(CBS) – Drop your buffs! Then it’s finally half time Survivor! But… not so fast – this was not a traditional merger as before. This episode contained so many twists – we were left with a cliffhanger that changed the game. This is how it all went in part 1 of the merger:
READ MORE: ‘Survivor 41’ Episode 5 Recap: Trust Carries You To The End
With only Shan and Ricard left in the Ua tribe, tensions are higher than ever between the two. Before the last Tribal, Shan and Ricard (who have proven to be one of the strongest alliances in the game so far) started arguing with each other about their mutual benefits. Collectively, they both managed to gain a “steal a vote” advantage, which they both stole from JD, as well as an extra Hidden Immunity Idol, which they also both stole from Genie.
Since they voted Genie out at the last Tribal Council, Shan and Ricard have not seen eye to eye on who should have these benefits. Shan takes full ownership of both of them so she feels they are hers to keep. On the other hand, Ricard knows that he has been an important asset to her game and believes that they are also his to hold on to. Now Shan demands Ricard to give her the “steal a vote” advantage back. It seems that this once ‘strong alliance’ may not be so strong on its way into the merger …
The three tribes received a wooden email congratulating them on reaching an important milestone of the season – the merger! But little do they know … they were in for another big twist. Host Jeff Probst broke the fourth wall of this episode as he let us into the new twist of the merger.
– SURVIVOR (@survivorcbs) October 28, 2021
Yep – nothing is easy and nothing earned is guaranteed.
After Probst famously asked shipwrecked men to “throw away their buffs,” he tells how the shipwrecked had not been merged yet. At this moment of the game, these shipwrecks now had to draw stones to divide them into two teams: blue and yellow. The two teams had to compete in a challenge to get a place in the merger – along with winning the characteristic merger party that comes with it. And that’s not all. The winning “team” gets immunity from the next Tribal Council – this is because the losing team then has to compete against each other in the first Individual Immunity Challenge.
[Exhales] Oh, and IT IS not all. While drawing stones, the two out of the twelve shipwrecked people who draw the gray stone have to sit outside and face a twist after the challenge. The two shipwrecked men who drew the gray stones were Naseer and Erika. This leaves the two teams:
Blue: Danny, Ricard, Deshawn, Sydney and Evvie
Yellow: Xander, Heather, Liana, Tiffany and Shan
The fusion challenge itself was physically exhausting, as always. The two teams had to dig up a giant boulder and physically push it across the field, giving a whole new meaning to Probst’s famous Survivor expression, “You have to dig deep!” Plus, these shipwrecks even had to use each other as human ladders. Yes … this challenge was no joke. In the end, it was down to the notorious word-scramble, where the two teams were neck and neck. But it was the blue team that won their place in the merger, along with their winning streak, of a “merger party.”
The winning blue team, which had most of the former Luvu tribe, had to decide which other Luvu member would join them with the fusion immunity, along with a seat at the dinner table. The remaining member? Oh, they would be sent away to the island of exile, where they would be left alone for two whole days and two whole nights to survive. This was not an easy decision … or was it?
Danny, who spoke for the winning team, claimed that they decided on “scrap paper scissors” and chose Naseer to join them on the merger. This means that Erika will be excluded from the rest of the shipwrecked and will have to go to Exile Island for two full days.
At the party, the six castaways started planning a bit and even mentioned how Erika would be the best person to vote out next time. Danny, who we know has formed an alliance with Deshawn and Naseer, even nodded that he is aware that more men are being voted out this season than women. Behind the scenes, Danny tells how the decision to “cut paper scissors” was actually a cover-up, based on inspiration from the past Survivor seasons – because he wanted to keep Naseer safe from the tribal council.
Meanwhile, the remaining five shipwrecks, who were left hungry and anxious, also began planning among themselves. Xander, who feels most vulnerable of the herd, knows he is at the bottom because of the camp dynamics. Since Shan and Liana had a bonding experience by a former Survivor Summit, these two are pretty tight. So tight, Shan even asks, or should I say, blabs *, the fact that Liana has an advantage – right in front of Tiffany. Tiffany, who thought she had a tight-three alliance with Liana and Evvie, is surprised to hear this.
Behind the scenes, Liana told how she did not want to reveal that she gained the benefit of “Knowledge is Power” for anyone other than Shan. But since Shan mentioned it in front of Tiffany, there was no way back for her. Tiffany eventually forced Liana to tell more about what this benefit means. Since this advantage gives Liana the power to steal an advantage or an idol (as long as it’s within the rules) – she explains to both Shan and Tiffany how she has an eye for stealing one of Xander’s assets. But a little about Liana, as she did not tell Tiffany about the benefit right away, Tiffany now has an eye on HER.
– SURVIVOR (@survivorcbs) October 28, 2021
After the Red Buffets arrived back at their merged camp, this episode sparked even more potential alliances. Xander and Naseer seem to be like-minded in this game. Sydney is now entering into alliances with Evvie and Tiffany. And there’s even a lot of talk between Deshawn, Danny, Liana and Shan, who tease the idea of embracing the extra diversity this season by forming a ‘colored people’ alliance.
Stronger bonds are finally beginning to form – but which alliance will survive the rest?
The island of exile
Earlier in the episode, we see Erika arriving at her new camp, facing a major Survivor reality check. She is left alone with limited food and supplies – and at this point she is even in doubt as to whether she will survive the next few nights. Erika then tells more about where she came from and how she never grew up having things handed over to her. She says that if she can make it through these days on Exile, she will intervene in the “lion” hidden inside her and believe she can win this game.
But before we end the episode, Erika faces a whole new twist. Jeff Probst even appeared on this one. Probst arrived at his camp and handed her an ominous, black hourglass. He then tells her how her former tribesmen unknowingly gave her enormous power. Erika’s advantage allows her to “change the story” in the game. She can go “back in time” and change the outcome of the last challenge. This means she can give the losing castaways, including herself, immunity to tribal people and make the winning castaways compete in the next Individual Immunity Challenge instead. This is a huge twist in the game. Her hourglass sand represents the time in the game – now she has to decide, will she make history by changing the story?
It may be halfway through this season, but it looks like the game has just begun! We’re left with a giant cliffhanger now – which means no one was voted out in this week’s episode Survivor.
Tell me your thoughts on this wild, changing season, and tweet me @mick_cloudy !
Do not miss part two of the merger next week on Wednesday at. 8 / 7c on CBS as well as streaming live and on-demand with Paramount + or the CBS app!