Wednesday’s episode of “Survivor: Worlds Apart” was appropriately titled, “Survivor Russian Roulette,” in that many players decided to pull the trigger – while others balked – not quite knowing what the end result would be. And although another predictable person ended up getting the boot, the episode as a whole was anything but predictable, and in fact, it was one of the better episodes in recent weeks…and that’s saying something.
If you’ve seen the episode and want to skip right to my take on tonight’s episode, please click my analysis article here (link will be live when article has been posted). Now on with the full recap:
Aftermath. Jenn was voted out on Night 27, and by Day 28, a few of the remaining eight players began analyzing their place in the game. “I know I’ve played a passive game,” Dan tells the camera. “but I have schemes brewing.” Dan and Sierra laugh off the notion that Mike said that they were on the bottom of their alliance, a fact that us viewers happen to know as being the truth. Shirin is still emotional after the big outburst involving Will and how personal he got with her, and Dan is shown giving her what seems to be genuine sympathy. Of course, this play is a strategic one on Dan’s part, as he really thinks Shirin is a “drama queen” and “hypocritical.”
Reward Challenge. The brutally rough waters in Nicaragua this season has kept us from the usual amount of water challenges, and tonight we were again land-locked with a physically-challenging mental puzzle. Teams of four had to make their way across a course without touching the ground, using four barrels, two wooden planks and some rope. Mike laid it all on the line – quite literally – for his team, but in the end, the team of Tyler, Carolyn, Dan and Will won the challenge. Their prize? A coastal cruise complete with cheeseburgers, fries and pies.
#RodneyTime. Back at camp, Rodney is growing increasingly miserable. He is the only one who has not participated in a reward, nor has he left the beach much at all…and it is getting to him big-time. Sierra took the opportunity to approach Rodney about possibly getting rid of Tyler, whom she (correctly) sees as a humongous threat to win it all. Sierra didn’t want to push the issue too hard though, or as she says, “I don’t want to be another Mike.” All of her good points were lost on Rodney though, who listened but let us know that he has no intention of breaking up the alliance of six early. His immediate targets? Mike and Shirin, in that order.
Burger Time. Tyler and Carolyn purposely work on Dan to get him against Mike and to make him feel comfortable. Will – switching it up from last week – is mostly quiet throughout tonight’s entire episode. As they chow down on burgers, Dan repeats his current strategy out loud: “Stay the course.” At this point, he doesn’t want to shake much up, and it’s fairly clear that Carolyn and Tyler are pulling most of the game’s strings.
Immunity Challenge. Another water-less challenge was an endurance contest that Survivor has done a few times in the past. They simply had to keep their grip on a pulley that held exactly 25% of their body weight, and if they lost their grip, a bucket of water would dump on their head, signaling their exit from the game. Probst introduced a twist right before they played: There would actually be two Immunity Necklaces handed out instead of the usual one, one going to the last male and female standing. Sierra fell first followed by Tyler, Will and Dan, and when Shirin fell out it meant that Carolyn won Immunity amongst the three females in the contest. That left Rodney versus Mike, and despite constant encouragement from Dan, Rodney eventually fell out, meaning that Mike won himself Individual Immunity…again. It was much needed all right, as he was indeed the group’s primary target.
Easy Vote. As they return to camp, Carolyn is happy that at least Shirin didn’t win Immunity. She calls the upcoming vote an “easy” one, and that Shirin is the obvious target. They won’t even split their votes because that would mean that one of the six would have to have their name written down. Or as Dan would say, just stay the course. Elsewhere, Shirin tries to do what she can to stay in the game. Even though Dan says he agrees with everything she says, Shirin is unable to get him to budge or shake-up the game. She tries to work on Sierra as well, to no avail, although Sierra would possibly be interested in voting out Tyler if there was enough support elsewhere.
Out of the Bag. Tyler – who was fast friends with Dan on the Reward Challenge – suddenly decides that he’s going to steal Dan’s personal bag and find out what his “big advantage” was (from the reward he won at the Survivor Auction). Tyler discovers Dan’s “two vote” power and shares this knowledge with Carolyn. Tyler suddenly sees that his game may have a vulnerability: If Dan and Sierra realize they’re on the bottom, they could team with Shirin and Mike and using Dan’s extra vote, they could vote Tyler out. Uh oh. Mike truly wants to be aligned with Dan still, but he realizes that Dan will never be on his side again. As we head to Tribal, Mike considers playing his hidden Idol on Shirin to force the chaos that would follow if both Shirin and Mike happened to be safe.
Tribal Council. A pretty explosive, entertaining Tribal started off with some more talk about the major riff between Will and Shirin. Shirin has nothing to lose at this point, so she lays it all on the line for everyone, and throws Tyler under the bus, calling him the biggest threat to win the game. Tyler does not sit idly by, and he goes on the attack of both Shirin and Mike. As the vote got closer, Mike eventually reached into his bag and pulled out his hidden Immunity Idol! His play? He tells everyone that he plans on using on Shirin, and that Shirin is voting for Tyler, and that his vote will be for one of the others. This move brings some jaws to the floor on both the jury and on in-game contestants, and Jeff calls Mike’s approach “Survivor Russian Roulette.” So if both Shirin and Mike (and Carolyn) are safe, the others would have to expose their real loyalties by voting for someone within their own alliance. Brilliant Mike! With that, it was time to vote.
The Vote. So what would happen? It surely seemed like a crazy frenzy. We see Shirin vote for Tyler and although we don’t see Tyler’s vote, we hear his lack of confidence in the plan: “Oh boy, I hope this works,” he says as he casts his vote. Before the votes are read, Probst asks about any Idols and Mike…bluffs! “I love ya, girl,” Mike tells Shirin, and instead of actually playing his Idol on her, he puts his hidden Idol back in his pocket. The votes were then read: Tyler – Shirin – Dan – Tyler – Shirin – Dan – Shirin – Shirin. With that, a 4-2-2 vote, Shirin did indeed get the boot, becoming the fourth member of the jury. Her exit brought out some claps from Rodney and Dan, who may have been excited simply because they dodged this tumultuous vote. Maybe the biggest development from this Tribal? The fact that two votes were cast towards Dan – from Tyler and Will – a fact that will surely begin the eventual downfall of the almighty “alliance of six” heading into next week.
Analysis. Now that we’ve recapped it, let’s analyze what just happened. Here’s my full take on tonight’s episode, just click here (link will be live when article has been posted).
Next Time On…The alliance of six will officially begin crumbling away, and – say what? Rodney looks to be fed up, and he tells the others that he wants to be voted out and to be on the jury next. Let’s hope that clip was taken out of context and this isn’t true.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for my exclusive interview with Shirin, and be sure to follow me, @tomsantilli.
Also, be sure to check out one of my favorite Survivor sites, SurvivorFever.net.