The sun rises across the volcanic archipelago islands of Mamanuca in Fiji; and despite its idyllic views, there's a sombre mood in the air.
All is not well at Nuku camp, just hours after Jeff Varner outed fellow competitor Zeke Smith as transgender at last night's tribal council in a desperate attempt to remain in the game.
In the episode that aired last week, Survivor host Jeff Probst dramatically evicted one of this season's contestants after what many viewers called the most horrifying moment in the history of the show.
Global reaction was so shocked by the move that Varner, 50, was sacked by his employer in North Carolina, with the company saying it was because he was "in the middle of a news story that we don't want anything to do with."
Since, the show has been praised for its handling of the sensitive issue, who worked with organisation GLAAD in figuring out the best way to handle the topic on the show.
"From (Zeke's) first season through the current edition, we have always been guided by the principle that this is his story to tell, and it remains so," a CBS statement read.
CBS praised how host "Jeff Probst and the producers handled a very sensitive situation and marvel at the grace Zeke exhibited under extraordinary circumstances. We also have respect for how Jeff Varner has expressed remorse for his mistake."
But in this follow-up episode, for the surviving tribe members, the dramatic events of the prior night are still fixated on their minds.
"Last night, every last one of you forgave Varner and I don't forgive that guy yet," Sarah Lacina points her finger at fellow tribesmate Tai Trang.
"I wanted to give Varner a little comfort, just compassionate, that's just who I am," Tai replies sheepishly.
"He took so much away from Zeke, I'm a little emotional about it," he begins to cry.
Sarah, a police officer best remembered for being blindsided in her former Survivor series, was one of the most compelling voices during tribal council, her comments described by the Hollywood Reporter as "illuminating and important".
"I'm from the Midwest," the Cedar Rapids, Ohio, resident said through tears.
"I come from a very conservative background, so it's not very diverse ... [and] the fact that I can love this guy so much, and it doesn't change anything for me, makes me realise that I've grown huge as a person."
"Of course we want to come away with the million dollars, but the metamorphosis I've made as a person that I didn't realise until this minute is invaluable. I'm sorry it came out that way but I'm glad that it did. I'm so glad I got to know you as Zeke and not what you were afraid of us knowing you as. I'll never look at you that way."
Honestly, it was enough to make you cry.
But this morning, with reflection in the air, Zeke is somewhat optimistic.
"I didn't want people to cry or yell. I was very touched by how everyone responded," he tells Sarah, Tai and the gang over the camp fire.
"One of the reasons I didn't tell people is I sort of wanted people to see me as myself. Often in my life, when I tell people I'm trans, that's what they're interested in, and everything else about me sort of becomes pushed by the wayside.
"But, you know, Survivor, it makes you tough, it makes you resilient, and it makes you adaptable. And I think I had all those qualities before, but they've certainly been strengthened and grown.
"And I think I was able to be a little more brave and a little bolder to help others, and also to get over my own fears, and to get over my own, issues and complexes and insecurities with being transgender."
There seems to be real unity in this tribe. A coming together of sorts, despite the aim of the game. In seventeen years of Survivor, you've never seen a tribe as bonded as this.
"I really, really like the people I'm playing with, it's heartening in this game that often your lowest moments, when something bad does happen to you, that people who are out to get you in some regard, do stand to your defence and I was truly touched," Zeke says.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and "in the meantime, there's still a task at hand, a task I'm committed to, I'm here to win a million dollars. I'm here to play Survivor. Now let's get back to it."
But life on Survivor is never quite as simple, especially when there is a tribal merge ahead, where the two individual tribes playing for the million dollar prize form as one giant, thirteen-member tribe and play on as individuals.
The question on everyone's lips was, how is Zeke going to tell the Mana tribe (who weren't at tribal council) what Varner had done? Will they go there? Or will they pretend this never happened?
In this leg of the game, life gets cut-throat, and Zeke is confronted with a second coming out, of sorts.
"Here's the thing," Zeke starts, as members of the merged tribe who missed last night's tribal council listen with intrigue, clueless of all the drama that occurred the night before and the bombshell that's about to be dropped into camp.
"We get to tribal council and we're not five minutes in before Varner takes it upon himself to say, 'Zeke is deceiving you because what Zeke is not telling you, is that Zeke is transgender'.
"Which is true, I am.
"Though it happened in a way I wasn't crazy about, I think I'm like all of you and like forever changed and forever evolved by my experience on Survivor and I'm a much stronger and capable person," Zeke says.
Cirie looks like she's just caught a whiff of a tribe member's armpit. Meanwhile, all Hayley can do is whisper "wow" under her breath.
Survivor is quick to change pace after Zeke's second coming out. As if Zeke just asked a tribe member to chop him a coconut, with such little degree of concern, the tribe moves on.
"Good for you", says Culpepper. And that's that.
But Zeke ain't no Survivor rookie, he knows this game like the back of his hands.
"These are the last moments of people pretending to get along, he says in a piece to camera later.
"It's the smiles before the bloodbath."
Question is, will it be Zeke on the chopping block? As his name is floated about before this week's tribal council, tensions begin to flare.
"It's insanity, there's so many people to watch and so many you can't watch, you just have to accept that there's going to be a lot happening around you and there's nothing you can do to control it."
Meanwhile, off the island, Varner, an openly-gay contestant, began undergoing therapy to deal with the "traumatic outing".
"This was traumatic for the both of us and it was ugly. When I came out of that game, I believe I even said, 'Somebody shoot me'," he said.
"I probably sent all the red flags up that I was going to kill myself over this, which of course I would never do that as much as I felt like I probably deserved it. There was a psychologist outside at the path that I walked down and I fell into her arms it was just great for me."
He said the incident was "the worst decision of his life".