HOLLYWOOD—This is the episode of the latest season of “Survivor” that I have been waiting for, where the tribes all become one. Why? It’s when the game really kicks into play and the strategizing really gets nutty, and with 90 minute episodes, fans were given that and so much more. This week’s episode, ‘I’m not Batman, I’m the Canadian’ saw a frenzy of fun. Back at Belo, Emily and company were trying to reason with Kendra about Brando being booted out.

Trust Kendra is going to get her pound of flesh when the merge transpires, and she has her sights on Emily of all people. I kind of want to see Kendra get her revenge to be honest. Back at Lulu, Kaleb was searching for the idol, and this team searching exercise is not pleasing to say the least. However, it was Bruce of all people who found the piece of paper, it is a Beware Advantage and he opened it. Without the Hidden Immunity Idol, Bruce would not be allowed to vote.

At least the clue was clear that the idol was back at their camp, under the shelter. Katurah was not with the others, which was ironic. Yah, this battle between Katurah and Bruce is intensifying. Things are not looking good for Katurah; she feels like she is the odd man out. Jake came up with a great approach to try to locate his ‘ring’ to help Bruce look for the idol, but that was interrupted, as all three tribes received mail indicating they are at ‘The Merge’ however, we all know this is NOT the merge with 13 people still in the game. I suspect at least one to two more people will get the boot before the actual jury phase starts in the game.

Bruce realizing time was of the essence, he located his idol just in a nick of time so he has his vote, which he absolutely needs as the game is about to erupt. Bruce is getting an edit that almost feels like he could be getting the boot. Kaleb was stunned to see Emily is still in the game and that he is trusting as his closest ally. Must admit seeing Kaleb and Emily as potential power players for Belo or Reba is exciting. The question is who will they go with?

Kendra realized that it was time to start playing the game and making bonds and spilling information about Emily to Bruce. Emily is starting to realize that her antics with Bruce at the start of the game might come back to bite her in the bum. Emily and Bruce are aware they don’t take one another.

Austin shared with Julie and Dee about the amulet that he has, and this dude is pissed about a sandwich. Austin wanted to sacrifice his vote to strengthen his idol. Why are you idiots trying to vote out someone who is one of your own. This is absolutely stupid. You have six, but if Belo and Lulu aligned its seven against six. Even with advantages, one of you could still be booted out of the game.

Austin and Drew were strategizing while everyone else was bonding, might be a costly mistake to be honest. Sifu is doing a bit too much and needs to try to bond more instead of showing how ‘out there’ he is. Kaleb was brought in by Drew and Emily and he’s planning to utilize his bonds with Belo to his advantage. Bruce was picking up odd vibes at the camp and that convo with Emily was odd as hell, and he spotted Kaleb socially building bonds with quite a few. He warned his tribe what was going on and it felt like Bruce might be spiraling a bit and it feels like a target on his back.

Bruce, what are you doing? It feels like his tribe is turning on him, he has an idol so they would have to create an elaborate ruse to get him to not play it. The complicated set-up should have said all, this is NOT the merge, the 13 is about to be broken into two teams, who have NOT made the merge just yet. I’m guessing two teams of six with an odd person left out, it better NOT be that hourglass twist. I like that this is a two-part puzzle. Six people will earn their merge buff; however, the odd person out, must choose one team. Choose the right one and you’re safe, choose the wrong one and you could be voted out.

So the team of Blue consists of: Sifu, Drew, Bruce, Austin, Julie and Kendra. While Red consists of Kaleb, J. Maya, Jake, Dee, Emily and Kellie, and I must say BLUE is looking staked compared to Red. Things could be very interesting if Blue actually loses this challenge. If Red loses, I could see Emily, J. Maya or Kaleb getting the boot, however, Katurah could be in serious trouble if Blue loses. She should have considered Red just as a safe bet.

Blue had a steady lead, which gave Austin and Drew a great advantage on the puzzle, as Red finally made it to the puzzle with Jake and Kellie tackling the first portion. For Blue it was Julie and Kendra to finish the image puzzle to earn their team safety. Just like that Blue is safe, but for Red things get interesting.

It would be great if the twist was those who are safe CANNOT vote, just those who are vulnerable can determine who gets the boot. I’ll be honest, Julie is a bit cocky and it comes across a tad annoying for my liking. Kendra was the one who killed the puzzle, Julie you were just there. Katurah picked up on the energy about J, just as Kendra pointed the finger at Kaleb, Katurah was not pleased with that, and she has her own angle, which is likely to save him. J wanted to target a Lulu (Emily or Kaleb) and Kaleb is looking more and more like a target. Dee told Jake she wanted J, what the hell is Reba thinking? It just makes no sense, and Jake spilled this tea to Kellie, who was right in thinking the seven at the merge feast may have already determined a name.

This is indeed fun, as it’s apparent you have a seven and a six and it couldn’t be more different. Katurah, Kendra and Kellie chatted about voting J, but Bruce wanted Kaleb out, and pointed his same thought to Drew, who wants to take out Kaleb. Sifu and Austin wanted J, but Drew pointed out losing her is a number. Dee and Emily learned about Kaleb, Emily was worried and was trying to find a way to convince others to save an ally. Good idea for Emily to warn Kaleb to potentially play his Shot in the Dark. Emily also spilled that Bruce has an idol and he pointed the target at Bruce. Great move by Kaleb.

This going to be a good Tribal Council because it is starting with 20 minutes still left in the game so there are about to be some theatrics. Took a bit of time before things started to move with the six who wanted to chat with the seven who were safe. Things got interesting when Jeff pointed a question towards Kaleb who pointed out this name was tossed as a threat, and the Lulu ‘curse’ was brought to the table. Kaleb went for a Hail Mary and tossed out J’s name and it got an audible gasp, he revealed that Dee and Julie were considering tossing out J to loosen numbers.

Oh, this is so much fun. Dee, you are barking a bit much and you cannot get mad if someone tosses your name out. J pointed the finger back at Kaleb, Drew had his intentions revealed, and I cannot wait to see how this turns out. Kaleb came to play people; he was NOT going down without a fight people and that is the type of player I like to see. Austin decided not to vote as he wanted to extend the life of his idol.

Kaleb decided to play his Shot in the Dark, and I really hope this WORKS because we have yet to see such transpire, and he was actually SAFE which stunned the entire Tribal Council. Hell, I was yelling at the TV screen too. However, J. Maya was devastated. Jeez, Kaleb was going home if he didn’t play his Shot in the Dark, and he received all 13 votes. I don’t think this has ever happened in the game. It was time for a revote and per Jeff made it clear No Shot In the Dark could be played during a revote.

It is either J. Maya or Emily. As the votes started to be read, J realized her game was over. Still think that was a stupid move on Reba’s part taking out one of their own numbers. She should have never taken the fall for Dee’s vote on Sifu. Now that is what you call a riveting episode. Now, I’m intrigued to see how the rest of season 45 of “Survivor” plays out. Next week’s episode, wow, we’re getting a double boot next week, which means two people are safe at what looks like two separate immunity challenges. Ok, let’s hope next week’s episode delivers just as much as this one.