Survivor: Kaoh Rong - Episode Recap
Episode 5 - The Devils We Know
By Jim Van Nest
March 21, 2016

So long, we hardly knew ye. No, really.

Hello, good people, and welcome back to Jungle Triage - I mean, Survivor Kaoh Rong. When last we spoke, we were still drying tears over the loss of Caleb and still fuming mad over the bullying and eventual ouster of Alecia. In all honestly, I was more annoyed with the fact that they had one challenge that almost took one-fifth of the remaining cast away in choppers.

Scot and Kyle were pretty despicable to Alecia, but let's not rewrite history; we ALL wanted Alecia to be voted out in Episode 1 and 2. She annoyed the crap out of us. It doesn't excuse bully-ish behavior, but c'mon, we're not even living with her and we could kinda understand. Anyway, the loss of Caleb looms over the Beauty Tribe tonight as previews promise the dreaded tribe swap. They never change up tribes when it would force the tribes to be uneven, so I'm curious about how they're going to do this swap. Maybe someone else goes home before we "drop our buffs." I don't know, but I sure am ready to find out. Let's get to it...

The episode begins the next morning and we start with the Brains. Um, wow! So, the vote and Tribal were boring enough - can you imagine how boring it must have been back at Brawn Camp after Tribal as we don't even get one scene of them returning to camp? Egads. Anyway, so we start with the Brains and apparently the doctor is in. Peter is helping Joe with a really nasty cut on his finger. He tells us that he absolutely hates being on the bottom and has gone into doctor mode in hopes of getting back in with the tribe long enough to make a merge or swap where he can take them all out. Neil tells us that the tribe is still strongly united against Peter. He also mentions that there is an idol out there and he very badly wants to keep it out of Peter's hands.

Cut to Neil looking for the idol. He's checking all the weird looking trees and eventually finds the first clue. Of course, that leads him to the locked box and he goes off in search of the idol key hidden high up in the trees. After searching for a little while, he finally finds the key. A few moments later, he has his pole and tool ready and out pops the key and with it, the Brains idol. He is stoked about the thought of a super idol, so his plan is to find another one or find the person who has the other one.

Whoa, for the second week in a row, before the credits roll, we get a Probst Sighting! Jeff is standing next to a table and there is no challenge set up. This can mean only one thing. "Drop your buffs. We're switching things up." Cue the credits.

We come back from break and Jeff explains that the plan was to swap at 14, but Caleb's evacuation has left them with an uneven number. So, he has a tray that has 13 buffs. Six Blue, six Yellow, one Red. The person that draws the red buff will go back to Brawn Beach alone and will be immune from the next vote. The other two tribes will battle in an immunity challenge, with the loser going to Tribal Council. Once someone is voted off that tribe, the person at Brawn Beach will join them as the sixth member of their tribe. So, on one hand, they're immune from the next vote and that's cool...on the other hand, they're all alone on a beach to fend for themselves and NOT making any bonds with their new tribe mates. Sounds like a raw deal to me. Anyway, everyone draws their buffs and when all is said and done, it breaks out like this:

The new Blue tribe will be called Chanloh and features two people from each tribe. Neil and Debbie stay together and welcome in Kyle and Cydney from Brawn and Nick and Michele from Beauty. The new Yellow tribe will be called Gondol and is the home to Joe, Peter and Aubry from Brains, Tai and Anna from Beauty and Scot from Brawn. That leaves the youngest person in the history of Survivor with the lone red buff as Julia has to prepare to fend for herself over at Brawn Beach. Jeff notes the evenness of the split and then talks with Julia about being alone. She says she isn't that worried about the alone part, she's worried about not being able to make new relationships. As they head back to camp, Michele notes that her three-girl alliance has literally been split apart as she is Blue, Anna is Yellow and Julia is Red.

We join the Gondol (that's the yellow tribe) as they get back to their camp. Peter is loving his new tribe selection and having three brains on the tribe, he feels confident that he'll make the merge easily now. This dude is a piece of work. He had the ultimate kick in the crotch in his only trip to Tribal when he thought his alliance of two was running the show on a six-person tribe. Now, he seems to think that his alliance of three (two of whom actively hate him and want him gone) will run this tribe and guarantee his shot at the merge. What??? Tai begins to show everyone around camp and shows some trees where they have mangoes and lets them know he can climb the trees but might need a boost. Scot is a little worried being the lone Brawn on this tribe, but he was traded several times in the NBA, so he's used to getting to know new teammates.

Just a few minutes in and Peter starts the strategy talks with Aubry. He suggests to her that is they lose, the person coming into their tribe will be a Beauty, and so the logical choice is to get rid of a Beauty in the vote. Aubry agrees with him but tells us that she can’t stand Peter and certainly doesn't trust him. Scot joins the conversation in the shelter and is totally on board with voting Beauty, should they lose. He tells us he's good with that, but he's not counting on anything as things change so fast in this game.

We finally check in with Chanloh and Michele tells us again how much of a bummer it is to have her alliance completely split up. Debbie just can't wait to show everyone around. As she is wont to do, she just talks and talks and talks. She tells us that she really wants to work with the Brawns. So, she starts off with Cydney and completely kisses her ass. She's all about how ripped Cydney is and how she can just tell how smart she is. And they'll be together and it'll be awesome and that at the end of the day, she wants to see a woman win this. Girl power!!

Cydney, oddly enough, is eating this up. She says she really likes Debbie and she's like a mother figure out there and she feels like she can trust her. She also tells us her secret weapon is the fact that she graduated from Penn, a very prestigious Ivy League school (for anyone who didn't know), so she's a lot smarter than she lets on. And that is calculated. She feels that she can hide behind the "dumb jock" persona and no one will see her coming.

Debbie has decided that now that she has Cydney, she only needs to lock in Kyle, so she goes to him next. She tells him how much she likes Cydney and that she would love to take out a Beauty, should they lose, to show them how it feels to be voted out. If we're to believe her, she has now secured both Cyd and Kyle and is the mastermind running the whole game and no one will see her coming.

We come back from commercials to check in with Gondol. Tai is helping everyone find the best coconut meat and Scot just loves the guy. He says Tai knows how to do everything and is so gracious. They head out to go get some mangoes. Scot boosts him up in the trees and Tai gets all the mangoes. Scot tells us that he has a man-crush on Tai right now and considers him the most important member of the tribe.

Anna and Aubry are getting to know each other and Anna tells us that she knows the Beauties are in trouble. So, she decides her best bet is to throw Tai under the bus. She tells basically everyone that Tai has been looking for idols and that he's not very trusted. Anything to get the target off her back and onto his.

Back over at Chanloh (that's the Blue tribe), Nick tells us how much he loves the new tribe setup. He just needs to get one of the other pairs to join him and Michele and they can take over this tribe. So, like Debbie, Nick targets the Brawn. He wants Kyle and Cydney to join them. Kyle is loving the spot he and Cyd are in. Both sides are coming to them trying to make alliances and they're kinda holding all the power right now.

Finally, we check in with Julia over at Brawn Beach. She's pretty miserable. She doesn't have a fire, isn't drinking any water and is very dehydrated. She keeps trying to make a fire but is having no luck. Finally, she just gets back in the shelter and lies down. She tells us that she has not told everyone that she's only 18 years old. And as she sits there by herself, all she can think about is what's going on at the other camps and she just gets more and more paranoid.

We come back from break to our second Probst Sighting! Today's challenge looks to be another tough one. Two people will run out into the water and work on untying a big fishing net. Attached to that net are 14 fish puzzle pieces. All in all, these pieces weigh over 100 pounds. Once they get the net to shore, two more tribe members will untie the pieces from the net and put them on some hooks and carry them up to the puzzle board. There, the remaining two tribe members will put together a two level fish puzzle. First tribe to finish its puzzle wins immunity.

Nick and Kyle get to the net first and start untying. Scot and Aubry are right behind. Scot manages to get the knots untied first and he begins to drag the pieces back to beach. Aubry really isn't doing much here. Kyle and Nick are right behind, though Scot is actually pulling away from them. Scot and Aubry get back first and Joe and Tai start working on untying the pieces. Michele and Cydney start untying for their tribe and they actually get done first and head off to the puzzle.

Tai and Joe catch up to them and both tribes basically start the puzzle at the same time. Debbie and Neil against Peter and Anna and it's neck and neck for a little while. But all of a sudden, Debbie and Neil start to pull away and when it's all said and done, it turned out to not really be close and Chanloh (Blue) wins immunity!! As we head back to camp, Anna tells us that she figures the vote will be either her or Tai.

And with that in mind, when we come back from break, it's time to play, "It's anyone but Anna or Tai!" Tai lets us know that they're coming for him and Anna. He says he has an idol and he can save himself tonight. He really wants to keep it, but is afraid of being voted out without using it. The Brains get together to figure things out. Aubry feels strongly that Tai should go. Peter is pushing for Anna. Joe kinda pushes Peter off and tells him he'll let him know what he and Aubry decide. Joe also wants to get rid of Anna, saying that Tai is too important to the tribe in the provider role. Aubry doesn't agree with him but tells him that he can make the call and she'll vote with him either way.

