Two of the biggest players in the game getting their boots squished and squirmed into just one hour? Bold strategy…did it pay off? Honestly, not for me. The “two tribal councils in one hour” episodes always blow because we end up spending about 10 minutes total at camp, if that, with the rest of the time being devoted to challenges, tribal council, and in this season, the Edge of Extinction. We were shown enough to understand what happened, but given the time restraint, this was another strategy-heavy, gamebotty episode which is never a favorite of mine and I’m not sure two of the biggest characters got the big sendoffs they deserved. David vs. Kelley was such a huge part of this season’s narrative, and then in one quick motion, it’s just…over? Dammit Wardog!
DIARRHEA OF THE MOUTH
After that wild tribal council, Vata returned to camp with a lot of now out in the open, most of all the shared idol David played to void that whopping one vote. “So that’s a wasted idol, but who cares,” David shrugged. “Who cares” about wasting an idol?
I’ve been waiting too long to throw in this Schitt’s Creek plug. The David boot episode finally seemed fitting.
The Wardog sought to capitalize on the capsizing of Kama, immediately proposing an alliance to Ron that included the Lesu 3, Ron, Julie, and Gavin. The Wardog threw out Aurora’s name for blowing up the game via her diarrhea of the mouth, and with Aurora being the only person to vote against the rest of the tribe, she seemed like an easy dead woman walking.
Aurora knew it, and the next day she broke down in confessional over feeling totally isolated, something she was used to as we finally learned a little about Aurora’s backstory with her growing up in the foster care system and not having a solid circle of friends. That was pretty rough, imagining a serious struggle of her past coming to pass again under these circumstances. If the show was going to open the night with that, it would have been ridiculously cruel to have the edit be, “haha, and that’s why she gets voted out.”
IMMUNITY – BEND THE KNEE
We should’ve known that The Wardog would later take issue letting Kelleysi take the Survivor throne when The Wardog wasn’t able to last long bending the knee. Everyone watching knew, so surely The Wardog knew, that The Wardog would be the first to fall in this challenge. It makes me wonder why The Wardog just didn’t decide to partake in the pizza, but then again, I’m not sure I would have either even if the challenge itself involved gross food-eating. Who was responsible for preparing that hot pile of garbage?
Debbie, for the sake of everyone’s intestines, please leave “pizza chef” off of your resume. We don’t need anyone sitting like this on the toilet:
Barely given any runs for her money, Aurora wiped out the competition with David once again coming in at the respectable number two. While not quite as explosive, Aurora’s win reminded me of Shii Ann’s in ASS (that’s All-Stars Survivor) where the tribe could not have been more annoyed about the outcome of the challenge. It’s always fun to see a unanimous vote spoiled, so kudos to Aurora for coming in so clutch and being this season’s first to win two immunities!
IN BED WITH DAVID OR WARDOG
The Six 2.0 had a quick pow-wow post-challenge and decided that David was the best alternative boot while Aurora wore the necklace. The counter to this was led, naturally, by David and Rick who were finally fed up with the Lesu 3 running the game and now calling for battle with The Wardog.
David approached Aurora and Rick approached Victoria who we know only will go where the numbers go, so they needed the additional swing votes of Ron and Julie to make anything happen. This is where David’s skills as a Survivor player shined in my eyes. Watching the way he talked to Julie and later Ron about how necessary the vote for The Wardog was made it obvious why he made it as far as he did his first time in Fiji. I think what was David’s downfall was that The Wardog had just gotten to them first.
The sides seemed set, but Ron wasn’t sure if he wanted to be in bed with David or The Wardog (another cold, lonely night for them, I guess). Still, there was no other vote to be had, so Ron and Julie would be the deciders in this David vs.
Goliath The Wardog story. The Lesu 3 would have been a bigger threat to me than David and Rick, but the “other” side seemed less stable than this restored ship of six. As a viewer, I didn’t care for either vote and was hoping The Wardog would have another last-minute awakening to target someone else, but sadly The Wardog wasn’t wavering this time.
SUCH A SQUIRMER
I appreciated another tribal council with an atmosphere of being so open. Does that usually happen later in the game when alliances are more established and people aren’t so afraid to voice their opinion? A lot of pre-merge tribal councils are full of smoke and mirrors, where some of these later rounds get right down to business before the vote.
David and The Wardog continued to convince the tribe why voting out the other was the only move, and while both boys can put up a good fight, I felt there were a few flaws. First, The Wardog shouldn’t have made the fact that the Lesu 3 had voted together every.single.vote a major selling point. As Rick said, who thinks they can infiltrate that alliance? David’s platform was loyalty which was immediately called out by Lauren, who once received a vote from David after promising she wouldn’t. “Who cares,” right?
