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HUGGING IT OUT Brenda’s fatal flaw was winning the loved ones challenge in the first place
As predicted, Cochran is now worried more about Brenda than before because of her kindhearted gesture. “Likability is a liability,” he says. Her only chance may now be to also win immunity. Speaking of which, the immunity challenge is another endurance contest as the contestants must stand on a ledge over the water while holding a handle behind their backs. The rope from the handle is connected to a winch. When Probst cranks it, the players get closer to the water and will be carrying more of their own weight. Last one to hold on wins.
Once again, Eddie and Cochran offer commentary during the challenge that is recorded after the fact and I can’t tell you how much I really, really hate that. It’s a dumbed down device that’s been employed for years by Big Brother in an attempt to hammer you over the head with the stakes in case it wasn’t already completely obvious.
Just a few minutes into the competition and Erik is already asking for food to jump in for, but none will be forthcoming. Cochran is the first to fall in, followed by Eddie and Erik, leaving just the women. Of course, Sherri drops first, leading to a Dawn vs. Brenda duel — curious in that they were the only two players who did not get the food refueling at the reward feast. What follows is a confusing sequence in which Dawn asks Brenda to let her win, Brenda says no, Brenda falls in, and then Brenda insinuates that she jumped in on purpose because Dawn was paranoid and needed to be kept happy. It is unclear if that is, in fact, true, or some phony baloney Phillip Sheppard type boasting, but if it is true, Brenda will be regretting that decision until the end of time (along with pretty much any decision involving Dawn).
“I think it’s a straightforward vote tonight,” says Brenda, who also reiterates her desire to take out Cochran next, but Cochran is one step ahead of her, targeting her now instead of Eddie. Well, good news for him because Sherri — who has been pretty much invisible since the merge — is thinking the exact same thing. All that’s left is to get Dawn on board, and I’ve already laid out all the reasons why she shouldn’t be.
So off we go to what has to be the worst Tribal Council of all time, if for no other reason than Reynold has gone and shaved off his ‘70s porn stache. After Brenda talks about how it was okay to lose to Dawn, the entire thing turns into a sea of deception with Dawn and Sherri going on about what an incredible strategic move it was by Brenda to give up her loved ones visit. “I would think that the long term on that is going to be a benefit in her game,” fibs Dawn. “Everybody is looking at Brenda as a saint,” lies Sherri. You just couldn’t do anything to her right now.” Okay, how about in, like, five minutes then?
Probst goes to count the votes, and as if on cue from Mark Burnett’s magical weather machine, the thunder and rain begins. Ohhhh, there’s a storm brewing alright. All hell starts to break loose after the second vote for Brenda is read. Malcolm grabs half of the jury in anticipation of the blindside to come, and when the third and deciding vote for Brenda is announced, the former black widow from Nicaragua is crestfallen. “I was honest with you guys,” she says while standing. “I was genuine with you guys.” Probst then snuffs her torch. “It hurts,” she whimpers while crying as she walks down into the cold, blue light of death.
NEXT: Who will win? Plus: The season rankings begin!