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S34 E4
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S34 E4
March 22, 2017 at 09:00 PM EDT

At this point, Hali appears to be firmly in play for both tribes. Is it an act to fool the Nuku folks into thinking she is with them? Perhaps, but then why is Sierra fighting for her to stay and whispering to her, “You don’t know where they’re going. You have to go with us.” (And again, why did Hali try to talk the Nuku folks out of beginning the voting while she tried to clear some things up before deciding what she was going to do?) There is also her announcement that “I think this is a stupid time in the game to be thinking about anything but physical threats. That’s where I am. That’s where I sit in this group.”

Essentially, it seems that Hali possibly could be on board with Mana as long as they vote for Malcolm and not Sandra, which was a viewpoint Sierra also expressed back at camp before they even got to Tribal Council. But then what are we to make of Hali walking over to the Nuku side, huddling with them and telling the group, “You have to do Brad. It’s better for us. I promise”? She could be doing this because:

A. She has ditched Mana and wants Nuku to vote Brad out, even if she has to still vote with Mana to at least carry out the illusion she is still with them (since Nuku already has the majority numbers anyway and does not need her vote) so she is not treated as a leper back at camp.

B. She is just trying to confuse Nuku and make them think she is on their side when she is not, to control where their vote goes.

C. She has not nor is she is trying to confuse them. But she would rather see Brad go instead of Sierra so if her Mana side loses at least she can try to control which one of them goes. So she is still on Team Mana but just wants to shape the team moving forward in case they lose.

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It’s hard to know for sure what Hali’s true intent was, but my inclination is to go with scenario A. She told Sierra in a Mana huddle, “I’m trying to change everything,” and she told Nuku several times to vote out  Brad, but we still don’t know her real reason for doing so. Since a flipped vote really means nothing here, seeing as how Nuku already had the numbers, the only valuable piece of intel Hali could provide is whether Mana had an idol and who would be using it. Michaela even says this to Sandra, wondering before the vote why Hali didn’t just tell them who had the idol. “Nobody got no idol over there,” responded Sandra… which technically is accurate seeing as how she used a double negative. (Nobody has no idol = somebody has an idol.)

The reason Hali did not tell them about the idol is that Hali most likely didn’t know about it. Remember, she was not in the scene when Tai revealed to the others (Brad, Sierra, Debbie) that he found it, which makes total sense because they knew Hali was a shaky vote at best for them. So Hali was unable to share the one important piece of information and therefore was of no use to Nuku. So while she may very well have wanted to join up with her original tribemates, she had no value in the short term. Except for in one very critical way, and this, ladies and gentlemen, was Nuku’s big screw-up of the evening.

Since they had the numbers, the only way Nuku could mess things up was to get hit with a hidden immunity idol. And who is the one person the Mana folks would never give an idol to? Hali. Now I get why Nuku did not vote for Hali. They want to potentially reunite with Hali later at the merge, so they want to keep her in the game, but if I’m in their shoes, I know that is the only safe vote that keeps everyone on the tribe — including myself — from being eliminated, so I am writing her name down in a heartbeat. That’s all they had to do. And the person who should have suggested it was J.T.

Think about it: If J.T. tells them that a Hali vote protects against an idol and keeps all of them 100 percent safe and they go ahead and do that, then J.T. is the biggest winner of the evening. Not only is he safe, and not only is his biggest ally (Malcolm) still there, but he took out an original Mana in Hali who could hook back up with the others later, and his current tribe does not hate him for deceiving them. That’s what J.T. should have done. Now let’s take a look at what actually went down with him.

NEXT: J.T.’s fatal flaw

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