Thoughts on Episode 12:
- While this episode had a lot of different small, interesting moments throughout, the whole thing kind of felt like Jason’s Survivor funeral. The camp life scenes revolved around people not listening to Jason, how he couldn’t really interact well with people, and even featured some awkward confessionals about how people didn’t find Jason to be a deserving player. I really had hoped that Jason would find himself getting inside some sort of alliance as the rest of the players in fought, but much to the majority alliances’ credit, they were really good at making sure he was kept as persona non grata. I did feel bad for Jason, much as I did last week, because he really did want to play, but got caught in a situation where the tribe values moved far away from his own game values. This whole episode just felt like a bunch of scenes and red herrings that were trying to build a story to distract us from what was really happening; that Jason was already eliminated from the game before he could even be voted out. It was pretty clear he needed immunity if he were to have any chance at staying in it.
- If there was really any take away point from this episode it was this; Tai is not going to win this game. Don’t get me wrong either, I really like Tai as a character, and he’s definitely brought a lot of intrigue to the game, but it’s amazing how he keeps messing up the strategic game. We saw him this week as the only player to garner any sympathy for Jason, especially after they got to share a reward where they (and Michelle) got to visit a wildlife sanctuary. It was simple, everyone wanted Jason out and the whole group had an extra three days to decide their end games, yet Tai immediately decided that Michelle wasn’t with his core alliance and that he had to eliminate her from the game next before she could take him out. Tai proved once again that he doesn’t get the social nuances of the people around him, and it’s really looking like that’s going to cost him jury votes if he gets to the end. The obvious strategy was so simple and straightforward, but the fact that Tai has an idol and an advantage is making him cocky and the fact that he tried to break the democracy of his alliance seemed to really backfire tremendously as they drew close to Tribal Council. Tai seems like a good guy, but he’s playing this game all wrong right now.
- The immunity challenge this week was such a classic game of patience, and it was fun to watch all but one person truly understand how to perform. It’s a challenge we’ve seen before a few times, where contestants will have to stack blocks all the while following a rope back to a platform to grab their next block to stack. It’s the kind of challenge that cautions you to go slowly because if you drop you have to start over, all the while beckoning you to go faster than the rest of your tribemates. While all the contestants took on the challenge with good pacing, one player decided to take an egregiously cautious approach. Cydney quickly fell behind in the challenge as she took to it with a snail’s pace, and Jeff was very quick to count her out in his usual banter. But something funny happened on the way to immunity, every player in the challenge started dropped their stacks in their haste to beat one another. That left Cydney, the tortoise in this scenario, in first place after all, and even though Jason attempted to catch up with her, Cydney never dropped once and took home immunity, spoiling Jason’s last chance to save himself. I hope future survivors were watching this challenge closely; you have to be steady with these challenges if you want to have a chance to win. It’s better to try a good strategy and lose than to beat yourself like the other 5 did during this challenge.
- I loved the way tribal council went down this week, it really kind of foreshadowed an end game I’m probably going to appreciate. Tai spent some time before the vote telling people what they were going to do, and this really sat wrong with Cydney. She let Michelle know what good ol’ Tai was concocting, and they decided to make attempts to get the all-girls final three in order by securing Aubry’s support away from Tai. While Aubry appreciated the idea of getting rid of Michelle because she posed a physical threat in challenges and a likability factor with the jury overall, she agreed that Tai’s actions were ruining the concept for everyone else. At Tribal Council, Cydney and Michelle unleashed on Tai in some riveting scenes of back and forth where Tai was really reduced to size so to speak. It certainly can’t help that Tai isn’t a native English speaker, but still he has not been extremely capable of backing up his game all season, and that’s most certainly going to affect him if he gets to the end. Tai decided he was still on the good side of the numbers going in to the vote, and decided to play his second vote in hopes of breaking what he assumed may have been a tie between Jason and Michelle. Of course this was revealed to be a great big (hilarious) waste of his advantage when the votes read 4 for Jason, 1 for Joe, and Tai’s two votes as the only ones cast against Michelle. I enjoyed the buildup, the voting, and the reading of the votes because it worked out just the same way every other advantage has thus far; backfiring on the person who played it. Sure, Tai didn’t get subsequently voted out, so he has one up on Dan Foley and Stephen Fishbach, but he sure did look like a dodo this episode. Hopefully, for his sake, Tai will have learned a valuable lesson or two from this vote and he’ll try to go along with some democratic voting plans next time, because telling people how to vote doesn’t work out well.
Final Thoughts After the Episode:
- My player of the week honors go to Cydney this time. She beasted the immunity challenge by being methodical and steady and she blew up Tai’s power grab, all in one day! That’s a good day’s play on Survivor. I really didn’t think she could win the game, and I’m still not sure she has the necessary jury votes, but I do believe she is playing a winning game in a lot of respects…My favorite moment of the episode has to be the scene where Joe and Jason were talking and Joe was sort of pity listening to Jason. It was funny how they edited that together with Joe just completely going in on Jason’s game play, I thought it was pretty funny. I kind of hope Joe gets to the final three (or two?) just so we can watch the jury tear his game to shreds. Props to him for being capable of staying strong in the game in his 70’s, but really, his game has been quite atrocious…Speaking of final three, it certainly is looking like the amount of medevacs this season has had has forced production to proceed with a final two instead of the usual final three seen most often from Season 13 on. The finale looks like it’s going to feature only 4 players, and for there to be enough footage to make a good finale I’m thinking they’ll have to get down to two there before Final Tribal. Personally, I’m a bigger fan of the final three in Survivor, but I’m all for seasons being unique and different from each other. Every once in a few seasons a final two is fine to have to break the monotony and keep the process a little mysterious.