Jonathan Penner and Chet Welch both exit 'Survivor: Micronesia'
By Christopher Rocchio, 03/14/2008
Although only one of their exits appeared to be medically recommended, Jonathan Penner and Chet Welch were both unable to overcome injuries.
The former Survivor: Cook Islands castaway was evacuated from the game while Chet, a 49 year-old pageant coach from Ford City, PA, asked his fellow tribemates to vote him out and received his wish, becoming the seventh castaway eliminated from Survivor: Micronesia -- Fans vs. Favorites during last night's broadcast of the long-running CBS reality show's sixteenth season.
"I'm very proud of the way I played the game. I may be going out now, but I lasted a lot longer than some people thought I would," said Chet after his ouster. "I am so honored to be part of the Survivor family forever. It has been a great experience and thank you again."
"I was shocked by that vote," commented Erik Reichenbach, who was the only Malakal member who didn't vote to boot Joel. "I felt pretty shafted to see Joel go. Those guys are tough as nails. We cannot trust the Favorites at all."
"They needed us last night to get rid of him," correctly stated Chet to Tracy, who still regretted the decision since it now gave the tribe's Favorites the numbers advantage.
"It was so hard to vote off Joel," she opined. "They had four, and we had four. We should have gained control against the Favorites, but Joel was hell bent on getting rid of Chet -- taking away my alliance! So what are you going to do?"
Tracy decided it was important to gain Erik's trust, so she approached him and explained the tribe's Favorites were gunning for him next.
"That pisses me off," said Erik.
However the situation wasn't completely dire, as they'd need to swing only one of the Favorites' votes to make the tribe's numbers even again. Tracy targeted Ami -- who felt she was at the bottom of the totem pole when it came to the Favorites anyway.
"I was never a part of the original alliance between [Survivor: China'sJames Clement, Survivor: Cook IslandsParvati Shallow], Cirie, Amanda, and Ozzy, so I'm also in a very vulnerable situation," said Ami. "Maybe I need to play the game a little differently. But I'm thinking in baby steps right now, and we'll see what happens."
At the Airai camp, Jonathan said he was "feeling better" after having his right knee punctured during the previous episode's Reward Challenge -- however it was progressing "more slowly" than he wanted.
"Hopefully he'll be all right because losing Jonathan would be a big blow to the team," said James. "I'd be stuck over here with a bunch of girls, losing my mind."
Jonathan and Survivor: Vanuatu'sEliza Orlins were happy that the tribe's had recently swapped castaways since -- like Ami at Malakal -- it took them from the bottom of the Favorites' group and gave them a chance to succeed. Eliza suggested she and Jonathan align with Airai's Fans -- Alexis Jones, Natalie Bolton, Jason Siska and Kathleen Sleckman -- to ensure they'd have a spot once the merge occurs.
"I think once we earn the Fans' trust, Jonathan and I are gonna try to work with them and definitely get rid of Parvati and James before there's any type of merge and they can get back with Amanda and Ozzy," she said.
The two tribes then met for the next Reward Challenge, and host Jeff Probst explained the rules.
Both tribes would swim across a lagoon to a floating platform to collect several bundles of planks, sticks, and rope before racing back to shore, where two 15 foot-long bamboo-cage tunnels await them. Each tribe would then have 10 minutes to use their gathered materials to build a blockade in the opposing tribe's tunnel. Once time expired, the tribes would then race to tear down the blockade the other tribe built in their own tunnel.
The first tribe to get all their members through their barricaded tunnel and onto their tribe mat would win Reward -- a visit from two native Micronesian fishermen, who would teach the castaways how to live off the land. In addition, the winning tribe would choose a member from both tribes to go to Exile Island.
Ozzy was the first to reach the platform for Malakal, followed closely by Jason for Airai. Despite his injury, Jonathan decided to participate but didn't do any swimming, instead waiting on the beach for the bundles to come in.
"Penner [is] really limping on that bad leg," said Jeff during his play-by-play. Jonathan then took a nasty spill as he dragged the materials up the beach. "Penner takes a big fall! That leg is really giving him trouble!"
Malakal was the first to start blockading followed shortly by Airai. Once the 10 minutes expired, Jeff yelled, "Switch!" and the tribes did just that.
Malakal grabbed an early lead as Ozzy started to snake through the tunnel and Airai struggled. However once Airai got past the first blockade in their tunnel, a seam opened up and they began funneling members through. Jonathan pulled his way through as the tribe's last member, and James dragged him to the mat where Airai claimed Reward. Airai opted to send Chet to Exile Island and Jason went for the winning tribe.
Before Airai could return to camp, Jeff informed the tribe that Survivor's medical staff needed to look at Jonathan's knee. As his tribemates nervously looked on and Jeff also watched, Survivor medical staff member Dr. Jessica Sartini gave the grim diagnosis.
"There's a big abscess in there -- a big collection of puss," she said. "This is going to need intravenous antibiotics, probably needs surgical wash-out. It's not going to be a quick fix."
"Oh God..." exclaimed Jonathan "I'm not quitting!"
"I can only recommend that you get treatment at a hospital for the sake of your knee. Antibiotics are not working at this stage, it's showing signs of spreading around your body, it's moved up into your lymph nodes," she warned. "An infection that goes into your blood stream is potentially fatal."
Jonathan and the Airai tribe became emotional and Jessica gave her final recommendation.
"I can only recommend for the sake of his leg and his life that he leave the game now," she said. "He needs hospital treatment. It's not going to get better -- it will just get worse."
"Okay, let's go. Let's go to the hospital," said a teary-eyed Jonathan who bid farewell to the other Airai members and Jeff, becoming the fourth Survivor castaway ever evacuated from the game due to medical reasons.
"I was kicking ass in this game! I swear to God!" opined Jonathan on the boat ride away from the beach. "I don't want to be out of the game, but I don't want to lose my leg. Couldn't have tried any better. Couldn't have fought any harder. It was fun while it lasted."
Despite being upset at losing Jonathan, Airai returned to camp where they were greeted by the two Micronesian fisherman -- Joe and Edwin -- who arrived with vegetables, fruits, spices, liquor, tools, and fishing equipment before teaching them various skills to better their survival situation in the game.
Malakal was now 0 for 3 in challenges since becoming a tribe, and Amanda, Ozzy and Cirie lamented their situation at camp.
"We're not working good with these people," said Amanda, referring to Chet, Tracy and Erik. Cirie agreed with Amanda that either Chet or Tracy should go next since they don't contribute much to the tribe.
"You know what's getting on my nerves? Not only do you have to play the game, but you have to teach them the game, too," she said. "I don't want to teach."
Ami wasn't joining in what she described as "fan-bashing" and instead approached Tracy -- who took the opportunity and ran with it -- suggesting the two of them, Chet and Erik boot Cirie next.
"I'm really conflicted right now. The thing is I just don't trust Cirie. I just don't," said Ami. "She screwed me over once when she voted out [Yau-Man Chan] and I feel it coming again."
Ami, Tracy and Erik all swore trust to each other as Cirie and Ozzy wondered if Jason would find Exile Island's Hidden Immunity Idol. But Ozzy knew it wasn't there since he already found it, and was really hoping for Jason to find the fake idol he planted.
"I really want Jason to find the fake one because -- from what I've heard -- he might be naive enough to believe that it's the real one and use it in some manner that might end up getting him voted off," said Ozzy.
On Exile Island, Chet correctly stated he thought searching for the idol was a waste.
"I sort of believe that the idol is gone already," he told Jason. I think Ozzy has it."
As Jason still prepared to go in search of it, Chet decided to lie on Exile Island's beach since he too had recently suffered an injury that limited his mobility.
"The other day in one of the challenges I got a piece of coral sort of wedged up into my foot and it really hurts like really bad," he said. "It's sort of like an infection... I just don't want it to get any worse or anything."
Jason quickly found all four clues to the whereabouts to the Hidden Immunity Idol and eventually uncovered the fake one that Ozzy had previously planted.
"There we go, baby!" shouted Jason.
However he unwrapped it and it was only whittled stick.
"Well, I guess this is the Hidden Immunity Idol... It's not much," he said. "This is pretty incredible so I'm going to have to hold onto this tight. This means Ozzy doesn't have it -- I have it -- so this is really good for me."
After Airai enjoyed a feast prepared by the two Micronesian fisherman, the two tribes gathered for Survivor: Micronesia's sixth Immunity Challenge. Chet and Jason rejoined their tribes and Jeff explained what had happened with Jonathan and provided an update.
"They took him to the hospital, performed surgery, opened up the wound, cleaned it out, he's doing fine," said Jeff. "We are now even. Seven-seven again. The game continues."
Jeff then asked about the idol on Exile Island.
"I kind of gave up," lied Jason. "The conclusion I've come to right now is that Ozzy has already discovered the Hidden Immunity Idol."
"I don't know if [Jason] isn't that good at following clues or if someone else has found it," replied Ozzy. "I guess we're only going to find out in the next couple of days."
Jeff then explained the Immunity Challenge's rules. Each tribe would transport two tribemates from one tower to the next -- in waist-deep water -- using giant stepping poles that the rest of the tribe must support. The tribe members making the crossing would effectively leapfrog from one pole to the other across the lagoon to the second platform. Once both tribemates are transported, the entire tribe had to then climb atop a third and final tower and squeeze onto a tiny wooden platform. The first tribe with all seven members on or above the top platform would win Immunity.
Since James is so strong, Airai took a different approach to the challenge. Once Eliza was situated on top of a stepping pole, James literally carried her across the water as the other Airai members lent what support they could in keeping the pole upright and steady.
Malakal didn't adapt to Airai's strategy and Tracy clearly struggled stepping from one pole to the next while Eliza was on the second platform in a matter of minutes. Airai used the same strategy in transporting Parvati -- but she fell at the last moment and had to go all the way back to the start.
It didn't matter, as Malakal only adjusted it's strategy once Tracy was across and Airai easily transported Parvati and hugged tightly onto James atop the third tower's small platform, claiming Immunity for the second time in a row and sending Malakal to its fourth straight defeat.
Malakal returned to camp and discussed Jonathan's premature departure when Chet began to explain his own injury -- first asking for help draining the "pocket of puss" on his left heel with a fishing hook before realizing that might make the already infected wound worse.
"I gotta go tonight. That's it," he said. "I have no choice. Please, just help me out, okay?"
Ozzy agreed, especially since Chet was probably going to be targeted even if he wasn't injured.
"All right, Chet, we'll vote you out," said Ozzy. "Was there any question any ways?!"
Tracy and Erik realized Chet's resignation request killed their plan to gang-up on Cirie, and Erik said the "honorable" thing to do would be to stay in the game and help boot one of the tribe's Favorites.
"We need him so bad just so we can get Cirie out, or Ozzy even!" said Erik as the wheels started turning.
The target then shifted from Cirie to Ozzy due to suspicions he might have the Hidden Immunity Idol.
"If we blind-side him tonight, it'll work," suggests Erik. "He won't have a clue!"
Tracy reiterated it was "imperative" Chet vote with them or else she's "screwed." Needless to say, Chet had physically and mentally checked out.
"I just want to be voted off," he said. "These last two days have been total hell. I can't even think straight."
Ami said she'd be down with the plan to boot Ozzy if they could get Chet to agree.
"I'm definitely going to have to deal with Ozzy at some point," said Ami. "So if Tracy and Erik convince Chet to stay in the game and make a vote, I would vote with them."
Erik made one final plea to Chet before Tribal Council.
"Me and Tracy would be so grateful, we would be amazingly grateful if you could use your last dying breath to do something for us in this game!" said Erik. "It would be incredible!"
"I'll think about it," reluctantly said Chet before explaining the situation in a confessional.
"Tracy and I committed to each other from Day 1, that we'd do whatever we could for each other," he said. "But I'm having some issues with my foot and some other health issues. I pretty much told them I'd take the hit tonight. But Tracy and Erik have another plan up their sleeve... I did tell Tracy and Erik I would think about it and I will continue to think about it. But to be honest, I'm not sure what I'm going to do."
Survivor: Micronesia's sixth Tribal Council commenced and Erik discussed the comment Jason made prior to the Immunity Challenge about Ozzy possibly having the Hidden Immunity Idol.
"What Jason said definitely put some thoughts in my head, and I wouldn't put it past Ozzy that he found the idol," said Erik. "That's based on knowing Ozzy."
"Jason could have it himself and is trying to throw us off his track by saying Ozzy had it," explained Cirie.
Jeff asked if all this idol talk was concerning Ozzy.
"I'm not the one going home tonight. Everybody knows who's going home, so it's not really of any concern," said Ozzy. "If I do get voted off tonight, I will be so blown away and so blind-sided that I'll just get naked and jump off the pier. I mean let's be honest with each other right now, Chet's going home tonight. If somehow, everyone is not voting that way, I have no business being here."
Chet -- who has been targeted at the past three Tribal Councils -- then provided some cautionary words for Ozzy.
"There always seems to be an obvious person but it never turns out to be that person," said Chet. "So I think there's always going to be that uncertainty."
Amanda said she was "pretty certain" who was going to be eliminated, but added "you can never be certain in this game."
She could be certain about this, as Cirie, Ozzy, Amanda, Ami and Erik all voted to oust Chet, who along with Tracy opted to boot Erik. Chet was sent home by a 5-2 margin.
"I decided at the end not to go with Tracy and Erik's plan to blind-side Ozzy," explained Chet following his ouster. "I just felt that's something they can take care of after I'm gone."
Survivor: Micronesia -- Fans vs. Favorites next episode will air Wednesday, March 19 at 8PM ET/PT on CBS, with one castaway leaving the game sans a Tribal Council vote and another being voted out.