Tika Takes Stock
It’s Night 5 and Tika’s Yam Yam, Carolyn, Carson and Sarah return to camp from tribal council without Helen (their first player lost, Bruce, was booted from the game on the premiere episode after suffering a bloody mishap during a competition).
Carson, who was responsible for Helen going home, says he didn’t trust her and voting her off in a blindside was “so terrifying” but “so exciting too.”
“I tapped into my chaotic, crazy side,” boasts the NASA engineering student. But while Carson loves working with Yam Yam and Carolyn, he’s well aware he needs to smooth things over with Helen’s BFF, management consultant Sarah, so he won’t seem like the tribe’s mastermind.
Sarah’s not having it and notes everyone trusts the “cute little nerd” right now — but she sees right through him. Unless a miracle happens, she knows she’ll be the next to go.
Drug counselor Carolyn is thrilled she’s finally playing Survivor (and she has a secret idol nobody knows about to boot).
Day 6 dawns on a joyous Ratu tribe and its five remaining members: Matthew, Brandon, Jaime, Lauren and Kane (Maddy was voted out in the show’s first tribal council.) “We’re winning challenges; morale is up,” law student Kane says.
Former Seattle Seahawks football player and self-professed renaissance man Brandon goes off in search of fish with the brand-new fishing gear Ratu won in the last immunity challenge the tribe crushed. Jaime the yogi, on the other hand, decides to start eating “delicious” earthworms — and Lauren and Kane follow suit. “She’s definitely on a high at all times, which kind of boosts the morale for us,” Lauren explains.
Soka Keeps Secrets
The survivors in the second-place challenge winner Soka tribe — Matt, Frannie, Danny, Josh, Claire and Heidi — are juggling a showmance and some not-so-secret hidden idol drama.
Dorky duo Matt and Frannie’s blossoming relationship continues to heat up under the Fiji sun and the two plan a special road trip together once their time on Survivor is over. “They’re like two nerdy people who just like to nerd out,” tech investor Claire notices of the pair and their propensity to sneak off together. “They can giggle about Star Wars, they can giggle about being nerds in high school, but it’s a huge liability for four other people on the tribe to be looking and saying, ‘Oh yeah, those two, they’re a duo.’”
Danny, meanwhile, loves the distraction. The firefighter still has a hidden immunity idol and a decoy idol — a silver coin — he spirited away after secretly finding the key to the locked birdcage. He then drops a bombshell: He kept the parchment announcing he’s won an idol, wrapped it up with the decoy coin and snuck them back into the birdcage. He then repackaged the key and hid it at the base of a tree for some other “lucky” tribemate to find.
Matt takes the bait when he’s the first to discover the rehidden key. “This is power,” he boasts when he retrieves from the birdcage what is actually the fake idol Danny left behind.
But Danny’s not done yet! He craftily asks Matt what he put in his pocket when Josh is present, but Matt swears he didn’t find anything. Realizing he could be creating problems for himself by lying, Matt has to admit his “clean idol” is now “bathed in mud.” He tells Danny and Josh about his find.
Matt clearly can’t wait to tell Frannie what he’s scored. Now everyone’s thrilled — most of all Danny, who possesses the real idol and the knowledge his Soka tribemates have fallen for a ruse.
“The epicenter of this mission was: Get people off my tail,” Danny says. “Now everybody has the false perception that Matt found the idol, which works out splendidly for me. I don’t have to worry about people being on my case about having the idol.”
Yet Another “Idol” Materializes
Ratu’s Jaime and Matthew go rooting around in mud near the drinking well to sate Jaime’s newfound passion for earthworms. There, she glances up and discovers a hidden parchment tucked in the well’s side. “We all know at the first tribal council Brandon used his birdcage idol,” Jaime says. “Typically, another one is placed in the game, so, it’s real!”
But is it?
While Matthew seems excited and surprised for her, he later dishes what’s really going on. “This is perfect,” he says. “Jaime thinks that she has a hidden immunity idol, but the real truth is that I have it.”
Matthew explains he found a bonified idol two days earlier and had plenty of time to craft the fake using items like beads pilfered from the torches carried to tribal council. “I like being sneaky. I don’t get to do that in my day-to-day life,” he says, revealing he “never intended to play an honest game.”
And now he has a secret trust pact with Jaime — but only he knows the truth about the deception.
Bunch of Blockheads
Day 7 brings us back to the beach for a three-way battle and the tribes’ first glimpse of the new Helen-less Tika tribe: Yam Yam, Carolyn, Carson and Sarah.
