After going so long without any new Survivor, any new episodes feel like a blessing. Survivior SA: Immunity Island has gone above and beyond this call, continuously exceeding our expectations throughout the pre-merge. This episode was no exception. In any other season, a tribe’s hierarchy would have a life expectancy of at least a few cycles, and in some cases, the whole game. This is not so with Season 8, with Zamba once again challenging their own hierarchy.
In a matter of two votes, Paul and Chappies went from outsiders to changemakers after flipping on their original tribemates to vote out Mike. To them, it was a flawless vote that secured them a solid position in the game. Despite Santoni insisting that voting out Mike was a way to unite the tribe, Wardah and Carla know that this means their days are likely numbered if they are to lose again.
Paul and Chappies know this too, but it appears that they didn’t learn their lesson from when Pinty was blindsided. With a total of one vote going how they wanted, the duo believes they now have everything figured out. Chappies himself says that it will take a miracle for Wardah and Carla to make it through the next Tribal, something they had coming since they lied first. The pair are reveling in how the tables have turned, forgetting so easily how quickly things can and have changed.
This is just the start of Zamba’s troubles this episode. Since Amy lost her challenge on Immunity Island, Vuna will now get to raid their camp. Only she doesn’t tell her tribemates the whole truth, fabricating how she won her challenge, with her prize being that she was warned ahead of time of Vuna’s raid. It’s a flimsy story that no one really believes, but at least it does give Zamba some time to hide their reward items (most notably, burying their machete).
Unfortunately for Amy, she is caught in the lie when Dino and Anesu come to raid Zamba, with the tree mail message specifically saying that she actually lost the challenge, which resulted in the other tribe raiding their camp. Dino and Anesu leave with the machete and some comfort items, but they are also leaving with something even more valuable, and that’s information. As they arrive back to Vuna, everyone is told of how Paul and Chappies flipped to vote out Mike. After hearing about the absolute mess that Zamba is shaping up to be, Vuna feels more united than ever.
For the drama of it all, I wish I could say this leads to an epic downfall for Vuna, but that will likely have to wait for another episode. While Zamba continues to fall apart, Vuna just gets stronger. Marisha shines in the reward challenge, where she and Dino beat Wardah and Chappies to win a trip to the FreshStop Survivor Shop to select food for their tribe. Now morale is even higher around camp, combined with the fact they haven’t had to vote someone off yet.
Meanwhile, Zamba just can’t catch a break. Shaun gets an allergic reaction, one bad enough to require him to sit out the next immunity challenge. The other issue is that Paul is continuing to eat everything around camp. Paul clearly hasn’t learned about the importance of Banana Etiquette on Survivor, meaning that if you grab some food, you offer your tribemates food as well. His attitude, in general, is getting on everyone’s nerves, especially Carla and Wardah, whose relationship with Paul and Chappies is becoming more strained by the hour.
Paul thinks he’s in a safe no matter what, but Santoni has bigger plans in mind. She’s in between two pairs that are at complete odds with each other: Paul & Chappies and Carla & Wardah. Both sides believe that Santoni is with them, and both believe she will do whatever they want. Santoni’s long-term plan is to take out the pairs in the game so that she will become a priority to them. It’s a perfect blend of personal and strategic gameplay that I love to see in Survivor players, and an important reminder to players that Survivor is always, at the end of the day, a social game.
To the surprise of no one, Zamba loses the immunity challenge after the men don’t take the women’s advice on how to finish the puzzle. I’m not joking; that’s exactly what happened here. Now there are two ways that the upcoming vote can go. They can either go the expected route and take out either Carla or Wardah, or they can flip the vote back on Paul and Chappies while they still have the adversaries to do so.
Wardah and Carla are decided on voting Paul out. Similarly, Chappies and Paul want to vote out Wardah after Carla is sent to Immunity Island. But, for the first time all game, Carla chooses the “Give Up & Go” option, meaning that she gets to keep her vote but gives up immunity to do so. She knows this is a risk to her place in the game, but she wants to make a bold move here.
Carla takes the immunity idol back to camp with her and says that she gets to keep the idol for herself. Santoni and Amy, despite knowing that this isn’t true, keep this knowledge to themselves. Chappies even has Santoni’s parchment from when she went to Immunity Island, which states that she can only bequeath the necklace to someone else. Shockingly, this doesn’t really do anything to change people’s minds on how to vote, but it’s still a bold move to make nonetheless.
The women are the true stars of this episode, from Marisha killing the reward challenge to Santoni’s intriguing strategy. It all culminates at Tribal Council, where Wardah puts it best—misogyny is what lost them the challenge. The men were getting the puzzle portion wrong, and they weren’t listening to the women’s advice on how to fix it. Paul and Chappies push back on this idea, which only serves to further prove Wardah’s point.
There are so many factors that could’ve come into play regarding the vote. There was Amy’s lie revolving around the camp raid, Shaun being out of commission for the challenge, and Carla’s lie about the fake immunity idol. At the end of the day, it’s how Paul was treating his tribemates that sealed his fate, and he is voted out 5-2-1.
This Tribal was tense, to say the least. We always say that Survivor is a microcosm of the world we live in, and the world we live in regularly underestimates women. That is a mistake in real life, and it’s certainly a mistake for anyone in this season. Everyone is here to play, and they’re here to play hard. No matter what you think the hierarchy is, the fact of the matter is that no one is truly safe in a game that relies on lies and deceit.
Based on the preview for next week, it seems like Vuna may start to have their own little dose of chaos too. They’ve been on a winning streak, but all good things must come to an end. If getting rid of Paul truly was the right move for Zamba, this might be the turning point for both tribes, for better or for worse.