Survivor: Cagayan - Episode 8
Bag of Tricks
By Jim Van Nest, Survivor Analyst
April 17, 2014

I thought I was doing fairly well. What happened?

Hello, good people, it's that time again! Time for another thrilling episode of Survivor: Cagayan! When we hung out last, Kass had flipped to the dark side and Spencer, Tasha, Morgan and Jeremiah were left to pick up the pieces of their alliance. A reward challenge win and a lucky seating chart put an idol clue in Spencer's hot little hands. Through a series of events that I still can't believe happened, the clue ended up in Woo's hands. Instead of staying in #ninjastealthmode and hunting down the idol himself, Woo shared the clue with everyone. This led to a keystone cops adventure as everyone was searching for the idol in the same place at the same time. Making up for his snafu with the clue, Spencer somehow manages to come away with the idol without being seen.

After winning immunity, Spencer was sitting with a necklace AND an idol. Thinking that he could potentially turn the tide, Spencer targets Kass as a potential flipper. I wonder what gave him the idea Kass would flip. Anyway, his goal here was two-fold: to get Kass back with him and even up the numbers and also to see if she'd tell him who the other folks were voting for, so he could more wisely use his idol. He got no such help with the vote and only got a so-so reaction from Kass. He rallied his troops to cast their votes for Tony and when push came to shove, forcing a 5-5 tie and going to the rock pull was enough to make Kass stick with her last flip (for the time being) and Morgan was sent packing 6-4.

Now down 6-3 in the numbers, Spencer, Tasha and Jeremiah are on a quickly sinking ship. At the nine, this is the time to try to get the bottom of the main alliance to flip. The only problem is that the alliance has been really good about not really showing WHO the bottom is. I mean, we all know Kass is six, but she's made her bed now. She has no choice but to lie in it, unless she can get another person to flip with her. I don't see anyone willing to do that. Now, the previews seem to suggest that Tony's paranoia hits ludicrous speed maybe that plays into the vote. As it is, I really only see four potential targets and one of them has an idol. Spencer will live to see another day because of the idol. I don't think anyone targets Jeremiah as he really isn't a threat in any sense of the word right now. That leaves Tasha and Kass. #comeontasha

We begin tonight at camp after Tribal and Tony's gone to plaid. He's pissed because the other alliance voted against him. He feels that Woo and LJ are way bigger threats than he is and he doesn't understand why they would vote him. He tells Spencer that he's taking at as a compliment. He also tells them that the reason Morgan is gone is because she doesn't deserve to be there. He says he works his butt off and doesn't get why they would vote for him. To their credit, Spencer and Tasha just let him rant while telling him that they didn't have the numbers so they voted for their biggest threat.

The next morning finds Trish and LJ on the beach talking about Tony. They're concerned about the paranoia he's got going on right now. Trish tells us that if everyone just stays calm, they're in good shape. As it is, Tony freaking out is not a good thing right now. We then join Tony complaining to LJ about how his name keeps coming up. Tony tells us that he's worried about LJ. He's aligned with him, but he sees LJ as the biggest threat in the game. He hatches a plan to get LJ to be the ringleader to get rid of one of their own. He feels that if LJ spearheads a vote for Woo, he'll be able to paint LJ a traitor and get him out of the game. His plan is to convince everyone that LJ is talking about them behind their backs and get everyone to turn on LJ.

We come back from break to Tree Mail. The mail tells them they'll win some nourishment and rejuvenation. Even a suggestion of a Reward freaks Tony out now. He wants to win the reward so that whoever goes on it can't plan without him. Wow...dude is on overdrive right now. It's crazy to see someone in a 6-3 alliance so worried about losing. I don't know, maybe I'm the one that's nuts here and this kind of paranoia is what will get him to the end. It just seems like a hard way to play out there. And with that...

Probst sighting! Today's challenge will see them divided into three teams of three. The teams will work to release some sandbags. They'll have to throw them through a net tunnel. Once they get all their sandbags through, one person will have to bounce the sandbags off a trampoline and into some baskets. First team to fill all five baskets wins reward. Today's reward is a spa day. They'll get clean and pampered. They'll get to eat. They'll get complete rejuvenation. The teams are split like this: Jeremiah, Spencer and Tony; LJ, Jefra and Trish; Woo, Tasha and Kass.

First team out is Jeremiah. They get their bags way before either of the other teams. LJ is next followed by Woo. Jeremiah's team is hung up on the net tunnel a little bit but they still hold a slight lead over the other teams. They are the first team to get all 20 bags through the tunnel and Tony starts bouncing sandbags. His first three shots find their target. Jefra is shooting for her team while Woo shoots for his. Before anyone else can land a bag, Tony lands the fourth and fifth and Tony, Spencer and Jeremiah win reward! They're off for showers, massages and food. Everyone else? Jeff's got nothin' for them. As we head to break, Tony tells us that he's going to get Spencer and Jeremiah on board to vote out LJ.

We come back from break as the six losers arrive back at camp. Woo tells us how bummed he was not to have won that reward. He's feeling pretty good about Tony keeping an eye on Spencer and Jeremiah. Jefra tells us that everyone is down about losing. She's not worried about that and is thinking more about still being in the game. We join LJ, Trish and Jefra out on the water. LJ is telling them about how paranoid Tony is and how he's talking about getting rid of Woo. He confirms with the girls that the other three HAVE to be the next to go. They all discuss how they have to talk Tony down and get him to relax a little bit. Trish feels that she is in the best position to do that and she'll work on that when he gets back from reward.

We now join the guys on the reward. Spencer is planning to work something on this reward. He's been down before and keeps getting back up. He's glad to have his right hand with him in Jeremiah and he's really looking to see what's in Tony's head. Tony starts the conversation by asking Spencer where his head is. Spencer tells Tony that right now the three of them are pawns and they can be moved around however he wants.

Tony's plan is to try to use them to get rid of LJ, then go back to his alliance and finish it up. He tells them that at the next Tribal he doesn't want to get rid of Spencer or Jeremiah because he feels like he'll need them later. Spencer tells us he doesn't believe Tony at all. But he plans on telling Tony everything he wants to hear. He reminds us that he has an idol and he's ready to play it if he feels the least bit threatened. His hope is that by following Tony's lead, he might find a crack in there somewhere to squeeze through.

We come back from break and everyone is back at camp now. Tasha tells us that she's in a bad spot right now and she's planning to work on LJ. She feels like he's smart enough to know that Tony won't take him to the end. She approaches him and suggests that they go somewhere else to talk. LJ tells us that Tony's so messed up right now that he's worried about being seen taking a walk with someone else. He doesn't see a way that Tasha can benefit him so he chooses not to go meet her. Tasha tells us that LJ stood her up and she can't understand why he wouldn't grab Jefra and join her, Spencer and Jeremiah and vote Tony out. That's all well and good, until LJ and Jefra are two people in a five person alliance. Um, yeah...what is it you're offering again?

Whoa, it's Tree Mail time already? The clue is very cryptic. It's talking about colors and purple, red, black and blue. Tony tells us that he and LJ are the main players and that it might be time to take LJ out. And here it is, Probst sighting!! Today's immunity challenge will center on the memory. He is going to show them a series of colored tiles. They simply have to repeat them back to him. Nutshell, they're playing a giant game of Simon, for a chance at $1,000,000.

The first round is only four colors. On the second color, Trish is the first person out. On the third color, Woo drops out of the challenge. Seriously?? Everyone else makes it through the first round. Round Two is seven colors. Wow, that's a bit harder. On the sixth color, people are starting to forget. Jeremiah, Jefra, Kass and Spencer all drop out. That leaves Tasha, Tony and LJ still in the challenge. Tony drops out on the sth color. LJ and Tasha have different colors and Tasha...WINS immunity!! Aw man...I bailed on my St. Louis girl in my Power Rankings. She even called me out on it. And there is it, she stays in the game with a huge immunity win!!! I can't believe I didn't have the faith.

We come back from break to play, I guess, "it's anyone but Jeremiah." I mean, he's the third in the alliance so it stands to reason they'd just swing their votes over to him. Tasha tells us that she really needed the necklace to stay in the game. She knows she was in trouble. LJ suggests to the alliance that they should split the vote to try to avoid an idol. The plan they hatch is for the girls to vote for Jeremiah and the guys vote for Spencer. Tony tells us that he doesn't like this plan and that he really wants to strike at LJ right now. So, he goes to Woo and tells him that LJ was planning to take Woo out. That's all it takes to get Woo thinking that LJ might be the vote tonight.

Next up on Tony's tour is Spencer. He tells Spencer that LJ is plotting to take Woo out and that's not good. He wants Spencer to get Jeremiah and Tasha on board with voting out LJ. He actually sells this thing to Spencer very well. He even tells him, "I'm in trouble for stirring things up." He tells Spencer that the rest of the day is shaping up to be a cluster, but LJ has to be the vote. Spencer tells us that he's thrilled to have the potential here, but he's still leery. He's worried this could be a trick to get him to not play his idol. He's hoping to just make it a couple more votes to see if the game can turn around for him. He compares it to Christmas morning...and this Christmas, he has a big ole present instead of the coal and ash he expected.

So now Spencer's off to gather his troops. He starts with Jeremiah. Spencer and Jeremiah are a solid pair and they are both down with voting LJ. The idea is to let the alliance rip itself apart. Trish approaches Tony about what LJ said...about him being worried about Woo. Tony flips it on LJ, telling Trish that LJ is the one plotting to take out Woo. He tries to convince her that LJ is worried that he, Trish and Woo outnumber LJ and Jefra and he thinks LJ is trying to get the upper hand. Trish tells us that she doesn't agree with this plan. She doesn't exactly know who to trust about the Woo vote, but she is very reluctant to vote against the six. She tells Tony the same thing - that they should stick with the six and then deal with LJ. She goes back to camp and tells Kass that Tony is out there, but she told him to chill out and she thinks everything is good.

As they head to Tribal, Spencer and Jeremiah aren't feeling strong about Tony's play, but don't seem to have anything else to go with. Tony tells us that he has the LJ vote in play, but he's worried about the fact that Trish wasn't really on board with it. He tells us that in Survivor you need to "know when to kiss ass and when to kick ass." He's worried that he might have to kiss ass tonight, in order to keep his closest ally with him. As I'm typing this, it dawns on me that with the alliance splitting their vote, if Tony flips and votes LJ...that's all he'll need to take LJ out. There will be four votes LJ, three votes Jeremiah and two votes Spencer. If he sticks with the plan, we'll be looking at a three-way tie. I love Tribal Councils where I honestly don't know who's going home!!

Jeff starts Tribal by asking Jeremiah if he, Tasha and Spencer are still in trouble. Jeremiah says that the six is strong and he and Spencer are worried. Kass suggests that you can't play this game without being dirty. Tony says that when you play this game, you plan on getting deceived and getting stabbed in the back. That's why he brought his bag of tricks, with something that makes him feel much more confident tonight. Now, last time he had an idol, he showed it off to everyone. Tonight, he's going to keep it hidden? Bad play, dude. No one will fall for that. Tasha suggests that the air quotes "alliance" isn't as tight as it seems but she's glad to have the necklace on tonight.

Jeff asks LJ about Tasha's comments and he says that they're just searching for any crack in the alliance they can find. Jeff asks him if he was approached by any of the minority alliance. He says that he was approached, but he took a step back and there was no need to try to look for another group when his group is so strong. He feels that he is pretty well honed in on what everyone else is thinking and their loyalty. Jeff asks Tony what he does and if loyalty plays a part in his line of work. He claims to be in construction, which makes Sarah go "whaaaaaa?" He says loyalty is very important in his line of work, but it's even more important on Survivor.

Kass says that loyalty has no place out here; she left that at home. She admits that it's hard to reconcile that, but you have to if you want to make the end. He asks Woo if there are threats in his alliance. Woo says that their six is strong and the plan is to take out the bottom three and then worry about the six. Jeff asks Spencer if he knows who is on the bottom of the alliance of six, and Spencer replies that he doesn’t know. He suggests that someone is and maybe that person needs to think about doing something to get off the bottom. Trish suggests that their little family is getting ready to get crazy and that it could actually happen tonight even though she's unaware of anything. She says that's what makes her stomach twist at every Tribal.

And with that, it's time to vote! The only vote we see is Spencer's vote for LJ saying, "Fingers crossed." Jeff is gonna go tally the votes. Jeff asks for an idol and Spencer decides to take his chances. First three votes: LJ. Next three votes: Jeremiah. Spencer. LJ and LJ. Whoa!!! He's been atop my power rankings since the beginning. In fact, he was #1 on my list and Tasha was my #9. I don't think there's ever been a Power Ranking THAT bad!

When all was said and done, Woo and Tony flipped and sent the biggest power player home! Rarely does Survivor shock me anymore. After scrutinizing every move in every episode for so many years, there's just not much left that will shock me. Tonight shocked me! There were no idols being played and no trickery of any kind. The exact vote I thought had absolutely no chance of happening...happened. Well done, Tony. Well done, Woo. Well done, Spencer. And mostly well done, Tasha! I shall never doubt again!

Next time on Survivor: Tony does some stuff, and tells some lies. But the important part of the preview is Woo trying to pull an Ozzy and scale a tree for coconuts. Just as they cut away, we see Woo fall from a good 15 feet up or so. Nooooooooooooo! Woo can't leave the game with an injury. It just can't happen! So, thanks again to everyone for reading this recap and the Power Rankings. If you want to rub it in my face...the place to do it is on Twitter: @vannestjc! Look for the new Power Rankings early next week. Without LJ as my #1, I don't know what I'm gonna do. Maybe it's time for some #spyshack at the top! ‘Til then, my friends, take care!