Survivor: Fiji - Episode Three Recap

Originally aired on Thursday, 02/22/2007

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

Episode Overview: Ravu gets some fire, but cannot catch a break during the challenges.

Episode Highlights:
  • Life is tough at the Ravu camp, but plucky Michelle is able to get something good going, namely fire.
  • A rough tumble at the reward challenge puts Gary’s health at risk.
  • If you are ever dehydrated and asked to participate in an eating contest, remember: lack of saliva makes it hard to swallow. Ravu learns this the hard way.

Recap:  Ravu heads back to camp from voting Erica Durousseau off demoralized and depressed.  Yau-man Chan thinks they are not acting cohesively as a team, and that seems to be the feeling of everyone.  When they arrive at camp, they strategize a game plan for the next day and next challenge.

Over at Moto, they are painting and eating.  As Kenward "Boo" Bernis puts it: "It's not survival, it's thrival."  Whatever.  Comfort = boring.

Earl Cole returns from Exile Island, but that's not the happiest arrival that day.  Little Miss Michelle Yi hunkers down on the beach with a pair of glasses and manages to make fire.  They bring the little ember back to the cave and fan it in an actual fire.  They are all ecstatic that they won't "die out there" (they ARE aware they are on a reality television show, right?) and James "Rocky" Reid says the other tribe better watch out going into the challenge, as they are "so fired up, it's ridiculous!"

At the challenge, Ravu has the rare privilege of actually impressing the usually-disapproving Jeff Probst.  Jeff comments that it is rare for a tribe to get fire all on their own, and since they now have it, they no longer need to earn flint, so he tosses them one to keep.

The challenge is a slip and slide race. The tribes will send one person each at a time to race across a wet slide to grab a ball and make a basket.  First team to make six baskets wins.

At first, each tribe gets one basket each on the first two rounds, and it looks like it might be close.  That doesn't last.  Once again, Ravu falls behind and cannot catch a break.  It doesn't help that Sylvia Kwan turns in a truly terrible performance.  The last pairing is Yau-man against Dre Herd (Dreamz).  Yau-man hangs in there and is making attempt after attempt right alongside Dreamz. Yau-man is so close to making a basket so many times, it's heartbreaking when Dreamz finally lands one in for the win.  Moto gets to choose between three possible prizes, luxury items, more fishing gear or fruit, and choose gear.  They also send Sylvia to the Exile Island, but this time, she is not immune, and will be in the running to be eliminated.

On this trip to Exile Island, Sylvia reads three clues and realizes the idol is buried right in the middle of camp.  She wonders how on earth she will be able to dig for it in plain sight.

Back at Moto, Dreamz is laughing at Gary Stritesky (Papa Smurf), who took a hard fall during the slip and slide.  It quickly becomes clear that this is no laughing matter.  Gary cannot breathe and they finally call for the medics.  It's very heartbreaking to see how frightened this big man is: he says he couldn't remember his name or where he was for a while, and he cannot catch a deep breath.  His tribemates are concerned, but where Cassandra Franklin seems motivated by a deep compassion, hot Alex Angarita seems a little eager to eliminate Gary from the game under the guise of concern for his health.  The medics check him out and tell him that since he is sore when the painful area is pressed on, it means it's likely muscular or skeletal, so they can give him analgesics.  He seems to want to stay, but it is still kind of scary.

It's time for another challenge, this time for immunity.  Sylvia returns from Exile in time for the event.  At first, Ravu is excited: it's an eating contest, and they know for certain they are hungrier, and ergo think they will be able to get down the array of gross-out food (pig snouts, giant worms, fish eyes, etc.) much faster.  Unfortunately, they quickly learn that while their hunger could have worked in their favor, their thirst did not.  Unable to work up sufficient spit, Ravu member after Ravu member simply could not swallow in time to beat their Moto rival.  Rocky and Mookie Lee manage to each get a point (although Mookie alienates Moto by taunting Lisi, his competitor, and Boo says this undid the good will Moto had towards Ravu), but it's not good enough and they lose again.

Back at camp, Mookie is making the rounds.  It seems clear that Sylvia should be off, but Mookie is also aggravated that Anthony Robinson was unsuccessful in the challenge, and so he also approaches Sylvia and Michelle about voting him off. Several others were just as unsuccessful in the challenge, so it's unclear why this set Mookie off.  He did the same thing last week, when frustration at losing seemed to make him decide to take out Erica.  It's unfortunate that Mookie seems to have such a sway over Rocky, who then seems able to sway others, as Mookie seems a little immature and hotheaded to be calling the shots.  Then again, this is Survivor, and it's not about who deserves to succeed, just who actually does.

Sylvia makes a last ditch attempt to find the immunity idol, but it doesn't appear that she has as the group heads to tribal council. At council, Mookie's negative feelings towards Anthony come out, and Anthony points out that they are, in fact, somewhat irrational since he wasn't the only Ravu tribe member to have trouble swallowing. 

Then they are off to vote.  After voting, Jeff asks if anyone has the idol, and Sylvia shakes her head no.  She would have needed it: although Anthony got three votes, and Earl, one, it is Sylvia who is the Survivor voted off.

Hmm.  I'm hoping this isn't one of those Survivors where the players with the least likeability AND who are the least interesting are the ones who get to stick around.  If someone is going to be distasteful, they should at least be a little more interesting to watch than Mookie.  We'll have to see.

- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist