On last week’s Survivor: Kaoh Rong, the Beauty, Brains and Brawn tribes became no more. While new alliances formed and old ones shifted on the beach in some heavy strategy talk, none of it came to fruition after Neal was medically evacuated from the game. Let’s hope Kaoh Rong is a little more forgiving this week and allows our Survivors to actually play the game and crack the game wide open at Tribal Council.

The New Dara Tribe

It’s Day 19 and some people are happier to see Neal go than others. Jason thinks the Brawns are sitting pretty with the Beauties in their pockets, but they’ll split the votes at the next Tribal (Brawns will vote for Aubry and the Beauties will vote for Debbie) just in case someone has an idol. Then they’ll keep going until all of the Brains are gone.

The Brains know quite well that they’re on the bottom. Aubry says it’s like high school with the tough guys in their clique surrounded by pretty people. But Aubry says that they’re not going to sit pretty forever; they’ll crack, age and over-ripen and that’s where she’ll find her way in.

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Jason takes some time to open up to his tribe about his daughter, Chloe, who is autistic. He says in his confessional that he didn’t intend on using his daughters to get ahead, but he’s not going to be dishonest about them when he’s asked. He also wants to bring awareness to the cause; it’s expensive and it affects their whole family.

Cydney knows exactly what Jason’s trying to do. She says that he picked the perfect time to try and appeal to people because he had been rubbing people the wrong way. She thinks this may affect her game and her choice to go far with him so she might have to make some decisions to distance herself from that.

Ice Cream Reward

For the Reward Challenge, there are two teams of five. Each team has to transfer one tribe member from one platform to another using smaller platforms upheld by the other four members. Then, they have to balance all five members on a single platform to win an ice cream picnic reward.

Julia is the team captain for the yellow team and she picks Nick, Debbie, Scot and Tai. Aubry is the captain for the blue team and she picks Joe, Cydney, Michele and Jason.

Julia gets into a groove of balancing across the platforms for yellow. Aubry tries for blue but keeps falling, so Michele and Cydney try too. No one for blue can balance on the platform so yellow zooms through the challenge for a blowout win.

It’s been a couple of rough days for Aubry. It’s hard for her to first lose Neal and then pick the losing team for the challenge where it wasn’t even close.

Jason Gets Bossy, Scot Opens Up

Back at camp, Jason continues to throw his weight around, and it’s not going unnoticed. Michele doesn’t like how he thinks he’s in charge and is constantly telling people what to do.

Not everyone on the challenge win was in the same alliance, so they use that moment to bond more as people than to talk strategy. Scot talks about growing up Mormon, and even though he’s no longer religious, his family is everything to him like his Mormon faith taught him. He used a lot of his money from his NBA to support his extended family, and if he won this game, that’s where the prize money would go as well. Julia is especially impressed by Scot’s story. He’s someone she likes working with and is glad he is on her team.

On Day 21, Tai goes out in the boat with the girls. While they’re gone, Scot, Jason and Nick wonder if they’re forming an all girls alliance. Just in case, they agree that a girl should go home next.

Irritated Cydney

When the girls come back, Nick pulls Julia aside to make sure no such alliance is happening. Cydney sees him maneuvering and calls him out. She wonders why he’s being shady and so obvious, when one of the people in her alliance could have just asked her what happened on the boat.

Jason pulls her aside to try to iron things out. He tells her he was going to ask her, but Nick just got to Julia first and assures her that there’s nothing to worry about. Cydney wonders why the guys can talk to whoever they want, but when she talks to a girl, they get suspicious. Now she’s irritated, and she tells the camera that they are not going to like an irritated Cydney. An irritated Cydney can blow the whole game up.

Push It Real Good

For the Immunity Challenge, the Survivors have to balance on a narrow perch and hold a handle behind their heads. Last person standing wins immunity.

After about 30 minutes, Jeff has to do his Jeff thing and bring out food to tempt them with. He warns them that this will be their only shot though so either step off now or get nothing. Scot, Jason, Michele and Joe (what are you doing, Joe?!) step down.

Tai says he didn’t even consider stepping down because he wants to see how far he can push his body. He also says he doesn’t want a Brain to win. Nick confirms to Jeff that the Brains are on the bottom. And as soon as Aubry and Debbie are out, he steps down too. He says it’s pretty much a done deal, and although it’s his first Tribal Council, he’s confident he knows what’s going to happen. (Sounds like famous last words to me.)

It’s a battle between Cydney and Tai for the necklace. Cydney is rock steady and Tai is writhing in pain, but Tai has survived war and a refugee camp, he says,so he knows that he can survive this. He calls upon Buddha and all of his physical strength and doesn’t give up. Finally, Cydney steps down and Tai wins. It’s an emotional moment and one he well deserved.

Girls’ Alliance

Nick says the plan is to split the votes between Aubry and Debbie, but Debbie is the one ultimately going home. He knows that Aubry is in a weak position, so he wants to be the one to “take advantage” of that so he essentially spills the plan to Aubry.(I’m not sure how this is taking advantage of her position.) But by telling her she’s safe and to vote for Debbie, he risks Aubry only needing enough numbers to negate a split.

But it turns out that doesn’t even really matter. Cydney pulls Aubry and Debbie aside and tells them she wants Nick out. She was bothered by his sneakiness at camp and his arrogance at the challenge. Debbie was hoping to work with Nick, but she realizes this is her only option to stay alive.

Cydney also talks to Julia and Michele. She tells them she wants to stick with the girls and Nick needs to be the first to go since he’s so tight with Jason and Scot. Michele and Julia aren’t sure what they want to do. As much as they’d like to play with Cydney, they don’t want to be Jason’s next target.

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Tribal Council

Michele says it’s nice that she’s gone the whole game without going to a Tribal Council, but unless you’re voting, you’re not playing the game and you’re not showing the other people on your tribe what kind of player you are.

Debbie points out what we all know: The merge was more of a merge between Brawn and Beauties with the Brains on the outside looking in. Nick says that it’s clear that a Brain is going home tonight and they’re splitting the votes.

Julia says that a lot of people are comfortable right now and they feel like they’ll have opportunities later to switch up the game.

But then Tai says something that makes them all feel uncomfortable. He blabs about the super idol having super powers when the two are joined together and Julia’s ears perk up. Debbie says that’s something she obviously wasn’t privy to for a reason. They may have a tight seven, but someone’s on the bottom, and it’s likely if other people have information that you don’t, it’s you.

Still, Scot feels confident that everyone will be sticking to the plan and that the vote will go as predicted.

To the Vote!

Well despite Scot’s confidence, the votes don’t go as predicted. Jason and Scot vote for Aubry, Nick votes for Debbie, Tai votes for Jason (what???) and all of the ladies vote for Nick for the first blindside of the post-merge. Tata, Nick. Maybe your angular features (but more likely your arrogance) were too beautiful for this game!

Next episode: Of course Scot and Jason aren’t going to be good sports about the power switch. And of course they’re going to find all sorts of immature ways to get their revenge.

Survivor airs on Wednesdays at 8pm on CBS
(Image courtesy of CBS)

Gina Pusateri

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV