PREVIOUSLY ON… SURVIVOR!
Over 18 days, two tribes battled in the wildest jungles of India, both against elements, the wild, and each other. After ups, downs, and even a tribe shuffle, on Day 19, the Saap and Bandar Tribes merged into one new tribe, which Irene named Satya Yuga.
To celebrate the merger, the castaways headed to an Ashram in the mountains where they enjoyed a sumptuous feast and plenty of alcohol, which caused the castaways to loosen up, even leading to a surprising moment of fun between two very opposite players–Jordyne, the exotic dancer, and Shelby, the mother of two. They were not the only castaways to bond, however, as old friends reunited , such as Marco with Jamie and Marina with Jordyne. New bonds, as well, continued to form, with the romantic connection between Vanessa and Mathieu continuing to heat up, and culminating in a private kiss between them.
Vanessa and Mathieu’s budding romance worried many of the other castaways, but Mathieu seemed safe under the Bandar Tribe, who had a numbers advantage with six of their original members. He suggested they take out the biggest threat from the Saap Tribe in Jamie.
However, Jordyne and Marina had other plans. After bonding with Jamie and Marco, Jordyne sought to create a new alliance with the old Saap Tribe, and they agreed that Mathieu was a threat who needed to go. Jordyne’s plan, however, was foiled when Mathieu won the first individual immunity challenge, protecting him from the vote. Forced to switch gears, but wanting to keep her promise to boot a member of the original Bandar, Jordyne suggested Shelby as the target–but Shelby’s closest ally in Gavin, the game’s youngest player, rebuffed the suggestion. The new alliance agreed to target Rex, whose bizarre and erratic antics left everyone struggling to understand or trust him.
At Tribal Council, Gavin became nervous that Shelby was being targeted, and played the immunity idol to protect her. He was horrified to find that he had wasted his greatest weapon, however, when Jordyne stuck to her word and sent the weatherman home with the help of her allies.
Nine remain. Who will be voted out tonight?
Despite the previous night’s rain, the clouds have parted and the sun is shining brightly. Up at the camp, Shelby picks through the firewood, a frown on her face.
“Most of this wood is soaked… we’re going to have to find more to keep the fire going,” she laments.
“It’s not fair that we have to do it, though,” Gavin says, face rested on his hands as he lies in the shelter.
“Life isn’t fair,” Shelby says with a sigh. “If you want to go down and get everyone and be the one to yell at them to get some work done, be my guest.”
“Yeah, but I shouldn’t have to.”
“They’re free agents, Gavin. They can do as they please, sadly. If that’s how they want to take advantage of their power… that’s on them.”
“But it’s so stupid, Shelby. They shouldn’t even be in ‘power,’” Gavin says, using air quotes.
Mathieu and Vanessa come walking back into camp, Mathieu carrying a large log. “This should help,” he says with a kind smile.
“Here’s hoping,” Shelby says, putting the log on the fire. It smokes somewhat.
“It should catch eventually,” she says. “Thank you for your help, Mathieu.”
“You’re welcome. Someone has to do it,” he says.
“Yeah, you can say that again,” Gavin mopes.
“We’re not down and out, just yet,” Mathieu says, trying to encourage Gavin. “All we need is for one person to open their eyes and make a change.”
“Who do you think that would be?” Gavin asks.
“Do you think you can sway Irene?” Mathieu asks Vanessa.
“I won’t know if I don’t try,” Vanessa says.
“She’s not in a great position with them, make sure she’s aware of that,” Shelby instructs. “Jordyne is going to keep Marina and Jamie right by her side, and Marina will go where Jordyne goes. She’ll be disposed of by them as soon as they no longer need her.”
“Should I go down there now?” Vanessa asks.
“Why not?” Shelby suggests. “You have just as much right to be down at the water as anyone else.”
Jamie and Marco frolick in the waters of the reservoir while Jordyne, Marina, and Irene laze onshore, watching the boys at play. Marco takes a massive leap at Jamie, but being significantly smaller, is simply caught and tossed back into the water.
Jamie definitely lets it “hang loose.” Marco moves to splash him, but he’s pelted in the face by Jamie’s wet swimsuit.
“EW! That’s sick, bro!” laughs Marco, taking the square cuts and tossing them off in the distance, “Can’t keep your clothes on around me, huh?”
“You wish,” Jamie growls.
“God damn that man is a f*cking specimen and a half,” Jordyne says at the shore, watch rapt with attention.
“Thirsty,” deadpans Marina, the two of them lying back in the sun. “He is pretty hot, though,” she agrees with a laugh.
“I’m telling you, Reens, after this, you and me are roadtrippin’ down south. There’s gotta more of those boys where that one came from, and with any luck they won’t all be gay.”
“I’m already in the south, doofus. Where do you think Florida is?”
“Orlando doesn’t f*cking count,” Jordyne says, waving her hand dismissively at Marina. “You know what I mean.”
“Yeah, you mean that you don’t understand geography,” mocks Marina.
“Oh my god,” groans Jordyne, throwing her head back in exasperation. “Whatever, we’re going New Orleans and we can double date his brothers.”
“We should go seriously, though!” Marina says, excited. “Have you ever been for Mardi Gras? I heard that’s like, a must-see.”
“I wish,” Jordyne says, frowning. “We should totally go though. All of us. I’ll treat us when I win,” she laughs. “You ever been, Irene?”
“Huh?” Irene asks, popping up from her book. “Oh, no. I don’t travel much.”
“Well get ready to travel a ton, chica, because I’m footing the bill!” Jordyne beams. Out over the water, there are sounds of gargling as Marco once again tries and fails to tackle Jamie.
From the distance, Vanessa approaches.
“Hey lady!” calls Jordyne, waving. “Come on down, the weather is lovely!”
“You ever been to New Orleans?” Marina asks.
“Yeah, once,” Vanessa says. “Why?”
“We’re going. Survivor does Mardi Gras. Pencil it in,” Jordyne says.
“Oh yeah? Sounds like a party.”
“We’re trying to catch us some southern boys,” Jordyne says. “I mean, though I guess you already caught yourself one, huh?”
“Don’t, be rude, Jojo,” Marina chastises. “Don’t feel the need to disclose any details you don’t want, Ness. This one is just an incurable gossip.”
“I don’t mind talking about what’s going on,” Vanessa says. “Ask me a question, I’m upfront. I have nothing to hide. I like him, so what? I seen y’all over here lustin’ on Jack and the Beanstalk over here,” she laughs.
“I’m feeling the beanstalk,” Jordyne says. “Marina I’m thinking is more into Jack.”
Marco has now leaped on Jamie’s back, piggyback riding him though the water.
“Neither one’s really my type, honestly,” Marina says with a shrug. “I like guys who are short and chubby.”
“Cocktail weenies?” asks Vanessa. The girls all laugh.
“So I was gonna check Tree Mail to see if we’ve got a challenge,” Vanessa says. “Irene, would you mind coming with?”
“Not at all,” Irene says.
“I really just want the opportunity to talk things out, because I feel like there was some miscommunication, and I want to be as clear as possible, especially with you,” Vanessa says.
“I mean, for what it’s worth, Vanessa, I’m not angry at you,” Irene says. “We all have to make choices for ourselves, you know? You had to try and keep yourself safe, just like we all were doing.”
“I just didn’t know if y’all could trust Jordyne,” Vanessa says. “I figured they were taking Jamie out no matter what I did, so I needed to show that I’m willing to play with the power, not cause problems, you know? And I think I just caused more problems.”
“I don’t want to be with them, I swear to you, and you know I wouldn’t bullsh*t you,” Vanessa says earnestly. “Look, now that Rex is gone, there are only five Bandars left, we’re closing the gap. If we can get someone to flip, we could be the final four. How great would that be? Saap taking down the big bad Bandars,” she says. “Mathieu would vote with us for sure.”
“Who would you want to take out first?” Irene asks.
“I think a certain little kid showed last night just exactly why none of the rest of us can keep his unpredictable ass around.”
“The thing is, we told Gavin the plan,” Irene says. “So obviously he doesn’t trust me or the guys anyway.”
“And with the guys in mind, he is obviously jealous of Jamie, you know he’s gonna just keep going after him.”
“Yeah, I could see that,” Irene agrees.
“Oh, here we go!” Vanessa says, pulling out a scroll from tree mail.
“How are they going to torture us this time?” ponders Irene.
“Balance is essential,
As is steady hand and sharpest mind,
Make your odds become evens,
And you could leave your camp behind.”
“Come on in guys!”
Satya Yuga enters one at a time, Jamie bringing up the rear with the great purple banner. He places it as the tribe takes their place in front of Jeff.
“Welcome,” says Jeff, “to your first individual reward challenge. For this challenge, you will race along a ladder bridge that is wrapped in rope. You must maneuver bags of puzzle pieces along that twisting rope. The first four to make it across will move on to the second round, where you will use those puzzle pieces to solve a very complicated puzzle. The first person to complete their puzzle wins reward. Wanna know what you’re playing for?”
Everyone applauds with excitement. Nobody is sure what they’ll find under the covered table next to Jeff. He removes the sheet to reveal rolled up yoga mats.
“Is that like a mat to sleep on?” wonders Gavin.
“The winner of today’s challenge is going to take the day away from camp. You’ll spend the rest of the day at a yoga school here in the Western Ghats, where you will take a yoga class with a real yoga guru. Yoga is an ancient practice that Indian people have used for centuries to maintain the health of their mind, body, and spirit. After twenty-two days, I’m sure you could all could use a little bit of a tune up in that regard. This will also be an exceptionally unique opportunity to experience the culture of the land you’ve called your home for the past three weeks. After your lesson, you’ll be treated to a lunch of traditional vegetarian dishes.”
“Yes! Food!” cheers Vanessa, clapping excitedly. The news of lunch seems to have some of the castaways much more interested in the reward.
“In addition,” Jeff says, “the winner of today’s challenge will get to pick one person to send to Exile Island, where they will remain until the next immunity challenge. Worth playing for?”
“Oh yeah baby,” cheers Marco.
“Alright, we’ll draw for spots, then go ahead and get started.”
The castaways are lined up, positioned at their ladders.
“SURVIVORS READY? GO!”
“Remember,” Jeff advises, “only the first four to make it across will move on to the final round. The only rule is if you fall off your bridge, you must go back to the start. Already out of the gate we see Mathieu making quick work. Jordyne, right out the gate, appears to be totally stuck.”
“These bags are heavier than they look!”
Mathieu is, indeed, making progress the quickest, looping his back up and over the rungs with relative ease. Jamie is not far behind, but is clearly having a hard time balancing given his height.
“Jamie is in this,” Jeff points out. “Marina doing well. Gavin and Vanessa are in this.”
Marina stands with her legs on either side of the ladder, flipping the pieces through as she moves forward. Gavin is using a different strategy, standing with both feet on one side, moving sideways along.
“Oh come on!” yells, Vanessa, yanking at her bag. “Get going!”
“Vanessa getting stuck now, Gavin and Marina both moving ahead, Mathieu still in the lead, he’s almost done!” Jeff points out. Indeed, Mathieu is making the fastest work of the rope bridge, expertly moving the bags, whipping them along as the ladder begins to descend.
“Oh yeah baby, here we go,” Marco says, clearly getting into a rhythm.
“Marco starting to make up time, he’s getting in on this,” Jeff notes. As he does this, Mathieu finally reaches the end of his rope, pulling his puzzle piece bags to the finish line.
“Mathieu is across first!” Jeff cheers. “Mathieu moving on to the final round, looking for three more to join him!”
“Urgh!” grunts Jamie, yanking his pieces backwards towards the earlier segment of the rope.
“Jamie now heading backwards! He’s been stuck in this spot for a while! Any lead he had is quickly vanishing.”
“Yes!” exclaims Gavin as he makes it through. He throws his arms up, jubilant.
“Gavin through! We’ve got two more spots.”
“Oh come on!” gripes a frustrated Jamie.
“Marina now through!” Jeff announces as the mechanic makes contact with her pole, a broad smile on her face. “Only one spot left! It’s between Jamie, Vanessa, and Marco!”
As if on cue, Vanessa loses her footing, squealing as she stumbles off her structure.
“Vanessa falls off, she has to go back to the start. This is the opening Jamie could be looking for.”
“Come on!” Jamie yells. With a final tug, he frees his bags and clamors ungracefully over the finish line.
“Jamie’s going to the finals! We have Mathieu, Gavin, Marina, Jamie moving on.”
“Good work bro,” congratulates Marco, giving Jamie a high five as he moves towards the bench.
“That was not my challenge,” laughs Irene to Shelby as they walk over together.
“I don’t think there’s been a challenge so far that’s felt like my challenge,” Shelby says.
The finalists stand in front of their puzzle stations–Mathieu in green, Gavin in yellow, Marina in blue and Jamie in red.
“First one to finish the puzzle wins reward,” Jeff reminds them. “Ready? Go.”
The players begin untying their bags.
“First things first, you need to collect your pieces. Looks like the knots are already tripping Gavin up,” Jeff notes. Gavin grunts as he uses his teeth instead on the knots. The sound of wood clacking together bounces around as pieces drop from bags onto tables.
“There are sixty pieces to this puzzle! When it is finished, the final puzzle will be a flat square, but you can see these pieces are not the same size!”
Marina takes a piece one at a time and methodically tries placing it in various spots. Jamie’s eyes dark around his puzzle, a piece in either hand as he tries to think it through.
“Better than nothing,” says Mathieu as he places his first piece.
“Mathieu places his first piece,” Jeff announces. “You will know a piece is in the right place because it will be flat.”
“Ugh, this can’t be right then,” Gavin mutters as he tries placing a piece that sticks up far beyond the piece next to it.
As time progresses, each castaway manages to place more pieces. Marina crouches next to her puzzle, better examining the angles of the bottom half. She moves a piece along, smiling as she locks it in place.
“Marina with another piece,” Jeff says. Jamie notes Marina’s strategy and crouches as well, shameless in copying her.
“Come on, fit in there!” Gavin whines as he tries to hammer a piece into a hole between four other pieces.
“If it’s right it will fit, you should not have to push these pieces hard!” reminds Jeff. Gavin pulls the piece out and tries a different one, sighing as it once again doesn’t work.
“Mathieu looks like he’s getting close,” Jeff points out. Mathieu has about three quarters of his puzzle flat and even as he races to place the next piece.
“Come on baby,” whispers Vanessa from the bench. “You’ve got this.”
“Jamie and Gavin are behind,” Jeff says. “It’s coming down to Mathieu and Marina, but remember, just because the puzzle looks right…”
“…doesn’t mean it is,” finishes Marco from the bench.
“Sh*t,” swears Marina, finding her next piece not quite fitting. “How is that not right?”
“Mathieu, getting dangerously close now,” Jeff says. Piece after piece, Mathieu clicks them in. With only a few small openings left, he tries one of his last pieces, finding it doesn’t fit anywhere.
“Something is wrong,” Mathieu says.
“Mathieu thought he had it, but can’t get those last few pieces, that means something else needs to be moved. Suddenly things are looking up for Jamie and Gavin.”
Mathieu’s eyes scan his puzzle, looking for where the inconsistency is. Gavin smiles as he places two more pieces.
“I think…. this?” he whispers, placing another.
“Gavin is now making movement! He’s getting close!”
“Yes, yes, yes, come on,” Gavin says, his hands shaking as he tries pieces in different spots. “I think that’s it, Jeff, that’s it! JEFF, THAT’S IT! I HAVE IT! JEFF!”
Jeff comes over and looks over Gavin’s puzzle.
“GAVIN! WINS REWARD!”
“Wooooo!” cheers Jordyne as the other castaways applaud. “You killed that Gavin!”
“Great work!” admires Shelby. Gavin collapses against the finished puzzle, head rested between his arms.
“I can’t believe it!” he exclaims.
The castaways stand at the mat once again. Gavin wipes his eyes with the sleeve of his sweater.
“Gavin, you seem a little emotional,” Jeff points out.
“I am,” Gavin admits with a laugh. “I mean, you were there last night, Jeff. I made a total fool of myself. I needed to prove to myself I think that I can do this, so… this couldn’t have come at a better time.”
“Well come on over here,” Jeff invites, as Gavin steps over to grab his yoga mat.
“Now Gavin, before we get to the fun part, the not so fun part. Who is going to Exile Island?”
“Jamie,” Gavin says, instantaneously.
“Wow,” Jeff says. “Not even a moment’s hesitation.”
“Gotta keep the big dog weak,” Gavin tells Jeff with a shit-eating grin. Jamie looks far from amused.
“Alright Jamie,” Jeff says, “You were close today, but unfortunately for you, the only place you’ll be going is Exile Island. Here’s your map.” Begrudgingly, Jamie approaches to take the map.
“Good luck bro!” calls Marco as Jamie heads off.
“Stay safe out there!” adds Marina.
“Now Gavin, I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, that there are two more yoga mats here on this table. This is going to be an incredible experience, I’d hate for you not to be able to share it.”
“Oh?” says Vanessa, suddenly wide-eyed.
“Pick two people to join you,” Jeff instructs.
“I mean… wow. I hope you guys know that I wish I could take everyone,” Gavin says.
“Well you can’t,” says Marco, “so make a choice.”
“Uh… Shelby and Jordyne,” Gavin decides. “Come on.”
“AHHHHH!!!!!” screams Jordyne, running over to Gavin and swaddling him in a huge hug. “Thank you thank you thank you oh my goddddd!”
“Thank you,” Shelby says, hugging him more gently.
“Who else would I have picked?” Gavin laughs to Shelby.
“Gavin, Jordyne, Shelby. You guys are going to have an amazing experience today, I hope you enjoy yourselves. You can head out.”
While Gavin and his guests head off, Jeff turns to the rest of the tribe.
“As for the rest of you? Got nothing for you. Head back to camp.”
Gavin, Shelby, and Jordyne approach the yoga resort. Gavin has a beaming smile across his face.
As the threesome walks in, they are greeted by a pair of hostesses.
“Welcome,” says one of the women, grinning kindly. “Please ladies, if you would follow me this way,”
“Sir, you may come with me,” offers the other.
The three castaways step out into a courtyard, overlooking a majestic view of the mountains. A lithe, old man awaits them in the center. He is balanced on one hand, his legs bent backwards up along his backside, feet interlocking behind his head.
“Woah!” Gavin gasps. “That’s incredible!” The man slowly unfurls from his position, reorienting himself to be sitting legs crossed in the lotus position.
“Namaste, hello. You may call me Babu Raj,” he greets kindly.
Jordyne, Shelby, and Gavin all lie flat on their backs, eyes closed.
“Focus only on your breathing,” Babu Raj instructs. “Put your hand on the abdomen, feel it rise as you inhale, feel it sink as you exhale. Feel the expansion of the ribcage, feel the contraction of the ribcage. Exhale, relax. Inhale strength and energy. Exhale and relax. Inhale strength and energy.”
“Now pull your foot forward,” the guru continues as the trio works through the next few positions. “Use your hands, help it along. Proper form is very important. Maintain your breathing,” he says.
“Whoof. This is not as easy as it looks,” Gavin mutters to himself.
The castaways work themselves into a variety of positions as the lesson continues. Jordyne looks very natural with her movements. Gavin is somewhat struggling, but trying. During one pose, he loses his balance and falls over.
“Are you okay?” laughs Jordyne.
“Yeah, no big deal!” Gavin says, hopping back up.
What follows is a montage of Gavin continuing to struggle with the exercise. Numerous times he falls off balance or struggles to get the pose correct.
“I don’t think I know what I’m doing,” Gavin laughs.
“It’s your first time, Gavin. Nobody is going to be perfect to start,” says Shelby.
The castaways bow to Baba Raj as they finish their session, which is followed by them heading to a seating area in the garden. A feast of vegetarian foods waits before them.
“Thank you so much,” Shelby warmly thanks the attendants as the threesome take their seats.
“Oh my god, these are so good,” Jordyne says, popping what looks to be a fried potato in her mouth. “Gavin, thank you for providing lunch. I’m so glad we’re not eating little spoonfuls of rice and the last of the canned fruit right now. You are officially my favorite person ever for this.”
“Officially? Is that like, legally binding?” Gavin asks, raising an eyebrow.
“Uh huh,” Jordyne says, stuffing a piece of flatbread in her mouth. “My lawyer is drafting up the–urp–paperwork back at camp.”
“Well then I guess you’re gonna vote with us next time, right?” Gavin says pointedly. Jordyne swallows her food sharply.
“Let’s just make sure that we’re all on the same page here, okay?” Jordyne says. “Gavin, when we all were down at the field the other day before Tribal Council, who did we agree there that we’d vote against?”
“Who’s ‘we?’” asks Gavin, evasively.
“You know who,” Jordyne says. “You, me, Marina, Jamie, Marco, Irene. That conversation. Do you remember it, yes or no?”
“Yes,” Gavin says.
“And what did we all agree was going to happen?”
“That we’d vote for… Rex,” Gavin concedes.
“And who did I vote for?”
“Rex,” Gavin sighs.
“I’m not trying to like, put you in your place or anything,” Jordyne says with a shrug. “But don’t act like I lied to you when I didn’t, and you did lie to me.”
“You lied to me, Jordyne,” Shelby interjects.
“Would you have voted for Rex last night?” Jordyne asks.
“If I had been given reason to, absolutely. Jordyne, do you not see me as a reasonable woman?”
“No Shelby, quite the opposite, I see you as a very reasonable woman, actually,” Jordyne says, “and frankly that’s always made me a little wary of you.”
“But why? Jordyne, the best approach to this game is for those who are reasonable to band with one another. People who make rational decisions can work together effectively. Are you implying your decisions haven’t been rational?”
“Is that a dig, Shelby?”
“Jordyne, you are so exceptionally defensive. It was not any sort of slight, this is a genuine question I’m asking you. Do you personally feel as though you are rationally thinking through your movements in the game? There’s no judgment.”
“Sure there isn’t,” Jordyne says, rolling her eyes.
“Ugh, sorry guys, I shouldn’t have brought it up!” interrupts Gavin. “I didn’t mean to make things awkward. Jordyne, you’re right. You did exactly what you said you were going to do and I messed up by not trusting you more. But you have to accept that Shelby’s right too, okay? She’s never lied to you, has she? She’s voted the way she said she would every single time. If you’re looking to trust someone, who better than someone who’s shown time and time again that they’re super trustworthy?”
“You think there’s something to that?” Jordyne asks Shelby.
“Jordyne, you know I don’t care to mince words,” Shelby says. “I’ve had this conversation with you before and I’m glad to have it again. Gavin and I know that our positions in this game are compromised. There were boundaries drawn by the vote and we were on the wrong side of that line. That’s just the reality of the situation. There are six other people back at our campsite I could turn to in order to convince that I should be kept at the expense of others. And yet I’m here, having this discussion with you.”
“Can I say something?” Gavin asks. Shelby nods.
“Go ahead,” Jordyne says with a gesture.
“You guys are the two that I’m closest to out here and it’s driving me up the wall trying to work with you both,” he says. “Can’t you guys just please, try and work something out? For me?”
Jordyne nods, chewing. “I think that my approach so far, hopefully, has made it clear to you, Shelby, that I’ll work with people who I feel I can trust. So let’s look each other in the eye right now, and shake on it. You and I trust each other, from here on out.”
Shelby stands and extends her hand. Jordyne takes it, and the two women shake.
“I trust you,” Shelby says.
“I trust you,” says Jordyne.
“I’m gonna check the nets,” Marina announces as she disappears into the jungle, heading down towards the water. “We might not be feasting but we can at least maybe have fish.”
“Have the time of your life! Or don’t. I’m not the boss of you!” calls Marco as she leaves.
In the shelter, Vanessa and Mathieu lie together.
“Is she gone?” whispers Vanessa to Mathieu.
“I think so,” he whispers in response.
“I don’t think I got to tell you this yet, Marco, but that was awesome work getting Rex out,” Vanessa says, sitting next to him at the fire.
“Hey man, I was just following orders,” Marco says, holding his hands up. “I didn’t even like, know that nobody told you what was going on,” Marco says. “I didn’t want to go around talking too much, you know? I had to watch out for my own best interests here, no offense.”
“Hey, the past is the past,” Vanessa says. “I’m just amazed you got a Bandar out. I didn’t think it was possible. We could seriously make a comeback now,” she says.
“What’s this about a comeback?” Irene asks.
“I think we could make a comeback, the Saap Tribe,” Vanessa explains. “We’ve got four and Mathieu is with us. You guys were so hard on me for working on that bond and now look at the position we’re in. Guys, we have control of the game.”
“Do you have, like, a suggestion, or a direction you’re maybe thinking right now, or is it like… as long as we’re cool, you’re down for whatever?” Irene asks.
“Both,” Matheiu responds. “I have my opinion, certainly, but I am more than open to other possibilities.”
“What were you thinking?” Marco asks.
“Gavin,” responds Mathieu.
“Yeah,” Irene says, nodding to herself. “That idol was… shocking, wasn’t it?”
“He just is a wild card,” Vanessa says. “Like guys, I get it okay, that like… having this growing relationship here, I get why that makes y’all nervous, but y’all know exactly where I stand. That kid could go any which way.”
“If it can assuage any of your fears,” Mathieu says, “please know that everything we have promised to Shelby and Gavin has not been true. They think that Vanessa and I will still work alongside them. So be aware, Irene, that they may try to approach you.”
“Me?” Irene asks. “Why me?”
“The plan,” Vanessa explains, “or rather, what they think is the plan is that we’re going to try to convince you to vote with us against one of the others. Because well, Marco and Jamie have each other, and Jordyne and Marina have each other… Shelby’s hoping you’d decide you have a better chance with us.”
Irene nods, but her face tells she isn’t buying it.
“I just don’t get why that’s supposed to make sense,” Irene says. “I mean, I don’t think Shelby is going to just drop Gavin by the wayside to start working with me. I’m still the person in this game who doesn’t have anyone, no matter where I go.”
“What do you mean?” Vanessa asks. “So you don’t have me, is that what you’re saying?”
“Mathieu has you,” Irene says. The doctor bites his lip, clearly searching for something he can say to help the situation.
“If you have something you need to say Irene, come on out and say it. You know I do not do well with fakery,” Vanessa says.
“Could we just… do you think the two of us can go talk somewhere alone?” Irene asks.
Vanessa looks to Mathieu, who nods understandingly.
“Fine,” Vanessa says, “let’s get out of here.”
“You seemed totally on board this morning,” Vanessa says to Irene. “So that’s why I’m just a little confused with you saying you don’t have anyone. “
“I’m not saying that I don’t think anyone likes me, or that I don’t think I’m getting included in any plans. I’m obviously getting included in plans since we’re having this discussion right now. But look, Vanessa, think about how this whole situation looks from my perspective.”
“If I were in your shoes I would be pretty happy, Irene! We’re on our way to final four, the Saap Tribe! The goal we’ve been striving for since day one, that is on the horizon! Mathieu can help us get there.”
“Vanessa, we’re already headed there, that’s the thing! We don’t need Mathieu, Marina and Jordyne have made sure of that.”
“Yeah, but why them?” Vanessa asks. “You can’t seriously say you trust them more than you trust me.”
“It’s not you I don’t trust!” Irene exclaims. “It’s Mathieu, okay! No matter else who is working with whoever else, none of that matters, it’s totally different from a couple. Why would I expect you to pick me–or anyone else for that matter–over your boyfriend?”
“Boyfriend?” Vanessa asks. “Girl it is not that deep! We haven’t known each other that long, he’s not my boyfriend.”
“Vanessa, I’m only saying this because I know you’d call me out if this situation were reversed,” Irene says. “But just because you haven’t known him that long and just because he may not be your boyfriend yet doesn’t mean that you don’t have feelings for him or that you don’t want him to be your boyfriend.”
Vanessa falls silent, and she looks away from Irene. It takes Irene a moment, but notices that there are tears forming in Vanessa’s eyes.
“I just don’t know what to do, Irene,” she says. “I really like him. I’m scared to really like someone and to want them and not know what to do, I’d be scared of that at home, let alone here. I know I made my bed with Jamie and I might have to lie in it, I get that… I… I just don’t want this to end. Not just whatever I have with Mathieu, but the whole thing. This whole experience. I’m not ready for it to be over.”
“No one is,” Irene says. “Look. Ness, you’re not going anywhere, okay? I promise you, this isn’t the end for either of us. I… I just care about you and respect you too much to make a commitment about what my vote is going to be right now. At the very least lets wait and see who wins immunity. Gavin’s gonna have a tummy full of food to work with, who knows? Maybe lightning strikes twice for him and that plan is no good.”
“Do you think Jamie will forgive Vanessa and I?”
“What for voting against him?” asks Marco. “Uhh, you know bro, I really don’t want to try and answer that question for him. But he’s got a big heart and that’s not just because he’s such a big guy. He wants to be good to people, so I think as long as you just kind of explain your case clearly and respectfully, he’ll like, hear you out at least.”
Jamie sits inside a surprisingly sturdy lean-to, the statue of Ganesha visible in the background. Jamie looks out at the landscape as he puts his hair up.
Jamie heads over to the small fire he has built, smiling to himself as he tends to it.
“Who’s a good little fire? You are. That’s right, look at how cute you are,” he baby talks to the flame.
Jamie is holding a piece of parchment. He once again reads over the clue.
“Banished from your Tribelands,
Reflect on what you’ve said and done,
If you’re seeking safety,
Follow the setting sun.”
“Sun sets in the west,” Jamie says, “ so basically all it’s telling me is it’s somewhere on this side of the island,” he says making a gesture.
“I got nothing better to do but look,” Jamie mutters as he moves along the area’s western coast. “I’m trying to keep my eyes open for anything that looks, I don’t know, out of place somehow? Just somewhere that something might be hidden. I’ve seen the idol played twice now, and it’s not very big. So it could be hidden anywhere.”
Jamie digs through a pile of stones, frowning as he finds nothing. He climbs up into a tree and peers around, seeing if anything stands out as unusual.
“Come on in guys!”
The tribe stands on the mat while Jamie approaches from the opposite side of the clearing.
“We now bring back Jamie, returning from Exile Island.” Jamie waves to the group as he approaches.
“Good to have you back, handsome,” Jordyne says, hugging him tightly.
“Don’t leave me like that again, bro!” Marco jokes, punching him playfully in the arm. Irene hands him a water canteen, which he takes gratefully.
“Gavin, how was your yoga retreat?”
“Well,” Gavin laughs, “I learned that my calling is probably not being a yoga teacher, that’s for sure! But you know, Jeff, I’m honestly just really humbled by the chance to have the experience at all. Like I know there are Americans who spend thousands of dollars to come to India and train with real gurus, and all I had to do was solve a puzzle. So I’m really grateful. It was a really cool experience. And I mean, even if it wasn’t, we still got to eat.”
The other castaways chuckle softly.
“I’m glad you enjoyed yourselves,” Jeff says. “Now to get to today’s immunity challenge. First thing’s first, Mathieu. I’ll take back the Immunity Necklace.”
“Very well,” sighs Mathieu, unlatching the giant collar and bringing it to the host. Jeff places the ring back on its stand, the statue of Shiva dancing.
“One again, Individual immunity is back up for grabs. For today’s challenge, you will use only your feet. On my go, you will unspool a rope, which will release blocks into a basket. You will then stack your blocks blocks in a three-tiered tower and place a flag in the center. The first person to complete their tower wins immunity which means you are safe at tonight’s Tribal Council, and will have a one-in-eight shot at winning the million dollars. For the losers, one of you will be voted out, and that person will become the first member of our jury. Worth playing for?”
“More than you know, Jeff!” says Mathieu.
“Alright, we’ll draw for spaces, then go ahead and get started.
The castaways each take their places upon a circular seat atop a lazy suzan. Shelby tests her grip on the edges of the turntable. Marina flexes her toes. Marco goofily reaches over and pokes Jordyne in the arm with his foot.
“Ew Marcoooo! Gross!” Jordyne wines.
“Alright, that’s enough goofing off,” Jeff chastises. “For individual immunity…
“SURVIVORS READY? GO!”
It is clear there will be a learning curve to the challenge as the castaways begin the process of releasing their blocks.
“Working a rope isn’t as easy as you’d think with only your toes,” Jeff notes as the castaways begin to work. Marina’s blocks are the first to fall, followed in quick succession by Mathieu, Jordyne, Irene, and Gavin. Jamie, Marco, and Shelby’s all fall shortly after.
“Vanessa is stuck just getting her pieces!” Jeff points out. Vanessa grimaces as she tries to grip the rope with her toes.
“Remember, if your pieces fall out of your basket, you may pick them up with your hands, that is allowed,” Jeff announces. “Your blocks can only go from your basket to your platform with your feet.” Vanessa manages to free her blocks, and joins the others, who all seem to be making quick work of the first level.
“Irene doing well. Marina doing very well,” Jeff notes. “Everyone is moving quickly through this first level of blocks, Vanessa is catching up. Jamie seems to be struggling!”
“I have big feet and big legs, Jeff, I’m tryna not not knock nothing over!” Jamie exclaims.
“Marina now starting on her second level,” Jeff observes. Delicately, Marina places her first piece, then gently nudges the spinning platform to adjust the position of her tower. She turns her seat towards her basket and rummages through, trying to grip the appropriate block. “keep in mind,” Jeff continues, “the higher this tower gets, the harder it will become to complete. If you knock it over you’re starting over. Mathieu now starting on that second level, Irene, getting in on this at the second level!”
“If there was a challenge I knew I’d be okay at, it’s one where I get to sit!” Irene says. She grips her seat tightly as she moves a new second level piece into place. It wobbles slightly. She’s displeased with the position, so she grabs it again and tries to adjust. Meanwhile, Jamie gets frustrated as he bumps his tower, scattering pieces. He swears as he gets up to collect them.
“Two days on Exile, taking it’s toll on Jamie,” Jeff says. “Gavin and Marco, now both making some progress on that second level.”
“It’s all the yoga I learned,” Gavin says. “Gonna win me this immunity!” His momentary lack of concentration is paid for when he clumsily clubs a few blocks, toppling them.
“You’ll need to focus closely! One wrong move and your whole structure could tumble,” warns Jeff. “It looks like everyone is working on that second level. Marco, making great time, really catching up.”
“I think I’m getting the hang of this,” Marco says.
“It’s Marina, Mathieu, Marco in the lead! Marina is now finished her second row, starting her third.”
“Oh gosh,” Marina mutters, her core tensing as she places her second block on the third row. Mathieu goes to place his second as well.
“Mathieu would love to have that necklace again,” Jeff opines. Mathieu’s foot shakes, bumping the block he’d already placed. The blocks below it tumble as well. “At this rate, he’s not getting it, though!” Jeff calls. “Mathieu loses a huge chunk of his tower and has to go back to fix it. Marina, calm and steady as ever.”
Marina seems unfazed by the chaos around her. Her eyes are narrowed in tight focus, her task the only thing on her mind.
“Irene now on the third level,” Jeff announces as Irene places her next piece, “she’s catching up on Marco and Marina. Marina is slow and steady and just barely in front of Marco, he’s gaining on her!”
Marco places another piece, moving quickly to place another. The placement is wobbly, but he doesn’t seem to notice. As he adjusts his platform, the piece topples.
“Damn!” he says, rotating the platform back.
“Marco just lost a piece, he’s fighting to take that lead! Marina with only two more blocks to go. Irene now catching up.”
“Whaaat?” Irene laughs. She focuses and places another piece. “Just a few more,” she says.
Gently and purposefully, Marina lowers her feet, carefully placing her final block. When she is sure it’s steady, she carefully pulls her toes away. Marco at this point has repaired his damage and is hustling to catch up.
“Marina only has the flag to place? Can she do it?” Jeff ponders.
Marina exhales a final time and lowers her feet.
“MARINA! WINS IMMUNITY!”
“Marina,” Jeff addresses, “well earned. Come on up, try this on for me.”
The castaways applaud as Marina heads up to Jeff for him to adorn her with the immunity necklace. Jordyne is glowing like a proud parent.
“Tonight,” Jeff says to the group as he claps Marina on the shoulder, “someone is going become the first member of the jury who will ultimately decide who will be the Sole Survivor. It’s not going to be Marina, she’s safe tonight. You guys have tonight to figure out who it’s gonna be. Grab your stuff, head back to camp. I’ll see you tonight.”
“Good job Reens,” Jordyne says, hugging her ally.
“You did awesome,” agrees Jamie. Mathieu watches carefully as Marina takes the necklace and hangs it on a nail sticking out from one of the poles of the shelter.
“I could not have been more happy to see you win that, honest,” Marco tells Marina. The two of them, along with Jamie, Irene, and Jordyne, are down at the riverbank, discussing the vote. “Literally, I didn’t care who won it, as long as it wasn’t him, but I’m so happy for you,” he beams.
“Right?” Jordyne says. “Thank god you beat him, Reens. It’s his time.”
“I want to hear verbal confirmation from everyone: we are voting out Mathieu tonight, correct?” asks Jamie.
“Yes,” affirms Marco.
“Yes,” says agrees Jordyne.
“I’m ready for this headache to be over,” Irene says. “I’m happy to send him home.”
“He’s not going home, though,” Marina says. “Remember, the jury is starting tonight.”
“Oh yeah, I completely forgot,” Marco says. “How weird is that gonna be, seeing him there next time?”
“It’ll become normal, I’m sure,” Jordyne says, “just like voting people out does.”
Jordyne and Marina walk back up to camp together.
“Jojo, really though. How much do you trust Mathieu?”
Jordyne shrugs. “I mean, I wouldn’t have any issues if he was my doctor, but in this game?”
“Of course I meant in the game, you goof.”
“I’m pulling your leg, let me pull your leg!” begs Jordyne, jokingly. “But like, what’s there to trust? Anything that isn’t Ness is a second priority to him.”
“Yeah, but what if Vanessa wasn’t a priority?”
“Why? Oh my god, did they get in a fight? Is she pregnant?” gasps Jordyne.
“Can you please, please be serious for just a second, this is serious,” Marina pleads. “Just no jokes for five minutes so we can figure this out: Why can’t we vote Vanessa off tonight instead?”
“Because.… why can’t we?” Jordyne says with a smile.
“I don’t want to rely on technicalities here, but technically we promised Jamie and Marco that we would vote out a Bandar first. We didn’t say anything about giving them another one.”
“Yeah, but they’re not going to turn on Vanessa, especially when we still have Mathieu to worry about,” Jordyne reasons.
“Which is exactly why we need to get her out first,” Marina continues. “Once Mathieu is gone she’ll have nowhere to go except back with her old tribe. We could be putting ourselves in a really bad position. If we keep Mathieu we always have ‘Bandar Strong’ to fall back on. It gives us the most options, and I know you love those.”
“You’re right,” Jordyne says. “I do love options.”
“Well, I know who I need to talk to then,” says Jordyne.
“Hey uh, Irene,” Gavin asks. “Can we talk for a second?”
“Look–I know we don’t really talk like this, but I don’t want to go home,” Gavin says.
“I think that’s a reasonable thing not to want,” laughs Irene. “I don’t either. But what do you want from me?”
“Look, you know that you’re not a high priority with Jamie, right? He’s in with Marco and Jordyne, not you.”
“Alright, no offense Gavin, but what would you know about my relationship with Jamie?”
“Nothing, maybe, you’re right–I can’t know for certain, but like… okay, so the thing is if you were looking at it from my point of view? That’s how it looks. Like, haven’t you ever been too close to something, and not have been able to see it clearly? Like, you’re an artist, right?”
“I mean, I like to draw, I wouldn’t say I’m an artist,” Irene agrees, sheepishly.
“Well you know how it is when you’re making a picture,” Gavin says. “You’re so focused on it that you don’t really know what it looks like anymore, so you ask someone else to look at it with fresh eyes?”
“Look… ugh, alright, if I tell you what’s up tonight, can you just… please promise not to let anyone know I told you?”
“Cross my heart,” Gavin says.
“It’s not you,” Irene says. “No one is voting for you.”
“Mathieu,” Irene confirms.
Gavin nods. “So there’s nothing I could say to convince you, is there?”
“Not right now, no,” she says. “I don’t feel comfortable with the plan changing so Tribal Council so close. Write Mathieu’s name.”
“Well hey, thanks for telling me at least,” Gavin says. “I just kind of don’t want to make an jackass of myself again at Tribal Council, you know?”
“Hey, for what it’s worth? I think what you did was really brave,” Irene says. “Like, yeah, you took a risk and it didn’t pay offs, and that means sometimes it doesn’t pay off, but so what? At least you had, like, the guts to do it, you know?”
“Yeah, I guess that makes sense. Thanks,” Gavin smiles.
Jamie is at the well, talking with Vanessa and Mathieu.
“Are we passed last Tribal Council?” Vanessa ask, clearly hesitant.
“You writin’ my name down tonight?” Jamie asks.
“No, absolutely not, I swear,” she says. “I know exactly which name I am writing down, and nothing is changing my mind, and that name is Gavin.”
Jamie nods and turns to Mathieu. “And you’re doing the same thing?”
“I am,” Mathieu confirms.
Jordyne and Shelby walk together in the field.
“I said I trust you,” Jordyne tells the older woman, “and I mean it. Which is why I’m here talking to you about this now.”
“Well, truthfully, Jordyne, I’m grateful you’re taking the time to talk to me at all. I’ve stated as much before, but I understand that my position is compromised and that I’m not owed assistance by anyone else, so you reaching out is genuinely appreciated.”
“You know, it’s funny,” Jordyne says. “My first instinct was to roll my eyes at you, like ‘oh my god, she’s so condescending, there’s no way she’s being genuine right now.’ But like, then I had to remind myself that trusting you? That means trusting that you have good intentions. I think that’s what Gavin likes about you the most. He knows your intentions are good. His are too. And I think sometimes…. sometimes he doesn’t know what to do with good intentions, and you’ve been showing him how to take action.”
“Oh–oh my. Thank you,” Shelby says, clearly taken aback somewhat.
“The point is, Marina and I have been talking, and we want Vanessa gone tonight, and there are too many people who won’t go for it. That’s kind of why it has to happen, and it’s kind of why I have to come to you.”
“Mathieu won’t vote for her… her Tribe won’t either. We only have four votes, Jordyne. We need someone else.”
“Four is enough,” Jordyne says. “Because just like Mathieu won’t vote for Vanessa? Vanessa’s not voting for him.”
“I’m not sure I follow,” says Shelby.
“So this is kind of what we’re thinking, me and Reens,” Jordyne says, crouching and drawing in the sand with her finger. “Jamie, Marco, and Irene think that me and Marina are voting Mathieu with them,” she says, drawing three dots and circling them. “That’s not going to work for Vanessa, and obviously it’s not going to work for Mathieu, so they’re voting somewhere else, they have to be. I don’t know who, they haven’t talked to me about it. Maybe it’s me.”
“They haven’t talked to me either,” Shelby say. “Not since we last discussed going against Jamie. But still, as you said, not votes for Mathieu. So that’s two…”
“You, me, Marina, Gavin? Four.”
“What if Jamie’s lying to you, Jordyne? What if they aren’t planning to vote Mathieu at all?”
“If that’s the case… One of us has probably already been screwed.”
“So you want to vote Gavin now?” Marco asks Jamie, raising an eyebrow.
“I’m not saying it for sure, but it’s worth talking about, I think,” Jamie says.
“We could have probably picked a better time than right before Tribal,” Irene says, nervously watching around them. The wooded area they’re talking in is not far from the main campsite.
“It don’t mean we have to keep Mathieu around forever, but I think he’s totally serious about being loyal to us. I think he’s crazy for Vanessa and he’s willing to do whatever she tells him to to prove it.”
“Well there you go!” Marco says. “Another perfectly good reason to send him home. Nobody else in this game has a man-servant to hand out votes for them, okay?”
“So how come Shelby gets to keep hers?” Jamie counters. “I’m saying that Gavin isn’t loyal to us at all, okay? Mathieu has some loyalty to us. Why are we voting off the guy who will be loyal instead of the punk-ass kid who is going to burn down this whole jungle trying to impress a girl?”
“I told Gavin he was safe, okay guys?” Irene interjects. “And I’d just rather not go back on that, what’s the point? We can vote Gavin out next.”
“I just don’t see the point in it, sorry bro,” Marco shrugs.
As the night begins to overtake the forest, the castaways collect their torches, and head off into the jungle to meet their fate.
The remaining 9 castaways of the Satya Yuga Tribe enter the hallowed grounds of Tribal Council, taking their seats.
“So last time we were here,” Jeff begins, “There were two people in particular who were honest enough to say that they thought they might be in danger: Vanessa and Jamie. And yet at the end of the night, Rex went home, someone who thought they were safe. So I’m going to start with you, Vanessa–Do you still feel like you could be in trouble tonight?”
“Absolutely, Jeff,” She says.
“Oh yes sir,” Jamie says.
“Here’s the thing,” Vanessa says. “If you don’t have that beautiful accessory Miss Marina is wearing, I think we’ve all learned that you should always feel nervous, because we’ve seen it happen enough times now where someone thought they would leave here and go back to sleeping in the rain and instead they got sent home. And how crazy is that, Jeff? I’m doing everything I can to make sure that ain’t me! I want to stay and keep sleeping in the rain, I’m not ready for a hotel just yet!” The others laugh.
“So what you’re saying is that nobody should feel safe, correct?”
“Not unless you have immunity, no,” agrees Vanessa.
“Alright then,” says Jeff. “Let’s flip this around. Raise your hand if you think you are totally safe tonight, that there’s no chance it’s you.”
Marina raises her hand, giggling, before putting it back down. Marco looks around, and then confidently puts his hand up.
“Very interesting,” Jeff says, “Marco, you’re the only one besides Marina to raise their hand. Marina, I think everyone can understand why she raised her hand, she’s immune tonight. What makes you feel so certain you’re safe?”
“I mean, yeah, maybe everyone’s been plotting behind my back to get rid of me, but if they are they’ve done a really good job of it. But you have to remember, Jeff, at home? My job is to pay attention to details. My business helps our clients to make their homes safe for their children, and so you have to be constantly on the lookout for potential hazards that you might not even think twice about. I haven’t heard my name coming out of anyone’s mouths, and if it has been going around, they’ve been doing a really, really good job to hide it from me.”
“Do you think that the others have heard specific things, as you’ve alluded? Or maybe they’re thinking more along the lines of what Vanessa was saying–that no matter what, there’s always just some small chance it’s you?”
“I think the others are trying to be polite, honestly,” Marco says, laughing nervously. “I mean, come on. People don’t want to tempt fate, I get it. But like, I don’t think everyone is going to switch their decision right now just to be like ‘oh, Marco thinks he’s safe, let’s show him!’ There are bigger fish to fry than me right now.”
“Such as?” Jeff asks.
“My boy Matty over here, for one,” laughs Marco, as he pats Mathieu on the shoulder.
