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Knowing that last night’s episode of Survivor was Colton-free, did you feel better about tuning in to watch?

The now merged tribe celebrates with champagne and cheese back at the beach. Everyone seems to be happy that it’s every player for themselves. Alicia is appalled to think that Christina is still in the game. Let the backstabbing begin! The following morning, Jonas is impressing the women with his culinary skills. Model Jay denies Tarzan some coffee, with Jay informing him that the coffee is only for the people who won it in the last challenge.

What? Tarzan can’t believe his former dude teammate isn’t reverting back to the guys versus the girls alliances. He approaches Mike about getting the gang back together, as the men and women are equal in numbers. Tarzan promises a female defector in the form of Alicia to create a stronger voting pool. Sure, yeah, sounds good, says Mike, who trusts Tarzan about as far as he can throw him. Interesting…it seems the most recent winners don’t want to play the way of the middle school dance with boys on one side and girls on the other.

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For the rewards challenge, the tribe will be divided back into two groups for the last time. After navigating an obstacle course, the groups will dig for puzzle pieces. The first group to successfully put together their puzzle wins an afternoon of pizza and beer (finally a reward that makes sense to me!) and a secret message. The tribes are randomly divided. The first group–orange–is Jay, Alicia, Chelsea Christina, Sabrina, and Troyzan. The second tribe–blue–is everyone else.

It is Lief versus Jay, and Jay is clearly motivated by the brews. Leif gets stuck under the first obstacle. The orange tribe is pretty far ahead with Kim trying to make up ground for the blue team. Sabrina gets stuck for the orange team giving Kat some time to make up a bit of the lead. Sabrina has caused her tribe to lose a lot of time, and Mike actually gets the blue team’s last bag of puzzle pieces back at the same time the orange team does. No one has a lead. Tarzan and Jonas are working on the puzzle for the blue tribe, with Christina and Troyzan putting the puzzle together one piece faster. It’s both an emotional win and loss.

The orange tribe is gorging on pizza and beer. Alicia reads the secret message, which reveals that there is still a hidden idol in play. The pizza eaters agree that the less people looking for that idol, the better. Back in the land of no pizza and zero beer, Mike and Jonas discuss Tarzan’s hope to bring the guys back together. Jonas believes that Tarzan is a loose cannon, and he asks Tarzan why he would tell Mike about the alliance, when Mike has been with the winning Salani and could potentially be aligning with some women. Tarzan removes himself, banana hammock and all, from his alliance. He does not like Jonas, not in a boat, not on a float, not on the beach, not within reach, he doesn’t like Jonas, and perhaps, Troyzan, and he won’t play with him, Probst I am. Sorry, his meltdown was rather Seuss-esque so I took some poetic license. The following morning, Troyzan is up early while everyone sleeps. He takes this opportunity as a head start to look for the remaining idol. Bingo!

The merged tribe has decided to call themselves Tikiano. Jeff greets them with the first individual immunity challenge. It goes a little something like this: each person must balance on a small beam while holding a large round wooden disk–sort of like a pizza tray–with one hand. They must balance a ball on the disk, and more balls will be added at regular intervals. If a tribe member drops the ball (literally) or falls off of their perch, he or she is out of the running for immunity.

After a nice breeze blows through, Tarzan is the first one to lose his balance. Everyone seems to be doing well with two balls, until Christina is out, followed quickly by Mike. Chelsea and Kim are next. It’s now time to balance three balls, and everyone seems very shaky. So long Alicia and Model Jay. The concentration on behalf of Troyzan is ridic. As soon as Jeff mentions Jonas, he loses his balance. Sabrina is next, followed by Lief. I am super impressed with Kat! It’s Kat and Troyzan battling for immunity, with Kat stepping down. #disappointment. It looks like Troyzan won’t have to use his immunity idol at tonight’s tribal council!

Troyzan feels most comfortable aligning with the Salani, not his original all male Manono tribe. It seems that majority of the revised Salani (aka the post egg-paint Salani) feels the most confident about their team. Only the post egg-paint Manono wants to go back to the original all male Manono, but let’s be honest…that is because the most recent Manono was a tribe of misfits. Colton anyone? Jonas finds out he’s the first one on the Salani radar to get the boot. It’s an interesting and tough dynamic, because half of the tribe hasn’t figured out if they are aligning with their gender or with their egg-paint created tribe. Jonas apologizes to Tarzan, in hopes that Tarzan is leaning toward the former. Tarzan is humbled–to tears!–by Jonas’ humility. Please remind me NEVER to let this nut job give me Botox. The men, who are aligned with men, are voting for Kat.

Sabrina is boiling people’s clothes, and Tarzan promises her that the mysterious brown spot on his britches is dirt, not poop. Chelsea, who has meticulously been washing and sanding/scraping and boiling her laundry, is less than thrilled when Tarzan throws his soiled banana hammock on top of her skivvies in the pot. She doesn’t understand why they are keeping around such a loose cannon and targeting Jonas, a nice guy who cooks gourmet jungle food. The woman makes a valid point. Model Jay appreciates her desire to cut out the dead weight, but he also doesn’t want a last-minute change of plans to start running the game.

I have to admit, it’s the first tribal council where I have no clue who will even have their name in the pot. Will it be Jonas? Tarzan? Alicia? Christina? Jonas makes a proposal to his fellow tribe mates to vote for Mike…he’s an actual physical threat. Don’t get rid of the guy who makes the coconut chips! Tarzan has no respect for Jonas’s speech. In fact, he wonders if it was even necessary, given his indication that Kat will be leaving. It’s just a big ol’ cluster. Kat wants to know what she did to be on the chopping block. Tarzan starts a campaign to get rid of Jonas. Basically, everyone is voting before voting. Chelsea is coming to Jonas’ defense, and Sabrina agrees. Tarzan agrees that he’s not nearly as likeable as Jonas, but he’s on point in the operating room. Again, something I never want to learn first hand.

After what seems like the longest and most verbose tribal council ever, the castaways finally get to cast their votes. It’s anybody’s guess as to who will be going home. Troyzan obviously doesn’t play his idol as he’s already guaranteed immunity. Things aren’t looking good for Jonas…I guess when these people decide on a plan, they won’t be swayed. I hope the remaining tribe mates are hungry for his coconut deliciousness tomorrow. Although, I’m not usually a fan of even the slightest poor sportsmanship, I have to giggle when Jonas wishes them luck with “that whole food situation.”

Next week, the girls seem to revisit an all female alliance. Troyzan and Model Jay are potential targets after proving to be such strong contenders.

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE FIRST POST-MERGE EPISODE? IS EVERYONE AS CONFUSED AS THEY APPEAR? COMMENTS ON WHO WOULD BE A GOOD ALLIANCE? IS THE GAME AS DRAMATIC SANS COLTON?

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