Recap: 'Survivor: Cagayan' - 'Sitting in my Spy Shack'
Pre-credit sequence. Jefra is still trying to piece together what went down at the last Tribal. This could take a while. She asks Tony for his reasons. "You guys wouldn't understand where I'm coming from," Tony says. This works for Trish, who insists she isn't mad about being totally in the dark. "I still trust Tony and he still trusts me," Trish insists. Spencer knows that Tony is unpredictable and that he may not be useful for long. "The sooner we make a move against Tony, the better," Spencer says.
Tony Hopkins? Tony correctly suspects that he'll be in trouble after the last vote. So, for the second time this season, he constructs a spy shack, this one next to the water well. In no time, Tony's shack pays dividends. Jefra and Trish go to get water and Jefra laments that their alliance may be gone and she doesn't know where she stands. Trish reassures her and also tells her that Tony is an Academy Award-level actor. "It's the way that he went about it that makes me not want to trust Tony," Jefra says. So, for this, Tony doesn't trust Jefra anymore and he figures, again, that he's in trouble.
Fiddle Paddle. Reward time! For the challenge, they'll be divided into two teams of four. They'll collect paddles and use them to solve a word puzzle. Wanna know what they're playing for? A trip to caves for a BBQ lunch. They all agree it's worth playing for, even if "Survivor" couldn't get a sponsor for any part of the meal. Kass, Trish, Tony and Woo are going against Spencer, Tasha, Jefra and Jeremiah. Gee, funny how the teams were divided by alliance, with free-radical Jefra with the minority. Tony's team gets out to a decent lead but, as always happens, it'll be all about puzzle-making. Honestly, it hardly matters who wins or loses. Tasha, Spencer and Jeremiah will have time to woo Jefra, with or without BBQ. Both teams are fiddling with their puzzle. Checking out the neighboring puzzle, Spencer figures out that it's "Worth Playing For." They're right! Jeremiah head-butts Jefra in happiness. Tony sees how the Reward teams were divided and he knows he's in trouble. Again. Will every break in this episode feature Tony realizing he's in trouble?
Morgan's boobs. The Losers return to camp and they know that the Winners are going to try to pull in Jefra. Kass knows she's made her bed with her five-person alliance and even though it was a six-person alliance just a day before, she doesn't blame Tony and she'll keep him around, because he's annoying. "If Spencer loses Immunity, he needs to go," Kass warns us. Trish isn't worried about strategy, because she's found lime trees and papayas. "This could be the beginning of our demise," says Tony, who goes off into the woods to strategize by himself. Tony is determined to go out to find the Tyler Perry Super-Idol, even though he doesn't have a clue. The rest of the tribe is going after luscious fruit dangling from trees. How luscious? "They look like Morgan's boobs," Trish says. Well-played, Trish. Tony goes scurrying up a tree and starts "jerking this papaya tree." Hopping between trees, Woo's attempts to emulate Sylvester Stallone in "Cliffhanger" leads him to a big fall onto his butt. He's OK. We know he's OK, because he's telling us what happened. "Awww, my butt," he observes. "I'd break my ass for papayas any day," he tells us. Don't worry, Woo. Just put the lime in the coconut and drink 'em both together, put the lime in the coconut and you'll feel better.
The Descent. Off in the caves, the Winners are impressed by the grandeur of nature. Spencer describes the caves as "epic." But you know what's even more epic? Their lunch. "How do you feel, Jefra?" Tasha asks, instigating discussion. Jefra is questioning where she fits in her alliance. They propose booting Tony, but Jefra needs another rib before she can even contemplate such deceit. But before she can stuff her face, the opportunity comes for them all to stuff their hearts with words from home. They each receive an envelope and Jefra's already in tears. "I can't even look at my mom's handwriting," Jefra wails. Her mom tells her not to be afraid to lie, which she takes as a sign. They make a Final 4 pact. Nobody else's letters from home matter.
Oh, balls. Immunity time! The task is balancing a ball on a pole while standing on a beam. Is it just me or do we keep making "balancing" the dominant criteria for Immunity this season? And why? Jefra goes out first, followed by Tony and Trish. Wind is causing trouble. Jeremiah goes out next, leaving Woo, Tasha and Spencer, all previous winners of Individual Immunity. Do you think Jeff Probst specifically chooses tasks that let him say "balls" over and over? Because that's the only entertaining part of this challenge. Woo goes out. Spencer's ball spins uncontrollably and Tasha wins Individual Immunity for the second straight time. Not bad, Tasha. Jefra says while the rest of her alliance thinks Tony is like Jesus, she's more trusting of Spencer, Tasha and Jeremiah.
