The sun rises over Mysore. Sunlight pours over the edges of buildings, waking the shadows in the streets below. For many in this densely packed city, the day has already started. Vendors are already manning their stalls along the street, carts flush with fresh fruit and fragrant spices barreling past. In the treetops, gray langurs yawn and lazily adjust their positions, eager to bathe in the warm rays of the sun. Throughout it all, cars continue their relentless streaming through the city streets. The dull glow of human technology has kept the city alive with light, even when the sun hasn’t been there to grant it’s life-giving glow.
For sixteen Americans, there will not be any man-made light of such a kind for quite some time.
These Americans are currently in an open-air truck bed that is roaring down the Mysore streets. The passengers have a myriad of expressions. Some appear enthralled, others hesitant. Regardless, they’re all headed to the same place. The truck is headed out of town–far out. Each of these individuals has volunteered to become a castaway, stranded in the Indian jungle with nothing but the clothes on their back and a single luxury item of their choosing. They will be forced to work together to build a new society. They must learn to adapt, or they’ll be voted out of the tribe. In the end, only one will remain to claim a million dollar prize.
As the vehicle rolls through the jungle, the castaways are now firmly focused on the lively and lush habitat around them.
The truck hits a bump and everyone is jostled, causing Vanessa to yelp in surprise. A sharp-eyed man with a mustache watches her from the seat across the very tiny aisle.
At the far end of the bench from Brett, a man around the same age with a salt-and-peppered beard holds a well-worn photograph, lovingly gazing at the familiar faces in the image.
As the truck clears the forest, the castaways are greeting by rolling hills, carpeted in lush green grass. The blazing sun beats down on the vibrant landscape. In the distance stands an imposing structure, a large obstacle course painstakingly decorated in green and gold. Two huge crates sit at the base of colored mats. Between them waits a man in a blue.
The truck pulls up and the gate of the bed opens, allowing the castaways to disembark. A shorter Latino man reaches up to help a busty blonde woman, who is wearing rather tall heels. Even with help, she still manages to stumble when she lands.
“Thanks anyway,” she offers meekly.
The castaways gather in front of Jeff Probst, their host. He smiles broadly, as the truck closes its gates and once again roars off into the forest, headed back to Mysore. It’s here in this moment where our castaways are truly abandoned.
“Welcome,” says Jeff, “to Survivor: India.”
The group applauds and cheers.
The castaways have assembled on the two colored mats based on the buffs they’ve already been given, eight in gold and and eight in green. In gold is the Bandar Tribe, consisting of Rex, River, Mathieu, Jordyne, Gavin, Shelby, Brett and Marina. In green is the Saap Tribe, consisting of Andrew, Vanessa, Jamie, Irene, Marco, Jill, Brock and Ryan.
“This is a game that can be all about first impressions,” Jeff says. “On Bandar, the woman in the floral dress, what’s your name?”
“My name is River, Jeff, and it’s a pleasure to be here,” says the woman Jeff was addressing, beaming as she responds. Her teeth are dazzlingly white.
“Glad to have you. River, what do you think of your tribe?”
“Well, Jeff,” says River, being careful to mull through her thoughts before speaking, “based on first impressions I think we look like a strong group. Some of our boys are looking pretty hefty, pretty tough… this is all kind of new to me, so I’m excited to have some tough looking guys who seem like they know what they’re doing.”
Jeff gestures to Brett. “Guy at the end, what’s your name?”
“Brett, if you don’t mind me saying so, you’re a pretty ‘tough looking guy.’ Do you know what you’re doing?”
“I do,” Brett says, confidently and quickly.. “My tribe is lucky to have me, quite frankly. I’d be scared if I was on the other team.”
“You don’t scare me bud,” Andrew says from the Saap mat, a devilish glint in his eye. Brett is visibly annoyed.
“Already starting with the smack talk, huh?” the Latino man whispers to the towering, bearded man to his left. He nods slightly in agreement.
“And here on Saap,” Jeff says, his attention shifting. “Woman in the green dress.”
“Hi guys, I’m Ryan,” she says, leaning forward and waving towards her tribe.
“How about Saap, Ryan? Think this is the tribe to beat?”
“It’s early to say, Jeff. I mean I don’t even know these people’s names yet. But uh, you know, I don’t believe in judging a book by it’s cover, so, uh, yeah, we’ll see.”
“That doesn’t sound very confident,” Jeff says.
“Oh we’re confident,” interjects a young, tall, tan-complexioned man. His blonde curls are hidden under a purple beanie. He’s clearly irritated. “Old Man over there thinks he’s the best, he hasn’t seen me in action yet.”
“Who are you calling old?” Brett says, visibly offended.
“You, old man. Or can you not hear me because of how old you are?”
An older woman with glasses on the green mat cringes, while Vanessa shares a meaningful look with an short, boyish younger woman on her mat.
“I’ll teach you a lesson about respect when I whoop your ass, little boy,” Brett retorts.
“Well, you guys will have the chance to put your money where your mouth is when we get to our first challenge,” Jeff continues, “but for now, I’d like you guys to turn your attention to the crates behind me, which I’m sure you’ve been wondering about. Each crate has all of your supplies that you’ll need to build new homes and survive in them for the next 39 days. Each crate has the same exact supplies. There is a machete, a hatchet, knives. You’ll find rope, twine, nails, tools. There are pots for boiling water, pans for cooking food, jugs for carrying water. You’ll find fresh fruit and canned goods. Items for comfort and items for function. What you choose to bring, and how much of it you’ll choose to bring–that is up to you to decide among your tribes. Because your campsites are each five miles away from this location, and you will have to carry everything you pick. You guys will each have five minutes to decide, as a tribe, what you will bring and what you will leave behind. If it is on your mat at the end of five minutes, you must bring it.
“Keep in mind, once you get there you still have work to do. You’ll need to start collecting food, gathering supplies, trying to create a fire. It will be of the utmost importance that you build a shelter, we are in a rainforest which means there will be rain, and I promise you it won’t be fun to be stranded in. You’ll also need those shelters to protect you from the wildlife that you are sharing your home with. There are tigers living here in these forests, so safety is of the utmost importance.”
“On my word, your five minutes will start. Survivors ready? GO!”
The castaways rush forward, a hugely muscled bald black man surging ahead of the pack. He tears the lid off the crate for Bandar while Andrew and the tall, bearded man work together to remove it for Saap.
“Water is most important!” Andrew shouts. “We need those jugs, we need the pots! Whatever you can use to carry and boil water is essential!” As he gives his commands, Irene is already digging out the first water jug.
“I brought a pool!” says a brunette woman on Bandar, over at the other crate. “So we can unfold that and use that to carry some of this stuff,” she offers. Jordyne is already grabbing cans of food, and bringing them over to the map.
“What are you doing?” shouts Brett.
“Let’s just get everything out and sort it once we have it, we don’t have much time!” Jordyne says.
“No way, absolutely not! We can find our own food, put those down!” Brett responds.
“Two minutes left!” warns Jeff as the tribes continue sorting through items and moving them to their mats. “Looks like Saap is planning to bring a lot of stuff… better hope you can carry it all. Bandar is choosing much more sparingly but remember, there is no guarantee of you getting any more help than this!”
While Brett is searching through the crate, Jordyne picks up the canned goods she had put down earlier and puts them on the mat anyway.
Jeff counts down from five to zero, calling for everyone to take whatever they still have in their hands and either put it down or put it with the rest of their items. Marco brings one last pot to the Saap mat, with Saap having clearly chosen to bring more items than Bandar.
“Alright, so just by looking at each tribe’s mat, it looks like we had two different approaches here. Bandar, it appears your strategy was to pick what you thought was necessary and lighten your load. Was that an easy group decision?”
“It was mostly Brett’s decision, honestly,” says Jordyne, unflinching. Brett is visibly peeved. “I’m being realistic, Jeff,” says Brett. “We’ve got a lot of work to do and we don’t need to waste our energy carrying worthless junk, we need that for creating a kick ass camp.”
“Yeah but you didn’t even ask anyone else, you just started barking orders, so-,” Jordyne says.
“So what?” Brett asks, cutting her off. “I know you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about, so you don’t get to talk!”
“She had an idea that I thought was great, actually,” Jordyne says, pointing to Marina, “and if I were you I’d have listened, but clearly I’m not you because I don’t make everything about myself!”
“Everyone!” shouts the muscular black man, clearly fed up with Jordyne and Brett arguing. “This is a discussion for later. We have got a long, hard day ahead, let us have some positivity, please!” He has a notable African accent in his speech.
“Mathieu brings up a good point,” Jeff says, reigning control back in. “You guys do have a long, hard day ahead. And it’s about to get a little longer, and a little harder. You’re about to compete in your first challenge.”
The chance to compete seems to distract everyone, as they cheer wildly.
“This is your chance to figure out how your new team will work with each other. Here’s how it works. Two members of each tribe will run out onto the course, where you will dig in a sand pit to find buried bags containing balls, as well as a bag containing puzzle pieces. You will run them back to your tribe, where two different members of the tribe will take the balls and throw them into a basket. When all the balls are in, the basket will lower, releasing on the other end a machete and a second bag of puzzle pieces. Two more members of the tribe will then use the machete to chop through a series of ropes, which will release the third bag of puzzle pieces. At the end, the last two members of the tribe will take all of the puzzle pieces and assemble a puzzle. The first tribe to finish the puzzle wins reward. Want to know what you’re playing for?”
The castaways respond affirmatively, and Jeff smiles in response. “The winning tribe? They will have a much easier time with their journey to camp.” He turns and whistles, causing men on elephants to come riding into the clearing. Everyone is visibly impressed, and a few castaways, such as Vanessa and Jamie, have very big reactions.
“The winning tribe will ride into camp in style with these elephants,” he says. “Elephants have been used for centuries here in India as beasts of burden. There is no better way to start your journey of survival than with the aid of an animal that has mastered these jungles. This means that in addition to not having to walk, you won’t have to carry your supplies, they’ll be carried for you. So you get a once-in-a-lifetime experience and a big advantage at the start of your journey. Worth playing for?”
The castaways cheer in the affirmative.
“I’ll give you a moment to strategize, and then we’ll get started,” Jeff says.
The castaways stand at their positions.
“Starting things off for Bandar, we’ve got River and Jordyne. For Saap, we’ve got Vanessa and Irene.”
“SURVIVORS READY? GO!”
The four women sprint forward to the sand pits, where they all begin digging furiously. Vanessa moves aggressively and quickly, managing to move huge quantities of sand in single moves. For Bandar, River seems to be doing most of the work. Not even minutes into the challenge, Jordyne appears to be slowing.
“I’ve got one,” Irene says, pulling the first bag out of the sand. Vanessa quickly finds the second.
“Just like that, Saap has their first two bags! Looking for one more bag,” Jeff narrates.
“Pick up the pace,” River begs of Jordyne.
“I’m going as fast as I can,” Jordyne replies. River eventually unearths Bandar’s first bag, but before either of them can find the second, Vanessa has found the third for Saap.
“That’s three! Saap is good, Vanessa and Irene can move on!”
The women scramble to their feet, covered in sand, rushing to the next station. River meanwhile manages to find the second bag for Bandar. She and Jordyne are still searching by the time Andrew and Brock get all their bags open and have their balls ready.
“Brock going to shoot first for Saap,” Jeff narrates. Brock takes a moment to line up his shot and easily sinks it. The counterweight jiggles a little in response.
”River finds bag number three! Bandar, you can move on!”
Andrew takes a shot and whiffs it. Brock steps back in and sinks another ball. By the time Marina and Rex have untied their bags and retrieved their balls, Brock has gotten three of the five balls needed into his basket.
“We can still catch up,” Marina says, steadying herself. Her first shot misses. Brock sinks another. Marina steadies herself and sinks the next two.
“Bandar is catching up, but Saap only has one more ball before their on to the next phase! And… Brock has it!”
Brock’s final shot lands and the basket starts to sink. The counterweight rises into the air, and Andrew runs over to retrieve the bundled puzzle pieces and machete attached.
“Saap is leading but it’s still very possible for Bandar to catch up, but you’ve got to hustle!” yells Jeff. Rex manages to get another ball in the basket, while Jamie starts Saap’s third stage, wailing on the wooden block covering their ropes with the machete. He’s still working by the time Rex gets ball number 4, but finishes the first rope by the time Marina can sink her fifth and final ball.
“Saap is almost a whole stage ahead of Bandar! Bandar, you need to get moving!” yells Jeff as Rex delivers the items to Brett.
Brett quickly unwraps his machete, and with expert blows, cleaves the wooden block in just a few swings before severing the rope almost instantly.
“Wow! Incredible effort from Brett!” calls Jeff, watching the action. “In just a few swings we are back even.”
“Lemme go, bro,” Marco asks Jamie, taking over for his winded teammate. Brett quickly makes it through the second rope, and he and Marco finish the third stage at almost the exact same time.
“Brett may have just put Bandar back in this game single-handedly!” Jeff says. “You have all your puzzle pieces! This is what it comes down to! On Bandar it’s Gavin and Shelby; for Saap we’ve got Jill and Ryan!”
Both tribes work quickly to assemble their puzzle, but only one can win.
“JEFF! We have it!”
Jeff comes to check the puzzle.
“… you have it… RIGHT!”
“SAAP! WINS REWARD!”
“Saap Tribe, congratulations,” Jeff says with a smile. “We’ll start loading your things up and have you on your way. Bandar, sadly for you, you’re going to be carrying your own stuff, so if I were you, I’d get started… but before you do, Saap Tribe? You’ve won one more advantage in this game.” Vanessa has a big reaction, her jaw dropping as she covers her mouth.
“You will be allowed to select one member of the Bandar Tribe to be exiled,” Jeff says. “What that means is that they will not be joining their tribe on the hike into camp. They will not be joining their tribe in building their new home. They’ll be using this map,” Jeff says, pulling a scroll of parchment from his back pocket, “to find a secret location called Exile Island. They will remain there, separated from their tribe, until the next challenge.”
Saap gathers in a circle and begins whispering about their decision. “Who do you think it will be?” whispers Marina to River. River just shrugs, looking bewildered. “I just hope it’s not me,” she whispers back. Saap breaks their huddle, and Andrew steps forward. “We’re going to send our good friend with the uh, mustache.”
