Back in the land of the lost and the loony, Bikal is reliving tribal council. Corrine is upset that she "had" to vote off Matt, and Michael, who had an alliance with Matt from the beginning, is playing it cool and hoping to gain friends.

He's already made one -- Corrine, who likes to tell us how much she loves playing with gays. We're hoping that she means playing the game with gay people, but at this point, who knows. She tells Michael that she wants to vote Phillip off and that he, Michael, just needs to stay frosty.

Phillip is upset that Corrine is chatting with Michael, and he wants her gone. Cochran tries to talk some sense into Phillip -- good luck with the Cochran -- saying it will send a confusing message to their former tribemates who are now on the other team. It could bite them after the merge.

Phillip wants Corrine gone, before the merge, and it's important that Cochran know that Phillip does not like Corrine. Allrighty then.

The next day brings tree-mail and the warning that the strong must carry the weak. Phillip says fine, if it involves upper body strength, he's got this thing won. He then gives a lecture on body building. Stealth body building. He does body building in such a way that his powerful, rippling muscles don't show beneath the flab.

To prove it, he arm wrestles with Cochran, beats him and brims with confidence. Too bad the challenge isn't arm wrestling.

Reward challenge


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Instead, the players of each team are tied together and must carry 20 pounds of weight on a forced water march/chase. Members can opt out of the march when they get too tired, but they have to pass their 20-pound bags to another person. The tribes start at opposite ends of an oval and try to catch the other team. It's a challenge we've seen before, and it is deceptively difficult.

Jeff Probst comments that Bikal has put its oldest guy in front while Gota has it's strongest. Phillip leads his team in a rousing walk, refusing to run because he says it will "tire the girls." And when Phillip has to take on everyone else's weight, he'll be too tired to carry it. So they walk while Gota trots. You do the math.

When Phillip falls, Gota quickly closes the small gap and tags him. Just like that, Bikal loses and Phillip never took on another ounce. Dawn tells her tribe it's not a big deal. Gota will pig out and get sick, make them weaker for the challenge that really matters.

And she may be right. Gota tribe is getting buzzed on coffee and danish. Malcolm loves everyone. Reynold thinks life is to be enjoyed. Everything is good with Gota.

Back at Bikal, Phillip thinks they are going to tribal council to vote someone out. He's happy when they explain that no, this was not a stealth immunity challenge, but a reward one. However Corrine already is campaigning to get rid of Phillip, whenever they do go to tribal next, which is likely sooner rather than later.

Cochran thinks it's a mistake, and he'd like to vote off Julia, who is sort of a nonentity in the game. He is tempted to describe her as vanilla, but thinks that would be an insult to the flavor. Nobody is seeking out Julia, except Phillip, who we see giving Julia her secret agent mission, which is to survive until the merge, return to her original alliance as a double-agent, and report weaknesses to Phillip and only Phillip.

Julia may be vanilla, but she's not stupid vanilla. She thinks it might be a good idea to get rid of Phillip.

It's sort of just as crazy at Gota, where Reynold is so anxious to be on the winning alliance that he is over-sharing with Malcolm. He tells Malcolm that he can be trusted and to prove it, Reynold spills that he has a hidden immunity idol. Malcolm, who also has an idol, doesn't share that little fact with his new bud.

Malcolm is giddy, believing he is about to take control of the game. We worry when players talk like this. It almost always ends with the once happy control-taker heading to Loser Lodge with an idol in his pocket. But because we think it's unlikely Gota will be going to tribal council anytime in the near future, we celebrate with Malcolm and tempt the fates.

Back at Bikal, Vanilla shows a little spice and suggests to Dawn that maybe they overthrow Phillip. She tells Dawn that Phillip told her he really wants to work with her, and she's OK with that, but still.

Dawn reports to Phillip that Vanilla clued her in on what Phillip had said. Phillip says Julia has created lots of "foo pops" and now she is dead to him.

Immunity challenge

But now it is time for the challenge. This one requires three tribe members rowing out a platform and diving in to retrieve a statue. They have to get it in the boat and row back, then put the statue in a tower. Next, one person will use a grappling hook to retrieve rings with keys from the beach. The keys unlock a ramp, which allows the tribe to pull their statue to the top and raise a flag.

Gota starts off great, but Bikal catches up, briefly. Phillip tosses the hooks for Bikal while Reynold does the honors for Gota, and this is really where Bikal loses it. Reynold builds on the lead and retrieves all five keys while Phillip had three. It's back to tribal council for Phillip and his stealth alliance.

Back at camp, Phillip takes Cochran aside and confesses that he deliberately threw the challenge because he wants to vote Julia off. Uh, yeah, we're believing this. He then describes himself as a lion who kills all of the cubs, and that's what he's doing.

There are four Favorites and two Fans left on Bikal, so the Favorites want to split the vote in order to flush out the idol. Corrine doesn't want to. She wants everyone to vote for Julia and Michael they like him, they really like him. Phillip says no, no, no. And he has spoken.

Tribal council

Bikal heads off to tribal council, otherwise known as another opportunity for Phillip to pontificate.

Probst picks up on the tension between the Favorites. Is it about a disagreement on who to vote off? Yes indeed. Dawn says the conflict is OK as long as they stay committed to their goal.

Michael says he wants to get to the vote. He wanted to get to the vote once they got back from the challenge because he can't stand waiting to see what's going to happen.

Probst ends the misery by sending them to the ballot box. Jeff tallies, no hidden idol is played, and the votes are read -- three for Michael and three for Julia, leading to a tie and revote. Michael and Julia don't vote, and this time we say farewell to the dish of Vanilla.

With a snuff of a torch, the race car driver heads to Loser Lodge.

Next time: There is a merge and oh dear, a challenge that involves eating disgusting food.