There’s nothing like a good, old-fashioned merge to get a lacklustre season of Survivor ignited – and that’s just what we got in Episode 8. With Marty’s back up against the wall at La Flor and Espada losing challenges left, right and centre, this merge couldn’t come quick enough.
One thing I found surprising about the merge was that La Flor was sent to go live at the Espada camp – didn’t La Flor have the better amenities, including fishing equipment, tools, a tarp and some other necessities? Not sure why the Espada camp was chosen but they didn’t make that very clear.
The merger begins with the customary feast, changing of buffs and tribe flag (now red) and a new tribe name – Libertad – which Marty chooses and explains means liberty and freedom. I think the others were too busy eating to care about the name or who chose it, so Marty’s suggestion sticks.
The merge also gives old alliances a chance to reconnect as NaOnka and Brenda are reunited. They agree to target Alina and Marty in the immediate future. In the meantime, the budding relationship between Jane and Chase continues. Apparently if you’re from North Carolina there is no choice but to be allies and get along. I have to wonder about Chase’s alignment with Jane. She is liked by the younger players and gets along with all the older players, except for Marty. She could become a real threat (as Marty exposes later) and this could complicate things for Chase.
It wouldn’t be an episode of Survivor 21 without a slice of craziness from NaOnka. This week, she gets her knickers in a twist over the allotment of tortillas (which she made). Feeling like she got the smallest serving, NaOnka decides that nobody gets any tortillas anymore so she steals and hides the flour, frying pan, bowls and utensils in the jungle. Unfortunately, she does this right in front of Holly. She then steals some fruit and declares, “It tastes better when you are stealing it. It’s like a sweet victory.” Did I mention that NaOnka was a teacher!
NaOnka then takes Alina into the woods and shares some of her fruit with her and assures her that she’s still loyal to her and that Alina has nothing to worry about. Alina can’t believe all the stuff NaOnka has taken and when they return to camp others start noticing that things are missing. Holly confronts NaOnka and lets the tribe know that she saw her take the flour. Fabio is flabbergasted and eventually, NaOnka confesses and apologizes. Marty is not impressed and uses her antics to try and direct the tribe’s target in her direction (and off his back).
The strategizing is really starting to take shape as Sash realizes that NaOnka isn’t well liked, which makes her a good person to keep in the game. Marty also sees how popular Jane is getting and he attempts to show Brenda that should Jane go to the end, she would be a shoe-in for the million bucks. Brenda’s concern, however, is Marty and the influence he has on Fabio and the other men at camp.
The first individual immunity is up for grabs and it’s a mental challenge that requires physical toughness. The players must hold two metal handles to keep tension on a steel bar. If they release the tension, the steel bar will drop and break a tile. The last man and the last woman standing will win immunity – two immunities! The challenge appears to be tougher than it looks with a few of the stronger players going out early. Jane is the last woman standing and asks Jeff if she can keep going – proving a point to the men and woman about her abilities). Fabio outlasts Chase on the men’s side and drops out leaving Jane the last Survivor standing. Impressive. Fabio and Jane win immunity.
Back at camp, Jane makes a push for getting rid of Marty. Alina, knowing she is in trouble, joins the plan but Sash puts in a request to keep Marty in the game in order for him to keep his word about not voting for Marty for two weeks in exchange for the idol. Danny (remember him) tells Marty that he smells a blindside, so Marty confronts Sash who assures him the deal is still in place. Alina, Jane and Holly make one final attempt to get Fabio on their side to vote for Marty, but Fabio doesn’t break his alliance and with ten votes, Alina is voted out and becomes the first member of the jury.
Tribal Council was very interesting with Marty making a major statement about Jane being the biggest threat in the game due to her personal story (a recent widow) and her popularity. Danny also plays a card by calling out NaOnka and Alina for stealing from the tribe – where Danny’s from, NaOnka would probably lose a finger or two for that move.
I’m happy to say that the game is heating up. Marty is the obvious choice to go next as Sash’s deal to keep him in the game has expired. At some point I predict a falling out between Sash and Brenda which leads to a tribal power struggle. It will be interesting to see who can align themselves better to get to the end. Right now, I see Brenda as the true power-broker as she appears to have Chase, NaOnka, Fabio, Kelly, Holly and Jane on her side, while Sash works a quieter game with Marty, Benry and perhaps Danny.
The Scribe Has Spoken…