Survivor: Cagayan - Episode 10
Chaos Is My Friend
By Jim Van Nest, Survivor Analyst
May 5, 2014

They wouldn't have voted her off if she'd kept wearing the hat.

Hello, good people, and welcome to the BOP Survivor: Cagayan recap for Episode 10! Last week saw Spencer and Tash fail to pull Jefra into the fold to change up the game. Without her vote, Jeremiah was sent to the jury. Facing a 5-2 deficit, you have to wonder if Spencer and Tash are just destined for sixth and seventh place...or if the big difference in numbers will now have the alliance looking to whittle itself down a little. Oh yeah, and Tony found the all-powerful Tyler Perry idol, keeping him safe from the vote... even if Jeff reads his name on every piece of parchment.

I'm really looking forward to tonight's episode as it's time for the Survivor Auction!! I always enjoy the auction episodes. I enjoy the bidding against each other, the idea of buying a $500 hamburger and to see who has the will power to pass up all the food and go for the idol clue or immunity advantage that will be offered. When it comes to the immunity/idol clue, you usually have to look at who's on bottom to get an idea of who will be looking for it. I would expect Spencer and/or Tasha could be in the running for this item. At the same time, Tony knows this game, so he may sit on this item as well, in hopes of keeping it away from Spencer. After that, I'd expect everyone else to go nuts over the food items. I'm also hoping for a "zonk" or two in tonight's auction. (For you younger readers, Google 'Let's Make a Deal' to see what a "zonk" is.) No matter what happens with the bidding and eating, tonight is shaping up to be another great episode in a pretty darn good season. It could be even better if this is the point where the good guys start to turn the tables.

We begin tonight's action like we do every week, at camp as the tribe returns from Tribal Council. Jefra tells us about how she wanted to turn on Tony, but looking at the bigger picture, she felt it was better to stick with her alliance than take her chances against Spencer or Tasha in the end. As the tribe begins to talk, Spencer is asked about the idol. He says he found it the same day Woo stole the clue. Of course, Kass knew all along that he had it. That's why they voted for Jeremiah. Spencer isn't buying it, but the fact remains: He had an idol, and he played it wrong. As Spencer tried to pep himself up with a barrage of clichés, Kass and Tony are reveling in the fact that they flushed the idol and got the vote they wanted. This is why viewers don't like them. If they're out their wondering, this is why. It's not the moves or the lies or the backstabbing. It's the gloating in people's faces after the fact. I've said a thousand times... hand the ball to the ref and get back in the huddle. Act like you've been there before. But they JUST. CAN'T. DO IT.

The next morning, Tony and Woo come back with Tree Mail. Woo shows off the wallets of cash that can only signify one thing: Survivor Auction! And there was much rejoicing. As they head out, Tony tells us that in every auction there is an advantage in the game. He wants that advantage. And more important, he doesn't want Spencer or Tasha to get it. Right before the credits, Spencer tells us how important this auction could be for him and Tash. They have to play it right.

We come back from break to one of my favorite events, the Survivor Auction. As always, each castaway has been given $500 to bid on items. All kinds of things will be for sale and the auction will end with no notice - $20 increments, no sharing money, no sharing food. Sound like a plan?

The first uncovered item is a box of popcorn, a bowl of candy and a soda. Kass, Jefra and Trish bid, with Trish winning the item for $80. Next item will remain covered. Tasha bids $80; Jefra trumps her at $100 and wins the item. It is a quesadilla with salsa, guacamole and a margarita! Next item will also stay covered. Kass goes in for $20 and no one else bids. Ah, so this is how it's gonna be? So Kass goes up to collect her item. And Jeff gives her the Monte Hall option (Let's Make a Deal again... seriously, check it out). She sticks with the item she bought and it's a beautiful steak sandwich and a glass of iced tea. At this point, Tony tells us that it is so hard to hold out without getting any food. But he is determined to get that advantage.

Next item is the item Kass passed on. Woo gets in on the bidding for $40 and Trish goes to $60. As Trish tries to figure out why people aren't bidding, she goes up to collect her glass of water and bowl of rice that she just paid $60 for. On her way back with the rice, she scolds the players again for not buying. Seriously, I thought she had watched this show before. Two people need any help they can get and one person is determined to keep it out of their hands. And while we're mentioning that, why is Tony the only one worried about this? He's sitting on the most powerful idol in the game and yet he's the only one thinking about keeping immunity out of the hands of the two people that need it most.

The next item is a plate of barbequed ribs and a beer - sold to Woo for $40. Yeah, if this is the way it's gonna go, the Auction isn't really my favorite anymore. This is no fun at all. I mean, I get it. But when three out of seven people are saving all of their cash for one thing, it sure makes the Auction way less fun. As Woo eats his ribs, Spencer tells us that he couldn't even watch as these great items were being sold for such cheap prices. Also, I have to say the scene with Probst and Woo talking about the ribs was (at the same time) hilarious and disturbing. It was like food porn, complete with mood music and everything.

After the ribs sell, Jeff asks the group what's going on and why they aren't bidding. Tony says he's waiting on an advantage in the game. Spencer and Tasha admit they're doing the same thing. With this, Jeff decides to just get to it. He pulls up the advantage clue and then explains the new rules. This is no longer a first come, first served item. The first person to yell out $500 will not get it. If they want to get in, the highest bidder will win. If more than one person bids the maximum, they're buying in for A CHANCE to win this item. All people paying the max will pull a rock out of a bag. The person that draws the black rock will win the item. The person(s) who draw the white rock(s) will get a white rock.

Instantly, Tony and Spencer bid $500 to get in. Tasha also... um, wait a minute. Tasha decides NOT to get in on this? Are you kidding me? You've waited this entire time for an advantage in the game. You've passed up on Mexican food, steak sandwiches, candy, popcorn and a plate of beautiful ribs... to get to this moment. And then you don't get in?? Now, I love me some Tasha... I'm down with the 314. But this makes NO sense to me whatsoever. If you're going to deny yourself food to get an advantage, you have to take a shot to get the advantage. Not to mention, if you're in the game, there's now a 66% chance your alliance can benefit from the advantage. If you stay out, it's now 50-50. Of all the bad decisions made so far this season, this one is easily the most baffling.

With that, Spencer and Tony come up to pull their rocks. With a good luck handshake, they hand over all their cash. They admit to Jeff they had no intention of ever bidding on any food and they reach in the bag to pull their rocks. They put their palms out and after a countdown they open their hands and as you would expect, Tony has the black rock and gets the advantage. Seriously, is there anything in this game that hasn't gone Tony's way? Even the random rock pick goes his way. I'm not sure we've ever seen a streak of luck like the one Tony is on right now.

And for all of his knowledge of the game, Spencer has maybe the worst luck of anyone I've ever seen. He's making all the moves and making all the right plays... and that Survivor bounce just will not go his way. Now, he has been saved from the jaws of defeat a time or two, but it's been by someone else's play, not his own. Luck has always played a role in Survivor, but I'm not sure it's ever been this big of a factor before. Oh yeah, and after that item, the auction is over. So Tash goes back to camp with $500 and no items at all. As they head out, she tells us that she was hoping that there would be one more item, like a clue to a hidden idol back at camp. She was thinking she would let the boys fight over that advantage and then be the only one with money left when Jeff produced the last item. Yeah, I've never seen two advantages handed out at one auction. That was just a bad play all the way around.

We come back from break to hear all the eaters complaining about being sick. Tony is trying to explain to the tribe that having that advantage may not mean anything since he didn't get to eat. Spencer tells us how much of a disappointment the auction was. Kass tells us that she doesn't care at all that Tony was the one to bid against Spencer. She's also very giddy at seeing Spencer be dejected after not getting the advantage. Yet again, this is why people don't like you. You revel in other people's misery. It's not funny. It's not cute. It's mean. And Survivor nation will cheer when you finally get voted out.

The next scene we see is the girls and Woo in the shelter talking about how full they are, as Tony looks on. He tells us he's disgusted that his alliance would just leave him as the only one to defend against Spencer and Tasha getting an advantage. A little later, as the girls are lying around in the shelter (again? or maybe still?), Tony asks who will watch the fire while he goes to get water. Or if they'll get water while he watches the fire. They actually act as if he's not even speaking. After asking a second and third time, Trish finally gets up to help out. Of course, this gives Tony the time to check his advantage. Turns out it's not the typical challenge advantage, but a clue to a hidden idol. And not some random clue that puts you in the neighborhood of the idol, a clue that directs you right to where the idol is buried. It mentions a big white tree by the beach. For quite a while, Tony searches but comes up empty on the big white tree.

As he searches on the beach, the ladies have migrated from the shelter into the water. The discussion is about Tasha, from the Midwest, not having much experience with the ocean. She tells us that her plan is to be seen talking to the other girls to try to put the fear of an all-girl alliance in Tony's head. She says if you light a fire under him, he'll spark. Tony's back at camp now talking with Spencer about the girls out in the water. They agree that Tasha is socially dangerous out there. And right here is a nice subtle example of how well Spencer knows how to play this game. He says to Tony, "You're not worried about that girls thing actually working, are you?" I point this out because it accomplishes SO much with just one question. First, if Tony wasn't thinking about an all-girls alliance, he is now. Second, if he was already thinking about it, Spencer just confirmed it's possible. Third, Spencer left the whole thing right in Tony's hands. As if to say, I'll work with you if you want to do something about that. Very subtle and very smart.

The conversation continues with Spencer telling Tony that when the talk came to Jefra wanting to vote him out, they were not lying to him. Jefra was with them, but then switched back. You can actually see the paranoia coming out of Tony. He wants to know when and Spencer takes him back to the reward from last episode. Spencer then tells us that he's trying to plant a seed of doubt in Tony's head. He says that if he can make Tony paranoid, it's gold. He is doing whatever he can to make someone in power make a mistake. As they talk, Tony starts talking his way into believing everything Spencer is saying. Tony tells us that he's not so sure he should believe Spencer, but he'll look into it. Even as he talks to us, you can see him changing his own mind. It makes sense that the four girls would look to take out the four guys now. He's the biggest threat, so it makes sense that they would want to blindside him. By the end of his confessional, he seems to have convinced himself that something is afoot and he needs to take matters into his own hands. Score one for Spencer. He's planted a "Spencer seed" in Tony and it's growing like a weed.

We come back from break to more amazing sea life footage. I haven't mentioned it yet this season, but now is a good time. Survivor's photography is some of the best nature footage on the planet. These exotic locations with beautiful tropical fish are amazing. They really could cut out a couple minutes of nonsense and give me some more nature shots. Oh yeah, the game's still going on. The girls are STILL in the water. Now they're talking about Spencer. Kass tells us that she's really happy that tonight's Tribal will be so easy. Whichever of Spencer or Tasha doesn't win immunity will be going home. Back up at camp, Tony and Woo are checking in on a crab they were saving to cook. It doesn't look like the crab is still alive, so the question of the day is, "Is it still okay to eat it?" I don't know; let's ask the girls. The girls suggest he should cook it. Of course, there's no water boiled. So he'll have to get water, start a fire and boil the water. Jefra hollers up that he needs to cook it pretty soon so as not to waste it. With everything else in Tony's head, this is just another sign that the girls are together. He's annoyed that none of them will get off their butts and help AND he sees it as them bonded together against him.

Before he does anything else, he decides to head out and get that idol again. He finally finds the big white tree and subsequently, the hidden idol. So quick scoreboard check: Tony has the numbers, the Tyler Perry idol and a new normal idol. So by my estimate, he is down to the final five at worst. When he gets back to camp, he shares the idol with his alliance. He tells them that's what the advantage was and that this is a community idol for anyone in the alliance that may need it. He tells us that the plan behind revealing the idol was to scare the girls away from voting for him. He wants them to know that if they choose to go after him, he has an idol and it won't work. And with that, it's time for a...

Probst sighting! Today's immunity challenge is an obstacle course of sorts. Each player must dig in the sand inside a ring, where they will find the end of a rope. This rope is buried under the stand and has five bags attached to it at random intervals. The player will have to pull the rope out of the ground until they have all five bags. Inside each bag is a ball. Once they untie the bags and have all five balls, they will take them to a table maze. First person to get all five balls through the table maze into their slots wins immunity. Survivors ready! Spencer, Woo, Tony and Tasha are the first ones to get all five bags. Jefra is catching up, but Kass and Trish are pretty well out of it. Tasha is the first one to get her balls to the maze and lands the first ball. She lands her second ball before anyone else is even on the maze. Woo and Tony land their first ball as Tasha gets #2 to the end. Woo lands his second and third as Spencer lands his first. This is shaping up to be Tasha against Woo for the necklace. Tasha lands #4 and takes the lead. One ball left. Woo lands #4, but he's pretty far behind Tasha. Trish and Kass, by the way, never even got to the maze portion of this challenge. Oh yeah, and Tasha wins her third immunity in a row!!!

