Previously on Survivor the three tribes came together for not the merge, but the now traditional non-merge-but-earn-your-place-in-the-real-one-a-palooza. Now, thankfully, gloriously hourglass free. After Elie, Owen and Sami were left vulnerable, the Baka’s worked overtime to put the target on Cassidy or James. Though obviously told them to target Cody. Sadly as hard as they worked to get rid of anyone else, Gabler decided to air their dirty laundry at the merge feast and outed Elie for going through his bag earlier in the season (when it was in fact Jeanine). And while she valiantly kicked it into overdrive to save herself, it was all it took to unite the rest of the group against Elie and boot her from the game as the final pre-merger.
Tragically, for my drama loving heart.
We returned to camp where the Gaia Tribe were reeling from what happened at tribal council, specifically Jeanine who was ready to rise from the ashes despite being left out. Noelle pulled her aside and assured her that despite what happened to her closest ally, she is still safe and if her experience with being left out of the Justine vote is anything to go by, it may actually help things. As such Jeanine went person to person, assuring them that there are no hard feelings and she is glad to lose her partner. Though in private, she still kinda just wanted to just cry.
The next day everyone ventured down to the beach for sunrise where Owen and Dwight quietly strategised about how to proceed, with Owen admitting he just doesn’t see himself working with Gabler any more given he is too unpredictable. Speaking of Gabler, he was busy talking to Cody about how chill he feels now that Elie is gone. He explained to us that he planned to continue playing like an ali-gabler. Aka duck back under water to chill until he next needs to strike.
Owen and Dwight continued their double act, collecting treemail which they thought was for art supplies to paint the tribe flag. Instead they learnt that the tribe would need to split into pairs for the upcoming challenge. And how those pairs were formed is completely up to them. While everyone obviously was desperate to get Ryan or Cody though, nobody outright said it and instead they decided to draw rocks.
We quickly pivoted to said epic challenge where Jeffrey confirmed it was for immunity and explained that the pairs would only be pairs for the first two stages of the challenge and after that, it was everyone for themselves. In the first stage, the pairs would race through a tangled net tube before digging up planks and a flag, with the first four back to their mat moving on. For stage two, they would race up a cargo net and cross a rope bridge and race to a mat with the last two pairs moving forward to the final stage, where they would each have to hold a bucket containing 25% of their starting weight. Last one holding the bucket jagging immunity.
Ryan and James were first through their tube followed by Karla and Cassidy. After Ryan and James moved on to the final round, Owen and Gabler and Cody and Dwight joined them, while Karla and Cassidy secured their spot in the next round with the other duos making it to the end as Noelle and Sami, and Jesse and Jeanine were eliminated without even exiting the tube. Before moving on to a new round, Probst gave a speech praising how hard Noelle fought in the challenge and while she was down on herself, seeing Sami and the rest of the tribe rally around her was heartwarming.
We then did a hard pivot as Probst set the second round in motion as Dwight and Cody blitzed through the competition and secured their place in the final round before Owen and Gabler narrowly joined them as the Coco duos dropped as they tried to rush to the finish. The four men took their place holding the buckets for the final round. Almost instantly Dwight dropped out as the other trio shared what was inspiring them before Owen lost concentration and dropped his bucket. Oh and then after 37 minutes of Gabler dedicating minutes to random people – which was far sweeter than I just made it sound – Cody put us out of our misery as he dropped his bucket and handed immunity to Gabler.
Back at camp Gabler opened up how much the veteran community means to him while the rest of the tribe washed the mud of themselves. In the water everyone started scrambling with the Baka and Vesi crew looking to stick together to get rid of James or Ryan. That is until James, Dwight, Owen and Sami went to get water and found a clue in the well, telling them an advantage was hidden under the shelter. While James assured them he wouldn’t take it until after tribal council, he obviously made a beeline for it. Dwight then went and looped Noelle in, who in turn went and told everyone about the advantage, rallying the troops against James.
Jesse and Karla meanwhile were spooked by how quickly Noelle was able to get everyone on side and as such, wanted to weaken her. When Jesse approached Cody about getting rid of Noelle, Cody suggested that getting rid of Dwight would be the better option, given Dwight is better at challenges and has always been sketchy to him. James meanwhile learnt that he had found the Knowledge Is Power advantage, fresh from Geo’s pocket. And rather than keep things quiet, he thought it could help build trust with people and as such, told his potential allies. Who were immediately spooked and started trading out idols and advantages so that he couldn’t snatch them. Jeanine gave her idol to Dwight, Owen scored Noelle’s extra vote and Jesse ended up in possession of Cody’s idol. Meaning everyone was nervous and mildly confused by the end of the day.
At tribal council Karla spoke about how reflective the immunity challenge was of the game, while Jesse felt like today truly levelled up the competition. Dwight spoke about how everyone has kicked in to playing their own game while Noelle felt like they needed a steady stream of plans to make sure they and their allies survive. James spoke about how advantages are only useful when played correctly and as such, people needed to spend less time focussing on them and, instead, just play the game. Cody spoke about surfing at Probst’s request, while most people admitted they were feeling confident they were on the right side of the numbers. Except for Sami who knew that there was always a risk and as such, they just needed to all play balls to the wall. Basically.
With that the tribe voted and despite a solid 7 out of 10 he was sure he was on the right side of the numbers, Dwight was shocked to be voted out of the game. With Jeanine’s idol in his pocket, no less! Despite being crushingly blindsided as the final pre-juror, Dwight was in pretty good form and took his boot like an absolute champion. While he played a low-key game – at least in the edit, given he was on a tribe with Cody – it was clear he was a strong contender, having relationships across all the OG tribes and dare I say it, should he had survived the vote, had what it takes to go all the way. And given that was a super upbeat and nice assessment from me, he was feeling pretty happy with himself and as such, gladly drank a jug of Dwight Moorshroom Gravy to toast his success.
The earthy nuttiness of the mushroom and the punch of wine work perfectly with the cream to form a warm, soulful gravy. Pop it with chicken, steak or maybe even something coming up later this season, and you’re alway left with the same result. An empty plate and a happy belly.
Dwight Moorshroom Gravy
extra virgin olive oil
500g mushrooms, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
½ cup white wine
⅔ cup cream
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Pop a lug of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat and saute for five minutes or until golden, soft and the liquid has reabsorbed. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for a further couple of minutes.
Pour in the wine and leave to bubble up, cooking till it’s almost all absorbed before stirring in the cream. Leave to bubble for a couple of minutes until it slightly thickens before seasoning to taste, alongside the parsley.
Then devour, either pour onto a protein or into a glass. No judgement.
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