Last week, I wrote about how Tribal Council forces players to show their cards. When a team goes a long period without voting someone out, it allows them to form social connections without the stress of betraying them. This is far from a profound revelation, but the fact remains that the second edition of Vuna has not gone to Tribal yet and have been reaping the rewards of it for some time. That all changes here, where both tribes will be put to the test.
On Vuna’s tribe of nine, Tyson, Kiran, and Anesu remain the obvious picks to go next. They’re being excluded from the strategic conversations and are the only three original Vuna members. Despite knowing their odds, they aren’t giving up. The trio has been working on bringing in clear outsider Thoriso to the fold. In an attempt to build trust, they tell her that Tyson has the idol. Thoriso is then able to use the idol parchment to trick Dino and Renier into thinking she has it, a revelation that puts them falsely more at ease.
Of course, in this season, even the simplest of plans can become convoluted, and that’s exactly what happens here. The immunity challenge comes early, and for good reason, because Nico announces that both tribes will be heading to Tribal. The challenge is to balance a bowl of rice on your head while standing on a narrow beam, only this time the players will get to choose whether they want to play for a trip to Immunity Island or a food reward for their tribe (and some extra food and beer for themselves). Shockingly, only Thoriso and Anesu decide to play for Immunity Island.
Thoriso falls off immediately, meaning Anesu wins the trip to Immunity Island. With that out of the way, we have plenty of time to focus on those competing for the food reward. But that’s not the real focus here. The positioning of each balance beam allows former tribemates to talk to one another for the first time in days, exchanging plans and the status of their tribes. Based on what we hear, it seems like Chappies and Thoriso are in imminent danger. Soon enough, the food reward comes down to Nicole and Tyson, with Tyson eventually losing his balance and Nicole securing an individual win and a request for a pina colada to replace her beer reward.
While both tribes go back to camp to strategize, Anesu has her ticket to Immunity Island. She decides to go with “Stay & Play” and is tasked with memorizing a series of objects to duplicate them before the timer runs out. To little surprise, she succeeds in her task and is rewarded a Tribal Council Pass. This will be familiar to those that remember Jeremy Collins’ Safety Without Power advantage in Winners At War. With this pass, Anesu will be able to pick herself or someone else to leave a Tribal before the votes are cast.
Anesu’s thrilled, and she should be. This pass couldn’t have been awarded to a person that needed it more. While she’s safe for this round, it’s clear she and her allies Kiran and Tyson are thinking long-term, even while on the chopping block. With Tyson having an idol and Anesu with a Tribal Council pass, things are beginning to look up for the Vuna minority.
Back at Vuna’s camp, Tyson and Kiran are putting in the work to find cracks in the original Zamba members’ foundation. Honestly, they don’t have to look too far because even what should be a simple vote has everyone scrambling. Marisha and Nicole are ready to vote Thoriso out, but Renier and Dino still want to go Zamba strong and are relying on Thoriso’s nonexistent idol to do so. They suggest splitting the votes between Tyson and Kiran, but low and behold, another outsider, Qiean, spills that plan to Tyson.
Now that Tyson has established a level of trust with Thoriso, he tells her what he heard the new plan was. Now, Thoriso should’ve kept this news to herself, but instead, she decides to go and confront Dino about it. To add insult to injury, she specifically threw out Tyson’s name as the source of the information. Tyson and Kiran take this to be an act of betrayal. Thoriso is playing too much of an individual game for their liking, and because of this, they can no longer trust her.
Now the pair is forced to regroup, and they both make some very risky choices in order to set them up for the long-term game. They want to build trust with their tribemates, even if that means going back on their original plan. First, Tyson tells Renier that he has the idol, since Renier is someone that he made a solid connection with. Then, Kiran proposes that they split the votes on Tyson and Thoriso, secretly knowing that Tyson will play his idol. As additional insurance to the tribe that they aren’t trying to pull a fast one on them, Kiran says that they can even throw two votes on him, since he’s confident this plan will work.
This is an incredibly risky move that reaps excellent reward for both sides if they both trust one another. It could allow them to move forward as a tribe, or it could damage them beyond repair. For this plan to come together, both sides need to put full trust in each other, which is why it makes sense for Kiran, who doesn’t have as many options, to put himself out there to be voted out.
We spend less time with Zamba, but this is only to be expected considering how well-versed they are at Tribal. They’re all sick of voting people out and just want an easy vote this round. But this is Zamba we’re talking about, and the last thing they’re known for is going with the easy vote. So while the easy vote would be Chappies, things get thrown for an unexpected curveball when Carla suggests Santoni, whose double agent game is getting old for her.
From Carla’s perspective, she, Wardah, Shaun, and Amy are definitely voting together. It’s safe to say Amy does not share that same sentiment, considering how quickly she informs Santoni and Anela about how Carla threw out her name. As a result, the target immediately shifts from Chappies to Carla. After Santoni covered for Carla last round with the Immunity Island lie, she’s justifiably aggravated that one vote later, Carla’s hanging her out to dry.
Santoni has shined as a strategic powerhouse so far, but her past relationships are definitely coming into play here. Throughout the pre-merge, Santoni has been keeping it in the back of her head that her original tribemates, save for Chappies, weren’t nice to her in the game until she had some power. Now that she does have a lot of sway, she’s making the most of it.
Vuna’s Tribal is proof that with this group, the game is never turned off. As players are answering Nico’s questions, Tyson is encouraging those around him to vote for him. Kiran outright declares that he’s the contingency plan in this scheme, but he’s confident that he won’t go out. Famous last words for some, but tonight, he’s right. After the votes are cast, Tyson plays his idol, negating 4 votes against him. Only Marisha voted for Kiran, meaning Tyson and Kiran’s 2 votes for Thoriso are enough to oust her from the game.
As part of their reward win, Vuna gets to sit in on Zamba’s Tribal while they eat (Nicole gets her pina colada too, for those that were wondering). Shaun’s antics from in the first Tribal come back full force here, with him declaring the other tribe the enemy and referring to them as the future jury members. The other Zamba members take a more reserved approach by focusing on the vote at hand. I’m not sure if Carla knew how much danger she was in at this point, but this vote is much more somber than the first one. Only Wardah stands by Carla, holding her hand as the votes are being read. Carla is voted out 4-2, and we lose two fantastic characters in one episode.
On the surface, voting out Thoriso and Carla appear to be decisions made to unite their respective tribes. In reality, this will only move their targets onto other people, and the previews show there is no time to waste. Kiran is seeking revenge, and Santoni proclaims to have a new nemesis. Who are the unfortunate recipients of both players’ scorn? At this point, it could be anyone, and I’m sure the viewers will be entertained every step of the way.