Tribe swaps are known to bring many unforeseen obstacles to even the best player’s games, and this one was no exception. Well-positioned players like Dino and Phil found themselves vastly outnumbered, while Tejan and Toni had new opportunities falling into their lap. We’ve seen moments like this before, but no one could have foreseen the emotional weight the immunity challenge held on all of its players or the gripping conclusions that both tribes faced.
On the flip side, it’s times like this where contestants realize just how strong they are, as Marian eloquently explained. This cast is here to win and continues to pull out all the stops to do so. Even though we may have lost Shona this episode in a way I never saw coming, there’s still so much game to be played, and I can’t help but be excited for every second we get.
And the Game Plays On…
The last episode ended on a pretty grueling cliffhanger, where Shona is taken out of the challenge after her collision with Pinty. Nico makes it clear that Shona is not officially out of the game, but the immunity challenge must go on. With that, the remaining players give their all in a sudden death match, winners-take-all. Everyone gives the challenge all they can (and for some, more than they could possibly imagine), but Masu comes out on top when Toni scores the winning point.
Masu’s ecstatic to have their first win as a new tribe, but it’s clear that everyone is mentally and physically drained. Both sides pushed themselves to the limit, but only Masu has anything to show for it. Now Yontau is potentially down a player and has a date with Nico at tribal council.
Just because Masu won immunity doesn’t mean they’re taking a break from the game. It’s always nice to start off a new tribe with a win, but for players like Thoriso, this time is crucial for securing your place within the tribe. Her answer for navigating new Yontau comes to her in the form of Tejan, to whom she proposes a final four alliance of them, Felix, and Toni. Is it a perfect plan? No, especially since Felix makes it clear that he was not asked about it beforehand, but it’s looking more and more like it could be these four players’ best shot at making it anywhere near the final four.
As it turns out, this isn’t Tejan and Toni’s only option. Killarney has secured a solid bond with Steffi and wants to move forward with her and the other original Masu members after being left out of the core alliance on Yontau. Tejan admits that this is a path they are also considering, but I’m hesitant to think this would benefit them so long as The Breakfast Club remains intact. Not to mention that unbeknownst to them, Steffi has an idol, so do they really want to give her more power? I’m not so sure this can work in Tejan and Toni’s favor, but stranger things have happened.
Masu 2.0 is shaping up to be a very complex tribe, and while I don’t want to part with their members any time soon, I’m intrigued to see how their first tribal council turns out. Despite them being down in the numbers, I don’t think we’ll see any post-mergers going first. While I was once incredibly optimistic about the pre-merger’s winning chances, these recent developments have me worried on their behalf.
So, What’s the Plan?
With Dino and Phil being the only two pre-mergers confirmed to be attending tribal council, things aren’t looking great for them. It looks like Dante will finally get his wish and be able to vote out Dino, who he believes to be the biggest threat in the game. While it’s obvious that this is what he wants, it’s not necessarily what his alliance wants. Shane has made it abundantly clear he doesn’t care, but Marian and Meryl are adamant about voting out Shona first if she is still in the game. So they compromise by splitting the vote between Dino and Shona, with Shona being the one to go if she doesn’t play an idol.
Given that Dino has eyes and ears, he knows that Dante is gunning for him and has been for some time. If he has any hope of surviving the round, he has to find an idol. By the grace of the Survivor gods, that’s just what he does, putting his plan to blindside Dante into full effect. He and Phil anticipate them splitting the votes and pull in Palesa to give them the information they need to survive the night. There’s just one problem… for this plan to work, they need Shona.
In between everyone’s scheming and plotting, the question of Shona’s current status in the game remains hanging over everyone’s heads. For Meryl and Marian, voting out Dino is only the last resort option if Shona doesn’t make it to tribal. For Dino and Phil, the plan to blindside Dante rests heavily on whether Shona will be there to vote with them. Finally, before they’re supposed to head to tribal, Nico arrives and delivers the good news. Shona is fine and medically cleared to return to the game, which means the vote has been postponed until the next night.
This delay gives everyone a little more time to flesh out their plans, for better or for worse. The post-merges finally agree to split their votes as intended between Shona and Dino. The pre-mergers plan on using Shona’s fake idol planted at tribal to scare the majority into voting for Dino, which he will nullify with his actual idol. The only way the pre-mergers plan can go through is if they trust Palesa and each other. That can’t be too hard, right?
The Pre-merger’s Last Stand
Everyone is on a mission going into tribal. The Breakfast Club plans on voting out Shona, the pre-mergers plan on voting out Dante, and Palesa plans on voting for Dino to ensure Dante goes home. It’s a genius plan… only it doesn’t pull through. Dino does play his idol, and Palesa does vote for Dino, like she said. The Breakfast Club is shocked to learn that Dino had an idol, just as Palesa said they would be.
However, Shona never brings up her fake idol, which prevents the split from changing. But still, with three votes against Dino nullified, it would only take Shona, Dino, and Phil’s votes to send Dante home. Yet, in the most shocking decision of all, Phil votes for Shona as insurance for himself, and Shona is voted out of the game as a result. Now Dino and Phil are without an idol and without a way to combat the numbers disadvantage they find themselves in.
Between the blindsides of Tevin and Seamus and Dino’s plan falling through, week two of Survivor SA: Return of the Outcasts surprised their viewers in more ways than one. With the current state of the new tribes, I’m confident that next week will surely bring some shocking moments of its own.
How will Masu navigate their first vote, assuming they lose a challenge? Will Dante be on his pedestal for much longer? Will anyone from The Breakfast Club turn on their own? I believe we will get the answers to all of these questions next week, along with the endless entertainment that Survivor SA has always been known to bring.