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Outback Jack - Episode 4 Summary

'Outback Purse Haulers vs. Twistington Generals' By Estee
Original Airdate: July 13, 2004

Previously on Outback Jack: MTW wrote that one, and I still have more confidence in your ability to find it than I do in my ability to link to it. You’re just going to have to go that extra click. But if it feels like it’s taking too much effort, I’m sure Jack will be happy to push your mouse for you. He’s got a little free time now, since he no longer has to wait for six women to finish rubbing his snake.

We’re going to rejoin Jack and his band of future merry widows (as long their future husbands turn out to be rich and completely unaware of prenuptial agreements) right where we left them: with the women on the backs of camels and Jack leading the way. At least in theory. Riding a camel is a lot like reading a summary. It may start out looking kind and innocent, and it may even seem as if it’s heading in a fairly linear direction – but if you give it any chance, it’ll buck, break out of line, run for the nearest watering hole, happily dump the rider into the water, and pause during the refreshment break to take a piece out of the nearest shoulder. Oh, and watch out: they spit. There are crueler things you can do to a group of high-maintenance women than putting them on the backs of a species that decided to avoid sentience because malice was more fun, but not many.

And what are some of those crueler things? Well… Roll opening credits. (Did you notice there’s more shots of Adrienne during the credits than any other contestant? If this was Survivor or any other show where people cared about spoilers, we’d have about twelve threads on that by now. As-is, this is Outback Jack, and it’s not so much about who wins in the end as who suffers along the way. Oh, well. Another golden argument possibility derailed.)

After a quick panoramic scan of the scenery, we catch up with the camel train, which has Jack at the front – on foot, holding the end of a rope that passes through all the camels’ bridles and the space between Mary and Natalie’s ears, giving him at least a theoretical chance of controlling the procession. Normally, we could grouse a little about how much work the show is forcing our poor, exhausted Jack to do, but given the choice between walking and going camelback – walk. The show is being unusually kind to Jack. Something’s up.

‘Are we really riding camels?’ Cortney openly wonders. No, Cortney: no one in the history of the world has ever ridden a camel. You’re providing a temporary fashion accessory, and when the camel decides to change looks, it’ll let you know.

As the collection of knees and saliva glands moves on, Jack advises the women to plant their All-Star Survivors more firmly in the seats, as most of them are operating under the mistaken impression that air works as a shock absorber. Natalie confessional-tell protests with ‘My butt was so far in that seat, even my bruises had bruises.’ Please let us know when your brains have brains. (If this was MTW’s summary, he’d probably say something about Natalie’s lips already having lips. Pity he got the odd numbers, huh?)

‘Come on, you lazy buggers!’ Jack yells, then quickly c-t adds that he has five great Sheilas left, just in case you thought he was targeting the passengers instead of the camels, and it’s not as if any of us have a single reason to think that.

Cortney c-t notes that Marissa had been using up a lot of Jack’s free time (anything not consumed leading clueless women across the Outback, saving their skins, hair, and luggage, pointing out little facts like ‘poison is bad’, and rescuing the occasional snake – which leaves about forty seconds a day), and now that she’s gone, ‘there’s going to be a catfight to see who gets it.’ Great. They’re gonna move the show to Spike…

Maria’s due for a c-t, so takes a moment to say that her feelings for Jack just keep getting stronger – but ‘it’s more than just me that’s after him. There’s a few others, too.’ Relax, Maria, camels look at everyone like that. (Y’know, if this was some show other than the one I’m currently watching, that would have almost sounded like foreshadowing or something. Good thing we’re still in the Outback, or I might have to become suspicious.)

Mary c-t announces that she’s here to fight, and she’s here to win, then sits quietly for a moment, recovering the energies expended in putting so many words together without saying or doing something stupid. After a few seconds, she succeeds and smiles, momentarily blinding the cameraman. The flash of light off her teeth is actually audible here, and sounds like ‘Ting!’, which is quite possibly the most intelligent thing anything associated with Mary has said in the entire series.

Natalie’s ride stops to refuel, and she immediately notifies Jack that ‘My donkey is hungry.’ All the energy Mary just recovered had to come from somewhere.

Jack c-t decides that the trip was ‘almost like Lawrence of Arabia’, and in one of those shots guaranteed to give movie fans shooting migraines, the camera immediately duplicates the exact angle and lighting of the camel train procession from the film, as oddly familiar music begins to swell up in the background, reaching for a horrifyingly accurate image that will completely ruin one of the best movies in history for the rest of time –

-- right up until Mary announces ‘I need a potty break!’

The shot, music, and mood simultaneously collapse.

‘Well,’ Jack c-t concedes, ‘it was almost like Lawrence of Arabia.’ Close. Too close…

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