Survivor: Rudy Gets The Boot

For the all-star castaways of "Survivor," victory became a matter of strategy this week, and the Saboga Tribe, though victors in the reward challenge, failed to make the grade during the immunity competition for the second time in a row.

Last week, Tina Wesson, winner of "Australian Outback," got the boot on "Survivor: All-Stars." As a past winner, she and any other "Survivor" millionaires have targets on their backs at Tribal Council.

"I thought maybe Ethan would go last night," says former Navy SEAL Rudy Boesch, who was discharged from the game despite a strong alliance with the popular Rupert. "It was set up. But then I got voted off. And it really burned me up for a while, but I thought about it. And the tribe did the right thing by voting me off."

Ethan Zohn, the previous winner of "Survivor: Africa," knew he was a target and struggled in a last-ditch effort to spear a fish and make himself a more valuable asset to the tribe.

The disappointment was too much for Rudy to handle as he walked off the Tribal Council saying, "Girls, you better watch out. I have friends." On The Early Show, Rudy says, "I was going to do something. But since then I cooled down. I'm OK."

The 76-year-old, who competed on "Survivor: Borneo," was far and away the favorite compared to Ethan, but his age was slowing him down.

The blister on his foot was keeping him from walking, something that made Rudy even consider quitting. He says, "I did. I think the day before. And then I decided to keep going. But, you know, my foot was already hurting. And I knew I was holding the team back. But I stayed in there."

Comparing this game with his first, Rudy notes, "Instead of three years older, I got three years slower. And I definitely feel it, now. I got out of the Navy in 1990. And I slowly started downhill."

Having been a Navy SEAL and a strong swimmer, Rudy says it was very frustrating to see others excel while he trailed behind. He says, "I just can't keep up with them young kids. And it burns me up. And in the first 'Survivor,' I found out girls can run faster than me. And that burned me, but it had to happen."

Thursday night at Tribal Council, Rudy pointed out that the game of "Survivor" is not so much about surviving the elements. It's surviving the personalities. And thought he did not mention names, he said to co-anchor Julie Chen, "All the younger people like you are hard to get along with."

In his tribe, that could mean Jenna Lewis, who has come across as quite feisty this time around.

Rudy notes, "In Borneo, she was in the other tribe. And we already had an alliance. And Jenna was in line to get kicked off. I mean, the alliance was air-tight with nothing to worry about. But now Jenna is, you know ...
It started out you got to have young people in the tribe because most of the challenges are physical."

Voting him off was an emotional choice, something the Rudy says he did not expect. There were tears in his tribe and even Jeff Probst offered eloquent words about him.

Rudy says, "Jeff came out with some real nice words. I'm going to have to thank him for that. And Rupert stuck by me. He's a man of his word. I'm glad of that. And the girls had tears in their eyes. And Rupert did, too. And that surprised me." But in the end, it came down to a purely strategic move. Rudy was voted off, three to two.

Asked about what it was like to see Richard Hatch again, Rudy points out, "I made the statement I like Richard but not in the homosexual way. I came out of the water, and we didn't know who was in the other tribes. I came out of the water and I seen this familiar scene. It was Richard bending over [naked] in front of me, you know. And I've been looking at this for 39 days on the first 'Survivor.' And I knew it was him."

The tribes faced off first in a tough reward challenge: swimming off shore to drag logs back to the beach, building a ladder to reach a victor's platform. Saboga won the challenge, and for their efforts had their choice of rewards: Either blankets for their tribe only, or pots for rice, flint to make fire and a clue to crack open a locked treasure chest (containing rice) for all tribes. They chose the latter, rewarding all castaways.

For all three tribes, there's more good news on the horizon. The clues gained in reward launched them on a quest to open chests containing rice and other much needed supplies. Three keys must be found to open each chest.

In addition, all three tribes were grateful to receive fire this week, providing them a little more warmth and the much-coveted ability to cook their food.

For the immunity challenge this week, the three tribes competed to haul weights out of sunken boats anchored to the ocean floor to first bring them to the surface, then paddle the boats back to shore.

This time, Saboga wasn't so lucky, floundering to shore in third place, and heading to Tribal Council for the second week in a row.