PREVIOUSLY ON… SURVIVOR!
With Rex’s departure from the merged tribe, Satya Yuga, it appeared that an alliance of Jordyne, Marina, Jamie, Marco, and Irene had formed and taken control–and Mathieu, considered to be the biggest threat in the game, was their next target. Hoping to protect himself, Mathieu relied on his extremely close personal bond with Vanessa. The pair tried their best to convince Vanessa’s former tribemates that Gavin was a wild card and a vote in Shelby’s pocket, and that he needed to go.
Gavin ended up winning the first individual reward challenge, which allowed him to pick two people to attend a yoga retreat and vegetarian feast. He selected his closest allies, Shelby and Jordyne, in hopes that the experience could help them bond and learn to work together. Over lunch, the two talked out their differences, and promised to try and trust one another.
In addition, Gavin’s reward challenge victory granted him the ability to exile a castaway of his choosing. Gavin picked Jamie, a choice that reaffirmed Jamie’s belief Gavin disliked him. Jamie realized, however, that Gavin may have made a mistake, as after playing his idol, it returned to Exile Island, giving Jamie a chance to find it. While he was unable to locate the idol, Jamie left with a clue and a plan.
Marina surged ahead of the pack at the immunity challenge and claimed the necklace and safety for herself. She opted to use her safety to make a move, convincing Jordyne that they should target Vanessa instead of Mathieu, worrying about her social connections to her original tribe. Jordyne and Shelby found themselves once again having to put their trust in each other to the test, and it paid off for them both when they successfully caught the other players off guard by voting out Vanessa, making her the first member of the jury, while leaving Mathieu despondent and brokenhearted.
Eight remain. Who will be voted out tonight?
Clouds block out the moon, leaving the camp pitch black as the castaways return.
Marco, meanwhile, is a little more candid with his feelings.
“So that was some sh*t, huh? What the hell happened? Marina? Jord? You ladies got anything to say?”
“Actually, Marco,” says Marina, laying down her torch, “I really don’t, not if you’re going to take that tone.”
“Oh don’t do that bro,” says an incredulous Marco. “Don’t make me out to be the bad guy right now. I’m getting sick of this shit, okay? How come every time I come back from Tribal Council, I’m getting in that shelter with someone who didn’t do what they said they were gonna do?”
“Did you tell Mathieu you were voting against him, Marco? Is that what he thought your plan was?” Marina fires back.
“I… come on, bro! That’s totally different. Me and him didn’t have any kind of agreement going on, okay? You and me did.”
“Yes Marco–you and me, not me and Vanessa. I didn’t tell her or anyone else I wasn’t going to vote for her,” Marina says.
“I don’t care what you didn’t tell her,” Marco says. “You told me you were voting for Mathieu, and obviously that did not happen.”
“Marco, come on,” Jamie sighs, grabbing his friend by the shoulders. “It’s not worth it. Let’s all get some sleep and we can talk this through when we’re all a little more calm. We’ll figure something out,” Jamie encourage his fellow Saap allies as the three head off in a dark corner of their own.
“Don’t worry about Marco,” Jordyne encourages Marina as the Saap trio makes their way elsewhere. “I’ll smooth things over with them in the morning. Damage control is my specialty.”
“I’m not worried,” Marina says. “Just annoyed,” she laughs.
“Look man, I get why you’re so angry. This isn’t the first time Jordyne’s pulled something like this, so I’m angry too, I should have seen it coming,” Jamie says. “But you know better than to make a scene like that, come on. What would your girls think?”
“…You’re right,” Marco admits, begrudgingly. “I thought better of Marina, I guess,” Marco says, still somewhat stunned. “I thought she’d reign her girl in if she tried to pull anything crazy, you know?”
“Look, Marco, I should have known better, okay? I’m the one who’s been dealin’ with Jordyne firsthand. I thought better of Marina too.”
“Any one of us could have stepped up sooner and said something,” Irene adds.
“Well let’s look on the bright side,” Jamie says. “Jordyne having switched sides before means she could do it again. So we might be able to get her back with us if we play our cards right.”
“What cards do we even have?” Irene asks.
“We could have an ace up our sleeves if we play well in tomorrow’s challenge,” Jamie says. “We all saw Gavin play his idol, and I can promise you right now I did not find it, I swear on everything I love.”
“No need to swear on nothing, bro, I believe you,” Marco says.
“If one of us wins reward tomorrow, we get to choose who goes to Exile,” Jamie continues. “We send one of us, that means we can still find it. That’s a huge advantage for us.”
The clouds swirl over the mountains as the monsoon once again begins to drench the jungle. Under the fire shelter, a miserable looking Mathieu tends the fire. Most of the tribe sits in the shelter.
Suddenly, there’s a yelp.
“OW! OH, OW! BRO, OH MY GOD! AH! F*CK!”
“What happened?” Shelby asks, as everyone’s attention turns to Marco. He desperately is attempting to get his slacks off, grimacing in pain.
“Something just f*cking bit me and it hurrrts, ARGH!” Marco shucks his pants off and stands, turning to look at the back of his leg. A red welt is quickly rising in the crook of his knee.
“Is there a doctor in the house?” Shelby asks pointedly as Mathieu comes rushing over. Jordyne scoots over in the shelter so Marco can lay flat on his stomach. The tribe gathers, curious, as Mathieu takes a look.
“It looks like a spider bite,” Mathieu says, poking around the area gently. “There’s no residual stinger, so it’s not a bee or a wasp, which is good. They would release pheromones that would signal their colony to come and assist.”
“Frhere is it?” panicks Jordyne. “It’s not still in here, right?” He eyes scan above for webbing.
“It probably came into the shelter to escape the rain,” ponders Jamie.
“Can someone get the first aid kit?” Mathieu asks.
“On it,” Marina offers.
With the first aid kit, Mathieu finishes sanitizing and bandaging Marco’s wound.
“Come on in guys!”
The tribe makes their way into the challenge. The rain is beating down. Marco is walking slowly, clearly trying not to bend his knee too much or risk agitating the sensitive and painful bite.
“Marco, limping a little?”
“Just a little run in with a local,” Marco says. “Got a spider in my pants, Jeff. But you know what, we’ve been out here almost a month now so I guess it’s about time I get someone in my pants, right?” Most of the other castaways chuckle. Jeff does as well.
