Woo hoo – it’s Thursday night and Survivor is on. AND it’s merge time. Let the good times roll.
Let’s see what the fallout from the Dr Pete vote will be. Is Joe going to get sniffy with Aubry for crossing out Julia’s name at tribal council? I don’t think so.
It’s night 16, yellow tribe is back from tribal and Scot has his cranky pants on. He thinks Joe should have voted for Julia but Joe seems genuinely confused by all the whisperings that were going on. Why didn’t Scot just yell out at tribal: Hey, dudes, vote for Dr Evil. People have done it before and he knew it was unlikely Pete had an idol. Scot tells confessional: “I am absolutely going to be picking off the Brain tribe because of that – because of that indecision, because I can’t trust them.” He’s even narky at Aubry, who voted for the person he wanted her to vote for. Aubry is worried and for good reason – she should have talked a lot more with Beauties and Brawn before they got to tribal.
The next day Joe is worried … about Tai’s relationship to the chicken, which is like Father and Son. “He does everything with the damn bird.”
Over at blue tribe Cydney notices Neal walking round with a bulge in his pocket and susses out that it’s an idol, based on her experience seeing Jason find one.
Cydney whispers the news to Jason and they plan to flush the idol out at next tribal. But then a boat arrives and they learn they have five minutes to grab their gear and head off to the other beach for the merge. Debbie is thrilled: “I take the offence, pull people in, because people want to be pulled in. Everybody’s dangling.”
On yellow beach everyone’s just chilling when they hear hollering and see the boat with the blues heading over. Scot’s so happy he squeezes the life out of Julia and Aubry – maybe she’s forgiven.
Hugs all round and Aubry is especially relieved to see old tribemates Debbie and Neal. There are four Beauties, three Brawn and four Brains. Tai reckons Scot is his main ally, as he knows Tai has the idol. As they swig bottles of wine there is some awkward cat grring at the attractiveness of various tribemates (Debbie to Nick followed by a rather loud Jason to Tai).
After the feast Aubry fills Debbie in on the Peter vote, saying he went instance. Debbie does what she always does: Agrees with whoever is talking to her and reassures her. However, she seems to actually mean it this time.
Beauty Nick has been sitting back, watching the interactions and strikes up a convo with the Neal and Aubry about how tight Brawn are, and says he thinks the Beauties are divided, with Tai and Julia loyal to Scot.
Neal wants to get Brawn out because they are a physical threat and are bullies. Nick says he can pull Michelle in to join a Brains alliance. But Nick is keeping his options open – as he should – and Jason and Scot are happy to tell him Neal has an idol and to spill on their strategy. Wow, so many people trusting Nick all of a sudden.
And then Scot does something that seems like a big mistake.
He spills to Nick and Jason that Tai has an idol, and says not to tell Cydney. Scot, you should have saved that news for a rainy day. Jason is stoked to know they have the chance to make a super idol by joining the two idols – that’s the idol that can be used after the votes are read. Nick is stoked to learn the Brawns are so overconfident. But will he act on this info now or later? The next day Debbie gets to work, schmoozing with Tai. “I really like you. I want to get in an alliance,” she tells him in front of the other Brains. He says ok and shakes hands but is clearly taken aback. The aggressiveness of the move puts him offside. He’s smarter to stick with Scot as those guys won’t see him as a threat until he’s wormed his way to the last few days of the game. And then Debbie straight out asks Nick to be in her alliance, again in front of the other Brains. Aubry and Neal are not happy and Aubry mutters to her main ally: “She’s not being very finess-ey about the whole thing.” Aubry thinks they look desperate, which is a turnoff.
In the shelter, Jason presumes Beauty Julia’s on board with his anti-Brain alliance. He tells confessional: “Beauty always goes with the jock; it’s just the way of the world … we’re just shoving geeks in lockers right now.” Urgh.
He wants Aubry to go as it will be a surprise. And then, following last week’s sudden appearance in the edit of Beauty Michelle, we get Michelle talking strategy. She tells the camera Jason is too cocky – well, der!
Aubry decides to take control of the Brains’ destiny – finally! “Somebody’s going to have to get her head out of her butt and start talking to people,” she says, knowing she has to do damage control for Debbie’s lack of subtlety. She catches Nick alone and they agree that Debbie has gone cray-cray. Having a person in your alliance who irritates others can be an asset (look at Boston Rob and Phillip Sheppard), but not when you need numbers to survive the merge.
Aubry meets up with old pal Neal for a debrief and to discuss how screwed they are without two Beauties on board. I like how tight these two are – as evidenced by her asking “Do you have the idol?” and him replying immediately with:
Come on in guys … it’s Day 19 and immunity challenge time and Jeff has his orange cap on. But before he outlines the challenge, he gets the contestants to talk about their injuries. Neal apparently has some infected scrapes, including a bad one on his knee. No surprise with the humidity in Cambodia and how physically tough the challenges have been.
