Episode seven opened with the recap about the Hidden Immunity Idols and that only Scott knew where both Hidden Immunity Idols were to create the Super Idol. We also get reminded about Aubry changing her mind at Tribal Council and scratching out Julia to evict Peter, which is not going to go over well with somebody and we get to find out how that plays out real soon.
It’s the blue light special on Night 16 at the Gondol camp and Joe is still looking confused from Scott’s comment about the original plan and now Scott has decided he can’t trust Joe or Aubry so he intends to pick them off one at a time. I thought it was funny that he intended to write down both of them and just keep crossing them out until he made a decision. In the morning Tai’s pet chicken decided he should eat with the rest of the tribe. That chicken better be careful or he’s going to be eaten by the tribe real soon. Of course, the chicken may last longer than Joe.
Day 17 at ChanLoh and Neal is stupid enough to be walking around with the idol in his pocket for everyone to see, which would explain why Cydney had no problem seeing it and going straight to Jason. Now Jason knows where the other idol is but how to get rid of Neal and flush the idol at the same time is a plan to still be worked on.
At least it was until they all noticed a boat coming ashore. ChanLoh is given 5 minutes to grab whatever they want or need from their camp and head to their new home at Gondol beach. Well that put a wrench in the works. It’s time for another merge and for some of these survivors it’s a godsend, for others not so much. It was a big surprise for Gondol as well when they saw the boat coming ashore.
Old friendships and alliances resume and everyone feels like they’ve been given a new lease on life in the game. While all that is going on Nick is watching all the alliances before him and assessing where he needs to be aligned. With his alliance with Michelle he’s feeling pretty solid but two people doesn’t create a lot of numbers. Nick goes to the Brains and says they could use the numbers to get rid of the Brawn bullies but they’re not sure about everyone’s hidden alliances. Nick knows it makes sense to go with the Brains but he’s not making any commitments yet. He then goes over to see how things are playing out for the Brawns, who want to get rid of the Brains before they take out the Beauties.
Everyone is now focused on getting rid of Neal because of that Hidden Immunity Idol, but during a little walk in the jungle Scott also reveals to Nick and Jason that Tai also has a Hidden Immunity Idol. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many HIIs in play at the same time.
Dawn of Day 18 at the new Dara camp and Neal goes to see Aubry and his knee looks pretty bad with that giant hole in it. While he’s discussing his injuries, Debbie is trying to make a new alliance with Tai, but Tai’s not buying it. Debbie’s offensive game may be her undoing because eventually everyone is going to see what she’s doing. Debbie figures she’s on a roll so she pulls in Nick & Michelle too. No way this is going to backfire, right?
Meanwhile, Jason is manipulating his own little kingdom because he figures the natural order of things is for the Beauties to align with the Brawn rather than a bunch of Brains. His goal is to take out Aubry first and he figures that with Julia and Michelle on his side he’s got full control of the game. Apparently he forgot to actually ask Michelle because she sees exactly what he’s doing and she hasn’t given up on aligning with the Brains yet.
While Jason is exposing his own machinations, Aubry is being a little more on the down-low as she talks to Nick about an alliance. She then goes to have a chat with Neal about how things are going and both of them are a little concerned about how aggressive Debbie is being. Aubry asks Neal about an Idol and he admits to having one from the previous camp and now she thinks they can make a real plan to make things happen. They may need to sacrifice Debbie to make that plan work, but I’m sure Aubry and Neal are okay with that.
Another day another challenge and this time it’s the first Individual Immunity Challenge. As Jeff welcomes everyone in he mentions that he talked to medical and how everyone is pretty banged up and Tai admits that some of them have infections, like Neal. Then Jeff asks the others and Scott admits to having an infection and Aubry admits to the growth on her inner thigh and Jeff is pretty amazed by all of these injuries. Jason says they just keep soldiering on and that’s what they’re all going to have to do now to win Immunity.
This is a pretty simple challenge on the face of it, . . . everyone will balance on a log while balancing a flat wooden disk with a ball on it and at regular intervals they’ll add another ball. We’ve seen it before and we’ll surely see it again. If a player falls off their log or drops a ball they’re out and vulnerable at Tribal. That’s it, so everyone gets started.
No surprise that the first one to start wobbling is Scott with his oversized feet on that tiny little log, but it’s Joe who goes first followed shortly thereafter by Debbie. The remaining nine almost make it through the first 5 minutes but then Jason loses it and he’s out. Round two and everyone adds a second ball. There goes Michelle, then Neal, then Scott. So long Cydney and Aubry and we’re left with three of the original beauty members. They all manage to make it through the second round and now they’re on to round three and adding a third ball. Nick almost lost it but he recovered, then Julia starts, recovers and, . . . she’s out. There go Tai’s balls and Nick wins the first Individual Immunity necklace.
