We are already into the tenth episode of the 21st season of Survivor and things seem to be going at somewhat of a fairly predictable pace. From early on in the game, one alliance has held pretty much all the cards and made all the major decisions week after week. This alliance was formed way back on Episode 2 when Sash and Naonka got together and decided that they wanted to create an alliance that consisted mainly of racial minorities. Eight episodes later, that alliance is still holding very strong with all five of its core members (Sash, Brenda, Naonka, Purple Kelly, and Chase) intact. No one else has even thought of challenging the core five at this point and it looks as if all five members of that alliance will be going very far into the game. Last episode, the alliance of five showed its power once again when they got together and voted the obnoxious Marty out of the game. With Marty gone now, only ten of the original twenty players are left and the dominant five seem to be well on their way to victory. Will the five continue their reign over the tribe or is their luck about to run out? We'll find out the answer to this question and more as we review this latest episode of Survivor.
The episode begins with the Libertad tribe returning home to camp after their second tribal council together. Brenda is quite satisfied with the vote out of Marty earlier that evening and now, she's setting her sights on Marty's alliance buddies. Dan, Fabio, and Benry voted along with Marty in an attempt to try and vote Jane off of the tribe last episode, but it didn't work. Now Dan, Fabio, and Benry are on the outs big time. Brenda says it's only a matter of time before Marty's buddies go home one after the another. Brenda proclaims herself and Sash to be the king and queen of the game and she feels darn good about that. Meanwhile, Holly and Jane talk privately with each other away from camp. Holly tells Jane that Sash and Brenda are definitely running the show and that one of them has to be the next to go home. Jane agrees with this assessment and adds that Brenda will have no problem taking everyone else out of the game and that's why she's dangerous. Holly wants to make a power move against Sash and Brenda sooner rather than later. Holly concludes by saying that something has to change and it has to change soon. This exchange between Holly and Jane here is very important because it marks the very first time this season where we've seen anyone discussing moving against Sash and Brenda's dominant alliance. Up until this point, every player outside of the core five has wanted to work alongside Sash and Brenda. But now, it seems that Holly wants to turn the tables on Brenda and Sash once and for all. I think Marty's departure is the main reason why this is occurring. When Marty was around, his arrogance and pig-headed behavior united everyone in a common goal to try and get him out. But now that he's gone, the outsiders don't have a main target anymore and now, the only thing they have left to do is target the leaders of the most powerful alliance in the game (Brenda and Sash). I'm really amazed that no one has even thought about going after those two until now, but judging from Holly and Jane's conversation, it looks as if a mutiny is in the works. Is Holly on the verge of leading her own revolt against the game's top two players? We'll see what happens as this episode continues.
The next morning marks Day 25 for our ten remaining Survivor players. Fabio mentions that it has been raining pretty hard lately. The tribe has a campfire going and they don't want the rain to wash their fire out, so the tribe devises a way to prevent the fire from being rained on. They decide to put their chests (these are the chests full of food that they've won from merging and other past challenges) around the fire in order to keep it out of the rain. Remember this fact about the chests and the fire because it will play a role in what happens later on in this episode. Meanwhile, Holly and Jane talk with each other again out in the woods. They both begin to plant the seeds of their secret mutiny against Sash and Brenda. Holly and Jane agree to split up and talk to other people in camp about trying to vote out either Sash or Brenda next. Holly talks with Benry first. She tells him that Sash and Brenda can't be trusted since they voted out his friend Marty and Benry seems to agree with her assessment. Meanwhile, Jane talks with Naonka about Brenda. Jane says that Brenda is a queen bee type of villain who befriends you one minute and throws you to the wolves the next. Naonka seems to agree with Jane's assessment of Brenda and adds that Brenda is Marty Jr. in the way that she overthinks the game. Naonka says that even though Brenda is her best friend in the game, she is also a huge threat. Naonka adds that she didn't come all the way here from south central LA to lose to a huge threat, so if there's a movement to take out Brenda, Naonka is on board with it. Next, Holly speaks with Chase and tells him about the plan to go against Sash and Brenda. Chase is weary of Holly's plan and he would rather see Benry go home instead because Chase feels that he's not trustworthy. Chase also adds that he still trusts Brenda and Sash very much and he doesn't want to betray them. Holly says in a confessional that she thinks she can trust Chase, but she isn't completely sure because Chase makes her nervous. Well, judging from these initial conversations, it looks as if Holly and Jane are making quite a bit of progress in their attempt to go against Sash and Brenda. Even Naonka (a core five member) is ok with turning on her friends. Chase is still sketchy, but I don't blame him. Why would he turn his back on Sash and Brenda now after they've been loyal to him all this time? It doesn't make sense, but Holly seems determined to change his mind. Holly and Jane are moving their plan along very efficiently. Are Sash and Brenda both doomed in this game? Stay tuned.
It's now time for this week's reward challenge. The tribe will be split into two teams of five and these two teams will compete against each other in this challenge. Each team will be given four barrels, two planks of wood, and ten feet of rope. The two teams must use these supplies to travel from one end of the beach to the finish platform at the other end of the beach. The catch is that no one can touch the ground as they're moving across the beach. They must be on top of a plank or a barrel at all times. If even one person on a team touches the ground, that team must go all the way back to the beginning of the beach and start again. The first team to get all of its team members across the beach to the finish platform without touching the ground will win this week's reward, which is a helicopter ride to a local volcano in the area. The winning team will go "volcano surfing" at the volcano and in addition to this, the winning team will also receive a lunch of hot pizza, chocolate brownies, and soft drinks. Sounds like a great reward, so let's get to the challenge. The two teams are selected at random. The Yellow Team consists of Brenda, Holly, Dan, Sash, and Benry. The Blue Team consists of Chase, Purple Kelly, Jane, Naonka, and Fabio. As the game begins, the blue team immediately makes progress while the yellow team falls further and further behind. Eventually, the yellow team falls off of their barrels onto the ground and has to go all the way back to the beginning. This gives the blue team an enormous lead that the yellow team is never able to catch up to. When it's all over, the blue team wins the challenge and the reward. This was an ok challenge to watch. It was pretty creative. Those barrels looked so unsteady at times and I thought for sure, the blue team would fall at some point given how shaky their foundation was all along their trek across the beach. But they managed to pull it off without a hitch. Good for them. I'm sure this type of challenge has been done before at some point, but it did seem kind of fresh and new, so I'm glad that the challenge creators came up with something pretty good for this week's reward challenge.
We now join the blue team as they enjoy their reward to a volcano. The blue team is picked up by helicopter and they're quite excited about this trip. Jane and Naonka have never been inside a helicopter before, so this is quite a new experience for both of them. After the helicopter travels a ways, it lands on the volcano and our five blue team members walk out onto the dirt. Now it's time for some volcano surfing. The five of them put on orange jumpsuits and goggles. Then they get on these small surfing thingamajigs and slide down the face of the volcano (pretty cool, I must say). Jane is the last person to surf down the volcano face and before she goes, she says that even though she's the oldest of the bunch, she's not afraid to do this, lol. Jane then slides down the volcano face and after it's over, she has a big smile on her face. Jane says that the ride was like riding an electric bull, it was so much fun. Afterwards, the five of them enjoy their pizza lunch on the volcano. As they're eating, strategy talk rears its head yet again. Naonka takes Fabio away from the rest of the group and talks with him in private. Naonka tells Fabio that there is a plan in place to vote Brenda out of the game. Fabio thinks that this is a good idea and he is willing to go along with this plan. Naonka then says in a confessional that it's important to make a power move in this game in order to advance yourself ahead. Naonka strongly feels that getting Brenda out would be that "power move" that she is looking for. Wow. It looks like Naonka is down with the "oust Brenda" plan 100% now. Fabio seems to be on board as well. The more we see scenes like this, the more it becomes apparent that a power shift may be taking place within the tribe. Or it could just be an editing trick to make the viewers THINK a power shift is happening when it really isn't. Which one could it be? We'll find out as this episode continues.
We now head back to the yellow team as they make their way back to camp after having lost the reward challenge. As the yellow team approaches their shelter, they immediately notice that something is very wrong. When they go to look at their shelter up close, they come to a startling realization. Almost all of their entire camp has been burned down in a fire. How did this happen, you ask? Well, remember earlier in this review when I mentioned that the tribe decided to put their chests of food and other supplies around the campfire in order to prevent it from being rained on? Well, there was a slight little snafu with that approach. You see, the chests are made of wood and when fire combines with wood, good things tend not to happen. The shelter is still standing for the most part, but all of the food in the chests have been completely burned into ash, it looks like. The members of the yellow team are absolutely devastated when they see this. Benry is almost in tears. Dan says that they lost their machetes, flour, mangos, tomatoes, and their remaining eggplant in the fire. Now the tribe only has cups of rice to live off of and Dan has no idea how they're going to pull that off. Holly tries to lift everyone's spirits by saying that there's no point in getting upset over it. What's done is done, so now, they just need to fix everything and get back to normal as much as possible. Benry concludes this segment by saying that this is the "Day From Hell". This must have been really hard to go through. Imagine being out there in the wilderness for twenty-something days and having something like this happen to you. You have little food to begin with and now, you're down to even less. Even the best of us would be cranky in a situation like this. Oh well. Things will be harder for our survivors now, but they'll pull through it. They've made it this far and they can keep going as long as they have hope. That might be hard to do, but I'm pretty confident it'll happen. Plus, this incident is not mentioned again at all later in the episode, so I'm guessing they came out of it somewhat ok and got back to normal tribal living as much as possible.
We now skip ahead to Day 27 where all ten tribe members are back in camp once again. Chase is feeling a little uneasy about certain things and he decides to have a private chat with Brenda alone in the woods. Chase tells Brenda about the plan to get her out and Brenda seems somewhat shocked by this news. Chase tells her that he believes Holly and Benry are behind this scheme and that one of them needs to go next. Even though Brenda is a little concerned about her status in the game now, she ultimately feels that she doesn't have to do anything crazy in order to protect herself. Brenda still feels confident that she won't be the next to go and she then says "I'm Not Even That Impressed", in regards to the effort to get her out. Brenda seems mighty sure of herself by making that comment, lol. Later, Chase talks with Naonka and tells her that he told Brenda about the plan to get her out. This sends Naonka into a tailspin and now, Naonka is determined to throw Chase under the bus. Naonka tells Benry that Chase can't be trusted because he went and told Brenda about the movement to get her out. Naonka also tells Benry that Chase wants him out instead (which is true). Benry is quite upset at this and he doesn't think too highly of Chase now. Naonka tells Benry she is 100% on board with getting Brenda out. Later, Naonka talks to Jane and tells her the same thing about not trusting Chase. Jane seems very upset by this because she thought she could trust Chase, but now that she knows Chase is working to keep Brenda safe, Jane is not sure about him anymore. Finally, Naonka talks to Holly and she tells her not to trust Chase as well. Holly wonders why Chase can't see that Brenda is running the show and that she has to go. Naonka responds by saying that Chase does see this, but he doesn't care because he trusts Brenda and wants to protect her. It looks as if the dominant alliance of five seems to be completely collapsing in on itself mainly due to Naonka. Naonka seems to have turned on the group and joined the others in going against Brenda, Sash, and Chase. Naonka really made Chase look bad here in her several different conversations with different people. Could Naonka be trying to get Chase out of the game now? Could Chase be the next survivor on his way out of the game? We shall see.
We have now arrived at this week's individual immunity challenge. The ten survivors must each stand on a small platform and lean back on it while holding onto a rope. Every five minutes, the contestants must move their hands further down the rope making it more difficult to hang onto it. When a contestant can not hang onto the rope any longer, that contestant will fall into the pool behind him or her and that person will be eliminated from the challenge. The person who holds onto his or her rope the longest without falling in the pool will win individual immunity and be safe from being voted off at the next tribal council. Everyone else who doesn't win will be eligible to be eliminated. This is yet another endurance challenge, so you would think this one would go on for a long time. Well, guess what? Most of the contestants are eliminated within the first few minutes. They simply were just not able to hang on for very long. Eventually, Chase and Jane are the last two contestants left. Only one of them will win immunity. Jane tells Jeff Probst that her hands are getting really tired and she wants to let go of the rope. Jeff responds by saying "Don't you DARE give up on this challenge!!!" and Jane decides to stay in. After a little while, Chase can't hold on any longer and he drops into the pool. Jane has won individual immunity and she will go on to the next round. Everyone else is at risk of being eliminated tonight. You know, Jeff Probst really gets on my nerves sometimes. There have been so many examples of Jeff trying to interfere with the game over the years that I've lost track of them. This situation was no different. Jane was clearly going to drop out, but Jeff interfered and told her to hang on, thus affecting the outcome. Had he not done that, Chase would have most likely won that challenge instead of her. Who does Jeff think he is? That man needs to just shut up and let the game play out. Probst, you are not a contestant and you are also not a cheerleader. You are the freakin host and you need to learn to be neutral and keep your mouth shut. Period. End of story. Ay-yi-yi. I know that Survivor needs Jeff Probst in order for it to stay successful, but sometimes, I wish we had a host that would just call it right down the middle instead of taking sides. It's getting very annoying and I don't like it one bit. But despite all of that, it was a great immunity challenge. Didn't think it would be over that quick, but still, it was a fun challenge to watch for the most part (minus Jeff Probst's antics).
