Double Tribal, Double Trouble
Come on in guys! This is the big one, the game-changing twist, the classic Survivor double elimination episode. How does it all shake out? We’ll get to that in a moment. But first, let’s regroup after tribal, where Des has just been voted out. Dom comes up to Laurel and Kellyn and profusely thanks Laurel for saving him, Kellyn, and Wendell by exposing Des’ plan. Laurel notes that she feels comfortable with the choice she made and now has protection from the stronger Navitis. Kellyn is confirming this to her, but privately wonders if she can really trust Laurel still. She still prefers staying Naviti strong till the end, and they do have the numbers for it.
The next day, Dom and Wendell have a 1 on 1 conversation about getting to the end and how imperative it is that they stick together. Wendell says to himself that their secret four person alliance will help them get to the end, bu Domenick says to himself that he isn’t afraid to cut Wendell if he needs to in order to win. Dom decides to go searching for a new idol, and ends up finding one! Sort of. See, it’s David Wright’s fake idol from Survivor: Millennials vs Gen X that was found and ‘played’ by Jay Starrett, only for him to be voted out that tribal (since, of course, it was fake). But now, this season, surely the idol has gained some power? Nope. Still a fake idol. So now Dom has a very fancy fake idol (along with his real idol) to mess around with. So no curses being reversed this time around!
We get to the immunity challenge, and this is where the fun begins. Probst reveals there are two immunity necklaces up for grabs, because two people will be voted out. Here’s how it works: the ten castaways are divided into two temporary tribes of five, which will both go to their own Tribal Councils. The last person standing in each group wins the immunity, and the last person standing overall gets to have their tribe go to tribal second, thus knowing who was voted out at the first tribal. While not explicitly stated, this is basically a revamp of a twist from Survivor: Fiji, where after merging at 10 the tribe was divided into two for that tribal alone, and only one tribe went to Tribal Council. But with both tribes going, this certainly seems a more balanced iteration.
The tribes are split up as such: Domenick, Wendell, Kellyn, Laurel, and Michael on the ‘orange’ tribe; and Chelsea, Sebastian, Jenna, Donathan, and Angela on the ‘purple’ tribe. To make a long story short, Chelsea wins for her tribe, but drops before Domenick and Wendell (the final two for their tribe). After lots of playful banter between the two friends, Domenick prevails.
Back at camp, we focus initially on the orange tribe. Dom says Michael is going, and Michael seems to have an idea of that (considering he’s been the target for most of the merge, it makes sense). So he asks his Malolo buddy Donathan if he could hold onto his idol for an hour, to fool the others into thinking he has one. Donathan emphatically declines. So, Michael decides to just do it himself anyways, and tells Kellyn he has an idol. She buys it, hook line and sinker. But when she tells Dom, Dom immediately shoots down the idea. So there’s a lot of individual thinking going around here, with Dom confident Michael doesn’t have one and Kellyn incredibly paranoid that he does. And to top it all off, Kellyn plans on voting Laurel instead. She tries to rope Wendell in, but Wendell has no plans of voting out Laurel at this point. Instead, he reveals to Laurel that she needs to vote Kellyn in case Michael does play an idol. But the intensity of this vote is not over folks!! Kellyn has her extra vote that she won many moons ago at Ghost Island, and plans to use it and put two votes on Laurel. Clearly, this tribe of five is all over the place.
The other tribe of five is pretty tame by comparison. Sebastian, Chelsea, and Angela are quite complacent in their 3-2 majority, and plan on voting out Jenna. You may recall that Sebastian and Jenna had a little flirtation going on earlier in the season, but that doesn’t seem to hold any merit with Sebastian’s strategy. Jenna believes it is her or Donathan, and does her best to pitch Donathan out to the trio. She believes her relationships with Chelsea and Sebastian will keep her around, but she knows Donathan can’t play his idol or she’ll be toast. But Donathan just might consider playing his idol for Jenna! He tells Jenna he will idol her and they can vote Sebastian out, but Jenna takes this opportunity to vote him out anyways. Now that’s heavy.
The purple tribe heads to tribal first, and Jenna almost immediately declares she knows she’s going home and wants to vote. Clearly a ploy to keep Donathan from playing the idol for himself, nobody else seems bothered enough to discuss it further. Probst exasperatedly lets them vote, and Donathan sure enough stands up to play his idol. But would you believe this, he plays it for himself. Jenna’s master plan is foiled, and she is voted out 3-1-1. But perhaps what’s even worse is she immediately joins the jury, not even getting a chance to walk out and have final words.
Orange tribe heads in, noticing Jenna has joined the jury. Laurel notes that it reassures that she or Michael is likely going due to Malolos being targeted. Kellyn remarks that Michael likely has an idol and here we go once again. Probst deciphers that the outcome of the tribal will come down to whether or not Michael has one, and Laurel admits it puts her in a bad spot. While Probst asks Kellyn a question about the certainty of this vote, Dom and Wendell start whispering. What they whisper about, only they know, but it adds another suspenseful layer to this already hectic tribal. They conclude their whispering, and everyone votes (Kellyn sneakily votes twice). Michael doesn’t have an idol, the votes are read, and for the first time in Survivor HISTORY, everyone who is eligible to receive votes does. One vote for Wendell, one for Kellyn, two for Michael, two for Laurel. Kellyn’s extra vote could have been a difference maker, but ultimately did nothing since Michael didn’t turn on his Malolo partner, and on the revote Michael goes 3-0. No curse reversed there. (Fun sidenote: nobody noticed the extra vote except for the jurors.)
So there we have it: two tribals, two Malolos voted out, and ZERO confessionals from Chelsea despite yet another immunity win. It’s just getting ridiculous, give the girl some personal airtime! But hey, there may still be hope yet, because next week is the family visit. The beautiful moment where everyone reveals who they’re truly playing for, and so many tears are shed. Will Chelsea get to talk about literally anything? Until then, may the Survivor Gods smile down upon you.