We’re only a few episodes into the brand-new era of Survivor and boy, it’s already so intense! Here’s what happened this week…

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Yase Tribe

In this episode, we’re introduced to an entirely new “Beware Advantage.” On the Yase tribe, Liana was the first one near this advantage while reflecting by the fire. But, since her mind was elsewhere, she didn’t even notice it.

This “Beware Advantage” was wrapped up in an envelope sitting pretty right by the campfire. Shortly after Liana missed it, Tiffany found it in clear sight while she was tending the fire. Tiffany immediately let her alliance, both Evvie and Liana, in on this brand new twist. This week’s “Beware Advantage” was different from the last one. The advantage said, ‘you must get on the boat, or you’ll lose your vote.’ This boat would arrive late into the night, where the castaway would then have to sneak onto it and proceed to the next task. But, what happens next – is the risky part.

Tiffany, without a doubt, took the risk and later on snuck onto this boat…

Luvu Tribe 

At the Luvu tribe, the castaways feel the most uneasy about Naseer. On one hand, they value his strength and survival skills. But, the thing is, Naseer is also throwing people’s names around without any clear strategy behind it.

Sydney, who’s heard Naseer say that he wants either Deshawn and Danny voted off next, feels the most anxious about his game. But, since her guard was up, she noticed something faster than the rest of her tribe – the infamous “Beware Advantage” envelope. She keeps the advantage to herself and also sneaks off at night…

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Their tribe’s Beware Advantage was also laying around camp – just sitting there, clear as day. As a fan, I’m just wondering – why were these advantages so easy to find?! Hm… it just goes to show, Survivor producers are not messin’ around this season!

Ua Tribe 

Meanwhile, there was one castaway, in particular, who was granted the Survivor ‘advantage-lottery winner’ in this episode – and that was good ol’ cattle rancher, Brad.

Brad was on fire this episode. (Not literally – um, even though that actually happened before back in season two). While the rest of the castaways were sitting by the beach early in the morning, Brad found the “Beware Advantage” right by his feet (again, not hidden whatsoever). Brad was stoked. You can tell how much he loves this game by saying he is “lovin’ all the danger” of Survivor. So, he, of course, agrees to take the risk and sneak off later into the night.

But, before he did that – Brad continued to play Survivor the way Survivor is meant to be played! While everyone was curious about whether or not the Hidden Immunity Idol was already found, little did they know – Brad was holding it in his pocket the whole time. Yep. Brad did it again! Before sneaking off to participate in his first “Beware Advantage,” Brad found the 3-way shared Immunity Idol that was first introduced in last week’s episode.

Last week, Xander from the Yase tribe found his first 3-way shared Immunity Idol. As a reminder, these 3-way Hidden Immunity Idols can only activate if all three of them are found at each camp. Now, Brad found his at the Ua camp. But, there’s still a catch – like Xander in last week’s episode, Brad, too, has to say a “secret phrase” at the next Immunity Challenge to indicate he found his third of the idol. Brad’s secret phrase is:

“I didn’t realize this till now, but broccoli is just a bunch of small trees.”

…man, do these phrases just get better and better.

Now, Brad is holding two very valuable advantages in his game. To solidify his trust, he aligns himself with both Genie and Shan, and tells them all his secrets… especially now since he cannot vote until all three of the idols are found.

Was sharing all his secrets a smart move for Brad? At this point – I’ll say, I was genuinely impressed with how Brad was playing this game!

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Beware Advantage 

After each of the three castaways, Tiffany, Sydney, and Brad, found their (not so hidden) “Beware Advantage,” they all stepped onto a boat and separately arrived at another island late into the night. This was a risk itself because each member had to make this trip both fast and efficiently so they wouldn’t get caught by the rest of the tribe. Brad even went to the lengths of putting shoes on a few logs to look like he was still sleeping!

The three instantly had an important decision to make. Like the Survivor Summits, they each had a choice to risk their next vote in order to gain a “steal a vote advantage.” The decision was between choosing either a tarp for the entire tribe or a “steal a vote advantage.” Before making their decision, the three got the chance to discuss with one another. Of course, all three of them wanted to gain a “steal a vote.” The thing is, if all three of them selected it, they’d all lose their vote. If all three chose a tarp, they’d all get a tarp. But, if just one person selects a tarp – then whoever chose the “steal a vote” option would receive that advantage. Make sense? ..Eh, I know, it’s sorta hard to keep up with these advantages.

Okay, so here’s how it went down. As the three were chatting about what to do, Sydney began to feel weird about Tiffany’s intense demeanor. She didn’t trust her, and she chose “tarp” so she wouldn’t lose her vote. But, because Tiffany picked up on this “uneasy” vibe between her and Sydney, Tiffany got nervous as well, and also chose the tarp. Since Brad already lost his vote from finding his in-active Hidden Immunity Idol – he, of course, decided the “steal a vote option.” This means both Tiffany and Sydney didn’t receive a tarp, but Brad did get his “steal a vote” advantage!

Brad now has gained three advantages just from this episode alone.

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Immunity Challenge And Reward

On top of immunity this week, the tribes competed for a reward as well: a big plate of fruit. And by the way these castaways were salivating; you’d think they were looking at a slab of ribs… seemed like a much-needed reward to win!!

But first, just like the hilarious outburst in last week’s episode, both Xander and Brad snuck in their secret phrases to sign they found their third of the Immunity Idol:

… even though Brad butchered his phrase, Xander understood the sign. Unfortunately, the two need just one more person from the Luvu tribe to find theirs to activate their idols. Until then, the two cannot vote at the next Tribal.

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During the challenge, the tribes were pretty even. One at a time, the castaways would have to swim across to a platform in the ocean, make their way across a rope balance beam, and swim to shore. After all of the castaways were on the beach, they’d have to dig up a big bag that carried multiple sandbags and bring it even further into the beach. And finally, to win the challenge, the tribes needed to toss their small sandbags onto a set of posts. First two tribes to finish, win both immunity and reward!

As mentioned, it was a tight race – but it was JD who dropped the ball (or should I say sandbag) for the Ua tribe and lost. Both the Luvu and Yase tribes won immunity this week!

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Tribal Council

Both Brad and JD are on the chopping block at this point. Shan, who’s been playing strategy this entire game so far, is the deciding vote once again. Brad and Genie are showing Shan every reason for her to trust them (let’s not forget Brad showing her all his secret gadgets to advance their game!) But, the thing is, Brad cannot vote and cannot use his “steal a vote” because so. He’s really putting his trust in Shan and Genie as he wants to get JD out next.

There’s also Ricard, but he doesn’t trust Genie since she put his name down at the first Tribal Council. Because of this, Ricard is mostly aligning himself with Shan as well. And then, there’s JD – who thinks he has a strong alliance with Shan and Ricard… that is until he gets caught lying.

Yep. Remember when JD received an extra vote from the Survivor Summit? Well, he’s been lying to his alliance – keeping the extra vote advantage info from Shan. Just before Tribal Council, Shan noticed the advantage paper in his pants and confronted him right away. So, JD says he must “come clean” to her and Ricard…

This pissed off Shan. She knows she now can’t trust JD at all. So, to gain a little trust back in her eyes, she asks JD if she can hold onto his extra vote as his “punishment.” He gives it to her – no questions asked.

But in the end, I was disappointed. Brad was completely blindsided! Shan ultimately decided he just had too much power in his pockets, and he was the next to get voted out.

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Ahhh – I was so bummed to see Brad go! He was playing so well in this episode. It just shows that you can’t trust anyone in this game. Brad simply put his fate into the wrong hands and got ahead of himself… What’d you think of this week’s vote?

Tweet me @mick_cloudy and let’s talk Survivor! 

Don’t miss Survivor 41, Wednesdays at 8/7c on CBS, as well as streaming live and on-demand with Paramount+ or the CBS App!