This was, particularly in the post-IC scrambling period, a great episode of Survivor. And Penner nicely encapsulates the meat of why, in the desperate maneuvering that comes after two straight twists knock some of the best strategic minds off balance, Survivor continues to work: "There are two ways to play the game: 'I like you, so I'm not going to vote for you,' or 'I'm sorry I like you, but I've gotta vote for you, because I want to go further.' We have two different philosophies, and it's a war!" The central drama in the episode is Yul and Penner's two-pronged attempt to persuade Cao Boi and Flica to vote with them, against Cecilia (instead of Becky). It's a hilarious sequence, in which classic Myers-Briggs Thinking (T) people try to use logic to sway classic Feeling (F) people to their side, with mixed results. Some people complain that Survivor focuses too much on in-camp strategy, but it's the strategy that brings this fundamental clash of outlooks into focus.
Cao Boi and Flica both talk excessively about their "vibe" with the other people. They're delighted with the switch down to two tribes, because now they're finally around people they feel comfortable with (each other and Ozzy, mostly). Flica complains about just wanting to play, not wanting to think, not wanting to be "fake." Cao Boi laments all the thinking and scheming he's seeing. Meanwhile, Yul, Becky, and Penner initially look to be in solid strategic shape, until the IC-winning NuRaro tribe whisks Candice, whom they'd been counting on as a solid vote, to Exile Island, preventing her from attending Tribal Council. On a now eight-person tribe, the Yul-Becky-Penner group suddenly needs two more votes to stay afloat. Enter their former tribemates Cao Boi and Flica, and their feelings.
In the end, Yul is successful in explaining the need for numbers to Cao Boi, who in turn brings in Flica (as far as we can tell from the edit). But the battle of philosophies is fun to watch, especially Penner's lengthy attempt to compare the game to something Flica might grasp... like a chess match! The awkward arranged marriage of Penner's articulate persuasion with Flica's non-commital grunts, punctuated by Penner's final, desperate nod, as if to say, "Please, just say pretend this is sinking in, and say yes, so we can get back to not talking to each other," is one of the episode's highlights.
One of these names is not like the other
Penner is excited at the morning 'challenge'
Parvati celebrates with yoga
Penner celebrates with yoga
Candice celebrates in her usual fashion: standing around, staring blankly
This would've been a fun time for a surprise purple rock
Probst: Everyone to my right, I plan to ignore you from here on
This also would've been a fun time for a surprise purple rock
Of course Parvati chose paper, she's white, just like paper
Welcome aboard, Ozzy! Let's do two more seasons, each. Sorry, not you, Yul.
Classy zoom, guys
Smiles, everyone! Smiles!
Nate seems somewhat pleased to no longer be on Hiki
Yawn... and THAT'S why you have a merge feast with wine
Cao Boi seems pleased with his colorful new tribe, as well
Flica is still the alternative option
Cecilia fact-checks Billy's alleged love affair
Penner seems a tad surprised, didn't peg Candice as a metalhead
On second thought, Candice is CLEARLY a metalhead
Helloooooo, I'm still here
I'm no expert on body language, but I'm sensing Flica may not be completely on board here
Not wanting to be fake
The new tribes, ready to face off
NuAitu, making the classic rookie mistake of weighing themselves down with face paint
The rest of NuAitu
And then there's NuRaro
The full NuAitu
More Raro Nuevo
Ready for the slaughter
Stephannie, finally about to get a non-asterisked win
Flica, Cecilia, Becky, Sundra: Go, team! Candice: Meh.
Penner continues sacrificing himself for our sins
Dude, we're catching them, and we still have Rebecca with us. Rebecca!
The ill-advised solo tackle defense
JP tries to drown Cao Boi, Nate attempts to eat Yul
Yay! 'We' won!
Penner: You know, like chess? Flica: Uhhhhhhh.
Distrustful Ozzy is distrustful
The NuAitu tribe, which never attended Tribal Council intact
Naturally, Flica dreads her first Tribal
Sad Cao Boi
I sure hope Yul handed me the idol before Tribal
Yul and Penner, surrounding their prey
Celsius? Is there a Celsius here? Seltzer, maybe? Anyone?
Distrustful Ozzy is still distrustful
Recaps and commentary
Exit interviews - Cecilia Mansilla