Survivor UK continues its post-merge redemption tour with easily the best episode of the season so far. Finally, the players are playing and thinking beyond the most straightforward moves. After all the talk of “putting in a big shift” during the immunity challenge, this episode as a whole was a big shift, not just in terms of tribe dynamics but in showing what this show can truly be.
Following Ashleigh’s vote out at the last tribal council, Chris returned to camp feeling like the odd man out. And, well, the rest of his tribemates didn’t do much to convince him otherwise. Well, except for Doug, who lent him a comforting shoulder; ironic, given how things turned out by the end of the episode. Chris did his best to clear the air and build bridges, but nobody seemed interested in what he had to say.
Meanwhile, Tinuke was celebrating the Caletonian takeover of the old La Nena beach. Despite entering the merge outnumbered, the former Caleton members now hold a 5-4 majority over the original La Nenans and show no signs of slowing down. And, as Tinuke and Matt both put it, the La Nenans are too much at war with each other to realize what is happening around them.
Back to Chris, he had an afternoon of relief after leading his team to a reward challenge win. Chris, along with Tinuke, Matt, Doug, and Pegleg, were whisked to a separate beach to enjoy a feast of fish and chips, a true British staple. Between mouthfuls of batter and curry sauce, Chris again offered an olive branch, hoping to put the past behind him and move forward with his fellow tribemates.
While Tinuke showed no interest in working with Chris, she did decide he was no longer a primary threat. Instead, with everyone’s eyes focused on Chris, she saw an opportunity to strike at a much bigger target… Doug. She first broached the idea with Nathan, telling him the old Caleton members could put their five votes on Doug, blindsiding him at the next tribal. Nathan was on board, and soon, Matt and Leilani followed.
The Caletons just had to ensure Doug or the fake target, Chris, didn’t win immunity. Luckily for them, they didn’t. In the classic hold onto the pole challenge, Doug and Chris both struggled to adjust and had no choice but to drop. Also, I’m not the only one who thought of Dee when Jole mentioned “big toe strength,” am I? Ultimately, Tinuke tip-toed away with the immunity necklace, adding another achievement to a stellar episode for her game.
Back at camp, the old La Nenas remained absolutely clueless about what was happening. They were deadset on voting for Chris and believed everyone was on the same page. Even when Chris approached them about voting together and using a fake idol to disrupt the Caletons, they basically shrugged him away. Doug even clued the Caletonians in on Chris’ fake idol scheme.
Chris deserves credit for fighting. His plans were a little rough around the edges, but at least he was trying. Sometimes, that’s all you can ask for from a Survivor player. In addition to his fake idol plot, he also intended to use his extra vote, hoping that he’d be able to take out Leilani, on the thinking his OG La Nenans would vote with him.
But a much bigger plan was already in motion, and there was nothing Chris could do to stop it, not with having to rely on the immovable Hannah and Pegleg, who were convinced everyone was voting for Chris. Even Doug, who has been one of the more astute players on the season, was a step behind this episode. He should have known things on Survivor never go this easy.
At tribal, Tinuke’s plan came to fruition, with five votes landing on Doug, enough to send him packing in the season’s biggest blindside so far. It left the jurors shocked and the La Nenas dumbfounded. Unlike spoilsport Lee, Doug took the elimination in good spirits, complimenting his fellow players on a perfectly executed blindside.
Hopefully, a move such as this will lead to a significant shift in the game. It should be a wake-up call to those still dragging their feet. Leilani said she’d finally entered the “game arena” in this episode, and I’m hoping Doug’s blindside will get the other fence-sitters in there, too. Survivor UK has improved big time since the merge, and if it can keep up this pace, we could be in for an exciting endgame.