The real rivalry, though, may have been between Julie and one of the jurors. Every time she spoke, Julie had Julia giving her the death glare:
Or whatever you want to call that. The duck-face glare?
Either we’re just in for an awkward encounter on the Edge of Extinction or this could be some foreshadowing to final tribal council where Julia tries to tell Julie she isn’t the pilot she wants to be.
Back to the bigger action, watching David squirm before the vote was a crushing. David has mostly been on top during his time on Survivor, but I could tell he knew this fight was unfortunately his last. The Wardog’s best at crunching numbers, and those numbers were locked in as much as David tried to make The Wardog out as the number one threat. Whether that’s accurate and the vote for Wright was wrong, we’ll see.
If I was Ron or Julie, I think I’d have stuck with the Lesu 3 like they did. With still nine people in the game, that’s an easy unit to still keep a target on. If The Wardog left, Kelley and Lauren would have likely went after Ron and Julie, and for as fractured as Kama was, they could’ve gotten enough votes. Everything David said about The Wardog was right, though, so Ron and Julie would be wise not to get too cozy on The Wardog wagon.
I went into this season expecting David to be doomed to be a pre-merger, so him surviving 5 of those tribal councils and an additional 3 after the merge is absolutely astounding. To be clear, that’s not because I thought he was the weakest player of the returnees — quite the contrary, actually. I thought there would be little room for David to talk himself out any corners given his reputation, but he ended up proving even more why he’s such a pro at this game. David’s finally been recognized as a threat in challenges (a label none of us would have believed after the Millennials vs. Gen X premiere), so depending on the challenge, he may be able to win his way back into the game. However, I can’t see David winning his way to the final three, which is what he’d have to do to get there, so I think this is essentially the end of the road for our favorite David turned Goliath ( ... until the next time he plays).
ENDANGERED BUT NOT EXTINCT
NO REEM THIS WEEK AGAIN?? WHAT THE FUCK?!
It’s official that there are too many people on the Edge of Extinction when Reem’s had two under-the-radar weeks in a row.
Maybe this is just her Edgic cooldown.
More messages in bottles were bestowed upon the Edgees which included enough of a clue to get them up on their feet but with vague enough instructions to have them running around in circles like Rupert Boneham on the streets of Tokyo.
You’re about 5,000 miles too South, Team Tie-Dye.
David solved the clue first and found an advantage, but not for him — instead, another for someone in the game which at this point has become beyond bullshit. Obviously, he was going to give it to Rick which meant Rick would be receiving an advantage in the immunity challenge. NEWS FLASH — Rick has gotten way too much outside help from now this advantage, the idol in his bag, and the entire existence of the Edge of Extinction. Is this Rick Devens or Rick Driebergen?
Don’t worry, guys. That photo’s only a product of Photoshop (for now…)
IMMUNITY – BALLS ON THE MOVE
While the advantage was a huge help, Rick was one of the leaders in this challenge anyway, so I’m not sure he would’ve lost without David’s assistance — it may have just taken him longer to finish. The only other two coming close were Aurora and Ron, but still, that advantage made the challenge anticlimactic for me.
The bigger crime was that because this wasn’t an endurance challenge, I couldn’t make fun of The Wardog for falling out first. However, The Wardog’s balls were the first we saw drop ( ... ) so I’m going to count that.
Don’t be embarrassed, Wardog. The dropping of balls is a natural part of every man’s life.
GOTTA BE STEALTH
The vote seemed like a foregone conclusion for Aurora at this point, but OH SURE NOOOOOWWW The Wardog makes an eleventh-hour GAME CHANGER decision. Time to take out Kelley Wentworth.
But Kelley had an idol! She’d be safe. Nothing to worry about, Ryan.
The Wardog easily had Aurora, Victoria, and Rick who were already on the bottom, so The Wardog just needed one more vote to make it a majority against Kelley. That last vote would be Ron, a.k.a. The Wannabe Wardog.
That’s a great “Wardog,” Ron!
Ron was almost back in his old puppetmaster position if it weren’t already for The Wardog completely calling the shot on this one. Giving him even more control of the strings, Aurora gave Ron her extra vote as a sign of trust and a promise to use it together if he kept her safe. Now, this kind of promise to Ron was a smart move on Aurora’s part given her limited options, but why didn’t she hold on to the extra vote until after she stayed? Ron’s mind went instantly to a “dark place” as anyone’s would, asking himself if he should just vote out Aurora and hold on to her extra vote without anyone else knowing he had it. Aurora gave way too much power to Ron here, and lucky for her, he decided not to abuse it.
