SurvivorSurvivor: Cagayan

It Doesn’t Seem Fair

1- It Doesn't Seem Fair. Ouch![/caption]

In the recap, Jeff first told us once more that, with Brice out, Morgan lost her only ally and is all alone facing an alliance of 4.
We heard Morgan’s confessional: “There’s a huge possibility that I am the next to go. I just got to save myself.”

On the Brawn tribe, winning was becoming routine…but it couldn’t stop cracks from forming.
We see Sarah talking to Trish about getting Cliff out. We heard Trish’s answer: “I can do it, trust me.”

At the immunity challenge, the Brain tribe continued their custom of losing.
At Tribal council, we heard Jeff telling them that, at this rate, none of them would be there at the end.
(Spencer is the one shown)
We heard Tasha saying they had to choose between strength and loyalty.
Jeff told us that, in the end, they chose strength.
We saw Spencer hugging a smiling Tasha.


How often have we been told that Morgan is in danger?  It’s her own theme so I expect that she will be safe until she actually starts to feel safe!  I don’t see it happening any time soon. 

For the Brawn tribe, Trish gave us a big clue to the end of the episode when she told Sarah to trust her with the task of getting rid of Cliff. She didn’t miss but where will that leave her?

As for Luzon, Jeff loves to have an impact on the outcome so being the one to say that they were on the wrong track, that at this rate none of them would make it to the end was a nice way to introduce their come back.  That last image of a smiling Tasha being hugged by Spencer was a good indicator that the momentum was shifting after their last vote.

It Doesn’t Seem Fair.

Brain – Night 11

Returning to camp, we heard Kass saying: “It’s a sign, guys: Our fire is still going.”

I’ll say that is indeed a huge sign. This whole scene was quite revealing.

Spencer in confessional: “I couldn’t be happier right now to still be in the game. I thought I was going home today. This game changes like that. Now, I am rising back up. It’s a complete roller coaster ride and I’m just happy that I haven’t fallen off the roller coaster yet.”

Kass (solo): “It was a crazy tribal.  We had a last minute Tribal vote switch. It just hit me: We guarantee a loss if we keep J’Tia. If we go with Spencer, he kicks butt and I need to win. How my team has played this game is ridiculous. We are not the Brains tribe we are the “crap for Brains” tribe. Just a rolling log jam mess with a couple of nerds on top.”

Spencer then said: “This could be the final three. The only thing between us and that is two entire tribes.”
Tasha answered: “That’s it?  No problem, man!”


That certainly qualifies as an important scene. It will make for a very nice recap when those three make their way to the end.  I expect to see this moment replayed a few times including at the reunion.

The next morning, Tasha first read tree mail then had a confessional: “The decision to keep Spencer will be tested today. We keep saying that this is the best combination of people; this is the strongest tribe we have. Well, the rubber will meet the road today.  The Brain tribe has been through so much and if we come out with a victory, I think people will start thinking again about how strong this Brain tribe really is.”

Spencer called it the start of the come back.

The Reward Challenge … But first!

Jeff told everyone to drop their buffs and we saw what is called the opening credits these days.

Sarah had the first confessional after hearing the news: “Jeff said drop your buffs and my head just went (she looked down).  It took me probably 6 days to figure out who I could trust out here and now I have to start over again.”


Where'd the boobs go?

Where’d the boobs go?

Sarah had the first confessional after hearing the news: “Jeff said drop your buffs and my head just went (she looked down).  It took me probably 6 days to figure out who I could trust out here and now I have to start over again.”

The switch gave us the following line-ups:

– Nu Solana:  Tony, Cliff, Woo, Lindsey, Trish, Jefra and LJ
– Nu Aparri: Sarah, Jeremiah, Alexis, Morgan, Kass, Tasha and Spencer.

