It’s merge time, baby! The most engaging part of the season is here, as eight OG Heroes and four OG Villains unite for the first time. Though the odds are in the Heroes’ favour, nothing is set in stone in Survivor. Relationships outside of the game have become a factor, plus with new bonds, alliances, and idols in the mix, there are too many variables to count out anyone at this point.
Could old vendettas turn into unforeseen duos? Will King George and Queen Hayley finally make a move together? Could a new power player emerge from the ashes of chaotic tribal councils sure to come? This episode was a treat of how a merge is supposed to go when everyone is playing for their lives in the game.
It’s day 28, and the Heroes discuss the aftermath of Stevie’s blindside after we’re greeted, of course, by George’s skinny-dipping antics. Shonee is glad George made a compromise in not voting out Flick as the “Spice Girls” alliance is depending on that move. And after Flick thanks Shonee for saving her, Shonee remarks that, hopefully, Flick returns the favour. Both women agree they have common targets, notably Simon, once merged.
On the other hand, George and Gerry are nervous that saving Flick could return to haunt them if Flick starts working with the OG Heroes again. Gerry, for his part, makes a final two deal with Matt, whom he considers trustworthy and reliable.
Both tribes reconvene, greeted by JLP and… drum roll… the merge feast! JLP asks the players if the battle between the Heroes vs. Villains is over, and George responds that it is; however, if promises made after the latest tribal council aren’t fulfilled, a war could begin anew. JLP then makes the merge official by telling the players to drop their buffs, and they all excitedly celebrate making it into the next phase of the game.
While eating to their hearts’ content, Hayley and George celebrate together and consider finally working together. Flick makes her rounds by chitchatting with the other Heroes, which greatly unnerves George, as he senses this could mean danger for himself and his alliance.
At camp, the players ponder what to name their new tribe. Suggestions include “Molemole,” which, according to George, means two things, “I’m hungry” and “please,” and Nina proposes “Vigilantes,” which fits the Heroes vs. Villains theme. The majority (George, Shonee, Liz, Matt, Gerry, Flick, and Hayley) vote for Molemole. This was a clever way, or dumb, depending on which player you ask, of displaying the majority forming within the newly formed Molemole tribe.
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Despite the display, Nina isn’t worried and states that the OG Heroes are running the game. Flick has a conversation with Shaun, where she tells him about her deal with the Spice Girls alliance and their shared goal of targeting Simon. While she’s still debating where her loyalties lie, Flick highly considers remaining true to the OG Heroes alliance.
Under cover of night, all the former Heroes, minus Gerry, reunite and state that they must stay true to each other. Simon’s head is still on the chopping block, but Flick proposes to break up the Spice Girls alliance by either targeting Shonee or Liz.
On day 29, the Fa’amolemole tribe awakens with Liz, Shonee, and Flick conversing, where Flick continues to play her “double agent” role. Flick tells the others that everyone’s target continues to be Simon, after which Liz infers that the split vote will be one of the members of their alliance, which Flick doesn’t confirm. Shonee and Liz see right through Flick’s lie of not telling them who the second vote will be and seem genuinely surprised that Flick isn’t set on working with them.
After telling George that he was right about Flick being flaky, George comes up with a new plan for them to regain control of the game: turning Simon, their enemy, into their new friend and latest alliance member. Liz is appalled at the prospect of working with Simon after all of their history but knows it might be their only shot. Together with Matt, Simon, and Hayley, the Spice Girls discuss voting out one of the alpha Heroes guys and maintaining the lie of Simon being their target. In private, George reaffirms to Simon that no one would expect them to work together, and it is in their mutual interest to make an alliance.
The first individual immunity challenge is set to begin and is an old Survivor classic: “Last Gasp,” which consists of players taking a spot in the water under a metal grate, and as the tide comes in, there will be less space for them to breathe. The last person to remain under their grate will win immunity. After the first half hour, the players start dropping like flies, with Matt and Nina being the final two battling it out. Eventually, Matt, the lifeguard, secures the win and individual immunity.
After the challenge, Matt says in a confessional that he’s formally aligning himself with George’s alliance. Meanwhile, the OG Heroes decide to flush Liz’s idol but still target Shonee with Simon’s help to have a majority of eight votes. George wants to target the alpha alliance, starting with Sam, and tells Hayley the plan. Simon is highly sceptical of working with the OG Villains, and even after talking to Hayley, he still doesn’t know whether to vote with the Villains or regroup with the Heroes.
At the well, David tells Liz to use her idol as her name has been thrown out, but Shonee senses it’s just a ploy for it to get flushed. Liz and Shonee are worried that Simon is not with them, though George feels he is, as Simon doesn’t have any other allies left in the game.
In a desperate move to have an extra vote on their side should Simon not vote with them, George tells Shaun that he should also vote for Sam and join the majority. Shaun doesn’t buy what George is selling as he’s wary of Hannibal Lecter, I mean, George. Shaun then goes and tells Sam about the plan. Shonee is shocked George spilled the beans, and as Sam is aware of how they plan to vote, the target shifts towards David.
Matt doesn’t know why the vote changed and is worried about working with George, even though he has a final three pact with him and Gerry. With Simon and Matt questioning who to vote for, it is anybody’s guess who is going home.
When tribal begins, the players discuss how lines will be drawn after the vote, as who is truly aligned with whom will be revealed. Matt highlights that he will vote with the people he wants to continue working with, while George remarks that this is the turning point in the game for everyone. George then says that one person needs to go for the rest to not “see him” again. As the votes are about to be read, Liz decides to play her idol for Shonee, with David interjecting and asking her if she’s sure about her decision. Liz doubles down and is proven right as she cancels four votes against Shonee, though regardless, David’s fate is sealed with a 7-4-1 vote.
Indeed, the lines for the rest of the game were drawn. Flick remained loyal to the Heroes and is now enemy number one to the majority alliance. Matt and Hayley officially turned on the OG Heroes, though Hayley seems to be brewing her own storm. Shaun still has an idol and will use it to destabilise the game again. For now, it appears that the King is still ruling over Samoa, though how long will his reign last?
Will George commander the rest of the game with his new-found majority, or will someone double-cross him in the end? This season’s end game is at full speed, and every past decision the players have made in the game could come back to be their most significant asset or their biggest downfall.