After sitting around camp for a while, Tai is really getting bugged by Peter and tells us that he could easily play his idol tonight and get rid of Peter. So, he gets Scot and Anna alone and pitches the idea of voting for Peter tonight. He goes so far as to tell them both that he has the hidden idol, so, if they're on board, they can make this happen tonight. Anna practically jumps out of her skin and Scot even seems to think this is a pretty good idea. Tai shows them the idol to prove it and they lock it in. Peter is the target of this newfound alliance.

Just a couple minutes later, Aubry comes over to let Scot know that the vote is for Anna tonight. He just nods his head and now he knows where Tai needs to throw his idol tonight. However, Scot starts thinking, if Tai sticks around and keeps his idol, that makes Scot the only person to know when two different idols are and puts him in a really good position for later in the game, should he need to unite a couple people to create the Super Idol. He tells us that it might be better for him, to go ahead and help vote Anna out and move forward that way.

So, he goes to talk to Tai. And I have to say, Scot may actually have some game after all, because what he does here is masterful. Without giving up that Kyle has an idol, Scot takes Tai aside and suggests to him that maybe the best course of action would be for Tai to keep the idol and just let Anna go. Scot is pretty positive that the votes are going Anna's way, which means Tai is safe and he can hold onto his idol. Tai seems receptive to the plan, but he still really wants to save Anna. He tells us that he is really torn on what to do. He will bring his idol to Tribal and depending on how it goes, he may play it for Anna and he may not.

Tribal begins with Jeff asking about the numbers and the obvious Brain advantage. Aubry says that it's very easy to stick to the people you're used to. Scot tells Jeff that they seem to have made him part of the group, but who knows. Anna and Tai both agree that it's one of them tonight and then they each start to make their cases for why they should stay. He asks Joe if the talk of idols has come up. Joe tells Jeff that he feels pretty sure that the twist this season is that there is no twist and no idols. They're pretty far in the game and he hasn't heard anything about an idol.

Jeff asks Tai the same question and his response is essentially, "Idol, what idol? I don't have an idol. I can't find one. I suck at looking. Why would you ask me about an idol? Jeez Jeff, what's wrong with you. No, there are no idols out here. Oh, and I certainly don't have an idol, in my shoe, with a clue that tells me about a super idol. No sir, I certainly don't have that." For real, yo. If anyone walks out of this Tribal and doesn't know Tai has an idol, then they simply weren't paying attention.

At some point, Peter shows the world that he learned absolutely nothing from his last trip to Tribal as he basically claims that the Brains will stick together and he has no chance of going home. He says there's a very slim change that the Brains and Scot would team up and take a shot at the Brains. What a toolbag.

Anyway, it's finally time to vote. We see no votes this time. As Jeff goes to tally the votes, I can only assume that this is a unanimous vote. Jeff asks about playing an idol and after an eternity of heavy music that is really picking up steam - Tai does not play his idol and the result of the vote is a 5-1 vote sending Anna off to Ponderosa and the pre-merge vacation.

WOW, what a horrible decision! What sense does it make to hold the idol, watch your ally leave the game only to watch her be replaced by another one of your allies, which leaves you in the EXACT SAME POSITION you were in this week. The numbers are still the same and if you lose again next time, you have the same "should I or shouldn't I with the idol." What did you accomplish by sending Anna home? I love me some Tai, but he screwed the pooch tonight, folks. You play the idol for Anna tonight, send Peter's smug ass home and then welcome your girl Julia back into the fold tomorrow and voila, YOU have the numbers and with Scot on your side, you now have a 4-2 advantage and you can roll nice and easy into the merge. Especially when you know there will be another idol hidden and you have the experience of knowing how they hid the last one.

Even though this is only Episode 5, this was a "turning point" episode. And the turning point is this - even if Scot sticks with you, you still will have a 3-3 vote next time. Are you willing to let your numbers die when Brains target Julia next and you choose not to save her too? Once that happens, Scot will see the writing on the wall and you'll be next dude. Just an awful, awful non-play of the idol tonight. And it hurts that it came from my favorite person on this season. Ugh!

Next time on Survivor: Debbie decides to play the flirt card with "Greek God" Nick and Joe is about done with Peter and confronts him asking if Peter is trying to take him out. He's retired FBI and knows when people are lying and all. Hopefully the episode will be more interesting than the preview shows. I guess we'll have to see. While you wait, you should keep your eyes peeled for Ben's Power Rankings. 'Til then, take care!