Survivor Caramoan has been a domination by the Favorites and a massacre on the helpless Fans. You’d have thought maybe a tribal switch would have changed things up, but the exiting of Fans just continued at a quick rate. This season has enough giant egos that want to be on top that there always could be a chance for someone to sneak in. If any episode is going to have a big shocker, “Blindside Time” sounds like the perfect one.

Phillip the Secret Agent of Excuses

Bikal return from tribal and Michael is basically ready to kiss the feet of the Favorites for keeping him around. Corinne gloats in confessional that she has Michael in her pocket. The way she is gloating about aligning with Michael makes me think she may have confused him with a leprechaun or a genie.  He is just one guy, my dear.

Phillip pulls Dawn and Corinne aside, and if you think it is to talk strategy then you haven’t been paying attention to this season. Obviously, he has to make sure they’re aware that he threw the last immunity challenge, because it was so important they voted off Julia. This makes so much sense since the Fans are such threats with their minority numbers and constant being voted off. The ladies challenge him on why he never told them he planned to throw the challenge. Phillip reveals it was a master stroke he came up with in the middle of the challenge. I’m guessing, it happened right around the time Reynold was slaughtering him. The girls believe him about as much as everyone else that has been watching season 26. Corinne describes the situation perfectly by declaring Phillip is “so cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.”

Bikal is sensing a merge soon, and so Phillip delivers some words of wisdom. He mentions to his alliance that they should not have any one-on-one conversations with the Fans at merge time. Hmm … where did Phillip ever get that strategy from? Corrine of course needs to pipe in that Michael is totally on their tribe, and she may have whispered that he promised to show her buried treasure after the next vote.

Dawn then starts having a breakdown. In a confessional, she mentions that this is getting really close to the last time her game fell apart. She remembers that Cochran revealed to her that he was going to flip, but she made the mistake of keeping that knowledge secret. She now promises that this time she is going to be assertive and a decision maker. This nugget turns out to be incredibly important for later in the episode, and is the first sign Dawn is ready to start taking control.

Merge Time

A boat arrives on Gota’s shore to announce that they must pack up all their things and head over to the Bikal tribe. The players showcase their giant brains by predicting it will be a merge. The merge of course means new bandanas (green), a bunch of fake pleasantries and a glorious banquet of food. The tribe also decides the new name will be Enil Edam, which Andrea believes means “new beginning.” Malcolm reveals it is just his mom Madeline’s name spelled backwards. Corinne hates the name, because she can’t pronounce it and because her gimmick is she has to always complain about something.

Once the food is devoured, it is time for more strategy. This season has been fantastic because people are so willing to flip and there are so many that want to control this game. It is never fun when people just play to survive rather than win.

Andrea and Phillip decide they should make a final four union with Cochran and Dawn. They make the very smart decision to target either Reynold or Eddie since they suspect Corinne may try to recruit them. Phillip also tells Andrea that she needs to think about Boston Rob at night, because they won’t be able to find a poster to put in their shelter. Seriously, Phillip is a little obsessed with the man.

Corinne and Malcolm unite, and both are dying to take control of this game. I’m so happy they just didn’t want to stick with the Favorites alliance to the end. Malcolm mentions in a confessional that he is tired of just playing the quiet soldier to the rest of the Favorites and wants to make a big move to take control. They form an alliance of six, which also consists of Reynold, Eddie, Michael and Erik. I would actually consider Erik a bit of a threat since he probably will stay likable and is really strong in challenges. Corinne then squeals about how she always wanted to do a blindside, and can’t wait to knock out Phillip.

Survive the Gross Out

It is now the one challenge that you want to make sure you’re not eating a snack while watching Survivor.  It is the challenge where they need to eat the country’s delicacies, and by delicacies, I mean food that makes McDonald’s seem like food heaven. It is a race to see who can eat the gross food the fastest, and the ultimate winner gets immunity.

The first round consists of Andrea, Corinne, Sherri, Erik, Malcolm and Eddie. The first three go into the next round. It is revealed to be beetle larva and Eddie is scared it will bite him. He isn’t too scared, because he goes into the next round along with Malcolm and Andrea.

The remaining six of Cochran, Brenda, Phillip, Reynold, Michael and Dawn need to eat the same thing. Dawn is so eager to chow down that Probst has to command her to put the larva back on the plate. Her eagerness isn’t enough for a victory, as Cochran blows everyone away for an easy win. He is followed by Phillip and Michael. Is this the first time Cochran has ever won anything individually in Survivor?

The next treat is ship worms, but they looks like slugs. This time around it is the first three. Cochran again quickly gulps it down, but this time is followed by Malcolm and Eddie. Duck Embryo isn’t enough to slow Cochran down as he wins the next round as well, but Malcolm follows him to the final round. Probst points out how shocking it is that Cochran is actually in a final. Malcolm mentions that Cochran is unbeatable at food-eating challenges. It looks like Cochran has found the talent to win over the ladies. If that doesn’t work, then maybe his new necklace will, because he narrowly defeats Malcolm by consuming pig brain. It appears Cochran makes history by winning his first ever immunity challenge, which is something I just always assumed was impossible.

Let the Real Scheming Begin

Cochran admits he is incredibly shocked he won immunity and acknowledges this was a once in a lifetime moment. He also observes that everyone actually seems happy he won, which he also realizes is due to no one seeing him as a threat. This is something he can use to his advantage and Cochran should be savvy enough to realize that. Malcolm mentions he is happy that Cochran won, but also hopes this was just Cochran getting it out of his system since Malcolm wants him gone soon.

Malcolm solidifies his alliance of six, and agrees with Corinne to target Sherri first. The plan is to make it look like they’re voting with the Favorites for now, but then blindside Phillip when they have dominant numbers the next vote. I also love that they have no fear that the strongest super agent in the universe will win immunity.

Speaking of the super agent, Phillip lets Corinne know the plan is to split the votes on Eddie and Reynold. Corinne says she hates splitting votes and that it makes more sense to vote out the black sheep, Sherri. Remember when at one time it looked like Sherri actually had a bit of control in this game? She is now the new Julia, except she talks some. Phillip doesn’t like voting for Sherri, because it isn’t what Boston Rob would do. Phillip should just get the bracelets made, so he always is reminded how important it is to always be like Boston Rob. When you think about Phillip’s game play, you immediately think Boston Rob.

Corinne goes running to the other Favorites and cries how unfair it is that Phillip wants to split the vote. She pushes for voting out Sherri. Cochran actually sniffs out the suspicious behavior, since it doesn’t make sense to want to keep the two athletic guys not in their alliance. He also admits that he doesn’t really care if Sherri goes home first either.

Corinne then brainstorms with Eddie and Reynold who are just ecstatic to finally not be on the outside in this game. They also realize an alliance of six doesn’t really work when there are12 people left. Though at the same time, they don’t really need to bring anyone in if they can convince the tribe to just target Sherri. The big move doesn’t need to come this time around.

Corinne seems to disagree with me, and recruits Dawn. Dawn is instantly reminded about her last time in this game, and thinks she must rat out Corinne. To be fair to Dawn, shifting over to an alliance where she is the seventh person makes no sense when the other alliance promises final four. This seems like a pretty massive Phillip-like move on Corinne’s part. Dawn and Andrea now try to brainstorm how they can get seven people to blindside Corinne from the game. Lucky for Malcolm, they seem to believe she is the mastermind here. The belief is that Erik likely has no clue what is happening, and can be convinced to flip back over if they give him a nice enough smile and promise milk and cookies. OK, I may have made up that last part, but Erik does prove to be fairly clueless considering he outright says he doesn’t know what is going on.    

Phillip eventually finds out about Corinne’s attempt to blindside, and he is furious she would do such a thing after he allowed her into “Stealth R Us.” Corinne is so ungrateful for not bowing down to Phillip for letting her into a group that I’m pretty sure some villagers just joined. Phillip then offers membership to Sherri, and lets her know this vote is her chance to prove her loyalty. Sherri likes the chance to stay in the game, but admits she can’t really stand Phillip. I’d say hearing a man constantly gush about Boston Rob and constantly come up with nicknames is worth a chance at a million.

Tribal Council

Corinne admits outright that she is willing to take in anyone who will give her a chance to stay in control of the game. The rest of the Favorites act like such a thing doesn’t bother them. Meanwhile, Sherri plays the scared little sheep by saying the Fans have no chance. Reynold tries to be all sneaky by stating he thinks the vote will be predictable tonight, but a big shocker will come soon. You can sense Malcolm, Corinne, Eddie and Reynold are just ready to burst over their devious plan. A plan that works much better when you don’t rat it out to the opposition.

The vote goes down, and the alliance of six is ready to squeal for delight when Sherri’s name comes up five times. Then it all crumbles when Corinne’s name comes up seven times. Sadly, it is the end of Corinne who started to become a really competitive player. She really should have kept the plan to the six, because likely everyone would have followed voting out Sherri. Now, it will be interesting to see if Malcolm can recover his game and possibly sneak back into the Favorite alliance.

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Chris Spicer

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV