Thoughts After Episode 12:
- This week’s episode was basically centered on the loved ones’ visit, and there were a lot of great storylines coming to a head with the family visit. While it was a little anti-climactic to have the loved ones not be a part of the competition (again), it was really great to see all of the emotion that resulted. We got to see Val return and Jeremy practically break down when she whispered to him that they were having a boy, Spencer tell his girlfriend that he loves her for the first time, and Joe to get to make his father’s dream come true by going to be on Survivor. It was a series of really wonderful, humanizing moments for three of the strongest players in the game, and it all lead up to a solid reward challenge where Kelley Wentworth came out victorious, winning an afternoon with her dad, former contestant Dale Wentworth. Probst had to make things difficult for Kelley of course, letting her select three other players to spend time with their loved one. Wentworth, being a student of the game, took some very practical approaches with her picks, taking Kimmi who she hoped to solidify a bond with, Joe, who would be a possible jury vote for her, Abi, her fellow “witch,” and Keith, who would likely vote with her going forward. As every week passes, it gets a bit more realistic to see Kelley winning the whole game, and I have to say it would be a pretty cool outcome if she could pull it off. It’s all gonna come down to how she plays that idol she’s holding onto, but I’m really looking forward to seeing her finish out her game with some flare.
- While the loved ones’ visits provided some great moments, it turned out that the real drama was going to go down at the immunity challenge. To no one’s shock, it was another balancing challenge where the contestants had to balance a statue on a platform while continuously adding pieces of handle to their platform. It became a very difficult mission for the contestants, considering they were a month into Survivor and were all physically and mentally tired, and most of them dropped out fairly early on. It came down to the same two we’ve seen a couple times now, Joe, the immunity king, and his worthy challenger, good ol’ Keith Nale out of L.A. (Lower Arkansas). The showdown between the two went on for about an hour after the others were all out, and neither of them were budging. That was of course until Joe suddenly fell out, giving Keith the immunity and everyone on the bench the opportunity to celebrate a chance to get the golden boy out. The jubilance was short-lived though when everyone realized that Joe didn’t just fall out, but he actually fainted from over-exertion. It was a really scary moment for everyone, but Joe did wake up about 30 seconds later and came back to steadily. Medical checked him out and they determined he would be ok to keep going, but it was still a very intense moment for the show. Probst remarked that the kind of intensity Joe gave in that challenge, competing ‘til he passed out, was exactly what he was envisioning when they conceived the Second Chance concept, and America collectively reacted with an “Uh…what?” Yeah, it wasn’t Probst’s most tactful moment ever, but I get what he was trying to say. This whole game has been played with such intensity, thanks to the fan vote and the second chance concept, and to see people giving 100% of what they’ve got to stay alive in the game is downright inspirational. Survivor is such an amazing game, and even though I’m sad Joe went down the way he did, I’m glad he, and the rest of the cast, are giving it all they can to become the Sole Survivor, it’s making the season an instant classic!
- At camp, an exhausted and beleaguered Joe was expecting to go home since he lost immunity, but he was able to muster up a few conversations in order to keep himself in the game. He went back to his old ally Jeremy, who he had turned on in the previous vote, and discussed how Abi was guaranteeing herself a spot in the final three by sticking around and being a goat. Joe thought it would improve both of their chances of getting to the end to get rid of weaker player, and Jeremy did consider it. Then Tasha confided in Spencer and Jeremy that the rest of the women had been discussing an all-girls alliance, which gave the two even more pause to vote out Joe over Abi, if for no other reason than to keep the gender numbers, if that might become an issue. It really should’ve been a straight forward vote, but the layers developing in the game made every decision so multi-faceted and difficult. Spencer said in his voting confessional that his vote could just as easily win him the game or get him kicked out next, and I firmly believe it was that crucial. They did end up getting rid of Joe cool however, and the collective of Survivor fans across the country shouted at their TV in unison as it happened. Joe really was such an awesome character, a nice guy who provided for his tribe and killed everyone in challenges. It’s sad that he had to go out the way he did, but in the end he just made himself too much of a threat to be kept around. You can’t blame the group for getting rid of him, but now the game is going to really be on, and everyone will start figuring out what moves they’ll have to make to win it for themselves. Now that the main target is gone, all bets are off, and with two idols left in play and only two episodes left in the season, anything could happen, and almost all of them could end up as the victor (sorry Abi, it’s not gonna be you)
- My player of the week honors are actually going to go to the guy who was voted out, Joe Anglim. It feels a bit weird for me to do that, but between his scenes with his dad, him passing out, and him almost successfully pitching to get rid of jury goats, I think he deserves my praise. He played the game the only way he knew how, with strength and courage. He may not have been the most strategic guy ever, but he was still a hell of a great character to watch play these last two seasons. Here’s hoping we having seen the last of Joey Amazing…My moment of the week has to be Keith’s family visit. He should really go into comedy, because for some reason everything he says naturally just seems funny. His wife got out on the island for the visit, and he just started introducing her as “Big D” to everyone. It was just another classic Keith Nale moment, one of many we’ve seen so far this season. The guy is always just being himself, he’s not too concerned with playing bigger and better than anyone else, and maybe he’s found a strategy doing that. Well, probably not a winning strategy, but an endearing one nonetheless…The talk of an all-girls’ alliance was going through camp on this week’s episode, orchestrated by Kimmi whose only alliance was blindsided in the last vote. It seems like a sure fire way for Kimmi and Abi to get to the end, and also a great way for Kelley to increase her bank account, but the whole thing is really going to come down to what Tasha does. She’ll be the swing vote going forward, and I think she’s caught between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, she doesn’t seem to stand a great chance to win against Jeremy or Spencer in a final three scenario, but she also stands a great chance at getting voted out fourth or fifth for being a challenge threat if Spencer and Jeremy are the next out. I really don’t know what she’s going to do, and the rest of this season is very dependent on what decisions she makes. When all is said and done, I think she’s going to have to stay true to the people she can trust, and that’s likely going to mean she sticks with her alliance with Jeremy and Spencer. And who knows, maybe she’ll be able to convince the jury she’s the one who has been shaping the direction of the contest since day 1 (and she won’t be wrong about that).