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'Survivor 41' Episode 12 Recap: Truth Kamikaze

(CBS) - It's Day 22. Only six castaways remain on season 41 of Survivor. Who made it to the final five and is heading to the season finale episode next week? Here's what you missed on last night's episode...After an emotional Tribal Council last week, Deshawn is more vulnerable than ever. The entire tribe found his character admirable and even complimented him for speaking up about racial inequality and representing his culture in the game. He feels a mixture of both pride and defeat at this point – knowing a close ally, Liana, who he shared a "cultural connection" with, was just voted out. This season is extra unique for its diverse cast – it's definitely special to watch each tribe member come together and lift one another for who they are!
Reward ChallengeFor this week's reward, the remaining castaways were divided randomly into two teams of three. The two teams would then have to compete in a series of water-based obstacles. One by one, the castaways had to retrieve their colored buoys, 7 feet down into the ocean and then swim to a platform. The first team to shoot three baskets with their buoys wins reward! The winners would have a choice for their reward: either a protein-packed meal consisting of chicken and vegetables or a satisfying sugar-craving of cookies, cake and candy. Before even starting the challenge, Deshawn, who's been through a lot of emotion lately, huffs out of disappointment to host Jeff Probst, as he explains he wishes he heard the reward was a letter from home. Unfortunately, not this time...Yellow: Deshawn, Erika and XanderBlue: Danny, Ricard and HeatherThe challenge itself looked exhausting. After navigating through the ocean, it was down to Deshawn hooping for the Yellow team and both Danny and Ricard hooping for the Blue. Ultimately, Deshawn won it for their team, choosing the chicken and veggie meal as their reward.
Truth Kamikaze
Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment 2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Deshawn's confidence is now coming back to him. He's feeling pretty secure knowing he just made a mark at the Reward Challenge. After competing in last week's twist of  "Do or Die," Deshawn is ready to play the game harder than ever. So, while on reward, Deshawn proposed a plan to make it to the final three with this winning group: Deshawn, Xander and Erika. Of course, Xander and Erika say they're on board – at least for now, that is. Deshawn is still skeptical, of course, knowing these two weren't initially aligned with voting out Ricard last week. But, as they say – anything can change at any time in Survivor.But both Xander and Erika are, in fact, ready to vote out Ricard next since it's pretty clear he's got one of – if not, the* most impressive Survivor resume of the season. On the other hand, though, Xander has mentioned to both Deshawn and Danny that Ricard is his shield. If Ricard stays in the game, everyone will focus on targeting him – not Xander. And, because I've personally watched this game unfold for 41 seasons – that's actually not a bad move for Xander. The tricky part, though, is timing when to snuff Ricard's torch. In the end, it could end up being just a little too late...Meanwhile, back at camp, while Ricard and Heather are tending the fire, Danny appears to be missing. These two find it pretty suspicious – as they know Danny's more than likely searching for an idol. Well, he was – and I applaud him for it! Danny is aware he and Deshawn are on the very bottom now, so he's doing everything he can to stay in this game. At one point, we even see him pass a Hidden Immunity Idol, but unfortunately, he didn't end up finding it. That didn't stop him from continuing sparking up the suspicion, though. While he headed back to camp, Ricard and Heather thought he looked like he had a little more "pep in his step" since he was humming and appeared to be in a better mood. Was it part of his plan? We're not sure. But it's definitely now got Ricard and his alliance on their toes!Individual Immunity ChallengeThis challenge was a huge one. Just one out of these remaining six castaways would soon earn their spot in the final five. We clearly see how Ricard is the first person to go on everyone's list at this point. Whereas if he wins, Deshawn or Danny would be next.The challenge itself was a dizzy one. The castaways had to unravel themselves from a spool, then immediately make their way through a set of obstacles, collecting a mixture of puzzle piece blocks on the way. After retrieving their blocks, they then used them to build a popular Survivor phrase out of seven words, four letters each.

By the last leg, it was between Ricard and Deshawn to win it. And out of nowhere, in an instant, Ricard solved his phrase:"Don't Make This Next Vote Your Last."And Ricard won his 3rd Individual Immunity! Probst was so impressed with his time, when he asked how he solved it so fast, Ricard simply said, "he just kept thinking of every four-letter word in this game" during that entire challenge. Now THAT's how you play Survivor.Tribal CouncilWell, since plan A (voting out Ricard) failed, everyone must now come up with a "plan B" instead. It's incredible how Ricard won yet another challenge and the other five castaways are aware of how he could win it all. Now they have to think even more strategically moving forward. Who has a better chance at beating Ricard in the next challenge: Danny or Deshawn? This is what's going through their heads – mainly for Erika, Xander, and Heather.Meanwhile, both Deshawn and Danny are doing all they can to stay in this game. At one point, Deshawn tries to convince Erika that she 'needs' him. He even hints at her about how she should start differentiating herself from Heather. Both her and Heather have been aligned, which it seems since Day 1. Deshawn is now doing all he can to persuade Erika to break away from Heather eventually and sit in the final three with him. Will this persuasion work for him, though?

Truth Kamikaze
Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment 2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

At Tribal, as Probst prompts the tribe and asks why they voted the way they did last week, there were some mixed reactions. As Heather made a good point, a "good move" or "bad move" is all very subjective. Playing your individual game in Survivor is indeed like chess. The reward may pay off or perhaps be a brutal mistake in the end. Plus, at this point, everyone's also factoring in their "jury management." After all, every player they've voted out will decide who wins the million dollars...Before the votes, Deshawn and Danny make it clear that they know it's going to be one of them since their original alliance is now sitting on the jury. Probst asked both of them if they had "any last words" if they happened to be the next one out. Danny went first and shared a positive perspective – explaining how he's still fighting hard in this game but is proud of all he has done. Deshawn, however, took a different approach. Deshawn then said he's ready to drop a "truth bomb" as one last "Hail Mary" in the game. Probst, along with the other castaways, were stunned. Deshawn then shared how Erika intends to vote out Heather if it comes down to the final three. Everyone was confused why he would drop that news – and essentially, throw Erika under the bus. It wasn't the best look for his game, and both Erika and Ricard spoke up at that moment, informing Deshawn that may have been a terrible move on his part. I mean, Deshawn doesn't even know if he's next out yet, so saying that in front of the tribe – and jury, could bite him...Due to the suspicion of Danny having an idol, the votes were tied 3:3 against Danny and Deshawn. After the second round of voting, the tribe kept Deshawn, which means Danny, the former Dallas Cowboys NFL player, was the next person out this season.

Truth Kamikaze
Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment 2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Wow! We are down to the final five castaways of the season! Deshawn, Erika, Heather, Xander and Ricard. Who do you think will win it all? I want to hear your thoughts – tweet me @mick_cloudy !Don't miss the season finale of Survivor 41 next week, Wednesday, December 15th, on CBS as well as streaming live and on-demand with Paramount+!

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