This is the first Survivor episode I haven’t watched live (or at least live minus 15 minutes to be able to skip the commercials) in many, many years. This show has been on a very long time. But it still sucked me back in (mostly). As always when there’s a theme season, we begin the episode with a lengthy explanation of the theme. It is … DAVID VS GOLIATH! I’m immediately leery because Survivor has pulled this trick twice before with one tribe having an apparent advantage over the other and in both previous cases, the tribe with the advantage stomped the bejeezus out of the underdogs. In this case, though, the divisions are based on Goliaths being those who’ve started with advantages in their life and Davids who have had to scratch and claw for what they have. We get to see a pro wrestler who is more than willing to play the heel as a Goliath. We get a Kentucky lawyer who has pulled himself out of the Holler (and thank you Justified for giving me the context behind what that even means). We also get Mike White! Yay! He’s written a bunch of movies awhile ago (School of Rock, Chuck & Buck, The Good Girl) but most recently he wrote Pitch Perfect 3 (which I have not and probably will never see). He was also on the Amazing Race with his dad which is where most of his tribemates recognize him from. Anyway, he’s a Goliath which seems unlikely from what I know of him. He also seems somewhat surprised by the designation but he’s really just happy to be playing. Anyway, enough with the intros, let’s get to the first challenge.
Jeff begins by playing up the advantages of the Goliaths and then stacking the odds even further by allowing the goliaths to choose the two weakest from the David tribe to take part in the challenge: chosen is Lyrsa, a self-described punk rock Puerto Rican lesbian and Christian, a self-described geek. Actually after listening to him for 30 seconds, I’m comfortable removing the ‘self-described’ designation. The Goliaths then get to choose their two strongest to take part: Alison, a lawyer, and John the pro wrestler who has a ton of stage wrestling names which he’s happy to reel off in several different interviews. I’m going to stick with John. Now that the participants have been chosen, Jeff then lets the David tribe decide which team will take which path and puzzle during the challenge. They naturally pick the harder path and a 15-piece cube puzzle for the Goliaths and take the easier path and a slide puzzle. Both teams basically reach their puzzles at roughly the same time but Christian solves the slide puzzle in less time than it took me to write this sentence. Maybe less time than it took me to write the word ‘sentence’. Probst is flabbergasted at how quickly that puzzle went, and then Christian reveals that he has written algorithms for solving slide puzzles. We then get an interview that is basically just a montage of pieces of Christian discussing his strategy and the possible improvements he could have made. Yeesh. The Davids win shelter building supplies and the two tribes are off to their respective camps.
At the Goliath camp, we get Dan a SWAT team cop who reveals he used to be a much bigger guy and that he worked hard to get into shape. He’s reveling in having the attention of some of the attractive women on the tribe, especially Kara. He talks about a showmance and it’s a little cringey. Meanwhile, at the David camp, Pat is working like crazy and barking orders to everyone to get the camp in shape. He’s also pretty crude which Christian notes could be an issue. But for now people are putting up with it because he knows what he’s doing. At the Goliath camp, it’s much less structured and we see Natalie, surveying her domain and speaking up to tell people what should be done … without doing anything herself. She interviews that she’s used to younger people doing what she tells them to do. She talks about how she’s had people who would literally take a bullet for her and for once this does not seem like she is mis-using the term ‘literally’. Which is more than a little scary. Anyway, she’s rubbing people the wrong way.
Back at David, we get a bunch of proto-alliances forming. Jessica and Bi; Carl and Davie; Lyrsa and Elizabeth; Christian and Gabby, who as a technical writer refers to herself as the nerd whisperer. Gabby really seems to like Christian which is nice, I guess. Back again to Goliath where Mike has skedaddled to look for an idol, and it’s quickly noticeable to the rest of his tribe. Mike now has a target on his back for the idol-hunting as well as for being a perceived wealthy individual as a big Hollywood screenwriter. After the first night, the Goliaths are now all busy looking for the idol and we get many shots of everyone looking … but it turns out Dan has already found the idol. He makes no attempt to conceal the info from Kara and Natalia and they’re all happy. At the David tribe, Davie catches an octopus and he’s very pleased. The weather is now pretty terrible and they’re all ensconced in their shelter which leads to them talking about bad stuff in their lives where we find out Jessica’s mom was in a bad relationship which leads to Bi revealing she was in an abusive relationship which leads to Nick revealing that his mother overdosed a few years ago. Whew.
On to the immunity challenge where it is bucketing down rain. There’s an obstacle course where one person first has to dig their way under a log. The first person through gets a machete to cut a rope that lowers a ladder for the tribe while the second person through has to untie knots to lower the ladder instead. They then have to use a pole to cross from one platform to another, then down a cargo net, then one person calls to the tribe to solve a number puzzle. The Goliaths do well enough on the physical part that they can manage the puzzle in time and win immunity.
