Thoughts on Episode 5:
- Seeing more dissension from Bayon was a welcome surprise at the beginning of the episode. Well, it wasn’t exactly a surprise because we did see Monica targeting Spencer last week, but it did kind of present a direction for the episode. Maybe, just maybe, this episode would be about more than how bad things were at Angkor, and that turned out to be quite accurate. We saw the women of Bayon (Kimmi, Monica, and Kelly) out fishing, and trying to gather food for their tribe, and during their gathering, a conflict arose between Kimmi and Monica. It was such a weird argument too, all centered on the fact that Monica was trying to keep some clams in the ocean to hold them over longer in the game, while Kimmi was deadest on taking as much protein as they could grab. It was a ridiculous moment, with some similarities to Kimmi’s infamous argument with Alicia, and it really went a long way towards showing the true struggle within Bayon members for control. Monica has shown an interest in controlling her destiny and make her own choices, but unfortunately for her, Kimmi is a bit louder at doing that herself. Seeing her and Kimmi get into it was a bit foreboding going forward into the episode, it could only end really badly for one of them, and it did in the end.
- Angkor seemed like a lot less of a mess this week, which was also a welcome surprise. It was hilarious that Savage, rather sincerely, said that Varner was “in a better place now,” but in all honesty, him being out of the game was in a better place for Tasha and Savage. It was really a moral victory for those two to have survived the numbers minority, and coming together with Abi and Woo as a unit seemed to be a place they all could start from to work together. In the reward challenge, we saw a much more competitive Angkor tribe, with Woo coming through in the clutch being rolled in a barrel down a course and keeping up with the other tribes. Angkor didn’t win the big reward, but they came in second and earned a tarp for their effort. They called it a moral victory and their morale really seemed to go through the roof. Of course Abi was still being Abi, getting annoyed at Woo telling personal stories at camp, but all of that was fairly irrelevant as Angkor ended up pulling off a great victory at the immunity challenge, on the back of Woo’s slick oversized slingshot skills. Dysfunction and all, Angkor really had a fantastic week on the TV show, not losing anything and coming together as a unit for once, and it was a nice change of pace for the game.
- We got some interesting scenes from Ta Keo this week, and it’s difficult to figure out how they’re going to fit in the long-term picture of this season because of those scenes. So far we’ve seen Kelley trying to throw Terry under the bus to save her from the inevitable numbers game of being down 4-2, but this week we finally saw their numbers game take a more definitive turn. Ciera, waiting for Terry to go out fishing, made what appeared to be the first pitch for a final five alliance between Joe, Kass, Keith, Kelley, and herself. I’ve got to say, I really don’t think making that kind of a final five pitch right now is going to work out well. I liked Ta Keo as a unit, they’re strong and likeable, but I cannot see this group of five sticking together, despite the fact that circumstances have put them together. I think Ciera and Kelley are playing very hard, and if I was Joe or Keith I would be very weary of throwing in with those other three. Savage and Jeremy are not going to be big on this final five push when it gets back to them (and it will), and Kelley and Ciera may have a very difficult time later in the game explaining their time at Ta Keo. My prediction; the Ta Keo alliance will go down in flames.
- After an abysmal performance at the immunity challenge (Jeremy sat out, and Fishbach scored a point for another team), Bayon was forced to go to Tribal council for the first time in this game. Originally, the talking point throughout that afternoon was which former Ta Keo member would be voted out first; Spencer or Wiglesworth? Spencer made every attempt to ingratiate himself with his tribe, and it seemed to work out wonderfully for him. The new emotionally-in-touch Spencer Bledsoe was a hit with de facto tribe leader Jeremy, who made it clear that the vote would be Wiglesworth, whose pre-game alliance made her a target from day one. Of course, things got more complicated at Bayon when Monica started to get it in her head to throw her own ideas out there with her tribe. Monica was leaning towards voting out Spencer, who she perceived as a much bigger threat in the game, and posed an all-girls alliance to Kimmi in an attempt to make her see the possibilities abound with keeping Kelly. Apparently that was a horrible misstep by Monica, because Kimmi got pissed off by that insinuation, and went to Jeremy and Fishbach with that information, who decided to blindside Monica for not being in step with the Bayon alliance. At Tribal Council, all the conversation was about Kelly and Spencer, but the real shocker came when the last three votes read Monica, who didn’t even have the slightest hint that she was going to be voted out. It was a true Survivor blindside, and a pretty epic one at that. I hate the decision personally, not only was I a Monica fan, but I had thoughts of her going pretty deep in the game, so for her to go out before a Ta Keo member was a real dumb idea by her tribemates. Now they’ve left Spencer in the game, one of the best students of the game in the cast, and Kelly, who has alliances at Ta Keo and Angkor, while getting rid of someone who would have been loyal and could have been kept in check until a merge. I believe the old saying is “the enemy you know is better than the enemy you don’t know,” and Jeremy, Stephen, and Kimmi better hope they know those two players well enough to outlast them going forward.
Final Thoughts and Musings:
- My player of the week honors are gonna have to go to Spencer this week. It’s not so much about what he did in this TV episode as it is about what he’s done since joining Bayon. I love that Spencer has changed his Survivor game plan, going from strategist to loyal team-mate, and the fact that the Bayon four would be willing to turn on one of their own versus losing him says a lot about his game play. I love Spencer’s game this season, I think he’s becoming a bit of a dark horse because he’s blending in and staying out of the limelight…My favorite moment of the episode was such a small random moment, but it really made me laugh, so it’s worth mentioning again. For some reason when talking about voting out Jeff, Savage mentioned that Jeff “is in a better place now.” I don’t know why, but that was the funniest things ever, a true Savage moment. So far this season we’ve gotten the weirdest sound-bites from Savage, and they’re all kind of adding to the Survivor legend, or infamy of Andrew. It was a head scratching moment in the show, and considering the episode was kind of business as usual, I’ll have to say that was my moment of the show…I think it will be interesting to see what Jeff Probst is doing at camp in the middle of the night next episode. I have to think this means that there’s going to be an injury or medical evacuation situation going down. It’ll be terribly disappointing if one of these players has to get pulled from the game after all the campaigning they did to get on the show, but that’s what I’m bracing for.