PREVIOUSLY ON… SURVIVOR!
After granting River’s wish to be voted out in Bandar’s first Tribal Council, tensions flared between Jordyne and Brett once again, with Brett convinced that Jordyne had cast a vote against him–even though the real culprit was prankster Rex. Despite their personality clash, Jordyne found herself steadily building bonds with other castaways, especially Marina. Though they seemed like opposites on the surface, the two women found they complimented each other. Marina helped Jordyne learn to make fire, and Jordyne celebrated her newfound skills with a new haircut.
But Marina wasn’t Jordyne’s only new friend–Gavin, the tribe’s youngest member, found himself falling for Jordyne, which only complicated his position between her and Shelby, his closest ally.
On Saap, the mood was looking up as the tribe continued their winning streak, earning a comfort reward. But victory couldn’t soothe the conflict boiling beneath the surface, as Andrew continued to arouse suspicion with his paranoid behavior and wishy-washy leadership. After an argument between the Andrew and Marco, Marco’s closest ally, Jamie, tried to dig up the dirt on Andrew’s idol by baiting him with a secret of his own–that he lied about his job. When Andrew lied, in response, Jamie became even more suspicious of the cruise captain.
Things only further spiraled out for Saap when their newfound success came screeching to an abrupt halt, as Bandar won yet another immunity. Worried about their continued failure in challenges, Andrew all but decreed that Irene would have to go, but her tribemates refused, and let her in on Andrew’s betrayal. Hurt by Andrew, Irene was eager to turn the target on him, but his possession of the idol proved a dangerous obstacle.
At Tribal Council, Marco finally boiled over, and lost his cool with Andrew, scaring him into playing the hidden immunity idol. However, Irene protected herself when she and Vanessa voted for Ryan, and the fashion buyer was sent home.
Twelve remain. Who will be voted out tonight?
Rain weeps from a starless sky as the Saap Tribe meanders back into their dark, wet camp. The miserable weather seems to mimic the general temperaments of the group.
“So guys, well played,” Andrew says, all five members of the tribe huddled in the shelter. “Were you all in on that little stunt? I’m just curious.”
“Yeah. Yeah, everyone was in on it. But you know, fair is fair, bro,” Marco says. “if I were Irene right now I’d be thinking you were trying to pull a ‘little stunt’ of your own.”
“You did really hurt my feelings,” Irene admits to Andrew. “Everyone was convinced you lost the mythology challenge on purpose just so you could get that idol, and I stuck up for you! I kept saying let’s not jump to conclusions, let’s not think the worst of the Captain, and you went and threw me under the bus the first chance you had!”
“If it helps you feel any better Irene, it wasn’t anything personal. I think you are fantastic, but you said it yourself, you know you aren’t great in challenges. I mean, really guys–do you really think we’re going to go in and win tomorrow?”
“Yeah, I do, Captain,” Jamie sneers. “We’re gonna kick some f*cking ass, in fact, and you’re lucky the ass getting kicked ain’t yours!”
“Don’t get righteous with me, Jamie,” Andrew warns. “You lied straight to my face, so don’t you dare act like you have any moral high-ground here. Do your buddies know about that? That you offered me an alliance and stabbed me in the back?”
“I gave you a chance to be honest with me!” Jamie says, incredulous. “I came clean about my lies to you, I asked you straight up if you were keeping any secrets from me. If you had been honest and told me about the idol, maybe we could have made that alliance a real thing, but I can’t be aligning with you when you’re a liar, Andrew!”
“Everyone keeps using that word!” Andrew cries, exasperated. “Everyone keeps harping on what a liar I am–”
“BECAUSE YOU LIED!” yells Jamie. “When you are asked ‘do you have the idol,’ and you have the idol and still say ‘no’ that is a LIE!”
“But everyone has lied!” Andrew says.
“You got lied to because you lied first to all of us!” Marco says. “How could any of us trust you with the truth when you couldn’t trust us first?”
“Tell yourself that you didn’t start it, Marco, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t wrong.”
“You are unbelievable,” Jamie says. “You will jump through any hoop you can find not to be accountable for your own bullsh*t. It’s embarrassing. Your kids should be embarrassed.”
“How dare you bring my kids into this!” yells Andrew. “That’s totally over the line!”
“You want to talk about the line, bro?” Marco says. “You wouldn’t know where the line was if it smacked you in the face! Get real, bro.”
“A smack in the face might do him some good,” growls Jamie.
“So now you’re threatening me?” Andrew balks.
“Let me make it clear to you, buddy,” Jamie says, standing up to his full height, towering over Andrew. “I can threaten you real f*cking good if you aren’t careful. Best believe I could tear you limb from f*cking limb if I wanted to, you pathetic sack of sh*t.”
“Guys, please can’t we all calm down?” Irene begs. Jamie and Andrew stare at each other in silence for another moment before Jamie turns and walks off into the darkness, rain falling heavily.
“No way bro, you get back here! If anyone’s getting kicked out of the shelter tonight it ain’t you, it’s him!”
“Nobody is getting kicked out of the shelter, Marco,” Irene says. “Just let Jamie have a moment.”
“I’m going after him,” Marco says, leaping up from the shelter and heading off after his friend.
“Yeah, go running to your boyfriend like the little bitch you are!” Andrew calls after him.
“Cut it out, Andrew!” Irene says. She takes a blanket and throws it over her head. “I’m out. Someone wake me up when we’re back to acting like humans.”
Jamie stands in the rain, his eyes closed. He’s breathing heavily.
“Come back dude, there’s no reason for you to be the one getting chased off,” Marco says as he approaches Jamie.
“No one is getting chased off, man. I need a moment to myself. Need to clear my thoughts.”
“Oh, yeah, sure,” Marco says. “I mean… I’m not too eager to go back there myself, is the thing.”
Jamie nods, rain dripping down his beard. “Could… could I get a hug?” he asks, awkwardly.
“Of course, you big homo,” Marco says, grabbing his friend. “We got this, bro. His idol is gone. Give him three more days, he’s out of our hair.”
Back in the shelter, Andrew awkwardly sits at the edge, staring out into the inky black darkness.
“The monsoon,” says Rex, standing in front of the tribe, sans Brett, gathered at the fire, “is not the rain itself, but the phenomenon that causes it. As the land heats, the air over it rises, lowering air pressure. As a result, the high pressure air over the ocean rushes into the low pressure area to displace it, carrying moisture from the ocean inland. This moist air then heats and rises, creating the clouds. In conclusion… this means that today’s weather is going to be very rainy, so bring an umbrella!” Rex pops open his umbrella on cue. “And that’s all for today’s weather report. Back to you, Rex.” He drops the umbrella, takes a seat, and mimes shuffling papers.
“Thank you, Rex. Up next, we take a closer look at a heartwarming story of a little girl fighting cancer with the help of a very special three-legged dog. But first: Mole People! Our experts tell you how to protect your basement from the tunnels of those pesky sewer-dwelling mutants.”
“Bo-ring!” Jordyne says. “I’m changing the channel. What channel are the Kardashians on?”
“I already told you Jordyne I can’t do The Kardashians!” Rex moans. “Where am I going to find a salad big enough for that?”
Gavin and Jordyne lay across from one another in the shelter, Shelby’s notebook open between them. On the pages a checkerboard is drawn. They use pebbles and nuts as their pieces.“Checkmate!” says Jordyne.
“I thought you were playing checkers, not chess?” Marina says from over near the fire, where she cooks the rice.
“We are. But it’s a free country, I can say ‘checkmate’ if I want. Checkmate!”
“Checkmate!” Marina calls back.
“CHECKMATE!” yells Gavin at the top of his lungs.
Brett sits alone in the canoe, floating in the water with a fishing line. He quickly reels the line in, taking a fish and putting it in the bucket with the others he’s caught so far.
“Brett!” Shelby calls, over at the riverbank. “We’ve got Tree Mail.”
“Can’t you just read it to me here?” Brett yells back.
“I don’t have it! It’s up at the camp.”
“You didn’t bring it?”
“No, I didn’t bring it.”
“Well why not?”
“Because I didn’t, Brett. Just finish up soon, okay?”
“Mhm,” Brett grunts.
“What was that?” Shelby calls again.
“Okay! Hold your horses.”
As Shelby turns to walk back to camp, she rubs her temples and exhales.
As Brett arrives back at camp with the fish, rain has once again started to fall.
“Tree mail’s here,” Mathieu tells him, handing him a scroll. Brett grunts affirmatively.
“A war of bladed ancient rings,
Yield to the victors winged things;
But the greatest challenge you will face,
Is the game itself and it’s changing pace.”
“The game itself?” Brett ponders.
“We all thought the same thing,” chimes in Marina.
With their bags gathered, Mathieu grabs the Bandar Flag, and they head off to compete.
“Come on in guys!”
The rain continues to fall as Bandar enters, taking their place at their mat as Saap follows.
“Bandar, getting your first look at the new Saap Tribe. Ryan voted out at the last Tribal Council.” Brett nods approvingly. Jamie places the Saap flag, and Jeff begins.
“Today we’re going to be doing something a little different. Everyone, drop your buffs.”
Eyes go wide and jaws drop throughout both tribes. “Oh sh*t,” whispers Jordyne, pulling her buff off her head and dropping it at her feet. “What is going on?” whispers Marco to Jamie. Jamie can only shrug in response.
“In this basket are 12 fresh buffs, nicely wrapped into little packages, so nobody is going to see what they’re getting. I’ll come around so you can each grab one. We are picking two brand new Tribes. Saap and Bandar as we know them are gone.”
Jeff approaches Saap first. Irene digs carefully through, while Marco just grabs one off the top. He then brings Bandar the tray as well. Shelby is the last to take a buff.
“On the count of three, you can reveal your new buff. Put it on, and join your new tribe. One, two, three.”
Everyone eagerly unwraps their buffs to see the results. Irene sighs in relief as she pulls green, seeing Vanessa has pulled the same. Marco puts his hand out, revealing his green buff as well. Jamie sighs in exasperation–his buff is gold, the same as Andrew’s.
“See you around, bud,” Marco says sadly.
On the Bandar mat, Jordyne gasps in horror as Marina unravels her new green buff. Jordyne’s is gold.
“Noooo,” Jordyne whines, grabbing onto her friend in a tight hug.
“You still got me, Jojo,” Gavin says with a smile.
“Wonderful,” says Brett. He also stays on Bandar, as does Shelby.
“I guess this is it,” Mathieu says, examining his new green buff. Rex, also having drawn green, can only shrug in agreement. Mathieu hugs Gavin, Shelby, and Jordyne goodbye. Brett extends a hand for a shake before Mathieu can get to him. With that, they head off to their new mat. Jamie and Andrew shuffle over to replace them.
“All right,” Jeff says. “Irene, Marco, Vanessa, welcome your new tribemates: Rex, Marina, and Mathieu. You six are the new Saap Tribe. Jordyne, Gavin, Shelby, Brett, you’re joined by Jamie and Andrew. You are the new Bandar Tribe.”
“Ready to get to get to your first challenge as new tribes?” Jeff asks. The castways nod.
“Here’s how it works. For today’s challenge, you will us an ancient indian throwing ring called a chakram to hit targets. Each tribe has six targets. You’ll square off, one member from each tribe, one at a time. The next pair will then go. The first tribe to hit all six of their targets wins reward. Wanna know what you’re playing for?”
The castaways all cheer in affirmation. Jeff removes the cover to reveal a large hutch with four red jungle fowl inside. “The tribe that wins today’s challenge walks away with chickens. You’ve got one rooster and three egg laying hens. It’s up to you how to use this reward. If you can get your chickens comfortable and healthy, they will lay eggs, which is a renewable protein resource for your tribe. Or, if you prefer, kill and eat them however you’d like. Worth playing for?”
The reward is very worth playing for. Marco is practically salivating as he looks at the birds.
“In addition, to let you guys get a chance to get to know each other on your new tribes… nobody is going to Exile Island.”
This seems to excite everyone almost as much as the chickens.
“I’ll give you a moment to strategize, we’ll go ahead and get started.”
SURVIVORS READY? GO!
“First up, for Bandar we have Jamie, facing off against his former tribemate Marco, stepping up for Saap. Survivors ready? Go!”
“You’re goin’ down, Jiminez,” taunts Jamie. “We’ll see about that, pal,” Marco jokes back. Jamie takes his chakram and squints as he aims. He flings it forward, and the flying ring slices through the closest stalk of sugar cane at the mid-point. It splits in half, falling to the ground. Marco flings his, slicing the second target for Saap.
“Jamie scores for Bandar, Marco scores for Saap, that’s one point for each tribe. Next up are Brett and Irene.”
“Wow, they’re heavier than they look,” Irene says as she picks up the next metal ring. She tries her best, but throws it awkwardly. The chakram turns sideways and bounces lamely past the first target. Brett expertly whips his far downfield, snapping the fifth target.
“Brett goes long, scores for Bandar. Bandar in the lead, 2 to 1.”
Round three features Jordyne for Bandar and Mathieu for Saap. With mighty force, Mathieu rockets off his chakram, and it soars straight through the fourth target. Jordyne steadies herself and tosses hers. It grazes the second target, but doesn’t manage to make a real connection.
“Mathieu ties it up, two all.”
Next up are Shelby and Vanessa. Vanessa throws first, and is excited when she fells the first position target for Saap. Shelby winces as hers completely misses.
“Vanessa knocks down another target for Saap, putting them in the lead.”
Rex is the next up for Saap, with Gavin taking his turn for Bandar. “Is this what they mean when they say ultimate frisbee?” Rex asks, testing the feel of the chakram. Gavin rolls his eyes and says nothing. Rex throws, and seems surprised when he connects with the third target. Gavin fells the same sugar cane stalk for Bandar.
“Saap only has two targets remaining, Bandar still has three,” Jeff announces. Andrew, for Bandar, and Marina, for Saap, are the last to go.
“Ready? Go!” Jeff calls.
Marina’s brow furrows with intense focus. She whips her arm with great might, earning a round of applause as the ring glides far downfield. It hits high on the farthest target, but connects. The green flag at the top of the cane topples to the earth.
“Marina almost overshoots but nails that farthest target!” Jeff narrates, excitedly.
“Don’t worry about the far one, Gavin!” Shelby calls. “Just score a hit!”
Gavin nods and concentrates. He flings his chakram and scores, felling the second target.
“Gavin keeps Bandar moving, but they’re still behind. Bandar, still with three targets to go, Saap has only one more to hit. Everyone’s gone, so we’re back to the beginning. Marco, Jamie, you’re up.”
Jamie steadies his breathing as he focuses, knowing he’ll need to score to keep Bandar in the challenge. He tosses and scores, toppling the third target. Aiming for the final target, Marco curses as he flings his weapon, only for it to miss and slice the remains of the fifth target.
“Jamie scores, Bandar is catching up, but it could all come down to this final toss. Irene, Brett, you’re up.”
“You’ve got this Irene!” Vanessa cheers. She nervously picks her chakram. “No pressure, right?” she laughs.
