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This Makes No Sense

The recap went back to LJ’s elimination, telling us that Tony needed to blindside his own alliance in order to get it done… …But at the next Tribal Council, the alliance of five regrouped to take out Jeremiah, leaving Tasha and Spencer on the bottom. (Spencer said that he and Tasha were up against this Goliath army of five).

Back at camp, Tony dug up his second immunity idol, while Spencer dug up a plan to trick Tony and save himself… (Spencer was heard saying that he thought getting Tony paranoid about an all-girls’ alliance was gold) …and it worked: Tony pulled in Woo, Spencer pulled in Tasha and together, they pulled off another blindside…leaving Tony’s alliance in the dark again.

As expected, Tasha’s role in stirring Tony’s paranoia about the women’s alliance wasn’t mentioned.  All the credit was given to Spencer who even had to “pull in Tasha”.   For Tony, it has to be noted that Jeff said he had been tricked.  That isn’t the wording Jeff usually uses when referring to the season’s mastermind unless he wants us to see that the mastermind isn’t so masterful, that he will be outwitted in the end.

This Doesn’t Make Sense

 Solarrion  – Night 30

When the tribe got back to camp, we heard Spencer say that the pattern continued.

Kass had the first confessional: “I’m pissed off.  Another blindside: Jefra is gone for crossing the Don, aka Tony, our mafia king.  Everyone that crosses Tony gets their cement shoes and gets thrown into the pond.”

Meanwhile, Tony was ready to give everyone an explanation, but Trish said she didn’t need one; she knew Jefra was going to blindside him.

Tony was happy that she understood.  Kass’ confessional continued: “I feel that they didn’t learn the lesson from when I flipped from my other alliance which was: Don’t leave someone out.  I don’t like to be the one slack-jawed at Tribal Council and that’s now happened twice.”    

By letting Tony off the hook once more, Trish looked particularly bad in this opening segment.  Everyone in camp heard just how docile she was and that will leave her without a case to make in the end if she is there with Tony.  She needs to be the one to vote him out if she hopes to win, but she has tied her future to his. As for Kass, this episode would enable her to usurp Spencer’s place as Tony’s main rival.  We all knew that she was going to the end, but now she thinks she sees a pathway to glory.  Will the jury agree?

The argument between Kass and Tony started after she said, partly to herself: “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”  She then turned to Tony and said she knew he was a hothead when someone is on the outs. He replied that Jefra was trying to get him out. Kass went on, saying Tony was very condescending and acting like a jerk.Tony didn’t appreciate that, but he dropped the argument by saying “OK, Kass”.After Spencer’s confessional, we would even hear Tony apologizing for being condescending to which Kass replied: “Good for you.”

Note that this argument was partly spliced together because Kass was sitting on the edge of the shelter when it started and she was now lying down in the middle of it.  The scene could have been turned into a moment of defiance, underlining Kass’ bravery in front of the “Mafia Boss”, but we saw Tony’s desire to drop the argument and heard his apology.  What we really saw was Kass’ passive-aggressive behavior and it would only get worse. 

Having observed the whole scene, Spencer then had a confessional: “I worked with Tony for the last blindside of Jefra and it really was kind of a one-time deal, but now the dynamic is changed. Now we have Kass and Tony fighting like cats and dogs and that’s great for Tasha and I.”

I was hoping to hear Spencer say that they were fighting like Kass and dogs but he missed the opportunity!  This confessional showed that Spencer wasn’t thinking in terms of an individual game.  He should have realized that his tie to Tasha, the jury’s favorite, wasn’t helping him. At most, he should have seen her as a shield.  That perspective could have made him realize that he had to work with Tony again, telling him about Kass’ plan.

After Tony’s apology, we heard the rest of Kass’ confessional: “What the hell am I thinking sticking with this person?  It’s stupid. Play your game and I will play my game because I am done with him.”

How can Kass be our winner when she will go against her own words once more?  She will eventually decide to stick with Tony, but we hear her say it’s stupid.  Her reasoning will be that the game changes every hour, but as viewers, we see that Kass changes her plans every hour.  Some will say it shows her adaptability; I think it shows that she is like a pendulum and we even heard her say that it was bad to be like a pendulum.