After the challenge is over, the tribe returns back to camp and the strategy talk begins concerning the next vote off. Sash and Chase talk privately with one another and they both agree that Benry has to be the next person voted out. They both find him shady and they also feel that Benry will be a major competitive threat later on in the game. Later, Sash talks with Naonka privately on the beach and he asks her if she is down with taking out Benry. Naonka responds by saying that the plan is actually going to be to get Brenda out instead. Sash is utterly floored by this news. This is the first time that Sash has heard about any sort of plan to vote Brenda out of the game. Later in confessional, Sash says that he is now worried about his own position in the game for the very first time since this season started. Later on, we see Fabio and Holly talking with Chase privately. Holly tries to convince Chase one more time that Brenda has to go, but Chase still seems determined to try and get Benry out. Chase feels that Brenda is one of the few people that he can trust in this game and if she goes, then Chase will have no one that he can confide with in this game. That's why he wants Benry to go instead. After this conversation, Chase talks with Brenda. He tells her that he wants her to still be in the game, but he doesn't know if the numbers are there to keep her safe. He then tells her that Naonka is the one trying to get her out and Brenda is livid that her best friend in the game (Naonka) has turned on her. As Chase and Brenda are talking, Sash comes up and Brenda asks him if she can use his idol tonight as a means of saving herself. Sash says he will think about it, but he doesn't give Brenda a definite answer. Brenda hopes to use Sash's idol in order to save herself and then, have the rest of the tribe vote out Naonka instead due to her betrayal of the five. Hmmm...things are getting very interesting. It looks as if either Benry, Naonka, or Brenda will be going home tonight. Who will it be? Well, once we get to tribal, it becomes crystal clear. Sash decides to keep his idol and not give it to Brenda at all. It's now time for the votes. Brenda votes out Naonka. Purple Kelly votes out Benry. But everyone else votes out Brenda. Brenda is the eleventh person voted out of Survivor Nicaragua and she is also the third member of the jury. This was the blindside to end all blindsides. The mutiny has been successful.
I was completely stunned when Brenda got the boot. If someone had told me after watching last week's episode that Brenda would be the next to go, I would not have believed it. If anything, I thought for sure that Brenda would be in the final three and have a good chance at winning the million dollars. Brenda was pretty much in complete control of the game from the get go. Back on Episode 2, Shannon and his bunch tried to vote her off, but she gained the upper hand and got Shannon out instead. Shannon's departure allowed the core alliance of five to take control of the La Flor tribe and once this happened, both Sash and Brenda were sitting pretty. Brenda (and Sash) called all the shots and had a huge say in who left the game week after week. She voted off Kelly B. in episode 6 because she believed that Kelly B.'s prosthetic leg would give her a good chance at winning the game. She helped vote off Jill in Episode 7 due to a promise that Sash made to Marty that kept him safe that week. She worked with Naonka and Sash in voting off Alina back on Episode 8 and of course, Brenda and Sash were the crucial swing votes that got rid of Marty last week. Brenda seemed to be on cloud nine for the longest time. She ran the whole show and no one seemed to be going against her at all....that is, until this episode happened. Suddenly, Holly plans a movement against Brenda out of nowhere and the once powerful Survivor player who was destined to make the finals now finds herself out of the game much earlier than expected. This goes to show you that anything can happen on Survivor, lol. Did the tribe make the right call in voting Brenda out? I would say yes for the most part. Holly, Jane, Benry, Dan, and Fabio had to vote a strong member of the core five out of the game if any of them wanted to have a chance of winning, so it makes perfect sense for them to vote her out. Chase and Sash knew they could do nothing to save her (well, Sash could have saved her by giving her his idol, but that would have left him vulnerable which wouldn't have been good since he's being somewhat targeted as well), so they had to join with the majority in voting her out in order to keep themselves safe. Naonka is the only questionable one here in terms of this decision. Yes, it was somewhat smart for Naonka to get Brenda out since Brenda could've beaten her in the finals had they both made it to the end. However, Naonka's decision to betray the five won't sit pretty with the other members of that alliance and that might hurt Naonka's chances of being able to win the game (granted, Naonka has already pretty much ruined her chances of winning through her little antics in previous episodes. But this incident will put her in an even deeper hole than she already is, which is not good for her). So Naonka's decision to betray Brenda is partly good for her and partly bad for her. We'll see how this decision shakes out in future episodes. Overall, Brenda played somewhat of a good game. Her only major mistake was voting out Kelly B. too soon and keeping Marty around for as long as she did. She was also a little too cocky as well which hurt her slightly. But other than that, I would say she played an ok game. Not the best, but certainly not the worst either given how long she was in control of everything. Brenda was a true gamer and for that, she will be missed.
Well, that ends Episode 10. I'll be back for the next installment of Survivor Nicaragua. Till then. :-)
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