Erika smartly smashed the glass. She would have been 1 of 6 people eligible to get voted out, would have had the least amount of outside Tribe connections, and most of her original Tribe exiled her, so giving safety to herself and five potential allies is an absolute win. As we saw throughout the episodes, the five/six players who no longer had immunity scrambled to such a degree that Erika mostly got off scot-free and could embed herself into the game as chaos ensued.
Was this Twist fair? Danny and Sydney were clearly unhappy with the twist, whereas Deshawn shrugged it off, stating, Survivor has a lot of twists, and you have to be ready for them. To me, it was lazy writing. There are twists, and then there is lying to the competitors. The main show I cover is MTV’s The Challenge, and they think lying to the competitors about rules and formatting equates to twists, which is a rabbit hole I hope Survivor does not go down further. I wanted Erika to break the glass because I like Erika, but players got put into a rough and unique scenario with this twist. Still not the worst twist in Survivor history, not even close.
9 Immunity Challenge
The six players who lost immunity after the Glass Breaking competed for individual immunity.
Immunity Challenge: Castaways had to build a block structure and place a flag in the center using only their feet — the first to accomplish this won immunity.
Shockingly, most of the castaways kicked this usually difficult challenge’s ass. At first, Evvie took the lead, then knocked down part of her tower when trying to place her flag. It then became a battle between Sydney and Ricard, with Ricard taking the win as Sydney was centimeters away from victory. Ricard winning this challenge swung the overall outcome massively. Had Ricard not won this immunity, then the original Luvu members would have likely gunned for him as the alternative scenario in case an Idol got used on Evvie. Instead, Luvu had to turn on one of their own.
There is some humor in the fact that Luvu, the Tribe that dominated all the challenges, had their four most physical players competing for immunity, and they lost to someone from Ua, a Tribe that continually failed in immunity challenges.
8 Scrambling & Strategizing
We got a wholly unique Tribal where only five of the players in the game were eligible to get voted out, four being original Luvu members: Danny, Deshawn, Naseer, and Sydney, and the other being Yase’s Evvie. Initially, the simple plan was to vote out Evvie as she is the outsider until people find out an Idol might get played on her. Once that happens, Sydney’s gets thrown out, and the men jump on that; meanwhile, Deshawn’s name gets thrown out as people see him as a massive social threat.
7 Yase’s Breakdown
Yase is messy and bold.
Tiffany leaks to Evvie what Liana’s advantage is. Evvie then tells Xander, and now the three are a solid group.
Xander comes out of the immunity challenge guns blazing that he will be using his Idol on Evvie; he tells Evvie and the opposing side about this. He does this to get people to scramble, to get Liana shook, and the worst-case scenario is the Idol that some people have known he’s had since Episode 2 is finally out of his hands.
Liana continues to push on and tries to make sure Xander is going to Tribal with the Idol in his pocket so she can use her advantage, and as a whole, her Poker Face is awful.
In a perfect world, Liana is stealing Naseer’s Idol, Xander is using his Idol to save Evvie, and they are picking off a Luvu power player in the process. It’s not a perfect world, and Yase chooses unnecessary madness at every turn.
6 The Campout Alliance & The All Male Alliance
Last week, we saw the bonding/aligning of Shan, Deshawn, Liana, and Danny. I’m not sure if the “Campout” is their official nickname, but I saw many people use it in reference to the All-Black Alliance from Big Brother Season 23. In the last few weeks, we have also seen Danny and Deshawn anxious over the concept of the men getting outnumbered and voted out via an all-women’s alliance.
Based on this week’s actions, I feel strongly in saying that the Campout and an All-Male Alliance are certainly a-go, the Campout more so. Once the concept of Xander using his Idol on Evvie came into play, we saw the wheels moving. Deshawn and Danny, two people in both alliances, threw Sydney under the bus despite her being their top ally to this point.
5 A Goddamn Chaotic Tribal
When I was watching the episode live at home for the first time, Tribal Council started at 8:40 PM, and from that moment on, I knew shit was going to be crazy. We got two advantages played, an Idol talked about a lot, and a Shot in the Dark!
I was not a massive fan of all the whispers and talk at Tribal Council; that is something you want to see at camp. At this point, I think it’s something we might just have to live with, unfortunately, because this has become a recurring complaint from myself and fans alike.
