Previously on… SURVIVOR!
With Morgan voted out, the alliance she left behind–Spencer, Tasha, and Jeremiah–seemed to be in a bad spot, up against the 5 strong Solana alliance and Kass. But “seemed” is the operative word, as their votes against Tony at Tribal Council sent him spiraling full-on into Bad Cop mode. More paranoid than ever before, Tony hatched an elaborate scheme to take out the biggest threat in his own alliance, L.J. By goading L.J. into agreeing to vote against Woo, Tony thought he could paint L.J. as untrustworthy to his allies, allowing him to pull off the blindside without seeming like the bad guy. He later won a Spa Day with Spencer and Jeremiah, where he promised them that he’d save them down the road to use against his own alliance, leaving Tasha next on the chopping block. She tried to save herself by making a game changing move when she offered to strategize with L.J., but he stood her up, leaving her feeling all the more vindicated when she beat him out to win Individual Immunity. Tony tried to put his plan in effect, freaking out Woo, who believed Tony’s story that L.J. was targeting him. Trish, however, remained unconvinced, sensing something fishy with the conflicting stories between Tony and L.J. The women and L.J. stuck with their plan to split the votes between Spencer and Jeremiah, but with Woo; Spencer; Jeremiah; and Tasha, Tony was able to send L.J. out to pasture. 8 remain… who will be voted out tonight?
With L.J. gone, Solarrion returns to camp with only 8–putting a tribe other than the Brains, for the first time, at the bottom of the numbers. Hilariously, the last two beauties, Jeremiah and Jefra, not only have the most hilariously cliched Beauty-related jobs of all time (model and pageant queen) but also have the most hilariously cliched Southern accents of all time. Of course, pageants are competitions, and I don’t know any pageant queen who likes losing. Upset about being blindsided, Jefra immediately confronts Tony and Woo to confirm that they flipped. Tony cops to it and she demands to know what his reasoning for it was. “You like L.J., and you guys,” Tony says, referring to Jefra, Kass, and Trish, “wouldn’t understand where I’m coming from.” Trish, Tony’s corporate designated handler, doesn’t seem too miffed that her charge got out of his cage and mauled her would-be-boy-toy. “Immediately, I understood why he didn’t tell me,” she says. “He was afraid the plan might get destroyed, so I wasn’t mad. I still trust Tony, and Tony still trusts me.” Those would be famous last words if edited differently, but Trish is really just proving once again how insanely rational of a player she is. Jefra has plenty of reason to be wary of Tony right now. Same with Kass. But Tony is absolutely solid with Trish, she knows it, and she’s not about to go off script just because Tony might have ruffled some feathers.
But, still, like I said, Trish isn’t in the position that Kass or Jefra are in, and they both want more answers. Jefra specifically wants to know where she stands in the alliance. Spencer snarks from the side that “it seems like every time people promise a top six, it doesn’t work out.” “You’re right, it doesn’t!” Jefra fumes. Baby Kangaskhan is going Mega Kangaskhan. Or as close as she can get to it. If there’s one thing we learn very clearly, it’s that the alliance between Tony and Woo with the former Aparri faction is mutually agreed to have been a passing of ships in the night. Tony desperately tries to convince the women of his alliance that it was a one-and-done deal, saying they did the same thing to Woo when they ousted Cliff. Simultaneously, Spencer explains in a confessional that Tony is “not so predictable.” “I like to plan around what I think people are going to to,” he says–and he’s 100% right to do so. I’m never going to complain, as a viewer when people keep erratic, unstable players in the game. But, as a critic of the game itself, it amazes me how many people make the mistake of putting their faith in someone they can’t reliably predict. “I’m very tight with Jeremiah and Tasha,” Spencer says, in case you forgot somehow that they were an alliance, “now it’s a matter of finding out which stragglers we need to take along and make moves with.”
