Some Guy Has Spoken

Reality TV Recaps and Analysis with a Dash of Snark and Social Science

Month: April, 2014

Survivor: Cagayan, Episode 10 Recap- “Sittin’ in my Spy Shack”

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.”

Nobody comes to mind. (In case it’s not abundantly clear by now, tonight is Jefra’s breakout episode. It comes with a healthy sized side-dish of Tony.)

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.”

Brought to you in Tonyvision

Brought to you in Tonyvision

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.

Tony Vlachos, played by Brandon Hantz

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.

worth playing for

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.

Morlax’s Boobs

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!

Woo dies at the end

Woo dies at the end

“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.

Callao Caves

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.

Cave Food

“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.”

Poles and balls? I thought this was a family show!

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.

She ends with a flourish that would make any rhythmic gymnast proud

She ends with a flourish that would make any rhythmic gymnast proud

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.

This isn’t really how it happened but it’s a great summary

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.

Don't insult me Trish

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.

Jeremiah was a model

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.

Blood vs Water’s Vytas does it for us on his Twitter

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.

three jurors

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.

Tony's got my vote

“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.

Looks like that bag of tricks had something inside after all

Looks like that bag of tricks had something inside after all

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.”

Queen Morlax responds with the greatest jury moment thusfar

Queen Morlax responds with the greatest jury moment thusfar
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.

Jeremiah Smuffed

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.


Survivor: PoKagayan

Since I did the top 9… might as well do the rest.

Survivor: Cagayan Episode 9 Recap- “Bag of Tricks”

Previously on… SURVIVOR!

#ChaosKass had flipped on her Aparri alliance by voting out Sarah, and as a result, Spencer and Morgan both flipped out on her. A heavy handed product placement reward let half of the tribe gorge themselves on steak, while back at camp, Tony and Trish did their best to feed Kass’s ego to keep her on their side. For Kass though, it was all about being a free agent. On the reward, Spencer got more than just a delicious Outback Steakhouse Pinapplerita–he got a clue to the hidden immunity idol. His search for it back at camp was complicated however, when Woo went into #NinjaStealthMode and trailed him, finding the clue that Spencer carelessly left in his discarded pants. Both guys leaked the clue to their respective alliances and a madcap hunt for the idol ensued, with Spencer managing to find it in spite of the chaos–and things only got better for him when he won Individual Immunity. Spencer tried to get Kass back in his good graces, but Kass decided that for this round, the hurricane will sleep. She voted alongside the Solana Tribe alliance against the person they felt was least likely to have an idol: mean and lazy Morgan, who was sent to the jury. 9 remain… who will be voted out tonight?

Solarrion makes it back to camp and lay their torches back down, where Tony accidentally knocks them all over, contemplates putting them back up, and then decides against it. You’d think with Morlax now gone, everyone would be eager to get to the shelter, but that’s not the case.

An aside: Given that Morgan = Snorlax was such a bless’d comparison, I’ve decided to determine what pokemon the other castaways are:

Anyway, Tony explodes immediately upon returning to camp, blowing up at Spencer, Tasha, and Jeremiah for casting their votes towards him at the previous Tribal Council. “Tell me how it’s a compliment that two times in a row you were trying to get me out?!” he barks. Spencer explains Survivor 101–you vote out the threats, and Tony is a threat, ergo, vote for Tony. He starts ranting and raving about how his alliance voted Morgan out because she was lazy and not ~deserving~ of being in the game, even going so far as to claim they spared Jeremiah and Tasha because their such big contributors around camp. I feel like Tony can’t possibly believe that the hardest workers are the ones who should stay given how ruthless of a game he’s been playing. Tony’s biggest flaw as a player has always been that he can’t keep his mouth shut and can’t help himself once he gets wound up, and it really seems like seeing his name on the parchment for the first time has shocked him into realizing he’s just as vulnerable as anyone else. “When Jeff turned around that card, and it said Tony, I probably pooped myself,” he exclaims. Tony doesn’t see how he’s a threat when there are younger, fitter players in his alliance like Sonic and the Horse Whisperer.

This is the shot we get right as Tony says “Pooped Himself.” Well played, editors.

Spencer and Tasha try to humor him, but it’s clearly difficult. When Tasha tries to cool him off by saying they knew their four votes wouldn’t matter, Tony goes into complete loony bin territory and says they should have come to him and voted for Morgan in solidarity. ???. I repeat: ??? Tasha says if he had come to them and asked them to vote for Morgan, they gladly would have done it. “It’s a two way street,” says Spencer, exasperated. Tony keeps ranting and raving, and it’s giving severe flashbacks to Lex Van Den Berghe’s Witch hunt all the way back in Survivor: Africa (or alternatively Rupert nearly becoming the first person eliminated for murdering another player after Jonny Fairplay and Not This Trish tried to blindside him in Pearl Islands). In Africa, Teresa, in the trailing alliance, cast a throwaway vote for Lex at the merge episode–solidifying her place as one of the most respected players of the early game, because as she hoped, it sent Lex wheeling off tracks in a fit of paranoia, getting him to ravage his own tribemate Kelly, who he blamed for the vote. (It’s also worth noting that in Africa, which was the third season, tiebreakers were determined by past votes, so there was a lot more risk to seeing your name written down even if you were safe. The rock draw was introduced the season after when the producers realized what a profound effect the tiebreaker was having on the game.)

Much as with Teresa’s move, targeting Tony seems to have worked wonders for the last three of the Aparri alliance. “I’m not going to make a fool of myself by saying ‘I can’t wait until we get to the six.’ That chance may not come for me!” Tony freaks. “And it’s definitely not going to come for one of them.”

The sun rises on Day 23, giving Malnutrisha and Leon Joseph some nice sun as they talk on the beach about Tony’s blowup. Both are firmly aware that it’s made Tony super-paranoid. “A lot of trouble in this game comes when people start getting paranoid, people start getting impatient,” Trish says in a confessional. “But this is a game of patience right now.” She’s definitely worried that Tony, by nature of being a paranoid control freak, could do something stupid. Tony doing something stupid? No. NEVER. While Tony’s edit may have gotten a quick spit shine for the sake of Sarah’s elimination arc, he’s gone right back to where he started: an insane overplaying cartoon character who is just begging to set up his own downfall when he overplays his own hand. With that, the fallout begins.

Later in the day, L.J. goes for another strategy pow-wow, this time with Tony on a firewood run or something. “Looking at L.J.’s like looking at myself in the mirror,” Tony explains in a confessional.

See? Practically twins. Tony is clearly talking more about their gameplay styles, pointing out that L.J. is sharp and observant, and that he wants L.J. gone. Tony, however, also doesn’t want to appear to be disloyal, so he wants to somehow goad L.J. into saying something that indicts him as going against the Solana Alliance. That way, Tony can take the info to the rest of the tribe and make it seem like targeting L.J. is a pre-emptive strike, rather than a plain ol’ backstab. “I’m not only leading the horse to the water, but I’m going to make the horse drink the water.” Given that L.J. is a horse trainer, there’s a missed joke in here that leaves me sorely disappointed in Tony. He sets his plan in motion by panicking about the possibility that Woo found the idol during the crazy impromptu scavenger hunt in the previous episode, and he frets in circles until L.J. takes the bait and asks Tony if he just wants to get rid of Woo next. “If it settles your head,” L.J. tells him. Tony is elated that L.J. “proposed getting rid of Woo” and he feels he now has the ammunition he needs to turn his alliance against quiet, thoughtful, L.J. I don’t think Tony realizes how little finesse he actually had, and that it wasn’t so much L.J. turning on Woo as it was L.J. acting like a rational person and teasing out the meaning of Tony’s loaded questions.

The whole gang gathers around Kass, who comes bearing Tree Mail. The clue makes it apparent that the reward this time is going to be a Survivor spa day, which has (shockingly) beauty queen Jefra quite excited–though really, after 20+ days without a shower, I think anyone would be excited. It always cracks me up how men on this show seem so underwhelmed by the possibility of the spa reward, as if they don’t bathe daily at home or are somehow morally opposed to a massage after sleeping on bamboo for however many weeks. Tony wants to win the reward, but not just for the pampering itself–he points out that a reward is a chance to get away from camp with a few people in a comfortable setting and possibly create useful strategic inroads. This is extremely accurate, and one of the numerous reasons I’ve never liked Redemption Island as a twist–it takes away the time for a reward challenge, and deprives players of the opportunity to get away from camp in small groups and try to shift the game.

If I tried really hard I could come up with clever names for these teams


The reward challenge this week is called Supertramp and is a mixture of smaller elements from a number of previous challenges. At random, the castaways are divided into three teams: Jefra, Trish and L.J. in orange; Kass, Tasha and Woo in purple; and Spencer, Jeremiah and Tony in green. The first step involves one person using a rope-and-ball mechanism to snare a hoop, which they can pull to release a bunch of sandbags. The team then must throw the sandbags as far as they can down a mesh tunnel. Anything that doesn’t make it through to the other side will have to be maneuvered to the end through the tiny holes in the mesh, until all the sandbags have been retrieved from the other side. At the last phase, one member of the tribe will take to a platform and bounce the sandbags off of a trampoline into five baskets, with the first team to get a bag in each basket winning. The reward is, as expected, a day of spa luxury (not courtesy of Outback Steakhouse this time). The day will include not only a shower and massage, but lunch and cocktails as well.

The three teams keep relatively even throughout, but for a challenge that’s a little more on the physical side, it’s not that surprising to see the green team, with three strong, male players, pull an early lead that they keep consistently. Tony quickly fills each basket, winning reward for himself, Jeremiah, and Spencer, who are about to go on a Bro-Date that must have Survivor: Samoa’s Brett Clouser seething with jealousy. This is exactly the outcome Tony was hoping for before the challenge. He now has a chance to schmooze with two of the three members of the trailing alliance, and he’s practically salivating at the chance to set his sneak attack on L.J. in motion.

Before Tony can turn on the charm, however, we check in with the other six as they return to camp. Surprisingly, it’s Woo who is most bummed about not getting the chance to “get [his] mani and pedi on” while dining on wraps and mimosas. Always perky, however, Woo finds a silver lining in pretty much everything, and in this case, it’s the fact that Tony will be there with Spencer and Jeremiah to keep an eye on them and make sure nothing fishy happens. Woo may be a surf ninja, but… well, I’ve used the joke many a time before and I have no problem coming back to it: the Brawns were not Brains for a reason. Jefra’s down about the loss too, but she’s got her eyes on the bigger picture–she’s still in the game and she’s in the majority alliance. As far as she’s concerned, rewards don’t matter that much so long as the six stick together. All this talk about “the six sticking together” is starting to sound vaguely reminiscent of a certain episode all of two weeks ago, where the six did not end up sticking together. Hmmmm.

On a boat

Leon Joseph goes boating with his two favorite (non-horse) animals, the cougar and the baby kangaroo, so they can talk about the new problem that has come in the form of Tony going crazy(er). “Tony’s got major anxiety… he’s like, ‘should we get rid of Woo soon? Should we get rid of Woo now?‘ I mean, we’ve got plenty of votes.” L.J. says in a confessional that Tony’s paranoia has obviously come from the votes he received at the last tribal. L.J. is confident that it doesn’t matter–Tony is in the majority and needs to stop fretting, especially because L.J. is confident in the group of six having trust in each other. Like pretty much every other castaway this season, L.J. begins to tempt fate, talking about how he has total trust in Tony, specifically because of the fact that at the Tribal Council where Sarah went home, they played their idols on each other (the Survivor equivalent of a blood pact, I guess). The threesome agree that Tasha, Spencer and Jeremiah are still the prime targets–“If any one of those three go to the end, they win,” Trish says. Having been Tony’s ally for the longest and knowing Tony the best, Trish can do little more but sigh as she knows it’s her job to reign Tony in. “I know how to get to Tony,” she says, “so I said ‘I can tell Tony he needs to relax.'” The trio on the boat all agree that the best plan is to not rock the boat. Proverbially, I mean. Not the actual boat that they’re in. Voting Woo out in the next round is of no immediate benefit to any of them.

Elsewhere in the Philippines, the boys are greeted by a server with cocktails (which clearly pale in comparison to the Pinapplerita) and Spencer explains the importance of rewards, especially for a player like him, who’s in a position of little power. “I’m down, but I’m not out. I’ve been down before, and I’ve gotten back up. There’s no reason I can’t get [power] back.”

It’s not really a Survivor Spa Moment without a gratuitous showering model scene

If Jeremiah is getting clean, why are my thoughts so dirty? Jeremiah clearly isn’t winning anytime soon, but he’s settled into a role on this show I can’t help but fall for: the handsome UTRP southern boy with an accent. Spencer says he’s glad to be on this reward with Jeremiah and Tony–Jeremiah because he’s “[his] right-hand man,” and Tony, who’s thoughts he wants to get a read on. I guess it’s really only occurred to me now, but Spencer and Jeremiah do have a pretty adorable bromance going for them, probably in part because Jeremiah was essentially Spencer’s only male tribemate for the entire pre-merge.

Tony and Spencer do some vague, beating around the bush strategy talk, trying to suss each other out until Tony the impatient cuts to the chase. Chessmaster Spencer similarly can’t help himself from a chess analogy. “What we are right now is like pawns. We’re pawns on the board, and you can use us. If you want.” This is probably the best gameplay I’ve seen from Spencer so far. We usually here a lot from his perspective but haven’t seen him do very much in the game outside of getting frustrated and making faces. He’s doing a great job at channeling his inner Trish right now, suggesting without pushing. It seems to be working. “When people are desperate, you do the thinking for them,” says Tony. “Whatever I tell them, they’ve got to go with it. If they go against me… they’re sealing their own fate.” As they move on from lunch to foot rubs, Tony tells the guys that he wants to keep them around so that he can use them to make a move against the players in his own alliance; something he is going to do because he’s sure people in his own alliance are already plotting against him. Tony adds that even if it’s not the next vote, he’ll still want the two of them around down the road. Names aren’t mentioned specifically, but the implication is that his alliance is planning to vote Tasha out next and then after, Tony will use them to strike. Spencer and Jeremiah basically have the same sentiments: It sounds good, and they really don’t have a lot of options, so they want to believe it’s going to work out, but they don’t fully trust Tony. Gee, I wonder why. “If I can get Tony to take me a little further down the road, I might find a detour that can take me all the way,” Spencer says as the well rested gents leave their day of luxury and head back to camp. “He might just be gettin’ pumped up, thinkin’ we’re feelin’ all good, then our names wrote down, know what I’m sayin’?” I know what your sayin’, Jeremiah. I really do wish I had the power to perfectly mimick the voices of the castaways this season–between Jeremiah, Tony and Trish, I could make millions in the lucrative world of voice acting.

Tasha Plots

It’s Day 25, and best frenemies Tony and L.J. build the fire while Tasha crunches numbers in the shelter. “I’m in a three person alliance up against a six person alliance. It doesn’t take a CPA like myself to do that math.” Tasha knows she needs to find a crack in the Solana bunch so she can make a move, and thinks her best shot is with L.J. “L.J. is smart enough to realize that Tony is not going to take another strong guy to the end,” she reasons. Once L.J. returns to the shelter, Tasha recognizes the importance of stealth. “I’ve got a proposition for you,” she tells him. “It’s really good too.” She asks L.J. to discreetly meet her, so as to not draw any attention, before she heads off to Makeout Point a secluded spot on the beach. Despite having told Tasha he’s always willing to listen, L.J. lets her walk off and goes back to his important business of lying there and daydreaming about horses or puzzles or repressed same-sex fantasies… whatever he thinks about. L.J. says that there are two reasons he didn’t follow along. One is that Tony’s paranoia is at a fever pitch and L.J. doesn’t want to risk “adding fuel to the fire.” His second reason? “Either way, there’s no situation where I feel like she can benefit me in my future gameplay, because I trust Tony. He’s the reason I’m still in the game.” Oh gosh, L.J. Didn’t you say a few episodes ago that you realize you’re aligned with a devious player and have to stay on your toes?



Down by the water, Tasha realizes she’s been #StoodUp. The whole scene is edited beautifully and the parallels to a high school movie are hilarious: Nerdy Tasha asks Popular Hottie L.J. to meet her and L.J. agrees to do so, and Tasha standing alone looking around for L.J. reads exactly like a girl realizing she’s been stood up on a date. Miffed, Tasha explains the offer she wanted to make in a confessional. “If L.J. was man enough to make a big move, he can take Jefra, Spencer, Jeremiah and I and blindside Tony. But it’s clear Tony is running the show around here and everyone is under Tony’s thumb.” Tasha brings up a point that I have to wonder if L.J. has forgotten, in that he and Jefra joined their current alliance as a duo against a trio. Even with Kass added to the mix, trying to use her at the final six to take out one of the Brawns would only lead to a tie. “Unless something changes, I’m screwed,” Tasha says.

Another cutesy poem of a tree mail lets Solarrion know that they’ve got an Immunity Challenge coming up, and I don’t know if it’s intentional or not, but the poem uses the word “livid,” which production has to realize is a memetic monster in the Survivor fandom (in Micronesia, Amanda’s proclamation that she’s “livid!” spawned the single funniest homage to a season in existence period, The Many Adventures of Lividmanda). Today’s Immunity Challenge is Living Color, a new variation on the memory challenges seen in many prior seasons, such as China and Nicaragua. In the post-show chat between Probst and official Survivor media representative Dalton Ross, Jeff actually said he didn’t like memory challenges because he thought they were boring for people at home to watch, but Dalton disagreed, took to Twitter, and instead got Jeff to promise us more of them.  And I’m glad it happened–Dalton rightly said that what makes memory challenges so fun for the viewers is that they’re the only challenges where you can really play along at home.

The rules follow as usual for this type of game. Jeff shows the castaways a sequence of items–in this specific case, colored tiles. Each castaway must then show Jeff, one tile at a time, the colors he called in the order he called them. They’re aided by a pretty cool sliding tower mechanism thingy too. Get a color incorrect, and you’re out of the challenge, until only one remains as the winner. The game progresses in rounds, starting with a relatively short sequence, moving onto longer sequences each round.

Jeff gives the first four color sequence and everyone gets the first color right. Everyone plays blue as their second color save for Trish, causing Jeff to quip that Trish has either already won the challenge or is the first one out. She accurately guesses the latter. Woo follows right behind her. I’m guessing the remaining players all make it through a few more rounds unscathed and they are thusly cut, as we jump straight from four to seven tiles. The remaining players make it fairly deep in this sequence, but it’s clear that as the sequence gets more complex, it becomes harder for the fatigued castaways to recall. Jeremiah, Jefra, Spencer and Kass all go out on the same color, leaving only L.J., Tasha, and Tony remaining–a real nailbiter considering that they’re the three who probably need the necklace the most this round. Tony blows the next color leaving Tasha and L.J. Tasha plays blue, L.J. plays red, both are confident they are right, and if you’ve been playing along correctly at home, you already know the outcome–Tasha wins individual immunity, right when she needed it the most.

Fun Fact: Tasha is the first black woman to win immunity since Vecepia Towery in the fourth season

Fun Fact: Tasha is the first black woman to win immunity since Vecepia Towery in the fourth season

With Tasha immune, L.J.’s mind immediately goes to Spencer and Jeremiah. “Tonight, all we need to do is split the votes, three-three between Spencer and Jeremiah. If everyone sticks to the plan, one of them is going home.” The editing hasn’t had this much fun with foreshadowing since Sarah’s boot. Which wasn’t that long ago, but still.

At camp, Tasha is congratulated on her win and she can’t help but glow with the necklace on. “In your face, L.J.,” she laughs. The Solana + Kass alliance is quick to get together, where L.J. pitches his plan to split the vote. Trish assures that nobody will flip, and they decide do make it simple: the women vote Jeremiah, the men vote Spencer, and regardless of whether or not an idol pops up, one of them leaves in the revote. Splitting votes is an effective strategy when everyone is on the same page, but it leaves a lot of room for just one teensy little thing to screw it up. With nine players left, and the dominant six person alliance splitting their votes on two members of the remaining threesome, it means hypothetically that the votes go 3-3-3. All one person from the six needs to do is vote with the Aparri trio to make four votes enough. “I actually, for the first time in this game, feel comfortable,” says L.J. Note to any future castaways: if you find yourself feeling comfortable, that means you probably shouldn’t be. In fact, there’s a whole list of things you probably just shouldn’t say in a confessional.

What not to say in your Survivor Confessional

1. “I’m feeling pretty comfortable right now.”
2. “I’m the swing vote, so I have all the power!”
3. “I’m positive they don’t have an idol.”
4. “There’s no way I need to play my idol tonight!”
5. “There’s no way he/she would flip on us.”
6. “Did I mention I feel comfortable?”
7. “Bill is ghetto trash who needs to kill himself.”

Avoid tempting fate and being a bigot *cough*ColtonCumbie*cough* and you can pretty much say whatever else you feel like. L.J. says his one concern is that Tony might try and make a move against Woo, per their earlier conversation, but says he feels reassured because they did a pinky swear. Oh gosh. Go back and add that to the list. If only L.J. knew that Woo wasn’t the person in the alliance that Tony was actually targeting. “I’m not going to wait to get a punch thrown at me by L.J. He said he was willing to blindside Woo! [Though] it’s true I kind of set him up,” Tony admits. Tony thinks he has a lot of work to do around camp if he wants to get L.J. out come Tribal Council, and this is where Tony’s major flaws as a player once again come to the surface with glittering aplomb. As I said above, he doesn’t need a single person from Solana in order to get rid of L.J.–he can just jump on with the Aparri gang because tonight, four is enough. But as he said earlier, Tony is worried about coming off as dishonest (I don’t think he realizes that he comes off that way already?) and would rather get Solana to see L.J. as a bad seed to take the heat off of his back.

While Leon Joseph cools off with a dip in the ocean, Tony reveals to Woo that dearest Leon has been coldly plotting a Ninja blindside. “Apparently L.J., Mr. Conman, for some reason want to blindside me! If he’s coming to Tony, my closest ally, and saying ‘Woo is gonna go’, we might have to make a move before he does.” “Do you want to have another shock face?” jokes Tony.

Woo ALWAYS should have another shocked face

Tony then makes the rounds, going next to Spencer with the same story (L.J. is trying to target Woo) and Spencer is “stoked” that Tony’s scheme to use him and Jeremiah is coming to fruition sooner than originally planned. Spencer asks if he should get Tasha in on the scheme as well, and Tony’s down for it. And thanks to that, we are gifted with one of the best secret scenes of all time.

Spencer compares it to Christmas morning. “I woke up, expecting to see nothing but ashes and coal under the tree, and there’s this present of ‘Let’s vote out L.J.'” Spencer knows that the move is a gamble for him, however, as Tony could just be feeding him a grandiose lie to ensure that no idols come popping up. Last week, Spencer said he’s the type of player who would rather risk it all on a shot at winning than make a safe move that only gets him a few more days, so it really does seem like he’s on board.

Tony’s not done yet, though. He and Trish take a walk to everyone’s favorite strategy corner, the well, where Trish catches on to the conflicting stories that are floating around Solarrion. “L.J. was concerned that you were really worried about Woo,” Trish tells him. Tony denies it–“I wasn’t concerned, he was concerned. My face turned colors!” Were they livid colors, Tony? Because I have no use for them otherwise. “I know you like L.J., but Trish, he’s sneaky,” Tony continues to hammer. “Do you think L.J. wants to come in fourth?” Tony says that L.J. has to be aware that when it’s down to Solana alone, it will be him and Jefra outnumbered by the Brawns, so that therefore he’s already thinking ahead. I’ve been saying for weeks that I think Trish is probably playing the best game right now, and part of that is because she’s far more perceptive than people seem to realize. The harder Tony pushes, the more hung up Trish gets on the conflicting stories. “Why do you think he told me yesterday that you wanted Woo off when it was him that wanted Woo off?” “I’m gullible, but I’m not stupid,” Trish emphasizes in a confessional. She knows L.J. is probably thinking about making a move down the road, but doesn’t see the dots connecting that indicate he’s trying to do it now. She wants Tony to cool down and stick with the plan.

In the shelter, Trish tells as much to Kass. “I said ‘just take a chill pill,'” Trish vents, exasperated. Kass weighs in with the most ironic confessional of the entire season: “I love a good blindside, but it’s too soon. No one wants to make a big move right now. You’d be stupid.” As they march off to Tribal, Tony iterates what his ultimate dilemma is: his closest ally, Trish, is not down with the plan he’s been crafting, and if he follows through with hit, he could find himself having burned his most important bridge in the game.

Tribal Council 9

Sarah and our newest juror, the ever glamorous Morgan, take their seats for what’s bound to be a show. There is no greater gift for the viewers than a pair of jurors who love each other and hate most of the people still in the game.

Jury Face–You either have it or you don’t

Jeremiah starts things off by reminding us that, in case you somehow forgot, he, Spencer and Tasha are on the outs, and Tasha has immunity, so he and Spencer are both concerned. Jeff asks Kass if there’s any empathy on her part towards them, and Kass says it’s a game–“from here on out, people may start making moves like I made. You can’t play this game without getting a little dirty.” Tony needlessly bluffs by agreeing with Kass that things might get crazy, saying he “brought his bag of tricks” just in case, while not revealing the contents of it. At this point I’m not even remotely sure what Tony’s trying to accomplish. Jeff notes that if Tony is bringing his “bag of tricks,” it could mean good news for the underdogs. Tasha agrees–she says she’s thrilled to have the necklace at the point when she does, and it appears Sarah and Morgan are thrilled she has it too. “Alliances may appear really tight–” something she knows firsthand all too well–“and the longer you can stay in it, the more you might see fractures in ‘tight’ alliances,” using air quotes for “tight.” L.J. thinks Tasha is just trying to be hopeful, but says his alliance is tight. He admits that he was “vaguely approached” but says he thought it over and decided there was no reason to cause anxiety or distrust in his alliance.

The conversation shifts to a question of loyalty: L.J. says that in his line of work, loyalty is huge (though I don’t exactly see how, given that he works primarily with horses) and that he thinks he’s a pretty good gauge of if someone is loyal or not. Jeff asks the same question of Tony, who goes forth with his lie that he’s in the construction industry, earning an eye roll from Sarah, and says that loyalty is huge there because something about people stealing each others tools? (On reddit, one redditor says “Tony is a cop and a construction worker. If he becomes a sailor and an indian he could be a one-man Village People,” and I die of laughter.) Kass gets the same question, and her answer is a good one: she’s loyal in life, but Survivor isn’t life, it’s a game. “I tried to check my life at the door when I came here,” she says, and adds that reconciling reality with the game can be difficult to do; reconciling if you are a player or a person can be difficult to do. It’s actually some of the best logic we’ve seen from Kass in a looooong time, and I think it’s a struggle she’s been dealing with more than she’s admitted to herself.

Jeff turns the conversation to loyalty vs threats, and Woo says that while yes, you have to consider the threats in your alliance, at the moment, loyalty wins out. In spite of this, he knows there will reach a point where people will have to turn on each other. Jeff asks Spencer if he thinks he knows who is on the bottom of the Solana alliance, and Spencer tells him that he actually has no idea. It’s either an honest response or a very, very smart one. Too many players fall into Jeff’s traps during Tribal Council, and if Spencer does have an idea of the opposition’s internal hierarchy, he’s not going to make a mess for himself by exposing it. Regardless, he makes a good point following. “I do know that someone is on the bottom, and if you’re one of the people being told ‘we’re six strong, there are no divisions among the six,’ then maybe you’re on the bottom.” Trish ultimately agrees with Spencer. “This ‘Brady Bunch’ is going to become very dysfunctional very quickly… it doesn’t end at this, it really begins at this, because something has to break, you know… and that’s what I anticipate is going to happen.” Jeff assures Trish–it will happen, but the only question is when. Trish admits that for all she knows, it could be a few moments from now.

We’re off to the vote and see only Spencer, who casts his vote for L.J. “Fingers crossed… here’s to another Cagayan blindside.” With nine votes in, Jeff fetches the urn. Spencer holds his idol, fingers likely still crossed, as Jeff reads the votes. The first three pop up for L.J., which he doesn’t seem surprised by, likely (accurately) assuming they came courtesy of the Aparri three. Three votes for Jeremiah follow, tying the two male beauties at three a piece, before a vote for Spencer pops up, throwing him into the mix as well. Next–a fourth vote for L.J., causing Sarah and Morgan to lose it. The last vote seals the deal, and in a 5-3-1 decision, L.J. becomes the 9th person voted out of Survivor: Cagayan and the third member of the jury.

Spencer seems pleased.

Looking like someone just shot her puppy, Jefra asks Tony if he flipped, only to get a cold shoulder. Probst reminds Solarrion that Survivor is, at the end of the day, an individual game, and sends them back to camp.

Leon Joseph gallops off into the night

Leon Joseph gallops off into the night

After the closest thing we’ve had to a “predictable” episode this season, tonight’s episode was particularly great. L.J. was the closest thing to a traditionally obvious winner’s edit we had this season, so his departure only throws things even further up in the air. Tony may have gotten a bit of a dusting off during the early merge, making me wonder if I had pegged him wrong, but we’re back on track with his story this week. L.J. absolutely was a major threat to win, so I don’t blame Tony for wanting him out. With that said, I’ve felt all along that Tony is a person who can’t help but overplay and make unnecessary moves, and I think he made a bunch in the way he went about taking out L.J. I think this will end up being the proverbial last straw that shatters his game. And it’s been amazing to watch the subtler storylines that are getting moved through the seasons, with certain themes passing from one character to another–we saw Sarah get power hungry and complacent, and saw her hunger for power transfer to Kass, and Kass’s chaotic inability to control herself shift to Tony, while the complacency shifted to L.J. The other great, subtle plotline we got some enforcement on tonight was that if you refuse to strategize with Tasha, she’s going to vote you out. It was a great overall episode for her, the perfect shot of adrenaline her edit needed to jolt it back to life. And I’m starting to wonder if my read on Spencer has been right. He seems like a classic, Malcolm-style distraction, going far, but not to the end, and being groomed by the editors to return for another season. Now I’m starting to wonder if what we’re really seeing is the story of how he wins; the story of the guy who nothing ever goes right for but who is always able to scrape through with grit and determination. And lastly, as we near ever closer to the finale there are two more big questions in the air: What will come of the mysterious Super-Idol that has yet to make its appearance? And is there any truth to the rumors floating around that we could be seeing a Final 2 instead of a Final 3 this season?

Next time on… SURVIVOR!

With Tony going off the rails, it looks like our joey might finally hop on her own as a kangaroo when Jefra loses her trust in him. Tony’s not going to just let her get away with anything, though, as the #SpyShack makes its return! And #NinjaStealthMode may be good for sneaking up on Spencer, but coconuts? Not so much. Woo’s quest for food will see him take a terrifying tumble out of a coconut tree–will he land on his feet? Or are we about to see our second Brawn leave the game without a vote?

Survivor: Cagayan, Episode 8 Recap- Mad Treasure Hunt

Sorry for the major delay… I was out of town for most of last week, but am here once again to talk about our latest adventures in the Philippines.

Previously on… SURVIVOR!

As the Spice Girls once sang, “tonight is the night where two become one,” with Solana and Aparri merging into the Solarrion Tribe. The presence of an idol with “different powers” was revealed to the castaways, but it quickly took a backseat to something more demanding of the Tribe’s attention–Sarah. The only member of her original tribe to have been on Aparri in the wake of the tribe shuffle, Sarah found herself in a swing position, with her original ally Tony and his Solana alliance on one side and the Brains and Beauties of Aparri on the other. Woo won the first individual immunity, and swing vote Sarah became power hungry, trying to use her position to bully both alliances into doing things her way, pissing off Kass in particular. Trish pounced on the opportunity, offering Kass the opportunity to vote out Sarah with the Solana alliance. At one of the wildest Tribal Councils of all time, Tony revealed his idol, causing a last minute switch up before Tony and L.J. played their idols–on each other. The plan was foiled when Aparri smartly targeted Jefra instead, but just when the beauty queen thought she was out, Trish came through, successfully swaying #ChaosKass to send Sarah to the jury. 10 remain–who will be voted out tonight?

Solarrion returns to camp after their first Tribal Council as one tribe, the results of Kass’s flip still ringing in the air. Spencer tries to be polite about it as possible, telling Tony that it was “pretty cool” and Kass that he’s “not personally mad… [he] just think[s] it was a bad move.” In his confessionals, he’s far less gracious. He points out that had Kass stayed true to Aparri, they would have sent Jefra home along with two wasted idols. “Kass will fly in the face of strategy just because of how she feels,” he says. “She’ll go basically wherever her estrogen takes her, not where her brain takes her.” Ouch. Spencer, I want to like you so badly, but you sometimes make it so hard.

To briefly clarify on why this comment is so problematic, it’s not because Spencer is pointing out that Kass voted more based on her emotions than on logic–I think most people in the audience could see that from a mile a way. But when he attributes it to the female horomone estrogen, the implication isn’t that Kass made an emotional choice because Kass is an emotional player–the implication is that Kass made an emotional choice because she’s a woman. He could have easily worded his statement in a different way without making it offensive. To Spencer’s credit, he’s issued a really well worded apology, and has never struck me as a hard boiled misogynist. Still, watching it, the comment grates.

After Spencer’s take, Kass gives us her own version of the story. From her perspective, her alliance let her sink to the bottom. “The first rule of Survivor isn’t cater to the person on top, it’s worry about the person on the bottom,” she says. I’m still really curious as to what made Kass feel she was suddenly the bottom rung of her alliance, and how she came to the conclusion that Sarah had any long term power, but I digress. The diplomacy goes out the window as Kass blatantly accuses the Aparri Tribe of bringing her flip on themselves. “What did we do? We didn’t do anything!” exclaims an incredulous Morlax, already back in her spot in the shelter. “Morgan, you’ve never even talked to me,” Kass tells her, and Tony defends Kass–“Sarah tried to get rid of Kass, what don’t you guys understand?” Incredulous, a flabbergasted Spencer denies the accusation, and Kass simply tells him that you’re going to have to make moves that make people mad–it’s part of the game. Spencer covers his face with his shirt and laughs, begging Kass to stop talking strategy. “It’s embarassing,” he tells her. Kass is still adamant that she’s “out-strategized” him. “It’s kind of like I pulled off a hat trick,” she gloats in a confessional. “I got rid of the girl I wanted to get rid of, and two big lugs played their idols, unnecessarily. Triple win, right?” She goes on to say that the people she betrayed will “get over it” and that the people she sided with now have trust in her. “I am a free agent,” she declares. It’s clear from Kass’s perspective, she’s running the show. But as many a past castaway has learned, being in charge and being in a position to win aren’t necessarily one in the same. Kass may have gotten her triple win at Tribal Council, but I’m dubious that she’ll get the big win that counts at the end.

She’s in the driver’s seat… but where is she headed?

Day 20 breaks over Solarrion and despite the tense night before, work still needs to get done if people want to be voted out of the game rather than evacuated by the medical team when they starve to death or shrivel up and die. As most of the castaways go about their chores, those closest to the camp try and delegate the ones that remain. When Tony asks if anyone’s gotten water yet, Kass smugly nominates Morgan. Ugh. Kass, like Spencer, is someone who I want to like, but she doesn’t always make it easy. It’s pretty apparent that she’s still riding the high of the power she grabbed in the previous vote, and is now setting out to lord it over the heads of the people she doesn’t like. Kass points out that Morgan is in “her usual spot” in the shelter. “Morgan, no good on the water?” asks Tony. “I can get water,” Morgan replies, “but I don’t see how her saying it in a rude way, wants me to go get her water.” “Everything I’m going to say to you is going to be in a rude way because you’ve been rude to me,” Kass tells her. Morgan denies it and flips Kass off when Kass is out of eyesight. With Sarah gone, it seems that now Kass has turned her attention to a new unfavorite in Morgan–though, much as with Sarah, her reasoning isn’t really that inaccurate. “Morgan is in a constant state of center of the universe. She’s like an old dog… you’re just keeping it alive because you love it. You don’t mind that it pees on the floor and you have to go feed it, but all it really does is just sit there. That’s Morgan.” Morgan has some less-than-choice words of her own in a response confessional: “I don’t think I’m being mean to her. I’m ignoring her, maybe that’s mean, but I think she’s been ignored and made fun of all her life, so she should be used to this… she’s just a bitter, ugly old lady,” Ouch. Shots fired. Morgan adds that while it sounds really conceited (and at least she’s aware of it?) she thinks that Kass has always disliked Morgan because Morgan is “cuter than her.” If you’re planning on following Sexile Island, I want you to hold on to this quote for dear life, because it is super-applicable.

Across the Platforms


Carry a chest


With a good ol’ “come on in, guys,” Probst calls the castaways in for Solarrion’s first reward challenge, Rise and Shrine, which is new. Like many post-merge reward challenges, this one will have the castaways divide randomly into teams–in this case, we end up with the four original Beauties (Morlax, Jefra, Jeremiah, and Leon Joseph) joined by Spencer on the orange team. The other five (Kass, Tony, Tasha, Woo and Trish) are the purple team. After crossing a number of aquatic balancing obstacles to reach the shore, the team must carry a treasure chest to the base of a tower with an incline. Once the whole team is atop the tower, they’ll use a rope to drag the chest up the incline, and then use the pieces inside the chest to assemble a puzzle. And the prize for assembling the puzzle first is a doozy–all the product placement you could ask for!

Winner Winner Steakhouse Dinner


That’s right! It’s the return of the beloved Survivor Outback Steakhouse(TM)! Nobody can be upset with a meal from the restaurant that’s so great, it was endorsed by Survivor’s only two time winner, right? It’s the best product-placement award this side of 7-Up, Sprint Mobile, and Jack and Jill starring Adam Sandler in both lead roles!

Or as I like to remember it, the only reward that ever came close to making a castaway quit the game. Stay strong, Sophie. It’s only 91 minutes.

Orange gets the lead because Woo of all people somehow struggles on the balance beams, but it’s not by a huge margin and the teams stay pretty even for the rest of the challenge. Woo and Kass are first to start the puzzle for purple, but L.J. and Spencer aren’t far behind. Orange overtakes purple and L.J. places the final piece on the tower, meaning the Beauties and Friend are going to the Outback Steakhouse. The Purple team will just go back to camp, where, while they will still be starving, they at least can reliably be safe from unsubtle advertising.

Woo doesn’t mind because rice is his favorite food anyway. Get it, because he’s Asian…. oh nevermind. That joke is nowhere near funny enough to excuse the racism required to pull it off.

Woo, Tasha, Tony, Kass and Trish return to camp, bummed to have missed out on their first real meal since the merge feast three days ago. Tony tries to make the best of it–“double the rice!” and says that it’s “better to be pissed off than sh*t on.” Oh Anthony, you Bard of Jersey. As preparations for their meal commence, the conversation turns to (what else) but strategy, as Kass discusses with Trish and Tony who they should target next–Spencer or Jeremiah. Tony points out that Spencer is better with words than Jeremiah (which might be the understatement of the century, given that almost any person you could pluck off the street would be better with words than Jeremiah was a bullfrog). Trish says that really, it’s up to Kass to decide. “I don’t want to be the deciding person!” Kass says, earning a snort and an eye roll from everyone in the audience. In a confessional, Kass once again reiterates that she is a free agent. “No one has said, ‘Kass, you’re in’, but there’s an assumption that I’m in,” she explains. “I don’t care [who is voted out] as long as it’s not me, and I want to reinforce that so there’s a comfort level when I’m ready to come in for the kill.” I said as much last week, but I’m really unsure how much of Kass’s approach is based in logic, and how much of it is based in her desire to play the game as a trickster-goddess type who jumps from alliance to alliance leaving chaos in her wake. Whatever her reasoning, she’s at least learned from Sarah’s mistakes, as it’s clear she doesn’t want anyone to see her as power hungry or difficult to please. Tony, for his part, isn’t 100% sold. “She doesn’t have any facial expressions, she’s like a stone face… I’m a police officer, and even I can’t tell if she’s lying.” Not ready to rely blindly on Kass, Tony sets out to poke around for the ~mysterious super idol~ but isn’t able to come up with anything.
Meanwhile, Team Orange arrives at their ersatz Outback Steakhouse, complete with a Real Life Australian Hostess to greet them. Now we know where the budget for this season went. Morlax, much as with her namesake pokemon, loves food as much as she loves sleeping, and the next three to ten minutes are consumed by a blow by blow confessional about their amazing meal. “Stick a fork in me buddy, I’m done!” groans Jeremiah at the end of their feast. Oh Jeremiah, you’ve been done since five episodes ago.
Really, the reward is the least important part of this reward. While Morlax begins to fall back into a coma amidst the litter of at least 30 empty milkshakes, Spencer goes to wipe his face and finds a surprise in his napkin. Three guesses as to what it is. I’ll post an unrelated picture while you think it over.

Look, cute baby animals!


Okay, time’s up! If you guessed “a clue to the hidden immunity idol,” then you are correct! Yay you. Mark a space on your Survivor Bingo board. This is good news for Spencer, and he knows it. “I need a game changer right now, and this could be it.” You can say that again, Spencer. Even though Kass is a “free agent,” if she were to vote alongside the Aparri gang, she would do little more than tie the vote, which puts everyone at risk of drawing rocks. An idol could be Aparri’s saving grace. Of course, a clue isn’t an idol, so there is still plenty of time for things to go wrong. But I mean, what are the chances of that happening?

If you guessed “pretty good,” then you get another spot on your Bingo board. The Orange Team returns to Casa Solarrion just in time for a bout of heavy rain, which corrals everyone into the shelter as they wait it out. Spencer’s thoughts can only go to Tribal Council, however, and he ~stealthily~ sneaks out through the back of the shelter, which nobody notices. At least, no normal human does. But Woo Hwang is no normal human. He’s actually a hedgehog.

Woo Hwang; Survivor: Cagayan

Spencer reads the high poetry of the Survivor clue writers and learns that the treasure he seeks is most likely buried among a “mesh of roots, rocks and dirt.” While he searches in the jungle, the rest of the tribe, save for Morgan of course, emerges from the shelter as the rain has let up. Someone finally notices that Spencer mysteriously vanished, and Woo is on the case. “I’m a big fan of Survivor, and I know that when there’s a reward like the Outback Shack, there’s usually a clue to the immunity idol.” The editors wipe away their tears of joy as we’re given both exposition and more plugging, and Woo is, of course, dead on the money. In fact, the last time Survivor did the Outback Steakhouse reward, the clue to the idol was, much as it was this time, hidden in a napkin. Putting two and two together, Woo decides to trail Spencer, and then narrates the entire thing in a wacky fisheye lense confessional.

Really there are some things you just have to see for yourself. Woo goes into #NinjaStealthMode and spies on Spencer inconspicuously laying his pants in a very neat fashion by the bank of a stream before digging around in the wall on the other side. As Spencer walks away, Woo appears and startles him. Spencer clearly wants to stay away from the scene of the crime, so he makes up a lame excuse and bolts, but forgets his Chekov’s Pants that he folded oh so neatly by the stream. Woo picks them up and calls out to Spencer, and the precious clue comes fluttering out. By the time Spencer realizes his pants are clue-less, it’s too late. Woo is sprinting back to camp and Spencer is left with no choice but to follow.

What ensues is one of the most ridiculous search scenes Survivor could ever hope for. Woo gathers his fellow Solana soldiers and reads the clue, which fortunately for Spencer has been damaged slightly by the rain. With no other choice, Spencer finds his own allies and comes clean about the clue he found, and fills them in on its contents. Within a matter of minutes, almost all the castaways are darting around the Solarrion Campgrounds, scrambling to find the idol first. “It’s a mad treasure hunt for this idol,” Tony laughs. “You know it’s bad when Morgan–the girl that you can’t tell if she’s a pillow or a person, cause she doesn’t do anything–you know it’s serious when she’s up off her ass and she’s looking for this idol.” I’m glad that Tony clarified that the pillow comparison was based on her laziness, and not her… well, you know. Her pillows.

Morgan McLeod: Part Pokemon, Part Pillow

As the frantic scrambling gets more and more primal, Spencer gets more and more frustrated. “Whoever finds it is most likely going to find it in front of everyone,” he says, throwing a rock in frustration. Still not giving up, Spencer returns to the creek where it all started, and Woo leaves Kass with babysitting duty. Alone in the water as they search amongst the roots and dirt for the idol, Spencer can only turn to Kass and sigh. “Funny how our game has devolved into this, isn’t it?” “I love it!” Kass replies. And, in classic Kass style (Klassic?), she can’t help herself but to get a dig in. “I’m not necessarily down with what Woo did, but I think it’s karma for your behavior last night.” “I apologize for that. I was out of line,” Spencer admits. Kass’s inability to not be snarky ends up working in Spencer’s favor. As most of the other castaways have sulked away, empty handed and defeated, Spencer has actually found the idol lodged in the roots of a tree, with Kass as his only obstacle. Spencer keeps playing like he hasn’t found it and keeps Kass distracted with the small talk and apologies, grabbing the idol the moment she looks away. Once he’s off in private, Spencer is barely able to conceal his excitement. “Kass is so blind that I found the idol right in front of her face and she didn’t even see!” he laughs. Did her estrogen block her vision, Spencer? All snarking aside, Spencer reads the accompanying Hidden Immunity Idol Owner’s Manual, and realizes that his bounty, while still useful, is not the Mystery Mega Idol that we’ve been hearing so much about. “Today was complete euphoria. I’m still shocked that I found it. It could not have worked out better. My position in the game is just on the brink of ecstasy and devastation all the time, but it’s a whole new game as far as I’m concerned and I bought myself a lot of time, potentially.” Potentially is the operative word here, Spencer. What rings true for Kass rings true for us all, including our towheaded economics student–a victory now doesn’t necessarily mean victory later. For Spencer specifically, I think it really is going to be a matter of how he uses his new toy.

Standing there and looking good–this challenge should be a shoe-in for the Beauties

This week’s immunity challenge is called Keep On Your Toes, and is also new. Well, as new as any endurance based challenge can be, at least. Each castaway will be positioned in a frame, holding a block between the top of the frame and the top of their head. In order to keep it wedged there, they’ll have to stand on the tips of their toes–tire out for long enough for your block to drop, and you’re out of the challenge. Last blockhead standing wins.

Within seconds of starting, Kass channels her inner Crystal Cox (of Survivor: Gabon) and drops her block. Jeremiah, Trish, and Tony are not far behind, and soon we’re at 25 minutes in. Morgan and Woo both drop at this point, leaving the last four–Jefra, L.J., Tasha, and Spencer–standing for a solid hour. Jefra finally drops and the pain nearly seems to knock her over, and L.J. goes down after, leaving the battle of the blockheads as a battle of the Brains. Tasha has been almost entirely still for the entire challenge, while Spencer has had numerous risky moments, close saves, and awkward faces that are, in all likelihood, the closest we’ll ever get to seeing someone’s O-Face on Survivor. Whatever he was doing, though, it worked. Out of nowhere, Tasha’s block drops an hour and a half in, and Spencer wins immunity.

The Immunity Necklace might be causing him to actually orgasm

Back at camp, it’s pre-Tribal scramble time. Last week, Aparri had an ultra-obvious talk in the water, so it’s Solana’s turn this week. “Do you think any of them have a hidden immunity idol?” Tony asks Kass as she joins the rest of the alliance. Kass doesn’t think that any of them managed to find it, but everyone is well aware that just because they haven’t seen it doesn’t mean it isn’t out there. Trish wants to take out Tasha, who is solid in challenges, well liked by everyone, and a sharp observer, but L.J. and Tony both go for Morgan. “My Plan A would be Morgan,” Tony says, and shows that he learned a thing or two from the previous Tribal Council. As Kass so deftly puts it, “Morgan sucks,” and Tony reasons that if an idol was found, Morgan, by virtue of being the least threatening player, is the least likely to have it played on her. On top of that, voting out Morlax means more room for everyone else in the shelter. “Look at her. Please, everybody, just Look. At. Her,” Tony begs, as the camera focuses on Morgan, barely conscious in the shelter. “She’s dead weight,” Trish groans. In a confessional, Tony bluntly says that “Morgan does not deserve to be here. People that work hard, that bust their ass around camp deserve to be here.” It echoes something I’ve been saying for weeks, which is that Morgan just doesn’t seem to care enough to even bother with trying. Regardless of whether or not she’s “deserving,” Tony knows that they aren’t out of the woods just yet. There are two possible wrenches that could be thrown in the works: a hidden immunity idol, and #ChaosKass.

The Aparri foursome knows this as well. Morgan is ready to throw four votes Kass’s way as a fuck you since “our votes aren’t going to count anyway,” but Spencer points out that Kass is the only person who would even consider flipping, and suggest Tony instead. Spencer is banking on Tony doing something Tony-ish at Tribal Council (and by that I mean overplaying his hand, saying something stupid, making a scene for some reason, etc), and that capricious Kass might change her mind about siding with him. “It’s kind of ridiculous, but… the person who just screwed us over is the one person who might be crazy enough to help us,” Spencer narrates as he seeks out Kass on the beach. He believes the only way he can use the idol this round is if he can a pair of loose lips that will leak the Solana alliance’s vote. He’s found the idol, he won  immunity, and now Spencer is ready to press his luck with Kass.

Spencer does his best to keep his pitch from sounding, well, like a pitch, telling Kass in a roundabout way that as of right now, she won’t get a jury vote from a single person in his alliance, and that she could still fix things for herself if she comes back on board. Again, Kass’s selective listening kicks in. “I knew this would happen. The human in you wants to forgive someone and be friends again, so I was banking on that when I made my move–that the five people I allegedly betrayed would get over it. Because there will be many more betrayals.” I like how she says “allegedly,” as if there haven’t been numerous instances caught on camera where we’ve seen Kass promise her loyalty to Tasha, Spencer, Sarah, and the Aparri Tribe as a whole. I also think it’s pretty clear Spencer isn’t coming back so they can be buddies again and keep hanging out on the playground. To Kass’s credit, I don’t think she really cares why, she just cares that she has options going forward. She basically tells Spencer as such, telling him (and reminding us yet again) that she’s a free agent, she’s not making promises to anyone, and she’s going to keep her options open. For Kass, voting against Tony is one of those options. She admits Spencer has some good arguments, namely that Tony, being such a charming goofball, is a threat. Morgan, on the other hand is “annoying” and “a bitch, but she’s going to stay that way.” She tells Spencer she’s playing to make the final three, and I can’t help but shake my head. No, no, no. You should be playing to win.

As Solarrion grabs their torches, Kass is once again riding the high of being the decision maker. “I do trial by ambush,” the attorney says, which doesn’t make me feel much confidence in her ability as an attorney. “It’s not a recommended strategy by any legal authority, and it’s probably not a recommended strategy by Survivor authority. But I love the ambush. I love the blindside.”

Given that roughly half of the cast didn’t have a single confessional this episode, there’s not a whole ton of suspense going into this Tribal Council. Sarah takes her seat as the first juror, and Jeff gets to chewing the fat. “The wind changed directions,” Tony tells Jeff, referring to the shift in votes at the last Tribal Council, and Kass seems all but infected with the blabbermouth giddiness that is usually reserved for Tony. “Jeff, obviously, I was the wind that blew through,” she says with a big old cheeser grin. She can barely contain herself as she bemoans the mistreatment she suffered at the hands of her onetime allies over the past few days, and Sarah’s eyes are sadly limited by how far back in her head they can roll. Spencer admits he got out of hand with Kass because he was upset, and says that while having the Immunity Necklace is nice, it’s only a temporary safety net. “I’m play the game to win the game. I’d rather risk going out now for a shot at winning than extend my stay in the game,” he tells Jeff. This lets our host segue the discussion to a good old game of who isn’t a threat and who isn’t, and he starts in on Morlax, who falls in the “not a threat” category. Since Morgan couldn’t give two shits,  she has no problem owning the fact that she’s bad in challenges and disliked by most of the tribe. “Jury votes aren’t going to go to me, so…” she trails off. Trish has no problem picking up where Morgan left off–“She left out that she doesn’t really help out around camp, and if you want to add to that list, of why you’d want to take her along, I can do that.” Morgan says she was spoiled by the men doing all the work at the original Solana camp, but Jeff isn’t biting. “Let’s talk candidly,” he tells her, leaning in so they can talk real good. You know what I mean. He asks Morgan if, outside the game, she’s used to not having to work hard to get what she wants (and when I say “asks,” I mean “accuses”). “Absolutely,” says Morgan with a shameless grin. “If any person in the world could decide to be ugly or cute, most would pick cute.” Jeff thinks it’s one of the greatest quotes he’s ever heard on Survivor, and Morgan half-heartedly apologizes and promises that she’ll do more work around camp from now on.

And now, back to Kass. Jefra denies Jeff’s assertion that Kass is automatically on the bottom of the alliance, albeit she doesn’t do a very good job, going for the good ol’ “everyone in the alliance is equal” defense. Probst calls her out and she attempts to deflect, causing Tony to swoop in for an attempted save. He says that the difference between Aparri and Solana is that Aparri’s alliance was put together by default after swapping tribes. Spencer cuts him off to ask how Solana is any different, and Tony claims they “chose” each other. It’s clumsily worded, but you can gather that his intention is to stay that Solana didn’t stay together out of convenience, but because of the genuine bond they all have. Still, the damage is done, and there is a giant, gaping reminder that an alliance of six is good for the time being, but eventually, that alliance will have to decide who’s not moving forward. Tony takes it upon himself to speak for Kass, saying she’s in a comfortable spot–Jeff counters that Kass is unpredictable, which earns a proud smile from Kass. Trish agrees, and says that for the moment, all they can do is continue to include Kass in the group and treat her just as they would anyone else in their tribe. It’s here that Kass, for the first time that we see of it, openly states she isn’t in anyone’s alliance, and rightly points out that nobody in the Solana Alliance gave her any guarantees or promises. “When I go to Vegas, and I sit down at the table with a friend… I don’t mind beating them.” In short–Solana can be as nice to her as they want, but she doesn’t want inclusion, she wants a deal.

We see nobody vote, and the moment of truth comes as Jeff returns with the urn. There is a long pause, and… nothing. Spencer holds on, and Jeff reads the votes. It’s four for Tony first, and then the votes for “Queen” Morgan begin popping up, one after the other. In a 6-4 decision, Morgan becomes the 8th person voted out of Survivor: Cagayan and the second member of the jury.

It’s super-effective! The wild MORLAX fainted!

The winds of Hurricane Kass may be blowing full speed, but for tonight, there was a calm, as instead of blowing over the game, she opted to take that old dog to the vet and have it put down. I guess it’s for the best. Morgan will have a bed to sleep in, the ability to glam herself up, and a presence on the jury for the rest of the season; the place on Survivor where bitchface is used best. I don’t blame Kass for not flipping back, given that it would only lead to rocks at a point when it’s totally unnecessary to do so. The person who really blew it tonight, as far as I’m concerned, is Spencer.  I’m assuming if he had some sense of certainty that they were putting their votes on Morgan, he’d have given it to her, and with the alliances evened out, Kass’s vote would have been easier to court. On the plus side for him, the idol he found could very well keep him safe until its expiration date… but as Spencer himself said, it’s better to risk it all on a winning move than to take the safe road to the next three days.

Also, as an aside–with Morgan’s departure, we’re exactly at the halfway point, and despite their early floundering, each of the three starting tribes each have three members a piece. It’s still up in the air as to if it’s Brains, Beauty, or Brawn that will come out on top.

Next Time on… SURVIVOR!

All good things must come to an end, and the Solana alliance might be one of those things. With a solid lead in the numbers, the alpha males of Solana are starting to look less at Aparri, and more at each other. Tony wants to take out Woo, Woo wants to take out Tony, and all of this means there is a crack that a savvy player might be able to squeeze themselves through.


Survivor: Cagayan- Top 10 Analysis

Whew, was that an episode or what? I was going to include this as a part of the recap but it just made it huge… so to a separate post it goes. Now that we’ve merged and our jury has begun, let’s take a look at everyone remaining and try and answer the all important question: Who will outwit, outplay, and outlast all the others to become the Sole Survivor? To answer that question, however, it has to be kept in mind that we aren’t watching the game of Survivor when we tune into an episode. We’re watching the editors tell a story about the game that was played, using the footage as their storytelling medium. It’s not just the moves people are (or aren’t) making that need to be analyzed–it’s the way that the edit presents each of them. As should be obvious, each episode is not three days long, but only 42 minutes. There are probably a thousand moves that every player is making that we aren’t seeing, because in the end of the day it’s about conservation of detail (something I’m not always the best at doing myself… ergo super long winded write-ups). The editors are showing us what they need to so that the story–why the winner wins, and conversely, why each of the other 17 players don’t–makes sense to us, while still managing to maintain suspense so that we tune in next week to see what happens.

Anyway, going into the merge, there were maybe only two or three players I had pegged as possible winners, and in the span of an episode, I’m completely unsure where the show is turning. A season this volatile and unpredictable could have almost any sort of outcome. Sure, some people are looking more likely than others right now, but nobody has a giant flashing neon sign saying “WINNER” hanging over them as we’ve seen in some past seasons. Anyone who watched all of five minutes of any randomly selected episode of Survivor: One World could have told you that Kim was going to win. Cagayan is, pardon the pun, worlds apart from One World.

Before we can get to who might win, let’s talk about who probably won’t.

Rob Cesternino, Survivor: Amazon

In Survivor: Amazon, Rob Cesternino pioneered the strategy of alliance hopping with incredible finesse, but he had strong relationships with most of his tribemates and only jumped when he had hard evidence it was the right time to do so. When the rest of his alliance wanted his closest ally, Deena, out of the game, he cut her loose so as not to rock the boat. When Alex told him that Rob was out at the final four because their other two allies, Jenna and Heidi, would never turn on each other, Rob banded the other three remaining players together and voted out Alex instead. And when Jenna and Heidi went to Christy to try and get the power back and Christy, much like Sarah, sat on her power–Rob took initiative and got Jenna and Heidi to help take Christy out. It was only when Jenna won the final immunity challenge that Rob saw his game end. Jenna didn’t want to sit next to someone who had played so strategically well, and when she and Matthew, the other finalist were asked during the Final Tribal who they thought played the best game besides them, both answered Rob without hesitation.

Kass… is not Rob. As much fun as #ChaosKass has brought and will likely continue to bring to this season, this episode all but confirmed to me what I predicted last week: Kass has a mighty strong case building up in her corner to make her a zero-vote loser in the finals. I don’t think she’s going to necessarily stick with the Solana Tribe, as we didn’t see her get any real promises from Trish for the long term. Rather, Kass is someone who is probably going to jump back and forth between alliances, swinging her vote wherever she pleases until there’s nowhere left to swing and she’s sitting at the end having to explain herself. The problem for Kass is that I don’t think she is a good enough social player to pull it off without littering the jury with enemies. Hell–I don’t think she’s a good social player period. While I have no doubts she is an intelligent woman, and there may have been solid, logically sound reasons she had to flip, we weren’t shown any of that as viewers. All we saw was someone who was guided by their emotions first and foremost. Her sense of snark may make for great soundbites, but she can’t turn it off. The second someone gets under her skin, she reacts to it. Her motivations, frankly, seemed to largely be informed by jealousy. She wasn’t fearful of Sarah’s “power” in the game, but was jealous of it. Sarah’s position as the swing vote meant everyone else was kissing her ass full force to make sure they had the numbers, and Kass was mad she didn’t have the same attention being lavished on her, completely missing the point that it was being done solely as a game move. And on top of all of that, I think Kass might just want to play a chaotic game. Much as Tony has admitted to reveling in the chaos, so it seems does Kass… but I can’t say for sure why she wants to play the game that way. Does she think it’s truly her most effective strategy? I’m sure somewhere in her mind she’s convinced herself it is. But more so, I think that Kass thinks it’s a fun way to play that just happened to let her sit in the power position and get rid of someone she personally didn’t like. I don’t think for a second that Kass’s flip means the remainder of Aparri are going to be the next four picked off, but I do think that somewhere along the way as she alliance hops, someone is going to see her making enemies and want her sitting with them at the end.

Just because I don’t think that Aparri is going to be systematically eliminated after this doesn’t mean I like the chances for most of them as winners, however. Jeremiah has had no shot for a while. He’s not really a consistent character in this season. He pops up when the plot demands it, drawls his way through a few confessionals and then goes back to doing what male models are usually hired to do: standing there and looking pretty. Morgan, while a lot of fun as a character, is also someone I can say with full confidence isn’t winning this game. As I’ve said before, she just doesn’t seem to really care enough to try and win, and her edit has her more in the role of a fun background character than a serious contender.

And lastly, sadly for our dear superfan, I don’t think Spencer is winning this either. It took me a while to figure out who I was being reminded of, and it really hit me a few episodes ago that he’s Cagayan’s take on Survivor: Philippines‘ Malcolm.

Malcolm Freberg, Survivor: Philippines

I don’t think Spencer is as charismatic as Malcolm. He’s like Malcolm’s nerdier cousin, if anything. Malcolm certainly had a little bit of arrogance, but it incorporated into his overall character in a way that came off as the cocky charm of a hot, smart, funny, gregarious guy who knew he had a lot going for him and who could temper it with modesty when called upon to do so. I’m not saying that Spencer is unlikeable, per se, but I think he is more likeable to the audience than he might be to the people he’s playing with. Regardless, it’s not so much their personalities that remind me of each other, but the way they function in the stories of their specific seasons. Much as Malcolm’s Matsing Tribe was decimated by two stronger teams in a three-tribe game, so was Spencer’s Luzon, leaving him as a rootable underdog after the smoke had cleared. After that, Malcolm was a consistently present voice in the season. There wasn’t a single episode where the editors didn’t let us check in with him to get his read on the game. And in the end, Malcolm was just looking too good. He was a big distraction to keep our attention diverted just enough from the actual winner, Denise, and he lost it all just shy of the finals. Spencer seems to be shaping up almost identically. I feel fairly confident that Spencer is going to last to the final episode, but will be one of the last few to join the jury. Much as with Malcolm, he’s meant to hold our attention and distract us. And I also feel fairly confident that part of that distraction will involve him being the one to find the New and Improved Super Idol ™.

Tasha is the only one out of the Aparri Tribe who I think still could possibly be our winner. She’s a level headed player and a solid leader, and I don’t think she’ll have trouble making a case. The question for Tasha is how she’ll get to the finals. With Kass breaking up the Brains Trio, Tasha is going to have to make other plans, and I’m not really sure what those plans could be, but I still think there is enough in her edit to support her as a viable candidate. Specifically–and I know this might sound like nitpicking, but the editors love tiny little pieces of foreshadowing–we had a brief bit of focus on Tasha during Trish’s pilates class, where she tells Trish she’s flexible. Something tells me she might mean more than just physically. Even though she doesn’t have any pre-established connections with Solana, I can see her finding a way to make them, and her survival hinges on it.

Bearded Mountain Man #1 Leon Joseph really doesn’t even need to be commented on, as he’s the closest thing this season has to an “obvious” winner. He alone has been highlighted as the castaway who has it all, so to speak–Beauty, Brains, and Brawn–and the edit making that his central theme would certainly line up with a winner’s storyline. Much like with Tasha, his case in the finals is an easy one to make. Unlike Tasha, I think he has more inroads right now that could make a clear path to the finals for him, though it’s going to take some luck and probably an immunity win or two.

If not L.J., the edits for Solana overall are looking better than they are for Aparri. Tony was someone who I had written off completely. His moves in the game were always so big and so overblown that it seemed like a forgone conclusion he would overplay his hand and get caught and punished, and Sarah seemed to be the most likely one to deliver the vengeance. But in spite of blowing his idol, this episode completely revived Tony’s chances of winning (from the perspective of the edit, at the very least). Come the merge, there was a role reversal–the Good and Bad Cops switched positions. Tony plays hard, and I still think there is a chance that he’ll play too hard and end up overshooting and knocking himself out. But Tony doesn’t play mean, and that’s key. He is having a blast out there, and watching him have fun in the game is fun for the viewers. Tony winning will be largely dependent on how he makes it to the end, because if he can do it without making too big of a mess, he might be able to pull it out.

Fabio Birza, Survivor: Nicaragua

Woo didn’t really have much personal insight this episode, but he didn’t really need it. Woo has never been the super-cerebral strategist in the edit and I don’t think that’s who he is as a person either. It reminds me a lot of another previous contestant–Survivor: Nicaragua’s winner, Jud “Fabio” Birza. Fabio didn’t need to do much to win in terms of strategy, other than lie low and let the threats take each other out. By the time anyone got around to him, there weren’t a lot of people left in the game, and he was able to go on an immunity run that lead him to finals with very little blood on his hands and a whole lot of friends on the jury. In a game that fluctuates as much as Cagayan’s seems to, Woo the surf ninja could very well just stick to what he knows best, and stealthily ride the wave to the finish line.

Natalie White, Survivor: Samoa

Whereas I see shades of Fabio in Woo, I see shades of Survivor: Samoa winner Natalie White in Jefra. I don’t think that the former Miss Teen Kentucky is by far and away the obvious choice, but there are peculiarities in the way the show presents Jefra that I can’t help but pick up on. Ever since the shuffle, we’ve been getting tiny glimpses at how she’s playing this game. Every week she’s had a confessional which allows her to explain her own position in the game–she tells us that she is in a bad spot after the shuffle, she tells us that she’s glad she is in Tony’s alliance, she tells us she’s upset to see Alexis out of the game. In past seasons that have had alliances resembling the one between Jefra and L.J.–we’ll call it the Guardian and Ward alliance–the ward is a silent number. She follows the guardian’s every move, and the guardian explains those moves to the audience. Every confessional that Jefra has had thusfar has delivered us information the editors could have just as easily given us through her guardian, L.J. Much as with Woo, I don’t think Jefra is playing a grand, strategic game that the edit isn’t showing us, because I don’t think that’s who she is as a person. Rather, I think she’s sticking to her strengths and keeping her head down and being sweet. If the bigger players blow each other up and she can make it to the end with the right combination of people, Jefra’s argument might simply be “I’m not them” and it could be enough.

Sandra Diaz-Twine, Survivor: Heroes vs Villains

And lastly, we come to the player who I’m most excited to talk about: TRISH. What has me excited about Trish is that I think she is, as of right now, playing the best game this season. Her power plays have all worked out for her because she executes them with enough nuance that she doesn’t come off as being aggressive. Her play to knock Cliff out on Solana worked, and be it intentional or not, she helped Lindsey along the path of bucking herself out of the game as well. Despite the fact that we’re told how Tony is super observant, it was Trish who spotted the fissure in the Aparri ranks, and Trish who was able to exploit that to get Kass on her side. And then on top of her strategic play, she’s well liked. Morgan loves her and wants to keep her around for the free pilates lessons, and Spencer is able to look past her “annoying laugh” and see a person who he has fun around who is full of great stories. Spencer also calls Trish out in the same scene as being someone who is unaware of how she is perceived, and I’m not totally sure if that’s the case. Trish comes into this game with a natural smokescreen in the form of her thick Boston accent, her braying donkey cackle and her general over the top demeanor. It reminds me a lot of Survivor’s only two-time champion, Sandra Diaz-Twine, winner of Pearl Islands and Heroes vs Villains. One of Sandra’s biggest strengths was that she was blunt, foul mouthed, and true to herself as a person the whole time. People looked past her as a threat–much as mostly everyone has with Trish–because people were quick to accept her at face value. They didn’t see Sandra as a strategist, so it made it easy for her to lie when she needed to. They didn’t see her as a physical threat because, well… she wasn’t. (Trish, as a member of the Brawns, might stand a little better of a shot in challenges.) I don’t know if the edit necessarily supports Trish as the winner 100% yet, but they aren’t shying away from showing us her top-notch gameplay. For Trish, the key to victory is the combination of finalists. She’s not like Tasha or L.J., where the problem will be getting there, and she’s not like Tony, where the problem might be making a case. I think Trish stands a very good shot at making the finals, but if she ends up sitting against the wrong person–such as L.J. or maybe even Tony–she could still find herself losing by default to a more “obvious” player.

So in conclusion… I really want Tasha to win, think Trish should win, and have no clue who actually will win.

Survivor: Cagayan Episode 7 Recap- “Head of the Snake”

Previously on… SURVIVOR!

In the wake of Cliff’s blindside, Trish and Lindsey’s mutual disdain for one another finally bubbled to the surface in an explosive fight that resulted in Lindsey storming off and quitting the game, leaving Solana suddenly down two members to Aparri’s seven. Despite the numbers disadvantage, Solana stayed strong, both unifying as a solid alliance and by winning the right to raid Aparri’s camp in the reward challenge. While at Aparri’s beach to collect their reward, Tony decided to stir the pot by giving the clue to the Solana idol to Jeremiah–in front of Jeremiah’s whole tribe. While Jeremiah saw Tony’s plan as a means of targeting him, Jeremiah’s original Beauty tribemate Alexis saw it as a move to recruit him. Solana followed it up with an immunity win, but Tony’s excessive celebrating alienated Sarah, his onetime ally from the days of the Brawn Tribe. Sarah swore her allegiance to the New Aparri Tribe, leaving the three Brains in the drivers seat when deciding who was the biggest risk to flip at the merge–and who they should vote out. Despite Alexis attempting to turn the vote against onetime ally Jeremiah, her connections with L.J. and Jefra caused her to be seen as the future flipper, and she was unanimously ousted. 11 remain… who will be voted out tonight?

Aparri returns to their camp after blindsiding Alexis, Spencer shouting “Top Six!” in a clear mockery of Tony in the previous immunity challenge. The tribe’s mood on the whole seems to be good, and Spencer further elaborates on the reality behind his joke: “If we merge tomorrow, that’s the best news possible for this tribe, because right now, we control the game. They have six, we have five.”

