Survivor Cagayan: Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty – Episode 11 – Recap and Discussion (UPDATED)

Previously on Suvivor: Tony found the special idol. Jefra flipped, then flopped. Spencer played his idol, but it was Jeremiah who had gotten the votes.

After Jeremiah leaves, Jefra tries to sort out what happened. Spencer is annoyed that he played his idol without changing the outcome of the vote. Kass tells him she knew he had the idol. She tells us that she knew he wouldn’t give it away. He’s a college student, and Kass considers male college students the most selfish beings on the planet. I’m sure she means that in a good way.

Spencer interviews that he knows he and Tasha are in dire straits. But he’s not beaten. They lost the battle, but they haven’t won the war.

The next morning, Tony and Woo play a fun trick with the Tree Mail. Tony announces there will be a feast, and Woo pretends that he needs Trish to massage his back. But, oh! He’s hidden envelopes of cash under his shirt! It’s time for the Survivor Auction!

Amidst the general rejoicing, Tony is still plotting. He knows there will some kind of advantage up for grabs. He wants it and he’s not spending a penny until that item comes up. Guess who else is planning to do that? Tasha and Spencer.

Jeff explains the usual rules. There is to be no sharing of food or money. Everyone has $500 to spend. (I always wonder, if you don’t spend the whole $500, do you get to take some home with you? I mean, the money has absolutely no other function than to bid on things at this auction. It’s not like they take you to the nearest Piggly-Wiggly afterwards so you can buy a razor.

But I digress. With Tony, Spencer, and Tasha sitting on their cash, it’s a buyer’s market. Trish gets movie popcorn and candy for the bargain price of $60. Jefra gets guacamole and quesedilas. Kass risks a pittance of $20 on a covered dish, which turns out to contain a large steak sandwich (which is too big for her — she wishes she could share it). Meanwhile Spencer and Tony are going through agony; you can see it in the faces Tony makes, and the way Spencer is twisting himself into pretzels.

The funnest part is when Woo gets a plate of BBQ ribs and bottle of beer for $40. Jeff asks him to anticipate what it will taste like, and Woo goes into a whole monologue about it. Then sexy saxophone music plays as he bites into it and downs half the bottle. Finally, he picks up the plate to go sit between Tony and Spencer to finish his meal. This is why we watch Survivor, folks!

Realizing nobody is going to bid on food, Jeff goes right to the prize. It’s “an advantage in the game.” Tony shoots his hand up immediately, but Jeff tells him there’s a twist. If more than one person is willing to spend their whole $500, they then bid on a chance to pull rocks for it. Spencer and Tony are willing to take the chance, Tasha holds back, hoping there will be a second item — a clue to an immunity idol, perhaps.

So, Spencer and Tony each pull a rock out of a cloth bag. The black rock will win it. They open their hands — and Tony has the black rock!

Jeff lets Spencer keep the white rock as a souvenir. He walks back to the camp with his head down, like Charlie Brown on Halloween:

I got guacamole! I got a beer! I got an advantage in the game!
…I got a rock.

At camp, Tony tries to cheer Spencer up by pointing out that the advantage is a Catch-22. He has the advantage, but Woo has had a good bit of protein. And that’s key to winning challenges. Meanwhile, Spencer… has a rock.

Kass is happy as a smug little clam. She loves seeing the sad face Spencer makes because he’s next to go home. Also, she feels no guilt that her steak sandwich came at Tony’s cost. He gave up eating in order to thwart Spencer and Tasha from getting the game advantage, and Kass couldn’t be happier.

Tony, meanwhile, is pretty disgusted. Not only did his alliance-mates stuff their faces, they are all now too full to do chores. If Spencer is Charlie Brown, Tony is the Little Red Hen. Nobody wants to help him bake the bread.

So, Tony goes to read his advantage scroll. He learns that there’s yet another idol hidden nearby. He has the clue, which requires very little brainwork to figure out. It fact, it seems to lead him to the same damn tree where he got the Special Idol! Geez. They should have just had the paper say, “Look in your pants, Tony. We stuck it in your pocket.”

Anyway, on the way to finding the New Normal Idol, Tony passes by all four girls (including Tasha) lounging in the water. Tasha is blatantly lobbying for the girls to form a female alliance. Tasha interviews that she wants to see her doing this. Because she hope it will send him around the bend.

Tony falls for it. He runs to Spencer to tattle on Tasha. Spencer notes that Tasha has a killer social game, and then tells Tony many convincing details about Jefra wanting to blindside him. He says Jefra promised to bring Trish over as well. Then he adds that, even though Jefra flipped back, she looking for her next opportunity to take Tony out.

This has the desired effect of blowing Tony’s mind. On one hand, he knows Spencer is desperate and will say anything. On the other, Spencer’s tale makes sense. He decides to take matters into his own hands.

First, he completes the task of finding the New Normal Idol. Then, he shows it to each member of his tribe — individually. He figures that will scare them into sticking with him. Jefra does indeed look scared. She also looks pissed off.

At the immunity challenge, Tasha is reluctant to give her necklace back to Jeff. The challenge is to pull a rope that is attached to five bags, buried in a long line. The bags have to be untied. Each one holds a single ball. Those five balls have to be maneuvered through a table maze, and into one of five holes. It requires strength, speed, and, as Jeff puts it, subtlety, touch, and finesse.

Tony has strength, but no finesse. Trish and Kass have no strength. The contest comes down to Tasha, Woo, and Spencer, who is running on sheer desperation at this point. Tasha and Woo have the steadiest hand-eye coordination, and Tasha just ekes out her win against him. She’s won immunity for the third time in a row.

Alas, this means Spencer is on the chopping block. But now Tony is worried. Tasha keeps talking to the girls and there’s every reason for the four of them to pick off the boys, one by one. (Never mind that Tony is unpickable — what with two immunity idols.) He doesn’t want to lose Spencer as his little pawn.

So, he cooks up a scheme to vote out Jefra instead. He easily convinces Woo to do it, but he knows he can’t breathe a word to Trish and Kass. And he needs Tasha’s vote to pull it off. He goes to Spencer who says he can persuade Tasha, because they’re friends. He leaves Tony to bite his fingernails as he seeks out his fellow brain.

It takes approximately two seconds to convince Tasha. But I guess they don’t want it to look too easy, so they sit on their log for awhile. Laughing their asses off.

But Spencer still doesn’t trust Tony, so he goes looking for that Special Snowflake Idol. Which raises red flags for Tony… or else he’s just jerking with the audience as we go into the Tribal Council.

With little prompting, Tony spills the whole story of Jefra’s betrayal to Jeff. He ends by pulling out the New Normal Idol and hanging it around his neck. Jefra is shocked, and tries to explain herself. Jeff points out this is a good development for Spencer.

“I love chaos,” Spencer agrees. It helps him. Kass shrugs and says that heads are spinning. Spencer drives his point home by saying that, even if he goes home, he’ll be happy because he played hard and he played well. He warns the other players not to get too comfortable. “If you go out at five or four,” he says, “it will be because you made a mistake tonight.” He explains that, without his and Tasha’s free-agent votes, the individual members of the Final Five are at the mercy of the hierarchy they refuse to acknowledge.

The votes are cast. Jeff pulls out alternating votes for Spencer and Jefra. At seeing her name on the third vote, Jefra looks shocked. She should. The final vote is for her, and she leaves with a friendly wave, and “good job” for the people who blindsided her.

And so dies the Beauty Tribe.

But let me pause for a moment to admire the wonder of Kass’s bitch face after the final vote is read. Love it.

Next week: All bets are off. I can’t wait to see how it all shakes out. Chaos!