And the moment I was dreading the most this season happened! No, not a Mariano winning. Even worse than that, Tyson being voted out pre-merge… Again… As if Heroes vs Villains was not painful enough. Luckily he got a little more content this season, and luckily, he’s now on the Edge of Extinction where people seem to have more screen time than people actually playing the game. And also, he has a good chance to return, only Natalie can compete with him at the moment. And yes, I’m a total hypocrite; if the Edge of Extinction means more screen time for Tyson and a possibility that he returns to the game, I suddenly hate it much less.
Ok, let’s see what else happened this week.
- Adam Klein (one token): Adam’s rounds of apologies and being everyone’s “servant” and whatnot was kinda funny to watch. Yet, I feel bad for poor Adam. Despite the first original mistake of the season, he was doing very well and was even in charge of his tribe somehow. However, he made the grave mistake of becoming overconfident. With his new behavior this episode, his (former?) alliance seemed to have forgiven him until… Rob decided to screw him over in pure Rob fashion.
What’s next for Adam? A trip to the Edge of Extinction seemed to be a sure thing, but luckily Sele won immunity, in parts thanks to him (yes, he struggled a lot, but at least he didn’t give up, whereas Parvati and Denise did… although it also just could be the edit, Adam trying his hardest fitting the story better), and even more luckily for him, a swap his coming. Honestly, I still think he’s going to go far. So much content about him to be a pre-merge vote doesn’t make much sense. I really think his story will be one of the main stories this season. It is at the moment at least.
- Ben Driebergen (one token): Not much about Ben. Just one confessional where I even forgot what he was talking about. Adam’s attempt to redeem himself probably.
- Denise Stapley (two tokens and one idol): She was invisible this week, wasn’t she? 🙁
- Jeremy Collins (one token and one “no tribal for me” advantage): He seemed to have forgiven Adam, but then we saw him buying Rob’s lies about Adam not having learned his lesson. This could mean that this story of power plays between the three of them is not over either. It also shows what I was suspecting last week: Jeremy and Michele spared Rob and Parvati because they want to work with them.
- Michele Fitzgerald (one token): The little scene with Rob was interesting. I was very surprised that they included this in the show. I’m talking about the fact that Michele’s win was controversial and that she suffered from it and clearly feels that she needs to prove that she belongs in that group. I think this is a story that will also matter later this season. In any case, it definitely puts Michele on my radar. Also, while I disagree with a lot of what Rob does, I did like what he said to Michele: “A win is a win.” I guess it’s true that Rob is not always a jerk and a bully.
- Parvati Shallow (two tokens): We didn’t see much of her this week, but I was a bit surprised to see that she seemed pretty defeated and passive. Almost as if she had given up after Ethan’s blindside. While she’s far from being voted out yet (or is she?) her lack of story and her apparent passivity doesn’t bode well for her.
- Rob Mariano (two tokens): While I don’t approve of his method, I have to admire the fact that he’s not giving up. Rob will grab and pull anything he can in order to get out of a sticky situation. I have doubted his ability to play well when he’s not in a dominant position (he got voted out pre-merge the two times it happened), but I was impressed by how he managed to use Adam in order to save himself. If Sele had gone to tribal again and if Adam had avoided talking to Rob, there is little doubt, Rob or Parvati would have been next out. They couldn’t escape it anymore. And yet, he did. Sure, they didn’t go to tribal, but the way Rob used that little interaction with Adam to his advantage and pit Jeremy and Michele against Adam just when he seemed that they had forgiven him was (evil) genius. I wouldn’t be too surprised if those four were still in the same tribe next week and that this storyline continues to play out.
The State of Alliances at Sele:
- Rob & Parvati.
- Jeremy and Michelle. They are more or less with the old schoolers, although it’s definitely not a tight alliance.
- Denise and Ben are probably together by now.
- Adam is probably quite alone. Is Denise willing to work with him for good again? Not sure.
- Kim Spradlin-Wolfe (one token and a half-idol): Not much about her, again. After that first episode where we saw her in a very unusual position, we haven’t really seen much of her at all. Just the fact that she found an idol, but made the mistake to give the other half to Sophie.
Even when Tyson was talking with Sandra, Sarah and Tony about forming an alliance against the “unconnected ones” she didn’t seem to be part of the conversation (or did I miss her?) despite the fact that she must have been the fifth one, right?
