|Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am|
Joel Klug, the 28-year-old Arkansas financial adviser, was voted off Pulau Tiga in a shocking vote. Not only was Joel picked by many to win the Survivor game, but his leadership and physical presence -- so necessary in Immunity Challenges -- in the Pagong tribe made him seem indispensable.
However, in a shocking Tribal Council, Joel was sent packing.
"Wow," he said on his way out, shaking his head. "Wow."
The vote marked a shift in island politics. While several of the first castaways voted off were considered liabilities to their tribes, Joel's strength didn't prevent him from becoming the next castaway voted off. As Survivor rounds down to the final ten, tribal voting strategy now seems to revolve around offing likely winners.
The talk at both camps was frequently about the merger that will happen in a few days. Having formed loyalties within their own tribes, the soon-to-be-former challenge opponents, Tagi and Pagong, are about to become one new tribe. Sean, Rudy, Richard, Kelly, and Susan are about to live side by side with Gretchen, Greg, Colleen, Gervase, and Jenna. While some castaways began strategizing how to deal with members of the opposing tribe, others simply feared what their new lives would be like.
Abandoned Barracks and Army Obstacle Course
The Abandoned Barracks Reward Challenge was the first of two challenges highlighting the island visit of the United States Army's legendary Green Berets. Chief Warrant Officer James Lofton and First Sergeant William Wright, specialists in jungle warfare, traveled to Pulau Tiga to oversee Abandoned Barracks and the Obstacle Course Immunity Challenge.
One of the few challenges held in the evening, Abandoned Barracks was held on the site of a failed marine institute on Pulau Tiga's southwest beach. Tribe members donned night-vision goggles and rummaged through the dilapidated, snake- and scorpion-infested buildings in search of a checklist of items: a pocket knife, a can opener, an army helmet. First prize was canned goods and chocolate.
Tagi appeared to have the challenge won, but a blunder by Richard gave the contest to Pagong.
Jenna competes in obstacle course challengeThe island's happy-go-lucky Pagong, which seemed to be reeling from hunger just days earlier, was emboldened by the victory. Going into the next day's Immunity Challenge, the half-mile run along the military-style obstacle course on the Sand Spit, their chances of victory seemed assured. The less-physical Tagi was definitely in trouble. Sean, in fact, woke up the morning of the Obstacle Course convinced it would be his last day on Pulau Tiga. "If we lose, I go," he mumbled, staring into the cooking fire. "Simple as that" ( Sean wonders whether he will be the next castaway voted out). Rudy chose to sit out, as the challenge required only four tribemates.
But Sean raced with a reckless abandon. Tagi won the grueling obstacle course, meaning Pagong would make the long walk to Tribal Council. Unlike Tagi and their alliance-driven voting, touchy-feely Pagong dreaded the trek to Tribal Council because they'd grown into a tight-knit family. However, Gervase had flippantly -- and derogatorily -- compared women with cows. Joel laughed too hard at the joke and ended up taking the heat. When it came time to vote, the enraged Pagong women gladly voted Joel off the island. "It was clearly time for him to go," Gretchen noted afterward.
The Spirit of Dirk Been Lives On
The spirit of DirkDirk intentionally left his Bible behind every time he went to Tribal Council. Were he next to be voted off the island, he felt that his Bible could only do good for his tribe. Sure enough, with Dirk now gone, the Tagi tribe came across the gift he left behind. Richard read at great length from it aloud as Sean and Rudy listened.
Tattoos and Piercings
That tattoo on Richard's chest is a pair of leaping dolphins, one of Richard's favorite animals. The words tattoed above Rudy's navel read "Aloha Hawaii". Kelly has Cancer the Crab on her lower back, and Sue has that big black panther on hers.
As for piercings, Kelly's pierced tongue and Sean's pierced nipple are the only unusual castaway bodily punctures. Otherwise it's just ears.
Cows and Strategy
That Joel was criticized for being sexist shows how resilient Gervase, who made the comment about women and cows, has become. Joel took the rap for laughing a little too loud, and also for telling the women what to do in a way that some of them felt was condescending. Another reason for Gervase's resilience? His charm. The man who brought a deck of playing cards as his luxury item said before coming to the island that his charm would make all the difference. So far it has, much to Joel's chagrin.
The Fighting Menâ€¦
Chief Warrant Officer James Lofton and First Sergeant William Wright, the Green Berets who visited Pulau Tiga to design and build the obstacle course, are based in Fort Lewis, Washington. Their specialty is jungle warfare. During their time on the island they slept in hammocks, in the jungle.
The obstacle course took the Green Berets a week of 14-hour days to build. Even with their jungle warfare background, the first few days in Pulau Tiga's equatorial heat overwhelmed them.
Richard designed and built the powerful Tagi alliance. And while Kelly, Rudy, and Susan were his choices for membership all along, he's been rethinking his feelings toward Sean. Not only has Richard told Sean flat-out that Sean is his "type," he has begun having vivid dreams about Sean as well. Is Alliance membership forthcoming for Sean?
On the same note, Richard and Rudy's friendship hasn't destroyed the vestiges of Rudy's homophobia. "I pulled them Green Beret fellas aside and told them Richard was queer. That's the kind of thing they need to know."
Preparing for the tribal merger, the three castaways not chosen by their tribe to compete in Obstacle Course - Rudy, Gervase, and Colleen - had a getting-to-know-you session while their tribe members were competing. Rudy, usually very reserved, shared several stories about life inside Tagi.
Rudy's the Tagi chef, and his rice is legendary. What's his secret? "Sea water. Gives the rice a real flavorful taste."