Down goes my rival! My arch nemesis has been voted off of the Mogoton tribe and will be heading to Redemption Island. Most of her game was spent making nonsensical moves, and what karma it is to have Tom be a part of her downfall, the exact person Shay had wanted gone the entire game.
Now Tom didn’t exactly cause Shay to be voted out, but being the two outside the numbers on this new tribe, he managed to find his way into a tight four, leaving the four blokes with no other options than to vote out Shay. Now that I am done celebrating, here is the recap of the episode.
It begins with Georgia at Redemption Island after her split second victory over Izzy. Luck was surely on her side at that challenge as she could not have been any closer to leaving the game for good. But as I predicted after the last episode, the Georgia Revenge Tour is alive and well. Hop on board because the train is leaving the station (I really hope Shay doesn’t ruin this for me, that would be a devastating blow to my ego). Hopefully, Georgia was able to start her fire to keep herself warm until the next duel.
We proceed to Hermosa, where Shannon is working her ass off to get into a good spot with the new tribe. You can see the hard work she is putting in with everyone, be it helping around camp, being a smiling face, or making sure to have regular conversation with the members of the tribe whom she sees at the top of the totem pole. In this scenario, she sees Sala as the leader. Her plan is to get close with Sala and be genuine about wanting to work with him, so he can move her up one spot in the lineup, maybe saving her an extra vote until the merge. And it seems to be working. Sala says he is sold on her, as she is believable and he tends to give people the benefit of the doubt (not a good trait to have in Survivor).
We also get to see how close Shannon has become with Avi. I’m sure being the two younger ones on the tribe has helped bring them closer together, but nonetheless, this is more proof of the work Shannon has done since walking onto this beach a loner. She is positioning herself as best as she can given her unlucky draw. I have been thoroughly impressed with her thus far.
On the other hand, we have the resident loner on the Mogoton beach, Shay. Think of how hard Shannon has been working, and then think of the complete opposite and you have what Shay has been doing. Shay is content to ride the crew of bros on her tribe into the merge, and if they have to go to tribal, then oh well it is her turn to leave. Little does she know, the plan of throwing the challenge to give her the axe is in the works, and there is not much she can do to stop it once she sees it is a puzzle challenge and admits to being “stink” at puzzles.
Throwing a challenge is risky.e. It is also a very frowned upon move, especially if the target finds out about the plan. Here is my take on challenge throwing. I am all for doing it when the rest of the game could rely on that particular vote. Like in this case, where if they win, Shannon is likely gone, and only one of Shannon or Georgia will come back into the game, making it a guarantee 5-5 split at the merge, with the chances of Tom flipping back likely. If they throw the challenge successfully, they have the very reasonable possibility of Georgia coming back into the game, and getting Shannon back on their side (so they think) and having the numbers come the merge. So it is a very risky move, but worth it.
The one problem I have is, it is the second time in about four challenges that Mike, Lee, and Jak had planned to throw an immunity challenge. Considering how early it is in the game, I’m not sure their risky approach will be good in the long run as I would not be surprised to see this stunt pulled again.
Once we get to the challenge, it turns out they barely even need to try to throw it, as Shay herself was wrecking her team’s chances. Even with her dreadful performance, her team does still have a shot though, and that is when Avi and Sala notice there is no way Mogoton is trying to win the challenge. It was pretty obvious too, but given the puzzle being hidden from the other members, it was a simple maneuver to pull off and have excuses.
The real exciting thing from the challenge was Shannon. After Hermosa solves the puzzle, we see pure jubilation from Shannon. It was a moment of powerful emotion from her, as you could see the weight being lifted off her shoulders immediately. It is that enthusiasm and passion for Survivor that makes this game the greatest game in the world. It reminded me of Aubry’s joy of winning immunity this season in Game Changers and running over to Jeff for a hug. And strangely enough, they both describe their games as being full of high highs and low lows.
I want to give props to the rest of the Hermosa tribe as well for not telling Shannon about the challenge being thrown. For one it is a smart move, as it would show that the other tribe was trying to save her, but on the other hand, it was great seeing her be able to smile and relax a little bit. A reward for her hard work.
At Mogoton, we finally see some strategy from Shay, but only after the tribe loses the challenge, where she makes probably the only play she has left. I will give her credit, as she was smart enough to recognize the outsiders of the group as Tom and Jak. The problem is, she offered Jak a place in the top seven, maybe five, if he flips on his group. I think you have to offer at least something tasty to get a big guy like that even to consider making that move. Offer him top three, who cares if you mean it or not.
Meanwhile, Mike has a quote that I do not think I have ever heard on Survivor. He says he is “keen to get to Tribal Council. I haven’t been there in ages.” His longing to go to tribal is usually the exact opposite of a player’s emotions, but Mike is a strange character. If you combine that quote with the push to get Mike voted off by Shay, as well as Tom saying he will vote for Mike to try and play the middle, the edit was starting to put some doubt in our minds to think maybe Mike is going to join his lovebird on Redemption.
But alas, Shay gets her torched snuffed, and will hopefully be living out her final days in the game at Redemption.
Next time on Survivor New Zealand, it looks like we will be having our final Redemption Island duel, at least pre-merge, and we will be merging. It goes without saying that I am rooting for Georgia. She at least brings some life and strategy into the game. Depending on the outcome, we will be in a sticky situation at the merge. Tom and Shannon are both playing the same strategy of straddling the middle to play both sides and obtain information, but outside of them, the sides are very clearly divided. It could make for some really exciting moves down the stretch.
Random quote of the night:
“I heard you haven’t washed your hair in two years, that’s stink bro.”
– Shay, on her reason for voting for Mike