Thoughts on the Episode:
- I always give credit where credit is due when watching Survivor, and this week, the three castaways who were on the wrong side of the numbers deserve a lot of credit. Jay, Taylor, and Will came back from the vote without any sour grapes, re-emerged into tribe and kept trying to build on the relationships they established. I think the great thing about this cast is they’re all very interested in playing the game and seeing how things shake out, especially in the Millennials camp. Jay kept on talking to everyone, praising people for the games they were playing, lending a vote or an ear to anyone who needed his support. Even Taylor and Will, who may not be as keen in the social game, both kept in high spirits and refused to isolate themselves into an untenable position. I think given the way these guys handled losing so far, they all have potential to keep working deep in this game.
- The reward challenge was really one-sided. The only real entertaining part of it was Jeff Probst making a few comments about the school yard pick and how badly Hannah picked her team compared to the other captain Chris. No real bombshells or new alliances were in the works at the reward, which was a nice feast at a poolside resort. The reward feast did have some entertaining moments as Bret got to have a few drinks and became kind of an interesting character for 2 minutes on TV! Who would’ve thought right? I think the only time a reward in the post-merge of this game is going to be very exciting is when Adam finally uses that reward steal advantage. Can’t wait to see how that goes!
- I was a fun of the immunity challenge from this week’s episode. It was a good athletic and mental test, wasn’t designed to go on for hours, and featured that fun little caveat of stepping out of the challenge in case you wanted to eat. I was actually kind of shocked that only Will and Zeke sat out to have some food, but I also get it. Half the people in the game got to eat a day or two before that, so perhaps none of them felt they needed the extra food. But, people like Hannah and Adam could’ve really used the opportunity to actually get something out of the challenge instead of the obvious loss that was coming their way. The 10 who decided to play had to balance a ball on a bowed platform while balancing themselves on a wooden plank. As time went on they would have to get to a narrower section of the beam, and the last one left would win immunity. The challenge started out pretty simple, but once they all got to a smaller section of beam the majority of the players fell out leaving only a few left. In the end, Ken outlasted everyone to take home his first individual immunity. Ken was fairly safe this week, so him winning immunity didn’t really change anything in the strategy of anyone, unlike when Will won last week. After the challenge, the game was going to really unravel considering how many people were left and how many overlapping alliances were being tested.
- The vote could have gone in a lot of game shattering directions after the immunity challenge. Sunday could’ve convinced Chris that taking out Jessica was their best move for the moment, bringing Jay, Taylor, and Will for the numbers. Also, jay and Taylor could have tried to reach out to the Gen X tribe to turn on Adam, with support from Zeke and Hannah who both seemed very tired of working with Adam given his shady behavior after the merge. But, it seemed pretty clear that the powers at be were set in keeping the status quo going a little further, with Taylor being the one everyone wanted out. I’m not sure I understand why people like Chris, David, or Zeke would want to keep Jay over Taylor, considering the fact that Jay is a much more astute player, but I think a lot of it comes down to people disliking Taylor’s attitude more than game-play. I also think Jay has done a bang up job assimilating from a position of weakness, and deserves a good bit of credit for saving himself. So Taylor decided, seeing that he was on the outs, to share the last of his canned food supply with Jay, and they had a nice little ‘Last Supper’ kind of moment. While they ate they did concoct an interesting little scheme t blow up Adam’s game at the last moment, in order to give whichever one of them survives a fighting chance. Taylor shared the fact that Adam knew about the food stash and helped him hide it in addition to keep his secret that he has a reward stealing advantage. When it came time for Tribal Council, and everything seemed super set for a boring night with Jeff, Taylor decided to blow up Adam’s spot big time by first copping to his own sneakiness and then letting everyone else know Adam was complicit in the hiding of food and was holding a secret advantage in the game. Watching Adam get defensive and squirm for a solid few minutes of airtime was just fantastic. The whole thing was very one-sided as Jay and Taylor kept pounding on every excuse he made for all of his actions, and from the looks of everyone around there wasn’t too much shock that Taylor would out someone’s dirty laundry or that Adam would have plenty to be outed. It was a nice play, and it may very well help Jay out a little bit going forward, but it was too late to help Taylor any. The vote was locked in, and the outcome wasn’t going to change. The group of 9 split the votes 6-3 on Taylor to make sure he would go home with this vote. I believe the actual split was 7-4-1, with Jay voting for Taylor and Taylor throwing a vote at Adam. I think I speak for all of America when I say Taylor will be sorely missed on this show. Whether you loved him, or loved to hate him, Taylor provided a great deal of entertainment on this season, and his charisma and energy made up for some of the lack of charm from the nerds on the cast. Farewell Taylor, hope you catch some sick waves at Ponderosa brah!
Thoughts after the Episode:
- My player of the week honors got to Jay for this episode. Yes he’s clearly on the wrong side of the numbers, but he’s doing everything right to stay around a little longer. Jay’s social game is truly the strength of his Survivor repertoire, you can see it from the conversations he had with Hannah and Sunday. I still think Jay can go places in this game because people will try to use him as a number in their “big moves” going forward. So kudos to Jay, he outlasted entire original alliance and now he can play his own game from the bottom…My favorite moment of the episode was probably the banter during the reward challenge about picking teams. Probst kept yammering on for the entirety of the challenge about how Chris picked a better team than Hannah, and Hannah kind of had to just take it as she waited for the obstacle runners to get through. She had the best line of the episode when she turned to Jessica and said “I’m never going to be a sports captain.” Hannah’s great, I love her self-defeating humor and spastic game play, it’s unique and relatable…I do think Gen X is destined to split next episode, whether it be in the first of the double vote or the second. David, Jessica, and Ken have their sights set on gaining some traction by taking out Chris, Bret, or Sunday, and vice versa. I think this is going to be the big fight of the season, and whoever wins out from those groups of 3 will determine how things proceed towards the end…So much for my favorite player winning the game huh? Ken does a fantastic job in winning immunity and doesn’t even get a single confessional in the second half of the episode. From what I think I know about the editing of this show, I can safely say he’s not the winner. It’s a shame too; I’m still looking for the season of modern Survivor where a pure old school player can pull off the win. Oh well, there’s always next year…It’s crazy to think what’s going to happen given the fact that there are 3 idols still in play in the game. I think it may not be as much about idol strategy going forward for the 3 people who hold the idols, but who do you trust with those secrets. It looks like Jay’s idol secret is going to be outed to just about everyone next episode, and considering that Zeke and possibly Ken know about David’s idol, perhaps Adam’s use of his idol becomes the most fascinating wild card left in the game. I don’t think Adam can win the game, but he has to potential to blow someone’s game up big time with his advantages.