The first tribe to finish is rewarded with immunity, a large tool kit and a huge platter of fruit. The second also scores immunity and smaller versions of the kit and platter.
As always, the losing tribe must give up their flint and head to tribal council to vote the season’s fourth player out.
All Tika’s four remaining players must compete: Yam Yam, Carolyn, Carson and Sarah.
Jeff Probst takes back the sword and shield immunity idols from Ratu and Soka and then gets right into the challenge. Each tribe must dive into the ocean and swim to a large floating cube, which they must roll to two poles holding keys. Once the tribes have their keys, they must head to shore and dig under a log and race to unlock a puzzle platform, where they’ll stack four colored six-sided blocks, making sure there are no repeated colors on any one side.
Claire and Heidi sit out for Soka, leaving Matt, Frannie, Danny and Josh in the game.
Lauren heads to the sidelines for Ratu, sending Matthew, Brandon, Jaime and Kane into battle.
Survivors ready! All three tribes make a splash and get to their floating cubes at the same time. Ratu, Soka and finally Tika get their first keys in quick succession and then the second key in the same order.
The tribes next hit the log to furiously move enough sand away so everyone can crawl under. Soka manages to get Danny to the other side first and he quickly helps the members of his tribe. All of Ratu then get under, followed by Tika.
It’s still anyone’s game as the three tribes gather their blocks and start stacking — until Ratu’s Kane and Matthew suddenly come up with the solution, winning their tribe immunity.
In what devolves into a game of copycat, Tika’s Yam Yam and Carson and Soka’s Matt and Frannie run to Ratu’s block tower to memorize the winning way to stack.
Yam Yam and Carson prove to be the quicker studies, sending Soka to tribal council for the first time this season.
Matt’s facing the possibility he may go home because he lost his vote on the summit on Day 2, but he believes he’s protected by what’s actually a fake idol. He says he’s not afraid to play it because he wants to stay in the game — with Frannie, of course — for as long as possible.
Back at Soka camp, Danny and Josh take stock of the tribe and note Frannie and Heidi are both athletic, while tech investor Claire has yet to compete in a single challenge and hasn’t built the same camaraderie with everyone.
“The plan would be vote Claire out, and tell Claire it’s Matt because Matt doesn’t have a vote right now,” Danny strategizes.
The rest of the tribe appears to be in agreement, but Frannie admits she wants to work with Claire and not find herself “up a creek without a paddle after she’s gone.”
Frannie, instead likes the idea of an alliance with Matt and Claire because she sees her showmance Matt as “predictable” and “very malleable.”
Josh the surgeon, Frannie says, is a better option to go home since she doesn’t have an “open relationship” with the “cagey” player and she’d like to vote with Claire and Heidi to get him out.
Matt then spills the beans and tells a fuming Claire that Danny and Josh want her gone. “Danny, I actually am now thinking, he doesn’t have brains in his head, so he’s not a threat to me,” Claire snipes, adding “I do not trust Josh as far as I can throw him, and now that I know he’s gunning for me, I want him gone.”
Claire realizes Heidi will be the lynchpin for her game and needs her vote to remain safe.
Heidi tells Danny she thinks either Josh or Claire will go home and she believes she’s the “middleman.” She observes, “No matter what, it’s going to be heartbreaking.”
There’s a First Time for Everything
On Night 7, Frannie is all smiles as she soaks in the experience of heading to tribal council for the first time, while Josh admits the tension is on as he and the other players get ready to vote.
Claire smirks and swats Josh down after he claims the players are just now starting to strategize. “It’s become clear to me that people are have already been thinking about it for a while,” she says.
Frannie agrees: “None of us forgets for a second why we’re here and what we’re here to do.”
After more game talk with Jeff, a concerned Claire asks Heidi if she’s still “at the place” where she was before and Heid says she is, leaving viewers to guess what their coded conversation might mean.
“Unfortunately,” Heidi says, “it’s going to be the last day for someone.”
It’s now time for Soka to cast votes at tribal council for the first time.
The only parchment viewers see is Matt’s, which instructs him to return to his seat since he’s ineligible to participate in sending someone home.
After Jeff tallies the vote, he asks if anyone wants to play an advantage or idol. Claire opts to lose her vote and tries her chances with her shot in the dark.
She’s not safe, and any votes cast against her will count.
Jeff reads the results, and after three votes for Claire, he declares her the fourth person gone from the game.
“I got outplayed, I got eliminated,” Claire says after learning her fate. “I’m so sad, but this experience has been everything.”