The now Ozzy-less tribe returns to camp and Debbie, who orchestrated the blindside, is crowing, as we knew she would.
By the way, after watching her for two seasons now, we’ve finally figured out who she reminds us of — the Grinch, complete with Grinchy smirk.
Debbie talks about how confident she is that the game is set and claims that lines have been drawn in the sand, or maybe in concrete. Her alliance is six strong and will be picking off the remaining five, and all the Whos in Whoville will be missing Christmas this year.
Zeke and Andrea trade words about the votes that went against him. Zeke claims to harbor no ill will, and that he understands that Andrea and her alliance had no plans to take him to the end. Andrea calls him shady.
Sarah, however, says people who think lines have been drawn in the sand are delusional (and Grinchy) because the tide comes up quickly and washes lines away.
The tribes are divided into two teams of five, with one person sitting out. They have to dive, swim, race up and over platforms, walk a balance beam and and then dive down to release a grappling hook, which is used to retrieve five rings.
Brad and Cirie are chosen captains, and then choose their teams. Michaela is left sitting on the bench, which just happens to have a secret advantage lying just beneath it, but she is too angry at not begin chosen to notice.
The winning team gets a day at the beach and a lot of food.
Brad’s team takes a big lead, but Cirie’s team manages to pull ahead about halfway through. They fall behind again when Zeke has trouble with the balance beam, but it’s Cirie herself that drives them into the wall. She just can’t pull herself out of the water onto the second platform.
As she struggles, Sarah swims back to help Cirie, even though it means she’ll have to do the course again. They make it to the balance beam, where Cirie again struggles, but it doesn’t matter because Brad’s team wins.
Then Jeff Probst offers Cirie the chance to complete the course. With Sarah at her side, the rest of the team swims over to lend a hand and encouragement. It’s a very emotional moment when she crosses the finish line. Cirie deeply appreciates the support.
The winners swim to shore and eventually to an airplane that will take them to their reward while Probst orders a boat to pick up the losing team. Sarah, some distance away from where Michaela was practically sitting on the hidden advantage scroll, sees it. When the boat picks up the others, Sarah jumps in the water and swims to Michaela’s platform. She waits until everyone is in the boat and she grabs the scroll.
Our respect for Officer Sarah goes way up, not only for helping Cirie but for her shrewd retrieval of the advantage.
Cirie is grateful that she was given a chance to complete the challenge. Otherwise she would have felt like a failure. Sarah and Tai tell her how much respect they have for her, and don’t blame her for losing the challenge.
Cirie knows she can’t win the game by winning the challenges. She needs to solidify her relationships.
Sarah reads her advantage. It gives her the right to steal a vote from another player, and it’s good up until there are five people left. Sarah says these types of advantages have not been used correctly in the past, and she will be the first one to do so. And we believe her.
Meanwhile, the winning team takes their sea plane to the reward. Capt. Debbie takes credit for air flight, apparently, saying as a captain in the Air Force Reserve, she gets to fly all the time and she enjoyed seeing the others’ faces as they soared above the water. Yes, these people have never flown before.
Brad says that he deliberately didn’t pick Sarah or Troyzan for his team because the first rule of “Survivor” is to not take your entire alliance on reward. Sarah and Trozan will be his eyes and ears back at camp. Well, Brad, one of your eyes and ears is straying. Cirie is working her magic on Sarah and planting the idea that she needs to make a move and get some street cred or the others will think she’s being carried into the finals on the backs of Brad and Sierra.
Sarah says she’s not going to make the same mistakes she’s made before. Maybe she has a future with Cirie.
The challenge tonight is one we’ve seen before, and it’s a pretty good one. They must stack blocks, one at a time, on a wobbly table using a rope to hold it steady as they move back and forth between the table and a barrel that holds the blocks.
We already know that Tai isn’t going to be good at this challenge. He decides to stack his blocks in proper order — the blocks spell immunity — before he starts to carry them to the table. He’s not sure how to spell it. When he finally starts out toward the table, he stops suddenly and falls down. He’s forgotten to bring a tile.
Both Andrea and Brad get within one block of winning when they all come tumbling down and it’s Troyzan who wins immunity.
Sierra is bummed that she didn’t win, but happy that one of “her” Power Six did, so now they’ll just choose their next victim. Sierra is thinking it should be Andrea. She’s too dangerous, she says.
Back at camp, Michaela is annoying people and Debbie announces that Michaela, who is always eating, is the next to go, but Brad speaks up for voting off Andrea.
Brad, Sierra, Debbie, Troyzan, Tai and Sarah– aka the Power Six — have a quick meeting in which it appears that Sarah isn’t asked for her opinion. Sarah now realizes Cirie is right — she’s at the bottom of the Power Six, so maybe it’s time to make that big move. She goes to Zeke, who is willing, but he doesn’t really want to work with Andrea. However, Zeke reasons, it’s just for one vote, so he could probably stand it.
Sarah pulls Andrea in to her new secret alliance with Cirie, Michaela, Zeke and Aubry. She plans to pretend to be going along with the Power Six, but she’s going to turn on them. Then she talks with Sierra, who tells her that she wants the final three to be her, Sarah and Debbie. Wow, Sarah thinks, maybe she’s not on the bottom of the alliance after all.
Debbie brags about how she’s manipulating Aubry. She’s a freaking genius, she is, bending people to her will. Aubry is buying it hook, line and sinker. Isn’t she? Not so much.
Aubry goes to Sarah and tells her that Debbie is making her own plans that don’t include Sarah, who is now really confuses and decides to decide while at Tribal Council. Will it be Andrea or Debbie?
Probst brings up the Reward Challenge and Cirie’s experience. Cirie says Sarah and the others allowed her to complete the challenge on a positive note. Sarah praises Cirie for not giving up.
Probst then talks about the Immunity Challenge. Andrea says her blocks falling might mean she goes home tonight. Zeke says the power alliance is in control, and Debbie assures them that they are. It took a 10 minute discussion to settle things. Sarah asks if they could be blamed for being confident.
Debbie says it’s inconceivable to think otherwise, the Power Six are calling the shots. Troyzan says it doesn’t matter where you rank in the Power Six. You’ve made it into the alliance and you can worry about where you stand after the other five are voted off.
Zeke says he’s waiting for the deck to reshuffle, as it always does. Michaela says something about the Power Six looking like a Boo Boo Fool, and we swear, if we had a child, we would name it Boo Boo Fool.
Debbie Wanner, 51 (Robert Voets/CBS)
Votes are cast, no idols or advantages are played and Michaela pulls out some coconut chunks and eats them like popcorn while watching Probst read the votes: five for Andrea, six for Debbie, who cheerfully accepts her torch snuffing and heads off to Whoville for some roast beast.
Next time: The game has been broken open.