Welcome back! I want to start with an apology. I completely misunderstood how Diplomatic Immunity worked. Sorry for confusing you all with those particular recaps. Now, let’s see how this week’s bloodbath continues!
- It is a relatively subdued morning following the Dante blindside. Felix pledges that he is going to play his own game despite losing Dante. Marian is worried about the ramifications of Tejan’s Tribal performance on Full Package.
- Killarney approaches Shane to change things up since she is sick of always being out of the loop until the last minute. Killarney wants Steffi out because she is the puppetmaster, while Shane wants Meryl to go because she is too dangerous socially.
- Phil and Meryl have a convo about working together that just feels like they are going through the motions. Phil doesn’t think she is being sincere.
- The immunity challenge is a two-rounder and the second round has two parts. The winner wins a pretty slick car and the chance to drive it to a beautiful vista for some tapas and wine on top of immunity.
- Round 1: Spin the ball in a hoop while standing on a balance beam. You know it, you tolerate it. The last six standing move on to Round 2, while the last one standing gets an advantage. Dino gets that advantage, while Felix, Steffi, and Marian get cut.
- Round 2 is two separate mazes. The first three to clear the first maze moves on to the second one. The first maze is a pretty standard table maze, but Dino gets to have one of his holes filled (phrasing). Tejan is still able to beat him to the second maze, but Dino and Meryl also get to the second maze. On the bench, Steffi and Marian get a little worried that if Meryl wins, then they are screwed.
- Part 2 is the vertical maze where the person has to pull the balls up to the top while standing on a balance beam. Although Tejan has a pretty massive lead, Dino is able to overtake and win immunity. Both are emotional.
- At the mat, Tejan says that he didn’t realize how close Dino was, but he is also haunted by losing out on the car at the auction during his first season (which, holy shit, the car was a covered item at the auction?!?). He then proceeds to beg Dino to take him on the reward. Dino then tells the tribe that he is excited to win his first immunity, but he is also excited about the car because he had to sell all of his assets, including his car, a few years back, so he has went without a car since then. That causes Tejan to change his tune…briefly.
- Nico then says that Dino can take three, but the remaining people will draw rocks to see who goes to the Outpost. Immediately, Tejan tells Dino to take him because he might be bitter in the future. Dino then reminds him that Dino himself has not had much rewards and the reward he went on, they chose to give it up for the good of the tribe. Shane says that he wants to go to the Outpost, while Felix tells him that they’re good, but Dino’s mind is made up to take Phil, Steffi, and Meryl for their Reward Re-do. As they drive away, Dino is worried about the car curse coming back to haunt him.
- At the mat, the leftovers draw rocks for the Outpost. Marian draws the black (boo!) rock and wins the opportunity.
- At camp, Tejan is still bummed about losing, so he decides to cook some rice with Killarney.
- Marian is happy that he didn’t get to go on reward because he is good at challenges and needs to be depleted. Felix and her go off to make new plans since they can’t take out Dino. She proposes Meryl since she is the next biggest threat. Felix is cautiously optimistic. In the midst of their water,well convo, Tejan comes up to get water for rice, which causes some tension which will boil soon, just like the water for the rice.
- At the reward, Dino is happy that Meryl is with him and can’t strategize with any potential swing votes. She also can’t go to the Outpost, so she won’t get another advantage. They all talk about Tejan’s behavior at the challenge and propose going after him. Meryl wants out of both the Breakfast Club and Full Package because both alliances have good players who will target her. She is correct.
- At camp, Killarney fixes the rice, but now Tejan doesn’t want any, which pisses people off. Marian approaches Killarney about going after Meryl, which she is down for. After the people on the reward get back, Killarney confesses that they made four small handfuls of rice, but Tejan didn’t want any. Tejan gets pissed off that he got thrown under the bus by someone he thought was a loyal goat and confronts her. He then sneaks off with a handful of rice to eat.
- The next morning, Steffi talks to Felix about going after Meryl followed by Dino. This conversation is the wake-up call that he needs to go after Steffi instead. He approaches Phil about the plan and how it has to happen at this round. Phil is open to it because it pushes No BS forward. Felix then goes to Dino and pushes the challenge beast angle while also mentioning that he is gone next if Steffi has her way. In confessional, Dino makes an excellent point, which is why should the minority dismantle the majority in the way the majority wants? This is counterbalanced by Steffi and Shane making sure that they are good.
- At the Outpost, Marian gets to either get a clue for the Immunity Idol or a bag of rice for the tribe. While she struggles with the decision, she goes with her heart like her mom told her to and picks the rice.
- When she gets back, Marian tells them that she chose the bag of rice over a huge buffet for herself. Meryl goes to comfort her, which makes Phil cackle in confessional about how Marian wants Meryl out. After Meryl leaves, Marian confirms that the plan is still Meryl. Phil tells us that he is worried about the fallout the next day, but he is going to try to convince Marian that her name was thrown out.
- Marian then goes to Steffi and shows her the Outpost note while breaking down about how she might have thrown her game away because of this choice. Steffi comforts her in a way that reminds me of their scene in Episode 3. This scene makes the outcome of the episode so much harder to take.
- Felix tells Meryl that she is the target, but she can go with No BS and Tejan to take out Steffi instead. Meryl is impressed with the move but also relieved that she can cleanly break away from her original alliances because they are going against her.
- Meanwhile, Dino and Phil tell Tejan the plan. He is down for it because Meryl is a big threat socially, This is confirmed when she tells Tejan that he votes with her instead of for her, she will give him the Outsurance Reward Send when they get back to camp. That is a really shrewd choice considering his meltdown at the challenge and camp. However, he is also worried that Steffi has something up her sleeve that would screw up the plan.
- Nico opens Tribal by asking who the blindside victim will be this evening. After chuckles, he asks others but specifically Steffi what are the signs of a blindside (foreshadowing). They then talk about Tejan’s Tribal outburst to which he still thinks that Full Package is in control. Steffi brings in a long continuation of Pilots vs Passengers from US Survivor. Tejan is the only one who has not been included in the talk about the vote, which was a good move because it covers the blindside perfectly.
- Voting occurs. Steffi doesn’t play her idol. Meryl, Steffi, Meryl, Steffi, Meryl, Steffi, Meryl, Steffi (Steffi stars getting her bag), STEFFI. She has a quiet exit and another forward facing leaving shot. Her parting words are very tearful and frustrated at herself because she didn’t play her idol. Besides that mistake, she was going to be my second best bet for the winner.
- Getting back from Tribal, Marian sees herself as the next target and kicks herself for picking the rice over an immunity idol.
- Meryl hands Tejan the Reward Send as promised. Tejan is excited to get rid of the Praying Mantis Alliance (iykyk) and especially excited that they turned on each other.
- Marian complains to Phil that her game is screwed now because he knows that Meryl has advantages that can propel her to the F3 and he kept her. She is pissed that Phil backstabbed her. She then tells Felix and Dino about Meryl’s advantages. Felix understands Marian’s anger while Dino is worried that he made the dumbest move ever because Marian tells him that she is literally F5 now.
- The next morning, Meryl realizes that she is now in a bad divorce because she is now an alliance with people she has never really worked with before.
- Marian goes to talk to Dino about the Steffi vote and see where they stand. Dino says that he is with her and understands her concerns, especially with the knowledge of the advantages. He feels bad, but he came to play. He is also excited because Marian is down one ally, so she needs Dino and he needs her. He reminds her of Save the Date, but she says that it is his advantage, not hers. He then hands over the parchment to reveal that it is actually a Legacy Advantage except he can hand it over while he is still in the game if he so chooses, which builds trust between them. He also tells her that she would be a great winner because her love for the game would make her a great representative for the show. She is happy to have the superfan bond with him. It is a really great scene and I am happy that the show let it run its course.
- Meanwhile, Tejan touches base with Meryl about keeping each other in the game because once one of them is gone, the other one is next. She is excited to work with her new alliance, even though she may be at the bottom.
- We then cut to No BS. Felix is struggling between taking out Marian (playing the game) or taking out Meryl (going against his morals), but he has to do it . He proposes blindsiding Meryl and bringing in Tejan at the last minute because that is the only one she will go home.
- Marian fills in Shane on her convo with Dino. Shane is hesitant to working with Dino because of the Steffi boot and he is the last major “player” excluding Marian left in the game. Shane wants him gone. Marian worries about him playing recklessly in comparison to her slow and steady resume of smarter moves.
- Marian is not making any contact with Meryl, which bothers Meryl because she thought they were the closest to each other. She worries that Marian is making it too personal. Meryl confronts Marian about it to the point of sitting right beside her at the fire, but Marian goes up and move. Marian isn’t upset about the move, but she is upset about how fake Meryl is acting and how everyone can see it.
- Killarney is upset that she wasn’t able to be a part of the Steffi boot because she shared that idea with Shane. She then talks to Dino about wanting out Meryl. Killarney tells Dino that she saved him during pre-merge and owes her, which he is confused by. He doesn’t really know what is going on.
- Killarney then tells Shane that Dino is on board with HER plan. Shane then asks her what the backup plan is, to which she responds “Tejan”. Shane then smack talks the social play of Killarney and Tejan and mentions that he is on board with Dino’s plan.
- Shane goes to talk to Marian about what the plan is. He is worried about Meryl blindsiding them with her advantages, but Marian is sure that she is too comfortable to play either of them. Shane wonders if Dino has convinced her so much that he may not be able to play with her much longer.
- Challenge Time. They must complete a maze from behind their locked door to unlock it. After they are unlocked, they have to grab four blocks and do a Rubik’s Cube on them. Despite being one of the last ones out of the locked door mazes, Marian is able to come from behind and just barely beat Tejan, who was also one of the last ones out of the maze. Marian is extremely emotional about winning an immunity necklace and proving herself wrong.
- At camp, Marian is excited but knows that her safety is only guaranteed for 24 hours. She wants Meryl out, but she would be okay with Tejan going if Meryl uses her Tribal Council pass .
- Tejan, Meryl, Felix, and Dino discuss an alternate plan because Marian clearly wants Tejan or Meryl out. Tejan is worried that he will be the target if Meryl uses the Pass, which Felix tries to calm down because her using it means that she doesn’t trust her alliance. He also thinks that Tejan thinks he is a much bigger target than what he truly is and worries that Tejan will mess up the plan.
- Meryl talks to Phil about the ramifications of her using the Tribal Council Pass because the target will shift. He also points out that they will not have the numbers if she leaves. She then comes up with the idea of sending Marian out of Tribal Council, so they can then split the vote on Shane and Killarney and take one of them out. They then fill Dino in, which he gets excited because this move will save all of them, but he is faking it to ensure that Meryl sticks with her plan. It may make him feel like a shitty person, but he wants to stay in the game.
- Tejan comes up to them, but just as they start to fill them in, they see Killarney looking at them from above the cliff. She is worried about not being filled in. After she leaves , Dino and Phil fill in Tejan on Meryl’s plan. After he leaves, Dino and Phil talk about how crucial it is to involve Tejan without giving him all of the details.
- Meryl tells Felix about her plan, but she also tells him that he is the last to know. Felix still feels extremely conflicted. Felix joins Dino and Phil and they confirm that the plan is to still take her out. He is worried that it feels a little too clean and too good to be true.
- Phil sneaks Marian off and tells her the plan. She is initially a little confused because she has immunity, but Phil reminds that it doesn’t matter. It is a lovely little moment between them where he literally and metaphorically says to her that he has her back. Marian is excited to see this goes down.
- Meryl says that she is still 50/50 on playing the 50/50 coin because she doesn’t want to leave the game with all of her advantages.
- Before we get to Tribal, let’s talk about Survivor SA‘s approach to blindsides. This is a season full of them, yet they have felt rational and well-explained to the audience. They have showed us every major moment of the moves made, so we understand who is going where and why. It is quite refreshing in comparison to American Survivor, where we are constantly going after #blindsides for everybody (even when it is unnecessary). We don’t always need the shock factor, especially if it gets in the way of storytelling. So far, I have had very little complaints about the storytelling. Let’s hope this continues!
- At Tribal Council, Tejan is excited that Meryl and Marian are barely speaking because that has opened up the center of the power. Meryl believes her advantages has made her the target for the majority, whereas Marian says that that information about the advantage not being shared with her alliance made her a target. Both confirm that they are not on good terms, which is awkward because they are sitting right next to each other. Marian starts talking about how Meryl seemed to have a lot of chats, but she also seems to be looking over her shoulder at a nervous Dino. Killarney continues her strategy of trying to blend in, which Nico calls out is not always a winning strategy. Dino argues that he still wants to be at the end with a worthy competitor, while Meryl would be okay with a goat (maybe not the label though). Throughout this conversation, the jury looks extremely over it.
- Before voting, Meryl uses her Tribal Council Pass to send Marian back to camp. Nico gently reminds Marian and Meryl that no votes can be cast against Marian, which would have been the case anyway since she won immunity. Marian then asks if she can give the Immunity Necklace up. Nico says sure and Marian gives it to Shane on her way out.
- No votes are shown. Meryl doesn’t use the 50/50 coin. On the fourth Meryl vote, she applauds and says good job. She tells them well done and gets an exit shot. In her parting words, she shows off her 50/50 coin and flips it. It lands on “Safe”. She was in a decent spot until she started obtaining advantages and telling people about them. People already saw her as a social threat, so getting those advantages upped her target level considerably. The other Killarney vote is Tejan, naturally.
- Next week, we get a Loved Ones phone reward as well as Marian targeting Felix to get Phil on her side. I suspect we will also see a culmination of the Marian and Shane storyline next week.
- Fun Final Fact: The pre-mergers now outnumber the post-mergers, which is kinda wild to me.
After being an off and on viewer for 14 years, Barbara watched the season premiere of San Juan del Sur and the rest is history. And by history, she means winning two Survivor fantasy leagues, becoming the resident Cambodia contrarian and Survivor gossip queen and lurking in discussion forums. Oh, and she’s totally not a witch.
Favorite seasons: HvV, Philippines, Australian Outback, China, Cagayan
Favorite players: Sandra Diaz-Twine, Jerri Manthey, Denise Stapley, Aubry Bracco, Courtney Yates