'Survivor: Caramoan -- Fans vs. Favorites' Gota "Fans" tribe loses Shamar Thomas and Laura Alexander
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/07/2013
Survivor: Caramoan -- Fans vs. Favorites' Gota "Fans" tribe lost two more tribe members during Wednesday night's fourth episode of the CBS reality series' 26th edition.
Shamar Thomas, a 27-year-old Iraq war veteran from Brooklyn, NY, was medically evacuated from the game mid-episode due to an eye injury, while Laura Alexander, a 23-year-old administrative officer from Washington, DC, was voted out of her tribe at the season's fourth Tribal Council, the third elimination vote for Gota.
"As a viewer from the couch, you really only get to see one side. You don't feel the hunger; You don't feel the thirst in your mouth. It's very real. I knew coming in here that my muscles weren't my biggest asset and I used everything else I had. I think a lot of my plans were left unresolved but good luck to the rest of them, they really got me," Laura said following her ouster.
On Night 7 after Hope Driskill was voted out of her Gota tribe, the "Fans" were reeling from experiencing one loss after the next.
The Gota tribe was comprised of Shamar; Laura; Sherri Biethman, a 41-year-old fast food franchisee from Boise, ID; Matt Bischoff, a 38-year-old in BMX bike sales from Cincinnati, OH; Edward "Eddie" Fox, a 23-year-old fireman and EMT from East Brunswick, NJ; Julia Landauer, a 21-year-old racecar driver from Stanford, CA; Michael Snow, a 44-year-old event planner from New York; and Reynold Toepfer, a 30-year-old in real estate sales from San Francisco, CA.
Eddie said Hope was a threat to everyone because she was the prettiest person on the tribe and that's why they got rid of her. Eddie, who was in an alliance with Reynold and previously-eliminated castaways Hope and Alexandra "Allie" Pohevitz, said he thought winning challenges was important to his tribe but it didn't seem that way since they were keeping around weak players such as Laura -- whom he claimed couldn't lift 20 pounds.
Eddie and Reynold knew they were next on the chopping block, and Eddie said he had no respect for any of his tribemates anymore. Although Reynold had a hidden Immunity Idol in his possession, he was well aware his back was up against the wall.
On Day 8, Phillip was giving out nicknames to his Bikal "Favorites" tribe members.
The Bikal tribe consisted of Brenda Lowe, a 30-year-old paddleboard company owner from Miami, FL; John Cochran, a 25-year-old law student from Washington, DC; Phillip Sheppard, a 54-year-old in software sales from Santa Monica, CA; Malcolm Freberg, a 25-year-old bartender from Hermosa Beach, CA; Brandon Hantz, a 21-year-old in chemical disposal from Katy, TX; Andrea Boehlke, a 23-year-old entertainment host and writer from New York; Corinne Kaplan, a 33-year-old clinical consultant from Los Angeles; Dawn Meehan, a 42-year-old English professor from South Jordan, UT; and Erik Reichenbach, a 27-year-old comic book artist from Santa Clarita, CA.
Phillip said he wanted to "contain" the threat by keeping Brandon close and nicknaming him the "conquerer." It bothered Andrea that Phillip was handing out nicknames to people outside their alliance. Brandon appeared to be getting along with Phillip well but admitted to the cameras he was lying because he didn't really like nor did he trust Phillip. Brandon said Phillip made a pretty bad special agent considering the circumstances.
The Gota and Bikal tribes then met up with Survivor host Jeff Probst, who explained the rules to what would be their first official Reward Challenge -- as they have been combined with Immunity Challenges thus far.
Jeff instructed each tribe to select two members to be placed on separate platforms. The rest of the tribe would use planks to transfer those tribe members to a third platform. Each tribe must then swim out to very small platform and attempt to get all their eight members either on or above the top of that platform. The first tribe to succeed in doing so would win Reward in the form of a local bushman coming to camp with chicken, fruits and vegetables and teaching them how to skillfully live off the land.
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The "Favorites" had one extra player so they opted to sit out Cochran.
In the end, the challenge was extremely close but the Bikal tribe pulled through for the win. Reynold blamed Laura for slowing the "Fans" down and said his tribe should just make the smart choice and vote her off.
Afterward, the local bushman proved to be very entertaining and cooked the Bikal tribe a delicious feast. The girls loved the little spunky man and Cochran noted he got away with flirting when he'd look like a "creepy predator" if he tried the same things.
Over at Gota's camp, Mike was so mad they lost again. Shamar just went into the shelter and slept after competing, and he instructed his tribemates to bring him rice once a day since he refused to move. Reynold told the cameras Shamar was giving his tribe terms for not quitting, and Sherri was even shocked herself she was actually taking his orders and waiting on him. Eddie found it ridiculous and Laura noted Shamar was just a "big baby" because he wasn't the only one starving.
"With Shamar, it's always something. Now he's laying in the shelter and I guess a piece of sand or something falls in his eye and he scratches it so now his eye hurts. I think Shamar is going to lose it soon. I wouldn't be surprised if he wound up quitting again. Now everybody's getting really pissed off and is starting to realize he has to go, which is great for me and Reynold, "Eddie explained.
On Day 10, Shamar was rocking back and forth in the shelter and Mike noted he couldn't get himself "to a happy place." Shamar then explained what happened to his eye, saying a piece of sand got into it, he scratched it and then it swelled up and cost him a decent night's sleep.
