Filmed: July 8-10, 2005 || Aired: October 13, 2005 || Re-watched: August 10, 2015
Notes: Even tribes, no sit-outs (even though only one Nakum participated in the RC), and no vote splits. A straightforward episode, scoring-wise.
Still, a strategically curious episode from Danni. She had an easy, no-brainer path to the merge by simply keeping to original tribal lines, and voting off Brian. Yet Brian's "bait Blake" tactic seemingly worked, and Blake instead found himself voted out. Our guess is that Danni felt like (1) the merge was not imminent, and (2) she could better depend on Gary than on most of the Nakúm guys that came over with her (especially Blake), and wanted to at least gain Gary's trust with this vote. If Gary seemed like a good alliance choice post-merge (not the least because she could use the NFL thing against him at the final Tribal Council, if need be), maybe this makes sense. Still, a difficult choice to intentionally create a 3-3 tie going forward.
For those who claim Guatemala was not a good season, look no further than this episode for proof that this opinion is dead wrong:
- Jamie's spectacular, slow-motion implosion in the RC. Painful to watch, yet gripping, especially in his sad attempt to keep playing after the challenge has ended.
- Danni's debut as a social/strategic player. Even if her reasoning was hidden, her decision to join the Blake-booting group was key to the episode. She was then able to recruit Bobby Jon, but not Brandon.
- Brian's scheming escalates, as he successfully erases the original Yaxhás' post-swap numbers deficit. His power ultimately ends around here, but at the moment, he's Mr. Platinum.
- Just as Brian's edit begins to shine, Stephenie's hero narrative rapidly begins to tarnish, as she calls Bobby Jon "a fricking girl" and "gay" for celebrating the RC win, then later admits she's jealous and breaks down in tears during confessional.
- Lydia emerges as her tribe's spirits-lifter, doing The Pancake, and proclaiming herself the Queen of Rock.
- The fortunes-reversing Nakúm IC victory, replete with excessive Jamie celebration and a near-explosion in response by Bobby Jon (foreshadowing their almost-brawl in the next episode).
It's also, by modern standards, a strangely edited season. A huge amount of the early narration has come from the late pre-merge boots: Margaret, Brian, Amy (especially this episode), and Brandon. Of the late-game people, only Gary, Judd, and Stephenie have really had extensive screen time. Danni, Rafe, Lydia, and Cindy have been largely hidden. Maybe the rapid die-off of beloved narrators in the next three episodes is to blame for fans' displeasure?
- Blake received 5 votes, from Danni, Gary, Bobby Jon, Amy, and Brian (voted out, 5-2).
- Brian received 2 votes, from Blake and Brandon.