On Day 26, Tony is still in high-alert, knowing his big move against L.J. has landed him in hot water. So he goes to take his Chekov’s Gun off of the shelf and fire a few bullets into the air. Much as we’ve been observing for weeks (seriously, I think I mention it in every recap), Tony points out that The Well ™ is where all the big strategy conversations go down, so he reveals he’s “started working on some blueprints” for a brand new #SpyShack. It’s every bit as ridiculous as it sounds–and it’s even more ridiculous that it works. “That’s where I’ll be my most patient,” Tony promises. “Sittin’ in my Spy Shack.”
Even if he wasn’t spying on this conversation, Tony would have to be braindead to not realize this conversation was going to happen. “I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be fooled by Tony, because honestly? I think he’s playing us, Trish!” Jefra frets. Trish, who might be one of the most effectively-maternal players this game has ever seen, plucks a burr from Jefra’s hair while reassuring her that the alliance is still five strong–“just without L.J.” Trish is insistent that the Aparri Three are all bigger threats and in more immediate need of removal, but doesn’t poo-poo Jefra by writing off her concerns. “I definitely think Tony went into the wrong business. I think he’s an Academy Award winning actor.” Tony almost seems offended by this comment. Jefra agrees, and tells Trish the problem she has isn’t that L.J. was blindsided, but how Tony went about doing it. “He lied to my face!” Peering creepily from the bushes, Tony tells us in a confessional that he trusts Trish, Woo, and Kass (really!?) but now knowing that Jefra doesn’t trust him, he says he no longer trusts her.
Arriving at reward, the castaways are split up into two
tribes teams, Aparri Orange and Solana Purple for a challenge called Rove, Rove, Rove Your Boat. Each team must race out in a boat, collecting extra paddles at buoys along the way. Once they have all the paddles and are back to shore, they can uncover the letters on each paddle and use them to spell a three-word phrase. The first team to get it right gets reward. I’m assuming that with equal numbers of men and women, each team was randomly decided to have two men and two women? I don’t know. Either way, we end up with Tony, Woo, Trish, and Kass as the Orange Team and Tasha, Spencer, Jeremiah and Jefra as the Purple Team. Regardless of who wins or loses, it’s clear an important conversation is going to happen as a result. The results, will, however, determine where that conversation happens–the winning team will get a barbeque picnic feast inside of the stunningly scenic Callao Caves. As Jeff describes each item on the menu it becomes more and more clear that he can’t get it up without torturing the castaways by dragging it out as long as possible.
There are early struggles for Purple when Jefra can’t hoist herself into the boat quickly enough, but they pull ahead of Orange when they figure out how to effectively paddle the boat faster. This allows Tasha to get a head start untying the first set of paddles from the first buoy. When Orange catches up, though, Tony joins Woo in untying the paddles, allowing them to work more quickly and sneak ahead. At the next buoy, however, Tony drops a paddle in the water. He directs his team to keep going, but Jeff stops it, telling them that the rules mean that the boat can’t start moving unless everyone’s in it. Purple is given the chance to pull ahead, but blows it when they overshoot their final buoy, making this one of the most back-and-forth challenges yet. Ultimately, Orange’s lead coming into the puzzle doesn’t seem to be enough to guarantee them an easy victory. Woo and Kass do the moving for Orange, while Tasha and Spencer take lead for Purple. Both teams do their fair share of peeking at the other, almost being forced to solve it in tandem. Eventually, Kass thinks she has it with “Worth Fighting For,” and she and Woo begin to disassemble. “Where’s the ‘Y’ in ‘Fighting’?” Tony questions, however. After getting a wiff of what Kass and Woo are doing, Spencer catches on as well and whispers the answer to Tasha–“Worth Playing For.” The teams are all but dead even in assembling their final responses, essentially granting victory to whichever team has the right guess.
It’s the Purple team! Tasha, Spencer, Jeremiah and Jefra win reward. Tony immediately is unhappy with the results, noting that Jefra is the last person he and his alliance need to have off with the other three. “There’s four people… Spencer, Tasha, Jeremiah, and Jefra. Jefra, who doesn’t believe in me anymore. That’s a problem.”
Back at camp, Kass feels much the same way as Tony, while Woo is simply bummed about having lost the challenge by such a close margin. Oh Woo. Observing the things that really matter, as always. Kass, who seems to be low on Chaos at the moment, puts things into a little better perspective. “I’m sick of losing, but if I want to win a million dollars, I need to stick with this five,” she explains. “Tony felt threatened and got rid of L.J. I’m not offended by someone making a move. Tony’s annoying, but my philosophy? Keep the annoying people, get rid of the threats.” You mean like when Sarah annoyed you into keeping her, Kass? I can’t help but love the recurring gag of Kass calling out the poor decision making in others that she’s shown to be prone to herself. While Trish heads off for water, Tony officially promises Kass that she is safe with the five and has a secured spot within the alliance. I’m surprised she’s stuck with them this long without that assurance. My guess is Trish already laid that groundwork.
Speaking of Trish, she comes back into camp and is immediately put off by what she hears. “Oh my god, are we strategizing?” she moans. “We have to, Trish! Do you know how dangerous… this reward is?” Tony snaps back. “How do you feel about Jefra being over there?” Kass asks her. “I don’t know, but I feel pretty confident about the lemon trees and papayas I might have just found,” snarks Trish. Tony is upset that Trish is cockblocking his strategy talk, but doesn’t take from the Tasha Fox playbook and respond by voting her out. From his perspective, Tony feels that he was just trying to enlighten his alliance, and doesn’t get how Trish can be so lax about the situation. I think Tony needs to give his alliance a little more credit–I’m sure that all of them (well okay, maybe not Woo) are aware of the stakes. Trish says she’ll be happy to strategize all day long after the chores are taken care of and drafts Woo to help her collect the fruits of her labors. Tony determines he’ll strategize by himself–by hunting for the idol. He’s pretty sure that Spencer’s already found the normal one, so he heads off in search instead of the Super-Idol.
Meanwhile, Woo heads off with Trish and finds a tree full of gargantuan papayas. “Oh my god, look at them!” Trish gasps. “They look like Morgan’s boobs!” Snarf.
Woo climbs up the tree and shakes vigorously, dislodging a good number of the papayas. As he goes to dismount, he grabs a dead branch and also manages to dislodge himself, taking a hard fall to the forest floor. This is a moment that the previews had us all wondering about. Did Woo just make himself the 11th person out of this game?
Nah. It would have been hard for hi to give a ridiculously over the top, typical Woo confessional about the incident if he had been evacuated for it. “I was trying to pull a Sylvester Stallone, like, cliffhanger, like, swing my left hand and as soon as I swing it it’s like snap and I’m like noooooooooooo!”
“Owowow!!! My butt!” Woo moans. “Did you break it!?!?” freaks Trish. Fortunately for Woo, it’s nothing serious. He’s a little sore but the drop isn’t even devastating enough to warrant a visit from Dr. Ramona, so he walks away unscathed, though still clearly annoyed with the situation. “This is exactly what I didn’t not want to happen!” he exclaims, not quite understanding the double negative. He doesn’t stay mad for long, though. I don’t think he’s capable of staying mad. It’s not in his DNA. “I’ll bust my ass for papayas anyday,” he reassures Trish.
In the Callao Caves, the most ass-busting anyone is doing is simply treking through the awe-inspiring environment. “I’ve never been in a cave in my life!” exclaims Jeremiah, and all four reward winners seem truly humbled by the environment. “The caves had a scale about them that was just epic,” Spencer say. “There’s no other way to describe it.” “Although the cave was magnificent, even more magnificent was the table of food!” Tasha squeals. I can’t help but feel happy for her, as this is her first reward this game; and I can’t help but feel happy for the alliance on the whole to get to enjoy a nice reward together. The foursome sits to start chowing down on food–and on strategy. Spencer explains what we all have already figured out. He’s on a reward, distraction free, with his closest allies and the person he most needs to talk to. “I need Jefra to feel good about us and our four,” he says.