And here’s where the episode basically ends because immediately after commercial, we get Pat being taken off a boat on a stretcher surrounded by the medical team. They were being transported back to camp from the challenge on rough waters and the boat hit a wave and slammed down causing Pat to injure his back. He’s in a lot of pain, seeming to fade in and out, and there’s no way for the doctor to properly assess his condition. Pat’s very unhappy but it’s clear he can’t continue and he’s evacuated by helicopter
The second episode begins by showing just how miserable both tribes are as they continue to deal with the very heavy rain which they will later find out was a cyclone. For those who didn’t know (like me), a cyclone is the same thing as a hurricane (and a typhoon). The difference is solely in where this weather event takes place. Atlantic/Northeast Pacific – Hurricane. Northwest Pacific – Typhoon. South Pacific/Indian Ocean – Cyclone. There you go. Anyway, back to the show. Nick recognizes that if Pat hadn’t had to be evacuated, he was in serious trouble. So, he’s out to make a stronger alliance and enlists Christian. Instead of doing much in the way of strategizing, Nick is instead once again more concerned with coming up with an alliance name. They decide on the Mason/Dixon Line since one of them is from the South and one from the North. I’m not sure an allusion to the Civil War is the greatest alliance name for a Northerner and Southerner. Whatever, alliance names are stupid. In a bit of good news for both tribes, because of the weather, both tribes are given a firemaking kit so that they can actually survive.
On the Goliath tribe, Dan is pleased with how things are going because he has an idol and a woman he likes. However, as the rest of the tribe is noting, Dan seems a lot more into Kara than the other way around. Kara is telling the other women on the tribe that she’s with them. Natalia interviews that the women are in power because they have the men wrapped around their little fingers. But Dan still has that secret idol right? Oh wait, here comes Jeremy to search Dan’s jacket while Mike looks out. And Dan has left the idol wrapped in a sock in his jacket which Jeremy easily finds. Mike interviews that having the information about the idol is probably more important than having the idol. This … isn’t really true.
On the David tribe, Davie is busy scrounging for anything to eat. I’m pretty sure we see him eat a flower which seems pretty reckless. And then he sees a rope strung along a branch which leads him to his tribe’s immunity idol. He is pleased. Meanwhile, Lyrsa is being named as the next target by Carl because she’s supposedly the weakest. Elizabeth nods along and then runs to tell Lyrsa because they are allied. Lyrsa wants to go after Carl.
Back at the Goliaths, Natalie continues to be extremely bossy and has no sense of humour at all. John tries to stay on her side by reporting to her that Dan is targeting her. John suggests that she keep this secret, but Natalie is not having any of that. She starts confronting everybody asking why they’d be targeting the ‘old woman of the tribe’. She says it’s stupid, which is a great way to paper over your differences with someone. Jeremy also tries to suggest to Natalie that she’s coming across badly with her tribemates. He is a little condescending but Natalie shuts him down super hard. Jeremy comes out of their discussion wanting to vote Natalie out immediately. Wow, she is terrible at this game.
On to the immunity challenge. There’s a physical component involving ladders, canoes, paddling, blah, blah blah. I’m skipping past this, only saying that the Goliath tribe gets a sizeable advantage getting to the puzzle portion way ahead of the Davids, but it doesn’t particularly matter because the puzzle is brutally difficult and it takes them over an hour to put together. Five from the tribe have to each balance an individual table and build a puzzle wall across all five tables. Importantly, the puzzle involves the wall saying David vs Goliath. I note that because the David tribe never actually seems to realize that the puzzle spells something out. As the Goliath tribe is winning, the David tribe has pretty much done nothing in their wall. It’s ridiculously bad. The David tribe is going to Tribal Council. This whole David vs Goliath thing is really just spelling out that 9 times out of 10, Goliath should knock David down.
Back at camp, Jessica and Bi are telling Gabby that Lyrsa is the target, but in a way that shows they aren’t really interested in playing with Gabby. This sparks paranoia in Gabby. Meanwhile, Elizabeth and Lyrsa have decided to target Jessica in order to save Lyrsa. They rope in Gabby, who then talks to Christian and plays up the damsel in distress angle. Christian falls for the approach pretty hard, so he talks to Nick about being the swing votes.
On to tribal where we go through the usual “get your torches, fire means life, etc, etc”. The tribe talks about voting based on performance. Jessica talks about people not properly playing the game in a speech that is about to make her feel pretty dumb in a minute. Lyrsa says she doesn’t agree that she’s the weakest. Christian talks about fear causing excitement by relating the game to a rollercoaster. It’s not super relevant but it’s interesting stuff all the same. They vote and Survivor pulls a trick they don’t normally do when reading the votes. Normally if it’s close, they alternate the names being read but in this case they let Lyrsa fall two votes behind which fools me into thinking she’s done. Instead Jessica gets all the rest of the votes and she’s eliminated. Stay tuned for the next episode!
So, one fact I know is that in order for rain to really register in movies or TV, the production has to set up showers that essentially dump huge amounts of water on the actors. Put that little note aside for now, and let’s begin the recap. After Jessica was turfed last week, Davie, Bi and Carl are feeling nervous and on the outs. Davie talks to Christian who says Gabby put the plan together at the last minute. Bi talks to Nick who also plays up the Gabby angle, and does so even harder. Nick is angling to remove Gabby as soon as possible, especially because she has a connection with Christian, Nick’s partner in their stupid-named alliance.
