We're Not Here To Cause Any Trouble, We Just Wanna Do The Survivor Tribe Shuffle
When the tribes get mixed up, everyone tries to adjust accordingly, to varying degrees of success.
Put Your Finger On The Pulse
Over on Brains Beach, Peter feels powerless. With his #1 ally gone, he says, he's like a neutered dog. "It's strategically crucial that I start pandering to these people," he says as he looks for ways to ingratiate himself. Plan A: demonstrate useful skills -- namely, his doctoring skills. Joe's got some kind of super-grody finger injury, so Peter enlists him as his first patient, and spends a little time poking at the wound with fishhooks in glorious hi-def.
Meanwhile, Neal decides to start hunting around for the hidden immunity idol, since pretty much nobody else on Brains has even tried yet. It doesn't take a lot of Brains, though, to seek out the nearest weird-looking tree. He finds one with a long, thin slit (hee) and sure enough, there's the same clue everyone else found. As he procures the tool (hee) and uses it to poke at the tiny hole (hee) in the key holder, he hopes he doesn't get busted, and indeed, he does not. The idol's his, with all the privileges guaranteed therein, including hints about the tantalizing Super Idol that can be created from it.
Neal found that thing just in time, too, because the tribes are just about to congregate on Challenge Beach. Drop your buffs, kids. It's swapping time.
Swap In The Name Of Love
Originally, says Jeff Probst, the plan was to divide the tribes at 14, but Caleb and his dumb heatstroke kind of scuttled those plans. Instead of dividing the tribes into two tribes of seven, he says, they'll divide into two tribes of six people each. Whoever draws the odd buff out will be sent back to Brawn beach to tough it out alone for a day or two, and then rejoin whichever tribe has to vote someone out at the next Tribal Council. For some people, this would probably constitute a winning scenario, but Julia, who draws the red buff, is pretty bummed.
Julia is the unlucky recipient of the red buff, and the two tribes shake out like this:
Blue (Chan Lo): Nick, Jason, Michelle, Debbie, Neal, Cydney
Yellow (Gondol): Aubry, Joe, Scot, Tai, Anna, Peter
Peter is jazzed about his new tribe, since he was the odd man out before. With three ex-Brains, two ex-Beauty, and one ex-Brawn on the tribe, he says, it's practically a given that Joe and Aubry will want to work with him, which all but guarantees he'll be safe until the merge.
Logically, Aubry sees, it makes sense to let Peter in for the sake of numbers, but she still doesn't trust him. All the same, she and Peter talk strategy: if they lose the challenge, it makes sense to take out an ex-Beauty, since if Julia comes back, the former Beauties would have the numbers instead. They reach out to Scot, who compares the tribe swap to being traded to a new NBA team, and he's receptive.
Debbie welcomes the new Chan Lo tribe to Brains Beach: "Welcome to our humble abode!" A few minutes later, in confessionals, she reports, "It was a lovely welcome to our humble abode." The strategy here is a little less cut and dried since there are two of each former tribe, she says, but she's making inroads already.
Debbie attempts to bond with Cydney, stroking her ego by pointing out that Cydney clearly has brawn, brains, AND beauty to spare. Cydney, who's been hiding the fact that she went to an Ivy League school, is a little taken aback, but she's definitely receptive to working with Debbie. The only thing left to do, then, is get Jason on board and team up to vote out a beauty. Jason's down. Debbie officially proclaims herself a mastermind, which always goes well for Survivor contestants.
Isn't It Bromantic?
Tai certainly seems to have rebounded quickly from the loss of Caleb: he's already courting a new bro-mantic partner in Scot. Tai's impressed with Scot's size-18 feet and brawny physique. Scot loves that Tai can climb about in the treetops with ease, and proclaims the man-crush totally reciprocated.
Realizing that it's either Tai or her if the yellow tribe loses, Anna sucks up to Aubry and Peter in a big way: she tells everyone she busted Tai looking for idols multiple times.
On the Beach Formerly Known As Brains Beach, NickBot 3000 also calculates that his tribe contains two former beauties, two former brawns, and two former brains; therefore, he and Michele must get two additional people to vote with them in order to constitute a majority. His first impulse is to talk to Jason, placing ex-Brawn squarely in the middle of the power struggle, and making Jason a happy guy.
There's ominous music and close-up shots of ants as Julia wakes up, dehydrated and alone, in the Brawn shelter. She doesn't know what her plan will be going forward, since either way she won't have her entire alliance with her.
For this week's immunity challenge, Survivors will swim out in pairs and retrieve some wooden fish, which then become puzzle pieces. Scot does all the diving himself for Yellow Tribe, and manages to secure a pretty good lead because of it, but Cydney and Michele do a pretty good job of making up time for Blue. Neal and Debbie's fast puzzling skills end up securing immunity for Team Yellow. So basically, there was some physical stuff, and then a puzzle, and then one tribe won. Like every immunity challenge ever.
The Tribe Proves To Be Anti-Anna
It's down to Tai and Anna tonight. Tai doesn't want to burn his idol if he doesn't have to, but he also doesn't want to be that guy who takes home a really cool souvenir after getting blindsided.
If he plays his idol, Tai realizes, he could blindside Peter, whom nobody really likes or trusts. So he reveals his idol to Anna and Scot, and once Aubry tells Scot that Anna's the target, they should be good to go. Except Scot recalls that he could create Super Idol if he has two idols, so maybe the better plan is to vote for Anna and use Tai's idol later on. Tai's not sure, though. He really doesn't want to be the person who got voted out with an idol in his pocket.
At Tribal Council, Tai and Anna make their cases. Tai's a provider for the tribe; Anna says she can bring challenge strength. Joe thinks the twist about the idols is that there are no idols, which Tai backs him up on, because why not? And indeed, when Jeff calls for idols, none are produced. Everyone but Anna votes for Anna.
There's nothing terrible about this episode, but it doesn't exactly feel like appointment television, either, especially after last week's excitement. There's some fun sociology in seeing who gets put onto what tribe and how they react, but otherwise, meh.