Riding Coattails: On The Rocks With A Twist

The Ulong tribe is having a rough ride. And according to my own mental Survivor encyclopedia, they are the losingest tribe in the show’s history. The Maraamu tribe in the Marquesas was close, as were the Morgans in Pearl Islands. And due to the show’s cruel circumstances, Ulong was forced to vote out its fifth member, Angie, this week. However, I have a feeling that they were going to vote someone out anyway, twist or no twist. Ulong excels at losing.

Every time the this rapidly dwindling group goes to tribal council, Jeff Probst makes a pathetic attempt at being Sherlock Holmes, resolving that he’s going to finally decipher the real reason this tribe continues to suck. There has been a lot of finger-pointing at the guys, all of whom, at one challenge or another, significantly contributed to one of Ulong’s many defeats. Jeff Wilson had to leave the game because of his ankle injury, which can be chalked up to bad luck. And while it can’t be denied that Ibrehem royally screwed up at the sake bottle challenge, I think that some of these losses were inevitable. Did Bobby Jon and James honestly think that they were any match for Tom and Coby, respectively, in last week’s platform shove-off? In this case, sheer determination wasn’t enough to get the job done. Those men were out-muscled.

Honestly, I believe that the problems among the men of Ulong are a symptom of the tribe’s overall weakness, but there is a greater factor that no one seems to be talking about. It goes back to the beginning of the game, to the first immunity challenge, after which the group decided to kick out Jolanda. Hello, what were they thinking when they eliminated her? That woman is made of steel. She’s buff, tough, and would have continued to provide the leadership that has been sorely lacking within this unit. Although it would take a time machine to prove it, I firmly maintain that Jolanda would have helped Ulong enjoy a few more wins and that the tribe would not currently be in such a sorry state.

Ulong made another blunder this week by voting out Angie. Although she was starting to show signs of fatigue, both physically and mentally, Angie was a strong contender at the challenges. By keeping James, I think that Ulong just put the final nail in its coffin (which would no doubt be made from a fine selection of Home Depot materials). And the fact that the tribe brought all of its tools and equipment to tribal council simply underlines the desperation that its members are now feeling.

Koror, on the other hand, looked particularly pleased with themselves this week, and rightly so. They added another victorious notch to their ever-loosening belts and got to chow down on some stew, biscuits, and root beer while watching Ulong suffer Probst’s taunts. I particularly delighted in Burnett’s sneaky twist in which the members of Koror voted to grant immunity to one of the Ulong folks. The fact that Ibrehem was safe from the axe totally screwed up the tribe’s plans that evening and it was clear that no one had agreed on a second choice, since Bobby Jon, Angie, and James all received votes. I didn’t really understand why B.J. had a few votes thrown his way, since he’s done nothing but bust his ass (both successfully and unsuccessfully) for this group. I’m sure the people of Koror were wondering the same thing, and I have a feeling that once the merge occurs, they’ll get some answers.

There was obviously no love lost between Willard, Koror’s first tribal council casualty, and the rest of his tribe. With the exception of Janu, who was wiping her eyes as Willard picked up his torch, no one appeared the least bit distressed about casting him off. Then again, it was clear that Willard was not pulling his weight at camp and, for mysterious reasons, was physically unable to compete in most of the challenges. He also called himself “everybody’s favorite curmudgeon” and admitted to Coby that he had “almost no ability to schmooze.” And in a game where schmoozing is everything, crabby recluses like Willard are toast.

I pray that Coby, my favorite butterfly, will continue to use his stellar social abilities and stay in the game as long as possible. He was hilarious to watch this week, with his dramatically raised brows and gay jungle swagger. Although he didn’t want to vote out Willard, he was smart enough to keep that sentiment to himself and go with the flow. I am curious as to why he dislikes Katie so much, since he declared that, “If Katie gets farther than me, I will just puke, puke, puke.” Although if Caryn’s feelings about her are any indication, then it’s understandable. But unlike Caryn, Coby has probably been withholding any confrontations with the people he dislikes.

Coby has struck up an intriguing deal with Gregg and Jenn, to whom he referred as Ken and Barbie. True, they’re an adorable couple (although Jenn’s flirtatious squeals were a bit nauseating to listen to), but they’re also using their heads. In particular, I am curious to see if Gregg and Jenn’s plan to initially side with Katie, Ian, and Tom and then swing over to the Coby/Caryn/Janu alliance will be successful. Their plan is fantastic in theory, but I have my doubts about Janu’s place in the game. She doesn’t look good. When Jeff announced that the reward challenge was for food, I was rooting for Koror to win so that Janu could get a solid meal before she keeled over. I think she’s the next to go.

On a related note to Gregg’s plan, when Koror was shown voting to give immunity to a member of Ulong, I saw that he voted for Angie. I have a hunch that he threw that vote her way in hopes that when the tribes merged, he could bring her into his alliance, which currently consists of some of the weaker or less popular players. Unfortunately for Gregg, his vote wasn’t enough to save Angie. And so much for my prediction that she was going to be a female version of Lex van den Berghe (who, in case I haven’t already mentioned, is my favorite survivor ever). Tough break, Angie. You were thrown on the rocks after a classic Survivor twist.

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