Scot and Aubry have infections, too. These guys need some antibiotics, stat.
Jeff explains the challenge and – hooray – it’s the good ol’ balance balls on a platter trick. This would be a Joey Amazing and Keith Nale specialty in previous seasons (apparently it was introduced in 2011).
Before Jeff’s done saying balls as much as humanly possible, retired FBI agent Joe wobbles off his perch and Debbie’s out soon after. Then Jason goes after nearly five minutes and he chucks a tantie, slamming his platter into the ground. Sucked in, Jason. The balls are upped to two and we lose Michelle, Neal and Scot. Seconds later Cydney and Aubry are goners and left to do battle are Beauties Tai, Nick and Julia. Jeff is trying to break his record for saying balls in a challenge (yes, he’s a ball breaker): “Tai’s balls are banging in to each other.” The Beauties last seven minutes with two balls, so they add another one to the platter. Julia drops, then Tai, so Nick wins first individual immunity. Back at camp, in a confessional Neal, he of the gross knee, says it’s the Brains versus the Bullies tonight and if need be he may give his idol to Aubry. Nick is happy with where he’s sitting in the game. “I’m like the pretty girl at the dance: you’re either going home with the quarterbackback or you’re going home with the valedictorian. It’s fun being the pretty girl.” He touches base with Brawns and they are voting Aubry, hoping they can flush Neal’s idol out.
But Nick’s still keeping his options open, talking to the Brain guys, while the Brain girls butter up Michelle. Michelle is interested but is not sure if, strategically, it’s the right move. She and Nick have a quiet word and she says, correctly, she thinks people wouldn’t give former NBA basketballer Scot and bounty hunter Jason the $1 million because the former is rich and the latter is a tool. They agree Brawn is the smarter choice to cosy up to and that Aubry should go.
In confessional, Nick says he wants to stick with Brawn because he can manipulate them and thrash them in puzzle challenges. Likely true but saying these things on camera is just asking to get your comeuppance, Nick. “They’re just idiots,” he says. He genuinely likes Aubry but she has to go. Nooo – not Aubry!
But suddenly a little orange-capped speck appears on the horizon, which can only mean bad news.
The last time Jeff set foot on a tribe’s beach in Survivor it was to tell poor Second Chances player Terry Deitz his young son was gravely ill. This time he’s brought Dr Rupert (do you think they hired him based on his name?) to check out their scrapes. Perhaps their insurance premium increased after the Caleb incident. The Doc is happy Tai’s scrapes are healing. Scot has some angry looking pustules on his thigh, which the doc will keep an eye on. Aubry’s infection looks even worse than at the challenge and Jeff has to look away. Dr Rupert says his options are antiobiotics or – gulp – … And he goes on to explain: “Lance it, incise it, cut it open, drain it, clean all the muck out.” If he does this the pus will come out but the wound could become infected. He decides antibiotics are the way to go. Aww, Survivor – I really thought we were going to see Aubry’s puss being squeezed out. Guru Debbie, sporting the same braids we saw Cydney giving Michelle earlier, looks pleased she hasn’t lost an alliance member. Neal’s up next and he has a giant, infected hole in his knee. (Survivor history fact: The hilariously sarcastic Jonathan Penner was made to leave Survivor: Micronesia in 2008 due to a life-threatening knee infection.) And another one on his back that looks even worse. Neal is worried medical will try and pull him from the game. “I feel good,” he tells Jeff. “I had eight hours’ sleep.” The doc’s not worried about his back, but the infection near the knee joint is a real worry as it can destroy a knee within mere hours. The doc tells Neal: “I want you to be able to run around and do this when you’re Joe’s age.” Poor Neal tears up: “I love this game, Jeff.” But it’s over. Neal says he’s been a fan of the show since it started 15 years ago and he worked hard to be a real competitor: “It’s been a great 19 days.” At least he gets to come back as a jury member once he’s been to a hospital for treatment. Will he have time to slip Aubry the idol? Not with that crowd of people hanging around. Perhaps he should have just pulled it out and given it to her in front of everyone.
Jeff tells them there will be no tribal tonight and Aubry has, unbeknownst to her, been saved for one more day.
She’s spewing at the turn of events but eloquently philosophical in confessional: “Survivor is a path you have to pave yourself. It’s like going on the Oregon trail. You have to ford every river, you have to caulk every wagon, you have to go up the hills and down the hills and sometimes you get dysentery and die. You have to pave your own way.”
In the preview for next week the Brains are on the outs, but then we see Cydney having words with Jason. Go, Cydney! “Irritated Cydney will blow the whole game up,” she vows, and you know she’s serious because she’s using the third person. Please do, Cydney.