Alum Mike Zahalsky is again on the winning tribe after Survivor reassigns the contestants.
Survivors were met with a surprising order at the top of episode 4 of CBS’s Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers: everyone was told to “drop their buffs.”
It wasn’t as naughty as it sounds; the contestants were being reassigned to new tribes and received new buffs to replace the old ones. (For the uninitiated, buffs are multipurpose tubes of fabric—think headband, or tube top—which are printed with each tribe’s insignia for Survivor.)
The random tribe reassignments landed Mike Zahalsky ’95 MMS’98 MD’99 on the red Yawa tribe with two Healer teammates, plus one Hero and one Hustler. Yawa flew through their first challenge, arming them with a basket of potato chips and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to devour while they moved to a new shelter on the beach.
Yawa’s Jessica confided in Zahalsky and Cole, her love interest, that she found a secret advantage in her bag of chips. Sticking to his strategy from episode 3, Cole promptly shared the secret with the rest of the newly formed tribe.
When the non-Healer teammates hinted to Zahalsky that someone found a secret advantage, he deftly maneuvered to gain their trust, while also disrupting the lovebirds by letting them know that someone spilled the beans.
Yawa dominated the episode’s second challenge, winning immunity from elimination. The losing Levu tribe headed to tribal council and it appeared that Zahalsky’s nemesis Joe may be voted off, but in a bizarre flurry of activity involving a secret advantage and the immunity idol, an untargeted teammate left the game. The whole Levu team was probably still perplexed at that outcome by the end of the episode.
The tribes will continue to settle in with their new teammates—and sort out this week’s unexpected ending—on next Wednesday’s episode, at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.