Survivor: Fiji, Episode Four, "Let's Just Call Jeff on the Jeff Phone" Recap
Originally aired on Thursday, 03/01/2007

Episode Rating:  *** (3 stars out of 5)

Episode Overview: It’s just getting depressing: the Haves (Moto) continue to dominate, and the Have-Nots continue to…not have.  Plus a medical emergency means one player is sent home early.

Episode Highlights:
  • Remember last week when everything kind of sucked for Ravu?  Yes, that happened again this week.
  • Papa Smurf Gary had tried to stay in the game after his medical scare last week, but he realizes this episode that he cannot compete.
  • Ravu does get an unexpected break, but it’s not exactly the win their morale needed.

Recap:  It’s Night Eight on Ravu and they return from yet another tribal council.  If you thought the tribe was broken down last week…tonight they seem to reach a new low.  Back at the camp, calm Earl Cole tries s to get the group to regroup by hashing through the issues that were brought up at tribal council regarding Anthony Robinson’s performance.  Unfortunately, James “Rocky” Reid isn’t in the mood for problem resolution; he just wants to vent about how annoying and weak he finds Anthony. 

Rocky ought to be a little more careful; he and Mookie Lee might be the alpha males controlling the tribe right now, but things can change quickly.  Mookie seems to have regained the composure he lost at tribal council.  He keeps his trap shut and once again lets Rocky be the focal point for the group.

In interview, Anthony is frustrated and saddened.  It’s clear he’s been the lowest dog in the pack before in his life, and also that his first impulse is to roll over and show his belly.  However, he seems to buck up towards the end of the interview and get a little fire to try to fight back. 

Over at Moto, the lack of tribulations hasn’t prevented the cozy group from splintering.  Lisi Linares, Kenward Boo Bernis, Alex Angarita, Stacy Kimball and Edgardo Rivera all have banded together to form an unspoken alliance.

At least one other tribe member is too busy to be concerned about being left out: Gary Stritesky, Papa Smurf, is still feeling physically out of sorts.  His head is spinning and he is nauseated.  He did a stint in Vietnam, so he is used to physical discomfort, but this is something beyond what he has previously experienced.  It is once again heartbreaking to watch the big guy suffer.

Cassandra Franklin is compassionate, while Lisi says caustically in interview that she doesn’t want to be a babysitter, and having Gary ill is making her feel like “Did I just have a baby and didn’t know it?”   With all the focus on Ravu during the last few shows, it’s been hard to get a sense of the personalities on Moto, but if this is a little snapshot of Lisi’s charms…I’m not impressed.

Next the teams head to a reward challenge.  Host Jeff Probst shows them their lovely array of possible prizes: fish, rice, spices, pillows and blankets.  And the winning tribe will head home to a brand new king size bed back at camp.

The challenge requires the group to balance on a beam above the water, and then pass one by one across each other on the beam.  If anyone falls into the water, they have to start completely over.  They can switch places but only after everyone jumps into the water first.

Ravu gets an early lead, with lithe little Michelle Yi making careful but quick work across her teammates.  On an earlier episode, someone nicknamed her “Monkey” for her excellent climbing and scrambling, she continues to fulfill expectations.  After bringing fire to her team, she is proving very valuable. 

Yau-man Chan also makes his way nimbly across the beam, giving Ravu an early lead as Lisi over on Moto struggles and struggles to make it across.  However, Rita Verreos encounters a roadblock in the form of Anthony on her pass, and she and he take a dive.  This is especially painful to watch knowing how Rocky and Mookie are just waiting for Anthony to mess up. 

This delay gives Moto a chance to catch up.  They change up their tactics, and the players start clambering over their squatting teammates.  They catch up just as Ravu starts to fall apart.  After another tumble by Anthony and a foul by Mookie (he touched two other players at once and had to start over), it’s over, and Moto has won all the goodies, plus the opportunity to send someone to Exile.  They pick Yau-man.

