Some Guy Has Spoken

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

Month: May, 2014

Survivor: Cagayan Episode 12 Recap- “Havoc to Wreak”

Many apologies for the super-duper late recap!

Previously on… SURVIVOR!

Spencer had played his idol incorrectly on himself, allowing the leading alliance to take Jeremiah out of the game, leaving Spencer and Tasha alone and without an idol against Tony’s five person alliance. The good news was that it was auction day, meaning they could have a chance to bid for an advantage in the game. Tony also decided that he wanted the advantage, and that he didn’t want either of the outsiders getting it. As a result, the three of them didn’t bid on anything, creating an easy opening for the rest of the tribe to win delicious meals at super low prices. When the advantage came up, however, Jeff revealed it wouldn’t be so easy as to throw down $500 first–anyone who wanted a shot at it would have to pay up and then draw rocks. Once again, luck was not on Spencer’s side, and Tony won the advantage: a clue to the re-hidden idol that Spencer had played. Tasha and Spencer had to put a back-up plan in place, and decided to do so by playing on Tony’s paranoia and penchant for over-playing. Tasha wormed her way in with the women of Tony’s alliance–Kass, Trish, and Jefra–while Spencer whispered in Tony’s ear that Jefra had almost turned on him in the previous vote. Tasha won her third individual immunity in a row, leaving Spencer with nowhere to hide. However, their manipulation of Tony payed off–worried about a possible women’s alliance, he convinced loyal ally Woo to spare Spencer and take out Jefra. With Spencer and Tasha’s votes, Jefra was blindsided, leaving it as a game between Brains and Brawn. 6 remain… who will be voted out tonight?

We’re back from Tribal Council on Night 30, and following the pattern of every other “right after Tribal” scene this season, that means we’re in for an argument, likely involving Kass or Tony–if not both. Let’s go with both.

Once everyone is settled, Tony asks Kass and Trish if they’d like an explanation as to what happened. Trish says thanks, but she’ll pass. Trish says she understood that Tony turned on Jefra before Jefra could turn on him–once again, the fact that she was left out of the loop is of little concern to her. Kass, on the other hand, is not as forgiving. “I’m pissed off,” says Kass. “Another blindside… Jefra taken out, for crossing the Don aka Tony, our Mafia King. Anyone who crosses Tony gets their cement shoes and thrown in the pond.” Kass says that her current alliance didn’t learn their lesson from her last alliance–“don’t leave someone out.”

This is becoming Kass’s recurring gag, if anything else. She often makes very correct observations about how you should play Survivor, but her observations about everything else are completely out of touch with reality. As such, she’s not wrong about the importance of not leaving people out–but she’s completely incorrect in believing it happened to her with Spencer and Tasha back at the start of the merge.

The other issue for Kass is that she is a very emotionally motivated player, but I don’t think she sees herself that way. It seems like she hasn’t totally decided yet if she’s playing to win or playing to create chaos–but after the Jefra boot, it seems to be the latter. “I don’t like to be the one slackjawed at Tribal Council, and that’s now happened twice.” she says. Kass tells Tony that she knew Jefra would be on the outs with him because he’s a “hothead” and Tony, as he is wont to do, immediately gets defensive. “It’s not a hothead [thing], Kass… she wanted to blindside me, I would have been home!” Kass says that Spencer and Tasha want Tony out too, but Tony rightly points out that neither of them ever made a deal with him. Tony blusters about how when he makes a promise he sticks to it, and Kass tells him that she knows he’s proud of himself but that he can kindly shut his face. The two keep bickering and Spencer can only watch in amusement in the background. “I worked with Tony for the last blindside of Jefra, and it really was kind of a one time deal,” Spencer explains. The dynamics on Survivor change every day, and now that Kass and Tony are at each other’s throats, Spencer can only see another opening for himself and Tasha. As the top six head off to bed, Kass continues to fume via confessional–“What the hell am I thinking, sticking with this person? It’s stupid! You play your game, and I’ll play mine–because I’m done with him.”

Cop Talk

The next morning, the women sleep in while Tony regales Spencer and Woo with cop stories. Wasn’t it just a few Tribals ago that Tony was still insisting on keeping up with his “construction worker” farce? I guess everyone knows know. So much for that, Tony. Spencer asks how often Tony gets nervous. “Probably every day, huh?” Woo guesses, but Tony says he never does–he just gets a rush of adrenaline. Spencer tells him he’s messed up. You’re speaking for all of us, Spence. Spencer elaborates in a confessional that he does like Tony the more he gets to know him, but he still thinks that Tony is “lying to everyone all the time out here–and he’s good at it!” Elaborating on the fact that their alliance to blindside Jefra was a one time thing, Spencer explains that Tony is playing harder than anyone else there and that the fact he is so hard to trust makes him dangerous going forward.

The cop stories are briefly interrupted by Spencer noting how late the women are sleeping, and Tony says that Kass is usually up by now. Across the camp, Kass’s ego causes her ears to perk up the second she hears her name. The men move on with their conversation, but Kass hasn’t settled down from the previous night, and the mere mention of her name gets her wheels turning. “Tony’s talking shit about me,” she says to Tasha incredulously. Content to feed the fire, Tasha plays along–“he talks stuff about everybody.”

Trish can't be bothered

Trish can’t be bothered

In what may be the feather on the cap of the “Kass is totally out of touch with reality” plotline, she gets more and more riled up. “He’s over there telling the boys that I’m a bitch,” Kass says. “Did he say you’re a bitch?” Trish asks facelessly. “Yeah! And that he would get me out.” The whole scene is of course juxtaposed with the conversation the men are actually having, which is all about cop stuff. “Apparently he’s getting more stupid every day,” Kass says. “He’s just getting so bold with his trash talking,” she whines in a confessional, “and he’s just made me hate him a little more.”

When Tony comes over to say good morning, Kass immediately confronts him about the shit talking he didn’t actually do. “I heard everything you said about me,” she says. “Are you kidding me?” Tony freaks. It takes all of three seconds for them to revert to the same state they were at in the previous night. Woo tries to clear things up by saying that “we weren’t talking about you,” and Kass says she knows. Woo and Spencer weren’t talking about her–Tony was. “Kass legitimately misheard Tony,” Spencer says, “and Tony is actually telling the truth–which is rare.” Regardless, he feels no compulsion to help clear up the miscommunication. And why would he? “If Kass is mad at Tony, it means she isn’t mad at me,” says Spencer. The longer the argument goes, the more annoyed Tony gets with Kass, but he says in a confessional that even though she’s “off her rocker,” he just wants to stick to the plan, and that he wants to be up against Kass in the end because nobody will vote for her. That might be a problem for him. “Tony moved up a level as a player by making two big moves… now it’s put a red flag out there that Tony is willing to do anything to anybody. All the people who went with him were just cult members. I don’t want to be a cult member! I want to kill the cult leader!” Ding ding ding! It’s classic Kass once again. It’s totally rational for her to be mistrustful of Tony after he twice used people outside the alliance to blindside someone within it, but Kass seems more bothered by the fact that Tony is the power player making the big moves that she wants to be the one to make.

Rocks

Tony, for his part, knows he needs to do some damage control–he doesn’t want any tension and he doesn’t want Kass conspiring against him, so he approaches her while she sits on the beach stacking rocks for some reason. (Maybe she’s trying to build a pretty decent shelter just usin’ rawks?) His approach, is of course, classic Tony: “Were you jokin’, or did you really thought I was talkin’ about you?” Kass says she knows Tony was talking about her, and the conversation basically devolves into “uh huh!” “nuh uh!” “uh huh!” “nuh uh!” It’s really not even worth posting the transcript for it–at some point, Kass literally says “neener neener, let’s have a big argument!” In the shelter, Tasha watches with wide-eyed horror/amazement. Kass feels pretty pleased with herself regardless, because she relishes in watching people unravel. “I like to see people at their breaking point in this game, because it brings out the worst in them… and I expect that of him, because he’s an idiot.

Tony leaves Kass to her rocks and stews up at camp. “She has to flatter herself,” he gripes, “I want to talk about her. I won’t talk about you, I got nothing to talk about you for!” Trish implores him to let it go, and Tony says he’s good… before continuing to talk about how annoyed he is with Kass. “Kass is convinced she heard Tony talking about her. I don’t really know, but you can’t convince her that the event did not happen,” says Tasha. “If the two of them are at each other’s throats, it takes the target off me.”

Going in Circles

“How old are you, forty? You act like you’re a four year old,” Tony snipes. Kass nods that she is indeed forty–“that’s why I’m composed and you’re not.” And just like that, we’re at our millionth Kass-and-Tony-fighting-in-circles argument in this episode and we’re not even ten minutes in. It goes round and round and round and round and round and I’m amazed the other four players don’t just walk off and decide to vote both of them out just to preserve some sanity in camp. Eventually, Tony asks if Kass is going to vote him out. “You know what? I think I will write your name down,” Kass says with a grin. “You know what’s gonna happen? You’re gonna go home!” And they start on a new cycle of arguing until Tony eventually is too riled up to help himself. “You’ll go home because I got a special idol, that’s why! You guys hear that? I got a special idol!” Tony barks. When asked to produce it, he refuses, and Kass says in a confessional that she doesn’t give much credence to his claims.

The castaways arrive to play for reward in a new challenge, Challenge Pitch, that combines two of productions favorite activities to have castaways do–throwing sandbags and solving puzzles. Split into two teams, each castaway will take turns throwing sandbags at a completed block puzzle belonging to the other tribe, trying to knock out as many pieces of the puzzle as they can. Once one team has knocked down all of the pieces of the other team’s puzzle, all throwing comes to a halt, and one member from each team will head out to re-assemble their team’s wall. Effectively, by knocking down the other team’s puzzle first, you’re ensuring that more pieces of your own puzzle are intact for the puzzle-solving phase. The first team to complete their puzzle wins reward. This week is the seasonal “feel good by helping the locals” reward. The winning team will serve as “Survivor Ambassadors” to a Filipino school, delivering much needed school supplies. They’ll get some time to goof off with the kids, and of course, enjoy a hot meal of burgers and hot dogs.

The challenge begins, with Kass, Spencer and Woo as the Purple Team and Tony, Trish and Tasha as the Orange Team (or Team T, I guess?). It’s pretty dead-even as they lob sandbags at each other’s puzzles. Purple eliminates the entirety of Orange’s wall first, but the Purple team’s puzzle only has two pieces standing by that point and both have been knocked out of place, so it’s not much of an advantage. Continuing to ride their initial designation as “Brains,” Tasha takes the puzzle for Orange while Spencer takes it for Purple. Tasha gets an early lead, while Spencer seems a little confused–but in what may be a first for the season, Kass actually seems to be an asset in the challenge as she starts to direct Spencer. When Tasha asks for some help from her own teammates, they don’t have a lot to offer. Kass stays steady in her guidance and soon the challenge is flipped, with Spencer pulling away. “This is why you never give up!” Probst encourages from the sidelines, nearly orgasming as he often does during a tense challenge. Spencer places the final piece, winning reward for himself, Woo, and Kass, making it the first reward Kass has won all season.

A Jeepney brings the winning team into the schoolyard of the Xavier School for the Gifted (or whatever the school is actually named, I don’t know) and the castaways are immediately swarmed by children after stepping off. Backpacks, books, and basketballs are handed out to smiling little faces. “I’m not really a kid person, and I’ll be the first to say I don’t even really like kids,” says Spencer in a confessional, surprising exactly nobody. “It was a little overwhelming having all these little monsters swarming me… but once I got into it, I did enjoy it, and it kind of surprised me–in a good way–that it was such a positive experience for me.” Kass, being a mother, seems a little more at home, but it’s Woo who really comes to life around the kids. “Today’s reward was a phenomenal opportunity to give back to the Filipino community… the moment we come out, it’s just this mob deep of beautiful young people. It was phenomenal… it was something I’ll hold and possess in my heart for the rest of my life!”  He gets the kids cheering when he shows off some tricks with a basketball, channeling his inner Uncle Cliffy. Once the goody giveaway is over, the kids all gather with the castaways in the auditorium, where Woo dazzles with a martial arts demonstration.

First, a #NinjaStealthMode Flip

First, a #NinjaStealthMode Flip

 

He follows it up by kicking Spencer's head off

He follows it up by kicking Spencer’s head off

Maybe it’s because she’s a mother and she appreciates Woo’s way with children, or maybe it’s because Woo is inches from kicking Spencer in the face, but for whatever reason, Kass has officially decided for the first time in the game that she actually likes somebody. “I loved Woo doing his martial arts and being an entertainer. He was definitely in his element. Woo’s usually quiet, and this is the most he’s spoken–to a hundred kids,” Kass observes. Part of me wonders if it’s because Woo is finally around people who are on his same mental level and that makes them easier for him to relate to. Okay that was mean–I love you Woo! But in all seriousness, he’s really not the brightest crayon in the box. Kudos to you Survivor, breaking stereotypes, one sexy airheaded Asian at a time.

The castaways leave the kids to go back to class so they can go get some lunch and return to the game. Having decided that she now sees Woo as a potential ally, Kass is eager to get to strategizing. “I actually was pleased that it was us three who came,” she tells the boys, “because this is what I think we should do–we need to flush the idol.” Kass says that the best course of action is for the three of them and Tasha to split their votes between Tony and Trish in a classic Plan Voodoo. If Tony doesn’t play the idol, they knock him out in the revote. If he does, they target Trish on the revote and at the very least, Tony doesn’t have the idol for the next round. Spencer is in full agreement–why wouldn’t he be? He knows that while Kass has screwed him before, as of right now, she’s his best option, so he really doesn’t care. Kass acknowledges that despite the past animosity between her and Spencer, Tony is now the common enemy. “What do I say always bonds people well? Hatred!” Oh Kass, you are truly a gift. You can’t write the shit she says. Spencer says that he’d honestly be very happy going to the end of the game with Woo and Kass, and Kass agrees–“I think it’s a fair three, where there’s no landslide.” I’m trying to decide if it’s Kass not having the benefit of the edit or Kass’s penchant for being completely delusional that’s lead her to believe Spencer won’t obliterate both of them in that scenario, but I’m not going to complain about any move that keeps #TeamSpenSha around. Anyway, Spencer and Kass do most of the hashing out of the plan, and they turn to Woo to get confirmation that he’s in. His response is a blank stare.

