Guatemala Episode 12: A Price for Immunity

Previously, Lydia started to make her big move by (a) getting Stephenie to dislike her when her back-up plan wasn't even cemented yet and (b) jettisoning her old alliance for Gary and Danni. In case you are counting, Lydia was therefore in an alliance of three versus Stephenie, Cindy, Rafe, and Judd, an alliance of four. At the end of the episode, Gary took a walk off the game, leaving Lydia with only Danni on her side. I think this must be one of the most brilliant strategic moves in the history of Survivor, don't you think so? Let's see what Lydia will do next!

Day thirty-one, morning. The remaining Yownooks are all together and from what I can see, they are still on talking term despite Judd being exposed as a liar in the previous Tribal Council. Danni knows she is next on the chopping block though as she voices her concerns to the camera. Lydia, meanwhile, is telling everyone that she actually smelled sausages when she woke up this morning, leading Judd and Stephenie to tell her that Lydia probably inhaled when Stephenie was doing her morning's answering of the call of nature. It's a nice conversation to have before breakfast. Danni tells the camera that a part of her can't believe that everyone is this nice after the bombs that were dropped in the previous Tribal Council but guesses that people are just trying not to reveal their true feelings. On her part, she's content to sit back and watch while looking for any way for her to chisel away at the dominant alliance. In the meantime, Judd, Danni, and Stephenie decide to throw an impromptu cartwheel competition. Due to his weight loss, Judd manages to do some cartwheels. Stephenie, on the other hand, may not appreciate knowing that Danni outgraces her when it comes to cartwheeling. To the camera, Danni thinks that the increasingly ocstracized Lydia will make a useful partner and she also believes that there is no way those so-called Final Five are going to maintain their alliance, not when it's so close to the end game and only one person can make it to end. Danni's right. She seems like a better player than Gary and therefore, she may be worth betting on.

Our host Jeff Proboscis awaits the Survivors as they now enter a clearing for their Reward Challenge. If you think that's fast, that's because this show wants to have more time to show cuddling and navel-gazing of three Survivors I can't care less about and their loved ones. But that's for later. Let's move on. Probby announces that it's time for the seasonal auction game. This time, every one of the Survivors is given $500. They can share the money among two people to make a single bid. There's no guarantee that each Survivor will get to buy an item on auction.

The first item is a bowl of beef jerky. Danni bids $20 and no one matches the offer so she gets to keep it without a fight. Probby tries to tempt her into choosing a covered item, which she refuses. The item turns out to be a bowl of uncooked corn, so it's a good thing that Danni sticks with her beef jerky. Danni happily munches on her beef jerky as the auction continues. Next up is a plate of three chocolate cookies and a glass of milk. Lydia half-heartedly bids for it but in the end Cindy gets it for $40. Next is a mosquito net, which causes a flurry of bidding from the insect-bitten Survivors. Rafe and Danni even try to pool their money together. I guess they will then work up a schedule as to which night each person is entitled to use the net or they will just share the same sleeping spot from then on? Lydia wins this one for $140. The camera zooms in on the insect bites on her back as Lydia has this surprisingly charming banter with Probby about the insect bites on her booty. Don't look at me, blame Probby for the gruesome images that last sentence gives you. Probby now offers a mysterious covered item. The lid looks big but it could easily be a piece of pebble underneath it, so who knows, really. Danni and Rafe jointly bid $180 on the item, outbidding the team of Stephenie and Judd, and they squeal in delight when they realize that the covered item is a big piece of steak sandwich with a generous helping of fries and lettuce on the side.

Probby now offers a mysterious envelope that is sealed with wax. He says that this item will be very useful in the upcoming Immunity Challenge, although the nature of the content of the envelope can only be revealed at the time of the Challenge. Danni naturally goes for it. What's really shocking though is how Stephenie is the only one who tries to outbid Danni and even then she's only doing it half-heartedly. I half-expect Lydia to be bidding like crazy because her butt is on the line if Danni wins Immunity but Lydia doesn't seem too concerned about the item on auction. Danni manages to win the bid on what should be the most important item on auction for a shockingly low price of $200. The others must be very confident about their positions in the tribe. That or they are just being dumb as usual. Probby tells Danni to bring the envelope with her to the next Immunity Challenge and she must make sure that the wax seal is intact until that moment.

