The strategic layers that encompassed Episode 5 were profound, rooted, and fathomless. After a no-brainer Alecia vote last week, it was refreshing be able to consider the multiple strategic possibilities that arose as a result of the tribe swap. Did the newly formed Gondol tribe make the best decision?

Here is what we know:

1.Tai has an idol- and that idol could potentially be used as a “Super Idol”.

2. Kyle has an idol, too.

3. Oh, welcome to the idol club, Neal!

4. Scot is the only person with knowledge of two idols in the game.

5. Julia will leave Brawn Beach and join Gondol in the next episode.

6. Anna did not ‘out’ Tai’s idol as she left the game. Anna is paving the way for a smooth transition for Julia to Gondol.

What could have happened:

It appeared that Tai would use his idol to blindside arrogant Peter and keep his Beauty babe, Anna, around longer. Let’s say that he does this… 

Pros: Peter leaves the game and Julia returns to Gondol. Anna, Julia and Tai are three strong Beautys and are sitting pretty till the merge.

Cons: Tai wastes an idol.

In my head, this would have been a fool-proof plan. But what are the long-term repercussions of Tai using the idol to save Anna?

Tai’s late idol reveal to Anna may have signaled to Anna that Tai is secretive and can’t be trusted. After all, Tai and Anna have been together this entire game and Tai is just now revealing that he has an idol after denying this information for so long? Anna would have certainly gone after Tai later in the game.

Anna and Julia are much closer to each other than they are to Tai. So perhaps Tai choosing to stick with his new ally, Scot, is better for him in the long run?

Scot’s strategic mind was revealed in this episode and he deserves credit for convincing Tai to not use the idol. I had written Scot off after previous episodes, but obviously he is here to play- and he’s using his brain. And his brawn. Probably not his beauty.

Let’s get to the rankings!

* I don’t read spoilers

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Pre-Merge Boot/Med Evac Order:

1. Darnell Hamilton (To Tangsvr32_cast_800x1000_darnellhamilton

2. Jennifer Lanzetti (To Tangsvr32_cast_800x1000_jenniferlanzetti

3. Liz Markham (Chan Loh)     svr32_cast_800x1000_elisabethmarkham

4. Caleb Reynolds (Gondolsvr32_cast_800x1000_calebreynolds

5. Alecia Holden (To Tangsvr32_cast_800x1000_aleciaholden

6. Anna Khait (Gondol, Gondolsvr32_cast_800x1000_annakhait

Anna is a victim of the tribe swap. Last week Anna was the Queen Bee of the Beauty tribe and had Caleb not been medically evacuated, the single player Brawn tribe twist would have been non-existent. The Beauty tribe would have been the only complete tribe to go into the swap and I believe Anna would have been in a much better position. Anna was somewhat bested by Tai- had Anna continued to throw Tai under the bus there is a possibility she could have swayed favor with the new Gondol, but Anna gave up that game as soon as Tai showed her the idol and Scot became more influential to Tai.

I’m bummed- I thought Anna would go all the way. Time to move on…

To Tang Tribe Rankings (Brawn)

1. Julia Sokolowski svr32_cast_800x1000_juliasokolowski

I have a feeling that Julia could be the next person to leave the game. Julia will join Gondol, and with Anna gone, who will Julia align with? The original Beauty tribe was strong and it appeared they were all targets of the newly formed tribes. With Tai aligned with Scot, it doesn’t look good for Julia.

Chan Loh Tribe Rankings (Brains)

6. Michele Fitzgerald svr32_cast_800x1000_michelefitzgerald

Michele lost Anna and Julia, her entire alliance, in one swap. Things are not looking good for Michele at this point in the game. I hope she can solidify alliances in the new Chan Loh…

5. Nick Maiorano svr32_cast_800x1000_nickmaiorano

We still haven’t seen a lot out of Nick. The tribe swap certainly worked in his favor, but he is still an original beauty and this will work against him on this tribe. If Blue goes to tribal, Nick could be in trouble.

4. Cydney Gillon svr32_cast_800x1000_cydneygillon

Cydney is on a very strong tribe. Blue is loaded and less likely to make any trips to Tribal Council. Cydney has incurred favor with Debbie and remains with her tight alliance in Kyle. Cydney shouldn’t be underestimated; she is tough and she can go far.

3. Neal Gottlieb svr32_cast_800x1000_nealgottlieb

Not much Neal from Episode 5, but he is in a good position. And- he has an idol!

2. Kyle Jason svr32_cast_800x1000_kylejason

Kyle and Neal could be tied… they are both power players, they are both strategic, and they both have an idol. Kyle barely beats Neal for the fact that Kyle is ruthless.

1. Debbie Wanner svr32_cast_800x1000_debbiewanner

Debbie has the power in this tribe. We see her networking with Cydney, continuing to work side-by-side with Neal, and possibly crushing on Nick. Can we say “win-ner’s ed-it”?

Gondol Tribe Rankins (Beauty)

5. Peter Baggenstos svr32_cast_800x1000_peterbaggenstos

Does Peter remember when Liz was voted out and he fell to the bottom of his tribe? Apparently that scare was not enough to encourage him to start playing a better game. His outright arrogance will make it difficult for him to reach the end of this game.

4. Aubry Bracco svr32_cast_800x1000_aubrybraco

Aubry was very deceptive to Anna this week indicating Aubry’s readiness to play the game. Personally, I don’t think she is mentally stronger than the men on her tribe.

3. Joseph Del Campo svr32_cast_800x1000_josephdelcampo

Joe is hanging in there. He is in a good spot in his new tribe, especially with the  much-disliked Peter there as an easy boot vote.

2. Tai Trang svr32_cast_800x1000_taitrang

It was a difficult decision to rank Tai at #2, but Tai has demonstrated his ability to deceive and strategize while still being extremely likable. Don’t forget the idol…

1. Scot Pollard svr32_cast_800x1000_scotpollard

Scot may have come to the new Gondol without any allies, but this good be a good thing for him. He is a free agent and his strong physical prowess in challenges will keep him around. He demonstrated his mental capacity to play this game, and he knows the idol ins and outs. Scot gets a ranking promotion!

Winner Pick

Debbie Wanner

I’ve stuck by Kyle for four weeks now, but it is time for a change. Debbie is playing a great game and has my vote to win.. for now.

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There you have it folks, the fifith episode of Survivor 32 in the books! Check back next week for more Recaps and Rankings. 

Until next time,

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