The Cool Table learned last week on Survivor Caramoan that an alliance of four isn’t a majority in a tribe of 10, but this little math lesson also led to the subtraction of Allie. This big play brought forth even more chaos upon poor Gota in the appropriately named “There’s Gonna Be Hell to Pay” episode. Season 26 has already delivered tons of strategizing and alliance shuffling, and Bikal had its fair share of drama too. Survivor Caramoan has so far proven how entertaining this show can be when you pack the island full of people who actually want to win, along with a sprinkle of some healthy insanity.

Reynold and Shamar Fight, and the Sun Also Rises

After returning from tribal council, Reynold proves what a master strategist he is by vocalizing his utter shock that his alliance of four was blindsided, despite alienating the other six. Shamar doesn’t like Reynold’s declaration, and he decides to show it by essentially screaming at everyone. Verbally berating the people who decided not to vote you out isn’t usually the greatest way to show thanks. Sherri, an actual smart player, realizes this public meltdown may eliminate her precious goat, and tries to encourage Shamar to be slightly more diplomatic. Shamar seems to have been sent to the edge thanks to the jerky beefcakes over at the Cool Table.

I’m not saying Shamar would be a delight to live with on a small island. Reynold and Eddie also haven’t been the warmest of fellows to him. Shamar also opens up to the group about how Iraq affected him in a dark way, and how he has struggled to remain a happy person ever since his tour there. This makes Shamar a hundred times more likable, especially after Eddie blurts out “Revenge of the Nerds,” referencing the other six voting out Allie. When you match up a man who went through hell for his country against a pampered, condescending, pretty boy bully, it makes it easy to choose who is the more sympathetic one.

Downsizing Stealth R Us

Bikal isn’t one strong and united tribe either. The apparent leader of “Stealth R Us” proves his sanity and humbleness by comparing himself to Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. I’m not sure if a three-pointer is going to be enough for Phillip to make it to the end this time. It is also clear that despite his own declaration of being the leader and using Boston Rob’s strategy, Andrea is the one attempting to make big moves. Andrea has already done a lot of shuffling this season, and now she has targeted Corinne as her next victim. Apparently, Corinne jumps around having too many one-on-one meetings with others, so Andrea doesn’t trust her. I think Andrea is just jealous Corinne is getting to wander into the woods with Malcolm.

Andrea has come to play hard and is taking on a leadership role she lacked last time. She convinces her alliance that Corinne should be sent off to hang out with Francesca. Of course, she doesn’t make Malcolm aware of this, because he is too busy discovering the Hidden Immunity Idol once again. This time though he finds it with Corinne, and it will be interesting to see if he opts to save her if he hears of the plan.

The desire to knock out Corinne seems pretty strong, since Andrea even pulls crazy “I want to pee in our only food source and burn down our shelter” Brandon. In a massive shocker, Brandon actually demonstrates he may have learned a few things by agreeing to align with Andrea, but then revealing he doesn’t totally trust her. In a total bummer, we don’t get any real footage of Brenda, but instead get to see Cochran salivate over being with bikini-clad ladies. I’m hoping the lack of Brenda footage this season doesn’t foreshadow an early exit, because she was the best thing from her first season.

Grappling for Immunity

This seems to be the season of Survivor to have packed the water wings, because we’ve already had a few water challenges. This time they swim out to a giant cage, climb into the cage, untie the ropes underwater to open the cage, then drag a heavy chest to the shore, then use a grapple to connect boards for a track, and then drag the chest across to the finish line. Sounds like it would be a lot easier to just decide the winner in a game of marbles.

The Bikal tribe gets an early lead because Gota can’t climb the cage until painfully slow Laura can get there. She was out swum by Cochran? No Olympic dreams for her, I guess. Surprisingly, Gota recovers quickly, and end up the first out of the cage. Bikal seems confused on how to pull a chest in water so Gota pushes ahead. Then it is Gota’s turn to have a brain fart and Bikal quickly catches up and are the first to start trying to grapple the track pieces. Despite that lead, Reynold proves his worth to Gota by getting the first track piece.  Phillip follows up by using his Secret Agent skills to get the first piece for Bikal.

Both Shamar and Malcolm grapple pieces, and its tied with both needing the final track piece. Brandon is able to get his piece, while Eddie learns that being incredibly good looking is not enough to win a challenge. Bikal drags the chest to victory, and wins both immunity and several comfort items.

Hope Tries to Find…Well, You Know

Shamar and Reynold continue to grow their relationship with more bickering against each other. Reynold then confides with Eddie that he doesn’t understand how anyone can handle Shamar, despite the fact that Reynold’s main problem is he is a self-entitled jerk. The alliance of six wants to knock another leg off the Cool Table, but also fear the Idol, so they want to split it between Hope and Eddie.

Hope and Shamar spend some quality time in the water. Hope fears her days are numbered, but Shamar tries to hint they don’t need to be. He actually does a pretty good job of hinting for her to blindside Eddie, which would keep her in the game but also not mess up the plans of Sherri’s alliance. Hope doesn’t seem to agree with me, and instantly rats out Shamar to Julia. Julia and Laura decide this means Shamar can’t be trusted, and he may be trying to blindside them.

Laura is a pretty smart player, but I’m not sure where her logic is coming from. Where exactly is Shamar getting votes to blindside anyone? Laura and Julia tell Reynold that they want to vote out Shamar now. Reynold suddenly declares the day Christmas, and also likely thinks he is a master strategist again.  

Hope Fades in Tribal Council

It is the “We Hate Shamar” show again, and of course, that means Shamar gets to raise his voice against a whole bunch of people. Sherri jumps to the rescue of her goat by saying his rage is due to people crossing him early in the game. This actually seems to calm things down, and proves that Sherri currently owns this game. If the fans can avoid getting picked off, I see Sherri going incredibly far.

The vote starts off with three for Shamar and three for Hope. Then Reynold makes his “thinking hurts my head” face when three Eddie votes come up. Reynold is confused that his brilliant ‘two girls from another alliance come up and suddenly pledge allegiance” strategy didn’t pan out. His brilliant mastery falls short again.

The three-way tie means a revote, and this time Hope is sent home. She must be so happy with her ratting out Shamar strategy rather than turning against her already completely dead alliance. Sherri now has all the power, though Reynold has life thanks to his immunity idol. It will be interesting what they do next, since they seem to believe they need Eddie and Reynold for challenges. But what good are the guys if they keep losing?

Compete in Fantasy TV: Make your picks on who you think will be going home. Hurry, you have until March 6 at 12pm PST to cast your vote!

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(Image courtesy of CBS)

Chris Spicer

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV