Pros (4): The challenge (it was a fairly simple challenge in concept, but I liked how it played off of Chris's cruelty towards the interns, and also how it showed the vastly different areas of the island, from the snow to the swamp, and even the return of the nostalgic main lodge; also, the threats in the challenge were normal dangerous animals such as the bear and gators, not mutated freaks...other than the fire-breathing plant, and even that was quickly done away with); some of the one-liners in this episode (From Mal's line about the art being so hideous, to Zoey's line about her thinking that Courtney was the evil that Alejandro was warning them about and not Mal, some brilliant one-liners in this episode for sure); the way everyone was so ruthless towards each other throughout the whole challenge (seriously, it was just a nasty-fest throughout the whole thing, whether it was Courtney ditching Scott on the mountain, Mike ditching Gwen with the gator-fakeout, or Courtney ditching Zoey in the swamp, and even Zoey tauntingly ditching Scott in the swamp shortly after...so much nastiness!); Mal's antics (from exposing Courtney's plan, to saving Gwen only to ditch her, to blowing up the plant, to coming up with the plan that I predicted - eliminating Courtney in order to break up the tight trio of herself, Gwen, and Scott - he was once again rather enjoyable in this episode);
Cons (4): The scenes in Mike's mind (OK, for the first time, this was a serious con. That whole puppet bit was way too freaky); Scott being tortured (for the first time, they even managed to screw this running gag up. For some reason, the timing and execution on Scott's pain and misery here just didn't feel right. Kinda like with Sam before him, it didn't seem funny so much as it seemed hurtful);The robot's return (seriously? They brought this worthless plot device back?); the elimination (I'll talk about who it was in a moment. But seriously? There was NO ceremony. It just showed the musicless prelude, Scott's one vote, and then it just SUDDENLY shows Courtney in the Flush of Shame. Not even a bit of the usual suspense? No bottom two? Seriously? -_- And beyond that, I was hoping that they would actually vote unanimously for Courtney. That's exactly what it was building up to, with Gwen tricking Courtney into voting for herself. But apparently, she actually convinced Mike and Zoey to vote for Scott over Courtney? Seriously? How does that even work?)
Main Aspect (Con): This just might be the BIGGEST Con in the entire season. Courtney. This episode basically just brought her back to exactly what she was before: A whiny, obnoxious, self-absorbed, competition-obsessed brat. Everything that has been built up in the entire season, from Courtney getting over Duncan and Gwen, to learning how to admit to her own mistakes, to finally forgiving Gwen and becoming friends again, to finally realizing the importance of friends over the competition...she did a total 180 and forgot ALL of that. She inexplicably reverted right back to how she was before. She had everything: A newly-regained best friend, a new boyfriend, an increased reputation...and she threw it all away...for what? Nothing. Yes, she got her karma in the best way possible...but here I was hoping for her to not need the karma, because I was hoping she had FINALLY changed. I was hoping for the originally-proposed theory that either Scott or (more likely) Gwen is about to be voted off, and Courtney sacrifices herself to prove that she cares about friends more than the game, and that she had learned something...but she never did. Totally overlooking the minor grievances with Courtney (like her plan to get rid of Zoey next. Zoey? Seriously? Courtney sees her as a threat? XP Or how about her reaction to the plan being revealed? Rather than complain/wonder about Mike revealing it, she instead chooses to insult the people that she offended? Seriously?), this single episode almost single-handedly destroyed everything that this season - and the three before it - had been working towards for so long and so hard. Courtney's redemption...a revived Gwen/Courtney friendship...the final death of the Love Triangle...'twas all for nothing.
Overall, this episode is a perfect example of one that's completely overshadowed by the one Main Aspect, and a very negative Main Aspect at that. The few things that were good were mere continuations of previous trends this season (Mal starting to be a decent villain, yet another decent challenge, and some more clever writing here and there), and simply pale in comparison to the elephant in the room. This one episode alone almost single-handedly brought the whole season down in my eyes, and brought Courtney - a character who had been vastly improving - right back down into my least-favorite spot (which means you're off the hook for now, Sierra >_>). I had been expecting (though certainly not hoping for) that one episode, that one episode in the season that just sucks so massively. Like Up Up and Away in TDR, the one episode that throws off the trend of otherwise good or neutral episodes and just opens up a massive black hole in the season...and here it is. Ed MacDonald...after two amazing episodes, you have finally let me down. :(
With 4 Pros and 5 Cons (but with one Con being so monumental that it basically counted for 100 extra points), this episode is an easy 1/10.