“Drop your buffs.” Thanks to last week’s teaser, we knew this was coming. But who knew the twist was going to be three tribes?!?!
Everyone. Everyone knew.
Survivor fans love the drama in part because some of it is predictable. The castaways were split into three six-member tribes: Mana, Tuku and Santa Maria. This was very predictable. We know Jeff Probst likes to mix it up so alliances get challenged (and sometimes broken) and cocky players—Sandra!!!—get taken down a peg. Well, the first part worked, but Sandra’s ego is still fully intact. Of course, she’s aided by the fact that her tribe of six provided minimal shakeup. Sandra, Aubry, Michaela, Malcolm and Varner moved over to J.T.’s beach and essentially relegated him to houseboy. The dynamics at the New Nuku played out predictably: five against one with J.T. on a mad dash through the jungle in search of an immunity idol while Sandra dreams of murdering baby goats. Seriously, what is wrong with that woman?!?!
Meanwhile, Back at Mana
Hali and Caleb joined up with Debbie, Tai, Sierra and Culpepper and immediately suspected they were at the bottom. Culpepper stepped into the leadership role rather smoothly, I should say. He wasn’t trying to be the alpha male. While Tai was waiting to steal a kiss from Caleb, Culpepper was seducing Tai to be wary of the strapping, young Caleb. That proved to be a smart play for both Tai and Culpepper; probably the smartest move yet. It made Hali’s job of begging for her Survivor life that much easier because, once again, people out there are threatened by muscular men…even though Caleb’s performance in the immunity challenge was anything but impressive.
”Tavua? What the Tavua Did I Do to Deserve This Tribe?!?!”
That must be what Troyzan was thinking. Like J.T., he was the lone former Mana member to be thrown into a pit with five former Nuku tribemates: Andrea, Cirie, Sarah, Ozzy and a mustache calling itself Zeke. Seems poor Troyzan just can’t catch a break in this game, can he? He got bounced by an unbreakable alliance of women in the One World season on Day 30.
Perhaps age and past experience led him to leave his brashness at home this time, but Troyzan knew it was do-or-die today and had to find an immunity idol to save himself. Only his idol was not buried in the woods. It was hidden in plain sight at the immunity challenge, which is an element of this game that I absolutely love! The drama and suspense of knowing there’s an idol hidden there that anyone could grab if the knew about it. Credit Troyzan for keeping his adrenaline in check—and for being a good actor—when he worked his way to the table leg where the idol was hiding.
Congratulations, Troyzan. Your tribe avoided Tribal Council, but you bought yourself a major insurance policy for at least another three days. Although I predict this could push him to the merge. Just a hunch.
“It is Time to Vote”
Thanks to coming in last, Mana faced Probst’s torch snuffer in what turned out to be a rather anti-climactic vote: five-to-one against Caleb who, once again, goes home on Day 9. At least it wasn’t in a medi-vac helicopter, though, so there’s that. It’s disappointing only because I like Caleb and think he could’ve done well in this game.
Hali was spared because she’s seen as less of a threat to Culpepper. It’s as simple as that. It wasn’t a dumb move. In fact, it could turn out to be a real turning point in this game for Culpepper. He’s the only player on that small tribe that seems to be working any longterm strategery. Hali was too busy fighting for her Survivor life. Sierra was…who the hell is she???? Seriously, I don’t remember her at all. And Debbie and Tai are Culpepper’s pawns, right now. They gave away their greatest strength—and alliance of three, had they kept Caleb around.
In the Driver’s Seat
Right now, it’s Culpepper and Sandra. I don’t think anyone’s driving the train on Tavua. Cirie, perhaps, but she needs to eliminate Troyzan and Ozzy to truly be a threat.
The Walking Dead
Still the same: Varner, Tai and Debbie. I see no path to victory for any of them…unless they team up and somehow manage to knock off everyone else. Yeah, that’ll happen.
Survivor Employee of the Week
Troyzan. He knew he had to get an immunity idol to save himself, either this week or next. His ability to be cagey while committed to the challenge in front of his tribemates earns him this week’s honors. Let’s see if this good fortune propels him deep into the game.
Move of the Week
J.T., Varner and Malcolm deciding it was not in anyone’s best interest to slaughter a momma goat and its baby so they could eat. Whether they recognize it or not, it exposed Sandra to be a cold, dead-eyed, emotionless psychopath in this game. Sleep with one eye open, boys!
Prediction for Next Week
Sandra yells at someone. Aubry makes a snarky comment that makes me laugh. Ozzy continues to look like Chris Cornell circa 1992.