“I’m really confused,” Jefra admits to her lunch buddies. Okay Jefra, I’ll explain this once: you don’t eat the bones on the ribs… oh nevermind. Obviously though, she’s talking about her position in the game. Jefra reiterates to the Aparri trio that she wasn’t the only one left out of the plan–Trish and Kass weren’t included either–and that leaves her really unsure where she is in the alliance. “If there even is an alliance,” Tasha corrects. “It’s in nobody’s best interest to keep Tony, agreed?” she pushes further, and Jefra agrees. Spencer offers her a position working with their trio, but Jefra admits she’s not ready to make that big of a commitment just yet. As if on cue, their tour guide returns with one more reward in the form of sealed envelopes. Jefra immediately begins to cry upon seeing them. “Is that what I think it is?” gasps Jeremiah. “Jefra knows what it is,” says Spencer, as Jefra devolves into a full on mess of tears. “Before I could even get the letter in my hands I was already squalling and screaming,” she says. “It was exactly what I needed.”
As usual, the letters from home get everyone misty-eyed. I think it can be really hard to grasp, watching at home, how powerful these letters are to the castaways. Most of us, even if separated from our family and friends by distance, still have the ability to freely contact them, and are usually in the company of others in our support system even when away from some. On Survivor, you have no contact with anyone except for a group of people who you can never fully trust, on top of being starved, dehydrated, and exhausted. Even Spencer admits in a secret scene that he felt like a “gummy bear” after getting his letter. For Jefra, the letter isn’t only emotionally rejuvenating, but a strategic wake up call. “My mom said ‘Don’t let your kind heart be your downfall. Don’t be scared to lie, although you’re not that kind of a person,'” Jefra reads to the group between sobs. “This is I guess my sign that I should probably jump ship,” she tells the others. Who needs to strategize when a letter from home can do the work for you? “There’s no doubt in my mind that I didn’t win the reward challenge because I needed to hear exactly what my mom was telling me.” Everyone shakes around on the final four, and Jefra is tough on Jeremiah. “You shook my hand before, buddy,” she says with a laugh. “I’m holding you to it this time.”
Immunity is back up for grabs, and the challenge is called Hard to Handle, and is a variant on the challenge Bow Diddley from Survivor: South Pacific. Each player stands on a inclined balance beam while holding a pole and balancing a ball on top of it. In ten minute rounds, they’ll progress to harder and harder stages of the game, moving further down the beam to progressively skinnier sections, and moving their hand down the pole, making it harder to keep the ball from falling. The last castaway standing wins.
The game starts and much as in the first individual immunity challenge, the wind suddenly comes along to throw everyone off balance. Kass is the first to struggle, but Jefra is the first to drop. Trish follows and Tony goes nearly immediately after, with Kass soon after. In a matter of moments, half of the players are gone, though those who remain–Woo, Jeremiah, Tasha, and Spencer–survive all ten minutes to hit the next round. Round two claims a single victim–Jeremiah–meaning that one of the remaining players will become the first castaway to win two individual immunities this season. The final round will be the toughest, and has no time limit, rather lasting as long as the players can stand. Woo’s acrobatic abilities don’t help him to recover when the wind picks up again, making it the second endurance challenge to come down to a battle of the Brainy Buddies, Tasha and Spencer. Spencer won the last face off–but it’s Tasha’s turn this time around. Spencer’s ball drops and Tasha wins her second consecutive individual immunity.
Spencer has nothing but goodwill to one of his closest allies as Jeff gives her back the necklace. With Tasha immune as Solarrion prepares for Tribal, Jefra can only weigh her options. “I don’t feel safe with Tony! The rest of the alliance believes everything the man says, like he’s Jesus or something… this could be my opportunity to get rid of Tony now, versus having to get rid of Tony later.”
Back at camp, accolades are passed around to Tasha, who reiterates the plan for the evening–Jefra is hopefully going to flip and vote alongside Aparri, but Tasha knows there is a huge snare in the plan, which is that they don’t have a fifth number. “It could be four and four,” she explains. “We may have to do a revote and go to rocks.” She feels it’s a worthwhile risk, though, because Tony needs to be ousted. For Tasha in particular, the risk is definitely worthwhile–she’s got immunity and doesn’t have to draw.
