"That's a constant issue with me. I'm wondering...should I have left again?" - Jenna Morasca

Before I get into the Jenna thing, some comments on the episode...

Oh Rob Cesternino...The Robasu. God do I feel for the guy! He is totally in panic mode right now, with nowhere to turn. We aren't getting the same witty confessionals, and his body language is just...nervous, desperate, completely different from how he was in the Amazon. Mariano has made it HIS tribe...he's got Amber in tow (or does Amber have HIM?) and Big Tom, being the guy's guy that he is, naturally gravitates towards the male power on the tribe. That's three immutable votes, at least for now, and no one wants a tie vote anymore. So Cesternino has no control. The best he can hope for is some sort of tribal mix-up at this point.

Jerri and Rupert? Ha! Without a doubt it's Jerri 1 Rupert 0. She had VERY valid points on not digging out the floor of the log cabin, and gritted her super- assertive teeth to try to make a point about it tactfully...and succeeded. She said "What I want is a place I can actually sleep in" which is...what the other two tribes did! Rupert can go on and on about building houses for twenty years, but YARR Matey! Did all those houses flood??? How could he spend all that time out there (34 days in the Pearl Islands, counting last time) and not see how ridiculously BAD his idea was? The whole thing will be a swimming pool next week, without a shadow of a doubt.

And while Jenna and Ethan agreed, they didn't have the balls to step up and say anything. Which I suppose is smart, considering that with four people there they could all be targets for the vote. But I give Jerri props for knowing this full well, yet still speaking up. She ROCKS this season...I thought months ago she wouldn't be so worried with her bitch label because it has got her acting gigs, and made her stand out. But...according to her interviews going in it obviously hurt her, and she is much, much more prepared this time around. She even weaned herself off of caffeine a month before, just to control her edginess out there.

To be fair, it must be said that while only four people could work on the challenge, it still put Saboga at a disadvantage. On the other two tribes, the people who sat out were available for gathering firewood, boiling water, and hunting mollusks for food - all the daily grind stuff that never makes the final edit. So it's no wonder Saboga was working into the night.

Rich is DA MAN!!! You can see he wants a stingray...it was after all his signature catch in Pulau Tiga, and there was even a book written about him called "The Stingray." But I guess a shark will do! That whole encounter was just...so well edited, so Hemingway-esque as Shii Ann put it - forget the Old Man, this was The Gay Man and the Sea! And according to Jenna, the shark was a might bit tasty too. Of course I could see Rupert doing that too but...Rich is still da man!

Now...the main feature of the episode: Poor Jenna Morasca.

This whole thing has ignited more discussion on this board that just about any event on Survivor I have seen. People are divided it would seem between those who think she should have gone, and those who can't fathom why she would leave when her mother was so sick.

There are a couple of things to say on this subject...

- Carla Morasca fought cancer for twelve years. Thus worrying about her mother is something that's been a part of Jenna's reality throughout her entire coming of age. She had to live her life, and moreover her mom WANTED her to live her life. This could just as easily have happened during the Amazon season...there was only about a year's time in between there.

- I'm sure there was more than a little cajoling that went on to convince Jenna to take part by CBS. They needed hot female bodies out there, and the pool of women who would fit this bill, who were also memorable characters, was pretty limited. Think of it...

- Colleen and Elisabeth turned it down
- There were already three people from Africa, and none of the younger ones made much of an impression.
- Neleh reportedly wasn't interested, as she isn't happy with how scheming the show has become. Oh my heck - it makes her pukey sick! (Ugh, I couldn't stand her...she's like a Care Bear on Prozac)
- Erin and Penny from Thailand have the Hottie Factor going, but are about as dull as oatmeal! (though it would revive the debate about whether Erin was once a man...)
- Heidi was in the hospital for two months after the show. She was bit by a tarantula and its poison was coursing through her veins. This caused her lymph nodes to swell, she suffered kidney problems, and couldn't gain back any weight until they discovered she had intestinal and stomach parasites that blocked her weight gain. The Murray in the Morning radio crew asked her about wanting to do All Star, and for some odd reason she said "The answer to that question would be no."
- Any of the Pearl Islands crew just didn't have enough recovery time (save for Rupert, but then that's just...Rupert)

So I'm sure Burnett really, really wanted Jenna on the show. Not that this is an excuse, but it gives you an idea of the factors that come into play.

In any case, I come down on the "Jenna should have gone" side of the debate. I mean, for the last twelve years, her mom could have had six weeks, six months or six years...who could predict? She had an opportunity to be one of the Elite 18, the creme de la creme of the creme de la creme reality series, part of something that is going to get huger and huger as the season goes on. Think about it - if Carla knew that her own health was keeping her only daughter from this insanely huge opportunity to play the game she loves (and WON) would THAT have really helped with her recovery? Is guilt something that would help a person fight cancer? No way.

And then consider she actually had a very good situation going. Between the Insider Clips and Jenna's exit interviews it's kind of looking like, if she hadn't been brooding about her mom, she was good to go for a couple of votes - that Rich and Colby were the two on the outs from the other four. I don't think she would have won, but bizarrely of all the winners, she was the least threatening out there...and thus in the best position to advance, especially if she could have kept off of a team with Ethan as long as possible.

I still kinda doubt though that Jenna wasn't getting information about her mom. Think of this - how bad would Burnett and CBS look if they just let Carla Morasca die, and not tell Jenna? Talk about a bad P.R. move - they'd look like the most insensitive bastards on Earth! Nah, I think they gave her some sort of hint that things were getting worse...for her sake as well as the show's.

So however you slice it, it's a shame to have this slant the outcome. I wanted to see Jenna compete, to show all her detractors exactly why she was so successful in the Amazon. But...it wasn't meant to be.

Funniest Quote/HORRIBLY Poor Choice of Words Quote: Goes to Kathy, who said Jenna's dolor was "becoming a bit of a cancer, eating away at us." I'm reminded of that Conan O'Brien sketch, where he looks at fake cable channels including the one where the grizzled rocker guy blares his guitar and in his best Bon Scott voice belts out "IN-A-PPROPRIATE!!!!" I'm sure Kathy, an incredibly wonderful woman, probably wanted to crawl under her couch as she watched that last Thursday! And for that reason, I laughed...Kathy didn't mean any offense, she'll no doubt apologize at the reunion show, and all will be well.

Next week...I have no comment. You'll see why.