Back at the Dara camp everyone congratulates Nick, who’s feeling pretty good for the moment. The Brawn are all voting for Aubry and let Nick know it, well actually Scott and Jason are anyway. Their overconfidence is going to backfire eventually unless everyone just lets them continue bullying their way to the end. Neal talks to Nick about bringing him and Michelle in to their fold to get rid of either Scott or Jason and that seems to be on everyone’s mind at the moment, except for Scott and Jason of course. Then again, Michelle is pretty sure nobody would vote for Jason to win because he’s pissed so many of them off and Scott doesn’t really need the money so now they’re thinking of siding with Brawn to vote out Aubry.
At least that was the plan until they saw another boat coming in with Jeff and the Doctor. Scott’s watched enough Survivor to know that Jeff doesn’t do that, and certainly not with the Doctor, unless one of them is in serious enough condition to warrant it. Jeff wanders in and tells them that he’s a bit concerned and so is the Doctor so they start looking into everyone’s cuts, bruises and infections.
Doctor Rupert starts with Tai but he feels that Tai is healing well and there are no concerns there. Then they call Scott over about his upper thigh infection but the Doc just wants to keep an eye on it for now. Aubry is next with a similar infection and Doc Rupert has two options, either start her on antibiotics or lance it and drain it but that can allow infection in so they decide to get her started on antibiotics. Now Jeff calls in Neal who reveals his seriously damaged knee that’s now leaking pus and then he mentions another infection on his back that he discovered a few days ago. Doc is not impressed so they take Neal off to the side somewhere clean to get a better look.
The rest of the tribe is fearing that Neal is out despite the fact that he has no desire to leave. Doc’s not really worried about the back infection but he is concerned about the infection near the knee joint because it can get really bad in a matter of hours and would affect Neal for life. Neal looks crushed and he’s having to hold back the tears as the Doc decides to pull Neal from the game for his own safety. Neal admits to loving the game and how much he hated his life stuck in a cubicle and the journey he’s had over the past 15 years to get where he is, . . . he also agrees he’s had a good 19 days but he understands the concern. Jeff assures him they’ll get him out to a hospital and get him fixed up and then bring him back as a jury member. After that assurance it’s time to say farewell to his tribe mates and Neal gives a good farewell speech.
There are the expected hugs and farewells from everyone and on the tip of her tongue, Aubry wants to ask about the Hidden Immunity Idol but Neal makes no mention of it. Jeff lets everyone know that Neal’s misfortune is a blessing for them as there’ll be no Tribal Council tonight and nobody else going home, least of all Aubry. She was just starting to feel good about her alliance again and now her closest ally has not only left but he took along a nice souvenir in his pocket. Damn. As she says in the end . . . you go up the hills, you go down the hills, and sometimes you get dysentery and die.
With angry Aubry left behind the Brains are going to need a miracle to stay alive in the game and it looks like Jason is starting to irritate his own alliance. Time to finish up my own game of catch up by continuing this review after the break with what happened in Episode 8. Stay tuned as I’ll be right back after a quick beer run.
Aubry’s comment that the tribes are just like being back in highschool is pretty spot on with all the pretty people hanging out with the jocks for protection while the nerds are expected to do everybody’s homework. She’s hoping they get overripe and start to age really fast so that she can find a crack in their armour and find a way in to tear them apart from the inside. Good luck with that Aubry.
It’s Day 20 and everyone is getting a little more personable. Julia asks Jason if he ever lets his daughter do his hair and he decides that’s a good time to talk about his daughter and all the challenges they have dealing with her autism. He didn’t intend to use his daughter to get the sympathy vote (yeah, right) but figures that if they’re going to ask he’s going to tell. It may even be true but we’ve seen players before who create a dying friend or relative or whatever in order to get the sympathy vote only to find out the person is fine or doesn’t even exist. I don’t think that’s the case here with Jason but when you’re in the game you never know. Everyone felt a little closer to Jason after he opened up and that can work both ways in the game, but as Cydney points out you have to think about the bigger picture in the game if you want to win.
After that it was time to head off to the Reward Challenge. Two teams of five will race out to a platform in the ocean and then use stepping poles to transfer one tribe member from the large platform to another platform across the way, then they’l all swim out to a tinier platform that they’ll need to all climb up and stand on in order to win the reward. That’s a tiny little platform but they’re all inspired to win the reward of all the ice cream they can eat back at camp. Hope nobody is lactose intolerant.
Two very different teams with Julia picking Scott and Nick, the two largest, and balancing with Debbie and Tai, the two smallest. Aubry leading the other team chose a more consistent look with Cydney, Joe, Michelle and Jason. Right here I’m thinking that Julia made the better choice and we get to see how that works for them as the team captains are the ones to be transferred by stepping post. Aubry goes in right away, tries again, goes in again, tries again, goes in again . . . that’s gotta suck. Meanwhile Scott & Debbie and Nick & Tai are having no trouble keeping the posts steady for Julia to progress from one to the other once they figured out her stance.
