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'Survivor 41' Episode 8 Recap: On The Edge Of Their Seats

(CBS) - It's Day 16 of Survivor 41, and these remaining castaways are feeling debilitated as ever. Here's what you missed on one unpredictable episode...

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After last week's merge, the new tribe is now "Viakana." Since the previous Tribal Council, alliances have been even shakier, especially among the old three Yase tribe members, Xander, Evvie and Tiffany. Even though these three pulled off an epic move at last Tribal, lots of info was spilled, which is now creating quite a bit of friction among the three.

In last week's episode, Deshawn shared how he knew all along about Xander's Hidden Immunity Idol, thanks to Evvie. This doesn't sit well with Xander, since he had no clue Deshawn knew. Now he's uncertain he can trust Evvie, who's been his number one since day one. And because of this, it leaves him uneasy about Tiffany too. Xander now labels himself as a "free agent."

Evvie, who now says she's on a "relationship recovery tour," begins to amend her relationships with the rest of the tribe members. She knows she's on the bottom with both Xander and Tiffany, and at this point, these three are desperate to find a crack in any alliance.

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Reward Challenge

Before the tribe came in to compete in the Reward Challenge, host Jeff Probst once again breaks the fourth wall and lets us viewers in on another twist. This week's twist/advantage was hidden underneath the sit-out bench at the challenge. Probst then says it's for "the smart player who is always looking for opportunity."

The tribe randomly drew rocks to divide into two teams, with one person who had to sit out on the bench. The first team who makes their way through a series of water-based obstacles, retrieves their puzzle pieces from underwater, and completes their pyramid puzzle, wins the reward! The reward was plenty of grilled-cheese sandwiches to enjoy with a side of a whole lot of potato chips. After 16 days of eating very little hermit crabs, fish and coconuts, well – needless to say, this was a reward worth competing for.

But first, the person who drew the odd rock and must sit out was once again Erika. She's already feeling near the bottom since she's the only one who's been to Exile Island this season. Xander noticed her defeated demeanor and decided to step up and sit out instead. This meant Xander was the person who had the opportunity to find the advantage hidden by Probst.

The challenge itself was pretty close – up until it got to the puzzle. By a landslide, Evvie completed the pyramid puzzle in what seemed like a matter of seconds. Her incredible speed won the reward for her team! Evvie said she knew that puzzle because she's practiced it numerous times before arriving, after seeing how much of a struggle it was in previous seasons. Probst was pretty impressed!

Reward Winners: Evvie, Danny, Deshawn, Erika, Ricard
Losers: Heather, Naseer, Tiffany, Shan, Liana and Xander

After the tribes left the challenge, Probst checked under the sit-out bench, finding the advantage still attached. Definitely a "missed opportunity" for Xander.

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After the challenge, emotions are high for the losers, especially for Shan, Liana, Tiffany and Xander, who also lost the previous merge feast challenge. These castaways are starving. Calories are depleting each day in this physical game where every calorie counts. To raise their spirits, Nasser hunted for some papaya and fed them.

For the winners, their bellies were full, and morale was high. Coming back from their grilled cheese and potato chip reward, Ricard, in particular, was the one who noticed how the rest of the tribe was enjoying some fresh papaya. He grabbed a piece to try when suddenly, his number one alliance, Shan, snapped at him. She says how unfair it was for him to eat the papaya after his reward lunch.

It's the little things that are now getting on each other's nerves. Shan says Ricard eating the Papaya after his lunch shows his character in the game – which she should consider long-term. On the other hand, Ricard is over here confused, as he's under the impression he now can't eat for the rest of the day just because he earned a reward. And, all of this supports the real reason Xander wanted to sit out – he says it's the perfect opportunity to make the most out of these moments and find a crack in an alliance!

Individual Immunity Challenge

As mentioned, these castaways are hungrier than ever. Before they began their Individual Immunity Challenge, each castaway was given the opportunity to instead sit out for a single portion of rice. A single portion of rice may not sound like a lot, but it means everything on Day 16 of Survivor.

Before they got to choose if they'd want to compete in the challenge, Probst also proposed another option that included a "few people." If a "few people" volunteered to sit out, they'd instead earn an entire bag of rice, enough for the whole tribe. The tribe asked Probst directly: how much is a "few?" Probst then proceeds to tell them seven out of the eleven people must sit out. The tribe then negotiated down to five instead. Shan volunteered to sit out first, followed by Naseer. As no one else flinched to step up, Xander then negotiated down to four people and he was the third person to sit out, quickly followed by the last person, Ricard. This meant Shan, Naseer, Xander, and Ricard gave up their shot at Immunity for their entire tribe to enjoy a bag of rice.

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The challenge was a popular one, as we've seen it go on in previous seasons for literally hours. But, not this time. The challenge was over in less than five minutes! The castaways had to balance a block on their heads while balancing on a beam of some sort. The challenge was over so fast as it was down to either Heather or Evvie. And, to continue her winning streak, Evvie won her first Individual Immunity, leaving the rest of the tribe members vulnerable to Tribal Council.

Tribal Council

Before Tribal itself, the major alliance of Shan, Danny, Deshawn, Liana, Naseer and Heather were again, orchestrating the vote. Their first plan was to flush out Xander's idol and vote out Tiffany, who knows she's at the very bottom of the tribe.

Even though Tiffany is clearly at the bottom, Deshawn and Danny were both entertaining the idea of voting out Naseer instead, as they know he's a quiet threat in this game right now. Things got a bit heated among Deshawn and Shan at this point, because Deshawn doesn't feel like Shan is listening and feels she's leading this alliance too hard. Thoughts began to percolate whether or not he could trust/tolerate Shan in the future.

Deshawn wasn't the only one who began to reconsider Shan's trust. Heather, who we barely know this season, begins to doubt her too after hearing her name thrown out. Shan, remind you – a pastor back at home, has been fibbing to Xander, saying they're voting either Naseer or Heather instead of Tiffany. When Heather hears about this and confronts Shan, Shan gets very defensive, explaining she's not the only one throwing Heather's name out. Let's just say this lit a fire inside Heather.

At Tribal itself, every castaway was quite literally on the edge of their seat. The majority alliance is still wary of the old Yase three, Evvie, Xander and Tiffany, who pulled off an incredible play at last Tribal. They're unsure if they have more tricks up their sleeve. Evvie, with the Immunity necklace around her neck, reassures the rest of the tribe that they're broken up as an alliance and going their separate ways, since clearly, they're on the bottom, now fighting for themselves individually to survive in this game.

After this discussion, Probst was ready to announce that it was "time to vote." He stalled a bit and took his sweet time saying this iconic phrase – out of curiosity if any scrambling would occur like last week's episode. No scrambling was happening, so he finally said the iconic "time to vote," and then Heather suddenly began whispering to Tiffany. Probst paused the tribe from voting so they could then hash out what needed to be said. Heather was the only one at first who wanted to stir up the pot, as she was the only one scrambling. This created some mini-drama among the tribe. Heather was trying her very best to vote Naseer out instead of Tiffany or Xander, which pissed Shan off. Shan then begins to question if they should just vote out Heather instead...

But, through every scramble and all the drama, the votes were just not in Tiffany's favor. She received the most votes and was the next person out. This leads her to be the first jury member – as she'll now be an essential part of declaring who will be the Sole Survivor later on in the season.

What'd you think of this week's episode? Do you like how Jeff Probst is consistently breaking the fourth wall? 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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