Most shocking blindside in Survivor history? I can’t think of what has ever topped this. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The episode begins with Tai giving Jason his idol back after Tribal Council, and suggesting that maybe the three men can reconcile with the rest of the tribe. Scot says he didn’t want to be a Russell Hantz type throwing water on the fire (that behavior sounds more like Brandon Hantz, but let’s not go down that road).
Scot takes Aubry aside and in friendly fashion says that he, Jason, and Tai want Cydney gone since she betrayed them. Aubry tells the camera there is “not a shot in hell” she will ally with them.
The reward challenge has an interesting twist in that each player can choose the reward he or she is going for, and then will only be competing against the others who choose that same reward. The rewards are: 1) letters from home, chosen by Joe and Julia and won by Julia; 2) a big meal, chosen by Scot, Jason, and Michele and won by Michele; 3) an advantage in the game, chosen by Cydney, Tai, and Aubry. It comes down to the latter two, and finally Tai wins.
Tai doesn’t unwrap his advantage until later, but when he does he finds it’s an extra vote at Tribal Council! Could this guy and his alliance have it any better?
Julia presents an idea to Michele and Aubry: if they all vote Tai and an idol isn’t played, Tai is gone. If an idol is played, the guys will have voted for Cydney so the other women are still OK. Aubry later comments on Julia: “She’s super-shady and people like Michele don’t see through it.”
Then Aubry has a talk with Tai and says “certain girls want to push the votes to try and get idols out.” Uh-oh. Aubry strongly hints that she wants to work with Tai, but Tai interprets this as her wanting to work with him and Scot and Jason. He briefs Scot and Jason on the conversation and Scot immediately says they need to take Aubry out! Tai feels like he has no say in the group. Aubry having that talk seems like a big mistake, this is the second week in a row that she’s made some questionable strategic choices.
The immunity challenge involves pressing outward on two discs to hold up some fragile ceramic pots. The discs are just far enough that one can’t put one’s palms on them, only the fingertips that quickly go numb. Two players hang in there much longer than anyone else: Jason and Aubry. They both seem to be in incredible pain and both seem on the brink. Finally Aubry drops.
So Jason has immunity, his group has two idols that can be combined to make a super-idol, and Tai also has a vote advantage on top of that! As Jason notes, “From here on out we’re unstoppable.”
Back at camp Julia tells Scot and Jason that everyone’s going to be voting Tai. Why is she revealing her own plan? The boys tell Julia that she should stick with them, because eventually they’re going to blindside Tai. Julia loves the idea of going to the end with these two since they have ruined so many relationships.
Cydney tells Aubry they should vote Scott out of the game, “And Julia’s traitor ass can go over there with Jason.” Aubry is still banking on Tai wanting to be “true to himself” and breaking with the two bullies. Good luck with that. He even expresses the same sentiments to the camera that Julia did: Scot and Jason have P.O.’ed a lot of people.
At tribal council Jason and Scot announce that anyone who doesn’t get on their bandwagon is sealing his own fate. Jeff Probst says “Tai, you seem less talkative.” Tai just says he has to do anything to advance his game.
The votes are cast. Probst says if you have an immunity idol, this would be the time to play it. “Play it!” Julia whispers to Tai. Scot whispers not to. Julia repeats her comment.
Since no idol is played, Probst reads out the votes. There are two votes for Tai, two for Aubry, and three for Scot, with one vote left. The last vote is also for Scot, making four.
But of course it’s meaningless for the possessor of the super-idol that can be played after the votes. Scot just grins. He looks at Tai so Tai can hand him the second idol. Tai looks the other way, at Jason. Jason makes a “go ahead” motion. Scot raises his eyebrow. Tai shakes his head!
“You’re not doing it?” Scot asks.
“No. Sorry.” says Tai.
“Wow,” Scot says, as does all of America! Aubry looks about to cry she’s so happy. Scot shakes hands with Jason, then has his torch snuffed.
Wow indeed! I can’t think of a bigger blindside ever than the one just pulled off by Aubry, Cydney, Joe, and Tai. There almost couldn’t be a bigger one because nobody has ever felt as safe as Scot just felt. Boy, does this change the game!
Actually it changes the game more than we realize as we go to commercial, because as the credits roll, Scot reveals that he still has Jason’s idol in his pocket! So Jason now has nothing, while Tai has both an idol and an advantage.
Favorites: 1. Tai, 2. Aubry, 3. Cydney, 4. Michele, 5. Julia
No chance: Jason, Joe
Jury and who I think they’ll vote for: Neal (Aubry), Nick (Aubry), Debbie (Joe), Scot (Jason)