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Gameverse: Survivor: Generic Tropical Island

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On the first day contestants arrive at Generic Tropical Island and are sorted into their pre-determined tribes: Lolwut and Trololo.

For the sake of making things interesting, we are assuming that they do know each other beforehand and are bringing in all their personal baggage. This does mean that some people will be quite happy to be on the same tribe, some will be horrified at the thought of spending all that time with some other player, and yet others will be most horrified at realizing they're currently in direct competition with someone on the other tribe.

At this point, your obnoxiously cheerful host—Kurt Hummel—gives each tribe a map to their own beach, which is far enough away from the other tribe's that they will only come into contact at challenges. (Where they are not allowed to mingle.) Why is he obnoxiously cheerful? Well, after they all trek off through the jungle to do battle with the elements, he gets taken back to his crew camp with an air-conditioned bungalow, catering, and a feather pillow.


On that first day everyone will have two main tasks: prepare the camp (particularly constructing a shelter, as it rains frequently overnight) and begin to work on the social game. Alliances might be formed on the first day. People will begin to feel each other out and make friends and enemies inside the game.

On the second day, some rounds will contain a reward challenge. For this first round, the reward challenge is being rolled into the immunity challenge. This gives people the second day to improve their shelter, hunt for food, make alliances, etc. (So, be sure to discuss who you think would group up!)

On the morning of the third day, tribes compete in their first Immunity Challenge. The winning tribe will be safe from elimination. The losing tribe is destined for Tribal Council, where they will be forced to vote out the first player in the game.

Challenge Description

(Note: I am using pre-existing challenges for everything because 1) it makes it ever so much easier on me and 2) an explanation is much clearer with a video!)

Tribes are faced with a long stretch of sand divided into many sections. In each round, two people from each tribe race to the chosen section and start digging to find one buried bag. When the bag is found, both tribes attempt to be the one who return the bag to the mat for their tribe. The pairings are balanced: two women will face off against two women, two men against two men, or a mixed pair against a mixed pair. People will likely go multiple times.

First tribe to three points wins. It sounds simple. But as you can see from the video, the no-holds-barred playstyle of this challenge lead to some down-and-dirty fighting.

Do not vote for which tribe has more of your favorites in it. Vote for which tribe, based on its composition, you think would win this challenge.

The winning tribe, along with immunity, will also win flint for making fire. The losing tribe will still have to rely on catching rainwater in their pots. While they will get water, it might not be as much as they'd like.

The next poll: whichever tribe loses is destined for Tribal Council, and will have to choose one member of their tribe to vote out.


(The original discussion thread can be seen here:

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Both tribes arrive at the challenge field. Kurt, looking snazzy but ridiculously impractical in a sage green jacket, white shirt, and grey pants from Bottega Veneta's 2011 resort collection, greets them. (I promised you he wouldn't be in khaki.)

Lolwut listens to an inspirational speech from Shannon Beiste encouraging them to work together as a team, keep their heads high, and set the tone for a game full of fair play and best efforts.

Sue Sylvester tells Trololo to rip off that other tribe's kneecaps.

After the explanation given yesterday concludes, the challenges begins. First tribe to three points is victorious.

First round: Women on women. When Trololo appears to be sending up Sue and Lauren for the first round, Lolwut quickly decides to keep their physically strongest players in reserve and give them this point. Santana and Tina attempt to lock their arms around Lauren and stop her from crossing the finish line. They are not successful. Sue stands back and watches, cackling like a Captain Planet villain.


Second round: Men on men. Both tribes again decide to keep some strength in reserve for later rounds, when they might need to pull something out of a hat, but they don't give things away like the first round. Lolwut chooses Burt and Jesse while Trololo picks Mike and Blaine. Burt keeps his attention on Mike, as he knows he could stop the guy but would never be able to catch him if he slips past. The two less physical players, meanwhile, keep searching for the bag... or at least, Blaine does. Jesse takes the chance to sneak up behind him, lunge onto his back, and get him in a face-down hold in the sand. When Mike goes to pry Jesse off so Blaine can breathe, Burt finds the bag and makes it back to the finish line. Blaine is left wondering what the hell he got into, as he was expecting a rather charming expedition along the lines of Swiss Family Robinson's treehouse. Shannon is Very Distraught that her fair play message went unheeded. Jesse and Santana high-five.


Third round: When Kurt finally stops praising that unbelievably spectacular run by his father (occasionally throwing in a few insults toward Jesse's hair and personal grooming habits), he introduces the teams for this next, mixed round: Finn and Mercedes versus Puck and Rachel. Rachel immediately takes it upon herself to distract Finn, having decided that his long limbs give him a very unfair advantage in this race that relies upon both digging and running. She attempts to latch onto him like a koala on a branch. Finn, perplexed, holds her away from him with both hands on her shoulders; she swings her fists ineffectively in the space between them. Then Mercedes finds the bag, Finn somewhat-gently shoves Rachel aside in his rush to help Mercedes get away from Puck, and the two-on-one quickly sees Finn take the bag and sprint to the Lolwut mat. Rachel shouts after Finn that she'll remember that; he stammers back that she landed on sand! Sand! It's soft! Upon the conclusion to the round, Jesse finally gets the chance to tell Kurt that it's just a little hard to keep up with personal grooming in a camp with no running water. Kurt archly replies that that's no excuse.


Fourth round: Back to women on women. Shannon steps up for the first time for Lolwut while Mercedes takes her second round. Although Brittany has yet to run, Sue makes a second attempt with Quinn at her side. Shannon stands back, ready to block either Trololo player if they make a run with the bag. And there's no question that she'll be able to block Quinn when she finds the bag and starts running... except that Sue, right as planned, just happens to kick through the sand in a way that sends it into Mercedes' face. Shannon runs to check that damaging amounts of sand didn't make it into Mercedes' eyes and Quinn has a free path to the mat. Kurt, frowning, says he'll have to check the rulebooks. Sue said she already did, and holds out a passage saying accidental sand-kicking cannot be prosecuted. No one knows where she pulled the rulebook from.


Final round: Men on men. Both teams send up who they're convinced are their physically strongest men: Finn and Sam versus Puck and Mike. As it's practically like a football scrimmage, they naturally fall into listening to Shannon when she yells to keep things clean and not to pull any of that crap like last round. (Maybe they fear somehow being forced to do wind sprints.) And so, rather than one dramatic move, it's a long road back to the mat of sweaty, muscular boys climbing all over each other. Kurt pretty much stops announcing the progression of the game and just tilts his head, smiling. They wind up struggling right between the mats. When Finn's foot slips just a bit on the sand, like they've done all the way there, Mike and Puck happen to be in perfect position to capitalize. They lunge for the Trololo mat and score.


Lolwut is headed for Tribal Council. Trololo gets immunity and flint for their fire.

Despite this, Brittany leaves the challenge area convinced she's being eliminated that night because she never got a chance to compete.

Now it's time to choose who will be voted out at the first Tribal Council of the game. Challenge performance in this first setup is only one thing to consider: they also have to anticipate other challenges, take the social game into consideration, etc. Some considerations people might use to vote: whether they have a particularly good or bad history with a player, whether a player brings something to the table in challenges (strength, leadership, flexibility, speed, etc.), whether a player is useful in camp life, whether a player is a known quantity or could make unpredictable moves, and whether a player is just irritating.

Also, in this post you should really be sure to speculate on camp life. Who's being helpful? Who's dead weight? Who's liked, who's seen as a leader, who's forming alliances?

Because remember, when you vote: don't vote for your least favorite to be eliminated. Vote for who the majority of the characters would vote to eject.

(The original discussion thread can be seen here:

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There are many things on Lolwut's mind as they return to camp: displeasure at being the first ones to lose. Guilt over not having played as well as they might have liked. For Finn and Sam, they are particularly grumpy about having lost to Puck and Mike. Burt's irritated that he lost in front of Kurt, but does figure that every time he has to go to Tribal, well, at least he'll see him. Shannon wants to figure out how to coach them toward a better performance. Tina and Mercedes realize they might be on the chopping block, as does Jesse.

Santana makes a few feelers toward putting together an alliance but quickly determines that there's too much bad blood toward Jesse St. James. She investigates a few possible bootees in perfectly innocent ways. No, Finn tells her; Burt 100% passed any medical checkup and he's as fine as anyone out here. But it's super-nice of her to be concerned! No, Sam tells her; he knows he kinda has this rivalry with Finn and all, but they need strong players, right? Hell no, Mercedes tells her; Tina could have both her feet cut off and she'd still keep her over Jesse, whether or not Jesse's decently athletic.

Fair enough. Her vague thought of allying with a schemer dies on the runway. At Tribal, it's a bloodbath. Jesse's booted out unanimously; he throws his vote toward Finn just because he can. But before this, Kurt grills them on camp life. Although they try to talk about how well people are getting along and how nice a job they think they've done with their shelter, he keeps asking with horror if there are really spiders and snakes and mosquitos. And they're really drinking rainwater? From the sky? Not from a faucet?

You guys? I think Kurt might not be a totally good match for this setting.

With Jesse as the first contestant voted out of the game, we proceed to the next round. And... Kurt tells them to take the fires on their torches back with them to camp, meaning Lolwut does have a fire, if not a reliable source of it just yet. Game, every time you make a big deal about winning flint and then give the losers fire from their torches, it's just weird.

We're once again combining reward/immunity, because I am not quite ready to bump up to two challenges per round just yet.

Trololo conveniently arrives first, and so is there to see the new Lolwut tribe walk to their mat. Kurt, looking quite dapper in an entirely inappropriate way in a John Varvatos combo, announces that Jesse was in fact the first person voted out of the game, much to Trololo's general delight. Then he holds up a battery-powered personal fan. The plausibility of his outfit increases at least a tiny bit.
Challenge Description
Seven members play per team, meaning that Trololo must choose one member to sit out.

One player is the "caller," who sits on an elevated perch and shouts instructions to his or her tribe. The other players, in three groups of two, are blindfolded and wait to be directed around a large field in search of oversized puzzle pieces. Once all puzzle pieces have been returned to the starting point, all players on that tribe may remove their blindfolds and begin work on assembling the puzzle.

For challenges with a long history, I'll point out emergent trends that might help you figure out a victor. Historically, both parts have been very important in winning. Clear directions are needed from the caller, who must figure out how to give directions without relying on sight and be able to juggle three blind teams at once. If tribes are unable to work together to figure out the puzzle, that will also obviously hurt them. Typically, winning tribes in this challenge have one leader emerge with a clear sense of spatial awareness for how the parts would fit together. Tribes who don't have that skill, or who might have that skill but don't listen to the person, flop.

(This sort of spatial puzzle is otherwise known as "Boston Rob's Eternal Victory Lap.")

Do not vote for which tribe has more of your favorites in it. Vote for which tribe, based on its composition, you think would win this challenge.

The winning tribe, along with immunity, will also win a tarp for improving their shelter. If Lolwut wins, they'll also get a flint for reliable firestarting.

Kurt, frowning, declares that these rewards have been terrible and promises them something much better in the next round.

(Original discussion thread:

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(We are rolling right along! Next round I will add in a reward challenge that comes before the immunity challenge. As people have noted in the comments: we have a hiatus coming up, so we might as well get as much enjoyment out of this process as we can.

And yes, the rewards are going to be very, very Kurt from now on. No more flint. No more tarps.

Every player: "But we like flint and tarps!"

Kurt: "Don't be ridiculous, of course you don't.")

It's time for Trololo to pick the player who sits out. Sue has once again decided she's in command, so she demands that two people prove their worth in this challenge to her: Rachel and Brittany. For Rachel, she's concerned that she won't be strong enough to carry the puzzle pieces. Rachel starts telling her about the ballet recital she was once in where, due to a shocking outbreak of head lice at her ballet school that she was clean and careful enough not to catch, they lost much of their cast for a production and she was asked to lift another dancer. Granted, it was only an inch and they were both ten at the time, but—

Sue doesn't care.

Next, Brittany covers her eyes with her hands and attempts to follow Sue's orders. Sue tells her to turn left. She stands still. Sue tells her to turn right. She stands still. Finally, Sue asks Brittany what she's doing. Brittany replies that she felt like she was playing hide-and-go-seek and she wasn't supposed to move until she finished counting down from a hundred.

Fine. Berry's in.

The calling section begins with the two coaches giving orders. They both do well, given their national-level experience in telling people what to do. Shannon occasionally gets frustrated but then refocuses on suggestions they can use, while Sue asks them if they think this is hard? Volume-eating half-formed duck embryos, that's hard!

(Off to the side, while the other players are asking what the hell Sue's going on about, Kurt is flipping through his clipboards and wondering how she got challenge spoilers.)

They collect their puzzle pieces at roughly the same time and begin work. The green Lolwut cube assembles at a steady pace. Burt is able to rotate the pieces in his mind much like the components of an engine, and—most importantly—the tribe willingly lets him take the lead for directing their placement.

But it all goes to hell on Trololo.

Sue, convinced she should be the leader for all parts of this challenge (and all challenges, really), starts screaming orders at everyone. Quinn, who is used to the frontline role of fitting cheerleaders together into intricate poses, can visualize what they should do but only winds up arguing with Sue. Puck and Lauren get frustrated and shove pieces into place even though they don't fit. Blaine tries to politely pipe up with his opinions on how the pieces might fit together, but he can't bring himself to even try to shout over the epic struggles that are Quinn vs. Sue and Puck & Lauren vs. The Laws of Physics. Mike keeps getting turned around when he hears different orders from Sue and Quinn. And Rachel keeps looking over to the green cube and informing everyone that it's almost completed! We need to hurry! It's very important that we hurry!

Too late: Lolwut wins.

Trololo just fell completely apart because they had five different people all pushing to do things their own way while Mike and Rachel (sort of) desperately tried to make their plans work, Kurt informs them. That means the tribe that does not have his dad on it is headed for Tribal Council. ...Well, it's not like Jeff Probst avoids playing favorites.

Now it's time to choose who will be voted out at the second Tribal Council of the game. Challenge performance in this setup is only one thing to consider: they also have to anticipate other challenges, take the social game into consideration, etc. Some considerations people might use to vote: whether they have a particularly good or bad history with a player, whether a player brings something to the table in challenges (strength, leadership, flexibility, speed, etc.), whether a player is useful in camp life, whether a player is a known quantity or could make unpredictable moves, and whether a player is just irritating.

Also, in this post you should really be sure to speculate on camp life. Who's being helpful? Who's dead weight? Who's liked, who's seen as a leader, who's forming alliances?

Because remember, when you vote: don't vote for your least favorite to be eliminated. Vote for who the majority of the characters would vote to eject.

(Original discussion thread:

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(If you were wondering: I determine the tone of the write-ups from two things. First, the voting distribution. The first IC was pretty close and so they had to perform somewhat evenly. In this one, a tribe got trounced on the numbers and so they fell completely apart while competing. Jesse was the obvious goat in Lolwut and so he got all their votes. Etc., etc. Beyond that, I also freely steal ideas I see in the comments, or at least take kernels of them and expand them into setups that I've seen more frequently on the show. So keep talking. :) I am leaving alliances pretty open, btw, until more of a consensus is reached in the comments.)

Sue Sylvester just lost at something.

That's all you need to know about the mood back at camp.

No one is happy with anyone. That challenge was a reflection of their interpersonal dynamics and it exploded in their faces. When Lolwut went to Tribal, Trololo spent that night preening over their obvious superiority. The only thing Lolwut has is being nice to each other, right? And that's a liability in this game. But no: they were able to carry those puzzle pieces just as fast as Trololo, they were able to work together to win a challenge, and they still seem happy.

They could just punch Lolwut.

Well, not Mike or Brittany, who sigh and go to tend the fire and prepare some plantains from the small bunch they found. And not Blaine and Rachel, who decide the best possible strategy is to give everyone a pep talk identifying their weaknesses and listing plans of attack to correct these weaknesses for the future.

(It... doesn't go over well.)

But the rest of them, man. Between their loss and the irritating 'helpful advice?' Yeah. They could do some punching.

The two advice-givers earn a lot of glares from their tribe, which isn't a good plan right before Tribal. They get to discussing their possible contributions, and they're not much as far as they can see. They've just had two challenges where strength is key and neither did well. Rachel is the weakest person in the game and Blaine is the weakest male. Just look at the last two challenges, right? Lack of strength is unforgivable.