Over on the Goliath tribe, we get John talking about wanting to play with Natalie, but thinks that will be difficult given how she continues to antagonize everyone in every conversation. Then we get Mike talking about how much he likes Jeremy and giving a bit of back story with Jeremy and his father who has early-onset Alzheimers. Mike also says he thinks Jeremy is his own worst enemy and he’s not sure how far Jeremy will get in the game. So, that’s a pretty obvious setup for this episode’s conflict. We then see a bunch of conversations taking place amongst different Goliath tribespeople, all innocuous. But Jeremy sees this and is convinced this is the tribe splintering into factions. He calls a tribe meeting and tells everyone how he thinks these scheming conversations should stop. I’m hiding behind my cushion because this is all so cringey. All this serves to do is pin everyone’s attention on Jeremy. And to top things off, Jeremy is outing Dan’s idol to nearly everyone in the tribe, but it’s not playing well with everyone and increases the size of the target on Jeremy.
On to the immunity challenge, and remember my earlier ‘fun’ fact? It is pouring. Torrentially pouring. Not only is this rain registering on TV, it looks like they are standing under a waterfall. The rain is so heavy, the tribes can barely even see Jeff standing about ten feet away. It’s nuts. The challenge is a rope obstacle course, followed by a 4-piece pyramid puzzle. The only notable thing about the obstacle course is that Bi injures her knee. We get to the puzzle at the same time roughly and it’s down to Natalie/Alison vs Christian/Gabby. It’s a tricky puzzle but quickly solved once you get the hang of it, and the Davids pull it off. Jeff calls it an ‘upset’ but come on. Once you’re at the puzzle part, is it really an upset when two self-titled nerds figure out a puzzle?
Anyway, now that the challenge is over, Natalie has realized she’s in trouble so she first approaches Jeremy but he’s in no mood to help her since she had previously rebuffed his earlier attempt at helping her. With the rest of the tribe, it’s shaking out as Natalie vs Jeremy with Natalia and Mike looking to remove Natalie and Angelina looking to take out Jeremy. Things pretty much explode when Natalie comes up to several people on the beach (including Jeremy) and she asks Jeremy to leave so that she can talk to them. That’s a big red flag for Jeremy so we now get Natalie and Jeremy arguing. And arguing and arguing. The best I can tell, Natalie never does talk much to the rest of the tribe.
On to tribal council where it’s again raining (but only hard instead of life-threatening torrential). Jeremy cuts into a question about the weather to call out Natalie and the arguing continues again. Jeremy gets pretty personal in his attacks which isn’t helping his case. The rest of the tribe basically agrees that Natalie gave a bad first impression but they’re being pretty diplomatic. It sure feels like the tribe has turned on Jeremy instead. Natalie says she’s firmly on Goliath’s side in the case of a tribe swap and she’ll try to do better with people. They vote and it’s unanimous against Jeremy. And in the next show, it’s tribe swap time!
Due to jury duty last week, P' missed the recap for episode 4 (and it was a doozy), so here it is:
We begin the episode with an immediate quit, but due to medical reasons. Bi injured her knee in the last episode, and since she’s an MMA fighter, it makes sense that she’s concerned, especially because she’s had previous injury issues with the same knee. So, she’s removing herself from the game.
And then with no time to waste, Jeff is telling them to drop their buffs. It’s a tribe swap! Except they’re actually going from two tribes to three. The David tribe gets pretty screwed from top to bottom as it ends up as a 3-2 Goliath majority on all three tribes. Unlucky.
The three tribes break down as: Natalia, Kara, Alec, Davie and Elizabeth on tribe one. Christian, Gabby, Dan, John and Alison on tribe two. Natalie, Mike, Angelina, Lyrsa and Nick on tribe three. Which leaves Carl without a tribe and he’s off to exile island. He’ll rejoin the next losing tribe at tribal council to observe and then join the tribe after tribal is done. Dan is upset that he’s been split up from Kara. This guy is an idiot. On the first tribe, Elizabeth and Davie are both trying to ingratiate themselves with the Goliaths. Elizabeth and Kara are finding they have a lot in common, between religion and growing up with horses. Natalia trying to fit in makes some ham-handed comment about wishing she had horses. It’s a real Ralph Wiggum “Do you like … stuff?” moment. Natalia confronts Kara after, forcing Kara to confirm that she’s just trying to make camp life tolerable and she’s still on board with the Goliaths.
Alone on exile, Carl finds a clue that says he has a limited amount of time to find an advantage. He figures out it must be something getting washed out from the beach so he hightails it there and finds a bunch of coconuts already in the surf. He’s busy running around in the ocean and manages to find the coconut in question. He gets an advantage which is brand new and pretty good. It’s an idol nullifier. When he votes, he’d invoke the nullifier and write the name of the person he’s blocking. If an idol then ends up being played for that person, it’s blocked and the votes count as usual. I approve of this. There is of course a requisite comment about how it’s just like David’s slingshot. Which … ok, whatever.
Natalie continues to be her usual terrible abrasive self, but even more so since she just wants to get rid of the Davids so she feels no need to even try to be nice to them. (I’m a little shocked that she thought her previous behavior apparently included her being nice to her tribe). Nick continues his plan to start as many alliances as possible, this time with Mike. And he has a new name of course, this time the ‘rockstars’, I guess because Mike wrote School of Rock. Since Mike doesn’t like Natalie much, he’s receptive to working with Nick somewhat. He even reveals that Dan has an idol. But he’s not going too crazy since he knows he’s currently in the majority with his existing tribemates.