With Tash winning immunity, that means it's time to play, "It's anyone but Spencer." We start with Tasha telling us about immunity. She says that every day people are reconsidering alliances and that she plans to keep talking to the girls in hopes that Tony will freak out. If he does, it could be good for her and Spencer. As Spencer and Tasha go to get water, the alliance gets together to decide who the vote is. Naturally, they all agree it's Spencer. Tony tells us that his plan was really to get Tasha out tonight. That way his alliance stays together and he evens everything at three girls, three guys. With Tasha winning and Spencer the likely vote, he could be in trouble. He shows us the math, much better than Brad Culpepper did by the way, and his concern is a 4-2 disadvantage if they vote out Spencer. He tells us that he feels like he has to turn on someone in his own alliance. Since she was out to get him, he decides that person should be Jefra. With visions of changing the game dancing in his head, he's off to talk to Woo.

Tony asks Woo if he feels like changing up the game and voting out Jefra. Woo agrees but you can see he's confused. Tony tells him if they vote off Spencer, they're done. He then asks Woo, "Why?" And then it clicks, because it'll be four girls against two guys. And even though he was already on board for whatever Tony said, Woo is REALLY on board now. First, Woo tells us how brilliant Tony is as a player and then brings the comedy. "Nine times out of 10, we're clicking on the same level. We looked at each other and we knew exactly what the game plan was." Seriously? Now, you all know I love me some Woo, but the look on his face when Tony said, "Jefra" was complete bafflement. He had no idea where this was coming from. He gets it now, but he most definitely didn't then. But, if it makes him feel better to think that he's in on the decision making, I guess more power to him. And Tony. Tony tells us his concern is that he can't tell Trish and Kass about this move, so he has to include Spencer (easy sell) AND Tasha (not so easy sell, what with the girls’ alliance and all).

So, Tony takes his idea to Spencer. He tells Spencer that he's willing to work with him to vote out Jefra, but that he's not telling Trish and he's not telling Kass. He has told Spencer and Woo and he needs Spencer to take it to Tasha. Spencer tells us that he's pretty excited that his plan with Tony seems to be working. Spencer tells Tony that he'll try talking to her. He says that she keeps telling him she wants him to stay, but he doesn't know. He tells us that he's 100% convinced that Tasha will do what's necessary to keep him in the game. So we join Spencer as he tells Tasha the news. He tells her that Jefra is the vote. He tells her that Tony and Woo don't trust the girls and they're ready to make a move.

Tasha's response to him, "What the hell did you do? For two or three more days, I'll vote for Jefra." And there you have it. If you can count on Tony to keep his word, the Brains may have just gotten an amazing break in this game - actually, their second amazing break after the LJ vote a couple weeks ago. Spencer gets back to Tony to tell him Tasha is in and he tells us that he's excited at the possibility, but if Tony goes back on his word, he's out of the game. So he heads out to try to find the super idol.

Back at camp, Tony is wondering where Spencer is. He figures Spencer must be looking for an idol. He tells us that it's concerning to him that when he came up with a plan to save Spencer that he's still out looking for an idol. Tony tells us that he's rethinking things now as Jefra is not a threat to win this game but Spencer is a huge threat. He says that the game is making him crazy. And as they prepare to head to Tribal, Tony is still rolling it around in his head. Change the game and keep the bigger threat alive? Or stay with the alliance and run the risk of two guys being voted out next. Either way is risky.

Now is as good a time as any, I guess, to mention how useless it is to vote out Jefra right now. Don't get me wrong, Jefra is a sweet girl. Probably the single most genuine and the nicest played on this entire season. That being said, she is the one person out there (other than Kass) that has no chance at winning this game. If you're going to take the risk of keeping Spencer in the game, you have to do it with a bigger fish in mind. Trish should be the vote here, if you really want to change the game. Frankly, while I love the idea of Spencer lasting another week, I think Tony's move here is a bad one no matter who he chooses to vote out. With two idols in your pocket, you can afford to stick with your alliance. As it is, he's needlessly pissing off two people in is alliance and possibly losing two votes on the jury. There's no logic behind making this move if he, indeed, makes it. I don't know...I think the whole Jefra thing is a smokescreen to give us hope that Spencer will get to stay in the game.

We come into Tribal and Jeff starts off with Spencer. He asks about the pressure of needing to win the challenge and the fact that he's at Tribal empty handed. Spencer admits to being pretty helpless at this point. Tony mentions that after the challenge, Spencer came to him warning him that his alliance might be coming for him, specifically Jefra. So, with his usual flare for the dramatic, Tony pulls out his normal idol and puts it around his neck. He says that he doesn't plan to be blindsided. Jefra says that it was because of the LJ situation. She says it made her mad and she'd be lying if she said otherwise. Kass suggests that Jefra is having a hard time because she was left out of the plan. Tony says, once again, that you can't tell everyone about a blindside, especially someone that might blow your cover.

Jeff then asks Tony if he's surprised that this alliance has managed to stay together. He says that it's all they have, to stick together and take this alliance to the final five. Jeff then suggests to Spencer that this is exactly what he has to hope for. He says that chaos is great. He's the one going home tonight, so the only thing chaos can do is help him, at this point. Jeff asks Kass about the possibility that the dysfunction within their alliance may cause one of her alliance mates to make a mistake tonight. She says there's always the possibility that someone will make a mistake. She says that people's heads are spinning and there's a ton of paranoia around right now.

Jefra agrees that paranoia is all around them. She says that it makes sense that Spencer, who's clearly on the bottom, would do something to try to break apart the alliance. Jeff asks Spencer about how he'll feel if tonight is his night. He says he feels he played the game hard and he played it well. If he goes home tonight, he can feel proud of the game he's played. He does mention, though, that windows open and close in the game of Survivor, and that a window may be closing right now. If they pick him off and then Tasha next and they end up in fourth or fifth place, they made a mistake at this vote tonight. "The most common reason people lose this game is not making the move they should have when they could have because they got too comfortable." He may as well have finished that sentence with, "You hear that Tony... they're coming for you, dude! They're coming!!!!!"

I absolutely love this speech by Spencer and he's absolutely 100% right. However, the person that screwed up that rule was Jefra last week. The game can be lost this week, but it's the flipping that could lose the game rather than standing pat. Can't wait to see how this shakes out.

It is time to vote. We see Kass vote for Spencer talking about how she saved him once but won't save him again. I'm trying to figure out where all the anger toward Spencer comes from. Wasn't Kass the one who completely screwed Spencer's game and not the other way around? We also see Spencer's vote for Jefra, saying that the moral of the story is to actually play the game before you get played. Now that I agree with. Jefra had the chance to stake a claim for the million last week and blew it. Even if she lasts through this vote, she will be lucky to get one vote for the million. And it looks like those are the only votes we'll see tonight. Jeff's gonna go tally the votes now.

As you would expect, the first five votes alternate between Spencer and Jefra. Spencer three, Jefra two. The sixth vote will tell it all. And it is...Jefra. And there's the wave of confusion coming over the faces of Trish, Jefra and Kass. Uh oh... someone didn't stick to the plan. And the 11th person voted out of Survivor: Cagayan - Jefra. Spencer lives to see another day and Tony may have just cost himself a million bucks. Of everything he's done in this game, this is the move that most mirrors something Russell Hantz would do. Jefra talked about voting him out, so it becomes personal and at the risk of his own game, he'll dump her to settle a score. I've been impressed with Tony so far, but when he fails to win the million dollars, he'll need only look back at this moment as the reason he lost. Now, what can be debated here is how much Spencer's constant chatter in his ear might have pushed him over the edge into this bad decision. As it is, Tony might be stuck with a Woo, Spencer, Tasha alliance until the end now and I'm not sure he can beat any of them at the final Tribal. He's going to have some serious work to do when he gets back. If he can get Trish and Kass back on board, he has the goats he needs to take to the end. Any other way and I'm afraid Tony screwed his long-term game for a short-term high.

Next time on Survivor: it would seem that everyone is getting tired of Tony. Kass tells him that maybe she will write his name down. He tells her to do it and she's going home next. Then they suggest that even Woo is down with voting out Tony. Ermehgerd! Not Woo!! At any rate, knowing what we know about the Tyler Perry idol, they can all vote for Tony but it will make no difference. The question will be, "Who does Tony want to send home?" By the look of that 27 second preview, Kass might be the target next week, finally! Keep an eye out for the new Power Rankings on Tuesday and then next week's recap on Thursday. Until then, take care!