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Season 4: Episode 12 - THE SWING VOTE CHOPS AWAY -- SEAN RECTOR VOTED OUT

THE SWING VOTE CHOPS AWAY -- SEAN RECTOR VOTED OUT: On night 36, after a heated Tribal Council in which strategies evolved and disagreements emerged, Sean Rector, the 30-year-old teacher from Harlem, New York, was voted out of the tribe. Earlier at Soliantu's beach, the question of race became an issue -- specifically whether Sean and Vecepia were in some sort of alliance, and whether that alliance was assumed by others simply because the two tribe members were of the same race. With Kathy as the swing vote, two factions were courting her allegiance. In the end, her loyalty lay with Paschal and Neleh, as her vote became the decisive factor in voting Sean out 3 votes to 2. Sean becomes the twelfth member of Survivor: Marquesas to be voted out of the tribe, and the fifth member of the Jury, which will ultimately decide who will be the Sole Survivor. Exiting Tribal Council, Sean gave his final words: "I just know that, through it all, it's been a blast. I am just a humble young man trying to find my way through the world. God bless America."

Playing the Race Card?
With just six days remaining, the harsh living conditions at Soliantu beach were taking their toll on the Survivors. Sean described the unpleasant situation: "At this point people just want to eat, get through another day, win some immunities, count down the days and see where the cards lay." Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien, the 47-year-old real estate agent from Burlington, Vermont, found herself caught in the middle of two factions: Sean and Vecepia as one faction, and Paschal and Neleh the other. Kathy explained her predicament, "Vee mentioned that I am definitely the swing vote, it's going to look big, playing the race card, and I actually hadn't thought about that until Vee said that." Aggravated with the assumption that race was a determining factor in the game of Survivor, Paschal English, the 57-year-old judge from Thomaston, Georgia, vented his own frustrations, adding, "Vee is coming to Kathy and suggesting that this is a race issue. I bet Kathy feels like an absolute fool being asked to even consider something like that."

Reward Challenge: Second Chance
After receiving tree mail, the tribes met host Jeff Probst at Challenge Beach, where he explained the rules of the game. "I know there are one or two challenges you guys wouldn't mind getting another shot at," Jeff added. He continued to explain that the Reward Challenge would use six elements of past challenges. First each Survivor had to construct a tiki. Second, they had to race to a pile of coconuts, crack them open and drain the juice, filling a bamboo tube. Then they had to continue through the jungle to find stilts tied to a tree. Once the stilts were untied, the Survivors had to successfully walk ten feet on the stilts without falling. After completing this leg of the Challenge, they would have to find another pile of coconuts and crack them open to find a key that would be used to unlock a crate. Inside the crate would be a slingshot. Finally, with slingshot in hand, the Survivors would have to find an hourglass-shaped structure with a wooden tiki underneath. Sean wins a Saturn VUEUsing rocks and their slingshot, they had to successfully knock out panels in the hourglass, releasing sand onto their tiki. The first Survivor to have their tiki completely covered in sand would win. The Reward--a new Saturn VUE all-wheel-drive S.U.V., fully loaded with all the extras. Despite the physical and mental fatigue he displayed earlier in the day, Sean proved that, given a second chance, he wouldn't make the same mistakes twice. He breezed through the course with little competition at all, gaining speed, momentum and finally victory. "I can do all things through Christ," Sean shouted. ( More action at Reward Challenge )

Sean Lends a Helping Hand
Returning to camp after the physically demanding Reward Challenge, the hungry and tired Soliantu tribe agreed to search for troca shells in the shallow water. After searching for a short while, Sean announced, "I found my first troca!" Proud of his accomplishment, Sean explained, "I caught my first troca today and it's not like I had to throw a fishing line out there or anything, but I caught a few which isn't bad for a brother from uptown, you know." Acknowledging that it had taken Sean 34 days to finally help collect troca, Kathy added, "Sean's a city kid. What can you do?"

Down but Not Out
"I am a wreck. I felt like I was quite capable of dealing with anything that was thrown my way. The last two or three days have been a real struggle for all of us," complained Paschal. With everyone's strength diminishing, Sean stated: "We are not in our right frame of mind right now, we are just holding on. After five or six weeks of having to endure all of the aspects of the game, we don't know which way is up."

Clearing the Air
Feeling uncomfortable with the division among the tribe members, Soliantu sat by the fire to hash out their differences. Paschal, revealing his allegiance to Neleh--and stating that neither he nor Neleh would cast a vote against each other--opened up the night's discussion, claiming that he felt Vecepia and Sean had an alliance and were being disingenuous by trying to deny its existence. Vecepia and Sean felt that Paschal and Neleh were making assumptions about their allegiance simply because they shared the same race. After going back and forth with Sean, Neleh explained, "It's very clear that Sean and Vee are very tight together whether they want to call it an alliance or not. The difference is that Paschal and I are being honest about saying up front that we formed a great relationship. Sean and Vee are skipping around the table." Sean elaborated on the situation, explaining, "Just because Vee and I are African American we share a bond that the rest of them wouldn't understand. Does that mean that we are an automatic alliance? No. A few times Vee has flipped the script, and let me down." The banter continued into the night, but with no ultimate resolve.

Escaping Reality
Holding the swing vote and carrying the pressure of the game on her shoulders, Kathy needed to remove herself from the tense atmosphere around camp - so she went off to fly her kite. Struggling to get it airborne, a deflated Kathy stated, "Tensions are way too high. Paschal thinks that Sean and Vee are definitely up to something from day one and they are making a fool out of me." Sean and Vee weren't Kathy's only worry, as aligning herself with Paschal and Neleh posed its problems as well, "If I make it to the final three with Paschal and Neleh, I will invariably get voted out." br>
After receiving tree mail, the tribe met host Jeff Probst at the Immunity Challenge where he explained the rules. The Survivors would listen to Jeff narrate an ancient Marquesan tale and, trying to retain all of the information they just heard, the Survivors would then answer a series of questions about the story. Each question was located within a private kiosk in which multiple-choice answers were made available. Correct answers would correspond to a basket that would reveal a mini idol. Survivors who guessed the correct answer would then attach the idol to a necklace with which they had been provided. The first person to answer five questions correctly and race across the finish line with five idols would win.

The race began at a frantic pace, with each Survivor scurrying about reading and answering questions. After they both answered five questions correctly, Neleh and Kathy made a mad dash to the finish line. Kathy crossed the line first, but had dropped one of her idols. Neleh began to celebrate her immunity only to enter a state of panic as she realized that she too had dropped an idol. Kathy retraced her steps, found her missing idol before Neleh recovered hers, and raced back to the finish line to win Immunity.

Decision Time
Being stuck in the middle of two separate alliances, Kathy realized the uncomfortable position she was in, "I am the core fifth player, and I have four players on either side of me. Paschal and Neleh are on one side, and Sean and Vee are on the other. I've got all these different issues weighing back and forth and I have to make a decision which way to go."

The tension of the tribe followed all the way to Tribal Council, where the debate from the campfire continued. Sean tried to influence Kathy's vote one last time, but was unsuccessful as Kathy made her decision to vote with Neleh and Paschal against him. Sean now joins the four others before him on the Jury that will eventually decide who will win Survivor: Marquesas, and earn the title of "Sole Survivor."