We have arrived at the fifh episode of this season and the game is about to take a dramatic turn. Certain players have gotten a little too comfortable with their alliances and their strategy, so what better time than now to throw that all out of whack. Survivor is an unpredictable game and you never really have any idea what is going to happen next. This has certainly been true for the Espada tribe. Certain people that seemed destined to go a long way in this game (such as Jimmy Johnson) got the boot early. Others who seemed to have no chance of survivng even a single tribal council (such as Dan) are still alive and kicking. The game's unpredictability continued last week when Jimmy T annoyed everyone with his constant yammering and got the boot because of it. Who will get the boot this episode and what twists and turns are in store for our remaining players? We'll find out all of this and more as we get into this latest episode of Survivor.
The episode begins with the Espada tribe returning from their third tribal council. Holly is very concerned now about her own survival in this game. She had no idea that the tribe had agreed to vote off Jimmy T at the last tribal council and as a result, she voted for Dan instead because he is physically weaker than the other tribe members. Holly's vote for Dan has now put her on the outs with the rest of her tribe. Jane is also in the same bad spot that Holly is in because she also voted against Dan as well during the last tribal council. Holly feels that the decision to boot Jimmy T and keep Dan was stupid because Jimmy is in much better physical shape than Dan is. Despite all these setbacks, Holly is not giving up. She continues to press on hoping that something will give her a leg up as the game continues. I understand Holly's frustration. The Espada tribe is purposely weakening itself in order to keep the dominant alliance of Marty, Jill, and Dan intact. That has to be extremely hard for a physical competitior like Holly to deal with. But the cards fell where they did and now, it appears there's not much Holly or Jane can do to help their situation now. It'll take a miracle to save these two ladies from being voted off at the next two Espada tribal councils. Little do they both know that a miracle may be just right around the corner.
One thing about Survivor editing that everyone needs to remember is that the producers love playing with the Survivors' expectations of what they THINK is going to happen in the game and then turning those expectations completely around and upside down. The Survivors get too comfortable and think that they control this game when in fact, they do not. Both Marty and Naonka are perfect examples of this cocky, arrogant sort of thinking. When the Espada tribe wakes up the next morning, Marty comments that he is in complete control of the game. He is very pleased with Jimmy T's boot and he is absolutely certain that Holly and Jane will be kicked out at the next two tribal councils. He then says that it would take something extraordinary to ruin his plan now (foreshadowing anyone??? lol). Naonka has the same cocky attitude over on La Flor. She is very pleased that her dominant alliance of five is controlling all aspects of the La Flor tribe. She knows that Kelly B. and Alina will be the next two to leave the game, so she's not worried at all. She then begins to pat herself on the back some more by saying that she has "swag" (whatever the hell that means) and she also says "If I Look Good, And I Feel Good, I'm A Do Good" and when you translate that phrase into English, it reads "I'm so great. Nothing can stop me now." Marty and Naonka both seem pretty confident that they have this game wrapped up. This reminds me a lot of certain superhero films where the main villain believes that nothing can foil their brilliantly evil plan until inevitably.....something goes wrong and the villain's plan is torn to shreds. Well, guess what, folks??? Marty and Naonka's "perfect" plans are about to go up in smoke!!! It's time to shake things up!!!!!! (*cue evil laughter MWUHAHAHAHAHA MWUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAA!!!!!!*end evil laughter) lol. :-)
Both tribes arrive for the reward challenge and that's when Jeff Probst drops the big surprise. He tells everyone to drop their buffs because the tribes are going to be switched up. Jeff asks Marty how he feels about this sudden game changer. He says that anything is possible in this game, but he wasn't counting on this. Fabio doesn't look happy either since his tribe was on an immunity winning streak and now, that whole dynamic is going to be messed up. Jeff then instructs each of the Survivors to pick one rock from a bag of rocks. Most of the rocks are black, but one rock is blue and another rock is yellow. The two survivors who pick the blue rock and the yellow rock will become the captains of their respective teams. Brenda picks the yellow rock and becomes the captain of La Flor. Holly picks the blue rock and becomes the captain of Espada. Both captains must now pick people from the opposite team to join their tribe. Brenda must pick three people from Espada to join the La Flor tribe and Holly must pick four people from La Flor to join the Espada tribe. Both captains make their selections and tell Jeff who they have chosen for their respective tribes. Brenda has chosen Marty, Jill, and Jane to join La Flor. Holly has chosen Alina, Chase, Benry, and Naonka to join Espada. It's a whole new game now. The old vs. young twist is gone and now, both tribes have an equal number of older and younger people. Jeff also announces that the medallion of power is no more. The game is on equal footing again now. Jeff asks Naonka what she thinks of her new tribe and she says it's tough because she's away from her family on La Flor. Jeff then asks Marty how he feels about his new tribe and he says he's glad to be in a winning tribe and is looking forward to a plush camp life (because La Flor has won so many rewards in the past). Marty and Naonka's grand schemes have been ruined and now, both of these arrogant players are back to square one. Will they both be able to survive now that the reset button has been pushed? How will the other Survivors fare now that the game has been turned on its head? It'll be interesting to see how these new tribes play out as this season continues.
It's now time for the reward challenge where our brand new tribes will face off against one another. There are two huge Pachinko looking boards on the beach, one for each tribe. Two people from one tribe will throw the ball that will roll down the pachinko board toward two other survivors from the opposite tribe who have to catch the ball and not let it hit the ground. If a tribe catches a ball, that tribe stays in the game, but if the tribe drops the ball, the opposing tribe scores a point. The first tribe to get three points will win the reward, which is two chickens and one rooster. After an intense contest, the Espada tribe comes through with the victory. The new Espada team wins the chickens and rooster. I have to say, I liked this challenge. It was very different from challenges that we're used to seeing on Survivor, so this was a good "out of the box" challenge that the creators came up with. I'd like to see this challenge be played again at some point in the future. It was pretty cool.
The new Espada tribe returns to camp in good spirits after having won their first challenge together as a new tribe. The tribe members introduce themselves to each other and get acquainted. Tyrone says in his confessional that he preferred his old tribe over this one and he thinks the new young girls of the Espada tribe (Alina and Naonka) will try and flirt a lot in order to survive in the game. As the new Espada tribe gets settled in, Tyrone explains to the new tribe members how camp life at Espada works. Tyrone tells the young kids where the machete is at camp and he also says that if they go out into the forest, bring a piece of wood back to the camp. Tyrone goes on to explain more about Espada camp life and this causes the former La Flor members to become annoyed with Tyrone for being too bossy since he is telling them what to do at camp. Holly sees a way to capitalize on this, so she decides to talk to Alina and Naonka privately. Naonka likes Holly's energy a lot and it seems as if the two of them are creating a close friendship. Holly says in her confessional that she likes being with people younger than her and if she sees a chance to align herself with the former La Flor tribe members, she's going to take it. Holly is making a smart move here. She knows that she was on the outs in the old Espada tribe and now, she has a chance to get back at them and also stay in the game. If she plays her cards right, Holly could set herself up pretty well here. Tyrone was very polite when he was telling the former La Flors how Espada camp life works. Personally, I didn't think that Tyrone was being bossy at all, but sometimes, perception triumphs over reality and that appears to be the case here. The former La Flors perceive Tyrone to be boosy, so therefore he is bossy in their view. Considering the fact that Holly will most likely join the former La Flors and bring their voting block up to five, Tyrone better do something quick to change how he is perceived in this new Espada tribe or else, he may be the next one out the door.
