‘Survivor’ knocks two

Fame, fortune. . .Jedi crave not these things.

An inspired bit of trickery from the Skywalker-esque Jed Mularski ’02 in the Immunity Challenge condemned the Arla Tribe to a third consecutive defeat on this week’s episode of “Take Our Word For It Survivor: Ben’s House.” Compounding the defeat was the special “twist” promised last week by host Topher Goggin ’02 – this was a two-for-one week, and the losing Arla tribe was forced to dump two of its members during Tribal Council.

The episode began in a familiar fashion, with the jovial Pencer Tribe and Brooks Foehl ’88 kicking off the episode with their adopted tribal anthem, the FCC-preferred version of George Carlin’s “Seven Dirty Words.” After the bleeping had finished, Goggin and co-presenters Mark Robertson ’02 and Ben Chaffee ’02 began catching up with the tribes to discuss the results of last week’s action, beginning with the diminutive Pencer frosh Rachael Seltman ’05.

Unbeknownst to all, while Seltman was off waxing poetic about Pencer harmony, her brethren were busy talking about her behind her back, with the gossipy charge led by Drew “The Regurgitator” Newman ’04. Telling a story that has since been contested by Seltman in an online affidavit, Newman perhaps managed to chip away at the Pencer unity, eliciting negative responses from Urban Jedi Society co-president Mularski – a gaffe that may cost the salubrious Newman when Tribal Council rolls around.

Things appeared to be inverted in the Arla den as the tribe – the losers of two consecutive Immunity Challenges – were able to take their minds off the game for a moment to discuss the long-distance running prospects of water polo star Pat “PayKo” McCurdy ’02. Desiring to run a marathon, PayKo was told by Terri O’Brien ’02 that the answers could be found within the Reading Rainbow.

In fact, if their response to this week’s Tree Mail poems is any indication, all the Survivors could probably use some help from LeVar Burton. As in the television version of the show, a cryptic, clue-filled invitation in the tribes’ mailboxes signals the onset of an impending Immunity Challenge. Unfortunately, neither the Arlas nor the Pencers were even able to read their poem correctly, with the Arlas going out of order, and the Pencers “butchering theirs completely” in the words of the show’s website. I mean, you’d expect that from a Middlebury “Survivor,” but not here.

Luckily, both tribes managed to make it to the Challenge, where they were informed by Goggin about the foreshadowed twist: the losers of the Challenge would have to vote two of their members “off the island,” rather than the usual one. Naturally, Ari Schoenholtz ’05 and the Arla gang saw this as a way to even up the numbers, while Newman and the Pencer bunch were optimistic about their chances of further humiliating their opponents.

The Challenge itself was a relatively straightforward game of “Capture the Immunity Idol,” with flag football-style belts replacing tagging, and a random player removed from the game every two minutes to encourage a fast-paced contest. Unable to utilize their numerical superiority, the Pencers were forced to sit two players during the contest, choosing speed over the experience of Newman and the presence of Seltman. Straight off, that choice appeared to pay dividends as Foehl caught O’Brien on the wrong side of the line, sending her to the penalty box and the Pencers to the power play.

A rare bit of luck for the Arlas ensued, as Goggin drew the names of both Foehl and O’Brien from the hat, temporarily evening the on-field lineups. A mistake by Schoenholtz on the break saw his belt ripped away by Julia Karoly ’03. The clock then eliminated Karoly and PayKo from contention, and a quick exchange saw the Arla’s Brandi Brown ’04 stripped by Kate Leonard ’03. James “Big Dog” Kingsley ’02 then banished Shamus Brady ’04 to the box. On his lonesome, the Big Dog was fooled into trying a solo run for the Idol; a Jedi mind trick from Mularski caused Kingsley to forget that the Pencer partisan had never crossed the midway line, and the competitor was able to grab the “flag” and return home to victory.

The Arla council broke down in a shocking fashion, as the senior alliance of PayKo and the Big Dog both cast their votes for Schoenholtz, while the tandem of Schoenholtz and Brown opted to target PayKo. O’Brien’s swing vote was wasted on Brown, and with two votes apiece, two of the livelier personas on “TOWFI: Survivor” were unceremoniously sent packing. With their final words, Ari wished his mates good luck, while PayKo, true to form, went off to “drink some beers.”

Will the Pencer Tribe entirely avoid the dark side of the force? Or will the Arla Empire strike back? Tune in this Thursday at 9 p.m. to WCFM 91.9 to find out.