|Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am|
It was a bittersweet exit for Rodger Bingham, the 53-year-old farmer and school teacher from Crittenden, Kentucky, who earlier in the day had sacrificed himself to the group to save Elisabeth Filarski, who, he believed, should stay should the choice come down to him or her. "Kentucky Joe," as he was fondly called by his tribemates, was the oldest member of the tribe. Upon his departure Rodger reflected, "I am the oldest person out here and have been going for 36 days, and would have gone the remaining 6 without food if I had to. I wish them all luck, especially Elisabeth. I hope she goes all the way." Kentucky Joe becomes the fifth member of the Jury, which will ultimately decide who will be the sole Survivor.
Misery at Barramundi
With the rain continuing to pelt the Survivors and their new shelter leaking, the tribe awoke on Day 34, miserable from another difficult night's sleep. The harsh environment left the remaining Survivors longing for home. Tina Wesson, the mother from Knoxville, Tennessee, lamented, "I miss my husband and my kids. I am still a newlywed, and I miss picking my kids up from school and have them happy to see me. I just miss everything about them." Said a tearful Elisabeth, who acknowledges drawing much of her strength from her mother, "If I could just talk to my mother, that would be all I need to get me through the rest of the time here."
One wouldn't think that in the middle of the Australian Outback it would be possible to chat online with loved ones from home. But thanks to technology, that's exactly what the Survivors were able to do at the Outback Internet Cafe. Host Jeff Probst explained that each Survivor would be able to say a quick hello to their families; then, their loved ones would play a game in which they would answer questions online. The Survivor whose family answered the most questions correctly would win a 30-minute online chat with the family and a $500.00 Internet shopping spree with which to buy gifts, using a VISA card, in order to send their love back home.
One by one, each Survivor tearfully greeted their loved ones. Rodger pointed out that the men were crying most of all. Then, they played the game, and it was Tina Wesson whose family answered the most questions correctly.
Before Tina began her 30-minute chat with her family, the Survivors were given one more opportunity to say goodbye, and in a surprise to all, Keith Famie proposed marriage to his girlfriend back home in Michigan. "I can only think of one important question that came to me as a shooting star shot across the sky at the late hours of the night," he typed. "Will you marry me?" Everyone waited for the answer, and then it appeared: "Yes!" And a newly engaged Survivor and chef walked off into the sunset with the others.
A Happy Barramundi
Back at camp the mood was as harmonious as ever. For the first time in many days the tribe enjoyed some recreation time as they tossed a Frisbee back and forth. Elisabeth stood by in awe, watching the excitement. "Is this Barramundi?" she exclaimed. Regardless of being hungry, wet, and cold, the opportunity to chat with loved ones from home brought smiles and joy to each member of Barramundi. As night fell, Colby put the day's events into perspective: "Today for at least one day strategy did not enter our heads, and that may not be the case tomorrow, but for the first time we didn't even care about the million dollars."
The Great Rice Debate and a Fight Among Ogakors
Having lost their shelter once in exchange for a replenishing of rice that had been rationed poorly, the Survivors weren't about to waste their rice again. But Colby became concerned that they would indeed run out of rice once more, thanks to Keith. "Keith is cooking way too much rice. All we have to do is make smaller servings," he declared. With tensions on the rise, the two got into it, in a fight reminiscent of the Alicia-Kimmi battle that had occurred some weeks before. "The rice issue today was the first time I have seen Colby actually blow up," Keith responded. "It got me legitimately concerned especially with Elisabeth right there. It put me in a very vulnerable situation." "He's a fool!" exclaimed Colby later. "The guy's a bozo. I think there is an ulterior motive in everything he does. My game with Keith is done, it's over."
The "Outback TV" & Kentucky Joe
With nothing but time on their hands, the Barramundi Tribe developed different ways to pass time. Among the more popular: the "Outback TV," in which the tribe members would sit around the fire and watch the flames burn.
But Rodger was the one person who couldn't just sit around. Always collecting firewood or fishing while others sat and pondered their next move, Rodger kept himself busy. Said Colby, "Rodger has always chipped in more than he has had to, whether it be fishing or boiling water. He is always up to do stuff. For the oldest guy here, he has the most energy out of all of us, and I think that comes from his heart." ( Rodger on long days. )
Immunity Challenge: Fugitives
Rodger Feeling vulnerable, especially after the fight with Colby, Keith was determined to win immunity. A nighttime immunity challenge, "Fugitives" entailed shackling the hands and feet of the Survivors, much like convicts who tried to escape into the Outback in the earlier days of Australia's history. While shackled, each Survivor had to run to various locations at an abandoned cattle station and answer questions based on a story previously told by host Jeff Probst. The Survivor would then find the key that matched the answer and open a lock; if the Survivor answered incorrectly, the matching key would not work, and the Survivor would have to proceed to the next question.
The first Survivor to return to the finish line with the most opened locks would win immunity. As he had planned, Keith was the first to answer all the questions correctly and make it back to the finish line, but once there, he realized that he had dropped a lock somewhere on the way. While he searched in the dark for that lock (running right by it), Colby Donaldson once again took the lead in the final stretch, winning immunity for the third consecutive time.
Rodger the Martyr
With Colby having won immunity, attention turned to whom to vote out next. Colby still had issues with Keith, who realized that he was in a vulnerable position without immunity; having voted differently from Tina and Keith at the last Tribal Council, Colby had shown himself to have a mind of his own.
Meanwhile, Tina asked Rodger whether he or Elisabeth should go, if it came down to a choice between the two. Rodger determined, "Elisabeth needs the money more than I do, with her mother being sick and all"¦. I should go before she does." He also acknowledged about his dear friend, "I think as much about Elisabeth as I do about other members in my family. I have basically watched out for her like a father would have."
And so in the end it did come down to Colby's vote, which he cast for Rodger, who graciously accepted the tribe's verdict as tears streamed from Elisabeth's eyes, leaving Colby Donaldson, Keith Famie, Elisabeth Filarski, and Tina Wesson as the final four Survivors.
How did Rodger think his family would do in the reward challenge, and how important was speaking to his family to him?
What cowboy trick did Colby learn in the Outback?