A little bit later on, a massive rainstorm hits the Espada campsite and everyone in the tribe gets drenched with rain. Everyone seems to be dealing with the brutal storm conditions pretty well, except for Naonka. Nay comments that she has never been this cold in her entire life and she is thinking of quitting the game because of how brutal the weather conditions are. Alina comforts Naonka in her time of need, but privately, Alina says that Naonka is a dramatic high school girl and if Naonka quits, Alina won't be too sad to see her go. A little later, Chase comes up to Naonka and tells her not to quit the game. He tells Naonka that she would regret it very much if she left the game of Survivor and Chase tells her to hang in there. Chase then proceeds to tell Naonka about an interesting experience he had on the day his father died. As Chase was driving his truck on that day, he swore he saw a rainbow appear in his rear view mirror. But when Chase turned around to look for himself, the rainbow wasn't there anymore. Chase knew that his father was alright after that incident and he tells Naonka that there is always a rainbow at the end of a storm. You know, I really admired Chase for telling Naonka that story about his father. It was very touching and I think it gave Naonka the confidence she needed to continue on in this game. Naonka might be a very mean and cruel person, but Chase was mature enough to put that aside in order to help a friend in need. True, Naonka has never done anything to upset Chase personally that we know of and if she had made him mad in the past, it's possible that Chase might not have wanted to comfort her at all. But still, it was a very stand up thing to do and I admire Chase for using a very personal story to cheer Naonka up and get her head back in the game. Good job.
We now head over to the new La Flor tribe where the new members seem to be fitting in just nicely. Fabio was not looking forward to the switching of the tribes, but now that he sees how it has played out, he is very happy. The original La Flor has a five to three advantage over the new comers, so he's hopeful that the kids can pick off the older members one by one without much hassle. Jane says that she likes this tribe better because of how relaxed it is. Jane tells some of the La Flor girls that Marty and Jill are very tight and that they need to be broken up as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Fabio tells Marty about the fight between Naonka and Kelly B. for the hidden idol clue (which happened back on Episode 3 of this season). Marty is stunned that no one did anything to stop that fight and he then adds that the La Flor tribe has no leadership. Marty was the one in charge of the Espada tribe when he was there and now, Marty wants to try and be the head kingpin of La Flor in order to "fix" the tribe (and by "fix", Marty means he wants to manipulate the tribe into doing whatever serves his best interests, not theirs). Marty then gives a speech about how he is honest, how he has integrity, blah blah blah, yak, yak, yak, we've heard it all before, Marty, and it's all crap, lol. After this dull speech, he then tells everyone that he has the hidden immunity idol and proceeds to show it to all the tribe members. Everyone pretends to be in awe that he has the idol, but Brenda says in her confessional that Marty is stupid for telling everyone he has the idol because now, he is a prime target to be voted out next in order to get the idol off of him. Brenda is also sick of Marty's arrogant, king-like attitude and that certainly makes things even worse for our idol holder. Even though it is a general fact that revealing you have the idol is more helpful than keeping it a secret, I think this instance might be the exception. Marty is very dumb for telling everyone he has the idol. He's not in a major alliance anymore and that idol reveal just makes him easy pickings for the next vote off. Marty might have just made a very big mistake that could cost him the game. We will see, though.
It is now time for the immunity challenge. Three members from each tribe will be strapped to a giant wheel that perched on top of a small pool. Three other tribe members will spin the wheel which will cause the tribe members that are attached to the wheel to have their heads be dunked underwater temporarily. While submerged, the three tribe members will take in a mouthful of water. When that tribe member comes up out of the pool, they will spit out the water that's in their mouths into a small tube. This process will continue until the tube fills up to the top. Once that happens, a ball will be released and two other tribe members will take the ball and use it to break five tiles. The first tribe to break all five tiles will win immunity and make it to the next round. The losing tribe will go to tribal council, where one person will be voted out of the game. After a close contest, La Flor comes out with the victory and wins immunity. This means that one member of the Espada tribe will be the next person to go home. I really liked this challenge. As with the reward challenge in this episode, I thought that this immunity challenge was another "out of the box" approach to Survivor competitions. After 21 seasons on the air, the show has tended to recycle a lot of competition ideas over the years. It's only natural. You can only keep things fresh for so long before you have to regurgiate ideas. However, it looks as if the producers are coming up with some great new ideas for challenges and I'm really liking that a whole lot. Let's hope we see more innovative and brand new challenges as this season rolls on.