Christian is also ingratiating himself with his new tribe as he gets to now discuss the whole concept of ‘slamtown’ with John. It takes him some time to really grasp the nuances though as he at first expresses an interest in becoming a citizen of slamtown, and I doubt that’s actually true. Meanwhile, Gabby hates her new tribe and breaks down with Christian who tries to reassure her that they’re not doomed.
On to the immunity challenge where one caller sits on a wheel while two blindfolded teammates guide them (at the caller’s directions) through an obstacle course. Then the caller guides two more blindfolded players to negotiate a ball through a table maze. Gabby does very well as her tribe’s caller and they win immunity (and pastries/coffee). Angelina guides her tribe to second place, so it looks like Elizabeth and Davie are in trouble since their tribe is going to Council. At first, Elizabeth grabs Davie to search for the hidden idol. Davie doesn’t tell her that he already has the idol from this camp. The next plan is that Elizabeth wants to try and get Natalia out. Davie immediately reveals this plan to Natalia/Kara to try and save himself. Elizabeth appeals to Alec to turn on his Goliath teammates, but this doesn’t look likely so she switches tactics to convince the Goliaths that Davie should go. Alec tries to discuss with Natalia who is dead-set on voting for Elizabeth. She tries to bully Alec into voting with her, and that does not go over well with anyone.
On to tribal where it first looks like Davie and Elizabeth are selling each other out in order to stick around themselves. Elizabeth does make the ‘don’t play it safe’ argument though and it looks like Alec may be listening. He gets up and whispers to Elizabeth, which absolutely freaks out Natalia. Alec then whispers to Kara, but not Davie which is interesting. We vote and it turns out Natalia is voted out 3-2! Kara is vehement that she didn’t know. Natalia is angry but who cares.
Last week’s episode begins with Carl being welcomed into his new tribe after Natalia left. Kara is upset with Alec and can’t trust him anymore after he blindsided Natalia, a point she is more than willing to make to the Davids in her tribe who now have a majority. They all seem receptive, but who knows how real that is. Elizabeth interviews that she trusts Alec over Kara, so Kara will be the next to go as far as she’s concerned.
And then we get more extreme weather. So extreme that they’re all being evacuated for the next two days while a cyclone wrecks their camps. I read in an interview with Jeff Probst that they were segregated with no amenities by tribe and under a ‘no talking’ lockdown to prevent anything significant game-wise. That would suck. We then see the tribes returned to the camps after the cyclone has passed, and they’re all glad they missed the storm and start to work on rebuilding.
On to a reward challenge which has been rare this season. The tribe retrieves sandbags and then uses a slingshot to hit two targets. The winning tribe is Elizabeth’s who credits her slingshot squirrel hunting. They’ve won four hens and a rooster which makes them all happy. The second tribe to win is Natalie’s and they win 12 eggs. Leaving the mayor of slamtown and his tribe getting nothing. Davie is thrilled to have won the chickens and interviews that they’ll be having Kentucky Boiled Chicken that night. And over in the second-place tribe, we’re in the middle of yet another Natalie fight who insists that they should cook all the eggs at once whereas Lyrsa says raw eggs will keep longer than cooked ones. And Lyrsa went to culinary school so I’d trust her word over Natalie’s. Doesn’t seem to matter though as we next see Natalie putting all the eggs into the boiling water. Mike is visibly frustrated by Natalie and that’s pretty impressive because Mike’s about as nice a guy as you get.
Over on the losing tribe, they’re still fixing their camp and Christian continues to bond with Dan and John, and they’ve named themselves the brochachos. Sigh. I get that it’s all pretty tongue-in-cheek but I still hate it. This keeps Gabby on the outs and Dan interviews that she’ll be the first to go. But before that, Dan knows that there should be a new immunity idol since they are a newly created tribe when they had the swap. So he goes looking and he has an advantage since he found the idol at his old camp and knows what to look for. He doesn’t find the idol but he does find a clue which reveals that the idol will be hidden at the immunity challenge.
And we go on to the challenge which involves an obstacle course and a neat vertical serpentine maze where one tribe member will need to use pulleys and a curved board to navigate a ball up the snake to the top. While everyone is preoccupied with the maze, Dan successfully retrieves the immunity idol, giving him two now. That’s the good news for Tony out of this episode. In the maze, Christian takes over from John and successfully wins immunity for his tribe, followed by Alec winning second for his tribe. Nick was pretty close but his tribe is going to tribal council.
Back at camp, Nick apologizes for losing but no-one is blaming him. Instead, the initial thinking by the Goliaths is that Lyrsa will be voted out. Angelina says that she wants Lyrsa’s jacket before she goes and it’s unclear how she thinks that would work. She’s so cold, though, so apparently that justifies whatever has to be done … but not by her, she instead asks Natalie to do it. Natalie talks to Nick and proposes that he steal Lyrsa’s jacket. He’s pretty flabbergasted by this and refuses. She then asks for his jacket. He refuses that too and says he won’t be bullied just to stay in the game. Nick’s really angry and tells Lyrsa about the idiotic move. He also tries to sway Mike over to their side, and he’s more than willing to vote out Natalie but doesn’t want to be the only one to flip and anger his other Goliath teammates. So Nick talks to Angelina, and so does Mike. Mike and Angelina say they’re on the same page but we don’t hear what that means exactly.