“Alright, you guys ready to get to today’s challenge?” The castaways cheer, ready to play.
“For today’s challenge, you’re going to square off one on one. You’ll each be holding an idol. Your job? Knock down their idol before they knock off yours. We’ll be holding this tournament style, your first match-up will be chosen at random. Last person with their idol standing wins reward. Wanna know what you’re playing for?”
The castaways clap in anticipation. Jeff pulls the cover off of the table to reveal a stuffed animal version of a tiger.
“The winner of today’s challenge is going to pick one person to join them on a trip to a wildlife rehabilitation center here in the Western Ghats. In addition to rehabilitating animals for re-release into the wild, this center is home to many animals who can’t be returned to their natural habitat. You’re going to meet some of them today, up close and personal, including tiger cubs.”
“No way!” squeals Jordyne.
“Oh my god, this sounds awesome,” Irene says.
“And while you’re there, you’ll also be treated to a picnic lunch. In addition, the winner will get to send one person to Exile Island, and let me tell you, with this rain, that’s the last place I’d want to be. Worth playing for?”
The castaways cheer, clap, and nod in affirmation.
“Alright, we’ll draw for match ups, then we’ll get started.”
“Our first match up,” Jeff announces, “we have Gavin taking on Irene.”
“SURVIVORS READY? GO!”
Both Irene and Gavin begin to circle one another slowly.
“Irene, the smallest person out here,” Jeff notes. “But this challenge is not all about size.”
Gavin puts his arm out, but Irene pulls back. She manages to avoid stumbling. She retaliates towards Gavin, but he slaps her hand away. They begin circling again. Eventually, Irene goes for Gavin. He once again deflects, and while she’s off guard, he reaches over her head and knocks off her idol.
“Gavin take Irene down, and moves on to the next round!”
MATCH 2- MARINA vs JORDYNE
The friends both face off and begin to walk slowly. Marina stares Jordyne dead in the eyes, her face solid, movements deliberate. Jordyne tries to stare aggressively back, but can’t help but start giggling. Marina doesn’t break. With quick speed and strong footing, Marina steps forward and with a deft slap, downs Jordyne’s idol. Jordyne can only shrug in defeat, giving her friend a hug.
MATCH 3- JAMIE vs MATHIEU
“We’ve got the two biggest guys here, taking each other on,” throbs Jeff. “Two big, powerful men ready to go at it.”
While all the castaways are dwarfed in comparison to Jamie’s extreme height, Mathieu is by no means short, and his hugely muscled body makes the match up seem quite even. The two circle each other aggressively, unfazed by the rain, their gazes intense. Mathieu’s arm is extended far forward.
“Sizing each other up, no one ready to make a move quite yet,” Jeff narrates. Jamie suddenly goes on the offensive, but Mathieu parries him. Jamie strikes again and and again, Mathieu parries, before striking for himself. Jamie lifts his idol as high as he can out of Mathieu’s reach, stepping to the side, but Mathieu keeps up with him, hitting Jamie in the chest. Jamie wobbles, but doesn’t fumble. He pushes Mathieu’s hand aside and then gets close enough to reach Mathieu’s idol and fell it.
“and Mathieu drops it, Jamie wins the match!”
MATCH 4- SHELBY vs MARCO
“Last up, Shelby and Marco,” Jeff announces. “Marco not doing so hot on that knee.”
“I don’t need it today, Jeff,” Marco says. Shelby stands trying to keep her idol away from Marco. Marco grins devilishly, crouching low. Shelby begins to circle, but Marco pops up, pitching his idol high in the air as he tackles Shelby full on. With no chance to react, Shelby’s idol tumbles, hitting the ground before Marco’s can land in the mud with a satisfying splat.
“A smart move from Marco wins him the point! We’re moving on now!”
SEMI-FINALS 1- GAVIN vs MARINA
“We have our first Semi-Final match, Gavin taking on Marina,” Jeff announces.
Up against Marina, the match is more evenly set for Gavin, and it’s clear he knows it. He crouches and tries to use the same strategy as Marco, throwing his own idol up as he charges towards Marina. Marina steps just enough to the side and pushes Gavin with her free arm. Her idol wobbles, but Gavin’s lands before hers can fall.
“Gavin tried to make a big move, but it did. Not. Work. Out! Marina! Moving on to our final round!” Jeff calls.
SEMI-FINALS 2- JAMIE vs MARCO
“Hey cutie,” Marco joke flirts, making kissy lips.
“You aren’t as good looking as you think, buddy,” Jamie taunts.
“We’ve got Jamie up against Marco,” Jeff announces. “Marco has his work cut out for him here!” Jamie circles defensively, towering over his friend. Marco immediately goes on the offensive. His free hand darts forward, left and right, putting Jamie to work as he keeps knocking Marco away. With a swift counter lunge, Jamie looms forward, but Marco is able to get out of the way. He winces briefly as his knee flexes. Jamie moves to seize the opportunity, but Marco sees it coming and dodges again. He fakes Jamie out to the left before coming in from the right. Jumping up, he knocks Jamie in the elbow, knocking the idol off Jamie’s platform and into the mud.
“You little faker!” Jamie exclaims.
“WOW!” calls Jeff. “A huge upset, Marco going on to the final round!”
FINAL- MARINA vs MARCO
“We’re at our Final Round,” Jeff says. “Marina versus Marco. Winner of this round wins reward, loser gets nothing. Survivors ready? Go!”
Marina begins to move quickly as Marco comes scampering forward, her arm out in front of her in a defensive posture. Just as he gets within reach of Marina, he stops and pulls back. Marina reaches foward, anticipating his impact, but misses. Marco grabs her by the wrist and pulls her forward, throwing her balance. Her arm wheels and her idol drops.
“Amazing! Just like that, Marco with another big move to take it all!”
“MARCO! WINS REWARD!”
Jamie bends down as he hugs Marco in congratulations. “You can send me,” he whispers.
The castaways return to the mat, the rain continuing to fall.
“Marco, a job well done,” Jeff says. “Come on over here.”
Marco heads over to the mat, standing proudly as Jeff claps a hand on his shoulder.
“Alright Marco, you’re spending the rest of the day at the Bhadra Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. You’re going to meet a lot of really fantastic animals, enjoy a nice picnic–choose someone to come along.”
Marco nods and smiles, looking over the group. “Get over here, your literal giant homo,” Marco says, pointing to Jamie.
“Me?” Jamie asks.
“No, the other giant homo,” snarks Marco.
“Come on over, giant homo. Er, Jamie,” Jeff says. Jamie walks over and stands at Jeff’s other side.
“Now for the not so fun part. Or maybe the fun part, depending on your outlook,” Jeff says. “Someone else has to go to Exile Island. Who’s that gonna be?”
“Well Jeff…” Marco sighs, looking down, pensively. “I hate to send anyone but it’s gotta be my main mama Irene.”
“It’s fine,” Irene says with a tired smile.
“Irene,” Jeff says, “come take this map. You’ll follow this to Exile Island. You’ll rejoin your Tribe at the start of the next Immunity Challenge. You can head out.” Irene hugs Marco and Jamie goodbye and waves to the group as she heads out.
“Marco, Jamie, you guys hang tight here. As for the rest of you, got nothing for you. Head back to camp.”
Irene looks glum as she passes over the bridge to Exile Island. The river swells with the excess of water from the rain, the rapids surging past with terrifying strength. In the distance, thunder peals.
Irene snatches the clue from the Ganesha statue before huddling under the shelter, which has become built up steadily by each passing exile.
“At least there’s some cover out here,” Irene says to herself. She unfurls the scroll. Lighting strikes ones again.
“I’m here for another whole day, so I’m going to wait out the rain for now and see if there’s a better opportunity to look around,” she says. For the time being, she does nothing more than remove her glasses and curl up into a ball, trying to stay warm.
A jeep pulls up in front of a building on the outskirts of the forest, as the land flattens out into a wide valley. Marco and Jamie ride in the back, excitedly approaching a large, fenced-in facility.
Inside of the building, the guys are greeted by a pair of park rangers.
“Welcome to Bhadra Wildlife Rehabilitation Center,” greets one of the men.
Jamie and Marco follow the man into a fenced area outside, where a few elephants can be seen roaming in the distance. A curious calf comes trotting over, as one of the park rangers reaches into a bucket of fruit to select a piece for the hungry child.
“Many of the young animals here have lost their mothers to poachers,” one ranger explains as an elated Jamie pets down the trunk of the elephant. The curious animal reaches her trunk up and feels along his beard, causing him to giggle. Jamie’s uncharacteristically girlish laugh makes Marco laugh in return.
“Dude, never make that noise again!”
“It tickles!” Jamie objects.
In another area, Madhav leans down in front of a doghouse-like shelter. The rain batters the tin roof overhead. A sloth bear peeks her head out from the enclosure.
“She’s so fluffy!” Jamie gasps.
“She’s got your beard beat, bro,” laughs Jamie.
“Sloth bears are insectivores,” explains Madhav, fishing through his bucket for a bowl of mealworms. “While they can be dangerous to humans if they are threatened, their claws are for breaking open termite mounds and anthills, not for attacking prey animals.” The bear’s long, sticky tongue darts out and laps up the mealworms.
In another area, two other rangers approach carrying a twelve-foot long snake.
“Yo, what the f*ck man, what the actual f*ck!” Marco panics, hiding behind Jamie.
“Relax, you crybaby,” Jamie laughs. “They wouldn’t be bringing him over if he was gonna hurt you. And pythons ain’t poisonous anyway.”
The rangers hand part of the snake to Jamie. After some coaxing, they’re able to get Marco on board as well.
“Holy sh*t, bro,” Marco says. “I can’t believe I’m actually doing this right now!”
“Your girls are gonna be proud, buddy,” Jamie reassures. “Seeing their old man face his fears. Emphasis on the old part.”
“Hey, f*ck you buddy!” laughs Marco.
“Ready for tigers?” ask Madhav as they arrive at an indoor area.
“Yes!” Marco says, his eyes bright.
Two rangers enter with the cubs, who are immediately curious about the new smells in the room.
“I can’t believe we’re doing this,” whispers Jamie, clearly excited.
Jamie sits on the ground, petting one of the curious cubs. The tiger chuffs approvingly.
“Who’s a good widdle baby? Who is the sweetest widdle baby boy?” Jamie coos.
“You should hear yourself,” Marco laughs.
“What?” Jamie says, “how can you not baby talk to a sweet widdle sweetums like the sweetest widdle boy in the whole world?”
“That’s it, Marco. We’re over,” Jamie says, holding a stuffed toy as one of the cubs attacks it. “I’m going to the final 2 with this little guy.”
“Oh, so that’s it then?” Marco says. “You’re just gonna ditch me for a little baby?”
“Yup,” Jamie says. “You can stay here, I’m taking him back to camp.”
After finishing with the cubs, the guys sit down to enjoy a meal.
“Cheers to us and to India, buddy,” Marco toasts. Jamie clinks his water bottle to Marco’s and the two begin to chow down.
“Since it’s just the two of us, we probably should figure out a plan beyond ‘find the idol,’ at least while nobody is around to listen,” Jamie says between bites.
“In total agreement, bro,” says Marco. “I guess the real question is if we can trust the girls still.”
“It’s so hard to know,” Jamie laments. “I mean, I like ‘em both as people, but this isn’t who do you want to hang out with, you know?”
Marco nods. “Honestly bro, do you think we could get Shelby and what’s his name to turn?”
“Gavin?” Jamie confirms. “Yeah right.”
“I mean, I’m just thinking, bro, like… Jordyne’s done to them what she’s done to us, too,” Marco says. “She thinks she can just flip back and forth like it’s no big deal, because there haven’t been any consequences. Why should we all be living in fear of Jordyne of all people?”
Jamie nods in thought as he chews his food. “Shelby might go for it. Gavin, I seriously don’t know. But Shelby’s the brains of that operation anyway. If we get to her, she might be able to get him on board. He’ll never listen to me, I can promise you that.”
“He really has it out for you, huh?” Marco notes.
“I think he’s jealous that I get along with Jordyne” Jamie says. “Maybe if he wants her to respect him a little more, he should look her in the eyes when he talks to her and not in the tits.”
Marco snorts with laughter.
“Hey, who knows?” Marco says. “Maybe if we get rid of Jordyne he’ll get over himself. You guys could become fast friends.”
Jamie laughs. “Can you imagine? Me and Gavin?”
“Maybe he’ll start staring you in the tits,” Marco jokes.
“Everyone stares me in the tits,” Jamie laughs. “That’s eye level on most folks.”
