Survivor South Africa: Island of Secrets Episode 13 Recap: “Trouble Council”

Hey, it’s Assistant Dragon Slayer subbing for Kemper Boyd this week. I’ll be honest, I’m not thrilled with the direction of this season. I don’t want to see Rob steamroll his way to a win, particularly if he can do so shielded by Steffi Integrity and Nicole Loyalty and with a pocket vote in Durao. Numerically, this is the last chance for the non-Amigos to put together a simple majority. Now that the disruptive force of Dante is gone, can they get it together?

Episode 13: 

  • Cobus is pissed that for two tribal councils in a row, he’s been misled about who the Spitshake Six plus Nicole would vote for. Come on, man—what does this say about this alliance?
  • Ugh. Steffi demands complete loyalty from her alliance mates, and is really on her high horse about Cobus and Jacques. Also, the three votes against Jacques was a “warning” to him, according to Steffi. This is pretty much the opposite of how you should handle someone you know has an idol. 
  • Nicole says something equally dumb and absolutist about staying true to your original alliance, but then points out that Steffi’s being a hypocrite. 
  • The reward challenge is a choose-your-own-reward (food, advantage, or a letter from home) where you only compete against the people that chose the same reward. Durao and Nicole chose food, Mmaba and Rob chose advantage, everybody else chose letter.
  • Durao just lets Nicole win the food challenge and everybody is incredulous. Mike lets Steffi win letters from home but he says he need to keep in character, having said earlier that he doesn’t care about challenges. Rob wins the advantage. Just what he needed. 
  • Rob’s advantage forces him to go to the Island of Secrets right away, where he gets both food and a letter from home in addition to getting to practice for the immunity challenge. 
  • While Rob’s away, Cobus begs to keep the SS+N alliance together one more vote to get rid of Mmaba. This comes on the heels of Mike currying favor with Steffi by throwing the challenge. Why they want to be on the bottom of a seven-person alliance at final 9 is beyond me. 
  • Steffi’s demands that Jacques waste his idol in exchange for a promise not to vote him out. Jacques asks Steffi if she really thinks he is the only person in the game with an idol or advantage and incredibly she says yes. Then he notes that the group should think about how to handle an advantage-wielding Rob, and everybody literally, physically, can’t flee the scene fast enough. 
  • Jacques reveals the reward steal advantage to Cobus, saying that if Cobus helps him make it to the loved ones visit challenge he’ll steal it and take Cobus. This is not a terrible way to get Cobus on side, but actually stealing the loved ones visit seems like a great way to get zero jury votes. 
  • Unbeknownst to Cobus and Jacques, the plan is to split the votes between them. Mike, Leticia, and Mmaba are part of the vote-planning group. Again, I just don’t know why they aren’t forming an anti-Amigos voting bloc. 
  • The immunity challenge comes down to the snake maze that Christian won on Survivor: David vs. Goliath, but this one is nearly horizontal and with a steering wheel instead of ropes and pulleys. And it’s car challenge (steering wheel, get it?).
  • Rob wins immunity and a Mahindra. If the Car Curse is still a thing, he now has a zero percent chance of winning Survivor.
  • Cobus says he wants to use Rob as a meat shield as long as possible and hope he loses immunity at the right moment, specifically, final 7. OK, I guess, but why not take out Nicole or Steffi and increase your odds of securing four out of seven votes?
  • Cobus checks in with Rob and Steffi again and is surprised that the plan is now seemingly to split between Durao and Jacques instead of just straight vote Durao out. That nobody told him about a change in plan until he asked finally, finally tips him off that his alliance is dead and buried (but he doesn’t seem to figure out that the plan to vote out Durao was itself a lie).
  • At long last Cobus and Jacques start putting together a non-Amigos alliance. Cobus tries to pull in Mmaba while Jacques reveals his advantage to Mike, although this time he promises to give it to Mike (who by implication is supposed to steal the love ones visit and take Jacques). 
  • Didn’t somebody in a recent, universally beloved season blow up their game by talking only about keeping an alliance together until the loved ones visit?
  • At tribal council, everyone seems ready to stand pat with their alliances and not make a Big Move for the sake of making a Big Move, Jacques says he’s playing his idol because he only wants to make it to the loved one’s visit, and the non-Amigos seem as divided as ever. 
  • To be fair, the way the jury obviously hates Nicole and Steffi must make it tempting to not eliminate them.
  • Jacques sits on his idol, and after a brief scare with a couple of votes coming up for Steffi (they were Jacques and Cobus’s votes; none of the other non-Amigos went along with their plan), the vote was split as originally planned, with the majority going to Corbus.
  • NToS: Steffi explodes with self-righteousness. Ugh.