Previously on Survivor the three tribes converged with Jeff, not to merge, but to live through a complicated double-episode to get to merge. You see, the tribeless castaways were split into groups, competed in a challenge and exiled Erika who then had the power to flip the results of the challenge meaning she and the losing group were all immune and guaranteed passage to the merge while the former victorious six were to compete in the first immunity challenge of the season. Ricard won immunity which led to bedlam back at camp as Liana and Shan’s super majority planned to get rid of former Yase Evvie. Sadly for them, the plan went awry as Xander passed his idol to Tiffany so that Liana couldn’t steal his idol, which made everyone nervous enough to split the votes between Evvie and Sydney. And while Xander didn’t play his idol, Sydney did play her Shot in the Dark but sadly came up short as she exited the competition.
And then the remaining castaways officially merged to form the Viakana tribe.
Back at camp Xander and Evvie were thrilled by how expertly they got Liana to burn her advantage and save themselves. He was less thrilled about the fact Evvie had shared the information about his idol with Deshawn on their little adventure, making him question whether he can trust Evvie and Tiffany moving forward. Evvie meanwhile was heartbroken to have lost their relationship with Liana, given she was the one they vibed with best on OG Yase.
The next morning Evvie caught up with Deshawn as the first step of their apology tour, assuring him that there are no hard feelings between them. When they made it to Shan, she admitted that she thought Yase were a tight knit group so was shocked by how quickly Liana flipped on them. Tiffany and Liana meanwhile were catching up while Xander assured Shan that he and Liana have no connection moving forward while Evvie too was scrambling to try and make new bonds. Deshawn, Erika and Heather meanwhile went for a walk to get water with Deshawn assuring them that he isn’t buying the Yase trio apology and bonding tour and as such, he is ready to push them out of the game one after the other, after the other.
Jeffrey returned for the first post-merge reward challenge where they were promptly divided into two teams to compete. Oh and since the numbers were uneven, one person got to sit out on a bench where Jiffy had hidden an advantage. But back to the challenge, where each group would leap from a ramp before diving to retrieve puzzle pieces. They then load the pieces into a boat, row them to a pontoon and then solve the puzzle. While Erika drew the odd rock to sit out, Xander took pity on her, offering to trade out with her and forgo his chance at a sweet grilled cheese reward. Oh and he didn’t even find the poorly hidden advantage, which given he is a super fan, I find disappointing.
But anyway, the yellow team got out to an early lead thanks to Liana and Shan however it quickly was blown by poor Heather slowing things down. Proving that she only gets airtime when she is bombing a challenge. Both tribes, sorry groups, were neck and neck as they made their way to the puzzle deck and then, given Evvie had practiced the exact puzzle at home, they solved it in a matter of minutes and won reward for them, Erika, Ricard, Danny and Deshawn.
Back at camp Erika was positively giddy to see their bountiful feast and quickly packed up to eat it away from the jealous eyes of the losers. Who coincidentally all lost but a week before. Tiffany was angry, Shan and Liana were crying while Xander tried to make sure they were all ok. Making an extremely quick turn around, Shan dried her tears and was feeling galvanised in the game, focused on the fact she is here to win rather than eat toasties. Shan took a plan to Liana and Naseer before roping in Xander, who admitted that he likes missing out on winning rewards because being left with the losers, they are normally emotional and open to flipping.
Not upset by the loss was Naseer who was staying positive because he just didn’t want to ruin his day. Instead he collected a bounty of papaya and cheered up his group. That is until the winners returned and Ricard tried a piece of papaya, leading to Shan flipping out on him for daring to eat food that was meant for the losing group. And while I would be just as angry as Shan, it was a bit OTT. And well, Ricard just wasn’t very bright when he could have waited until nobody was looking to avoid pissing people off.
The tribe reconvened with Jeff for the immunity challenge where everyone would have to balance on their tippy toes to hold a block between their head and a beam above them. But to make things interesting, Jeff told them that they could sit out for a single portion of rice or they could negotiate a number of sit outs for Jeff to give them three-days worth of rice for the tribe. After settling on five people, Shan and Naseer were willing to give up their shot until nobody joined them. With that Xander asked Jeff to bring it down to four, assuring the group that he would sit out if just one other person joined him which was enough to get Ricard to step out.
As the four sit-outs joined the bench the rest of the tribe stepped up to their frame with Deshawn, Erika and Tiffany all dropping within seconds, begging the question, why didn’t they just offer to begin with. Danny soon followed, leaving Liana, Heather and Evvie to battle it out for victory. Just like that, I jinxed Liana and after three minutes, only two remained. Wait, no, make that after just four minutes, Evvie took out a much needed immunity victory.
Back at camp Evvie was overjoyed to have spoiled everyone’s plan to get rid of her, which meant that Liana was ready to pivot to force Xander to burn his idol and for the group to boot Tiffany instead. Shan, Naseer, Danny and Ricard caught up to lock in a split vote between Tiffany and Xander. Well, until Danny and Shan caught up with the former suggesting that they should instead split the vote between Tiffany and Naseer to blindside him before he realises he is on the bottom of their alliance. They were joined by Deshawn who quickly grew frustrated with Shan’s bossy demands, pushing instead to get rid of Xander first because he is more threatening. And, you know, Naseer is a good provider and completely non-threatening.
After the duo hashed out their differences, Shan looped in Erika and Ricard before Xander joined them and was fed the lie that the plan was to split between Naseer and Tiffany. Well until Shan looped in Naseer, who was annoyed to have his name out there and as such, Shan found Xander and told him that instead, they are now going to get rid of Heather. When Shan caught up with Erika and Heather to tell them the plan, Queen Heather emerged and flipped out on Shan for putting her name out there giving she is screwed should there be an idol-palooza.
Oh and Tiffany was just wandering around to anyone and everyone to find a friend.
At tribal council Shan shared that she stepped out of the challenge because she just wanted everyone to be able to eat. Xander agreed that he wanted to ensure people that are struggling without food got to enjoy something – a genius reminder that some are starving and a few people are banking up the rewards – while Naseer just wanted everyone to be happy rather than safe. Heather and Tiffany both admitted that they didn’t step down because they feel like they could be on the block tonight. Danny meanwhile was feeling like the divisions weren’t clearcut and given how wild things played out at the last tribal council, he is ready to explode with nerves.
Then Shan said that she was just waiting for a comment to drop before everyone went nuts with paranoia. Evvie admitted that they have not been approached by anyone ahead of tribal council, while Danny said that he isn’t buying that they are feeling defeated given the Yases made a huge theatrical play about loyalty at the last tribal council before running around camp the next day swearing they were out to get one another. While Evvie argued that they were left to die by Xander and Tiffany at the last tribal council, I don’t think it was enough to convince Danny they were actually against each other.
Erika admitted that things are still new for the merged tribe and as such, even when plans are set, there is uncertainty right up until the torch is snuffed. Just as Jeff was sending everyone off to vote, Heather jumped up and started whispering to anyone and everyone to push the vote on Naseer while Ricard continued to tell Xander he should play his idol. When Shan learnt that Heather was planning to flip the vote to Naseer, she instead told everyone they should band together to get rid of Heather instead. While everyone else was on board with that plan, Deshawn wasn’t happy and then was patronised by Shan while Ricard just opted to beg Xander to burn his idol.
With this week’s annoying whispers out of the way, the tribe voted and despite all the chaos and showboating of tribal council, Tiffany – the original target – found herself exiting the game to become the Queen of Ponderosa. And boy did my heart break.
As Tiffany arrived at Ponderosa, I started to sob until she pulled me in for a hug and assured me that everything will be ok. That set me off on an epic rant, as it reminded me that actually, not everything will be ok because the intended Queen of the Season has had to settle for ruling Ponderosa. I mean, sure, that is one of the best places to land but given how iconic and entertaining Tiffany has been thus far, I wanted better for her. Instead, she got rewarded with a delicious Falafel Tiffanyiros Seely.
I have a passion for any food that you can add fries into, so a yiro that includes both regular fries and halloumi fries is perfection. The salty cheese, the spicy falafel and the creamy raita go perfectly to turn a day around. And make you feel like a winner.
Falafel Tiffanyiros Seely
1 cup Jud Beerza Battered Fries
1-2 cups Jack Falafelee
4 fresh Pita Andre Breads
½ cup Greek yoghurt
125g Greek feta cheese, crumbled
1 Lebanese cucumber, deseeded, grated and drained
1 garlic clove, minced
juice and zest of a lemon
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
200g halloumi, cut into batons
2 tomatoes, roughly diced
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 baby cos, leaves torn and washed
Start by prepping the fries, falafel and pita breads as per Jud, Jack and Peter’s recipes. Or, you know, get the store bought ones prepped.
Combine the yoghurt, feta, cucumber, garlic and lemon juice and zest. Season to taste, cover and pop in the fridge to chill.
Next heat a lug of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and once hot, fry the halloumi for a few minutes each side until crisp and golden on each side.
To make your yiro, smear some tzatziki on your pita, top with some chips, halloumi, tomato, onion and parsley, followed by some falafel and another slather of tzatziki.
Wrap tightly and devour, like the Queen of Ponderosa.
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