Jeff Probst and a couple medics soon arrived on the beach to check Shamar out. Shamar told them he was doing his best to keep fighting but was in a lot of pain. One medic suggested he had abrasions in his eye, and then after performing a couple medical tests, one medic revealed he had a divot in his cornea next to his pupil which could affect his vision.
The doctor insisted he be pulled from the game in order to allow a specialist to look at it. Shamar started to cry and said he never wanted to leave the game like that but he didn't want to risk losing something as important as his vision. Shamar then told his tribe he knew they cared about his well being and hoped they'd do well going forward.
"I was in the Marine Corps for four years and did two tours in Iraq and I never got hurt. People that know me know I'm a strong guy and that it takes a lot to bring me down, but Survivor's a tough game," Shamar said upon his medical evacuation from the game.
"When Shamar was claiming his eye was scratched so bad, I thought he emotionally didn't want to play anymore. But it turns out it was very serious, so that's my mistake. But still, he was disrespectful, lazy, and I'm just happy that he's gone," Reynold told the cameras.
"However, now that Shamar's gone, the majority alliance will jump right back into their pre-meditated plan and they're going to knock out Eddie and I first."
Later that day, the castaways met Jeff Probst again, who then explained the rules to what would be their fourth Immunity Challenge.
The two tribes learned that they must each swim out to a platform, climb to the top, smash a tile, retrieve a key and then swim back so the next person could go. Once a tribe retrieved all five keys, the two remaining tribe members would then use those keys to open a chest. Using the sandbags inside the chest, they must then knock off all the blocks from their ledge, ultimately dropping their tribe's flag.
The first tribe to knock off all their blocks would win immunity and be safe from the vote at the upcoming Tribal Council session, while the losing tribe would be forced to vote off one of its own members.
The "Favorites" Bikal tribe sat out Corinne and Dawn for the challenge. In the end, it came down to a sandbag-throwing battle between Phillip and Reynold. Reynold's tribe was way behind at that point but he made up major ground by knocking off the blocks quickly and efficiently. However, Phillip got the job done first and won the challenge for his team.
Once the tribes returned to camp, Eddie knew it was his head on the chopping block since Reynold could -- and presumably would -- play his idol. Matt then talked to Mike saying Reynold and Eddie were the only reason they came close to closing the challenge, so it made sense to keep them around and get rid of Laura next. The guys discussed how they needed to keep the tribe strong and Laura was an obvious weak player physically. Mike agreed but didn't like the idea of his strong alliance falling apart.
"I knew that right when our alliance was formed, it wasn't the alliance of the strong people. But I trust Laura more than I trust Reynold and Eddie. So it could be dangerous to lose her and leave this wild card, you know, 'Mr. Awesome' with the idol," Mike explained.
Matt then told Reynold what himself and Mike were contemplating. Matt insisted they wanted to vote out Laura to keep the tribe's strength intact, however, Reynold thought they could be setting him up again. Matt tried to convince him he was serious, saying he wasn't a dumb guy and knew Reynold and Eddie were both doing well in challenges.
Reynold kept his guard up and told Matt he had "bold-faced lied" to him before more times than he could count. Just to be safe, Reynold figured he'd play his idol. But if the tribe was going to actually vote for Laura, his idol would unfortunately be wasted.
The girls then discussed splitting the major alliance's votes between Eddie and Reynold. Laura knew her name was being thrown around, so she was worried, but she noted that all she could do was trust in her alliance. Matt told Sherri to vote Laura, and Sherri was not onboard at first because she felt loyal to her alliance. It also concerned Sherri that if they were trying to get rid of women to keep the muscle, then she could be next to go after Laura.
While Laura was in his presence, Mike announced the guys would vote for Eddie and the girls should vote for Reynold although he hadn't ruled out keeping both guys yet and getting rid of Laura. Mike didn't know what the right or wrong answer was going to be, but he knew he just had to go with his gut.
That night, Survivor: Caramoan -- Fans vs. Favorites' eight members of the Gota tribe arrived for their third Tribal Council session -- the fourth session of the season overall.
Sherri told Jeff Probst she missed having Shamar in her current alliance of five. Reynold then argued how the two guys on the outside of the alliance were the two strongest guys in challenges. Laura said it came down to loyalty versus physical strength. Laura insisted her tribe had 10 days to build trust and that was huge in the game. However, Reynold fought back and said they weren't prioritizing winning when they should be.
Although Reynold had a point, Sherri announced they were losing challenges anyway with the two strong guys still in the tribe. She wasn't sure whether breaking her alliance to keep them would be worth it.
Eddie then revealed Julia was one of the stronger girls in their tribe, and Laura questioned her tribemates whether Reynold and Eddie would remain loyal to them in the future or be more willing to jump ship. Eddie said the night was "make or break" for the tribe and if they opted to keep him around, he'd feel much differently about them going forward -- in a positive way.
Before Jeff Probst revealed the votes, Reynold played his hidden Immunity Idol.
In the end, four castaways voted to oust Laura from Survivor: Caramoan -- Fans vs. Favorites and one person voted for Reynold. The episode's closing credits later showed everyone voted for Laura, and she was the only person to cast a different vote.