Recap: ‘Survivor: Cagayan’ – ‘Bag of Tricks’

04.17.14 5 years ago 26 Comments

Pre-credit sequence. After voting Morgan out, Solarrion is down to nine. As they return to camp, Tony knocks over all of the torches. He doesn't pick them up. In fact, he wants to cause a little more bedlam. He explains to Spencer that his alliance has been targeting people who don't deserve to be in the game anymore and he wants to know why he's been targeted twice (kinda, since no votes went against him the previous week). Tony says Woo's more athletic and LJ's more athletic and he wants to know why he's been targeted. Tony enjoys being a force of chaos for absolutely NO reason, so he starts demanding explanations for why the minority alliance didn't just come kneel before him and agree to vote Morgan out. Yeah, Tony. That's just how “Survivor” works. “But anyway, I appreciate the compliment,” he tells them. He has a 6-3 advantage, but he knows that getting rid of sitting ducks is never that easy. He knows he could be gone tomorrow and he sounds prepared to split up his alliance if necessary. Foreshadowing, baby!

Gonna make a change, for once in my life. The next morning, LJ and Trisha wonder if Tony's bluster covered for increased paranoia and if he's going to start scrambling. “He spins a lot. His game is going all the time,” Trish says, hoping that Tony doesn't make a blunder. Tony is, indeed, falling apart just a bit. “Looking at LJ's like looking at myself in the mirror,” Tony says, hoping that he can trick LJ into breaking a vow of some sort, a vow that would allow him to target LJ without blowback. “I'm not only taking the horse to water, but I'm going to make the horse drink,” he explains. Step one? Make LJ believe Woo has an Idol and get LJ to propose a Woo blindside. This will make LJ look quiet and scheming, rather than noisy and scheming like Tony. If it works? It's brilliant. “I have to pin everybody against LJ,” Tony says. He means “pit,” I suspect. But… again… If it works? Brilliant.

I'm celebrating Passover for some ReJewvenation. “Don't sandbag this one,” the clue warns, promising “nourishment and rejuvenation.” Other people want Reward, but Tony doesn't care about “nourishment and rejuvenation.” He's cares about preventing people from talking about him behind his back. The Reward challenge. involves three teams of three accumulating sandbags, throwing them down a rope tunnel and bouncing them off a trampoline into baskets. Want to know what they're playing for? A “Survivor” Spa with a real shower, a massage and a lunch. Tony is paired with Spencer and Jeremiah and they get off to an early lead. Woo, Tasha and Kass lag in last. It's a rout. Tony is a sandbag-bouncing maniac and his trio wins Reward! Jefra and her “funk” are very disappointed to miss out on cleanliness. “You might as well just call me The Opportunist, because if I see an opportunity, I'm gonna jump on it,” Tony says of his plans to use the Reward time to set up his blindside of LJ.

Was a time when I wasn't sure/ But you set my mind at ease. The Losers return to camp. Woo had been picturing his Reward, but now he's eating white rice and making fire. He figures that Tony will keep an eye on Spencer and Jeremiah. “I really do believe in our core six,” Jefra says. What Tony didn't anticipate was that LJ would go to Jefra and Trish to discuss Tony's worries. “I trust that he'll do the right thing,” LJ tells us, while agreeing with everybody else that they just need to cool Tony's fire. LJ's plan for the future requires patience and Trish is prepared to be the Tony Whisperer.

Maybe your method of massage differs from mine… Off at the “Survivor” Spa, Spencer knows the odds are stacked against him, but this isn't the first time he's seemed badly endangered. Spencer views Jeremiah as his right-hand man and hopes to get Tony's temperature. “I'm never comfortable,” Tony tells Jeremiah and Spencer. “What we are right now is like pawns,” Spencer volunteers. “When people are desperate, you do the thinking for them,” Tony explains before the foot-rubs begin. “I need you guys to help me advance. Maybe not now, but I've gotta save you guys,” Tony promises. “I've got to believe him a little bit, but still I have my doubts,” Jeremiah says. “Tony is playing people right now. He's juggling a lot of balls. I'm just one of them,” Spencer knows, but he reminds us that he's got an Idol.

He doesn't even know me. The least he could do is wait to get to know me before he rejects me. Even though they return to camp clean and full, the Winners have to undersell the value of their Reward. Tasha knows the math is working against her, but she approaches LJ to see if he's flippable. She wants to have a private meeting with her. LJ sees no benefit in meeting with Tasha and even less benefit in freaking Tony out further. He stands her up. Ouch. Tree-Mail sets up a key Immunity Challenge. Tony thinks that he and LJ and circling each other and one will throw the first punch. Who will it be?

Colors of the wind. Jeff Probst is going to show colored tiles in a certain order and they have to restack those tiles in the same order. Trish is literally unable to remember a two-color sequence and she goes out first. Woo can't handle a three-color sequence and he's gone. Everybody else survives the four-color first round. The second round is more complicated, but everybody nails the initial five colors, but on the sixth, Jeremiah, Kass and Spencer go out. The last three castaways pull three different colors for the end of the sequence. Tony knows he's done. LJ's confident. Tasha says she's confident. Only Tasha is correct! LJ thinks they just need to split the votes between Spencer and Jeremiah and one of them will go home. 

Time to kick ass or time to kiss ass? “This was a do-or-die challenge for me today,” Tasha struts. “So, in your face LJ,” she closes. LJ proposes to his alliance that they should split. He's comfortable. Girls vote Jeremiah. Guys vote Spencer. Tony's new goal: Highlight LJ as a troublemaker. He goes first to Woo and plants the seed of distrust in his ear. Woo trusts Tony and is willing to set something big in motion. Tony then goes to Spencer to call in his “pawn” chit from the Reward. “I'm definitely stoked. It's kinda like Christmas Morning,” Spencer says, but he also knows it could be a bluff to keep him from using his Idol. Jeremiah's pretty much willing to do anything if it will deflect from him. The Tony Paranoia Parade marches by Trish Street next, calling LJ sneaky and saying that LJ is aligned only with Jefra. “I don't know what to believe now,” Trish laments. “I am gullible, but I'm not stupid,” Trish says, determined to stick with the six. “I love a good blindside, but it's too soon,” Kass says. Tony's biggest worry is alienating Trish. “You've got to know when to kiss ass and you've got to know when to kick ass,” Tony notes, but suggests he may be in a “kiss ass” moment.

Tribal Council. Morgan, cleaned up well, joins Sarah on the Jury. “You can't play this game and not get a little dirty,” Kass suggests. “It's just a bunch of confusion out here,” Tony says, declaring that he brought his “bag of tricks” with him. Tasha uses air-quotes when describing the majority alliance as “tight.” “We're pretty water-tight,” LJ insists and claims he has a sharp eye. Tony agrees that loyalty is important in his line of work, construction. Sarah is incredulous. “You're constantly fighting with whether you're a player or a person,” Kass says of this gap between real life and “Survivor.” there's chatter about who's at the bottom of the six. The six will fracture. But will it be tonight?

The vote. Spencer writes LJ's name. That's all we see. Nobody plays a Hidden Idol. Probst tallies: LJ. LJ. LJ. Jeremiah. Jeremiah. Jeremiah. Spencer. LJ. [UH-OH!] LJ! Spencer pumps his first. “Well-played,” LJ mutters. Morgan and Sarah are amused. “'Survivor' is an individual game,” Probst says. “It's very hard to find the balance between patience and being assertive,” LJ admits.

Bottom Line, I. I didn't watch the votes, but presumably the gender lines mean that it was only Woo and Tony who flipped on LJ, meaning that Trish was unmoved and voted Jeremiah as was the plan. To mean, this means Tony half-assed his master-move and I can't help but assume it'll blow back on him. Yes, he *could* have done what he did just by getting Woo on his side, but *should* he have done it without Trish's vote? I'm not so sure. If I'm Tony, merely knowing I can get Woo doesn't mean much, because Woo has already proven himself to be a spineless pushover on several occasions. He was always going to be a vote in your back pocket and he seems not to take it personally when you target his friends, so he hardly counts. But Trish has proven to be smart, persuasive and easily irritated and quick-to-strike. Has Tony not spent time with her and witnessed what she can accomplish? Why was this the right time to actively alienate her? She said “Stay the course” and she was unsure who to believe between LJ and Tony. Here, Tony pretty much announced, “Guess you should have believed LJ.” So this leaves Tony's alliance as: Kass with no loyalty, Jefra with no loyalty, Woo with meaningless loyalty and Trish with scorned loyalty. Leaving aside the question of the still-unfound Tyler Perry Idol, if Tony doesn't win Immunity next week, Spencer should hold out his Idol, say “Tony doesn't have an Idol. Let's just get rid of him now and get rid of the drama” and I don't know who says “No,” other than Tony. I like Tony's move to get LJ out in a general sense. He's an Alpha. You don't want multiple Alphas. But to my mind, you float the plan, you see if you have Trish with you and then you only make the move if you know you're doing it without pissing Trish off. Or Kass, I suppose. But you just need to know you're not doing it alone. And doing it with Woo is better than doing it alone, because it gets you the votes, but it's not much better. [That's what I said at the beginning would be brilliant if it worked for Tony: He had to turn his ALLIANCE against LJ. Instead, he was willing to go it with four pawns.] It's still 5-3, so Tasha, Jeremiah and Spencer are low, but if we assume Jefra is adrift and betrayed without LJ, you almost have to assume that she's swappable. Why would Tony assume he still had Jefra with his numbers? So next week ought to be the start of a new game and with Spencer's Idol available as an extra vote, the pendulum ought to have swayed again. But if Tony wins Immunity next week? Who knows. 

Bottom Line, II. I don't like Tony's move on a strategic level, but it made for good TV. We've had a few episodes like that this season. To some degree, I feel like that means we've been watching good “Survivor,” but the castaways aren't playing good “Survivor.” Does that makes sense? But you never know how a move's gonna work out immediately. I didn't like Trish's big shake-up, but with the dust settled, I think we can say confidently that whether it was “right,” it certainly wasn't “wrong.” The dust hasn't settled yet on Kass' flip and I think the current uncertainty makes it more likely that she could do whatever she wants to do next week and not face ramifications. Yeah, I don't know if I agree what anybody's doing, but I'm entertained to be watching it. It's going to make for interesting arguments when we get to the end. And I continue to be rooting for Spencer to orchestrate something important and game-shifting, because as impressive as he's being as wiggling out of messes, he needs that big proactive thing at some point, that big forward push. Or maybe Spencer's best bet might be to try to latch onto Tony as a big, lying human shield and ride him for a few ugly eliminations before riding “clean hands” to the end? Yeah. I'm curious.

Your thoughts?

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