Tony, however, has no necklace, and, in a refreshing change of pace, is extremely paranoid. Much like as a refreshing change of pace for myself, I’m being sarcastic. He immediately scrambles into the jungle like a headless chicken, and gives us a primer on Idol Hunting 101. “In the past seasons of Survivor, it’s always [hidden near or in] something iconic, some landmark… so I figure, there’s a crazy looking tree behind treemail.” Tony’s first check finds him barking up the wrong tree *badum-tiss*. In all seriousness though, he’s correct. An idol has to be something a player can use a clue to find, so it has to be hidden near something that can be discerned via a clue. And while they make it seem fairly quick, I have no doubt that the magic of editing has trimmed down the timeframe of Tony’s idol hunt. The next place he checks is amongst the roots of two huge banyans that he says “looks like a rocketship.” After rooting around near the roots *badum-tiss*, Tony finds it. The Special Idol of Legend. The Tyler Perry Idol ™.
Tony confirms that the powers of this “Special Idol” mean that it is played after the votes have been read, not before. It’s a get out of jail free card, but there are stipulations–Tony cannot give it to anyone else, and can only use it for himself. I’m assuming that as with the normal idol, it also has an expiration date, most likely no further than the final five. If your Survivor history is a little rusty but this idol seems familiar, it’s because it is. When the Hidden Immunity Idol was first introduced in Survivor: Exile Island, it was playedin the same way as this special idol. The rules carried over to the following season, Cook Islands-Isles of Racism, until production realized how broken it was and amended the powers of the idol their current state in Fiji. It was only revived after Jeff got a text from apparent superfan Tyler Perry suggesting an idol that is played after the vote, and Jeff, apparently suffering from recency bias, forgot such an idol ever existed and immediately went to work implementing it.
Pretty much everybody in the fandom hated the original rules idol–in Exile Island, it barely mattered, as Terry, the player who had it, won every individual immunity until the final four, the last round he could use it anyway, and then was voted out after losing the final 3 immunity challenge. In Cook Islands, the twist final three meant that Yul’s idol was good up until Final Tribal, so there was never much of an opportunity to force it out. I’ll be perfectly honest: Tony is a great character, but out of respect for that, I absolutely hate that he found the idol. Everything in his story arc so far has been building up to the comeuppance where his constant overplaying bites him in the back, and this means it’s unlikely to come through a blindside. Anyway, the question now of whether or not Jefra flips is somewhat irrelevant. Tony is obviously not going home tonight. The question now is who will, and why will they go? Will the majority stick together, or will an idol, be it Spencer’s or Tony’s, have an impact? “I’ve got to wash off,” Tony panics, presumably so nobody will think he’s been digging and get suspicious.
As if to further emphasize the difference between the games of bestest-allies-ever, Trish plays the social game while Tony is off strategizing “by himself.” In the water, she soaks with Jefra and Kass, and while the show doesn’t explicitly mention it, I strongly suspect the three women have some sort of final three deal going on. It would explain why “free agent” Kass has been sticking with the alliance that she jumped to with no prior connections, and I think it’s held together because there is a tacit understanding between all three of them that they are the three least dangerous players in the game. In other words, they’re comfortable sticking together as a trio because each woman has enough reason to believe she could beat the other two in the finals. Kass likely sees herself as an objective, unemotional thinker who made big moves, unlikely the blindly loyal Trish and Jefra. Jefra’s probably banking on being sweet and well liked up against turncoat Kass and loudmouthed Trish. And Trish… quite frankly, I think she should beat any remaining player in a finals vote, but I don’t know how much the other players see the game she’s playing. If she’s up against the wrong people, they could easily overshadow her–something that Jefra and Kass don’t threaten to do.
Anyway, Kass warns Jefra not to turn on Tony. “Whenever you get rid of someone in this game that is annoying you, you screw yourself,” Kass says. That explains why you kept Sarah, right Kass? Jefra is absolutely sick to death of Tony, and Kass says that everyone else is too. “That’s why you want to take him,” Kass says. Exactly! Which is why Kass kept Morgan. I seriously can’t. Kass’s logic is always made fuzzy because she hasn’t followed her own advice, but Trish, ever the voice of reason, smooths things over with angry little Jefra. “If we get rid of him tonight, we give those three more power,” Trish says, referring to Jeremiah, Tasha, and Spencer. “We have a much better shot of beating Tony or Woo in the end.” As if on cue, Tony joins the women in the water, presumably to wash up after truffle hunting, and Trish immediately grabs him by the back of the head and holds his face to the grill. “Tony, we need to be able to trust you,” Trish says immediately. “Don’t insult me, Trish. Don’t insult me bro,” Tony barks, ultra-defensively. Trish, however, is the handler in this relationship, and she doesn’t take Tony’s shit for even half a second. “Everyone is starting to get really paranoid that you’re playing double agent,” she says, and the other women chime in for agreement. Woo joins the group in the water as a panicking Tony swears on literally every person he knows and then some that he’s staying true and that if his allies know the kind of person he is, they’ll believe him. Tony is completely ridiculous if he’s acting offended that his alliance is questioning his loyalty, and I think it really illustrates the major flaw in Tony’s game (besides the extreme paranoia/overplaying), which is that he’s bad at empathizing. He can’t put himself in other people’s shoes and get a grasp on how they’re thinking. Trish, on the other hand, is a master of empathy. “I was questioning Tony’s integrity,” Trish explains in her confessional. “Jefra needed to hear that I was calling him out, so that’s why I did what I did.” It’s a brilliant move on Trish’s part, and I think once again she’s come through to save her tribe. Tony tries to regain Jefra’s trust through big swears and accusations. Trish earns it by letting Jefra know that the alliance is hearing her concerns and that she isn’t alone in feeling betrayed. The conversation shifts to who the five will target–Jeremiah or Spencer. Kass believes that Spencer has an idol, and Woo says that getting rid of Spencer would be a “no-brainer,” but says that the idol is the big issue.
Back at the shore, Trish’s sweet talking proves to have payed off. Jefra pulls Jeremiah aside for a quick Beauty-to-Beauty moment of honesty, where Jefra apologizes for promising to join the Aparri foursome. “I know that I made a commitment to you the other day, but I’m not going to be voting with you. I hope you understand, it’s just for my best interests for the game…” Jeremiah takes it as well as anyone would. As much as it would be fun to see Jefra turn on Tony, I can’t begrudge the girl the fact that it might not be her best move. With Jefra out, Jeremiah goes off to tell his allies the bad news, and to reveal a secret of his own.
Apparently, Tony isn’t the only player to have withheld his true career. For whatever reason, Jeremiah had been hiding the fact that he was a model (maybe because there is a perception of models that they’re dumb or useless?), and both Tasha and Spencer are tickled by his revelation. “No wonder you’re so friggin hot!” Tasha exclaims. For proof, Jeremiah even tells them that they can google his name plus “model” to see his pictures come up.
Spencer can tell that Jeremiah’s secret sharing is a sort of “last night with the family” kind of revelation, as they’re all aware there is a strong, strong possibility either Jeremiah or Spencer won’t be around in the morning. “It doesn’t surprise me that Jeremiah thinks his being a fashion model is this big deal, top secret thing that you can’t tell people… that’s what you’d expect from the Beauty Tribe,” Spencer snarks. I’ll admit it earns a giggle out of me. Regardless of his feelings on the validity of Jeremiah’s secret, Spencer decides to share a secret of his own–like Trish, he’s really a man. Naw, just kidding. Rather, he confirms to Jeremiah and Tasha once and for all that he indeed has an idol. “Now is the time to go for it,” Spencer says. The three agree to vote for Woo, because he’s the bigger challenge threat. I think it’s the right call even if I didn’t know Tony had the Tyler Perry Idol. Tony is paranoid and easier to mess with and create a possible hole to work with. Woo is a good-hearted funny guy who is mostly a follower that seems unlikely to do a lot of strategic scrambling on his own. Not to mention that if someone immunity ran their way into the finals with me, I’d much rather be against paranoid mess Tony than well-liked Woo with no blood on his hands. The question is who does Spencer play the idol for–himself, or for his bromantic model buddy? “If I play this idol wrong, I could be kicking myself for the rest of my life,” Spencer muses as Solarrion marches to Tribal Council.