Brett hurtles his with a huge effort, cleaving the farthest target. It falls with a crash.
“No pressure,” Mathieu reinforces.
“Take your time,” adds Marco.
Irene flexes her wrist a few times, getting a better feel for the weight of the ring. She adjusts her feet, then her glasses. Finally, she commits and throws. The whirling chakram slices clean through the final target, giving Irene the winning point.
“SAAP! WINS REWARD!”
Mathieu jogs up and picks up the much tinier Irene, hoisting her up in the air in celebration.
“Winner winner, chicken dinner!” Exclaims Rex, high-fiving Marina. On the Bandar mat, an angry Brett kicks the dirt.
“Saap, you guys did a great job for your first challenge as a new tribe. You can head out, your chickens will be delivered to your camp, along with any personal items that were left at the Bandar Camp. Bandar, got nothing for you. You guys can head back to camp.”
The new Saap Tribe walks into their campsite, the rains still falling.
“Our chickens are here!” Irene exclaims, noticing the chicken coop now sitting in their camp. Waiting for them as well are Mathieu’s flag and Marina’s pool.
“Oh man,” laughs Marina. “They’re not going to be happy when they realize this is gone,” she says, picking up the flag.
Together, Vanessa and Mathieu work on affixing the flag to the shelter. Meanwhile Marina takes the knife and unfurls her pool.
“At Bandar, we had the tarp and the flag,” explains Marina to the camera, “so we were pretty well off, but uh, here, that’s not the case. So the pool is being sacrificed for the greater good.”
“Dearly beloved,” Rex says, donning a overly-dramatic cadence, “we are gathered here today to pay respects to the great life of our dearly beloved friend, Pool. Pool was many things to many of us. A mother, a sister, a brother, a child, a father, a sister, a pool. May she–he? Be remembered for their kind eyes, gentle laugh, and water retention.”
“Amen,” agrees Marina.
The pool comes off at the front end of the lean-to, tied to two poles on either side to extend the roof out, allowing Marco to safely build a fire under the canopy. As Marco continues to build the fire, he and Mathieu discuss the preparations for dinner while the rest of the tribe sits in the shelter.
“You’re sure you’re good killing the chicken, right bro?” Marco asks Mathieu. “I mean, I’ll do it if nobody else wants to.”
“I’m more than happy, I’ve done it before. And we don’t need anyone else having to go out and get wet in the rain.”
“I’d rather you have help,” says Vanessa. “I’d be happy to assist if their anything I can do. No need for you to be stuck out alone in the rain. We’re a team now, this should be a team effort.”
“Well, I could use someone to hold the chicken… that would make it easier.”
“Sure thing,” Marco says, getting up from the fire.
“You’re doing more than enough making the fire, Marco,” says Vanessa.
“I don’t think I can kill a chicken guys, sorry,” Irene says. “Count me out.”
“I’m happy to volunteer,” says Vanessa. “We’re all here to have new experiences, right?”
Vanessa lifts the lid of the chicken coop, allowing Mathieu to reach in.
“Get the rooster,” she says. “I do not need an alarm clock going off out here.” Matheiu expertly scoops the animal out of it’s enclosure, gripping it by the feet. Dangling upside down, it clucks in distress.
From the shelter, the rest of the tribe watches. Irene covers her eyes as Vanessa holds the chicken against a log, it’s body in one hand, it’s extended neck in her other. She squeezes her eyes shut. Rex stands, holding the umbrella over her, Matheiu and the chicken.
“You better not get blood on me,” Vanessa warns. “I’m wearing my good jeans, okay?”
“Oh yes, your good jeans. I can tell you love them very much by how dirty they are,” he jokes back. They both laugh, and take a moment to compose themselves. Matheiu raises the axe, and with a swing, it’s over.
“Oh my god,” Vanessa goes, almost immediately stepping away. “Oh my god oh my god oh my god, ew! Aaaah! I can’t believe I just did that!”
“You did great,” Mathieu says with a smile, as he pulls her in for a hug. The tribe applauds.
“Great job!” Marco congratulates, as Matheiu goes to begin preparing the chicken’s body.
“Dearly beloved,” begins Rex, melodramatically, “we are gathered here today to celebrate the life of our dear friend, Finger Lickin’ the chicken. May he be remembered for his kind eyes and his juicy flesh.”
The tribe sits around, dry and cozy in the shelter. The fire crackles as they feast on the now cooked chicken.
“This is the best thing I’ve tasted in two weeks,” gushes Irene. “Seriously guys, I’m so glad we won this today.”
“Me too, guys,” says Marco. “I think the tribe swap probably took us all a little by surprise, right? But honestly, how much worse could it have turned out for all of us? Like we got a pretty good group going on here, yeah?”
“Agreed,” says Marina with a smile. She and Marco “clink” chicken bones.
“I mean,” continues Marco, “it feels like all the really crazy people ended up over there, yeah?”
“I don’t know about that,” Marina counters. “You haven’t seen how Rex gets when he thinks he’s a dinosaur.”
“When he what?” Irene asks.
Rex leaps out of the shelter, his arms cocked up to his sides like tiny tyrannosaurus arms. He roars and scampers off into the jungle.
“I don’t know what else I was expecting,” laughs Irene. Marina turns back after watching Rex vanish into the woods, her eyes landing on Mathieu and Vanessa as Mathieu wraps a blanket around them both.
Bandar returns to their camp, their spirits quite different from those on the Saap Tribe. Brett swears under his breath as he enters the camp.
“What the f*ck happened to our shelter?” he says.
“Mathieu is gone,” says Shelby, “so they took his flag to the other camp.”
“How convenient,” grunts Brett. “Alright, we need to collect more foliage and shore up the gaps. Let’s find some strong, broad fronds, people. We need them weaved tight and we need them weaved yesterday.”
“Uh, how about wait ten seconds?” Jordyne says. “We have two new people, are we not even going to do some formal introductions?”
“Fine. Gavin, Shelby, Jordyne, Brett,” Brett says, pointing to each person as he says their name. “Introductions done, can we get to work?”
“That’s not what I meant!” Jordyne says, already exasperated. “We have the tent, we have our fire, can’t we just take a moment and then work on the shelter? It’s all getting rained on anyway.”
“Jordyne, you are free to do whatever it is you want. I forgot that you’re too good to follow orders from anyone but yourself, princess.”
“I’m happy to work on the shelter, Brett, it’s just a suggestion but of course if anyone but you is suggesting then it’s got to be a huge problem. You don’t need to be so condescending about everything, you control freak.”
“Are you honestly not ashamed of yourself ever? Do you think that’s an appropriate way to speak to me?”
“It’s exactly how you talk to me, you ass.”
Shelby looks through one of their crates for a specific tool. She sighs, exasperated.
“We have a tool crate and a food crate here! So why am I finding the scissors here with the canned goods and jackfruit?” She says, yelling to no one in particular.
“Jamie, you’re quite tall. I need you collecting palm fronds,” Brett says.
“Yeah, sure, I’d be happy to,” agrees Jamie.
“It’s not a request.”
“Oh, I’ll come too! I’d be glad to chip in,” Gavin chimes in.
“Don’t need you, son. Stay here, tend the fire. I know not everyone in this camp can be trusted to keep things running. I can trust you, right?”
“Yeah, if you says so,” Gavin sighs, annoyed.
“See Gavin, it’s important because there are people here that I can’t trust,” Brett says pointedly as Jordyne approaches the shelter to take her place.
“I can’t be gone for what, a minute without you having my name in your mouth?” Jordyne asks.
“I didn’t say anyone’s name,” Brett responds, icily.
“Anything you need me to do, chief?” Andrew asks. Brett catches his gaze momentarily, and glares.
“You’ll be notified,” he says, beckoning to Jamie. “Come, boy.”
The rain continues to beat down. Inside the leaking shelter, Shelby and Jordyne focus on weaving frond mats. Andrew reaches up to place a finished weft atop the shelter.
“So Andrew, you’re married, right?” asks Shelby.
“I sure am,” Andrew responds. “Wait a moment–I have a picture.” He joins the two women in the shelter and grabs his bag, rummaging through it for his luxury item.
“This,” he says, showing the photo to the two women, “is Selena. We’ve been married for seventeen years.”
“Awww!” says Jordyne. “Congrats.”
“Thanks,” Andrew says. “Jason is our oldest, he’s fourteen. Melissa is ten and Kitty is seven. Oh, and the dog is named Panda. I don’t actually know how old he is,” Andrew laughs.
“You have a lovely family,” Shelby says earnestly, examining the photo closely.
“What’s that there?” asks Brett as he and Jamie come approaching, carrying more fronds.
“Andrew was just telling us a little about his family,” Shelby explains. “How about you, Jamie? You’re not married, are you?”
“No ma’am, not quite yet,” Jamie laughs. “Thinkin’ bout it, though.”
“Oh really?” Jordyne inquires, her attention clearly piqued. Jamie sits in the shelter next to her. Brett even takes a moment to sit as well, clearly tired of being pelted by the falling water.
“Mhm. We’ve been together for three years,” Jamie says, “and uh, you know, we live together… It feels like it’s time.”
“That’s exciting! So that’s why you’re out here, huh? Looking to get her a fat rock on her finger?” Jordyne probes.
“Her? Oh goodness, no!” laughs Jamie. “Some gay guys love their bling, but not Roger. He’s more of a tattoos and muscle shirts kind of guy,” he says. Jordyne’s eyes flash open huge, like floodlights.
“I knew it!” she exclaims, smacking him playfully on the arm. “I knew there was at least one gay person out here, I knew it! I told you guys, I told you!” She cackles, pointing at the rest of her tribe. “Nobody on our tribe was talking, so I figured it had to be someone on your tribe. I knew it! I thought it was Irene, though. Not you!”
“You’re kidding, right?” Brett asks, astonished, standing up in surprise.
“No sir,” Jamie answers. “Believe me, I double checked, but women folk just ain’t quite my liking.”
“That’s disgusting. How can you say something like that?” Brett babbles, stunned.
“But so what made you feel this way?” Brett asks, still clearly confused.
“Beats me, how I’ve always been,” Jamie says with a shrug. “Nature, nuture, whatever. Shouldn’t matter one way or the other. It don’t affect you none, what I do in my private business.”
“I’m just surprised is all. You don’t look like a queer.”
“I don’t look like a queer, huh? What do you reckon a queer looks like?” Jamie says. Shelby’s eyes close in embarrassment. “Sorry if I didn’t live up to your expectations,” Jamie laughs.
“I, uh, well… I ain’t never seen a homosexual who looks like you,” Brett stammers.
“Wanna know a secret? You probably have, you just ain’t known, because it ain’t come up,” Jamie says. “Gay people are just as diverse and varied as straight people, we can look like anyone. We can look like you, mustache and everything.”
“Don’t worry, Chief. It’s not a contagious disease,” Andrew says. “I’ve been sleeping next to Jamie for two weeks and I’ve made it out in one piece. I’m still just as straight as I was when we started.”
“Don’t sass me!” Brett snaps, “I know you can’t catch that.”
“Are you sure?” Andrew prods, “Because you seem a little ignorant to me.”
“Whether or not I’m ignorant is none of your concern,” Brett says.
“Really? Because I’m not the one who started standing in the rain when I found out there was a gay guy in the shelter, just saying,” Andrew says. Jordyne snickers in response.
“I’m an American. It’s my right to stand in the rain if I want to.”
“And it’s Jamie’s right to date another man if he wants to,” Andrew says.
“I don’t recall saying otherwise,” Brett says.
“Thanks, Cap, but I’m good,” Jamie interjects. “Really, don’t worry yourself. I’m a big boy, I can say what I need to say if I need to. Brett, you got any questions, you ask me.”
For the time being, the rain has passed. Flies swarm around the pile of remaining chicken bones. In the shelter, most of the tribe is still fast asleep. Irene is the only one awake, watching quietly as Vanessa and Mathieu snuggle under the blankets, Vanessa’s head on his chest. He absentmindedly plays with her hair.
“So what’s going on with you and Mathieu?” Irene asks Vanessa as the two of them confer in a private area.
“In regards to what?” Vanessa asks.
“You guys have just… I don’t know, like, I’m trying not to make assumptions here, but it just seems like there’s been a lot of touchy-feely stuff with you guys since yesterday,” Irene says.
“Why, because we kept each other warm last night? That’s all it was, Irene. Besides, we have to start getting in with them, you realize that, right?”
“I know, I know,” Irene says. “Like I said, I’m not trying to assume anything. I’m not accusing you of anything–”
“I didn’t say you were accusing me of anything,” Vanessa says.
“Look, it’s not that deep, okay? Like, yeah, we get along, I like him, but I’ve only known him for a day. I’m just keeping in mind that we have to get someone on our side. Of course I’m gonna be focused on that person who I have made a connection with already. Like, you get that, right? That we to get one of them on our side?”
“Of course, Ness. I’m not stupid.”
“I didn’t say you were. Why are you being so defensive right now?” Vanessa asks.
“I mean, honestly, I think you’re the one who is being defensive,” Irene admits.
“I’m just kind of surprised that you don’t trust me more, Irene,” Vanessa says. “I’m not going to turn on you and Marco, if that’s what you’re thinking. I just want to make sure I get a jump on the gun and start working someone over to our side so we don’t regret it later. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to go home because of a tie breaker.”
“No, no, of course not. I get it, we need to flip someone to our side. It’s just that we haven’t really gotten a chance to talk, just the two of us, since this whole swap situation happened. I just want to communicate clearly, that’s honestly all.”
Vanessa and Matheiu walk through the forest, Vanessa with a machete in hand.
“So spill the tea for me, boo. What do you really think about Rex?” Vanessa asks.
“Rex… he is an acquired taste, I would say,” Mathieu answers thoughtfully.
“I kind of figured as much,” laughs Vanessa.
“He is very hard to pin down, Rex. Chaotic, I think is a good word. None of us even know how old he is.”
“With him it is always lies and tall tales. Once, he said he was over ten million years old, and that he emerged from a frozen glacier riding a wooly mammoth.”
“Do you think that’s like, part of his strategy?” Vanessa asks. “Maybe act a little, you know, not all there? Get people to underestimate him?”
“I have given up on tying to figure Rex out at all,” Mathieu admits. Vanessa nods in understanding.
“And Marina?” she asks.
“Marina is very strong. She is a hard worker. A tough woman. I like Marina but she is very close with Jordyne. And Jordyne is dangerous.”
“Really? You mean Little Iggy Azalea over there?”
“Jordyne is smarter than she lets on. She hides her intellect behind her beauty. She does not own it up front. Not like you do. I like that about you,” he flirts.
“My intellect, huh? What do you know about my intellect, mister?”
“I know you could not hide it if you wanted to. You are an honest woman, I can see that in your eyes and hear it in your voice.”
“This tree is the jackfruit,” Matheiu says, pointing upwards. The enormous green pods cluster like swollen vesicles above.
“Climb on my shoulders,” he says. He bends down so she can put her legs at either side of his head. He stands, and she sways briefly as they rise.
“Woah!” Vanessa says, caution in her voice.
“I’ve got you. Trust in me,” Mathieu says calmly. Steadied, she grabs the branch and pulls herself upwards. Mathieu holds the machete once and waits for her grip to be secure before passing it to her. Swinging, she knocks down two of the gigantic fruit.
Up at the camp, Marco tends the fire. Irene looks behind them to see Rex dozing in the shelter. She motions to Marco that they need to step off and talk somewhere more private.
“So what are you thinking so far?” Marco asks. “Because I think that you, me and Ness are probably all on the same page.”
“I mean, I think the three of us are tighter than the three of them. Rex seems a little all over the place. I don’t think Marina and Mathieu are particularly close with each other. I just… I’m worried, Marco. About Vanessa and Mathieu. They’ve gotten close fast.”
“I wouldn’t worry. That’s a good thing, right? Means he’ll be more likely to come side with us.”
“Yeah, but what if he convinces Vanessa to side with him instead?”
“I dunno, Irene. That’s the risk we have to take. We got to try something. We can’t just sit around and let things go to a tie.”
Shelby and Gavin collect firewood together in the forest. Birds call loudly in the trees overhead.
“We need a chance to get all four of us from Bandar together sooner rather than later,” Gavin says.
“It’s imperative,” Shelby agrees.
“You don’t think Brett would try anything crazy, do you Shelb?”
“I’ll need you to be more specific,” she says.
“Like, I dunno. He really doesn’t like Jordyne, what if he wants us to vote her off anyway? He can be so stuck in his ways. I mean he voted for her last time even though he knew River was leaving anyway. What if he just votes for her every time?”
“I wouldn’t concern myself with that possibility, Gavin. I don’t think it’s a possibility that exists, quite frankly,” Shelby says. “He has principles, not a death wish. Not to mention he’s not what I’d describe as fond of Andrew either. I don’t think he’d have any issues with sending him out of the game. In fact, I believe he’d relish the opportunity.”
“Yeah, you have a good point. And I don’t think he really likes Jamie either, at least not after finding out, that Jamie’s… well, you know.”
Down at the water, Jordyne and Jamie float on the reservoir, fishing lines dangling gently in the water. Jamie jerks his line, and effortlessly, a fish appears almost as if it has flown from the water into the boat.
“Nice one,” Jordyne says, unhooking the fish. “You’re a real natural at this.”
“My grandaddy was a fisherman, my daddy was a fisherman, and therefore I am a fisherman,” Jamie says. “It’s pretty common when you come from the bayou. You make do with what you’ve got.”
“I didn’t know there was a bayou in Alabama.”
“There ain’t,” Jamie confirms. “But I grew up in Louisiana. Alabama’s where I moved. SPLC’s headquartered in Birmingham.”
“How’d you get involved with them anyway?”
“Started as a volunteer,” Jamie answers. “Which is funny to me now, considering that’s my job, to bring in those new volunteers.”
“Have you lived in Chicago you’re whole life?” Jamie asks, attaching a new piece of bait to his hook.
“Born and raised,” Jordyne acknowledges. “I couldn’t imagine living somewhere else. I don’t know that I’d want to.”
“Is your family still there?” Jamie asks.
“Yeah, but we’re… not close. No siblings, don’t talk to my parents. They don’t even talk to each other, though, so, uh… I’m not really that bent out of shape about it. They don’t like the person I am, you know? So for me it’s like, why would I want you anyway?”
“I can relate,” Jamie says, casting the fishing line once again. “Ma still asks me every time I call if I have a girlfriend yet.”
“Sh*t, seriously? That’s f*cked, up!” Jordyne responds, clearly shocked. “See, if that were me I’d have just been like, ‘look, you know the answer, so if you’re going to keep playing dumb like this I just won’t bother calling you anymore.’”
“I’ve considered it,” Jamie says. “Roger thinks I should, but his family’s different. They accept him, and us. He don’t know what it feels like to love someone even when you don’t love everything they say, or think, or do. It’s a big conflict.”
“I’m in full agreement,” Brett says to Shelby and Gavin, all together at the camp. Brett watches the trees, eyeing them in case Andrew starts to return. “Four of us vote together, we all move forward. It’s the game.”
“You’re sure you don’t have a problem working with Jordyne?” Shelby asks, clearly hesitant to accept Brett’s promise.
“Not unless she’s going to decide she has a problem working with us,” Brett replies. “That ball is in her court. It always has been.”
“I mean, I’m pretty sure she and Jamie are fishing right now, Brett,” Gavin chimes in. “She’s been doing more around camp, you have to admit.”
“I don’t have to admit anything,” Brett says. “But right now we’d be foolish to make our decisions based on anything except the reality of our numbers.”
“I’m extremely glad to hear that, Brett,” says Shelby with a satisfied grin.
“We’re back!” calls Jordyne as she and Jamie come back into camp.
“Did you catch anything?” Shelby asks, intrigued.
“Absolutely! We’ve got about two fish per person. Not big fish, but fish,” Jamie says. “Give me a second and I’ll start getting them cleaned.”
“You’ve done your share,” Shelby tells him, approaching as she takes a look at the bucket. “I’ll start getting these ready, if you want to take a moment to rest. Is Andrew with you?”
“No, haven’t seen him,” says Jamie. “He ain’t up here?”
“I’m not sure where he is,” Shelby ponders.
Andrew has found a private area in the woods to himself. He gazes at his photo with concern.
“What would you tell me to do, Selena?” he says with a sigh. “I wish you were here. I need you.”
Jordyne sits around the fire with Brett and Shelby, watching carefully to make sure that neither of the new tribe members are around.
“Hey,” Jordyne says, whispering as she makes sure the coast is clear, “I think we should think about what we’re going to do at the challenge today.”
“What exactly do you mean?” asks Shelby. “We haven’t received our Tree Mail yet.”
“Yeah, I know,” Jordyne says, “but it doesn’t really matter what the challenge is. I think we should consider throwing it.”
“Excuse me?” Brett says, rather loudly.
“No need to alert all the troops, sheesh!” Jordyne says. “Before you go all psycho on me, just give me a freakin’ moment to finish my thought, please?”
“There’s absolutely no honor in that, and I refuse to consider it. I knew your morals were screwed up, but I didn’t realize just how badly,” Brett says.
“That’s needlessly harsh,” Shelby chastises. “It’s not the worst idea, Brett. Nobody is saying we have to make a decision set in stone either way just yet, but think about it.”
“There’s nothing to think about, Shelby. There are some things you just don’t do.”
“Alright then, well glad to see democracy is still alive and kicking,” Jordyne sighs as Brett storms off.
“For whatever it’s worth, Jordyne, I think you raised some excellent points,” says Shelby. “You know how he is. Give him a little time to cool down and think things over. I’ll talk to him.”
Shelby and Brett stand down near the water, washing up at the edge of the river.
“We have to think tactically, Brett. This is a game. Think of it as going undercover. You can’t put your own morality front and center given this context, we have to think in regards to the big picture of the operation. There are only twelve people left. The merge has to be coming soon. If we go to Tribal Council tonight, we can ensure that there are only four members of the original Saap against Bandar’s seven. We’ll be in a position to systematically eliminate them. It puts us all closer to the end. It’s a sacrifice now for a benefit in the long run, surely you can grasp that?”
“Shelby, I appreciate the point you’re making,” Brett says, “but you said it yourself, this is a game. This isn’t undercover, this isn’t life or death. This isn’t keeping drugs out of school children’s hands, this isn’t shutting down prostitution rings. This is a game, and in games one ought to compete honorably. It’s not worth it to me.”
