Survivor Cagayan: Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty – Episode 3 – Recap and Discussion

The Beauty tribe returns to their camp. Morgan is frustrated and angry. She calls Jeremiah out — nicely — that night. Why did he jump ship with Brice? He replies that his first alliance was with Alexis and Jefra, and that Brice’s social skills scared him.

Morgan apologizes to Alexis for writing her name down. She also takes the opportunity to tell Alexis that Jeremiah and Brice came to her, because they wanted to take out LJ. But not while they still needed him for challenges. At this, LJ’s head pops up from his sleeping place. He definitely heard that.

In the morning, the Brains read their Tree-Mail and deduce that the next challenge will be the do-stuff-while-blindfolded type. They also determine that it won’t be an immunity challenge — just a reward. Of food. Which they don’t have.

Once again, they try to prepare by practicing moving around blindfolded. J’Tia feels extra motivated because it’s her fault that the tribe doesn’t have any food.

It turns out that the Brains are correct. The challenge is for one blindfolded pair to collect five items (one by one) and deliver them to a rope lift. The third member must then help one of the pair to hoist the food up to the fourth member (the caller). Once they’ve collected and hoisted five items, they have to find and hoist up their flag.

The reward is for three hens and a rooster. Second prize is a dozen eggs. Third prize is a whole lot of bruises and nothing else.

Tasha is calling for the Brains tribe, while J’Tia is given the job of standing in place and pulling a rope. Tasha seems to do pretty good. Beauty leads (and wins) from the beginning, but Brains is close behind. Unfortunately, J’Tia and Spencer can’t hoist things up without dropping them, which loses them time. The worst is when they are trying to hoist the flag. It drops and J’Tia can’t figure out how to place it on the hoisting platform. This problem doesn’t happen with any other tribe. I’m beginning to wonder if this is Survivor or The Mole that I’m watching.

In a ridiculous turn of events, Brawn comes from way behind to win second place.

Afterwards, we spend a short interlude at the Beauty tribe. Just because the girls are too dumb to know how chicken reproduction works and that’s fun. Also, Jeremiah convinces them all that he’s some kind of chicken expert, because he’s from the South. In confession, he points out that he’s a male model and doesn’t know nothing about chickens, Miss Scarlet.

On the Brawn tribe, Cliff tries to talk strategy with Lindsey, but she doesn’t want to think about such unpleasantness. So, he goes for a swim. While he’s swimming, Sarah is luring Woo to the Cop Side. She points out that Cliff doesn’t need another million dollars, which is good enough for Woo. Even though playing with Cliff is the coolest thing ever, Woo wants to stay with the majority. He and Sarah pound fists on it.

Tony sees this go down and gets worried, Sarah gives him the 4-1-1, and, while he doesn’t trust anyone, Tony figures he’s got an alliance of four now (including Trish). He repeats to us his plan to win it, dishonoring his badge, and destroying everyone else’s dreams.

The Tree-Mail arrives at Brawn with puns about water and “sinking the shot.” They figure out that the challenge will involve basketball. Cliff (who fortunately did not sit out the previous challenge) recites his NBA resume to the camera. It’s impressive.

But he doesn’t realize that Sarah is planning to throw the challenge. She’s afraid that a merge is imminent and doesn’t want to go into it with Cliff. She tells Woo, who agrees. Privately, Woo is torn. On one hand, a million dollars. On the other hand, a chance to shoot baskets with Cliff Robinson. Some people would pay a million dollars to shoot free-throws with an NBA legend.

It’s challenge time! The teams arrive at the beach to see three sets of double platforms. The task is to dive from one platform and retrieve buoys attached to a line. Each buoy is three feet deeper than the last. Once all five buoys are collected, the players must shoot from the first platform to a basket on the second platform. The first two tribes to sink five baskets are safe. The loser goes to Tribal Council.

Sarah tries her very best to suck. It takes her two dives to release her first buoy. I don’t think Woo is trying to throw it. He seems to be doing his best. Trish, however, is doing her part to fail. Unfortunately for Sarah, neither J’Tia or Kass can manage to get a buoy. Spencer finally has to dive down and get four of them himself.

With no ulterior motives, Beauty coasts to a quick win. They get their five baskets before either Brains or Brawn has even started shooting. Spencer scores the next basket. He’s good at shooting, but he isn’t great, and he has to rely on his team mates to rebound. They are beyond awful.

It takes Cliff a few throws to warm up, and his team mates are actively trying to suck at rebounding, but they can’t touch J’Tia, who manages to throw a buoy into the open ocean and has to go retrieve it. Once Cliff finds the sweet spot, he quickly finishes the task. Brawn wins 5-3.

I have a soft spot for Cliff. He was a Blazer. So, I’m really glad he didn’t go out on a basketball challenge. On the other hand, how fair is it to even have a basketball challenge when you cast a former NBA player on the show? Huh, Survivor?

Back the Desolation of J’Tia — I mean, the Brains campsite, Spencer is feeling pretty low. The women remind him that he really rocked the challenge (and how cool is it to almost win against Cliff Robinson?), but Spencer is a Brain and so he’s thinking ahead getting voted out. He knows that history is not on his side.

Nevertheless, he makes his best case to Tasha and Kass. The biggest thing in his favor is that they are smart. So, they listen to the logical argument that he’s their best challenge player and, if they don’t keep him, the tribe could be decimated.

Kass and Tasha decide to vote J’Tia out. To keep her feeling secure (and to avoid her burning down the camp or something), they spin a tale about voting Spencer out because he’s untrustworthy.

The only problem is that the story is so convincing. Now Tasha’s second-guessing herself. Spencer is strong, but J’Tia is loyal. Which is the more valuable asset? Kass realizes that it’s fifty-fifty. So, she doesn’t really care which choice they make. You can’t predict what will happen tomorrow.

At Tribal Council, Jeff has no words. He just throws up his hands. What is there to say about this monumental Tribe of Suck? Twice they managed to snatch failure from the jaws of victory. He finally asks J’Tia how much responsibility she has for their failures. She admits that she was weak in the last challenge. Water is not her thing.

Tasha points out that J’Tia is weak in every challenge. They always have to put her in the least important role. J’Tia counters that she’s the weakest in challenges, but not the weakest link.

Tasha nods. The question, she tells Jeff, is whether to go with Spencer, who kicked her out of her alliance, or with J’Tia, who is weak? Jeff can’t understand how they could keep someone who threw the rice into the fire, but Kass says she understands. J’Tia had an emotional reaction. She’s had emotional reactions, too.

Isn’t unpredictability as dangerous as disloyalty? Spencer asks. Jeff asks how Spencer is feeling, and both he and Kass do an interesting thing where they simultaneously view the situation from the perspective of the audience (which they would love) and from their perspective as participants (Spencer is scared of getting voted out; Kass can’t predict which decision is worse).

“It’s happening right there!” Jeff cries out. He shows Spencer how Kass and Tasha are looking at each other, still unsure of who to choose. Spencer makes a plea. He promises to give his all to the tribe, and to be loyal. J’Tia, once again, says nothing.

And with that, they vote.

While me and my family yell “Vote J’Tia!” at the screen.

For a split second, I’m terrified that we’ll have a split vote, but the Brains finally start using their and vote out J’Tia. In her final words, J’Tia agrees with the decision. Had the rules allowed it, she probably would have voted for herself as well. That’s how bad she was.

Were you screaming at your screens, too? What did you think of Sarah this week? Smart or stupid? Who is your favorite player at this point? Let me know in the comments!