Hmm ... I wonder how I should approach this week’s column?
We’ve got a 4/4/4 situation again, but I got super excited about that when it happened last season. The great potential for that was snuffed out by the Producers, so I’m not quite as enthusiastic about the possibilities this season.
I suppose this week is the “official” merge, but it just doesn’t feel like a real merge episode. I haven’t been inspired to provide a historical perspective on someone’s current game play. Nobody is a clear frontrunner, or firmly on the bottom either. Ryan is the clear challenge beast, but in recent seasons (Jonathan in S42, Xander and Naseer in S41, Tyson in S40), players haven’t really cared if someone dominates the challenges.
Everyone left this season has a reasonable degree of safety and danger. Noelle and Gabler have both shown a tendency to blurt out information that ends up hurting a partner’s game. Unpredictable players like that always make things fun to watch, but its hard to see either of them in a pivotal role this episode. With 12 people left, Noelle is unlikely to use her Steal-A-Vote, and Gabler doesn’t have anyone who truly trusts him as their #1. He’s so close to goat status, there’s little reason to want him gone now too. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to watch and hope Producers don’t screw it up this week.
And away we go ....
Elie blasting Gabler on her way out reminded me of Shantel blasting DeShawn in Survivor 41 when she got blindsided.
Jeanine, its good to believe you’re free to play your game now, but its probably not smart to tell everyone. Its natural for them to think you’re lying.
Owen really is a good in-game narrator.
Gabler wants to go undercover? So naturally the first thing he does is tell Cody about his Idol??? How does that make sense?
The tribe has to divide itself into pairs? I think they’ve done this on MTV’s The Challenge several times. I also remember when Jerri threw a fit to be partnered with Colby in The Australian Outback.
Ants love to gather around Jeanine, don’t they?
They’re drawing rocks to determine their pairs? How did they find 6 pairs of identical rocks? They can’t even use the 12 rocks from the last challenge if they took them back to camp? “I got a red rock! Who else has red? One of you 5 is my partner.”
Oh, I forgot about the paints for the merged tribe flag. I bet rock painting will be this week’s secret scene.
This challenge was made for Ryan. But if James sucks at it, Ryan won’t have a chance. This challenge gives someone a great chance to throw it if they want to vote out their partner.
Owen is with Gabler? If I’m Owen, I might throw it. You can’t trust him to keep a plan secret, and he’s too volatile to try to keep his vote in your pocket. He’s like partnering with Abi-Maria.
Probst throws a shoulder check into Gabler? Is Probst trying to boot Gabler?
This Noelle segment reminds me of when Probst made Cirie get over the balance beam. I hated that segment. Did anyone think they were NOT gonna help her out of that net?
Probst: “This is a SPRINT!” How does one “sprint” while using planks to cross a rope bridge? Comments like that are why I often watch challenges on mute.
Hmm ... considering Gabler was totally exhausted on what, day 4, he’s sure showing a lot of hustle in this challenge. Was he sandbagging earlier? My spidey sense has been activated.
Owen with the red bucket looks the most comfortable.
Probst: “What are you digging on Gabler?” Did he mean “What are you drawing on (for inspiration)?” Where’s that mute button again?
Owen is out. Oh well. At least that proves once again why my decision to stop making Survivor predictions was a good one.
32 minutes in, and they can still do it one-handed? That makes me think this isn’t quite as tough as it looks.
Gabler is talking his way into Immunity just like Christian talked his way into a win over Alec in David vs Goliath. But Christian was more entertaining. Learning about reuben sandwiches was more fun than knowing Gabler is doing it for his dog.
There goes Noelle instantly blabbing information to everyone. Doesn’t she realize it would be smarter to sit on this info for a while? Doesn’t she know others will realize Noelle can’t keep a secret? Doesn’t she know Elie just got voted out in part for doing this very thing?
So James gets the KIP Advantage the Producers couldn’t force into the merge through Geo? Why couldn’t they let Gabler’s sleeping dog lie? Seriously, I wonder why they felt such an urgent need to get this thing back into the game so soon.
