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Episode Two – “Survivor Season Two”

There was a definite theme in Thursday night’s episode of “Survivor,” and that theme was without question food.

And lack thereof.

From the outset, eating was the priority, and Kucha tribesman Mike easily let hunger go to his head. As an apparent “treat,” he concocted a milky rice breakfast for his brethren — only to have every Kucha member cringe at the taste of his delicacy. This put into question Mike’s ability to lead the tribe and tipped the scales against him.

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Well fed or not, both tribes were subjected to a grueling Reward Challenge, in which all members were forced to jump 30 feet from a cliff into the Herbert River and swim down fierce rapids to win a valued prize: two warm blankets. Kucha tribesman Rodger — who had never swam in his life — impressively took the plunge, tread some water and won the respect of fellow members. The Ogakor, however, won the blankets.

Next came another food debacle, as tense Ogakor members accused former soldier Kel of stealing beef jerky and consuming it behind their backs. Kel of course denied the claim, saying he’d simply been eating a blade of grass, but suspicion quickly turned to hatred and Kel became the target of criticism of most Ogakor tribesmen.

Fittingly, the climactic Immunity Challenge dealt with one theme only: food. Castaways were subjected to eating a foul Outback dish — ranging from cow brain to mangrove worm to grub larvae — and vegetarian Kimmi refused to consume any part of a mammal. Luckily for Kimmi, though, rival Tina vomited out her helping of tripe, forcing the Challenge to a tiebreaker.

In the tiebreaker, Kimmi and Tina were to eat an entire mangrove worm — over a foot long — and though Tina made a fine attempt, desperate Kimmi slurped it down like a champ.

The Kucha finally won something.

As the Ogakor entered their first Tribal Council, tension intensified. Though Kel seemed to be the obvious choice for banishment, many Ogakor feigned to favor bossy Jerri for expulsion. Feigned, that is.

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When it came down to voting, however, the Ogakor proved to be crafty, manipulative and two-faced: Jerri is given only one vote; Kel receives the rest.

He’s history.

(By the way, in case you’re wondering, “Survivor” beat “Friends” in the ratings in this first week of their Thursday rivalry. “Survivor” scored a 17.1 rating, while “Friends” pulled in a close 16.6 rating, according to Nielsen Media Research.)

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