Survivor is off to an exciting start, and players are quickly learning to snake and slither their way through the intricacies of the game—some more stealthily than others.
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Night 3 ends with purple tribe Ratu returning to camp from tribal council with one fewer player, Maddy. Brandon, whose single vote got her out, has had his idol flushed and doesn’t trust anyone. Lauren tells her remaining tribe members she has an extra vote in the game because of her trip to the summit. Kane despairs that he voted for Brandon when nobody else did and now has some relationship repairing to do.
On the other side of the island, the green Soka tribe is kicking back and getting to know each other. Security software engineer Matt opens up to everyone and admits he’s fresh off a breakup (she kept the dog), and Frannie appears more than willing to help heal his hurting heart. He finds her “really cute” and enjoys her “funny laugh,” which is more like a snort, and she thinks they naturally gravitate toward each other. “We’re just like two big dorky magnets that can’t be pulled apart,” Frannie says.
Nobody on the purple Tika tribe, meanwhile, has got game like those two. They’re more worried about figuring out how to get inside the mysterious locked birdcage to see what’s inside the tied-up and suspended bag. It’s the same setup Brandon back on Ratu managed to crack to score a decoy idol, as well as the now-defunct idol he just played.
Day 4: Snakes in the Grass
Ratu kicks off Day 4 with Kane raising Cain by making it too obvious to his tribemates he’s looking for the key to the birdcage.
On Soka, Danny the firefighter also creates tension by focusing on the search, but he knows if you never seek, you’ll never find. His attention pays off, and he finds the birdcage key at the base of a tree with his tribe none the wiser. He then sneaks to the cage and opens it. After he locks the bag back up, the other players don’t realize anything is wrong when they later inspect the bag to see if it’s been disturbed.
On Tika, Carolyn believes she’s disconnected from her co-players and vows she’ll do anything to get that key. She proves it when she comes face to face with a snake while she’s searching high up in a tree. Despite her close encounter, she keeps looking and is clearly thrilled when she finds a key. Carolyn cries and vows not to tell anyone. She later stays true to her word and, delivering an Oscar-worthy performance, tells her teammates she’s emotional because she only found more snakes on her hunt.
Later on, she’s terrified to go to the cage to open it, but she does. Unlike Danny from Soka, she’s not so smooth putting the bag back and her tribe suspects someone managed to get inside. Nobody, however, believes kooky Carolyn was the culprit—not even nerdy Carson, who believes he’s a master at reading body language. “Carolyn is going to freak out when she finds out someone has it,” he says.
Day 5: Snakes and Ladders
Jeff welcomes the three tribes to the immunity challenge, and Tika and Soka get their first look at the new Ratu tribe, now down Maddy.
The immunity challenge turns out to be a course that requires tribes to race up and over an obstacle and untie and empty sandbags until they find one containing a smaller bag with a ball inside. They must then lift a heavy ladder to climb and raise a bridge by pulling a rope. At the end of the course, one tribe member must maneuver a ball on a piece of wood attached to pullies up the form of a twisting snake and through a hole at the top.
The first tribe to win gets a large fishing gear set and, more importantly, immunity. The second will also receive a smaller set of fishing gear. The losing team will lose both their flint and one player at that evening’s tribal council.
Soka immediately takes a commanding lead over the competition, while Ratu starts slow and has trouble working knots on the sandbags. The game gets flipped on its head once all tribes reach the snakes and try to guide the ball to the top.
Josh the surgeon should be skilled at moving the ball, but his hands don’t appear so steady and it keeps dropping. Sarah appears to be doing well for Tika, and Jeff notices Ratu’s Matthew “really seems to be figuring this out.”
Matthew never drops his ball and handily wins immunity for Ratu and his tribe, going from worst to first.
Though neck and neck, Josh pulls out a win for Soka, sending Sarah and her tribe, Tika, to tribal council.
Matthew reveals why he insisted his tribe trust him with the task and the secret to his effortless success: “I built one of these in my background, and I practiced on this many, many times,” he says. “I’ve been preparing for this for a while.”
Vying Like Vipers
It’s Tika’s turn to feel the stress of impending tribal-council chaos as the players start coming after each other.
“I’m having a battle of whether or not I want to play this idol,” Carolyn tells the camera.
Despite her belief she has no allies, it quickly becomes clear Yam Yam is all for her and the two vow not to let anything faze their secret alliance. She’s a “mix of goofy and Cher,” he jokes about his newfound confidant.
Carson, on the other hand, boasts he’s going to be playing all sides during the game and seems to form an alliance with Helen and Sarah as well as Yam Yam and Carolyn.
Sarah wants to team with Carson, Helen and Yam Yam, none of whom know she doesn’t have a vote since she lost it when she went to the summit during the season premiere.
Helen and Sarah want Carolyn gone. Carolyn and Yam Yam want out Helen. Carson is unclear who he should target, saying he’s got an “angel and devil” on his shoulders who are constantly at war.
Welcome to the Snake Pit
It appears the tribal council result will come down to Carson, but first Jeff probes the players’ thoughts.
Carson admits deception makes the game so complicated.
Carolyn cries and says she’s “just scared” but “grateful” to be playing.
Yam Yam explains why kicking off someone will be so important for the tribe. “We need to know where this family stands,” he says. “Are we like siblings that get along or siblings that are not going to talk to each other? Let’s see what happens.”
It’s time to vote, and viewers are privy to just two players’ parchments. Helen writes down Carolyn’s name, and a message on Sarah’s parchment notes that she cannot vote and should return to her seat.
Jeff brings out the vote urn and asks if anyone wants to play an advantage or idol. Carolyn stays quiet.
Jeff reads the votes: Carolyn. Helen. Helen. Helen.
The tribe has spoken.
“I feel like I’m second-guessing every connection that I made,” Helen says to viewers, “But I know it’s a game.”
She adds, “Every single person played their cards very, very well…so kudos to them.”