Hello, good people, and welcome to Tribal Switch Day!!! That's right; it's already time for the Brains, Brawn and Beauty to intermingle which means one thing: I'm going to have to learn actual tribe names now! But before we get to that...
Survivor: Cagayan - Episode 4
Odd One Out
By Jim Van Nest, Survivor Analyst
March 20, 2014
Previously on Survivor, reward challenges are back; to settle the whole chicken vs. egg argument-you need only look at dinosaurs; Cops R Us wants to throw a challenge; and J'Tia costs the Brains two more victories leading up to her ouster. What should be mentioned here is that Spencer was boss in the immunity challenge, Jeremiah may be falling out of favor with his Beauty alliance and Tony wants to sprint through this marathon. I see all three of those as story lines to keep your eyeballs on for the next few weeks.
All the previews are focused on those three most awesome of words, "Drop your buffs." The tribal shakeup is this week and everything we know about this season could be turned upside down based on how the split works out. We have solid core alliances in both Beauty and Brawn and either one could be destroyed by a bad outcome. We have three Brains that claim to be all for one and stuff, but that likely will become free agents once this split is finished. One thing's for sure, our good friend, J'Tia, is out in the Twitter-verse promising that we "ain't seen nothing yet" and that there is stuff happening this season that will make her little rice dump seem like nothing. Assuming she's not hyperbolizing (Is that a word? One of the Brains should let me know), that can only mean good things for the rest of this season!
We begin with the Brains after Tribal. Spencer is so relieved to still be in the game. He thought he was done. Kass tells him that she knows if they kept J'Tia they would have been back there in three days. She wants to win and Spencer gives her the best shot. The next morning Tasha shows up with Tree Mail that suggests a food challenge. Tasha says her decision will be tested in today's challenge and she wants to do some serious damage. And with that...
Probst sighting!! He wastes no time. "All right everybody, drop your buffs. Brains, Brawn and Beauty is no more." We get some reaction shots, then the theme song. Now THAT'S how you start an episode!
Jeff explains they will form two new tribes. Sarah is bummed that her alliances and trust will have to start all over. Each person draws a random covered buff and we see how it shakes out.
The new Aparri Tribe is: Spencer, Kass, Tasha (yep...all the Brains stayed together and are now orange), Sarah, Morgan, Jeremiah and Alexis. The new Solana tribe is: Woo, Cliff, LJ, Jefra, Trish, Lindsay and Tony and they'll be purple.
Looking at the new tribes and it's a staggering turn of events. Sarah finds herself alone on her new tribe, while Brains and Beauty make up the other three spots. But the Beauty members are not aligned. What that means is that the Brains actually will have the upper hand on this tribe. If they were to bring in Sarah or maybe Morgan...they could dominate their new tribe. I don't see how the split could have worked out any better for them. Of course, given their history, I'd expect it to get messed up at the first challenge.
The Solana tribe is REALLY interesting. If there are two power alliances in this game, they just ended up on the same tribe. And too bad for LJ and Jefra...their power alliance is outnumbered by five Brawn members. However, two of those Brawn members tried to throw a challenge last week. If LJ can get wind that Trish and Tony are up for grabs...he can take over the Solana tribe and work on getting rid of the other power trio of Cliff, Woo and Lindsay. For them, though, it doesn't look like they'll be losing many challenges, which gives Cliff and Woo time to work some magic on LJ and Jefra and perhaps join their two factions and take ultimate control of the game and this season. I should probably also mention that both in-play hidden idols are sitting in this tribe right now. What else could I ask for, right? I'm totally stoked at the way the tribes have been divided up!!
Sarah says she is feeling pretty alone over there, while Tasha can't stop smiling with how things worked out for her. Jefra says that they are down in numbers but Brawn is so strong that they should win and maybe she and LJ can find a crack. Cliff admits that there are decisions to be made here about whether to stick with old alliances or start to form new ones.
Oh yeah, and we still have a challenge to play here. This is one of my favorites. One person will wrap themselves around a pole and two people from the other tribe will try to rip them off the pole and drag them to the finish line. First tribe to get the other person across the line wins a point. First to two points wins reward. And today's reward is breakfast. Donuts, cinnamon rolls, coffee, brownies, danishes and all the fixings.
First matchup is Morgan and Sarah trying to pull Lindsay off the pole while Trish and Jefra are trying to move Tasha. Sarah and Morgan get Lindsay off the pole first, while Tasha ain't going anywhere! Lindsay is one bad-ass bitch, but Sarah is even more so. This is a real battle, while Tasha is still attached to the pole. Sarah's tenacity pays off and they finally pull Lindsay across the line and Aparri gets the first point.
