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Poor Challenge Performance Spells Doom On Survivor

Excellent teamwork sends three of the final six Survivors on an epic animal-related reward, while the immunity challenge teaches us that there’s no 'I' in 'immunity'...wait, that can’t be right.

Let's Tai Something New

Mark the chicken clucks a "welcome back" to the tribe as they return to camp. Jason appeals to Michele and Cydney again, noting that he's a much better bet to take to the end than a charming, savvy player like Aubry or Tai. Michele, who realizes that someone who just cold-bloodedly voted out her closest ally probably needs a pretty major asshole up there next to her in front of the jury, appears to give this some serious consideration.

Meanwhile, Tai reveals his extra vote to Joe and Aubry and assures them he'll use it alongside their votes to force a majority. He's already thinking Michele should be their next target.

Give It To Marky! He Won't Try It!

Tai manages to dig up a gigantic, disgusting grub, the likes of which, he recalls, were actually fed to Survivor contestants of yore in challenges. Just in case this becomes important later, he decides to test its edibility by seeing if Mark will eat it. Mark noms that thing down like it's an actual food reward and not the wilted leftovers that have passed for rewards of late. Mark continues to be the most beloved character of the season, and for a second I feel a little guilty about eating chicken while I watch this.

Later on, Jason has a heart-to-heart chat with Mark, who's basically the only member of the tribe who'll talk to him. Jason reports via confessional that his last-ditch strategy is to be very lazy and very unpleasant in the hopes that it'll inspire someone to drag him to the end, which definitely doesn't work for the likes of Joe, who still thinks Survivor is about demonstrating a good work ethic and survival skills. He attempts to check in with Jason, but the conversation basically goes like every conversation Joe's had, in or out of the game, in his life: "Still out here?" "Yup. You?" "Yup." "Some weather we're having." "Yup."

For reward, teams of three run an obstacle course and work a giant table maze. Winners receive a trip to a wildlife sanctuary and a picnic lunch. Joe, Aubry, and Cydney face off against Tai, Jason, and Michele. Remember how Joe is basically older than dirt? His slowness isn't the only thing that loses the challenge for his team, but it sure doesn't help them not get destroyed.

Monkeying Around

While Joe initially blamed the stupid ball for his challenge loss, closer reflection causes him to realize his own performance had something to do with it, and he's not happy. He takes out his crankiness on Cydney by demanding, mid-lunch, that she get to work fetching firewood. Cydney's never been good with authority, she says. She doesn't like being told how to vote and she certainly doesn't like being told what to do around camp. It takes most of Aubry's energy to keep the two of them from killing each other, and it's certainly not boding well for the trio's long-term alliance plans.

Meanwhile, the reward winners get to pet elephants, feed monkeys, and eat the first non-nasty-looking reward food in many episodes. Jason invokes his autistic daughter as he reports that she loves animals and will be very impressed when she sees him scritching a baby monkey on national television, and Tai is...I wouldn't go so far as to say "coming around" on the Jason front, but the fact that Jason isn't being a total douche has Tai even more certain Jason shouldn't be the next one to go.

The Battle For Immunyti -- Immiynit -- The Necklace Thingy

For immunity, Survivors have to stack blocks that spell "immunity" while balancing them on a wobbly table. Jeff reminds us approximately 63 times that steady hands and patience, one block at a time, are keys to winning the challenge, which is roughly half as many times as he heckles Cydney for moving far more slowly than her competitors. Several contestants get as far as "MUNITY" before dropping their blocks. Joe actually forgets how to spell "immunity," at several points fetching the wrong letter from the sequence and hoping nobody will notice. While Jason puts up a good fight in the home stretch, Cydney's slow-and-steady approach turns out to be the correct one, so suck it, Probst. The challenge itself isn't all that interesting, but who doesn't love Jeff having to eat his words?

Mutiny On The Bounty Hunter

Tai has decided that Michele is a bigger threat than Jason, but the rest of his alliance is still set on voting out Jason, and it doesn't appear that they've got enough time to fully weigh the pros and cons of his plan before Michele shows up and they have to stop talking about her. "I think the plan is Michele," he doggedly insists via confessional. Aubry humors him a little, but nobody else seems to be picking up what he's putting down, including Jason, who you'd think would be happy someone's finally including him, but he insists he can't trust Tai.

Cydney -- who, again, hates being told what to do -- is especially put off by Tai's insistence, so she attempts to mount an alternative plan, and Aubry, especially, is torn. It's going to actually come down to Tribal Council, it seems, between Michele's plan to work on damage control and Aubry waffling between Cydney's plan and Tai's.

At Tribal Council, Tai insists that consensus has been reached among all members of his alliance, while Michele, purportedly in said alliance, notes that she is clearly not a part of any plan that involves voting herself out. After some back-and-forth sniping, someone finally notices Jason's there, and God help me, Jason is even a little charming here in a weird Chris Daugherty sort of way when he grins at Jeff and says it's just fine with him if everyone else forgets he's an option as far as voting is concerned. And for a second, it's looking like they just might.

Or will they? Tai uses his super-secret advantage to lay down an extra vote on Michele, but in the end, four votes for Jason outnumber his two for her (and Jason's own vote, for Joe). I guess the tribe decided they don't need Jason's kind of scum.

Verdict

This marks kind of an inauspicious exit for the season's most egregious jerkface, all things considered, and while it appears to set things up for some interesting conflict next week, it's hardly must-see TV all on its own.

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