|Shoeshine Boy has never been dreamier.|
Receiving Tree Mail for a Reward Challenge tips them off that they might not return to this camp, so Denise & Malcolm go on an all-out search for the idol. After ignoring the rice basket lid several times, Malcolm grabs a machete & pries off the idol, throwing the machete into the air with glee (thank goodness Skupin isn't around). Denise & Malcolm do a happy dance & their patented finger wiggle, but Denise knows that if they split up, the idol is Malcolm's alone.
At the Reward Challenge, Malcolm shows up with his hair down & I can't concentrate on anything, again. Denise's prediction that they each will go to another tribe comes to fruition.
|Drop those buffs!|
A random drawing of buffs sends Malcolm to Yellow & Denise to Red. There is happy rejoicing, but I am sad that the Smart Alliance is split up. No more adorable dances & awkward hugs between The Hair & the Munchkin of Muscle in the near future. :(
In this Challenge, they're squaring off one-on-one, each holding an idol. They must knock off the other person's idol before theirs is knocked off. The rules seem a little fuzzy, however, as it turns out it doesn't matter whose idol is knocked off first, it matters whose idol hits the ground first. Probst reveals what they are playing for, & somewhere, Angie is sobbing for what could have been.
The match-ups were kind of awesome - my son liked them because they were battles, not races like the other challenges have been this season (oh, the joy of having only 2 tribes!). Artis' long reach easily knocked tiny Dana's idol down, but RC couldn't defeat tiny Denise.
|Gladiator vs a lion...|
Remember how I said the rules were fuzzy? They led to suspect moves like Skupin tossing his own idol high into the air while striking Penner's idol to the ground quickly.
|He's either winking at Penner, or he ruptured a cornea.|
Dawson pulled Abi-Maria's hair & Abi-Maria remarked "Play like a man, not like a bitch." Maybe don't grab a boob, then, Abi.
Malcolm wins it for Yellow in his second match-up with Jeff, & they are thrilled.
|The Hair. It is glorious.|
On Denise joining Red, Penner says "I like this lady, but I sure would have preferred to have Malcolm on my team, because we might have the cookies & coffee, & now they have an advantage on us, physically." I love Penner, but was he not paying attention? I know The Hair can be distracting, but Malcolm lost his first battle against an evenly-matched competitor - he only won in his re-match with Jeff. Denise won in her only match-up, against the Amazonian RC: a pairing to which I exclaimed "Come on!" before I witnessed Denise bring her usual awesomeness.
Back at the Yellow camp, everyone digs into the cookies & they share & laugh & celebrate their victory.
|Motherf&$%er, she was right.|
Lisa is crushing on Malcolm, & also Lisa Whelchel likes him, too. "He's good-looking, he's smart, he's easy-going...he hasn't brought any kind of negative energy into the tribe, which is great."
|All the negative energy one tribe needs.|
Malcolm is very happy with his new tribe. "I got an Immunity Idol this morning, got a new tribe this afternoon...I feel like I got my swag back." RC isn't quite as happy as she watches Malcolm bond with Pete (they actually high-five because they're both 24) & nothing is going her way.
|Fall into the ocean.|
As RC leaves to find her way, Pete takes Malcolm aside & says, hey new guy, since we bonded over being 24, let me tell you all about our tribe dynamic & also I have an idol I'm sharing with Abi & also let's vote Mike out because you're strong & we can afford it now. Malcolm is all "Sick" & other things that 24 year old guys say to each other, & later says, "Information is power - might as well get all of it while I can, & it wasn't even that difficult for Pete to immediately say 'Oh, I have the idol'...no one knows I have one, & if Pete's already telling me he has one, he might use that to save me or that's something we can use jointly."
At Red, Denise is trying to fit in to a tribe not so celebratory, & without an idol in her possession to make her feel comfortable. Katie is excited that another lady has joined their tribe, because the Red Ladies can now grow to a majority alliance if she joins them. Katie says "It's my job to get Denise under my arm." Not under her wing, under her arm. Katie's not stupid - she doesn't have wings, you guys.
|Initiation into The Red Ladies: a noogie.|
The rain hasn't stopped, & everyone is very cold. Dana, however, is also feeling very sick. "I guess I just have a bad immune system, I don't know, but I just can't shake the cold. I am dizzy, nauseous, completely dehydrated...I just started getting this sharp pain in my stomach." She's puking, shivering, & burning up. Penner is concerned - he says it doesn't affect him as "a big fat guy", but "she weighs 47lbs or something."
|Self-deprecate all you want, I'll still linger on your pale blue eyes.|
The Medical Team arrives at the camp & while I'm sure Probst was concerned about Dana, you know he was absolutely giddy at the possibility of a medical evacuation in a season featuring 3 formerly medically evacuated players.
