We've seen both the Espada and La Flor tribes battle it out this season. At first, the two tribes were split into old vs. young, with the Espada tribe representing contestants who are 40 and over and the La Flor tribe representing contestants who are 30 and under. Then, the tribes were switched up and an equal number of older and younger players were put on both tribes. As the game progressed, both tribes have fought to stay alive and each tribe has had its share of wins and losses. Last episode, the La Flor tribe suffered the latest defeat and had to go to tribal council. Surprisingly, Marty gave his immunity idol to Sash and put himself in a very vulnerable position. But as luck would have it, the tribe decided to keep him safe and vote off his best friend Jill instead. Heading into this latest episode, both tribes are even with six individuals on each team. Will the two tribes continue to battle it out in a team game or is the merge looming around the corner indicating the start of the individual portion of the game? We'll find out the answer to this question and more as we review Episode 8 of Survivor Nicaragua.
This episode begins at the La Flor camp and it is the morning after last night's tribal council. We see Marty sitting alone by himself. He says that he is depressed that his friend Jill got voted out last night. Marty praises Jill by saying that she was a great competitior and that she had a love for the game (and when you translate that pile of hogwash into reality, he's really saying "I love Jill because she was my puppet and she did whatever I wanted her to do without question". lol). Marty also mentions that there are other people in the game who don't deserve to be here as much as Jill did and that infuriates him (and when you translate that steaming pile of crap into reality, he's really saying "I hate Jane because she won't bow down to my greatness the way Jill did.") Later, Fabio brings some new treemail into camp. Inside the treemail is a letter, a key, and a map. The letter says that the La Flor tribe must pack up all of their belongings and follow the map to their new home. The La Flor tribe believes that the merge is coming and Marty is very excited about this. He says that it's a whole new game now and he feels safe because he thinks that the young La Flor members will start going after one another when the merge hits and leave him alone. I think Marty is living in La La Land if he honestly believes that this will happen. Look at the evidence, Marty. The kids of La Flor have banded together and casted votes against you on two occassions. Sash has even come up to you and pretty much confirmed that his alliance will gang up on you and take you out of the game at some point. Given all of this, do you REALLY think that the La Flor kids are going to fracture and take each other out when you, Marty, have been a big time target for them the last couple of tribal councils? If you believe that, Marty, then you're nuts. I know that anything can happen after a merge and yes, it is somewhat possible that the main alliance of kids might turn on each other. But given the evidence that is staring Marty right in the face, he should know that it's much more likely that he himself will be their next target. That's what you get for giving up your immunity idol, Marty. I can't believe Marty honestly thinks that he's the best player out there and that Jane (or anybody else for that matter) is not playing the game at all. Jane may not be the brightest bulb on the tree, but at least she didn't STUPIDLY GIVE AWAY AN IDOL TO A GUY TRYING TO GET HER OUT like you did, Marty. I think Marty's days are numbered. We shall see, though.
Heading over to the Espada tribe now, we see the tribe members walk over to their treemail area and once they get there, they find a huge chest waiting for them. The chest has a lock on it, which is preventing the tribe from opening the chest to see what is inside. There is also a note on the chest which reads "Make room in camp. Company will be arriving soon". They assume that a merge is coming soon and that the La Flor tribe will be coming to live with Espada in the Espada campsite. As the Espada tribe walks back to camp to prepare for their new neighbors to arrive, Alina sits everyone down and begins to hash out a plan. Alina strongly argues that the six Espada members must stick together and take out Marty once the merge happens. After that occurs, Alina says that they should get rid of the rest of the La Flor members one by one until only Espada members are left in the game. Everyone is listening to Alina quietly, but no one seems to agree very much with her game plan. If anything, Alina's discussion with everyone is making her position in the game even worse than it already is. Benry says that Alina has burned too many bridges in her tribe and she has to go as soon as possible. Naonka mocks Alina by saying that she is a "One Woman Army" in her plan to unite the Espada members since she is the only one on board with this idea. Naonka then says that Alina will be surprised when she finds out that she herself will be the next one leaving the game. Alina seemed to make a good argument here to her tribe about what her teammates should do in order to keep the tribe united and strong. But everyone else isn't buying it. Alina was targeted for a vote off last episode, but luckily, she avoided tribal council when her tribe won immunity. This time, however, there might be a merge and if there is one and if she doesn't win individual immunity, Alina might be in big trouble. Will Alina make it to the next round or are her days in this game finished? We'll find out what happens to Alina as this episode continues.
Later on in the day, the Espada tribe is hanging out at camp when they see a group of people walking toward them. When they look up to see who it is, they realize that it is the La Flor tribe coming to their camp with their belongings. Once the La Flor tribe arrives at Espada's camp, all twelve contestants hug and embrace each other. Then the La Flor tribe uses their key that they got in treemail to open up Espada's chest. Once the chest is opened, they see that there is food inside and they also see twelve red buffs inside as well. There is a note inside the chest which reads that the two tribes have officially merged and they must now come up with a new tribe name. Marty decides to name the new merged tribe "Libertad" since Marty is now free from what happened before in the game and can now start anew (seriously, Marty just does not understand this game at all. If he honestly believes that everything that happened before is magically erased just because the two tribes merge, the he is more far gone than I originally thought, lol). The new merged "Libertad" tribe begins to eat the food in the chest and they all seem to be enjoying it. As the tribe members are bonding with each other, Brenda and Naonka decide to leave the festivities and go on a walk. Brenda loves being able to talk to Naonka again since she knows that she can trust Naonka with anything. The two girls begin to update each other about what's been going on with both tribes. Naonka tells Brenda that Alina can't be trusted and should leave the game soon. Brenda tells Naonka that Marty gave Sash his idol and Naonka is dumbfounded that Marty would do something so stupid. Both Brenda and Naonka agree that they are controlling the game now and will knock out the other contestants one by one until only their alliance remains. There are good reasons to dislike Brenda and Naonka, but you have to admit that they are running the show. They're completely in charge and they have the ability to follow through on their promise to knock out everyone else in the game. These two are in a very good spot right now strategically. Brenda and Naonka are both tightly aligned with Purple Kelly, Sash, and Chase at the moment. The five of them could easily take over this whole game just like that if they play their cards right. We'll see what happens.
A little bit later, we see Chase and Jane talking with each other out in the woods. This is the first time that the two of them have been able to have a conversation with each other because they have both been on opposite tribes up until now. Both Chase and Jane are from North Carolina, so they immediately have a connection with each other. Chase says that Jane is a good lady and that she reminds him of his mom. Jane tells Chase that Marty has treated her like an "ugly duckling" throughout the game and Chase sympathizes with her. Jane then says that both her and Chase have lost someone close to them recently. Chase's dad passed away not too long ago and Jane's husband passed away as well. The loss of a loved one bonds them both even more. These two seem to have formed a good friendship out there and that's nice to see. It's also pretty cool that the friendship between them seems to be genuine and not just based on strategy or alliances. They both have pretty laid back personalities, but will fight when the going gets tough, so that is another similarity between the two. I wouldn't be surprised if both Chase and Jane make it far into the game. They seem to be friends now, but at some point, Chase might have to choose between staying aligned with the youth alliance or teaming up with Jane. Either way, watching him make his decision should be very interesting. Let's keep an eye on these two as the season progresses.
If you've been watching this season, you'll know that Naonka is probably the craziest contestant of this group and she proves that to a t with this next little stunt that she does. Naonka decides to make tortillas for the tribe the next day. Naonka hands out a tortilla to each of her tribe mates, but when Naonka takes the last tortilla for herself to eat, she notices that it's the smallest tortilla of the bunch. This aggravates Naonka to no end and she decides to get revenge on the whole tribe for leaving her the smallest tortilla to eat. When no one else is looking, Naonka steals a jar of flour from the chest, takes the jar out into the woods, and buries it under some dirt. Naonka then proceeds to take some fruit from the chest as well and begins to eat the fruit in secret. Naonka then decides to bring Alina in on her scheme. Naonka tells Alina in private that the tribe wants to vote her out and Alina is very upset at the fact that the tribe has turned on her. Naonka tells Alina that she can get revenge on the tribe by helping her eat some of the food she stole from camp. Alina agrees to this and follows Naonka deep into the woods where Naonka has stashed some fruit. They both gleefully eat the stolen food in private. Later, the rest of the tribe notices that certain food items from the chest are missing and they begin to wonder where the items have gone. Naonka believes that no one will suspect her of being the thief, but unbeknowest to her, Holly saw Naonka take the flour earlier and put it in her bag. Holly asks Naonka in front of the entire group why she took the flour. Naonka says that she put it back (which she did later), but then Fabio asks her why she took it in the first place. This leads to an all out shouting match between Fabio and Naonka, which leads to Naonka walking away in a huff. Later, Naonka returns and admits that she did steal the food. She says that she stole the flour in order to measure it out (which is a complete lie), but she put it back, so no harm done in her eyes. She also says that Alina was in on it too. Alina fesses up to her role in the heist and apologizes to the group also. It's no secret that I've never liked Naonka and this latest stunt of hers proves even more how immature and childish she is. I don't like it when a contestant steals food. It's a pretty low thing to do. There have been former Survivor contestants (mainly Russell and Sandra) who have stolen food in the past and I hated when they did it as well. It's just a petty, stupid thing to do and Naonka has clearly shown with this stunt that she's insufferable to live with. I will credit Naonka for one thing, though. She did fool Alina pretty well here. She made her take part of the blame for the food heist while at the same time making it look like she is watching out for Alina (by telling her that the tribe wants to vote her out). Naonka now has a clueless ally in Alina who thinks that Naonka has her back when in reality, Naonka is actually trying to vote Alina out of the game. Also, if Alina does get voted out and if Naonka makes it to the finals, Alina will most likely vote for Naonka to win the game. Strategically, Naonka played Alina like a fiddle. It still doesn't change the fact that Naonka is a terrible person, though.
The next day at camp, Sash decides to meet up with his alliance members (minus Naonka) about how to handle the current situation. They know that Naonka has committed a terrible act by stealing the tribe's food and they discuss whether or not they will continue to support Naonka in the game. They all decide that it is in their best interests to keep Naonka safe for now. Sash argues that Naonka must stay in the game because this theft incident gives Sash a better chance of beating Naonka should they both make it to the final tribal council. Sash then talks to Naonka in private and says that he still has her back. He tells her that his alliance is going to distance themselves from her in order to make it look like they have a issue with her when in reality, she's still as tight with the group as she was before. Naonka likes this plan and she is happy that her place in Sash's alliance has not been compromised. Meanwhile, Marty says that Naonka should leave the game because of what she did, but he then states that nothing is ever that simple on Survivor and that she will most likely stay in the game. I know most people don't like the fact that Naonka is not truly being punished for the food theft. I know I sure don't like it. But the fact is Naonka is in a power position, which means she can get away with more crazy stunts than people who are on the outs. That's just the way it is, like it or not. As long as Naonka is sitting pretty in Sash's main alliance, we're not going to see her leave the game anytime soon. Get used to her because we will most likely be seeing her make it to the finals. I don't think Naonka can win at this point, but she has a great chance at getting second or third place. Unless something drastically changes between now and the finale, that will be the ugly truth, I'm afraid.
In other news, Marty's dislike of Jane continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Jane catches a fish for the tribe and Marty is disgusted by it. He decides to go off into the woods with Brenda in order to have a private chat with her. He tells her that Jane is too strong of a competitior and that it'd be best for everyone if Jane were voted out sooner than later. Brenda pretends to agree with Marty's statement, but privately, she doesn't trust Marty at all. She thinks that Marty could align himself with Benry and Fabio in order to turn the game in his favor, so she thinks that Marty should go because of this. There goes Marty again digging his grave deeper and deeper. The guy just can't shut up. He gives away the idol and now, he's going after someone that everyone mostly likes in Jane. Marty's mouth and his stupid game decisions are putting him on a fast track to disaster. Marty could very well be going home at the next tribal council. Stay tuned.
It is now time for this week's immunity challenge. Now that the two tribes have merged into one, the contestants will no longer be competing for tribal immunity. Instead, they will compete for individual immunity for the rest of the game. In this individual immunity challenge, each person will use two metal handles to hold a long bar in place. The bar is situated over a tile on the ground. Each person must keep tension on the bar (by pushing on it with the metal handles) in order to keep it from falling on the tile. If a person's bar falls down and their tile breaks, that person will be eliminated from the challenge. This challenge will continue until there is only one man and one woman left holding the bar in place. The last man and woman standing will each receive individual immunity and be safe from being voted off at tonight's tribal council. The other contestants who don't win will be eligible to be eliminated. Let's get to the results. Jane wins individual immunity on the women's side first. After she wins, Jeff says that it's ok for her to drop her bar, but Jane says that she wants to stay in and try to beat all of the men, lol. Jane is a tough little thing, that's for sure. The men continue to battle it out and when it's all said and done, Fabio wins individual immunity on the men's side. After Fabio wins, he drops his bar and Jane is still holding on to hers even though she already won immunity a long time ago, lol. Jane finally moves to the side and drops her bar on the ground saying "I'm not going to break my tile." You got to love Jane. She's awesome. Jane and Fabio are the victors here and they both walk away very happy knowing that they'll each make it to the next round. This was a fun challenge. They almost always have an endurance based challenge at this point in the game, but I don't think we've had this particular challenge before. It was very well done. I quite enjoyed watching it, I must say.
The tribe returns back to camp and now, discussion begins on who will be the next person voted out. Jane talks with Chase, Naonka, and Holly in private. Jane argues strongly that Marty should be the next one to go and everyone seems to agree with her. However, when Sash is informed about the plan to get out Marty, he doesn't want to follow through with it. Sash wants Marty to stay in the game one more round because he apparently made a promise to Marty that if Marty gave him the idol (which he did), then Sash would keep Marty safe from elimination at the next round (I thought the promise was to just keep Marty safe the LAST round which he did. But now, Sash is extending it to this round as well. Kinda weird.) Jane does not like this plan at all. She believes that if they don't vote out Marty now, he'll begin to win multiple immunity challenges and that'll make him harder to vote off later down the road. Brenda then butts in and says that if he does win many challenges, they'll just wait until Marty loses a challenge and then, they'll vote him off no problem (Brenda is basically backing up Sash's idea of keeping Marty in the game another round by telling Jane this). Brenda and Sash then suggest voting off Alina instead. Everyone seems to like that plan, but Jane says she's voting out Marty no matter what happens tonight. In her opinion, Marty has to go as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Dan and Chase talk briefly with each other and Dan asks Chase how the vote will go tonight. Chase tells him that either Alina or Marty will be going tonight and he'll let him know later which one it is. Dan tells Chase he's cool with that plan. Sensing that his buddy might be in danger, Dan immediately runs to Marty and tells him that Chase is trying to get Marty out. This infuriates Marty and he goes to many other tribe members demanding to know what is going on. They all tell him that Alina is the one going home and that he has nothing to worry about. However, Alina is cooking up a scheme of her own trying to get Marty out. Alina thinks that she has six votes to get Marty out and is trying to get one more to seal the deal. Alina talks to Fabio and she tries to convince him to vote out Marty. But Fabio tells her that he likes Marty and that Alina herself too big of a threat to stay in the game. Alina walks away from Fabio very unhappy. It seems pretty clear that either Alina or Marty will be going home, so let's get to tribal and see what happens.
As tribal council gets underway, Marty begins to immediately throw Jane under the bus. He says that Jane is the most dangerous player because she has the best sob story (which is her husband dying) and she can use that story in order to win the game at the end. Marty even goes so far to say that if Jane makes it to the final tribal council, he will vote for her to win the game (condescending much??? lol). But again, none of this matters since Jane has immunity which means that she's not going anywhere tonight. Alina argues at tribal council that Marty is trying to control the game and must leave immediately. She says that it's better to keep her over Marty because she'll vote the way everyone wants her to vote and won't try to control the game in the way that Marty is trying to. It's a pretty good argument, but let's see how the votes shake out. After everyone casts their votes, it becomes clear. Alina and Jane vote out Marty, but it's not enough. Everyone else votes out Alina. Alina is the ninth person voted off of Survivor Nicaragua and she is also the first member of the jury. She played as hard as she could, but it wasn't enough to get her all the way to the end.
Overall, I would say that Alina played a great game. She aligned herself with Kelly B. early on and the two of them formed a pretty tight alliance with one another. However, one event marked the turning point for Alina's game and that turning point was the night Shannon got voted off of the La Flor tribe. Kelly B. and Alina had both aligned themselves with Shannon prior to that vote. But after he left, Sash and company gained control of La Flor and this put both Kelly B. and Alina in a pretty bad spot. They were immediately outcasted and they were both seen as not being a part of the larger youth alliance. Kelly B. was booted soon after this revelation became clear and now, Alina has paid the price for it as well. I'll give Alina a lot of credit. She is a fighter. She knew that she was in danger and she did everything possible to keep herself safe in this episode. She made very compelling arguments about why she should stay and Marty should go. She never backed down and tried to get Marty voted out until the last minute. But ultimately, it didn't work and she paid the price for it. Also, the food theft incident in this episode didn't help Alina either. Even though Naonka is clearly more at fault for what happened there than Alina is, it all goes back to what I said earlier. If you're in a position of power, you don't get punished for things. If you're on the outs, the littlest thing will send you packing. Some people were mad at Alina for participating in the food theft and that became part of the reason why people voted her out. Meanwhile, the true guilty party (Naonka) is safe. That's not Alina's fault, it's just the way things are unfortunately. Did the tribe make the correct call in voting Alina out? I would say kinda yes, but mostly no. She is a good player, so it's good to get her out now, I suppose. But keeping Marty is just a bad idea because of how sneaky and overbearing he is. I swear, Marty must have nine lives or something. This is the third straight tribal council that he's survived even though he's a huge walking target. But I believe that eventually, Sash and friends will take him down. I think it's only a matter of time before Marty goes down in flames, lol. Anyway, Alina was a great player who never gave up and played the game to the fullest. I admire players like that. I wish Alina nothing but the best of luck in the future.
That wraps up this week's review. I'll be back for next week's installment. Till then. :-)
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