The Goliaths’ first go at tribal council exceeded my expectations just as David vs. Goliath keeps doing the same. The answer to “How is this show still on?” is this season. This is reality TV at its finest with real conflict and real chaos. Natalie’s level of self-awareness may be in question for Survivor fans, but if she’s completely aware of one thing it’s that everything she touches does turn to gold because this season has so far been exactly that. That’s gold, Jeremy, gold!
After a blindside, I like watching fireworks back at camp. Bombs, blow-ups, napalms! We didn’t get quite the emotional reaction I was hoping for (except from Carl who shed some tears over the loss of his in-game daughter figure, Jessica) but instead we witnessed a second betrayal on Night 6, courtesy of Christian.
Davie grabbed Christian to find out what the hell just happened, indicating that he thought Christian and Nick were his #1s (both of them?) and felt like they had left him out in the cold. Not wanting to expose that Mason-Dixon sat in the middle, Christian was shockingly quick to blame the entire vote on Gabby, telling Davie she grabbed Elizabeth, Lyrsa, and later Christian and Nick to blindside Jessica. After dishing the dirt to Davie, Christian circled back with Nick who was already in on the plan to throw Gabby under the bus. Based on these actions, it would seem that Nick’s a little more in Christian’s ear than Gabby. Maybe she should’ve done a little more than nerd whispering…
The next morning, the smell of the blindside still fresh in the air, Bi said she felt wide awoke and was “gonna have fun now.” Aww, yes! This is what I was talking about earlier! Bi was now thrown into the ring (or is it an octagon?) and ready to fight. Nick didn’t need to do any further convincing as Bi had already readied her fists toward Gabby. I loved her line, “It’s a little bit personal, but also...it’s a lot personal.” That’s the kind of revenge talk I like to hear. I don’t know about anyone else, but if I had to put money on who could win this fight...I’d go with Miss MMA.
WRESTLING WITH THE PAST
Speaking of fighters, John has grown to become a favorite of mine this season (unrelated to him being the lone Natalie defender). From what we first saw of him in the Ghost Island finale, I thought this dude would have the biggest ego we’ve ever seen, but actually, the macho Johnny Mundo is mucho down to mundo and thankfully is not an asshole like some of the other pro athletes the show has given us. His realization that Survivor isn’t all about scheming and who’s getting voted out but rather growth and connecting with people also lines up rather perfectly with the direction this season has taken. As John continues to become more back in touch with his human side, I hope the show continues to mirror that, focusing on the people. It’s a nice throwback...as was Sea Bass making a reappearance.
For 10 months, Sebastian has been living on Ghost Island slowly gaining power, and as of this moment, he has fully matured into a real hermit crab...
Jeremy too was revisiting his past when he talked about his father who suffered from early Alzheimer’s. As he got choked up wishing he could show his dad his appreciation and also let him see him thriving on Survivor, our hearts went out to him. Unfortunately, this would be the last we’d see of a positive Jeremy, but I loved that the edit gave us this scene to start off the night for Jeremy before his tumultuous tumble. I can’t applaud enough how remarkable this season is doing with providing some serious character depth, showing us a bit of the good and a bit of the bad because that’s really the truth of humanity. It also makes the show so much more complex and compelling when my heart’s torn on how to feel about someone.
THE NERDS HAVE IT
Or do they? I’m not so sure Gabby has her nerd as much as she thinks. First Christian was at Nick’s side after the vote, and next we saw him raving about Slamtown, likely foreshadowing him tag-teaming with Mayor John at the upcoming swap. How loyal is Christian actually to Gabby? Oddly, we didn’t get to hear from him on this topic, but as one looking in, Christian and Gabby’s days of playing in the sand may soon be over if Nick or John’s beaches look better.
There really wasn’t much else going on with the Davids aside from Elizabeth, seen above, hopelessly fishing for compliments from the editors on a job well done last week. The story here was all about Bi getting back at Gabby which obviously never panned out this episode, leading me to believe this will be important later. With that, our dose of Davids was done and it was time to go all Goliath...
PARANOIA WILL DESTROY YA
That’s one of my favorite Boston Rob quotes and Survivor quotes in general because of how on-point it is in this game. Jeremy didn’t like seeing so many “side conversations” happening and held a huddle around the fire to ask that they come to a halt. Telling his tribe to essentially not play the game they signed up for reminded me a lot of Garrett in Cagayan asking his Brains tribe to simply stay put and not talk strategy, and we saw how well that worked out for him, didn’t we?
Jeremy should have taken his own advice to slow it down because the more he talked, the crazier he became. Telling his tribemates who had idols and targeting showmances, I felt like I was watching the second coming of our crazy-eyed lord and savior Alan Ball. With shades now of both Garrett and Alan, I was feeling crazy confident that Jeremy’s resemblance to them would fully be realized at tribal council.
IMMUNITY – PRESSURE ON THE PYRAMID
What a vile, disgusting thing it was of Natalie to request to participate in this challenge (jk, obvs). Initially I thought Natalie had to play since she sat out the last so I didn’t understand her tribe bitching about having to put her in, but after talking it over with a friend, I remembered the official ruling may be that Natalie actually was able to sit out again because this challenge was in a new “cycle” which began after the last tribal council. Still...stop being a bunch of bitching Bradleys and let the lady have her fun!
It’s not all the time that we get to hear the talk of the tribes as they choose someone to sit, and when Natalie said she wanted to stay in, I thought “uh oh...” as I recalled another (in)famous volunteering participant in a challenge...
This was not going to end well for Nat.
The Davids redeemed themselves after last week and beat the Goliaths in the puzzle thanks to their nerds. As if Natalie’s target on her back wasn’t Goliath-sized enough, losing the challenge only gave her tribe more reason to send the napalms right back at her. The Goliaths didn’t go down in this, though, without putting a dent in the Davids. Bi managed to suffer an injury to her knee which would call for another visit to the David tribe from Dr. Joe – this time, off camera.
THE BI’S KNEE
(Credit to Shirin Oskooi for being the first I saw to make this beautiful pun. I’m stealing it.)
Usually after the immunity challenge, we don’t hear from the winning tribe, so when we got back from commercial and landed at the David beach, I thought that maybe Bi’s visit from the doctor didn’t go so well. She remained in the game, but again, with this scene being one that was out of the ordinary, I’m guessing Bi’s knee will come back to bite her either in the form of further injury or a reason to vote her out later. Getting an injury like that would suck just a few days into the game, but Bi’s gotta listen to that unforgiving voice in her head and suck it up.
That’s just tough love, isn’t it?
THE POWER OF PERSUASION
Natalie opening up this pre-tribal segment with “I am really great at puzzles” got me giddy for the Goliath shitshow that was about to go down. Natalie knew she was in the hot seat, so she set off on the defensive in search of support. She turned to Jeremy who flat-out told her that that support would not be found. This obviously did not sit well with Natalie, setting off the great battle of Goliath vs. Goliath.
Fun and foreboding little frame they edited in.
Voting out Natalie was the simple answer, but with Jeremy’s performance of paranoia, Angelina stepped up to an opportunity to take out a bigger threat and save the “senior citizen” for later. I wouldn’t have gone as far as to call Natalie “harmless” but it didn’t take much for Angelina to persuade her peers to turn on Jeremy using that logic. Both Natalie and Jeremy would have been Goliath liabilities later, but while I was happy to see the shift, I don’t believe it was the best move for the other eight.
“Natalie’s an easy second out” – those could end up as famous last words. It’s easy to say so and so can be voted out at any time, but if that’s an excuse to keep them one time, what about the next time? The same reasoning Angelina used here to keep Natalie, because she’ll be an easier vote later, others could use against Angelina and certainly against other Goliaths before long. With the swap, Natalie stands a better chance to be saved over the rest of the Goliaths, and if she makes the merge, wouldn’t most want to take her to the end for “easy” win? Natalie going from almost voted out on Day 9 to waking up on Day 39 would be quite the story that I’m hoping to be told (with a surprise win for her, of course).
