We’re down to the final six players on Survivor: Kaoh Rong, and it’s going to be interesting to see who takes what path to the end. Will Mark the Chicken survive? Will Jason continue to stick around despite his low social standing in the tribe? Will Joe ever get a confessional? So many questions! Let’s get to some answers in this episode, “Now’s the Time to Start Scheming.”

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Mark’s Rise to Fame

Mark the Chicken is just hanging out at the camp when they get back from Tribal. Literally. He’s hanging out on the hammock. He has to be the most pampered food source in the history of this show. Not since Balboa the Snake has there been a pet mascot so adored.

Jason hits Michele and Cydney hard with his pitch when they get back. He tells them that now is the time for them to work with him to get Aubry and Tai out, both of whom are worse options to go to the finals with than he is.

Michele says that he makes a good argument. But he doesn’t want to sow any doubt in her alliance. She hopes she proved herself by voting out her closest friend.

Meanwhile, Tai tells Joe and Aubry about his extra vote. He wants to use it next to either get out Jason or Michele and then use his idol at five. Aubry is scared about Tai’s multiple levels of control. But at the moment, she says her only option is to stay on his side.

Well, Mark the Chicken gets even more camera time the next morning when Tai finds a big, juicy grub for him to eat. Jason says he gave up hope on eating that chicken days ago and he pretty much has a guaranteed spot through Day 39.

Jason isn’t doing much more than sulking around camp at this point. No one will strategize with him and he whines to Joe about how everyone has just stopped playing the game. Joe says in his confessional (he does get one in this episode!) that he thinks Jason is dour when things don’t go his way, but people see right through him.

Meeting the Local Wildlife

For the reward challenge, two teams of three have to swim through obstacles to a platform on a floating maze. Then they have to maneuver three balls through the maze. The first team to finish goes to a nearby wildlife alliance, an organization that rescues animals from poachers and illegal traders and brings them to a sanctuary. There, they’ll visit the animals and have an afternoon picnic.

It’s Joe, Cydney and Aubry on the yellow team and Jason, Michele and Tai on the blue team. Unfortunately for yellow, Joe really slows them down in the obstacle portion of the challenge and they’re able to catch up. Jason, Michele and Tai win the reward.

Although this is the perfect reward for Tai to win, he’s already worried about what will happen back at camp, where the other part of his alliance is free to strategize without him.

But back at camp, there isn’t a lot of strategizing going on at all. In fact, Joe is cranky and is barking out orders to the ladies left and right, and at this point we all know how little Cydney likes to take orders. Joe’s even annoying Aubry, but even more than that, she’s worried that Cydney could blow up the whole game just because she’s annoyed with Joe.

On the reward, the three winners meet Lucky, a rescued elephant, and they spend some time in the monkey cage. Jason talks about how much his daughter, who has autism, will love seeing him interact with the animals. This leads Tai to see Jason’s softer side and convinces him that he might want to get rid of Michele next instead, especially because she hasn’t made any enemies in the game as of yet (though I’m not sure what Julia would have to say about that).

Michele sees right through Jason’s “softer side” act, though. She’s still stinging after he hid their tools around camp to deliberately make their lives miserable. Jason’s the one she wants gone for sure.

Spell “Immunity”

For immunity, the survivors have to hold onto a rope that balances a wobbly table while they race to grab wooden blocks. They have to bring their blocks back to spell the word ‘immunity.’ If the blocks topple, they have to start over. The first person to finish wins.

Joe starts off with an early lead, with Michele right behind him. But both of them lose their lead when their stacks topple. After that, Joe can’t even remember how to spell the word ‘immunity.’

Jason now has the lead but then his blocks drop. And look at that: Cydney is suddenly in the lead after Jeff Probst gave her so much crap about being dead last for the first part of the challenge. But Jason catches back up to her, so it’s neck-and-neck between Jason and Cydney. Jason drops his blocks and Cydney wins immunity. Slow and steady wins the race.

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When they get back to camp, Tai decides he wants Michele gone and he tells his alliance so. He doesn’t really make an argument; he just says, “Michele,” and then she walks over to interrupt them. To her, it’s a no-scramble kind of day because Jason’s the one leaving.

Tai tells Jason that he’s voting for Michele, so that would be the place to put his vote. But Jason doesn’t trust anything that Tai says. He wants to vote for Joe. Good luck finding more than one vote to help you out there, Jason.

Cydney and Joe confer later too. Joe says he’d rather get rid of Jason, but he’ll go with who everyone else says and he won’t “fight City Hall” on this. Great game play, Joe.

Cydney is more turned off by Tai’s form than anyone else. That, and she just wants Jason gone. She tells Michele that Tai put his name on the chopping block, which surprises her. But now she realizes she has some work to do during Tribal Council. She tells Aubry that she thinks it’s a bad move to get rid of Michele. Aubry thinks it’s the right move to get rid of her, so now she’s stuck between voting with Cydney and voting with Tai, two people that she is aligned with. And she doesn’t even know what she’s doing going into Tribal.

Tribal Council

Cydney says that at this point, everyone has to play their own game, but some people feel more comfortable than others so they feel like they can dictate policy.

Michele points out who that exact person is: Tai. She says he thinks he has some power in this game and now he thinks he can run over people in his own alliance. Tai admits that there’s a big group, but there’s also a smaller group within that, basically telling Michele outright that she’s on the bottom.

Michele is not taking this lying down. She says that she’s proved her loyalty over and over to this alliance, while Tai flips every chance he gets. Tai tries to tell her she’s not part of the alliance, but Michele reminds him that she’s been in this alliance way before he joined up when he betrayed Scot and Jason. If Aubry’s vote was really live during this Tribal Council like she said it was, Michele is really making a case for herself and throwing Tai under that proverbial bus.

To the Vote

Before Jeff tallies the votes, Tai tells him he’s playing his advantage. He’s putting both his votes on Michele.

But those are the only two that are for Michele. Jason votes for Joe (I wouldn’t have trusted Tai if I were him, either) and the rest go to Jason.

Finally, Jason is out of the game, and of course he says in his final words that he’s proud of the way he’s played. I’m glad that he’s gone, but I can’t really say I’m looking forward to seeing his smug face on the jury either.

Next time: now that the villains are gone, the final five have to turn on each other. Who is really at the bottom of the pecking order (chicken pun intended).

Survivor: Kaoh Rong airs Wednesdays at 8pm on CBS.

(Image courtesy of CBS)

Gina Pusateri

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV