PREVIOUSLY ON… SURVIVOR!
Sixteen Americans began the adventure of a lifetime when they volunteered to become castaways, exiled and forced to survive in the Siberian taiga. They were divided into two tribes, Koryok and Yenisei, and they couldn’t have had more opposite starts.
On Yenisei, Vince’s engineering experience helped the tribe to construct an excellent shelter; while pastor Zeke emerged as a guiding force, with the tribe quickly unifying under his leadership. Some castaways began to unify a little more closely than others–the tribe observed a visible attraction between their youngest members–dancer Adele and stuntman Huang. While the tribe was mostly working well and coming together, Mandy expressed privately that she was unsure about Zeke’s outspokenness in regards to religion, having trouble reconciling her own non-religious beliefs with his.
On the other end of the spectrum, Koryok floundered from the start, struggling to come to a consensus as a tribe on what supplies to bring. Things turned around quickly for them when Everett elected Maurice to lead the tribe, hoping to put a target on the shy farmer’s back. Everett made it clear his intention was to take control of the game by setting Maurice up for failure and deposing him as leader. He quickly went to work roping numerous castaways into an alliance with him. While Naomi was eager to work with Everett, Sheena was hesitant.
At the first immunity challenge, Yenisei walked away with the win and the Immunity Idol, sending Koryok to the first Tribal Council of the season. Initially, it appeared that Hannah and Tallulah were being considered as the weakest links, but Everett sought to turn the tables on Maurice by dividing and conquering. Unwilling to turn her back on the tribe’s soft-spoken leader, Tallulah revealed Everett’s deceptions to Maurice. They turned to Sheena and Nick, and the four of them worked together to make the first tribal council an explosive one when they blindsided Everett, sending him home first.
Fifteen remain–who will be the next to go?
The sound of chirping insects punctuates the darkness of the Siberian night. In the distance, flames appear as the Koryok camp returns to their campsite. Leading the procession is Sheena, a content smile on her face as she places her torch.
“Now that was just awesome!” she says, turning to Nick and laughing.
“Right?” Nick responds. They high five in celebration.
“Well, since we got the flint now,” Maurice says, “should I try and get a fire started?”
“That would be wonderful, Maurice, thank you,” says Naomi. “Maybe once that’s done we can sit as a tribe and talk about what just happened.”
Maurice strikes the flint a few times, and the spark catches the tinder, allowing him to start finally building a flame. As he builds the fire, Naomi stands with Sheena and Nick, arms crossed.
“So what exactly happened?” Naomi asks. “It’s obvious from your reaction you saw this coming,” she says to Sheena.
“Uh, what happened is that your boy Everett had his fingers in too many pies for our liking,” Sheena responds. “He was trying to pit everyone against each other. I mean, you voted with him, Naomi. It’s not like you didn’t know what he was up to.”
“I would have been happy to vote for him with you,” Naomi says. “Why didn’t you tell me the vote was turning on him?” She asks Nick.
“I wanted to, but to me it just seemed like the two of you were pretty close. I already didn’t trust him and we couldn’t risk word getting back to him,” Nick explains. “It was not at all about leaving you out, specifically.”
“But… it’s only Day 3,” Naomi says with a sigh. “I haven’t known Everett for any longer than anyone else. I wasn’t so attached to him that I’d have tried to save him.”
“Well super, we know that now going forward,” Sheena says with a smirk. Naomi’s face tenses, as she clearly tries to withhold her annoyance.
As Sheena takes a spot by the fire, Nick and Naomi continue to talk.
“I hope you can respect the position I’m in,” Naomi tells Nick. “Not being on the side with the numbers, it’s nerve-wracking.”
“Yeah, nothing but respect,” Nick says, trying his best to comfort her. “Look, it’s like you just said, it’s only Day 3. There’s still plenty of time for things to change. I doubt this vote is going to matter in the long run.”
“I sure hope so,” sighs Naomi.
“She respects my opinion,” Nick says, gesturing to Sheena. “I’ll get her on your side, I just need time.”
As the morning comes, Teddy watches the sunrise from atop the cliffside.
“I couldn’t sleep,” he says to no one in particular. “So I thought if I’m up anyway, I’d come up here and watch the sun rise.” He exhales heavily. He takes his glasses off and wipes at his eyes.
In Teddy’s arms, he holds a well-worn stuffed tiger. He clutches the animal to his chest, watching with tears in his eyes as the sun paints the sky in brilliant morning hues.
“I should get back,” Teddy says, once again to himself. “I’ve got to get to work on these people.”
Sheena stretches and yawns as she walks over to the campfire, where Tallulah is beginning to boil the buckwheat. Maurice places some sticks on the fire. In the shelter, Nick and Naomi are still wrapped up in each other. Hannah sleeps on the other side of them both.
“Hey, morning,” Sheena greets, pulling her hood up over her head.
“Mornin’,” Maurice greets in return.
“I’m so glad you guys are up,” Sheena whispers to them both. Tallulah nods, her eyes narrowing as she scans the shelter, making sure the others are still sleeping.
“I mean, we can talk more later when there’s a little more privacy,” Sheena continues. “But I think that the four of us? We should keep that a thing. I think we make a really, really good group.”
“I agree,” whispers Tallulah. Maurice nods and gives a thumbs up.
“It just feels like a natural fit, you know?” Sheena says.
“Have you talked with Nick yet?” Maurice asks.
“No,” Sheena admits, “but I can’t imagine he wouldn’t be on board. I’ll talk to him at some point.”
“Let me do it,” Tallulah says. “I’d like the chance to let him know I take the commitment seriously.”
Tallulah and Nick walk together along the riverbank.
“I told Sheena that I love the idea, and I’m telling you the same thing,” Tallulah says. “Y’all are around my children’s ages, so it’s a lot like being back with my family.”
“It’s funny you say that,” Nick says. “It reminds me a lot of my family too. Lots of big personalities in one place.”
“You come from a big family?” Tallulah asks.
“Yeah, youngest of four kids,” he laughs.
“I have five,” Tallulah says. “Did you kids give your Mama hell too?” she laughs.
“I mean, I did,” Nick laughs. “She, uh… I mean, she hates all of this,” he says, gesturing to his tattoos. “My parents are both very, very Greek. So like, they grew up really involved in the Greek community, and that’s kind of what they know and love. And I was this kid who always wanted to branch out beyond that… so I was kind of not what they expected,” he says. “But I know at the end of the day, she does love me. I just… frustrate her,” he laughs.
“People who love each other do that sometimes,” Tallulah says, chuckling softly as if she’s remembering something cherished. “It’s a good lesson for a game like this one, isn’t it? Sometimes people might make you upset, or confused… but at the end of the day, they’re still going to be there for you through thick and thin.”
“Yeah,” Nick says, thinking. “I’m so glad you’re bringing all this up. I couldn’t agree more. This alliance makes total sense, Tallulah Mae. Oh man, I’m really getting excited now.”
The sound of a knife clacking against wood can be heard over and over. Sitting on a beautifully crafted bench, Vince whittles away at a block of wood. In the ring shaped shelter, Zeke, Adele and Huang laze and chat, while Charlotte works in a beautifully designed kitchen area, slicing a melon with a large knife.
“Whatcha think?” Vince says, revealing his carving to the others.
“Is that supposed to be a Barbie doll?” Huang laughs.
“What? No, it’s Jesus!” Vince says, somewhat defensively, before he then busts into laughter. “I guess I gave him some pretty big titties to be our lord and savior though!” His raucous, loud cackle echoes through the area.
“Vincent!” Charlotte chastises. “Watch your language, sir!” She then sees the carving and can’t help but laugh herself.
Farther out in the meadow, Gunnar prepares to take a swing with his golf club.. Vince’s uproarious laugh causes Gunnar to swing and miss. He curses in response.
“I wonder what’s so funny over there?” Gunnar wonders aloud.
“Seriously, Uncle Vinnie,” Zeke says. “Y’all don’t gotta be doing all this for me, it’s too much. Save y’all energy, we still got a challenge coming up today, don’t forget.”
“And like I’ve told you, Rev,” Vince says, “I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do. Seriously, if you find a way to stop me from doing what I’m gonna do, you let my wife know, she’ll pay you real good! BWA-HA-HA-HA!” he cackles. The others laugh as well.
“Well, think of it this way, Reverend,” Charlotte says, coming over to hand melon slices out to the boys. “It’s like you tell me, we all have a role in our little community here. Your role is as our spiritual leader, and you can better serve all of us if we have a place to worship. The chapel will be for all of us,” she says before taking a bite of her own food.
“Yeah, but… come on, we ain’t need a little carved Jesus statue. Especially not that,” Zeke says, pointing to Vince’s carving, which once again causes everyone to start giggling.
“Zeke. Uncle Vinnie wants to do something nice for you,” Charlotte says. “So let him.”
Zeke nods in understanding. “Duly noted,” he tells her.
“There, that’s a little better,” Vince says, showing the freshly carved figurine of Jesus to the others. “Jesus got himself a breast reduction.”
“You’re a man with a lot of skills, Uncle Vinnie,” Zeke says, “but remind me not to come to you if I ever need plastic surgery.” Everyone once again is taken by laughter.
On the other end of the ring shaped shelter, Mandy lies, trying to nap, but clearly unable to do so with all the noise. She exhales sharply in frustration.
“Mandy?” Charlotte asks sweetly. “I know you’re resting right now, but I’ve cut up a melon if you’d like some.”
“Thanks, Charlotte,” Mandy says, graciously accepting the slice. “That’s nice of you, to prep and serve it.”
“It’s second nature,” Charlotte says. “You know how us mothers are, after all,” she smiles.
“Yup,” Mandy says awkwardly.
“Mandy, where’s you buddy?” Charlotte asks.
“Olivia?” Mandy asks. “No clue.”
“I hope she comes back to camp soon,” Charlotte frets. “I want her to eat today, we can’t have anyone going into the challenge hungry.”
“I’ll find her,” Mandy says, pulling herself out of the shelter. “Gets me out of here for a little anyway,” she mutters to herself.
Down at the riverside, Olivia perches on the balls of her feet as she puts a tiny eyedropper into the water, pulling up a sample. She heads back to a rocky outcropping, where she has left the box kit for her microscope. She takes a glass slide from the kit and carefully drops the water onto it, gingerly placing a slide cover over the top.
Olivia proceeds to attack a small pen light to the handheld microscope, which she turns on before putting the slide into the device.
Mandy joins Olivia over at the rocky outcropping, taking a seat on the rock next to her.
“Anything interesting going on in there?” Mandy asks.
“Oh yeah, very interesting,” Olivia says. “There are pathogens in the water that turn people into zombies.”
“Oh, that explains it then,” Mandy laughs.
“Here, take a look,” Olivia offers, handing Mandy the microscope.
“Oh, there’s something moving in here, Liv!” Mandy says, handing the microscope back to Olivia.
“Think it’s an intelligent life form?” Olivia asks sarcastically.
“It would be a first around this camp,” Mandy snarks. The women both laugh. “Oh, right. I came down here because Charlotte wants you to come and eat.”
“Well, Charlotte,” Olivia says, “isn’t my mother, so I’ll come up when I feel like it.”
“Now that isn’t very Christly of you, Olivia,” Mandy says, taking a sip from her canteen. “Do I need to tattle on you to the Rev?”
Olivia snorts derisively. “The last thing I need today is a second sermon,” she says.
As the two women sit chatting on the rock, they are interrupted by the sound of approaching feet. Mandy puts her fingers to her lips to indicate quiet, and the two cut their volume and change the subject. From the edge of the woods, Huang and Adele appear, Huang helping Adele to walk as she keeps pressure off her right foot.
“Hey ladies!” Adele greets cheerily. “Don’t mind me, just coming to try and ice off my foot.”
“Do what you’ve gotta do,” Olivia says. “We’re going to be heading back up in a bit anyway. I heard Charlotte’s got some breakfast on the table.”
“Yeah, she’s great isn’t she?” Adele says as Huang helps her to sit. She takes her shoe off and dips her foot in the cold current.
“Oh, that’s so much better,” Adele sighs. “Though it’s a little uncomfortable sitting on these rocks.”
“Here,” Huang offers, unzipping his jacket. He folds it to make a cushion and goes to place it under Adele. “Scootch that cute little butt up for me, will you?” he whispers in her ear. She giggles girlishly as she lifts herself up. Huang slides the folded jacket under her, copping a feel along the way. Adele smacks him playfully.
“Staaawp, Huang!” she giggles.
“Stop what?” he says. Over on the rocky outcropping, Mandy and Olivia share a look.
“Should I massage your feet?” Huang asks.
“Oh yeah. That would really help,” she says, lifting her foot out of the water. Huang starts gently rubbing along the sole of her foot as Adele leans back, eyes closed.
“Oh yeah. That feels amazing,” she moans. “Further up, under the ball of my foot,” she instructs. “Oh yeah, thaaaaat’s the spot. Uhhhh yaaaah. Ooy yah. Yah. YAH. Unggggghhhhhh!!!!!!!!! That’s it. Huang, that feels so good.”
Olivia’s eyes widen in shock, while Mandy covers her mouth to stifle a giggle.
Olivia and Mandy head up through the forest as they return to the camp.
“She’s too f*cking much,” Mandy says, exasperated.
“It felt like it was about to get National Geographic, if you know what I mean,” Olivia says. “Like, who grunts and groans like that getting a foot rub?”
“Right?” Mandy says. “Like, girl… that’s not your G-Spot, calm down,” she laughs.
The two come into the campsite, where the rest of the tribe, sans Huang and Adele, are gathered.
“Perfect timing,” Gunnar says. “We’ve got tree mail,” he says, holding up a rolled parchment.
“Well, what does it say?” asks Mandy.
“In this race to the finish, you’ll need to stay on track;
Build with precision, and aim your attack;
Sling your shots right and earn yourself the power
To banish your hunger for another few hours.”
“Sounds like food!” Mandy says excitedly, taking the scroll from Gunnar so she can read the note for herself.
“Come on in, guys!”
Yenisei is the first to enter the challenge arena where two lanes of logs create a course. In the middle are piles of fresh melons. At the end of each course are short stands with large targets standing atop them. Yenisei takes their spot at the mat, and places their flag while Koryok makes their entry. The Yenisei’s are all watching carefully, observing to see who is no longer in the game.
“Yenisei, getting your first look at the new Koryok Tribe,” Jeff says. “Everett voted out at the first Tribal Council.”
“Wow,” mouths Zeke to Vince.
“Didn’t see that coming,” Mandy says to Olivia.
Koryok takes their place on the mat, barely paying attention to Yenisei’s reactions.
“You guys ready to get to your first reward challenge?” Jeff asks.
“Yeah we are!” cheers Maurice.
“Alright, here’s how it works,” Jeff says. “Three members of each tribe will start off by assembling puzzle pieces into a wagon. Two other members of the tribe will then fill your wagon with melons, and then role that wagon across the course to a bin, where they will unload the melons. The three puzzle solvers will then disassemble the wagon and reassemble it as a large slingshot. Once the slingshot is assembled, the remaining two tribe members will take turns using the sling to fire the melons at the targets. The first tribe to knock down all six targets wins reward. Wanna know what you’re playing for?”
“Oh yes we do baby, yes we do!” Vince cheers.
“Today, you are playing for food,” Jeff says, “Firstly, the winning tribe will take home all the unused melons from today’s challenge.”
“Oh my god!” gasps Teddy. “Yes please!”
“But that’s just part of it,” Jeff continues. “In addition, the winner of the challenge… will win the right to make a choice.” On either side of Jeff is a covered table. He removes the cover on his right to reveal fishing gear.
“Your first option–fishing gear. You have line, tackle, lures, hooks, two nets, and you will also find a boat waiting for you back at camp. Figure out how to use these tools and where is best to use them, your tribe could be feasting on fish, just like the hunters and gatherers have in Siberia for centuries.
Jeff then reveals the other prize, a bowl of eggs and a jug of milk.
“Or, if you decide fishing isn’t quite your thing, you can take a different approach, and try to raise your food. In addition to the eggs and milk you see here, you will find four chickens and four goats waiting for you back at camp. If you are patient and smart as caretakers, these animals could provide you with renewable resources, just like pastoralists have done in Siberia for centuries. Now, there is a bit of a twist to this–whichever reward you don’t choose will go automatically to the other tribe.”
“What?” Vince balks.
“Didn’t see that coming,” whispers Sheena to Nick.
“Lastly,” Jeff continues, “the winning tribe will also win the right to send one member of the losing tribe to Exile Island.”
There are shocked faces and whispers from the contestants.
“That’s right, Exile Island is back,” Jeff says. “And just as in our previous season, whoever is exiled will receive the clue to the location of the Hidden Immunity Idol. Worth playing for?”
“Yeah!” cheers Naomi.
“Yenisei, you’ve got one extra person, you’ll need to sit someone out. Remember, the same person cannot sit out in back to back challenges. Who will it be?” Jeff asks.
Adele raises her hand. “I’m gonna rest for this one, Jeff.”
“Alright, Adele is sitting out, you can take a seat on the bench. As for the rest of you, I’ll give you a moment to strategize and then we’ll go ahead and get started,” Jeff says.
Adele sits on the bench, watching as the players prepare to begin the challenge.
“Starting off as our builders,” Jeff announces, “we have Tallulah, Naomi, and Hannah for Koryok; Vince, Charlotte and Olivia.”
“SURVIVORS READY? GO!”
The first six castaways run out onto the course, where the pieces of the wagon wait on a wooden platform.
“Oh great, these wheels are puzzles too,” Olivia says as she arrives, beginning to sort through the pieces. Vince meanwhile grabs the large base piece of the wagon, dragging it out of the pile.
“Char, find me the sides for this,” Vince says.
“Already on it,” Charlotte confirms, grabbing the longest plank and pulling it out.
“Olivia working on the wheels for Yenisei while Charlotte and Vince focus on the body of that wagon,” Jeff observes. “Koryok taking a different approach, all working together on the wheels first.”
“Look here,” Tallulah instructs to the two younger women on her team. “The axles for the wheels are different shapes. Look for the inside edges of the pieces for the wheels, that’s how they line up. So this,” she says, taking one of the partial cirlce pieces, “goes with this and this… a triangle in the middle, see?”
“On the triangle axle,” Naomi notes, grabbing the correct axle as Hannah and Tallulah assemble the other wheels.
“I thought Axel was the singer of Guns and Roses,” Hannah muses.
“There we go, baby, there we go,” Vince says, pounding the last piece of the wagon’s body in. “Char, get over here and help me flip this. We’ll get this upside down and then get the wheels on.”
“One, two, three!” Charlotte counts, as she and Vince flip the structure. Meanwhile, Hannah and Naomi assemble the body for Koryok as Tallulah puts the last axle into the last wheel.
“You’re not that far behind guys,” Maurice assures.
“Vince, starting to attach the wheels for Yenisei, but not all the wheels are finished,” Jeff notes. Charlotte joins Olivia as she works to help finish assembling the wheels.
“Flip it over,” Naomi orders to Hannah. The two of them flip the now completed body, and Naomi lifts the sling mechanism that will double as the handles for the wagon, placing it in position. With the wheels already completed, Tallulah starts using pinning the wheels in place.
“Koryok with their wagon complete first!” Jeff says. “Now to get it to the next station.”
“One, two, three!” counts Tallulah, as the women flip the now finished wagon back onto the wheels. They push the wagon forward to the next mat where Maurice and Nick wait.
“Nick and Maurice now up for Koryok!” Jeff calls as the guys begin to push their wagon towards the course. The path for the wagon is lined with striped black and white logs. Some logs jet out into the course, making it almost like a maze. The guys manage to push their wagon forward quickly, but steer off course, crashing their wagon before they are even able to enter.
“That wagon is harder than it looks to steer,” Jeff comments as Maurice frustratedly pushes the cart backwards. Nick pulls the handles so Maurice can then pull the wagon into the course. At this point, Yenisei has finished their wagon, and has just gotten it to Gunnar and Zeke.
“Gunnar and Zeke now off for Yenisei!”
“Don’t f*ck it up like they did,” Gunnar warns. The two move a little less quickly, but more accurately, gliding through the entrance.
“Come on Nicky,” Maurice says, “to the left.”
“Got it,” Nick says, pushing hard on the steering handles. Maurice and Nick proceed to push past their last obstacle in the first section, arriving at the pile of melons, which they quickly start stacking into the wagon. Maurice, with huge hands, is able to grab one melon at a time in each.
“It’s just like being back on the farm, huh Maury?” laughs Sheena from the sides.
“Come on guys!” Adele cheers from the Yenisei side. “You can still catch up!”
Zeke and Gunnar make it through the other side of the course and begin loading their melons as well. They move as quickly as they can, but it’s clear that Maurice is a huge advantage for Yenisei.
“That’s it, Nicky, come on!” Maurice says, placing the last of his melons. Nick grabs the handles and Maurice begins to pull as Koryok maintains their lead.
“There’s still plenty of time to catch up, boys,” Vince says, “don’t panic!”
“I wasn’t going to panic,” Gunnar says. “Why, do you think I should?”
“Now isn’t the time for witty banter!” Mandy chastises.
Meanwhile, Nick winces as he once again crashes the cart. A melon jostles and roles out. Maurice sighs as he runs to grab it.
“Sorry dude!” Nick says.
“We’re still ahead,” Maurice responds as he puts the melon back. “Come on!” he says, giving the cart a huge pull.
With their wagon now full as well, Yenisei is able to follow Koryok into the second half of the course. Despite crashing a few times, Maurice and Nick are now closer to the end of the obstacle section. Tallulah, Hannah and Naomi have run to meet them at the next mat.
“Come on, you’re doing great!” Naomi cheers.
“Maurice and Nick are through for Koryok!” Jeff notes. The guys manage to place their wagon on the next mat, and proceed to work rapidly to unload all the melons. As Maurice is removing the last few, Zeke and Gunnar manage to arrive following a relatively smooth run through the obstacles.
“That’s it,” Nick says, placing the last melon. “Jeff, are we good?”
“You’re good! Go, Koryok!” Jeff confirms.
“Alright, the chassis is going to be the base of the platform, “Tallulah says, “and the sling will be perched on that, so let’s get these wheels off ladies!”
“What’s a chassis?” Hannah asks.
As Gunnar and Zeke get the last of the melons out, Vince, Charlotte and Olivia rush in to flip their cart and start re-assembling it. By this point, however, Tallulah has lead the reconstruction of Koryok’s slingshot successfully.
“Koryok, you’re good to start shooting!” Jeff tells them. “It’s now on Sheena and Teddy for Koryok!”
Teddy grabs a melon and steps up first. He loads the melon into the sling, positioning his feet against the footholds, and pulls back, his forehead creasing as he tries to focus his aim. He released the sling and stumbles backwards a little, his shot barely missing his target.
“It’s alright, you just have to get a feel for it!” Tallulah encourages as Sheena steps up to take her shot. Like Teddy, she misses.
“Don’t waste too many of those, shots guys!” Nick says. “We wanna have something to bring back!”
“Oh shut up Nick!” Sheena groans.
After a few more missed shots from Teddy and Sheena, Vince has finished leading Charlotte and Olivia in building the slingshot.
“You’re good, Yenisei! Huang and Mandy, you’re up!” Jeff tells them.
With a nod, Huang grabs a melon and rushes into action. He pulls back the high tension sling with ease, releasing the melon with huge power. It sails forward and explodes in a shower of green and orange as it splatters against the first target for Yenisei, officially putting them in the lead.
“Huang! First one to hit a target!” Jeff calls. “Yenisei now in the lead for the first time this challenge, can Koryok catch up?”
Mandy whiffs her first hit, and quickly jumps off, allowing Huang on again. Expertly, he fires his second shot, obliterating the second target.
“Huang with two!” Jeff calls.
“Yeah baby!” cheers Adele. “You’ve got this Huang!”
Teddy grimaces as he once again fires, finally hitting a target.
“Thatta boy!” claps Maurice.
“Koryok now on the board!” Jeff calls.
Huang misses his next shot, as does Mandy. Sheena has a near miss. With each launched melon, more and more debris begins to scatter across the game field.
“Look at all that wasted food,” Nick sighs.
Huang grunts forcefully as he fires and nails his third target. Sheena goes and hits her second.
“Sheena with a hit for Koryok,” Jeff notes, “but Yenisei still in the lead!”
“Come on Yenisei!” cheers Olivia.
Huang launches another shot, and the whole tribe cheers loudly at another connection.
“That’s four for Huang on Yenisei!” Jeff calls. “Huang’s making this look easy.”
“Slow down and focus,” Sheena tells Teddy as he takes his next shot. “Panicking won’t do us any good.”
“I’m not panicking!” Teddy panics. He fires another melon, and it’s another miss.
Mandy fires and connects.
“Mandy now on the board!” Jeff says. “Yenisei has only one more target!” he announces as Huang runs up to take his next shot.
“It’s over,” Naomi sighs, looking dejected.
Huang fires and makes the hit. The rind of the melon showers down as the last blue and indigo target falls.
“YENISEI! WINS REWARD!”
Huang and Mandy high five while Adele cheers from the sit-out bench.
“YES! YES!” cries an elated Zeke as he and Charlotte hug. “God is good, baby! God is good!”
“God didn’t do sh*t,” mutters an annoyed Nick to Sheena.
“Ugh, right?” Sheena groans in response.
After Yenisei has finished celebrating, the tribes return to their mats to face Jeff.
“Congratulations Yenisei, you guys did great,” Jeff commends, “and Huang, you really got it done, my man.”
Yenisei all claps for their tribe’s hero, who can only shrug in response.
“What can I say, Jeff? I’m a badass,” Huang grins.
“As the winners of this challenge,” Jeff continues, “you’ll get to take the remaining melons back to camp with you. In addition, you get to choose the second half of your reward. Now keep in mind, whichever one you don’t choose between the livestock and the fishing equipment will go to the Koryok Tribe, so keep that in mind when making your choice.”
“Well Jeffy,” Vince says, “I’ll tell you what. Our friend over there, Cowboy? I’m sure he’d love to get some farm animals over on that tribe, but you know what? In Seventy-Nine, Jeff, me and some buddies were on a little adventure and we ended up breaking down outside of a farm. They said we could spend the night if we helped out the next day, and before you know it Jeff I was there for six months! So Uncle Vinnie, he’s gonna take them kids for these kids and we’re getting our cheese on.”
“So that’s the goats, then, Uncle Vinnie?” Jeff asks.
“Of course I want the goats stupid! Didn’t you listen to a thing I just said?” Vince bark-laughs.
“Alright then,” Jeff says, taking the eggs and milk over to the Yenisei mat, where he hands them off to Charlotte and Gunnar. “You guys will find your goats and chickens waiting for you back at camp. As for Koryok, you will get this,” Jeff says, handing the supplies to Sheena and Naomi. “You will find your boat waiting back at your camp. Now, for one last order of business–Yenisei. You’re sending one member of Koryok to Exile Island. Who is it going to be?”
“Well, Jeff, we have to play smart,” Mandy says, “and hit our opponents while they’re down, and we need to go after one of their best people. So it’s gonna be Maurice.”
Maurice nods, accepting his fate. Tallulah rubs up and down his back.
“Maurice, that means you’ll be the first castaway exiled here in Siberia. Surprised that it’s you?”
“Not really,” Maurice says. “I’m the biggest guy on our team, so it figures they, you know, wanna try and make me weaker before the next challenge. But I’m okay with it. I’m up for the challenge.”
“Well, for your sake, I’m glad to hear that,” Jeff says. “This map is for you. You will follow this to Exile Island, and that’s where you will remain until the next challenge. You can start heading out.”
“Good luck, Maurice,” Sheena says, giving him a hug.
“We believe in you,” Hannah tells him.
“I’ll be fine, promise,” Maurice says. He adjusts his hat before heading off.
“Alright, as for the rest of you,” Jeff says, “you can grab your stuff, head back to camp.”
With rewards and flags in hand, the castaway gather their things and head out.
Maurice wanders across the barren steppe, holding his hat to keep it from being snatched by the wind. In the distance stands an Ovoo, a Mongol shrine made of piled stones. A flagpole stands in the center of the Ovoo, streamers of prayer flags pulling out in every direction.
Maurice arrives at the Ovoo, where two closed boxes sit. Atop is a scroll, which Maurice opens and reads.
“’Welcome to Exile Island,’ he reads, ‘a place you have been sent as punishment for your failures.’ Well ain’t that friendly,” he chuckles. “Here you will remain until the next challenge your Tribe faces. However, even in Exile, you’ll find silver linings. Before you is a choice. In the chest to your left is a clue to the location of a Hidden Immunity Idol. This idol can grant you protection from the vote. However, if you are feeling bold, you may take the object in the chest to your right–a buff from the Yenisei Tribe. When you return for the next challenge, you will return as a member of their tribe. Choose Wisely, and Good Luck.’ Well. Gosh. That’s uh… wow.”
Maurice opens the box on the left, and removes the scroll inside. He unfolds it and reads the clue.
“You’ve chosen well, for this cryptic clue
Could ward away the vote from you;
But you won’t find it on these plains,
Search once you are home again.”
“Well. Uh. Wow,” Maurice says, scratching his head. “That’s… unexpected.”
As the sky begins to darken, Maurice successfully starts a fire. He huddles next to it as he watches the setting sun.
From his bag, Maurice produces a blue ribbon. “This is my blue ribbon from the County Fair Agricultural Show last year,” he says, showing the ribbon to the camera. “I won best in show for vegetables with my squash. I’m sure Sheena’s got dozens of these from all her judo tournaments… I know to some folk it might not seem like much, but it’s what I’ve got and I’m proud of it. I brought it with me because it reminds me of what I can accomplish, so… I’m just trying to stay strong.” Maurice goes quiet, clearly trying to keep himself from crying. “I’m just so homesick,” he says finally, his voice cracking. “But I’m out here for a reason, so… I’m just gonna have to stay strong.”
In the meadow near the Yenisei camp, a herd of four goats graze aimlessly, wandering as they much through swaths of grass. The bells tied around each of their necks jingle as they move. Vince heads out towards them, Charlotte and Zeke in tow.
Armed with a bucket, Vince crouches down next to a white goat with black cow-like spots.
“This one is Face,” Vince says, patting the goat on the rump. “And that’s Murdock, B.A., and Hannibal,” he says, pointing at each of the other goats.
“You can’t name them after the A Team!” Charlotte chastises. “They’re ladies!”
“You just want to name them after the Mrs. Americans,” Vince says, dismissively waving a hand at Charlotte.
“They already have names,” Charlotte says, pointing to the goat’s bell.
“What?” Vince responds. Perplexed, he looks closely at the goat’s bell. Sure enough, a name is written on it: “Идол.”
“Oh, come on lady, like you can really f*cking read this?” Vince groans. “It’s probably just the name of whoever manufactured the bell. Betcha it’s product placement,”
“Mind your mouth, Vince!” Charlotte reprimands. “And they all have different ones, so I think they’re names,” she says, checking the bell on another goat.
“Well if we can’t read the names, then we don’t know the names, so that means I’m picking new ones!” Vince proclaims. “Now Rev, get over here. Uncle Vinnie’s gonna teach you to milk a goat.”
“Oh boy,” Zeke laughs. “Dear Lord Jesus, please, please don’t let this animal kick at me,” he says, crouching down next to Vince.
“You’ll be fine, Rev. I promise. Getting kicked hurts, but not as bad as getting married!” Vince cackles as he places the bucket under Face’s udders. “Char, you comfortable holding her in place?”
“How?” Charlotte asks.
“Come over here,” Vince beckons. “Get her back legs, just like this, right over the knee,” he demonstrates on the left hind leg, guiding Charlotte’s hand into the same position on the right.
“Now Rev, it’s all OK, literally,” Vince says, making the “OK” hand symbol. “This is what you wanna do,” he explains. “Get that pointer and the thumb up right on the based of the teat, there you go. Get that grip nice and tight. Now start squeezing down and out with your other fingers, like this.” Vince demonstrates, taking one of Face’s teats in his hand. With a gentle tug, milk shoots in a stream down into the pail.
“Here goes nothing,” Zeke sighs, tentatively reaching underneath the goat. “Oh my word, this is… ahaha!” He pulls his hand back, laughing. “Oh man, that’s too weird. You do it, Uncle Vinnie. I’ll watch.”
“Come on, don’t be a big baby Rev!” Vince says, slapping the younger man on the back heartily.
“How about you do the first one, so he can watch?” Charlotte suggests.
“Fine, fine,” Vince sighs. “Get off them goat titties, Rev. Respect your elder and let Uncle Vinnie get another squeeze.”
“You’re disgusting,” Charlotte groans, shaking her head as she walks away.
As Charlotte arrives back at the camp, Mandy and Olivia are whispering to each other in the shelter. When Olivia notices, her voice drops. Charlotte pretends not to notice.
“We’ve got milk, everyone!” Announced Zeke proudly as he and Vince return to camp with a full pail. Zeke is smiling proudly, and Vince is clearly proud as well.
“Oh yeah!” Adele cheers from her seat next to the fire. She’s lying on Huang’s lap, where he plays with her hair. Gunnar sits with them, looking bored and a little offended. It’s unclear if he’s reacting to Huang and Adele, or if it’s just his face.
“I’ll bring it to you guys,” Zeke says. “No need to get up on that foot of yours. We’re gonna need you strong tomorrow baby girl,” he encourages. He puts the pail down on the kitchen table, when Olivia gets up and approaches him.
“Hey, so uh, Zeke…” Olivia says.
“Yeah, what’s up Liv?” says Zeke.
“Olivia,” she corrects. “And uh, okay, so this is kind of a weird question… but do you think anyone would mind if I looked at the milk?”
Zeke stares, clearly confused and a little worried.
“I mean, you do you, I don’t see why you need to ask me though…”
“Oh my god! I’m so sorry. I meant like, look at under my microscope. There’s just, uh, you know, only so many things to sample out here,” she says.
“Uh, don’t see why not? Just take it from your own glass. It’s your serving, it’s yours to do what you want with. No need to ask me for permission,” he says with a warm, genuine smile. He puts a friendly hand on her shoulder.
“Please, don’t touch me?” Olivia asks.
“Oh, my bad, my bad,” Zeke apologizes.
The tribe sits around the fire with their milk glasses filled.
“Lord,” Zeke begins, “thank you on this day for blessing our tribe with the clarity of mind, fortitude of body and strength of soul to succeed in the challenge as a team. Thank you for the rewards that you have given us, for the food we are about to enjoy, and the camaraderie to further strengthen this tribe. Amen,” he concludes.
“Amen,” echoes the rest of the tribe, sans Mandy, who just nervously looks downwards.
“Cheers,” Vince says, “To Yenisei!”
Glasses clink as the tribe drinks.
“Oh my god,” groans Adele, “this is the best milk I’ve everrr had! Uuuuggggh!”
“Really?” Gunnar says, making a face.
“I’m with you, my man,” Zeke says, pointing to Gunnar. “It’s… I mean, it’s rich. It’s food. It’s better than nothing, but… I mean, the best?”
“You must not be used to goat milk,” Adele says, still reclining on Huang. She takes up a whole bench to herself. “It’s really easy to get it in LA. A lot of celebrities are really into like, alternative medicine and stuff, so a lot love goat milk.”
“Oh, do they?” Gunnar asks, totally sarcastically.
“Yeah, you’d be surprised. A lot of them swear by it. It’s supposed to have, like, healing powers or whatever?”
Mindy snorts in disbelief. Olivia tries to stifle a giggle.
“What?” Adele says. “It’s true.”
“There isn’t any kind of milk with healing powers, that’s… that’s ridiculous,” Mandy says. “Health benefits, yes, but not healing powers.”
“Maybe that’s what you meant, Addy,” Huang offers kindly.
“I mean, I’m pretty sure I’m right,” Adele shrugs.
Olivia sits in the shelter, excitedly looking under her microscope.
“I do not need to know what is swimming around in the milk I just drank,” Charlotte tuts from over at the kitchen table, where she stands next to Zeke, whispering in his ear.
“Huang, I have to peeeeee,” Adele moans. “Can you give me a hand?”
“Sure, babe,” Huang says, standing up. He puts his arm around her as he helps her to hop on one foot towards the forest.
Huang and Adele walk through the woods together, Huang continuing to brace Adele against himself.
“You’ve been a godsend, Huang,” she says. “I didn’t think this old injury would start acting up again, it’s so embarrassing.”
“You have nothing to be embarrassed about, Addy! It’s not like you can control it,” Huang reassures. “Sometimes people get hurt and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
“You don’t think anyone is going to try and vote me out because of this, do you?” Adele asks, worried.
“I think it’s still to early for people to be thinking about that,” Huang says. “We haven’t lost anything yet. And if people are talking about it, well… it’s not going to be to me.”
“Yeah, that’s true,” Adele muses.
The water boils over the fire pit as Tallulah stirs the contents of the pot. Nick sits by the fire, watching, still clearly somewhat sleepy. Naomi comes up behind him, having emerged from the shelter, and takes a seat on the log next to him. She wraps her arm around him and rests her head on his shoulder.
“That’s nice of you,” Nick flirts.
“It’s cold,” Naomi giggles. “I want to stay warm too.”
“Could someone please get me the other water jug?” Tallulah asks carefully, noting the moment.
“Oh yeah, sure thing,” Nick says, snapping out of his daze. “Do you want me to go down to the water and fill it, or…?”
“It should already be full,” Tallulah says. “But thank you.”
Nick gets up, leaving Naomi looking somewhat annoyed.
Meanwhile, down at the river, the tribe’s newly received boat floats out in the deeper parts of the waterway. The morning air is still misty, reducing visibility. In the boat, Teddy sits alone, waffling over his choice of tackle.
Holding one of the weighted fish-shaped lures, Teddy struggles to correctly knot the lure.
“Okay, so we’re running into some early trouble here,” he laughs, “but I can figure it out. I hope.”
The camera focuses in on the eye of the lure, the line looped through and tied over and over in disorganized knots.
“Better than nothing,” Teddy laughs, pulling the rod back over his shoulder. “Here goes nothing. Big Daddy’s Big Fishin’ Adventure, take one.”
Teddy flicks the rod forward to cast the line. The line and lure don’t lift high enough, and the hooks of the lure instead catch in Teddy’s hair. Teddy swears in shock.
“Alright. Okay then. I mean to do that,” he laughs, trying to detangle the hook from his hair.
Up at the camp, Tallulah and Sheena mill about around the fire while Hannah lounges still in the shelter.
“Y’all!” calls Teddy’s voice from the forest. “I got some good news for y’all!”
“Is it the challenge?” calls Sheena.
“Better,” Teddy says, clearly excited. He comes jogging into the clearing, holding the fishing line. At the end of the line, hooked still on the lure, is one small greyling.
“I caught a fish!” Teddy beams, excited.
“Oh my god!” Sheena exclaims, her eyes going wide.
“Teddy!” Tallulah says. “That’s amazing. You’re the first one!”
“I know it’s not much,” Teddy says, “and I would have stayed and tried to get another… but I can’t figure out how to get him off the hook!”
“I’ll take care of that,” Tallulah says. “But this is a great start, Teddy. Every little bit counts.” She takes the fish and line from Teddy and begins to unhook the fish.
As the tiny little fish cooks on a stick over the fire, Naomi comes back into camp, a scroll in hand.
“We’ve got Tree Mail, Koryok!” she announces. With the tribe gathered around, she unfurls the scroll and reads it aloud:
“Step into the ring and prepare to fight
If you wish to stay safe tonight.
When push comes to shove, show your stuff
Fail and this evening your torch could be snuffed.”
“Sounds like it’s going to be something where we’re fighting,” Sheena says, a massive smile coming across her face.
“Ready to kick some ass?” Nick asks her.
“Who, me? Never,” Sheena jokes.
Nick holds a wooden board up in front of him, the front and back of which are coated in a red foam casing. Sheena stands facing him in a fighting stance. She exhales, focusing herself, before leaping into the air and delivering a spin kick straight to the center of the board. It cracks along the pre-made seam in the center and splits, Nick stumbling backwards somewhat from the impact. Sheena lands with grace and bows, the others in the tribe applauding from the sidelines.
“Come on in, guys!”
Yenisei and Koryok make their way into the challenge arena. In the low valley wetlands, the water seeps up through the soil, blades of grass peeking up through the mud. An octogonal platform awaits the castaways, with bleachers on either side. Zeke and Maurice place their respective tribe flags as the castaways stand, anxiously awaiting the challenge ahead.
“You guys ready to get to today’s immunity challenge?” Jeff asks the group. The castaways respond with cheers and murmurs of agreement.
“First things first,” Jeff says, “I’ll need to take back the Immunity Idol.” Charlotte sighs and relents, heading over to Jeff with the Shaman’s drum in hand. “Immunity, back up for grabs,” Jeff says as he takes the idol and places it back on its platform.
“For today’s challenge,” he continues, “you’ll square off one-on one–sumo style. Using padded bags, you will push your opponent out of the ring and into the mud. The last player standing will earn a point for their tribe. Two rules–you must have both hands on your bag when you are attacking with it; and you can only attack using your bags, so no kicking! The first tribe to earn four points will win the challenge and win Immunity, meaning three more days of Survivor for your tribe. Losing tribe will join me tonight at Tribal Council where you will vote the second person out of this game. Yenisei, you have one extra member, because this challenge requires each tribe to have the same number of men and women, you will need to sit out a man.”
“I’d rather watch the pro wrestling, Jeff, than be in the ring!” laughs Vine.
“Vince going to sit this one out,” Jeff confirms. “As for the rest of you, I’ll give you a moment to strategize and decide on your matchups; then we’ll go ahead and get started.”
Sitting on their bleachers, Yenisei huddles together, discussing who they will go against.
“Donkey Huang,” Zeke says, “you good to take on Cowboy?”
“I was born ready baby,” Huang says with a confident smirk.
“Who’s going to take on Sheena?” asks Gunnar.
“That’s gonna be our Satellite Sister here, Miss Adele,” Zeke says, clapping Adele on the shoulder.
“What? No, I don’t think that’s what we should do,” Adele says, shaking her head.
“Are you kidding?” Mandy asks, almost offended.
“Come on, Addy. You’re the only girl here who’s tough enough to match her,” Huang encourages.
“Yeah,” Mandy agrees. “Not to put myself down, or anything but like, I’m just being realistic–Sheena’s a beast. You’re the strongest woman on the tribe, Addy. It’s like how Huang has to go against Maurice.”
“No, I know, I get that,” Adele says, clearly a little defensive. “But with my foot like it is right now, there is literally zero chance I can do it!”
“So what are you suggesting?” Gunnar asks.
“Charlotte should do it,” Adele says.
“You’re joking, right?” Charlotte laughs. “Me? Against her? She’ll whip the pants off me, Addy!”
“She’ll beat any of us,” Adele says. “It doesn’t matter who we put up against her, so we should just put our worst person up–no offense, Charlotte. Then put me up against someone like Granny and it’s an automatic point.”
“Addy,” Huang tells her, “I believe you can do it, okay? Please? We need you to try. I need you to try.”
“I don’t think it’s the right call to make,” Adele says.
“Well I’m not going against Sheena,” Charlotte says, “that’s ridiculous.”
“Yenisei!” calls Jeff. “You ready?”
Everyone turns to look at Adele. “Fine,” she sighs.
“We good to go, Jeff baby!” Zeke calls back.
With the matches decided, the castaways take their spots in the stands. The first players for each tribe step up.
“Alright,” Jeff begins, smiling in excitement. “First matchup. We’ve got Hannah for Koryok taking on Olivia for Yenisei.”
“SURVIVORS READY? GO!”
Olivia and Hannah stand facing each other on the platform, each with their hands looped into the handles on a large padded bag–Hannah’s white, Olivia’s blue.
Olivia makes the first move, rushing forward. Hannah braces for the impact and stumbles a few steps backwards when Olivia hits, squeaking slightly as she slips. She manages to regain her footing, and gets herself into a defensive position. Olivia rears back and slams forward again. Hannah is better prepared this time, and braces the hit well. Starting to get into the feel of the competition, Hannah makes an attack of her own. Olivia blocks her well.
“Yeah! Now get her!” cheers Huang from the stands.
Hannah pushes back against Olivia as Olivia tries to nudge Hannah closer and closer to the edge. Hannah begins to push to the right in an attempt to get away, but Olivia takes the moment to pull away from Hannah. Hannah stumbles slightly, while Olivia rushes her again. This time the impact is enough to send Hannah stumbling off the edge.
“Aieek!” Hannah yelps as she stumbles into the mud. She manages to keep her footing, at the very least, but is clearly not happy to be dirty, nor to have lost. She tosses her bag back on the platform where Olivia stands, exhilarated.
“Hannah is out! Olivia scores the first point for Yenisei, giving them the early lead!” Jeff calls.
“Yeah!” encourages Vince as the Yeniseis cheer and applaud. Maurice stands and gives Hannah a welcoming hug. “You tried your best, scout,” he says as he hugs her.
“I thought I could beat her,” Hannah frowns.
“Next up, we have Zeke for Yenisei and Nick for Koryok!”
Both guys have taken off their shirts, not wanting to dirty them in the event of hitting the mud. Both men are covered in tattoos, the full scale of the body art showing as they face each other. On Nick’s chest sits the image of two skulls locked in a passionate kiss, flames wreathed around them. In the same spot on Zeke are the cross signing hands of Mary, cradling the Sacred Heart, it’s own flames snaking up Zeke’s throat.
Without warning, both men surge forward, crashing like bighorns in combat. Zeke leans all the force he can muster from his lithe body into Nick, Nick grunting as he resists.
“Wow, a BIG collision, right off the bat!” Jeff notes, shocked.
Nick angles himself upward, pushing Zeke’s arms up and out of the way. He strikes again at Zeke’s chest, knocking the pastor onto his back. Nick drops to his knees to push Zeke, but Zeke is far enough of away that he is able to get himself onto his hands and knees. Nick rams into him once again, while Zeke does his best to resist.
“We believe in you, Zeke!” shouts Charlotte.
Zeke pushes his back up against Nick and is able to shove Nick far enough that he can get back on his feet. He retreats, hoping to gain some momentum, giving Nick a chance to scramble back and do the same. They lock eyes and begin circling one another, both breathing heavily.
Nick charges, and knocks Zeke back significantly. As much as Zeke attempts to deflect the incoming hits, he eventually loses steam. With a well placed blow, Nick sends Zeke toppling backwards into the mud.
“Zeke is down! Nick scores for Koryok!” Jeff calls.
“YEAH!” Nick roars, throwing his bag down in triumph. “YEAH!”
“That’s right Nicky, you show ‘em!” cheers Naomi.
“Guess God wasn’t on your side today, Rev!” Nick taunts. Charlotte shoots him a dirty look. Nick returns to his tribe, where Teddy greats him eagerly with a high-five.
“Koryok, it’s your turn to put up,” Jeff announces.
“Might as well get it out of the way,” sighs Tallulah as she stands up.
“You’ve got nothing to worry about Mama,” Sheena says, giving Tallulah’s hand a reassuring squeeze.
“Tallulah is up for Koryok,” Jeff notes. “Yenisei, who will challenge her?”
Adele and Charlotte look at each other.
“You go,” Adele says, defeated.
“I’ll be going, Jeff,” Charlotte announces, raising her hand as she stands, heading up towards the ring. As the rounds have passed, more and more mud has began to cover the platform.
“It’s Tallulah for Koryok up against Charlotte for Yenisei,” Jeff announces. “Ready? Go!”
The women circle each other, both starting cautiously. With her nerve gathered, Charlotte is the first one to take the offensive. She rushes in, but Tallulah is able to match her. Both women draw back and Tallulah strikes low, catching Charlotte off guard. Charlotte toddles backwards, lamely dropping off the edge when she’s unable to regain her footing.
“Just like that, Charlotte is down, Tallulah scores for Koryok, putting them in the lead, 2 to 1!” Jeff calls.
“Hey, it’s alright Char!” Vince says, hugging Charlotte as she returns. Zeke pats her on the shoulder caringly.
“You did your best, that’s all that any of us can ask,” Zeke tells her. Behind them on the bleachers, Adele glares.
“For Yenisei,” Jeff continues, “we have Gunnar! For Koryok, it’s Teddy! Ready? Go!”
Teddy lunges forward, catching Gunnar on the side of his shoulder, knocking him back, but Gunnar is able to recover, spinning to once again face Teddy, allowing him to block better as Teddy makes his next strike.
“Stay on him Teddy!” Sheena yells from the sidelines.
Teddy once again plows into Gunnar, causing Gunnar to topple. Gunnar quickly works to right himself as Teddy comes in for the kill, trying to push Gunnar off the edge while he’s downed. Gunnar hunkers down hard, pushing into the ground with all his might as Teddy tries to move him.
“FINISH HIM TED!” Maurice cheers.
Suddenly, Gunnar lifts his bag and makes a push for Teddy’s legs, causing Teddy to lose traction as he slips backwards on the mud slicked platform. Off balance, it gives both guys an opportunity to get back on their feet. Gunnar flicks his mud-streaked hair out of his face, and charges. Teddy is off as well, trying to outrun Gunnar and get around to his backside.
“Gunnar has Teddy on the run now!” Jeff observes.
Gunnar forces his bag down at an angle, trying to get over Teddy’s bag and strike a blow to his upper chest. Teddy stumbles as he lunges at Gunnar, but catches himself. The two bat at each other unsuccessfully, managing to block each other’s blows.
“This match up is going nowhere!” Jeff calls. “Neither Gunnar or Teddy is giving an inch!”
Both guys are clearly starting to lose steam. Gunnar takes the moment and goes low, catching Teddy at his waist. With a huge, forceful push, Teddy once again goes backwards. Gunnar rears back and strikes before Teddy can regain his footing, and the father loses his bag as his hands wheel wildly when he falls from the platform. The Yenisei Tribe goes wild in the stands.
“Gunnar takes Teddy down!” Jeff calls. “He scores for Yenisei!”
“You kicked some f*cking ass out there!” Vince bellows as Gunnar runs back to his elated tribe, winded but charged by the victory. Charlotte gives him a congratulatory hug while Teddy slogs back to his tribe.
“You put up a hell of a fight, Ted,” Nick tries to assure him.
“It wasn’t enough,” Teddy sighs.
“We’re tied,” Jeff announces, “two points each. We’ve got Naomi and Mandy, each hoping to be the one to break that tie for their team. Ready? Go!”
The women charge at each other. With her height, Naomi is able to get her bag over Mandy’s, striking against her upper chest and face while Mandy strikes at Naomi’s midsection. The blow from the taller woman takes Mandy off balance, and she wheels back as Naomi comes in from the top again, trying to take Mandy to her knees. Mandy runs as fast as she can, building up momentum as she and Naomi crash into each other with huge force.
“YEAH NAOMI!” Nick cheers from the stand.
Naomi grimaces as she fights against Mandy. As Mandy pulls back to prepare her next strike, Naomi throws her bag over Mandy’s head, hooking her around the back of the head with the edge of her bag, and begins to turn, spinning Mandy off balance. Mandy stumbles towards the edge, and Naomi chases after her. Mandy prepares for the impact, crouching low, going for Naomi’s feet as Naomi goes for Mandy’s head yet again. Mandy is able to send Naomi sprawling, forcing both women to their knees as they again clash against each other.
“Don’t give up Mand!” hollers Olivia. “Get mean!”
Mandy has managed to push Naomi towards the edge, Naomi now on her back trying to fight back on her feet. Mandy raises her arms high, swinging down sideways, blugeoning Naomi in the head. Instinctively, Naomi pulls one hand off the bag, struggling to make her escape.
“COME ON!” roars Vince. “KNOCK HER OUT!”
“GET HER MANDY!” screams Zeke.
With the next hit, Naomi appears to almost go off the edge, her leg tipping over, but she doesn’t touch the mud. Now seated, she pushes off the platform with her bag, wheeling her legs back on, sliding across the platform.
“Naomi with a great save!” Jeff observes.
“THAT’S MY GIRL!” Nick roars.
Suddenly, Naomi is behind Mandy, putting the army veteran closer to the edge. Mandy stands to face Naomi, but instead of standing, Naomi stays low and lunges forward, catching Mandy at the base of her legs and feet. Knocked off balance, Mandy can only flail as she tips off into the mud.
“Naomi scores for Koryok, puts them in the lead!” Jeff calls.
Naomi wipes the mud off of her face as Koryok erupts in celebration. Mandy looks absolutely furious as she returns to her tribe, while Nick embraces Naomi in a huge hug, lifting her off the ground and spinning her around.
“This should be a good one,” Jeff says with a smile. “For Koryok, we have Maurice. For Yenisei, we have Huang.”
The two biggest castaways stand at opposite ends of the platform, crouched in position. Huang’s eyes glimmer with hunger. Maurice is focused, his usually kind expression replaced with laser like intensity.
Like a speeding truck, Huang barrels forward, spit all but flying from his mouth with a war cry. Maurice surges ahead to collide with him, causing them to both slide backwards from the massive force of the collision. The guys both recover quickly, and begin trading heavy blows. Both tribes are now cheering wildly. The guy’s huge muscles flex under the strain of combat.
“WHOOP HIS ASS!” Adele screams.
Huang launches, knocking Maurice hard. The mud causes Maurice to slip, and he stumbles onto his back. He tries to get up, but Huang hammers him, causing him to roll and slide in the mud, unable to find his footing.
“Maurice is slipping and sliding, trying to stay alive!” Jeff notes.
Maurice plants his bag and gets enough traction to leap to his feet, going straight into a low attack on Huang. This knocks Huang back far enough that Maurice can get in another hit. The guys are now both back towards the center, with Huang the one now nearing closer to the edge.
“THAT’S IT MAURY!” Tallulah cheers.
Maurice charges at Huang, but Huang sidesteps, turning to strike at Maurice’s back, Maurice trying his best to turn and block the hit, but he’s not fast enough this time. Huang pounds against Maurice’s back, forcing him onto his hands and knees. Unrelenting, Huang begins pushing against the farmer from the side, trying his best to roll him off balance.
“GO GO GO!” Gunnar cheers.
With a final shove, Huang rolls Maurice off the edge, sending Maurice splattering into the mud below. Exuberant in victory, he tosses his bag into the air and beats his chest like a gorilla, roaring upwards at the sky.
“DON-KEY HUANG! DON-KEY HUANG!” Vince chants, the rest of the Yenisei joining in as Huang raises his arms to the sky. He strikes a bodybuilder pose, flexing his impressive physique.
“Get off the stage, prettyboy!” Sheena taunts. Teddy greets Maurice with a high five and a hug as Maurice wanders back. Tallulah strokes his shoulder reassuringly.
“Huang ties it up!” Jeff calls. “Yenisei is at three, Koryok is at three!”
“This is it,” Jeff says. “We’re all tied up–the winner of this round wins the challenge for their tribe. We’ve got Sheena for Koryok taking on Adele for Yenisei.”
“Woo! Yeah Sheena!” Nick cheers.
“You’ve got her, babe!” Huang calls.
“For Immunity, Survivors ready? Go!”
Sheena immediately crouches low on her left let, her right leg staying extended forward. She pushes up off her back leg, carrying the momentum forward to her front leg, springing off and forward into the air, sailing through the sky almost like a rocket, colliding with Adele while still totally airborne.
“AHHH!” Adele yelps in complete shock as she collapses straight onto her back, her right leg crumpling as she tries to put pressure on it.
Sheena rolls backwards and jumps to her feet, while Adele struggles to her knees, wincing in pain. Adele tries to charge low, but Sheena leaps over her head, landing in another roll and jump to her feet.
“Who’s the show off now!?” Huang taunts.
“YEAH SHEENA!” cheers Hannah, jumping up and down in excitement.
Adele charges and Sheena deftly sidesteps her, Adele stumbling past Sheena so that Sheena has an open shot at the dancer’s back. Sheena pulls her arms back and strikes low, sending Adele falling flat on her face, her upper body teetering over the edge. With another shove, she falls, dropping head-first into the mud.
“KORYOK! WINS IMMUNITY!”
“YEAH!” cheers Nick as Koryok rushes the platform. He grabs Sheena in a huge hug, followed by Maurice, and the guys hoist her up on their shoulders, lifting her up in celebration. Sheena pumps her fist in the sky, broadly smiling. She turns to the dejected Yenisei side, where Huang is helping Adele hobble out of the mud. She blows them a kiss and winks. Vince flips her off.
“I told you I couldn’t take her,” Adele whispers to Huang.
“You tried though, right?” Huang says, trying to lift her spirits.
With the challenge over, the two tribes return to their mats, significantly muddier than they were before.
“Koryok, you struggled with the first two, but today was your day,” Jeff says with a smile. “Immunity is going home with you.” Sheena steps forward to accept the idol from Jeff. The rest of the tribe puts a hand on it as she returns.
“Congratulations Koryok, you guys have the night off. You all have three more days here in the beautiful Siberian wilderness. You guys can gather your stuff and head back to camp.”
As the elated Koryok makes their departure, Jeff turns his attention to Yenisei.
“Yenisei, what can I say? You guys did great on the first few challenges and today was no exception, you put up a close fight,” Jeff tells them. “But close isn’t enough. I’ll see you guys tonight at Tribal Council, where you’ll vote the second person out of this game. You have the rest of the day to decide who that person is going to be. Gather your stuff, and head out. I’ll see you tonight.”
With a curt nod, Zeke takes the tribe flag as the team heads out, Huang carrying Adele like a bride over the threshold. Her face is coated in mud, save for the tracks from her eyes where tears have clearly run.
There is a slight drizzle as the castaways return to the Yenisei Camp.
“Y’all, I just want to apologize,” Zeke says to the group, “for not doing better today. That could have been a winning point for us, and I didn’t pull it off. This one’s on me.”
“It’s no more on you than it is on me,” Charlotte says, giving him a reassuring hug. “Four of us needed to win our rounds and only three of us did. There are three people feeling the same weight of responsibility, Zeke.”
“Exactly,” Gunnar agrees. “Don’t put this on yourself, that’s noble but it’s not necessary.”
“Well I’m going to wash off,” says Mandy, “while it’s still warm enough to get in the water.
“Yeah, good gameplan,” agrees Gunnar.
Down at the river, Gunnar and Mandy rinse themselves clean, scraping the mud from their bodies. A little further over, Huang helps Adele do the same.
“So… I hate to be the one to bring it up,” Mandy says, “but hey, we have to start talking about it, might as well do it when we have some privacy. What is everyone thinking about tonight?”
“I’m curious about that too,” Gunnar says.
“Well, what are you thinking, Mandy?” Huang asks.
Mandy shrugs. “I don’t really have a firm idea, I guess I was just trying to see if anyone else had a direction they felt like, you know, really strongly about going in,” she says, making a fist to emphasize ‘strongly.’
“If you had to vote right now,” Gunnar asks, “what would you do?”
“Probably Uncle Vinnie,” Mandy says, looking apologetic. “He’s a great guy, he’s just, you know, fifty-seven. He’s not in great shape. It’s kind of the easy vote, but…” she trails off.
“Yeah, that’s kind of what I was thinking too,” Adele agrees. “Him or Charlotte, honestly she’s not much better than him. Like, she got her ass kicked by the granny on the other tribe today. That shouldn’t have been a challenge for her, and it was.”
“Vinnie is good to have around camp, that’s the thing,” Huang says. “He does so much around here that no one else can do. Charlotte does a lot too, but like, the stuff she does–”
“It could be done by anyone,” Mandy interjects. “I see where you’re coming from. Gunnar?”
“Yeah. I don’t have strong preferences either way, Charlotte sounds good.”
“What have you heard people say?” Zeke whispers to Gunnar as they talk together, Zeke leaning against the kitchen table.
“The girls want Adele,” Gunnar whispers in return. “Huang, obviously not, he and Addy want Charlotte.” Zeke nods in understanding. “I mean… I know which one I’d prefer,” Gunnar continues.
“That’s a tough call, bro,” Zeke says, shaking his head. “Man… I don’t know about this.”
“I’m just worried that Addy’s foot… that it’s not going to get better,” Gunnar says. “Not only does it make her weak in the challenges, it’s not fair to her. That’s not going to get better with her competing on it for our sake, you know?”
“That’s a great point, man, great point,” Zeke says, wheels clearly turning.
“So my name hasn’t come up?” Olivia asks Mandy and Gunnar, shocked. The trio stand clustered in the forest, whispering.
“Not that I’ve heard, but honey I don’t think they’d tell me that,” Mandy says.
“I mean, unless I’m being lied to, your name hasn’t come up,” Gunnar says, “but Addy and Charlotte’s have.”
“Whew,” Olivia says, processing. “So that kind of puts us in the middle, huh?”
“You’ve got it,” Mandy says with a smile.
“I mean… wow. Thinking about it, I guess I’d say Charlotte,” Olivia says.
“Charlotte,” Mandy repeats, looking kind of unsure.
“You want Addy?” Olivia asks.
“Well, on one hand…” Gunnar begins.
“Here’s what I’m worried about,” Mandy says, “is that no matter who we vote out, there will be four people left. If the four people, whoever they are, decide to get together, then we’re outnumbered. So I’m mostly concerned with how do we make sure we’re safest moving forward,”
“And you think that’s with Huang?” Olivia interjects.
“More so than with the cult,” Mandy says.
“But if we get rid of Adele,” Olivia says, “Huang won’t want to work with the people who did that.”
“He won’t have a choice if everyone else is in on it,” Gunnar says.
A flock of geese makes it’s way across a sky that is flooding with the oranges and pinks of sunset. At the farthest edge of the camp, a latticed archway has been constructed by Vince, striking wildflowers woven along the top of it’s pointed peak. Underneath, Zeke stands, facing the tribe, who sit along logs as he reads aloud from the bible.
“And tonight, Lord,” Zeke says, the bible now closed as he prays aloud, “please grant us the love our families, both at home and here in Siberia. Wonderful Lord, help us to keep it in the forefront of our minds that no matter what happens tonight, we are a family and we will remain a family, and grant us the ability to openly and fully love one another as family does. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.”
“Amen,” the tribe echoes.
Bags in hand, the color begins to drain from the sky, and as night falls, the Yenisei tribe makes their way to Tribal Council.
There is a chill in the cloudless night sky, stars peering from all directions down at the lone ruin sitting amidts the endless grassland. In the darkness, the Yenisei Tribe approaches the ominous church, the candlelight from within glittering through the windows. Within the building, Jeff Probst awaits.
“Behind each of you is a torch,” Jeff explains. “Grab a torch and approach the flame. Dip it in and get fire.”
Yenisei takes their torches and lights them. Vince’s eyes widen as he lifts his flame. Olivia looks nervous as she places her torch.
“This is part of the ritual of Tribal Council, because in this game, fire represents your life,” Jeff continues. “When your fire is gone, so are you.”
With the Yenisei Tribe now seated, Jeff takes his seat as well, coyly smiling at the nervous castaways.
“So after winning the first Immunity Challenge, I’m sure Tribal Council isn’t where you wanted to find yourself following the second one, Zeke,” Jeff begins.
“Well of course not, I think that would be the case whether or not we had won our first time out,” Zeke says. “Obviously you don’t want to come to Tribal Council, it would have been great to make it to the merge not having to come here. But at the same time, man, that’s a pipe dream. We’re a strong team, I really believe that. But so is Koryok. And uh, it’s like… God tells us to be humble. We have strong, talented, fierce competitors who give it all out on the field, and that’s great–but they’ve got all those things too. You can’t win them all, and I don’t think just because we lost this one means we’re going to keep losing them. But uh, that’s going to be a big goal for this Tribe at this vote, na’mean? We gotta figure out who we need the least as a team, and that… that’s just not fun, Jeff. I’m not usually in the business of turning people away from being somewhere they want to be. And all eight of us really do want to be here, playing Survivor. So yeah, I’m not happy to be here,” he says.
“I think it’s very interesting,” Jeff responds, “that you said ‘we have to decide who we need the least.’”
“Yeah,” Zeke says, “Well I think that’s the case. It’s not like we’ve got one obvious bad seed, know what I’m saying? If there was one person here who everyone could point there fingers at and say ‘that’s the one, they has got to go,’ it would be a lot easier making this choice, know what I’m saying? But like, okay, today’s challenge? It was in match ups, you either won or lost, and four of us lost our match-ups. So you can’t just point to one person and say ‘well, you lost your point, the rest of us didn’t, so…. bye!’ You know, that’s just not the case. There isn’t one person who is really dragging the group down, so we have to weigh out everyone’s strengths and weaknesses and decide what really matters to us as a tribe and figure out whose strengths we can be the most prepared to live without. It’s the fairest way to do this.”
“So at the end of the day, Zeke, for you it comes down to fairness,” Jeff reiterates.
“Yes sir,” Zeke responds.
“Would most of you say that’s also how you’re approaching the vote?” Jeff asks. “By trying to make the fairest choice? Adele, how about you?”
“Fair matters a lot,” Adele says. “And I think it’s good that Zeke is saying we need to be fair, because it wouldn’t be fair to kick someone off just for one bad challenge performance, you have to look at the big picture. Like with me, for example, I didn’t win my match up today, but I don’t think anyone on our tribe could have beaten Sheena. She’s a monster! Like, she’s kung fu master, it doesn’t matter how strong you are going up against that. So even if I wasn’t dealing with a foot problem right now, I don’t know that I could have beaten her.”
“What foot problem are you dealing with?” Jeff asks.
“So,” Adele says, clearly appearing somewhat emotional, “I have sesamoiditis,” she says, wiping her eyes. Tthere are bones in the ball of your foot called sesamoids. They help you bend your foot, and if you put a lot of pressure on there, like if you’re a dancer,” she says, pointing at herself, “they swell up and become really painful to walk on. It’s so hard because I want to be able to do my best right now, and I just can’t.”
“I’d just like to interject,” says Mandy, “that the sesamoids themselves don’t swell. They’re bones, bones don’t swell. The pressure put on the tendons by the bones surrounding them causes the tendons to inflame, that’s where the pain comes in.”
“Whatever,” Adele says, clearly offended. “Does it really matter?”
“I’m a nurse, so yeah, it matters to me,” Mandy laughs.
“Whatever,” Adele says with an eye roll.
“The point is, Jeff,” Huang says, cutting into the discussion before Mandy can open her mouth again, “is that Addy is definitely feeling vulnerable, and I don’t blame her. This isn’t exactly the best situation to be in when you’re trying to heal from an injury.”
“But it is healing, Jeff,” Adele assures. “And I don’t think it would be fair to me to vote me out over something I can’t control.”
“Addy, you have to see it from our perspective, though,” Olivia says. “We have no way of knowing how long it will actually take for you to get better.”
“I know how long it would take,” Adele says, “because I know my own body, I’m a dancer, it’s my job to know my own body, and I can feel my foot getting better. It’s better today than it was yesterday.”
“I don’t think that’s how it works, but okay,” whispers Mandy to herself.
“Adele,” Jeff continues, “would it be accurate to say that you think you might be in trouble tonight?”
“I know my name has come up,” Adele says. “I know that people have talked about me beging voted out, but I also know I’m not the only one whose name has been coming up, so that’s why you have to look at the big picture, because there are people who will really hold this tribe back and I’m not one of them just because I have a hurt foot. And like, I hate to seem like I’m making excuses, but I had a really good strategy for the challenge, and if my team had listened to my strategy we would have won and not been here. So if they vote me off, that’s not just them not looking at the big picture, but like… it’s just a bad choice!” she says.
“I’m curious,” Charlotte says, looking a little confused, “as to what Addy’s strategy for the challenge was that she thinks would have won us the whole thing.”
“Care to elaborate on that, Adele?” Jeff asks.
“Uh, yeah, okay,” Adele says. “Basically, like I was saying before, none of us were going to beat Sheena, so we should have just put our weakest person against her because that round was a waste no matter what. We should have been going up against people we thought we could beat one hundred percent. If I had gone up against their old lady, that would have been a point for sure, and one point was all we needed.”
“What I’m hearing, Jeffrey,” Vince says after listening to Adele, “is someone who can’t take responsibility for their own sh*t, pardon my language.”
“Excuse me?” Adele asks, clearly shocked.
“You heard me,” Vince says, looking peeved. “It’s our fault for not letting her get what she wants, not her fault for failing to perform. I’m calling BS!”
“What’s BS,” Adele snipes back, “is that you didn’t even play in the challenge, Vinnie. You shouldn’t get a vote.”
“Wow,” says Mandy, raising her eyebrows.
“Says who?” Vince laughs, incredulous. “You? Who the heck are you, little girl?” Vince prods. “I didn’t want to sit out, but someone had to, had to be a man, and I ain’t stupid Jeff! The challenge was all about how strong you are, and these three boys are all clearly a lot stronger than Ol’ Uncle Vinnie, that’s just common sense! But Jeff, let me tell you, I do everything at that camp. I’ve worked my fingers to the bones making that hell hole into a home, making sure that these ungrateful brats are getting as much of a good night’s sleep ask they can and as much food in their tummies as we can spare. You know, Addy keeps saying ‘big picture, big picture’–in the big picture, I’m doing my part. She’s the one sitting on her ass all day whining about her stupid foot. If it hurts so bad, go home crybaby. Go home.”
“It doesn’t hurt anymore!” Adele insists. “The point is, if we want to keep winning challenges, we need to vote out the old people who just can’t hack them. I’m sorry, but it’s the truth. The only reason Vince does so much at the camp is because he knows he’s useless in the challenges and he’s just trying to save himself by buttering everyone up.”
Gunnar seems red with embarassment. Huang looks somewhat uncomfortable.
“Adele,” Jeff says, “with all due respect, what one person calls ‘buttering people up,’ others might just call that ‘playing Survivor.’ Gunnar, do you think it’s fair to say Vince is just ‘buttering people up’?”
Gunnar laughs. “Jeff, this whole discussion about fairness is crazy to me. Everything is fair in Survivor. There’s no rule that we have to make our vote based on the challenges, or based on work around camp. I could pick a number in my head right now, ask everyone else to guess, and base my vote entirely on that. Whatever I decide to do with my vote is fair because that’s the game. So I don’t think the question should be one of fairness. It’s a question of each person’s individual game–what puts you in the best position moving forward? Maybe someone isn’t really contributing as in camp or in the challenges, but that’s not the only way people provide. People provide their vote, their loyalty. If I have trust with someone, I don’t really care how much they do or don’t do in the challenges or around camp. Their loyalty to me is what I think is the most important.”
“Charlotte, Gunnar brings up another very important element. You can base the vote on what you think is best for the team, or you could base in on what you think is best for you as an individual player. How do you decide which direction to go in?”
“I think,” Charlotte says, “that you need to find that cross-over between your individual game and the team game. If the team succeeds, you, as an individual succeed. If we have immunity, we don’t come here. We don’t need to even worry about who is going home. Yet, at the same time, you don’t want to be in a position where if the tribe does lose, you’re the one paying the price for it. And I’ll you know what, truthfully, I’m a little worried myself tonight. I’m another one who didn’t win their match-up in the challenge, and I know compared to some of these other people, I’m not the most athletic. I hope that my tribe can see how I live my life outside of this game, where as a mother and as a Christian, loyalty is important to me. I don’t see why it wouldn’t be important here too.”
Mandy can’t seem to help but roll her eyes. “Mandy,” Jeff says, clearly taking note, “it seems like Charlotte elicited a pretty strong reaction from you.”
“Uh, yeah, you can say that again,” Mandy laughs. “It’s a ridiculous statement, no offense, but like, it is. Like, do you realize that we can’t see who everyone is outside of the game? We’ve all only just met, you know? Everything that Charlotte–or anyone, really–is telling us about themselves? It could all be lies. And if I wanted people to think of me as being loyal and honest, what’s a better cover story than ‘I’m a nice, Christian mom?’ For all we know, Charlotte could be one of the most ruthless lawyers in the country. So for her to say ‘I’m loyal, I’m a Christian’ like it’s all so self-evident… I know that doesn’t inspire a lot of faith in me.”
“I’m so terribly sorry if I’m speaking out of turn, Jeffrey,” Charlotte says, clearly peeved, “but I think it’s presumptuous of her to call me a liar and call the integrity of my faith into question. That’s actually–Mandy,” Charlotte says, turning to face the other woman, “Mandy, that’s actually a very hurtful accusation.”
“I wasn’t accusing anyone of anything,” Mandy says, defensively. “I was using you as an example, sorry if that wasn’t clear or whatever, anybody here could be lying about who they are, not just you. Maybe Huang or Gunnar or Zeke or anyone is telling a fake story about who they are, maybe nobody is. All I wanted to do was make the point that telling us to trust you because of who you are when we don’t know who you are, it just… it doesn’t make sense, it’s bad logic. It’s circular reasoning, it just…”
“I understand, I understand,” Charlotte assures. “Just… maybe be a little more thoughtful with how you word yourself, so we can avoid these confusions in the future.”
Mandy puts on an overly saccharine smile, clearly still annoyed. “Will do, Charlotte,” she says fakely.
“Olivia,” Jeff asks, focusing on a different player, “A few different people tonight have said they think they might be in danger. If you are that person who suspects votes may be coming their way, what do you do about it?”
“That’s a really good question,” Olivia says, straightening up as she thinks through her response. “I think it’s especially good because I, also, Jeff, feel like I’m in some danger,” she laughs. “I am definitely more of an introvert than an extrovert, and I know that most of the time, I need a little time to come out of my shell around new people, and in a game like this one, that’s not a great quality to have. I know I’ve been opening up to the group a little more slowly, and that because of that some people might not feel as close with me as they feel with the others. And I think the best way to try and ensure you’ll make it through is, well, it’s like we were talking about earlier. You have to maximize your strengths so that people in the tribe see you’re worth keeping. For some people, that means showing you can contribute around camp, or in challenges. For other people, they want to see that you can contribute to their alliance with your loyalty. I demonstrated my skills in the challenge today, so I think hopefully, that got some people thinking I deserve to stay. I’m hoping that for the unconvinced, I can demonstrate my loyalty with how I vote tonight.”
“Unless the target’s you,” Jeff says.
“True,” laughs Olivia. “If it’s me, then I think by now it’s too late for that to change.”
“I don’t agree,” Adele pipes up. “I think the vote can always be changed, because it’s not real until you write it. You have until then to decide, so if you think you’re in trouble, why not make use of every last second you have?”
“Would you like to make use of any of these last seconds?” Jeff asks Adele.
“Heck yeah I would,” she says in response.
“The floor is all yours,” Jeff says, gesturing with his arm.
“Look, I know that I’m not fighting at a hundred and fifty percent right now, but guys, I promise you, I am an asset to the tribe. If you get rid of me, you guys are just going to keep losing. My foot is getting better and the better it gets, the better I’m going to get in the challenges. But Charlotte can’t get any better than she already is.”
Gunnar and Mandy whisper to each other as Adele speaks.
“I’m strong and I’m loyal, and I’m a Christian too, okay, Charlotte’s not the only one here who looks to Christianism for her guide in life, okay? There’s no reason to vote me out. None.”
“Good to know,” Charlotte mutters under her breath.
“All done?” Jeff asks Adele.
“Yeah, I mean… I guess I have to be at some point, right?” Adele asks.
“Would anyone else like to pitch in any last minute comments?” Jeff asks. Zeke shakes his head back and forth. Huang shrugs.
“Alright, then we’ll get started. When I call your name, head down the hallway to your left,” Jeff says, gesturing to the voting booth. “Write down your vote, present it, explain it, fold it, put it in the urn, come on back. Once all the votes have been cast, I’ll collect and reveal them, and we’ll find out who will be the second person voted out of this game. Is that all clear?”
There are nods and murmurs of agreement from the Yenisei Tribe.
“Good, then let’s get started,” Jeff continues. “Charlotte, you’re up first.”
Charlotte nods curly and stands, taking a moment to smooth out her skirt before she walks into the voting booth.
Mandy casts her vote.
Vince casts his vote.
Huang casts his vote.
Zeke casts his vote.
Olivia casts her vote.
Gunnar casts his vote.
As Gunnar takes his seat, Jeff nods in acknowledgement. “I’ll go tally the votes,” the host announces. He heads down to the voting booth, leaving the castaways to sweat out the anticipation. Huang offers a hand to a concerned looking Adele. Vince and Charlotte likewise hold hands, their heads both bowed in prayer. Jeff returns, placing the voting urn, pausing for a brief moment before he addresses the tribe.
“Once the votes are read, the decision is final,” Jeff explains. “The person voted out will be asked to leave the Tribal Council area immediately. I’ll read the votes.” He opens the urn and reveals the first piece of parchment.
“The first vote…”
“Charlotte. That’s one vote Addy, one vote Charlotte.”
“Charlotte. That’s two votes Charlotte, one vote Addy.”
“Adele, we’re tied again, two votes Addy, two votes Charlotte. Four votes left.”
“Addy. That’s three votes Addy.”
“Addy. That’s four votes Addy, two votes Charlotte.”
“The second person voted out of Survivor: Siberia… Adele. Adele, that’s five, tonight, that’s enough, the last vote will remain a mystery. I need you to bring me your torch.”
Adele harrumphs as she stands, Huang standing with her. He offers her a giant hug, which she accepts. She takes her torch and hobbles dramatically over to Jeff. After placing it, she turns and gives a pitiful look to her tribemates. A tear is rolling down her cheek.
“Wow, thanks a lot guys. Have fun, I guess,” she says. She turns back to Jeff and wipes her eyes.
“Adele, the Tribe has spoken,” Jeff says, snuffing her torch. The flame vanishes under the bell of the snuffer, leaving nothing but smoke to dance away into the summer air. As Adele trudges out of the Tribal Council area, Huang can only watch. He looks devastated.
“Well congratulations, the seven of you have survived your first visit to Tribal Council. Perhaps if you made the right choice, it could be your last visit for a while. Only time will tell. You guys can grab your stuff and head back to camp. Goodnight.”
“Thank you,” Charlotte whispers to Zeke as they stand and hug. Mandy glares as she watches the interaction while grabbing her torch.
Seven lit torches float away from Tribal Council, back towards the woodlands where they have made their home.
Fourteen remain. Who will be the next to go?
NEXT TIME ON… SURVIVOR!
A playful reward challenge gives the tribes a chance to intermingle, but when it comes to the tribes themselves, not everything is so playful. On Yenisei, horns lock between two castaways with different opinions. And on Koryok, one castaway develops a plan to divide and conquer.