Solarrion – Day 31

We heard thunder in the morning and it was rainy, but it didn’t last long and we saw a rainbow before the camera turned back to the shelter. While the women were sleeping in, the three guys were already sitting by the fire. Our “construction worker” was telling some of his police stories. Spencer asked him how many times he was shot. Tony said three. Spencer asked him if he ever gets nervous. Woo suggested he must be nervous every day, but Tony said he never gets nervous, that it’s more like an adrenaline rush.

Spencer gave us another confessional: “I’m getting to know Tony more and I like him but (cut to voice-over) I still think Tony is lying to everyone all the time out here, and he’s good at it. Going forward, it’s tough to work with him because he’s sly and he’s playing harder than anyone and he’s very, very dangerous.” Tony said that he was surprised that Kass was still in the shelter because “Kass is usually up. She must not be feeling well.”

Who is paranoid now?

Who is paranoid now?

Kass, whispering to Tasha and Trish, said: “You can hear Tony talking ___about me.” Tasha said that he says stuff about everybody. Tony was still talking about his cop stories, but Kass said she heard him saying that she was a bitch.

Kass in confessional: “So, this morning, I didn’t feel like getting up today so I decided to just lay there and listen.  I heard my name out of Tony’s mouth–he said: Kass is such a bitch; did you hear her last night? He is getting so bold in his trash talking and he’s just made me hate him a little more.”


The fight that ensued was therefore based on a misunderstanding. If anything, Tony appeared to be worried about Kass’ health.  This was the pivotal scene of the episode and the edited version made it clear that Kass was in error.  

Her passive-aggressive behavior would soon be on full display when Tony reaches out to her on the beach and tries to explain it once more.  Stubbornly, she stood by her claim that he had been saying mean things about her. 

Kass told Tony that she heard everything he said about her. Tony was surprised, asking her what she meant. Kass replied that he knew what she meant and so did Spence and Woo.

Woo asked who. He added: “We didn’t talk about you.”

Spencer gave us his version: “Kass legitimately misheard Tony, so now Tony is actually telling the truth which is rare. You know, this is a special moment and Kass doesn’t believe it.  Am I going to clear up the situation?  No!  Tony wasn’t doing anything wrong, but if Kass is mad at Tony, that means she isn’t mad at me, and I’m just sitting back enjoying the show.”

This confessional connected Spencer with the audience because we were also supposed to sit back and enjoy the show. Oddly enough, Spencer should have intervened because his whole strategy had been based on Tony being a huge threat to win all the votes. Spencer should have said that they were talking about Tony’s cop stories and how great Tony was.  Letting him look like a Hantz would soon ruin his plans and lead to Tasha’s elimination, leaving Spencer without his shield.

Tony gave a confessional: “For some reason, Kass says, ‘I heard you talking about me’ and I am looking at her asking, ‘What are you talking about?  Nobody is talking about you.’  She is off her rockers. I don’t know what is wrong with the girl and I don’t even care.  ‘Just stay with me. Let’s keep the numbers going; let’s keep on voting people off.’ Let me take her to the end with me so that I can win the votes.  That’s all I care about.”

For the first time, we heard Tony say that he wants to take someone besides Trish and Woo to the end.  This could easily kill all the suspense for the remainder of the season because Kass will soon share the same plan.

Kass had another confessional: “So Tony moved up as a player by making two big moves: blindsiding LJ and blindsiding Jefra, and using people outside his alliance to do that, and not letting the people in his alliance in.  It’s putting a red flag out there that Tony is willing to do anything to anybody. I mean, people that went with him are just cult members and I don’t want to be a cult member.  I want to kill the cult leader.”

The episode’s second segment started with a confessional from Tony: “I don’t like tension around camp.  Kass, she was mad at me, thinking I said something about her, so I said, let me just wash this and we will move forward according to plan before she gets any brilliant idea to try to oust me.”

We saw him approach Kass who was sitting alone on the beach and once more he told her that he wasn’t talking about her.  Kass asked him to stop lying.  Tony just walked away but she couldn’t resist taking another shot, saying he was making a big deal out of it because he knew it was true.  Tony turned around to say it wasn’t.  Kass said that everything that comes out of his mouth was a lie.

