Survivor: Stop, Drop Your Buffs, and Roll with the Changes
Episode the Third. In which a new tribe is formed, Jeff Varner says the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong person, and a long-standing feud is finally resolved.
We begin at Camp Ta Keo, just after Tribal Council. The tribe has ousted Shirin, and everyone is feeling pretty good about it. It’s a new age of tribal unity, and while Spencer may be on the bottom of the heap, at least he has a new strategy involving taking a genuine interest in other people and forming real friendships. Hope abounds. Things are good over a Camp Bayon too, because the Bayonians have yet to experience any hardships whatsoever.
Host Jeff Probst gathers everyone together to destroy the peace. “Drop your buffs!” he yells. The “buffs” are these bandana-things with colors that signify which tribe the players are on. This means they’re going to re-shuffle the tribes. Some players will be assigned to Ta Keo, some to Bayon, and others to new tribe Angkor. They draw lots, and here’s how the tribes come out:
- The new Ta Keo has Golden Boy Joe, Ciera, Kass, and Keith – all originally Bayon — plus Terry and the idol-possessing Kelley Wentworth from the original Ta Keo tribe.
- The new Bayon has Jeremy, Kimmi, and Monica from the old Bayon, K-Wigles from the old Ta Keo, and beta-males Spencer (originally Ta Keo) and Fishbach (originally Bayon).
- Angkor has Tasha and Andrew from the old Bayon, plus Abi and her nemesis Peih-Gee, Woo, and Jeff Varner – all formerly Ta Keo.
All tribes are not created equal, it turns out. While new Ta Keo and new Bayon can return to the old Ta Keo and Bayon campsites and make use of whatever shelter, foodstuffs, and other accoutrements they have amassed so far, Angkor will have to go to a brand new site and start from scratch. Off they go.
When the new tribe makes it to Angkor beach, those who were formerly Ta Keons, four strong and solidly in the majority, quickly size up the former Bayonians and decide that Andrew is more annoying than Tasha, so he’ll be the first to go if they lose the immunity challenge. There’s not much time to discuss it, though, because the new tribe is starting with nothing and putting all their energy into survival. They barely get a leaky makeshift shelter put up before it starts pouring down rain and everybody has to huddle together inside it.
Between getting rained on and not having any food, it’s a rough night for Angkor.
At Ta Keo, the new team has four former Bayonians and only two former Ta Keons. They figure if they lose the next immunity challenge, they’ll just vote one of the Ta Keons out. Kelley Wentworth hastens to make sure it won’t be her. She tells all the former Bayonians that she was never aligned with Terry and that he spends all his time looking for the immunity idol.
Oh well. Everyone figures it won’t come to having to vote anyone out anyway. New Ta Keo looks like far and above the physically strongest team, a shoo-in to win the upcoming immunity challenge. They decide to celebrate their awesomeness and prepare for the challenge by fixing themselves a chicken dinner.
[A quick aside about the chicken: Typically, things don’t get this far. Usually, some combination of the chicken running off, the chicken being saved for egg-laying but getting too stressed out to lay eggs, and/or the chicken becoming the subject of an animal rights rant is what happens. However, note that the tribe that ate the chicken (new Ta Keo) isn’t the same as the tribe that brought the chicken to camp (old Ta Keo). I still maintain that going for the chicken during the initial supply-grab is a dumb move.]
Over at New Bayon, Fishbach isn’t sweating being on what looks like one of the physically weaker teams. He’s just glad to be away from the He-Man energy that was Old Bayon.
Meanwhile, Spencer is trying out his softer and gentler approach on a whole new group of peeps. He decides to open up emotionally to Jeremy about the topic of, um, not being able to open up emotionally. “My girlfriend told me she loves me, but I didn’t say it back,” he shares. He goes on to say that he guesses he just doesn’t really get emotional.
But here he is last week:
Whatever. Jeremy has plenty of time to think over Spencer’s revelations while he searches the jungle for the immunity idol clue hidden near Camp Bayon.
He finally finds it, and like the clue Kelley Wentworth found two episodes ago, it shows that the idol will be hidden within the next immunity challenge obstacle course.
Strategy-wise, since the new Bayon is mostly made up of old Bayon members, it seems that either Spencer or K-Wigles will be voted out if New Bayon doesn’t win the challenge.
Speaking of the challenge, this one involves an obstacle course, some towers, some chains that have to be unlocked, and an increasingly heavy cart that has to be taken apart and re-assembled to carry a chest full of puzzle pieces through a gate, past which a final puzzle must be put together.
New Takeo finishes first, and even with Jeremy pausing mid-challenge to nab the hidden immunity idol, New Bayon is not far behind. To no one’s great surprise, the hungry and rain-soaked Angkor loses.
As all the groups stand by the finish line where host Jeff Probst doles out their fates, Angkor’s Jeff Varner makes eye contact and mouths something about “Kimmi and Monica” to Kelly Wiglesworth over on New Bayon. Seeing this, fellow Angkorian Tasha yells, “We’ve got a rat!” She will not stand for fraternization with former tribemates.
Total chaos ensues. Jeff reveals that Tasha and Andrew tried to make an alliance with him. This, in turn, makes Woo publicly question his loyalty to the League of Former Ta Keons. Angkor will be going to Tribal Council tonight, and it should be an interesting one.
First, though, they’ll continue to air the grievances back at camp. Now Woo doesn’t trust Jeff, and he lets it be known that he’s willing to vote him out. Abi calls Jeff “unpredictable,” and we know how much Abi values predictability, so it seems like Jeff could be on his way out.
But wait. Since Abi is temperamentally incapable of not spilling the beans, she tells the rest of the former Ta Keons that she plans to vote with the old Bayonians. When Peih-Gee hears this, she thinks, “Well, you know who’s really unpredictable? Abi!” so she starts campaigning to get Abi out. When Abi realizes this is going on, she suddenly remembers that she hates Peih-Gee way more than she hates Jeff, so she starts campaigning against Peih-Gee.
Finally, it’s Tribal Council time. With allegiances split within the former Ta Keon group, it’s up to the former Bayonians to ultimately decide who will go home. Which way will they lean?
Inexplicably, there are more votes against Peih-Gee than against Abi. I guess this puts an end to the Abi/Peih-Gee feud. I wonder who Abi will pick on next. I’m thinking maybe Woo, because after the vote, she says to him, “That’s the second time you’ve voted against me.” And we know she never lets anything go.
I’m also thinking switching up the tribes probably didn’t change anything. Once again, one of the original members of Ta Keo was voted out. And once again, it wasn’t Abi but someone who feuded with Abi. And that’s probably what would have happened anyway.
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