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At the end of last week’s episode, officially the fourth episode due to the premier being a two-parter, the Brains tribe chose to keep Spencer and dump J’Tia, mostly due to J’Tia’s complete lack of ability to compete in challenges. A grateful Spencer promised his loyalty after the vote, relieved at having been saved from an early exit. The first treemail the tribes receive tonight indicates a Reward Challenge for food, and when the three tribes show up, they are shocked to find out that there will be a tribe swap. The Brains tribe will be no more, and all three will be shuffled into two new tribes, Aparri and Solana.
For the new Aparri tribe, Sarah is the sole ex-Brawn member on a tribe of Jeremiah, Spencer, Tasha, Kass, Morgan, and Alexis. On the new Solana tribe, Cliff, Woo, Lindsey, Tony, and Trish are joined by L.J. and Jefra, and L.J. is clearly on the outs as an alpha male. Eventually, they get to the Reward Challenge, which is a strength match-up where two tribe members attempt to pry an opposing tribe member from a perch and drag him or her across a line to score a point. Tasha puts up a valiant effort, earning a point for Aparri. The rest of the tribe, however, does not fair well, and the Solanas win the reward, various assortments of pastries and coffee.
Back at the Solana beach, L.J. immediate recognizes he is a threat to the rest of the tribe, particularly to Cliff and Woo, who have a strong bond. L.J. resolves to form an immediate relationship with Trish, who is from the same state as him. This new friendship doesn’t escape the Cliff/Woo/Lindsey power triangle, and Cliff immediately becomes annoyed. Jefra and L.J. see the potential to overthrow Cliff with Trish on their side. The plan rests with Tony, however, who is paranoid, likes to stir the pot, and doesn’t exactly seem on the level.
On the Aparri side of things, Tasha, Kass, and Spencer are starting to feel very secure in the game. They’ve gone from the bottom ranks of Survivor to being in comfortable position. They have to feel good considering the Brains tribe will go down in history as one of the worst tribes of all time. Alexis immediately pleads her case to them, letting them know that Morgan cannot be trusted. Jeremiah also lets them know as much, and Morgan tries to get on their good sides as well. Sarah is insecure, being the only Brawn tribe member placed with a new group.
Tonight’s Immunity Challenge is a combination of brute strength and puzzle prowess. After a bit of a kerfuffle, Morgan sits out for the Aparri, who seem disheveled and totally unprepared for the challenge. The Solana members, on the other hand, seem to be completely up for anything. When the actual challenge begins, however, it seems the Aparri are extra motivated, and keep step with Solana throughout the game, eventually pulling off an upset victory. A flummoxed Tony wonders out loud how they could have possibly lost to the Aparri tribe.
It is the first opportunity that most of the Brawn tribe will have to attend Tribal Council. Cliff expresses excitement at the opportunity to vote out L.J. For what it’s worth, L.J. won’t go down without a fight. He uses his new bond with Trish to form a counter-attack, which once again, rests on Tony. Tony doesn’t immediately see a need to turn an easy 5-2 vote into a messy situation, but he does want Cliff out of the game, going way back a few episodes to his scheming with Sarah. In a tense session of Tribal Council, L.J. decides to put his faith in his new alliance, and they vote out Cliff, as a shocked Woo and Lindsey look on. Now they just have to figure out where to go from here.