I must say that, if they wanted this to come down to Brawn vs. Brains this switch worked wonderfully well. By staying together, the three Brains have a shot at being the new Aitu 4, the Brawn tribe is still there practically at full strength to keep the rivalry going while the Beauty tribe is ready to be decimated.  As an added bonus, the player that wanted to throw a challenge to get rid of Cliff can’t hurt him anymore and will certainly not want to go to TC so quickly!  Some will call it karma, others punishment.  If the survivor gods wanted to make Sarah pay then they didn’t get the desired result considering how this episode will end!

Sarah told Jeff that she felt like the odd one out, that her entire tribe walked away from her.
Tasha said she was very happy, that they looked strong for the challenges.
Jefra told Jeff that it stinks being on the bottom but that they would be looking for cracks.
Cliff talked about the thought process where people will either look to stay with their original alliances or work to create new ones.

Even if the first round of the reward challenge was won by the new Aparri tribe with Tasha doing as good a job as Candice had in the Cook islands, the Solana Tribe won it easily with big Cliff playing the post as solidly as he did all those years in the NBA.  I mean, with a man that large, Aparri would have needed a crane to win.
The only fun comment during that challenge was Jeff`s admission that seeing LJ dragging Alexis “doesn’t seem fair.”
I also enjoyed hearing Cliff’s laugh when Spencer and Jeremiah were trying to move him.

Doughnuts Beat Sand

Doughnuts Beat Sand

Spencer in confessional: “It’s nice to upgrade from the moms to the hot girls but at the same time, it’s tough to keep losing. Every thing with the Brains seems to go wrong, some how some way.”

It seems the editors are already serving us some doubts about Spencer’s chances to reach the end game.  This confessional makes us think he will not heed LJ’s first episode advice and fall for Morgan, the hot girl, instead of sticking with Kass and Tasha. We strongly suspect that it won’t happen but what’s nice is that it probably gives Morgan a spot in the long run. She will have to be there when Spencer faces that “tough” decision.

Solana – Day 12

We heard a cheerful melody, the weather was nice, the birds were flying around and the New Solana tribe was ready to enjoy their reward.


I smiled when LJ mistook Cliff’s jacket for a second tarp!
It was also funny that we didn’t see any clues to the idol.  Why wasn’t Tony thinking about getting that clue, you ask?  Well the reward included doughnuts and there is this thing with cops…

LJ in confessional: “We won a challenge; good news. The reality is; bad news.  Jefra and I are outnumbered 5 to 2 by the Brawn tribe. (Note that the Beauty tribe wasn’t merely separated; the pairs were broken down also.)  I do have an idol that I can play, but that would only buy me a few more days and then I’m gone. So, my only hope is that they absorb me as a team member as opposed to a threat.”

Jefra wanted to know the Brawn members occupation and she guessed Lindsey’s correctly.  Trish was all surprised to hear that LJ was from Massachusetts.

Trish in confessional: “I find out that LJ is from Massachusetts which I never would have guessed, and I am too. That brings us a little connection, you know. I always thought that the Beauty tribe looked very high maintenance, but LJ is pretty laid back and he is easy going and you can tell that he’s a gentleman. He’s a Boston boy! That’s probably why I thought he was cute from afar without even knowing. I think LJ is a very handsome guy but I could be his mother. I’m not Mrs. Robinson, ha-ha!”

LJ had a confessional of his own in response: “When Trish said she was from Boston, it was a moment of beaming sunshine for me. We already have a connection and, if for whatever reason, I’m a draw for somebody a little bit older, that’s single and been through a lot of stuff, whether it’s the sex-appeal or whatever she is drawn to, I’m going to use it to save myself.”

Lindsey also reacted to the scene: “Trish totally exaggerates her laugh around guys and it makes me sick. You’re fifty years old; stop trying to get attention from 20 year old men, seriously.”

I think there had to be many viewers agreeing with Lindsey on this but I was wrong the last time I tried to read the reaction that most people had to these two.

 Cliff and Woo were happy with the switch

Cliff gave us his thoughts: “I feel good about the way things got mixed up today. I was able to keep 5 original members of my tribe. If we can keep moving forward with the people we have, we are in a great position.” Jokingly, he told Woo that he hated seeing Trish get a purple buff. He explained it to us: “My only concern now is Trish. I don’t know what is going on with her and LJ. I just really have to keep an eye on the two of them. It’s a must.”

Surprisingly, Woo didn’t warn Cliff about the plan to throw the previous challenge nor did he talk to Trish about getting back in the fold.  Throughout this episode, he acted as if he didn’t remember that he had been with Trish, Tony and Sarah against Cliff and Lindsey.  Cliff paid for it but Woo can blame himself for the mess he now faces. 

Aparri – Day 12

Sarah: “I’m the only original Aparri member on a tribe with three Brains and three Beauties. It’s definitely a scary position to be in because you don’t know who you can trust and who you can’t trust. That’s why I wanted to ask about, on Day 1, who took the clue or did they take the rice.”

She proceeded to tell everyone that they had two bags of rice because of Trish.

(Isn’t it convenient that the Brains, who had almost no rice left, got transferred to the tribe that had it in abundance?) 

That’s when Alexis realized she had been duped by Morgan who quickly told everyone she didn’t find that idol.

Morgan had a confessional: “Sarah sort of outed me when she said that Trish picked rice instead of the idol. I chose the clue and I kept it a secret the entire time. Hopefully, I can start fresh with this tribe and no one holds it against me.”

Alexis had a confessional of her own: “Morgan lied day 1 and it put a bigger flag, not that she didn’t have a 100 red flags already. It told me exactly what I wanted to know, to not trust her and never ally with her so I am going to protect myself and jump ship right away.”

This montage is exactly why I think that Morgan makes it far.  She could have had a fresh start or we could have been left thinking that she had found a good place because this scene didn’t have to be shown.  The editors included it to put her right back in danger but we didn’t hear what anyone but Alexis thought of that. It had been Sarah’s plan to find who she could trust but her confessional didn’t have the usual follow-up when her plan worked. We don’t know who Sarah will trust but we are led to believe that she will target Morgan.  I wouldn’t be so sure about that.  It was interesting to see Sarah continuing to get good confessionals, making her look smarter now that she isn’t under Tony’s powers.  This is a very good sign for her.  For Alexis, her plan to jump ship could very well be the thing that ends her story.

Alexis joined the former members of Luzon at the well, telling them that Jefra was her closest ally so that she was ready to align with them. 

Talking Too Much

Talking Too Much

 It was a scene that reminded me a lot of Redemption island where one of the big themes came from Rob who said newbies always reveal too much. We heard only Alexis making her pitch, the three former Luzons listening to it in silence.  Even during the voice over part of Spencer’s confessional, we saw Alexis rambling on, talking with her hands for emphasis, trying to sell herself.

Spencer had a confessional: “I think it’s really telling how fast and almost how desperately Alexis came up to us. Now that we see that Beauty is fracturing a little bit, it puts the Brains in a much better position. The fact that they are this divided shows that we can play them against each other.”  After listening to Alexis say that Jeremiah had already flipped twice and that Morgan lies and is very lazy, Spencer’s confessional continued: “The Beauty tribe is a very gossipy tribe. They are almost like High schoolers.  They are talking bad about each other, spreading rumors, sometimes right in front of each other.” Proving his point, Morgan was with everyone including Jeremiah when she gave them her thoughts on Alexis, saying that she always cuddled with LJ and shook her butt for him.  Spencer went on: “They seem to have so little social skills for a tribe that is supposed to be beautiful and social.”

If the opening segment gave us great confessionals by Kass and Tasha (especially when we heard Kass say she was there to win) there is no doubt who the stand-out is on this tribe. Spencer is shown as a very insightful player which is a very important trait to display in the winner.
Not to be forgotten, it was Jeremiah’s turn to rant on his team mates: “Morgan would backstab me in a minute.”  Asked if he was friends with Alexis, he confirmed that she was tight with LJ, not with him.  Jeremiah also proposed to be the Brains’ 4th.
(Note that Morgan was never seen proposing a deal. She is still shown as being alone)

Tasha then had a confessional: “As of now, the Brain tribe is in the best position possible. Initially, I thought we’d have to battle with the Beauties, but there is some dissention amongst the Beauty ranks. So we went from tragedy to what seems to be a triumph right now. Just when you think you are out of the game, things switch up and you’re back on top.”

There is less depth in this confessional than in Spencer’s. Tasha gives us plain narration instead getting into the psyche of the other players.  Even the last part of Tasha’s confessional applies more to Spencer’s story because he really was going out of the game.

Solana – Day 12

Trish and Jefra talked about the storm and how miserable they felt on that day when they took a walk to the water well. They used the time to scheme against Lindsey and Cliff.

Jefra had a confessional: “I was sitting so great before the switch and I was so solid in my position in the game but when it’s just LJ  and I with all the Brawn tribe basically, it’s a totally different feeling. When Trish told me about all the alliances and where she stood, it was pretty shocking because it happened very fast so, I am not going to count my chicken before they hatch but I think there could be a spot for LJ and I to squeeze in.”
She told Trish that she was tight with LJ.

Trish in confessional: “I started this game being very naive, but I started to realize that I have to start and do what I need to do to get to the top. From day one, I felt like I was at the bottom of the barrel but this just twisted the whole thing upside down.”

The scene ended when the two spotted Cliff coming to check out what was happening.  As they passed him, we heard Trish simply saying: “Excuse us.”

I’m not sure Cliff will ever excuse Trish for what she did!  What was interesting in this segment was the role reversal for Jefra. This Beauty didn’t talk too much but listened to Trish who, after showing what could be described as a schoolgirl crush on LJ started acting like Spencer’s High Schoolers, not wasting any time to talk bad about her old team.  It can’t be a good sign for her even if she got her way this round.

The Challenge.

It was the same as we saw in an early episode of China, the tribes having to use Jeff’s big log to bang a gong.
Trish sat out for Solana while Alexis won a game of rock-paper-scissors against Morgan to play in the challenge.
These were the interesting comments:
– It’s harder than it looks… You got to get that log up high.
– Aparri, changing their strategy with Jeremiah and Spencer in front and it’s working.
With the two tribes tied after the physical part, it was time for the Brains, led by Tasha, to shine.  Surprisingly, Aparri won immunity. A “huge victory for the underdogs” was how Jeff called it.

Back On Top

Back On Top

Tony couldn’t believe it: “How did that happen?”

Will Tony be equally surprised down the road when it’s his turn to go? I think we’ve been told that Tony will indeed fall victim to a huge blindside.


When Jeff gave the idol to the one who wanted it the most, Tasha, he noted that this was a huge change of pace for Tasha, Kass and Spencer.

We mustn’t forget who is important in the New Aparri tribe!

We heard Tony‘s confessional before they left the scene: “How could we lose that challenge? It was custom made for Brawn. Fortunately, we have the numbers. Let’s strike now. LJ’s a threat so he’s going home first.”


This seems to seal the deal for the Brawn members in this game, a game that does look like it’s custom made for the strong players.  Once more, we will see that Survival depends more on Brains than muscles. After all, Cirie already told us so many years ago.


Solana – Day 14


The scene started with the lizard. The animal imagery doesn’t seem to be very significant this season because we don’t see another pattern for that lizard besides just following the tribe going to TC.

LJ had the first confessional: “Entering that challenge, it was no problem. Brute force and there’s not even a question that we should have won that challenge, but unfortunately, we didn’t and it puts Jefra and I in a tough spot. Most likely, they  are going to try to get me to go home. So, unless something happens, I’m screwed.”

Cliff told us they could keep LJ for challenges but he didn’t like his connection with Trish. He added that she was playing with her emotiuons which leads to foolish things.
When he told Lindsey that they would eliminate LJ, Woo was quick to point out that he was just as good on land as him and 10 times better in the water.

Woo had a confessional: “The former Brawn team mates, we are in a good situation. Back at the old camp, we had some tensions, some issues here and there, but now it’s a whole new ball game. We have to  look at the big picture. What’s best for us is to get rid of LJ. Unfortunately, paranoia is rampant right now.”
Woo told Lindsey that they didn’t need to worry about Trish.

For all the good points Woo scored in the last few episodes, now we are presented with someone who is totally blind to the danger, even suffering from amnesia. How could he reduce a plan to throw a challenge to just another issue?

Trish and LJ talked on the beach, Trish reassuring him that he was in that “we” wanted Cliff out.  Trish confirmed that “we” meant her and Tony.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this talk happened later, closer to tribal Council once Tony had committed to the plan. If not then Trish was assuming a lot right here.

LJ had a confessional: “I talked to Trish and she said that she wanted to get rid of Cliff and I was shocked. Apparently, Trish and Tony don’t like Cliff and it just doesn’t make sense to me: You are up 5 to 2. You don’t need to talk about anything. Still, if what she says is true, I might not have to play my idol.”

After sealing the deal, Trish gave us her thoughts: “I play with my heart and I really like LJ. He’s a gentleman, he gets along with people, he never gives up. I mean; the guy’s got it all. But Cliff; he doesn’t do anything and 14 days of his entitlement is as much as my nervous system can handle so we are writing Cliff’s name down on the ballot and the best part is that Cliff does not have one single clue and it’s really cracking me up.”

She ended her confessional with her maniacal laugh again.  There is no doubt that Cliff wasn’t presented as someone that did nothing for the tribe.  For one thing, he was a huge part in winning the last reward.  If we see Cliff as a victim here then that means Trish is our latest “Villain”.  We can therefore expect to see her fall once she thinks she has it made.

Lindsey knew that Trish would screw them over but Woo wouldn’t listen.

We then saw Trish talking to Tony in a scene that probably took place just before she told LJ that he was in.  Reversing the order of the scenes serves two purposes here: We aren’t sure how Tony will vote which is important for this episode and we don’t see Tony as the one that went after Cliff which is good for his long term prospects.

Trish told Tony that Cliff would win each and every challenge after the merge. “He’s the first to go” she said, adding: “Then ding-a-ling goes right after.”

Tony gave us his confessional: “Trish pulls me to the side and she says that she wants to get rid of Cliff. We need to cut the head off the snake which is crazy. I don’t know if she’s bipolar or schizo, I don’t know what she is but there’s no reason to do this right now.  What we need to do is get rid of LJ.  He has the heart, he has the drive, he has the ambition, he has the strategic mind so he is dangerous.”

Tony told Trish that they had to be careful, that the joke could be on them.
Trish was confident that the joke wouldn’t be on them.

It seems that the joke will be on Trish that her heart will get broken by her fellow Bostonian, that he will not only outlast her but be instrumental in getting her voted out.  As for LJ himself, it’s always good to have positive comments from other players and Tony just gave us plenty of reasons to see LJ as a worthy Sole Survivor.  We will have to see how his story evolves but LJ now counts as a player that was sent to the bottom, that didn’t give up and has been given new life.  LJ’s story of going to the bottom and getting back up had a much shorter arc than those we’ve seen for Spencer, Kass or Morgan so it makes us think it won’t have the same long term significance but there was little else the editors could do to prolong it.  It’s possible that the theme was set by Spencer, Kass and Morgan to drive home LJ’s story. Therefore, he has to be considered a contender for the final victory. It still feels like his story has too many holes though.

Tony‘s confessional continued: “Here’s the deal: I don’t like Cliff, I didn’t trust him from the beginning because Cliff is a very influencal person and he wraps people around his finger which makes him a very dangerous person.  But, if we get rid of Cliff, I am putting all my cards on LJ. Do I trust him? Hell no! So, I don’t know what I am going to do.”

Confronted by Cliff about his talk with Trish, Tony lied, saying she wanted to make sure they were still solid.  The two men agreed that Trish could make a move if she wanted to but that it wouldn’t matter if she was alone making the move, that it was still four against three.

Et Tu, Brute?

Et Tu, Brute?

When Cliff said they needed stability, we had a close-up of the hatchet that was in Tony’s hands.  That image illustrated what was about to unfold at Tribal Council.

Cliff had another confessional telling us that they would eliminate Trish’s new support system and have her coming back groveling to her old tribe mates.

After talking to Jefra who wasn’t sure about Tony, LJ gave us the last confessional of the evening: “Trish is ready to flip but I don’t know about Tony. The reality is that I don’t have a choice so I am putting a boatload of trust into Trish and Tony thinking they are going to deliver tonight. If they start to spill their guts, I will know whether they are playing one big whole game to get me out of there and then I will play my idol if I need to.”

Tribal Council


Asked how it felt to be in the same camp but have all the new members coming in, LJ compared his and Jefra’s situation to a couple selling their home and waiting for the buyers to tell them to leave. He added it was both intimidating and uncomfortable.
Jeff asked Cliff if life had changed because they still had the numbers.
Cliff said it should be as simple as moving forward but that there was always one person that doesn’t feel comfortable about their position.  Cliff reduced it to a game of numbers.
Woo agreed with Cliff, saying you can’t let your emotions get the best of you.
Asked about loyalty, Trish said numbers were important if they were working in your favor.
(That seemed to unsettle Tony but Cliff took notes)
Jeff turned to Jefra saying that was their chance.
Jefra said it wasn’t only a game of numbers, that it was also about risks, that there was a bottom man on that 5.
Lindsey said they should simply stick together because it wasn’t 5 on 2 but their 5 against the other tribe eventually.
Asked if there was something good about coming to Tribal Council, Cliff answered in sports cliché: In the NBA playoffs, the series only start when you lose a game.
(Ha! But this is March Madness where you can be one and done!)
Tony told Jeff that the game was going to shift after the vote.

Woo voted  for LJ, saying that the last thing they need was for him to make the merge and reconnect with his Beauty tribe.
Jefra said she hoped everybody was sticking with the plan.
We didn’t see the name that Tony wrote but he said it wasn’t personal, just “strategical”.
After Jeff said it was time to play an idol, the pause seemed longer than usual. We saw LJ take a deep breath, making us wonder what he would do. Finally, he shook his head and remained seated so that the whole audience wondered if he was making the right choice in trusting Tony.

Jeff read the votes and we found ourselves in a 3-3 tie. Cliff didn’t seem surprised when he saw that third vote against him; he simply turned to Trish as if saying: I’ll get you next.
When Jeff revealed the last vote, Lindsey and Woo were both shocked while Tony moved forward in his seat, not wanting to miss any of Cliff’s last moments in the game.
While LJ showed his relief, Trish expressed her joy and Jefra said her thanks, Tony simply shook his head.
That was the look of the scorpion wondering why the frog trusted him.

Cliff wished them all luck and left.
Jeff told them that they entered the Council wondering where was the loyalty in the group and that they now had their answer.

The Story

At this time of year, everyone is trying to find the Cinderella that will fit in their brackets. Likewise, we are witnessing Survivor’s version of the Cinderella story once more.  The former Brains tribe is this season’s underdog that will make its way out of the bottom all the way to the top.  Survivor has often told this story with slight variations. Really, it goes all the way back to season 1 where, at first, Tagi looked mismatched against the youth and athleticism of Pagong.  We also had the Aitu 4, the Jalapao 3 and the Foa Foas overcoming their underdog status to see one of their own claim the prize. For that matter, every season that saw the tribes divided by gender saw the women either dominate or pull out the win in the end, proving they shouldn’t be underestimated.  They did let one victory slip through their fingers but that just gave us an even bigger underdog story. Other variations on the same theme included Chuay Gahn who looked too old and weak to compete against Sook Jay and Koror facing the brawn of Ulong even if that feeling didn’t last long.

This season, even after Jeff said that Brawn, Brains and Beauty were no more, the “random” swap kept active the battle between intelligence and muscles. For an unscripted show, they seem to follow the script quite often! With that being said, we still have a story to enjoy and that story showed us that Brains versus Brawn is now multiplied by 3!  Not only do we have the brains of New Aparri going against the muscles of the New Solana tribe but we have smart players inside each tribe running circles around the dumb ones. The original Aparris and Solanas are fractured while the battle-tested Luzons are sticking together with Spencer staying loyally by Tasha and Kass during the strategy talks with the High Schoolers from the Beauty tribe.  It could soon become more tangled than that however because some players are showing signs of understanding this game on both tribes.

The Characters

The Dumb Players

Woo: It what is becoming a habit, a player that looked smart the week before turned out to be the one making the biggest mistake this week. Woo had worked his way into the majority alliance of his tribe but he simply threw it away.  It reminded me of what we heard from Fiji where the Explorers forgot about their alliance once the tribes were divided while Earl’s Shelter Builders always remembered where everyone stood.  Woo knew that Lindsey and Cliff were outsiders within Aparri but he seemed to think that Tony and Trish would forget about their previous plan to eliminate Cliff.   He could have easily joined Trish and Tony in their schemes but his blind admiration for Cliff made him lose first his focus and soon the game.

Lindsey: She’s always been seen as a Dumb Player so this episode didn’t change our thoughts on her even if she was right to say that their biggest opponents were on the other tribe.  She had another moment where the audience could agree with her: Trish looked dumb when she flirted with LJ.

Jefra:  Were we suppose to see her as a smart player when she was able to guess Lindsey’s occupation?  I’m not sure if that scene had any significance but she was smart when she found a way to align with Trish, both women bonding over the miserable conditions they faced.  With LJ, she is part of Solana’s new smart players but her presentation since the premiere can’t make us overlook that she was lucky, that the original Aparris already were fractured and that it was LJ’s connection with Trish that put her in this nice position. She thanked God when Jeff read the 4th vote against Cliff and, while we could call it “divine” intervention, we wouldn’t use a capital G when talking about the Survivor “gods”.

Trish:  I’m sure many readers were expecting to see her on the smart players’ side even if Trish looked ridiculous playing the role of Mrs. Robinson. Mostly, what hurt her story is that we heard LJ say he was using her school girl crush to his advantage and Tony calling her bipolar and schizo.  We also saw that she was the talker, the one revealing all the inside scoop about her old tribe and talking bad about them just like the Beauties on the other tribe.   Calling Cliff worthless and Lindsey a ding-a-ling was just as bad as what Alexis. and Morgan said about each other.

Alexis:  The scene at the well told us all we needed to know about Alexis’ story.  She talked too much and was much too eager to flip.  A player should know that you never negotiate from a position of weakness so going against 3 opponents at once was a bad idea.  She should have approached one of the former Luzon players and started a discussion about their respective positions. She could have found some useful information to use later on instead of giving away all of her tribe’s secrets for free.

Jeremiah: We saw that, despite the three days that had elapsed since his previous Council, he still hadn’t repaired any of the damage caused by Morgan’s revelation.  He had to consider that Alexis would have a hard time trusting him and that Morgan, despite her anger, was still alone. A good social player would have gone to each individually to fix things.  To Alexis, he could have said that he never considered voting with Morgan and Brice, that he got close to them only to  learn what they were planning. To Morgan, he could have offered friendship. Her isolation could have brought her back to him.  Instead, like Alexis, he negotiated with Luzon from a position of weakness. His challenge abilities are the only thing that could save him if they go to the next TC. Luzon chose strength once before, they could do the same again.

Alone in the Middle:

Morgan:  Even if she was just as much the gossipy teenager as Alexis, Morgan has shown us some moments of intelligence in this game.  Even when her day one lie came back to bite her, she realized that she had to find a way to save herself again.  We never saw her talking alone with the other members of the tribe so maybe she understands that selling her vote for free isn’t the way to gain trust, especially when it’s such a buyer’s market.  When Spencer said that it was nice to go from the moms to the hot girl, it reinforced my idea that Morgan makes it far, at least far enough to make us think that Spencer could make a huge mistake and go with her instead of Kass and Tasha.

The Smart Players:

Sarah: On the surface, the swap really hurt her. It really looked like Survivor’s idea of karma when we saw the player that was ready to throw a challenge get payback with some bad luck.  Actually, being in the middle and facing 3 members of the other two tribes would have made her a valuable asset if the votes hadn’t come by so cheaply.  Her only worry was to have Beauty and Brain agree that they had to knock out someone from the Brawn tribe and that Sarah was an easy target. However, Solana’s Council will show everyone that there is no need to target Brawn when Bawn is so quick in killing itself. I’ll be very curious to see Sarah’s reaction when she learns that her old allies finished the job, getting rid of Cliff for her. It’s interesting to see that no one approached Sarah for an alliance in Aparri. Leaving us in the dark about her position suggests that the new Aparri could very well have a date with Jeff next week. On the other hand, with the merge looming, it’s also possible that her position in this tribe wasn’t shown because they will never go to TC.

 LJ:  Did he really put all his trust in Tony without talking to him?  If so, then maybe he should be on the dumb players’s side but the editors are presenting him as a smart player that is willing to take a risk.  Viewers will remember his point that using the idol was only a short term gain so that it was smart to hold on to it, but we have to remember that he said that when he was down 5 to 2. As soon as Trish “fell in love” with him, the paradigm changed: Using the idol and getting rid of one opponent would have meant levelling the numbers.  His quick story arc from a position of power to the bottom and back up could tie him into the themes of the story as we have seen them up to now but I still think that something is lacking in LJ. It wouldn’t surpise me to see him fail when his next big risk doesn’t pay off.

Tony: It had been his plan all along to get rid of Cliff, to take over the pride and the game at the same time so it’s hard to say where his story is going now that he succeeded without really trying. He hadn’t been part of the scheme to throw the challenge, didn’t participate in that challenge, he really tried hard, it seems, to win the last immunity challenge and he was ready to get rid of LJ once they lost so this blindside cannot be called his move even if he held all the power in the end.  “What happened?” he asked when the weaker tribe banged their gong, suggesting that the game isn’t in his hands at all.  Still, Tony’s story is intertwined with Sarah’s so its conclusion will only happen after the merge.

Tasha:  Her contributions to both challenges were impressive: She scored a point for her tribe in the reward challenge and she guided the log through the maze to win immunity.  The scene in camp right after Tribal Council where the three joked that they’d be the final three because only two entire tribes stood in their way was very telling just as Spencer’s vow to be loyal had been last week.  She should join her 2 allies in front of the jury to complete their bracket-busting job.  Could she beat them in front of the jury? She certainly could but the story showed that she isn’t the best of those three at the social game.

Kass: She had a great quote during the opening segment when she said she wanted to win but we’ve also seen that Kass isn’t the most diplomatic player.  This episode showed the dilemma she will face when the jury starts questioning them: How will she differentiate herself from Spencer and Tasha?  If the jury has a soft spot for the mom that made it all the way to then end then Tasha will steal those votes. If they reward the person that fought his way from the bottom, then they will reward Spencer.  And if they give any points for performances during challenges, I don’t expect she will Outplay neither Tasha nor Spencer. She didn’t even participate in the reward challenge and just rode along during the immunity one.  Spencer’s strength brought them back in the contest while Tasha’s directions won it.

Spencer:  Although Tony, Sarah, LJ, Kass and Tasha have very good stories and could all be seen as being edited to win, Spencer’s story outshines them all.  Even when Tasha was giving the directions during the maze, Jeff gave the credit to all the members of the former Brains tribe. In the first minutes of the season, he told us that he would play an amazing game and we’d have to agree with that statement if he is to make it all the way to the end.  It was his confessional right after the swap that told us why the three ex-members of Luzon will prevail: The others are too quick to flip on their allies. Staying loyal sounds like the winning strategy and we heard him promise his loyalty.

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