WHAT HAPPENED: As expected, not-so-gentle giant Ted Rogers kicked off the episode trying to figure out why the former members of Sook Jai tribe voted for him en masse at the last Tribal Council. Curiously, when amiably crusty adventurer Jake Billingsley told him why, Rogers didn't buy it. It was an amusing irony: as Billingsley tried to win over former members of Gentry's Chuay Gahn tribe by telling the truth _ that ex-softcore porn actor/used car salesman Brian Heidik and Snuffy Smith soundalike Clay Jordan were manipulating the merged Chuay Jai tribe to win _ most assumed he was lying. Heidik and Jordan teamed up to win the first challenge competition, and Navy swimming instructor Helen Glover won immunity during a gussied-up trivia contest about Thailand.
JAN'S WORST MOVE: Falling off a plank during the obstacle course that forced her and teammate Glover to start over, pretty much ensuring they'd be eliminated from the competition.
JAN'S BEST MOVE: Staying below the radar. At a time when former Chuay Gahn teammates are lining up to cannibalize each other, she seems safely on the sidelines. So why did Billingsley waste a Tribal Council vote on her? (The first vote she has ever received during a Tribal Council, in fact.)
BEST QUOTE: "We pinky swore on it." _ Too perky 27-year-old pharmaceutical saleswoman Penny Ramsey on why she believed Jordan during a crucial conversation.
WHO GOT THE BOOT: Ramsey took the long walk, probably because she showed her cutthroat nature by turning on former Sook Jai teammate Billingsley. In a game where the personal politics are thick as molasses, sometimes it pays to stand for something.
_ Eric Deggans, Times television critic