“Jeff, there is no point in denying what Marco says. It will not convince anyone,” Mathieu says, shrugging. “I obviously cannot change my body right now to make myself suddenly appear less fit! My body, my skillset, my performances in the challenges–those are all completely visible, impossible to hide from the others. If they are hoping to vote out someone who they are worried will be a threat in the challenges, I cannot argue against that. That is sound logic.”
“But see Jeff, it’s not just about challenges, I mean, listen to him!” laughs Marina. “He’s the sweetest guy. A lot of people, if they got called out for being a threat? They’d try and deflect, be like ‘oh, I’m not thaaat good, don’t look at me!’ And he just owns it, and I think that’s really admirable. And like, you’ve told us straight up that the jury starts tonight, and it just really gets you thinking about what the rest of the game entails. And it’s like, do I want to be in the final two with this guy who I’ll never beat?”
“I think I can be beaten, Jeff,” Mathieu says. “Everyone has their kryptonite.”
“Marina makes a very valid point,” says Jeff, “now Mathieu, whether or not you personally feel as though you count as a threat aside, would you guys say on the whole that Marina is right? That the start of the jury has had a notable impact on the game?” Most of the castaways raise their hand, with the exception of Shelby. “Care to elaborate, Irene?”
“Definitely,” Irene says to Jeff. “Like, it’s Day 24, we’re more than halfway now, the end is going to come sneaking up on us before we know it. You don’t want to be stuck in a situation where the only way you can make it to the last day is by getting there with someone you have no chance of beating. So I think everyone is thinking about what choices they have to make now, while there are still enough people in the game to make new choices.”
“Shelby,” Jeff says, changing his focus, “you didn’t raise your hand.”
“I disagree in that I don’t think it’s changed my game that profoundly. I can’t speak for anyone else, but my focus in this game has always been directed on what I can impact. What actions can I take to accomplish my goals? My goal is to win, so I absolutely have been thinking ahead.”
“So in that case Shelby, how do you decide how to vote on a night like tonight? What decision do you make keeping that long-term goal in mind?”
“As others have said, I think that it’s important to assess who is threatening to your chances, and threats come in all shapes, all colors, all sizes. There’s no one way to be a threat in this game. You don’t want to find yourself in a finals situation where you are up against the unbeatable, and that is certainly one type of threat. But you have to make it to the finals first. So you do have to think about the short term as well, and think about who is standing in the way of you and that position at the end. Someone who you may be the best matchup for you when it comes to that final vote might also be the person who is trying to orchestrate your elimination right now.”
“Jamie, Shelby has brought up some very valid points about how you assess your threats. What are you basing your vote on tonight?”
“Jeff, I agree, Shelby’s got lots of good points because she’s a smart woman, just one of the things that makes her a threat, and that’s why decision making in this game is so hard, because everyone’s got something that makes them dangerous. I think it’s fitting. We’re in the jungle, every animal here has no choice but to take advantage of whatever little ecological niche it can find to take advantage of. But a deer can’t outrun a tiger, you know? So if I’m the deer, I want the tiger out. I’m not trying to get myself eaten out here, you know what I’m saying?”
“I know what you’re saying,” Jeff says with a smile. “How about you Gavin? What’s influencing your decision tonight?”
“You know, Jeff…” Gavin says, looking a little tired out, “I just want to stay. It’s just like Vanessa said. I want to be in the rain, not at the hotel. And I’m not in a position to be calling shots, so tonight, the person I’m voting for? I’m voting for them because someone else told me that’s who they were voting for. And I’m hoping it works.”
“Care to share who told you this?” Jeff probes.
“No, not really,” laughs Gavin. “What’s the fun in that?”
“I think, honestly Jeff, that’s what we’re all doing,” Jordyne says. “It doesn’t matter if someone comes up to you and says ‘this is what I want to do,’ or if you’re the one approaching other people and having them say ‘I want to do that too.’ Saying you want to do something and actually going up to that table, writing a name, holding it up, saying your little thingy, putting it in the jar–two very different things. You just have to make a decision believing you can trust in what people are saying. So I know for me, that’s a big criteria. Is there someone here who I can’t trust to be there for me? That’s the person I want gone.”
“Well said, Jordyne. So I’ll ask one more time,” Jeff says: “who feels like they’re in danger?”
Everyone raises their hand, except Marco and Marina.
“Well, let’s see who’s right. It’s time to vote. Marina, you have immunity tonight. If you’d like to assign that to another castaway, now is the time to do it.”
“I didn’t raise my hand just now and I’d like to keep it that way,” she says with a smile.
“Alright. You cannot vote for Marina, everyone else is fair game. Jordyne, you’re up.”
Jordyne, Jamie, Marina, Marco, Irene, Mathieu, Vanessa, Gavin, and Shelby all vote.
“I’ll go tally the votes,” Jeff announces as Shelby returns. Mathieu puts an arm around Vanessa. She leans her head into his shoulder.
“Once the votes are read, the person who is voted out will be asked to leave the Tribal Council area immediately. I’ll read the votes. First vote:
“Gavin. That’s two votes, Gavin.”
“Mathieu. That’s two votes Mathieu, two votes Gavin.”
“Vanessa. That’s two votes Gavin, two votes Mathieu, one for Vanessa.”
“Vanessa. We’re now tied at two votes a piece for Vanessa, Mathieu, and Gavin.”
“Ness, that’s Vanessa. Three votes Vanessa, three votes Mathieu, two votes Gavin, one vote left. “
“The eighth person voted out of Survivor: India, and the first member of our jury…”
“Vanessa. Vanessa, I need you to bring me your torch.”
Vanessa sits, looking somewhat stunned for a moment before she stands. Irene’s mouth is agape with shock. Marco looks absolutely furious. Gavin leans his head back in relief.
Irene stands and gives Vanessa a huge hug.
“I’m so sorry,” Irene says, choking back tears.
“It’s all good baby, it’s all good, it’s a game,” Vanessa says, clearly tearing up herself. She turns her attention to Matheiu, who gently takes her chin in his hand as he kisses her passionately.
“Wooo!” cheers Jordyne. Some of the others clap. Vanessa steps away from Mathieu, tears running down her cheeks. She walks over to Jeff, torch in hand, and places it in it’s space. She turns to look at the group one more time.
“I will see you soon!” encourages Mathieu. Vanessa turns her attention to Jeff.
“Vanessa, the tribe has spoken,” Jeff says. He snuffs her torch. “It’s time for you to go.” Vanessa nods, clearly distraught, and turns one last time to wave goodbye.
“Bye Ness! I love you!” calls Jamie.
Vanessa turns back to the exit, and makes her way out of Tribal Council.
Jeff turns to address the remaining castaways.
“Tonight there was a lot of talk about threats, who is dangerous to your chances of succeeding at your ultimate goal of winning this game. For some of you, I’m sure a threat just walked out of this room. For some of the others, I’m sure that you’re now feeling a lot more exposed, so you better find somewhere to hide. You guys can grab your stuff and head back to camp. Goodnight.”
Eight remain. Who will be the next to go?