Morlax looks elegant as expected as she takes her seat on the jury, while L.J. is just looking rough, sadly for him. Bearded Mountain Man is a much better look for him than Visible Bald Spot. Cap back on, L.J. Sarah, meanwhile, is simply ecstatic to see Tasha wearing the necklace once again. They make fun finger gestures at each other before Jeff starts digging into the tribe.
“The game was up for grabs, for a while,” Spencer tells Jeff, who asks if things have changed for the Aparri trio since the last vote, “but the three of us know where we stand. Which is on the outside.” Jeremiah explains that during the reward, they tried to swing Jefra and thought they had her, but that Jefra has since gone back to her alliance. Probst calls Jefra “impressionable,” and Jefra tries to explain herself, saying she was still bitter about being blindsided. Again understanding the importance of being seen as supportive, Trish chimes in to defend Jefra, telling Jeff that it wasn’t just Jefra left out of the plan–she and Kass were blindsided too. “I feel more comfortable risking being blindsided by this alliance,” Jefra says, “than having to sit in the final with Tasha or Spencer, who would probably beat me at this game.” Spencer’s expression says it all, and Jeff gives him a platform. “If I were on the outside of a vote, I wouldn’t come back to camp wondering where I stood–I’d come back to camp knowing I was on the outside and that I was on the bottom.” Spencer proceeds to call out Tony for having sworn on his wife and kid numerous times in the game and already having broken those promises multiple times. Spencer is trying to tailor his speech to Jefra, but Tony can’t help himself but to spin into craziness the moment his name is brought up, and he begs Spencer for examples of when he’s broken his word. From the jury, both Sarah and L.J. seem astonished, with good reason. “I’m not admonishing you,” Spencer insists, revealing that he’s lied too, and that likely everyone has. “I didn’t break promises!” Tony tantrums. “I did it for a reason.” Does Tony understand mutual exclusivity? Because I really don’t think he does.
“Let me put it this way,” Spencer says, changing tactics. “If Tony and any combination of you guys is in the end,” Spencer says, referring to Woo, Trish, Kass and Jefra, “my vote goes to Tony.” “Mine too!” Tasha pitches in with a dramatic finger point. “Because Tony has been steering this game, and you all haven’t.” Let’s take note that we shouldn’t take this at face value–for all we know, if Spencer and Tasha are jurors and Tony is there, their votes could still go elsewhere. But it’s a threat tactic, and it’s not a bad one to try. “Yeah, these guys are rooting for Tony, and if he goes to the end, yeah, they might vote for him,” Woo says, “but the only way he’s going to get there is with help from us,” justifying sticking with Tony. “I’m not rooting for Tony,” Spencer corrects. “I’m rooting for me.” He points out that it’s not so much a support of Tony as it is an admiration, and he thinks that Tony is putting himself in a position to win. Once again, Trish calls Tony out–this time in front of the full group, revealing the conversation they had where the concerns surrounding his integrity were brought to the surface. “Tony said he’s going to cut it out,” Trish insists. The jury doesn’t seem to buy it, but Trish’s move has been made. Tony admits to the conversation and to the terms he’s agreed to. In front of everyone remaining, including the jury, he has now promised to stick with his word. If he at any point in the future breaks it, he’s just made a major slip-up. Tony insists that there is a time and place for power moves, and that at the current point they’re at, it would be reckless to turn on his alliance. It might be the first sensible argument he’s made this episode.
With things seeming like they’re still five on three, Jeff tries to suss out who the target is between Spencer and Jeremiah, and Woo reiterates that the big issue is a possible idol–if they play the votes in the wrong place, and an idol pops up, then it’s bad news for them. Jeremiah says that between the two of them, Spencer is the bigger threat. “I love the boy to death, I mean, he’s my buddy. But he’s probably a bigger threat in this game than I am.” Spencer doesn’t begrudge Jeremiah for doing what he has to, and returns blows in kind. “This is one of the most likeable people I’ve ever met!” Spencer gestures towards Jeremiah. Tasha says that when determining who they’re targeting, she says that it won’t be Tony, because the last time they did that, it made him upset. “Can’t do Tony tonight, because I’ve got my bag of tricks as usual!” Tony rages, and Jefra’s eyes nearly roll out the back of her head. Spencer scoffs and tells Tony he doesn’t see him playing anything from his bag.