It’s like Amanda Kimmel has taken over his body

“Working with Woo is stressful,” says Spencer, “because all I’m getting from Woo is ‘yeah… yeah… something to consider…. right…'” in a dead-on Woo impression. The strategy seems to zoom over Woo’s pretty little head like a low flying plane, and every piece of information seems to threaten a meltdown in his core processor. This reward scene really has been all about Woo, both the good (he’s genuine, goofy, and outgoing) and the bad (he’s got rocks for brains and will never manage to win a jury vote against a semi-competent strategist unless they’re a complete monster). Regardless of how hard it is, Woo knows he has to consider the move. “It’s an individual game,” he says in a confessional, and says that while it would be hard to backstab a long-term ally like Tony, he has to think about what is going to take him forward. When the three of them return to camp, Woo tells Kass and Spencer as they’re making their way up the beach that he’s in–Plan Voodoo is in motion. Of course, we all know that Tony has the Super Idol, so he won’t actually be going home tonight… but still, there is chaos in the air. “I like that Woo took the time to think about it,” Kass says. “It shows me that he’s not just knee-jerk in this game.” Okay, seriously–somebody needs to make a Survivor: Cagayan drinking game where you drink every time Kass contradicts herself.

The winning trio returns to the shelter to reunite with the losers, and after being reunited with Spencer, Tasha heads off for a catch-up in the woods where Spencer fills her in. “Do you totally trust Woo?” Tasha asks. “Hopefully he’s with us,” says Spencer. “If he isn’t, Tony now knows everything… Tony reads people very well. It’s really hard to lie to him.”

Woo does strategy

We get a Gilligan Cut back to the shelter where Trish and Tony are pondering if Woo could have been flipped while on the reward. Tony says they’ll simply ask him–they both know that if Woo says nothing happened, he’s lying. Tony beckons over his “Karate Kid” and asks what went down on the reward. “Kass and Spencer are saying we should take out Tasha,” Woo lies unconvincingly. For as paranoid as Tony is, not even he is falling for it. “That’s their strategy talk? Where does that leave Spencer?” Tony asks incredulously. “I dunno,” says Woo, channeling his inner Rudy Boesch. The whole scene is painful to watch–if Woo’s strategy talk with Spencer and Kass made him look dim, the grilling from Tony shows that the lights aren’t just dim, they’re not even turned on. Tony says that he expected Spencer to propose, well, exactly the plan that was proposed, but Woo keeps claiming it didn’t happen. “It didn’t make no sense at all, and I’m sayin’ to myself ‘okay, so you’re lyin’ to me!’ I might have been wrong about Woo all along,” says Tony.

Immunity Challenge

The final six arrive for their #ImmunityChallenge and Trish has nearly frozen to death before they can even get started. Jeff again takes the necklace from Tasha, reminding her that she is a victory away from tying Kelly Wigglesworth’s record for immunity wins by a woman, set in the very first season. Today’s challenge is called Combo Platter and it’s all about confusion. The castaways each start at a giant lock box with six number wheels, each wheel corresponding to an item station that is on the other end of the course. The castaways must run from their lock to the item stations and count the items in each station, before running back and entering the numbers into their combination lock. If all six numbers are correct, the castaway will be able to pull a handle out of the lock box and use it to smash a tile, ending the challenge and winning them immunity. It sounds simple on paper, but it is likely a lot more difficult in practice. First, you have to make sure you’re actually counting all the stations correctly, and then make sure you remember all the numbers correctly on your way back. It’s a recipe for getting muddled and confused, but if Tasha is going to tie Kelly’s record, this seems like the challenge where she’ll do it.

Counting Stations

There’s no real way to tell how close anyone is during the challenge–who is counting right? Who is remembering the most? After their first attempts, Tony, Spencer, and Tasha are all wrong. Woo is back next with a big grin, but is wrong also. Jeff notes that Trish is giving a huge effort given that she can “barely move” and has “no muscle left on her body,” which means it would be a huge victory for her–but she isn’t right either. After 25 minutes in, we have nothing except for a sad montage of people frustratedly yanking on their locks. “Keep fighting guys!” Jeff tells them. “Somebody’s going to win this!” Don’t be so sure, Jeff. For all we know, we could be here all night.

After 25 minutes, Tasha finally comes headed back to her box, having recounted every station–when Tony and Kass suddenly emerge, hot on her tail. It’s a mad rush to get the numbers in and try the lock once more. Kass is wrong, Tony is wrong, Spencer and Trish are running back to their locks, and Tasha gets her final number in place. She pulls on the lock…

And nothing. She’s wrong, but Spencer isn’t. His baton slides out and he smashes his tile before collapsing to his knees, having just won himself Individual Immunity. Jeff tells Tasha she was one off on the bamboo for most of the challenge–that close to tying the record. For now, the necklace belongs to Spencer, and the Solarrion Tribe heads back to camp.

Boom goes the dynamite

Boom goes the dynamite

“Everyone was in that,” Spencer says back at camp. “It’s anybody’s game in this challenges,” Tony agrees. “That’s what I’ve been saying, but nobody believes me!” says Tasha, clearly trying to diffuse the threat status that her three-in-a-row streak has put on her. “Yeah, but the same two people keep winning!” Tony cries, contradicting himself. “I’m so bummed I didn’t win the immunity challenge,” Tasha says in a confessional, “but I’m not done yet. There’s still havoc to wreak,” she says with a giggle.

Off in the woods, Tasha joins Spencer and Woo to wreak said havoc. Spencer notes that the most important part of the plan was accomplished–neither Tony or Trish won–so now it’s just a question of splitting the votes. They agree on the time honored tradition of “Guys vote X, Girls vote Y” with Spencer and Woo planning to vote for Tony, leaving Tasha and Kass to vote for Trish. Woo knows that Tony’s probably going to freak out when he flips, but Spencer reassures him that it’s the best move for Woo to be making. Tasha says that as quiet and stealthy as Woo is, she has no choice but to hope he’ll be true to his word. In the meantime, all she can do is put on an act to keep Tony’s suspicions from being aroused.

“I pretty much know the writing’s on the wall,” Tasha tells Tony. “You know how it is, Tash, man, you’re a powerful player! Right now, I think it’s you tonight, but who knows?” Tony tells her. “We’ve been through a lot, and I’m glad to have made 33 days,” she says. The moment she’s out of earshot, Tony starts to (surprise!) freak out. “She’s too comfortable,” he frets to Spencer, “and when did you ever see her concede?” Tony says that Tasha’s lack of scrambling is cluing him in to the fact that something is up. Tony panics aloud to Trish, Woo and Spencer, and says that because she’s so comfortable, he’s definitely playing his idol that night. “You should play your idol tonight,” Trish agrees. Tony reiterates in his confessional that he has two idols, and that he doesn’t want to play the special idol, but will have to if his bluff is called and the votes come in against him. Spencer asks Tony if he’s serious about having the special idol. “I have plenty of stuff, kid. At this time, I cannot confirm or deny it.” Oh Tony. You can’t write this shit.

