Survivor recap: Agony of Da Feet

The contestants must balance the pain of balancing on their feet with their desire for immunity as two players are sent out of the game
Ep. 12 | Aired May 1, 2013

TRIANGLE OF DOOM Reynold's last hope rested atop some weird birdhouse-looking structure

Greg Gayne/CBS

And now the shirtless Cochran gets to compete in another immunity challenge, even if it is one he stands no chance at all of winning. I say that because it seems practically impossible for any man to win a Survivor challenge that involves perching your feet on narrow footholds. Obviously smaller women have smaller feet, so they have an inherent advantage. In recent seasons contestants have not carried the same weight in strength challenges — due to the inherent advantage that gives stronger males — but rather the same percentage of their body weight, meaning everyone has an equal shot. In the interest of complete fairness then, shouldn’t the challenge producers have the size of the footholds depend on the size of each contestant’s feet? Judging by the fact that — SPOILER ALERT! — the two smallest women would go on to last hours longer than anyone else in this one would seem to lend credence to that suggestion. Anyway, I asked Jeff Probst about this very topic and you can read his response in our weekly Q&A.

So the contestants must balance out in the water with bare feet perched on the aforementioned narrow footholds, moving them up to higher footholds at regular intervals.  The winner not only gets immunity, but also gets reward “in the form of information in this game,” according to Probst. (Translation from producers: Please find the hidden immunity idol we were all praying Malcolm would uncover yesterday.)

After a gratuitous camera angle straight up Reynold’s bathing suit (Translation from producers: Malcolm may be gone, ladies, but look closely and you may catch a glimpse of “Little Reynold!”), we are off and another immunity challenge has begun. This one is really crucial for Eddie because if he doesn’t win he could be…wait, where’s Eddie? I don’t see him balancing on his weird birdhouse-like structure. Hold on, what is he doing over on that dock eating donuts? The challenge just began for crissakes!

Considering that Eddie does not have a strategic bone in his entire body, you would figure that now would be the time where I would blast him for giving up that soon for breakfast sweets. But as I said, I didn’t really believe any of the guys stood a chance in this one. Not saying I would have quit. But if you’re going to quit, it may as well be in something you can’t possibly win. But I will do something rather unique for this season: I will give credit to Erik. He knew the only two people who absolutely could not win the idol were Reynold and Eddie, so he basically sacrificed himself by peer pressuring Eddie to join him for the donuts and milk.

15 minutes later, and Cochran jumps down for hot dogs and soda, exclaiming “My thighs are about to burst.” (The less I know about Cochran’s bursting thighs the better.) His alliance members don’t seem too thrilled with the move, but again, is he really going to win this thing? It’s one thing to be tempted by food. It’s another to hold on just long enough to get something before falling off. Later, the remaining players move to the top of the platform, being instructed by Probst “No hands, no butt,” which also sounds vaguely like the name of a Sir Mix-a-Lot song, but perhaps I am mistaken. Sherri and Dawn soon fall, leaving Reynold to do various one-legged gymnastics until he too drops off.

NEXT: Andrea and Brenda don’t break the rules; they make the rules

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