The women reigned victorious for a second consecutive reward challenge, winning thick blankets to shield against the cold, night air, but a loss at the immunity challenge left them facing their first tribal council.
Central Pennsylvanian shepherdess Dolly Neely thought she'd be the swing vote to decide whether loquacious Eliza Orlins or soft-spoken Leann Slaby would leave the island, but somewhere along the way, alliances shifted. Leann took four votes at tribal council, and shocking several younger tribemates, Dolly took five, becoming the first of the Yasur tribe to leave the game.
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On her day-after interview on The Early Show Friday, Dolly told co-anchors Harry Smith and Julie Chen, "I have to admit, although I am a tough, tough farm girl, I was happy to get back to the luxuries of a real life."
The contestants on Thursday night's episode repeatedly talked about how the experience was harder than they thought it would be.
Dolly affirms, "Well, you're not eating, and you're not sleeping, and you're trying to acclimate yourself to these eight women that you've known absolutely nothing about and find your place, and it's just a million things that come on you to try to win that million dollars."
During tribal council, Dolly was clearly confident that hers would be the deciding vote – clearly clueless that she was the one who would be voted out. She thought it was going to Leann or Eliza. So what happened?
"I think Eliza, who is the 'Survivor' master or mistress, whatever, she got the other girls to figure out that I was probably the biggest threat and I needed to go," says Dolly.
In Dolly's experience, what was worse: the element of survival, or the conniving and the deception?
Dolly's reply: "For me, probably the conniving and the deception, because I'm really a sheltered girl back in Mercer, Pa., and I just deal with my friends and my family, and I'm not used to manipulation and conniving, and I should have known better, coming into this game, that I needed to put on my thick skin instead my thin skin."
The conniving was even worse than the maggots in the food.
"That's what started my crying jag in the beginning, because we had spent an hour or more preparing this bowl of slop, just to fill our tummies and to get some energy, and little did we know it was full of maggots and, of course, nobody wanted to eat it," she recalled.
Actually, she added, Twila and Scout did eat some, and Harry Smith pointed out that maggots are rich in protein.
"It was disgusting!" Dolly exclaimed. "It didn't matter!"
Did she really feel as if she was starving?
"I felt like my belly button was touching my spine," she replied. "It's amazing how quickly your body sucks in, in such short period of time."
That made it all the more frustrating when a wild chicken, stalked by the tribe, escaped.
"That chicken, I think, was immortal," said Dolly, "because I hit it with a rock, Twila stabbed it with the machete, and the thing still flew off."
And, although they did find a few eggs, it turned out that they had been fertilized and, again, the only two tribeswomen who sampled them were Twila and Scout.
Dolly did not like the idea of the teams being broken down by sex.
"I'm not really a girl's girl," she explained. "I'm kind of a tomboy, and I definitely associate with guys -- boys, men, whichever -- a lot easier than I do women. So…it was a little disconcerting, but I had hoped maybe this would be my chance to figure out women and do the whole sorority girl (thing). I see on TV they're calling me the sorority girl, the farthest thing from what I've ever, ever been."
As the episode kicked off, the men had a lot of complaints about their lack of fire, food, sleep and water. "I slept like a baby," said Travis "Bubba" Sampson. "I woke up every few hours and cried."
Conditions were nearly as dire on the women's beach. Eliza called the experience "horrendous," and Dolly was reduced to sobs after the tribe detected a smattering of maggots mixed in with their cooked plantains.
The women's spirits lifted after a win at a reward challenge, where once again they beat out the men in an aquatic balance beam competition, taking home a hammock, blankets and pillows. The men were once again denied flint for fire and faced another cold, hungry night.
The Lopevi tribe's luck changed at a puzzle-solving immunity challenge. One tribe member was chosen to guide the other blindfolded players in finding large wooden puzzle pieces scattered over the playing field. The tribe to retrieve all pieces and assemble three puzzles first – the men's tribe – took home immunity, and the women faced tribal council.