Kass had a confessional: “Tony; I’m happy that he is imploding. I like to have chaos and I like to have trouble. I like to see people at their breaking point in this game because it brings out the worst in them. I expect that from him because he’s an idiot.”

Tony sat down (on Shane’s old thinking seat…) and explained how he felt to Trish who advised him to let it go.  Tony said he was done talking about Kass, but he couldn’t resist adding: “She’s a nut job.”

Tasha had a confessional: “Kass is convinced that she heard Tony talking about her.  I don’t really know, but you can’t convince her that that event did not happen, but if the two of them are at each other’s throat, it takes the target off of me.”

The fight continued when Kass returned to camp; Tony accused Kass of acting like a four year old to which she replied that she hoped he would learn a few things before reaching 40. She added that he was losing his mind out there. This went on with Kass saying she was going to vote Tony out, and Tony daring her to do it: “Write my name down and you are going home.” To underline his threat, he told everyone he had the special idol.

Tony and Woo are on the Same Page but in Different Books

Tony and Woo are on the Same Page but in Different Books

That revelation stunned Woo and alerted Spencer.  When Kass asked him to produce the special idol, Tony said that they would see it if they write his name.

Kass (solo): “I don’t lend much credence to Tony’s claim that he has the special idol because Tony is known for lying.”     The scene ended with Tony saying that Kass couldn’t vote him out, and since she would go home if she tried, Tasha and Spencer were moving up another notch.


The Reward Challenge

Finally, the reward would show us that the season was filmed in the Philippines and not Burnett’s backyard.  In a throw-back to the old days, the winning team would go to a local village and bring supplies to kids. Spencer, Kass and Woo teamed up against Tony, Tasha and Trish.

Some interesting comments: “Kass comes up a little short.”

“Tony with a nice hit, Spencer with a massive hit, Kass with another…”  (My spell check doesn’t understand Jeff-speak.  I have to tell it that verbs are superfluous).

By the time Kass knocked out the final orange cube, there were only two purple cubes left on the other table, so the teams were practically tied when Tasha went up against Spencer in the rebuilding phase of the challenge. At first, Tasha seemed to be running away but then Jeff said: “Kass now starting to guide Spencer. One day, you are arguing with somebody; the next, you are relying on them … Spencer and Kass really working together well … Momentum has completely shifted. This is why you never give up. It’s an incredible comeback: Spencer, Kass and Woo win reward.”

Will This Be Kass at the Reunion?

Will This Be Kass at the Reunion?

It was nice to see Woo, the Asian American, have the chance to represent Survivor at the Asian village. He really was the star of that segment.

Woo in confessional: “Today’s reward was a phenomenal opportunity to give back to the Filipino community and to be an ambassador for Survivor. The minute we come out, there’s this mob deep of beautiful young people. It was phenomenal … It was something so humbling that I will possess in my heart for the rest of my life.”

Woo’s basketball tricks really impressed the kids.

Spencer had the next confessional: “I’m not a kid person and I’ll be the first person to say that I don’t really like kids. It was a little overwhelming having all these little monsters swarming me, but once I got into it, I did enjoy it and it kind of surprised me in a good way that it was such a positive experience for me.”

This personal growth type confessional is often given to the “Players on a Journey”, but it would work equally well if Spencer is the winner.

It was now time for Woo’s martial arts demonstration. He picked Spencer as his volunteer, and his routine amused the kids… and Kass.

Kass (solo): “I loved Woo doing his martial arts and being an entertainer. He was definitely in his element. Woo is usually quiet. This is the most he’s spoken in 31 days and it’s to 100 kids. I really liked Woo more after seeing how he was with the kids. I haven’t thought about the game in a couple of hours, but the kids have to go back to class and we have to go back to Survivor 101 and I’m here with two people who could be allies.  Considering what happened last night at Tribal, I need new allies.”

Kass told them that she was happy that they were together and that they needed to flush the idol. Spencer was all in with Kass’ version of “Plan Voodoo”, but Woo was a little more hesitant.