Now James is blabbing information? Did I say “Baka” means “stupid” in Japanese? Is James on Baka now? Doesn’t he know KIP is all but useless when people know about it?
Jeanine gives her Idol to Dwight??? Baka!
Noelle gives her Advantage to Owen??? Baka!
Instead of Survivor 43, they should have named this season Survivor Blabbermouths.
There’s a lot of sloppy game play in this episode, but I have to admit, its entertaining.
Jesse is a good in-game narrator too.
Noelle’s mouth is more volatile than Gabler’s. I remember when she instantly blurted out everyone’s partnerships at her first Tribal Council. She’s gonna get herself voted out just like Elie did.
Probst: “So it’s a little like ‘Jaws.” Where’s that mute button again?
So many people made mistakes this time, I’d be happy to see any of them leave – Noelle, James, Jeanine, any of them. I’m not crazy about dumb luck winners, and right now, these 3 (and Gabler) are prime candidates.
So Dwight is gone, and Jeanine just lost her Idol. Don’t worry Jeanine, if you’ve been providing good confessionals, something tells me the Producers will “hide” it in your shoe tomorrow.
Dwight can’t figure out which two people on Vesi flipped on him? Baka!
Wait, I don’t have to ignore The Real Love Boat while writing my recap? That was a highlight of my post-Survivor night.
I swear, I wrote the part about Noelle’s blabbermouth hurting a partner’s game before the episode came on, but her scrambling sure hurt Dwight, didn’t it? Dwight saw the warning sign when Jesse didn’t tell him about booting Justine, but he ignored it. I’m not sure what he should have done though. When Ben realized Chrissy’s blabbermouth was bad for his game in HHH, he got himself an entirely new alliance. Maybe Dwight should have done the same. I don’t think Dwight should have blindsided Jesse instead of Nneka, but maybe Jesse should have been higher on his hitlist than Elie or James. At a minimum, he’d make it to the Jury if he’d done that. How many people know she gave it to Dwight? Can she bluff that she still has one? Could she try to pass off Gabler’s as her own Idol? That might be a good way to get Gabler back on her side.
So next week could be interesting. Will Owen return Noelle’s Steal-A-Vote? Will James realize the smartest thing to do with his KIP is show it to everyone, then burn it? Will he do the even smarter thing, and burn a dummy note from Treemail, while pulling some slight-of-hand with the real note? Will Jeanine wonder why the Producers asked to see her bag as she left Tribal Council, then STILL wonder how her Idol got back in there?
My head is spinning a little now. It was tough to keep track of who just realigned with whom. I guess its Jesse, Cody and the Coco 4 against Baka and Noelle? Jesse gets props for steering this vote of course, but I have to wonder what his plan is for dealing with Cody’s Idol? Removing Cody will have to be part of his long-term plan because Cody is both capable of blindsiding Jesse, and beating him for the million.
I caught the segment where Jesse said “I really trust Karla.” She’s got a natural talent for this game that is slowly approaching elite status. Karla and Jesse have both engineered (or co-engineered) two boots. Karla removed Lindsay and Geo, and Jesse removed Justine and Dwight. I’m looking forward to seeing Karla and Jesse square off, too. Both work in a subtle, stealth manner. Jesse vs Karla is the most interesting part of this season for me now.
Jeanine’s Idol is gone now. How many people know she gave it to Dwight? Can she bluff that she still has one? Could she try to pass off Gabler’s as her own Idol? That might be a good way to get Gabler back on her side.
What do you think? Who made smart moves, and who didn’t. Who does Karla consider her closest partner? James? Cassidy? Someone else? What’s Jeanine’s next move? Where does Sami fit into all of this? Who will be this season’s best narrator? Let me know in the comments.
Damnbueno got his nickname in 8th grade Spanish class when his friend shouted out "You're pretty damn good at Spanish." The teacher insisted he say it in Spanish, so the friend said "Esto es damn bueno en Espanol." The nickname stuck. These days, when he's not forgetting his 8th grade Spanish, Damnbueno is indulging his obsession with all things Survivor. Reach him in the comments section here at True Dork Times.