What an episode we have on our hands this week. A breakout episode for Renee, a thrown challenge, and a major blindside. You can never complain about having too much action in one episode that’s for sure.
We return from tribal council, where Liam was just voted out. The idol played on Eve (first ever!) was unsuccessful and it really turned out to be a win-win-win for the Khangkhaw group. They voted out a Chani member, flushed the idol, and secured trust between the four. Brad could not be happier and has the biggest grin on his face when talking about it. This is a high point for Brad for the episode, as he had a lot of unfortunate luck go his way.
Speaking of Brad, I don’t think he has been given enough credit thus far for his strategic gameplay. He managed to pull off the successful blindside of Kaysha, not sure if this credit is all his but after seeing the other three boys strategic thinking in the Invisible Five tonight, it is either his or Tess’s credit to be had. And the same could be said for the Liam vote, Brad and Tess went with the person least likely to have an idol and most likely not to have one played on him. They even managed to outsmart JT on that one.
We go over to the Chani camp, where we see Dylan grasping for a friend in the form of Renee, letting her know he is a free agent and willing to work with them to flip. But, as with most people dealing with Dylan, she does not fully trust him. Some people just give off this vibe (JT, Dylan, Nick Iadanza), and I will never understand it, but he has shown no reason not to be trustworthy yet. This could be the break the remaining Chani need though.
Josh tells his story of how he was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma about a year ago, and how he was so determined to get out to play Survivor after watching season one during his treatment. You have to feel great for the guy, going through such a big struggle in life, and he was able to push through it and accomplish some of his life goals. But, as a strategist watching this, this story came out of nowhere. I immediately wrote down in my notes ‘Josh is either winning or getting voted out tonight.’ Continue reading to see which one of these guesses is right! Hint: the season is not over yet.
The current Chani tribe has such an interesting dynamic. It is four old Khangkhaw to three old Chani, but Matt and Dave trust each other and Josh and Arun maybe trust each other. Neither of them is trying to make this information public either. So if the two groups go after each other, one will always be trying to persuade it to be the other voted out. As we see later with Dave trying to paint the target on Josh, not Matt.
There is, however, a common mistrust of Dylan, as noted above. The old Khangkhaw float the idea of just voting him out. Now, if it were a straight 4-3 split, this would be a blessing for the bottom three. But because Dylan will most likely flip regardless, it would be dumb for the old Chani to vote him out and play it out as a 3-3 split. All of this strategy talk from Chani is a clear indication they will be going to tribal this episode.
At the reward challenge, there is some Pizza Hut pizza up for grabs. Fun fact, the pizza in New Zealand is way smaller than pizza in the US. I was shook the first time I had a large pizza there compared to here. Probably makes sense why Americans aren’t like the smallest of people though. This is a challenge that involves swimming, untying planks, assembling a bridge, and then a slide puzzle. It is relatively close considering the David vs. Goliath (shout out to the new US season) differences between the tribes, but Chani ultimately wins it. Poor Renee gets stuck with all these guys shoving pizza down their throats; she probably wasn’t able to get her fair share.
We then get to draw straws for the Outpost. For Khangkhaw, Tara gets to go. For Chani, Renee gets to go because Arun rigs the draw. We saw JT and Arun do this earlier, and I don’t understand how people have not thought about it yet. Maybe come up with a different method to stop this from happening, as going to the Outpost could be the change in the game someone needs. I love the hustle though.
The Outpost is a memory challenge for the chance to raid the other camp for two items. This is a fun little task, you get to make life worse for the other tribe and you become the hero. And Renee indeed does this. She steals the tarp and the coffee. I think the tarp is a must choose, but I feel like you could use something else more than coffee. Renee taking the coffee was worth it for the sole fact of Brad asking if she can leave some, and her laughing in his face. No coffee or pizza for Brad today. When Renee returns to camp she is celebrated greatly and they proceed to put the tarp on the ground. I always thought a tarp was better on the roof, but to each their own I guess.
We then get more information from Josh about how Brad communicated to him that they need to win immunity and how the idol was played in the prior tribal council. I’m not sure if they figured this much out, but that was the Chani idol, so there is another one back at camp somewhere now, assuming the process will work the same way as in the US version.
Arun, Renee and Dave conspire together to throw the challenge, as they realize Eve and JT are the only other old Chani remaining and they will be picked off. This is such a risky move considering they are not guaranteed to have the numbers, but you can’t win this game without taking a risk.
At the immunity challenge, I thought we were about to get a throw off, as I was thinking Brad did not want to win either. Can you just imagine if they just kept dropping on purpose? It would be incredible. But the throwing of the challenge works, as it was an easy one to throw. So, as expected Chani is going to tribal council.
There is more of the same strategy being talked about back at camp. Matt, Josh and Adam tell Dylan they will vote with him to get out Arun. They then tell Arun, Dave and Renee that they are voting for Dylan. So I had a thought here. As soon as they decided to vote Dylan, they were screwed. Either Dylan leaves, and it is then 3-3, best case scenario for them, or the Chani three can put three votes anywhere else, automatically causing a tie, depending on where Dylan’s vote goes. They would revote with all three of them being able to vote and would be able to eliminate their choice. So as Dylan is crucial in this vote, he is not that important as his own were targeting him anyway.
Luckily for Dylan, he seems to have found friends for now. Especially one in Renee, who clarifies to Arun and Dave that it would be dumb and almost impossible for him to flip back after this vote anyway because he has no one on Khangkhaw. And as noted above, they control the vote because Dylan won’t be putting his vote on himself with the other guys.
At tribal, Kiwi Jeff (Matt Chisholm) pulled a move I was very unhappy with. He basically insinuated the challenge had been thrown by asking if everyone actually gave 100% and did this benefit some more than others. I don’t think it is his place to point out a thrown challenge, even if inadvertently. The other item of note is that Matt noted anytime there is silence, it means that there is a blindside about to happen. This is a great item to note. As no one wants to talk more than they need to, and everyone feels comfortable in their plan, the silence can be scary. As predicted, this massive blindside takes place. Josh, Matt and Adam are shocked and are put in their place that they aren’t running this game.
Josh’s post-vote comments were a little ridiculous though. He mentions how Dave and Arun acted with the most deceitful behavior he has ever seen in his life. This is the part of the game that I hate to see. Leave without being a sore loser please, you just pulled the same move two tribal councils ago on Kaysha, this game is all about lying, and you can’t believe someone shook your hand and lied to you? Get out of here.
Lastly, there was a lot of chatter on the Internet about bullying in this episode and throughout the season relating to Dylan. I want to say I do not support any of that. But as I am writing all in good fun, I don’t want to dampen the mood by making mention of it all the time.
On the next episode, we see the backlash of Dave betraying Matt without any notice. There is also mention of a tribe conceding a challenge? Which I can’t really ever remember happening, outside of Brandon Hantz’s vote out in Survivor: Caramoan, where his tribe forfeited. And lastly, someone has to say goodbye to the tribe. I don’t think this will be injury related though, or I didn’t get that vibe, I think it is some sort of swap of one person to the other tribe.