Palau Episode 4: Sumo at Sea

Previously, some snakes lost their heads to the virile men of Horror, Angie lost her mind and went insane on her opponents in the Reward Challenge, and Jeff W lost his will to go on in this game when his ankle lost its purchase and he wanted to quit for the greater good of the tribe. Sure he did. He nearly didn't get his wish until Stephenie, proving to be a greater decision-waffler than Crazy Kathy on All Stars, changed her mind for reasons only she will know and provided the vote that made the difference between Jeff W leaving and Kim leaving. So Jeff W took his beautiful but rather ineffectual abs with him and we are down to business as usual. Who will be eliminated next?

Credits. I love Bobby Jon's credit sequence. Yes, I'm talking about the one where he crunches up his face in ectasy as huge spurts of water explode upwards in front of him. The imagery is so obscene, I'm surprised that the usually overparanoid FCC hasn't said a word about it.

Day eight, night, Camp Ulong. Jeff W had thrown in the towel earlier in the Tribal Council and now the remaining tribemembers are sitting around the fire looking gloomy. Cheer up, guys! Just think, if this tribe keeps losing, everyone will be reunited at Loser Lodge by, oh, early next month and they can have a blast and a grand old time! Who cares what the crappy Horrors do, eh? Angie laments to Stephenie that it sucks when the Ulongites keep dwindling in ranks while the Horrors have yet to lose anyone among their ranks. Kim moans to the camera about the loss of Jeff W and how she now not only has lost a "friend" but she also has to deal with the rest of the tribe instead of hiding behind Jeff W's brawny shoulders, ugh. Bobby Jon rationalizes the loss of Ulong by saying that Horror is using "strategy" in this game. Yes, and the strategy is "beat your ass". Kim agrees because she thinks that the Horrors are a weak tribe. So it has to be strategy that keep them in non-stop victory after victory. Heaven knows, it is so unfair when people use their brains as well as brawns to win. That is cheating! Jumbles announces that he will personally get medieval on the asses of the next person who causes Ulong to go to Tribal Council because he does not want to go there anymore. I hope he knows how to stomp his own ass because I have a feeling that Ulong will be having a few more nightly rendezvouses with Probby until Burnetto forces a now predictable tribal switch on the two tribes. Kim thinks that Jumbles is a mean old sourpuss while Bobby Jon thinks aloud to the camera that the tribe has attitude problems and he needs to figure out a way to motivate everyone into winning. Oh, why fight it? Just make sure that he is among the last man standing in Ulong when Probby orders a tribal switch. That way he'll end up in Horror, hopefully, and things will only look up from there.

Morning, day nine. See what I mean about the predictability of the show? Even the editing, episodic structure, and storyarcs are becoming too predictable with each season. I'm quite frustrated with this predictability because I really want to enjoy this season but yet I remain quite aloof from the show. I like it but if truth to be told, I'd probably not tune in were not for habit because this show is no longer on my must-see TV list.

Back to the show, Katie and J Lyo of Horror get tree-mail. Katie reads aloud the clue which tells the tribe to select a representative who will then has to make choices that will affect everyone in the Tribe. Then, lo and behold, J Lyo speaks for the first time in four episode! And just when I am starting to believe that she must be mute or something. Unfortunately, she merely parrots to the camera what Katie has told the others. Okay, she's not mute, just... boring. I can understand that. This means she's destined to be in the Final Four just like Butch and Darrah if the history of this show is anything to go by.

Everyone ponders about this tree-mail. Cobb muses aloud that this representative may have to live with the other tribe and never return to Horror. I don't know if this has anything to do with Ian's subsequent nomination of Gregg to be the representative, heh, and Gregg's sourpuss expression upon being nominated. Ian butters up the nomination by saying that Gregg has been their "steady man" who has represented the tribe well, which I suppose explains why he is sending this man away to a place where he could very well never return from. Someone asks for other volunteers to step up. Jonu, Caryn, and Cobb, seeing no one willing to do so, raise their hands but their expressions suggest that they are volunteering because they feel that they have to do so for some reason instead of actually wanting to do so. Some people are like that, after all. They always feel that they have to be the superheroic martyrs in situations that require sacrificial lambs. Tom the Mighty announces that they should nominate someone who is willing to go... and then proposes than Ian, whom he calls their tribe leader, to go. Ian's face is like, "What on earth? Did I look like I want to go, jerk?" Still, Tom insists that Ian wants to go so he says that the tribe lets him go. Everyone else quickly agrees because Tom the Mighty is the shepherd to the tribe, except for Cobb

Cobb tells the camera that he feels offended because he, Caryn, and Jonu offered to go but everyone would rather choose between Ian and Gregg, two people who have significantly never offered to go. I can see where he is coming from, actually, but I don't understand why he is so annoyed about that situation. He must be wondering what was so special about Ian and Gregg that those "cool kids" have to force-elected into a position of responsibility when the "uncool" kids have volunteered for the role that those "cool kids" obviously aren't keen to step up into. Even if it's all about the principle, though, he should be relieved because, as he has said earlier, he doesn't know what will happen if he steps into that role. What happens if he ends up in bed with a pantless Crazy Kathy under a tent where no one can hear his screams for help, for example?

In the end, Ian has to go, whether he wants to or not. Katie, who has earlier agreed with the others to send Ian off, now tells Ian that she doesn't want the tribe to lose him. These people are so confusing sometimes, aren't they? Ian promises her that he will be back. Ian asks, maybe a little hopefully so that people can still change their mind, if everyone is happy with the idea of him leaving. Cobb says sulkily that he's not going to fight the will of the majority. I wonder - does Cobb really want to leave the tribe? Maybe he really wants to become a representative in the hope of actually having to stay at Ulong for the next few episodes. Nah, I don't think anyone is crazy enough to want to voluntarily live with the Ulongites. Cobb tells the camera that he can see from the silly pick-a-representative drama that there are an alliance of sorts between Gregg, Tom, Ian, J Lyo, and Katie. This leaves him, Janu, Caryn, and Willard on the sidelines. I wonder why the fact that all five went snake-hunting in the previous episode doesn't alert him to this any earlier. Still, he knows now so that counts for something. No matter how he looks at the situation, it's five against four and unfortunately, he is among the four. Poor Cobb. What he will do now?

Over at Ulong, the Ulongites sit around, look at each other, and wonder what they should do. Stephenie weakly suggests that they pick a representative using the names from a hat method. Kim disagrees. Everyone else just sits there, scratch various portions of their anatomy (I wish I am kidding about this), and stare blankly at each other. For a tribe that claims to enjoy being leaderless, they seem so unhappy in that situation, those poor things. Maybe they should start begging Burnetto to bring Jolanda back. In the end, they decide to pick a representative at the very last minute when they have an idea what being a representative means. Hmm, for a tribe that is so far ranking quite high on the stupidity scale, that decision is surprisingly wise. Then again, sometimes lightning strikes even at the most unlikely place.

Over at Horror, a boat approaches. It has a Home Deport logo on its side and Jeff " on its deck. What can I say? Ugliest boat ever. Probby tells the tribe that today's Reward Challenge will see the tribe trying to build the better toilet than the other tribe. No, I'm not joking, although I like to imagine that there is a lovely inside joke somewhere in that premise. Ian, the leader, will get to choose from an assortment of Home Depot tools six tools that he feels will be the most useful to his tribe for this task. Some, like showerheads and toilet seats, will be provided to both tribes so Ian doesn't have to worry about these. The tools, by the way, can be kept by the tribe because that way, everyone gets to kill everybody else using the lovely pickaxes and saws from Home Depot. I see Tom likes that idea very much - the idea of keeping the tools, that is, not using those tools on his tribemates. Ian says that he feels conflicted about what he should take for his tribe but hey, he grew up on a farm and his father was in the construction field, so he knows what he is going. Or so he says. He picks the tools he deems necessary for his tribe to build the best toilet on Palau.

Probby then asks Ian to choose three person to sit out from this task and Ian chooses Janu, Cobb, and J Lyo. Probby now explains that he will be back tomorrow with the judge Jesse to determine which tribe has the best toilet. The reward for winning is a team of construction people coming over to fix the best shelter ever for the tribe. That's nice, now Burnetto will even build these people a shelter. What's next? A tribe of substitutes so that the Survivors can spend a month in Holiday Inn while the substitutes compete in their place for them? Amusingly, the Horrors seem indignant at this prize, presumably feeling affront that there could possibly be a shelter that is better than theirs. Still, Ian is optimistic about this task.