At tribal council, all of Natalie’s shenanigans around the eggs and jackets are brought up. It’s pretty clear that Mike is unhappy about it all, while Angelina is trying to keep the peace (especially because the jacket thing was because of her as Natalie points out). Natalie interrupts Jeff a bunch. Jeff says he’s figured her out that she always has to have the last word. Her response, “no.” He is, of course, entirely right though. Anyway, we vote and it’s two votes apiece for Lyrsa and Natalie and the final vote is … Natalie. So Mike flipped after all, but I’m 99% sure Angelina knew that was happening. As Natalie is gathering her things and moving towards Jeff, Angelina asks Natalie if she can have her jacket. “Natalie?” Nothing. “Natalie?” Nothing. It’s pretty painful to watch. Natalie continues to ignore Angelina while her torch is snuffed and she leaves (with her jacket). In the final interview, Natalie says she didn’t answer Angelina because she wasn’t sure if Angelina was part of the vote to get her out. And she’s wearing the jacket, heh.
For tonight’s episode, we are teased that friends become enemies and enemies become friends
The next episode begins in a bit of a unique way, showing Angelina making her vote in the previous episode and confessing it was a ‘fake’ vote to try and convince Natalie that Angelina was still on her side. In order to get the jacket. I don’t think Angelina is at all aware of how she’s coming off with this laser-focused determination to get a jacket. On the other hand, I know being cold sucks especially if you ‘run cold’ already as Angelina interviews. The remaining tribe members are now back at camp laughing about the jacket, but everybody interviews that they don’t trust Angelina as a result.
Off to the reward challenge where they are playing for kitchen knives and vegetable kebobs. One player from each tribe is tethered to a very heavy bag of coconuts which is carried by three other tribe members. The tethered tribe member must then climb over a wall and cross a balance beam to retrieve rings, while the others hold the bag up so as to give them enough rope. Then, it’s a ring toss. It goes back and forth, but Gabby and the “brochachos” (ugh) win, followed by Nick and his tribe for second.
Back at the winning camp, Dan interviews that he’s pleased with his tribe, especially the fellow guys. And we see several shots of Dan, Christian and John hanging out and making jokes. Christian interviews that his biggest fear is being ostracized so it means a lot to him that he’s fitting in. Gabby on the other hand interviews that the guy group terrifies her, especially because Dan and John barely talk to her. She smartly says that ‘hope is not a strategy’ and sets out to try and win over Alison (who I feel we’ve barely seen this season). Gabby talks about her concerns, somewhat breaking down which gets Alison to comfort her. Alison does say that she does feel Dan is a threat because he has an idol (when in fact he has two), and is open to the idea of blindsiding him.
Meanwhile, at the losing camp we have Elizabeth angry about their bamboo bed because it’s terrible for her back. Apparently it’s been discussed before about fixing the bed by splitting the bamboo (so it’s more even, I guess?) but no-one has done anything about it. Elizabeth just sets out to start pulling apart the bamboo and begins splitting it. Carl’s upset because he was napping and was woken up with the noise (and then later gets hit by Elizabeth as she’s dragging bamboo around). Davie is upset because there isn’t enough time left in the day to complete this project so he thinks it’s dumb to pull their bed apart when it will be dark soon. Elizabeth is upset because they start putting the bed back together, interrupting her work. There’s decent points to be made on both sides, but as usual, it mostly devolves into yelling and talking past each other. Kara is happy that the Davids on her tribe are fractured.
On to the immunity challenge, which I am absolutely certain I would hate if I had to do it. They have to carry a large heavy saucer through an obstacle course, then fill it with water and carry it back through the obstacle course (where they can easily spill a bunch of their water) and try and fill a well with the water which will drop a bag of puzzle pieces. Christian, Dan, John and Alison nail the water portion in one go, which easily gives them enough time to complete the puzzle and win immunity. Davie, Carl, Alec and Kara have to make two trips but that’s plenty of time seeing as Mike, Nick, Lyrsa and Angelina are terrible at this. Their first trip barely gets them any water. By their second trip, they’re barely able to hold up the saucer and they still don’t get enough water. Mike’s not even sure he can hold it up a third time, which is prescient as they drop the saucer and lose all their water on the third trip. Mike’s very unhappy, feeling he let his tribe down, but Angelina was struggling pretty badly too.
Back at camp, the scrambling begins. Angelina tells Lyrsa that she and Mike are sticking together, but they’d like to work with her. She says no, she’s sticking with Nick. So Angelina goes to Nick and says the same thing (replacing Nick with Lyrsa as the target) with Nick also saying he’s loyal to Lyrsa. Lyrsa talks to Mike who says he’d like to vote Angelina out but that this would tip the larger Goliath vs David balance, and he’s already voted out one Goliath. Mike and Nick talk and Mike reiterates his same concerns for the larger game overall.
