Vidcaps, Analysis and Predictions
Episode 8, "Neanderthal Man"
By Garbotalk, April 3, 2005
Last week, Ulong lost again, as predicted. Stephenie tried to get Ibrehem to vote with her against Bobby Jon, but Ibrehem would not betray his fellow Alabaman. Unfortunately for Ibrehem, Bobby Jon had no such qualms, and Ibrehem was booted by Stephenie and Bobby Jon. This complete decimation of a tribe reminds me of an Agatha Christie book, And Then There Were None. In that novel, people died one by one, starting with ten, and ending up with none left. Will the same thing happen to Ulong? Let's look at the clues.
From the CBS site: "A Survivor becomes irritated with the tribe's living conditions and lack of maintenance around camp, which has attracted unwelcome visitors."
From the end of episode preview: "JP: Next time on Survivor... Katie: Get out of here!
JP:...the rats move in at Koror. Caryn: Get out of here. Tom: The rats have realized that we are not a threat to them. Katie: Get out of here. JP: And Coby's had enough. Coby: Those girls don't do anything. I want to take all three of those girls and push them in that fire."
From the CBS website promo: "VO: And, on the other side of the island, a tribe is breaking down. Coby: I've given up a lot in my life. Wasn't going to let anyone make me quit this time."
Koror has spent more time together as one large group than any survivor tribe in history. They are getting on each others nerves, and nobody has been swapped. With their winning streak, only one of their members has left via tribal council. Alliances are becoming more obvious. Tom and Ian have a strong bond with Katie, Gregg and Jenn are strong and in a sub group with the first three. This leaves Caryn, Janu and Coby on the outside. Coby is smart enough to recognize his situation. He is vulnerable due to alliances, even though he works hard around camp and does well in challenges. This must be hard for him to face, feeling like an outsider, as he has felt in his personal life many times as a gay man.
Add to this the frustration of rats in camp, drawn to the coconuts and other food left strewn around by lazy people not willing to take their trash far from camp. Coby thinks the girls are worthless. He’s tired of working hard for everyone around camp and in challenges, and not getting recognized for it. And he is emotional. Coby's frustration with his tribe mates is the red herring boot for this episode. I don’t believe he is in danger of going yet, but his time is short, and he knows it. With no hope of winning, he feels like quitting, something Ashlee and Jeff have already done. But during his confessional, he bucks himself up, noting that isn’t going to let others make him quit.
Emotional isolation while dealing with the stress of deprivation and physical hardship exacts a toll on survivors. It is difficult to deal with strangers 24/7 and try to pretend to like everyone, all the while resenting them. This is especially true when you feel you have no chance of turning around the game. Coby's frustration is by no means new to the game, but it is fascinating. He is on a winning team. He is in no immediate danger. And yet he feels sad and defeated. Contrast that with Stephenie's go for it positive attitude in the face of constant defeat. She takes loss and vulnerability as a motivator to work harder, or fight her way through. She's working every angle she can to stay in the game, and succeeding in spite of her tribe's continued losses. Survivor truly is a psychological test of will power and endurance. Some crumble. Others soar. In episode eight, Coby begins crumbling.
From the CBS site: "Several weeks surviving on an island has driven one Survivor to exhibit unruly behavior, much to the concern of a tribe mate."
From the end of episode preview: "JP: While Ulong is down to two. Steph: Bobby Jon is turning into a caveman. Bobby Jon: <belch>"
From the CBS Website promo: "VO: Now, Ulong is down to 2. Stephenie: It's so hard. It's like you're out here with no one."
Stephenie and Bobby Jon have been together the entire game as well. For the most part, they’ve gotten along. But now in isolation, they are alone for days at a time. Last episode, Bobby Jon tore apart their latrine and former camp, burning it for the S.O.S. challenge. They have moved to the caves for shelter from the rain, and basically have nothing. Bobby Jon is apparently giving up the niceties he displayed earlier in the game. He isn’t worried about offending Stephenie by burping in front of her, for example. And there is no telling what other bodily functions are also displayed. Stephenie is obviously disgusted with him. Bobby Jon has gone "native". It truly is Lord of the Flies out there on the Ulong Island. Stephenie calls him a Neanderthal man, which is also the title of the episode. She feels abandoned by him as he goes off into the woods alone often. Withdrawal and lack of social niceties is Bobby Jon's way of dealing with the stress of the game. Stephenie must work with him, because if they lose again, she could go home. It is hard, but she isn't giving up, and neither is Bobby Jon.
From the CBS site: "The Survivors get a chance to sample a Palauan delicacy, which can be rather difficult to swallow. Who has the will to stomach this indigenous cuisine?"