Aubry switches out and Michelle gives it a shot but Aubry is as bad holding the post as she is on it and Michelle goes in. Julia is almost all the way across to the other platform while the other team has yet to get beyond their first post. There’s a wobble and Julia just about went in but she recovered as Michelle switched out and Cydney tried her hand at balancing on the stepping posts, but she did no better than the other two. Julia is one step away and then . . . she’s on the platform and the rest of her team joins her before diving in to swim to the smaller platform, except for Scott who just walks out with the water around his waist. That must be how I look. Cydney, on the other hand, takes another faceplate into the waves.
Scott ascends the tower first and Jeff notices that Scott’s feet are bigger than the base of the tower. I guess someone will be standing on his toes for awhile. Everyone else climbs up onto Scott while the other team switches out again in a desperate attempt to move forward but Michelle goes in again and then Aubry switches and she falls once more into the water. See, height makes right as Jeff counts them in and Scott, Julia, Debbie, Nick & Tai win the all you can eat ice cream reward. Aubry is ready to have a breakdown after her momentous bad team choices but that’s what happens when you play Survivor, sometimes you win and sometimes you fall on your face.
The ice cream cart has arrived, complete with a guy serving it all up and ringing the ice cream bell. Like Pavlov’s dog everyone starts to salivate, me included. Now I want ice cream, and a root beer float just like Scott’s having. Jason’s a little ticked about how loud they’re being right there in camp just a few feet away from the losers, which includes him. Michelle’s okay with it though and she didn’t win either. That’s part of the beauty of some rewards, they’re meant to rub the losers face in their defeat as motivation to do better. Sometimes it works. Time for Scott to reveal that his mom has a rare disease and that she’s 75 and that his family has always been poor and . . . well, here goes his bid for the sympathy vote. Yeah, it can build bonds but . . .
Day 21 and what’s left of Debbie is up with the dawn to exercise while Julia, Michelle, Cydney and Tai go for a boat ride in the bay. While most of the girls are bonding in the canoe Scott and Jason are worried that they could be forming an all-girl alliance. Nick’s not so worried about that but he checks in with Julia just in case to see what’s going down and mentions the fear of an all girl alliance and Julia says there isn’t one. Heck, they may not even have thought about it but they certainly will now. Nick’s biggest mistake though is that he’s decided to take Julia aside right along Cydney’s line of sight. Bad idea.
When Nick returns and says that the didn’t say anything Cydney is right there lounging in the hammock and asks if the boys are going to send Nick to check up on her next, but that they may want to send someone with less facial reveals. Now they’ve got Cydney on edge and so far she’s been playing this whole game so close to her chest that she could just win this. In an attempt to fix things Jason takes Cydney for a walk to get water and asks her what the heck that was all about. He says they never sent Nick to check up on things and he just did that on his own but she’s not buying it and you can see by her silence that the wheels are turning and Jason better be ready to get out of their way. He may tell her he has her back, but that only goes so far and Cydney knows it. As she says, irritated Cydney can blow the whole game up.
Speaking of blowing things up it’s time once again for the Immunity Challenge and this one looks a little pain inducing. Jeff retrieves the unused necklace from Nick and then informs everyone about the rules for the challenge. They’ll need to balance on a very narrow perch and then reach backwards over their shoulders to grab on to a handle, . . . the last one standing wins Immunity. This is not a challenge aimed for Scott to win who has almost no purchase on that tiny little perch. Jeff points out how uncomfortable the pose is and how hot the sun is and then he decides to tempt them to step down and enjoy some food. He tells them not to step down until he returns with the food, but Julia can’t handle it and slips from her perch just before he returns.
That is so wrong because now she doesn’t get any of the pizza, brownies, drumsticks, hot dogs, or cold drinks. They have 10 seconds to make their decision and there goes Scott, Jason, Joe and Michelle. A bit telling that both Scott and Jason jump down, feeling so secure in their control of the tribe that they have no fear of going home. That leaves Nick, Tai, Debbie, Aubry and Cydney left on the posts and Jeff asks Tai if he even considered stepping down, but Tai says he wants to see how far he can push his body and that he doesn’t want the Brains to get it. Debbie shakes her head and steps down. While Jeff is chatting to Aubry about her pain she drops and then right behind her goes Nick. Nick was pretty sure that Cydney has it in the bag because she hasn’t moved from the start and now, 30 minutes in, she still hasn’t moved and Tai can’t believe it.
Tai figures that strong people eventually break while he’s more like a bamboo and he’ll just bend with the pain. She still doesn’t move as they hit 40 minutes and Tai calls Buddha. That’s not fair, . . . I think Buddha pushed Cydney off the post. Tai wins Individual Immunity, despite falling to the ground right beside Cydney and helping each other back up. Neither of them really needed Immunity this time but that was well earned. Back at camp everyone congratulates Tai on his win while secretly everyone decides to split their votes between Debbie and Aubry.
In an attempt to manipulate the game to his own end, and who hasn’t been doing that to some extent, Nick goes to Aubrey to tell her that the vote is going to spilt 3-4 with three votes going to her and four going to Debbie. He then advises her that she should vote either Debbie or Joe but strongly pushes for Debbie, although he hasn’t said anything to her about it. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. He admits to being a little arrogant about the whole thing and right there he may be in charge of his own undoing.
While Nick is off trying to manipulate Aubry, Cydney goes to Debbie to try and take back some control before Nick returns. With Aubry coming up alongside Cydney points out that they now have an even split of 5-5 and it would be a good time to take out Nick before he gets too big for his britches. As much as Debbie wants to work with Nick, she’s good with taking him out before Scott or Jason. This may be the first time that an all-girl alliance can actually stick together to the end, but I’ll believe that when I see it. Cydney then goes to Michelle and Julia to get rid of Nick =but Michelle’s not sure that works for her plan (told you an all-girl alliance has problems) but then Julia realizes that Jason and Scott will eventually be gunning for them so it may still work.
As the tribe arrives at Tribal, Nick and Michelle finally get to grab their torches and this may be the longest that anyone has avoided Tribal Council before. I”m not sure about that as I don’t memorize the numbers but it’ll be close. With their torches lit they join the others across from Jeff who then brings in the first member of the Jury, Neal, who was pulled from the game by by medical a few days earlier and is looking a little better now with his knee all bandaged up. Jeff goes straight to Michelle about how good it is to avoid Tribal for 22 days but how you don’t really get the whole experience without it and she agrees that it doesn’t allow you to show who you are until you get there. When Jeff asks Debbie about the merge she admits that it has pretty much pushed everyone back into the original Brains, Brawn, Beauty alliances . . . and that now Brawn and Beauty have merged.
When Jeff asks Aubry who is together she forwards Nick, Michelle, Jason Cydney, Scott, Tai and Julia while she’s been running around to try and get movement out of them. This is when Jeff points out that now is the time for somebody to make a move because somebody in that group of seven is on the bottom, to which Julia admits that there’s always an opportunity for somebody to switch things up later. Jeff points out to Jason that the fear is somebody won’t stick to the plan and when Jeff asks Scott how they keep that seven strong he says by avoiding six days between Tribals which really changed the dynamics within the tribe. He still feels seven strong.
Now Tribal gets interesting when Jeff asks Tai about whether or not there’s been any discussion about Idols being used and Tai goes on about not thinking there were any Idols, and then there were Idols, and then there was a Super Idol, . . . and this is something that nobody would know unless they actually had an idol and Tai really needs to learn to shut up at Tribal. With that reveal everyone’s head snaps to see what he’s talking about, especially Julia who had no idea about a Super Idol. Tai goes on saying he thought everybody knew and Aubry just shakes her head and points out that Tai is obviously out of the loop on a few things within his own alliance. There’s the crack she’s looking for and Debbie points out that the fact that there is a Super Idol and some of them have no knowledge of that fact is an indicator that they’re on the bottom and may want to do something about it. Tai says he was told about it and now he’s trying to cover his tracks as he keeps rambling.
There’s the usual little banter back and forth and then Jeff asks Scott if there’s going to be a blindside tonight or if it’ll all go as predicted and Scott, still sure that he and Jason are in charge, feels there’s no way it can go any other way than predicted. Did he bang his head on the way to Tribal? I guess we’ll see as it’s time to vote.
Jeff goes to tally the votes and calls for the Hidden Immunity Idol but nobody plays one and then he begins to read the votes. Aubry, Debbie, Nick, Aubry, Jason, Nick, Nick, Nick, and the seventh person voted out is . . . Nick. Apparently the girls managed to stick together for at least one Tribal, now lets see if they can stick with it to the end and vote out all the guys.
Of course next week (or this week since I’m playing catch up) the guys decide to strike back at the girls in a petty use of force as Scott and Jason bully their way around camp terrorizing the girls to the breaking point. It doesn’t help that Julia is still playing both sides because . . . well, just because, and that may get her run over in the process. In Nick’s farewell we see that Tai is still out of the loop as he was the one who wrote down Jason, while Joe wrote down Nick . . . who agrees he was getting just a little too arrogant. See how that worked for ya, Nick.
Until later this week I hope everyone has been enjoying my reviews and now that I’m caught up on Survivor maybe I’ll take a quick look at what I’ve missed at the BBCan Grand. Or not, depends on my days. Until later tribe mates.