Thoughts on Episode 6:
- The show started out very differently than any episode of Survivor had started before. It was the night of the vote, and while Bayon voted out Monica and went back to camp, a situation was starting to occur. Producers on the show were notified of a family emergency going on with the Terry’s family, and Jeff Probst came to Ta Keo camp in the night to notify Terry that his son’s life was in danger. Terry immediately pulled himself out of the game to go home, something that we’ve never seen occur. It was a very sad moment when Terry had to let his tribe know why he was quitting the game, but I was really impressed with how he handled it. He encouraged his tribe to keep fighting and wishing them luck as he went to attend to his family. It was really wonderful of the show to include an update at the end of the episode, letting us know what happened to Terry’s son Danny, and letting us know that he had a successful heart surgery and was doing much better now. It was a very somber note for the show, but it also really goes to showcase that these contestants are people with families and problems outside of the game, and unfortunately for Terry, this was one of those moments where the game had to take a back seat. I’m very happy that things have worked out for the Deitz family, and I really hope at some point in the future Survivor brings him back and lets him finish the second chance that he started!
- After the Terry news was broken to the cast, Probst announced one more shocking event; a second tribe swap. It’s very rare that we get two tribe swaps in a season, but the show is trying to keep these players on their toes, and this was a perfect way to do it. Angkor was dissolved and everyone drew buffs for their new tribe placements. Bayon ended up being very similar to its original lineup, with six original members plus lone wolf Kelley Wentworth. Kelley seemed like an obvious first boot from this tribe, but Joe got caught trying to deflect attention away from her, prompting Stephen Fishbach to question Joe’s allegiances. On Ta Keo, a nice mix of players existed with 3 Angkor tribemates in Savage, Woo, and Abi, plus 2 other original Bayons, Kelly Wiglesworth, and Spencer. It was a solid looking tribe, one that Savage was very pleased with. He had this great confessional where he gloated about his place in the game, saying “I’m not going anywhere.” That was when I knew that things were going to go downhill. A second tribe swap is something interesting to see on a season, I’m fairly certain this is only the second time it’s been done, and what it does is it makes it so that everybody plays with the majority of the cast before a merge. It makes it so that the chances of someone being able to hide in an alliance are almost zero, forcing everyone to play harder than they normally would have to in the early going. I thought the swap was an excellent little curveball to throw into the game, and it made for some interesting drama later on.
- After a few tough and hard fought challenges (Ta Keo winning reward), It ended up being Bayon who claimed victory in the immunity challenge, sending the new Ta Keo to Tribal council, a place original Ta Keo was very familiar with. Savage had assumed that his alliances would hold up strong, and decided to pursue a blindside of Spencer by offering up Ciera as the person they would be telling Spencer to vote for. This turned out to be a huge mistake. Ciera was angered by Savage’s plan, and turned to Kass and Spencer to orchestrate the destruction of Andrew’s game. It was likely Abi who pushed for Woo to go home, considering that he voted for her twice and she never really forgot that, and the foursome had the numbers, suddenly, to make their own move. It was Kass who was weary of the move, considering her prior animosity with Spencer from their days in Cagayan. She had to decide between Spencer and Woo, too players who wronged her in very different ways during her first go at it, making the decision even more dramatic. In the end, the second Ta Keo alliance came through, and Ciera, Kass, Spencer, and Abi voted Woo out, leaving Andrew and Woo dumbfounded. This was heartbreaking for me, considering all of my favorites were either voted out, forced out due to unforeseen circumstances, or blindsided into a bad position this week. Savage has been one of my favorite Survivor contestants of all time, I loved his tribe and persona from Pearl Islands, but it is becoming clear to me that he has a fatal flaw in this game that’s likely gonna keep him from winning. Savage doesn’t seem to comprehend that others in the game don’t value loyalty the way he does, and his brash, cockiness in leading is a deterrent to others. Savage doesn’t seem to anticipate people falling out of line, playing an old school style that necessitates keeping tribal numbers high over, and this season appears to be slipping away from him. I’m still holding out hope for my old remaining pre-game favorite (so sad to see Terry and Woo leave this week) because it looks like a merge is coming next week. The game is changing yet again, and we’ll see just how all 13 of them get along when they’re all at one camp together!
Final Thoughts and Musings
- My player of the week honors have to go to Stephen this week. I thought it was wonderful to see him get so emotional about his moves not working; it really brought home the fact that he lives and breathes Survivor, which is awesome to see. I thought he was spot on about Joe playing both sides, and I think it will be his guidance that could save the true Bayon alliance in the end (his confessional was also my favorite moment of the week, I love that someone would get emotional over Survivor strategy)…I think it’s crazy that they are merging with 13 players left in the game. The show has never merged with that many before, and it’s bound to be utter chaos considering how many alliances some of these people are trying to juggle. This next episode should be one of the most entertaining strategic shows in a while, if all goes well…I’m starting to see some parallels between this season and seasons of past. I’ve always wondered if the game’s beats and struggles repeat themselves over the years, and to a certain extent while no two games are ever the same (much like no two snowflakes are), a lot of the dynamics and situations end up happening over and over again. Realistically, based on the way the tribe swaps have been put into place, there’s a strong tie between this game and the one that happened in Gabon. In that game, we saw a lot of chaos because a lot of players got to play with just about everyone at some point before the merge. Looking back at Gabon, I expect the same complicated dynamics of that game to show up down the stretch as we look forward to a merge. After this week’s vote, I sort of had a revelation that this season is very much like last season, Worlds Apart, as well. The reason I say this is because the Woo vote went down eerily similar to the Joaquin vote about this time last season. Both occurred after a swap but before the merge, and occurred because an alliance did not trust one of their members getting close to someone from a different original tribe. Woo is Joaquin from last year, and Savage is Rodney in this situation. It was almost an identical situation, and it makes me wonder if I can project any more from there to see how this season may be fated to go. Even though Joe is around, Spencer is actually the new Joe (and Joe is somehow Tyler), floating around even though he is very threatening in the end game. I think Jeremy is playing the role of Mike this year, a strong, dominating figure, with the idol in his pocket and Stephen is regrettably the Dan Foley here, opinionated but perhaps not respected by his peers. If this is some strange repeat version of Worlds Apart, than Spencer aligns with Kelley, Ciera, and Kass (Jenn, Hali, and Shirin), but is inevitably done in when Keith (Will) flips on them to play with Savage and Tasha (Mama C). Even though Jeremy may get ahead of himself and press matters too much, he’ll keep tight with Tasha, play his idol and outplay everyone to win the million. So, yes, you’re hearing it from me first, Jeremy’s winning this game because it’s going to go down just like Worlds Apart did. Imagine how bizarre it’ll be if my premonition comes true to form in any way!