Tonight, much mischief is afoot. Cuddle puddle infidelity; family betrayal; merging and feasting. No, it isn’t Thanksgiving at a random household in America. It’s Survivor: Cook Islands, in a very special, heartwarming Thanksgiving episode.
On Raro beach, Jonathon is talking away to Parvati, Candice and Adam, the three’s company of this season. Janet, er, Parvati, is rolling her eyes, wishing he’d shut up. Jonathon is still sensing he’s earning his way into his newly adopted Raro tribe; so he goes out and fishes. He thinks he’s made a good move, since two others were sent home - not himself and not his fellow Aitu mutineer Candice. He is doing nearly all of the spearfishing, and thinks his position in Raro is “more powerful” than it was in Aitu. Meanwhile, Raro is taking Jonathon for granted (and for a fool) in a big way. They gloat they don’t really need to do much of anything - maybe not even light the fire. They finally do begin lighting the fire, but it’s clear they feel Jonathon is their whipping boy. No fire, no water. Raro’s lackadaisical attitude is beginning to really bother Jonathon. He believes they’ll have to listen to him and will see his way “is a good way”. It’s becoming Jonathon vs. Raro, although neither side yet sees this clearly. Raro - Candice, Parvati, Nate, and Adam - seem to be enjoying Jonathon doing most of the work. They’re treating this as if they are on vacation at South Padre Island. They even resent Jonathon’s trying to organise necessities like clean water and fire starting. Nate tells the camera when alone, that Jonathon should “Shut up fool!”.
Jonathon continues openly berating the Raro ‘kids’ (as he puts it) for being lazy. He sees Parvati strolling on the beach, and compares Raro beach to "a dorm". Fellow mutineer Candice just chomps some coconut and pays him no mind. Jonathon interviews that he is having a hard time not ‘bawling them out’, and does not plan to lose ‘because you kids can’t get out of bed’.
Drop Your Buffs - And No, Adam, That's Not A Proposition
Aitu and Raro are assembled for an announcement. Jeff reveals that at the last Tribal Council, both Rebecca and Jenny were voted out. This shocks Aitu, especially Yul. Jeff points out that if Aitu had lost the last Immunity Challenge, they’d now be down to two members. Sundra says that this is a sign you can’t get too comfortable. Jeff then removes a burlap cloth from a wooden box. The box contains paints, brushes, a blank black cloth, and rope. Also, it contains new buffs. As the meaning of this sinks in, Aitu and Raro react - Raro with “whoas”, and Aitu with silent amazement. Yep, it’s time to Merge.
Adam is happy about this, because he was hoping for a Merge before Raro’s numbers went too low. The way they kept losing challenge after challenge, that was a good possibility. Aitu was standing solid either way. They have formed a solid alliance, and have the brains and athleticism, and determination and focus, to have kept winning challenges. Without a timely Merge, nothing would have been left of Raro.
Jeff distributes the new buffs, which appear to be black with a colorful design on it. Now, the two tribes try to decide which beach to converge upon. They have a reasonable discussion - mostly because Raro gets what Raro wants. Raro’s teamplay seems much more emotional than Aitu’s, which is heavily influenced by Yul’s objective strategising. Raro points out that their beach has many more coconuts and no rats. Well, other than Jonathon, but nobody says it. Yul asks Candice and Jonathon what they think, as they’ve lived on both beaches. They concur that Raro’s beach is superior geography. So, all Survivors head to Raro beach. Jeff is happy that this was settled so quickly and peaceably.
Party 'Til You Puke
But how will the Survivors get to Raro beach? Jeff announces a Catamaran is waiting for them. And the best part? It’s loaded with food. And wine! And beer! A feast for all Survivors! Of course, they all go wild. They jump up and down, and scream and yell and just generally go wild with glee. Well, except Yul, Sundra and Becky. They just show some tasteful grins. The castaways climb aboard the boat with the help of some of the Cook Islanders who feted Aitu with feast and dancing in a prior episode. Music is played and food is served. The castaways are seated around a long table. No one pays much attention who they sit next to. Yul says he’s looking forward to getting to know the other Tribe members and Nate and Parvati pipe up to say “how classy” Yul is. It’s also good strategy, although I think Yul means it.
In his solo interview, Yul says that there are still two tribes, which is a wise assessment. People aren’t going to forget past loyalties overnight. (Well, most aren’t.) He notes that Aitu has only four, and Raro has five members, so he wants to come up with a way to lure one Raro member to an alliance with Aitu. He isn’t sure who, but he says Aitu is desperate to do this. Jonathon, meanwhile, is disgusted at how drunk the Raro kids are becoming on the plentiful beer and wine. Some of them are vomiting over the side. Parvati is flirting. Yul and Sundra just watch all this with a bit of unease. The Raro kids’ forgetting they’re in a competition may end up costing them. Bellies full of food and beer, the castaways hug the islanders and disembark from the party boat. Nate, Adam, and Parvati seem the drunkest. Skinny as she is, Candice’s stomach is sticking out from all that food. She rubs her belly. Some carry beer bottles off the boat. Becky and Jenny carry the new uni-tribe flag onto the beach: Aitutonga is the new tribal name.
Nate’s assessment of the new situation is that Raro outnumbers Aitu and that Raro will stick together. He isn’t worried about Jonathon or Candice - he feels they can’t possibly go back to Aitu. But he still wants to get to know what the former Aitu members are thinking. He seems to think he can get one over on Ozzy, so he strolls on the beach w/Dolphin Boy and finesses him a bit. Nate brags that he’s got Parvati “locked”. Ozzy says Sundra is also. I get the feeling Ozzy is just humoring Nate’s arrogance. Nate interviews that he likes Ozzy and feels they have ‘clicked’. I think Nate is banking a bit too much on his personal charm, when there is a million dollars at stake. Nate divulges to Ozzy that Raro wants to vote out Yul and “cut out one of your strong points”. This is a bit early for Nate to be putting that much trust in Ozzy, and letting him in on the Raro-alliance’s secret. Nate isn’t noticing that Ozzy’s not nearly as talkative as he is, about the “one love” Nate is touting.
Three's Company Too
Back at Aitutonga camp, Adam is snuggling with a young lady who’s indulging in some pillow talk with him. Her face is hidden by her hands, which are on his chest. When we see a closeup, it’s Parvati. So, obviously, Adam isn’t thinking with his brain - well, okay, that was silly of me. Adam isn’t thinking. Candice will now know that her alliance with Adam is not solid, that’s if she has any sense at all. Adam tries to get a bit too frisky with Parvati, who puts the brakes on. Adam interviews that he’s been “boozing it up” and feels pretty good. Parvati even asks him, “What about Candice?”. Adam just lolls his head and drunkenly brags, “You can both appreciate me”. Oh, what a guy. I now think that Adam really has no strategy at all, and he’s gotten this far on his Alpha Male type of ‘charm’ and not much else. It has to be that or luck that’s gotten him this far - instead of plotting his next move, he’s glad that there was no challenge and no Tribal Council. He thinks this is the best day since he’s been here. Can he count? Does he know how much a million is? Because Jonathon and Yul sure seem to.
Yul Be Sorry If You Don't Flip
Yul, never losing a minute, is busy running various plans and scenarios through his mind. He obviously trusts Becky implicitly, because he’s already told her that he has the (formerly hidden) Immunity Idol. Now they are sitting together, trying to figure out if it is a good idea to tell others he has it. Specifically, if there is any danger in his telling a former Raro member about the Idol. Once they conclude there is no danger, Yul wonders aloud who to tell. He lights upon Jonathon, judging him a more rational player than the others. Yul imagines telling Jonathon, “You have the numbers, I have the Idol. Can’t beat us”. Becky agrees Jonathon is worth a try, so Yul goes off to look for him.
At first, Yul broaches the overall idea of teaming up with Jonathon again. Jonathon says he wouldn’t even consider that, and knows Ozzy would not trust him and isn’t sure why Yul would either. Yul interviews alone, that although Jonathon “left us for dead” in his mutiny, Yul has little choice but to try this, as (former) Aitu members are outnumbered. Jonathon shows that he’s been thinking ahead by telling Yul he believes that to get to the final four, one must be allied with the person with the Idol. Yul just listens silently. Jonathon interviews that if he flips again, Raro will “go mental”. They’re banking on their idea that there is no way Aitu would take Jonathon back. Back to their conversation, Yul asks Jonathon how he’d know if Jonathon would tell the others about the Idol and betray him. Jonathon basically says he wouldn’t. He then says “I promise” but asks what his word means to Yul. It seems Jonathon’s honesty is winning points with Yul, ever the cool head. It shows Jonathon is being somewhat detached and rational. Jonathon ends this conversation by saying that unless Yul shows him the Idol, he’ll have to just accept that Jonathon will do whatever he decides is best for himself. “To be continued,” Yul says, and shakes hands. The writer in Jonathon interviews that flipping tribes twice would be “a fantastic twist”.
