If you missed the absolutely crazy, history-making last episode of Survivor: Nicaragua, catch up with my recap here.
This week’s episode begins with Jeff summing up how Sash’s position in the game has changed so dramatically with Kelly and NaOnka quitting last week. Libertad returns to camp on the night of Day 28. Holly thinks the double-quitting is “Unbelieveable.” There are only eleven days left, and they quit. Benry notices that they haven’t named the remaining chicken yet, and suggests that they name it “Kelly-Nay” because Kelly and NaOnka are chicken. Sash confesses that he was the only one who didn’t benefit from the girls quitting. He’s stuck in the middle between two alliances: Chase, Jane and Holly vs. Fabio, Benry and Dan. He still has the Hidden Immunity Idol, so the odds remain in his favor, but the game has become a whole lot more difficult.
The next morning, Sash tells Chase, Benry and Fabio that he is going to play the HII at the next Tribal Council to make him less of a threat, and become a “free agent.” That way he can hear the two alliances’ pitches, and choose what’s best for him. Sash confides that he knows he will be Number Four in whatever alliance he chooses, but he has to make some sort of move. Sash next talks to Chase, who tells Sash that his best bet is siding with Holly, Jane and him. Sash agrees, and follows up by noting that Chase will definitely lose to Jane in the Final Three. Chase then tells Sash that Holly deserves to go on the next Reward after sacrificing her last reward for the tribe, but that Sash is locked in for Reward after her. The two shake on it before heading out to…
…the Reward Challenge. Jeff welcomes the tribe in and gives them props for making it to Day 29. He tells them that the Challenge will look back on some of the Challenges they experienced previously this season. They will start crawling through the mud under a rope barrier, and dig through a pile of hay to find a ball. Once the ball is unwrapped, they must bounce that ball off a shield and onto a barrel. The first four to get their ball on the barrel advance. Those four will use a stick to retrieve a key overhead. That key opens a chest with four sandbags inside that need to be thrown onto a barrel. The first two to get all four sandbags on the barrel advance. The final two will use an oar to dig in the sand for three rope rings. The first player to throw all three rings onto a board of hooks, wins Reward. The Reward is an overnight trip to a spa for a shower, a massage and a comfortable night’s sleep. The players draw for slots and get ready to begin. “Survivors ready….GO!!
The usual suspects jump out to a lead going through the mud: Chase, Fabio, Benry and Jane get to the hay first, quickly followed by Holly. Chase connects on his first throw and is through to Round 2. He is followed by Jane, Benry and Holly. In the next stage, Chase and Benry quickly free their keys, and open their chests before the ladies come anywhere near retrieving their keys. Chase is successful on his first four throws, and is through to the final stage. Benry misses a couple, but is never threatened. Chase and Benry man their paddles and start digging. Chase quickly finds his three rings and connects on his first two throws before Benry even has his rings dug out. Chase connects on his final ring. Chase wins Reward!! Of course, Chase is allowed to choose two players to go with him on the Reward trip. His first choice is Holly, a no-brainer and uncontentious selection. Even though he promised to bring Sash on the Reward, Chase chooses Jane as well, leaving Sash, the swing vote, to return to camp with the alliance in opposition to Chase.
Back at camp, Chase’s mistake goes unnoticed by no one. Fabio thinks everything worked out for the best, because Chase chose the two least strategic players in the game. Sash asks Fabio, Benry and Dan what their plans are, but Dan quickly urns the tables on Sash, by noticing that Sash’s sentence structure implies that he might flip back to Chase’s alliance. Dan confesses to the camera that Sash is untrustworthy after what he coldly did to Brenda and Marty, but he has to trust Sash because of the numbers. At the Reward, Holly teases Chase about going for massages with the two oldest women in the game. Jane is just excited to be in a Tiki Hut, evidently a life-long dream. While Jane takes a shower, Holly talks to Chase about his decision of who should go on the Reward with him. She thinks he screwed up by not picking Sash. So does Chase. He calls himself stupid for the same error. Chase continues, confessing to the camera that he knows he’s been a bit “flighty” during the game. He has to go back to camp and try to figure out where Sash’s head is at.
Fabio, while killing and preparing the final chicken, tells Benry that they need to make sure Sash knows he has no shot at the Final Three with the other alliance. Benry confides that Sash is “shifty” and that he is too close with Chase, Jane and Holly. When Jane returns to camp, she notices that “her” chicken is gone, and begins to cry. She erects a cross and makes the chicken’s grave, before moving to the beach to be alone. Holly tells Chase and Jane to not trust Sash because he spent the night with the guys alliance. Chase replies that they need to make Sash think that they trust him and that they will bring him to the Final Three. Sash hugs the women hello, which leads Benry to confess that he’s nervous about the current state of the game and all of its variables; he’s not sure where he stands.
