Then, something absolutely incredible happens. On the first leg out for Galang, Tina and Laura swim out, open the gate, and then swim right back…without the fishing trap! At first Probst starts to warn them, yelling “Ladies!” but then seems to stop himself, realizing the inherent drama at play if they make it all the way back to shore and have to be told by their tribe to go back to get the trap. Which is exactly what happens.
How could this have happened? How could Tina and Laura swim out to retrieve something, only to return without it? It’s pretty incredible, especially considering what you do not see on the show. After Jeff Probst gives the tribes the quick instructions at the top of a challenge and says, “I’ll give you a couple of moments to strategize,” here’s what actually goes down. All the cameras — and there are a hell of a lot of them — go and reset to get in proper positioning for filming the challenge. While that happens, Probst and challenge producer John Kirhoffer walk each tribe individually through all aspects of the challenge. If there are knots or hooks that need to be undone underwater, they may even show you pictures of them so you know what to look out for. And, they answer questions. If you are unsure of a particular element of a challenge, you can ask and they will clarify.
Not only that, but there is also a person from the CBS standards and practices department listening in to every word on a headset. If Probst tells something to one tribe and somehow forgets to mention it to the other, this S&P person jumps in and alerts the host so that both tribes have equal information. This most often might happen if someone on one tribe asks a question, so Probst explains it to them, and then has to go back to the other tribe to make sure they get the same extra information. All of this is a long convoluted way of explaining that Tina and Laura really, really blew it on this one. Not only did they have the quick on-air Probst challenge instructions, but they also had the much more in-depth walk through and yet still managed to mess it up. So how could it have happened? Read my weekly Q&A with Probst to see the host’s take on the critical error.
However, shockingly, once they get to the puzzle portion of the challenge, Tina and Monica make a huge comeback. Not only is this fantastic because it adds some much needed tension to the proceedings, but it also leads to my absolute favorite thing in the entire world: awkward and unwarranted celebrations. To me, because I have a warped sense of humor, there is nothing better than watching some guy who has just scored a touchdown prance and preen and do some bizarre celebration dance that he has clearly choreographed and rehearsed waaaay too many times in the mirror, only to realize about halfway through said celebration dance that there is a penalty flag lying on the ground about 30 yards behind him and he has, in fact, not scored anything at all. This leads to the three best stages of unwarranted celebration: 1) Confusion: Wait, I didn’t just do something completely awesome? 2) Embarrassment: How can I get out of this celebration gracefully without looking like a complete jackass? 3) Resignation: I guess I need to just get over it and go try it again.
The only thing more glorious than an unwarranted celebration is…TWO unwarranted celebrations! The Galang tribe goes back-to-back, jumping up and down twice and squealing in victorious delight, only to twice be told by Probst that their puzzle is actually wrong. DOH! The time lost while hugging and celebrating allows Tadhana’s Aras and Tyson to finally finish their puzzle and take home immunity, avoiding one of the most epic collapses in Survivor history. “Wow!” says Probst and I could not agree more.
NEXT: Kat opens her mouth. Not a good idea.