There’s nothing like a tribe switch to really get a season of Survivor started! This week’s episode saw the games truly begin as new tribes were drawn, blood vs. water became a true determinant in the game, and a surprising contestant got axed from the game, arguably due to their loved one’s lack of a social game. Here are my thoughts on the episode that was:
- The tribe switch dominated the episode, as there was very little shown of discussions after Hunahpu’s mess of a tribal council and there was no reward challenge or an exile selection. The tribes split in a dramatically different fashion, as the new Hunahpu included couple Josh and Reed, Josh’s allies Wes and Alec, as well as pair-less contestants Jeremy, Natalie, and Julie, and the new Coyopa featured three pairs, mother and daughter Missy and Baylor, father and daughter Dale and Kelley, and boyfriend and girlfriend Jon and Jaclyn. For some the tribe switch helped dramatically, and for some it put them in less than stellar positions, both physically and strategically. The big winners from the get-go were clearly Jon and Jaclyn, who were both floundering at the bottom of their respective tribes. Finding each other again in the game, as nauseating as it might have been to Baylor, was huge for these two as they not only began to formulate a strategy together, but became the “Power Couple” in their team, deciding between warring factions. The switch had a negative impact on the three Coyopa tribe members who got moved to the Hunahpu camp, as they found that the tribe was in a dire food situation, with the team failing to ration their rice properly. While it’s incredibly unfortunate that they have to suffer for the lack of foresight of others, luck does play a factor in Survivor, and those three have just had terrible luck with this season.
- I think it will be interesting to see if anything comes of Jeremy’s attempts at bringing Alec into his alliance at the Hunahpu tribe. Just based upon some of the confessionals that were shown in last week’s episode, I’m convinced that there’s going to be something interesting about Alec’s game before all is said and done. With Josh and Jeremy both counting on Alec for numbers, he could actually have some say in how this season shapes out. Jeremy seems convinced he’s just like Drew, but I reckon Alec has a bit more smarts and wit about him than his older brother. The question going forward is will Alec be used by the power players of the game, or can he possibly become a power player? Without Drew around to frame his game in any way, he has better chances going forward.
- The immunity challenge showed an interesting, but not surprising aspect of the blood vs. water twist; playing with a loved one is not ideal for winning. The Coyopa tribe looked disheveled during the challenge as they were blown away by the mainly individual Hunahpu tribe. Even more apparent later was the fact that playing with a loved one is a strategic burden. When debating who to vote out, it became apparent that Dale’s inability to get along with Baylor due to her early voting habits, and Missy due to her rice portioning was going to decide Kelley’s strategy. Kelley showed a great deal of promise on her original tribe as she lead the charge to get rid of Drew, but having to play to her father’s social weaknesses relegated her to relying on others, mainly Jon and Jaclyn, for strategy and voting. While it was a difficult position for Jon and Jaclyn to be put in, choosing one pair over another, it was fairly understandable to see why they ended up voting with Baylor and Missy. Kelley’s intelligence coupled with Dale’s persevering attitude made them a significantly more threatening duo than the gentle, soft-spoken Missy, and bratty, devious Baylor. Kelley was very comfortable admitting in confessional immediately after being voted out that having to play with her father cost her a chance at the game. She’s a player I’d like to see back in future seasons though, she’s intelligent, strong in challenges, and plays a decent social game, and the fact that she couldn’t show all that she had to give this season makes me hope she’ll get a second chance at some point down the line.
With this episode, the true game of Survivor probably only began for the fourteen remaining contestants, as a tribe switch can often permanently change and mold alliances and strategy that will eventually decide who wins the season. Right now it’s tough to say who has the upper hand right now in the game, it’s still a very even matched season in all facets of the game. Until next episode, I’ll leave you with my final rapid-fire thoughts on the episode that was:
- While I’ve enjoyed Jon and Jaclyn much more as a couple than as individuals, I was most looking forward to seeing the one pair that hasn’t been united yet, Wes and Keith. I think the two of them could be interesting wild cards together, especially with an idol in tow…Another post-challenge bartering session from Hunahpu? Really guys, it’s getting old, I do hope Probst makes the penalty for more rice steep…Even though Dale is clearly down, I’m not about to call him out just yet. That seemingly fake idol he found at the well could be a clever play for him as it seems he will try to use it in the next episode. It would be great if he could buy himself some time with that.