“Come on in guys!”
The tribes make their way into the challenge arena. Two large, vertical frames tower over the arena, with long, horizontal net crawls leading up to them. Rope webs criss-cross the vertical frame, with colored bags dangling at various points.
“First things first,” Jeff says, “Brett? I’m going to need that back.”
Brett hands the idol to Jeff, reluctantly.
“Once again,” Jeff says, placing the idol, “immunity, back up for grabs.”
“For today’s challenge, you’ll race one at a time, relay style, up a ramp and across a rope net, then climb up a large rope web to retrieve bags of puzzle pieces. Each tribe member must retrieve one bag. Once you’ve retrieved all the puzzle pieces, two members of each tribe must use those pieces to solve a puzzle. First tribe to get it right wins immunity, guaranteeing you all three more days in the game. Losers go to Tribal Council, where someone will become the fifth person voted out of this game. I’ll give you guys a moment to strategize, then we’ll get started.”
The tribes leave their mats and take their positions.
“Up first for Saap, we have Irene. Up first for Bandar, Shelby.”
SURVIVORS READY? GO!
Shelby and Irene both run forward, making steady progress up the wooden ramp, but the net proves to be a shock for both women as they lose their balance. Irene makes a quick recovery, hustling her lean legs as she adjusts to the low tension of the highly elastic netting. Shelby is clearly struggling harder with the net as she stumbles again after uprighting herself.
“Irene, first to the web for Saap! Up she goes!” Jeff calls. Irene make her way up nimbly, yanking the first bag. She pikes and drops, the net catching her, bouncing her tiny frame. Disoriented, she takes a moment to steady herself as she begins to head back, while Shelby begins to make her way up the net.
“You’ve got it Shelby!” cheers Gavin. Shelby manages to get her bag of pieces and drops, just as Irene hits the mat, sending Rex out onto the course for Saap. He heads up the ramp and takes a flying leap onto the net, attempting to roll, but not totally succeeding. Shelby returns with her puzzle pieces, and Jordyne head out to face Rex.
“Shelby struggled, cost Bandar some time! Jordyne out on the course now, trying to catch up to Rex. Rex, making his way up that net!”
“Geronimoooo!” shouts Rex as he grabs his bag and leaps, flailing his arms as he crashes gracelessly into the net below. Jordyne trips as she runs, falling flat on her face.
“You got this, girl!” Jamie cheers in support. Jordyne makes it to her feet and stumbles again, only beginning her climb as Rex returns to the mat for Saap.
“Rex back with the second bag, Vanessa out for Saap!” announces Jeff. With a large stride, Vanessa hits the net, becoming the first person to not immediately fall off balance.
“Aieee!” Jordyne cries. As she reaches the end of the net before the ramp to exit the course, she once again loses her balance.
“Jordyne back, Gavin on the course!”
Gavin grits his teeth and hustles with all his might. His spindly legs and lean frame allow him to take bounding leaps across the net.
“Gavin, taking huge strides, making up time for Bandar! He’s catching up to Vanessa!”
Vanessa is partially up the web as Gavin begins his climb, racing to catch her. Vanessa gets her bag and pikes, landing solidly and bouncing to her feet.
“Vanessa with great landing, up on her feet fast! Gavin is making up time but Saap still leads!” Gavin drops but wiffs his landing, bouncing awkwardly and landing on his side. He scramble to make forward movement as Vanessa returns to the mat.
“Marco now up for Saap! Andrew waiting for his turn and…. he has it!” Gavin collapses on the mat as Andrew rushes forward, desperate to make up ground. Marco has bounded effectively across the net, but at this point, the bags rest further and further up the web. He climbs as fast as he can.
“Another stumble for Bandar from Andrew!” Jeff announces as Andrew pitches forward his arms wheeling. He tucks and tries to roll forward, but ends up stuck on his back, making it harder to get up. By the time he is on the rope net, Marco is almost at his bag.
“It’s like climbing the mast, Captain!” yells Jamie. Marco snatches his bag and leaps down. He scrambles desperately to his feet, hoping to maintain Saap’s lead. By the time he reaches his mat, Andrew has just grabbed his bag. Andrew drops onto the net as Marina makes her way onto the course.
“Marina flying down this course like she’s done this before!” Jeff calls. Marina bends her knees and tries to use the elasticity of the net to help her in her jump. Quickly, she scales the net, Brett hot on her heels.
Brett powering forward, but is he fast enough to catch Marina?”
“Not a chance, Jeff!” laughs Marco.
“Oh crap,” Marina says, looking down and seeing how high up she is. She squeezes her eyes shut and falls backwards. She lands flat on her back and bounces high.
“Marina doesn’t quite nail the landing, but she’s up!”
Marina seems dazed for a moment but is quickly back in action as Brett begins to scale the net. He yells in fury as he climbs higher and higher. With one last jump, Marina plants her feet on the mat. Like a beast on the hunt, Mathieu rips foward, the last to go for Saap.
“Saap with one bag left, Brett hoping to make the same true for Bandar… and he gets it!” Brett drops and is quickly to his feet, charging back with fury in his eyes.
“Jamie last on the course for Bandar, hoping to catch Mathieu!”
With his massive height, Jamie practically glides across. He makes a huge surge forward as Mathieu shoots up the web like a spider monkey. Grabbing the final bag, Mathieu drops. He bounces back to his feet and races back.
“Saap has all their piece, start solving the puzzle!”
Saap begins desperately unbagging their puzzle pieces. Vanessa and Rex start collecting the pieces and assembling them on the table.
“Jamie back, Bandar, go! Start your puzzle, you’re not out of this yet!” Shelby and Andrew begin trying to solve their puzzle, though it appears Saap has already found some of their edge pieces.
“What could this be?” wonders Vanessa.
“It’s the logo,” Rex says, pulling his buff off his head. “See?”
“So that means this piece goes here,” Vanessa says, placing another piece.
“Rex and Vanessa making quick work of their puzzle, Shelby and Andrew desperate to catch up.”
“I think this goes here,” Andrew says, placing another piece.
“Then this goes here? No, that’s not right,” says Shelby.
The course is tense and silent as the clicking of puzzle pieces continues across both sides.
“Here,” Rex says, placing a piece on Vanessa’s side of the puzzle. Realizing where the piece she’s holding goes, Vanessa places hers as well.
“Vanessa and Rex making quick work of this puzzle. Shelby and Andrew, not far behind, but quickly falling out of it.”
“Oh man,” Jamie mutters, looking away.
“Right here, Right here!” exclaims Vanessa, pointing to one of the few empty spots, where Rex places a piece.
“Then this goes here,” Rex says, placing another.
“JEFF!” yells Vanessa. “JEFF, WE HAVE IT!”
“Saap, thinks they have it right…
And they do!”
“SAAP! WINS IMMUNITY!”
The tribes both stand on their mats, Saap looking elated while Bandar sulks. The green tribe claps as Jeff brings them the idol. “Saap, congratulations. You guys continue to show that being a new tribe isn’t stopping you from being a successful tribe.” Rex takes the idol with a smile on his face.
“Hello again love of my life, fire of my loins,” he whispers, cradling the statuette like a baby.
“Saap, you’re free for the night. You guys can head out.”
Saap departs, with Marina last, carrying the flag. “Good luck guys!” she calls to her former tribemates.
Jeff turns his attention to Bandar. Brett looks angry enough to start fire with his glare alone.
“Bandar, got nothing for you except a date with me tonight. One of you will be voted out of this game, you have the rest of the day to decide just who that will be. Grab your stuff, head back to camp.”
