Oh man. I am so giddy right now I can barely type. It's the first time in my life I've wished to be a Woo Girl, for that is the only way to truly express my joy.
RC was voted out at the last Tribal Council, making her the first member of the jury, which means 1 thing: Ponderosa! Those in the US can watch the videos of life after the torch snuff at cbs.com, but I've embedded them at the end of this recap for the rest of us.
Returning to the Gangrene camp from Tribal Council (where Penner would have been voted out had he not played his Immunity Idol), Penner asks Kent WTF. There's a shot of a snake as Kent tries to slither his way out of it: "We were exssssspecting big numberssssss to come our way...everybody was wishy-washy." Is there anything as wishy-washy as a four-finger handshake? Penner says "I just don't understand what you guys were thinking." Don't try to figure it out Penner - you will drive yourself insane because it really doesn't make any sense.
Our eloquent Penner explains: "Does it hurt to be betrayed? Yeah, of course it does. Why? Because you were kept out of the secret. There were secrets, you were being talked about behind your back, & the thing that you trusted wasn't true." You mean they turned out to be unreliable assholes?
Kent is pleased with himself as Penner's idol is now out of play - all they have to do now is prevent Penner from winning immunity. Poor Douchey McTool - don't you know that solitude & isolation are not problems for Penner? The man thrives. "There's no quit in me." Penner is content to lay low & wait for someone else to screw up. "All bets are off. I have no alliances. I have no allegiances. I don't care. Everybody's equal - they are all ready to die."
|He's not gonna hurt you. He's just gonna bash your brains in.|
Skupin tells Penner they just have to wait for cracks in alliances to appear, & then they can make their move. Skupin actually says "cracks" so many times he may have been trying to calmly alert the medical team to cracked ribs.
Off to the Reward Challenge, & are they always lined up according to height? Is it for the camera shot when they walk in single-file? It cannot be
|Survivor: The Xylophone|
Survivors will be split into 2 teams, retrieving 4 fish traps from the water. Once all 4 are back, 1 person will dig for keys, unlocking a puzzle frame. Using scrolls within the fish traps, 2 players solve the puzzle. The winning team gets a BBQ on a river cruise. Yellow is Penner, Lisa, Malcolm, Kent & Denise. Blue is Artis, Pete, Abi-Maria, Carter & Skupin. It's really too bad RC isn't in this challenge to show off her swimming skills. Instead, Lisa slows down her Yellow team & allows Carter to overtake her for Blue. Skupin has a problem releasing his fish trap, confusing both Carter & Abi. "What does that mean?" "What are you doing?"
|A Box Jellyfish stings Skupin repeatedly, but he says "it's nothing".|
Blue has a clear lead nonetheless, & are on their puzzle before Malcolm has found the key for Yellow. Once Penner & Kent get started on the puzzle, however, they slay this challenge, winning it for Yellow.
Back at Gangrene, the losers sit around eating beans - & not delicious smoky molasses baked beans as a side to BBQ ribs. Skupin is standing right there as Abi-Maria discusses all of her hopes & dreams, none of which include Skupin. This girl does not belong in the game. There is no way she could do anything more idiotic to prove this. Or so I thought before I had finished this episode.
Pete doesn't like Abi's big mouth, & that's the first time a guy has ever said that. "When Abi leaks information, that's very dangerous, so it's like a puppy you have to take care of." And we all know how Pete takes care of puppies.
Pete shuts Abi down when she starts a "Nobody believes me" rant, & it's quite amusing. Take care of the puppy, Pete. Take real good care of the puppy. He would like to vote her out, but she is gold in a Final 3 so how could he?
|Take a picture here. Take a souvenir.|
The river boat is rolling along & the feast is delicious: BBQ ribs, apple pie, lemonade & ice tea, & for Penner, hair of the dog that bit him. The discussion turns to the 3 bad guys (exactly who you think they are), & their general awfulness. Lisa is a little torn - while the idea of battling against worthy opponents is noble, she would like to win this thing. "That's just how you get ahead. The same rules don't apply in the game of Survivor as they do in real life." *cough*Coach*cough*
It's Day 22 at Gangrene & I just searched to see what happens on day 22 of actually having gangrene, & NOBODY ELSE DO THAT EVER.
After the cruise, Lisa's mind is made up to stick with the evil 3, so she tells Skupin about Malcolm's Immunity Idol. Behold: a woman upon whom The Hair has no sway:
|The rarest of creatures|
Lisa & Skupin continue their talk when they hear "Little pigs, little pigs, let me come in..." Before Penner huffs & puffs with an axe, Lisa invites him over. Penner tells Skupin not to worry about Tribal yet, because "Well, maybe you'll win immunity...well, no, you won't. Dude! Because I'm winning immunity today!" "We just wanna go back to our rooms!" they quietly cry as they slowly walk backwards.
Penner is focused on Immunity. "I've never won an individual Immunity Challenge. Never once. So maybe it's high time that Johnny did. I'd stick it right in their damn faces." Besides, all work & no play makes Penner a dull boy.
The Immunity Challenge involves untying ropes, racing over & under obstacles. The first 3 to finish that portion move on to the Snake puzzle, which curiously looks like this:
Just how ready is Penner to win this thing? Check out his starting position:
|That is a man who means business.|
I don't even think the epic heist music was needed - when the stakes are this high for a contestant, it's always thrilling. Pete & Douchey McTool take the first 2 spots in the puzzle portion. Penner & Skupin are fighting for the final spot, & while it seems like Skupin is finished first, Penner SLIDES across the finish line & IT IS SO EXCITING.
|Suck on this, Kent.|
My husband & I literally erupted into applause & cheers. Yes, it was a little ridiculous, but we are Penner fans to the core.
