In the “can’t take your eyes off the crazy” that was  Tribal Council last week, I seriously had not noticed that Katie wore a formal red dress to Tribal. I’m trying to picture what goes through your mind when you’re getting ready to go to TC – hmm, not the little black dress … ah yes! This red dress that I wore to pageant, that’s it!

Katie is going to need more than a little color to cheer herself up, because with both Dawson and Dana out of the game, she’s lost her only allies in the Kalabaw tribe. Even newcomer Denise has been accepted into the Boy’s Club of Jeff Kent, Carter and Jonathan Penner, leaving Katie on her own. So far, Katie’s only ploy to stay in the game is to cast doubt on Jonathan. Does he have the idol?

On Tandang, the tribe realizes that they’re running very low on rice. Apparently Mike Skupin has been snacking on the dry rice. Artis and Pete feel that Mike has literally eaten them out of house and home. Abi prefers to whine that they don’t dare even split a cup of rice before the challenge, or there will be nothing for the next day. The situation is dire, indeed.

So the Reward Challenge is a very big deal. Jeff Probst is there to welcome the tribes to a gigantic mud puddle, where teams of three players will try to push an enormous wicker ball into their own goal. Like mud wrestling, only less sexy. The winning tribe will be taken to a dry hut for sandwiches, soup, potato chips, and brownies. Everyone literally salivates at Jeff’s description.

RC and Artis are asked to sit out, to even the teams.  In the first round, Lisa, Pete and Mike go against Jonathan, Carter and Denise.  It’s no holds barred as Pete takes down Carter, and Lisa wrangles Denise, leaving Mike and Jonathan to try and goal the ball. Everyone is a muddy mess in no time, making it even harder to get a grip on the opponent. But they can’t seem to move the ball – it’s a deadlock.

Lisa shows her strength as she holds Denise back. Probst says, “This is a Survivor challenge – old school!”  I’m just waiting for - and there it is. Jonathan Penner reaches under and grabs Mike Skupin’s ‘tackle.’ According to Probst, this is a very intimate way to play the game, but totally legal. Snicker.  

Mike sits on Jonathan’s head, forcing him face down in the mud. Lisa has Denise in a wrestling hold, and Pete and Carter are stalled. It’s a full lockdown. No one can move. After an hour where nothing much happens, Probst asks Jonathan and Mike what they plan to do to break the tie.  Jonathan wants to make a deal; they’ll concede to Mike if Tandang gives them all of their remaining rice. Kalabaw will get the feast, but have nothing to eat after that.

Jonathan says that they have a boat and a spear, so they’ll take their chances. Probst says they have to wrangle out their own deal, otherwise the game goes on. Abi tells Artis, on the sidelines, that he needs to choose, as it’s his birthday.  Artis says he wants to win. He doesn’t want to give up anything.  Probst outlines the deal – Kalabaw is asking for the victory and the reward, in exchange for Tandang’s rice. Everyone but Artis seems happy to agree with those terms. The challenge is ended, and Kalabaw are declared the winners.

Probst asks Jeff if he understands what their team has given up, and Jeff admits that the situation may be tricky, with the constant rain. They’ll have one good meal, and then have to depend on what they can bring in through fishing.