Back at camp, the scene is painful.  Rocky has some kind of meltdown, telling the group “Let's just call Jeff on the Jeff phone and tell him we’re ready to vote someone off now.”

(I just can’t decide whether to love or hate Rocky this week.  He is very dangerously into “Kill Piggy” territory with his alpha male behavior, which just grosses me out.  Then he says something like, “Let's just call Jeff on the Jeff phone” and I fall in love all over again.)

Earl isn’t sure what to think of all this, and is trying to find the best way to proceed. He likes Anthony, but feels that he can’t always protect him.  He likes Rocky’s spirit…but Rocky is a loose cannon and complains more than he helps around camp to improve things.  If Earl can find a way to stay solid and quiet, he might be able to capitalize on both players’ weaknesses.

Yau-man is making the best of his time at Exile. He’s grateful, actually, for the chance to get a clue about the immunity idol, as he feels he will need it.  After reading it, and realizing he’s probably been sleeping just about on top of it, he begins trying to figure out when he can dig for it in private.

Over at Moto, Liliana Gomez is giving massages and it’s rubbing Lisi the wrong way (sorry, pun intended, inevitable).  Lisi thinks that Liliana is trying to do a little maneuvering, and is plotting something in “her diabolical Mexican mind.”  What, pray tell, is a diabolical Mexican mind and why is that particular distinction even necessary in this context?  Strike two for my good opinion of Lisi.

Sadly, Papa Smurf has to go.  Gary is rapidly feeling worse, and the medics have to come and take him out.  Hot Alex says in interview that he feels really bad about it.   For a nanosecond, I think that I misjudged him last week when I found his reaction to Gary’s illness all a little too calculated, and I’m glad because Alex is just so very attractive.  But the nanosecond passes and he clarifies that he’s disappointed because of the disadvantage to the tribe, not because poor Gary is gone.  I know, I know, million dollars and all that, and it’s understandable Alex is focused on winning.  But still.  Maybe a little more than nanosecond of remorse? 

Rocky seems to have reconsidered his outburst the prior night, and decides to try to lift the team’s spirits by showing up naked to the reading of the tree mail, and then borrowing a pink bikini top from one of the women and I think somehow fashioning small fake breasts out of something.  That or else his pecs just look WAY different in a bikini top.

Unfortunately…this doesn’t help Ravu in the immunity challenge.  The event is a course with keys and locks and cages and lily pads and a boat and human pyramid and so on.  (At least there’s no puzzle pole.)  Moto gets an early lead and although Ravu nearly claws their way back, it’s not good enough. 

Jeff has a twist.  A twist!  At last!  The team gets a little bottle with a message inside that informs them: Immunity or Comfort?  The team can either vote someone off and stay at Happy Fatty Camp…or keep all their tribe members and go to Ravu.

It doesn’t even seem like a debate, the team immediately picks comfort.  Wow.  That’s an interesting choice.  Not only do they lose one of their own, but they will also, after elimination, be tied with Ravu, potentially putting them at risk for when the tribes merge. 

Ravu gets the immunity idol, looking none too thrilled to not have earned it, but at least they don’t have to go to tribal council that evening.

Back at Moto, Dre “Dreamz” Herd continues his habit of choosing sincerity and volubility over diplomacy, discretion and common sense.  He says he doesn’t want the team to start acting like snakes – read: be underhanded – so he thinks they should have an open discussion about who the weakest players are.  And he doesn’t want to point fingers, but (then literally pointing his finger) says Lisi and Cassandra are the weakest players.

Lisi isn’t too concerned, she has her group of five.  She wants Liliana off, and although Alex strongly disagrees, thinking they need her strength if the teams will have even numbers, Lisi will not be swayed.

And she gets her way.  At tribal council, Liliana is totally blind-sided as she gets four votes to Cassandra’s and Lisi’s one.  Cassandra cannot feel safe for long though; so long as she is not part of the group of five, there is a big target on her back as well.

If next week’s challenge also offers up the Immunity vs. Comfort choice, it will be interesting to see if the tribes continue to choose eating their own over eating nothing.

- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist