(CBS) - Survivor is back with another suspenseful episode! A castaway didn't just get voted out – they got completely blindsided! Who was it? Well, here's how it all went down...
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The first Reward Challenge of the season was a tough one! Four members of each tribe had to compete in a series of obstacles to win an epic day with a native Fijian. The winning tribe would learn the ins and outs of living off the land in Fiji – a crucial reward to win in this game! The second tribe would also win a reward, not quite a day with a native Fijian – but a big ol' fish instead. Still good, just not as epic.
The challenge itself involved each tribe racing through a series of physically draining obstacles. So draining, in fact, one tribe member, in particular, couldn't even finish the first leg of the course. Heather on the Luvu tribe couldn't complete her task early on in this challenge. Even though she was struggling, she didn't give up – and that itself was impressive. Her tribe thought the same and immediately rooted her on even though she eventually let the tribe down. This resulted in the Ua tribe winning the main reward, followed by the Yase tribe winning the fish dinner.
Before the Reward Challenge, Genie came back from the last Tribal Council completely shocked that her closest ally, Brad, was voted out. She was pissed. Genie then tells her tribe how she feels betrayed. While sharing how she feels like "the mom" of the tribe and has constantly fed them all, she finally says she's "done" with preparing and providing their food...
But then, the reward came. The Fijian, Nathan, who visited their camp, gave them all sorts of necessary survival skills to live off the land of Fiji. Watching this guy on TV was nuts – climbing trees like Spiderman, and showing how he's clearly an expert at his craft. All this knowledge the tribe gained got Ricard thinking... maybe they don't need Genie taking care of them after all?
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The Yase tribe is on a roll with winning! After starting the season on an embarrassing losing streak, the solid four are proving they have what it takes to get far. After reflecting on how they've struggled, they realize there's now, literally and metaphorically, a reward after it all. While enjoying their big fish, they even see their metaphor in the flesh.
The tribe compared themselves to the tiny baby sea turtles they saw pushing through the sand at their camp. I mean, it couldn't possibly be Survivor without a few metaphors, can it?!
Meanwhile, the Luvu tribe is unbeatable. This tribe still has yet to go to Tribal Council! After being six castaways strong, now at Day 8, things are finally beginning to crack...
Erika, who we don't even know yet this season, gets some much-needed screentime. She explains her approach to the game and even says she's a "lion dressed as a lamb." She's ready to pounce and get this game started. Her first prey is Sydney. Erika wants to get her out because she thinks she is emotionally unstable, which could potentially cause trouble later in the game. Erika shares this plan with her closest ally, Deshawn. Now, as Deshawn's listening to this master plan of hers, he starts to get a little apprehensive about Erika herself. He even calls her "sus." He thinks she's playing hard – because she is. He's nervous about her sneakiness, and he now wants to cut the "head off the snake" (or should I say lion?) and get her out next instead.
While trying to come up with a plan to vote Erika out, Deshawn approaches Danny with a scenario we've all seen before in the game of Survivor – throwing the Immunity Challenge. Yep. Deshawn is ready to throw it. He proposes to Danny how purposely losing could work in their favor because Erika is too sneaky and needs to be gone asap. Being an ex-NFL player, Danny feels like this is all against his values of athleticism, but he decides to entertain the idea and get on with throwing this next Immunity Challenge anyway.
Immunity is up for grabs! The first two tribes who finish their exhausting water-based obstacles win Immunity and are safe from Tribal Council. The three tribes began in the ocean and had to make their way to shore while untying bags of logs on the way. As always, these challenges are tough. But, let's not forget how Deshawn and Danny want to milk every exhausting moment, as they're trying to lose on purpose.
While the rest of Luvu was pushing hard through the water, Deshawn was taking his sweet time. Meanwhile, as they compete against the Ua and Yase tribe, they notice that Yase is still slower than them! It was pretty comical. Deshawn narrated this Immunity Challenge explaining how he took every moment he could to throw it, yet the Yase tribe was still falling behind.
It wasn't until the last leg of the challenge where each tribe was even with one another (yes, Yase finally caught up). To finish this challenge, each tribe had to toss three rings onto their pegs. While Deshawn was terribly throwing his rings while (terribly) throwing the challenge, it was Naseer who stepped in. Naseer simply didn't want to see his tribe lose for the first time. And, in the end, it didn't matter that Deshawn and Danny were moving slow. That's because Naseer won it for them! After the Yase tribe made a sweet victory of coming in first, (surprisingly?!) it was between Luvu and Ua for second place. JD on the Ua tribe failed to complete the last obstacle and lost it for his tribe.
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With only four people left on the Ua tribe, at this point, Genie is certain she's the next one to go. She even teases the fact that she's ready to give the new Survivor "shot in the dark" twist a-go. The shot in the dark would allow her to risk her vote but have a one-in-four shot at gaining Immunity at Tribal Council. The question for her was, does she want to risk losing her vote?
Meanwhile, Shan is still running the show on this tribe. She's playing her cards well. Ricard, her closest ally, has proven he will vote with her as long as he's in this game. JD, though, has been questionable. Last week, he kept a vital secret from her as she eventually caught him in the lie. JD kept his "secret vote" advantage from her and Ricard, which has left her skeptical about him since. Now JD knows their trust in him is somewhat broken. Even though he's teasing Genie that he'd work with her, JD knows he owes both Shan and Ricard his loyalty. So much so, Shan feels like this is the perfect opportunity to manipulate him. She knows how to play this game – and to be quite frank, Survivor is all about backstabbing and being manipulative to get ahead.
And, it was just that. Shan put on an act to JD. She acts "paranoid" and tells JD she's afraid he will vote against her. JD, who's young, and I suppose, a bit naive in this case, then solidifies his trust (once again) and gives her his extra-vote advantage to hold! He did this once, and now he does it again! But this time, his risk did not pay off. JD was completely blindsided as Genie, as well as both Shan and Ricard, voted him out. And now, Shan is sitting with his advantage in her pocket!
Wow. Even though we didn't see too many game-changing twists in this episode, this week was just as wild, with an even wilder and unexpected Tribal Council! What'd you think of this week's episode?
Don't miss Survivor 41, Wednesdays at 8/7c on CBS, as well as streaming live and on-demand with Paramount+ or the CBS App!
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