Penner is shining - he's all smiles & twinkling blue eyes. "I don't even know what to say about that challenge. That was maybe the best thing I ever did...in my life."
|I wish we could stay here forever...and ever...and ever.|
Back at The Outlook Hotel,
Later, this snake watches someone walk by & holy shit is that actually in the camp? Yikes.
Douchey McTool puts on his asshat: "Penner's kinda done the unthinkable. He's won 2 challenges in a row - 1 on my team* & now 1 by himself. So he's just bought himself another 3 days of a dead man walking." I wonder if he has the slightest idea what a moral & ethical principle is?
*lest Kent not get any credit for that win. Douchey. Mc. Tool.
Now Lisa is telling Pete about Malcolm's idol, because she has a solid plan: blindside Malcolm tonight while he doesn't expect it. While this makes me sad, it's exactly what they should do. But forget about blindsiding Malcolm for a moment - this info has just blindsided Pete! "I actually kind of trusted Malcolm." Don't sweat it, Pete. The Hair works on everyone. Just remember, as long as Malcolm has no idea we know about his idol, it will work out.
Of course, Pete confronts Malcolm about it, who denies it & is now paranoid that Lisa is telling people he has the idol. Pete reassures Malcolm that he doesn't have to do any scrambling at all, in fact, he should go relax in the hot tub for the rest of the afternoon.
Pete's trust might have been shaken momentarily, but he's back on track after that conversation. "Malcolm freaked out. And I mean, that right there was enough of a reaction to just kinda know, like, look into his soul & be like, 'he doesn't have the idol'. So I don't really know what Lisa's trying to pull here."
With no need to blindside Malcolm tonight (because the soul never lies), the vote switches to Jeff. "Playing the role of the mastermind is definitely very hard work. It's not easy."
|Pete: Soul Searcher/Puppy Killer/Mastermind.|
Before Tribal there is more scrambling, & almost everybody's name comes up. At Tribal, RC enters as the first member of the jury, looking gorgeous.
She gets approving looks from the guys...
...& Abi-Maria, who can probably smell RC's shampoo & perfume, doesn't look jealous at all.
Skupin says he was worried, being the returning player not wearing an Immunity necklace, but was relieved when people started talking around camp. At this, Malcolm laughs awkwardly, saying "I put my faith in a little Texas girl, & she threw me under the bus pretty hard today."
|Yeah. This girl.|
Denise says "Every crack is an opportunity", & I'm still not mature enough to ignore that, especially when a sex therapist says it.
Abi has always felt that Malcolm was part of their alliance & says to Lisa, "Michael & RC [were] always on the outside. It was you, me, Peter & Artis....& Malcolm was always a part of our alliance as well." She waited about 2 beats too long before adding that last part, & Probst says "Might be too late for that one, Abi." Everyone is discussing Malcolm & the idol, so he just resigns himself to it. "There's way too much chaos tonight, I'm not going home."
|Just to clear the air.|
Now, at Hosting School, they teach you to ask ALL the questions, even the ones that seem ridiculous. Probst rolls his eyes, knowing he's obligated as TV Host to ask & almost sarcastically says: "Anybody else want to reveal that they have an idol? Get it out?" Penner & Malcolm are laughing, because who would reveal their idol for no reason? Ah, it was worth a sho..."I have it, yes." Jaws drop as Abi-Maria fishes her idol out of her bag & I am dying with laughter. It doesn't help her game to reveal it now, it doesn't help her alliance...I think she just wanted the attention, & to get credit for finding it. Amazing. Probst is speechless.
Penner takes control of Tribal Council, & says "I'd like to ask something. It looks like there could be 6 of us right here who could march forward in this game. And that means keeping Skupin & I in that 6, at least for a while. You guys ready to do that?" COME AND PLAY WITH US.
Douchey McTool says of the voting confusion, "This is pretty fun, Jeff."
Lisa votes for Kent, saying "I said this was Plan B, but I think it's actually Plan D or E..." As @ExoRaikou tweeted last night, perhaps it was Plan D for Douchey McTool?
No Immunity Idols are played, & the votes are read. 5 votes for Douchey McTool, & he is out. Again, there were cheers at my house.
Malcolm seemed genuinely shocked, & with 4 votes for Pete, & 1 for Abi (from Penner!?!), Probst says, "That vote may go down as one of the biggest blown opportunities in the history of the game." I'm assuming he's referring to Malcolm not playing his idol, yet nobody voting for him.
Does Kent leave as a Southern Gentleman with his final words? "You know what pisses me off? I think I've made about 60 million dollars playing baseball & I want this frickin' million dollars in this game...& it's not even a million bucks! It's 600 grand by the time Obama takes it. I'm a game 7, World Series loser, you know. I've played in the biggest games in the world & I've played in the worst games in the world, but this just sucks."
Why did Penner vote for Abi-Maria? Will Jeff ever choke on a blade of grass? How creeped out was Malcolm when he found out Pete looked into his soul? Does Artis really have nothing to contribute other than a hatred of Skupin & an ambivalence towards rice & beans?
RC's Ponderosa videos have her eating junk food, toast & bacon. While I approve of all of the above, where is the amazing food I'm used to seeing at Ponderosa? Do they not have a chef this year? Enjoy.