4 Liana Swings and Misses
Liana plays her advantage at Tribal and tries to nab Xander’s Idol; unfortunately, Xander gave his advantages to Tiffany, which means Liana gets nothing. If anything, it was a colossally bad move, as now Liana’s original Yase Tribe members are officially against her. In the eyes of the other players in the game, she threw away one of the most powerful advantages in Survivor history. Even if Liana gets to the end, this moment will leave a bad taste in the jurors’ mouths when evaluating her gameplay.
I respect Liana’s heart and passion for this game because she wants to make big moves; the issue is she was overeager and became fixated too much on a single strategy. Survivor is a game about adapting and flexibility, and Liana became obsessed with taking out Xander, not seeing he was a genuinely good guy with who she could align. Also, loose lips sink ships, and Liana did a terrible job evaluating how much she could trust her allies regarding what information to give about her advantage. Even to the last minute, Liana never considered cutting bait and trying to steal Naseer’s Idol; that way, she could walk away from Tribal not empty-handed and without a group of three wanting to target her after the night.
3 The Shot In The Dark
Sydney is the first person in Survivor history to play a Shot in the Dark. She revealed her shot results on a piece of paper simply stating “Not Safe.” When the Shot in the Dark got introduced, I assumed the players would be rolling a giant dice at Tribal Council since it is a 1 in 6 chance. The way they are implementing the Shot in the Dark makes it seem like production can rig whatever outcome they want. Had Sydney pulled out a paper saying “Safe,” then the internet would be in an outrage that CBS is rigging it for their golden girl.
By using her Shot in the Dark, Sydney lost her vote at Tribal Council.
2 The Final Count
Before Jeff reads the votes, Xander alerts Tiffany to not play the Idol for Evvie, stating that they think because the idol will get played on Evvie, they did not even waste any votes on her. With Sydney’s Shot in the Dark played, she has no vote.
Jeff reads them:
3 Votes for Deshawn, coming from Evvie, Tiffany, and Xander
4 Votes for Evvie, coming from Danny, Ricard, and Deshawn (twice, as he plays the Extra vote he got from his excursion with Evvie during Ep 2).
5 Vote for Sydney, coming from Shan, Liana, Heather, Erika, and Naseer.
Sydney makes history by being the first player in US Survivor to get voted out without writing a single vote herself due to her using the Shot in the Dark. If she kept her vote, Sydney could have voted for Evvie, tied it at 5–5–3, leading to a revote where everyone votes besides Sydney & Evvie, and in that scenario, I think Evvie gets taken out as there is no longer the threat of an Idol getting played. Sucks to see Sydney go out this way, in large part due to the twist, nonetheless, that’s Survivor. Sidenote: Her not getting to be on the jury after all this is rough. Even smaller sidenote: Sydney is hot.
Based on these votes, it seems like the Original Luvu (minus Sydney)+ Ua + Liana were on a united front. They split their votes with a majority going towards Sydney. Deshawn threw in an extra vote to assure that he’d at least get a revote in a scenario where it would be a 4–4 tie with himself and Evvie in case Sydney had an Idol or successful Shot in the Dark played on her. I feel safe in saying those 9 players united as Shan & Ricard voted for different people, and while those came into the merge a bit shaky, they are still allies. Nobody looked happier when Ricard won immunity than Shan.
1 Yase on the Outside, and Erratic Tiffany with Two Advantages
The three votes for Deshawn came from the Yase trio of Xander, Evvie, and Tiffany. While the three of them could make it out of Tribal without using Xander’s Idol, they will likely get targeted next Tribal. Unfortunately, even if they use the Idol next week, the remaining eight players could split their 8 total votes into 4 and 4, which still outnumbers their 3. The trailer for next week has you assume as much as Xander, Evvie, and Tiffany seem to be debating who to use the Idol on, which leads me to my next point.
Xander giving Tiffany the Idol made complete sense as Liana expected either him or Evvie to have the Idol when she played her advantage. The problem is, Tiffany is an erratic player, and I don’t know if Xander will ever get his advantages back. I respect Xander for remaining loyal to his original Yase Tribe as I think most expected him to try and bond with the men of other Tribes based on physical strength, yet, maybe the expected play was probably the best play for him. At this point, the best gameplan for the Yase trio is politicking and working those on the fringes: Heather, Erika, and Ricard. If they can flip those votes their way, the game gets interesting. Sadly, I think most people in the game are content with picking them off to give themselves some extra days before things get serious. For the Yase Trio, the game is serious right now.