The Ulongites return from their day of lazing out in sea on their boat and doing fishing (they manage to catch a tiny fish they call "Nemo" - the cartoon fish, not the mythological figure) only to find Probby waiting for them and bitchily pooh-poohing at them when he learns that they haven't decided on a representative. Bobby Jon nominates Jumbles and everyone else quickly agrees to that decision. So Jumbles it is. Probby repeats the rules and instructions he has told Horror to Ulong and Jumbles says that while he doesn't want to be a leader, it is a good thing that he is one because he used to build houses. Hagrid claimed that he used to build houses too and he was the smart one who dug a hole in the sand, I'm just saying. Probby marvels when Jumbles demonstrate his expertise by pointing out that you are supposed to hit a nail using the head of the hammer. He's being sarcastic. The Ulongites' awe, unfortunately, isn't a form of sarcasm. How did the saying go? "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king"?

The Horrors are working away. Willard says dryly that Tom and Ian always have something nice to say about everyone else. He may be sarcastic, he may be complimentary, I'm not sure because Willard rarely says or does anything on the show so far so I don't have a good "read" of him. The show cuts to Ian gushing a little too much over Katie putting a sign telling people to watch their steps on a log over the wooden trail to the bathroom area. Willard says that Tom is a natural leader and he is the "motor" that keeps the tribe. Which is why they will boot him immediately after the merge, naturally. Caryn is not happy about Tom getting to be a leader and mocks Katie and J Lyo for pandering to what she sees as some chauvinistic structure of the tribe. Look at the bright side: when she has the million dollars, she can wave the notes at Tom's face and tell him to kiss her butt. So let's not complain and just pucker up those lips, shall we?

Over at Ulong, Jumbles has a plan, one that includes him squatting so that the others can determine just how high their toilet should be. He tells the camera one more time that he never really wants to be a leader and being a leader is tough. I think he wants a medal. Stephenie tells the camera that she appreciates what Jumbles is doing for the tribe but she finds him patronizing. Angie agrees - she tells the camera that it irritates her when Jumbles behaves as if she can't even hammer a nail because she knows how to fix things around her place back home. As usual, Kim is useless as she whines to Stephenie about being worn out and all that. They finally make her sew the tribe's name onto the shower curtain. I hope she gets the spelling right. Bobby Jon, on the other, gives Tom the Mighty a huge run for his money as he chops down trees and more trees. I never thought I'd say this for a model, especially one whose last name is, unfortunately, Drunkard (honestly, I wish I am joking about this), but mmm, when he cuts down a tree and realizes that it has fallen among other trees and he can't get the tree down onto the ground, he just goes ahead and cuts down another tree. Who would've thought that a crazy pretty boy chopping down trees will be such a sexy sight? This is as far as woodcutter porn that mainstream TV will allow and I'm really liking what I see. In other news, Kim announces that it is ridiculous that she is with a tribe that works hard because she thinks that she's the clever one who doesn't want to work at all - or something - while Angie decides to take herself and her drooping top and pixellated breasts away in revolt to Jumbles' tyranny of forcing them to keep working when it late into the day. I guess the Ulongites want to win but they prefer to win without actually working for it.

Day ten, morning. Here comes Jesse the judge along with Probby into the Camp of Horror. Tom and the rest start showing off their construction, which looks decent as it has a shower of adjustable height and a structure that doesn't threaten to collapse over everyone's head whenever someone sitting over the toilet pushes a little too hard. But I'm not sure if it's as practical as it looks pretty though, although I can't really put my finger on the reason why. The whole structure looks pretty and functional but I have this feeling that it won't turn out to be as great when people actually start using it. Still, it is better than squatting in the sea. Jesse and Probby leave for Camp Ulong. Gregg is confident that Jesse will awared the prize to Horror.

The Ulongites are just finishing up on the shelter when the two men arrive and their last-moment work is evident to both men. I love how they have written on the toilet seat that if you want a good time, you call Probby. Still, the Ulongites put the toilet and the shower in the same room, separated by a screen, which could become a messy situation if those lazy Ulongites don't bother to clean up after they leave. Also, when Jesse shakes the structure, it becomes clear that the foundation isn't as solid as the Horrors' structure. Probby tells the Ulongites that they will show up at the winning tribe with the promised reward by sundown. So any tribe who waits until sundown and Probby doesn't show up, tough. Stephenie tells the other Ulongites that they have done a great job and Jumbles expects the Ulongites to win this Challenge.

As to be expected by now, Probby and the Tool-o-Matics show up at Camp Horror despite Ian's steeling his tribe for the chance of losing by reminding them that they have at least the new toilet and the new tools. Everyone cheers and hugs and Tom even does a cartwheel. Okay, so it isn't a naked cartwheel but I'll take what I can get. As for the Ulongites, it's disappointment for dinner as well as supper as everyone wonders how the Horrors could possibly have a better toilet than them. And no, that's not a rhetorical question. The Ulongites don't have too much self-effacing wit, after all.

The Horrors get a nice shelter, although if you ask me, the Cheaporas from the All-Stars season did a better job with the Home Depot tools. Maybe they would have asked the entire gang to show up instead of these Tool-o-Matics if the Robfather and Ambore aren't busy, oh, running a Race and the former tribemates promise to use the tools on the shelter instead of on each other. Everyone celebrates. Tom and Ian ballroom-dances while Caryn watches them and giggles in stupefaction. I understand that feeling. Tom and Ian are the Twu Luv couple of this season.

Good morning, Ulong. It's now day eleven. Ibrehem returns with a tree-mail and some pillows with handles (really). The tree-mail talks about balance and strength. Stephenie believes that the Immunity Challenge will require them to perform some "gladiator thing". She rushes to practice by taking one of those pillows and hitting a tree. Take that, Jumbles, er Mr Tree! Bobby Jon meanwhile looks positively compelling in a beautiful sociopathic manner as he tells the camera just how badly he wants to fight and how fighting is all he knows how to do. "Fight, fight, fight, fight, fight!" he says. Oh, Bobby Jon. Where was he when I was a little girl waiting by the roadside to offer some lemonade to the tall, handsome, and positively forbidden cute boy next door?

Probby waits for the two tribes at the - where else? - beach. He takes back Monroe and explains that today, members of the two tribes will have to each hold the pillow-with-handle thingies with both hands while standing on a platform and then charge at the other person, sumo-style. They must put the pillow in front of them to compensate for their unsumo-like bulk and charge at the other person until they have knock that person off the platform. Their hands must never let go of the pillow. Because this is a fight between members of the same sex from opposing tribes, the Horrors must sit out two women and one man and they choose Ian, Willard, and Katie to do this.

Tom versus Bobby Jon. No, don't do this to me, Burnetto, how can I choose between both men? Although the darker side of me who favors psychotic bad boys has me currently favoring Bobby Jon over the reliable but admittedly boring Tom the Mighty. Bobby Jon does a good job nearly toppling Tom but Tom recovers at the last moment, WWE-style, and sends Bobby Jon into the water. Aw, poor Bobby Jon. Maybe I should write him a "Get happy!" postcard or something.

Stephenie and J Lyo. It is no contest. Stephenie sends J Lyo flying into the water. So J Lyo doesn't speak and she doesn't do much. Why is she recruited (as opposed to being selected from applicants) for this show again?

Ibrehem versus Gregg. Ibrehem, who is shaping up to be as useless as a gym-honed weenie could be, drops the pillow and is disqualified. Weenie!

Angie versus Caryn. Angie is a psycho so Caryn is given the shove. Bye!

Jumbles versus Cobb. Can Jumbles get medieval on his own ass? He, after all, is sent into the water without much effort on Cobb's part.

Janu and Kim. Do I even have to state the obvious? Down Kim goes.

Rematch time. Bobby Jon once more tries and he nearly succeeds but once more Tom sends him tumbling. Rest now, Bobby Jon. You'll fight another day, I'm sure.

J Lyo tries to put up a better fight against Stephenie but once more Stephenie sends her tumbling down. Hubby wants me to point out that he finds this particular match one of the hottest things he has even seen on this show. Hmmph.

Ibrehem redeems himself by pushing Gregg off the platform. Now, it's five for Horror and four for Ulong.

Angie sends Caryn down in what seems like one second of effort. Oh dear, Caryn. Angie wants to emit a triumphant victory cry but she ends flubbing. "We are not going to Immunity... er, Tribal Council!" she cries. Oops, maybe she has accidentally jinxed her tribe because now that both tribes have a tied score, Cobb and Jumbles put a valiant fight for the finish and Cobb ends up triumphant over poor Jumbles, who will be pressing hot coals from the Tribal Council fire onto his own ass tonight.

The Horrors cheer while the Ulongites sigh in defeat once more. Probby reminds the Ulongites of their date tonight in Tribal Council and sends everyone away.

Back at Camp Ulong, Stephenie and Angie have obviously bonded over the last few days, united in misery and loserhood, and they lament and moan about losing to Horror once again. Meanwhile, Jumbles gets philosophical: "It feels terrible having my butt whooped by a homosexual! But a lot of gay folks are strong, man, they all working out at the gym and all, you know? Damn!" Yes, Jumbles, damn. Besides, he should go visit West Hollyhood some time. I understand that some gay guys practically live in the gym over there, although the jury is still undecided as to whether they are really strong or just abusing the showers and locker rooms for selfish pursuits.

Poor Bobby Jon. It is killing him to keep losing as he tells the camera in a pained voice that he personally has his butt "whipped". That same butt, pixellated, makes a cameo appearance as Bobby Jon and his saggy shorts wander around the camp in despair. Stephenie tells Angie that she blames Jumbles for this recent defeat. One can argue that Kim, Bobby Jon, and Jumbles all contribute to their defeat but Stephenie has shown in the first episode that she isn't above searching for scapegoats, unfairly or fairly, to blame for a defeat, as Jolanda found out the hard way. Both women console themselves but telling each other that at least they won their respective rounds in the Immunity Challenge.

Jumbles is, in the meantime, telling Kim not to pester him about voting decisions because he is just going to vote and that's it on his part. There will be no strategizing or anything like that from him today, I suppose. He tells the camera that Kim is definitely going this time because all she does around the camp is to sit around or eat and drink. Stephenie tells Angie that if Kim goes, it will be down to three men versus two women. Later, when approached by Kim, she tells Kim that she hasn't made up her mind yet about whose name she will put down on the paper. Stephenie apparently is waffling between wanting to cover her bases should a gender war erupt or to go with the obvious and send Kim off to Loser Lodge. As everyone gets ready for Tribal Council, Kim tells the camera that she hopes a guy will be voted off tonight. Duh, of course she will hope so. Ibrehem tells the camera that it is obvious to him whom he should send home: Kim. Angie sums up the dilemma she and Stephenie are facing: they can vote off a guy to have a numerical advantage over the guys but they aren't so sure that they can actually win any Immunity Challenges in the future if they kick off the strong guys in order to keep Kim. I hope Lex Loser, when he's not foaming at the mouth while watching The Amazing Race, is watching this show and taking down notes. Kim sighs to the camera, saying it's so obvious that the tribe can't make up its mind to boot her or one of the guys because the tribe is so indecisive. Then again, it could be that they have all decided together not to tell her that her useless ass is toast.

Night, Tribal Council. Probby dryly welcomes the Ulongites by telling them that he has saved their seats for him. How nice. Maybe he has even warmed Bobby Jon's seat for him. When he opens the discussion session, Stephenie says that she has no more idea how to stop the tribe's losing streak because they have given all they could and it is always not enough, this all of theirs. Bobby Jon says that he has let down his tribe because he feels that he has to be doing something wrong - he is losing badly as much as the tribe is losing badly, he says. Oh, what a heavy cross he has to bear on his back! Kim starts an inane monologue about how she and Stephenie can't fish because they are on the same boat and apparently this means that they can't fish together. Probby is just as confused as I am by this idiot's babbling. Stephenie says that the women may find it harder to win challenges without the stronger men around but she thinks that the women will survive just fine. Angie points out how annoyed she is when some of the men in her tribe treat her as if she is some fragile flower who can't even hammer a nail. Ibrehem and Jumbles smirk sarcastically and roll up their eyes at this because oh, those women are so silly, whining about how they can hold their own when they obviously can't, you know, even when these women won over their opponents of the other tribe in the previous challenge. Bobby Jon says that he has been around Angie and Stephenie long around to know that they are capable women. No mention of Kim, I see. Jumbles calls Cobb a "hairdresser" now and says that he lost to Cobb because Cobb has "some ass behind him". I take it that he and his newfound friend Cobb will be visiting some gyms together in the future? Probby points out the obvious: the men lost the Immunity Challenge for the tribe. Kim without any self-awareness attempts to join in Probby's ego-crushing trip, which is ridiculous because she also lost both rounds in that challenge. And finally, it's time to vote.

Kim votes for Jumbles, whom she doesn't like because he is bossy, while everyone else sends Kim off to Loser Lodge. She wishes them luck, goes down the long and winding road of shame, and Probby tells the remaining Ulongites to do whatever they could after their first "demoralizing eleven days" in this game. In her final words, Kim hopes that an Ulongite will win and adds that she has plenty of fun on the show. I'm glad she did. Now that she's gone, maybe the rest of us can finally start to have some fun.