Survivor 46

Episode 5 Recap – Salsa Days Are Over

What went down in Episode 5?


With this season past its Bhanu Island arc, the question has been raised: whatthe hell happens now? Will Yanu continue sucking and lose five straight immunity challenges? Will Nami or Siga finally face Tribal Council? And will Siga themselves finally get any substantial screen-time now that the playing field has been leveled?

As always, we have to start with a visit to the doldrums of Yanu. With Bhanu finally out of the picture, you’d think there would be some optimism moving forward, but nope, it’s all suffering all the time. No flint, no fire, and no hope. They’re ready to call themselves the worst tribe in history (only if history starts at Season 11, I guess), and instead of coming together, they’re already playing individually.

The following morning, Q goes to Kenzie and says he’s throwing in the towel if they lose again. He’s checked out, his spirits are crushed, and he’s ready to go. But little does Kenzie know that Q’s gunning for an Oscar here because Q isn’t quitting, far from it.


Q’s been through the pits on Yanu, but he’s ready to move forward with Tiffany to the merge. And that means keeping Kenzie feeling secure so they can blindside her after an inevitable fifth immunity loss. Tiffany is conflicted about the plan, though, feeling nervous about turning on either one of her allies when she’d rather just start winning and go to the merge as a lock-step trio.

On Siga, Ben’s dealing with the pains of island life, but his best buddy Charlie is there to make it worth his while. The music lovers have grown close in the past ten days… too close, perhaps. Once the women realize what’s going on, they start to shift the target from obvious outsider Tim to rock star Ben. It’s up in the air as to which one actually goes should Siga lose, but the targets have been locked in.

But Siga continues to be the good vibes kumbaya tribe, and everyone takes some salsa lessons from Maria as Charlie spells out the dynamics as he views them. Nothing has changed since the game began. He and Maria are still in the middle between the guys and gals, and the tightrope they’re walking is going to get dicey if they have to make up their minds and pick a side.


The good vibes won’t hold forever, though. Tim’s starting to lose his marbles a bit and talks to the immunity idol about needing to poop. Just some fun and games. And then he starts calling shots. Less fun for the players but more fun for us at home. He says someone moved the Beware Advantage and set them up to dig for three days straight. Correct!

He tells Jem this wild goose chase was because of her. Also correct! And then he goes and clocks the women’s alliance and tells Jem she’s probably the leader. Three in a row! Jem’s pissed about her game being clocked and tries to keep her cards close to her chest, swearing one of the guys will be leaving if Siga can’t win again.

On Nami, it’s an idol hunting party for everyone except Liz, who just sleeps in and lets the others have their fun. Venus is on the prowl, and not to find the idol herself. No, she just wants to make sure Hunter doesn’t find it without her around to spoil his fun and spill the beans.


But she’s going to pass the time with some game chat, which amounts to calling Hunter the biggest threat and a potential meat shield at the merge. Not very savvy, but Venus is respectably honest and saying what everyone is thinking at least. Once Venus leaves, Hunter goes back into hunting mode and finds the Beware Advantage and respective locked box. Same rules apply as before, but with Nami sweeping challenges, odds are we’ll get to see the back-up instructions come into play this time.

At the immunity challenge, Probst drags Yanu’s name through the mud without any remorse. Everyone expects them to set the New Era immunity loss record, and it seems they’ll do just that after some early setbacks, but in a close shave against Siga after Nami sweeps yet again, Yanu miraculously manages to get their first immunity win in glorious slow-motion fashion. They get flint, they get pastries, and they get a night off to relax for the first time this season.

But Probst isn’t done with these tribes because there’s a Journey to be taken. Hunter, Tim, and Q opt to go, and waiting for them on Advantage Island is a challenge only one of them can play. Thank the Survivor gods, the decision to compete was left in their hands this time, as Tim wants to keep his vote secure for Tribal, and Q is happy to walk away with some new allies, hoping these physical threats can bring in Tevin, Maria, and Tiffany to form a strong six at the merge.


That leaves Hunter to take on a memory game for the most nerdy Survivor super fans: arranging a few season logos in chronological order, featuring a mix of seasons both beloved and hardly remembered just to add a bit more of a challenge. For the super fan who knows seasons by number and spends an absurd amount of time memorizing the most random details, this should be a free win. But Hunter is not that kind of fan. He watched the seasons out of order going by his roommate’s list of favorites, and so he fails, losing his vote right before the merge. Sucks for him, but at least he’s got an idol on the way as a back-up plan if things go south.

But tonight is Siga’s night, and let’s summarize what’s going down. Maria won an extra vote from strong-arming Jelinsky, and everyone knows it. Ben lost his vote on the Journey with Bhanu, but nobody else knows it. Jem digs up her idol after a mathematical treasure hunt, so she’s got her vote back. On top of that, people think Tim has an idol and potentially more power after his Journey with the guys. And there’s always the Shot in the Dark to wreak havoc in a worst-case scenario.

Strategically though, the vote is pretty simple. Charlie and the women split between Tim and Ben, and if Tim plays the idol he doesn’t have or finds a way to save himself, Ben goes home. But Charlie isn’t happy about any of this. Putting his friend in the firing line when there are so many more song naming battles to be had just doesn’t sit right with the guy. And Ben himself isn’t just sitting back and crossing his fingers either.


When Jem tries strong-arming the tribe with a machete in her hands for added intimidation, Ben whips out his trusty hammer to jokingly fight back. But behind the comedy routine, he’s ready to strike. Even without his vote, he can still target Jem if Tim, Charlie, and Maria join his plan. So, Charlie and Maria finally find themselves at the crossroads of fate: side with the men and leave Moriah upset… or side with the women and leave Tim or Ben upset? Jem is loyal to the four, but Charlie is fighting for Ben to stay as a long-term shield at the merge. Either way, the salsa dancing days are over.

At Tribal, Siga decides to drop the company retreat energy. It’s time to play, and what better way to kick off their entry to the season than by totally blindsiding Jem with an idol in her pocket? Maria even plays her extra vote too… for some reason. Perhaps a bit of a waste since they only needed three votes here, but I’m interested to hear her thought process. Was this a plan to flush her own public advantage and keep her threat level low while building credit with her alliance? Was she putting stock in four votes as added insurance in case someone flipped? We’ll just have to wait and see.


But down goes Jem, easily the biggest player on Siga and, honestly, the only reason they had any notable content these past couple of weeks. On a tribe of people singing songs, salsa dancing, and treating the water well like a community tavern, she was willing to play hard and cut some throats. Too bad she never got the chance to do that. What a bummer.

And with that, we’re heading into the merge next week! With Yanu down in numbers, will they be able to pull a Tika Three and skate by to claim some power? What will the newly awakened Siga Tribe do now that they’re beyond their salsa dancing days? And with Nami yet to visit Tribal, are we in for a total implosion on their part as rivals see the chance to strike?

Written by

Cory Gage

Cory is a writer and student from Texas. He's a die-hard Survivor fanatic who's seen over 50 seasons worldwide, hosted his own season in high school from scratch, and hopes to one day compete on the show himself.

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