Pros (9): The brilliant writing (this episode had some of the best and funniest lines the series has seen: "Alejandro-row-row," "Not on my yacht," "He wanted dinner, not a snack," "You call that a cottage? It was a mansion!", and "I have a special surprise for boom-boom over here"); The challenge (for once, a very simple, but still TD-esque challenge that, for once, didn't involve radioactive, mutated monsters); Cameron, Scott, and Fang (it was hilarious for all three of them - Cameron coming up with the plan, Scott's reaction, and Fang providing a surprisingly useful role for once); Duncan (what happened here was exactly what I predicted, and then some: He devised an ultimate scheme to prove he was still bad, and it got him removed from the game...although him being arrested was an added twist that I'm ultimately indifferent towards; but his attitude as he was being led off - pleading for mercy - was pretty OOC); the implications of a new Mike/Alejandro alliance (this...could be good); Gwen and Courtney (although some scenes were, the overall tone of Gwen and Courtney's newly-regained friendship wasn't as overkilled as I thought it would be); the return of some nostalgic images and aspects (the Boat of Losers, Playa Des Losers, some of the extended soundtrack that usually played during the elimination ceremonies but hadn't been heard since TDI); Chef (he finally had a hilarious role for the first time this season); some of the best and most hilarious voice acting (from the amazing laughs of Chris and Duncan, to Chris's scream of despair when he saw that his "cottage" was destroyed; so delightfully over-the-top and perfectly fitting for the mood)
Cons (3): The "elimination" (seriously? Cameron survives AGAIN? Ugh); the result of the challenge (Alejandro winning was just lame); the fail in continuity (Playa Des Losers not once being acknowledged as such, though Courtney's repeated "not a cottage!" gag was funny)
Main Aspect (Pro): Mal. Finally. After all this time, he finally DID SOMETHING. Sabotaging THREE of the possible boats. Saving Zoey to keep up the charade. Forming an alliance with Alejandro. Rigging the votes against Cameron. I mean...ABOUT F***ING TIME. ALL of the totally evil, scheming, strategic sh** he SHOULD'VE been doing FINALLY happens, all at once. Almost as if the creators acknowledge all he should've done and threw it together in this one episode.
Overall, there were definitely many strengths to the episode, and more so than weaknesses. But as good as the episode was...I found it surprisingly forgettable as well. The opening scene, most of the action during the actual challenge, it all felt so...slow...boring...forgettable. The scenes with the coconuts and dynamite were good, but very short. I feel like this was one case where the challenge really was just a backdrop to the drama in the foreground, and was not exploited for as much action, intensity, and hilarity as it could've been...even though I still liked the challenge itself. Even the bits inside Mike's brain were just meh for me. I'm totally indifferent towards them, even if Mal became TOTALLY awesome this episode. After several episodes of building up various stories (Mal finally doing something, Duncan finally regaining his "bad boy" status), this episode delivered on those two major plots, and really nothing else.
With 10 Pros and 3 Cons, this episode is a 8.5/10.