Benry approaches Chase and asks him if they are going to vote for Jane at the next Tribal Council. Chase responds, “Hell yeah!” Benry continues, saying that he wants to play the game with Chase, so if Chase wanted to vote out Fabio, he’d be good with that, too. Chase then finds Sash in the jungle and apologizes for not taking him on the Reward. Chase uses some odd reasoning and says leaving Sash behind was actually his way of showing Sash that he trusts him because he left Sash with the other alliance. Sash confirms that he’s on Chase’s side, but he reminds Chase that if he takes Jane to the end, she is going to win. Sash asks Chase to swear to take him to the end, which Chase does. Holly arrives just in time for Chase to say that Benry said he wants to play the game with Chase and that he’ll vote for Fabio. Sash calls B.S. Benry sees the Chase/Sash/Holly pow-wow and joins them. Benry confides that he doesn’t trust Sash, but that he has a good relationship with “Mama Holly” and Chase, so he’ll try to form a new alliance; anything he can do to stay in the game. Benry tells Chase, Sash and Holly that he wants Fabio to go, and that he hopes Fabio doesn’t win Immunity. “It’s crazy what a couple of hours can do around camp,” Benry tells the camera. Things are about to get crazier, as it is time for the…
…Immunity Challenge. Each player will be clipped onto a rope that is wound around a hitching post. Players will jump over, under, and around the post, releasing rope along the way. When they think they have enough rope, they must run toward a bag filled with odd-sized gold coin stacks. The first three players to grab their bag advance to the next stage. In Stage Two, the players must stack the sets of gold coins to form a rectangular shape that can be enclosed in a box containing three other coin stacks. The players take their positions and Jeff starts the Challenge.
Benry, Fabio and Sash jump out to an early and decisive lead, with Fabio gliding over the hitching post with ease. He is the first to attempt a run for his bag of coins, and has more than enough rope to spare. Benry and Sash quickly make runs for their bags, but come up short. This gives time for Jane to make a run, but she is short as well. Benry and Sash make a second attempt, and both are successful. Fabio, Benry and Sash advance to Stage Two.
On Jeff’s “Go,” the guys tear open their bags of coins and open the box containing their starting pieces. Jeff notes that some people excel at puzzles like this, though he does not. Benry quickly gets frustrated, and all but gives up. Sash jumps to a lead, but Fabio starts spying on what Sash is doing and copies it. The Challenge is neck and neck, but Sash is the first to re-close his box. Sash wins Immunity!
After they return to camp, Sash confesses that he is currently a Survivor Triple Threat: he won Immunity, possesses an HII, and with whomever he aligns himself, he is in the majority alliance. He also admits to only giving about 75-80% in Challenges so he wouldn’t be seen as a physical threat like Benry and Fabio. When the tribe returns to camp, Fabio asks Sash to tell him if his name is being discussed regarding Tribal Council. Sash says he will. Fabio confides that his instincts tell him Chase and Benry might be planning something, and that Sash is still a swing vote. Sash tells Fabio that he trusts Fabio the most out of anyone there (and Fabio believed this???), so Fabio should just hang back and not scramble for protection.
Fabio should worry though, because Chase tells Dan that they are voting for Fabio that night. Sash tells the camera that he and Chase are just stringing Dan, Fabio and Benry along, giving them different names to keep them off-balance. the guys agree to tell Fabio that Jane is going home, but Benry objects. He think there is no way Fabio will believe Chase is turning on Jane, so they should say Holly. Benry hates lying to Fabio, but he needs to do whatever he can to stay in the game. He goes to Fabio and tells him that the vote is for Holly, with which Fabio is cool.
Sash tells Jane that she is like his second mom, and that it is nice that they can work together. Jane replies that the two of them, Chase and Holly will be in the Final Four. Sash responds that he loves Jane, and you can’t backstab someone you love. Jane confesses that if Sash stays with her alliance, they are guaranteed the Final Four. Benry and Fabio are physical threats, so hopefully her alliance plus Sash can pick them off one-by-one. They will have their chance at…
…Tribal Council. Jeff introduces The Jury, including “our two quitters NaOnka and Kelly, who quit at the last Tribal Council.” Jeff asks Chase if he was concerned that his choice of who went with him to the Reward works against him. Unsurprisingly, he does. Jeff asks Chase if, after his Reward Challenge win, he worries that he is viewed as a threat to runt he table at Challenges. Chase is worried, but he notes that he’s never won an Immunity Challenge. Jeff asks Benry if he’s worried as well, as one of the superior athletes remaining. Benry, of course, is concerned too. Jane chime sin, saying that Fabio is probably the biggest physical threat. Jeff asks Fabio how he keeps the target off his back. Fabio answers that he just tries to stay friendly, open and honest with the rest of his tribe.
In answer to Jeff’s question, Benry says that he is confident that things are swinging his way, especially at tonight’s Tribal Council. Sash says that people like talking to the person who has Immunity. Jeff asks Fabio if he approached Sash about the vote, and Fabio replies that he didn’t. Holly admits that she did, because communication is huge in the game. With that, it’s time to vote. The players do, and Jeff collects them. Neither Sash or Chase play their HIIs, so Jeff reads the vote.
