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

by Julian

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?

#StoodUp

#StoodUp

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?

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