Yul Idolise Me
Yul next tells Sundra that he has the Idol. She seems elated. Yul says he’s trying to get Jonathon to flip. Then they will be an alliance of five. Next, he tells Ozzy. He explains that he was waiting to tell them until a moment “it could change the game” - not that anyone seems to fault him for keeping this news secret. Yul tells both Sundra and Ozzy that “this could take all four of us all the way”. I notice he’s not saying “five”. He’s not including Jonathon in this “all the way” plan. But Jonathon’s not overhearing this - he’s elsewhere. However, my guess is he’s realistic enough that he knows he’s on borrowed time with every tribe and will have to truly outplay everyone else, in order to keep lasting. Ozzy mentions Nate and says it’s a shame because he likes Nate as a person, but that he feels more loyalty to Yul and his former Aitu teammates.
So Too Much Beer Really Does Kill Brain Cells
Parvati and Candice walk through shallow water, discussing various castaways. They think Ozzy may win the next Immunity, which would mean they’d wish Yul to go home, because they’ve noticed Yul and Jonathon talking. Well, they’ve noticed it but have no idea it’s already too late. They should have realised that if Yul is seeking Jonathon out, he may have a good reason already in mind. Yul’s seeking Jonathon out to speak with, also shows there is no ill will. This should have been a bigger red flag to all the others. The former Raro women are underestimating both Jonathon and Yul. Candice does try to ask Jonathon what the talks are about, but Jonathon hedges. Even when Jonathon tells her Yul asked him to come to their side, Candice doesn’t get it. She agrees with Jonathon when he pretends that none of the other former Aitu tribe will accept his return to their alliance. Jonathon interviews that he’s trying to convince others not to vote for Yul, because if so, Jonathon feels he’ll have the second highest amount of votes, and be sent home. At this point, Jonathon has not seen Yul’s hidden Idol, and assumes Aitu will be voting him off.
Now here is where Candice, supposedly pre-Med, should have put on her thinking cap. Jonathon tells her he does not have the Idol. He points out that she, Candice, does not have the Idol. Of course, Candice knows this to be true. The only other people who went to Exile were Adam and Yul. Presumably Candice knows that Adam does not have the Idol, or can find out if Adam does, since they seem to be in a tight alliance. So who does that leave? Candice doesn’t even give it a thought.
Individual Immunity Challenge
Jeff announces that Tribal Immunity “is no more”, and Individual Immunity is what they seek. He unveils a new item: The Immunity Necklace. It’s a round necklace, with wooden twigs hanging off about half the circle. Everyone’s face seems to light up, except Becky’s and Yul’s. They both look studious. Parvati chews her lip. Jeff outlines today’s challenge: They must each cling to a pole. They cannot use the top of the pole to pull themselves up. Last one to drop off their pole wins the Immunity Necklace, and cannot be sent home that night. The castaways all climb their individual poles. There is rope wound around three points on the pole, for a bit of leverage. Some stand upright, others crouch. The key would seem to be, to distribute one’s weight evenly. Those with a lot of body weight would seem at a disadvantage here. Nate and Adam have trouble right away. Candice is showing off, even doing ballet exercises. Adam slides further and further down, trembling as he goes. He is the first one to fall off. Jonathon’s huffing and puffing. Jeff asks him where he feels it. Jonathon says his feet feel worst, but he has big feet, so he’s OK. Yul chimes in with some type of ratio involving foot size to body weight. “This is why elephants don’t climb trees” he says, then when everyone chuckles, adds, “I’ll never get a date again”. Parvati pipes up that “smart equals sexy”. Jeff just seems bemused by all this.
The castaways drop off in this order: Jonathon (who lasted 12 minutes), Nate (23 minutes), Sundra (34 minutes). Candice shows off again, with some plies. Parvati lets slip the new tribal name. Jeff says he likes “Aitutonga”. Yul slides up and down the pole a bit, then drops off at 51 minutes elapsed. Now it is Ozzy, Candice, Parvati (who begins to slip down the pole as it rains), and Becky. Parvati drops at 1 hour, 29 minutes. Becky drops off a minute later, and her strength gives out as she tries to slide down. She ends up falling off about halfway down the pole, landing with a thud. But she’s OK. Now it’s pouring rain, to Nate’s delight. He says he loves Ozzy & Candice, but hopes the rain speeds things along. Ozzy’s face begins to show strain, as Candice slides down. She drops off at 2 hours 15 minutes. Ozzy wins the Individual Immunity challenge. He can’t be sent home at this evening’s Tribal Council.
