Everybody knows that Survivor can be a perilous game. It’s cut-throat and ruthless. But it can be especially perilous if you’re a chicken. And it might be Tai’s island BFF, Mark the Chicken, that’s on the literal chopping block tonight after Tai turned on Scot and scorned Jason in the last vote. Let’s hope Survivor: Kaoh Rong doesn’t get that dark.

Blindside Fallout

Tai is really proud of the move he made. He’s the smallest guy in the game and he voted out the biggest guy in the game. Now he’s taking control of his own game and he thinks he’s in the most powerful position in the tribe with his idol and his extra vote. One thing is for sure: Tai’s ego has blown up just a wee bit after that last blindside.

Jason tells the girls that now they’ll never get rid of Tai, but he respects his move from a strategy perspective. He just wishes he weren’t on the wrong end of things.

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Meanwhile, Julia and Michele feel upset that they were left out of the vote. Julia claims she’s been loyal and voted the way they wanted her to vote (even though she has been playing both sides) and she feels betrayed by the last vote. Now she feels like she’s at the bottom of the totem pole.

Aubry is still reeling from the high of getting Tai on her side. Tai thinks that the four of them (Tai, Aubry, Cydney and Joe) are tight till the end with no chance of cracking with Jason the next to go. That sure is optimistic.

Odd Man Out

For the reward challenge, the Survivors have to go through an obstacle course collecting rings. Once they have three rings, they have to toss them onto an anchor. The first team to hook their rings wins a chopper ride and a beach picnic. The twist? They’re competing in three pairs tethered together. The pairs are randomly assigned so one person is sitting out. And it’s Jason. Womp-womp.

The teams are Joe and Tai, Julia and Aubry and Michele and Cydney. Julia and Aubry are the first two through the obstacle course, but the other two teams are right behind them.

One it comes down to the ring toss, it’s a competition between Cydney and Joe. Luckily, Cydney finishes first so she and Michele win the reward. I can’t imagine what a Joe/Tai reward would have looked like, but it judging by Joe’s game (or lack thereof) I think we can all assume that would be pretty boring.

There’s one more twist: Jeff tells Cydney and Michele to pick one more person. They pick Aubry without hesitation. Michele is thrilled to have a chance to reconnect with the girls in the majority alliance.

A Desperate Plan

The women of Beauty, Brawn and Brains are united on a once in a lifetime Survivor reward experience. Aubry says it’s a great way to reset and refuel for the next 11 days.

Michele gets by in her life, and this game, with her social skills. She tells the other two that she’s been loyal to this point and she wants to stay loyal despite being left out of the last vote. Aubry trusts Michele and she and Cydney agree that she’s a good option to take to the end. Cydney stresses that they can’t go to the end with Tai. But now that he has an advantage and an idol, it might be hard to get rid of him. She has to be on the lookout for the next opportunity.

Back at camp, Jason is feeling down but he knows he can’t give up on trying to win. He’s out here for his family after all and he has to find a crack.

He confers with Julia about a way to sneak themselves back into the game. He suggests that they get four votes on Tai and then either he’ll play his idol and either he and Julia will go home, or he doesn’t play his idol and he’s blindsided out of the game with it in his pocket.

The only problem is, who will be the fourth vote? They’re assuming they can pull Michele, but they still need one more. Jason knows that Joe is Aubry’s lap dog and he’s not switching. So that means the only other option is Cydney.

When she gets back from the reward, he makes his pitch. It’s win-win for Cydney. Either Tai goes home, who she knows she doesn’t want to go to the end with, or Jason or Julia go home and her alliance still has the numbers. She has a lot to consider.

And one thing Julia has already decided: As soon as Tai is gone, they’re eating Mark the Chicken.

Cracking the Immunity Code

For immunity, the survivors have to race out to a platform in the water to look at a decoder consisting of animals and numbers. Then they have to solve a code back at their station to release a key. Once the key is released, they have to use it to open a box of puzzle pieces. The first one to unscramble the mystery word puzzle wins immunity.

They all race out to the platform, with Jason in the lead. They study the pictures and numbers for a while and then they all head back. Poor Joe; at 71 he’s really struggling. He even has to sit out of the challenge because he’s just run out of gas. You’re still doing great Joe!

In a total stunner, both Michele and Julia get their codes right on the first try while everyone else has to swim back for a second look. Michele finishes unscrambling the word, “Blindside” right before Julia, insuring that she is the only one who cannot be blindsided tonight.

Who to Backstab

Aubry thinks the vote should be an easy vote for Jason. But after talking it over with her alliance, she thinks that Julia is more of a threat moving forward. She’s strategic and she doesn’t have any blood on her hands at this point in the game. She’s also a threat when it comes to puzzle or balance challenges. So the consensus among the majority is Julia.

Michele is bummed about this. She doesn’t want to have to write down the name of her number one ally. She asks what should she say to Julia when she inevitably asks who they’re voting tonight and Cydney says to tell them they’re doing the “Tai thing.”

Wrong thing for Cydney to say. Now Tai is aware that his name is being considered and he’s taking his idol to Tribal. He does not want to go home with that thing in his pocket.

Later, Julia and Michele talk. Julia tells Michele about the Tai plan and she’s sure she has Cydney to vote with them. Michele would much rather vote with her friend, but either she’ll be betraying Julia or she’ll be betraying her alliance. Either way she does not feel good about backstabbing someone and it’s taking an emotional toll. But she knows she needs to do what’s right for her game and put her feelings on the back burner for now.

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Tribal Council

Julia talks about how every decision you make in the game at this point is crucial. Anything you do or say can cost you the game now.

There’s lots of talk of making big moves and building a resume. It’s something Michele and Cydney both admit to considering because they want to be able to prove to the jury why they deserve to win in the end. But you still have to get there first.

Jason says that he and Julia are extra votes for someone else to use to make a big move. They even throw Tai’s name around, which is weird considering they want to blindside him. You’d think they wouldn’t sound their alarms so high to make him want to play his idol, but they do.

And it works. Before the vote, Tai admits to being uncomfortable. But is he uncomfortable enough to play his idol?

To the Vote!

Before the vote, Tai whispers in Aubry’s ear asking her if she thinks he should play his idol. She tells him she thinks he’s fine but to go with his gut. His gut tells him not to play his idol.

It’s the right move. Julia and Jason vote for Tai, and the rest of the votes come in for Julia. Julia takes it like a champ, and says she’s really used this time in the game to grow as a person.

And most importantly, Mark the Chicken’s life is spared. At least for one more week. Next episode: Aubry and Cydney’s tight bond shows signs of wear. Let’s hope they can keep it together to get rid of Jason next.

Survivor airs on Wednesdays at 8pm on CBS.

(Image courtesy of CBS)

Gina Pusateri

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV