‘Survivor: Kaoh Rong’ Episode 5 Review: Who Went Home In ‘The Devils We Know’?

Recap and review of Survivor: Kaoh Rong – Episode 5 – The Devils We Know:

The tribes have finally swapped on Survivor: Kaoh Rong, and what we got with “The Devils We Know” was an interesting look into how alliances reshape in the face of sudden changes. Some alliances managed to carry over into the new tribe configurations, while others proved to be less sturdy. As a result, tribal council ended up being far more interesting than it otherwise might have been, considering how straightforward the vote ended up being.

When Probst initially announced the shuffle, there was a major twist that changed the de facto strategy of the episode, in terms of whom to eliminate. In fact, it’s likely we would have gotten a similar result, regardless of which tribe ended up going to tribal council, due to the nature of the twist itself. That twist: because there are thirteen castaways, the three tribes will be reorganized into teams of six, with one outlier spending the next three days fending for themselves back on the Brawn beach. Original Beauty tribe member Julia is the unlucky person who’s screwed by the luck of the draw, meaning she will spend the next cycle on her own and then rejoin the losing tribe at the next reward challenge to leave both tribes with an even six. The new Chan Loh tribe has two Brains (Debbie and Neal), two Brawns (Jason and Cydney) and two Beauties (Nick and Michelle), while the new Gondol has three Brains (Peter, Joe, and Aubry), two Beauties (Anna and Tai) and one Brawn (Scot). In essence, Julia reentering either of those tribe dynamics changes which alliance is in power. Scot, Anna and Tai team up to vote out one of the Brains, rationalizing that having Julia back would give them the numbers over the Brains. The Brains, meanwhile, want to vote out one of the Beauties to prevent this exact scenario from happening. The same is true over on Chan Loh, where Nick and Michelle are targets to prevent the Beauties from gaining a three-person majority. It’s understandable why this would be the case — and yet, the proposed alliances don’t even remain intact, necessarily.

Survivor Kaoh Rong - Episode 5 - The Devils We Know

Credit: CBS

On Chan Loh, Jason and Cydney are leaning towards allying with Debbie and Neal, the latter of whom has a hidden immunity idol no one knows about right now, not even Debbie. However, Jason isn’t entirely ruling out an alliance with the Beauties, as he seems to bond with Nick. It’s one of the more compelling dynamics this week, so much so that I found myself disappointed when they won immunity, since I was ready to see fireworks go off at tribal council. I suppose we’ll have to wait to see which alliance Jason and Cydney choose, although I find it a bit strange that the Beauties and the Brains of Chan Loh aren’t considering an alliance of their own, excluding the Brawns completely. But I guess this is still a tribal game, and Jason and Cydney make more sense as assets, even if their challenge history on the Brawn tribe isn’t exactly outstanding. Still, I thought Debbie played hard in getting Cydney to her side, while Jason did a great job coming up with a backup plan if the Brains alliance doesn’t work out. If nothing else, it shows that the tribe shuffle hasn’t dulled anyone’s strategic senses.

Survivor Kaoh Rong - Episode 5 - Recap and Review - The Devils We Know

Credit: CBS

But back to the subject of the new Gondol tribe, as we got some pretty incisive strategic moments to contrast with what we saw on Chan Loh. The big one is just how quickly Scot gloms onto Tai, as the basketball player finds himself enamored with the little man’s work ethic. It’s a staunch departure from what he experienced on the Brawn tribe, and when he realizes how much positivity Tai also brings to the table, he doesn’t need to be sold any further. But what really puts this alliance over the top is Tai revealing to both Anna and Scot that he found the hidden immunity idol. This allows them to formulate a plan that will allow Anna to remain safe, while they come together to blindside Peter, who’s right back to indulging in hubris now that he’s back on the right side of the numbers. Tai can’t stand him, and Anna and Scot aren’t necessarily fans either, so the plan seems like a good one…except for one catch: Scot knows where another hidden immunity idol is, since he and Jason essentially shared the idol back at the Brawn tribe. If he can convince Tai to keep the idol until the merge, and Jason manages to hold onto his, then they’ll have the most powerful weapon in the game once the two idols are combined. Of course, this necessitates throwing Anna under the bus. But that ends up being a pretty easy choice to make once Scot polls the other Brains and realizes Tai isn’t even a target. So playing the idol to save himself would not only be a waste of a good idol, but playing it for Anna would also be a mistake, because then Tai would be alienating potential future allies in both Joe and Aubry, whom he could work with far more effectively than a wild card like Peter. Granted, this removes some of the drama from tribal council, as it quickly becomes clear that Tai isn’t going to play his idol, after witnessing how desperately Anna is pleading her own case. Sure enough, Anna is sent packing by her five tribemates, and now Julia is returning to a tribe that just got rid of one of her closest allies. And yet, I can’t say I blame Scot or Tai for making that move. It’s certainly prudent for Tai to hold onto his idol, although I wonder if Scot ever told him about Jason’s idol. Perhaps we’ll see in one of this week’s secret scenes. But for now, I feel like Scot is keeping his cards close to his vest, even though it’s clear he really does like Tai.

'Survivor Kaoh Rong' Episode 5 Review Who Went Home In 'The Devils We Know'

Credit: CBS

Ultimately, “The Devils We Know” illustrates the extent to which alliances change along with the circumstances, as Scot and Tai saw the writing on the wall, and cut bait with Anna altogether. Survivor: Kaoh Rong is starting to pick up now that the one-sided Brawn tribe drama is at an end, and we can refocus on new tribe configurations. If nothing else, we should finally get the opportunity to see how different castaways approach strategy, as screen time is more evenly distributed than it has been in the previous four weeks.

But what did you think of Survivor: Kaoh Rong Episode 5, “The Devils We Know”? Sound off in the comments!

And for more on Survivor: Kaoh Rong, watch the deleted scenes for Episode 4 right here!

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