With only a few days left in the game, this season’s gameplay is in overdrive. Alliances and promises are being broken left and right, and the remaining Salan members are now at the point where every decision or action is more crucial than ever. As the jury keeps expanding and the final seats are waiting to be filled, the remaining six players are up to show what they’re made of and if they have what it takes to make it to the end.
The episode begins with Marian talking to Dino, as the last tribal council didn’t go as expected since Tejan left rather than Felix after Shane switched his vote at the last second. Dino explains that a split vote was needed just in case something changed but points out that Phil took advantage of the situation. As Dino and Marian plan on targeting Phil, the latter questions Shane about how some people are missing from camp and are probably already gaming. Not too bothered by the situation, Shane rolls over and says that “he’s not that desperate.”
Phil then joins Dino and Marian to chat, but the tension between the three is too palpable even through the screen, with none being able to buy what the others are selling. The whole tribe is also shown comparing notes regarding the last vote, and all eyes are on Phil to be eliminated next.
Felix is still processing how the votes went, and Shane assures Felix that he can trust him. Unsurprisingly, Shane later expresses that though he has tried to wedge himself between Phil and Felix, he knows they would choose each other over him and declares that both are his targets. With Killarney (who is also starting to trust Shane) as his ideal final two and an already prepared speech under his arm, Shane also considers that he has a fair shot at winning the game.
The “No BS” alliance is practically extinct, as Felix sardonically says that trust is gone as the endgame is near. Phil and Dino keep reproaching each other for their respective decisions. They know that many miscommunications have hindered their trust, with Dino also feeling fed up with being the third wheel within the alliance. Like most alliances in Survivor, all three express in their confessionals that it’s time to go their separate ways.
Dino decides too that he will make the most out of everyone distrusting Phil and points out that by not micromanaging the upcoming tribe decisions and Shane and Killarney thinking they’re in the driving seat, he will have more room to get to the end. Phil wants to get rid of his ‘shields’ and get to the end of his own volition.
The strategic wheels are on with the arrival of tree mail, as it states that everyone will be paired up in the upcoming challenge. Felix knows he needs to be correctly paired up to have the proper discussions to further his game, but he doesn’t know how this will happen when he can’t even trust his own shadow. Marian wishes Phil and Felix are in different pairs, as she doesn’t want them to mend their broken bond. (Ironically, they end up together and even win, but I’m getting ahead of myself.)
At the reward challenge, Nico asks the players how they’re doing. Marian comments that they’re all on their reserve tanks by now, but they’re still playing hard. Though visibly exhausted, Dino giddily agrees with her as he’s noticeably living his best Survivor superfan life. Nico tells the tribe they’re playing for a luxurious spa reward consisting of massages, much-needed showers, and a delicious lunch. The pairs ended up being Dino and Marian, Shane and Killarney, and, as previously mentioned, the winners, Phil and Felix.
Now comes the tricky part. There’s Phil and Felix on one side, enjoying themselves at the spa and eating to their heart’s content while also wearing the appropriate spa robes. I said tricky as Phil is hard to understand with his mouth full, but he tells Felix not to stray again and that with Dino, they still have half the votes. Felix asks who’s next, and both half-heartedly agree on Shane. Despite the zen ambience, both sense that something is off, as Felix feels Phil is being sketchy while Phil is unhappy with Felix. (Marian got the second part of her wish, though, as it seems that the “No BS” bond is good as dead.)
On the other side, Shane, Dino, Marian, and Killarney are back at camp, starting to plan their next move. Dino offers his allegiance to the other three and places his upcoming Outpost visit as a guarantee that he’s with them. As he previously said, Dino outsources and asks Killarney to decide who’s the next immediate target due to her having a good read on the game (this is a bit debatable just because Killarney does aim for the target, but still seems a few steps behind.)
Killarney ultimately decides that this new group of four needs to go after Phil first for being a “selfish player.” Marian proceeds to check Phil’s bag and finds his hidden immunity idol. Dino questions why Phil’s idol looks different from other idols throughout the season and if it offers more than protection, which is only valid until the next vote.
Later that night, Phil tells Dino about the idol hidden in another attempt to keep the trust between them. However, this is not the first time Phil shares info after Dino already knows it, which is a kind of “a little too late” situation in Dino’s eyes. Dino suspects Phil plans to play the idol for Felix or himself while the other has individual immunity, perhaps eliminating him on the way. Phil also goes as far as to tell Dino that since no one knows about his idol, he will suspect Dino if the info is leaked. Dino then talks to Felix and tells him that both of them are good, unlike himself and Phil, but Felix secretly confesses that he doesn’t trust Dino either.
On day 32, Dino can finally use his “Save the Date” to visit the Outpost, where he’s given two rewards, an all-inclusive river safari stay for two, and an extra vote which can be used until there are five players left. Most importantly, this extra vote counts in the case of a revote. Dino knows the significance of these advantages, and if he plays it well, he has a final four guaranteed. Considering sharing this info with Marian, Dino returns to camp, carrying a bowl of fruit for everyone and a new trick up his sleeve.
The episode’s main focus was clearly the disintegration of the “No BS” alliance, with conversations between its members (upfront and in confessionals) demonstrating the diminished trust that remains amongst them. Even if they could work together for another vote, it’s just a means to an end. It’s just a matter of time before one pulls the trigger on the others, and as Felix said, “this is the beginning of the end of the road.”