Tonight's Survivor started with Sally at La Mina feeling good about herself because the four man alliance decided to keep her with the tribe rather than the physically decrepit Ruth Marie. Her days are still numbered, of course, but she's happy to suffer a little longer. At Casaya, Bruce begins to create his Zen rock garden while Aras, Shane and Courtney try to start a fire. For a guy who came in thinking his value was in his useful survival knowledge, Bruce seems to have forgotten his raison d'etre in the tribe. Aras calls him out on wasting time on the rock garden when the tribe is in dire need of fire. I'm not sure what Aras thought Bruce should specifically be doing except gathering wood. Bruce, meanwhile, feels disrespected and his garden dismissed as unimportant. Which, hello, it IS in the survival sense; fire beats rock after all.
The reward challenge is for fish, rice and beans which tells you a lot right there. The producers must fear that this dorky bunch of survivors may be the first to actually starve to death while doing the show so they're making sure that everyone--both the winners and the losers will get something to eat after the challenge. La Mina is off to an early start but after a couple of bad throws from astronaut Dan to Sally, they fall behind and are ultimately defeated by Bobby's ability to chop the head off a very big fish in virtually one blow. (Something that took Bruce like 27 tries to do, by the way.) Terry is once more sent to Exile Island which he doesn't mind too much because the living is easy and he's smart enough to feed and hydrate himself.
Casaya brings their victor's bounty back to the a rain flooded camp. Since their camp was a half-baked concoction into which they've put little effort, it is no surprise that they now have no fire and no dry wood. Hello--storing wood in the outhouse would have been clever and worth the effort. Moving your firepit out of the low lying area would have been smart too, but this tribe doesn't put too much energy into the mechanics of survival. All their great fish ends up being eaten raw and much of it seems to end up wasted. There's a particularly appetizing shot of Shane eating a raw fish carcass like it's an ear of corn with the bones all sticking up like bristles. Good thing I didn't like fish to begin with because after seeing that I sure don't want to chow on any.
At La Mina, they cook a pot of what appears to be pinto beans. They all dig in happy to have protein at last. Unfortunately, nobody seems to have any idea how long to cook the beans. Austin and Nick end up with some rather distressing ill-effects of the meal. I don't know if they just ate more than the others or if their systems are more delicate than the others. Nick's quote about the situation is one of the funniest I've heard. He tells the camera that the, "gastro-intestinal details probably should not be discussed at this time." Thanks--I really didn't want to know too many details. Thanks also, Survivor, for not making us watch them throw up.
At Casaya, Bruce and Bobby end up sleeping in the outhouse because there was no room for them in the inn, so to speak. Bobby, in particular, is offended by this and opens the last bottle of reward wine which he shares with Bruce. The two men bond and agree not to write each other's name in a vote, since they are not part of the alliance of four. In the morning, Courtney gets snippy about the illicitly quaffed bottle of wine but Bobby is not apologetic. Bruce doesn't really get too much grief about it, though he too drank, and he does not apologize either. Bruce and Bobby don't seem to notice nuance much.
The immunity challenge involves collected skull-puzzle pieces hidden in coffins which are tied up with rope at the bottom of the sea. Casaya had earlier made a decision to sit out Danielle and Courtney in the reward challenge, when I think impacted them badly when the immunity challenge rolled around because the two women end up doing the diving with Aras for the skull puzzle pieces. This is physically demanding work, diving down while holding your breath and undoing four knots. Why aren't Shane and Bobby doing the physical part? Shane is probably clever in puzzle-solving but Bobby has always seemed more brawn than brains. As a result of poor personnel management, Casaya falls well behind and is never really a contender. Even with Austin and Nick in bad shape after their digestive distress, La Mina win the immunity idol handily.
Casaya has avoided tribal council for two immunities in a row. That's never good for a tribe, people are together too much and begin to get on each other's nerves. When they don't have the sobering experience of voting someone off they forget that they need to play nice at camp. So Casaya comes back to camp to figure out who they're voting off. Shane makes an assertive pronouncement that Bobby should go because he doesn't trust him to hang with the tribe after a merge. Aras argues for Bruce to go--he still hasn't forgiven Bruce for the zen garden instead of fire argument. Shane gives in rather ungracefully. Cerie and Courtney just go along with the decision but when Danielle finds out about it, she rejects the decision vehemently. The three women corner Shane who is stuck because he's already told Bobby that he's safe and he swore on the life of his kid. What is with swearing on people's lives in this show? I would never do that.
At tribal council, the illicit wine drinking incident is chewed over by Jeff. Bobby apologizes. Aras, who doesn't know that half the tribe is voting Bobby out in spite of his wishes, makes a point of telling everyone how Bruce did the same thing Bobby did but didn't get any grief for it. Presumably Aras wants to provide rationale for the outcome he anticipates. So Bruce votes for Courtney. (She did yoga in his zen garden, how rude!) Aras and Bobby vote for Bruce. (They're sticking to the "plan".) Cerie, Danielle, and Courtney vote for Bobby. (Good alliance there, you go girls.) and Shane votes for Aras. (A throw away vote because hey--he swore on the life of his kid and that means something to him.) So Bobby goes home. Surprise Aras! Nice move to keep it interesting.
Meanwhile, Terry's my favorite player--he reminds me of Tom the fireman.