Survivor Cagayan: Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty – Episode 4 – Recap and Discussion (UPDATED)

Previously: Morgan was the outcast on the Beauty Tribe. Brawn won every challenge. Brain lost again, and, at the last minute, Kass and Tasha decided to save their strongest member, Spencer. J’Tia went home.

As the Brain return to their camp, Kass notes that the fire is still going. “It’s a sign,” she says. Because the smart people have turned into superstitious ones. Or, as Kass puts it, “We’re the Crap-for-Brains Tribe.”

Spencer hugs them grateful that they made the least stupid decision. “We could be the top three!” he encourages them. “The only thing that stands between us is two entire tribes!”

The Tree Mail is about food, and contains the ominous phrase “dragged away kicking and screaming.” Brain figures this means a reward challenge. Unlike previous challenges, they don’t practice dragging, kicking, or screaming. Too bad. That would have been fun to watch.

We get a lovely overhead view of the tribes marching to their spots like ants, in a neat single-file line. Which makes it nonsensical when Jeff announces that Brawn and Beauty are “getting their first look at the new Brains Tribe.”

Oh well, it doesn’t really matter because the next twist is here! Everybody, drop your buffs! Fortunately for the Brains, they’re getting downsized to two tribes, not one. It would suck if they picked the stronger player, only to immediately go into an individual’s game.

As the suckiest tribe, Luzon (neé Brains) is abolished. The tribes are now Solana, and Aparri. After the new buffs are uncovered, the former Crap-for-Brains Tribe lucks out. They are all wearing the orange buffs of Aparri. Alexis, Morgan, Jeremiah join them. Sarah is the original member of Aparri left.

The new Solana tribe contains five old Brawnies, Cliff, Lindsey, Tony, Trish, and Woo. Jefra and LJ remain in Solana.

The two new tribes go immediately into the reward challenge. It’s a very physical challenge. One tribe member clings to a pole while two members of the other tribe try to pull him or her over a line about fifteen feet away. The first team to drag two opposing team members over the line wins. The reward is lots and lots of pastries.

Tasha is the first pole clinger for the Aparri tribe. Lindsey clings for Solana. It seems to be an all female heat. I’m sure at least 50% of the audience appreciates this. Tasha is a rock. You can tell she’s determined to show her new tribe what she’s capable of. Lindsey fights really hard, but Sarah and Morgan finally drag her to the line. One point for Aparri.

The next heat pits Cliff against Spencer and Jeremiah, and Alexis against two guys. They pulls her so quickly over the line that I can’t even figure out which ones they are. Sort of unfair. But point for Solana.

The final heat pits the best against the best. Which means Cliff against Spencer and Jeremiah again. Sarah is put against Tony and Lindsey. Sarah is pretty incredible, managing to fight Lindsey and Tony long enough for Spencer and Jeremiah to get Cliff off the pole, but that’s as far as they can get with a giant basketball player. The last point goes to Solana.

Solana chats over their sugary reward. Trish finds out that LJ is from Boston. She starts laughing and flirting, either from the joy of meeting someone from her home town, or because she’s on a sugar high. Tony teases her about having a crush on LJ. LJ interviews that he’s fine using his sex appeal on some older woman in order to stay in the game. Trish giggles and says she’s no Mrs. Robinson.

Cliff watches this warily. He neither likes nor trusts Trish, especially now that she’s bonding with the new tribe members. When Trish and Jefra chat during a water run, he lurks in the background, clearly suspicious.

At the Aparri campsite, Sarah apologizes for the mess. She shows them the extra bag of rice (which the Brains are undoubtably excited to see), and tells them how Trish chose to help her tribe instead of searching for an idol.

This outs Morgan as a liar, since she told her tribe something completely different. Alexis is intelligent enough to realize she can’t stick with Morgan. She immediately goes over the former Brains and offers to join them. So does Morgan. And Jeremiah. Spencer interviews that he finds the former Beauties gossipy and surprisingly ready to throw each other under the bus. The Brains are sticking together, which gives them a really strong position in the new Aparri.

It’s Immunity Challenge time! Jeff begins by voting out the smaller immunity idol. It’s off to Immunity Idol Exile Island. Where all those unplayed hidden immunity idols are sent. Then he explains the challenge. The players will pick up a large log and use it to smash through two walls. After that, they must thread the log through a maze and then use it to ring a gong.

Because only six players are needed, each tribe will sit out one member. Trish sits out for the Solana tribe. Alexis and Morgan do a quick roshambo round, which Alexis wins.

The log looks really heavy, and Solana has four strong men to Aparri’s two. But getting through the wall is hard. Solana gets through first, but then Spencer asks Jeff if they can switch positions on the log. He agrees, and they switch the two men (Spencer and Jeremiah) on the front, which helps the team raise the log high enough to swing effectively. The two teams are neck and neck as they reach the maze. Tasha is positioned at the needle of the maze and calls out the moves to her tribe mates. That seems to work better than Solana’s strategy, and Aparri gets their log through first just ahead of the other team.

They ring the gong, winning the challenge. “How did that happen?” Tony pants.

Later he vents to the camera, “That challenge was made for Brawn!” He states his intention to target LJ, the biggest threat among the new tribe members.

I spend the commercials wondering how that is going to fly with Trish. Turns out, it doesn’t. We come back to find Cliff determined to evict LJ, and Trish plotting with LJ and Jefra to get rid of Cliff. She assures them that Tony will vote with them. LJ’s just happy to have a plan where he doesn’t get voted out.

Trish speaks to Tony, saying that they can vote out Cliff, and then Lindsey. Cliff moves in to make sure he’s loyal to the original tribe. “We need stability,” Cliff says, towering over him. Tony starts stuttering and fast-talking like a gangster in Good Fellas.

LJ decides to check the temperature of the tribe at council. Then he’ll decide whether or not to play his hidden immunity idol. Which reminds me that Tony still has one, too.

Jeff’s first question at Tribal Council is directed to LJ. He wants to know who is in charge at the camp. LJ likens his and Jefra’s situation as being a couple who has sold their home. They are there until the new owners kick them out.

Cliff talks about the game and how people need to put their emotions aside. It’s a game of numbers, he explains. Woo agrees that you can’t let your emotions get away from you. You need to be stick with a strong alliance. Trish comments that numbers are important, but only if they work for you. If they don’t, then you need to make other arrangements.

Jeff points out that that’s the crack that LJ and Jefra need in order to survive. Jefra agrees that there are always people on the bottom of any alliance. “Someone’s on the bottom,” she notes. “But they aren’t going to make it to the top on their own.”

Jeff asks Cliff if it’s cathartic to finally have a Tribal Council. Cliff likens it to the play-offs. After tonight, he’ll know what people are really thinking. Tony is wondering whether they’ll move forward as a team, or move forward as a different team.

They vote. Jeff asks if anyone wants to play their hidden immunity idol. LJ doesn’t.

The first six votes are three/three LJ and Cliff. Jeff pulls the last vote out. It’s Cliff. He picks up his stuff and leaves. I’m sure he’ll be fine. It’s not the first game he’s ever lost.

His final words: “When you think things are going the way you want them to go, Boom! You get blindsided.”

Next week: Trish and Lindsey don’t like each other. It doesn’t look that exciting in the preview, but I’m sure it will be thrilling.

Did Tony make the right decision? Which former Beauty will the former Brains end
up adopting? Discuss below!