Alliances and loyalty are seldom, if ever, to be trusted without reservation in a game of skill, cunning and tactics such as Survivor. That’s the hard lesson estate agent Paul Smulders (54) learnt at this week’s Tribal Council on Survivor SA: Island of Secrets. Paul got the boot despite sharing his Hidden Immunity Clue with his tribemates last week and giving Rob the Immunity Idol to save him from leaving the Tribe. To top it off, he was voted out while last week’s target, bossy Seipei, was still around and when Nathan was struggling with an injury that he said caused "excruciating pain”.
When the defeated warriors from Sa’ula arrived at Tribal Council for the second time in a row after losing three consecutive challenges, it would have made sense to keep the physically strong and fit Paul. Unfortunately, he made a small mistake in a conversation, which squandered the trust of besties Steffi and Nicole. He had earlier canvassed each of them separately to approach the other with a view to a “tight-three” alliance, but when they were together and Steffi and Nicole brought it up, Paul seemed to backtrack, thereby sealing his own fate.
Paul was clearly surprised and hurt by the outcome of the vote. “Well played, guys,” he said sarcastically, before walking away in defeat.
How Sa’ula ended up at Tribal Council:
This week’s first challenge was an Immunity and Reward combination. Each tribe had to select one tribe member as a retriever attached to a pulley system and to a bag of coconuts. The rest of the tribe had to lift the bag of coconuts to allow the retriever to move around and collect a ball and cup with a fork on a long stick. The first Tribe to stack all the balls and cups would then win Immunity and Reward.
Laumei continued their excellent form as Olympic athlete Rocco completed the stack first, with Ta’alo in second place, thanks to engineer Jacques’s calmness under pressure. Steffi, Sa’ula’s choice as retriever, got off to a decent start but three attempts ended in failure as her stacks collapsed. She was heartbroken, feeling like she’d let her tribe down. No amount of comforting could ease her feeling of guilt.
Apart from knowing that they’re safe from this week’s Tribal Council, Laumei walked off with egg-laying hens and a rooster! Ta’alo’s reward for finishing second was fishing gear – the ideal gift for ‘Aquaman' Dante!
The winners also got to send someone from Sa’ula to the Island of Secrets. They chose Rob. There, he had the pick of three sealed containers. He picked a booby prize and lost his vote at Tribal Council.
When Sa’ula received tree mail about the second challenge of the episode, they were in high spirits. It was clearly a challenge that required strength and they believed that winning would be a walk in the park against the nerds from Ta’alo. In this challenge, two members of each Tribe had to go into the water to retrieve a life ring and then fend off the other Tribe to get that ring into their tribal goal post. The first Tribe to score three points would receive Immunity.
Sadly, Sa’ula had only one bright moment in an otherwise one-sided showdown: when Steffi won their solitary point by out-sprinting her rivals, retrieving the ring and reaching the post untouched. It was a brilliant effort, but scant consolation for her earlier defeat; Sa’ula was heading for their second Tribal Council.
What else went down at the three tribes?
- At Sa’ula, the bromance between Rob and Nathan is getting stronger and stronger, but the question is, how serious is Nathan’s injury? The two brothers shed some emotional tears about their bond and the conundrum the injury is bringing about. But how serious is this injury?
- At Ta’alo, Jacques and Cobus went off in search of an Immunity Idol, using the clue Cobus picked at the Island of Secrets. Then, Jacques outwitted his teammate by finding it and keeping it a secret. Not that he will need it soon, because there is clearly a target on Tania’s back.
- As one would expect, the mood at Tribe Laumei is fairly relaxed. However, one tribemate has reason to be worried: Laetitia. While she has earned respect and trust, her weakness in physical challenges kept coming up in conversation. If she doesn’t prove her tribemates wrong, she’ll be in real trouble once their winning streak ends.
Survivor South Africa: Island of Secrets is screened on M-Net every Thursday at 19:00. It will also be available on DStv Catch Up.