Speaking of curve balls, it's Day 15 at Nagarote as morning dawns, kinda like the realization that she's all alone dawns on Shirin. Time for her to reassess her priorities and her gameplay, which is what she's trying to do by talking to Carolyn and Hali.
At Escameca, Dan recounts to the new tribe members how he lost his underwear on day four while Rodney decides he needs some new allies and along comes Joaquin. Rodney gives him the lowdown on the others in the tribe as he builds the relationship. Joaquin's as big a player as Rodney and knows he's being played a little but it works both ways.
Escameca gets their first look at the new Nagarote as they meet for the Reward challenge. Race through an upright obstacle course to climb a tower and launch sandbags from a giant slingshot at six targets to raise your flags to win . . . a trip to a turtle sanctuary to witness the turtle migration after a celebratory feast. Dan sits this one out for Escameca.
Climbing the obstacle course to the top of the tower looks pretty easy for Escameca as Nagarote falls behind with Will bringing up their rear as usual. Rodney fires his first sandbag but misses, as Nagarote sets up. Nagarote then takes the lead with their first hit but then Rodney evens it up. Then Nagarote hits, then Joaquin hits for Escameca and then Sierra hits for Escameca, Hali just missed again for Nagarote, but Mike hits for Escameca making it 4-2. Then Nagarote closes the gap, before Shirin ties it up. Joe hits the fifth for Escameca, one more to go. Will evens it up again for Nagarote. Tyler misses for Escameca but then Jenn (at least I think it was Jenn, may have been Kelly) fires one off for Nagarote, hits their final target and wins the reward. They do a little victory song and dance at the top of the tower and Dan just shakes his head.
Nagarote is taken to the turtle sanctuary for a delicious looking picnic with hot food and drinks. As the sun sets they're lead off in the dark to watch the turtles lay their eggs before they head back to the water. Their guide tells them that the turtle will lay around 100 eggs but only one is likely to survive. Jenn really enjoyed the reward and is pretty happy that her odds are better than the little turtle's.
At Escameca the next morning Joaquin bonds with Sierra while the others are off doing other things outside of camp. Sierra likes Joaquin and wants to trust him but she distrusts the fact that he's tight with Rodney. She really doesn't like Rodney, but when he shows up he almost apologizes for how he's played up to this point. It's going to be interesting to see which of these two alphas actually comes out on top, if either of them even makes it to the end.
Rodney takes Mike aside to discuss throwing the challenge so they can blindside Joe. Mike lets him go on and on and even though he knows throwing a challenge rarely works the way it's supposed to he wants to do what he can to get back with his real alliance, Kelly.
Time for the Immunity challenge. It's a simple memory challenge where they have to memorize the order of six items then pull a lever to drop the curtain, race back and match the order of those six items before standing on their mat, first one to get it right scores a point, first team to three points wins. Joaquin sits this one out for Escameca.
First round has Rodney vs Carolyn. Carolyn pulls her lever quickly leaving Rodney looking confused, how much of that is real confusion and how much of that is Rodney throwing the challenge we'll never know but I think we can guess. Carolyn races back and recreates it for the first point for Nagarote.
Next it's Sierra vs Hali, both girls pull at the same time but it's Hali who wins for Nagarote. Then it's Joe vs Will, and Joe pulled just as Will reached for the lever, Joe races back, recreates it and gets the point for Escameca. At least he's not throwing it. Then Shirin goes up against Dan, Dan pulls first and they race back. Dan thinks he has it . . . and he does, tying it up for Escameca.
Match point has Mike vs Kelly, Kelly pulls and Mike's still standing there. They race back but they're both wrong. Second shot, Kelly pulls and they race back. Mike knows the order but sets it up wrong on purpose and they're both wrong again. He tells Kelly he's throwing it for her. Third times the charm? Jeff resets using only five items this time and I'm sure he knows that Mike is repeating the order for Kelly but he doesn't say a thing. Mike pulls the lever and they race back, and Kelly wins. Rodney looks a little ticked, as he's supposed to but he knows that Mike threw the challenge, even if it was a bit obvious.
Mike felt bad throwing the challenge and has begun to notice the growth of the Rodney and Joaquin bromance. He knows he has to break that up soon, even as Rodney takes him aside to give him his marching orders to vote out Joe. Meanwhile Joaquin still thinks he's in charge of everything.
When Mike goes to see where Joe's head is at he gives him the heads up that Rodney is gunning for him. The goal for Mike and Dan is to get Sierra on their side to blindside the bromance, but Sierra's not happy with either group. She doesn't like Rodney, but she also hates Dan so tribal could go anywhere as she plays both sides.
Off they go to Tribal where Jeff points out the strength of the remaining Blue Collar tribe. Joaquin points out that they needed to look for cracks in the group when they came in, and Tyler points out that the bad blood circled around Sierra. She points out how much more comfortable she is with the three new members after 24 hours than she felt in 12 days with her old tribe members. Jeff finally turns to Joe who points out that he's on the very bottom. Sierra says that the entire vote balances on who she trusts the most. So much for Rodney and Dan. Time to vote.
Jeff gathers the votes as usual and asks for the HII as usual, but nobody plays one so its TI me for the count, . . . Joe, Joaquin, Joe, Joaquin, Joe, Joaquin . . . and finally Joaquin. Another classic blindside and Rodney looks even more confused than Joaquin who was less in charge than he thought. At least he took it well and walked out with a smile even if he didn't make it to the end.
Rodney on the other hand takes it personally that his tribe turned on him at Tribal and voted out his closest ally but it looks like he'll have little time for revenge as there may be a merge coming up next week. Until that time my friends.