Before everyone tucks into bed, however, they decide to choose their target in the event that the merge comes early the next morning. The group throws out both Trish and Jefra’s names before for the millionth time confirming with each other that everyone is clear with the plan–they have six, Solana has five, they need to just hold together and they’ll have the top six in the bag. This is making it really start to feel like that won’t happen. Sure enough, Kass is feeling the same way–“This group is allegedly a solid six. If we can all stay strong a core, we can run the show and take out a less obvious target like Trish or Jefra.” Apparently, some people watching the episode never really understood why Aparri was thinking Trish or Jefra, even though the episode explains it pretty well, but the idea is that if an idol is present within the other alliance and they are knowingly down numbers, they’ll pass the idol to the most obvious target in order to knock out a member of Aparri and have a fighting chance at stealing the lead. Because of this, the best move for the Aparri is to target the weakest member of the opposition for the first vote, as there is low risk of an idol being played to protect them, and a high risk of an idol being blown on the wrong person. “It sounds so simple,” Kass continues, “but the best laid plans often end up sprawled out on a murder scene floor.” Oh Kass. Ever the poet. And foreteller.

The next morning sees Kass and Sarah taking an early morning walk together to talk strategy. Kass takes this opportunity to admit to Sarah that the only people in the alliance that worry her potentially are Jeremiah…. and Sarah. Kass is being honest and observant–Jeremiah and Sarah are the only members of the alliance with positive relationships on the other side–but regardless of her intent, Sarah immediately takes offense. “For her to accuse me of not being true to my word hit a chord with me… people don’t like to be called a liar, and pretty much I got called a liar… without being called a liar.” The conversation seems to go on and on in circles with both only getting more and more annoyed with each other. Sarah feels that her loyalty being questioned shows her that her allies don’t have faith in her, and that it doesn’t make her want to stay with that alliance. Kass says “in my line of work, we go with the hard evidence… just because you vote with us once doesn’t mean I believe you’re true. You did what you have to do, in my opinion. That doesn’t speak of loyalty, that speaks of desperation and a wise move. You haven’t proven anything to me, except that you’re saving yourself. Show me blood on your hands of a former tribemate–then we’ll talk.” The whole confessional of course takes place around a fire, with a great shot of it flickering in Sarah’s glasses as if she is literally seething with rage when she looks at Kass.


One Little Happy Family

As if to drive home the point that things are going to get fucked up for Aparri this episode, our morning at Casa Solana is totally different. Everyone is perky and alive. The music swells as Jefra emerges from her slumber within the mosquito net like a baby marsupial sticking out of its mother’s pouch. Woo feeds Malnutrisha a chunk of freshly sliced coconut while she adjusts her tuckjob.  He then heads off with Tony so they can goof around to the nth degree at tree mail. It’s all fun and games for Tribe Tony and Friends ™. And while Tony’s enjoying it, he’s bored with the game. “There’s no scrambling going on, there’s no trickery going on, there’s no spying… and, that’s fun for me, you know?” Gosh, I wish there was a way to write Tony’s voice. It’s like starting a statement with “Good News Everyone!” to get the reader to read the rest of the statement in Dr. Farnsworth’s voice. I need something that does that for Tony. And Trish, while we’re at it.

Anyway, the Tree Mail reveals a merge! Solana has to pack up their stuff and make their way to Camp Aparri. The fivesome rejoice at having made the merge, and, much like Aparri, have a group reminder session to remember the good times and keep their five strong. Leon Joseph (yes, now that I know his real name I will call him that) says that it’s exciting to make the merge, but nerve wracking because they’re going into it down numbers. Fortunately for L.J., he has a hidden immunity idol, which he excitedly unearths from its hiding spot during the packing scramble. In some other corner of the woods, Tony does exactly the same with his own idol. “I feel like it’s an extra person in my alliance,” says Tony of the idol. “If anyone of my Solana Tribe need it, I’ll help them out. So I think we’re in pretty good shape.” This is a new side to Tony–the cartoon villain has really just given way to an over the top player who is having fun with the game, and while making a lot of unnecessary moves that I believe will end up being his undoing, Tony isn’t exactly playing a bad game. A lot of people down numbers hold onto their idols in hopes it will somehow become more useful to protect them specifically later, instead of using them to grab numbers at a crucial point. I’ve seen more truly impressive moves done with gifted idols than with ones kept to themselves.

This is just the funniest fucking thing

On Aparri, Morlax awakens to read the Aparri the Tree Mail–why they picked her to read I’ll never know, since in classic Morgan fashion she reads it with all the enthusiasm of a drag queen in a sports bar. “You’ll be having guests from the Solana Tribe shortly, and some of them may be staying here for the next 22 days.” “It says they’re gonna be here for the next 22 days… next three days for one, next six days, for another…” Spencer jokes. Don’t tempt fate, Spencer. That’s the shit editors love to use to set someone up. Let’s just hope for your sake someone tempts even harder. (Spoiler: They do.)

This is where the game really starts

A boat carrying the Solana Tribe and a waiting feast comes towards the Aparri shores. The music is tense but the initial meeting is joyful. Everyone is excited and friendly as the Aparri folk help the Solana Tribe (and the food, and most importantly, the booze) off the boat. Sarah likens it to seeing old friends from high school for the first time in a while (I guess six days out there really feels like forever). Those who haven’t yet met make their introductions while others reunite with former tribemates. Jefra is dismayed when she realizes the one former tribemate she was hoping to see–Alexis–isn’t there. She tells us that her line of thinking was pretty much in line with Aparri’s–that Alexis was her tightest ally and a clear option for her to try and flip to Solana’s side. “Oh snap, what do we do now?” she frets. Worry not, small blonde one–the merge has only just begun.

Morgan once again is elected town crier to read the ~official~ note accompanying the feast, confirming the fact that yes, the two tribes are now one. This was expected as much. However, there is another piece of information in the note that is of much more interest to everyone–there is now another idol hidden at the Merged Tribe’s camp, and unlike the others in the game, this one has “different powers.” There is no further indication in the note of what these “different powers” specifically are, which of course only leaves our castaways on edge, only able to guess what they’re up against. “Different powers…” Spencer muses. “The one that sends you home,” jokes L.J. in response. Whatever it does, Tony speculates that the only person who will know for sure will be the person who finds it. For the time being though, nobody is interested in idol hunting. Morgan opens a box to reveal the new black colored buffs for the Tribe, and Spencer suggests that they discuss the new Tribe name over the food they’ve all been waiting for. It’s revealed eventually that they decided on Solarrion–a fusion of the three original Tribe names (Solana, Aparri, and Luzon). The feast is truly decadent–cold cuts, cheeses, crackers, cookies, bread, wine, rum… it’s enough that even watching on a full stomach makes you hungry. For Spencer, the excitement is not only that he’s finally eating, but that he even made the merge in the first place. “I was on a Tribe that was one of the worst Tribes in Survivor history! And somehow, I’m here at the merge, and I have new life… I’m tight with Sarah, I’m tight with Jeremiah, I’m tight with this group of six that could possibly run the game after the merge.”

The conversation turns to the Alexis vote, which is brushed past by Jeremiah with a simplistic explanation that “she turned on me.” Regardless of why, Tony echos Jefra’s sentiments–Alexis leaving isn’t particularly good news for Solana. “Six against five is pretty tough, so the only hope that I have, personally, is Sarah.” Tony seems hopeful that he can call back to the Cops-R-Us alliance, but he’s fearful that if she doesn’t flip, Solana is out of options.

Toe Touches with Trish


Later in the day, Trish–a pilates instructor by profession–leads some of the women in a freebie pilates class. (In one of the unaired confessionals from this episode, we get to hear her talk about her job and her love of teaching and it’s actually quite sweet on her part, though she recognizes the strategic usefulness of it as well.) “You’re pretty flexible, huh Tash?” Trish asks as Tasha lowers her position and gives the editors their weekly reminder of why they don’t ever do Survivor in cold locations.

“I am,” Tasha replies to Trish

Up at the campfire, the former Solana men–Tony, Woo, and Leon Joseph–try to determine their gameplan for making up the numbers deficit. “Who do you think is the head of the snake right now?” Tony asks the guys, and L.J. is pretty sure that the power is being kept pretty evenly amongst the Brains as a collective. Tony believes the best move is to use the downtime they have at the moment to finally pull Sarah aside and figure out where her head is at.

Sarah admits to Tony that her vote is still up in the air and Tony does his best to convince her that if she comes with Solana, the four Brawns will stick together and be the final four, disposing of Jefra and L.J. once they’ve outlived their usefulness. Tony says in a confessional he’s willing to tell Sarah whatever he has to in order to regain her trust, and hopes that she’ll honor and believe in his (false) promise of two cops sitting in the top two together. Tony pushes Sarah to swear on her badge, and Sarah tells him that she’s not ready to make that commitment just yet. In a confessional, Sarah reveals exactly why she wants to think it over. “I’m in the best spot you can be at in this game… because five,” she shows on one hand, “and five,” on the other, “and guess what? I’m in the middle! It’s a Sarah sandwich. It’s perfect!” she gushes. Oh Sarah, don’t you know? Sandwiches get eaten. Sarah asks Tony who he wants to target and he tells her it doesn’t matter. “Whichever side I go, I will decide the fate of this game,” Sarah says, continuing her gloating confessional. This is starting to get painful.

Sarah later helps Jeremiah and Kass collect firewood on the beach, offering to clue them in on the information she supposedly gleaned from Tony. “L.J. does not have an idol, so if he does not win immunity, he’s going home… as he should be. Because that should be our vote. Correct?” Sarah isn’t so much sharing–she’s practically commanding. I don’t quite get how she’s so certain Golden Boy is idol-less, and neither are Jeremiah or Kass. Jeremiah is confident that someone from the Beauty Tribe has found the idol from their beach, and L.J. seems to be the most likely candidate. And logically, it makes sense even without the viewer’s knowledge that Jeremiah is right. Jeremiah and Kass are both of the same mind–pick a target that isn’t obvious for the first vote to ensure the numbers–a target like Jefra. The moment that Jeremiah suggests her, however, Sarah becomes indignant. “It’s either L.J. or Woo! We’ve got to get a strong guy out.” Again, Kass and Jeremiah express their hesitance, and again, Sarah is adamant. She demands that if it’s not L.J., then it’s Woo, and when Kass asks what happens if Woo wins immunity, Sarah says they can vote out Tony. Kass suggests Trish, and Sarah barks at her that it’s a “terrible idea.” “It’s completely idiotic to pick a fight with me,” she says in a confessional. “I’m not saying let me be the princess and walk on eggshells around me, but the last thing you want to do is piss me off… I can do whatever I want! You want to pick a fight with me? I’ll flip over to those other guys, so don’t test me. I will put you in your place and send you packing.” The argument goes in circles–as seems to be a recurring theme every time Kass and Sarah interact–and Kass is clearly becoming more and more frustrated. Kass sees Sarah’s total refusal to vote against Trish or Jefra as a sign that Sarah’s not so much in the six as she is in the one. Poor Zoolander tries his hardest to diffuse the tension, but Sarah whines that she doesn’t want to be “bullied” and then flatly states that Tony promised her any target she wants if she sides with Solana. For Kass, this is the last straw. “In my view, no one in this game should have that much power… I can’t even look at her, I just want to punch her sometimes!” Uh oh.

Now, for 95% of this argument I’m totally on Kass’s side. Sarah is trying waaay too hard to leverage her power in order to get her way and it’s not doing her any favors to earn the trust of her supposed allies. And if she keeps playing both sides until she gets what she wants, well…

“I have POWER!!!”


“I’m the PAWN! I’m the SWING VOTE!”


“I’m Dolly in the middle.”


Let’s just say that history could repeat itself. Besides Sarah overplaying her hand mightily, every single one of her assumptions is completely wrong–L.J. does have an idol, Trish does have an alliance with L.J., and, as we learned from Stacy Kimball in Survivor: Fiji, when the group down in numbers has the idol, you hit them from the left and vote Edgardo.

