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The Aparri and the Solana tribes merge after a weird week wherein Lindsey quit and Alexis was voted out via some odd editing choices. The new tribe, Solarrion (what a dumb name, by the way), merges with 6 former Aparri and 5 former Solana, each tribe having plans to eliminate someone on the other side. The ex-Aparri’s plan to target Jefra, Trish, L.J., or Tony. The ex-Solana look first at Kass, but then change their minds as the day goes on. We’ll get to that in a bit, but first let’s jump into the rest of the episode.
This was one of the odder tribe merges in Survivor history. I wasn’t sure we were even ready for one just yet. Honestly, we could have gone another three days – and thus another eliminated contestant – and merged at ten. The way it was handled was a bit unexpected as well, as tribes are notified via Tree Mail, rather than at a Reward Challenge, for example. The Solana tribe is told to pack up their gear and head to Aparri, and then they take a motorboat to the Aparri beach, where the tribes merge and have a feat of bread and rum. We also learn of a new Immunity Idol on the beach, one which is rumored to be more powerful than the current idols (more on this next week I’m sure).
Both sides immediately jump into strategy, with the former Aparri’s deciding to target Jefra, reasoning being that her allies won’t “waste” an idol on her. The problem is that Sarah, the female police officer who had a “Cops R Us” alliance with Tony previously, would rather target one of the stronger power players, like Tony or L.J. Kass disagrees with Sarah, and eventually Sarah even gets Tasha, Kass’ strongest ally, on her side. A disgruntled Kass begins to see Sarah as a threat, which doesn’t go unnoticed by the ex-Solana tribe. Meanwhile, the Solana’s can’t figure out who to target exactly, setting sights first on the ex-Brains tribe, who are seen as a strong threesome in the game. But the Kass opportunity jumps their way, and it seems like they could lean towards voting Sarah out of the game.
The Immunity Challenge is a mixture of balance and endurance, which seems tailor-made for Trish, the yoga/pilates instructor. She does last far into the challenge, but it surprisingly comes down to Woo vs. Tony. Ok, I expected Woo to do well, being that he’s a Southern California surfer dude and martial arts instructor, but who honestly saw Tony lasting that long in this challenge? The dude is just so top-heavy. Tony does give way, and Woo wins the first individual immunity. This sets in motion a plan for Sarah to target Tony. To his credit, Tony recognizes this and says in a confessional he will not be going home with an idol in his pocket.
At Tribal Council, everything is nuts. L.J. expresses concern that he, as an alpha male, is on the chopping block. Tony shocks everyone by pulling out an Immunity Idol and says he will use it to further his tribe. Jeff sends everyone to vote, and before the votes are read out loud, Tony does indeed play his idol for L.J. In turn, L.J. shocks everyone by pulling out an idol of his own and playing it to protect Tony. Though they strategy is sound, it is actually Jefra who is targeted by the ex-Aparri tribe members. However, Kass changes her vote in frustration at Sarah, and votes Sarah along with the ex-Solana. Sarah is shockingly voted out of the game 6 to 5. Another week, another Survivor blindside. Where the game goes from here is anyone’s guess.