Survivor – Harlem Shuffle


The Fans vs. Favorites before getting mixed up.

I always have mixed feelings about a tribal shuffle on Survivor. On the one hand, it messes up the alliances and relationships that have been built over two weeks, and I can hate that. On the other hand, it messes up the alliances and relationships that have been built over two weeks an I can love that. If an alliance is strong, they can stick together and meet back up at the merge – but they need luck to do it.

The Fans definitely suffered with this tribal shakeup. We ended up with two tribes of seven, each with four Favorites and three Fans – so it could be very easy for the Favorites to pick off the Fans if they can keep it together.

Even before the tribes were shuffled, Phillip was itching to get Corinne out – and they ended up on the same tribe again, so the tensions between them will keep escalating.

The shuffle came in place of a Reward Challenge, and when the tribes assembled I was still surprised by how positively the Fans were viewing Brandon’s exit. They were obviously desperate for a win, but they seemed totally oblivious to how pathetic that win was. They won by default, at the expense of a mentally unstable player in a sad situation. That’s nothing to be doing cartwheels over.

The new tribes are very interesting. Take a look:

Orange: Sherri, Eddie, Reynold, Malcolm, Andrea, Erik and Brenda.
This is very interesting. Eddie and Reynold were lucky to stay together, and Sherri was unfortunately separated from her alliance. It was easy to see why they turned on one another so quickly, being in the minority on that tribe. I think this was good for Erik and Brenda, who were on the outside of the Favorites’ main alliance and are now more important – at least until the merge. It will be interesting to see if Malcolm stays true to the Fans, or if he bails for a bromance with Eddie and Reynold.

Purple: Phillip, Corrine, Dawn, Cochran, Matt, Mike and Julia.
Dawn and Cochran were very lucky to stick together, because I definitely see them as a ”
power couple” in this game (Cochran’s words). Corrine made out better here than Phillip, I think, because he is separated from his pal Andrea and I think Dawn and Cochran will be more likely to work with Corinne than Phillip.

These tribal shuffles are random, which is good for a strategic shakeup but can also be bad. The orange tribe ended up with what I’d consider a pretty major strength advantage. All their players are assets. The weakest one is probably Sherri, and that’s saying something. On the purple tribe, the strongest player was probably Corinne or Matt, and they just don’t compare to the likes of Malcolm and Reynold.

*Each tribe got a new bag of rice, which answered the question of “What were they going to do about Brandon dumping out all the food?”

Confessions and Competition

As soon as the orange tribe (they’ll merge soon, I’m not learning names) hit the beach, Sherri and the bros were throwing one another under the bus. Eddie and Reynold went to Malcolm and Erik to say that Sherri had been in an alliance with everyone but them, and that they’d vote her out in an instant. Sherri poured out details to Andrea and Brenda (things sometimes predictably fall along gender lines), telling them that Reynold had played one Immunity Idol and had been looking for a second.

Meanwhile, on the purple tribe, Phillip tried to feel out Julia as a potential alliance-mate even though the Favorites were in the majority and didn’t need her – and naturally, that drove Corinne crazy.

The Immunity Challenge was a very physical one, so I knew immediately that the orange tribe would win. Two at a time, team members had to roll giant crates over a line. When they had all the crates back, they had to move them around to form a puzzle. With a major strength advantage, it was no surprise that the orange team creamed the purple team.

Suspicious Games

phillipPhillip made a concession speech when the tribe returned from their Immunity Challenge loss, because that’s the kind of thing Phillip does. Corrine pretty much hit the nail on the head when she described living with Phillip as being as annoying as sitting next to a “crying baby on a plane, and the baby has diarrhea.” I don’t think Phillip is unstable or dangerous like Brandon was, but damn, is he annoying.

Even though Phillip and Corrine hate each other, they both knew better than to give up a numbers advantage. Julia, Matt or Mike had to go.


Matt left with a good attitude.

Julia is the weakest, and Corrine found her incredibly boring. But Cochran aptly pointed out that Matt and Mike were BFFs, and that kind of “power couple” can be dangerous in the game. It could be wise to break them up sooner rather later.

In the end, it came down to nerves about the Hidden Immunity Idol rather than likability. The Favorites were pretty sure Matt didn’t have it, so they all voted for him. Matt and Mike voted for Julia, and Julia voted for Dawn. It was harsh, but very smart Survivor play. Voting for Matt, knowing that he and Mike were likely turning on Julia, meant that even if Matt did have an Idol it would be Julia going home and not a Favorite.

This wasn’t the most surprising episode, but I think the shuffling of tribes will bring some excitement – is Malcolm going to do something stupid?


About Jill

Pop culture junkie. Food lover. Feminist. Content marketer. I'm here to win and I'm also here to make friends.
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2 Responses to Survivor – Harlem Shuffle

  1. Scott says:

    I wouldn’t say that if Matt had an idol then Julia would be going home. He’d probably tell her about it and the three of them would’ve guessed who the vote would be going for and then played it in an attempt to even it up 3-3, but either way that didn’t happen.

    I don’t want Malcolm to do anything stupid (especially if it’s at Brenda or Erik’s expense!). It is way too early to start making big moves when your original tribe easily has the majority, it will just make him a bigger target post-merge.

    Corinne’s commentary was fantastic this episode, and I’m thankful she ended up with Dawn too, because like you said, they’re more likely to keep her than Phillip, I think…and hope.

    Do you think there’ll be a merge at 12 or 10? Even though it was a tad predictable I did enjoy this episode because it was probably the first time this season where a solid strategy was used at tribal.

  2. Davide Maistrello says:

    Well, this was another strong episode, not the best but pretty solid in my opinion. My first tribal shuffle! I’m pretty sad for Matt, Michael and Julia that ended on the wrong side, but this is the game: as you said, these power shifts can be great for the spectators, but absolutely frustrating for the castaways. Great victory by Gota at the IC, though, I’m glad they re-used the one that was aborted after Brandon’s tantrum, it was fun even if a bit predictable.

    I think that voting out Julia was a bad move by Matt and Michael. They’re three against four, and with the Fans being on the outside even on Gota, they need every person to keep their hope alive. Furthermore, Julia now doesn’t trust Michael, because he voted for her, so she becomes a good candidate to jump ship. It’s too sad that Erik and Brenda ended on the orange tribe, really. They could be easily swayed by Matt and Michael, but now they’re with Eddie and Reynold that are trying to run their own game and don’t think about a long-term alliance.

    I don’t think Malcolm is going to plan something serious with Eddie or Reynold in the next future. He has no reason to: he’s in the majority alliance even after the shuffle, and they still have Sherri as an easy boot if they need to. Last season, when he joined Tandang after his original tribe’s absorption, they showed him buddying with Pete Yurkowski, and everyone thought he was joining his alliance (the one which included Artis and Abi-Maria). History tells how that ended.

    I’m still liking this season. I’m not really sure about who I’m gonna root for the win, but I’m liking Malcolm, Reynold and Erik on Gota, and I’m absolutely loving Corinne, Michael and Cochran on Bikal. I don’t find Phillip this annoying, though. Yes, the whole “Stealth R Us” thing is ridiculous, and his speech after the loss sounded a little bit forced and wasn’t really needed. But I still prefer him to Eddie or Matt (who I was never particularly fond of).

    Random thought: it’s incredible how after an episode in which Brandon dumps the rice, a lot of people will show and comment only to vow they will never watch Survivor again. 🙂

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