And then: Sue begins telling everyone exactly who to vote for. And a third option presents itself. Oh, it would be tempting to get rid of Sue Sylvester. Their camp life would be instantly more pleasant. But for that matter, it's tempting to get rid of Rachel Berry. And for that matter, it's tempting to get rid of that guy who no one really knows and who keeps giving advice that, so far, has lead to Brittany getting lost and the tribe almost being attacked by monkeys. Really, it's awful advice.

The tribe, unsurprisingly splintered, can't come to a decision. When they hit Tribal, Kurt nods a lot, looking very sad and serious, until he starts to pick up on who's feeling some threats from their tribe. He doesn't care so much about Sue, but... frowning, after letting them argue to their hearts' content, he calls for the vote. And in a 4-2-2 decision, out goes Blaine, shipped off to live with Jesse in the non-jury camp. Poor guy, although it could lead to some hilarious fic. Well, think of it this way: they can share tips for controlling curly hair in extreme humidity.

Kurt, glowering, grumbles at them to go back to their camp. He has plans to implement.

Just for the record, I'm expecting most Trololo Tribals to be about as entertaining as this clusterfuck that opened the current season.

And now, time for the third reward, and the first one of them to stand on its own rather than being paired with immunity!

Lolwut arrives at their mat, seven people strong. They wait to see who will be missing from Trololo's side to even up the numbers. It takes many of them a while to process who's missing, simply because they first checked for the people they're most used to seeing and it took them a second to process that Blaine was gone.


It sucks to be the new guy in this game.

Having confirmed the voting decision, Kurt looks between the two tribes, their remaining members, and considers the decisions they've made. In the seven remaining members of Lolwut: his father, stepbrother, and longtime bestie. In the seven remaining members of Trololo: ...not so much.

Well, like was said before, you can remember as Kurt's eyes narrow: it's not like Jeff Probst doesn't play shameless favorites.

Challenge Description

It's pretty straightforward: three-on-three basketball, set in the water. The gender composition will vary per round but will always be balanced. First tribe to three wins. And since this is Survivor, of course, you can fling yourself at other players, try to force them into the water, and basically do anything necessary to stop them.

(Randomly: expect to see a lot of Heroes vs. Villains challenges used here, simply because they're time-tested setups and because CBS has uploaded a ton of videos for recent seasons.)

With the challenge described, it's time to learn what they might win. Lolwut, very happy with their tarp keeping them dry, is looking forward to hearing about something to assist with keeping themselves fed. Trololo would like that or something similar to improve their shelter. That's all typical Survivor stuff, right?

And that's when Kurt describes a solar-powered, battery-reserve karaoke station and stage, pre-loaded with 300 songs of his selection.

After Kurt has announced the reward, he asks them if he thinks it's worth playing for. A good chunk of the players look at each other dubiously. Some members of Lolwut shrug and nod, figuring they're bored, it'd keep up morale, and there must be some songs on there that they'll like. Those who aren't overly excited about a karaoke machine just tell each other they'll keep amusing themselves with their beach games of coconut football.

Meanwhile, while the rest of her tribe looks on nervously, Rachel


Kurt's non-gameplay favoritism of Lolwut begins to take shape.


You can see the original discussion thread for this post here.

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(Sometimes I just pick and choose ideas from people. This time, I am totally ripping off a comment made by cccarioca.)

When Rachel absolutely loses her shit over the karaoke stage, Trololo looks beyond wary at the thought of her bringing it home to their camp. It's like some equation designed to construct a doomsday device: Rachel Berry plus nearly unlimited free time plus karaoke plus a Kurt Hummel-chosen songfest equals: apocalypse. All it takes is Brittany saying that she doesn't want to have to buy new eardrums to clue Sue in on what their camp life would be like if they win.

This is not a loss, she tells herself. It's a strategic retreat to win a war.

While Lolwut is amping themselves up, because there must be some songs on the playlist they'll enjoy and the basketball game itself should be enjoyable, Santana is the only one to note Trololo's unease. Oho. Oh my God, they're totally going to throw the game so they won't combine Rachel and the karaoke machine like the Gatekeeper and the Keymaster. And then Santana gets an idea. With a few quick words to the other students, she gets them on board for throwing the match themselves.