Down on the beach, Tasha and Kass confirm that the plan is good, and Tasha makes sure that Kass won’t forget why they’re targeting Tony–because he’s eliminated any player who he even thinks could be a risk to cross him in the future. “He’s like our version of Russell Hantz,” laughs Tasha. “He’s such a dick,” Kass agrees. Except now all of a sudden, the fact that he’s a dick means Kass doesn’t want to vote him out. “Hypothetically, if everybody hates him as much as I do, it actually can change my strategy. One thing I’ve learned in this game is that it changes every hour… is [Tony] our Russell who makes it to the end and thinks he’s God’s gift, and everybody’s like ‘you’re a total douchebag?’ I have to make a decision tonight, based on [if] I can beat Tony in the final Tribal… and nobody ever gives the jerk the money.” Drink. Kass is right that Tony might not be the worst person to sit next to in the end–but she’s missed the part where she’s also that jerk who nobody will give the money to. “This is the position I love, where I’m the one making the decision,” she finishes in her confessional while she pulls Woo aside to discuss going back on their plan. Woo stares blankly, stutters, and gives a few “I dunnos,” effectively leaving the call in Kass’s hands as they head off to Tribal. Wherever Kass goes, Woo will follow.

The jury of Beauties (and Sarah) file in as the six remaining castaways take their seats at Tribal Council. As usual, Jeff starts with the obvious–Tasha and Spencer are the outsiders, and for the first time in a long time, Tasha doesn’t have the necklace to protect her. Tasha says it’s pretty clear for a while that she’d be on the chopping block the second her neck was bare, but she points out that there are other threats in the game–namely Tony, who she says has been talking non-stop about his supposed multiple idols. Tony goes to flip it and throw it right back in her face. “Today her scrambling was far from the regular… she’s won half the immunity challenges, so her not being worried makes me worried, and that’s why I’ve got my bag with me again tonight!” “Of tricks?” Jeff asks for confirmation/comedic purposes. Tasha counters that everyone is painting her as the “queen of immunity challenges” while ignoring the fact that Tony is the biggest strategic threat and has been responsible for the ousters of most of the jurors. Tony says that Tasha is deflecting the target off of herself by trying to put a seed in people’s heads, but he is confident that his alliance is sticking solid. “We’re tight, we’re loyal, we’re honest with each other, and that’s how we’ve been all along.” Kass says Tony’s claims are a little disingenuous, and she says that when they’re so close to the end, she’d be paranoid if she had a “bag of tricks.” Jeff says that if the group consensus is that Tony indeed has two idols, this seems like the perfect time to flush one, and Kass agrees. “But Jeff, why would they want to flush they idols if we’re together?” Trish backs Tony up, telling Jeff that Tony showed the idol to everyone his alliance and has promised it will be given up to whoever in the alliance may need it. Jeff asks Woo about why you’d want to flush the idol and Woo tries his hardest to give a coherent answer. I think the point is something along the lines of the farther Tony gets with the idol, the more powerful he becomes? It’s hard to understand Woo when he’s trying to talk strategically. Spencer points out that Tony has a pattern of blindsiding half his alliance and then taking the shaken up remnants and scooping them back in his control. “I’m wondering when it’s going to change,” Spencer says. “But I’m excited! Tony did bring his bag of tricks, and I’m excited to see what’s going to come out of it after a long wait tonight!” Everyone giggles.

Jeff does one more round of final predictions before the vote. Woo cagily says that “We agreed upon one thing, and the votes gonna be, uh, what we agreed upon.” Tony just wants the four to stick together and for Tasha to go home. Kass says that it’s fun to fantasize that you’re in the final three, but first you have to get there, and that she thinks there certainly could be a blindside. A blindside is exactly what Tasha is hoping for–“even in the rain,” she says with a grin.

Spencer and Tasha follow through with the plan, casting their votes respectively for Tony and Trish. We don’t see the votes from anyone else, only an overhead shot of Woo as he votes. “You’re a hell of a player–I’m sorry I put your name down. You played an awesome game.”

Jeff goes to tally the votes, but is there really any suspense? The big question is if Tony will open his bag of tricks, and the answer… is no. Jeff reads the votes: one for Tasha, one for Tony, one for Trish. The next vote is for Tasha, and it’s followed by the deciding blow. In a 4-1-1 vote, Tasha becomes the twelfth player voted out of Survivor: Cagayan and the sixth member of the jury.

Tasha’s torch is snuffed and my heart breaks into a million pieces as she walks off into the night. Jeff can only give some encouraging words to Spencer, who now appears to be totally alone, reminding him that unpredictability is always present in this game.

Ugh. A major factor in this recap being up so late is that I was just not thrilled about rewatching the episode in which my favorite contestant in a long time got booted. Cagayan is the first season in a while to not have any spoilers surrounding it, and even when you try to avoid them, people of the internet can’t help but leak them where they aren’t wanted. For the past few seasons, it’s been difficult to really pull for people when you already have a fairly solid idea of if and when they’re out. Not knowing what could happen next has made Cagayan all the more of a blast, and having a contestant to pull for who actually seemed like they could be the winner was the icing on the cake. Don’t get me wrong–I’m going to enjoy the hell out of the last few episodes of this season, but I really wish Tasha could have scraped by a few more rounds, because she’d have handily beaten any combination of players in the Final Tribal Council. And because of that, I can’t fault her competitors for knocking her out when they had the chance. Unfortunately for Kass, she made yet another major error–not in voting Tasha out, but in making a plan to keep Tasha and then not following through with it. Now Tony isn’t the only one on the course making unnecessary moves. This episode also has opened up an interesting new possible avenue going towards the finals, because up until this point, Woo seemed like he would only make the finals with Tony, but a major connection has now been built between him and Kass. I have a strong suspicion that the two of them are two of our three finalists–and that the person in the third seat is going to scoop up the votes they won’t be getting to win it all.

Next time on… SURVIVOR!

#ChaosKass is relishing in doing what she does best: making a big mess that freaks people out. But if she thinks she’s got a clear shot, she better think again, because Malnutrisha is having none of it. If Kass is lucky, Trish won’t berate her into quitting. It’s just one more battle not to be missed on this season of near constant warfare.

Survivor: Cagayan, Episode 11 Recap- “Chaos is My Friend”

Previously on… SURVIVOR!

After using the trailing members of the Aparri alliance–Tasha, Spencer, and Jeremiah–to oust L.J., Tony was in the hot seat with Jefra, while Trish tried her best to run damage control. Using his #SpyShack, Tony learned that Jefra’s trust in him had been obliterated, leaving him feeling paranoid. When the Aparri Three won a reward challenge with Jefra as their fourth teammate, they got to visit the magnificent Callao Caves, where they fed their bodies with food and souls with letters from home. An encouraging letter from her mother gave Jefra the sign she felt she needed to switch sides, while back at camp, Woo took a nasty fall from a papaya tree, nearly avoiding an untimely end in the game. Tasha outbalanced the rest to win her second consecutive immunity challenge, and back at camp, Trish put Tony on blast in order to sway Jefra back to their side. Paranoid as ever, Tony put his nose to the grindstone and found the much-hyped “idol with different powers.” With the idol in his pocket and Jefra back on board, the question now came to targeting Spencer or Jeremiah. At a tense Tribal Council, Spencer and Tasha ruffled Tony’s feathers, getting him to reveal his idol, which he claimed was fake. Spencer played an idol of his own in hopes of taking out Woo, but the dominant alliance played safe and voted out Jeremiah instead. 7 remain… who will be voted out tonight?

Solarrion returns on Night 27 with one less beauty, leaving Jefra as the last of the original Solana Tribe. She explains that she had considered switching sides and joining the Aparri alliance because she wanted to turn on Tony. “But… I’m trying to look at the bigger picture,” she says. “It would probably hurt me worse to go against Tasha or Spencer at the end of this game.” I really want us to pay attention to this point, because as viewers, we often are very critical of non-power players like Jefra who don’t flip on their allies, but we often don’t consider the long-term benefits the flips would have for them. As viewers, we obviously like to see big shake ups, but Jefra is totally right–there’s no reason to go to the end with someone who is a sure thing to beat her like Tasha or Spencer when she still has the possibility of making it to the end with people who’ve made enemies, like Tony or Kass.

Speaking of Kass making enemies… Jefra asks Spencer where the idol came from, and he confirms it was hidden near the river and he found it after the #NinjaStealthMode fiasco. Kass smugly pipes up that she knew Spencer had it from how he was acting. “You’re usually much meaner to me,” she says. I feel like we go through this ritual every three days–we can’t come back from Tribal Council without Spencer and Kass bickering. “I knew Spencer had the idol,” gloats Kass, “and like a typical 21 year old male, there was no way he was going to give that thing up. I mean, what’s the most selfish beast on the planet? A college-aged male.” Wow, okay then Kass. Nice to see that we’re having blanket statements about gender essentialism being made across the board this season. Now I just would like to clarify that Kass’s comment isn’t sexist. Sexism requires a societal power imbalance that gives derogatory, prejudiced, bigoted and/or stereotyped comments the ability to reinforce an oppressive power system. Because men are the advantaged group in society, Kass’s statement has no power to reinforce an oppressive system against men because that oppressive system doesn’t exist. That doesn’t, however, mean her statement isn’t bitchy, petty, and obnoxious. Kass’s alliance, however, comes to her defense. “Kass kind of called it,” says Woo. “Not kind of!” Tony pipes up. “[I thought] he’s too calm, that’s not how he is… I’ve seen you when you think you’re getting voted out too many times,” Kass says. “I’m impressed if that’s actually true,” Spencer snarks. “It worked great… flushed” Kass continues to boast happily. “I love it when a plan comes together,” cosigns Tony.

He's searching, but Spencer can't find a single fuck to give

He’s searching, but Spencer can’t find a single fuck to give

“I used my idol and I used it wrong,” Spencer admits. He says that right now, he and Tasha are still in a bad spot, a group of two against an army of five. He channels his inner Renee Alway of America’s Next Top Model 8. “Tonight we lost the battle, but we have not lost the war.”

glowing snake

Day 29 breaks with one of the best nature framing shots we’ve ever gotten in the glowing snake, while Tony and Woo come into camp with tree mail. Before Tony can open the scroll, Woo winces in pain, and asks Trish if she can lift up his shirt and check his back. When she does so, everyone freaks out–Woo has sprouted a vestigial tail!

Nah, just kidding. He’s tucked the wallets they got at tree mail in the back of his board shorts and everyone is elated. It’s little moments like these that make Woo so loveable. He’s such a non-entity in the strategic gameplay but he’s just so goofy and likeable. These people have all seen Survivor before and they know what the wallets mean: It’s time for the Survivor Auction.

Malnutrisha is pleased

“I almost wet my pants!” Trish exclaims. “I knew it was the auction and I was really excited, because I knew at least I’d get something to eat.” While most of the castaways immediately begin fantasizing about what delectable delicacies they are hopping to see up for sale, Tony “I am not Russell Hantz” Vlachos is still all game, all the time. “Historically in the game of Survivor, every time there’s an auction, there’s some kind of advantage to a challenge… I want that advantage, and I don’t want Spencer or Tash to have it.” Spencer of course realizes the same thing. “Me and Tasha have to be aggressive in this auction, because this is our life right now.”

Bang that gavel, it’s time for the #SurvivorAuction

Does anyone in the viewership not love the auction? It’s always fun, first of all, to see everyone get a chance to eat. You can’t help but feel bad for people after they’ve been so deprived for so long. Kass in particular has never won a single reward challenge, so her only non-rice meal to date was at the merge feast. It’s also fun to see the bidding wars that pop up, not to mention the inevitable hijinks and wackiness that ensue. Previous auctions have bought us the Sugar vs Randy Cookie Feud; Erik paying Cirie to suck her fingers; Debbie revealing her complete inability to do math; and the most crowning of all auction moments in Big Tom’s “HE’S A JEW!!!! HE WON’T EAT THE HAM!!!” The auctions have also, in more recent seasons (I believe Gabon was the first) had an advantage up for bid, which has always been one of two things–a clue to the hidden immunity idol or a leg-up in the following immunity challenge. These have led to some great moments in and of themselves, such as next-on-the-block uber bitch Abi winning immunity when she needed it most; or Andrea staking out Malcolm for hours on end while he dug for an idol.

Jeff reveals the rules, which you know if you’ve seen the auction before. Each castaway has $500 at their disposal and bidding is in increments of $20. There is no sharing money and no sharing purchases. First up is an item Jeff is kind enough to reveal in a movie theater munchie platter: candy, buttered popcorn, and a gigantic cola. Trish wins the bid for $80, which is roughly what it would have cost her at a movie theater anyway, and is thrilled with her purchase. “This is a gummy!” she exclaims to the group with her first bite, and she apologizes to Woo, knowing that they’re his favorites. The next item stays covered and goes to Jefra for $100. “Probably a pig brain or something,” she says as she hands her cash over. Jeff lifts the lid off the platter and Jefra flips her lid when she sees what’s underneath–a piping hot chicken quesadilla with two huge bowls of salsa and guacamole. “I said I wanted guacamole! Did I not say all morning I wanted guacamole?” she asks the tribe. Jeff tells her that in addition, nothing goes better with it than a nice margarita. “It’s been a pleasure doing business with you,” grins Jefra.

It's no Pineapplerita from Outback Steakhouse, but it will do

It’s no Pineapplerita from Outback Steakhouse, but it will do

Item #3 remains covered as well and Kass opens with $20. Nobody challenges her on it, shocking Mr. Probst. For $20 dollars, Kass gets a steal, but before she can take her winnings, Jeff offers her a second covered platter that she can exchange her purchase for. This comes up at least once an auction, and one item is obviously a dud. Kass says she likes blue better than red so she’ll stay with the blue-covered item she initially paid for, and it’s a good call: there is a beautiful steak sandwich waiting for her underneath smothered in cheese and roasted veggies, along with a cool glass of iced tea. Spencer can barely handle watching Kass bite into it. “I would have devoured that right there,” moans Tony as Kass eats. “My stomach is starting to tie up in knots,” he says in a confessional. “I don’t know if I can hold out on the temptation.”

Jeff puts the item Kass rejected up for bid next and it goes to Trish for $60. It is, as expected, a dud: a glass of water and a bowl of rice. Trish at least already got her snack and says happily that she still has plenty of money to bid. “What are you waiting for?” she asks the group, flabbergasted as she returns with her non-win. “Start spending your money you cheapo-deapos! You guys wanna eat or what?” Classic Trish.

Jeff does them a kindness by revealing the next item–a plate of three huge ribs, slathered in barbeque with a cold beer on the side. Woo throws down $40 and is, much like many of the buyers before, unchallenged, making it a steal. “Because there were so few people actually bidding for the food, this auction was a buyer’s market,” economics major Spencer explains. “Great deals, all of this food for so little money, and I can’t even watch!” Woo exchanges his money to Probst, and Probst exchanges a lot of sexual tension with Woo. “What are you anticipating?” baits Jeff. “That tangy barbeque sauce, the chewiness of the meat, it’s just immaculate… all in my mouth,” Woo tells him breathily. This is getting porny.

