11/3 Survivor Nicaragua Features Jeff Probst and a La Flor/Espada Merge!

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They’re back, folks.

Kelly Shinn, Alina Wilson, Ben “Benry” Henry, Brenda Lowe, Chase Rice, Jud Birza, Kelly Bruno, Matthew “Sash” Lenahan, NaOnka Mixon, Dan Lembo, Holly Hoffman, Jane Bright, and Marty Pimobo return for more action!

Jill Behm is gone.

Who will be next?

_____________________________

The show review provided profiles of NaOnka, Marty, and Sash — three players who have really set the tone for the game.

We opened at La Flor on Day 19 to buzzrds circling.  Were they circling Marty?  He lamented her departure to the camera, saying he was in “total exposure.”

Fabio brought tree mail to his mates at La Flor.  It was an eviction notice from their beach, indicating the merge!

Yes!

Good news for Marty, right?  Once again the tides are starting to turn.  If Survivor does anything, it keeps it fresh each week.

As we say here over and over, it is the ultimate magnifying glass on human nature, and that is never boring…especially when you throw in competition, exotic locales, and a million dollars.

At Espada, day 19, they discovered a box with news of the merge.  The initial reaction was not entirely happy.  Benry told the camera it was time he started looking out for himself.  He specifically targeted Alina.

Alina tried to rally Espada to her cause, but as Na said, nobody was really on board with her.  The disloyalty to a tribemate could expose a major fracture.

La Flor came walking up the beach, and Espada was shocked to see Jill gone.

Marty said he felt a “rebirth” at the merge…the game starting over.  That is certainly true, as he now might be able to stay on a little longer to shake things up.

The chest revealed new red buffs and food.  Marty named the new tribe Libertad, or “freedom.”  He claimed it was a new start, but then again, Marty stepping right in to name the tribe is just business-as-usual, right?

NaOnka went on and on about how good the salami was, telling us that she put salami in her bra.

I’ll leave you with that and move on.

Na and Brenda were thrilled to see each other again, and picked up right where they left off, filling each other in on all that was happening in the different tribes.  That kind of information and realigning can really throw a wrench into the game.

Na told Brenda “this is about to get wicked.”

About to?

This merge doesn’t appear like it’s bringing together two solid teams.  Folks on both sides seem eager to feel out old alliances to test the new (old?) waters.  This should lead to some fascinating gamesmanship as everyone struggles for continued life.

On day 20, Chase and Jane formed a bond over the watering hole.  Chase called her a “good ol’ lady” and Chase said he was very happy to meet another person from North Carolina.  They both have had recent deaths in their families, which only cements their personal bond deeper.

It’s a friendship that could outlast the show.

Na told the camera she was irritable because she cooked the tortillas that morning and was the last to eat, and that she got the smallest tortilla.  Na took the flour away from camp, right in front of Holly.

Na took the flour into the forest and buried it, telling the camera that she wants to play dirty.

Later on, she stole equipment to make tortillas, taking fruit, bowls, and spoons.

Russell Hantz?  Hello?  Are you out there?

Na and Alina had a talk on the beach, and Na revealed that they are “gunning” for Alina.  Later, they shared a feast in hiding.  Na again drove home to her that everyone was gunning for her, telling the camera that she (Na) is just trying to get Alina’s trust for a future vote on the jury.

Hmmm…

The rest of Libertad eventually noticed the flour and a pan were missing.  Holly and Fabio confronted Na about the flour, and she insisted that she didn’t take it.  Alina told the camera that she didn’t want to own up to the fact that she knew Na took the flour.

Smart, Alina.

Smart.

Na eventually owned up to it, leading to a discussion in the tribe about rationing.  Marty was clearly irritated, saying she should go home…but then again, as Marty says, “This game is never simple!”

Ah, simple truths.

Brenda somehow twisted Na’s actions to pin them on Alina.  Sash jumped onto the Na bandwagon, saying that he wants her in the final three to ensure there is someone next to him that won’t receive any votes.

Sash went to NaOnka and reassured her that her position is safe.

Jane caught another fish, prompting Marty to once again go on a tirade.  He told the camera that he fears Jane’s new alliance with Chase.  Marty took a walk with Brenda and told her that he is not comfortable with Jane, as she is a social threat.

And he’s right.  She’s kind, honest, and a good provider.

At the immunity challenge, Libertad learned they would fight for individual immunity.

The players had to keep tension on metal handles around a bar.  If they broke the tension, a plate would fall and break.

The last man and last woman would win immunity.

Purple Kelly and Dan were quickly out…within ten seconds.  Alina dropped hers next…and she was not happy.  Eventually Brenda, Benry, Sash, and NaOnka fell to the wayside.

Jane, Holly, Marty, Fabio, and Chase were left.  Jane eventually took the immunity, but stayed in the challenge to beat the men.

Brilliant?

Yes.

Dangerous?

Possibly.

Chase eventually lost concentration, giving it to Fabio.  Everyone else was fair game at tribal.  Jeff said it would be an interesting day back at camp.

Oh, my.

Back at camp, Jane told the camera she just wanted to beat Marty at the challenge.  She is one tough cookie, no one can deny that.

Some of the Libertad women met to talk about the possibility to voting out Marty.  Alina told the camera she was just trying to keep a low profile in the hopes she could avoid the arrow.

Marty was the hot topic around camp.  Sash asked that they wait one more week for Marty so that he wouldn’t have to go back on his word.

Jane wasn’t thrilled, but Brenda eventually convinced Jane to wait it out.  Jane’s concern was that Marty could end up winning individual immunities and staying around.

Dan pulled Marty aside and told him that Chase and others were gunning for him.  Marty confronted Sash and Brenda about the issue.  Sash told the camera that Marty’s paranoia was getting to him, saying that Marty was just digging his grave.

Are you confused yet?

I stopped counting swaps and shifts.

Only the gods of the beach know who is doing what.

At tribal, Holly admitted that it was time to take risks.  Marty agreed that big moves were necessary now that it was down to twelve.

However, Marty continued to talk, calling out Jane for making bad alliances at the start of the game.  He warned Libertad that Jane is the number one candidate for the million.

Alina called out Marty for being a huge threat.

Then, Dan weighed in, calling out NaOnka and Alina for stealing food.  NaOnka ended up taking full responsibility for her actions, but many in the tribe didn’t buy that a few hours of isolation constituted “punishment” for her actions.

Alina admitted she is a “pawn” in the game…a swing vote…and for that reason she should stay around.

That’s a good strategy!  The problem is that tribal is not always the best place to make your best argument.  It’s a place to reaffirm a good argument you’ve already made.

After the vote, the immunity idol stayed tucked safely away.  Jeff Probst read the votes, and in the end, Alina was sent away.  Jane was visibly annoyed with the vote.

In Alina’s exit interview, she expressed her frustration at keeping Marty.  She insists Marty is a threat and said that Libertad would regret it.

And maybe she’s right.  You only get so many chances to eliminate power brokers.

What can we take away from this week?  Jeff warned the tribe after council that eventually the “team” mentality would fade, and that the individual mindset would soon take over.  I think there is something to that, not just in Survivor, but in life.  Often, we try to band together as groups in things like elections, but eventually, people look out for individual interests.  Sometimes that works to society’s advantage, and sometimes not.  If you win the million, it works for you, but what kind of damage do you leave in your wake?

Do you care?

Does it matter?

Maybe it does, and maybe it doesn’t, but in the end, you have to answer for what you do in both arenas — as a group member, and as your very own self.

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