Shannon and Burt aren't exactly passionate about that reward, but they do generally want to win and play fair. That's why they're so confused when Sam bounces the ball off Finn's head and dramatically says, "Oops!" And when Santana keeps passing the ball to members of the other team on accident... who pass it right back to her. It's weird. If they didn't know any better, they'd almost say that no one is actually playing to win.

Except for Rachel.

Who is going after that basketball like it's the One Ring and she is a marvel of motion-capture 3D animation.

Essentially on her own, Rachel wins the reward challenge while everyone else on both tribes is actively trying to lose. She screams with so much pleasure that, months later when the editors are splicing the episode together for broadcast, they will look at each other a little uncomfortably and wonder if such an... orgasmic sound is appropriate for the show. No matter: Trololo has won the reward and the karaoke set will be waiting for them at their camp when they return. They'll be sure to enjoy their song options of Broadway hits, Disney classics, and female pop legends.


At least one of them will.

The next day Lolwut takes the mat first. They're pretty smiley, overall. Their coconut football games have been going well. Shannon's been drawing possible football plays in the sand and getting everyone's input, and she thinks she has some great ideas for next season.

And then Trololo walks in.

Their faces are those of people who have seen the gates of hell.

"So," Kurt smirks. "Enjoying your reward?"

"I think I lost my voice," Rachel croaks out just above a whisper.

"All night," Mike says in a daze. "All night."

"She made me hate Disney," Brittany says blankly. "The only other time I hated Disney was when someone told me that Pluto and Goofy are both dogs."

Sue rubs the bridge of her nose. "Focus, people."

As Kurt begins to explain the rules of their next challenge, Brittany continues that she just wants to know why Pluto can't walk and talk. It's so unfair.

Challenge Description

This is a multi-stage challenge that's been seen a few times. First, tribes have to figure out how to assemble three long metal poles with small platforms on one end. Next, all but two members of the tribes get into the water between two wooden towers. Those other members of their tribes use those small platforms to step across the distance of the water as the poles relocate. When both members are across, all tribe members can then proceed to a final, very small tower where they must all figure out how to position themselves on or above the top level. (Note that you can expect the platform to be bigger for this season than what you see in the video, at least a little. We've got some solid builds.)

As promised, I'll point out historical trends for challenges that begin to see strategies develop. Obviously, light players are chosen to cross the poles. It's also important that the people below be strong enough to steady the poles and work together to keep them balanced. If they don't have teamwork at the start, they can fall well behind on constructing the poles. And, of course, they need to work together on the final platform to find a way to all group together and get above the required height.


What did not happen in this matchup, but has happened in others and is allowed under the "use these poles to move your players across" description: a player gets on the pole... and the people below her proceed to just walk her across the water on that one single pole. It's creative rule interpretation, true. But it works.

The original discussion thread for this post can be found here.

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A challenge that requires balance, agility, high-flying formations, and—ideally—bending the rules. It seems like a setup custom-made for Trololo, who settles on their two tiniest members—Quinn the cheerleader and Rachel the ballet-trained dancer—to make the journey on the pole platforms. Unlike the last challenge, where Rachel was giving 'helpful advice' all the time, she is now entirely focused on her task at hand. (Losing her voice over all-night karaoke in a setting with limited water helps with that, too.)

Quinn and Rachel rock their part of the challenge, quite frankly, aided by Sue ordering everyone to just walk the poles to the other side. She is, after all, very well versed with bending the rules and she clearly sees that they don't forbid that approach. Quinn and Rachel both cling firmly to their platforms and don't wobble an inch.

Lolwut begins to fall behind. They were very effective with constructing the poles, and Santana and Tina are nearly as stable as the duo of Quinn and Rachel, but they began performing the task as implied: stepping from platform to platform. By the time they see what Trololo is doing, they've already wasted quite a lot of time maneuvering themselves through the water. After waiting to see if Kurt calls Trololo on their move, they hurry and follow suit.

(Kurt does not. Kurt does, however, keep telling his dad that he needs to be sure not to get sunburned out there because it's a terrible melanoma risk factor. Eventually Burt stops shooting him disbelieving looks—he is in the MIDDLE OF A CHALLENGE, hello—and focuses on winning.)

Trololo hits the small tower platform, and the challenge looks theirs for the taking. They're the tribe with a coach specialized in forming human architecture, two cheerleaders, and Mike Chang. Puck and Lauren are perfect foundations. And Rachel could probably sit on someone's shoulders without them even noticing.

And, if they were only awake and/or a cooperative team, they could well have capitalized on those advantages. But no. They argue. They bitch. They try new strategies without consulting with each other, knock each other down by accident, and generally lose the challenge for themselves. Because while they are playing a sleep-deprived hare, the Lolwut turtle manages to figure out how to turn their comparative lack of agility into a structure that allows everyone to reach the required level.

Lolwut wins. Trololo is headed to Tribal Council for the second time in a row, where someone will be joining Jesse and Blaine at the non-jury camp. Kurt hands the immunity idol to the nearest member of Lolwut. Since we haven't specified an immunity idol just yet, let's say that it looks like this.

Kurt does not seem to process that the players, unlike him, are not in what is effectively a nice hotel suite with a garden tub and individual toiletries that arrive daily in a seagrass basket, and that perhaps they do not want to see themselves in the mirror. Oh well.

Now it's time to choose who will be voted out at the third Tribal Council of the game. Challenge performance in this setup is only one thing to consider: they also have to anticipate other challenges, take the social game into consideration, etc. Some considerations people might use to vote: whether they have a particularly good or bad history with a player, whether a player brings something to the table in challenges (strength, leadership, flexibility, speed, etc.), whether a player is useful in camp life, whether a player is a known quantity or could make unpredictable moves, and whether a player is just irritating.

Also, in this post you should really be sure to speculate on camp life. Who's being helpful? Who's dead weight? Who's liked, who's seen as a leader, who's forming alliances?

The original discussion thread for this post can be found here.

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(Rather a long writeup today, as we have our first dramatic blindside. OH MAN THOSE ARE SO MUCH FUN.)

Well, that's it, then. Trololo returns to their camp in shock that they just lost for the second Immunity in a row. They're the hardcore, cutthroat tribe. (Mike and Brittany: "We are?") Shouldn't this be Lolwut's third trip to Tribal while Trololo lounges back and revels in their obvious superiority?

There is, of course, one obvious explanation: Rachel Berry.

She was loud. She kept them up all night. She ruined their focus and stole a likely victory away from them. Despite her being one of the best performers in the challenge, it's clearly her fault that they lost. And so it's her who will clearly get the boot.

Or so it would seem until a long, lingering shot of Quinn staring at Sue and seeming to come to a decision. Sue constantly tries to take control of the tribe, but out there on Generic Tropical Island she has exactly as much power as the rest of them: one single vote. They don't need to listen to her. And when they have listened to her, they just barely won their first challenge and completely fumbled the next two because of a lack of teamwork. Quinn knows teamwork. She likes teamwork, when teamwork is defined as "everyone shutting up and listening to Quinn, because she is smart and pretty and the best." Quinn is pretty sure that she could lead her tribe better than Sue.

And all she'll have to do to make that happen is keep around Rachel, even though her voice will return after her ill-advised karaoke all-nighter.

Well, omelette, breaking a few eggs, etc.

Brittany's not reliable, Quinn quickly decides. She'd say yes to whatever Quinn told her and then promptly change her vote right back as soon as Sue said anything. Obviously Rachel will be one Sue vote. So she needs two more. Puck. Puck likes Rachel for some unknown reason, and Quinn is pretty sure she can play on those sympathies to overcome his grumpiness over the loss and lack of sleep. "Puck," she informs him. "You're voting for Sue, not Rachel."

"Like hell I am," Puck says back.

"So," Quinn says sweetly. "You're voting against your fellow Jew?"

His expression drops. She's got him. With a quick note to get him to turn Lauren (who's clearly more irritated by Sue's constant insults than Rachel's grating nature), Quinn walks off, satisfied. She considers approaching Mike, but decides against it. His face is too expressive and he's too sweet. If Sue began to suspect anything, he'd give away the game and he'd crack as soon as the grilling started. He might be upset about being left out of the loop, but she'll explain it to him later.

