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Welcome back to a new Survivor, after last week’s recap episode. I personally was surprised to see a recap episode so early – don’t they usually save that for later in the season, and/or the week of Thanksgiving when by Thursday night, everyone’s passed out from too much turkey anyway? But whatever – this week is all-new action.
If you recall, last time there was a double elimination, which resulted in Cao Boi and Cristina being sent home. Then, in a twist, Aitu was allowed to “kidnap” a Raro member, and they took Nate.
Spies Like Us
We rejoin Aitu the next morning, with Nate commenting that while they have more space in their camp, but he thinks Raro has more hibiscus and coconut. Because we all know how important hibiscus is on Survivor. Nate takes his kidnapping as a good thing, a sign that he’s a good competitor.
Jonathan starts quizzing Nate about his skills, although I don’t know what purpose it serves to ask Nate things like, “Are you a good swimmer?” Haven’t about half these challenges involved the water? You’d think they’d know what Nate’s good at just by watching him.
Nate says he’s just “feeding him some nuts, not hating” in his answers. He tells Jonathan some things he thinks don’t matter, but says he’s being careful and has his eyes and ears open.
Jessica, meanwhile, is miffed that her friend Cao Boi was voted out and she was blindsided. “The vote knocked me off my socks,” she says. We can only wish something would deprive her of those striped socks, or the over-the-knee stocking things. Jessica tells the others she wants to be clued in, and she also admits to voting for Jonathan. Nate, listening to all this, says if he plays his cards right, he’ll get good information, which he will take back to his tribe “so we can make some moves and battle it out.”
Yul and Candice and Becky are uncomfortable that Jessica brought all this up in front of Nate. Candice wants to talk about the three people they want to vote out next; they’ve discussed Ozzy, Jessica, then Sundra. But they feel the merge may be soon, and perhaps they should take out Jonathan, because he’d be tough to go up against in a one-on-one challenge.
All They Lack is Government Cheese
The reward challenge clue arrives, and clearly indicates yet another water challenge. It also comes with a “Survivor catalog”, which includes pictures of things they can choose to play for – stuff like spices, potatoes, bread, peanut butter, etc. They pick two now, and if they win, that’s what they get.
At Raro – our first glimpse of them so far this episode – Brad is alone in lobbying for potatoes versus bread. He thinks they’ll need carbs down the road in the next week or two, and that potatoes will keep better than bread. But everyone else wants bread. Wow, that’s a really exciting argument there.
At the challenge, Nate eyes his tribe from the other mat – he’ll rejoin them after this challenge. The challenge works like this: three people from each tribe are swimmers. They’ll swim out to a platform, climb it, and jump off while breaking a box that contains a key. They grab the key and swim back, and someone else goes. When they get all six keys, the other three members use them to unlock a trunk of puzzle pieces and solve a puzzle.
If Raro wins, they get bread and peanut butter; Aitu went for potatoes and peanut butter. Aitu also sits Nate out – Jeff surmises they don’t trust him to compete for them, which is probably smart.
Welcome Back, Mr. Fuzzy Blob
Brad argues to his tribe that he should be one of those working the puzzle. They allow it, and designate other swimmers. And the challenge begins. Rebecca goes first for Raro, and quickly exhausts herself. By the time she makes it to the platform, she can barely get up it; she doesn’t have the strength to retrieve the key, and she barely makes it back to shore, where she staggers in with her bathing suit top riding up as someone calls to her to pull it down. Please pull it down! Not that we can see anything, thanks to our old friend fuzzy blob, who we used to see so frequently when Richard Hatch was on the show.
Anyway, Rebecca collapses on the mat and stays there for the rest of the challenge. The others have some trouble with keys, but eventually Aitu gets its keys first and solves the puzzle before Raro even gets its box open. So Nate goes back to his losing tribe, and Aitu sends Adam to Exile Island.
Back at camp, Aitu treats their new peanut butter like it’s caviar. “I’m in love with everybody I can see right now,” Candice gushes, sharing some weird peanut-buttery kiss with Jessica. I have to say, mere peanut butter has never made me act like that. Tequila, maybe, but not sandwich spread.
Jessica hopes they grow as a tribe, but says things “just change constantly in this game. You never really know what’s going to happen.” Which is kind of why we watch it, Jess. It’s certainly not to see Rebecca’s boobs.
At Raro, there’s some blaming going on. Nate tells Rebecca that she tried, but she says her body is just done and that their loss was her fault. Hello? Did she not learn anything from Stephannie? You never claim blame with this group! Luckily for Rebecca, everyone’s too busy being mad at Brad to blame her. Brad is apparently the best swimmer on the tribe, yet he refused to swim and wanted to do the puzzle. Nate is pissed. “Maybe he’s a nancy boy, I don’t know what he was thinking,” Nate tells us. Wow, nice way to not stereotype, there. Anyway, Jenny and Parvati are mad at Brad too. Meanwhile, there’s a storm coming, and Nate says the girls are exhausted, he’s stuck getting fish and firewood, and all in all it’s not a nice homecoming.
Suck It Up, Turkey
On Exile Island, Adam is eyeing the coming storm and trying to pile logs into a rudimentary shelter. He says he hates Exile Island, and that he’s beginning to doubt his tribe, who keep not coming through in challenges. “It’s hard to soar like an eagle when you’re surrounded by turkeys,” Adam says. Wow. Just wow. He certainly thinks highly of himself, doesn’t he? I foresee that coming up at the reunion show.