Dawson wishes she had thought of getting sick for some Probst attention. "Jeff Probst is in my camp! You know, typically, I'd jump up & down & maybe jump on him...it just wasn't good timing, so he was here for Dana."
|Dawson plans her Probst host-grope.|
Dana is examined & it is determined that she doesn't have to be pulled from the game - she could wait another 12 hours to see if she improves. She is feeling very ill, though, & decides to leave. "I can't be out here sick anymore."
Everyone gathers around to say goodbye, & they are all supportive & emotional. It's clear that Dana is well-liked, & I just wish we had seen more from her. Nobody is more empathetic than Penner, who knows how heart-breaking it can be to leave Survivor this way.
Probst assures Dana that the pain will soon be gone, & everyone stands on the shore & waves goodbye as Dana is placed on an inner tube & sent into the rapids towards a gigantic rock.
Katie is worried about Dana's health. Oh wait, no - "Dana leaving screws up everything." Even though it's still 3 vs 3, Katie is done with the Red Lady alliance. No noogies for Denise.
On to the Immunity Challenge, where there is an obstacle course, drawbridges that must be released by untying ropes, & a puzzle to be solved once the pieces are released by chopping through wood with an axe. Abi-Maria volunteers to sit out for Yellow & Probst isn't letting her go that easily. He asks how many challenges she's actually participated in, & she says 2. That would be the very first Challenge, & the Reward Challenge in this episode. Probst says "Wow." Maybe try playing like a Survivor, & not like a...an Abi-Maria?
Carter & Skupin sail over the mud pit while everyone else goes through it, & Katie is having a hard time on the grassy hill. Probst comments "Katie really slowing them down on a very easy portion of this Challenge."
|Hills are hard.|
Red has fallen behind thanks to Katie's stumbling, & Yellow is on their puzzle before Red's drawbridge is down. Penner takes over chopping from Jeff, & when he finishes, he flings the axe into the air (it embeds in Skupin's forearm, but don't worry, it's just a scratch).
Probst gives us an update: "Everybody in on this challenge! Except for Abi, who's sitting out yet again!" The Penner-Dawson puzzle team (they won the very first Challenge for Red) loses by what looks like a few seconds. Yellow wins Immunity & Red is going to Tribal Council.
Back at Red, Dawson doesn't sugarcoat anything for Katie. "You were not good." "I'm embarrassed." "I can understand that - you were not good." Katie feels responsible for the loss, but Penner feels that Dawson slowed them down at the puzzle stage.
Denise & Jeff go to their very own creepy well & just like that, Denise is part of the Clam Alliance. She gets a REAL five-fingered handshake from Jeff, but he seems like the kind of guy who doesn't think a handshake with a woman is even a real thing, so I wouldn't be counting on Douchey McTool's loyalty. I just realized that Jeff Kent has made me think a real handshake should actually mean something in this game, when I've always been on the side of lying in Survivor. Thanks, Douchey McTool. You're shaking my Survivor immoral ground. At least he sees Denise's value, though. "I think while she's physical & she's mental, I think she's got some pretty good smarts on her." Like, she's so smart, she's probably never in her life uttered the words "Got some pretty good smarts on her".
|Initiation into the Clam Alliance: Finish a clam the size of Carter's head.|
Penner agrees Denise is great, & he wants either Katie or Dawson gone. Jeff says Dawson, because her puzzle-piece-handing skills had him "frickin' fumed". Carter says Katie, because "Katie looks checked out to me."
|CARTER said this.|
Lying in the shelter, Dawson tries to stir up some trouble, talking about sports & insulting baseball. "Too much standing around. It's a bunch of grown men, standing." Jeff bites his tongue, but later says in a confessional, "If Dawson knows my history as an athlete, the best scenario might be just to vote her out."
At Tribal Council, Dawson says Dana's departure hit them harder than the rain ever could. Katie says she hopes the tribe considers how well she's performed in the past. Penner says he thinks if Dana hadn't fallen ill, they would have won the Immunity Challenge. Jeff says he's looking at the weak links. Maybe Carter says something both insightful & hilarious, but we don't see it (I'm guessing it would go over our heads).
The first vote is for Denise, & the rest of Red votes Dawson out. :( She is shocked at this blindside, but not too shocked to deviate from her plan. You know who never lost her swag in the first place? Dawson. She has waited a long time for Jeff Probst to snuff her torch, & damnit, she's going to savour it. She is my hero.
|Get it, girl.|
Probst says, "First Tribal Council, first blindside." Also, first host-grope. I have a feeling Dawson's leaving with a happy memory, even though I really wish she had outed Jeff Kent to the tribe. I suppose if she'd had a clue she was being targeted, she would have. At least she left before Abi-Maria ripped out her earrings. Farewell, Dawson - until your inevitable return in my LEGO recap because I have the perfect smiling minifig face & damnit I'm going to use it.