By the end of this season we'll know what everyone's O-Face looks like

By the end of this season we’ll know what everyone’s O-Face looks like

The editors only make things better/worse by playing sleazy sax music as Woo takes his first, slurpy bite of the rib. “Tender?” Jeff whispers. “Juicy,” Woo confirms. “Lathered in barbeque sauce,” teases Jeff. “Flavorful,” Woo confirms. He goes for a sip of the beer and I almost expect him to pull an Alisha-in-Misfits and deepthroat the bottle.

Alisha's Bottle Job

Under the auction table, Jeff likely blows his load and Woo heads back to finish his unexpectedly sexual meal. Jeff shakes off his post-coital daze and turns his attentions to Tony, Spencer and Tasha, the three castaways who have yet to buy a single thing. “Clearly something is up. I’m showing you the items; they’re beautiful items; you haven’t had food in a month–what’s going on? What is it you guys want?” Tony, Spencer and Tasha all admit they’re holding out for the same thing: a game advantage. Jeff decides he’ll give into the pressures of supply and demand, and says if it’s an advantage they want, it’s an advantage they’ll get–it’s the next item up for grabs.

Tony immediately throws his hands up, but Jeff stops him. Clearly in the past there have been too many times where someone has simply held onto their full $500 and struck when the time was right, but production doesn’t seem to like it being so simple for one person to get it simply because they shouted first. Jeff explains that if the bidding for any item hits $500, anyone who wants in on it can also throw in their $500 for the chance to draw rocks. The person who draws the black rock will win the item. Tony and Spencer are both in, but when Jeff gets to Tasha, she hesitates and then shockingly backs out. I’m actually a little stunned–Tasha is a smarter player than to make such a boneheaded move after holding out for so long, so I can only assume she has some sort of reasoning. Spencer and Tony step up and hand over all of their cash before reaching into a bag. Neither one can bare to look, and neither can I.

#DrawingRocks

Tony draws black and wins the advantage, while Spencer’s $500 win him nothing but a rock. Maybe he can pull a Fransesqua Francesca and eat it. I have mixed emotions watching it–I wanted Spencer to get the advantage as it’s the last thing Tony needs at this point, but it’s become the most prominent running gag of this season that literally nothing ever goes Spencer’s way. With Tony having claimed his clue, the auction ends, allowing Tasha to explain her reasoning in a confessional. “I was hoping Jeff would offer one more item, and that would be a clue to the hidden immunity idol. Unfortunatley, I left with nothing. So, in order for me to stay here, I have to win immunity.”

Solarrion returns to camp and Spencer exclaims that he’s never seen an auction with such good deals. Tony says that the advantage is a Catch-22. “Even if it’s an advantage, someone like Woo just ate those ribs, [he’s] probably gonna… you know what I mean?” I’ll fill in the blanks in case you don’t know what he means: Even having won an advantage, it was at the price of not getting a meal, and having the energy of real food, particularly protein, could be enough of an advantage to win immunity in and of itself. “I’m the one who got screwed,” laughs Spencer. “But that’s how it goes–we both knew what we signed up for,” he says to Tony. “I have a new title. I’m the greatest loser at the auction in Survivor history.”

For those who did eat, the food is still fresh on their minds, and having stuffed their shrunken stomachs has put Woo, Trish, Jefra and Kass in a food coma, with Kass imploring Trish to “take a nap” as they all channel their inner Morlax in the shelter. “I have no guilt that Tony was the martyr for the team. I think I’ve done enough,” Kass tells us. “Here I am eating a giant meal, and I got to see Spencer have the true dejected look that I’ve come to know and love… and expect from him when he knows he’s on the block.” Tony may be the more Russell-like in his gameplay, but Kass is the most Russell-like when it comes to her overinflated ego and enormous sense of self-satisfaction with everything she does. She obviously doesn’t care for Spencer, and maybe we weren’t shown a lot of the negative relationship they had on Luzon if it was there, but from our vantage point, Spencer only really seemed to stop being diplomatic towards Kass after she flipped on him. I miss the earlier parts of the season where Kass was snarky and funny. Morgan might have been meaner than necessary when she said it, but I don’t think she was off base when she called Kass “bitter.” She’s really starting to grate my nerves.

It’s not just her that’s grating on Tony, however–it’s his whole alliance. As they all lounge/die in the shelter and reminisce about their lunches, Tony grouses that he was “disgusted” by the fact that they all bought food and let him be the one to starve and waste his chance to eat on ensuring Spencer or Tasha didn’t buy the advantage. “Does somebody wanna watch the fire while I get the water, or does somebody want to get the water?” Tony asks. Nobody responds, as they’re too busy rehashing everything that was in Jefra’s quesadilla. “I’ll go get the water for you,” Trish says after Tony barks a second time, leaving Tony to grumble that “[it’s] not for me, [it’s] for us.” “The girls don’t do anything!” Tony bitches.

With his alliance out of commission, Tony heads down the beach to read his advantage. It’s not for the challenge, but rather a clue to the hidden immunity idol, which has been rehidden now that Spencer played it.

Here are the exact coordinates to where the idol is hidden and a GPS. We love you Tony! <3, Production

Here are the exact coordinates to where the idol is hidden and a GPS. We love you Tony! <3, Production

The clue is so blatant it’s almost offensive. The biggest clue is that it’s buried near a “big white tree,” which Tony proceeds to scramble around looking for, though he’s unable to find it. Dejected, he heads back to camp, walking past the women of the tribe as they lounge in the water.

Water Type Pokeladies

The small talk is about simply enjoying the ocean, with Tasha explaining to the other women how she’s never really gotten to experience it outside of vacations, coming from an inland city where there isn’t any beach access. It may not be hard strategy talk, but a lot of the strategic game of Survivor is played in the small talk that comprises the social game. Beyond that, Tasha knows that bonding with the women helps her beyond just getting her closer with Jefra, Trish, and Kass. “I want Tony to know that there is a possibility that we could form an all-girl alliance to take him out. I want Tony to see me talking to them… Tony is a loose cannon. All you need to do is light a little fire and he will spark.” It harkens back to Heroes vs Villains, where Sandra and Courtney were on the outs with the Villains Tribe after Jerri and Coach defected, turning on Rob to side with Russell. Sandra knew she could manipulate a player as paranoid as Russell by playing on his paranoia. She told him that Coach was planning to target him and it took all of three seconds for Russell to forget about Sandra and Courtney completely and set his sights on Coach instead.