Also from the CBS site: "Two Survivors disagree on how the tribe should enjoy their reward, leaving one of them feeling defeated and annoyed with the final decision."
From a televised promo: "VO: Can the mighty beat the many? Bobby Jon: Here ya go Steph, come on."
Reward this time is the gross food challenge. Stephenie and Bobby Jon are probably quite hungry, which may motivate them to do well. Apparently, Katie, Jenn, Gregg and Coby sit out, based on the fact that Coby and Gregg compete in the IC, and the seated shot shows Katie, Jenn and Gregg sitting and watching the gross food challenge. That leaves Tom, Ian and Janu left to compete for Koror. Of those players, I imagine Janu would not have the stomach for this challenge, and would defer to Tom and Ian to compete. Apparently, watching others gag on Palauan delicacies cracks everyone up. There are smiling and laughing shots of Katie and Stephenie. I’m thinking Ian is the funny one, gagging and making jokes, but it could also refer to Tom. Stephenie looks delighted with the situation. With her delight, Ulong's motivation to succeed and their history of doing well in reward challenges, I will give this to Ulong. Reward: Ulong.
The clues say that the winning survivors disagree with the choice of how to enjoy their reward, leaving one angry. I think this refers to the fact that the reward is some kind of food reward. Bobby Jon’s burping leads me to think he scarfs down the food and disgusts Stephenie in the process. Maybe she wanted to save some of it for later, and he pigs out. Or maybe she wanted to cook the food a different way. Regardless, they are stuck with each other. There is no merge.
From the CBS website: "VO: Never in Survivor History has a tribe been so decimated. Bobby Jon: Nothing has worked for this tribe. VO: They're in the fight of their lives. Stephenie: It's do or die."
From the televised promo: "VO: Thursday, it's two survivors against eight. Bobby Jon: Nothin' has worked for this tribe."
The immunity challenge has a combination of swimming and puzzles. Those competing on Koror appear to be Coby and Gregg, based on the wet seated shot of wet Coby and what looks like the wet hair of Gregg. In the first shot, Bobby Jon races for the water. In the background you can see Koror people sitting on crates watching, as well as the bottom half of a stool, which probably contains the immunity idol. Next to that are two structures. In a later shot, they are revealed to be puzzle boards of some kind, with Bobby Jon standing next to them rooting for Stephenie. The players appear to alternate racing in the water. They must pull themselves along a rope underneath platforms to a destination that probably has puzzle pieces for them to bring back. Most likely, once all the pieces are gathered, they would be able to put them together on the covered tables. Ulong has strength in the water, but so does Koror. The fact that Coby competes after successfully beating Koror in the puzzle challenge last week gives Koror the leg up on this IC. Ulong may gather the pieces faster, but Koror will assemble them faster. Once again, brains over brawn.
The devastated look of wet Bobby Jon tells me Ulong has lost. They probably thought there would now be a merge. But no, they are sent back to their beach. Bobby Jon carries the flag by dragging it behind him rather than lifting it up. Stephenie is truly somber in the walk back to camp. Immunity: Koror.
From the CBS website: "VO: Plus, could there be a shocking secret alliance between the 2 tribes? Ian: Final 4 is me, you [shot of Tom], Stephenie and Katie. Coby: What? VO: Don't miss an all new Survivor, CBS Thursday."
Ian intends for he, Tom, Katie and Stephenie to be the final four. Why wouldn't he intend a final four from among Koror’s players? The answer goes back to the first few days when everyone was together. Ian and Katie must have made a pact with Stephenie, and intend to honor it. Ian chose Katie first and probably hoped Stephenie would be next. But Tom chose Janu. He wasn't in on the pact. Ian is now bringing Tom into his plans. He and Tom have given up on Gregg and Jenn as part of their final numbers, not trusting the romance factor. If Gregg and Jenn joined with Coby, Janu and Caryn, they would have a majority. So for now, Gregg and Jenn will not become aware of this change in strategy by Ian and Tom. Once a few more players are evicted, if Stephenie can survive Ulong, they’ll use her to give themselves a numbers advantage over the remaining Koror players. It is a smart move. However, will the have the opportunity to align with her? When is the merge? It won't be this week.
With only two players remaining on Ulong, they would vote for each other at tribal council, effectively creating a tie. How will Survivor deal with this first time situation? Mersaydeez from Survivor Sucks has given us many accurate spoilers this season. One of them is that Stephenie and a male player would do a fire challenge to determine who would stay or go at the final Ulong tribal council. She said the winner of this fire challenge would be Stephenie, meaning Bobby Jon must be evicted. Then, Stephenie returns to her camp to spend the night alone, another first. Based on Mersaydeez accuracy thus far, I believe this is a likely scenario. Boot: Bobby Jon.