“That’s what they want you to think,” Marco says. “They really just love your titties.”
“Is that so?”
“I’m only friends with you for the titties.”
As the day passes, the rain continues. The Satya Yuga Tribe–minus Irene, still Exiled–huddles together in the shelter, looking out at the graying, swampy landscape while rain pelts their campsite.
“So it turns out that the alien parasites can only create good memories,” Gavin explains, “so they figure out whose real because they all have bad memories about the times they’ve all been horrible to each other. And then they kill off all the parasites. Even Pencilvester.”
“And this is a children’s show?” Shelby asks, horrified.
“No, it’s a cartoon, that doesn’t mean it’s just for kids,” Gavin sighs. “Like you’ve heard of South Park, right?”
Marina gazes down to the other end of the shelter, where Mathieu is seated.
In the sky, the sun peaks through rain clouds. The torrent slows to a mild drizzle.
“It looks like it might let up for a little,” Jordyne smiles. “I have to get out of here, I’m going to go crazy. Jamie, would you mind if we chat for a second?”
“Hm? Oh yeah, sure. I need to stretch my legs,” Jamie replies.
“No!” whines Marco. “You’re my pillow right now, jerk.”
Jamie rolls his eyes as he pushes the snoozing Marco off his shoulder and stands, ready to head off with Jordyne.
Jordyne and Jamie walk in the field, the drizzle coming lightly and sparsely.
“I hope you understand why I couldn’t tell you,” she says, sounding as genuine as possible.
“I do understand,” Jamie says with a sigh. “I’m not happy about it, but I get it.”
“So are we good?” Jordyne asks.
“We have to be, darlin’. I ain’t got much of an option outside of you,” he smiles.
“So right now, we’re thinking Mathieu,” she tells him. “Which like, you guys voted for him last time, so I figured you probably would be down to vote for him this time.”
“I’m not looking to speak for no one but myself, but I personally agree with that,” Jamie says.
“Well I can promise you right now that I speak for Marina. Me and her are in agreement on this. Is Marco on board?”
“I have no idea,” Jamie says. “I mean I have to ask him, I can tell you I certainly think he would be, I have no clue why he wouldn’t.”
In the tiny shelter, Irene reads the bible, hunched over so that it’s pages are protected.
“I can’t believe I’m literally turning to the Bible right now to keep from going crazy,” she laughs. “Which maybe isn’t the best idea, considering that the best known story in here about the rain is the one where God floods the planet and kills almost everything.”
Irene pulls the clue out, which has been tucked into the back of the bible. She reads it aloud.
“Where Asparas cleaves the earth,
Aranyani builds a gate;
And underneath her bell-bound feet,
A golden charm to change your fate.”
Irene approaches the bridge, which is being pounded by the falling rain in the open. The rapids tear past underneath. Irene approaches, carefully holding on to the railings. She holds the arms of her glasses as she peers along the edge, careful to make sure they don’t slip off her face into the raging waters below. Her eyes scan along, the wheels in her head clearly turning. She walks back and forth a few times before appearing to notice something. She drops to her hands and knees and begins to reach through the rope to the underside of the bridge. She moves along systematically, until she reaches the area where the bridge secures on the underside to a tree root jutting out from the island. A look of shock crosses her face as she grabs a parcel, pulling it up from it’s hiding place. Exalted, she collapses on her back, clutching the package to her chest and smiling broadly as the heavens continue to weep.
The sun is once again shining. Shelby is wringing out wet clothing and hanging it over a clothesline, stretched taut across two trees in the path of the beaming sun. In the shelter, Marco massages his swollen knee, a look of obvious discomfort on his face. At the fire, Jordyne strikes the flint uselessly.
“Everything’s just too wet,” she laments. “I guess that’s our own stupid fault for not collecting more wood before the rain.”
“Well that’s a problem,” Marco says. “We really don’t have any more dry wood?”
Jordyne shakes her head.
“And the canned fruit is officially donzo,” she says with a frown. Shelby watches the conversation from the clearing where she’s doing the laundry.
Marina comes walking into camp with the water jug.
“No luck?” she asks, putting the jug down. Jordyne can only shrug.
“Everything’s soaked,” Jordyne says.
“Well then no need to waste your time and energy on this,” Marina says. “How about you come with me and we’ll get the nets? I’m sure that with the rain we got a lot.”
“Yeah, too bad we can’t cook it,” Jordyne says.
“Well, no point in not checking.”
“You guys want an extra set of hands?” Marco asks.
“No! No, we’re fine,” Marina says. “It’s immunity today, rest your knee. I don’t want to beat you for that necklace just because you’re hobbled,” she says with a grin.
“If you say so,” Marco says, laying back down.
“We’re running out of time to decide what we’re going to do,” Marina says, frustrated, as she and Jordyne walk down to the water.
“I think it’s worth the risk,” Jordyne says. “I’d rather get Marco out sooner than later, that gives Jamie more time to get over it.”
“It just reeks of a bad idea to me, Jojo,” Marina says, shaking her head. “I love you dearly, and you know I think you are brilliant, but this idea is not. We have to do something that shows them they can trust us, so they don’t use the idol.”
“You’re making so many assumptions about the idol, though,” Jordyne says. “We don’t know that Irene even has the thing. It’s been raining so f*cking much, do you really think she was running around on a treasure hunt?”
“It’s not raining now,” Marina cautions. “She could be finding it right this second.”
“Even if she does have it, you don’t know that she’d be willing to give it up to Marco or Jamie just because they ask her to. I think you’re getting yourself worked up about a possibility that’s not a probability,” Jordyne says.
“What happened to thinking through the options, Jordyne?” Marina asks.
“Think of it this way. When Gavin wasted his idol? Who did he come running to sniveling right after? You.”
Jordyne says nothing, just averting her eyes.
“If they do happen to drop an idol tonight, and we vote for Mathieu? They’re going to feel so stupid for not trusting us. Then we’ll have them all back in our corner, they won’t have an idol anymore, and we can take out Marco or Jamie next when nobody will see it coming.”
“Sorry for being a control freak, Reens,” Jordyne apologizes.
Down in the woods, Mathieu and Jamie look for firewood.
“Wet,” mumbles Matheiu, throwing down another log.
“Well hey, it’s a big one at least. Let’s bring it up and try to dry it out,” Jamie suggests. “You’re not in a great mood today, huh?”
“You think?” Mathieu spits.
“Sorry, didn’t mean nothin’ by it. You’re just usually in a better mood than this,” Jamie says.
“You have known me for less than a week, Jamie. Please tell me more about the mood I am usually in,” Mathieu grumbles.
“Never mind, never mind,” Jamie concedes. Mathieu sighs and wipes his face with his buff.
“I am sorry,” Mathieu says, clearly drained and unfocused. “It has been a testing time for us all these last few days.”
“I miss her too, for what it’s worth,” Jamie says. “And hey, she’s not dead, right? You’ll see her tonight. We’ve only got twelve more days. You got this.”
“Thank you,” Mathieu says with a smile. “I… It has been a long time for me, since I have met a woman who makes me feel like like Vanessa makes me feel. You have someone you love, yes? I’m sure you understand.”
“That you’re right, I do,” Jamie says somberly.
“I am actually quite glad we have this opportunity right now,” Mathieu says, “because I want to ensure you are as understanding as possible when I tell you what I am about to say.”
“Oh, sure, okay,” Jamie says, curious.
“Vanessa would want us to work with each other, and I want to work with you. With Marco, and Irene as well. Bandar has no stability. Jordyne will continue to betray us when it is convenient for her to do so. You have unity. I would rather be on the side that is united. I have witnessed firsthand the atrocities that insurgency can cause. I know that you have an incredible passion to fight for the underprivileged. We both have a story to tell. A message to share.”
Jamie looks at Mathieu as if he is truly seeing him for the very first time.
“Even in a tiebreaker, I promise you, Jamison, not even then will I go back on my word.”
“Come on in guys!”
The castaways filter into the arena. Individual stations are set up for them each.
“We’ll now bring in Irene, returning from Exile Island.”
Irene comes trekking in, looking worn out. Jamie greets her with a big bear hug.
“I have it,” she whispers in his ear. She delivers the same message to Marco as he hugs her.
“You guys ready to get to today’s challenge?” Jeff asks the group.
“Yeah!” the tribe agrees.
“First thing’s first. Marina, I’ll need to take back the necklace.”
Marina steps over to Jeff, turning to let him unclip the necklace.
“You can have it back, but I’m not gonna make it easy on you,” she jokes.
Jeff removes the necklace and places it back on the statues of Shiva, while Marina returns to the mat.
“Once again, Individual Immunity is back up for grabs,” says Jeff. “For today’s challenge, we’re testing your memory. I am going to show you a series of colored tiles. You’ll repeat that sequence back to me. Get it right, and you stay alive. Get it wrong and you are out. Last person standing wins Individual Immunity, will be safe from the vote at Tribal Council, and is guaranteed a one-in-seven shot at winning this game. As for the losers, one of you will be voted out, become the second member of our jury. Worth playing for?”
“Most definitely!” Gavin replies.
“Alright, we’ll go ahead and draw for spots, and then we’ll get started.
The castaways stand in position, ready to play.
“SURVIVORS READY? GO!”
Jordyne is seen repeating the order under her breath. Jamie’s brow is furrowed in concentration.
“Ready?” Jeff asks. “Place your first color.”
The castaways look through their tiles, each finding and placing the one they believe is correct.
“Everyone says yellow, everyone correct. Next color.”
Once again, everyone finds their tile.
“Once again everyone with the same answer, this time blue is correct, everyone still in, next color.”
“Jordyne thinks it’s green, everyone else has red. Jordyne, sorry that’s incorrect, red was the next color, please have a seat on the bench.”
“What the hell?” Jordyne laughs. “I thought I was gonna do good at this one!”
Everyone places their fourth tile.
“Everyone with green, everyone correct, everyone still in as we start our next sequence.
“Go ahead and place your first color,” Jeff tells the castaways.
“Everyone says red, everyone right. Next color.”
Everyone begins searching through their tiles for the next color. The search time is starting to take longer.
“Twenty seven days of being out here is going to have an impact on your mind,” Jeff warns. “A game for preschoolers can be very difficult after days in the rain.”
Everyone finally places their tiles.
“Everyone with green, everyone correct. Next color.”
The castaways collect and drop.
“Everyone with purple, everyone correct, next color.”
Gavin hems and haws over two pieces. Marina squeezes her eyes shut as she whispers the order to herself, doing her best to remember. Everyone places their colors.
“Almost everyone has put black except Gavin, who has put blue. Gavin, you’re incorrect, that means your out.”
“Oh man!” Gavin groans as he empties his board.
“Next color,” Jeff continues.
Marco looks hesitant as he holds his tile over the top of the chute. He pauses, his lips flickering as he double-checks his choice.
“Marco, Marina, Shelby and Matheiu with blue, Jamie and Irene with Green. Jamie, Irene? I’d love to tell you it’s down to the two of you, but the color was blue. Please reset and join the others on the bench.”
“Exile Brain,” Irene says with a shrug.
“Next color,” Jeff continues. The time it takes for the castaways to pick their color has increased notably. The length of the sequence has increased the difficulty substantially.
“Marco, Marina and Shelby have each chosen green, Mathieu has chosen yellow.” Jeff pauses. “Mathieu… does not win immunity, the answer was green, you’re out, have a seat.”
“Last color,” Jeff asks.
Shelby is sure and expedient with her pick. Marco makes a worried expression as he examines two options. Marina repeats the sequence to herself, and then makes a choice.
“Marina has yellow. Marco and Shelby have blue. Marco and Shelby… are correct. You two will be moving on to the next sequence. Marina, you’re out, please take a seat with the others.”
Marina hangs her head in irritation. “I didn’t want to stop wearing that necklace,” she pouts.
“Alright, it’s down to two, for immunity. Marco, Shelby? Place your first color.”
Both pick with certainty.
“Purple is correct. Next color.”
The tiles click against each other as they fall into place.
“Yellow is correct. Next color.”
Marco’s tiles make an audible sound as he digs through them. Shelby picks quickly and deliberately.
“Marco took a second, but got it right, as did Shelby with red. Next color.”
Marco repeats the sequence to himself, nodding assuredly as he drops his tile.
“Both of you once again have placed red, both of you once again are correct. Next color.”
Marco picks slowly through his tiles. Shelby makes her choice decisively, as she has throughout the whole challenge. Her tile clicks as it lands in place. Marco looks at his two options before nodding to himself. He plays his tile.
“Alright, we have two different colors here, and one of you is, in fact, correct. One of you is not. Marco has blue, Shelby has purple, the correct color is… blue.”
“MARCO! WINS IMMUNITY!”
“Yeah baby!” Marco cheers for himself, clapping loudly. Jamie pumps his arms from the audience in excitement. Marco extends his hand to Shelby as she walks past. She shakes it warmly.
“Well earned,” she says.
“You put up a hell of a fight,” Marco compliments.
The castaways await on the mat, the challenge now concluded.
“Marco, come on over,” Jeff invites. Marco limps towards Jeff, too excited to be particularly bothered by the pain.
“Marco, congratulations,” Jeff says, placing the immunity necklace on him. “You are guaranteed to have three more days here in India. As for one of the rest of you? After 27 days, it’s going to be over. You guys have the afternoon to decide who it’s over for. Grab your stuff, head back to camp. I’ll see you tonight.”
The tribe comes back into camp. Jamie carries Marco like a bride over the threshold, Marco wearing the necklace with pride.
Irene stands in the forest with Jamie and Marco. Jamie peers off in the distance.
“We’re good,” he whispers. Irene nods and reaches into her satchel. She opens the bible and reveals the pendant tucked away between the pages.
“I haven’t gotten to see it up close yet,” Marco marvels.
“Try it on!” Jamie encourages. Irene slips it over her neck.
“Usually the only jewelry I wear has like, spikes or bats on it,” Irene says. “I think I can make an exception for this.”
“Yo, Jamie,” Marco says, excited. “Now all we need is to find you a little piece of jewelry, right? Then we all have something.”
“I think we can make do with what we’ve got,” Jamie says.
“So what’s the plan, anyway?” Irene asks. “I mean, I haven’t been here, you guys have. I’ll follow your lead on this.”
“I think we try and get Shelby on our side,” Jamie says. “Shelby is a reasonable woman. I think if we can make an argument that appeals to her sense of reason, she’ll go with us. And I can’t think of any more reasonable argument than not leaving it up to random chance.”
Shelby picks through kindling in the forest as Jamie and Irene approach her.
“Shelb, can we talk?” Jamie asks.
“I don’t see why not,” Shelby says, putting her logs down for a moment. “What’s up?”
“How would you like to not go home tonight?” Jamie asks.
“Is that the plan?” Shelby asks in return, her tone suddenly becoming serious.
“Not right now, not that I’m aware of,” Jamie says. “But I’m sure you don’t want it to be the plan.” On that note, Irene reaches down the front of her t-shirt, and pulls up the pendant.
“Tonight,” Jamie says, “Before the votes are read, Irene and I are going to play rock-paper-scissors. Winner plays this puppy for themselves.”
Shelby’s eyes narrow. “You’re threatening me.”
“Yeah, basically,” Irene admits.
“Mathieu is with us,” Jamie continues. “You ain’t gonna get him on your side. Best you can hope for is a tie. You really want to pick a rock out of a bag for Jordyne’s sake? When she’s the one who flips back and forth however she pleases? You willing to let yourself go to the jury for her? To let Gavin go out for her?”
“There is a stipulation upon which I will insist,” Shelby continues.
“Fair enough, let’s hear it out,” Jamie says, crossing his arms.
“I cannot promise you my silence. I trust if you were in my position, Jamie, there is someone in this game you would want to let know before you betray them. Someone you deeply care for, perhaps?”
“If you’re insinuatin’ I got some kind of feelings for Marco, Shelby, you’ve got this all wrong,” Jamie says. “I got me a man, and I ain’t no cheater.”
“No, no, of course not,” Shelby says, “I understand that it isn’t romantic. I’m not so small minded as to assume that. My point is that such a bond need not be romantic in order to have a profound impact on an ethical level. That is to say, I have someone who I cannot leave in the dark, and that I hope, from your own perspective, that you can appreciate that.”
“Gavin,” Irene clarifies.
“I’m not leaving him to fend for himself without me,” Shelby says. “I can’t.”
Jamie’s expression tenses.
“If you insist,” he mutters.
As Shelby heads off alone to find her young ally, Irene turns to Jamie.
“Think she’ll be able to convince him?” Irene asks.
“I’m hope so. Maybe for just ten seconds that kid can remember that mother knows best.”
“He said all of that?” Gavin asks, incredulous, as he and Shelby float out on the boat in the river. “I’m not surprised at all,” he sneers, curling his lip in disgust. “That’s why I can’t stand him, Shelby. Everyone acts like Jamie’s this saint but he’s just a big asshole up on his high horse.”
“Jamie,” says Shelby, “is irrelevant here. The specific individuals are not relevant here. Our safety is.”
“I can’t vote out Jordyne,” Gavin whimpers.
“Gavin, dear,” Shelby says, putting a hand on his cheek, “I promise you. There will be other women who will come into your life who have all the vivacity, wit, and allure that draws you to Jordyne. But she does not have those feelings for you in return. You are not going to win her favor by winning her the prize in this game.”
“Why does everyone keep saying that I want her to be my girlfriend?” Gavin lashes. “She’s just a friend, okay, I get that, but I trust her Shelby! I know you don’t trust her but I trust her! Please, please don’t do this!”
“Gavin,” Shelby says, “please just breathe. Stay calm. Think. Don’t talk. Just think.”
The two float in the boat. Gavin twirls his finger in the water. His eyes begin to tear up.
“Fine,” Gavin whispers.
Shelby says nothing in response. She just hugs him.
Marco is continuing to lay in the shelter as Marina approaches him.
“So the gameplan tonight is Mathieu,” she says, sliding in next to him.
“And you’re gonna do what you say this time, right?” Marco asks, raising an eyebrow.
“Scouts honor,” Marina says.
“If you change things up again, I reserve all rights to send you to Exile Island when I win the next reward,” Marco says with a smile.
“When you win again, mhm, sure.”
“What, didn’t anyone tell you? I’m a superhero now,” says Marco.
“Yeah? Which superhero is that, Captain Crybaby?” Marina jokes.
“Spiderman, duh,” Marco says, gesturing to his knee.
“Can’t Spiderman walk?”
“That’s not very open minded of you, Marina. I’m gonna sick Jamie on you to give you a nice, long lecture about the importance of representation for disabled people in comic books.”
“Jamie would probably tell you to say people with disabilities,” Marina points out as she gets up from the shelter. “Mathieu?”