Next, Probby brings out a family member for each of the Survivor. Eh, Danni's brother really looks a lot like Rafe, if I may say so. Also present are Judd's wife, Stephenie's boyfriend, Cindy's twin sister Mindy (don't laugh - Jamie's twin brother is Ramie, which is ten times worse), Rafe's mother, and Lydia's brother. By the way, Lydia is seeing her brother here for the first time in two years, the circumstances for this estrangement never explained on the show. Still, Lydia and her brother look genuinely glad to see each other and for a moment, my heart thaws and there are tears in my eyes. I mean, come on, they haven't seen each other for two freaking years and it's obvious that they miss each other. This is not like the others where they haven't seen the other person for only a little longer than a month. Probby says that the Survivors can now bid for their loved ones to spend one night at camp with them. Eeeuw, that makes Probby come off like some prison guard selling conjugal visits to family members of prisoners. Anyway, Judd begins to get funds from Cindy while Lydia offers Stephenie her own money. It seems that Lydia and Cindy won't be seeing their loved ones even if Stephenie or Judd wins the bid so I hope Stephenie will treat Lydia a little kinder in the future. Nah, who am I kidding? Stephenie will probably thinks that she's due all kinds of favors because she is the Bestest Survivor Dah-ling Evah. Bitch. Stephenie has $750 while Judd has $880 so Judd wins this bid.

Probby offers Judd a chance to give two other tribemates a chance to spend a night with their loved ones as well. Judd of course chooses Cindy and then he chooses... Stephenie. Stupid Stephenie who hasn't seen her boyfriend in only a month - and she'd probably break up with him in the future, who knows, over Lydia who hasn't seen her brother in two freaking years. Still, Judd is smart to curry the favors of That Bitch Stephenie so I don't blame him. This game isn't about sentimental sweethearts, after all. But then again, that's not so wise a move when this means that Rafe, Lydia, and Danni have to move to the old Yowza camp for the night in order to give the other three plenty of room to catch up with their wife, sister, boyfriend, whatever. What do you get when you put three of the people you can't fully trust together far away from you? That's right: plotting, mutiny, and other jolly fun stuff.

Judd, Stephenie, and Cindy showboat around to their loved ones. These are three people I can't care less about on the show so I am not going to bother with how Judd's wife thinks that he's all that and the alpha male of the tribe or how he boasts to the wife that he's going to the Final Four definitely (snigger) with the others (the wife looks like she's counting the money already) or how Mindy thinks that Cindy is good at outdoors life or how Stephenie's boyfriend doesn't have a neck or how my nose bleeds when I wonder why Stephenie gets to enjoy all the goodies in this season without actually having to work for them... let's move on instead to the folks that I care enough to watch.

Naturally, they happen to be trying to make the best of the situation when they walk back to their old camp. It's like a bittersweet homecoming of sorts for them, says Rafe to the camera. Soon, Rafe and Danni are talking about the game, upon which Rafe reveals how he doesn't trust Judd. Both of them realize that Gary told each other that they could trust the other - awww, Gary played matchmaker of sorts, how sweet - and Danni reveals to the camera that when Rafe realizes that his allies will start turning on each other, she intends to let Rafe know that she is "another buddy" that can help him in the long run. Rafe suggests that they turn Stephenie on Judd by catching Judd in some sort of lie. Wait a minute, wasn't Judd caught in a big lie in the previous Tribal Council? These people have short memories indeed, I tell you. I don't understand why Rafe won't try to oust Stephenie though. Once a lapdog, always a lapdog, I guess. Rafe tells the camera that Judd can't be trusted and the fact that you can't trust is something that you can trust. Or something like that. Rafe should stop trying to be philosophical and stick to organizing online Survivor fantasy games when he's not licking Stephenie's boots clean.