And so they proceed to Tribal. Kurt only looks the tiniest bit guilty. He knows that his evil plan has, in all likelihood, resulted in the ouster of Rachel. It's a little unfair to her, even though she was clearly not destined for a long lifespan in the game anyway. But still: he was in the mood for some petty revenge and by God, he can be petty. He'll make it up to her. He's already gotten the non-juror camp set up with a karaoke machine of its own, considering the first two bootees. And the three of them should actually be able to throw a pretty decent musical party, if only Rachel and Jesse can avoid screaming at each other.

(He made sure that the bootees' camp contains no alcohol.)

Sue starts talking about how pathetic her tribe is and how she would have divided the tribal lines to give herself a better shot of winning. Her plan seems to involve cloning herself seven times.

Yes, yes, lots of tension, they don't want to come back to Tribal Council, this would be a better tribe if it had his dad on it ("I don't think the host is allowed to play favorites like this, for real." "Ahaha, oh, you've clearly never watched."), it's time for the vote. One by one they walk to the voting booth, place their votes, and Kurt says he'll go 'tally them,' by which he means 'collect the container from a PA who's sorted them in a dramatic way decided by the producers.'

"Rachel," Kurt announces for the first vote. "Rachel. Rachel... spelled with a Q and a smiley face."

Brittany holds up her hand. "That's mine."

"Don't reveal your vote," he frowns at her as he puts his hand back in the container. "Sue."

Sue rolls her eyes. "Your last-ditch statement is expected, Berry, but no less pathetic for it."


Sue frowns, obviously looking around for the person who will feel her wrath upon returning to camp.


A vein starts to throb on her forehead.

Kurt actually looks nervous as he reaches in for the last vote. His hands are shaking, just a bit, when he retrieves it. Schooling his face into a mask of absolute stillness, he flips the last vote to face him, opens it, and reads it. "The third person voted out of Survivor: Generic Tropical Island is...." He turns it around to reveal: "Sue."

At the far edge of the island, birds fly away from the force of her scream.

The voting vessel winds up in the bonfire, along with all the votes. Kurt is plastered against the edge of the area as he calls for security. The tribe is clutching to each other, laughing and pointing. And Sue... Sue is about to head to the non-jurors' camp, Kurt realizes in a panic, and changes his calls for security to calls to stock that camp with a hundred different handheld blenders, wallpaper made entirely out of photographs of Sue's face, and a selection of nutritional supplements including vitamins, minerals, and pulverized elk antlers. "Yes," he snaps. "Elk! Don't you people listen?"

Security escorts Sue out, Kurt snuffs her abandoned torch, and with that: Sue Sylvester is out of the game.

Lolwut, all smiles because they are the happy tribe, takes the mat the day after next for their reward challenge. Gosh, life sure is fun! This is a nice vacation, except for the lack of water and constant rain and seemingly infinite bug bites!

And then Trololo walks in.

"Voted out at the last Council," Kurt announces, still obviously in shock, "Sue."

Jaws drop, followed by the arrival of disbelieving laughter.

"She's going to kill me," Kurt says, though he's not quite sure how.

Challenge Description

There has never been a better setup for someone to get injured.

We're about to give the contestants pointy hooks and ask them to poke at each other.

Four boats, two per tribe, square off in a watery arena. The three players per boat have the task of using their hooks and buckets to keep their boats afloat while sinking the boats on the other tribe. Plugs along the sides of the boats can be pulled out, letting in water, but the hooks can also be used to pull boats closer or as a tool to simply use brute strength to force the boats below the water line.

The last tribe with a floating boat gets... oh, you know what? That big piles of pillows and blankets that they had in the video? That looks sufficiently Kurt-like. They're fighting for those pillows and blankets. ...And maybe a privacy screen.

The winning tribe will return to their camp to enjoy the comfort of their latest reward, while the losing tribe will return to their camp to either enjoy another round of coconut football or a camp that no longer contains Sue Sylvester.

(The original discussion thread for this post can be found here.)