On ''Survivor,'' the dwindling Yaxhá tribe wins some treats but loses immunity, going into the merger as underdogs

By Jessica Feder
October 23, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT
Amy O'Hara: Monty Brinton/CBS
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”Survivor”: See ya, Yaxhá!

Be careful, Gary Hogeboom. When this Survivor gig ends, you better sleep with one eye open. What were you thinking, man, when you broke your alliance with Amy? You heard what the lady said: If you lie to her, she’s gonna track you down and kill you! I mean, I know you’re a pro football player and all, but Amy’s freakin’ tough — everyone else was moaning about bug bites, and she’s running around with an injured foot. Now she’s gonna take that foot and stick it up your ass, buddy. Good luck — you’re going to need it.

Silly me, I actually thought Bobby Jon, not Amy, would be the next to go. But no — the Manimal lives! [Insert victorious monkey screech here.] It seems that nothing is going to come between B.J. and that ”gold rush waiting at the end of the rainbow.” He probably meant to say ”pot of gold,” but let’s not split hairs over improperly worded references. We’ve got much more important things to discuss, like how what Judd confided to the cameras sooo did not match up with the way he freaked out at Margaret last episode. Here’s Judd, calling himself a ”big teddy bear” of all things, claiming he’s happy all day long, after we all saw him yelling at Margaret to shut up during last week’s tribal council. It’s probably just his ADD that’s responsible for those wacky mood swings, but really! Even Jamie admits the only reason he wants to keep Judd close is because he’s big and scary and probably intimidates the other players.

Now maybe it’s my ADD talking, but can we take a moment to mull over the bizarre head wraps everyone seems to wear to bed? I couldn’t concentrate on what the Nakúm members were discussing in those night scenes after tribal council because I was so distracted by their big, pale faces, minus hair, and even heads for that matter. Were they using bandannas? Blankets? It looked like Stephenie had a turtleneck pulled way up over her head….

Right. Back to the important parts of this week’s episode. I can’t help noticing how the challenges increasingly resemble activities I used to do when I was about three years old. Putting together a big puzzle? I definitely did that. Digging through the sand? That, too. I even remember a ”teamwork” exercise where all the kids in my class had to untangle one another from long pieces of yarn. Of course, this is not to discredit either team’s impressive efforts — I especially enjoyed watching the men of Yaxhá (Gary, Brandon, and Bobby Jon) clawing at each other frantically while trying to unwrap themselves from that ridiculous ribbon. In fact, this challenge provided some of the episode’s most compelling footage. When Nakúm toppled to the ground, thereby cementing Yaxhá’s win, I could hardly tear my eyes away from the screen. Watching the Nakúm members struggle as it became obvious they were going to lose was a reminder that Survivor can still be so exciting, especially you considered the challenge’s reward: a chocolate feast.

Mmm, chocolate. The spoils of Yaxhá’s victory looked so good they induced some tummy grumbles of my own, even after eating a full meal (and drinking a Milwaukee’s Best, in honor of your usual correspondent, Dalton, who’s on assignment). My hunger soon turned to nausea, though, after Brandon said the muddy ground looked enough like chocolate to eat. Mmm, dirt.

While Yaxhá gorges on sweets, let’s take a moment to recognize Rafe’s invaluable contribution to his tribe. Rather than wasting his expertise as a wilderness guide on creating something as silly as a hunting trap or a fishing net, Rafe made a deck of playing cards. Because seriously, where would a tribe be without blackjack?

Danni’s birthday party came as a nice surprise, especially when juxtaposed with scenes of Cindy and Jamie grumbling about how much they hate Yaxhá. They certainly didn’t hate the tribe enough to refuse a bowl of that delicious chocolate. It’s too bad the fun came to such a sudden end. Although I usually don’t side with her, this time I think Stephenie was right — Jamie acted totally shady by ordering everyone to leave the party after what seemed like only 15 minutes.

As minor as it was, the Jamie-Steph clash gave us a good idea of what’s to come. In the immunity challenge, Jamie whacked Steph in the shin with one of those giant puzzle pieces. An accident? I think not! And the conflicts are only bound to get more complicated when you throw in Yaxhá’s few remaining members. Ahh, the merging of the tribes! Nakúm’s members looked pretty pissed in the promo for next week. It was as if they’d forgotten that Survivor is like a box of chocolates: You never know what you’re going to get.

What do you think? Will the current alliances hold, or will the contestants join up again with their former tribemates? Either way, are tensions going to keep rising? And what the hell did Amy mean when she told her teammates they made the ”right move” voting her off?

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