On the last episode of Survivor: Cambodia, we saw the game’s biggest merge in the history of the show with 13 players. Now, Chaos Kass is gone, so that means that things are going to be more peaceful around camp, right? Wrong. Let’s see what fresh trouble these all stars can get themselves into now that their biggest pot-stirrer is safely watching them from the jury.

Survivor: Cambodia Recap: Everybody Merge Now >>>

Day 20 at Orkun

Andrew gloats to Jeremy about how brilliantly they executed their plan at the last Tribal Council. He’s also pretty pleased with himself that he made the jury, but he knows that if he wants to go even farther, he has to keep his alliance strong. He wants to play this the “old school” way and just stay the course and watch out for the schemers and plotters like Ciera and Kelley Wentworth.

Ciera pulls Stephen aside to see if she can get their interests to align. And what do you know, she thinks the next target should be Joe. Someone that Stephen has been gunning for days now. She thinks that Stephen is the right person to talk to about this because he wants to make big moves. She knows that he’s just waiting for the right time, and the right time for her is now.

Throwing it Back to Season One

For the reward challenge, the survivors are split into two teams of six. They have to paddle out in boats to collect four crates. Then they have to stack the crates in a puzzle where there can be no colors repeating on any side. The winning team gets to go to the Survivor Cafe, where they’ll get coffee and an assortment of breakfast foods normally found at hotel continental breakfast. (I guess it’s better than nothing.)

On the pink team is Tasha, Andrew, Spencer, Jeremy, Stephen and Abi. The blue team is Kelley, Kelly, Keith, Kimmi, Joe and Ciera.

Joe is really aggressive during the rowing part of the challenge, shoving the other team’s boat away to steer them off course. And Keith puts in a strong performance grabbing the crates from the water (he’s been surprisingly good at challenges this season). The blue team has a huge advantage going into the puzzle, but the pink team catches up. Stephen thinks they’ve solved it for the pink team, but they didn’t quite have it. The blue team comes in to win it.

Kelly Wiglesworth is proud to have won the challenge, especially having lost it in the first season competing against Gervase, who famously couldn’t swim. Stephen, on the other hand, is nervous because he’s afraid that Ciera and Kelly Wentworth will have time to bond with Joe to swing him on their side.

At the cafe, Kimmi’s excited because it’s her first time ever going on a reward. Ciera is looking forward to relaxing too, but she’s more concerned about talking strategy. At this point, she has nothing to lose. She tells them all that Tasha, Stephen, Andrew Savage and Jeremy are a tight four, and right now they should take advantage of the numbers they have to break that foursome apart.

Joe says that he’s proved his loyalty to the former Bayon alliance, but he knows that his loyalty will only go so far because he has to look out for himself. He thinks Ciera is right, and her idea is something he’ll have to consider.

Back at camp, Stephen is having a low moment. Abi is sensitive to the fact and calls him a “Debbie Downer” and tells him to get over it. That Abi-Maria really has her social game down pat.

Stephen is mostly upset because the people he needs to get together to make a move are on reward, and not only is he not there to talk strategy, but he’s missing time to bond with them and form better social relationships. But by complaining about that, he’s not doing himself any favors with the people he’s stuck back at camp with.

He pulls Jeremy aside and tells him he doesn’t want to waste time getting rid of people like Abi and Ciera while there are still major threats in the game, namely Joe. Jeremy says he originally wanted Joe around as a meat shield, but Stephen may be right; now might be the time to get rid of him.

Stephen pulls Spencer and Tasha aside as well. Both tell him that they’re on board. But Andrew Savage overhears Stephen’s strategy talk and he’s not too pleased. He’s tight with Joe and he doesn’t want him to go home. Not only that, but he thinks that the fact that Stephen is daring to talk strategy is scheming and disgusting. Sorry, not everyone’s strategy is “be an arrogant blowhard,” like yours Savage.

As soon as the others come back to camp, he fills in Joe about what Stephen’s trying to do. Joe’s not surprised at all, because he knows Stephen is a smart Survivor player and he knows he’s a threat (he doesn’t even take it as personally as Savage does) and he’s the target). Now he knows winning immunity is imperative to sticking around.

Balancing Balls (Once Again)

In this previously run immunity challenge from San Juan del Sur, Jeremy was the first out and Keith won, the survivors have to use a rope to balance a ball on top of a disc. As time passes, they have to increase the slack on the rope and eventually add another ball to the disc. Last man (or lady) left standing wins immunity.

Kelley Wentworth and Ciera are out in mere seconds. A few others hang on for a bit, but it’s only Tasha, Keith, Joe, Spencer and Kimmi left for the next round. Then just Keith, Joe and Spencer to the round after that. By the time 30 minutes have passed, the only two left are Keith and Joe who get another ball added to their discs. It’s a tense battle between the two, but Joey Amazing wins again. By keeping himself safe for the night’s vote, he’s increasing the size of the target on his back and the pressure to keep winning challenges in the future.

Who’s the Target?

Stephen is frustrated because once again his plans have been thwarted. He calls Joe his white whale to his Ahab. And Joe is ready to turn that target right back around onto Stephen. He and Andrew Savage agree that he should be next to go since they can’t trust him. And Joe convinces Abi, Kelley Wentworth and Ciera to vote with him, too. They’re just happy that it’s not one of them going home tonight.

But when it’s time to tell Jeremy about the plan, he is not on board. He feels like Stephen is his closest ally and he wants to bring him with him to the end. He knows that he’s going to need Stephen to help him get rid of the other threats in the game down the road. He tells the rest of the alliance that he’d really rather get rid of one of the girls on the bottom tonight, so they don’t have any way of wiggling their way back in. He also tells them that they need to keep their alliance strong by not letting any cracks show before the easy targets are all eliminated.

Andrew Savage says he plead his case, and while he’s used to getting his way (shock), he thinks Jeremy makes a good argument and he’s willing to vote with the majority. Jeremy did a really good job there convincing the group that something that was good for him was also good for them, even when it might not be. Now the only thing left to decide is which of the girls, between Abi, Kelley Wentworth and Ciera, is going home first.

Joe is disappointed to hear that it’s not Stephen going home tonight and he tells that to Kelley and Ciera, who in turn are disappointed that they’re back on the chopping block. Kelley is frustrated that Joe won’t make a move against the core four alliance. But she has an idol in her back pocket, and she’s willing to play it if she needs to.

Tribal Council

Kass gets things started by coming to sit on the jury bench with a hearty middle finger directed to the remaining players (probably specifically to Tasha, but it’s hard to tell).

Ciera continues to complain that no one is fighting for their own spot in the game. Even though there are four people in a core alliance, and eight other people who are on the bottom, she says none of those eight are willing to turn. And that’s frustrating.

Savage disagrees with that, because, of course, he doesn’t want to make anyone else seem like they’re on the bottom. He says that they all make decisions as a group, and Ciera says you’d have to be pretty stupid to buy that load of garbage. She says, in what everyone thinks is a majority alliance, that there people on top, and there are people on the bottom, and if you’re not Jeremy, Savage, Tasha, or Stephen/Joe, then you’re on the bottom and should be thinking about making a move.

Spencer says that what Ciera says is true, but a lot of the returning players are playing with a lot more caution. No one wants to be the one who goes against the majority, because no one wants to be the one sent home next.

Kelley says that they may not be as tight as they think, because someone approached her that day about making a big move, but wasn’t confident enough to pull the trigger. But she doesn’t want to out that person because there’s a chance they’ll be there the next day and she’s going to have to try to work with that person moving forward.

Is Spencer Playing the Best or Worst Survivor Game? >>>

To the Vote!

We don’t see any of the votes tonight before the final reveal, which makes it all the more suspenseful. But Kelley Wentworth must have gotten wind that it was going to be her tonight because she plays her idol! The looks on everyone’s faces are pure shock. Even her allies had no idea she had the idol.

When the votes come in, they’re all for Kelley Wentworth. So it’s a well-played idol. But who did she, Ciera and Abi choose to target?

It’s Andrew Savage! He gets to go out in an almost as equally epic way as he went out in Pearl Islands. Only now, unfortunately, we have to see his self-righteous ass on the jury.

What a great idol blindside! Now let’s see if the ladies can work their way into some kind of majority next week. Because as of right now, they’re all out of idols.

Survivor airs at 8pm on Wednesdays on CBS.

(Image courtesy of CBS)

Gina Pusateri

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV