Pre-credit sequence. If I’d ever known who Kelly was, I’m sure I’d miss her. It’s Night 24 over at Aiga and Russell is pleased, gloating. “My work is done. It’s like a painting. Like a Picasso,” He promises that they’re going to write him a check for a million dollars for this. “That was almost as great as my kids being born,” Russell announces, continuing the hubris. Monica, though, isn’t nearly as impressed. Ditto with Laura, who calls Russell a snake. He’s not a snake. He’s just smarter than you, Laura. Shambo and Russell are all a-giggle. Shambo thinks that only two people had a clue what was coming. She’s nearly as clueless as Laura, since Jaison and MickDreamy were also in the loop. There’s a whole lot of obnoxiousness going on and we haven’t even had a commercial yet.
Fatal Idol Attraction. Whew. It was nice to have a commercial to get some Diet Coke and clear out the taste of all of the hubris. It’s the next morning at Aiga and Russell is on the prowl, searching high and low for the new Immunity Idol. “They’re like magnets to me,” he says, adding, “I’m just drawn to them.” Shambo’s really not happy with Laura, calling her an “evil demon” and “beast.” Shambo’s consolidating power, trying to lure John into her alliance to vote Laura out at the next Tribal Council. John promises not to tell the other Galuvians that Shambo is unfaithful, but he adds, “I’ve gotta do what’s right for me.”
Upside-down capture the flag. In the reward challenge, we’re divided into two teams of five. One player for each team is on a cradle being yanked around by their teammates on a rope-and-pully system, collecting 15 flags. Want to know what they’re playing for? A plane flight to a waterfall. In addition, they’re going to take a Palm Pre with them. For what? Well, Jeff Probst goes through a whole commercial, but it sounds as if the only thing they’ll be able to do with their phone is take pictures. Lame. The Yellow Team is Shambo, Jaison, Monica and Mick pulling John. That makes everybody else, pulling Natalie, the Purple Team. It’s a big lead for Purple after Yellow loses a flag. It’s hard to explain the momentum of the game. It appears to hinge on Natalie being very, very flexible. Good to know. Purple wins. That means Russell’s going to get a clue to the Idol. Jeff repeats his Paul spiel. Ick. Probst may be the Emmy winner, but Phil Keoghan, Tyra Banks and several other hosts do a better job as product whores.
Palm Pre? Palm Pre. Russell is hungry for the Immunity Idol, but he’s also hungry for food, as the Purple Team flies to their island retreat, using their Palm Pre to take pictures as they go. Why have none of them attempted to use the darned thing as a phone? Lunch includes mac-n-cheese, pie and hot dogs, particularly appreciated by Russell and Natalie, who haven’t been on a reward all season. They celebrate, by taking more pictures with their phone.
4+1=5, but 5+1=6! Back at camp, Jaison is attempting to lure Monica over to the Foa Foa side. He tells her that with one more vote, his group has a majority and that she could be part of that majority. Monica is confused by the numbers, not understanding that Shambo has already jumped ship. Finally, after the conversation, Monica begins to catch on. Monica’s catch? She wants John out.
Palm Pre! Palm, Pre. Palm — Pre!!! Meanwhile, back at the Palm Pre commercial, Russell sees a text message telling them to go to their Memo Board, also on their phone. The clue says something about rolling stones gathering no moss. Then the phone tells them to go watch video on their phone, an eight-second video showing where the Idol is. That was genuinely disgusting, as product plugs go.
The rule of three. The Purple Team arrives back at camp and Russell immediately goes to Jaison and MickDreamy and tells them everything he knows. His trio is off on the hunt and soon everybody is wandering around flipping rocks. Russell’s convinced he knows where it ought to be, next to a wall at the outside of camp. But Dave is following Russell around, looming over his shoulder. Russell announces that he’s going to try to ditch Dave and goes sprinting away, trying to lose Dave in the woods. He succeeds almost immediately, because Dave’s kinda pathetic, and circles back. Russell returns to the wall and… There it is. That’s Russell’s third Hidden Immunity Idol of the game. Unlike the first two, he had a clue this time. But also unlike the first two, this one was pretty well hidden. I’m not sure I buy his gifts as a strategist, but you can’t dispute this particular gift.
Laura’s targeted. Several days appear to have passed. Monica goes to Laura and tells her that the Foa Foas are saying they have numbers. She tells Laura she doesn’t trust Shambo or John. Laura knows she has a target on her head, that she has to win another Immunity.
Laura can’t hit a target. It’s another two-part challenge for Immunity. In the first part, players have to throw rocks at glass targets. The more targets you get, the more spears you get for the spear-shooting that makes up the second part of the task. Laura fails to break a tile and she’s eliminated early. Shambo cackles like a jackal. There’s nothing I hate more in this game than when stupid people get cocky. Jaison is next out, failing to hit the target with a spear. Monica goes out next. Mick takes the lead and only Brett can keep him from getting Immunity. He comes up short and Immunity goes to MickDreamy. “I believe it is the destiny of Laura to go home,” predicts Shambo, now calling Laura “Medusa.”
Dear John. The plan is still to get rid of Laura, as far as Russell’s concerned. Shambo’s on board. As you may have heard, Shambo doesn’t like Laura. Also, Jeff Probst loves the Palm Pre. Palm Pre? Palm Pre. “The is no more Galu,” Shambo tells a disheartened John. Laura and Dave need a plan, so they go to John and say they want Russell out to at least flush the Idol. John sets them straight and tells them they have to vote Natalie out first. “It’s continually impressive and bordering on annoying how pathetic the Galu analytical skills are,” John says. He’s right. But Monica has a different mathematical plan in place. Their goal? Tell everybody in Foa Foa that they’re voting John out, then stage a sneak vote against Natalie. She makes it clear to Russell that she’s willing to switch, but not to vote Laura out. They want to get Foa Foa to vote John, while the Galuvians write Natalie’s name down. But Russell is distrustful and says that they have to approach John and let him know about the plotting. Fortunately, Brett tells John about the plan before Russell can. “No. Doesn’t sound like a good plan when you’re John,” he says with a raised eyebrow. The whole plan hinges on Shambo voting against Laura and John doesn’t want to put his head on the block just for Laura, so he’s open to Russell’s pitch when it comes. John explains to us the multiple-tie procedure on “Survivor.” He wouldn’t be telling us that if this weren’t about to become relevant. He in fact wants a double tie, which would necessitate a random rock-pull. Huh. This could be interesting.
Tribal Council. Erik and Kelly come out for Tribal Council, both rolling their eyes from the beginning. We’ve had two straight surprises from the Aiga Tribe and neither of them is happy to be on the jury. Jeff, without a Palm Pre available, spends his time pitting Shambo and Laura against each other, which is a bit like attempting to pit an Ohio State fan against a Wolverine. This is lazy hosting, Probst! There’s much more discussion of the ramifications of a tie and the pulling of the stones. Dave tells us that he’s perfectly happy to let the game come down to Lady Luck. More foreshadowing? We’ve got nearly 11 minutes left in this episode. Wackiness is coming.
The vote. Shambo writes down Laura’s name. She doesn’t like Laura. Somebody, Dave apparently, writes down “Nat.” But unless I miss my guess, this vote and the vote to come are mere formalities. Jeff prepares to read the votes and Russell opts not to play the Immunity Idol. As expected, it’s a 5-5 tie between Laura and Natalie.
The second vote. Natalie and Laura can’t vote and everybody else can only vote for one of them. “I’m ready to roll the dice,” Dave says, writing Natalie’s name down again. All eyes are on John as the votes are read. Did he stick to his plan to let fate decide? It’s 4-3 for Laura. One vote left. OH! It’s for Laura. John switched. “So good,” Erik declares from the jury box. For the second consecutive week, Dave is left with a slack jaw. “And there goes the lead,” Erik says. Indeed, Galu has actively squandered an epic pre-merge advantage.
Bottom line. I had nothing invested in Laura. And I really had nothing invested in Galu. You can’t blame John for feeling betrayed that he was being thrown out as a decoy without his approval of consultation. I’m still hoping, though, for Shambo to have some sort of epic, Greek Tragic, flame out. And I would have liked to see the players pull rocks. It might not have been fair, but it sure would have been dramatic.
What do you think of John’s move? Were you rooting for them to pull stones? In your ideal world, what would happen with Shambo? Does she win or does she get CRUSHED?