Kass’ confessional continued: “I spoke with Spencer and Woo about working together in order to do a three-way split to get rid of Tony.  Spencer and I have had a lot of animosity in the past, but now we have a common enemy.  I am no longer the enemy; Tony is the new enemy. And what do I say bonds people well?  Hatred and enemies.”

Woo looked like he was still trying to decide what to say.

After assuring Kass that he wouldn’t tell Tony about her plan, Spencer had a confessional: “Kass has managed to screw up my game in the past, but now it’s my best move to stick with Kass and take out Tony because if Tony has both idols, he goes from being a threat to being the biggest threat there has been in this entire game.”

Woo still wasn’t sure if it was good to take Tony out before Tash. Kass said they had to get the idol.  Seeing his hesitation, Spencer offered him a Final 3 deal.  Kass saw it as a fair three where there is no landslide.  Woo said it would be the right time to make a move but didn’t commit.

No More Fun and Games

No More Fun and Games

Spencer in a confessional: “Honestly, working with Woo is stressful because all I am getting from Woo is: ‘Yeah, yeah.  Something to consider. Right.’”

Woo also gave us a confessional: “At this point in the game, it’s going to be an individual game and we are all going to be looking out for ourselves. Playing since day 1 with Tony, it’s hard to go against him, but this game it’s doing what you can do to move yourself forward.  That means that if I have to make a big move to get Tony out, it’s certainly something that I will consider.”

We then saw the trio as they were heading back to camp. Woo finally told them that he was in. That led to another confessional from Kass: “I think Woo is getting into game mode.  When we came back from reward, he just said that he was on board, and I like that he took that time to think about it.  It told me he’s not just knee-jerking this game.”

Since this segment was mostly about Woo, we can take the time to analyze the character we are being presented.  There is no doubt that he is a likeable person and his win would rejoice many viewers, but his hesitations showed his limitations as a player. Even if Kass’ comment that she appreciated the time he took to mull it over, softened it a bit, his own words show that he doesn’t understand all the aspects of the game.  He may have been with Tony since day one, but he certainly hasn’t played with him all along.

When they reached the shelter, Spencer told the other three that Woo had been the entertainer.

The sudden change of music told us that the fun and games were over.

Spencer informed Tasha that Kass was willing to get rid of Tony and that they had Woo on board.  He told her about their plan to split the votes.

Tasha worried about trusting Woo to which Spencer replied that they needed Woo, or else then Tony already knew everything.  He added that Tony is able to read people well– that it’s very hard to lie to him.

In the shelter, Trish worried about Woo, but Tony was confident he’d find out. As soon as Woo got in the shelter, Tony asked him if there had been any strategy talk. Woo said that it had been all about getting rid of Tasha.

That led to a confessional by Tony: “Up to now, Woo has been a disciplined ally so I have no reason not to trust him, you know.  Woo was telling me that Spencer wants to vote off Tash. It didn’t make no sense at all.  So, I’m saying to myself: OK, you’re lying to me. Woo, he might be thinking of making a power move right now. I might have been wrong about Woo all along.”

During the confessional, Tony told Woo that he was expecting that Kass and Spencer would try to get him on board to blindside him which is exactly what actually happened, but Woo denied everything. Like Spencer said, it’s not easy to lie to Tony.

The Immunity Challenge

When Jeff took the necklace, he told Tasha that she was one win away from Kelly’s record of 4 wins in a row.  That impressed the group.

For once, the challenge was constructed in a way to make it hard for players to copy from each other: The items weren’t in the same order on the different boxes.

Woo kept on smiling every time he raced back and forth between the items and his station, but he never got it right.  All of them got frustrated, particularly Tony.  After more than 25 minutes and numerous tries, Spencer won immunity.

Before giving him the necklace, Jeff noted that Tasha had been off on one item for a long time.

(One piece of bamboo may have cost her the million).

Solarrion – Day 32

Back in camp, Spencer noted that everyone had been close in that challenge. Tony agreed saying that it was anyone’s game. Tasha noted that she had said the same thing, but Tony objected that the same two people keep winning.

Tasha had a confessional: “I’m bummed that I didn’t win the challenge (The confessional cut so that we could see her congratulate Spencer and hear Woo say it was “huge, bro.”) but I’m not done yet.  There’s still havoc to wreak.”  Tasha, Spencer and Woo met in the woods and decided that the guys would vote against Tony while the women would vote for Trish.  Spencer added: “We can’t lose. I don’t think he has that special idol.”

Tasha’s confessional resumed: “Woo is very quiet but I think that Woo is ready to make a move, so hopefully, he will do what he said he will do.  I just have to put on an act like I could be going home tonight.”

She approached Tony, asking him if the writing was on the wall. He simply said that she was a powerful player. Soon Tasha walked away and immediately Tony said: “She is too comfortable.”

We now have a second proof that it isn’t easy to lie to Tony.

Tony gave us a confessional: “Tash, of all people, didn’t win immunity today and she is not scrambling, especially when she knows it is her tonight.  There’s something going on.” Talking to Trish, Woo and Spencer, he explained how Tasha’s behavior was different and that it would force him to play an idol.

We returned to his confessional: “As of now, I have two idols … I don’t want to use my special idol tonight, but if they call my bluff that I am not using the regular idol and they all put my name down, that special idol has to come out or I go home.”

Tasha then talked to Kass.

(Tasha was about to wreak havoc on her own game).

Kass in confessional: “Tasha knows that she has to get rid of Tony and she knows that as long as it’s not her, it’s great.”

At this point, Kass was still voting against Tony and Trish. Her words showed that she had maybe a tiny doubt about Tasha who could have gone to Tony instead of going along with their plan.  After talking to her, Kass ascertained that Tasha knew she had to get rid of Tony. 

Could There be a Bigger Goat than Me?

Could There be a Bigger Goat than Me?

Then, Tasha told Kass that Tony had run his alliance through fear, eliminating those that tried to double-cross him, adding that he was their Russell Hantz.  That is most certainly when a light bulb went on in Kass’ mind.

Kass then gave us the confessional that ended Tasha’s game: “Hypothetically, if everyone hates him as much as I do, it could change my strategy. One thing I’ve learned in this game is that it changes every hour.  Now, I’m thinking: ‘Is he our Russell who makes it to the end and thinks he’s God’s gift and everybody thinks he’s a douche bag?’  I have to make a decision tonight based on: Can I beat Tony?  Nobody ever gives the jerk the money so maybe I keep him.  This is the position I love where I am the one really making the decision.  Either way, chaos will ensue.”

Spencer and Tasha’s best move had been to tell everyone that Tony was guaranteed to get the votes in the end if he made it, so why did Tasha change that approach?  She is the one that gave the idea to Kass and it led directly to her elimination, sending Spencer right back to the bottom in the process.   

Kass had a talk with Woo. It led to his confessional: “Kass pulls me aside and she asks me if we want to take out Tony and Trish or take out Tasha, and I’m sitting here like ‘Woah! This is insane.’This game, it all comes down to that critical moment in the game, and that is moments before Tribal Council, what are we going to do?”

It wasn’t just music that underlined this confessional but a thunder clap.  It was used to tell us that this was indeed the critical moment in the game.


Tribal Council

Asked how she felt without immunity, Tasha said that it had made it very clear that she was going home, but she talked about Tony’s idol and hoped that people recognized his threat.

Tony told Jeff that Tasha hadn’t scrambled like usual, that she made it look “like it wasn’t an immunity (sic!) night.” He added: “Her not being worried has me worried, so that’s why I have my bag with me tonight.”

Tasha said Tony was the bigger threat, having put everyone on the jury.Tony said his alliance was tight, loyal and that they were honest with each other.

That didn’t sit well with LJ.

Kass said that Tony was being disingenuous; he had to be paranoid to need his bag of tricks. Jeff interfered once more by saying it was obvious that they had to use this vote to flush one of Tony’s idols.

Kass said that had to happen, but Tony asked why they would have to flush the idol if they were together. “Keeping the idol from the enemy helps the alliance.” Being the loyal soldier, Trish said that Tony would use the idol on them if they needed it.Woo agreed with Jeff that those idols gave Tony all the power to decide who sits on the jury.

Spencer told Jeff about Tony’s pattern of returning to the people in his alliance that were blindsided by his previous vote by simply saying: “Don’t worry; we’re still together.” He added that they believed him and that he was curious to see if it would change. Spencer was also excited to see what was in the bag of tricks.

