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Stephen's Survivor Strategy Blog: What Happens When Tribes Swap

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"Sniff out the spirit of the times, the trends that will carry you to power." – Law 35: Master the Art of Timing

Rules vs. No Rules. Adults vs. Kids: This episode of Survivor was brought to you by Nickelodeon.

In an episode that emphasized the age gap, it’s only fitting that Gen Y gets a prize. The Fishy this week goes collectively to the younger tribe. When the tribes are switched, the old tribe turned on each other. But while mom and pop were imposing rules about where to put the machete, the young tribe was voting them out.

Anybody who has watched Survivor could have predicted the swap, but it took Marty completely by surprise.

“You can’t get cocky in this game, but I’m in control,” he said. “It would take something extraordinary, off the charts, completely whacked out to disturb my plans now.”

Does anybody else wonder what questions the producers are peppering him with to get such solid gold confessionals? “Sooo . . . Marty. What would it take to disturb your plans? Something crazy? Something wild?”

You can bet the entire Young vs. Old twist was devised for this moment.

The tribes finally swapped, and the kids stared in slack-jawed horror as the old folks told them to do their chores. “We had protocol for who took care of fire and water,” Marty lectured La Flor. “When you leave, just come back with a piece of wood,” Tyrone instructed Espada. “It’s very . . . older tribe,” Alina said with a roll of her eyes.

Parents just don’t understand.

While the elders were worried about who was cleaning up the outdoors, the Children of the Corn were circling. They quickly subverted outsider Jane and cool mom Holly, who couldn’t be happier to hang with the young people.

“I feel like I relate to the kids well,” she said. Just watch out when their eyes start to glow.

Young People Unite

You really have to give the young tribe credit for the way they came together. For the past four weeks, they’ve been tearing each other to pieces. NaOnka and Kelly B. have been wrestling in the dirt; Brenda’s been leading Chase around by the nose while the rest of the tribe giggles; Sash is dating so many beautiful women; Kelly S. and Benry are slowly turning invisible; and Jud is fighting a rearguard action against the island’s hermit crabs.

But when separated by a twist in the game, they earned their collective Fishy by voting as a bloc. Even archrivals NaOnka and Alina were able to put aside their differences for tribe unity.

“We have to make do with what we have,” NaOnka said. (For her part, Alina wasn’t too sorry to see NaOnka break down. She did, however, encourage her tribemate to stay in the game.)

The young tribe could give Exile Island‘s Casaya a run for its money as the most dysfunctional but loyal tribe in Survivor history. And really, who wants to hang out with old people? They smell funny.

So it was no surprise that patriarch-father figure Tyrone was the first voted off the new Espada.

“I embrace the position of leader,” Tyrone said. That’s Survivor code for, “I’m the next voted out.”

“Somebody’s quest to outlast all the rest is about to come to an end,” Jeff said – WTF? – before snuffing his torch. If the rest of the older tribe doesn’t do something fast, they’ll be joining him soon at Loser Lodge. This is Nicaragua, and kids rule.

Tell us: What do you think about the tribe swap? What did you think of the incredible Immunity Challenge?