At tribal council, there’s much discussion about how strong the bond between everyone is and blah blah blah. It’s all about trust and loyalty. Sure it is. Lyrsa talks about her loyalty. Angelina talks about strategy (which gets some side-eye looks). Nick says he’s more attached to this tribe than previous alliances and Angelina butters him up, praising his strength and piercing blue eyes. Hmmm. But when it comes down to the votes, Lyrsa’s the one who comes up short as Nick has jumped ship to vote her out. Lyrsa is angry with Nick in her final interview. In the next ep preview, it’s merge time and Angelina wants to vote out Christian while Alec seems to be looking to protect the Davids. We’ll see.
The next episode begins with one of the non-tribal council tribes beginning their day. They sleep better apparently when they don’t have a tribal council the night before. They then notice the sound of engines approaching and see several boats approaching their beach. It’s the merge! And the merge feast! Everybody’s happy and eating well. Gabby interviews that there’s usually an immunity or advantage at the feast … but nobody seems to find anything. After the feast, old and new friends are connecting and re-connecting. The stupid Mason-Dixon alliance is back together, and I’m only just now realizing that they comprise two of my three survivors. I’m left rooting for this stupid alliance name. Oh well. In more important news, Carl is revealing to several Goliaths that Alec was the one who orchestrated Natalia’s ouster. This puts suspicion on Alec. They name the tribe and whatever, I’ve already forgotten it. Carl continues to be annoyed with Elizabeth and is talking to all and sundry that she should be the first to go from the new tribe. Dan interviews how thrilled he is to be reunited with Kara. He is so hyper-focused on his quasi-romance that I fully expect him to be voted out with one or both of his idols unplayed. Oh, he also tells Kara about his second idol, and she’s naturally pleased.
The Goliaths are deciding who should be the first to go, and while Elizabeth is the initial name brought up, Angelina is arguing for Christian as the biggest threat among the Davids. John, Dan and Alec aren’t thrilled as they all like Christian. Alec specifically seeks Christian out to form a hidden alliance. I can’t keep track of all of these relationships. (I’m not the only one as will come up later at tribal council). That night, Elizabeth is kept awake with Dan and Kara’s canoodling which leads her to think they should be split up. The next day, we get the formation of a larger alliance between Mike, Alec and Alison from the Goliaths and Gabby, Christian and Nick from the Davids. Amazingly, Nick doesn’t immediately insist on naming this new alliance (at least not that we see). Elizabeth discusses with a few people, notably Carl and Alec, her concerns with Dan & Kara and how they should be targeted. Carl says he’s interested, but I’m 90% sure he’s stringing Elizabeth along. And Alec immediately tells Dan & Kara about Elizabeth’s scheming which gets Dan riled.
On to the immunity challenge where they each have a metal stand on a spring with a statue balanced on the middle of the stand. The stand also has two slanted openings on the left and right. They then have to swing a pendulum around the metal stand, passing through the slanted openings on the left and right. If the pendulum doesn’t pass through at the right height, it will hit the metal and either knock off the statue (and they lose) or they’ll lose momentum and the pendulum will stop (and they lose). The neat bit is that they can clip the stand but can keep going as long as they don’t completely stop or knock off the statue. I liked this challenge quite a bit. Many are out pretty quickly but it eventually comes down to Elizabeth vs Alison and Alison pulls out the win. Dan thinks this means Elizabeth is going home.
The Goliaths congregate after the challenge and Angelina continues to press for voting out Christian, painting it in military terms. She manages to get the Goliaths to agree although several of them are luke-warm at best. Alec especially doesn’t want the first vote to target one of his three David allies as that would basically fracture the entire alliance. He gets Alison to agree and then convinces Dan (who all along has wanted Elizabeth out) and John that they should switch the vote back to Elizabeth. John and Alison talk to Angelina and tell her the vote has switched back. She’s unhappy that she’s being dictated to and that her plan is being abandoned. Angelina then takes the opportunity to talk to Elizabeth and she outright tells Elizabeth that the vote is going against her. Elizabeth tells Gabby about the conversation and they hatch a plan to reveal Angelina’s conversation to the rest of the Goliaths. But Elizabeth plans to do it at tribal council which is a terrible idea. Way better to do it before tribal when there’s still time to form an alternate plan.
At tribal council, they begin with Alison talking about how difficult it is to manage the relationships around camp since it’s gone from four relationships to 12 and more. Christian sort-of-helpfully pipes up that the term she’s looking for is factorial. John amusingly comments that he’d said that too, but quietly so no-one else could hear. Anyway, the conversation gets around to Elizabeth who reveals how Angelina told her that the vote was going to be for her that night. Elizabeth says the Goliath tribe is fractured, which … not really. Angelina says it’s bad strategy for Elizabeth to reveal this, and that’s just flat out wrong. Bad for Angelina, sure but Elizabeth has nothing to lose at this point since she’s minutes from going home. Angelina then lies and says she didn’t outright say the vote would be Elizabeth, just that she was noncommittal. The Goliaths are unhappy with Angelina and think she was trying to suck up to the jury. Angelina continues to frantically backpedal, but Elizabeth continues to claim this is evidence of a fracture. Gabby cries, saying that Elizabeth shouldn’t be blamed for making the only play she has. None of this looks good for Angelina, and she says that any hesitation she had in voting for Elizabeth is now gone. Ultimately, all of this does nothing for Elizabeth’s fate as she’s voted off unanimously. In the preview, alliances seem to be falling apart all over the place.
It was a heck of an episode last week and it began with Angelina in full-on damage control, spinning her wheels telling her alliance that her moves with Elizabeth was a moment of weakness, not strategy. And that she didn’t really say what Elizabeth said she said. And a bunch of other stuff that convinces no-one but does get them to say everything is fine just so that Angelina will shut up. Alison and Alec specifically say they don’t trust Angelina anymore. We then get Christian and Mike discussing the aftermath of tribal and Mike is concerned that Gabby is not fully onboard with the alliance of six based on how she reacted at council. Which, it’s hard to blame her, seeing as so far the Goliaths involved have done nothing concrete for the alliance. Next, we move on to Davie and Nick looking for a new idol around camp. Davie knows what he’s looking for, since he has an idol (which he has successfully kept entirely to himself). They find a clue that has a drawing of a palm tree on a cliff. Joined by Carl, they then find what they think is the palm tree they’re looking for. Because it’s in full view of others, Davie peels off and successfully distracts everyone else by faking yoga and flailing around with a big stick while Nick and Carl find a steal-a-vote advantage. Carl then reveals to Nick and Davie his idol nullifier advantage. The two together are pretty powerful. Davie still keeps his idol knowledge to himself.
On to the reward challenge which involves two teams of six where they have to hold eight 10-lb sandbags above their head which are attached to a trough filled with water right above them. If one of the sandbags drops below their head, it will tilt the trough and they’ll be soaked and lose. Everybody in the challenge has to be holding at least one sandbag but they can pass the extras between them. Every fifteen minutes, one person drops out and their sandbags have to be divided among the remaining teammates. The teams were led by Gabby and Mike, with Gabby picking Christian, Alison, John, Alec and Nick with Mike getting Carl, Kara, Davie, Dan and Angelina. The winners get 12 pizzas to eat back at camp. At fifteen minutes, Gabby and Angelina drop out. At thirty minutes, Christian and Carl drop out. Several of the remaining are struggling. Dan is holding three sandbags stacked on top of each other with one hand and calls over to the other team how they need to be holding three bags. And immediately after, his top bag slips off and tips the trough. Ah, instant karma is fun. I also enjoyed Mike replying to Jeff’s “I have nothing for you” with “Well, we have nothing for you, either.” It made Jeff laugh as well.
The winners enjoy their big lunch while Mike goes off by himself to think over his situation. Mike decides that Christian is the biggest threat (even though he’s supposed to be in an alliance with him) and he proceeds to convince the other Goliaths that Christian needs to go next. Angelina is justifiably annoyed because this was her exact argument last episode. It’s also decided that because Angelina’s name is already out there as a possible vote, she’ll be used as a decoy target while they go after Christian. This doesn’t make her feel any better but she agrees.
On to immunity where they have to stand on a narrow board while holding a ball between two sticks. A bunch of them drop very quickly and it comes down to Angelina and Dan. They’re both starting to wobble, but Angelina loses her grip on the ball and it falls so Dan wins immunity. The Goliaths tell the Davids that Angelina is the vote. Angelina still doesn’t like being the decoy because any smart play could see her going home instead. Dan tells Angelina that he’d save her if it came to that with one of his idols, but then tells Kara that he’d let Angelina take the fall if it came to that. Meanwhile, Alec doesn’t want to lose Nick’s trust, so he tells Nick that the Goliaths are going after Christian. Nick tells Christian the Goliaths have lied and then asks Davie if they could use the advantages to save Christian. Davie says he’ll think about it but interviews that the only way to be sure would be to use the idol. On to tribal with things very much up in the air, but looking like Christian is in deep trouble.
At tribal, Angelina is backpedaling again, still trying to make up for the last tribal. The Goliaths are being cagey by saying the Davids will be instrumental in this vote, but it’s pretty clear the Davids aren’t being fooled. Carl says he knows the Goliaths have the numbers. Christian says he knows he’s something of a threat but hopes his relationships will save him. Angelina says that makes him more of a threat which Christian isn’t thrilled with. Christian sure looks like he thinks he’s doomed. We vote, and the vote steal isn’t used so it’s looking very dicey for Christian. Jeff asks if anyone wants to play an idol and Davie stands up and plays his idol for Christian! Yay! Good stuff. The Goliaths are shocked and Angelina is asking Dan to stand by what he said to her. She asks several times and it’s just like the Natalie jacket situation all over again, except Dan finally caves and plays an idol for Angelina who thanks him over and over. Jeff starts reading votes and it’s one through seven votes for Christian all of which don’t count. Then it’s a vote for Angelina and another vote for Angelina and they don’t count. At this point, the Goliaths appear to be trying to figure out what happens if all votes are nullified, but the next vote is … John!!! We get one more vote for John and he’s gone. (Of note, there was in fact a third vote for John which we saw over the credits, so it was a blown idol play by Dan since Angelina wasn’t going home either way). The Davids successfully split their votes and John is done. It’s rare that the show lets the viewers be blindsided by the vote too, and that was excellently handled. Good stuff! In the next episode, it looks like Dan is in trouble as his ‘showmance’ with Kara hits the skids.
This season has been a lot of fun, and this episode was another worthy addition. The Goliaths continue to dither without accomplishing much, while the Davids put together another brilliant plan. But I’m getting ahead of myself. The episode begins with the Davids happy with how the tribal council went down, but not reveling too openly in front of the Goliaths. Privately, though, Davey is ecstatic that he eliminated the mayor of Slamtown. And somehow he got John’s jacket too which he wears and then throws to the ground. Meanwhile, Alison, Kara and Alec are on the beach, talking over what just happened and they’re thinking that the time may have come to ally with the Davids. You know who else is on the beach? Dan, and he’s about twenty feet away from the other three, sitting alone and brooding. Or really, he’s sulking that the Goliath group isn’t including him in their discussion. Kara finally comes over and they argue, with Kara reasonably telling him if he wants to be included, he needs to get involved. I once sat around sulking, hoping that my friends would come over. I was eight. Kara interviews that it’s time she cut ties with Dan.
On to the reward challenge with two random teams of five navigating an obstacle course and then completing a snake puzzle. The teams ended up as Alec, Kara, Dan, Mike and Davie vs Angelina, Alison, Gabby, Christian and Nick. Carl was the odd man out and couldn’t participate. The reward was a trip to a “burger bar” where they’d get to gorge on burgers and then feel violently ill for hours afterwards. Yay! The Goliath-heavy team got out to an early lead in the course and managed to hold the lead through the puzzle. Since a lot of the Goliaths are away (and Angelina is crying about missing the veggie burgers) Gabby takes the opportunity to discuss alliances with Alison. Alison says she was close to flipping on Angelina last time. Gabby says it’s probably good she didn’t because that wouldn’t be much of a big move. Gabby suggests taking Dan out would be a much bigger move. Alison seems open to the plan. Meanwhile at the burger bar, Davie has gone off on his own leaving the bulk of the Goliaths to discuss their next plans. Mike and Dan are continuing to preach ‘Goliath strong’ and the rest of the group is at least paying lip service to the concept. Mike has an amusing line with ‘I know we all hate each other, but we still need to work together.’ After the reward is over, Kara meets with Alison and Alec and they’re discussing joining with the Davids to take out Dan. Kara reveals that Dan has another idol, and they’re agreed to go ahead with the new plan.
But the Davids aren’t willing to rest on this plan, and before dawn the next morning, they’re all out looking for an idol since several were played at the last council. Christian talks about dividing up his search grid into sectors and blah, blah, blah. Anyway, he finds an idol the same way that countless others have.
On to the immunity challenge where they highstep through logs (unless you’re Alec and just leap the whole thing in one shot), then untie a ball and balance it on a little platform while crossing a teeter-totter. Then do it again a second and third time. Then, they have to navigate each ball along a snake balance maze to three different holes. It’s close between Alec and Dan, but Alec pulls it out and wins immunity. Dan is sad he didn’t win but is confident that Christian will be going home. Kara is proceeding with her plan to take out Dan and discusses with the Davids to split the votes between Angelina and Dan. She only says Dan ‘might’ have an idol. Then we get Alison having second (third? Fourth?) thoughts about siding with the Davids and she runs off to Alec where he agrees they should yet again abandon the plan to side with the Davids, and they then tell Kara they’ve changed their minds. Again. (This is pretty ridiculous. How many times are they going to do this?) The Goliaths all segregate themselves yet again, leaving the Davids to quickly realize their plan probably isn’t going to go ahead as originally thought. The Davids discuss their next plans with Nick revealing his vote steal, Carl revealing his idol nullifier and Christian revealing his idol. So, they’re in very good shape, they just need to figure out what to play and when.
On to Tribal Council where Jeff begins by asking the Davids if there was joy when the Goliaths suffered for a change in the last council. Gabby says it was more of a relief. Probst asks if it’s still a tribal line division and the Goliaths all agree. Nick and Gabby both say they’ve tried to work with the Goliaths and have been rebuffed each time. The Goliaths were willing when Elizabeth was voted out, but as soon as a Goliath was on the block, they backed out. Carl points out that you can only go by actions, the Goliaths have over and over said they’d be willing, and then backed out every time. We go to vote … and Nick speaks up to play his vote stealing advantage. He takes Alison’s vote (who is unhappy with said move) and will now have two. While this is going on, Dan asks Kara if he should play his idol and for who. They whisper back and forth. It’s now time to vote. After voting, Jeff asks for idols and Dan plays his last idol for himself. (Alison is again unhappy with said move). Jeff agrees it’s an idol and then holds up a disk. He explains it’s an idol nullifier (which the Goliaths didn’t even know existed) and that if it was played for a person that had played an idol, that idol would be nullified. He flips it over and we see it was played for Dan. Ho ho ho! Dan is flummoxed, going from 100% confident to devastated and confused in two seconds flat. The votes are read and the Goliath votes were split between Angelina and Christian as it looks like Kara and Alec decided to go with the Davids (too little, too late) at the last second and voted for Angelina. Then the David votes come in and they’re all for Dan. We’re now tied 5-5 between the Goliaths and Davids. For the next episode, we have Angelina furious with her fellow Goliaths and friction between Carl and Gabby. We also get Dan interviewing that it’s frustrating to be taken out by an advantage he’d never even heard of before now. Yup, sucks for him!