Next round, Spencer and Jeremiah will be pulling Cliff off the post, while LJ and Trish will need to get Alexis off the pole. About 30 seconds in, LJ has Alexis off the post and they score their first point. Final round: Spencer and Jeremiah go after Cliff again, while Tony and Lindsay go after Sarah. Cliff is simply too big to move, while Sarah puts up an amazing fight against the much stronger Tony, but ultimately, he's just too much bigger and stronger than her. Solana wins reward. And in a strength challenge, why wouldn't they? They have LJ, Cliff, Woo and Tony while Aparri has Spencer and Jeremiah. The total strength of one team is just far superior to the other. Spencer tells us that he’s happy to go from the moms to the hot chicks, but the losing is getting to be too much to take.
We return from break to watch Solana enjoy their reward. LJ is not happy about his new lot on this tribe. He does have an idol, but it'll only buy him a few more days. He hopes that he can be brought in as a teammate with his new Brawny overlords. Trish and LJ are from around the same area, which creates an almost instant bond. LJ's thrilled to have some sort of connection with someone from the other tribe. It's unfortunate for LJ that he's made friends with the outsider on the Brawn tribe. Lindsay tells us that she's disgusted with how Trish tries to flirt with the much younger LJ. Woo and Cliff are talking to each other about how the split really worked out for them. Cliff is very happy to keep most of his tribe with him. He would have been okay if Trish had been on the other tribe and he's worried about what's going on with her and LJ.
Over at Aparri, the Brains make that dejected walk one more time but they're still excited to be in a new camp. Sarah tells us how screwed she is with the tribal switch. Right away she starts asking the other folks what their person chose at the beginning. She tells them that Trish chose the extra rice. This was news to all the Brains as Garrett never told them anything and it's also news to Alexis because Morgan lied about what the decision was. Morgan does her best to deflect and say that she chose idol, but didn't find it. She tells us that she was a little bummed that Sarah outed her like that. She's hoping to start fresh here and tells the group that she didn't find the idol. Alexis tells us that she now knows not to trust Morgan at all. She plans to jump ship right away.
So she runs off to the Brains and suggests an alliance with them. She tells them that her BFF is Jefra on the other team, so she wants to work with them. Spencer is loving this turn of events. Alexis comes off as desperate to him, which suggests fractures and weakness within the Beauties. He says they're very gossipy like high schoolers, and he plans to use that to his advantage. Alexis tells them all about Morgan and that she lies and doesn't work around camp. Later on, Morgan is telling them about how Alexis flirts with LJ and how he's always asking her to twerk and shake her butt. Wow, there's a lot going on here.
Next up is Jeremiah talking to Tasha and Kass saying he thinks Morgan would throw him under the bus in a heartbeat. Tasha asks him about Alexis and he says he's kind of on the outs with his tribe and he'd be happy to go with them and make a solid foursome. Tasha is feeling pretty good with her Brainy alliance looking to be in complete control of their new tribe. It's amazing how the Survivor Gods can smile on you when you FINALLY make the smart play.
Back over at Solana, Jefra and Trish are bonding over the crappy weather. Jefra tells us that she's totally screwed on her new tribe without the numbers. Trish, however, gives her a bit of news (not sure if it's good or not) that she and Lindsay do not get along. She essentially lets Jefra know that she's out there, but let's count: Jefra, Trish, LJ - that's three. Nope, still screwed. Cliff walks up on them as they talk. I'm not sure he heard what they were talking about, but seeing them off together, even though they were actually getting water and being useful and stuff, he definitely looks concerned.
And we come back from break to another Probst sighting! Today's immunity challenge will have each tribe using a large log to bust through a couple walls and then through a table maze. Once they're through the maze, they need to bang a gong. First tribe to hit the gong wins. This is a six on six challenge. Trish will sit out for Solana and after a fierce rock-paper-scissors battle, Morgan will sit out for Aparri. Survivors ready!
Again, the strength of the purple tribe is dominating here. The log is so heavy and the orange tribe is having a rough time swinging it. Purple gets through the first wall easily and are halfway through the second wall when Aparri finally gets through their wall. Spencer and Jeremiah change to the front of the log and all of a sudden, the tribes are even in this challenge. Both tribes are on the maze now. Each log has grooves on its surface and they need to maneuver these grooves through the maze. You would think the Brains tribe should be able to dominate this, yes? As it is, they're neck and neck at the end of the maze. And there you have it, the Brains get through and Aparri wins immunity! The screams and happiness from the former Brains members are as you would expect. As they head back to camp, Tony is pissed that they lost this challenge, but LJ is a threat and needs to go home now.
We come back from break and it's time to play, "It's anyone but LJ!" Everyone is quite dejected over here as they're not used to losing. None of them even thought about potentially losing the challenge. LJ tells us that he knows they'll be targeting him. He makes a plea to some of the Brawn members and asks them to consider keeping him. Cliff tells us that they could keep LJ for challenges, but he's worried about the bond between him and Trish. Woo and Cliff make the case for LJ to go. They feel his strength is not needed on their tribe and it would be best for them all to get LJ out ASAP. Woo tells Lindsay not to worry about Trish.
And then we join Trish and LJ talking strategy. She tells LJ that she and Tony have been working to get rid of Cliff and that if he and Jefra will come with them, they have the numbers. LJ doesn't understand why, with her numbers advantage, she would make a move at all, but he's open to it. Trish tells us that she's ready for Cliff to go and that Cliff has no idea it's coming. Lindsay is worried that Trish will flip, bit Woo tries to convince her that it's all good. Next up is Trish trying to lock up Tony's vote for Cliff. Tony tells us that she's nuts and this is not the time. LJ is the one that has to go. He tells Trish this same thing. He tells her to work the numbers and vote LJ. Tony doesn't trust Cliff but he'd rather go with Cliff than LJ. Next up, Tony talks to Cliff and Cliff tries to bang it into Tony's head that with or without Trish, they have the votes to dump LJ. LJ tells us that he's going to use Tribal to try to judge what Trish and Tony are going to do. And if he gets bad signs, he'll play his idol. Because of LJ's idol, Uncle Cliff could be in trouble, even though he has the numbers.
Jeff starts off asking LJ what it was like to come back to his own camp, but to be down in the numbers. He says that he and Jefra are pretty much feeling like they'll be asked to leave whenever the Brawn folks are ready to send them home. Cliff says that despite the numbers, there is always one person that doesn't feel comfortable with their place in those numbers. He says that they have to get over the emotions and realize that this is a numbers game and they need to play it that way. Jeff suggests to Woo that is sounds like Cliff is not trusting all of their numbers. Woo echoes what his BFF Cliff says. He wants everyone to stick with the plan. Trish is asked if this is a test of loyalty. She says that it is, but the numbers don't work out for everyone involved in those numbers. Jefra then suggests that someone is the bottom person of the five and it might be wise for them to make a move.
Probst moves on to Lindsay and asks her whether she’s worried that LJ and Jefra have nothing to lose. Lindsay wants them all to stick together. She says they need to stick together if they want to not only outlast this tribe, but also to beat the other tribe. Tony says that tonight's Tribal could change the game. Will they move forward with their team or take a step back and move forward with another team?
And with that, it's time to vote. We see Woo's vote for LJ and he says that he's sorry about the vote, but they can't have him making it to the merge and reconnecting with Beauty. We also see Jefra's vote for Cliff telling him he can't control the game forever. We don't see Tony's vote, just get his comment, "Nothing personal, just strategical (Brains - is THIS a word?)" Jeff goes to tally the votes and asks if anyone has a hidden immunity idol and would like to play it. Drumroll...LJ decides to hold his idol. Ermehgerd! Really??? You could guarantee you stay in the game and win this battle. Worry about the war later, dude...you have to start by winning a battle. It may work out for him in the end, but to me, this is a huge blunder for LJ.
Jeff starts reading the votes: LJ, Cliff, LJ, Cliff, LJ, Cliff. We're tied. Three votes Cliff, three votes LJ, One vote left. Fifth person voted out of Survivor: Cagayan - Cliff! Holy crap! Tony made the move. Honestly, I didn't think he had it in him to make. The smart money was keeping Brawn strong for at least one more vote. And he went against it. I'm not sure I like the decision here. I think I stick with the numbers for at least the first vote and then look to make waves within my own group a little later.
Ultimately, we'll see whether this ends up being a good move for Tony or not. For Trish, it was the only move. But Tony had options. Wow, great episode and I hate to see Cliff go, especially if it means we have to keep Trish's laugh and Tony's arrogance in the game...but it certainly shakes up the game. Wait 'til the other tribe sees who got voted out at the last Tribal Council. They'll be stoked!
Next time on Survivor: the Trish-Lindsay feud has been building and building. Looks like it finally blows next week. After Lindsay tells Trish she makes her sick, Trish counters with "I don't like you." Lindsay says that she cannot stand Trish and the way she bullies. And then we get a quick shot of Probst sitting down at camp with Lindsay saying, "What's going on?" Please, oh please...don't quit! Aren't we done with quitters yet? And seriously, because you don't like someone...that is not a reason to quit. I can't imagine there's any reason why Probst would be at camp in the middle of the night unless someone is planning a quit. Seriously, I'll be SO pissed if Lindsay quits. Stay in the game and vote her ass out. That's how you win. But I'll save the rant in case she actually does quit. Maybe she won't and I'll be able to save it. I guess we'll find out next week. Until then, take care!