The only names on the table were Kelley and Aurora, and Kelley definitely wasn’t going to go the same way as Aubry, with an idol in her pocket. She’s Wentworth! Idoling people out is what she’s known for — “she’ll be fine,” I kept reassuring myself.
BLOOD OF A BLINDSIDE
Much like Aubry’s swan song, this one was very somber. I just got done saying that I liked the last tribal council for being so open, but we were back to the old game of lies and misleads before this vote. The only questions that needed answering were whether The Wardog and Ron would flip on Kelley and if she’d play her idol.
I can’t believe she didn’t play it, but I also can. When you’ve played the game so close to someone for 27 days, I’d imagine it’s easy to believe they wouldn’t flip after that amount of time, especially if doing so ... may hurt their game? I think The Wardog got a little too bloodthirsty, which is something Kelley didn’t expect, at least this early. Maybe around Day 35 or 36, but not nearly ten days sooner when there was still plenty of Kama to still take down. That effing bastard Wardog.
This one sucked more balls than The Wardog can drop, knowing what otherwise could have been an epic idol blindside for Kelley. As soon as she found that idol on Lesu, the majority of my weeks have been spent wishing for another “Wentworth — does not count” episode and now we’ll never get it (unless she makes it back into the game and gets an idol in her bag like Rick did). Kelley was just okay for me in San Juan Del Sur, and I had too many other favorites in Second Chance to be fully aboard the Wentworth wagon, but it’s safe to say I’ve got my ass glued to it now. Kelley has brought so much energy to this season and, more importantly, a shitload of sass, snarkiness, and savagery. This was her coming alive season for me (I know, I said I was late), but now I’m inclined to go back to 31 and appreciate all that I wasn’t paying close attention to the first, er, second time.
Like David, and I suppose anyone else on the Edge of Extinction, Kelley would have a huge uphill battle coming back into the game, but as a returnee she’d have it harder than the rest. To be honest, I think I’m rooting for her to do it, if only so she can get at least 2 more votes and move ahead of Andrea in the all-time Votes Against the Player rankings considering she’s also voided the most votes cast — right, Jeff?
NEXT TIME ON SURVIVOR...
Could this be our final three? The others all seem a little too separated while The Wardog, Ron, and Rick came together pretty solidly this episode. I’m now hoping for some sort of Lauren revenge (or avenge) tour, ending with her triumphantly shouting “THIS IS FOR WENTWORTH!” as she plays her idol and casts the sole vote that eliminates The Wardog. I still love The Wardog, but I also love blindsides and poetic justice. “Lauren ... does not count” also has a nice ring to it.
The Wardog – I can’t imagine anyone not giving their “player of the week” award to The Wardog after this episode that was essentially The Wardog hour. We’ve seen The Wardog orchestrate plenty of votes pre-merge, but The Wardog has had to play a little like Sandra post-merge, settling on votes using the “______ logic” of, “as long as it ain’t me.” The Wardog was able to mastermind two more votes this week, and while I think the David one was fine, I’m not so sure The Wardog won’t be regretting the Wentworth one.
With both The Wright and The Wentworth out, The Wardog’s far and away the biggest target left in the game. That’s seven entire people, eight if the Edge of Extinction returnee isn’t already among them, that will have to be duped to let the dog get to the final three. The Wardog had to have recognized that The Wardog would be viewed this way, so I wonder if there was a tighter alliance behind the scenes this week (perhaps the one we saw form in the preview with Ron and Rick). The Wardog wouldn’t have blown up a final three for any deal less than that — I’m confident plenty of calculation went into the Kelley blindside.
I’m excited to see where The Wardog goes from here, whether it’s a success or a failure. The Wardog is set up now as the one to beat, and that’s mostly The Wardog’s own doing. This either ends in a bloody blindside right back or The Wardog winning it all. Like I said, either way is exciting for me. The Wardog has been one of the best players and characters this season in my eyes and deserves a big ending.
Would the biggest ending be Kelley winning her way back in and voting out The Wardog?
Aurora – I’d feel wrong not mentioning anything about The Aurordog here. I wish a lot more of Aurora’s personal story was told this season as she seems like an extremely fun, fascinating, and feisty chick. She’s not only had to fight her way from the bottom in the game, but we learned this week her life before Survivor was no Goliath tale either. That may have been the most significant (only?) character development of the night. I love a good underdog and with Kelley out, I’d also love if Aurora could take over as the resident badass in the looks department at tribal council.
It was The Wardog who spoke about stealth, but Aurora was the realest ninja.
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