The pre-merge part of the game is almost over, but the twists and turns of Survivor SA are in full effect.
After Thoriso’s devastating elimination, Masu 2.0 is down to only five members. Knowing he’s on the outs, Felix concedes that though he’d like to get even, he needs to proceed more carefully with his next steps, as other players have made mistakes that cost them their games in the name of revenge. However, Felix is unwilling to go down without a fight, and he later gets reassurance from Toni & Tejan that they would target Killarney over him if they were to lose the next immunity challenge. Despite this, Felix says he doesn’t trust Tejan as far as he can throw him (not verbatim, but that’s basically his point) and that once he gets to the merge, “the gloves will come off.”
On Yontau, while Phil and Dino are fighting to survive, Dante confesses to Meryl and Marian about the Outpost idol he found (but doesn’t tell them it’s invalid). Still, he manages to alienate both further as he forcefully tells Meryl to talk to Dino about his encounter with Toni at the previous challenge. Dante assures them that if Dino scrambles, it means he doesn’t have anything to save him; otherwise, it must mean he has an advantage.
Meryl knows Dante is somewhat abrasive and doesn’t take their conversation personally, but states that his attitude is forcing others not to want to work with him anymore and that her limit with him is the upcoming merge. Meanwhile, Palesa feels content knowing that she has successfully infiltrated herself into the majority alliance, as Dante keeps relaying vital information to her, and Marian hatches a plan to pass off her Diplomatic Immunity to Steffi inside her water bottle if Steffi needs it.
At the challenge, another twist emerges as Nico shocks everyone when he explains that both tribes will attend tribal and both tribes will cast a vote for a member of the losing tribe. Nico mentions that the last two people from each tribe will also get to go to the Outpost. Felix falls first, and Dante falls soon after to join his not-so-secret ally to strategize as the challenge continues. I laughed out loud when Shane joined them, and after Dante asked, “If we lose, who are we going for?” Shane assuredly replied, “Dante… I mean Dino.” I think Dante had to restrain himself from pushing Shane off the bench after that.
Following what looked to be a very painful yet funny challenge where the players sang ‘head, shoulders, knees, and toes” and then fell to the water, the Masu tribe snags immunity, with Phil and Toni being the last members of their tribes to fall. Before he drops, though, Phil makes a deal with Toni, Steffi, and Tejan that they would back him up during the next tribal. Also, Marian decides to use her Diplomatic Immunity for herself and swaps to the Masu tribe, marking her safe for the upcoming tribal.
Dino, Palesa, and Meryl discuss Marian switching tribes, with Meryl later saying in her confessional that Marian has placed herself in a key position to collect information for their alliance. On the other hand, as Tejan tries to celebrate that Masu has practically made the merge, Steffi is dissatisfied that Marian is with them, as she feels that she won’t be able to manoeuvre around as she pleases. However, Steffi does share some info with Marian, though Marian is oblivious to Steffi’s true feelings.
Though Marian notices Masu’s discomfort regarding her decision, she states that she doesn’t regret her move and later approaches Felix to know if the votes are going against Dino or Phil. Unbeknownst to Marian, Felix has an alliance with Phil and Dino called the “No B.S. Alliance,” but as Dante is his closest ally, Felix knows that it’s time to pick a side.
As soon as Yontau gets to camp, Dante and Shane start scrambling to get the votes against Dino and Phi; they also decide to look for another idol in case Phil comes back from the Outpost with an advantage (Dante knows he’s in danger as well as he only has an expired idol). Meryl confesses to Dino that she feels vulnerable with Marian at Masu and isn’t comfortable working with Dante anymore, as she feels he’s too volatile. Dino also wants to make the most of this opportunity and separately discusses different options with Meryl and Palesa.
Meanwhile, Toni and Phil arrive at the Outpost and receive a note explaining that if both can correctly predict who gets voted out at the next tribal, each will get half of an immunity idol that only works with both pieces together. After Toni spills the beans regarding what has been going on since the beginning of the game, they come up with the following plan: Phil, Palesa, Dino, and Toni vote for Dante; Tejan, Killarney, Steffi, and Felix vote for Shane, deciding to write down Shane’s name (and a little heart) as the primary target.
The episode ends with Phil explaining that he wants to make Shane feel as comfortable as possible so he doesn’t know he’s the target and goes looking for an idol. Though since its Survivor and no one should ever feel too safe, Shane is already on the lookout and encounters a red string on his way. With frantic music in the background, Shane follows it along, and as he reaches the string’s end, he finds a mysterious wrapped item. He lastly expresses to the camera while looking satisfied, “I found it.” Cue the next episode’s clips.
I have to say that the last scene seems ominous of chaos, and as @Ryan_Kaiser mentioned on Twitter, it’s very reminiscent of when Voldemort found the Elder wand in Harry Potter the Deathly Hallows. This analogy seems to be spot on, and though Shane is not as evil (yet?) as Voldemort, he’s shown that he’s out there for himself and will do whatever is necessary to win.
With merge right around the corner, it remains to be seen who will be able to get there and who will be, unfortunately, the next one blindsided right before the next phase of the game kicks in. At this point, it’s still anyone’s game.