Thoughts on Episode 11:
- It was a close call for Mark The Chicken this week, when a bitter Julia decided to talk poultry with Jason. Her interests in eating the chicken proved to be a clever ratings stunt for the show, but nothing came of it and America’s new favorite mascot lived to see another 3 days. But aside from that, it was very interesting to see the two players on the inside who were blindsided by the last vote and the difference in their reactions. Julia was pretty salty about the vote, and couldn’t find a way to click with Aubry, Joe, or Cydney after what she saw as a betrayal. Michelle, on the other hand, was very quick and subtle with her social game, reinforcing the bonds she had with the women, even bringing Aubry on reward over her closer ally Julia. If this episode was anything in the grand scheme of Survivor lore, it was a testament of how to react well to being left out of a vote. Michelle should get a lot of credit for playing smart throughout this season, making well-reasoned, rational decisions, going with the numbers whenever possible, and keeping the target on everyone else but her.
- I’m going to give Jason a lot of props for the ways he’s handled being on the outs of this tribe for a while now. One of the most fascinating aspects about this game is that every cast gets to set their own group ethos, and it works for some, and inevitably leaves a few people on the outs of their tribe as the game reaches a critical point. This season, Jason has been a player who seems to fit this mold, as the guy who has been left on the outside by a clearly developed groupthink that excluded him. Still, Jason has kept fighting for power and place in the game, even as the group has continued to vote against him. I thought the conversation scene between Tai and Jason showed a truly good, gracious side to Jason, one that his villainous edit hasn’t shown of him much. There’s a part of me that’s rooting for him to sneak his way through a little while longer as the majority alliance starts to turn on each other. Like him or not, Jason has been a great Survivor character for this season.
- Michelle and Julia proved to be absurdly good at memorizing characters and numbers in the immunity challenge this week. If I were doing that challenge after 20 some odd days on Survivor I probably would’ve pulled a Joe and just sat out the happenings, but Michelle made quick work of the challenge, beasting the puzzle en route to earning a nice, shiny immunity necklace. It sort of sucked for Julia, because she really needed immunity to stay alive in the game, because her double-agent role made her the biggest target in the game, even bigger than big, bad Jason. Julia did try to get her friend Michelle, and Cydney on board with a plan to at the very least flush Tai’s idol by putting votes on him. I fully supported this plan watching the episode, but in thinking about it some, I can understand why Cydney didn’t do this. Her trust in Jason and Julia had been so irrevocably broken by the past couple of votes that working with them as a pair just wasn’t going to be a great situation. The idol flush would have been absolutely epic, but I guess one more round with Tai’s idol and advantage floating around wouldn’t be so bad, especially if he’s on your side. So because of all of that, Julia had to be the one to exit this week, in a 5-2 vote. She played one hell of a great game for being the youngest contestant in the show’s history. She fought tenaciously to stay relevant in the game, and tried to make moves, but her eagerness to play both sides of the game proved very costly in the game. I think she had a good run nonetheless, and she’d be a great “Second Chance” candidate should they ever try to do another season like that down the road.
Final Thoughts After The Episode:
- The player of the week honors go to Michelle. She won reward, won immunity, and voted out her best ally to prove to her other allies that she was part of the team. I think she’s set up great at this point in the game. Plus, after all of my favorites for the season getting voted out early, it would be nice to get one prediction right; my Michelle winner pick after the merge…My favorite moment of the episode had to have been that immunity challenge. I think Michelle and Julia killed it in the memorization, and to be honest, there really weren’t too many over-the-top, remarkable moments this episode. It was good, not crazy good…I’m starting to waver back and forth on Cydney a little bit, just because she’s been so good at staying low key in the game. I thought spearheading Nick’s demise was going to be her undoing, but like usual this season, I’ve been proven wrong. I still don’t think she’s going to win, but I have to admit I’ve softened my stance on her game. That being said, I do think she should’ve pounced on the Tai vote this week, if only to get his idol and advantage out of the way once and for all. I get why she didn’t, but I think it was a move that could’ve easily solidified her as a potential winner.