Survivor SA: Philippines

Survivor SA: Philippines — “Ace in the Hole”

Logan Saunders recaps episode 4 of Survivor South Africa: Philippines ahead of episode 5.


Previously on Survivor SA: Palesa and Werner both found clues to a hidden immunity idol. At the reward challenge, Werner got to his idol first, but Tom and Chane beat Palesa to it. After Mindanao threw the immunity challenge, the majority alliance thought they had a foolproof alliance, but Stacey-Lee threw a spinner in the works. At Tribal Council, Werner’s plan to conceal the alliance backfired.

Fifteen are left; who will be voted out tonight?




Marthunis pouts on a log as Werner tries to smooth things over that it was an attempt to conceal their alliance.

MARTHUNIS: You didn’t protect me by insulting me and making me look like an idiot that doesn’t know how to form an alliance. . .I care about the five people that I trusted.

Marthunis doesn’t want to hear any of Werner’s shit.

WERNER: Do you want me to give you some time?


Like. . .three days?

We have a shortened intro. Sigh.

NICO: Ready to get to your next challenge? First things first, drop your buffs.

Just like Matt Chisholm in Survivor NZ.

They must grab an egg from inside one of the fifteen poles that has a carving.

Palesa goes instantly for the furthest pole and finds an envelope attached to an egg. Palesa loves finding envelopes.

Much like Survivor NZ, they have to crack an egg over their shoulder. They are surprised to go into three tribes of five.























Toni cries because her support system is gone.

TOM (to MURISCHA): I feel nervous for you because there are four people from a previous tribe.

Way to make her feel welcomed.

Nico asks the three tribes to follow them to an entirely different location for the reward challenge.




Race through a mud pit at the end which has two keys. Unlock the first gate which gives access to a pole with a basket on top of it which has fifteen sandbags. Take it to the second gate, unlock it, and throw three sandbags onto a hanging platform. The first tribe to do so wins reward.

Reward? They will receive ALL of the rewards that have been in play so far. Chickens, fishing gear, spices, and condiments. On top of it, the winning tribe will return to a brand new beach with cooking items, shelter, and other stuff.

The second tribe will receive spices and the pick fo the remaining two camps.

Third tribe? Nothing.

Luzon is first out of the mud. Mindanao is second. Marthunis wants to unlock the gate because he has “strong fingers”. Every woman will be happy to hear that.

Ace uses his teeth to unlock the first gate for Luzon. They shake the pole until all fifteen sandbags fall out. I am surprised nobody got hurt.

Mindanao is second into the gate as they shake the sandbags. Visayas is only seconds behind.

Now it’s just a matter of throwing the sandbags. This looks like an awfully quick challenge. Luzon has one sandbag missing.

Visayas sneaks in with fifteen. So do Mindanao. Ace finds the final sandbag for Luzon.

Werner, Tevin, and Tom are throwing.

Tevin lands the first sandbag. Werner lands one. A bunch of cheesy slow motion shots until Werner lands the second.

We get a ridiculous super duper slow motion shot of Werner landing the final sandbag. He wins reward for Luzon.

Mindanao completes it before Nico can announce Luzon won reward.

In a Survivor first, beaches can be switched between tribes.

LUZON is going to the new beach.

MINDANAO chooses to go to former LUZON beach.

VISAYAS is forced to go to the former MINDANAO beach.

Yeah, try to follow that.


Murischa blames Tom for the loss because Tom refused to give up on doing poorly. It isn’t the first time Tom has done this.




The shelter is absolutely ridiculous. There are swings and hammocks. It’s a holiday camp. A fire was already going.

They consider what to eat. Werner wants to go fishing while Ace and Josie want rice. Ace instantly looks underneath some of the structures for a clue to an idol.




ANNALIZE: We have literally nothing.

So why did they choose that beach?

Tevin wanted to go to Mindanao beach because he knew they had bananas and rice. Here? Nothing.

There are pillows, a hammock, and a shelter.

Annalize reveals she is a chef. PK is happy about the spices, soya sauce, and sugar.

PK: We have all of that. . .we just don’t have any food.

But you’ve got flavour!




Chane wants a “big-ish” meal. Tom is ecstatic to see the food while he stares at the fire like a serial killer.

Murischa sighs as she realizes the other four are split into two alliances. It’s a clear swing vote.

Chane tells Murischa that Tom has an idol. Vusi and Palesa discuss how Chane and Tom are “scheming” people.

This is Survivor South Africa. Vusi and Palesa have already agreed to pull rocks out of a bag.

Murischa is amazed that Tom and Chane are aggressively giving her information about how split old Luzon is. As soon as Tom forces Murischa to agree, he blatantly walks away.

Tom approaches Palesa later.