Better! Stronger! More Conniving
Back at camp, Nate interviews that he likes Ozzy and is glad he won the challenge. Adam sees it as a reason to get rid of him - but he can’t, as Ozzy has immunity. Adam says Yul will be voted out. Parvati interviews that Yul should go because he’s ”brilliant - Mr. Harvard, Mr. Yale”. Yul has become a target because he’s seen as the biggest threat. Alone on a beach, Yul’s playing it cool, chit-chatting with Jonathon about how many fish he’s caught. Of course, Yul has bigger fish to fry than that (sorry! couldn’t resist a bad pun). Yul plays his hand, and shows Jonathon the formerly hidden Immunity Idol. It is a necklace made up of a brass disc compass, and some sort of twine. Jonathon looks pretty happy. Yul gets straight to the point: “I’m asking you for both our sakes, to become our ally again”. They shake hands, and Jonathon interviews it makes perfect sense that Yul has the Idol, given their conversation the previous day. He says he has a lot to think about. He says Yul’s implied that if he doesn’t vote with former Aitu members, Jonathon’s going home. Back in the conversation, Yul also tells Jonathon that he wants to go to the final two with him. This is because Yul feels the others are against Jonathon and will vote Yul in for the overall win.
If this is true, then Yul has just revealed that he’s been playing Becky, and plans to betray her. If it is not true, then he’s for the first time, blatantly lied to get ahead in the game. Once again, Jonathon tells Yul he must give it more thought. Once again, Yul says “To be continued”.
Too Much Thinking Is Bananas
Back at camp, Jonathon gives Adam and Candice a chance to get in on this - beginning by hinting that Yul may have the Idol. Adam dismisses this idea immediately with “He doesn’t have the Idol”. Again, as with Candice earlier in the episode - it’s foolish of Adam to dismiss the possibility Yul has the Idol. He knows he doesn’t have it. He knows Candice doesn’t have it. Jonathon has said he doesn’t have it. Who does that leave? Of course, it’s possible they think Jonathon does have the Idol - or that Adam and Candice have hinted to one another they have it - but I highly doubt it. I just think that the Raro kids’ arrogance and complacency are catching up to them. They explain their reasoning as Yul was only on Exile Island one day. They haven’t, of course, factored in that by then, more than one clue was available; or that 24 hours with nothing else to do is ample time for “Mr. Brilliant” to figure the location out. Jonathon is stunned that the Raro kids dismiss Yul and the Idol so easily, and gives up on convincing them otherwise. They’ve just blown their shot to maintain their five-member alliance, and they are now at risk.
Jonathon walks off, and Nate and Adam discuss what to do. Adam is willing to “let Jonathon have his way” and vote someone besides Yul out. But Nate doesn’t want the low pack member Jonathon to call the shots. “He can’t tell us what to do, dawg” he tells Adam. Adam points out rightly that they need Jonathon’s vote. Nate refuses to give Jonathon’s wish any play - Nate wants Yul out because “I do not want that boy thinking any more”. Seems like Nate should do more thinking, himself. But the die’s been cast. Meanwhile, Adam’s noticed how much time Nate and Ozzy have been spending together. This concerns him. For now, strongmen Nate and Adam chop down branches of bananas. As Adam chomps on some, he says the game’s crazy, because it makes you think all the time. It’s “Bananas” he says, and cracks himself up. He then goes in for a steamy kiss with Candice.
Put A Feather In His Hat And Called it Aituroni
As Adam and Eve, er, Adam and Candice bathe in shallow ocean water, somewhere on the Island Jonathon is conferring with Yul and his alliance. However, he’s already got a feather in his floppy hat; this matches the way Aitu will be decked out later. That’s a pretty good sign where his loyalties are already. Jonathon says that Adam and Candice did keep him in the game and welcomed him; if he betrays them now, it makes him the guy who’s betrayed every single person on the show at some point or other. Jonathon acquiesces to Yul’s invitation. But he stipulates that he’d rather see Nate go first than Adam. Yul assures him he’s happy to oblige. Becky and Sundra exchange such a wily glance to one another; it’s as if they’re all planning to cook Jonathon later. Jonathon, by joining Aitu, has once again become the truly lowest person in an alliance. With the Raro alliance, it seemed he was - but in actuality he was smarter than most of them, and playing the game to the hilt. He also made himself invaluable by catching a lot of fish. But the Aitu alliance already has Ozzy for that. They needed Jonathon for tonight’s vote, but after this? He’s on shaky ground again.
And now, for more complexity - Yul confides to Becky that he hopes Jonathon isn’t playing them. He points out that Jonathon could possibly tell the Raro alliance about Yul’s hidden Idol, and tell the Aitu alliance that he’ll vote out Nate, but in actuality vote with Raro alliance, forcing Yul to use his Idol, but avoiding being second on the chopping block. In my opinion, that would’ve been the smarter move. I can only think that Jonathon must’ve believed Yul when he said he wants to take Jonathon to the final two. That, or he feels Aitu is a better alliance to be with. He did seem disgusted with the Raro kids earlier. He probably thinks they will not be long in the game. At the same time, he had more advantages being with Raro. He could’ve used their lesser smarts against them, and kept being effectively a double agent. It’ll all play out in tonight’s final vote.
Candice, clueless about Jonathon’s defection, informs him that Nate insists on voting out Yul. She does ask Jonathon if Yul’s said anything. Jonathon says he didn’t. Candice is confused by this - she doesn’t see how he’s spent time with Yul without Yul trying to convince him of something. But she lets it go. Why would she trust Jonathon, who’s already mutinied once? And who she didn’t trust earlier when they were both in Aitu? Again, I think it’s that she, Parvati, Nate, and Adam have become complacent. They should not be at all, considering Raro lost so many challenges, but they seem to be.
The remaining castaways are seated, and then the Jury is brought in. Brad, Rebecca, and Jenny look different, cleaned up and in their street clothes. The castaways look dirty and greasy by comparison. Jeff asks how the Merge changed things. Jonathon provides safe answers about sleeping accomodations being cramped, and getting used to being together as one tribe, after vying for weeks against one another. Sundra says that they have to now think individually as well as within alliances. She says she can’t help but bond to some. Nate’s asked about tribal lines and he affirms he’ll stick to what he’s comfortable with. Yul can’t help but smile, knowing that either Nate’s just given away his alliance, or that he’s about to go home. We’ll find out soon. Yul’s asked about being outnumbered, and hedges the question by saying the likelihood of the four of them still being there at all were low. (But, if ex-Raro were listening, they’d hear him implying ‘don’t count us out yet’.) Yul goes on to say that they’ve made it this far with odds stacked against them. He doesn’t know what their fate will be, but feels tonight will be pivotal. Jonathon smiles. Becky’s asked about bonds, and points to Candice and Adam - or was it Parvati and Adam? Candice assumes it’s her, and smiles widely. The others tease Becky about her closeness to Yul, but she says it’s not the same thing. Parvati’s asked about Adam & Candice and she says she lost her spot so they could snuggle, and those two wanna get married & make babies. Jonathon’s asked if it bothers him that two people have paired up in a different way than he and Ozzy might. I’m not sure what that’s about since they’ve barely spoken (that we know of). But it does break the castways up into laughter. Jonathon says Adam & Candice are certainly different than him & Ozzy, but he isn’t worried because he hasn’t seen that they’re romantic. Candice nods.
As Jonathon strokes his beard thoughtfully, Jeff asks Ozzy about tonight’s vote. Ozzy says it could either go downhill for Aitu, or “something crazy could happen”. He says this is a pivotal moment. Jeff asks Nate about whether things will be different in camp tonight after the vote. Nate says yes - because if someone flips alliances “the cat will be out of the bag”. Well, at least Nate is aware that this might be a possibility. I think the others in his alliance were too busy forming a cuddle puddle. Jeff (he’s really asking tons of questions tonight!) asks Jonathon how this has effected him as a person. Jonathon rhapsodizes that he’s had an amazing time, this is a once in a lifetime experience, etc. Jeff asks Ozzy if he wants to give his Immunity Necklace to anyone else - nope, he doesn’t. Jeff says if the person voted off has the hidden Immunity Idol they can play it and stay, and the person with the next highest number of votes will go.
Not That Kind Of Yule!
They all vote. Jeff begins counting off: Yuehl. Yule. Nate. Yul. Nate. Nate. At this point it’s tied. Yule. Nate. Tied again. One vote left. The final vote is for: Nate. Nate has hidden his face, but hears the vote. Yul looks very relieved. Adam looks shocked. Candice looks angrily at Jonathon; she’s figured out he flipped alliances. Jonathon looks heavenward, then downward. He’d probably like to disappear just about now, until at least morning. Nate brings his torch, which is extinguished. I’m glad Yul didn’t go home, because if a person is going to lose a million dollars, their name should at least be spelled correctly when it happens. And who is the sole person who spelled Yul’s name properly? After-show footage reveals the winner is...Candice. Maybe she’s pre-Med after all.
Next episode, the ramifications of Jonathon’s defection play out, and MrDobolina will be here again to examine that for you. It’s time for me to catch a ride on that party Catamaran & sail home.