As the popular cliche says, there are no guarantees in life. Surely that holds for reality shows over anything else. With Chris the last surviving man on Vanuatu, we knew it didn’t look good for him, but we refused to give up hope.
The survivors were barely back at camp after the last Tribal Council that ousted Chad, before they were pointing fingers and second-guessing the others. Chris opened up his mouth first and outed Scout and Twila for the alliance. He wants to shake things up and try to split apart this women’s alliance. Leann was uncomfortable with how everything went down that night, and she goes to Twila to find out what happens. Twila makes sure Leann knows it was Scout’s idea to team up with Chris and Chad to try and vote out Eliza, not hers. Leann thinks they should have stuck with that plan, because they’re screwed now.
At the Reward Challenge, they get a “taste” of the reward first, just to whet their appetite. Is there food inside the hut? No, it’s a computer set up for emails, Jeff Probst says. The winner will get a one hour email chat. He tells them they each get to do a quick one minute email before the challenge. He notices Twila already crying and offers her the first one minute chat. She asks if someone can type for her, as she doesn’t know how. Jeff says he’ll do that one better, and sets up a webcam.
Soon, Twila’s son, Jeff, is on the screen. Now, I’m a huge sap for these loved one visits and chats, but to really, really get to me, you need to throw in a parent/child relationship. I was sobbing – could have been my third glass of burgundy getting to me, but I think it was Twila. I think she is real tough on the outside, but has the biggest heart of any of them.
Leann is next up and gets to chat with Teri, her friend. Eliza gets a short chat w/ her mom, Susan, and Julie sees her friend, Justin, on the camera. Scout gets to see Annie, her life partner, and is crying so hard she can hardly talk. Ami wants to talk to only one person, her girlfriend, Chrissy. Lastly is Chris who sees his girlfriend, Laurie. They announce they are getting married when the show is over.
For their challenge, they will need to answer trivia questions based on the previous challenges. By the end, Julie and Eliza are tied. They go into a sudden-death round, and Eliza wins, giving her a one-hour web chat with her mom. Had it not been for my tears and fourth glass of wine, I probably would have noticed that all the loved ones were seen on the webcam with the same background. Surely they don’t have the same decorating schemes in all their houses. The loved ones aren’t back in the states – they’re right here hidden behind a screen. Eliza will get her one hour with her mom in person, and the others get a quick hug and kiss. Twila is first up to share a hug and kiss with her son, and it could be my fifth glass of wine, but it just made me cry hysterically. The child/parent ones get me every time.
The other loved ones get their hugs and kisses in as well, and they go quietly away, but Eliza’s mom goes back to camp with her. Eliza is ecstatic, as her mom is her best friend. After Eliza explains how they made their own trail mix, Susan mentions how thin and bony Eliza is. She has been worried if Eliza is eating well, if she was getting hurt by coral or eaten by fish, and was even worried Eliza wasn’t flossing every day. Umm, Mom? This is Survivor. She’s lucky if she can just brush her teeth, let alone floss.
Leann goes to Scout, and tells her Twila told her everything last Tribal Council was Scout’s idea. Scout says it was all Chad’s idea. In a confessional Scout says she set out to be honest and have integrity, but if she has to lie to stay in the game, she will. Scout had thought Final Four was set with herself, Leann, Ami and Twila, but talking to Leann, she realizes it’s not as solid as it once was. They confirm for her that Julie has been added to the mix as well. That leaves just Eliza and Chris out. Scout makes a very notable quote (sounds like a Jeopardy category – wait, that’s quotable notables … or is is notable quotables …), “vengeance is mine, sayeth the jury.”
Susan is preparing to leave, and knowing she will be around the other loved ones, the others set to work preparing little trinkets for them – painted rocks, coconuts and shells. Susan, realizing Eliza has no shirts with sleeves, takes her shirt off and gives it to her. Scout yells out, “This is my kind of woman! Stripped to her panties, left in only her bra.” With that, Eliza’s mom is driven away in the boat.
Leann and Ami take the info from Scout and go to Twila on a search for manioc. She tells them she is still with them one hundred percent, and swears on her son Jeff’s life. Ami believes Twila, and thinks last week she was just twisted up between right and wrong. Julie goes to Chris and tells him his head is on the chopping block.
Just before the Immunity Challenge, Chris was predicting he would get immunity. As he and the others show up at the challenge, they find they will be in a race and work in pairs. Jeff brings in who they will be paired up with, their loved ones, back for an encore. Somewhere Susan has found another shirt. The loved ones will be blindfolded, and the Survivors will direct them to color-coded bags of puzzle pieces. Once all their correct bags have been brought, the blindfold can be taken off, and the Survivors and loved ones will work together assembling the puzzles.
Chris is absolutely screaming at his fiance, Laurie, directing her around. He knows he needs it. Ami and her girlfriend, Chrissy, are the first to begin assembling their puzzle. Chris and Laurie are right behind them. Ami and Chrissy have some trouble with the puzzle, and one by one the other teams begin their puzzles. Chris keeps whispering in Laurie’s ear that if they lose, he is gone tonight. Amy and Chrissy end up winning; she will be immune tonight. The Survivors share a tearful goodbye with their loved ones, knowing this will truly be the last time they see them until the end of the game. Jeff Probst comes up a with a great word, calling it a strange cacophony of emotions.
Ami, Leann, Twila, Scout and Julie are discussing who will be booted. Leann doesn’t feel right for it to be Chris and not Eliza. Ami wants it to be Chris, but will go with Leann’s decision. And all this time we thought it was Ami pulling the strings. Julie tells Chris it isn’t him. Chris, whose voice is hoarse after the challenge, feels this is like being in a tornado, as he doesn’t even have to do anything, and the women’s alliance is breaking down on its own. Chris and Twila go to get some wood, and Twila tells him he could change the game completely. She tells him to pull into an alliance the one person they keep trying to vote out, Eliza. She says it’s a guarantee of three people voting along with him. Chris tells Eliza Twila’s plan. Eliza trusts Chris, but not Twila and Scout. Chris pleads with her to take this risk and save both of them.
At Tribal Council, Jeff asks Eliza if the visit with her mom woke her up to how close she was. She says that it did, as the family visit is a long term goal they talked about after only seven days on the island. Jeff points out to Chris that he needed Laurie’s help to win immunity and asks if he feels it help or hurt him. Chris knows that him winning immunity meant a lot to her, and that she tried one-hundred-and-ten percent.
Jeff mentions to Leann that it was interesting that she didn’t seem to be trying real hard at the immunity challenge. She seemed to just be having fun out there. Leann says she was just happy to have Teri there, and after they fell so far behind and she know they couldn’t win, she just wanted to have fun. Jeff digs in deeper, adding she didn’t seem to be worried about having to win. Leiann begrudgingly admits she wasn’t worried about it. Jeff says that Chris, on the other hand, was connecting with Laurie desperately. Chris agrees, saying it was a life or death decision. Leann didn’t feel it was life or death to her.
Eliza talks about her chances at leaving tonight at yet another Tribal Council. She could leave tonight, and says it’s not a joke; she knows she really could go again. Chris is asked as an outsider if he sees the tension. He says it’s him and six women, and he can see the tension between the six, that not all six are agreeing with each other. Ami, of course, keeps her immunity.
The only vote the editors allow us to see are Julie and Ami voting for Eliza. We just know that means it probably won’t be her. The votes come in at a four to three decision, with Leann leaving. Chris is finding it hard to contain his excitement and Ami looks bewildered. Chris winks at Eliza. In her final words, Leann says she is just floored. She wants to know who voted for her, and feels like the world’s biggest idiot. Well, first off, Leann, you should have never admitted to feeling safe during the Immunity Challenge.
Could by the sixth glass of wine, but I find myself elated. I am so happy Twila finally got her ducks in a row and saw the writing on the wall. Had she done this a few weeks earlier, it would be a very different game now. I think she needed to see her back up against the wall, though, to go against her original alliance and change things up.
Here’s to hoping everyone out there had a great holiday with their own loved ones today, and held them close as if they hadn’t seen them in several weeks. Cheers.
I welcome questions and comments at Laurabelle@realityshack.com