A note to future Survivor players: If you already have a date with Jeff at Tribal Council, opening a Beware Advantage probably isn’t in your best interests.
Cody learned that lesson the hard way in Wednesday’s episode when the salesman from Hawai’i tore through the advantage’s wrapping like a six-year-old on Christmas morning, despite his tribe having lost immunity. And of course he lost his vote! That’s what Beware Advantages do! They are vote-stealing, wrench-throwing little buggers that are put in place to foil your game. And three seasons into the show’s new era, Cody should’ve known better.
But how did it affect his game and who ultimately went home? Let’s break it all down in this week’s recap.
BAKA | Post-Tribal Council, the Survivor Gods unleash! There’s thunder, lightning and torrential downpours, and from the looks of it, the players have one rough night. When the sun comes up, Gabler says he’s never pushed his body this far before in his life. It’s only Day 3, but the Baka tribe is feeling the heat, the wetness and everything else that comes with the Survivor experience. Gabler starts feeling nauseous and realizes that the more he nurses his aching body, the more of a liability he becomes. At least he’s aware.
Owen tells us his friends at home call him a “loveable curmudgeon,” and he’s trying to keep the “curmudgeon” part of his personality in check. Elie and Jeanine talk about pulling in either Owen or Sami. They’re also wondering if the guys are even playing at this point, but elsewhere, Sami tells Owen and Gabler that they can control the vote no matter what happens. Plus, he knows the women are underestimating them.
VESI | Jesse and Dwight seem to be bonding, as are Noelle and Justine, and these clear social lines definitely come into play at Tribal. Dwight tells us his background in journalism has helped him build social skills, yet despite talking to everyone on the tribe, he hasn’t talked game with Cody one bit. Cody’s more interested in jumping off rocks and making hats with palm fronds (which sure does come in handy later!). Justine, meanwhile, is starting to get on everyone’s nerves, which eventually puts her in the hot seat.
Cody tells Nneka and James how the loss of a childhood friend to cancer made him realize how fragile and vicious life can be. Because of that, he took a lot of risks, which ultimately led him to Hawai’i and Survivor. And he’s there to play hard and fast, but as we’ll soon see, maybe he’s playing a little too fast.
COCO | Geo tells us the story of how he came out to his parents at 18. “Their dreams came down crashing because I wasn’t the person they wanted me to be,” he says. His parents told him if he didn’t change who he was, he would have to leave their house, and so he became homeless and depressed. He also considered suicide, but came out stronger in the end, saying that he never wants to let other people run his life ever again. And they aren’t going to run his Survivor game either. Just another example of this show beautifully sharing people’s experiences and incorporating them into the game. You can’t help but feel for the guy and hope he can make it far.
IMMUNITY IS BACK UP FOR GRABS | Players must dive into the water, climb up and over a cage, and carry a huge, heavy snake through an obstacle course. Then, of course, complete a huge puzzle. (Aside: We have reached Peak Puzzle, ladies and gents. I know Jeff sees puzzles as the ultimate equalizer, but are they really as exciting to watch on TV as he thinks? Every. Single. Week? I’m not sure.) Jeff tells them they’re also playing for reward: Fishing kits.
All three tribes free their snakes fairly quickly, but the snakes weigh 400 pounds! Baka is the first to get the snake over the cage, but it’s looking like a tight race among all three tribes. Baka pulls ahead, solving their combination and hitting the puzzle, while Vesi falls out of it. Nneka doesn’t carry her weight with the snake (literally), and doesn’t seem to be breaking a sweat on the puzzle, either. While she stalls out, Baka completes the challenge, as does Coco.
BAKA | Despite their win, a topic of conversation is whether Gabler’s idol expires after the game’s second Tribal, or if the clue said it expired after Gabler’s second Tribal — an important factor to clarify! And so Jeanine goes reaching for his bag while he’s out fishing, despite feeling bad about it. (Hey, it’s Survivor. No judgment here.) She rereads the clue, which confirms that it’s good for “your next two Tribal Councils,” which means it’s still in play at Baka’s next vote.
STRATEGY | Cody tells Jesse that Nneka was “atrocious” at the challenge, but that she’s “one of us.” Justine and Noelle, however, are completely fine to write Nneka’s name down, despite how great she is at camp. And Nneka is no dummy. She notices the lack of eye contact coming her way, but she’s hoping the relationships she’s built will help keep her safe.
With Dwight being unable to vote, Justine thinks they can split the votes between Nneka and Cody. Unbeknownst to her, Cody and Jesse feel Justine is a bigger threat to their games than Nneka. Jesse also recalls that Justine flat-out told him she’s a good liar, which probably isn’t the best thing to say out loud to near strangers when you’re competing for $1 million.
Meanwhile, Cody goes idol hunting and the thing is literally out in the open, sitting right smack on top of a tree stump. (Have we just given up on hiding these? Really?) It’s a Beware Advantage, and since Cody is straight up L-I-V-I-N, he rips that bad boy open. It’s an idol bracelet, but in order for it to have power, he has to convince every player to give him the special bead that is attached to his or her bag. Once all six beads are combined, only then will the bracelet work as a full immunity idol. Oh, and until that happens, he can’t vote.
Cody tells Jesse the deal, and while Jesse and Nneka will surely fork over their beads, Dwight and some of the other superfans want keepsakes to bring home with them. But he’s got to try something. At camp, he tells everyone he’s going to include some beads on his palm frond hat. After Jesse and Nneka make a show of handing theirs over in front of everyone else, Justine and Dwight offer theirs up as well. Noelle, however, likes the pretty bracelet she made with her beads. So close, yet so far, Cody!
TRIBAL COUNCIL | Jeff asks about Cody’s hat, and Cody promises to make one for whoever survives the night. Justine immediately says it could be her last night there; she calls out the fact that the six tribe members are split in three groups of two. Jeff questions why everyone knows about Dwight’s lost vote, and it really boils down to trust being used as a currency in this game. (Which is true, and I think that is sometimes lost to us on our couches.)
Noelle talks about how she has no idea if there is an advantage in their tribe as the camera zooms in on Cody’s beaded homemade cap. So who became Vesi’s first victim? As Jeff reads the votes, we flash back to moments before Tribal. Noelle did, in fact, give Cody her beads. And since he was able to get his vote restored, he casts the third and final vote that takes Justine out of the game. (Read our exit interview with Justine here.)
Did Vesi make the right decision? Let us know by dropping a comment below.