Night falls on the Camp of I Can't Be Bothered With where Judd and Stephenie mutually admire each other's gameplay before Judd's wife who is planning the house she is going to build with her husband's million. They are sure that nothing will go wrong. Stephenie says that Jersey would be so proud of her and Judd. That's nice. They can both return to Jersey after this show and never grace my TV screen again. Jersey, I'm counting on you guys. Keep those mongrels that you are so proud of out of my freaking TV, thanks. Judd, Stephenie, and Cindy plan to get rid of Danni, whom they are so sure will never win an Immunity Challenge, and I must say that these people must be very confident indeed, especially when Danni is in possession of some secret weapon inside an envelope that will help her win that Immunity Challenge. Still, they believe that on the remote likelihood that Danni wins Immunity, they will then get rid of Lydia. Judd's wife then makes a move to mack lips with her man and the show mercifully cuts to the night sky.

Day thirty-two, morning. The loved ones aren't finding the camp so pleasant in daylight, calling it "barren" and "the real deal". The last one comes from Stephenie's boyfriend, by the way, who looks like he has to spend ten minutes to string two words together. Lydia, Rafe, and Danni return to catch those three couples in their last few moments together and everyone seems to be having a good time just talking and swatting away the bugs buzzing around them. "It's like eating twenty-five White Castle cheeseburgers, man!" Judd graphically says as he tries to describe the experience of being with his wife in this very moment. Oh please, White Castle is for wimps. Try Burger King's Whopper. Judd, after all, will come off as more credible if he talks about twenty-five Whoppers inside his mouth. Finally, the loved ones have to leave and it's as unnecessarily melodramatic as it should be, with Judd's wife tearfully telling the camera that she has never stopped speaking to Judd for more than twenty-four hours. At least someone in this world loves to hear Judd talk, I see. Stephenie tells the camera that goodbyes are hard and she hopes to say hello or something stupid like that and since she's not the one forced to say goodbye to a brother that she hasn't seen in two years, for the love of Lydia, someone please shut Stephenie up because she is driving me irrationally crazy with her antics, shallow confessionals, sulky faces, and... and... I'll shut up now, of course, but GOD, Stephenie makes me so irritated with her in this episode.

Later, Lydia approaches Judd and tries to do her best impersonation of a hammy gangster in The West Side Story. "Almost there, Judd. What do you think? You got a good shot at the million?" she nonsensically babbles at Judd. Judd Krupkies, "Who knows, man?" Lydia Krupkies back, "Gotta get a game plan here, Mr Judd!" So Judd responds by saying, "Why? What do you got? What are you thinking?" Lydia Krupkies back, "How far do you want to get to the final two?" Judd answers, "Just as far as you do. Why? You have any plans?" I think my IQ plummeted by at least twenty points just listening to those two. Danni shows up and sits next to them as Lydia talks about how she knows who the key players are. Judd scoffs at the notion that Lydia knows something that he doesn't, telling her, "I know who the threats are here! I ain't that stupid, man, are you kidding me?" So Lydia Krupkies now, "We've come this close. We got seven freaking more days left. Now, we either get rid of the threats, or we're going to be stuck where we're sitting on the Jury." Judd says that he knows all that already and brings up what happened to him and Jamie. He goes as far as to tell Lydia that he is still not happy with the situation. Here, Lydia seems to drop her shtick briefly to tell Judd that she was the last to know of that plot and cleverly talks about how shocked she is that the others never let Judd in on that plot. Judd stupidly tells Lydia, in front of Danni, that he knows who masterminded that move but if he says something about that, his gameplay is "screwed". Here, Danni tells the camera that she and Rafe had talked about needing some ammunition to turn Stephenie against Judd. Could this be it? Back to Lydia, she tells Judd, "Judd, you know what? Maybe it's time we make a difference." Okay, she's back in Officer Krupkie mode. Judd says that he's willing to do just that. This is what Danni needs to bring to Stephenie. Danni tells the camera that the longer you stay around in the game, the more trouble you can cause, and who knows, maybe the more doors will open as well.

