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The initial Fans tribe has been nothing but a disappointment, with the exceptions of Reynold, Matt, and to a lesser degree Michael and Sherri. Matt left us last week, meaning Julia and Michael were the two fans left on the newly shuffled tribe. Because the newly shuffled Bikal tribe featured so many physically weaker players in comparison to the Reynolds, Malcolms, and Eddies of the new Gota tribe, I pretty much expected Bikal to lose once again. This has been a season dominated by physical reward and immunity challenges, and tonight’s challenges were no exception.
The initial challenge, for the reward of hot coffee and fresh sweets, was one of the most physically punishing recurring Survivor challenges. Tribes are anchored together and must haul twenty pounds of weight around a length of track. In order to win, one tribe must catch up to the other, who is positioned on the opposite side. I first saw this challenge back in Survivor: Palau, where it piqued my interest due to its incredibly intense nature. Tonight’s utilization of this particular challenge was a bit underwhelming, because Phillip vastly underestimated his own strength, meaning the athletic Gota tribe quickly caught the Bikals, sending Gota off to eat cookies and drink espresso.
The Bikal tribe heads back to their beach dejected as usual, and it’s not hard to feel bad for Julia and Michael, who haven’t tasted victory in this game since about day three. Michael continues to be endearing to Corinne, who wants to take him into the alliance. Phillip continues to “sweet talk” a disbelieving Julia, hoping to sway her in the event of a merge. Both Phillip and Corinne come off as overbearing, sort of stupid, and borderline insulting to Julia and Michael. Over on the Gota side, the tribe is definitely feeling the love, as they munch on sweets, take refreshing naps, and revel in their continuing dominance. Malcolm, seizing an opportunity to take control of the game, allies himself with Reynold and Eddie, and along with Erik the four form a “bro-lliance.” Malcolm, who knew he had lost Survivor: Philippines before going into this season, doesn’t want to make the same mistakes he did the first time around.
The tribes reconvene for the immunity challenge, which is another fetch quest. This time, they must paddle out to a point in the ocean, dive for an object and untie it, and then head back to the beach where they must complete a task with a grappling hook to collect keys. The keys are then used to unlock the last portion of the challenge. Whoever can do it first wins, and it’s pretty obvious from the start that the Gota tribe is in it to win it. Though Phillip keeps Bikal in the thick of things, Reynold is just too good at throwing objects into other objects, and the Gotas win their second immunity challenge in a row.
Back at camp Phillip and Corinne continue to have differences, as Phillip wisely wants to split the votes between Michael and Julia, thus flushing any potential idol that may be in play. Corinne, wanting to protect her new ally, doesn’t want to do so. In a drama free tribal council, however, Corinne goes along with the plan, and the Bikals split the votes, with a revote ultimately eliminating Julia from the game. Corinne gets to keep her ally for now, and Phillip gets to vote out an original member of the Fans tribe. Julia had potential, but was never quite able to work her way into becoming a compelling character, and for this reason I won’t mourn her loss.
Next time, on Survivor: The two tribes finally merge, which’ll bring with it all sorts of drama and chaos!