Scared of the girls

Up at the camp, the power of teamwork is the secret weapon. While Tasha sets the stage in the water, Spencer tends the fire and gets in Tony’s ear the moment he returns to camp. “Tash got her own plans I see,” Tony tells Spencer. “She’s working all the girls!” “I’m telling you, since day one, she is a social player,” Spencer says. “You’re not worried about that girls thing actually working, are you?” he continues to probe. “You know we weren’t lying when we said Jefra was with us. Her saying she wanted to vote you out? That wasn’t a lie.” And it’s true–Jefra did almost turn on Tony in the previous round, and Tony’s ears are fully perked up now, even though he ostensibly knows this already thanks to his spy shack shenanigans. Spencer elaborates the lie a little to make it hit harder, however, saying that Jefra wanted to blindside Tony and claimed she was 100% sure she could convince Trish to go along with it. “Creating some fake paranoia about an all-girls alliance, even if it’s not happening at all, is a very powerful thing in this game,” Spencer explains. “If I can make Tony paranoid, that’s gold, because Tony’s crazy. Tony is willing to play hard, but not always well, and that’s great in this game… if I can get someone in power to make mistakes and go ballistic… then I’m still here, and anyone could be going home.” It’s been obvious that Spencer and Tasha are one of the tightest alliances in this game, but this is seriously some of the best teamwork out of a duo I’ve ever seen on this show when it comes to making a power play. They’re both doing their part in planting the seed that’s going to get Tony’s gears turning. They haven’t met their goal yet, as Tony isn’t a complete moron. “I was thinking you know what, hold up, don’t trust Spencer just yet, because he’s desperate… but you’ve gotta look into it.” The looking into it doesn’t seem to take very long. “Then I said to myself, you know what? It just makes so much sense. They’re gonna say ‘the guys are threats, let’s just get rid of them one by one.’ And they can do it! Because right now we have four girls and three guys. All the telltale signs are there that they need to blindside me. They won’t want me to go to the end, but I’m not going anywhere. I’ll take matters into my own hands like I usually do.” Spencer tells Tony that he’ll tell him what he hears if his word “carries any weight.” “Of course it carries weight, man, what are you kidding me? What, do you think I’m going to sit on my ass and get blindsided?!”

Day 30 has the women once again basking in the water. “It’s nice to know we’re going to have a non-adverserial day,” Kass explains in a confessional, “because no matter no matter who wins immunity, we can get rid of Tash or Spence.” While the girls soak, Tony and Woo discover that the crab someone foraged for has died, and Tony calls out to the women to see if they think it’s still good. Kass and Jefra tell him to just throw it in the pot immediately, but Tony points out that isn’t possible because they don’t have a fire going yet. “Get your ass up here and cook it then,” Tony mutters. He bitches to Woo further about Jefra’s laziness, and it seems to only further his fear that the women are planning to ride the men to the end. Instead of cooking crab, he runs off and long story short…

Like a many armed Hindu deity, except instead of extra arms he has idols

Like a many armed Hindu deity, except instead of extra arms he has idols

This is the regular run of the mill idol, which Tony now has in addition to the SuperIdol. Great. Just what we needed. There’s a lot of repetitive blustering and gloating about how he has a million idols and is now safe forever blah blah blah blah blah. The interesting part is that Tony comes back into camp brandishing it like a shotgun, showing it to everyone in his alliance. He tells them that it’s for everybody, and that he’ll play it to help the alliance as a whole if need be, but there’s more going on than just ensuring the whole alliance is on the same page. Tony wants to scare off potential defectors by threatening them. The message is loud and clear: try to take me out and this is going to send you home.

Jeff is thrilled that the challenge literally requires the castaways to dig deep

Immunity on Day 30 is a challenge called Inside Track, which once again combines elements seen in previous challenges in a new way. Each castaway must dig in their starting spot for a bag containing a ball. There will be a rope tied to the bag, which they can then pull to find the location of the next buried ball, which they must dig up, so on and so forth until they’ve collected all five balls. After getting the balls out of the bag, they must navigate the balls along a table maze to the finishing spots at the maze’s end. The first castaway to put all five balls in the finish zone is the winner.

inside trackJeff gives the word and everyone starts digging “like gophers.” Woo, Tony, and Tasha are the first to unearth their first bags, with Spencer not far behind. Jefra soon joins, leaving Trish and Kass trailing by a significant margin. Tony, Woo and Tasha are the first to get all of their bags and get to untying–even though Tony got all five bags first, Tasha is the first to get all her balls freed, and therefore is the first to start the table. She’s already sunken her first ball in the endzone by the time that everyone else has finished uprooting their balls. Tony finally gets his balls on the table after Tasha scores her second point, desperate to catch up, with Spencer and Woo almost immediately following. Tony starts by simply bucking the table maze, sending the balls flying in the air in what seems to be a desperate, crazed attempt to get them to miraculously fly to the end, and Jeff can’t help but call it out–“Tony goes crazy and knocks his balls all over the place. This is subtle! It takes touch, finesse!” It’s hilarious because it’s one of the rare moments where a contestant’s performance in a challenge is a great metaphor for their overall approach to the game. Tony is a player who bucks hard, throws his balls in the air, and hopes they’ll land where he needs them to, and it’s worked in his favor so far. Tasha gets her third ball to the end but overshoots, making a small opening for someone else to catch her. Woo and Tony both land their first balls in the gap, before Tasha successfully lands her third. Woo manages to catch Tasha, getting his second and third before she can get her fourth in a close maneuver. Woo hits his fourth, and it’s a close fight, but Tasha sinks her fifth ball, impressively winning her third straight immunity challenge.

Looks like the necklace has found a home it likes

Looks like the necklace has found a home it likes

Anyone winning three consecutive immunities is an impressive feat, even moreso for a woman, as the “immunity whores” are often men. With one more, Tasha will tie the record for immunity wins by a woman. Two more will give her the record for wins by a woman, and three more will give her the record for wins overall–which as a shameless Tasha fan I would love to see. At this point, she has also become the most successful black challenge competitor in Survivor history. It’s also interesting how the labels assigned to the players at the start of this season are being broken–Brain Tasha is doing what I assumed Woo would probably do by winning challenge after challenge, while much of the strategic thinking is being lead by Brawn Tony. With Tasha safe yet again, it would seem that Spencer’s fate is sealed… or is it?

A foreboding shot of a shark swimming amongst a school of smaller fish frames the scene as the tribe returns to camp. “For the third time in a row, Tasha has immunity!” Tasha says with a grin that the edit punctuates with a ‘shiny smile’ sound effect. “To have immunity means everything at this point in the game. Every day, people are reconsidering alliances, [and] breaking alliances.” She says the plan is to continue talking with the girls–either she convinces the girls to make a move with her, or Tony’s non-stop overthinking will be ratcheted up enough for him to press the destruct button. “Either way, it works for me. And possibly for Spencer as well!”

The Brainy Buddies head off for water, while Kass and Woo agree upon the obvious in that they’re targeting Spencer. “They both have to go,” says Woo. Trish, Tony, and Jefra soon join, and they reach the forgone consensus. Tony, however, is displeased. “Tonight at Tribal Council, if Tash didn’t win that necklace, she was going home. So now we have to resort to plan B, which is Spencer. This is the worst case scenario for me!” Tony frets.

Tasha’s not the only mathematician on the island

Tony elaborates that with Tasha safe and Spencer gone, it leaves four women against two men, leaving Tony and Woo as sitting ducks if the girls decide to stick together. I’m really unsure why Tony didn’t consider this before he voted out L.J. if it’s such an issue for him now, but I’m really unsure why Tony does a lot of things, so that’s not new. Tony says that he’d feel safer turning on one of the women in his alliance, and says the only one he can turn on is Jefra, since she was willing to turn on him. “You wanna pull a fast one tonight?” Tony asks Woo. Woo doesn’t seem to get why Tony wants to pull a fast one, so Tony explains that they need Spencer to stay simply to prevent an all female alliance. “Tony’s a brilliant player!” Woo gushes. “Nine times out of ten, we’re clicking on the same level.” Oh Woo. Sweet, sweet Woo. As charming, funny, and attractive as he is, the brains of the operation he is not. Earlier in the season I could have seen Woo as a “surprise immunity run” style winner ala Gabon‘s Bob Crowley and Nicaragua’s “Fabio” Birza, but we’ve been shown too many times that he is really unaware of the strategic game and mostly just does what Tony tells him. He’s likeable but if he does somehow make the end I think he’ll have a hard time convincing a jury that he’s been an active decision maker when it comes to his fate in the game. With Woo on board, Tony is ready for his plan to come into action, but he knows Trish and Kass will never go for it. The risky part is that this means Tony will have to rely on Spencer and Tasha to vote alongside him.

“It’s time for me to be a hero and try to save you, because I do not want to see you go before Jefra,” Tony tells Spencer. After explaining the plan, Tony tells Spencer that in addition to not telling Trish or Kass, he’s also not telling Tasha–that’s Spencer’s job. “Tasha is telling me she’s willing to do anything to help me stay. She’s my alliance, she’s my friend, I know she’s willing to do something that will keep me in the game.”

And they’re still friends outside the game! Tasha visited Spencer (along with fellow Chicagoan castaways/friends J’Tia and Alexis) this week. J’Tia’s dog to be the third in their alliance on Heroes vs Villains 2, please.

Spencer does as Tony asks and delivers the news to an elated Tasha. “You ready for Survivor miracle part two? Jefra. Tony and Woo don’t trust her, and they don’t trust the girls. They want to vote out Jefra. And they need us!” A fist bump seals the deal… or so it seems. Back at camp, Spencer sneaks off to search for the super-idol. “Things might be looking up right now, but I don’t trust Tony all that much. If this plan fails, I’m out of the game,” he explains. When Tony realizes Spencer is idol hunting, he’s miffed. Tony knows that Spencer won’t find anything, but that’s not his concern. “It’s scary, it’s alarming that Spencer is doing that when I’m trying to come up with a plan to save him… I’m going through my mind, is voting off Jefra a good idea? Is it better just to get rid of a threat like Spencer? Because Jefra is not a threat… I would say I’m driving myself crazy, but I don’t think it’s me, I think it’s the game driving me crazy.” Oh Tony. You were crazy from Day 1. The only place you are driving yourself to is crazier.

Jury of 4

Sun sets and Solarrion settles in at Tribal Council, now with four jurors observing. As usual, Jeff starts with the obvious assumptions, going to Spencer, who confirms that he is, indeed, in trouble, especially since Tasha has immunity. Tony says the vibe at the camp was chaotic after the challenge, and that Spencer was trying to convince Tony that his allies were conspiring to blindside him–“specifically Jefra.” This earns a quizzical look from the pageant queen, and Tony reaches into his bag of tricks for his idol, which he proudly slings around his neck. “I’m not the one to get blindsided tonight, Jeff. I don’t want to go home.” Frustrated, Jefra tries to explain herself, saying she was upset about the fallout of the L.J. boot and that she’d “be lying if [she] said [she] wasn’t.” Kass pitches in to defend her, saying that Jefra needed to get over her anger after being left out of the plan. Tony argues that he didn’t tell her because you don’t advertise a blindside, especially not to people who you think can blow it. Way to go building the trust, Tony. Jeff asks Tony if he’s surprised that his alliance has managed to go for so long relatively unscathed given how much dissension there is among them, and Tony admits that blind faith is the only thing holding them together at this point. “Chaos is great,” Spencer says in response. “If I can mix things up, chaos can only help me.” Kass usually the supporter of all things #Chaos, admits that it’s possible the dysfunction in the alliance could cause someone to make a “mistake.” Jefra nods in agreement that it would be a mistake. “Of course when you’re on the bottom, you’re going to try and stir up as much as you can in order to get us to break apart,” she says. Jeff asks Spencer how he’ll feel if he leaves, given that nobody could accuse him of not trying to make big moves happen. “I think I played well, and I think I played hard, and I can go home happy with that. At the same time, windows of opportunity come up and close in this game, and some could be closing right now. If you pick me off, and then pick off Tasha, and get fourth or fifth place, you made a mistake tonight by not making a move. The most common reason people lose this game is not making the move they should’ve, when they could’ve, because they got too comfortable. And I hope that doesn’t happen to someone in this game.”

That takes us to the vote–Kass is first and puts Spencer’s name down. “I already saved you once, I’m not doing it again,” she says, placing her vote. We see Spencer’s vote also (but when don’t we?) against Jefra. “Moral of the story: actually play the game before you get played.”

Jeff fetches the votes and asks for any idols. Unsurprisingly, Tony doesn’t budge. The votes come out, two for Jefra and two for Spencer, tying them. Vote five is for Spencer, as expected, but then comes a third vote for Jefra, leaving it all down to the final vote. In a 4-3 decision, Jefra becomes the 11th person voted out of Survivor: Cagayan and the fifth member of the jury. “Good job guys,” she says, her voice cracking as she stands to get her torch.

Jefra SnuffedShe wishes the tribe luck as she leaves, taking the legacy of the Solana Tribe of Beauties along with her. Kass and Trish can only exchange disappointed looks before the final six head back to camp, three Brains and three Brawn.

This season certainly has been a roller coaster so far, hasn’t it? As much as Tony and Spencer have been getting a lion’s share of the screentime lately, I’m glad that this game hasn’t been as simple as one side picking off the other. With her now out of the game, Jefra’s edit comes more clearly into focus. She got a lot of screentime for young, attractive, “useless” girl who was a mid-merge boot, especially when compared to previous castaways in her mold. It now seems that’s because they were setting up her story as the last of the Beauty Tribe, done in after she, as Spencer put it, failed to make the move she should have when she could have. I think it’s a bit of a shame for Jefra, who has been through a lot more than the show let on. Her father had a long and tumultuous battle with drug addiction for much of her youth, and she herself survived cervical cancer in her teenage years. Sharing that with the audience, however, would have worked against Jefra’s larger edit as naive and clueless. With Jefra’s boot, I would guess this is the official end of the Solana Plus alliance. The old saying goes “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me,” and I can’t imagine that Trish and even more so Kass are feeling a lot of shame right now. While Trish might find herself questioning her trust in Tony, Kass is likely not only doing the same, but stewing with jealousy on top of it. This is the second time since her big flip that a blindside has occurred that she wasn’t a part of. I think Kass has shown herself to be an emotional and hypocritical player who revels in getting to play the role of the free agent, and she’s bound to be upset that Tony is stealing her thunder and playing the game she wants to be playing. I think with that it mind, it’s still very possible that Spencer’s prediction that the last three brains standing could be the last three players standing. They’ve worked their way through one whole tribe, and now it’s just a matter of working through one more.

Next Time on… SURVIVOR!

Tony is driving people nuts, particularly Kass. An argument between them has her declaring she’ll write his name down, and it looks like the last person we’d expect–Woo–could be the swing vote. Despite having been closely aligned with Tony for a long time, the Surf Ninja might be wising up, realizing he needs a big move at this point in the game. We know Tony won’t be going home thanks to his idol(s), but with the dynamics so unstable, could it be the end for Kass, Woo or Trish?