As I tweeted out last Friday:
- I decided to switch things up and just watch the episode straight through and then take notes on a rewatch. Boy did that decision pay off, because this episode was chock full of foreshadowing and irony.
- At Yontau, Pinty seems to be next on the chopping block, but people are getting wary of how Seamus and Tevin are clearly running the tribe, but also, neither Phil or Thoriso have any interest in leading the charge against them.
- At Masu, Toni semi-apologizes to Marian. They talk about how people are worried that Toni will flip at the merge, but they agree that flippers never win. I don’t buy this for a second. Toni’s flipping.
- Masu smokes Yontau in the Gender Reveal challenge 5-0. Yontau is headed to tribal council for the second straight episode. Tevin attributes Masu’s win to their having Futurelife. Way to guarantee yourself airtime, dude.
- Tevin is antsy about the prospect of two easy unanimous vote-outs in a row (i.e., Tania and Pinty) because it doesn’t reveal who’s really on whose side (Foreshadowing! Irony!).
- Dino’s palms are still bandaged but at least his fingers aren’t taped up into seal flippers anymore.
- Thoriso wants to blindside Tevin and Seamus but (maybe counting up the votes) says it can’t happen until Phil and Felix come around to the same idea. Cue Phil and Felix talking about Tevin and Seamus having too much power.
- Stephanie uses pure tenacity to eventually find the hidden immunity idol under the Masu tribe flag; Tevin reasons that the idol is likely to be under the Yontau tribe flag and heads straight there, pocketing it in secret even though Felix is less than 10 feet away.
- Tevin: “Having an idol gives you this sense of protection, this sense of security, the complacency that happened to me the last time. I left this game because of overconfidence and complacency. I’m never going to do that again.” (Foreshadowing! Irony!)
- How many times did Phil compare Pinty to a dog in this episode? I lost count at three.
- Pinty approaches Phil to get him on board as the fifth vote to blindside Tevin, something Phil by now wants to do anyway. I think this scene would be omitted from a US Survivor episode in order to preserve the surprise of what’s about to happen.
- Seamus still has the bag and the note from the public idol he played last time. He has a cunning plan to make a fake idol and plant it at tribal council.
- So you’re telling me that 22 years into the history of Survivor, someone finally has the idea to plant a fake idol in the tribal council set to “find” later if needed, then two episodes later someone on the same tribe has the very same idea? Is this one of those Newton/Leibniz, Edison/Tesla situations, where two geniuses had the same groundbreaking idea at the same time? (Not that Shona and Seamus are geniuses)
- Pinty and Killarney do a good job of pretending to throw each other under the bus at tribal council. Wait, they’re not pretending.
- Seamus plants his fake idol on the path to the voting booth.
- The votes: Pinty, Pinty, Pinty, Tevin, Tevin, Tevin, Pinty, Tevin, TEVIN. As soon as the first Tevin vote is read, he knows he’s a goner (because it should be a unanimous vote for Pinty, who should be voting Killarney). By the time the third Tevin vote is read, Dino is already whispering to Seamus, promising that he’s not being hung out to dry.
- Despite Tevin’s talk of wanting all of the pre-mergers to at least make it farther than they did the first time, he goes out fourth on Day 9 in episode 5, having gone out seventh on Day 18 and episode 7 of Survivor South Africa: Philippines. Making it even worse for Tevin, this time it was a true blindside (his first time, he realized the vote had flipped onto him in the middle of tribal council).
- People are guessing there’s a swap coming and are trying to shore up relationships accordingly. Seamus and Dino clear the air, Dante reaches out to Toni, etc. It’s all fake.
- Shona (who was left out of the Tevin blindside) reminds us that she’s no dummy.
- Immediately after the opening credits it’s challenge time. Many shocked faces when Yontau pulls up without Tevin, unlike the previous episode when absolutely nobody was surprised that Tania had been voted out.
- This crate/cart thing is cool. The Wheel of Reward Fortune is goofy.
- The wheels figuratively fall off for Masu when they can’t even get the wheels attached. Yontau wins reward and get to take two from Masu. They pick Toni and Tejan on the grounds that they’re likely to be the most isolated.
- Masu correctly predicts that Toni will spill all the tea to Yontau and that Tejan won’t/can’t stop her, and also that she’ll withhold information when she gets back to camp.
- Seamus starts rounding up votes against Dino. This seems like a mistake to me. With Tevin gone, Seamus is no longer a target. He should just go with the flow for a while.
- Seamus approaches Killarney and Shona, who were left out of the last vote, to vote Dino. But Shona isn’t having any of it.
- Steffi tells Marian she found the idol. Combined with Marian’s Diplomatic Immunity, this could make them very powerful.
- Despite their ongoing inability to work together in challenges (and I couldn’t figure out how the letter feeder works), Masu wins immunity. Just barely.
- Shona rounds up Phil and Killarney to blindside Seamus and save Dino. Killarney’s having a bit of a hard time keeping up.
- Seamus thinks he only needs to pull in Pinty and Thoriso. Pinty says yes immediately; Thoriso can barely keep from laughing in his face, because his plan makes absolutely no sense for her (and as I said, it doesn’t even make sense for him). Thoriso quickly confirms with Pinty that the vote is on Seamus.
- Shona tells Dino what’s up. He can’t believe his good fortune.
- The votes: Seamus, Dino, Killarney, Seamus, Seamus, SEAMUS. Seamus assumes this was Dino’s doing, but it was really Shona, mostly.
- Going into the season, I thought it would be devastating to watch the post-merge returnees go out in the pre-merge this time, but it’s just the opposite. Seeing the Yontaus being denied their dream of making it to the merge a second time is awful.
- As with Episode 5, I think US Survivor would have edited the post-challenge scramble to ensure that the audience is as shocked by the blindside as the victim. I prefer Survivor SA’s more transparent, procedural story-telling.
- Worth tracking: Four of the first five boots have been relatively muscle-y men, the kind who in a newbie season usually have a free pass to the merge, more or less. It’s also notable that Yontau took out both halves of duo running the tribe rather than finish off Tania’s fellow tribe irritator, Pinty.
- Tevin went home with an idol in his underwear; Seamus went home with a fake idol in the path to the voting booth.
- As with Shona’s fake idol, I dearly hope somebody spot’s Seamus’s and thinks they have a real idol.
Assistant Dragon Slayer began watching Survivor in 2013 with Survivor: Caramoan, but continued to watch the show anyway. He is up to 59 seasons and counting (43 US, seven Australia, five South Africa, two New Zealand, two Japan). So there.
Favorite player from each country: Cirie Fields (US), Luke Toki (Australia), Santoni Engelbrecht (South Africa), Lisa Stanger (New Zealand), Sakiko Sekiguchi (Japan) [and Maryanne Oketch (Canada)]