Tony, Tony, Tony has done it again. Everybody's impressed with Tasha. The plan for now is to try to blindside Tony, even if there's a risk of a 4-4 vote and going to rocks. Tony senses he's in trouble, so he goes running off into the jungle. There's a crazy tree and he goes poking around on all sides of it. Trish senses that Jefra's worried. As Jefra is discussing his fakeness, Tony is digging under a tree that's shaped like a rocket ship. Under its roots, Tony thinks he's found something and... indeed. He has the Special Idol. The clue says that the Idol can be used after you see the votes. "Do you know how powerful that is?" Tony asks. Yes. I do. And I hate it. Blech. Out in the water, Kass and Trish are explaining to Jefra that they can't win by voting Tony out. Trish confronts Tony when he comes out to the water. He swears on everybody that they're his Top 5. Kass thinks Spencer has an Idol, which makes him a tough vote. Honest Jefra walks back to camp and tells Jeremiah that their Cave BBQ deal is off. "Sorry," she says. Well... OK. For some reason, Jeremiah decides to cement his alliance by telling them his deepest, darkest secret: He's a fashion model. Oh. Spencer decides to reward Spencer's honesty by telling them about his Idol. And for reasons unexplained, the Tribal Council vote has changed: They're now targeting Woo and Spencer is prepared to use his Idol to make things work. "If I use it wrong, I could be kicking myself for the rest of my life," Spencer acknowledges.
Tribal Council. From the Jury, LJ smirks at the people who voted him out. Spencer begins by saying that his alliance is, sadly, on the outside and Jeremiah recounts Jefra's brief fling with their trio. "So Jefra. Sounds like you're very impressionable," Probst says, voice dripping with Probstian contempt. Jefra explains that Tasha and Spencer would probably beat her at the end. Spencer tries reminding her that Tony has broken promises, but Tony takes exception. Quickly, Spencer changes approaches and tells everybody else that if they go to the end with Tony, Tony will get his vote. "Mine too," Tasha agrees and Jeremiah's with them. "In this game, you have to make power moves," Tony justifies. Woo says the vote was based on who they think might have an Idol. Jeremiah's all,"Aw shucks" and says Spencer's a bigger threat. Spencer calls Jeremiah "one of the most likable guys I've ever met." Tony brings up his "Bag of Tricks" again. Spencer says he wants to find out what's in the bag of tricks.
The vote. "Bro... This vote is a real bummer, dude," Spencer says, voting for Woo. That's the only vote we see. Spencer pulls out his Immunity Idol and it's unclear what he's going to do with it. Tony fiddles with something of his own and Spencer plays the Idol for himself. Tony says Spencer was thinking of playing it for "Jeremy" and says what he pulled out was fake. Probst tallies: Woo. Woo. Woo. Jeremiah. ["Sorry buddy," Spencer tells Jeremiah, seeing how the votes are going.] Jeremiah. Jeremiah. JEREMIAH. Tony reties his Bag of Tricks. Probst praises them for their big moves. Jeremiah feels like he played a great game and could have won the million dollars.
Bottom Line, I. I don't care if he dug for eight hours and excavated metric tons of earth, it's ridiculous for Tony to have been able to find a tool as valuable as the Tyler Perry Super-Idol without a single clue. I don't like this Super-Idol, just as I didn't like it when the Idols had similar powers way back in the day. But if you're rooting for Tony, you certainly have to be pleased. He stabbed his alliance in the back one episode and by the next episode, he had a Super-Idol and his whole alliance was back on his side. If they're dumb enough to have let this happen, then he certainly deserves the million bucks for this season. It was only two or three weeks ago that Trish was looking wicked smaht. She isn't looking wicked smaht anymore. As of now, the only question seems to be if somebody -- Spencer it looks like -- will be able to cause Tony to self-immolate.
Bottom Line, II. If Woo said they were basing their vote on who was most likely to have an Idol, shouldn't Spencer have known they were aiming away from him? He had the clue, even if Woo filched it from him. Nobody was going to think Jeremiah could have found anything. Either Spencer had to play the Idol for Jeremiah, or he had to just sit on it and risk going home with it. And that's easy for me to say after seeing where the votes went.
Bottom Line, III. Jeremiah didn't have very much game.
Bottom Line, IV. Jefra doesn't have much game. She was way too easily placated by her alliance, but with the benefit of hindsight, we probably know she wasn't wrong.
Bottom Line, V. The entertainment value of that episode and, very rapidly, of the season is coming down to whether or not Tony amuses you. Do you get a kick out of his paranoia and his spying and his capitalizing on lazy clue-hiding "Survivor" producers and the gullibility of his alliance? I'm not going to judge you if you do. More and more, Tony is being portrayed as a crazed prankster genius, Russell Hantz without the whiff of brimstone. You never know when "Survivor" juries are going to resent Tony's type of gameplay, but he seems to be doing it with a big enough smile and enough relentless fast-talking that he could win under a lot of circumstances. Of course, if he goes out before the Finals, whoever dethrones Tony would also have a good winning resume. Tonight we lost one of the people who couldn't even begin to argue they deserved to win. Jefra and Woo are also in that category.