Survivor recap: The Spy Who Shacked Me

Tony's scheming doesn't seem to rattle anyone in his alliance except for Jefra, who must make a life-altering decision over ribs.
Ep. 09 | Aired Apr 23, 2014

INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY: Tony demonstrates that his bag of tricks is still chock full of surprising talents, including (but not limited to) prehistoric architecture, low-level espionage, and general sneakiness.

Michael Yarish/CBS

Act I, Scene 2: Espionage Au Naturel 

Even though Trish and Kass don’t seem that upset with Tony, the man still recognizes that he could be—nay, should be—in big trouble after his power play ousting LJ. And so we come to what I hope will be known as Tony’s masterpiece move: the construction of a spy shack by the water well, built specifically so that Tony could sit and listen as thirsty individuals come a-strolling along talking strategy. God, I wish Dalton was here.

Laughable and juvenile as Tony's leaf fort is, it’s actually not half-bad of an idea. Sure, it lacks the artisanal craftsmanship of Wendy’s house in Peter Pan and the cozy feng shui of Luke Skywalker’s tauntaun, but it’s built for function, so long as a camera guy watching Tony watching the water well doesn’t blow the whole plan. And when Trish and Jefra come sauntering by expressing their doubts about Tony, sure enough, the plan works. You have to imagine that when Tony actually achieves success, the little atomic Tonys that operate the control panel in his head put down their beers and gave each other little bitty high-fives for a mission accomplished before starting to drink again. Although, let's also think about the fact that Tony didn't really glean much information than this aside from the knowledge that Jefra thinks he's sketchy. Big revelations!

Act II: A Most Rewarding Challenge

There’s not much fanfare for today’s reward—a BBQ lunch in a cave beneath some sure-to-be jaunty stalactites—nor for the challenge itself, which involves two teams of four racing out onto the water to collect paddles, which they will then have to use to solve a basic word scramble. The highlight for me all challenge long is Jefra, who is not five seconds into this challenge when she takes a tumble and screams, “Help me, Jeremiah!” Her comedy of errors continues when she gets a whack to the head from, again, a very apologetic Jeremiah. Poor Jeffy. As we'll later see, she's just going through it in this episode, and all I can do is sit here on my couch eating Special K and feeling bad.

During the puzzle portion of the challenge, it becomes hilariously evident that nobody cares about being called a cheater for looking at the other team’s puzzle. Those days are long gone for these tribe members. And in fact, there’s a nice back-and-forth as each team starts Paula Abduling each other, gaining traction and then falling back, only to be led down the wrong track by Kass the Wordsmith in the end. Spencer saves the day, and Kass learns that the word "fighting" does not have the letter "Y."

With the still-bitter Jefra going off on reward with the trio of misfits, it appears that Tony’s worst nightmare has come true. But in a weird way, isn't Jefra winning the best outcome for Tony? He already knows he’s lost her trust and a flip seems inevitable, so if he’s going to lose a team member, why not have it be the one whose jumping ship already appeared the most likely? It all but eliminates the hypothetical nature of the flip, and this way he can strategize ways to loop her back in when she returns to camp. I know that's a lofty interpretation, but surely if someone like Kass went off on the reward instead of Jefra...just think of Tony’s paranoia then. He’d build a spy LOFT! And NOBODY builds lofts these days.

NEXT: Speaking of lofts and other high things… 

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