The funniest thing about the whole “Natalie or Jeremy” vote was that neither seemed to be actively campaigning for the other to go. The rest of the tribe did their own deliberating while these two Goliaths just duked it out between themselves. Natalie has been under fire every week, but it was fun to finally see her fire back with ferocity. When she had enough though, she finally walked away from Jeremy and said to, “cut it short!” Another fun editing moment followed as the show abruptly cut out as if at Natalie’s command.
THIS GUY IS RIDICULOUS
Amidst another downpour, Natalie and Jeremy set fire to rain as expected at this tribal council. Natalie herself was impressed that so much of the tribal talk was all about her (I mean...as it should be). We saw the ugliest side of Jeremy come out on the attack against Natalie and judging by the reactions of the tribe, they too felt it was a little much. Saying no one would attend her funeral? Yikes. Jeff even called it a “freeway of 18-wheelers” running her over. But this is Natalie we’re talking about – it’ll take more than a fleet of semis to bring her down.
Jeremy called to question Natalie’s loyalty and argued that if she stayed, she’d abandon the Goliaths in a heartbeat. This was the final straw for Natalie as she waved back her hand in Jeremy’s face and announced, “You’re dismissed.” She then pledged to the tribe that she was “Goliath strong.” Whether she is or not will be tested soon, but it was the only answer she could give to cast aside any doubt the Goliaths had in her.
Natalie and Jeremy could have clashed for the rest of the game, and it’s a shame that this heat had to be doused so soon, but Jeremy’s gorgeous skin couldn’t shield him from the Natalie napalm and a whopping 9-1 vote. Normally, unanimous votes aren’t exciting, but everything leading up to this one made it so. Natalie remained a Goliath strong while Jeremy was a Goliath gone.
THAT STONE COLD STARE!
Jeremy had a quieter premiere, but he came on strong last week in his idol sussing and Natalie sassing. This week was a great episode in terms of character development for him with an obviously not-so-great of outcome. While a lot of his story ended up being tied to Natalie, I feel like we saw enough of Jeremy to learn who he is, his strengths, and his weaknesses – a very well-developed player for one that only lasted three episodes. With the exception of maybe a few heavier hitters like Domenick and The Noble One I feel like I’ll remember Jeremy more than the rest of the entire Ghost Island cast. It’s sad to see him go thinking of what more fire he could have ignited, but this cast is so incredibly strong that I think most boots are going to feel this way.
NEXT TIME ON SURVIVOR…
A swap at 17? That’s a Survivor first, and one that makes no sense. Are they going to do two tribes of 8 with the leftover going to Exile Island (or joining Debbie and Cochran on the Love Boat)? Two tribes of 6 with an odd-numbered tribe of 5? I think they could have waited another week for this, but then again, I’d feel less confident about Natalie napalming her way out of the same hot seat she was in this week, so if this swap is her savior...then it is mine too.
Angelina – The Big Move™ this week goes to Angelina for getting everyone to vote for Jeremy instead of Natalie. I appreciate a player coming in hot like that, but this move is going to cost her, not just for the damage Natalie will likely do later, but being known as the instigator of a big vote shift, while great if sitting at FTC, is not the kind of name one wants to have by Day 9. Sooner or later that “power of persuasion” will be picked up on and she’ll be picked off.
Jeremy – He pretty much did everything to himself, but what a glorious downfall his was to watch. Like I said, it’s sad to lose someone like him who would’ve certainly have had many more blow-ups, and after even more days with little food, sleep, and comfort, who knows what wrath he’d have brought. Imagine if he and Natalie actually had worked together. The Goliath camp literally would have burned, I think, though I guess it still might...
Natalie – She promised, she delivered. We all know why she was great this week, but here are some quotes just as a reminder:
Last but far from least…
Not a quote, but her hair flip is also worth mentioning.
On that note, the Natalie Stan Nation has spoken.
Ryan Kaiser has been a lifelong fan of Survivor since the show first aired during his days in elementary school, and he plans to one day put his money where his mouth is by competing in the greatest game on Earth. Until that day comes, however, he'll stick to running his mouth here and on Twitter: @Ryan__Kaiser