Even though he almost cried when Rupert was voted off, Dalton Ross says that this was THE most awesome ''Survivor'' episode of all time

By Dalton Ross
November 20, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST
Survivor Pearl Island: Monty Brinton/CBS

This was the best episode EVER!

Man, I am such a wimp. I actually just came close to crying during a freakin’ ”Survivor” episode! SERIOUSLY!!! And not crying because it was so bad, like pretty much the entire season of ”Survivor: Thailand,” but actually crying because I was, well, moved. As if watching our main man Rupert get voted out wasn’t hard enough, then we were hit with his emotional send-off. ”I always get hurt trusting people,” he said. ”I want so badly to be accepted and I never get the acceptance that I want. I don’t fit.” Holy crap, I’m about to freakin’ tear up again just writing that. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME?

I’ll tell you what’s wrong with me: This was one of the best ”Survivor” episodes EVER! You could tell from the first scene of Rupert acting reflective by himself at night that Mark Burnett was setting this up as his swan song, and it was STILL incredible. No twists. No surprises. No shouting matches. Burnett didn’t need any of that. He didn’t even bother to try to fake us out as to the result. He showed us EXACTLY where it was all heading and yet it was still one of the most suspenseful hours on television in recent memory.

Think about it: How many times did you sit there yelling at the TV screen every time Johnny Fairplay started talking smack about the big man, or poor Rupert seemed oblivious to the forces working against him. Probably not many, because I’m the only loser that actually does stuff like yell at electronic devices. But seriously, when Rupe commented that ”I know that Lil will be wholehearted with me. I wanted to hug and kiss her,” I wanted to pretty much kill myself.

The snakes devoured the lizard king. How perfect (and gruesome) was that footage Burnett used of the predator and the prey to illustrate exactly what was happening in the game. Once again, we HATE the result of Rupert being gone, but what a memorable way to go. And let’s be honest, none of us true ”Survivor” geeks really thought he had a shot at winning anyway. He was too strong, too likable, and too much of an all-around threat for anyone to bring him along to the end.

And let’s be honest about another thing, as much as we may dislike the alliance that brought him down (Darrah and Tijuana are the laziest people alive, Jon is annoying as hell, while Burton and Lil don’t really deserve to even be in the game at all, having already been voted out) what they did — strategically — was the right move. The big three (Rupert, Sandra, and Christa) had no intentions of bringing any of them along, so in that sense, to win, none of them really had a choice. Don’t get me wrong, they’re all awful, but in this case I choose to hate the playas and not the game? or at least the way they played it.

Even outside of the whole rise up against Rupert, this was a classic episode. Challenge producer John Kirhoffer finally gave us a reward contest in which people literally fell on their asses (Lil and Rupert especially — ouch!), I couldn’t help but chuckle everytime Probst talked about ”activating your killer status,” and we learned, courtesy of Johnny Fairplay, that promises ”can be broken about as easy as a fat woman on wicker furniture” (which does confuse me somewhat. What’s exactly broken — the fat lady, or the wicker furniture?).

And Sandra, what the hell are you doing, woman? I know you and Fairplay went at it at Tribal Council, but STICK TO THE VOTING PLAN!!! Would the extra vote for Darrah have changed anything? No, but it could have, and then you would have screwed yourself. And didn’t you overhear Jon and Burton scheming anyway? FIGURE IT OUT! I hope she does figure it out, because with Rupert gone, she’s the one I’m rooting for from here on out. Here’s to her, here’s to a great episode, and here’s to me buying a box of Kleenex before next Wednesday night. You know, just in case.