With all the twists and turns of this season so far, and with the added surprise of Terry Dietz being pulled from the game during the last episode, it’s crazy to think that the game could get any more unpredictable. However, this episode introduced one more twist that could potentially throw a wrench in everyone’s plans.
At TaKeo, Andrew Savage is still reeling from the blindside at the previous tribal council. He was shocked to find out that the majority of his tribe turned against him to vote out Woo instead of Spencer. I don’t think Savage ever experienced a true blindside like that when he played Survivor the first time in Pearl Islands. He feels the most betrayed by Kass, with whom he thought he had formed a strong bond. Savage tells us he isn’t going down without a fight. He says that if he has to play under the radar and act wimpy to make it to the merge he is willing to do so. Spencer can’t dwell on the fact that Savage was targeting him at Tribal Council because he still needs to concentrate on building relationships he can use down the line. After all, despite their rocky history in Survivor, Spencer was able to join forces with Kass and put the past behind him to make it through the last vote.
The Bayon tribe gets a note that tells them to prepare for visitors at their beach. Notes like this in Survivor normally mean a merge is coming but never has there been a merge with 13 people left in the game. Tasha knows that a merge will reunite her with Kass and Spencer. The three of them were all originally tribemates on Survivor Cagayan. She isn’t sure if they will be able to work cohesively this time around. The TaKeo tribe gets a map telling them to head to the Bayon tribe beach. It’s official; the tribes are merging. Savage could not be happier for the merge. He is looking forward to rejoining his “brothers” at Bayon and bettering his position in the game.
This is the largest merge in Survivor history. Both tribes come together to have the traditional merge feast and Kass fills in some of the castaways about the events of the last tribal council. Kimmi is impressed that Kass and Spencer were on the same side of the vote to take out Woo. Kass tells us that saving Spencer is beneficial to her because she can leverage that action for Spencer’s loyalty moving forward. As the feast comes to an end, the castaways all prepare to start scrambling to form a new majority alliance. Savage and Jeremy wander off to strategize. Allies since Day 1, the two of them plan on sticking with Tasha, Fishbach, Kimmi and Kelly Wiglesworth to form an alliance of 6, but in order to have the majority they will need to secure Joe’s vote as well. Elsewhere, Kelley Wentworth and Kass are making a plan of their own. Wentworth is working with Kass, Ciera and Keith. She hopes she has established enough of a bond with Joe that he will be willing to work with her as well. Kass assures Wentworth that they can count on Spencer and Abi-Maria to vote alongside them as well. Kelley’s biggest objective is to solidify a bond with Spencer and Joe because she is not sure the two of them have chosen a side. The next morning, Savage reconnects with Joe on the beach while Wentworth talks with Spencer. Realizing the power they have as the “swing votes”, Joe and Spencer decide to work together to figure out which side they would rather align with.
Realizing she may be in trouble, Kass tries to approach Tasha to convince her that they should team up against the alliance lead by Savage, Jeremy, and Fishbach. Although Kass is being sincere in wanting to work with Tasha, Tasha finds it really difficult to trust her. Back in Season 28, Kass and Tasha were aligned until Kass decided to switch sides and turn on her original alliance, running Tasha’s chances at winning the game. Tasha feeds Kass a lie about how the original Bayon alliance isn’t as close as they seem, but Kass sees right through it. She can tell Tasha is not being honest and plans on using that lie to her advantage. The line has been drawn in the sand.
Tasha and Kass take their conversation to the rest of the tribe. The two begin to argue about why Tasha felt the need to lie to Kass. Quickly, the whole tribe is immersed in the drama. Ciera, who can tell she might be in danger of being voted out as well, chooses this moment to plant the seeds that Savage and Woo were plotting against Jeremy. Savage angrily insist that Ciera is lying and that she is only stirring the pot to cause drama. He tells us that Kass and Ciera are like an angry two-headed dragon that needs one of its heads chopped off.
The immunity challenge is a throwback to Survivor Cagayan. The castaways stand on a beam and balance a ball without dropping it or falling off the beam. Spencer and Joe are the last two tribe members remaining in the competition, but Joe ends up winning the first individual immunity challenge of the season.
When the tribe returns to the merge camp, it’s clear that the drama surrounding Kass and Ciera has made the two of them the easy targets for the upcoming tribal council. The majority of the tribe wants to vote for Kass, but Jeremy thinks it may be a good idea to split the vote between Kass and Ciera, just in case Kass has a hidden immunity idol. Realizing they are not voting with the majority, Kass, Abi and Ciera decide to align with Kelley Wentworth and Spencer to vote out Tasha. Kass lets Spencer in on the plan. She hopes that Spencer will be loyal to her to repay her for saving his life in the game when his head was on the chopping block.
At Tribal Council, it is clear that either Tasha, Kass, or Ciera will be going home. Kass and Tasha take turns throwing each other under the bus while Ciera’s strategy is to urge her tribemates to play the game harder. Kass ironically accuses Tasha of causing chaos which is pretty ironic coming from “Chaos Kass.” Tasha doesn’t have any nice words for Ciera or Kass either. At this point, there really isn’t much more the three women can do. Probst sends the castaways to place their votes.
The Votes are In.
Kass votes for Tasha. Tasha votes for Kass. For some odd reason, Ciera votes for Savage. Ultimately, it’s Kass who receives the most votes and is eliminated from the game. Kass becomes the first member of the jury that will get to vote for who they think is the most deserving to win the title of Sole Survivor.