Since even before the premiere, CBS has been promoting Survivor: Kaoh Rong as one of the most physically punishing seasons in the show’s 32 season history. So far we’ve seen contestants gruel to maintain camp life in the heat and an emotional breakdown brought on by dehydration. And at the last boot, Liz even had to be medically evacuated from the post-game. But this week it looks like Kaoh Rong will claim its first (and hopefully only) victim from the game. Let’s get to it.

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Dr. Peter was completely blindsided at the last Tribal Council and he’s still shaken. Debbie tells him that she was the one who spoke up for him to stay instead of Liz. His ego has clearly been taken down a notch or two, but he insists that he’s going to wait until a swap or merge and he’ll take these people down one-by-one.

A Grueling Reward Challenge

For today’s reward, the Survivors have to race through obstacles on the beach and then dig in a sand pit to retrieve three bags of balls. Then they have to roll balls into the targets. The first tribe to finish, gets a kitchen set and the second tribe to finish gets some spices and utensils.

The Brawn tribe gets off to a fast start, but soon, all three team even out when it comes to the digging portion. And then the digging begins. And it keeps going. And going. For 45 minutes the Survivors dig. Finally, Aubrey finds the balls for the Brains tribe and they’re able to finish the challenge and win the first place reward.

But Debbie’s down. Joe is worried that she’s having a heat stroke, so he calls over the medical personnel. They pour water on her head to cool her down and hold umbrellas over her head for shade. Eventually she starts to feel better. She says that she’s had a heat stroke before in her ranger training so she knew what her body was going through and wasn’t scared.

While Debbie is being attended to, the Brawn and the Beauty tribes continue digging. Jason and Scot have enough energy to snap at Alecia though. When she tries to cheer on her team to not give up, they tell her to shut the eff up and keep digging. Nice.

Finally, Caleb finds the balls and gets most of them in the targets before Jason finds the final bag for Brawn. Caleb finishes first finally ending this brutal challenge. But two more people go down simultaneously. First Cydney, and then Caleb. Caleb looks in bad shape. He’s pale, passes out and is struggling for breath. Jeff calls out any crew member who can help, saying they’re all essential personnel now.

The medical team puts an oxygen mask on Caleb and puts ice all over his body, but he’s still not responsive. Meanwhile, Cydney is doing better and her temperature is back to normal. Jason stayed by her side the entire time, which is pretty sweet.

Dr. Joe tells Jeff that it’s time to call for the chopper for Caleb. He’s injected an IV with fluids but he’s still not doing better. Jeff tells Caleb that he’s pulling Caleb from the game. Caleb puts up a weak resistance with a shake of his head, but Jeff says he no longer has a choice; they need to get him better.

His fellow tribe-mates are all very upset, especially Tai. They get a chance to say goodbye to Caleb as they load him onto the chopper. The ladies say that they’re overwhelmed because they thought he was invincible. And of course Tai is going to miss his cuddle buddy.

Survivor is nice enough to give us an update on Caleb though after completely breaking him in that challenge. He’s made a 100 percent recovery and wants to play the game again some day. (I know they try to make this a physically taxing game but that challenge in that heat was just too much. It’s hard to see people suffer like that. And despite his past on previous reality shows, it seems we’ve lost an interesting character and a warm-hearted person on this season.)

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Recovery at Brains

Debbie thanks her tribe mates for taking care of her. She was afraid for Joe to call the medical team (even though she’s glad he did) because she didn’t want to seem weak in front of her tribe or to her daughters back home. She says that she has done some stupid things in her life, but her daughters make her proud and she wants to make them proud too.

Brawns Don’t Back Down

Alecia confronts Scot about his behavior at the challenge. She says she was just trying to be a team player, and would he talk to one his NBA teammates like that if they were in the middle of the game? Scot’s response is to tell her that he’s working with the best in the world when he’s playing in the NBA, not Alecia. (Wow. Could this guy be any more of a dick?)

Alecia says that she’s tired of the people in the tribe constantly trying to break her down when she was just trying to be a team player. Jason says that the way to do that would be to shut up and get on board with the team. But it doesn’t matter anyway, he says, because if they go to Tribal Council again, she’s definitely next. All Alecia can do at this point is pray for a swap to come sooner rather than later.

Why’d It Have to be a Puzzle?

It’s Day 11 (two days after Caleb’s medevac) and that means it’s time for an immunity challenge. Two members from each tribe have to fetch puzzle pieces from the jungle and then two more have to get pieces from the ocean. As soon as they have all the pieces, they can begin to solve a snake puzzle. Guess a puzzle already means the challenge is stacked against the Brawn tribe.

And they prove me right. The Brains finish first followed by the Beauty tribe. Alecia and Cydney could not get it together to solve the puzzle. After the challenge, the jerk guys on the Brawn tribe continue to pile on Alecia. They tell her that she’s making everything about her when she says, “I tried my best,” instead of making it about the team. At this point, poor Alecia can’t say anything right. Jason even goes as far to suggest that they have Tribal Council right then and there. But Alecia won’t do that because it would seem like giving up. Good for her.

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Tribal Council

Jason tells Jeff that nothing has changed since they left the challenge and Alecia is the one going home.

Jeff gives Alecia a bit of a pep talk, telling her that although she may not have the physical strength of her Brawn tribe mates, there’s something about her attitude that still makes him root for her. Alecia says she hasn’t had a good time on this tribe and especially hasn’t had a connection with the guys. But that’s okay because she doesn’t respect them and doesn’t really need their opinions anyway.

Scot says if he hasn’t earned her respect, then he doesn’t know who can. He says that Alecia needs attention at all times, whether it’s positive or negative and he feels bad for her.

Alecia knows there’s nothing she can do or say to change her position in the tribe. She just says that she’s proud of how she’s handled herself and how she’s played the game and that sometimes experiences are worth more than money.

Scot remains condescending, even as he votes her out. And Alecia makes her exit with a smile and her head held high. It’s nice that she didn’t back down from those two bullies, but unfortunately those bullies were the ones who held the power in her tribe.

Next week: Drop your buffs! And hopefully Scot and/or Jason will be on the wrong side of the numbers wherever they go.

Survivor airs on Wednesdays at 8pm on CBS.

(Image courtesy of CBS)

Gina Pusateri

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV