This Season on Survivor... • Twenty castaways were dumped on the island of Palau. Two players, Jonathan and Wanda, were eliminated in a Pick'em challenge, leaving two tribes of nine. • Whoops. Ulong loses the first Immunity Challenge. Uh oh. They lost six more. Ulong is decimated. • Stephanie and the Koror Tribe "merge," creating the new Koror Tribe. • Coby is voted off and Janu quits. Later, Steph is booted. • While Gregg, Jenn, and Katie are away on reward, Tom, Ian, and Caryn conspire, leading to Gregg's demise. • While Ian and Tom are away on reward, Katie, Jenn, and Caryn conspire, leading to Caryn's demise. Go figure.
Part One: Trouble in Paradise
It's Day 37 at the Koror camp. Caryn has just been voted out. Katie, in a confessional, says she's happy that Caryn blabbed on and on about Ian's double-talk. Ian doesn't seem to mind. He rationalizes that if his stock with the jury is too high, no one will take him to the Final Two. Likewise, if his stock is too low, no one will vote for him to win. Somehow, he has to balance being Tom and being Katie at the same time. He could add a little Jenn in there for flavor, but it no one would really notice.
As Ian and Tom open a clam, Katie and Jenn begin screaming. What's that? A giant cooler filled with breakfast items are attacking them! Is this the end of Katie and Jenn? Can Katie eat her way to safety? Does anyone really care anymore?
...Unfortunately for the viewing audience, it's just a Final Four breakfast "surprise," instead of a slightly more exciting Breakfast Cooler-Monster of Palau. But we do have tree-mail.
Tom owns this tribe and Jenn's hardly there. Ian and Katie have proved they've no brain cells to spare.
Palau has been boring, The challenges were lame. So, to keep the tradition expect more of the same.
The castaways start cooking eggs and celebrating making the Final Four. During one of Tom's mysterious trips to the jungle, Ian, Jenn, and Katie strike up a deal. Prompted by desperate Jenn and conniving Katie, Ian agrees that if Tom doesn't win the Immunity Challenge, then he needs to go home. However, Ian points out in a confessional, if Tom does win the challenge, Tom will suddenly be his best friend again. This plan is foolproof.
It's time for the Immunity Challenge! Neatly parallel-parked between two palm trees is a shiny new Chevrolet SSR. Before Katie gets a chance to play with the buttons, Jeff tells them that this car is merely for display, as a reminder of the stakes involved. The castaways sullenly exit the car, each swiping one of those groovy pine-tree air fresheners to eat later. Katie takes twelve green ones.
Jeff quickly explains the challenge. Many critics have complained that the challenges have become too simple and uncreative in past years. Those critics were right. Instead of a creative, new challenge, Mark Burnett decided to lump thirteen lame challenges into a giant, baffling ordeal of running and climbing.
Here's how it goes:
1. Each player is attached to a rope. They should follow their ropes through tires and other obstacles. This is the easy part.
2. Along the way, each player should collect three keys.
3. At the end of the course, each player will unhook him/herself from the ropes and begin working on the padlocks. There are three padlocks, which can be opened by placing a key in the hole and turning.
4. Once unlocked, each castaway will remove a couple bars, which grants permission to move onto Level Two.
5. In Level Two, players need to untie three sets of designer James Miller knots and climb up a trapdoor to Level Three.
6. Next, use a grappling hook to hook four "ladder rungs" on the sand below. These "ladder rungs", when placed correctly makes a "ladder."
7. ladder \lad-er\ n : a structure for climbing that consists of two parallel sidepieces joined at intervals by crosspieces.
8. After completing the "ladder," each player will "climb" this "ladder" to the Top Level, where players will once again untie a rope to release a flag.
9. The first two players who do all this move on to the Final Round. The Final Round is the last round of the competition.
10. In the Final Round, players will go down a flying fox to grab a bag at the bottom.
11. The bags have three symbols in them, called numbers. These correspond to a combination lock on a box.
12. Inside the box is a flag. Use your hands to pick up the flag.
13. First person to raise his/her flag wins Immunity.
Piece of pie, huh? As easy as cake, right? This is yet another Survivor first. The summary of the challenge is going to be shorter than the summary of the rules,
Jenn, Tom, and Ian start with a bit of a lead, going through the tires. Although we're only ten seconds into the challenge, Katie is already way out of contention. Tom is first to unlock the padlocks and moves to Level Two, followed by Ian and then Jenn. Tom makes quick work of the knots and moves forward. Like before, Ian and Jenn follow, although Jenn has caught up slightly. However, thanks to Tom and Ian's adept skills with a grappling hook, and a few night classes, the two hook the ladder rungs, climb to the top level, and raise their flags. Tom finished first, of course. Like there was any doubt.
In Round Two, both Tom and Ian are neck and neck. Although Tom gets the bag first, Ian succeeds in opening it before him. Ian tries his first combination. Wrong. Tom tries his first one. Wrong. Ian tries another. He's wrong, but it doesn't matter. On Tom's next try, the box flips open. Tom grabs the flag and sends it up the flagpole. Tom wins Immunity. w00t. Katie doesn't look amused. She had one simple job for Ian and that was to win immunity. It was a simple plan. But now Katie can't do that because Ian sucks. Just like Caryn. The whole world sucks but Katie. And I'm glad.