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Season 3: Episode 5 - THE SWITCH: SILAS VOTED OUT
Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am

On Night 15, Silas Gaither, the 23-year-old bartender from Germantown, Tennessee, was voted out of the Boran tribe. Silas, leader of the young Samburu alliance, was thrown a curve ball when the unpredictable nature of SURVIVOR revealed itself. Each tribe was asked to select three of its "best" members, "best" meaning whatever they might interpret that to mean. When the three chosen members from each tribe showed up at a neutral location, they were informed that they were now members of the other tribe. Silas became a member of the Boran tribe, which intentionally threw the Immunity Challenge in order to vote him out. Leaving the Tribal Council, Silas looked back at his time in Africa, saying, "The twist in the game was amazing. I kind of had my cards lined up the way I wanted them to get through the merge. I couldn't recover from it. I was a threat to Ethan and the rest of the group. I planned on winning the whole thing."


Angered over receiving votes at the last Tribal Council, in which career counselor Linda Spencer was voted out, Silas returned to camp feeling vengeful, asking the elders why they decided to cast votes against him. Earlier, the younger Samburus had asked the elders to vote against Lindsey because she already had votes. According to SURVIVOR rules, when the Tribal Council is deadlocked, previous votes are used to break the tie. Thus if the elders had voted against Lindsey, she would have remained the most vulnerable member of the younger Samburu faction because no other young Samburu would have previous votes against them. Frank explained the elders' voting tactic: "We are still a tribe divided; we are two tribes in one. They need us. They can't do it alone. We are going to keep fighting."

The Switch 
In the morning, both tribes received tree mail notifying them that they must choose the three "best" tribe members to meet host Jeff Probst for what they thought was going to be a Reward Challenge. Boran chose Kelly, Tom and Lex; Samburu chose Frank, Teresa and Silas. Contrary to what everyone expected, a dramatic shift in the SURVIVOR game took place. In a shocking move, host Jeff Probst unveiled a dynamic, game-changing twist. "As you guys have certainly figured out by now," advised Probst, "the game of SURVIVOR is always changing, and it's about to change again." After asking both teams to hand over their team-colored buffs, Jeff Probst pulled the switch by telling Kelly, Tom and Lex from Boran that they are now members of Samburu, and Silas, Frank and Teresa from Samburu that they are now members of Boran. After picking their jaws off the ground, the astonished new members of Boran and Samburu headed back to their respective camps to their new and unsuspecting tribemates.

Along the trek to their new home, Lex joked with Tom and Kelly that "we are part of 'Samboohoo' now." Disappointed with the Switch, Big Tom explained his frustration: "When Jeff said 'give me your buff,' I almost turned around and bolted. If he gave me the option to run back to camp with no water for two days, or give him the buff, I'd still be trying to run."

Upon arriving at Samburu, the unexpected visitors were greeted by an excited Samburu tribe. However, soon afterwards the reality of the situation became clearer; Lindsey explained, "When they arrived I was excited at first, I was like, cool, what's going on? Then as reality set in, we all just panicked."

Commenting on the arrival of his new tribemates--Frank, Silas and Teresa--Ethan explained, "When I first saw them coming up, I thought they were going to try to steal our flag, or just check out our house." Upon arriving, Silas gave them news of the Switch. As shock set in, Ethan continued, "It was a switch. Everything I had worked for, all the bonds I had made, my two closest friends, are now gone. I am going to have to start over." As the newest members of Boran inspected the camp and enjoyed the plentiful water supply, all they could do was ponder what other twists in the game awaited them.

Swapping tribe members forced the Survivors to rethink their strategies for survival. As Lex explained, "All of us have been so careful about arranging our strategies for our own security and well-being, and all of a sudden all of that has completely blown us under."

Examining Camp Samburu 
Depression hit Tom and Lex as they began to realize that the Samburu camp did not live up to the their old tribe's standards. Noting that little firewood had been collected and the water supply was diminished, Lex vented, "We were pissed when we got there. It looked like a bunch of lazy people had been running the camp. There was a mound of ash a foot and a half high, they hadn't been taking care of their fire properly, and there was almost no firewood inside the camp. One of my first questions was, where is all the firewood?" After Brandon chimed in, "There just isn't much firewood around," Lex and Tom gathered an abundance of wood for the fire, remaining dismayed by the lazy attitude of the younger Samburu members.

The Water Hole
At the Boran water hole, Tom had spent days clearing out debris so that his tribe could obtain clean water, but the Samburu tribe had neglected their own water hole. After finally finding their way to water, Tom and Lex found themselves digging for clean water once again. Noticing how little effort the Samburu tribe had put into their water hole, Tom sarcastically commented, "They keep waiting for a mysterious thing to happen in Africa. Wood is going to fall out of the sky, there is going to be an Artesian water well come into the camp, and even a swimming pool. I feel like we have to get out there and pull the plow."

The Games Begin 
Rejuvenated after the Switch and now away from the younger members of the Samburu tribe, Frank and Teresa spoke with Kim Johnson on what they perceived as their new opportunity to stay in the game longer. Teresa told Kim, "With all this that happened today, Frank and I looked at each other today and thought, you know, we are alive again." Later that day, the Boran camp received a visit from a family of elephants, which slowly made their way past the Survivors. Witnessing the imposing creatures in the wild for the first time, Frank added, "They are magnificent creatures, beautiful."

As night fell over the Boran camp, and with Silas standing off in the distance, Frank and Teresa used the opportunity to bash the younger Samburu tribe members, revealing their immature actions and voting strategy.

Over at Samburu, with the tribal lines still divided three to three, contemplating whom they should vote against was Lex and Tom's morning chore. Believing that Brandon had previous votes against him, Lex and Tom decided to vote him off. This was their obvious choice, because neither Tom, Lex, nor Kelly have had a vote cast against them.

Reward Challenge--Get Your Goat 
The tribes met host Jeff Probst at the Reward Challenge, where he explained the rules of the game: Forty goats are in a pen. Twenty are marked with the Samburu red and twenty with Boran yellow. The first tribe to get their twenty goats from the starting pen into their destination pens, one hundred yards away, wins. The prize: three egg-laying chickens and a rooster. A goat farmer back in Virginia, Tom Buchanan, along with his new Samburu tribemates, thought they had an early advantage over Boran. But as the gates opened, chaos instantly ensued, for the goats seemed to be uncontrollable. Lindsey found herself blocked by two of her ex-tribemates, Silas and Frank. Having difficulty guiding the goats, Silas used his brawn to get the job done as he picked the goats up and carried them into the pen. In the end, Boran carried the goats into the pen faster and emerged victorious.

Back at Camp 
With four votes against her, an emotional and paranoid Lindsey Richter fought off the idea of being the next voted out of the Samburu tribe by demanding victory in the upcoming Immunity Challenge. Brandon explained Lindsey's predicament: "She doesn't think about strategy at all. She just runs her mouth. She is running scared that they are going to vote for her, and doesn't care that Kim and I are trying extra hard from keeping that from happening."

Commenting on Kim and Lindsey's inability to sway the vote away from Lindsey, Brandon complained, "When you have to think of everything, and all they do is cry and whine and moan, it's such a great thing that I am gay, because I could not stand to put up with a crying woman now. I just couldn't do it."

The Fix Is In 
With the Immunity Challenge just around the corner, Boran contemplated their next decision about whom they should vote off if they were to lose. Silas and Clarence realized that they may seem the most imposing threats to everyone else. Clarence, knowing how important winning the next Immunity Challenge would be, added, "Silas and I, we have bulls' eyes on us, not doubt. We have to make the most of having both of us on the same tribe."

In a tactical decision, Ethan approached Kim Johnson with the idea of throwing the game, losing intentionally in order to get rid of the more physical people and regain the power. Ethan told Kim, "It's going to be tough for me to do this. I am a competitor; I have never done anything like this in my life." Ethan later clarified: "The Immunity Challenge is a win-win situation. If we win the challenge, great, we don't have to go to Tribal Council. If we lose, I get to vote off my biggest threat." ( Action at Immunity Challenge )

Immunity Challenge--Puzzle of Shields 
The Tribes reconvened with host Jeff Probst, who explained the rules of the Immunity Challenge: each tribe has twenty pieces of a puzzle hanging in the distance. The first tribe to gather the pieces and put the puzzle back together correctly wins Immunity.

As the two tribes scurried to retrieve the puzzle pieces, it became clear which tribe wanted victory. Thinking she needed to win to stay alive, Lindsey of Samburu frantically barked out orders to hurry her tribemates along. Boran's strategy to throw the game became obvious as only Silas hurried to finish, while the rest of his tribemates took their time fitting the puzzle pieces together. Samburu finished first and thus won Immunity, sending Boran to Tribal Council.

Jockeying for Position 
With Tribal Council looming, Silas campaigned to keep himself afloat. He entered into numerous talks with Ethan, attempting to shield himself from votes. Trying anything in his power to sway Ethan's vote, Silas first targeted Clarence. "Here's the deal," he said. "I've got Teresa and Frank, and I think I can get them to vote for Clarence." Later, he targeted Frank. Kim confronted Silas, inquiring about his strong connection with his former Samburu tribe members. As she uncovered his allegiance to his old group, she added, "He may be a nice guy in real life, but in our tribe I don't buy his schmoozing."

At Tribal Council, Silas's fate was sealed as he became the fifth person voted out of SURVIVOR AFRICA.