And an idol is down the toilet

And an idol is down the toilet

But near the end, Kass stops coming from a place of logic and starts coming from a place of rage. If only Kass had Uncle Cliffy in her alliance to remind her not to play emotionally.

The next day, L.J. and Tony start the morning with some spearfishing and nature identification (“Is that a kookaburra?” Tony asks when L.J. emerges with a starfish on the end of his spear), while the women tend fire up at camp. Apparently, Morlax has lumbered off to graze or mock an ugly person or something, so Trish has the shelter all to herself as Tasha cooks the rice and listens to Sarah bitch. “I’m tired of people only talking to me because they want my vote,” Sarah grumps from atop her throne. “I’ll stop talking to you,” Kass helpfully (not) snips in response, and like the cougar she is, Trish’s ears perk up in the shelter. The hunter has found her prey. Sarah and Kass, for the zillionth time in this episode, commence squabbling, only this time with Tribe Leader Tasha as witness as opposed to the stereotypically dim-but-pretty model, Jeremiah. Tasha marches the girls off to get to the bottom of the conflict, but Trish has already more than taken note. “I wake up this morning… yeeeeeeeeeeeow is what I heard, all of a sudden, a couple of girls going at it… the fight made me happy because it made me realize they weren’t as strong of a six as we thought they were.”

Tasha sits Kass and Sarah down on a log at the edge of the lake to figure out what’s happening. “When I heard about Kass and Sarah’s exchange, I didn’t care who was right and who was wrong,” Tasha tells us in a confessional. “My main concern was getting those two back on  the same page.” Tasha is masterfully diplomatic–“I see both sides,” she tells them both, “I just don’t want us to get fractured over some B.S.” She works overtime stroking Sarah’s continually growing ego, telling Sarah she respects how much pressure she’s under as the swing vote. Boo hoo, Sarah. Despite the fact that Tasha is obviously placating the beast before it can be angered, Kass is already too blinded by red. “Tasha took Sarah’s side in the argument, what the heck? Someone in the alliance treats someone else poorly, everyone panders to the bully? I felt like saying it to Tasha, what about me, how come you’re not being nice to me? What am I, chopped liver? Oh, wait–you’re done with me. I’ve got it.” Zooooooom, right over Kass’s head. It’s funny, because all of an episode ago, Kass herself said that the turmoil the Brains of Luzon went through together was instrumental in bonding them–it should be apparent to her that Tasha is simply doing what needs to be done to keep Sarah happy and therefore keep her vote, because Tasha already trusts in Kass. Regardless, it appears Kass has made up her mind–Sarah is clearly against her and so is Tasha.



The Solarrion Tribe arrives out on the water for the first individual challenge of the game. Jeff Probst retires the Tribal Idol and reveals a glittering golden Immunity Necklace, up for the taking for whoever can claim it. Today’s game is Bermuda Triangles, a recently introduced challenge from Survivor: Caramoan, and it’s simple. Each castaway stands with their legs straddling either side of a triangular platform with narrow footholds along the sides. Every fifteen minutes, the castaways move up from one level to the next, pulling their legs closer together and therefore making it harder to balance on the floating platform. Fall off and you’re out. The last player standing wins. Based purely on their backgrounds, it seems like a challenge that Woo or Trish is most likely to win.

As far as endurance challenges go, this ends up being one of the shorter ones. Everyone survives the first two stages with relative ease, but the final stage–balancing directly on top of the platform–proves to be the hardest. Spencer is the first to fall almost immediately after the transition, and it seems to set off a chain reaction. In a matter of moments after Spencer drops, Kass, L.J., Sarah, Jefra, Tasha, Trish and Jeremiah plummet in quick succession, leaving a three way challenge between Tony, Morgan, and Woo. Morgan is quickly taken out by a gust of wind, and the showdown between Tony and Woo doesn’t last long after that. “Good luck Woo!” shouts Tony as he falls, leaving Woo to backflip off in excitement, the winner of the first individual immunity challenge. For the Solana Tribe as a whole, it’s a good result–it’s one option off the table for Aparri, which means if needed, it should be easier to send an idol wherever it needs to go.

Individual Woomunity


Is it any surprise the winner of this challenge is the guy who they based this movie on


Upon returning to camp, Princess Sarah seems to have finally settled on her decision. The former Solana Tribe has more of the stronger competitors, which makes them the more dangerous alliance in the long run, and so Sarah had decided to stick with Aparri. Though she has chosen, she still seems intent on waving her shiny, golden swing vote in her allies’ faces in order to pick whoever she wants as the target. “I get to choose. I’m the president right now.”

The numbers are obvious, so there’s no need for subtlety or discretion as Tasha leads the troops down to the water so they can, finally, as a six, nail down their vote. Spencer and Tasha both echo the sentiments Jeremiah and Kass put forth earlier in the episode–vote Jefra or Trish–and like a broken record, Sarah once again pipes up to demand that L.J. or Tony be voted out for being huge threats. “I don’t think any of those guys have an idol,” Sarah says. I’m really interested to know who she does think has the idols, particularly the one from the Brawn camp, since at the very least she has to realize that if she doesn’t have it, that means banking on the chance that either Cliff or Lindsey left the game with it in hand or that it was never found in the first place. “I can guarantee Tony doesn’t have it,” Sarah assures the group as they all agree Tony is the vote. That’s yet another fact wrong for Sarah in this episode. Kass is not happy with how things are turning out at all. “She thinks she’s running the show,” Kass says incredulously via confessional. “Does nobody else see this? Am I the only one? She’s about to destroy the game, and if she’s about to destroy the game, I want the preemptive strike, I want to destroy it!” Kass may have had the right idea originally, but all logic has left the building and she’s now running purely on emotion. At this point, it doesn’t even seem like she’s mad specifically at Sarah anymore. Rather, it comes off like a child having a temper tantrum when their sibling gets more attention than them.

From the shore, the Solana group watches intently, Trish warning Tony that there is no way he has Sarah’s vote. Tony thinks he still has a shot with her, but nobody else seems to have faith in the power of Cops-R-Us. Trish brings up the fight she witnessed between Sarah and Kass the other day and suggests that she could approach Kass and try and swing her against Sarah. Tony insists on one more crack at Sarah, and tells Trish he thinks Kass is likely to play her. When Tony gets Sarah alone at the well, he promises her one more time that she is guaranteed final three with him and Trish, and points out that if she votes with Aparri, they’ll have a big enough numbers advantage that they could get rid of Sarah next and not sacrifice any power at all. “Listen stupid,I know this! I’m not an idiot !” Sarah mocks in a confessional. She tells Tony she’ll decide at Tribal–her “nice” way of saying no. “Tony is the biggest threat in this game. He observes everything, he’s sneaky… he’s just like me, and I’d get rid of me if I could.” Fate, consider yourself tempted.

Having finally given up on Sarah, Tony decides he’ll play the idol if need be, but it might not be necessary. Trish whispers to Kass in the shelter about how it appears Kass has fallen in the ranks, and Kass doesn’t even play coy–“I’ve been replaced,” she says straight up to Trish. Trish prods a bit to see if Kass will flip, but Kass is hesitant until Trish finds the right question. “Well, if you had your choice to get anybody out on that team, who would you go for?” After a brief pause, Kass gives the answer we all knew was coming: Sarah. Trish lets Kass know that, coincidentally enough, that’s what the Solana fivesome is planning as well. Kass admits in a confessional that maybe the Solana group is smarter than she thought. “Maybe they’re smarter than my five if they think that Sarah is the bad seed.”

After playing it super smooth with Kass, Trish comes barking down the trail to the lake to deliver the news to her alliance. “She’s out! We’re voting for her tonight, I’m telling you,” Trish says as she recounts the conversation to Tony and L.J. It’s amazing how things come full circle–earlier in the episode, Kass was outraged when Sarah weaponized her swing vote, threatening to go with the alliance that let her get her way. Now moments before Tribal, it seems that was the same promise Kass wanted herself. “I love that Sarah thinks she’s running the show. New Aparri is voting for Tony, at bequest of Queen Sarah,” Kass says. “Solana is voting for Sarah. I truly believe I’m the one in the middle. I think I have usurped Sarah’s throne tonight, and once again, Chaos Kass will show up at Tribal.”

Solarrion arrives in the dark of night at Tribal Council and what we’re about to see is unlike anything ever before on this show. Per usual, Jeff starts things off by ferreting out the obvious assumptions everyone has on the table going in–Solana is outnumbered, the threats are in trouble, etc etc etc. Things don’t really get interesting until Jeff asks L.J. about idols, and L.J., playing it coy, says that no idols have appeared–for all any of them know, there might not even be any idols. At that point, Tony steals the floor. “There’s idols, cause I got one,” Tony reveals. Spencer calls his bluff and jaws drop–particularly Sarah’s–as Tony pulls the idol from his bag and hangs it proudly around his neck. “And this doesn’t mean I’m going to use it for me… I could give it to L.J., I could give it to Jefra, I could give it to Trish, it’s a community idol!” At this point, Tasha and Spencer share a quick whisper and Tasha, in her military leader fashion, turns to each of the Aparri members to confirm the switch in targets. “The other one,” she says, not specifically mentioning anyone by name, addressing each of her allies. “They can switch whatever they want!” Tony says, once again overcome with joy at the chaos he has created. The rest of Solana appears to be just as tickled as he is, and Jeff asks if they should end the suspense and get to the vote–it’s probably the only thing that all eleven players can agree on.

We see nobody cast their vote, and when Jeff returns with the urn, Tony steps up to play his idol, and makes good on his promise to use it for his tribe by giving it to L.J. Nobody on Aparri seems to react that badly to this news. Tony takes his seat… but we’re not done yet. Jeff goes to start reading the votes, but is interrupted by L.J., who pulls his own idol out as a gift for Tony.

Leon Joseph makes his move

It’s interesting to see it happen–a few episodes ago, both Tony and L.J. were talking about the fact that they didn’t have full trust in one another. Now here we are watching them swap idols, a trust test on par with sharing needles. It’s not a bad way for Solana to have used their idols. If Aparri switched their votes from Tony to L.J. upon seeing Tony’s idol, then L.J. is protected. If they called Tony’s bluff and voted him anyway, Tony is protected. It looks like it might not matter at all if Kass flipped… by pushing for them to target a strong threat, Sarah has sealed her own fate. She’s about to be idoled out. Jeff confirms that both idols are legit, that no votes for Tony or L.J. will count, and begins to count the ballots.

The first vote: Jefra.

The tears are almost immediate for the blonde beauty queen as the faces of her tribemates fall, having gone from elation to devastation in a matter of seconds. Damn, that is some high-speed Survivor chess. The votes begin to stack up–Jefra, Sarah, Jefra, Sarah–until we’re at an expected five-five tie. Jeff reveals the final vote… and in a 6-5 decision, Sarah becomes the 7th person voted out of Survivor: Cagayan and the first member of the jury. Stunned, the good cop turned bad grabs her torch while Solana applauds wildly like fans at a sports game watching their team score. Sarah’s torch is snuffed and she vanishes into the jungle, while the Aparri alliance can only try and decipher who could have possibly flipped on them.

I think they have an idea.

Thank you,” Jefra whispers to Kass, tears still in her eyes. “Kass, zero percent chance of winning the game,” snarks Spencer–no tears here, just aggravation. “It’s a long way to go,” Kass responds to him. After what may have truly been one of the best Tribal Councils of all time, Jeff bids Solarrion a good evening and sends the ten surviving castaways back to their camp, where the shit is sure to hit the fan.

Next time on… SURIVIOR!

Kass turning on Aparri seems to have the same effect as the PokeFlute, causing Morlax to arise from her slumber in a grumpy rage. Except this Pokemon isn’t armed with Body Slam and Brick Break–she’s armed with the slicing, dicing words that only an experienced mean girl cheerleader has in her arsenal. And while Morgan weaponizes words, the rest of Solarrion scrambles to find a different weapon in the form of the mysterious Super Idol.