“Mathieu,” Marco confirms as Marina heads off.
The castaways gather their belongings. Marco uses his torch to help him walk.
The Tribe makes their way into Tribal Council, taking their seats as they watch Jeff with nervous anticipation.
“We’ll now bring in the first member of our jury,” Jeff announces. From a door in the back, she emerges.
“Vanessa, voted out at the last Tribal Council,” introduces Jeff as Vanessa enters. Matheiu smiles brightly. She returns his grin and finger waves at group. Jamie dog-whistles at her. Vanessa takes her seat and flips her dreads over her shoulder.
“The jury,” Jeff explains to the castaways, “is only here to observe. They are collecting the information they will need to make a million dollar decision at the end of the game. At the end of tonight, one more of you will be joining Vanessa over here.”
He turns his attention back to the castaways.
“I want to start with you, Marco,” Jeff says. “With all due respect, you’re not looking so hot with your knee bandaged up like that. But in spite of that, you go and win two challenges in a row.”
“Yeah, it’s pretty wild,” Marco agrees. “I mean, look Jeff. If immunity today was the run around in circles challenge I probably wouldn’t be wearing this baby,” he says, gesturing to the necklace. “But that wasn’t the challenge, and that’s what’s making this game so much fun, I think. You don’t know what’s coming next, it could be anything. You can’t count anyone out in these challenges, and that goes for everything else in the game, too. You can’t predict what the weather’s going to be like, you can’t predict how people are going to cast their votes. You just kind of have to roll with the punches and keep from giving up, because you never know when something might go your way.”
“That’s an interesting point, the idea that things could change at any time. Is there anybody here tonight hoping that things will change?”
Jamie boldly raises his hand high in the air. Everyone turns to look at him. Jordyne’s expression is confused. Marina shoots her a look.
“Jamie, your hand shot right up,” Jeff notes.
“Jeff, no point in hiding things. Things here at Tribal Council are usually pretty cagey, nobody wants to put their cards out on the table. But yeah, something’s gotta change around here, because right now you’ve got one person who is holding the rest of the tribe completely hostage. We’re all slaves to Jordyne’s whims, and it ends tonight.”
Jordyne’s jaw drops.
“What the hell, Jamie? Is this a f*cking joke?”
“Darlin’, I think you’re swell, and I’m more than happy to go for margaritas with you when all is said and done. But you flip more than a flapjack in a flip flop. You could run for office with how many promises you make and break.”
“So you’re just going to bring this all up for the first time now?” Jordyne asks, absolutely incredulous.
“You see Jeff, Jordyne’s just playing in the middle. She’s playing both sides and we’re all just sitting around letting her do it. And that means instead of having any consistency at all, we walk in here every damn time having to cross our fingers and hope we’re not the one’s getting the wool pulled over our eyes. So why keep subjecting ourselves to it? Why not just pull the plug on the whole operation?”
“Can I say something?! JEFF?” Jordyne interjects.
“By all means,” Jeff says.
“I have no idea what the f*ck is happening here, I though we’d cleared things up and we were cool, Jamie.”
“We’re cool as far as people go, Jordyne, but this has to happen. This is nothing personal, this is self preservation.”
Vanessa is watching the entire proceedings from the jury with wide eyes. Her hand is in front of her mouth.
“Jeff, I’m not untrustworthy,” Jordyne insists. “In fact, every decision I have made has been about keeping around a network of people that I trust implicitly, and I though Jamie understood that.”
“I don’t see how I’m supposed to understand that when Vanessa’s sitting over there,” Jamie says, gesturing to the jury bench.
“I didn’t make any promises to Vanessa about anything. Have I ever written your name down, Jamie?”
“Not yet, but I don’t know when you might,” Jamie says.
As the two of them talk, Marina turns to Gavin and starts whispering in his ear. Gavin’s expression looks sickly.
“AND,” Jamie says, “If you’re thinking about making tonight that night, I think you should think again. Irene?”
Everyone’s gaze turns to Irene, who reaches into her bag and produces the idol.
“So I found this on Exile Island,” Irene says. Vanessa claps in the jury, a huge smile forming on her face. “And I have no reservations about saying that this is an idol that is for the preservation of the Saap Tribe.”
“What is gonna happen,” Jamie says, “is that when Jeff brings those votes in? Irene and I are gonna play a little game of rock, paper, scissors. Winner plays the idol. So vote for me if you really want to risk it,” Jamie says.
“This is insane,” sighs Marina.
“So Jamie, if I may summarize,” Jeff says, still clearly processing the events, “You’re saying hey, don’t vote for me or Irene, because you’re putting your position in the hands of fate, because the idol might go to either of us.”
“Exactly,” Jamie confirms.
“Marina, you look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“This is totally coming out of left field, Jeff,” Marina says. “Before we left, I thought we were all in agreement on a plan.”
“Well not all of us,” Marco interjects. “Or did you not tell Mathieu you were voting for him?” Vanessa laughs from the jury.
“I didn’t see any reason to, no,” Marina says, glowering. “But that’s not the point, Marco, stop changing the subject! There’s literally no reason for this, Jamie. We can all vote for Mathieu exactly like we planned and we all move on.”
“Mathieu doesn’t,” Irene interjects.
“We didn’t plan anything, Marina,” Jamie says. “You and Jordyne planned it and told the rest of us to go along with it.”
“Yeah Jamie, but you didn’t object. If you wanted to do something else, you could have said something then,” Jordyne says, furious.
“Or I could say something now,” Jamie shrugs. “Which I’m doing.”
“Mathieu,” Jeff says, “now your name is coming up in this. Do you have any idea what’s going on?”
“I am stunned,” Mathieu says bluntly. “But I am very excited by all of the commotion, especially since apparently, the plan otherwise was for me to go home. And I am very excited that Jamie, Irene, Marco, they are all standing up for me. I promised them my loyalty, so to have it in return, that is very promising.”
“Why’d you make that promise, Mathieu?” Jeff asks.
“I trust Vanessa, even when she is no longer in the game,” he says, glancing at her on the jury. She blushes in response. “Therefore I trust the people she trusted. And,” he says, turning to Shelby and Gavin, “I have promised them that I will vote with them to any end, even a tie,” Mathieu says.
“Of course you have,” mutters Jordyne.
“Now you looked over at Shelby and Gavin just now,” Jeff says to Mathieu.