Woo said that there was a plan in place while Tony said he was hoping the four stick together and that Tasha was going home.

Kass talked about getting to the final three and wondering who would vote for her. She added that tonight it would be a blindside.Tony looked a little surprised by that.

Tasha was hoping for a blindside.

Jeff went to tally the votes, which was a signal for Tony to untie his bag of tricks. Jefra looked excited after Jeff revealed a vote against Tony and one against Trish, but that is as far as her (and our) excitement went: Tony never needed to use his idol because Tasha was voted out 4-1-1. (Jeff should realize that he kills the suspense when he uses a formula like: “12th person voted out and 6th member of the jury. It would be so much better to stay quiet and turn over the fatal parchment … like he used to do way back when.) 

No one seemed happy when Tasha rose to get her torch, especially not Morgan whose reaction was used to tell us how the jury felt.

In the end, Jeff turned to Spencer and said he was again on the outside of the group, but given the unpredictable way things have gone, “it may not be such a bad thing.”

The Story

 Hearing Jeff say that Spencer was once more outside the group, but that it wasn’t such a bad thing should delight me since it goes directly to the themes that we have followed since the first episode, but it actually worried me. What if that whole storyline had been used as the distraction, as the lure that will keep the audience riveted to what could actually turn out to be a very predictable result?

Everyone in the audience who expected Tasha would survive, who thought we’d have a Luzon Final three, fell victim to the editors’ bag of tricks.  The problem is that the narrative wouldn’t make much sense if it was to lead to a Tony – Trish – Kass – Woo Final Four.  In order to bolster the underdog story, the editors wasted many opportunities to make us appreciate that foursome more.

What other outcome should we expect when the two biggest rivals want to take each other to the end?  There’s still the chance that Spencer could go on an immunity run or go back to his own bag of tricks.

The Characters

 Trish: I wonder how many people agreed with Tasha during her voting confessional when she said that it would be better that Trish left instead of her. I’d venture a guess and say it was the majority. The jury would never give her their votes if she simply follows Tony to the end, but we have seen no hints that she will turn against him.

Woo:  This likeable guy is completely out of his league when it comes to strategy.  Tony knows that he isn’t the loyal soldier and Spencer can use their talk against him, so Woo will need some help to outlast. Who would want to help such a likeable guy?

Kass:  Does she have a pathway to victory?  Is it possible that Spencer’s remark that she has zero chances of winning was repeated a few times because of the surprise she creates in the end? Like Sandra, she is the seemingly weak woman that confronts this season’s bully. Can she get a similar result?   Tony would need to have a total mental breakdown in order for her to get the votes from all those she betrayed at the merge. The fact that the pivotal scene of this episode was edited in such a way to make her look like she was truly off of her “rockers,” like Tony said, tells us that she won’t win.

Tony:  Besides some unnecessary comments, (lying on his badge, swearing on his family) I wonder why the narrative told us that Tony had been tricked by Spencer. It would have been easy to spin it more in Tony’s favor to make us think that there was a real possibility that the women were plotting against him; however, hearing Kass tell us that he could be the jerk that receives no votes in the end creates the necessary doubts about his chances of winning the game.

With those two idols in his pocket and the other players seeing him as a potential goat, we can’t rely only on editing analysis to determine his outcome.  It seems very likely that he will make it there and beat Kass in a landslide.  That would explain the editors’ tricks that were used to bolster Spencer’s story.

Spencer: That being said, Spencer talked about Tony’s pattern of going back to his alliance after blindsiding it, so now could be the time that Tony blindsides someone in his alliance for the third time. Spencer has a pattern of his own: It always comes out better for him when he works ON Tony instead of against him. Can he trick Tony once more even if he doesn’t win immunity?  He has an argument to make because of the split votes.  He could go to Tony and make the point that he and Tasha split their votes because Kass and Woo had agreed to flush his idol.

Tony could very well see that as proof of Woo’s wavering loyalty and Kass’ threat. On the other hand, freed of Tasha’s presence, Spencer could go back to Kass and Woo and sell them on their final 3 pact once more, but that will work only if he can convince Kass that Tony isn’t their Russell Hantz.

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