Stephanie, a 34-year-old yoga instructor from Boise, ID, was voted out of the game on Night 14 at Tribal Council through a unanimous vote. Stephanie had cast her sole vote for Desiree Afuye, a 21-year-old student from Brooklyn, NY.
Stephanie and her two allies Jenna Bowman, a 23-year-old account executive from Detroit, MI, and Michael Yerger, an 18-year-old real estate agent from Knoxville, TN, were on the outs of their tribe since they were the only original Malolo players standing against five-strong original Naviti members.
"I've been waiting 36 seasons to play this game, and to go out fifth and not be able to have the full experience breaks my heart," Stephanie said following her ouster, "but I've absolutely played the best game I could. I played hard and I still believe in myself, and ultimately, I'm going to go home to a family I know will be proud of me."
Bradley Kleihege, a 26-year-old law student from Haslett, MI, was sure he'd be going home, so he was both shocked and pleased.
Meanwhile, Michael tried to rebuild relationships after duping the tribe with his hidden Immunity Idol he had claimed could save two castaways at once. Michael confessed to lying, but only to save his allies and prove loyalty to them.
But the tribe, especially Bradley, noticed Michael was not the "fratty bro" he had judged him to be. Bradley began viewing Michael as a very strategic and aggressive player. He realized in that moment Michael was one to watch out for and he was a huge threat.
On Day 13, Malolo -- which was also comprised of Kellyn Bechtold, a 31-year-old career counselor from North Manchester, IN; Chelsea Townsend, a 24-year-old EMT from Salt Lake City, UT; and Sebastian Noel, a 22-year-old fishing guide from Melbourne -- met the new Naviti tribe for a Reward Challenge.
New Naviti was comprised of Chris Noble, a 27-year-old male model from Florida Keys, FL; Wendell Holland, a 33-year-old furniture designer from Philadelphia, PA; Laurel Johnson, a 29-year-old financial consultant from Philadelphia, PA; Donathan Hurley, a 26-year-old caretaker from Phelps, KY; James Lim, a 24-year-old business analyst from Los Angeles, CA; Angela Perkins, a 42-year-old Army veteran from Cincinnati, OH; Libby Vincek, a 24-year-old social media strategist from Houston, TX; and Domenick Abbate, a 38-year-old construction supervisor from Nesconset, NY.
For the challenge,Survivor host Jeff Probst instructed the tribes to leap over a series of tables, dismantle a pile of sandbags that would reveal a lever, pull the lever that would drop numerous smaller sandbags, and then collect all of those small sandbags and place them inside of a large bin.
Once all the sandbags were gathered in one place, one person from each tribe could throw them at three targets. Each target, however, needed to be hit multiple times in order to release its flag. Once all three flags popped up, the winning tribe would receive Reward in the form of coffee and pastries.
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In addition, the winning tribe must unanimously decide to send one castaway on the losing tribe to Ghost Island.
At the end of the challenge, Chris threw sandbags for Naviti and Sebastian threw the bags for Malolo. It was no contest, as Chris seemed to hit a target with every single throw. Chris eventually told Jeff that he played baseball in college and was a pitcher, so he wasn't surprised by his accuracy.
Naviti therefore won the challenge in a blowout thanks to Chris. Naviti then opted for Malolo to draw rocks to determine which person should go to Ghost Island.
Much to her own dismay, Stephanie picked the white rock and was sent to Ghost Island.
Stephanie almost cried upon learning her fate because she knew she'd miss strategizing and important discussions back at camp when she was already on the outs with Jenna and Michael. Stephanie had been hoping to shake things up within her tribe, as so much can change in 24 hours in this game.
Stephanie was hoping to receive some sort of advantage on Ghost Island, but she came up short, as there was no opportunity to play a Game of Chance.
Stephanie then revealed she had left the Mormon religion and got divorced all within six months. Stephanie explained she had an undeniable inner strength and was playing the game ofSurvivor to win money for her kids. Stephanie believed in herself as a person and single mother.
