"My tribemates outwitted me -- it was a very strategic move. The tables turned so quickly that it's a little bit surprising , but kudos to them I really hope that they make it to the end. This is one hell of a game, so I'm glad I made it as far as I did."
Survivor: Samoa's seventh episode began on Night 15 after Russell Swan had been medically evacuated earlier in the day and -- while both Galu and Foa Foa went to Tribal Council for a double-elimination -- neither tribe sent anyone home.
Still, Galu's loss of their tribal leader was hitting them hard.
"Losing Russell hurts our tribe tremendously," said Erik Cardona, a 28-year-old bartender from Ontario, CA. "He was probably the guy that I had the most confidence in personally in this game."
Erik was also upset about Russell's evacuation since he had given Galu's men a "gender alliance lead" -- as Erik, Russell, David Ball, a 38-year-old fitness instructor from Los Angeles, CA, Brett Clouser, a 23-year-old T-shirt designer from Los Angeles, CA, and John Fincher, a 25-year-old rocket scientist from Los Angeles, CA, outnumbered Laura Morett, a 39-year-old office manager from Salem, OR, Monica Padilla, a 25-year-old law student from San Diego, CA, Kelly Sharbaugh, a 25-year-old hairstylist from Los Angeles, CA, and Shannon "Shambo" Waters, a 45-year-old sales representative from Renton, WA.
Now the genders were even at four apiece -- unless the Galu men could snag Shambo.
"Even though she's a chick, Shambo doesn't fit in with the other girls, so we have to pull Shambo back over to our side and make sure that Shambo is like one of the dudes," Erik suggested.
"If we get Shambo on lock, we're golden," added Dave. "When we're down to the Final 5, we can burn her no problem."
The next morning at the Foa Foa camp, the tribe viewed Russell's evacuation as a victory and felt reinvigorated -- especially since it also stopped raining.
"We've got a good chance to win today. No Russell," commented Jaison Robinson, a 28-year-old law student from Chicago, IL.
Russell Hantz, a 36-year-old oil company owner from Dayton, TX, said in a confessional that while he was gunning for Liz at the previous Tribal Council, he's glad Foa Foa got to keep her for the time being.
"It keeps the tribe stronger by keeping her," he explained. "So I'd rather just win three in a row and then get rid of her."
Over at Galu, there was the matter of electing a new tribal leader. Erik pitched his plan to vote for Shambo. The other guys agreed and knew they'd have majority.
"I think we should take, like, an individual vote and it just so happened that the four of us all put down Shambo's name," said Erik.
He approached Shambo and told her they'd like to make her leader, and she made sure that it was on the up-and-up and wanted a vote. Galu huddled in the shelter and Erik put his plan into motion.
"We could put our hands behind our back and assign a number to everybody and just put up the number and count the votes," he suggested.
The tribe agreed, and Shambo won with four votes.
"I thought the way we elected the new leader was stupid. It went by so quickly that no one even realized what happened," lamented Monica. "I don't know how Shambo got elected leader and we were supposed to be sending Shambo home last night. I'm wondering if there was a vote last night, would I have been one of the people voted for."
Shambo immediately said while she "didn't ask" to be leader she was going to give it her all.
"My leadership style is night and day from Russ, and I will honestly, honestly, honestly do my due diligence to not be bossy, because you can't really be a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps and not have an expectation when you say something things will happen," she said.
Dave said in a confessional that the only way their plan could backfire is if Shambo blows it.
"I think us four guys plus using Shambo as a wedge is a good plan," he said. "The only strategic drawbacks I could think of is if Shambo is just so dim that she could screw up our plan if we tell her anything."
The two tribes then arrived for a Reward Challenge, and host Jeff Probst explained the rules.
Scattered out in a field were 13 pairs of matching survival items that were covered. One tribe member at a time would walk out and uncover two items. If they matched, that person would score one point for their tribe. If at any point along the way the tribe leader decided to keep the items that were just matched, they could do so -- but the tribe would also forfeit the point in the challenge. To make things more difficult, four of the items were dummy items that did not have a match.
The tribe that had the most points at the end of the challenge would an afternoon trip on a large ship accompanied by a meal. In addition, the winning tribe would also send one person from their tribe over to the losing tribe until the next Immunity Challenge.
Since the Galu tribe had three extra members, Shambo chose to sit out herself, Kelly and Dave. Since she say herself out, Shambo selected Brett to make decisions during the competition.
Galu made the first match and secured a fire-starting kit but also built a pretty good size lead by making several matches, and they went on to win the challenge. In addition, they also took a tarp back to their tribe.
Shambo decided to send Laura to Foa Foa, which meant she wouldn't accompany Galu on their afternoon outing.
"I need to keep my guys strong for a challenge tomorrow and I'm not sending myself for a third time," she explained.
"I'll take it for the team," said Laura.
Once Laura was at Foa Foa, she was quickly approached by Russell about forming an alliance with her and his other ally Natalie White, a 26-year-old pharmaceutical sales representative from Van Buren, AR.
"I think eventually your butt's going to be on the chopping block. It might not be as fast as mine, but eventually it will. If we could get together, you could protect me at the merge and I could protect you," he said.
"I hope its Final 3, because you know what I hope? I would hope that it would be you, me and Natalie in the Final 3."
To make her feel comfortable, Russell told Laura he can spot a "good Christian" anytime, which made her smile.
"What are we going to do? Go to the Final 2?" she asked
"Final 2," he assured her.
"Russell came to me and was conspiring to have this secret alliance that clearly nobody would ever suspect," said Laura in a confessional. "That's a card that I stick in my pocket that I might want to play. It's just food for thought."
In addition, Russell told Laura she mine as well "throw away" the clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol that Jeff gave her because previously eliminated Foa Foa member Ben Browning found it -- which was a lie, as it was actually in Russell's possession.
"There's no Immunity Idol here," he told her. "Ben found it and didn't play it. Hid it somewhere in the camp."
Galu enjoyed their afternoon voyage, and Monica told Shambo she appreciated that Laura was sent to Foa Foa and not her.
"I think it just was her own little way of saying I'm leader now and what I say goes," thought Monica in a confessional. "She would never admit that."
Shambo said she didn't "relish" the thought of sending Laura to Foa Foa.
"But I'm also not going to feel bad about it," she added. "I think that I did the right thing by the tribe."
At Foa Foa, Liz and Mick Trimming, a 33-year-old doctor from Boise, ID who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA, were having a hard time tending the fire by herself while Laura and Natalie discussed religion, books and motorcycles behind her without offering help.
"I don't really need to hear her and Natalie talking about spiritual book of the months behind my back when I'm trying to get a fire started so that we can eat and drink," said a disgruntled Liz.
"It's just really infuriating because they're not helping... It was really, really frustrating, disappointing and at time rather infuriating."
Liz told Russell that she was upset about the incident.
"Liz is so stupid," said Russell in a confessional.
"I don't even see how she can walk without falling down. If we merge, we need somebody on the insider -- and Natalie's doing a good job talking to Laura around the camp, so I have to keep Natalie for my little toy. She has to be there for me so I can manipulate her little mind and do what I want her to do. When it comes to this game, you better be street smart, and Liz has a mouth on her. I don't think she knows when to shut up, so I'm gonna keep my eye on her."
The two tribes then met for an Immunity Challenge. Laura rejoined Galu and Jeff explained the rules.
Both tribes would paddle out to retrieve fish-shaped puzzle pieces by using a fishing pole and hook. Once all six sets of puzzle pieces had been collected, both tribes would then paddle back where three tribe members would use those pieces to solve a puzzle. The first tribe to solve the puzzle would win Immunity. Since Galu had three extra members, Shambo chose John, Monica and Laura to sit out of the challenge.
Foa Foa took an early lead in the challenge by pushing their boat out to the puzzle pieces -- however the plan backfired on the way back to shore, as Galu was able to catch up by paddling. Jaison was having a difficult time and basically quit on his team, allowing Galu to pass Foa Foa.
Jaison once again hurt Foa Foa when he had a hard time with the puzzle although Liz and Mick told him how to solve it. Dave, Brett and Kelly worked as a team, completed the puzzle first and won Immunity again.
"These idiots are probably going to cost me $1 million," complained Russell in a confessional. "Maybe we need to get rid of Jaison because he gave up out there. He's just standing there looking at the puzzle like it's going to move itself. We need to mix something up. So what happens, happens."
Back at camp, Russell continued to fume about Jaison's lack of effort and realized he would be faced with his original plan of ousting Liz or instead going after Jaison. Jaison acknowledged his poor performance -- saying he was "quite embarrassed.
"I have no idea what's going to happen in this vote tonight," he said in a confessional. "I did not perform well on the puzzle... I kind of felt like dead weight for the team. So for all I know they could be voting me out."
Liz saw Jaison's challenge problems as a possible opening to save her own skin, and she approached Russell -- who coyly told her it should either be Natalie or Jaison.
"He gave up. He gave up at the challenge," Russell told her about Jaison. "I don't want to talk too long. Jaison's going to get nervous."
Russell went back, and Liz said her "Survivor stock" had gone up due to the challenge.
"I definitely thought the vote would be between me and Natalie just because we're physically smaller and weaker than the three guys," she said in a confessional. "But I guess strategically it may make more sense for Jaison to go, and I'm actually quite thrilled because I never would have anticipated that."
Right before leaving for Tribal Council, Russell said he was still unsure whether to vote for Liz or Jaison.
"The thing is with Jaison, I still think I can trust the guy," he said in a confessional. "But we've still got to think about winning in challenges."
Foa Foa then arrived for Tribal Council and Russell said he was eager for the merge since the tribe had been performing so poorly.
"All we can really do is hope for the merge, because they've outplayed us and they've outlasted us," said Russell about Galu. "But one thing I promise you, them kids over there, there's no way in hell they can outwit me."
Liz said she "absolutely trusts" the other four Foa Foa members, and Mick agreed despite their lack of performance in the challenges. Jeff then pointed out Jaison had been quite and slumped over since Tribal began.
"I am frustrated with losing is really what I'm frustrated about," he said.
"I actually do feel like I have some large responsibility in these losses. Today on the puzzle, I feel like Mick did a really good job figuring out what the pattern was, I think Liz had the pattern going. I just couldn't figure out how to see the pattern at my end. I don't feel like I performed at a level I should have."
Jaison said he would understand if he was ousted based on his poor performance -- however everyone voted for Liz, who voted for Jaison. Liz was ousted by a 4-1 margin.
Survivor: Samoa's next episode -- in which the two tribes merge -- will air Thursday, November 5 at 8PM ET/PT on CBS.
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