“Yes. I’m speaking directly to them, that is why,” Mathieu says. “If they would like to vote for me, along with Jordyne and Marina, they can do so. But they will only be putting themselves at risk.”
“This is talking about a tiebreaker, correct?” Jeff asks.
“So just to make sure that everyone is aware of the rules, and that we’re all on the same page,” Jeff says, “in the event of a tie between two castaways, there will be a revote. The castaways who are tied will not vote, everyone else will vote for one of the two of them. If after that, the votes are still tied, then it will be up to the group to come to a unanimous consensus as to which of the two will leave. If a consensus cannot be reached, the castaways who are tied will become immune. The player who has immunity, in this case, it would be Marco, would also be immune. The other players will all then draw a rock at random from a bag. The person who draws a different colored rock is out. Does everyone understand?”
All the castways nod.
“So what that means,” Jeff continues, “is that if a tie cannot be resolved, the decision goes out of your hands. How do you feel about this possibility, Shelby?”
“I think it’s a terribly stupid decision to make, if I can be frank,” Shelby says. “Why leave anything to chance when you have the power, the agency to make a decision and preserve your own position in the game. If you pull the wrong rock, you lose. Any decision that results in a loss is the wrong decision, I think that’s painfully obvious.”
“In other words,” Jeff says, “this pitch is working on you.”
“I don’t have much of a choice,” Shelby says plainly. “They’re lining up their defenses to force Jordyne out, and it’s smart on their behalf to do so.”
“No!” Gavin says suddenly. “Not no that it’s not smart, no that we don’t have a choice. There’s still a choice to make here, okay Jamie?” Jamie turns his attention to Gavin, confused.
“It wasn’t Jordyne’s idea, it’s not her fault,” Gavin says. “Marina is the one who came up with getting rid of Vanessa. If you want revenge you’re taking it out on the wrong person.”
“What the hell Gavin? That’s not even close to true!” Marina says, enraged and flustered.
“I’m not lying, okay?” Gavin pleads. “Jordyne wanted to stick with you guys and vote out Mathieu last time, I swear to god! Marina convinced her, not the other way around!” Marco and Irene whisper frantically to one another as Gavin speaks. “She’s the biggest threat here. Not Mathieu, not Jamie. She’s been kicking ass in the challenges, she’s smart, she’s friends with everyone and we’re all just letting her fly under the radar! So if you want to get rid of the real threat to your game, then make the right decision!”
“Marina, care to…?” Jeff offers.
“Yeah, I care to! I don’t know what the hell Gavin is pulling right now, what the hell did I ever do to you?” she asks.
“You got all of us to make a really dumb decision, that’s what,” Gavin says.
“Jordyne, agree with Gavin? Marina should bear the responsibility for Vanessa’s elimination?” Jeff asks.
“I, uh, I mean… We’re an alliance, Jeff, we talk things through together, so it’s not like it was just her decision alone, it wouldn’t have worked if Gavin and uh, Shelby and I didn’t agree to it…”
“But you agreed to it, meaning it was or wasn’t your idea?” Jeff presses.
“It…. no comment,” Jordyne pouts.
“Jamie, I swear to you, okay?” Gavin begs. “Look, I know we don’t really get along but if you just listen to the truth I’ll owe you one, big time, okay?”
“Personally, I don’t see much of a difference,” Marco says snidely. “It’s not like Jordyne’s the only one who lied to us, Marina lied too.”
“Oh my god, this can’t be happening,” Marina seethes. “Don’t make a stupid mistake, guys. It’s a game, okay? Everything we’re doing is to win a game, it’s not so personal!”
“This isn’t personal, though,” Marco says. “Just because it’s swinging at you all of a sudden doesn’t make it personal.”
“Please, Shelby. Gavin,” Marina begs.“Don’t do this. I’ll do whatever you want, I promise, please.”
Shelby can only sigh. “I’m not drawing a rock. Not for anyone.” Jordyne is in tears.
“Can we vote, Jeff?” Jamie asks pointedly.
“Unless anyone else has anything they’d like to say,” Jeff responds. Jordyne and Marina hug tightly.
“I don’t know what else I can say,” Marina admits.
“Alright then. Marco has individual immunity. Marco, if you’d like to you can–”
“–I’m gonna just cut you off, Jeff, my friend,” Marco says. “I would not like to, I want to keep this for myself, thank you very, very much.”
“That’s more than fair. You cannot vote for Marco, everyone else is fair game. Jordyne, you’re up first.”
With tears in her eyes, Jordyne approaches the booth and casts her vote.
“I’ll go tally the votes,” Jeff says, heading off to get the urn. Marina and Jordyne squeeze each other’s hands tightly. Gavin focuses on the space behind him, looking away from the flame. Vanessa watches, rapt with attention. Jeff returns with the votes, and places the urn in front of him.
“Once the votes are read, the decision is final. The person voted out will be asked to leave the Tribal Council area immediately.”
“Jeff, wait!” Irene calls. She and Jamie turn to each other, hands at the ready.
“Rock, paper, scissors, shoot!” they say at the same time. Jamie throws rock; Irene, paper.
“It’s mine,” Irene says. “And I’m keeping it.” She tucks the idol back in her shirt. Jeff nods and grins.
“I’ll read the votes.”
“First vote: Mathieu.”
“Mathieu, that’s two.”
“Marina, that’s two votes Marina, two votes Mathieu.”
“Marina. That’s three votes Marina, two votes Mathieu.”
“That’s four votes Marina, two votes Mathieu. Two votes left.”
“The ninth person voted out of Survivor: India and the second member of our jury, Marina. That’s enough votes, the last vote will remain a mystery. Marina, I need you to bring me your torch.”
“Jesus Chriiist,” Marina moans, standing up. She and Jordyne share one final hug.
“You guys are crazy. Every last one of you,” Marina says as she brings her torch to Jeff.
“Marina, the tribe has spoken.” He snuffs her torch.
“Yes, they have. Loud and clear,” Marina says. Without looking back, she departs into the night. Jordyne’s head hangs low. Marco and Jamie share a high five.
“Survival in the jungle has required a lot of different skills from you guys,” Jeff says. “The most important skill of them all, however, may be flexibility. Tribal Council has never been more alive, and I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens next. You guys can grab your stuff and head back to camp. Goodnight.”
Seven remain. Who will be the next to go?