Feb 7, 2020
Survivor: The Urge to Merge (S31:E7 RECAP)
On Survivor this week: When all tribes become one, multiple players take advantage of captive audiences and we witness the evolution of post-alliance gameplay.
We start the episode in the customary way, with players reacting emotionally to the previous tribal council. Andrew is stunned that everyone lied to him and voted out Woo instead of Spencer. He’s especially mad at Ciera and Kass, who were the ring leaders of the flip.
Here’s what Andrew (most recently Ta Keo and intermediately Angkor, but originally Bayon) says about Kass (recently and intermediately Ta Keo , originally Bayon): “She’s no longer Bayon. She became a Ta Keo.”
How did she achieve this feat of betrayal to Bayon, you might ask? By conspiring to vote out Woo (recently and originally Ta Keo, intermediately Angkor, never Bayon).
I’m not sure anyone even knows what tribe they’re on anymore, but screw it. The producers are feeling the urge to merge anyway. Both tribes get messages telling them to travel to a new camp so they can become one uber-tribe. This new tribe is apparently called Orkun.
They all gather at the new camp to catch up. At the merge picnic, Kass goes on and on about how she came up with the plan to save Spencer. It’s awkward, but no one leaves because food.
Everyone’s a little surprised that the merge is happening this early, since there are still 13 players, rather than the customary nine or ten. It is lost on no one that seven is a little more than half of 13. People scramble to try to get the majority. Andrew gravitates to the original Bayon alliance, securing Jeremy, Kimmi, Fishbach, and Tasha. This team also seems to have K-Wigles for whatever reason.
Kass and Ciera are obviously on the opposing side. They’ve got Keith, the other Kelley, and Abi, which is a good indicator that they are the bad guys. Kass tells her group she intends to “find the crack” in the other alliance.
Spencer and Joe are the only wild cards. Everyone tries to win them over, but they don’t make any firm commitments.
Next, it begins to rain and everyone huddles together in the shelter. Fishbach takes this opportunity to recite a poem, to mixed reviews.
Once the rain clears, Kass approaches Tasha on the beach to see where things stand with her and the old Bayon alliance. Are they still “Bayon strong”? and Tasha is all like, “Um, well, maybe, I dunno.” An amazingly circular and confusing conversation ensues, with Kass saying that Tasha said the Bayon alliance was over and the Tasha saying that’s not what she said and then Kass saying it is and Tasha saying it isn’t and Kass saying it is and Tasha saying maybe it is but maybe she was just lying because she doesn’t trust Kass. With that cleared up, the two dust themselves off and return to the larger group.
That’s when they start arguing in front of everyone. Kass says she plans to vote Tasha out. Ciera jumps in and says weird stuff about Andrew plotting to get Joe and Jeremy out because why not. It seems the crack Kass found was within her own alliance.
Next, it’s time for the Immunity Challenge. With the tribes merged, everyone is competing for individual immunity. This challenge involves keeping a ball on a platform atop a handheld pole while standing on a balance beam. Periodically, the players have to move to a progressively narrower part of the beam and move their hands farther down the pole. Whoever keeps their ball up the longest wins, obviously.
Fishbach’s ball is the first to fall. Other players are dropping their balls, one by one. Kass it out. It’s down to four and Tasha, who beat everyone including Spencer when it was done on Survivor: Cagayan, is still in it. But then her ball falls and it’s down to Jeremy, Joe, and Spencer.
Jeremy’s ball falls, and then Spencer’s does. Joe wins individual immunity.
Back at camp, all the “Bayon Strong” folk are wanting to vote out Kass, presumably because she has been so obnoxious. Keith gravitates toward this plan for whatever reason. Now that this side has the majority, Joe figures it’s safest to stick with them. Andrew tries to float a plan to vote out Ciera instead, but it doesn’t quite take.
Assuming that Spencer is on board, that would be 9 people planning to vote against Kass. Only Kass, Ciera, Abi, and Kelley Wentworth have anything else in mind. But wait: What if Kass happens to have a hidden immunity idol? The super PAC decides to split their votes – 5 for Kass, 4 for Ciera, just in case.
Sensing a disturbance in the force, Kass tries to bring Spencer over to her side, appealing to how she saved his butt last time.
It looks like he’s considering it. I guess Spencer will be the decider at Tribal Council.
Speaking of which, let’s head there now. First, Kass and Tasha fight some more for everyone’s benefit. Then, Ciera takes advantage of the captive audience by making an odd speech about how everyone should “play to win” and how she’s here to play the game and make power moves, unlike some people.
What Ciera says is odd, but then Fishbach makes a comment about how strange it is that they’re all looking at voting out one of three “small women.” It’s condescending, but he has a point. Shouldn’t they all be using these early merge councils to get rid of people who can beat them in challenges?
Fishbach and Jeff Probst go back and forth a bit about the evolution of the game and the end of the so-called “alliance” as we know it. Alliances are out; “voting blocks,” as Probst calls them, are in!
Enough already. Let’s vote. Everybody goes and does their thing, which consists of voting Kass out.
This is the interesting part: When the votes come back, I’m expecting them to split 5 (Kass), 4 (Ciera), 4 (Tasha). Instead, they go 6 (Kass), 4 (Ciera), 2 (Tasha), 1 (Andrew). Two revelations here: first of all, it looks like Kelley Wentworth got out of Crazy Ladyville and voted with the majority; secondly, this clarifies Ciera’s “power move,” as she voted for Andrew. Apparently, nobody told her that these things only work if you get other people to go along with them.