Bandar makes their way back into camp. A frustrated Brett simply chucks the tribe flag to the side upon arrival.
Brett, Shelby, Jordyne and Gavin stand together in a small jungle clearing, huddled close together.
“So we’re all still 100% on the same page, right?” Shelby asks. Gavin nods.
“Yup,” says Jordyne. “I think they’re both good guys, but like… we all know what the smart move here is.”
“Protect the numbers while we have them,” Gavin agrees.
“Brett,” asks Shelby, “I don’t want to push this, and if you have been keeping this a secret intentionally, I completely understand why–you are absolutely positive you did not find the Hidden Immunity Idol on Exile Island, correct?”
“I wish,” says Brett, shaking his head back and forth. “But I think we need to proceed under the assumption Andrew found it. He went there twice in a row, after all.”
“So we vote out Jamie, then?” Gavin asks.
“Not necessarily,” Jordyne says. “We split the votes. Two for Andrew, two for Jamie.”
“Yeah, but they vote too,” Gavin says.
“It doesn’t matter who they vote for, though,” Jordyne says. “If there’s a tie, we all vote again, right? So two of us vote for Andrew, two for Jamie. They vote for whoever. If Andrew does have the idol and he plays it, then Jamie goes. If he doesn’t play it, there’s a tie, we all vote again, and we vote Andrew out.”
“I think that’s the safest way to proceed,” Shelby agrees. “I think we can all agree, right Brett?”
“I think Gavin’s got the better point,” Brett says. “We should make it unanimous for Jamie. He’s never been to Exile Island, he couldn’t have it.”
Jordyne and Gavin walk back from their strategy discussion together.
“Honestly,” Jordyne says to Gavin, “we could just split the votes anyway without telling Brett what we’re doing. If he’s going to vote for Jamie no matter what, you and I can still vote for Andrew. Brett might have been dropped on his head as a baby, but I bet you Shelby would understand.”
“I know Shelby would understand,” Gavin agrees. “Personally, I think you’re the best. I mean your plan is the best.”
“So, then. We’re voting for Andrew?” Jordyne asks.
“Andrew,” confirms Gavin.
Andrew and Jamie talk with each other up at the shelter, making use of the rest of their tribemates being out of camp.
“Look Jamie, I owe you an apology,” Andrew says. “I lied to you guys. Regardless of what lies anyone else has told in this game, I’ve told my share too. And it’s only fair you’d hold that against me. I get it, you’re here to win for yourself and your family and the causes you believe in, just like I’m here to win for myself and for my family. I can’t begrudge you that man, and… I’m sorry.” He tears up slightly as he finishes, choking on his last few words. “You’re a good man, Jamie. No matter what happens here, I know that back there, you’re a good guy.”
“Thanks, Cap. I’m sorry too. For lying, for yelling at you, for bringin’ up your kids… I’m glad we can at least patch things up before one of us is out of here.”
“See, that’s the thing, Jamie. I think we can save both of us, if we put our heads together and figure something out. Because I’ll be honest, when we got here I was definitely considering just throwing you under the bus to them and trying to save myself. But I mean, holy sh*t. Neither of us deserve to go home before Brett does. Because that is not a good man.”
“Brett’s our best shot at the both of us scraping through,” Jamie agrees. “I bet you Jordyne would vote for him.”
“Think we could get Gavin?”
“It would have to be Gavin,” says Jamie. “I just don’t see Shelby turning on Brett. It’s the younger two, they’re the ones who are tired of being bossed around by him. Shelby puts up with it because she knows Brett will listen to her. She’s the real brains of that operation, guarantee.”
“I’m glad I could catch you alone before tribal,” Jamie says to Jordyne. “I know we’ve only been together for a few days now, but I want you to know that I trust you, 100 percent. The only other person in this game that I fully trust isn’t here with us right now, so I’m confiding in you, okay?”
“Yeah, absolutely. I feel the exact same way,” Jordyne laughs. “What’s up?”
“So Andrew and I are gonna be putting down Brett’s name tonight. That’s a one hundred percent guarantee, we’re both locked in. So if you want to be done with him, once and for all, we are all yours to utilize, okay? I mean it.”
“Awesome. Do you know if Andrew has the idol?”
“He played it last tribal,” Jamie says. “We split the votes between him and Ryan. We’d have Ryan here if he hadn’t played it, and he’d have walked out of Tribal Council with that thing in his pocket.”
“Woooow. Wow. Okay. See, because that’s what our plan is tonight. I mean, it’s what we’re all saying it is, but, you know. We’ll have to see.”
“So if y’all are gonna be splitting votes… Jordyne, if you vote for him we could get him, just the three of us. Please, Jordyne. I’m begging you.”
“Mind if we chat quick?” Brett asks Andrew, approaching him in the shelter.
“Uh, yeah, sure. What’s up?” Andrew asks, clearly surprised to be approached by Brett.
“Look. I wouldn’t call it a secret that I don’t think particularly highly of you, and I’d imagine the feeling is mutual.”
“Wow, Brett. For a neanderthal like you, that’s a shocking amount of introspection you’re using.”
“Don’t make me change my mind, you f*ck. I’m trying to help you here. A little birdie told me that if you and your buddy want to make it back to this shelter that I built tonight, then you should vote for Jordyne.”
“Is that so?” Andrew asks, raising his eyebrows. “Jordyne, huh?”
“You wont’ be winning any immunities with a tribemate throwing challenges, and while I don’t personally like you, out of fairness I think it’s right that you know what’s been happening.”
“She threw the challenge, huh?” Andrew says, surprised. “I mean, are you sure she doesn’t just, you know, kind of suck at them?”
“Well then, wouldn’t it be irrelevant? She’s not helping you win either way. This is your chance tonight. Make the best of it.”
“So we’ve got a few options, it sounds like,” Jamie says to Andrew, the two of them conferring one last time as the sun begins to set. “Did Brett say he was voting Jordyne?”
“He just said that if we want to make it, that’s who we should vote for,” Andrew confirms.
“So,” Jamie says, bending down with a stick to draw in the dirt. “The four of them are splitting the votes between us–”
“If Jordyne’s telling the truth, that is,” Andrew amends.
“If Jordyne’s telling the truth,” Jamie concedes. “So we could vote for Jordyne, and if Brett votes for Jordyne, Jordyne goes. If we vote for Brett, and Jordyne votes for Brett, Brett goes.”
“Or it could not matter, and they could vote either of us out anyway,” Andrew sighs.
“If that’s what they’re gonna do, nothing we can do to stop it now. We’ve got to make a call–Brett or Jordyne–and just hope that we’re not being double crossed from both sides.”
With the sun dipping lower and lower, the Bandar Tribe begins their trek, uncertain of what lies ahead.
The new Bandar makes their way into the darkened temple, Kali’s ominous gaze watching over them. The only gaze more ominous is that of Jeff, who sits as he prepares to open the discussion.
“So Shelby, Bandar had been doing pretty well, you guys were winning challenges, you had only been to Tribal Council once, Saap had been here three times. What was going through your head when I told you that the tribes were shuffling up?”
“Um, worry, mostly. Which I think is natural, to feel a little worried when going into the unknown. So much of what happens in this game is up to us. We decide what we’re going to do with our campsite, how we’ll organize things, how we’ll divide up work, what work is a necessity, what is a luxury. We decide how we cast our votes. But this? This was random chance. I think for most of us it was a sorely needed reminder that you can’t rest on your laurels. Survival is adaptation, you see it in the natural world all the time. The creatures that don’t adapt to changes in their habitats die off. And we lost some strong competitors to the other tribe in Marina and Mathieu. And even Rex did an excellent job in today’s puzzle. But we did gain two very strong competitors in Jamie and Andrew. So ultimately, again, it’s not bad. But it’s new, and you do have to adapt.”
“Andrew, I see you’re nodding.”
“Yeah, I think Shelby’s pretty much summing up how we all feel. We can only control our own actions. For me, that’s a lesson I learned on Saap. I feel like it’s been a pretty timely lesson, actually, because all I can do is put forward my best effort and hope that’s going to be good enough.”
“What makes it a timely lesson?”
“I mean, this whole swap scenario kind of screwed me and Jamie more than anyone else,” Andrew laughs. “We’re the new kids on the block. The other four, they’ve been together for twelve days and we have to come into the group and we’ve only got three days to show that we can offer something better than someone who’s already been here can.”
“Jamie, would you agree? Think you and Andrew are in trouble tonight?”
“Absolutely, Jeff. It’s a matter of simple math, nothing more. Four is more than two.”
“Gavin, you’re in that four.”
“Yeah, I am,” Gavin agrees.
“Do these guys have a point? Are they on the chopping bloc tonight just because they came from a different tribe?”
“I mean, it’s tough. If we had a week to spend together, yeah, maybe things would change. I’ve built relationships already with Shelby, with Jordyne, with Brett. I know I can trust them. I’m just meeting Jamie and Andrew, so I don’t have that same level of trust. I think sticking with Bandar is the safest move.”
“Jordyne, same for you? Trust everyone in the four?”
“Haha, uh, no, not really Jeff,” Jordyne says with a smile. “This one,” she points to Brett, “and I haven’t really seen eye to eye at any point during the game. It’s the same story as last time, he just won’t give me a chance.”
“I wouldn’t say that’s true at all,” Brett says. “Jordyne had plenty of chances, but she’s squandered them. She’s proven time and time again she offers nothing to this team at all. If she wants to grind on a pole for the rest of her life, that’s well and good, but we don’t need that here. We need people who are capable. We need people who give their all.”
“So it’s not just a lack of skill, but you don’t feel like Jordyne tries as hard as she could?” asks Jeff.
“I know she doesn’t try hard, Jeff. She said herself she was gonna throw the challenge today, and sure enough, she did.”
“Woah woah, let’s pause that tape and rewind it back, Brett,” Jordyne says, holding up a hand. “I didn’t say I was going to throw the challenge at all. I suggested to my fellow original Bandar tribemates that maybe our best move would be throw the challenge, but Brett was totally against it, and that was that. I wasn’t going to do it if nobody else was down to do it and put myself at risk, how stupid would that be?”
“What benefit could there possibly be to throwing an immunity challenge though, Jordyne? The only way you can guarantee your safety in this game is with Immunity. Why would you want to come here?”
“Well, here’s how I see it,” Jordyne says. “We have the numbers right now, four to two, just like they’ve been saying. That’s not the case on Saap, and there are three people from Bandar there right now, up against three people from Saap. Who knows what could happen, or who could go home? If we want to keep all of our numbers intact, and stay strong with Bandar, I thought hey, it’s better for us to have to vote than them.”
“Brett, this clearly isn’t sitting well with you. I can see you chomping at the bit to respond.”
“I think Jordyne is classless, honorless, and quite frankly one of the most amoral people I’ve ever had the misfortune of meeting, and I say that as a police officer of almost twenty years who has been toe to toe with some of the nastiest cartel thugs you can imagine. She’d fit right in with her complete lack of regard for common dignity.”
“Jordyne, can’t feel good to be hit with that kind of assessment.”
“Oh it actually is wonderful Jeff, you should try it sometime,” says Jordyne, grinning. Everyone, sans Brett, laughs. “But seriously, you’re right, it sucks. Literally nothing I can do at this point is going to change how Brett thinks about me, even if it’s totally inaccurate. It’s like Shelby was saying, all you can do is control what you do. I can’t make him feel any kind of way towards me, so if he decides I suck then… yay me?”
“Jamie, this has to be exactly what someone in your position or Andrew’s is hoping for, right? You’re down in the numbers, but two of those numbers are having a huge conflict with each other.”
“That’s true, Jeff. Can’t deny that. And believe me, Andrew and I have been working every angle we can possibly try to work with these folks, and obviously if two people are having conflict, that’s an opening we can try to exploit. You know, pitch ‘em that hey, if your tired of the fighting, the disagreements, why not trade out? I can be number four just as good as any of them. I’ve got a vote just like they do.”
“Gavin, Jamie brings up a good point. Everyone’s vote is exactly the same, a vote is a vote. If someone is a source of negativity in the tribe, why not just say, hey, you’re out, someone else is in, sorry but that’s how it goes?”
“That’s where the time the four of us have spent together comes in, Jeff. Yeah, Jordyne and Brett don’t trust each other, but I feel like I can trust both of them. I get his argument, I’m just not convinced. Sorry man,” he laughs, clapping Jamie on the shoulder.
“No hard feelings,” Jamie says, smiling in return.
“So Shelby, if the four of you decide you’re holding strong, how do you make that decision as to who goes? You still have to decide, is it Andrew, or is it Jamie? What criteria is guiding your decision?”
“I’ve considered a lot of variables,” begins Shelby. “I think that it’s important to do that for every vote. Even if we had come here with the seven person tribe that we were a few days ago, I’d still be considering all the variables. Someone might be a bigger asset in certain types of challenges than others, um, for example, someone who is very athletic, maybe not as strong in the puzzles, or vice versa. You’re considering if you can trust someone. Do you like that person? Are they easy to work with, what is going to be like lying next to them on that god-awful log shelter in the pouring rain, and do you want to put up with their body odor or not? That’s what makes this whole experiment so fascinating to me. Anything could be a reason to vote someone out.”
“How about you, Brett? What are you basing your vote on tonight?”
“Tonight, Jeff? My vote is based on my strategy,” Brett says.
“Care to elaborate?”
“I do not. I plead the fifth.”
“Leave it to a policeman to know his rights,” jokes Jeff. “With that, I think it’s time for us to get to the vote. Brett, you’re up.”
“I’ll go tally the votes,” Jeff says, as he leaves to retrieve the now-full urn.
“Good luck,” Andrew whispers to Jamie, extending his hand. Jamie takes it and they shake.
“The person who is voted out will be asked to leave the Tribal Council Area immediately,” Jeff explains as he returns with the urn. “I’ll read the votes.”
“Brett. That’s one vote for Jamie, Andrew, and Brett.”
“Brett. That’s two votes Brett, one vote Jamie, one vote Andrew.”
“Jamie. That’s two votes Jamie, two votes Brett, one vote Andrew, one vote left.”
“The fifth person voted out of Survivor: India–Brett. Brett, I’ll need you to bring me your torch.”
Gavin’s jaw drops, while Shelby covers hers in surprise.
“You’re a real bitch, Jordyne,” Brett scathes, grabbing his torch. Jamie wraps his arm around Andrew’s shoulder, excitedly hugging him.
“Takes one to know one, asshole,” Jordyne says.
“Brett, the Tribe has spoken.” Jeff snuffs Brett’s torch, and he walks off, clearly eager to leave. “It’s time for you to go.”
“Hey Brett!” calls Jordyne. “F*ck you!” She flips him off as he walks away.
“Tonight there was a lot of talk about numbers, and a lot of talk about trust. I think the vote tonight proved that they don’t always go hand in hand. You guys can grab your torches and head back to camp. Goodnight.”
Eleven remain. Who will be the next to go?