OLD ALLIANCES HOLD:
Proving that the old Chapera alliance remained alive and well, yet another former Mogo Mogo member faced the firing squad. Despite her strong campaign to break the core of the Chapera alliance, Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien, the 50-year-old castaway of SURVIVOR: MARQUESAS from Burlington, Vermont, was forced to hear her name read aloud at the Tribal Council and was sent home in a six-to-two decision. Shortly after the vote, Kathy concluded simply, "I wish I had gotten further. I wanted that million bucks so bad."
After returning from Tribal Council and battling a torrential downpour, the Chaboga Mogo tribe was saddened to find their fire had been reduced to a muddy puddle. The rain continued, hard, cold and relentless. "Freezing cold and soaking wet," moaned Rupert Boneham, the 40-year-old castaway of SURVIVOR: PEARL ISLANDS PANAMA from Indianapolis, Indiana, "When the sun came up it was still bad, it was worse."
CHALLENGE: BIG BAD O-COURSE
As the tribe assembled for a Challenge, they were surprised to learn that the competition would be for both Reward and Immunity. Host Jeff Probst explained that the castaways would have to navigate the most difficult obstacle course SURVIVOR has ever known. There would be two parts to the Challenge, with the first part consisting of two teams of four and the final part pitting the four winners against each other in a battle for Individual Immunity. The Team Reward would consist of letters from home as well as much-needed rain parkas. The Individual Reward would be a chance to watch a video from a loved one while enjoying a cup of hot chocolate. The victorious castaway would also win Immunity.
The members of Chaboga Mogo were then treated to a taste of the videos sent from their loved ones at home. As they all gazed tearfully at a television screen, their loved ones spoke to them from many miles away. The only way for these homesick castaways to see the rest of their videos would be to win this most difficult Challenge.
With the emotional video clip screenings completed, it was now time for the Challenge to begin. After captains Rupert and Alicia Calaway, the 35-year-old of SURVIVOR: THE AUSTRALIAN OUTBACK from Trumbull, Connecticut, were named, the tribe was separated into two teams of four. Rupert's team consisted of Kathy, Tom Buchanan, the 48-year-old tribe member of SURVIVOR: AFRICA from Rich Valley, Virginia and Jenna Lewis, the 26-year-old castaway of SURVIVOR: BORNEO from Franklin, New Hampshire. Alicia's team consisted of Amber Brkich, the 25-year-old of SURVIVOR: THE AUSTRALIAN OUTBACK from Beaver, Pennsylvania, Rob Mariano, the 28-year-old All-Star of Survivor: Marquesas from Canton, Massachusetts and Shii Ann Huang, the 30-year-old tribe member of SURVIVOR: THAILAND from New York City.
The obstacle course involved a "tear-through" field in which the teams must fight through a gauntlet of twigs and small branches. The castaways must next navigate a series of balance beams, then participate in a military-style belly crawl. Next, the All-Stars must climb over a 10-foot wall, negotiate a blown out bridge, climb a rope ladder to a tower and cross a two-line rope bridge. One team member must then wait at a "flying fox," while the rest descended a ladder and dug out a buried flag. Once the team members had dug out the flag, the "flying fox" team member must zip down the line to grab a key to unlock the gate allowing the waiting team members to race to the finish line.
The Challenge started off in a flurry as both teams tore through the field of twigs and small branches, with Alicia's team taking the lead. The lead enlarged as Alicia's team reached the wall and scaled it in quick time. It wasn't much of a race as Rupert's team trailed from obstacle to obstacle. Despite some trouble building a bridge, Alicia's team kept their cool--and their lead--as they dug out their flag and crossed the finish line to claim the victory.
IMMUNITY UP FOR GRABS
With Alicia's team having won the Reward, it was now time for them to compete against each other for Individual Immunity. Jeff Probst explained that this would involve solving a slide puzzle. The first person to complete the puzzle, slide out a knife and then chop a rope in order to raise their flag would win Immunity coupled with the complete video from their loved one at home.
The four castaways went to work quickly on their puzzle. After having some difficulty at first, Rob quickly figured out how to slide the knife out of the puzzle. He then triumphantly chopped the rope that raised his flag to seal his Immunity.
In an act of team allegiance, Rob chose to forgo seeing his video so that everybody could read their letters from home. Jeff Probst agreed to make that trade, and Rob's tribemates all hugged him in gratitude.
LETTERS FROM HOME
After returning from the exhausting Challenge, the members of Chaboga Mogo separated in order to read their letters from home. In these private moments, emotions ran high as love from friends and family was quietly dispersed throughout the camp and surrounding areas. "It's just uplifting," noted a sentimental Rupert, "That gives me strength. I'll read it a thousand times in the next eleven days."
After reconnecting with their homes via the letters, the members of Chaboga Mogo still faced the burden of the upcoming Tribal Council. The game was back on as Kathy lobbied to break the old Chapera alliance led by Boston Rob. Knowing she was on the chopping block, Kathy petitioned Big Tom and Rupert, suggesting that the troika of Rob, Amber and Jenna would not allow anyone else to reach the Final Three. "I think we got some last-minute scrambling going on in Panama today," smiled a confident Rob.
In the end, that last-minute scramble proved to be in vain as the old Chapera alliance sent yet another former Mogo Mogo member out of the game. Kathy was sent packing in a six-to-two decision. Kathy becomes the second member of the Jury and will have a hand in deciding who will win the million-dollar prize and earn the title Sole Survivor.
ON THE NEXT SURVIVOR:
One castaway is angered when being called, by the group, the least deserving person to be an "All-Star."
Winning the Reward Challenge gives one All-Star the rare power to decide what the others eat, from a juicy steak to a small, cold bowl of rice.
Shii Ann annoys Alicia, who warns her to watch it, or her camp life will be pretty unpleasant.