The Espada tribe returns to camp after their loss and everyone on the tribe is upset about having to vote someone out of the game. But before they head to tribal council, the tribe agrees to eat one of the chickens that they won at the reward challenge. Everyone in the tribe wants to eat the chicken except for Tyrone. Tyrone feels that the chicken should stay alive for egg production purposes. In the end, Tyrone's opposition to this plan is overruled and one of the chickens is killed and then prepared to be eaten. As the chicken was being cooked, Tyrone did nothing to help with the cooking process. But once the chicken was ready, Tyrone not only ate some chicken, but he had a bigger helping of chicken than anyone else. This caused some of his tribemates to resent Tyrone's bossiness and selfishness in his life. Holly says that Tyrone is very intimidating and that it's hard to go against what he wants. Holly feels that the tribe should stand up against him and vote him out of the tribe. Benry feels the same way. He also finds Tyrone obnoxious and wants to see him go. But Naonka's desire to quit is also affecting the tribe as well. We see Alina and Yve talk to each other privately on the beach. They both say that Naonka is on the verge of collapse due to her breakdown during the massive storm earlier and voting her out is the best way to keep the tribe strong. Yve worries that Naonka doesn't have a lot of longevity in order to carry on in this game and that she should go as soon as possible. It's obvious at this point that either Tyrone or Naonka will be leaving the game. Which one will it be? Well, at tribal council, it all becomes clear as day. Yve and Tyrone cast their votes for Naonka, but it's not enough. The rest of the tribe votes out Tyrone. Tyrone is the fifth person voted out of Survivor Nicaragua. As with Jimmy T last week, Tyrone's desire to be leader is what ultimately did him in.
Overall, I really liked Tyrone. He seems like a really nice guy. I liked the way in which he was very assertive at getting his point across without being overly bossy. However, the other tribe members didn't see it that way. Tyrone's attempt to establish order in the camp came off as "being bossy" to the former La Flor members and it unfortunately sent him a one way ticket out of the game. Personally, I think the former La Flor kids overreacted. Tyrone was only trying to help out by establishing a routine and certain tasks throughout the day. Tyrone made an interesting comment at tribal council when he said that it could be a generational gap. Older people like to have a sense of schedule whereas younger people are more of the "anything goes" variety. That could've played a role in Tyrone's downfall here. The chicken incident didn't help either. Some people have argued that Tyrone needed to eat more chicken since he was a bigger, more muscular person. It had nothing to do with greed according to them. They may be right about that, but again, perception beats reality. The former La Flor members saw Tyrone as being bossy and a food hog and that in and of itself was enough to get him the boot. That's just how the game goes, like it or not. Did the tribe make the right decision in voting off Tyrone? I would say yes and no. If you're looking at this game from a post-merge perspective, then voting him off was the right call. He might've very well been a hard person to beat in individual challenges later in the game, so getting him out now makes sense for the former La Flor tribe members. But if you're looking at this game from a pre-merge perspective, then no, Tyrone should not have gone. It should have been Dan instead. Had the former La Flors and Holly voted off Dan instead of Tyrone, they still could have maintained their dominant number of five while keeping the tribe strong at the same time. In a lot of ways, taking out Dan would've been the better play. But getting rid of Tyrone isn't a bad move either for end game purposes. It still amazes me that Dan keeps surviving every week. Every time it seems almost certain that he'll be voted out, he always finds some way to stay in it. It's really something. Anyway, Tyrone, you were a great guy and you will be missed. Tyrone played a good game even if the perception of what he was doing backfired on him. I wish we could have seen more of him, but oh well. That's how the game goes.
That ends this week's review. We have brand new tribes now and we'll see how these new tribes pan out in the next few weeks. Till next time. :-)
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