Just when it felt like we'd see three castaways eliminated on Survivor: Samoa last week, we got ourselves a damper: nobody got eliminated. Oh, but it's not really much of a deal, considering that Galu's Russell left the show in perhaps one of the most dramatic moments in the show's history: a medical emergency that Jeff described as the "scariest moment" in his life. And, if it starts one thing, it's a possible power shift--within Galu, and within everybody in the game.
With Russell gone, the guys at Galu realize that a boys vs girls match is imminent, and decide to take Shambo into their fold. Besides, they say, she hasn't fit in with the other girls--and she's perfectly dispensable. The plan, then, is to install her as tribal chief so the guys can have her on their side. The vote went smoothly, and she was quickly installed. Monica thinks the way the vote was done was stupid--"we're all assigned a number and we flash the number of who we want to vote in," in Erik's words.
Over at Foa Foa, things look much better. The sun, after all, is shining, and Jaison sounds unusually positive. Russell's also positive, still stoked after the last Tribal Council. Personally, I thought he doesn't have an idea what to do now.
The reward challenge is a memory game: thirteen pairs of survival items and four dummy pieces with no matches. The first to get to seven points wins, although tribal chiefs have the option to take an item they matched in exchange for a point. The reward: an afternoon off in the middle of the sea, and the chance to send one member over to spy on the losing tribe.
Galu scores the first point, although Brett--who was subbing in as leader since Shambo sat the challenge out--forfeited it in exchange for a fire-starting kit. It's actually a slow-paced game, so thank you, editors, for pressing fast-forward: the next thing we know, Galu is ahead, six points to four. Obviously they win the challenge, on the back of Monica's utensils find. Shambo sends Laura over to Foa Foa, thinking she has to keep the guys strong for the next challenge, although the girls aren't really cool with the move.
Laura makes herself comfortable at Foa Foa, though, finding everyone nice the way Shambo did. She strikes up a conversation with Russell, who starts talking up a secret alliance. The offer: protection when the merge happens, an alliance with Natalie, and the promise of the final two together. She bites, and talks to Natalie about their shared faith--a bad thing for Liz, partly because she's exasperated at the noise, and a good thing for Russell, because she is being stupid.
While all that's going on, the purple folks get on what looks like a pirate ship, and get loaded with beef stew, bread and scones. Well, that looks delicious when you've been eating the same thing for more than two weeks, but heck, it looks delicious anyway. I'm hungry.
Immunity challenge time, and the tribes have to collect six sets of fish-shaped puzzle pieces off the coast, and then arrange the puzzle for the win. Mick prepares for the challenge by leaving his tribal chief necklace at home base, believing it's bad luck. Well, it worked, with Foa Foa taking an early lead after fishing out the puzzle quickly. Both tribes, however, get tied when they start solving the puzzle: Galu gets the pattern early, and wins the challenge anyway. So much for superstition.
Foa Foa, again, gets into elimination mode. Russell has his eyes trained on Jaison, who seemed so tired during the challenge that he didn't even work on the puzzle. Then again, he's always wanted to vote Liz out, so he's torn between challenge performers and trustworthy allies. Liz is just happy she's safe.
Jeff drops the bomb during Tribal Council: Foa Foa has the worst overall performance of any tribe in the game's history. The mood was still positive, though, with Mick insisting that it's a social game above all. Jaison virtually paints a target on his back, claiming some responsibility for the tribe's losses, and thinks his elimination may be necessary for future wins.
Sure, Liz voted for Jaison, in what she calls a "totally strategic" move. The tribe voted unanimously--however, it was for Liz to go home. She saw it coming, somehow, but she was still surprised.
Next week, the merge happens, and in Russell's words, "all hell breaks loose".