After a week in denial, Dalton Ross finally must face the ouster of his early ''Survivor'' pick, Sally; meanwhile, America is introduced to Little Shane
Credit: Sally Schumann: Monty Brinton

”Survivor”: Driving us to drink

The Setting: Magnolias Wine and Spirits; Upper Montclair, N.J.; 9:01 p.m. ET

Ring! Ring!

Store manager picks up phone: ”Hello. Magnolias.”

Voice on other end [sobbing]: ”Noooooooooooooooo!

Store manager: ”Hello? Who is this?”

Voice on other end: ”Those bastards. Those BASTARDS!!!”

Store manager: ”Mr. Ross, is…is that you, sir?”

Voice on other end: ”Shut up, you! Get me a six pack — no, make it a case — of Milwaukee’s Best. I need it now. Now!

Store manager: ”Just…just calm down, Mr. Ross. It’s going to be okay. Tell me what seems to be the problem.”

Voice on other end: ”They did it. They finally did it. The yogi with the fauxhawk, the hippy-trippy fire dancer, the chick with the flotation devices — they finally got rid of my girl. She’s gone. Do you hear me?!? She’s gone, I said!”

Store manager: ”It’s all right, Mr. Ross. Everything is going to be fine. We’ll get a driver to bring some beverages over immediately. Oh, just one small thing, though — we stopped carrying Milwaukee’s Best in 1992.”

Voice on other end: ”Noooooooooooooooo!


Okay, so I didn’t handle the demise of Sally (my pre-game pick to bring home the bacon) very well, even though I had all week to brace myself for it. I tried to distract myself — went and saw a movie, started up a new weekly column called The Glutton, and even considered growing an ugly mustache, just to ”shake things up.” But I knew deep down this moment was coming. Maybe it’s because her days have been numbered ever since she lost the fishing spear. Or maybe it’s because every single ouster this season has been so freakin’ easy to predict. But I do have to say, other than the last few painful seconds, it was actually a relatively enjoyable episode. It started with Cirie threatening to break Terry’s arm, then proceeded to Aras ASKING to be sent off to Exile Island, before finally making me dizzy and practically sick to stomach with a loopy reward challenge in which Courtney and Danielle were spun around like crazy reaching for flags.

And then there was Shane. He showed us heart, he showed us humor, he showed us…his testicles! ”I have an issue with my penis,” Shane informed us, although when it comes to Shane and ”issues,” this one is probably pretty far down the list. Still, how much was Cirie hating having to inspect Little Shane and his two friends? Seriously, can we just hand Cirie the million-dollar check right now? It’s not like she didn’t earn it right then and there.

And another odd thing happened this episode — I actually found myself feeling a bit for Aras. I thought his plea to go to Exile Island was kinda dumb (never unnecessarily separate yourself from the tribe), but he was the only former Casayan not to lame out and accept a cheeseburger instead of partaking in the immunity challenge. Of course, maybe the rest just realized they didn’t stand a chance in hell of beating Terry, who is in serious danger of replacing Tom Westman as the ultimate Robosurvivor. I also loved Terry’s little celebration after winning. It was kinda like Richard Hatch’s infamous fire dance back in Borneo, only about a thousand times less lame.

A few weeks ago I said Terry should have lost the immunity challenge (to Nick or Austin) on purpose and then used his hidden immunity to help even out numbers, but it’s too late now to pull a stunt like that or give away the idol (as much as it pains me to say that, seeing as how it would have saved my girl Sally). Can he seriously keep it up? Probably not. And I’m not sure if being so boastful is going to end up serving him well, as it’s really not the best inducement to make other people flip. Then again, at this point there’s nothing really left to flip to. At least his bragging did lead to our first real Jeff Probst tribal-council smackdown of the season, when he called out Danielle for describing Terry as cocky when she didn’t even bother competing in the challenge because she herself was so confident about not being sent home. ”Is that part of the problem, that you can’t beat him and it frustrates you?” he asked. Uh-duuuuuuuuuuuuh! It’s obvious Probst likes this bunch a lot more than last season’s, and I’m not suggesting that we’d be better off with a posse full of Judds, but it is nice to have a little tribal tension back in play.

You’re probably surprised I haven’t been eulogizing Sally more. Frankly, that requires going to a dark, depressing place I’m just not ready to visit quite yet. Maybe when that case of beer arrives.

What do you think? Can Terry keep winning? Have this season’s tribal councils lacked excitement? And will Cirie be scarred for life by her encounter with Little Shane?