It's now time for the Immunity Challenge. This one is awesome but again, impossible to recap. It's worth catching this episode for, though. The Survivors start off at their respective corners at the base of this multi-leveled ziggurat structure. There are tiles covering the floor of this structure. Each Survivor will flip one tile at a time, turning the white tile around so that the red surface at the back is now faced up. He or she will then step on this red tile. If this person want to move one step, he or she will flip the tile he or she wants to step on. This person can move one step ahead, behind, left, or right but not diagonal. At the top level of the structure is a revolving platform that the Survivors can use to change their position. They cannot step on a red tile. So, once they end up in an area with no more white tiles that they can step on, they are out of this game. The best thing, if you ask me, about this Challenge is how a Survivor can "attack" another Survivor by deliberately creating a pattern of red tiles that can trap this other person. I don't know if any of these Survivors do that because the show fast-forwards the progress of the Survivors to the point where they are knocked out of the game, bah. Danni's envelope is revealed to contain a red card with a message telling her that for one time in this Challenge, she can switch place with one other Survivor. That is a tremendous advantage indeed, especially if Danni can discreetly create a pattern trapping herself and then switching places with Stephenie just for kicks.

Cindy foolishly charges straight ahead to the top and then back down, so it's not surprising that she soon finds herself trapped at a dead end. Stephenie is doing well by systematically moving ahead, causing Probby to announce that Stephenie has plenty of room to move at her part of the structure. Danni, realizing that her own moving space is being cut short, especially when Lydia and Rafe start making inroads into her side, announces that she'd like to change places with Stephenie. Stephenie of course gets this bug-eyed "HOW DARE YOU, DON'T YOU KNOW WHO I AM, BITCH?" expression on her face. Yucks. Still, a rule is a rule and Danni gets to switch places with Stephenie. Lydia soon finds herself trapped in a corner, followed by Rafe. Danni is indeed wise to switch places with Stephenie. Judd miscalculates, assuming that he can move diagonally, and he is the next to go. Only Danni and Stephenie remain - a foreshadowing to the Final Two, perhaps? - and eventually Stephenie runs out of white tiles first. Danni gets to wear Waldo! Probby, as he puts Waldo around Danni's neck, says that the $200 was well-spent and Danni readily agrees.

The screen says "Day thirty-three" as the Yownooks return from the Challenge so this has to take place on a new day then. Stephenie congratulates Danni on winning Waldo, which is nice of her considering how petty she can be on this show. Danni tells the camera of how relieved she is to have won Immunity. To Stephenie, she then tells Stephenie what Judd said to Lydia the day before about knowing who the mastermind behind the Jamie plot is, how Judd wanted to get rid of the strong ones (Stephenie looks shocked because she knows she is THE STRONG ONE so omigosh, Judd wants to get rid of her), and how Judd is still mad about the Jamie plot. She also makes it clear to Stephenie that only Judd was talking to Lydia. Danni is telling the truth but she is hedging the story a bit to make Judd come off as a bigger potential backstabber to Stephenie without actually telling any outright lie. Danni can't do this any better. Rafe also joins in the conversation and he is on Danni's side. Meanwhile, watching them is Judd, who after telling his wife that he was the man of the tribe, now sits around while everyone else is pounding corn. Stephenie tells the camera that she mostly believes Judd but Judd has been caught telling big lies in the past while Danni has never told a lie. Danni still hasn't, and that's what awesome about what Danni is doing to Stephenie and Judd.

Rafe now sits down beside Stephenie as she pounds and grounds corn. He asks her what is going on with the tribe. Stephenie tells Rafe that Judd is turning into Jamie. Well, Judd does have that creepy intense stare as he perches on his loft and surveys everyone working around him. Stephenie also tells him about Judd telling Lydia about his unhappiness over Jamie's boot. She asks Rafe whether they should get rid of Judd at Tribal Council. Instead of dancing with joy like I suspect he wants to, Rafe solemnly asks Stephenie to think about this because it's a major decision to make. Stephenie pounds corn more furiously as she thinks about what Rafe has just said.