“Brett?” Jeff asks.
“Brett,” Andrew confirms with a broad grin. “This is nothing personal, friend,” Andrew says, causing Brett to noticeably crinkle his nose. “He kicked butt in that challenge and it’s a smart strategy for our tribe if we try to weaken their biggest dog. We think you tribe’s gonna miss you, bud, so take this as a compliment.” Brett snorts in response to Andrew’s claim, but says nothing, just stepping forward to Jeff as he holds out the map to the disgruntled cop.
“Now before you leave, Brett,” Jeff says, “there’s one more piece of information I’m going to share with you and the others. Hidden somewhere on Exile Island is a totem called the Hidden Immunity Idol. You will receive a clue upon arrival that can help you find this object. If you possess the hidden idol, and you find yourself at Tribal Council worried about your fate in the game, you can play the Hidden Immunity Idol to protect yourself. Any votes cast against you will be nullified. If you did, in fact, have the most votes against you? Congrats, that means you’re safe, and whoever had the next highest number is out.” Brett exhales, clearly looking much less pessimistic.
“So what you’re saying, Jeff, is that they just made a huge mistake,” Brett says, gesturing to Andrew.
“I’m not saying anything,” Jeff says with a smile. “Take this map Brett, head out. Bandar? Start grabbing your stuff. Here’s your map. Saap? You won’t need it, the elephants will take you there. Head on out guys, and best of luck!”
With all of their various supplies loaded onto the backs of the elephants, the members of the Saap Tribe begin to climb aboard the gargantuan animals.
Jill has climbed aboard an elephant with Jamie, and they both gasp in amazement as the elephant rises up off of it’s knees, hoisting them into the air.
“This is the coolest thing I’ve ever done!” Jamie exclaims.
“Brock,” the model introduces himself, taking Ryan’s hand as their trainer prepares their elephant for boarding.
“I’m Ryan,” she replies.
“Ryan! No B.”
“Cool! I’ve never met a girl named Brian before.”
As Ryan talks, Vanessa and Andrew are seen riding an elephant at the front of the line. Marco and Irene are together as well. Ryan and Brock’s elephant trails at the end of the herd.
“I’m a little more used to Uber than elephants, admitedly,” Ryan laughs to Brock.
“Yo dude, Uber saves my life on the regular,” Brock agrees. “Like, I live in New York, so like, having my own car, you know? Just not much of a point to it.”
“What do you do in New York?” Ryan asks.
“Mostly I do modeling up there. Bartending a few nights a week but modeling is the real passion.”
“Well look at you, that’s not surprising! I’m actually in the fashion industry too,” she says.
“Yeah, I uh, I’m actually buying for, you know, a small group of independently owned boutiques in the Suburban LA area.”
Sweeping views of the landscape of the Ghats pass as the Saap Tribe and their elephants traverse the breathtaking forests. “This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen,” whispers Andrew to Vanessa, “and I’ve been a lot of places.”
“You guys! I think I see it!” Vanessa yells, causing the rest of the tribe to applaud and holler in excitement.
The tribe disembarks the elephants and unload their supplies while watching the elephants vanish into the forest.
“So I’m sure we’ve all been chatting on the way here, but I think it would be a good idea if before we do anything we just take a moment to do some group introductions,” Andrew suggests, getting a fair number of nods in agreement or “yeahs.” The camera focuses notably on Brock, looking exasperated.
“So, I’m Irene,” says the small, boyish looking young woman. “Uh, right now I work at a chain of stores that I don’t think I can legally name on air, but uh, they’re popular with goth babies?” Jamie and Vanessa giggle, while Jill looks confused. “It’s uh, a clothing store that sells like, a lot of black, a lot of you know, gothy things,” Irene offers in an attempt to explain.
“I mostly bartend, but uh, I do a lot of modelling on the side, you know make some extra cash that I don’t really have to try for,” Brock says.
“A model? Well, I know who I’m cuddling up with in the shelter!” jokes Jill, eliciting laughs from the others.
“I’m Jamison, y’all call me Jamie, if you want, either’s fine,” drawls the tall man, “I’m from Louisiana originally, right now I’m in Alabama, and uh, I work at a fishing shop. Bait, tackle, all that good stuff. And uh, before y’all start asking, yes, I’m tall,” he laughs.
“A fisherman, huh?” says Andrew. “Glad to know we have someone to keep us fed,” he smiles.
“You know I will,” Jamie replies. “I’m a country boy, through and through, you better believe I can catch a fish.”
“So Mr. Fisherman,” Andrew says to Jamie, “I think you’re our big outdoorsman here so–and if anyone else has something to suggest, please cut me off–but I think you’re probably the best person to trust for building us a real kick ass shelter.” “I agree!” Vanessa says emphatically, and some other tribe members nod.
“So we’ll need a group to start collecting supplies for that… does someone want to start sorting through and organizing all the supplies?” Irene raises her hand. “Perfect!” “Does anybody know how to…” Andrew trails off as Irene begins a confessional.
“If we’re careful with this canned food we should be good for a while,” Irene says, organizing the various canned items that the tribe has been given. “We’ve got some peaches, this one is cherries, um, so a lot of fruit. I think this one is corn?”
The rest of the Saap castaways are hard at work. Jill and Vanessa weave the leaves of palm fronts, creating roofing for their shelter. Andrew returns with more sticks, which Jamie is in the process of laying out, determining a base shape for the shelter.
Off in the reaches of the surrounding jungle, Marco climbs a tree and begins to hack at the palm fronds to bring them down. At the bottom, Ryan collects the leaves in a pile. “Great job!” She encourages from below, as Brock approaches her. “Am I the only one who missed when Andrew was put in charge?” he whispers. “I know, right?” Ryan says. “Like dude, I’m a grown up okay? I do my own dishes without being told, I’m not a baby,” he gripes.
“It’s like, I just already can’t stand the dude,” Brock loudly whispers to Ryan, making no offers to help her carry any of the palm fronds she’s beginning to lift. Ryan nods in agreement.
“Oh my god, I knew I liked you,” Ryan says. “I’ve been feeling the same way!”
Back at the camp, Jamie and Andrew have turned over the shelter to Vanessa and Irene. Vanessa is sawing a log while Irene holds it. Jill sits nearby, continuing to weave palm fronds. Across the camp, Jamie and Andrew work on starting a fire, with Andrew striking futilely at their flint.
Jill approaches the two struggling men. “Boys, don’t tire yourselves out,” she says, clearly concerned. “I’d be happy to give it a try, if you don’t mind.”
“Have you ever made fire before?” Jamie asks.
“Oh yes, plenty of times. We love camping in our house.” Jamie extends the flint and knife, and Jill crouches down to join them.
It takes Jill just a few seconds of striking the flint before the ball of kindling sparks. “Oh my goodness,” gasps Jamie.
“SHHHH!” Andrew responds, staring intently as Jill leans down, expertly blowing on the small ember as more and more smoke erupts from the coconut husk. With a flash, the flame lights, and Andrew begins piling sticks on.
“WE GOT FIRE!” Jamie exclaims to Vanessa and Irene, who drop what they’re doing to come over and look.
“SHHHHH!!!!!!!” Andrew shushes again, as he and Jill work steadily, the fire now having grown strong and secure. Vanessa and Irene cheer and hug, while Jamie pats Jill on the shoulder.
While the tribe sits around their freshly lit fire, Andrew and Jill spend a private moment talking with each other on the outskirts of the campgrounds.
“I’m incredibly grateful that you started the fire Jill,” says Andrew, “but… if you don’t mind me asking, why didn’t you say anything earlier about knowing how to start a fire?”
“Well you had a job in mind for everyone, and I didn’t want to make waves or be difficult,” she says with a smile.
“But you wouldn’t have. You’d have been helping everyone. I’m not trying to make you feel bad,” Andrew corrects, realizing his tone, “I just want you to believe in yourself. If you think you can do something, step up. So what if I had an idea? I’m not the boss of anyone. If I did anything to make you think that you didn’t have a voice, I want to apologize. I want you to always feel like you can be up front with me,” he says.
“I know that I’m being looked at by people who are waiting for me to fail,” Jill admits. “I didn’t want to volunteer for something and then stumble on it.”
“Jill, I honestly don’t believe that’s what anyone is thinking. I think we have a group here who appreciates people who step up and try, and even if you hadn’t succeeded, your effort would have been recognized.”
“You don’t need to say that, Andrew.”
“I’m not just saying it. I mean, look at Brock. He’s volunteered to do nothing, I haven’t seen him with anything in his hands today besides his water bottle. And you know what? He’s the youngest one. So does that mean he gets a free pass? Of course not. I guarantee you, people on this tribe will want to work with someone like you, who tries her hardest, not someone like him.”
The two hug before they head back to join the rest of the tribe at the fire. “Besides,” Andrew says as they walk, “we probably won’t need to worry anyway. There’s no way we lose to the other tribe.”
With a deafening roar, a waterfall empties the jungle river over the edge of a cliff. Further downstream, a lone island bursts from the river’s heart. Brett makes his way across a rope bridge, dangling somewhat precariously over the rapids beneath to the outcropping of earth awaiting him at the other side.
This is Exile Island.
“Well isn’t this just peachy,” mutters Brett.
Brett arrives at the center of the Island, where he is greeted by a statue of Ganesha. “Guess it’s just you and me, pal,” Brett says to the statue taking the piece of parchment in the deity’s hand.
“You have found yourself cast aside in Exile,” Brett reads. “Spend your time wisely, and it could be worth your while. A totem for protection here can be found, safely guarded beneath the ground,” he concludes. “Is that it? That’s the whole thing?” He pockets the clue. “Basically, it sounds like my only clue… is that it’s buried.” He shakes his head and sighs, frustrated.
“We’re here!” exclaims Gavin, who spots the flag for the camp first. Marina and Rex, who have been carrying many items using Marina’s deflated kiddie pool, both cheer in relief at the back of the pack. Stumbling along just ahead of them is Jordyne, carrying a single empty cooking pot. As the tribe arrives near their flag, they appear elated to finally drop their heavy goods and rest for a moment.
“I just want to say that I’m very proud of everyone, I think we made great time,” Shelby says to the winded group, “and I think we should be grateful for the opportunity to test ourselves and our unity. I think even though we lost the challenge, Bandar is the real winning tribe today, because we proved something to ourselves.”
“Well. That’s great and everything but I have to piss real bad,” Jordyne says, standing up from the pot, which she’d flipped upside down and been using as a seat. “So uh, I’m gonna go find a corner of woods to do that.” She turns and walks off. Shelby glares at the back of Jordyne’s head.
“So, anyone want to look around?” suggests Marina.
“Shouldn’t we decide what we’re doing first?” ask Gavin.
“Yeah, well, I’m trying to decide if before we make a plan, maybe we want to know what we’re working with, that’s the decision.”
“But we don’t need everyone doing that, we should have people like… I don’t know, getting sticks or whatever,” Gavin suggests lamely.
“Marina, River, you’re going to take this jug and use the map, find where our water supply is. Mathieu, you and Rex will start using the machete and the hatchet to collect wood. We are looking for shelter pieces, fire pieces will be your responsibility, Gavin.”
“Woah woah woah woah woah,” says Rex. “Now I know I may look like I’m only in my early twenties, but I’m actually in my early 40’s, and that means that my mom–or anyone else’s mom, for that matter–hasn’t told me what to do in a long time. Who the hell are you to tell me what to do?”
“I’m not telling anyone what to do, I’m making an actionable plan because nobody else is doing anything,” Shelby says.
“Well maybe we don’t want to be doing anything, we just hiked three miles through the jungle! Let’s take a second, breathe, actually talk it out!”
“I am just offering a suggestion, Rex. It’s clear nobody really has a set direction when it comes to what we need to do, but regardless we will need water, we will need shelter, we will need fire! If we all start collecting materials now, we can think while we work and then have a concrete plan and have the means to execute those plans.”
“Well wait, Shelby, but that’s not how you said it, you just said ‘Marina, you do this, Rex, you do this,’” Marina pipes up.
“Well then I’m sorry. None of you are children so I didn’t anticipate you acting like children when confronted with, god forbid, someone taking decisive action.”
“And you know what?” Shelby rants. “If you had just started working instead of complaining, we would already be starting to get things done, but we’re still just sitting here, no further along than we were fifteen minutes ago.”
“Maybe that’s a good thing!” says Marina. “We just hiked for hours through the jungle, Shelby, it’s not going to kill us if we take a few minutes and just stop, rest, and think!”
“If you want something done so badly Shelby, go do it yourself,” spits Rex.
“Fine, then I will,” Shelby agrees, taking a water jug as she marches towards the woods.
“Holy cow!” Rex sighs, once she’s out of earshot. “Holy cow. Get it? Because we’re in India?”
“Hey, what happened to the blonde girl?” ponders Gavin aloud.
The camera pans aerially down to the riverbank, a fair distance from the main campsite. Jordyne’s romper, shoes, jewelry and undergarments are seen in a neat pile. Jordyne sits in the shallows of the water, nude save for her buff, which she’s wearing around her head, holding her hair back.
Jordyne disappears under the water and emerges, slicking her hair back.
From the river’s bank, we see the vegetation part as Mathieu emerges, catching a bathing Jordyne by surprise.
“Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry!” Mathieu says. “I didn’t realize–”
“Don’t be sorry. I’m okay with it. I’m a stripper, remember? It’s not anything a strange man hasn’t seen before,” Jordyne says with a grin. She twirls her hair coquettishly, and Mathieu’s eyes seem ready to bulge out of his head.
“You should come in,” Jordyne suggests, pulling her hair back, slowly. “It’s really nice. Feels great in this heat.”
“Everyone is looking for you,” Mathieu says, regaining his composure. “We thought you were eaten by a tiger!”
“Oh well, I didn’t mean to worry anyone,” Jordyne says, emerging from the water. Mathieu averts his gaze and covers his eyes.
“I told you, I don’t mind if you look.”
“I mind looking, thanks.”
“Well. Um. Then I’ll just slip this back on and uh, make my way back up.”
Elsewhere in the surrounding jungle, Mathieu recounts his discovery to River and Marina.
“She was just lounging in the water like she was on vacation,” Mathieu says. River shakes her head in disgust.
