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'Survivor 41' Episode 7: The Merge Part 2

(CBS) - Man, last night's part 2 merge episode was intense! Things are changing by the minute. Now that the merge is finally here, these castaways are playing on a whole other level. Here's what you missed:

Exile Island

Last week's episode left us with a cliffhanger: would Erika make a bold, game-changing decision or play it safe? As a reminder, she's given some serious power in the game – arguably, having to make the most significant decision in the game thus far. If she smashed this ominous, black sand hourglass, she'd change the history of the game. That means those who lost the last challenge (including her) would win Immunity, and those who had won Immunity would lose it. This game-changing choice gave Erika the confidence she was looking for in the game. She explains how the brutal experience on Exile only refined her strength and built her character even more. So, the question is... what was her decision?

Individual Immunity Challenge

At the first Individual Immunity Challenge, Erika returned from Exile Island, where she and host Jeff Probst then explained this brand new twist. Tensions were higher than ever – and Erika revealed she did, in fact, smash the hourglass! Erika changed the course of history – and she's certainly glad she did!

AND, let's not forget how in part 1, we saw her old Luvu tribe members getting ready to vote her out next! Now, they're all in for a rude awakening...

There's Gonna Be Blood
Photo Courtesy of CBS

Since Erika flipped the game, those who won the last challenge and Immunity are currently not safe and must compete in the Individual Immunity Challenge. This also means those supposed to compete are now safe at the next Tribal Council – including Erika herself!

Those who now have Immunity: Xander, Heather, Liana, Tiffany and Shan and Erika

Those who now have to compete in the Individual Immunity Challenge: Naseer, Danny, Ricard, Deshawn, Sydney and Evvie

The look of shock was on everyone's faces. But Deshawn said it beautifully – this is Survivor 41, and there's no messing around. Sure, it's disappointing... but these twists make Survivor, Survivor!

With that said, these six disappointed castaways now have to compete in their first Individual Immunity Challenge in hopes of gaining their Immunity back. The castaways battled it out by competing in a popular Survivor challenge where they could only use their feet. Without using their hands, the person who can release their rope, stack their set of blocks, and place their flag on top – wins Immunity!

We've seen this difficult challenge before in previous seasons, but let's just say, these castaways made it look easy! It was a tight race the entire time. It came down to Evvie and Sydney on the last leg of the challenge (pun intended). Just seconds away from winning, these ladies were giving their all. But suddenly, out of nowhere – Ricard swoops in on top and wins the first Individual Immunity!

There's Gonna Be Blood
Photo Courtesy of CBS

Tribal Council

Chaos was brewing before Tribal even began. As we know, Liana has quite the advantage where she can ultimately steal someone's idol or advantage. Liana's "Knowledge is Power" advantage allows her to steal someone's asset just by simply asking the right person the right question. However, if she's incorrect, she loses her advantage completely. Last week in part 1, we saw how Shan blabbed about Liana's advantage in front of Tiffany. Now, because Tiffany doesn't trust Liana, she tells her closest allies, Xander and Evvie, about the "Knowledge is Power" advantage.

Meanwhile, Shan is guiding all the other alliances and encouraging them to vote Evvie out next. But, since Tiffany and Xander are safe at Tribal Council, these two entertain the idea of using Xanders idol to keep Evvie safe in this game. And they even have a leg up now since they know Liana could potentially steal it.

Cue the chaos.

To generate paranoia within the other alliances, Xander, Evvie and Tiffany develop a sneaky plan. Xander decides to share with Danny (who is planning to vote out Evvie) how he's playing his idol for Evvie at Tribal Council. Oh, and Xander even shares with him how they all know about Liana's "Knowledge is Power" advantage too. This creates commotion in this tight alliance of Danny, Liana, Shan, Deshawn, Ricard, Naseer, and Sydney. This group is scrambling! They must get Liana to steal Xander's idol to prevent one of them from getting voted out. So, before Tribal Council, Liana attempts to rekindle the trust within her previous tribe members, Tiffany, Xander, and Evvie, and promises them Evvie is safe. In this scene, we even see Xander tuck away what we think is his idol right in front of Liana. This gives Liana the impression that Xander still has the idol in his possession...

At Tribal Council, things went nuts – but in perfect Survivor fashion. As Probst guided the convo, Evvie shared how she'd be safe thanks to Xander's idol. This was some fat bait for Liana to bite. Xander then proceeds to whip out an idol necklace with a note explaining how this idol will all be Evvie's real soon. Without hesitation, Liana takes advantage of this information and announces to the tribe that she's using her "Knowledge is Power" advantage. She then immediately asks Xander "if he has an idol." These snarky smiles of Liana and Shan quickly deflated as Xander says, "No... but you can have this fake."

You should've seen the looks on their faces...

The scrambling unleashes among the castaways, as this dominating alliance now just lost Liana's advantage and still is paranoid that Evvie could be safe after all. Xander, Evvie and Tiffany just put on the perfect show, and now no one knows what to do. People were spreading different names left to right. But it came down to three: the thought of still voting Evvie (even if she has Xander's idol), as well as the idea of voting either Deshawn or Sydney.

After the castaways voted, it was clear Sydney's intuition was right about potentially being on the chopping block. That's because she's the first person to use the "shot in the dark" this season. The "shot in the dark" means you cannot vote, and in this case, have a one-in-six chance to gain Immunity. Unfortunately, Sydney did not pull the safe card and lost her vote. Before reading the votes, Tiffany even teased the idea of using Xander's idol, which she had possession of all along, on Evvie. Both Xander and Evvie encouraged her not to – but, man, it was close.

At one point, the votes were 3, 3 & 3: Three votes Evvie, three votes Deshawn, and three votes Sydney. Then, it was four votes Evvie, four votes Sydney. It was pretty intense to watch, knowing Evvie took part in declining a free Immunity Idol. But in the end, their sneaky plan paid off and Sydney was the next person voted out.

There's Gonna Be Blood
Photo Courtesy of CBS

What did you think about this two-part merge episode? This was easily the most intense episode yet this season! I want to know what Boston Rob thinks about these last-minute Tribal scrambles. I mean, from what I remember, that extra time to strategize was never in the playbook during old-school Survivor!

Tweet me @mick_cloudy and let's talk Survivor!

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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