crawling, jumping, puzzle solving, and running. These obstacle courses are recycled not just from previous seasons, but from previous episodes, which gives a whole new meaning to Burnetto's idea of recycling good ideas until they're past compost stage. In addition to winning the truck, the winner will also win a drive-in down at the beach to watch a movie. If that's not exciting enough, snort, there's plenty of junkfood available for the movie experience.

Probby helpfully points out that the winner of the Car has never won Survivor before. But that doesn't stop these Survivors from bolting at Probby's signal towards the obstacle course. First, they have to run across a balance beam. Hagrid is expectedly last so he's out of the race. Then they have to crawl under the beams to do that knife-puzzle-Thailand thingie where JennaLoo comes in last and she's out of the race. Then it's onwards towards the "use the see-saw to toss bags of food into the basket on the platform" thingie, where Big Red Tom comes in last. It's now down to Ambore and the Robfather to be the first to climb a ladder and glide down the rope to snatch the keys to the truck wins that spanking new cursed truck! Will it shock anyone if I point out that the Robfather wins the baby?

After a hug with the Robfather that is quickly broken once Probby catches a whiff of that man, Probby tells the Robfather that the man can pick up a fellow Cheap Broken Ego to go along with him to the movies. The Robfather picks Ambore. Normally this would be a really stupid thing to do, especially when there's a mutiny threatening to brew (Burtman and Jonny Fairplay may remember the Granny Panties Mutiny in Pearl Islands very well, I'm sure), but I think that the Robfather won't get anything much from taking any other person. His alliance with Ambore is open knowledge anyway, and he and Ambore are aware of the plans fermented behind their back, so who knows? Maybe it's better to just sit back and relax for one evening. Oh well, I shall soon find out whether the Robfather's decision will lead to any far-reaching repercussions on their gameplay.

Probby quickly tells Ambore to sit at the back, because Probby likes his macho men and that hussy can take a hike to the back, thanksverymuch. He then sits beside the Robfather and makes a face when he once more catches a whiff of the other occupants of the truck. Needless to say, the windows are soon rolled down. Probby likes his men to be built and dominating like powerful football jocks, but he wants them to take a bath first, apparently. The Robfather drives like an overexcited fourteen-year old that has taken his father's car for a joyride for the very first time, until they stop at the designated movie pit stop. Probby is so excited that he can barely contain himself. "Nicely done!" he hoots as he tries to do that Manly Hand Gesture with the Robfather, and adds, "What's up!" I cringe at his embarrassing attempt to sound hip and streetwise because Probby is as hip and streetwise as a Don Johnson impersonator in an extreme sports tournament.

There are plenty of junkfood such as popcorns and soft drinks, as Probby promised, and the Robfather will be watching Lord Of The Flies with Ambore, a truly romantic film that Probby describes as the inspiration for Survivor. Funny, I thought that British flop of a TV series, that Burnetto tinkered the ideas with a little to come up with his TV show called Survivor, is the inspiration in question. Ambore looks as if she's trying too hard to keep herself from frowning. I don't blame her. I don't think I'll be happy if I learn that I have to spend an evening watching Lord Of The Flies after spending days and nights living with Hagrid and Big Red Tom. It will serve Burnetto right if the Robfather decides to stick the head of a pig onto a pole outside Probby's trailer after the movie.

Probby pretends to walk away and then turns back to announce that he has one more surprise for those two. He leads them down a trail where Ambore squeals and hugs the Robfather when Probby presents them with a brand new silver Malibu Max Chevy. The two lovebirds hop into Ambore's new car when they both squeal in joy some more. Ambore cries that the Robfather has given her a car. Well, I guess that he did, in a way. The Robfather asks Probby, "What's behind Door Number Three, Jeff?" before giving the car a few toots in his excitement. He's really adorable because he seems genuinely excited for Ambore. I don't think he'll be this happy if he happens to take Big Red Tom for his Reward instead.

As those two watch the movie - the pig head on the pole is too cute for words - Ambore happily chirps that while she has dreamed of their first date after the show and imagined that he'd bring her flowers, it turns out that he gives her a car on their first date instead. Yes, she'd take the car! Ambore tells her that she wants to eat hot dogs two more times, or maybe three - eeuw, get your mind out of the gutter, people - and they both agree that they are having a wonderful time even if the movie selection sucks lemons. Okay, they didn't really say that the movie leaves a lot to be desired, but come on, they are definitely thinking that. The Robfather tells the camera that Ambore has become really special to him, but insists that he's not giving up the money, not even for her. I guess he'll find out soon enough when he has to cross that bridge.

Back at camp, Hagrid has completely forgotten his childish "I fish so I eat and you don't touch any of my fish" rant from last episode as he tells JennaLoo and Big Red Tom that Ambore and the Robfather have better bring back some goodies to share with Hagrid. Once he said that he'd never won any Reward Challenge, but now he says that he always shares the goodies he's won on his Reward Challenges. But that kind of revisionist history is so typical of Hagrid, isn't it? The Robfather and Ambore bring back some candies on their return, which they divide into five piles, one for each Cheap Broken Ego. Hagrid then whines to the camera that the Robfather and Ambore are so horribly selfish because they share with Hagrid and the others what they need not share in the first place. Ambore also stupidly tells the others that she too has won a car (she says that she's not the kind of person to keep secrets, bah) and this only darkens the moods of the other three Cheap Broken Egos. The fact that the two of them openly kiss and exchange sweet nothings to each other don't help to lighten the mood, I'm afraid. I must confess though: with Ambore telling the Robfather that she's a good Catholic girl, I can't help but to wonder just what it is that he is whispering into her ear in the first place. You have no idea how much I hate myself for even wondering for just an itsy-bitsy second. Hagrid concludes the scene with a confessional where he says that it will be "justice" if those two lovebirds lose out on Immunity. Hagrid, please, the season is almost over. Please, just for a while, shut that sanctimonious, hypocritical piehole, pretty pretty I beg you pretty please?

Morning, day thirty-six. The weather has improved. Big Red Tom and Hagrid are up already to fish and collect firewood. Hagrid seizes the opportunity to whine at the camera that the Robfather and Ambore are not doing any work around the place. As a result, those two have plenty of energy for the Reward Challenge, Hagrid fumes. Isn't that part of the plan, though, to manage one's workload so that one doesn't become fatigued at the Challenges? And I thought Hagrid said that he was going to fish solely for himself from now on? His apologists can insist to me again and again that Hagrid is a selfless workhorse, but I am not buying any of that. Hagrid works because he wants the attention - he wants to be seen as a selfless martyr and he wants people to respect him for that.

JennaLoo, who isn't working but isn't criticized by Hagrid because Hagrid is Hagrid, wonders where Hagrid is. The Robfather, watching as Big Red Tom and Hagrid go off together, murmurs with a hint of suspicion in his voice that the two men are going for a walk.

Away from the crowd, Hagrid tells Big Red Tom that Big Red Tom is in danger of being booted, so Big Red Tom has better win that stupid Limited Tool necklace. Should Big Red Tom wins the necklace, Hagrid then wants that man to consider whether it will be wise to vote out the "only worker" in the tribe, namely Hagrid. So that's Hagrid's strategy! He's going to present himself as the only worker in the tribe! Isn't that the truth! Cheapora was a mess before Hagrid came into the picture... oh wait. Hagrid tells Big Red Tom that they have to break Ambore and the Robfather up. I guess the Robfather isn't so paranoid then, hmm? Big Red Tom, aware that he is a swing vote between two concrete alliances, tells the camera that he is open to alliances and offers. Big Red Tom tells Hagrid that the Robfather would win if he isn't booted as soon as possible.

Back at camp, Hagrid announces that he's going fishing and asks the Robfather whether the man wants some fish. The Robfather doesn't answer. Instead, he is busy plotting. He tells the camera that he doesn't trust Big Red Tom's loyalty so he decides to instigate a fight between Tom and Hagrid. He does this by telling Tom that Hagrid has been approaching the Robfather with news that Tom is plotting against the Robfather. Tom is outraged and protests that he has always been loyal to the Robfather. The Robfather shrugs and asks Tom why Hagrid would lie to the Robfather as Hagrid is generally a trustworthy guy. Not happy with what he calls a "tattletale" game going around the camp, Tom argues with Hagrid right before a grinning Robfather. Tom points out that he and the Robfather have an alliance so Tom doesn't have to betray the Robfather. And on and on the two big lugs go and their convoluted bickerings are too painful to be recounted. Hagrid doesn't help matters by acting like a condescending head-shaking know-it-all when he could have softened a little and placate Tom. In fact, Hagrid tells the camera that he knows that the Robfather is trying to cause a rift between him and Tom. Which then explains why it is dumb for him not to sweettalk Tom - by alienating Tom and making Tom defensive, Hagrid loses a potential ally there. Hagrid adds that the Robfather instigated the fight to make Hagrid look bad. Oh, Hagrid, when he will learn that not everything is about him?

It is now time for the Immunity Challenge. Probby explains that the Cheap Broken Egos will be competing at a "word scramble" today. Actually, it's more of a word search challenge as the Survivors will have to search for names of previous tribes of Survivor seasons in a grid of alphabets and use the alphabets where these names intersect in the grid to form a secret word or phrase. The first person to do so wins Immunity.

Not even some exciting music in the background can hide how dull watching this Challenge is. Since alphabets are involved, Big Red Tom is out. Ambore discovers all the words first, but she takes her time to unscramble the secret word, making me suspect that she is waiting to see whether the Robfather will catch up with her. She has a safety net in JennaLoo so the Robfather is in greater danger than she is. Probby is loudly pointing out the progress of every Survivor, so she has plenty of opportunity to complete the Challenge when anyone else apart from the Robfather comes close to overtaking her. The Robfather quickly catches up with her, beating the others to it In fact, he's actually working on unscrambling the hidden word as he works on searching the tribe names, so he unscrambles the word - Chabogo Mogo - in no time soon after he completes the word search.

Needless to say, nobody but Ambore and the Robfather is too happy with the man winning the Limited Tool necklace. Hagrid sighs as they walk into camp, saying that he'd like to wear that necklace just one time before the game ends. Ambore jokes that the Robfather has put some magic mojo on the Limited Tool necklace to keep winning it. The Robfather tells the camera that he is conflicted about his winning Immunity because there is a danger of the other tribemembers banding together to boot out Ambore and hence leaving the Robfather powerless. He banks his hopes on the others being too obtuse to realize that. In the meantime, he'll be a "diplomat" and try to get along with everyone while keeping his ears and eyes open.

Big Red Tom suckers up to the Robfather by pretending to be happy for the Robfather and apologizing for any "misunderstandings" that Bad Hagrid tried to stir up earlier that day. Ambore ponders over Big Red Tom's position as a swing vote in her confessional and manages to say absolutely nothing of substance in the process. Tom reiterates his loyalty to the Robfather and Ambore. When asked whom they should boot, Big Red Tom suggests that JennaLoo's brain is better than Hagrid's - heh - so I guess he wants JennaLoo out.

JennaLoo and Hagrid return to camp armed with dead Taliban coconuts, which Hagrid must be single-handedly responsible for as he did say earlier that he's the only one around here that works. JennaLoo in her confessional says that she is sticking with her alliance with Hagrid, Ambore, and the Robfather and marvels at how their alliance actually survive all the way to this late stage of the game. She can thank Lex and Kathy's stupidity as well Lex's masterplan of voting out strong players in his own tribe before the merge thus sending Ego Ego to the Tribal Council consecutively until the merge, both of these "masterful" strategies preventing Cheapora from having to grace the Tribal Council more than once while decimating Ego Ego faster than an anteater rampage in an ant colony. JennaLoo thinks that things are going too smoothly - she has a sinking feeling that something will go wrong soon.

The Robfather and Ambore are seated on the rocks like two malnourished figureheads, discussing strategy. The Robfather seems genuinely at loss as he suggests that they toss a coin to decide who will go tonight. Big Red Tom comes out from the sea then with a fish at the end of the spear he is holding. He is probably holding that spear for Hagrid because Hagrid did say earlier that Hagrid's the only worker in camp. Asking for honesty, the Robfather asks the wary Tom whether Tom has any intention of jumping ship and targetting the Robfather. Tom insists that he has no intention of doing so. The Robfather sharply asks Tom what they should do. Vote out JennaLoo, and then Hagrid? Tom insists that they tell him what to do. The Robfather impatiently asks why Tom needs to be told what to do. Tom says that it's because he's their pawn. Does he know how pathetic he sounds?

Ambore tells him that he's not a pawn because they are in a solid three-person alliance. She and the Robfather will go along with Tom's decision on who to boot. Tom hesitates. Maybe they should boot JennaLoo because JennaLoo is a "motormouth" that can cause trouble. Ambore cuts in and says impatiently that so be it, they'll vote out JennaLoo tonight. They all agree and shake on this decision and an unhappy Tom wanders away while the two lovebirds watch him closely. Ambore tells the camera that she is uncertain of what she should do and uncomfortable with this uncertainty as her decision is a "million-dollar decision". The Robfather tells her that she is rather "sensitive" today. She replies that it's because she can "taste" the money and therefore she's stressed. A million dollar can change "our lives", she tells him. Is she kidding? A million dollars will be nice, but that amount of money doesn't stretch that far. Today's high cost of living absolutely sucks after all. Ambore ends this scene with a confessional saying that the Tribal Council could be the ugliest they've ever had.

Night, Tribal Council. Come on in, Survivors! Hello, Lex Loser, Lex's Mohawk, Crazy Kathy, Alicia, Alicia's sneer, the Shii Devil, and the Shii Devil's rolling eyeballs. All of you can choke on a bowl of suck. Kathy and the Shii Devil whisper as the proceedings begin because they are sore losers trying to pretend that they're better than everybody else. Lex Loser rolls up his eyes when Ambore dares to say that she's in this game for money, because we all know Lex signs up for All-Stars to make friends with everybody. The Shii Devil rolls up her eyes also because Lex is doing it so she should too. The Cheap Broken Egos and Probby talk about paranoia, friendship, and other nonsense that nobody really believes in. Big Red Tom, when asked how "insulted" he would feel if he's the one voted out, drops "Et tu, Brute" (sic) and "Jesus said, 'Even you, Peter, betrayed me'" into his conversation so people have better be careful at voting him off as it will be Death and Destruction of Biblical and Shakespearan proportions and that will be really terrifying. After more insincere babblings, it's time to vote.

Big Red Tom - JennaLoo. JennaLoo - Tom.

The Robfather - Tom. "The pony ride's over. You're welcome, for carrying you this far." He's not being deliberately rude - according to Insider clips, Tom himself often jokes that the Robfather is his pony and he intends to "ride the pony", in a non-sexual way of course, to the end. I guess the Robfather doesn't find the situation as funny as Tom does.

Ambore and Hagrid - Tom.

Probby now reads aloud the votes. JennaLoo, Tom, Tom, Tom, Tom, Tom, Tom, Tom, Tom - okay, I'll cut it out now. Tom gets his torch snuffed out and as he walks out, he turns to give the Robfather a long and presumably scary glare. Et tu, Brute? The Jury of course can't wait to roll out the Self-Righteous Facial Expressions with a thousand eyerolls and mournful headshakes. How dare people vote out other people on this show? What about friendship? Oh, the humanity!

Next week: finale. It sucks. It sucks so much.

Big Red Tom complains in his final words that he has two knives in his back and it's all the two lovebirds' fault and they will pay, pay, pay. It's not his own fault that he fails to convince the lovebirds of his loyalty or that his pony-back strategy backfires on him when the host gets tired of carrying the extra burden. No, everything is Ambore and the Robfather's fault because they dare to vote him out. They! Will! Pay! He says goodbye to all his "fairweather friends", and I hope he eats on a horse and chokes on the horseshoe, that deluded fool. He and the Jury can all choke on it.