In "Survivor," the moment you start planning a blindside is when you should expect one in return. Call it "Survivor" karma.
This week's episode is a doubleheader, with two tribal councils. And with just eight people left in the game, the core alliance of favorites is starting to crumble. The first tribal council yields an expected result, with Reynold finally getting voted out.
But the second one proves far more interesting. After scheming to blindside Brenda and failing to play her hidden immunity idol, a shocked Andrea herself gets the boot. Grinning as her torch gets snuffed out, she acknowledges her alliance's stealthy maneuvers.
"That's good," Andrea says. "That's really good." Yes it is!
With the Three Amigos reduced to two, Reynold and Eddie know their chances are dimming. But ever the eternal optimist, Reynold hopes he can win immunity. Cochran, though, is already thinking three steps ahead. "I'm not the little Harvard nerd that was trembling in the bushes last time," he says.
Treemail brings word of a combined immunity-reward challenge, in which the players have to balance on wobbly wooden buoys in the water. The reward turns out to be good: information on the game. And it's a challenge in which Jeff Probst offers some tantalizing treats to players who drop out. Erik and Eddie (despite his needing this immunity) jump out for cold milk and doughnuts. And to the disapproval of his alliance, Cochran drops for hot dogs and soda.
In the end it comes down to Brenda and Andrea. Each is determined to win instead of making a deal for one to give up. After hours of balancing, the women tell an amused Jeff they're making up their own rule -- to lift up their left legs. As soon as he counts down and they do it, Brenda topples off. Andrea wins immunity and the clue!
Back at camp, Andrea shares the clue with Brenda per an earlier agreement, and it has directions to the hidden immunity idol. The whole alliance troops over to a rock wall, and Erik finds it -- but he hands it to Andrea! "Does he learn nothing?!" an exasperated Cochran asks.
With the necklace and hidden idol in hand, Andrea starts plotting. The challenge demonstrated again that Brenda can be a physical threat. And everyone likes her, so maybe it's time for a major blindside. Dawn is hesitant -- she really, really wants to get rid of Reynold. Her paranoia is reaching new levels. "The biggest obstacle for me out here is not having an opponent," Dawn admits. "The biggest obstacle has been my mind."
At tribal council, Jeff pokes into the strength of the alliance. Why didn't Andrea and Brenda make a deal instead of standing on the buoys for hours? Andrea acknowledges that anyone can be lying at any point.
The players vote, and there's no blindside this time -- Reynold is eliminated. That optimism didn't work out for him!
Things fall apart
As soon as everyone returns to camp, Andrea starts scheming again with Cochran. She wants to target Brenda again, but he is now dubious. He tells Dawn and Brenda what Andrea is planning, and they decide to get rid of her instead!
The immunity challenge is another obstacle course, which Erik wins. Jeff notes that the last time Erik had a necklace, he gave it away and got voted out in the dumbest move in "Survivor" history. This time, Erik plans to be (a little) smarter.
After the challenge, Andrea firms up the vote to blindside Brenda. She feels safe and doesn't think she'll need to play the idol, and she assures Eddie of the same. Then, Andrea tells Cochran she wants to take Eddie with them to the final three. Wow, we can see she's crushing on the guy bad, but it's clouding her judgment!
Anyway, it's a tremendously bad move, and it flips a switch in Cochran. He can see that Eddie is Andrea's priority -- not him. "I want to be part of everyone's plan," he says. "And if I'm not part of your plan, Andrea, you're not going to be part of mine."
He, Dawn, and Brenda decide to split the vote, in case Andrea plays her idol. Meanwhile, Cochran has to get the notoriously wishy-washy Erik on board. Now that he's won an immunity, Erik is riding high. "I'm in control of the game," he boasts. Uh, no, you're not.
At tribal council, Jeff asks about the hidden immunity idol, and Andrea reveals she has it. It's a huge advantage at this late stage of the game, and she hints that she'll use it if she feels the need.
Except she doesn't feel the need this time! Everyone votes, and Andrea doesn't play her idol. Then, Jeff starts to read the votes. Andrea's name comes up, so does Eddie's. Her eyes widen in disbelief. She starts grinning like crazy and looking around at her alliance. And when Jeff calls her name as the 14th person voted out of the game, Andrea laughs.
"Oh, you guys! That's good. That's really good," she says as Jeff snuffs out her torch.
That's the game: Blindside or be blindsided!
Check out reactions on Twitter about this week's eliminations, and then sound off in the comments below!
Andrea was a very smart player, but she was wrong to tell Cochran about her plans with Eddie. That was a fatal mistake. #Survivor— Oliver Belza (@oliverbelza) May 2, 2013
Watch a preview of the next episode:
"Survivor" airs Wednesdays at 8 PM on CBS.
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