“That’s so disrespectful. We’re all out here busting our asses and she just goes on her own to do what she feels like.”
“It’s not only that,” Mathieu says, “but the moment I saw her, she was pushing her chest out, playing with her hair, just trying to be the little sexpot so I wouldn’t be upset with her. It was insulting, actually.”
“I don’t blame you for feeling that way,” Marina says.
Day breaks over the Saap camp. Bodies toss and turn in the mostly finished shelter. Andrew stands at the fire, tending it by prodding the embers gently with a long stick. Groggily emerging from the shelter, Marco saunters over.
“I think we need to talk, you and I,” Marco says.
The scene cuts to the two men walking through the woods.
“So I was up in the tree, cutting down palm fronds. Brock and uh, Ryan, are on the ground, and I don’t know if they thought I couldn’t hear, or if they just didn’t care, but I could hear everything they were saying.”
“And?” Andrew asks.
“It was about you,” Marco replies. “You know just whining, ‘oh, who put Andrew in charge?’ ‘Oh, Andrew’s the worst, he just thinks he’s so great,’ ‘We should get rid of Andrew.’”
“They said that? Specifically they said they wanted to get rid of me?”
Marco nods. “Yup.”
“Well buddy, thanks for the heads up. That’s uh…. that’s a lot to digest.”
“I only did what I know you’d have done for me if you heard my name being mentioned behind my back,” Marco replies.
Back at the camp, Ryan, Vanessa, and Irene are over by the fire.
“Before anyone else gets up,” whispers Ryan, “I’ve been wanting to talk with you ladies. Just us.”
“What’s up?” Vanessa asks.
“Voices down, I’m trying to keep this, you know, low-key,” Ryan says, whispering. “Because I think the three of us should be thinking really seriously about working together.”
“Working together as in…?” Irene asks.
“As in we vote together. Safety in numbers. Because the boys, you know they think they can get by without us. We need to watch out for each other.”
“I one-hundred percent am sure we have Brock on our side,” Ryan continues. “So no matter what, that’s four. Once we get rid of Jill, then we call the shots. Andrew won’t stand a chance.”
“What do you mean once we get rid of Jill?” asks Vanessa.
“Oh, you know. I’m just being realistic here, I mean… come on, who were you planning on voting out first?” says Ryan.
“I hadn’t made a decision yet. We haven’t lost any challenge yet, so I don’t see why we need to be jumping the gun,” Vanessa says.
“I mean… keep telling yourself that if it makes you feel better, sister,” Ryan laughs, “but I’m just being realistic, you know? A sixty-year old woman is the last thing we need in challenges.”
“That was ridiculous,” Vanessa says to Irene, the two of them now walking through the jungle trail to Tree Mail.
“I know, right?” says Irene. “Don’t get me wrong, I trust you.”
“Same, I trust you, but just not her.”
The two arrive at Tree Mail, an worn wooden fetish of the deity Sarasvati, with a chest seated at the statue’s base.
“We’ve got something!” Irene exclaims. She reaches in and pulls out rolled scroll of parchment, unfurling it while Vanessa picks up an accompanying burlap sack.
“No man is an island;
Keep this in mind to stay afloat;
Work together as a Tribe
And you won’t rock the boat.
Be quick witted with the puzzle,
Fast to win your flame;
For if you don’t, you have been warned;
You may see the end of your game.”
The tribe sits and stands, scattered about their very unfinished campsite. A roofless wooden platform with a number of gaps in the slats. On the ground next to it is the Congolese Flag, laid out on the ground like a picnic blanket. It’s rumpled in a way that makes it apparent someone slept on it. River stands in what is roughly the center, as she finishes reading the Tree Mail.
“And,” River finishes, “they gave us swimsuits!” She holds out a large, burlap sack in her other hand.
“Looks like there’s a 100% chance we’re getting wet today, ladies and gentlemen,” Rex says, taking the bag from River and opening it, beginning to search for his swimsuit.
“Well this is a nice present, perks me up, ” says River as she takes her swimsuit.
“And we get Brett back today, so that’s another positive,” says Gavin.
“As if that’s going to help,” Jordyne mutters.
“Hey. Sometimes one person can make all the difference,” offers Marina.
“Yeah, but like… how do we know Brett is that person?” ask Jordyne. Shelby rolls her eyes at the camera.
“Well the rest of you can do whatever you want, but I’m ready and excited to kick some ass!” says Marina, in a clear attempt to drum up some enthusiasm.
“PMA,” says Gavin, to no one in particular. “Positive mental attitude.”
“PMS,” snarks Rex, standing in nothing but his suit jacket and boxers as he changes into his swim trunks.
“Fashion show!” shouts Jordyne, emerging from the woods, now clad in her bikini. She strikes a seductive pose, arching her back. “How do I look?”
“Hot,” says Gavin with a smile. Shelby shoots him a dirty look. “What? She asked.”
“You’re looking foxy in yours, Shelby!” Jordyne compliments. “I didn’t realize you were such a cougar!”
Shelby says nothing, but simply makes a face, before turning and walking away.
“Okay, seriously guys–did everyone here get a fun vaccine mixed in with their quinine pills?” Jordyne says.
“Well I’m down for a fashion show,” Marina says.
“Wanna wear my heels?” Jordyne asks.
“I can’t walk in heels!” laughs Marina.
“Well I’ll teach you, come on,” Jordyne says as she heads over to her bag to retrieve her shoes.
“Are we doing a fashion show?” Rex asks. “How exciting! I’ll have you know, I only became a weatherman after I retired from my very demanding modeling career.”
Jordyne struts down an imaginary runway, her blonde hair bouncing with each step. Marina attempts to follow, but clunks like a horse for a few steps before losing her balance and falling. She and Jordyne both laugh
“Oh my gosh, are you okay?” Jordyne asks.
“Just a scratch, I’ve gotten way worse,” Marina says.
“Keep practicing your walk, girl! Maybe the challenge will be a runway battle, you never know,” says Jordyne.
“Let’s hope it is, because I will work. Them. Out!” says Marina, laughing as she trips once again.
“Come on in guys!”
The two tribes walk into the challenge area, situated along a peaceful riverbank. Out in the water float two cauldrons, lit with flames. Hills of sand line the beach, with long, large puzzle pieces sticking out at various points. Inland stands a tower with a ladder on either side, an unlit cauldron at the top.
“Bandar, Saap. Welcome. First things first, let’s bring in Brett, returning from Exile Island.”
A motorboat rounds the corner, with Brett aboard. He hops off and rejoins Bandar. The tribe greets him warmly.
“Alright guys, before we get to today’s challenge, let’s check in. Jamie, how are things going for Saap?”
“They’re going swimmingly, Jeff. Miss Jill here can light quite the fire,” Jamie says with a smile, clapping Jill on the shoulder.
“So you have fire already? Impressive. Bandar, fire yet?”
The Bandar Tribe is hesitant, with Rex eventually responding. “Jeff, what’s the fun in getting everything perfect the first time?”
“I’ll take that as a no, then?”
“Take that however you choose, Jeff,” Rex says.
“Well then I’ll take that as a no.”
“Are you guys ready to get to your first immunity challenge?”
The castaways applaud, and Jeff breaks down the rules.
