Survivor South Africa: Immunity Island Episode 5 Recap: “Collateral Damage”

Well that was an eventful episode. In fact, so much happened that I’m not going to attempt a blow-by-blow recap, but rather just give some general takes. Let’s get to it.

  • Everybody’s lower third now has icons indicating their original tribe and current tribe, in addition to whatever idol/advantage/trinket they might have. This is so helpful.
  • In the end, the two people eliminated were among the castaways in the most danger when the episode began. So this should have been a pretty routine episode, right? Not with this cast!
  • Once again I’m just in awe of Survivor South Africa’s storytelling abilities. In the very first scene of the episode, Thoriso gives Renier and Dino the “you don’t trust me, I don’t trust you, but you can trust me to act in my self-interest” pitch. In the end, Kiran uses the exact same logic, with the exact same people, and Thoriso goes home.
  • Thoriso did everything she possibly could to leverage Tyson’s idol note and bluff having an idol (to a fault–she worked it so hard that in the end nobody felt they could trust her). It’s a shame to lose such a great TV presence and such a good narrator, but it’s at least partly on her that her situation was so desperate. She got 10 extra days in the game as a result of going to Immunity Island in the premiere and then not going to tribal council in any of the next three episodes, yet she wasn’t able to use that time to build social connections strong enough to make all the idol note bluffing unnecessary.
  • Compare that to Santoni, who similarly started off the game as the easy boot but has since become the power broker. Minutes after finding out from Amy that Wardah and Carla were thinking about voting her out instead of Chappies, Santoni had rounded up a four-vote majority to vote out Carla (but not Wardah because she does all the cooking).
  • At Immunity Island, Anesu plays the Kelly Remington Memorial memorization challenge and wins a Tribal Council Pass. I’m a little confused about what it does. The pre-challenge note says that it allows her to bail out on tribal council but the post-challenge note says she can kick someone else out of tribal council. In any case, it’s good until Final 7. 
  • Wardah: “We’re not gonna overcomplicate things, we’re not gonna be blindsiding and overthinking this one, and we’re just going to vote out Chappies.” Oh honey, what show do you think you’re on? 
  • Things that may be important later down the line: Amy is the real double agent, not Santoni; Nicole has an amazing ability to come up with a plausible lie on the spot and maintain total composure.
  • Incredible move by Kiran. He knows for sure that Tyson has an idol (and is going to play it) and that Thoriso doesn’t have an idol. He also knows that he needs to build trust with the original Zambas. Solution: He proposes that original Zambas put four votes on Tyson and one on himself, and he and Tyson will vote Thoriso. That way, either (1) Tyson is lying about playing his idol and will go home and they flush Thoriso’s idol (or prove that she doesn’t have one); or (2) Tyson plays his idol and Kiran’s wrong about Thoriso and she plays an idol, and he (Kiran) goes home; or (3) Tyson plays an idol and Thoriso goes home plus original Zamba knows they can trust Kiran. Just brilliant.
  • Essentially, original Zamba does a vote split in which both sides of the split (Tyson and Kiran) are the decoy votes, and they let Tyson and Kiran vote out Thoriso, which is what they wanted to do in the first place. Just incredible.
  • The other tribal council is pretty straightforward, with Santoni’s foursome plus Chappies voting out Carla. She also was great TV and will be missed. The downside of a cast this great is that every elimination is painful.
  • It’s worth noting that last week Santoni said her plan was to break up Chappies and Paul (check), then Wardah and Carla (check), then Smash and Amy. So even though Wardah might think she’s screwed, it’s Smash and Amy who should be worried.
  • Getting Island Hot (I’m not made of stone): Qieän, Carla, Shaun, Kiran
  • Trinket Watch: Chappies has Diplomatic Immunity, Santoni has the camp idol clue and the tribal council idol clue (but neither of the actual idols), Anesu has the Tribal Council Pass. Did I miss anything?