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'Survivor: Cagayan', Episode 5 recap: Boston strong

"Survivor: Cagayan" Episode 5.
"Survivor: Cagayan" Episode 5.
Monty Brinton/CBS ©2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

As Jeff Probst would say in Wednesday night's episode of "Survivor: Cagayan," the Brains versus Brawn versus Beauty is no more. Yes, tonight was another big episode in what has become an increasingly interesting season, featuring a tribal shake-up, a hard-fought, come-from-behind challenge victory and a major Tribal Council blindside. What more can you ask for in an episode? Here's the recap:

Remember to follow @tomsantilli for weekly Survivor coverage, including episode previews, recaps, exclusive interviews with castaways, celebrity interviews and movie reviews.

Happy. "I couldn't be happier," were the words we heard Spencer say to start tonight's episode. Returning from a Tribal Council that saw him hang onto a place in the game by the skin of his teeth, Spencer was in a celebratory mood following Kass and Tasha's decision to keep him over J'Tia. Kass admits that it was a last-minute, at-Tribal decision, adding to the camera: "We're not the brains tribe, we're the crap-for-brains tribe," Kass went on to say. "We're just a rolling logjam mess with a couple of nerds on top." The next morning, the three Brains would become even happier when tree mail brought the promise of an upcoming Reward Challenge featuring food as a prize.

"Drop Your Buffs." Before the three tribes even knew what the challenge or reward was, Jeff Probst uttered those three famous words, signifying a major change was about to take place. Yes, the tribes were going to be shaken up. Two new tribes would be formed - seven contestants per tribe - by each person randomly drawing a new buff. The immediate "winners and losers" of the shake-up is still to early to tell, but the three Brains seemed to be the early beneficiaries...all three of them - Spencer, Kass and Tasha - remained together, drawing the orange buffs of the new Aparri Tribe. They would be joined by former Beauty Tribe members Alexis, Morgan and Jeremiah, with their new group being rounded out by a sole Brawnie, Sarah. The new Solana (Purple) Tribe saw five Brawns sticking together, with Tony, Trish, Lindsey, Woo and Cliff. They would hold the majority over their two new tribe mates, former Beauty Tribers, LJ and Jefra. "I feel like the odd one out," Sarah said of her new place in the game. LJ and Jefra also didn't seem to happy to see that they were now in the minority of the new Solana.

Reward Challenge. The two new tribes would compete for a very tasty reward: A huge plate of donuts, cinnamon rolls, cookies, coffee and assorted sweets. The challenge was a very physical one, where two members would have to literally rip and pull an opposing tribe member off of a wooden post and drag them over a finish line. First to score two points in this fashion would win reward. First up, Morgan and Sarah were able to pull Lindsey over the line following a brutal struggle, scoring the first point for Aparri (Trish and Jefra were unable to get a hold of Tasha). The second round saw Solana evening up the score, when Cliff proved unmovable to Spencer and Jeremiah and LJ and Trish were easily able to pull Alexis. The final round saw Lindsey and Tony going after Cliff, while Spencer and Jeremiah went after Sarah. Since nobody is going to drag the giant Cliff anywhere he doesn't want to go, the win went to Spencer and Jeremiah and their fellow members of the Aparri Tribe. It seems like things are on the up and up for the former Brains.

Boston Connection. As LJ arrived to his new camp, he had a funny line: "Either that's a tarp or it's Cliff's jacket." LJ's spirits instantly improved when he found out that Trish was also from Boston. It was a connection that could lead to him wiggling his way back into the game. Trish seemed to have a deeper interest in LJ than just their shared hometown, noting he was cute, but that she was no Mrs. Robinson. LJ picked up on the vibes given off by Trish and vowed to exploit them to gain favor in the game. All of this back-and-forth between LJ and Trish made Lindsey quite annoyed. To Cliff, he notices the two getting closer and wishes that Trish wasn't on his tribe.

Back To Day One. At the other new tribe, introductory small talk led to some problems for Morgan, when the whole Day One "choice" was revealed. If you remember, each person voted off at the beginning had the chance to get an extra bag of rice for their tribe, or take a clue to the hidden Idol. Morgan had never shared that with her old tribe, and in fact, had made up a different story. So when the truth was out in the open, Alexis immediately took exception to Morgan's lies, vowing to "jump ship" right away. All three former Beauties - Alexis, Morgan and Jeremiah - are individually seen going to the three Brains - Spencer, Kass and Tasha - asking to join them in a four-person alliance. Alexis and Morgan throw each other under the bus and Tasha realizes that they are suddenly the ones with power in the game. "We went from tragedy to what seems to be a triumph," she tells the camera.

Immunity Challenge. The tribes would face off by using a battering ram to ram through a series of boarded up obstacles and would then have to fit the grooved battering ram through a maze-like puzzle. The first to do so would win Immunity. With five Brawn members on their team, Solana felt confident and they started off strong and in the lead. But somehow, someway, Aparri was able to catch and surpass them during the puzzle challenge (could it be all of their Brains?). They went on to win in exciting come-from-behind fashion. That means Solana - Woo, Cliff, Trish, Tony, Lindsey, Jefra and LJ - were headed to Tribal Council.

In Search of Stability. LJ returns to camp, down but not out. He knows he is a big target, perhaps the biggest. He does have a hidden Idol let's not forget. Woo, Lindsey, Cliff and Tony all seem to be targeting LJ, even though Woo admits that, "Paranoia is rampant right now." Trish though, may have other plans. She approaches Tony and pitches the idea of going after Cliff instead, to which Tony thinks is crazy. Cliff then is seen talking to Tony and he reiterates, "We need stability." It seems as if Cliff is safe for the moment, but it also seems like LJ almost definitely should play his Idol. If he and Jefra vote for Cliff, they would need Trish and Tony both to have the numbers for LJ to stay. With Trish firmly in LJ's palm, the vote really would come down to Tony. Should he vote out LJ, the perceived biggest threat, in order to keep his Brawn Tribe strong? Or should he backstab Cliff, a very influential and powerful player in the game in his own right?

Tribal Council. "This game is all about the numbers," Cliff says during Tribal. But Trish counters: "Numbers are important only if the numbers are going to work for you...if not, you may need to make other arrangements." There is talk of loyalty, but it seems like LJ is still the target.

The Vote. The first shock? LJ decides not to use his hidden Idol! A major blunder? The votes were then read: LJ - Cliff - LJ - Cliff - LJ - Cliff...the final vote was then revealed and...Cliff! Cliff was blindsided and sent home in a 4-3 vote, with LJ, Jefra, Trish and Tony all voting him out of the game. A huge move, but the correct one? The looks on Lindsey and Woo's faces were priceless, as they tried to piece together what just happened. But what just happened is that Uncle Cliffy was sent home way earlier than what some people would have expected.

Analysis. Whoa! A big move by Tony...but was it the right one? Be sure to follow along to my weekly analysis of tonight's episode at

Next Time On...The feud between Lindsey and Trish reaches a catastrophic boiling point, all seemingly the same night they return from Tribal Council...but that Jeff Probst at camp talking to Lindsey in the middle of the night? Probst at camp is never, ever, a good thing and usually suggests that we have a quitter in our midst. We shall find out if the game has taken its toll on Lindsey next week.

Be sure to subscribe to this column (above by my name) to receive email alerts of new postings, as you will not want to miss my exclusive one-on-one interview with Cliff Robinson tomorrow!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter, @tomsantilli, and at as well!

Also, make sure you check out one of my favorite Survivor sites, Survivor Fever.

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