“For today’s challenge, five members of each tribe will race to assemble a boat. You must then use seven planks, which you will use as braces to keep the boat together. Paddle out, grab a torch, light your torch, paddle back. You’ll then remove your seven planks and bring them back to the start. The three remaining tribe members must then solve a puzzle. Once you have the puzzle completed, you will use the planks to assemble a ladder and place the completed puzzle in it’s appropriate spot. From there, it’s a race to the finish. The first tribe to get all their members to the top and light their fire barrel wins immunity.”
Jeff reaches behind him to the covered Immunity Idol, revealing it to the castaways.
“This is the Immunity Idol. If your tribe is in possession of this, you are safe, your tribe is safe, you all get three more days here in India. Without immunity, you are vulnerable. Losing tribe goes to Tribal Council where someone will become the first person voted out of Survivor: India. I’ll give you a minute to strategize and we’ll get started.”
The two tribes huddle together to discuss their gameplan. “The boat is a puzzle too,” Jill says, “so we want to make sure we’re spreading our strength.” “Are you volunteering?” asks Ryan. Jill pauses, and catches Andrew looking at her reassuringly. “Oh heck, why not?”
The castaways stand at the starting line, eager and ready. Jeff watches from the distance.
“SURVIVORS READY? GO!”
The castaways shoot off onto the sandy course, scrambling over the sand dunes. Jamie, Brock and Vanessa all surge forward for Saap, while Andrew hangs back to help Jill, who is more than holding her own given her age. For Bandar, Brett, Marina, Gavin, River and Mathieu are off.
Jamie is the first to reach the boat piece, and quickly works dragging them, his tall body already slick with sweat. Brock soon joins him and the tribe manages to quickly assemble their boat. “This plank goes at the other end!” Jill calls, passing a plank up toward Jamie in the front.
”Saap, working well together and making quick progress,” notes Jeff.
Bandar is struggling by comparison. “This isn’t right!” Gavin exclaims, “does anyone have a different plank?”
”Are we missing one?” asks Marina.
“My piece is on top of it!” Mathieu says, trying to pull the plank out from under the boat. “Can someone please give me a hand here?”
Waiting at the puzzle station, Jordyne covers her eyes.
“Put this one on the back uh, left,” Jill commands, handing a plank to Andrew, “and then this one goes… here.”
“Saap has their boat complete and they’re off!” Jill hold the torch at the back of the boat while the others start to paddle. By the time Bandar has finished their boat, Saap is almost at their cauldron.
“Haul ass!” shouts Rex. “You can do it!”
Brett roars like an animal as he gives the Bandar boat a final shove into the water. With everyone on the boat, they start paddling like mad. Out in the water, Saap has reached their flame. Jill dips the torch into the fire.
”I’ve got it!” Jill exclaims, “go go go!”
“Don’t you dare give up!” Brett shouts to his tribe. With the first puzzle out of the way, Bandar can focus on simply giving their all, physically. As they reach their cauldron, however, Saap is pulling into shore.
“Saap is in the lead! All they have to do is get that boat back to shore and get those planks to the rest of the tribe!”
As the Saap boat nears shore, Andrew leaps off to get into the water and start pulling it in. Jamie and Vanessa both jump off, and as Jill follows, she loses her balance and drops the torch right into the water.
“Oh no!” laments Irene, watching from the puzzle station.
“Why didn’t you hand that off to someone, Jill?” Brock yells.
”Doesn’t matter!” Andrew says. “We need to go back now, don’t waste time, turn around! Back on the boat!”
“Saap suffers a huge setback! They’re going to have to go out and light that torch again. This is the opening Bandar had to have been hoping for!”
“Damn right it is,” Jordyne cheers.
As the Bandar boat pulls into shore, Gavin jumps off first. “Wait until I’m in the shallows and hand me the torch!” he says to River. She does as asked and Gavin gets the torch safely to shore while his tribemates work frantically to dissemble the planks and rush them back to the mat. By the time they get all the pieces to the puzzle station, Saap is beginning to lose steam.
“KEEP GOING!” Andrew yells.
”I AM GOING AS HARD AS I CAN!” Brock yells in response. “WE SHOULDN’T EVEN HAVE TO BE DOING THIS!”
At the puzzle station, Shelby seems to be making quick work of the puzzle’s base. “I think this goes next,” Jordyne chimes in.
“Bandar is working well together on the puzzle. Might be the first time in this challenge they’ve worked well together at all,” Jeff says.
“Don’t give up! Goooo Saap!” cheers Ryan from the puzzle station. Saap reaches their torch for a second time, and lights it. Angrily, Brock snatches the torch from Jill’s hands. “I’m holding it,” he sneers.
As hard as Saap can give it, by the time they get to shore they are clearly wiped out. The puzzle solvers for Bandar are nearly finished their puzzle by the time Saap manages to get all their planks to the puzzle station.
“Saap, start your puzzle! This challenge isn’t over yet!” Jeff cries. “Bandar seems to have made progress but that’s assuming they’ve got it right! If they don’t they could have to start all over!”
“I hope so,” whispers Jamie as Marco, Irene and Ryan work hastily to catch up. Though they make decent progress, it’s simply not enough.
“I’ve got it!” exclaims Jordyne, who manages to quickly place the final few pieces for Bandar.
“Go Bandar, onto your next phase! You’ll need to use those planks to build a ladder to the top!” Jeff yells. Shelby tries the first plank, which doesn’t fit, but gets lucky–the second one slides right in on the bottom rung. Rex frantically makes sure he’s got the planks organized in a neat pile.
“It’s over,” sighs Vanessa, watching from the other side as Bandar ascends their ladder. Shelby places the puzzle placard in the empty space of the ladder, and the tribe all rushes together to the top. A jubilant Gavin lights the fire at the tower’s apex.
“BANDAR! WINS IMMUNITY!”
The castaways stand at their respective tribe mats. Everyone on Saap appears dejected, but perhaps none more than Jill, who can’t even look up. Tear streaks are visible on her face.
“Bandar, well earned,” Jeff says, approaching them with the idol, which Shelby takes from him. “You guys are safe tonight, you can head back to camp.”
As Bandar heads off, Jeff turns his attention to Saap.
“Saap, I hate to say it, but I’ve got nothing for you except a date at Tribal Council tomorrow night. You have the next day to think over what you’ll do. One of you will become the first person voted out of this game. Head on out.”
“Now, the most accurate weather team in all of the Western Ghats, it’s Bandar Action News weather with your favorite meteorologist, Rex ‘Rainman’ Richards! WOOOOO! YEAAAAH!” Rex faux-cheers as he stands in front of his tribe, notably seated in a much more complete looking shelter. The Congolese Flag now hangs at one side of the lean-to, helping to keep the interior space contained.
“Well after a frosty Monday morning, we’ve got good news, folks–sunny skies are on the horizon. If we take a look at this Immunity Idol front, moving towards the Bandar Tribe,” Rex says, gesturing to the Immunity Idol behind him, “this tells us that there is a 0% chance of Tribal Council this evening. It’s nothing but clear skies ahead for Bandar!”
The tribe in the shelter applauds and cheers.
