Guatemala Episode 13: Big Win, Big Decision... Big Mistake?

Previously, the loved ones show up and Judd won an opportunity to bring two buddies along on a Reward to enjoy the company of their loved ones. Judd chose Stephenie and Cindy, thereby allowing Lydia, Danni, and Rafe time to plot. Rafe and Danni struck up a tentative alliance of sorts and when Danni later turned Judd's big mouth against Stephenie, Rafe happily abetted Stephenie in her paranoia about Judd to send Judd a vote. Danni, of course, was all for booting Judd and Lydia would happily cast her vote to anyone's way as long as she was spared. Judd took a hike, but not before wishing his tribemates to get eaten by a crocodile. Heh, heh, heh.

Day thirty-three, night. When the remaining five Yownooks reach their camp after the Tribal Council, they naturally talk about booting Judd. Expressing regret about the boot, sincerely or not, is always the best way to remind the others that you are a good person, after all. Stephenie feels bad about booting Judd and I think she's the only deluded twit to feel this way but rationalizes that Judd wanted them all to get eaten by crocodiles so yeah, he was going crazy so it's good that she booted him. Never mind that Judd wanted them to get a close up at a crocodile's tonsil only after they had blindsided him, but hey, whatever keeps her thinking that she is still the best and the coolest human being alive. Danni is of course pleased and tells the camera that this is the opportunity that she has been waiting all along. There are cracks in the dominant alliance! Hu-freaking-rah!

Cindy is not a happy woman. She wants to know why she was kept out of the loop regarding the Judd plot. Because they don't care about her? Because they forget that she exists when she's not with them? Because she's insignificant? Just some suggestions, really. Stephenie claims that the others really wanted to tell her, and I'm sure they did, only that somehow Cindy was always running away to play with monkeys and then it rained and Stephenie's boyfriend needed rescuing from the crocodiles and... you know, things just happened, Cindy. Too bad, so sad. Cindy wants to know why if they don't want to tell her, they could have instead hint at her that they were booting Judd but they didn't so why, dang it, why? What a silly question. The reason they didn't tell her is either because they don't trust her or she is just another vote to them and she is now dispensible being that there are only five of them left. Or maybe it's a combination of both reasons. Cindy wonders what this means for her and her position in the tribe since when the tribe blindsided Jamie, they didn't tell Judd and now that they blindsided Judd but didn't tell Cindy... Cindy's time with the monkeys has taught her how to excel in joining the dots and she doesn't like the big picture that results. Stephenie assures her that anyone of them could go next, which isn't very reassuring at all if anyone thinks about that.

Morning, day thirty-four. The Yownooks realize that Rafe is the only guy left among them, which leads Rafe to crow about how a gay guy and four women are the last standing Survivors and therefore he is Bosley and the four women are "Rafe's Angels". How like a man, gay or straight, to assume that he can automatically boss the women around just because he has a penis. These people then play a game of listing down what they will not miss about Guatemala and somehow "naked Judd" gets mentioned. If Rafe thinks that telling the camera that with the last "cool kid" Judd gone - I honestly doubt Judd can ever be considered a "cool kid" in any time of his life - everyone here can become dorks, that's no excuse for bringing up such horrible things on this show. Where's the FCC when we freaking need their useless bums? These people then take part in what seems like an eye-crossing contest. Or maybe it's a consequence of imagining a naked Judd in their minds? Rafe is apparently so fun that Lydia expresses surprise at how well Rafe fits in with the ladies. Rafe and Stephenie then move on to discuss Justin Timberlake, of all people, and by the end of this episode they will all regress to being thirteen-year olds and pulling ponytails over which current androgynous pouty-lipped talentless male "singer" is the hottest. Anyway, everyone is hugsy-wugsy and Rafe is sure that he has close and intimate relationships with all of them that he hopes will continue after the game.

That is, until they see the mock car key that comes with the tree-mail. Normally at this point I'd expect them to make the sign of the cross and run away screaming because getting the car automatically damns you from winning the game and the curse has yet to be broken after eleven seasons of this stupid show. I thought Rafe, the professional online Survivor community dude, will know that. Wait, considering the kind of fantasy games he took part in and the kind of boards he hanged out at, I shouldn't wonder. He's a squeeing Stephenie fanboy, after all. Stephenie naturally insists that she "needs" that car because she's never had one. I never had a Rolls-Royce but you don't see me needing one desperately, do you? Lydia wants to give her seventeen-year old that car. Stephenie tells Rafe that they are the only two people here who don't have a car. How exciting! Do they want a trophy for that? Cindy is nervous. Sheesh, these people, they act like they have no idea that Burnetto manages to hoodwink some idiot from an automobile company into sponsoring a gift car thingie every season.

Probby awaits the Yownooks with a smile and a prize, a 2006 Pontiac Torrent. Hmm, even the prize is cheap this season. I think I'll take the million bucks. Anyway, it's time for Burnetto to cut corners when it comes to the budget for the season by recycling the props in the ever-present second chances Reward Challenge. Here, all the Yownooks have to do first is to run across a balance beam and untie three clubs, and the first three to do this will then move on to throwing their clubs at tiles until they break their tile. The first two will move on to assemble pieces to form an image of the Mayan calendar. First person to do this, jump into a cart, cut the rope holding the cart, and go wheee-eee-eee down the course into the water wins the Pontiac Torrent. This person will also have what seems like a date with archeologists to enjoy speeches on history of dead people before enjoying what Probby calls a "barbecue feast". Cholesterol, boredom, and a cursed vehicle. What could one ask for, truly?

Danni, Cindy, and Stephenie (in that order) leave Rafe and Lydia behind in the first stage of the Challenge, Cindy breaks her tile first followed by Stephenie in the next stage, and because Stephenie can't find a puzzle that she isn't a flop at, Cindy wins the Reward. Of course Cindy can invite someone along. But before she is allowed to do that, Probby reminds Cindy of the curse of the car. Stephenie groans at this, although whether she's being genuinely peeved at Probby for ruining Cindy's win or mocking Cindy, I can't really tell for sure. So, Probby lets Cindy a way to break the curse: she can give up her car and the other four will all get cars. Between this and the "twist" Burnetto will slap Randal with on The Apprentice 4 one week later, it's obvious that Burnetto has mistaken cruelty for innovation. Sure, it gets people talking, but I feel that it's not really fun or sporting to toy with people like that. To give Stephenie credit, she actually looks horrified at what Probby is making Cindy choose between. Even worse, the four Pontiac Torrents are being driven up to show the other four what they could be getting if Cindy decides to play the martyr. Cindy however (and rather foolishly, since the others are listening) says that she is sure that she can win if she plays her cards right so she'll keep the car for herself. Stephenie nods and claps for Cindy. I regain a considerable amount of my old liking of her in this scene alone.

I mean, sure, Cindy could have given up the car to stay a little longer, I suppose, but if she feels that she is out of the loop with the others and she has nothing to lose by keeping the car and hoping that she can be like Danni to wiggle her way further into the game, that's her right. And that is pretty much a valid choice too as there is no guarantee that the others will let Cindy stay if she gives up her car so that they can all get cars. Also, if she gives the other people cars, who will want to take her to the Final Two? Taking Cindy to the Final Two is like trying to win against Santa Claus in a popularity contest! Either way, Cindy has to make a choice based on assumptions and possibilities, none of them concrete, and I don't envy her position one bit.

Cindy decides to take Stephenie along with her and Stephenie reassures Cindy that Cindy has done the right thing. Stephenie would have kept the car too, she tells Cindy. She assures Cindy that there are no guarantees in this game so there's no certainty that Cindy would stay if she gives them cars. One could be cynical and say that Stephenie is trying to keep Cindy estranged from the others for her own advantages but I don't think Stephenie is that strategic. She seems genuine in her reassuring Cindy and she even tells Cindy to cheer up and enjoy the Reward. They have a good time with meat and everything, and they toast to being in the Final Four. Cindy is convinced that there is no guarantee that she will not be evicted even if she gives the others cars and she is also certain that no one will be bitter over her decision to keep the car for herself.

She has overestimated Rafe's maturity. Bitchsville is rising back in the camp as Rafe bitches to Danni about what a selfish woman Cindy is. "I just couldn't believe that that was the decision Cindy made. For me, that didn't seem like a choice. Like, you have to give the car to four other people, like, there was nothing else I would have done. Like, I never would have taken the car for myself!" he rants to the camera. Funny he should say that, since he is making assumptions about a situation that he has never actually be put in and he wants Cindy to actually do the right thing, which in Rafe's context means giving him a free car. Wow! Danni and Lydia both try to tell Rafe that they are glad that Cindy kept the car because she won it fair and square in the Reward Challenge. Rafe however is determined to pursue that Cindy Is A Selfish Woman Because She's Doesn't Give Rafe Free Stuff path, and after ranting incoherently to Lydia and Danni about how Cindy should have given up her car for the good of the people or something, Rafe tells the camera that he was certain of not voting for Cindy until she refused to give Rafe a car. Now, he's not so sure anymore. All I can say of Rafe is that may he never be in a situation like Cindy's where he will then keep that car and be judged for it by other Rafes. What a douchebag.

Still at the barbecue feast party, Stephenie and Cindy agree that Danni should go because (a) she is a threat, whatever that means, and (b) they don't want to see her going further into the game than they. Ding-ding, foreshadowing alert! Stephenie and Cindy both agree that they can get Lydia into their plan to boot Danni next, but Stephenie wants Rafe to be part of the plan too. She thinks that Rafe is a smart guy and he'll be fine with the plan. They don't know Rafe that well, do they?

Day thirty-five, morning. When Cindy and Stephenie return to camp, Cindy is asked about the car. Big mistake. She launches into what seems like a scripted speech about what a fine car the Pontiac Torrent is and basically the editing suggests that the other tribe members are getting irritated by her constant raving about the car. I'm not sure about Danni, Lydia, and Stephenie, but Rafe is definitely on his high horse as he talks to the camera about Cindy annoying everyone in camp with her rah-rahs about the car. "You can only hear so much about something that everyone else could have had, too," he says. Except, of course, he couldn't win the Reward Challenge and he probably couldn't afford the car, so basically, he couldn't have had the car. Are Rafe's middle names "My Grapes Are Green And Man, They're So Sour"? However, Cindy thinks that her tribemates believe that she did the right thing by keeping the car for herself. Oh dear, there seems to be plenty of communication glitches going on in Camp Yownook.

Stephenie and Rafe have a private pow-wow. Rafe is obviously expecting Stephenie to agree with him about Cindy's supposed selfishness so he is caught off-guard when she starts telling him about how she can't believe that Cindy felt guilty about keeping the car because she won it and therefore deserved to keep it fair and square. Rafe tries to get some leeway by saying that he and Danni believe that there was really no option than to give up the car. Really? Says who? Rafe who wants a car and a chance to win as well? Stephenie is incredulous and asks Rafe whether he is seriously suggesting that anyone would be crazy enough to give up the car. I think I really like her again now. Rafe says that he would have given up the cars. Stephenie is still incredulous. Rafe insists that he would have given up the cars for the greater good of the tribe. Stephenie tells the camera that Rafe sometimes tries to play the martyr too much. The problem here, in my opinion, isn't that he's playing the martyr as much as he's condemning someone for doing something that he doesn't like because he didn't get a free car and he's attaching morality to something that are essentially sour grapes. If he wants a car, he can bloody well say that he wants a car. Stephenie tells the camera that she and Rafe have their first disagreement.

Meanwhile, Lydia tells Stephenie that she thinks Cindy did the right thing. Elsewhere, Rafe whines to the camera, oblivious of what an imbecile he is coming off as, "The only thing I was thinking about was that you could give four other people a car, and it seems like everyone else was thinking about what they could have." Um, wasn't he the one whining about what he could have (a car). I don't know about Danni but clearly Lydia and Stephenie are fine with Cindy's decision. So why is he painting himself as the only person doing the right thing here again? Rafe goes on to wonder whether he's playing too nice, et cetera. Give me a break. He didn't get a car, big deal, that doesn't mean that he's playing the game wrong. He's in the Final Five, isn't he? Honking about how selfless he is or how nice he is won't change the fact that he's turning to a whiny brat screaming that the world sucks because he can't get a free car.

It's time for the Immunity Challenge. This is another fun to watch competition but again impossible to recap. Basically each Survivor is tied and locked up around a pole and he or she has to untie and unlock enough distance to reach the finish line. It seems complicated but everything will become clear when you watch it on TV. Danni, Rafe, and Lydia quickly fall behind until it's a fight between Cindy and Stephenie. Stephenie seems to be leading and she finally breaks herself free to run for the finish line... only to realize that she is still a few feet short of reaching it! Cindy struggles with a lock but Stephenie manages to untangle herself further to win her first ever Immunity Challenge. As Probby puts Waldo around her neck, Stephenie bursts into tears.

A disbelieving Stephenie hugs her tribemates back at camp as they congratulate her. She tells the camera that she can't believe that she's in the Final Four since she was sure that she'd be booted the first time her tribe went to Tribal Council. Well, she did play a smart game, I must admit, making correct allies and taking advantages of tribe shuffles and what-not to end up on a dominant faction. I may not like her but I won't deny that she played a great game in this season. Elsewhere, Danni and Rafe reaffirm their alliance and they will not vote for each other until the Final Three. Danni wonders where Stephenie stands in this scheme of things and Rafe assures her that he can make Stephenie do things their way. Danni tells Rafe that she will take Rafe with her to the Final Two even if she knows that he can beat her. No, I don't think that it is wise to make such a promise to Rafe either, especially considering the kind of person Rafe is turning out to be. Rafe tells the camera that he will vote for Cindy because she didn't give him a car, wah, wah, wah. Is it possible that he and Stephenie somehow switched bodies during the night? When did Stephenie become so rational and Rafe so petty and whiny?

Rafe tells Stephenie when they are alone that voting Cindy out is good because they can't beat Cindy in the Final Two. He is sure that they can beat Danni though and by "they", he's talking about himself. Stephenie isn't stupid - she points out that Cindy, like Judd and Jamie, will feel that Stephenie and Rafe have backstabbed her. It doesn't pay to make about half of the members of the Jury mad at one, after all. However, Rafe insists that they have no deal with Cindy to the Final Four. Hmm, he may not have such a deal with Cindy but Stephenie has, heh. What will Stephenie do now? Stephenie tells the camera that Cindy is a threat and she also has a car, so really, anything can happen at Tribal Council. Stephenie then smartly informs Cindy of what Rafe said to her, no doubt wanting Cindy to know that any boot of Cindy is masterminded by Rafe and not Stephenie. Cindy tells Stephenie and the camera that Rafe, not Cindy, is the biggest threat left in the game. She reminds Stephenie and Danni of this later when the three ladies are together, saying that Rafe can beat any of them in an Immunity Challenge. Stephenie assures her that they know that. Cindy insists that booting Rafe is the only smart thing to do.

Night, Tribal Council. Ooh, Booby Jon is in pink. Is he trying to tell his new bosom buddy Jamie something? Probby leads the five into a conversation that is pretty much a rehash of everything we know (Rafe is a physical threat according to Cindy, Cindy thinks that she did the right thing by keeping the car, and no one feels safe at this Tribal Council) before sending them to vote. Cindy sends Rafe a vote because she thinks that he's a physical threat. Stephenie's vote is not shown. Lydia's vote is not shown but her voting speech is: "What a terrific person you are! But you're very athletic, very competitive, and very intelligent and I'm voting with the tribe." Danni's vote is not shown. Rafe votes for Cindy, saying that he loves her and all the usual hypocritical bull. Probby "tallies" the votes and Cindy has to get her torch snuffed by Probby. Judd in the sidelines punches his fist as Cindy tells the remaining four Yownooks, "Thanks, guys! I'll think about you guys when I see the stars through the sunroof of my new car." Rafe deserves that, at the very least.

Next week is the finale. Do you think that Rafe will give up his million dollars so that the likes of Lydia will get her million dollars? Nah, I don't think so either.