Anyway, it’s not pleasant out there during the storm. “I was pretty much in a fetal position, hoping it would go away,” Adam says. There are a lot of jokes in my mind right now. I can’t really pick one.
Half Man, Half Ego
Back at Aitu the next morning, with the storm passed, Ozzy wakes up the camp by presenting a bird he just caught. Yes, he just got up, went to pee, and caught a bird. What is he, some kind of Jack Hanna/Tarzan type? There’s some debate about whether to release it or eat it, but naturally eating it wins, and for some reason, Yul is given the bird to go kill. I did not realize that Yul’s skills included some kind of special bird-killing abilities.
“Ozzy is amazing,” Candice says, as Ozzy shimmies up a tree to get coconuts. “He’s like half animal, half man, part fish, part monkey.”
Yul says he underestimated Ozzy. He provides food, but they should get ride of him before the merge, while they’re still in control.
Jessica, Candice and the Great and Powerful Oz talk about the vote. Jessica says no one trusts Jonathan, and Ozzy says they three could form a strong alliance. He argues against anyone voting him off, saying that they could do it, sure, but then “what are you guys gonna eat?” Well, Ozzy, it’s possible they could catch their own fish – and birds – if you didn’t always do it first. He says he’s a threat, yes, but is more valuable than Jonathan. “The people that do stick with me, they’re going to be able to enjoy the ride,” he says.
Was There a Sale On Puzzles This Week?
It’s time for the immunity challenge. Adam returns from exile, and tells them it was a rough night. The challenge will go as thus: the tribes will race to assemble a series of logs into a staircase up to a tower. Three people will then ride the zipline off the tower into the water, where they’ll grab a bag of puzzle pieces and swim to shore. When they have all their pieces, three other people will put the puzzle together. Jonathan sits this one out, and I’m guessing this time Brad will have to swim, and won’t be allowed to pull his “creative puzzle type” cop-out.
Aitu finishes the stairs first, and I notice that Yul is wearing glasses. Little glasses, right into the water. That’s a great way to have to make another trip to Lens Crafters. And I’m right – Brad is on swimming duty. Parvati goes slowly, Jeff chastises her, and fuzzy blob gets another workout on Nate’s buttcrack. It’s neck and neck as both tribes work on the puzzle, but Raro wins! For once. Aitu will be sending someone home.
In Which Everyone Talks a Lot
Back at Aitu’s camp, Ozzy is bummed about having to send someone home, but doesn’t think it’ll be him. Jessica asks Candice what will happen, and doesn’t seem to believe Candice when she says she doesn’t know.
Candice says it’s between Ozzy, Jessica and Jonathan. Ozzy’s a good provider but both he and Jonathan are dangerous. Jonathan is on the cusp of their alliance but no one really trusts him. And Jessica drives people crazy with her paranoia.
Jessica then goes to Sundra, saying they need to decide who’s going. “She is like a mosquito that won’t die,” Sundra says, adding that Jessica is cozying up to everyone, trying to cover her ass.
Jessica goes on to Yul and Becky and Ozzy, saying they should vote for Jonathan. Becky says that while Ozzy does get a ton of food, with Jonathan sitting out today they realized they don’t really need him. Ozzy says that if no one trusts Jonathan, why is he still here?
Meanwhile, Jonathan talks to Candice and Sundra. He says if they assume the merge is still a few days off, it makes sense to keep Ozzy and his food-gathering abilities, and lose Jessica. Jonathan says privately that it may “bite me in the butt” to be seen strategizing long-term, since people already think he does that too much, but he can’t help it, that’s the way he plays the game. His theory, he says, is that “if I thought of it, somebody else has thought of it.”
Ozzy and Yul also have a chat. They agree that Jonathan doesn’t give out information and that seems to be why he’s distrusted. Yul says everyone thinks Jonathan is a gamer, and while he himself doesn’t see it, he’s influenced by everyone else.
Jessica gives some speech to the group about thanking people for being as honest as they can be. She says she’s not sure who’s voting with her tonight.
Flicka Flames Out
At tribal council, Jeff notes that while the tribe still has someone from each of the original ethnic groups, it doesn’t seem to be making a difference. Jonathan says he’s not surprised. “All those connections have either held or gone away based on personality,” he says.
Sundra adds that they can’t plan who they’re going to bond with – some people just don’t gel.
Jessica says everyone gets along, but they all have particular friendships, too – she fishes with Ozzy, Yul and Jonathan hang out. They all have their buddies, but they get along with each other as well.
Jeff says Jessica always manages to answer without saying anything. Yul says she doesn’t want to stab anyone in back.
Jeff also asks Ozzy if it’s possible he could provide too much and become a threat. Ozzy says he hopes not, that he enjoys the role of hunter, and it’s new to him, and if that’s what knocks him out of the game, it’s the best way to go.
And, it’s voting time. There’s not a lot of suspense here – Jessica votes for Jonathan, and everyone else votes for Jessica. She smiles, waves and leaves, and Jonathan breathes a sigh of relief. She says later that she guesses she just didn’t play the game as hard as she should have. Jeff tells the rest of them that both tribes now have six people, and they both think they have momentum, so we’ll just have to see who’s right.
Brad loses his tribe’s trust with a comment about it being every man for himself. But a surprise twist could change everything (said in doom-filled TV-announcer’s voice). We’re not told exactly how, but we do see Jeff asking who wants to change their fate in this game. Can we trade them all out for new and more interesting people?