- Nick Wilson (two tokens): Finally we saw some of Nick, but I’m afraid that it was still circumstantial because he was the “fake boot” of the week. Still, it’s good to see a little bit of him. Good play too, “throwing” that vote against Kim in order to save himself. People don’t do that enough in similar situations.
- Sandra Diaz-Twine (one hidden immunity idol with an expiration date (how long?), zero fire token): I’ve been debating whether Sandra did the right thing or not by voting Tyson out.
My heart wants to say that she made a horrible mistake. She did the exact same mistake in Game Changers (with some of the same people). The “big threats” started gunning against each other, especially Sandra and Tony, and as a result none of them made the merge, and a “non-threat” – Sarah – ended up winning the game. Voting Tyson out seems to be the same mistake. But maybe not. She is tight with Tony and Sarah, she doesn’t seem much on the outs with everyone else, and she knew that Tyson had targeted her earlier. Even if he had changed his mind, he remained dangerous for Sandra. They also more or less expect a swap soon. That must have played a part in her decision (and Tony’s and Sarah’s) to not rock the boat. Dakal seems relatively tight, they have a majority, even without Tyson. After a swap, if there are no big cracks in the tribe, they may stick together, and we’ve seen that many many times: the united tribe with a majority making it to the merge almost unscathed after a swap.
If Tyson had been saved and Nick had been voted out, it would have been a fractured Dakal coming into the swap, with a Tyson ready to jump ship with Rob, Parvati and whoever else (Dakal may not think they’re in such a weak position after seeing them survive three votes), and possibly get rid of Sandra. Back to Game Changers, voting Tony out was the beginning of Sandra’s downfall, but the swap was what did her in. So, all in all, voting out Tyson, despite me dreaming that they would work together, was the right move for Sandra, the one that will keep Dakal strong and not put a target on Sandra. She can now realistically make the merge, where she’ll be less of a threat until very late in the game (I even wonder if she’s owning her “challenge sitting skills” so much in order to make herself less of a threat).
- Sarah Lacina (zero token, one “steal a vote” advantage): Was it the right move for Sarah? I’m tempted to say that it was too. Pretty much for the same reasons as Sandra’s. I guess that’s why Sarah voted Tyson out despite them seeming to become closer and closer (to the point to form a real alliance? I guess we’ll never know).
- Sophie Clarke (one token and a half-idol): Not much about Sophie. She got some interesting lines at tribal council, but she doesn’t have much of a storyline yet. Well, there hasn’t been enough drama and tribals in her tribe for her to have a detailed storyline yet. On the other hand, four episodes in, it doesn’t look good for your chances to win if you don’t have at least some sort of story going on. Still, right now, Sophie is probably the least likely to be voted out in Dakal, and she even probably is the tribe member with the most power. It all could change next week with the swap, of course.
- Tony Vlachos (one token): We discussed whether Sandra and Sarah made the right move with voting Tyson out, but did Tony make the right move? I want to say that he didn’t. He should have kept Tyson. Tony needs people who are as much as a threat as he is if he wants to go far. Tyson was probably his best possible ally. Honestly, I think Tony was in favor of voting with Tyson against Nick, but a few things made him change his mind. First, how well do they get along? They haven’t appeared that close (even throwing each other’s name out on episode one). Also, Tony is close to Sandra and Sarah, and we saw that they realized that it was not in their best interest to keep Tyson. So Tony may have been forced to agree with his allies’ plan or risk being singled out and being out next.
- Tyson Apostol voted out: Oh Tyson, why did you get voted out so early again? 🙁 OK, at least this time, you didn’t make a huge blunder, except maybe trusting Yul. I was a bit confused about why Tyson talked to Yul about voting Sandra out last week, and this week mentioning he’s going after Nick. Do people not realize the dynamics of the tribe? Is Yul so under the radar that people don’t realize that he holds a lot of power in the tribe right now? I think that Tyson made the mistake to believe that he was much closer to Yul than he really was after their talk on episode one, and this was his downfall.
Similarly, I was shocked about how open he was about targeting Nick. It seems that Tyson was under the impression to have more power and influence than he really had in the tribe. Not sure what made him think that, especially after almost being targeted on episode one.
Now, as I said in the introduction, I’m so glad that we haven’t seen the last of Tyson. He may even get more screen time at the Edge of Extinction, and he’s definitely favorite to return to the game as early as possible. Keeping fingers crossed.