On Day 13 at Naviti's camp, they enjoyed their food and drink, celebrating their back-to-back-to-back challenge wins. The tribe acknowledged Chris was absolutely a physical asset to keep around, and James was pleased because Chris seemed completely willing to work with the original Malolo 4.
Donathan was then shown opening up to Laurel about how he takes care of his grandmother at home after she had two strokes. Donathan's mother is also apparently disabled, so Donathan felt some guilt for leaving them to playSurvivor.
Chris then attempted to bond with Donathan, sharing the story about his own mother who has multiple sclerosis and has been in assisted living for almost eight years. Chris and Donathan established a level of mutual respect and compassion.
But Donathan's allies, Laurel and Wendell, were planning on taking Chris out. Donathan found himself in the middle, as he really liked Chris and had connected with him.
On Day 14, Malolo and Naviti met Jeff for the season's next Immunity Challenge.
Each tribe was required to race across a floating bridge while carrying a bodyboard attached to a rope. Once a person reached the end of the bridge, he or she had to hang onto the rope while lying on the board. The goal was to hang on as his or her tribemates pulled the castaway back to shore by cranking a giant wheel.
Once three bags were collected on the shore, numbers on the tiles inside would solve a combination lock and release a key, which would then unlock a slide puzzle the tribes must complete.
Although the challenge was pretty close, Naviti won immunity again, sending Malolo back to Tribal Council.
Kellyn felt she had let her tribe down, but she just hoped her alliance of five would stick at the next vote.
After the challenge, Michael admitted he was in trouble, along with Stephanie and Jenna. At the Malolo camp, Michael noted that losing the challenge was "devastating" and he felt backed into a corner. Michael didn't want to see either of his friends and allies go, but if he didn't have a choice, he'd have to write one of their names down.
Kellyn then spoke to Bradley, Desiree, Chelsea and Sebastian about breaking up the two girls. Chelsea explained Jenna was the weaker player of the two, so maybe it made sense to keep Stephanie.
The five Naviti were not willing to budge or make big moves, so they thought about playing it safe by voting off Jenna, who claimed she needed to work on her naturally defensive and "b-tchy" face.
But Jenna tried to flirt and work her way in with Sebastian, who wasn't opposed to Jenna staying in the game.
Desiree then suggested to Sebastian and Chelsea that maybe Stephanie should go because she was strategic and really playing the game. Chelsea then shared the idea with Kellyn, who was also onboard.
In a last-ditch effort to save herself, Stephanie attempted to flirt with Bradley so he'd want her to stay. She "sucked it up, smiled and batted [her] eyes" because getting to the end meant everything to her.
The original Naviti members then seemed to go back and forth between voting out Stephanie or Michael, who was a big physical threat but also an asset for the tribe. Bradley pointed out that neither of the two individuals could be trusted, yet Jenna was "perfectly harmless" and would do whatever Sebastian told her to do.
Before Tribal Council, Michael asked original Naviti to allow him to prove his loyalty, as he really is a trustworthy guy. Michael also reminded them he could help them win challenges.
Michael had waited 10 years to play this game, and he said in a confessional he would never forgive himself if he didn't try his absolute hardest to stick around, despite having a lack of options.
Sebastian then pointed out to his allies voting for Stephanie might be a risk because she could have won an advantage or found an idol during her stay on Ghost Island. Desiree therefore decided to check inside Stephanie's bag when she wasn't looking, but she came up empty.
Bradley wondered which person he could trust the most, who was the most dangerous, and who was the biggest threat to his game. Regardless, he knew his allies would be calling the shots.
At Tribal Council on Night 14, Bradley confessed he wanted to get rid of Michael immediately after what he had pulled at the last Tribal Council, but Michael begged everyone to let him stay -- because he would show them the respect he had showed his fellow original Malolo tribemates.
After all, when Michael played his hidden Immunity Idol at the prior Tribal, he did it in an unselfish manner. Michael tried to make the point that if he had been willing to stick his neck out for his original alliance, he'd be willing to do it again.
The castaways then cast their votes for whom they wanted to eliminate fromSurvivor: Ghost Island.