Immunity challenge time and everyone shows up wearing war paint. Jeff says there are two immunity idols, but only the first tribe to finish gets the fire-making kit while the second tribe gets flint. The three tribes are split into teams of two. The first pair have to run, tied together, to a spot where they will release two paddles. Two more players will paddle out to release a submerged chest and bring it back, and the final two will assemble a puzzle from its contents.
When the teams strategize, Russell highhandedly decides which of his tribe will do which task, despite their protests. No one is happy with his plan, and it shows when they begin the task.
Kalabaw are neck and neck with Tandang, but finally beat them for first place, winning immunity and the fire-making tools. Tandang, in second, gets the flint and immunity. Matsing, in third place, is heading to Tribal Council, where someone will be voted out and sent home.
Russell tells Jeff he’ll have to take ‘some’ of the blame for Matsing’s loss, since he made the decision of who would do what, but there’s always next time. Jeff says there’s a next time for five of the team, but not all six, since someone will be voted out at Tribal Council.
Back at the Matsing camp, Russell tries to pep talk by assuring the tribe that all challenges are brutal, and that they’ll have to dig deep to win. Suddenly, Zane pipes up that he’s the one that blew the challenge, because he couldn’t pull his weight on his leg of the trial, having just quit smoking the day he left for the Philippines. Everyone looks at Zane in shock – why would he be asking the tribe to vote him off, after just one lost challenge?
Zane interviews that his words were a ruse, to see if he is indeed running the show, a psychological mind game. He hopes the tribe would rather have him as a hindrance, than keep Russell.
Well, Russell’s pretty happy about Zane’s words, and the rest of the tribe are thrilled that Zane has picked himself. After all, they may not like Russell, but they don’t want to go home early either! Angie and Roxie are still steaming that Russell made them do the puzzle portion of the challenge, although both had insisted puzzles were not their strength.
Angie would prefer Zane stay, so she confronts him, asking him why he’s giving up. Zane is happy to hear that she will vote for Russell at Tribal. Malcolm also wants Zane to stay, and Zane begins to think that the tribe could blindside Russell, especially when Zane hints that Russell already has the immunity idol. Malcolm tells Denise they are 95% sure that Russell has an idol.
Russell interviews that he’s pretty sure he’s safe at the vote, but you never know – although he’d vowed not to pull a leadership trip, he went right into ‘Chief’ mode, thinking he had to make all of the decisions. Leadership kills, dude, and he may have made his first mistake at the challenge. He could well be voted out tonight.
Jeff welcomes everyone to Tribal Council. He asks Denise how she feels about playing with returning players. She says she had mixed feelings, but it’s been an asset and a gift to have someone with experience help them through their first three days. Zane tells Jeff that Russell has been like an onion; the first few layers are great, but too deep in, and you’ll start to cry. The more you peel back, the more you understand how much of a better player you’re up against.
Russell agrees that Zane’s words are both complimentary and a warning, in that the tribe perceive him as a strong player that they will have to eliminate. He admits to making a mistake in dictating decision making at the failed challenge. Malcolm agrees with Russell’s words. Roxie says Russell’s demeanor threw her into a subordinate role, and Angie adds that, despite her ability to run, she was asked to puzzle solve, and told that if they lost it would be her fault.
Again, Zane insists that they should vote him out, because he’s the weakest. Russell still thinks they might boot him. Voting begins. Russell votes for Zane. Zane votes for Russell. Everyone else votes Zane, who becomes the first person voted out of Survivor Philippines by a 5-1 vote. Jeff snuffs Zane’s torch, tosses a piece of flint to Denise, and shoos the tribe out of Tribal.
Surprisingly, Zane can’t believe the tribe really voted him out, after he told them to. “I honestly thought I had this whole game figured out,” says Zane. Which leaves me wondering which game he was thinking about, because Zane blindsided himself.
In terms of shaking up the camp, Zane might have been an asset, but as a self-admitted loser, he’s not a big loss to the tribe. What do you think? Should the tribe have blindsided Russell? Let us know, in the comments below. And I’ll be back next week with my recap of Survivor: Philippines.