“Just kidding folks, seriously it looks like it’s going to rain,” Rex says. Sure enough, in the distance, dark clouds are beginning to swell.
“I’m so glad you’re here,” Shelby tells Brett as the two wash up by the river.
“I’m glad too,” Brett says. “Exile Island was lonely.”
“…It’s been lonely here too. Nobody likes a nag,” Shelby pouts.
“You wouldn’t be getting called a nag if these kids had a little more discipline,” Brett says, scrubbing his arms with his buff. “I think they’re starting to realize they won’t get far in this game if they don’t put in the hard work. They should be thankful to have us.”
Up at the shelter, Mathieu sings Brett further praises as he examines the craftsmanship of their new abode. “Just think how much better we could have done if they hadn’t exiled Brett that first day,” Mathieu says. “This is truly exceptional.” Jordyne, who is lazing in the shelter, bites her lip.
“Honestly, I’m just glad we don’t have to vote tonight,” says Marina.
“What do you think is going to happen with the other tribe?” ponders Jordyne aloud.
“Oh come on. The old lady who fell, like what are the chances she doesn’t go home?” says Marina.
“We don’t know what’s happening over there,” says Jordyne. “Anything can happen in a game like this.”
Jill stands silently chopping wood into smaller pieces with the hatchet. Getting one to a size she feels content with, she takes the log and places it on the fire. Vanessa and Jamie both sit and watch, the flames dancing in front of their faces.
“Well, I’m getting a little more firewood,” Jill tells the others as she heads off, leaving Jamie and Vanessa by themselves.
“I like her,” laments Jamie, once Jill is out of earshot. “But… it’s Jill, isn’t it?”
“I don’t see how it’s not,” Vanessa says. “It’s a shame though. I don’t want her to go, she doesn’t deserve it.”
“I’d disagree–I think she totally deserves it. She’s the reason anyone has to go home tonight. I mean, if she wasn’t in the challenge yesterday–”
“We’d have won,” Vanessa finishes. “Yeah, I see your point. I just don’t feel like she’s the only one who don’t deserve to be here.”
“What could you possibly mean?” jokes Jamie, his eyes wandering across the camp to the shelter, where Brock is lying, passed out and snoring.
As Jill collects firewood, Andrew jogs up behind her. “Hey darling, mind if we chat?” he asks.
“Well of course not, Captain. I’ve always got an ear for you.”
“I’m just–look, I’m not going to beat around the bush, I feel responsible for what happened yesterday.”
“Well that’s very sweet of you Andrew, but don’t. You didn’t drop anything, I did.”
“Yeah okay but, here’s the thing Jill. I feel like you shouldn’t have even been running that leg of the challenge in the first place. And I can’t help but feel a little guilty, because I encouraged you to step up when maybe you shouldn’t have.”
“Andrew,” Jill says, stopping her foraging to look him dead in the eye. “What’s done is done. If there is any lesson I’ve learned in my time on this earth, it’s that you can’t erase the past. What’s done is done.”
“Alright, well regardless of who is at fault here, I’m not voting for you tonight. That’s my promise,” Andrew says, extending his hand. Jill takes it.
“I appreciate that.”
“Brock is lazy, he’s got an ego, he certainly wasn’t helping us out in that challenge, as far as I’m concerned, you’ve done more for this tribe even after single-handed losing immunity for us then he has, and he deserves to go.”
“At least tonight should be easy,” say Ryan, sitting next to Brock in the shelter. “Mhm. Write down three letters, J-I-L,” says Brock. “And out she goes.”
“And we live to fight another day,” Ryan says.
Down at the water, Jamie joins Marco and Irene.
“Talking about tonight?” Jamie asks as he approaches.
“Are we that obvious?” Irene asks.
“Not making any accusations here, just… looking to join in,” Jamie says.
“Alright, well, I was just saying to Marco that in my gut I don’t feel like it’s the right thing to vote Jill out tonight. I don’t think we should condemn her for a mistake that anyone could have made.”
“Yeah, but my point is that anyone didn’t make it, she did,” Marco says.
“If it was you that tripped and dropped it, Marco, would you be content to get voted out?” Irene asks.
“Content, no! Because I don’t want to get voted out, period. But I’d understand why other people would choose to vote me out if I were in her shoes.”
“I guess my point is just… if Jill hadn’t tripped, would you be planning to write her name down tonight?”
“I can’t say, but I don’t see why it matters. The reality is that she did trip,” Marco says. “So that’s how I gotta make my decision.”
As the sun grows lower in the sky, Jill finishes packing her belongings into her bag. “I’m going to leave my bible here,” she says to Jamie, putting the book on inside the shelter. “For whoever finds themselves in need of some guidance.”
“Hey now. What’s to say you won’t be coming back to use it yourself?” Jamie says.
“That’s sweet of you, but I’m a big girl, Jamie. I can face the music.”
“Just… don’t let up yet, Miss Jill. I don’t think this is decided. There are definitely people standing with you tonight.”
“I can only pray,” says Jill. “If all goes well for me maybe I’ll have some divine intervention this evening.”
As the castaways of the Saap Tribe head out, the camera pans over them, watching them descend into the depths of the forest as the sun quickly plummets. From the depths of space, the starscape emerges in the night sky, like a thousand-eyed totem watching the earth.
The trees disperse to reveal an ancient temple, rising out of the jungle like an island in a sea of green. The exterior is decorated with figures of deities and spirits, watching over the temple grounds below.
Inside, the castaways approach a ring of fire at the temple’s heart. In the shadows stands a large statue of Kali, a goddess of death. Jeff Probst stands before her. Across from him are eight seats.
“Behind each of you is a torch,” Jeff explains. “Grab a torch and approach the flame. Dip it in and get fire. This is part of the ritual of tribal council, because in this game, fire represents life. Once your fire is gone, so are you.”
The castaways do as they are told, their eight torches now standing high with glittering flames behind them. They take their seat, nerves visible on most faces.
“So welcome. This is Tribal Council. This is the place where you will come to answer to your actions in this game. When I call you up and say it’s your turn, you’ll walk down the hall to my right,” Jeff explains, gesturing, “write down the name of the person you want to vote out, you’ll hold up your vote, explain yourself, put it in the urn. Whoever has the most votes–you’re out.” The camera pans to Andrew and Vanessa, both nodding in silent agreement.
“Before we get to that, however,” Jeff says, “I’d like to chat with you guys for a little. Tribal Council is also your chance to speak before the group. This is where you can plead your case, be that for your own life in the game, the life of someone else, doesn’t matter. We’re going to dig up what’s on everyone’s mind. We’ll start with Marco–how have the first three days been for Saap?”
“I mean, I think we had a great start, Jeff,” Marco says. “We won that first challenge, so it’s not that we are a bad team that can’t win anything. We worked together really well as a tribe building our camp, we have a great shelter, thanks to my boy Jamie. We’ve got a roaring fire, that’s thanks to Jill. I mean it’s still hard. I’m so tired, I sleep on a bed Jeff, not on wood! Night is cold, the days are so hot and muggy, but all things considered, for a bunch of Americans stranded out in the jungle, we’re doing okay.”
“Andrew, agree with Marco?” asks Jeff. “You guys are doing well? Because one could argue that if you’re here, your probably not doing that well.”
“One could argue that, absolutely,” Andrew says, “but I don’t think that would be the best metric of success, whether or not we win one challenge. We didn’t lose that challenge today because we didn’t have a shelter. We didn’t lose because we didn’t have fire or water.”
“We lost because of Jill,” Brock says, visibly exasperated. Everyone turns towards him. “It doesn’t matter if we slept in the Taj Mahal last night if one person can’t get the job done.”
“Well the Taj Mahal is a tomb, not a palace, so I don’t know why we’d be sleeping there anyway,” Andrew continues, clearly annoyed to have been interrupted. “And yeah, if you want to point fingers, then I guess you could be pointing them at Jill, but–”
“You guess?” Brock interrupts again. “There’s no guessing, Jill is the one who lost the challenge for us, Jill is the reason we are here. Our camp is bomb, our shelter is bomb, we got the hook up over Bandar for real! If Jill didn’t fall flat on her face, Jeff, you’d be here talking to those other losers and not us, and that’s why Jill is leaving tonight.”
“May I finish my point?” Andrew asks, with Jeff giving him the go ahead. “I think it’s more complicated than just who happened to make what mistake the day of. I think that we should all try and be empathetic to Jill’s situation here. I’m the one closest to her age here and she’s still over ten years older than me. She’s doing a really good job at fitting in with a young crowd and she works her behind off around camp, which is something Brock can’t say, and I find it really comedic, actually, that he has the nerve to sit there and brag about a camp he didn’t lift a finger to help build.”
“Deflection!” Brock calls out. “He’s deflecting the point, Jeff. Jill is going home. What is there to even talk about?”
“Maybe you’re going home, ever think about that?” Andrew snaps. Brock looks stunned.
“Vanessa, do you agree with Andrew?” asks Jeff. “Could Brock maybe be wrong about who is going home?”
“Brock absolutely could be going home,” Vanessa says confidently. “More has happened in three days than just one challenge.”
“Oh, really? Is that so?” Brock says.
“I think what Brock means to say,” Ryan says, asserting her voice, “is that, you know, it’s about cause and effect. Tribal council is the effect, Jill is the cause. Whatever else has happened isn’t relevant.”
“Jill, a lot of this discussion is centered around you. How do you feel coming into tonight?” asks Jeff.
“Oh Jeff, I’m petrified! I am very honored that I’ve met people in this game who are showing their true character and are willing to fight for my spot here on this tribe. That’s very touching, but it’s not necessary. While I don’t agree with how Brock is voicing his opinions–”
“What’s wrong with how I voice my opinions?” Brock interjects.
“What’s wrong is you keep interrupting people!” Vanessa shouts. “Have some respect for someone other than yourself, overrated ass.”
“Takes one to know one,” Brock retorts.
“That doesn’t even make sense,” says Vanessa, rolling her eyes.
“They just don’t want to hear it coming from me, I don’t know why,” Brock says. “Jealousy probably, not my problem if they’re haters.”
“Now no offense meant, Brock, but I’d respectfully disagree. I think most people would say that in a game like this one, you want to make sure you don’t have ‘haters,’” says Jeff. “Do you see how your behavior right now could be influencing people’s opinions?”
“If they want to win challenges, they’ll keep me,” Brock says. “Point blank.”
“Alright,” Jeff says. “Jill, let’s get back to you. You were saying–”
“Jeff, all I want to say is that I don’t want to go home tonight. Nobody does, though. But I can own my mistakes, I lost the challenge for our tribe today, and if I am voted out as a result of that, then I’m at peace with that choice.”
“Irene, you’ve had your head in your hands almost this whole time. What’s going through your head right now?” Jeff asks.
“I mean, I think you can see the decision we’re all trying to weigh.Jill is just… she’s such a graceful, kind, giving person, and you can see how Brock is acting to compare. But the fact is Jill is the one who lost us the challenge today, there’s no way around that.”
“I just would like to say,” Andrew interjects, “that I want to take partial responsibility for the loss today as well. I feel like I’ve stepped up to lead this tribe, and I encouraged Jill to step forward and today she took my advice and I lead her astray.”
“Andrew,” Jeff says, “it sounds like you’re saying, “hey, don’t blame Jill for her blunder, blame me because I made her do it in the first place. If you’re voted out tonight based on that logic, how would you feel?”
“Oh, I mean… I don’t want to be voted out, I’m not asking to be voted out,” Andrew says. “I’m just saying this situation is complex, and I don’t think we can blame any one person for what happened in the challenge today. That could have been any one of us to have the misfortune of dropping the torch, and I don’t think anyone else would be in danger of going home if that were them who made that mistake.”
“Jamie, is Andrew right? If someone other than Jill was seen as responsible for your tribe’s loss, would they not be a target tonight?”
“I don’t think Andrew is correct at all. In fact, I’d argue that the only reason Jill is having her name written down by anyone tonight is because she made a mistake that nobody else made. If we lost that challenge because we just weren’t as good as the other team, and not because someone made a mistake… I think if that were the case, I’d be really worried if I were Brock.”
“Why is everyone calling me out?” Brock says.
“Because you are lazy and you are negative, okay?” Andrew says, clearly at his limit. “You do nothing but run your mouth about how much better you think you are than everyone else.”
“Not my fault that it’s true,” Brock says.
There is a long pause, where Vanessa audibly sighs.
“Well, if that’s everything, then I guess we’re ready to vote,” says Jeff. “Ryan? You’re up first.”
Ryan approaches the voting podium and writes down her vote.
Andrew returns to his seat, the last to have voted. “I’ll go tally the votes,” Jeff says, as he heads off to collect the urn. The castaways sit in silence, staring into the pit of fire. Jill gazes at the statue of Kali, her dark, empty eyes like tiny abysses in the night.
“Once the votes are read,”Jeff says, returning with the voting urn, “the decision is final. The person voted out will be asked to leave the Tribal Council area immediately. I’ll read the votes.” The atmosphere is tense as Jeff removes the lid of the urn and reveals the first vote.
“The first person voted out of Survivor: India… ”
“Jill. That’s five, tonight that’s enough. The last vote will remain a mystery. Jill, I need you to bring me your torch.”
Jill nods in acceptance as the final vote is overturned. Andrew stands with her and gives her a big hug, which prompts Vanessa, Irene, Jamie, Marco, and Ryan to do the same. Only Brock stays seated.
“Have the time of your lives!” Jill says with a smile as she brings Jeff her torch. “I know one of you can win this,” she says. Placing her torch, she turns her attention to Jeff. “I’m ready.”
“Jill, the tribe has spoken.” Jeff snuffs Jill’s torch, a plume of smoke billowing up as he pulls away the snuffer. “It’s time for you to go.”
Jill waves to her tribe as she departs the temple, vanishing into the night. Tears stream down Irene’s face. Vanessa looks despondent. Brock grins widely.
“Well congratulations to the seven of you. You’ve all avoided the particularly unenviable position of being the first person voted out. But this is only Day 3 of a 39 day game. Consider what you’ll need to do from here on out if you want to make it to that point. Grab your torches and head back to camp. Good night.”
With that, seven glowing flames float into the inky darkness of night outside the temple compound, as the castaways vanish back into the woods.
Fifteen remain. Who will be the next to go?