The first is for Holly, and the next two are for Fabio. Votes four and five are for Benry, which confuses Marty over in the Jury. Vote six is for Benry. The votes are now three for Benry, two for Fabio, and one for Holly with one vote remaining. “The fourteenth person voted out of Survivor: Nicaragua and the sixth member of our Jury…Benry!” TheÂ blindsided Benry mutters “Unbelievable!” as he brings his torch to Jeff for snuffing. As Benry marches into the Blue Light of Death (which should totally have a BPP with K-Mart), Jeff notes that alliances are important, but realizing when you can no longer trust your alliance is the tricky part. Tribal Council is over, so Jeff sends the players back to camp.
Next time on…Survivor!!
The winners of the next Immunity(?) Challenge will receive great luxury, but the losers will be “taken and executed,” Jeff cryptically says. Uh……I have no idea what this means, but based on Holly’s shocked, with-tears-in-her-eyes reaction, I bet next week’s episode features the players’ loved ones. They didn’t have the Loved Ones challenge last season, and I missed it, so I hope it comes back next week.
As far as what to expect going forward, I think Fabio is in a bad way. He was the one who voted for Holly, so he clearly has no idea what is going on. Further, Dan turned against him, so Fabio is out on an island by himself (no pun intended). I have resigned myself to the fact that there is no way Dan isn’t making the Final Three now — he’s just too large of a Final Vote void not to take him. That means, for Fabio to stay in the game, he needs to win Immunity, or somehow pry two players away with him. I think he should focus on Jane, with the argument that everyone else knows they can’t take her to the end, but he will promise to take her as she is his only hope. Then, maybe along with Jane, Chase or Holly will come with her. It’s worth a shot.
Odds to Win
I had Benry moving up the board, but dude was blindsided big time because he was trying to play both alliances against each other. It’s bad enough to be in the minority, but to so easily sell them out, that just means you’re untrustworthy, and therefore Tribal Council fodder. As a strong Challenge player, Benry should have seen it coming, but he thought he had it all figured out. We’ve seen time and time again on this show that if you thing you’ve figured out the game, you really haven’t. How do the Odds look going into the final two episodes of the season?
Sash: 4-1. Sash chose a side, and chose wisely. Further, with his Immunity Challenge win, he didn’t have to play his HII. Now he is free to use it next Tribal Council, and be guaranteed the Top Five. If he can keep Jane, Holly and Chase in line for one more Tribal Council after that (God, could he actually convince them to vote out Dan?!?), he’s made it into the Final Four, where it is all up for grabs. Sash is sitting pretty right now.
Holly: 9-1. Holly, too, is sitting in a great position. She’s in the majority, but hasn’t had to do any dirty work. The other players clearly love her, and if she can make it to the Final Three, she has a great chance at winning. She can play the “nobody believed I could do it, but I did” card, highlighting all of the moves she made, the shifting alliances, and strong Challenge performances to back up her claims to the title. Plus, I think she has the wherewithal to cut Jane when it is time to so do.
Chase: 20-1. Ugh. Chase, you are such a waste of a player. Yes, he absolutely romped that Reward Challenge, but then he went and chose Jane over Sash, leaving the swing player with the other alliance. The fact that it didn’t come back to bite him speaks more to Sash’s desired alliance and Chase’s luck than anything else. Yes, he still has an HII, which will guarantee him Top Five like Sash, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he is the type of player to not see the blindside coming. Further, if he makes the Final Three, I don’t see any combination of two other players he can beat in the final vote, absent complete Challenge domination from here on out.
Fabio (Jud): 25-1. If Fabio can run the Immunity Challenge table, he will win Survivor. He’s well liked by everyone (except NaOnka, but she hates everybody), and now faces very steep odds. So, if he can make it to the Final Three, he has a great underdog pith for The Jury. If he can’t succeed in the Immunity Challenges, he’s probably the next to go. The only reason he’s not at the bottom of the table is because he actually does have a chance at winning three Immunity Challenges in a row…and his name isn’t Dan.
Jane: 40-1. Jane is in the majority, which is great for her, but I’m afraid she might be putting too much faith in her alliance. She’ll likely make the Final Four, but if she doesn’t win that final Immunity Challenge (and there’s a great chance she will win, as it is usually an endurance challenge), I have to imagine whomever the other Final Four members are, at least two of them will recognize the danger Jane poses in the Final Vote. At this point, I think only Chase would bring her to the Final Three, and that’s because he’s a moron when it comes to strategy.
Dan: 100000-1. You know what? Screw it. 50-1. Dan, you made it to Day 32, and I should give you kudos for that. You don’t deserve it. Not in the slightest. Your Challenge performances are so terrible, Jeff doesn’t even mention your name in order to make fun of how poorly you’re performing. But…you’re still there. Somehow. Some way. And if you make it to the Final Three because the other players think you won’t get any votes, I hope you win, because honestly, that’s what Survivor deserves for casting you. I’ve got nothing personal against you — you seem like a nice guy — but holy Hell, you don’t deserve to be there.
OK, that’s what I’ve got for this week. What did you think of the episode? Should Benry have seen his ouster coming? Is Sash now in control of the game? Does Fabio have any shot of winning? Heck, who are you rooting for to win? Please leave your questions, comments and theories below. I’ll be back next week with another recap. Until then, I’m off to give Jeff a muddy hug.