TOM: Option 1–Four versus one when the time comes. Option 2–You guys fight for Murischa.

I think Palesa will go for option 2.

TOM: Which option you want it to be?

PALESA: I’ll take a few days.

That’s code for “Whatever you don’t want”.

TOM: I just don’t want to do a sneak attack like last time.

PALESA: That’s what the game is about.

TOM: OK. We can do sneak attacks.

TOM (confessional): I have an idol; she doesn’t. I’m not going home.

Tom really isn’t a very friendly guy when he has power.

Palesa walks away to read her note. It’s a twist we have been waiting for a very long time: A hidden immunity idol being hidden at Tribal Council. Well, Chane and Vusi are screwed.




Annalize is excited to have new people and make them feel welcome. Her social game may or may not be better than Tom’s. Marthunis teases Katinka in front of everybody how she doesn’t have an alliance with anyone.

Katinka tells us she never allied with Tevin, PK, or Marthunis up to this point in the game and

MARTHUNIS (confessional: We’ve got a chef; we’ve got an expendable person. . I don’t think Kat has a clue what she’s doing. Katinka is just floating around. She doesn’t have an identity. She comes here to prove something. I didn’t come here to prove anything. . .I came here to win the million cause I want the money and I feel very secure. I don’t see my head on the chopping block anytime soon.

TEVIN (confessional): My first vote is going to be Marthunis. I’ve decided cause he ruined our TC the other night, and completely flipped on Werner even though Werner helped him . . .Marthunis is strung on a rope on a skateboard at the back of the bus traveling along, and I’m going to cut that rope.

That is a really long analogy for “I’m going to vote Marthunis out”.

I love how they cut from Marthunis feeling extremely secure to him being in more danger than ever. Marthunis’ social ineptitude is intriguing to watch.

Everyone loves Annalize’s cooking. She’s earned her way into the tribe.




Toni tells us that Jeanne caught wind of the previous plan to eliminate her last night. She thinks her being saved has awarded her loyalty. Ace and Chane love having their first meal in nine days as we are treated to Ace’s American Idol audition and oh god please make him stop.



DAY 10

Ace sees a symbol on his rocking bed; Josie sees it too. She has very hushed excitement. I think her body will spontaneously combust if they don’t snag that idol soon.



DAY 10

For today’s challenge they’ll race through a series of obstacles then knock a bunch of cubes from a ledge using sandbags. Use the cubs to build a gigantic tower which must balance for three seconds. First two tribes to finish wins immunity.

Survivors ready. . .Go!

Visayas clears the hurdles first before jumping up to the cargo net. Marthunis manhandles Katinka’s body for Mindanao from up top as she can’t get a good enough jump. Werner pushes Annalize’s butt like you wouldn’t believe. Jeanne does NOT like that cargo net. Three people are needed to lift Ace up.

Tom is knocking off the blocks for Visayas. Vusi subs in. Mindanao clears their blocks first. Werner is of course the one knocking blocks off for Luzon.

Mindanao is stacking. Werner is second to clear for Luzon as they start stacking. Vusi keeps trying and trying and trying to knock off the final block for Visayas.

Josie is fully standing on several shoulders. Katinka does not trust her tribe.


Because then Logan would laugh.

Mindanao puts its final block on. They set Katinka down after Annalize touches the structure for some reason.

3-2-1! Mindanao wins immunity!

NICO: You’ve gone through the learning curve. . .you need to employ it now!

Luzon puts the final block down as the wind picks up. Toni tries to adjust it as the tower starts coming down.


Concussion! Concussion! Toni can go to the same therapist as Tess from Survivor NZ.

Visayas has Chane boosted.

CHANE: I’m falling! I’m falling!

(CHANE falls.)


(Cubes fall on CHANE’s head.

Nico is in a panic as he comes over to help.

Luzon’s cubes fall on Jeanne’s head.

Chane is in another precarious situation but they keep her alive.

We are treated to a lengthy montage of contestants falling flat on their ass and cubes tipping over. This must be taking nearly an hour. Tribes are shown having a cube or two away before tipping.

Tom looks like he is asleep as he has Chane boosted and the last cube is placed. She nearly drops again but luckily lands on her feet.

3-2-1! Visayas wins immunity!

Mindanao’s expulsion of Marthunis shall be delayed, and Visayas’ fight over Murischa and claiming the TC idol shall also be delayed.

Luzon is going to TC. Ace. Josie. Jeanne. Werner. And Toni.



DAY 11

Ace and Josie agree if they don’t claim the idol then one of them is going home.

Jeanne, Werner, and Toni all solidify their alliance. They know Ace and Josie must be broken up.

JEANNE: It’s not going to be one of those blindsides or manipulating votes.

Ace starts digging as Josie watches him from the shelter. The other three are asleep. Ace digs very very very quietly.

JOSIE: You feel like a baddie robbing a bank in front of your friends and family.

Ace knows he can go nowhere with this. He lies to everyone about what he is doing.

ACE: I am digging a tunnel for heat.

JEANNE: It’s getting f–king annoying.

TONI: Are you digging to China?

Ace keeps digging and digging. And digging. He’s like a meerkat in the Lion King.

Ace approaches Werner that he has an idol and will show him just before Tribal Council. Werner will play an idol if somebody else plays an idol too.

We see Ace put a wrapped envelope into his bag.






We have less than seven minutes of running time in the episode. I assume this is going to be a bland Tribal Council.

The tribal lines are spelled out. Ace says nobody wanted to work with him, but Jeanne and Toni say the onus was on Ace to approach them with an alternative plan.

ACE: Ex-Mindanao members said “sorry guys we are sticking together. . .they never let any of us talk to them about strategy.

JEANNE: To cry over spilled milk is a bit late because you didn’t talk to us about strategy.

ACE: You should’ve calmed your side and talked to us about your game–

TONI: We’re not the ones at risk. It’s up to you.

Ace tells everyone he looked for an idol.

Josie outright says her game plan is not to make a frantic dash like Montell Jordan and Slick Rick.

JEANNE: Ace says he was looking for an idol. Whether he found it or has some fake booties in his pocket we’ll never know.

What? There are implants in his bag???

It’s already time to vote. Editors do their job well.

Everyone votes. None are shown. It’s done in pure silence.

Does anybody want to play a hidden immunity idol?

Ace pulls something out of his bag. . .then closes it.





FINAL VOTE: ACE (Ace of Spades picture drawn)

The vote was a foregone conclusion, and editors spent the appropriate time on strategy and build-up to his elimination. Ace, the one with the biggest roller coaster game in the first four rounds of Survivor SA is already gone. Swing vote to rock pull forcer to kingpin to dead in the water. No one has a quest quite like it.

Next Time on SURVIVOR SA: Tempers flare and someone gets even.


The reward challenge was lame, but a traditional immunity challenge returned with a far more violent result than expected. I like that neither challenge took up too much airtime except for when people fell ten feet to the ground or had gigantic blocks fall on their head like a game of Super Mario Bros gone wrong.

Tom is destined to go home when Visayas goes to Tribal Council. He is way too stubborn and way too aggressive without thinking about the other person’s perspective. I think you have to identify that bombarding somebody like Murischa is not the way to go. You don’t just badger her about an alliance then immediately walk away. Murischa would probably prefer people who actually listen to her.

I could see Tevin and PK wanting to throw an immunity challenge in round six just to ensure Marthunis is a pre-merge boot. Marthunis in a post-merge situation would be very intriguing to see as he goes from “god, I can’t stand him” to “god, I can’t stand him but he would be perfect to drag to the end”. If Marthunis makes it to the merge, everybody will be pitching their loyalty to him. Marthunis making it to a phase of the game where everyone steps up their level of deception will really toy with his emotions and ethical backbone.

Werner has an idol. Tom has an idol. . .and we have two more idols? Isn’t that a bit much with only fourteen players remaining? Especially when we have three tribes with five players or less.

If Mindanao loses twice before the merge, I can’t see a scenario where Marthunis and Katinka aren’t the two boots. Katinka would be a very stress-free elimination. It’s interesting that production chose to cast someone who has no intention of making alliances. It’s tough to recruit a player like that. The game has to go on with or without them.

Having all three tribes switch beaches makes it confusing me to follow.  I am amused that Mindanao chose the absolute worst beach possible. I can’t figure out if Luzon’s beach is better than Moto’s or worse. If I recall correctly, Moto’s had a full king sized bed and a toilet.

Hopefully, the idol clue Palesa found isn’t as obvious as the one at the reward challenge. It looks like nobody from Luzon could spot an idol at Tribal Council.


P.S. It is very rare to see a Survivor host jump into a challenge without pausing it. In fact, I can’t really think of a time that has happened. Nico must have been genuinely freaked out by Chane’s fall onto the ground as cubes hit her on the way down.


I don’t know how the hell all three tribes will come together.


I am surprised how quickly Jeanne re-aligned with former Mindanao members. Perhaps we were all wrong in assuming she would be the type to seek revenge.


I wonder if Ace frantically digging for an idol is what made former Mindanao boot him rather than Josie. Did Josie make the appropriate read and assume that is how former Mindanao would decide who goes home or was she just rolling the dice thinking she took the right approach?

What I do know is this: Josie better be digging and digging now. She has absolutely nothing to lose at this point. Former Mindanao would be expecting her to do so.

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