- Wendell Holland (one token): Why is Wendell so invisible after a pretty good first episode? The only thing we see of him his pretty much his toothpick.
Will Wendell just not be an important factor this season? Hopefully, his story starts soon. It could be as early as next week according to the preview.
- Yul Kwon (one token): It’s amazing how people have so much trust in Yul and don’t seem to realize that he’s holding much more cards in his hands than they think. Sophie thinks he’s her shield, but is he really? He led the charge against Amber on the first episode, and this week, he also subtly led the charge against Tyson. First by pitting him and Sandra against each other last week, and then making sure Tyson gets voted out when he decided to target Nick, who is aligned with Yul. He’s such a threat right now, and no one seems to fully realize it.
The State of Alliances at Dakal:
No change from last week:
- The nerd/solo players alliance: Yul, Sophie, Wendell, and Nick.
- The Cops R’ Us + Sandra alliance.
- Kim is quite alone right now, but she can be saved by the swap.
The Edge of Extinction
We’re really having too much content taking place on the Edge of Extinction. Sure, this challenge led to a very compelling story, but that story wasn’t started by the players, but by production who basically thought “OK, let them do something extremely difficult and tiring, and we’re sure something interesting will come out of it.” The interesting thing that came out was Ethan being almost medivaced. Is this what we want? When on Twitter or Reddit I said one day that I will start liking the Edge of Extinction when people that can return from it are the ones who actually survive it and not die from starvation or exhaustion, I was joking. I don’t want this to actually happen.
So, yes, we got a nice story, where Ethan almost died, we got lots of feels, especially when he completed the challenge that consecrated him even more as the “Survivor hero” that he is. And it took 10 minutes of screen time, more than 20% of the episode. That’s a lot of time NOT spent with the people who are actually playing the game. Way too much time.
- Amber Mariano (one token): She’s getting a lot of confessionals. I wonder why. Does anyone really find her interesting? Or is it just because Mariano is her last name?
- Danni Boatwright (one token): She was there. I guess… No, she was, she spoke once, she said something, right?
- Natalie Anderson (four tokens): OK, we can all agree that Natalie is a challenge beast, unless we didn’t already know it, and she’s the front runner to re-enter the game next. Especially with her four tokens, which makes her basically a billionaire on the Edge of Extinction. I can’t wait to see the showdown between her and Tyson.
- Ethan Zohn (one token): Yes, he’s the hero that he is, but I feel that this is pretty much it. Or rather, maybe his edit is prepping him for the next season he returns, there will be one, right?
“Warrior” of the Week
I started this little thing during Blood Vs Water, the “don’t let that fool you” award (credit to Gervase for inspiring the name). Every week, I give an award to the “impact player” of the week, the player who made the biggest difference, the biggest move, who affected the game the most that week. Note that it can be a positive or a negative (orchestrate a blindside or on the other hand royally screw up his game or his alliance’s).
- This week, I give the Warrior of the Week title to Sandra! I feel that she’s the one who made the balance tilt against Tyson. Otherwise, Nick would have been out.
- Honorable mentions to Yul who’s really pulling the strings at Dakal, as well as Rob and Adam who saved themselves by not going to tribal.
Damn! Tyson was my main winner pick, but now his chances have taken a big hit. He still can pull a Chris Underwood and win, but that’s unlikely (and I wouldn’t know what to do). OK, returning at the merge and winning is more acceptable, so let’s hope he does that instead.
So with Tyson almost out of the picture, that leaves us with Yul as the new frontrunner I believe. He’s currently in the best position indeed, but there is still a very long way to go until the final three. Edit-wise, I really think that Adam and Jeremy are in a good spot. Yes, I said Adam! He’s been the main “character” so far this season, and while his edit is not all positive, it could be much more negative… It’s a long shot, though, I admit…
Still in contention are Sophie, Sarah, Michele and Denise (what a surprise, the women have a more subdued edit than the men – Survivor you really need to change that trend).
Next Person Voted Out
Well, with the swap, it’s pretty much impossible to predict who is going to be voted out next week. However, I really think that Parvati and Rob’s time on the island is almost over, and if either of them goes to tribal council, they should be toast. It’s just silly to keep them in the game any longer. If none of them goes to tribal next week, I really have no idea who will be voted out, it could be almost anyone.
Next Time on Survivor
A swap! Michele is not too excited to be reunited with her ex (Wendell). Is that going to be an important storyline? Who knows?
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