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Episode Six, July 27, 2004
I'm not sure which is more uncomfortable, how the girls feel about having Marissa back in camp or how much Marissa is enjoying making the rest of them squirm. And Jack doesn't know what to do. Having Marissa back is a blessing because he was robbed of the chance to get to know her better (and they obviously have a connection), but it's also a curse because he's finally started to invest in some of the other women and now it's all in a tizzy (I don't use 'tizzy' a lot but it seems to fit, so bear with me).
No matter how hard everyone tries to play like things are normal around the camp, it's totally uncomfortable. Every conversation is strained; every private moment is open to interpretation. Marissa is stunned when she sees Natalie wearing Jack's croc-tooth necklace. I would imagine Marissa expected to walk back in like the world had stopped since she left. But of course it didn't stop, and the necklace is a clue to just exactly how the world turned while she was gone. I wonder how she'd feel seeing Maria disappear into his room in Perth like the rest of us did?
I feel a little bad for Jack. You see, I get to know what happens 24/7. I get to watch the tapes, talk to the producers and the camera crew and get the uncut story. But Jack only gets to see what the girls show him, and they make every effort to show him only what they want him to see. He's smart, and he's beginning to question not just how he feels about some of the girls, but what -- exactly -- each of them is there for. It's a tough place to be and I certainly don't envy him.
And so, it's off to the croc farm for what the crew is affectionately referring to as the croc-fondling segment of our show. I don't know how this will ever look as funny on TV as it did in person. No one escaped without being slimed by one of the baby crocs. The girls also set a record for jokes about 'sexing' an animal and certain male anatomical features. It was a much-needed laugh and another chance for Jack to see the girls facing their fears. Every one of them has grown on this adventure and it's really fun to watch them blossom in so many unexpected ways.
The Swinging Arm Bar is the only place to get a cold beer that's anywhere near the shoot, and that makes it the single most popular building in this part of the outback. I'm trying to imagine what it's like for this tiny little oasis to have about a hundred tired, thirsty crew members descend on them out of the blue. They normally go through fifty beers a week. Now they go through that in the first hour after we wrap for the day.
Today, however, the bar is off limits so that Jack can use it as a temporary escape from life on TV while the girls search and stumble through the brush in search of their lost man. Meri-De and Marissa make it there first, and it's off on an amazing helicopter tour of the Kimberly Wilderness for them, while Natalie and Maria stay for a drink with the locals. By the way, word got out that the girls would be making an appearance at the bar and, not surprisingly, it's a little more full than usual today.
Of course, the three-person date can't last. We're at that point in the game where a table for two is what Jack needs if he's going to get to know these ladies better. The decisions only get tougher and time alone with Jack is the most valuable thing going.
So, Jack chooses Marissa and the two of them settle in for a beautiful, romantic date. With all that's happened, it's strange to think of this as their first date. But that's exactly what it is, and Marissa couldn't be happier to have Jack all to herself. But, if you ask me, there's something going in Jack's eyes that isn't all wine and roses. Certainly, he's attracted to Marissa and it's great to have her back. But there's a part of him that's not willing to completely give in to the experience, something that's not yet 100% comfortable.
Speaking of uncomfortable, try Maria and Natalie when they find out Jack and Marissa are having dinner alone. Meri-De comes waltzing back into the bar and the other girls are floored and -- if you ask me -- a little panicked. It's a funny contradiction. Sure, all of them want to win and it's very much every woman for herself. But I suspect they'd all volunteer for elimination if they could also somehow guarantee Marissa wouldn't win I heard Maria say, "Anyone but her!" I think that sums up their sentiments pretty well.
But it's Meri-De that's heading home next, not Marissa. We're down to three. And Jack is about to get some help making his decision; help from the one person whose opinion a man can't ignore.