Jeff sends the castaways to vote, and once again, Spencer is the only person we see, in a mocking confessional as he votes against Woo: “Broooo, this vote is a real bummer, dude… maaaaan.”
Jeff returns with the urn, and Spencer stands with his idol. “You can steal as many clues as you want, Woo. I’ve got the real thing,” he says. Before he can reach Jeff with it, however, Tony reaches into his bag of tricks and flashes his own idol to Spencer. I’ve been ragging on Tony hard this episode, but I’ll give him props when they’re due: it’s a good move. You can see that Spencer is thrown off.
After a moment of hesitation, Spencer plays the idol. Jeff confirms it’s an idol and that any votes for Spencer will not count, while Morgan excitedly claps. Before Jeff can read the votes, however, Tony interrupts him. “Jeff, do you see the inexperience in the young lad? He was about to give his idol to Jeremy because he thought I was going to use mine.”
Please, someone insert that moment into this video
“This is a fake idol, by the way,” Tony finishes smugly. The votes come up, with three for Woo, meaning the question is if Spencer played the idol right. The fourth vote to come up is for Jeremiah, however. After the second Jeremiah vote, Spencer can do nothing but pat his friend on the shoulder. “Sorry buddy,” he whispers. In a 5-3 vote, Jeremiah becomes the 10th person voted out of Survivor: Cagayan and the fourth member of the jury. Hopefully the weight he’s starved off will help him in his modelling career.
Tony repacks his bag of tricks and Jeremiah catwalks out of the game. Though she may have been runner-up at Miss Teen America, this is a beauty contest Jefra has won–she’s now the last Beauty standing. The final seven grab their torches and head back to camp.
You know, Jeremiah grew on me. He fulfilled a character archetype I can’t help but love in Survivor: the charming southern beta male who just kind of does adorable stuff in the background. Of the remaining 8 players, he was the only one left who by Edgic Standards (edgic being the closest thing to an objective system of analyzing the edit that exists in the Survivor fandom) who was obviously not the winner, but he was enjoyable nevertheless. Also, with his elimination, it means the end of my O.T.P. (one true pairing) this season, Spencer and Jeremiah. Actually, correction: Spencer and Jeremiah are one of many OTPs that this season has spawned for me. The others are, in no particular order; Trish and L.J.; L.J. and horses; Tony and Sarah; Morgan and the shelter; Garrett and J’Tia; Garret and Rice; J’Tia and Rice; Kass and Hypocrisy; Tasha and the Immunity Necklace; and Woo with basically anyone. It also turns out that in the reward challenge, Jeremiah injured his back pretty badly, and he ended up spending his first days in Pondersoa recovering not only from that injury, but from diarrhea and vomiting. Yeowch. Poor pretty boy.
Next Time on… SURVIVOR!
There is no challenge more fun than the challenge that isn’t really a challenge–the Survivor Auction! Maybe Tasha or Spencer will be able to buy some sort of advantage, but it’s dangerous to bank on a twist to save you, so Spencer instead makes a move to play on Tony’s paranoia–at what appears to be Jefra’s expense when he sells her out for double-dealing. It’s very possible Tasha and Spencer could be screwed going forward, especially now that Tony is protected by the Tyler Perry Idol. That being said, I think Tony is just crazy enough to spin out on his own alliance if given a window to do it. He’s already done it once, after all. Plus, I’m not ready to lose my favorite brainy buddies, whose twitter love fest is just the bestest. They’re easily the best early-20’s-white-guy and mid-30’s-black-woman alliance since Aras and Cirie on Exile Island, except that Spencer is more of the Cirie and Tasha is more of the Aras.