Later, Stephenie, Rafe, and Danni have a private pow-wow where they agree that they can't trust or rely on Judd and he should go. Lydia is next after Judd, so in the end it's Stephenie, Danni, Rafe, and Cindy for the Final Four. I'd expect them to let Cindy know on this new arrangement, being that Cindy is involved in a big way in the new arrangement, but as I shall soon see, nobody feels that they should tell Cindy. Maybe they merely see her as the non-entity that she is. Stephenie is concerned that there would be a tie at Tribal Council between Judd and Lydia but Rafe is confident that Lydia will do whatever they want her to. Stephenie tells the camera that she likes being around with Judd - yucks - but if Judd is going to "slit her throat", she's not going to stand there and let him do that. Danni tells the camera that everything is going well for her.

Judd and Lydia have their own pow-wow, although with Lydia involved, it's safe to say that this pow-wow has nothing of value. Lydia basically offers her vote to anyone who wants it. If there are no takers, she'll then go out of the game quietly. She then runs off to report what she told Judd to Rafe verbatim. Alas, Judd catches them at it and says loudly that he'd appreciate it if Lydia does not write down his name. Judd then reminds Lydia that she offered her vote to him first and now he is asking her to vote for anyone but him. I am quite surprised at how effective Judd is in this scene when it comes to being intimidating. He's not drunk or blustery like the way he behaved towards Margaret - he speaks clearly and lets his threats be insinuated instead of shouted out loud. Rafe looks very uncomfortable trapped between Lydia and Judd. Judd later tells Stephenie that they should vote out Lydia. He thinks that nobody is really safe in this game but he seems confident that Lydia will be the one leaving tonight. As they all leave for Tribal Council, Judd says to the camera, "One other person goes, I move up, so... no hard feelings. As long as it ain't me, man, I'll always have a smile on my face."

Night, Tribal Council. It seems like Bobby Jon and Jamie are sharing clothes with Gary as well and they are all dressed like Banana Republic dudes as they come in to take their seat after the Yownooks have taken their seats. There are forgettable chatter about family visits and Danni winning Immunity - I'm sure you will be surprised to know how happy she was at that moment - and then some fluff about trust and casting votes. Only Stephenie says something worth recapping when she tells Probby that when you vote someone out, you need to have a way of explaining your vote. That only works in an ideal world when the Jury aren't wrapped up in pettiness, though, unfortunately. Oh, and Judd's views on voting someone out of the game: "I'll tell you what, to be honest with you, no matter what they all say, everybody wants somebody to go home. So, you know, they're sitting here making believe like, 'Oh, man, it's gonna stink,' and... that's not the case, man. Everybody wants somebody to go home. That's the bottom line. That's what we're here for. I mean, the only way you move on is somebody goes home. No hard feelings, but... deal with it. That's basically the way I look at it. If somebody goes home, that's better for me. You've just got to trust and love the ones you're with right now."

It's now time to vote. Danni votes for Judd for obvious reasons while Judd votes for a "Lidia", saying that Lydia has sung and danced her way out of the jungle. Everyone else's vote is not shown, although it doesn't take much to peace together that only Cindy and Judd vote for Lydia while everyone else sends Judd a vote. Probby now tallies the votes. Judd, Lydia, Lidia, Judd, "Juddinator" (that's Rafe's vote, by the way), Judd with a sad face after the D, and... oh dear, Judd is going home.

As Judd stands up, Mr No Hard Feelings wishes that the others will get eaten by a crocodile. Mr Deal With It calls them scumbags. After he gets his torch snuffed, Mr That's The Bottom Line calls the others "scumbags" one more time before he takes his walk to Loser Lodge. Probby tells the others that things have changed or something like that before sending the rest back to camp.

Judd wastes his final words insisting that he hasn't lied - and Wally is of course inside the ground - and that he will have a lot to say as a Jury member to those scumbags. Man, what an idiot.