I literally spent the entire night with a big scowl on my face (bigger than my constant average-sized scowl) assuming all of the story and strategy would mean nothing in the end when someone was sent to the jury by Do or Die. I was relieved I was wrong, but the night could have been better without that looming threat altogether. Two twists we saw in play this week have failed twice now since they stepped out into the Survivor scene, and I hope for that reason (among others) we never see the them again. Sure, they made for a memorable tribal council, but as we also saw, the final seven vote can be exciting enough if just left the hell alone.
With “King Hai” decapitated, Mike said the “peasants” had executed the biggest blindside of the season. I was waiting for Omar to come in to take credit for this after what we saw last week, but the show seemed to let Mike claim it as his move which maybe earns him some points back after Omar played him last week.
Romeo also felt great about this vote, saying it’s something he wanted even though he was the only person who voted with Hai. Yeah, real “nemeses,” those two. “Where art thou Romeo” is where I worried he’d be after the merge, completely lost in the shuffle. While his under the radar game is an intentional strategy, he’s unintentionally fallen too far to be a contender in this still. No one thinks he’s doing anything and whether that’s true or not, that’s probably what the jury sees.
It’s a fine line to balance between playing too big and being a threat and playing too small and being a goat, but Romeo’s gone the latter way and I fear he may be the new 0-vote finalist if he stays on this trajectory. He could end up at FTC looking like he does in that screenshot above^
TOPS AND BOTTOMS
After Maryanne cleared the camp out with her counting of toenails lost over the span of her life, the “tops” solidified themselves on the beach while the “bottoms” were left to secretly sneak a few more scoops of rice for themselves.
There was talk of bringing “the best” or “the strongest” to the end, and I’m glad that this entire conversation turned out to be bullshit. I hate when players talk about wanting to go up against the best in the end – NO! You beat the best by voting them out. You don’t get any bonus money by bringing a stronger player to the end, so what’s the point? All you do is risk losing money.
Maryanne and Romeo being on the bottom may still benefit from the tops targeting each other, as it was cemented that this “final five” was a façade and its target of Romeo was just a rouse when Mike confirmed his true target was Drea, and later her target would be Mike. Mike, in fact, was getting a little hot-headed and was called out by Omar for becoming “the new Hai” with his behavior. Omar followed by saying he no longer trusted anything Mike said which initially had me worried that Mike’s head would be next to find itself in that gilla-TEEN.
Also living a near-death experience was the guy who burns 2000 calories a day by doing nothing – Jonathan. Now, that statement about how many calories Jonathan burns was a little dramatic (can we get a scientist to confirm?), but I do realize that someone of his size and low body fat is going to start losing muscle sooner than your average person who will lose fat first. I just think it’s a little silly for someone on Survivor to complain that their suffering is so much worse than everyone else’s. Like, oh no, the guy who drinks six gallons of milk a day and eats a horse every morning is going hungry!
Let me play him a sad song on the world’s smallest violin…
At least Jonathan can eat something on the island. We learned this week that Drea’s allergic to coconut which had me more concerned about her Survivor diet than Jonathan’s. This couple of hangry people got into a bit of spat when setting up the fishing net, and even the tiniest of tiffs can be a reason to vote someone out, so Jonathan was worried that after holding his tongue “so much” – sure, Jon – the whole game, this would be what finally would turn him into a Drea’s. Nothing else at all…
^me looking for a fuck to give about no one noticing how hard Jonathan has had it out here.
IMMUNITY – BATTLE ROYALE
Not to kick Lindsay while she was down, but her labeling this 1 vs. 1 as a “battle royale” didn’t exactly trick me into getting excited for it. I believe there has to be 100 competitors, minimum, to be considered such — isn’t that what NBC’s doing with their upcoming show Million Dollar Island?
It was another rinse and repeat of 41, as suspected, only this time all but two people sat out to avoid letting their fate be decided by a mystery game. Lindsay was probably thinking that surely one other person would help her take on Jonathan, and had that happened, I’m sure she’d have still finished in 2nd place, but unfortunately with the way the rocks were revealed, 2nd place was last place which meant a date with Do or Die.
Jeff tried to tease this like an “advantage” opportunity for an underdog to win safety, but I will never buy Do or Die as a chance to win — only a chance to lose. If we ever see this stupid shit again, it’ll be too soon. It hasn’t destroyed anyone’s game yet, so please let’s just quit while we’re ahead. Do or Die isn’t fun — it’s just frustrating, and it sucks all the fun out of the episode when knowing all the drama could be deemed irrelevant by the end of the night. The pre-tribal scramble was chaos this week, yet I couldn’t help but be bored by it only because this twist was in play. I don’t like watching an hour of TV knowing the end could make everything we just watched a wash.
NOT OUT OF THE GAME YET
The writing felt on the wall to me which I suppose could present the argument that the show pulled off a surprise, but the end doesn’t always justify the means for me. Lindsay has probably had the quietest edit of the final seven players, and it’s usually the person with the least emotional investment from the audience who gets screwed by a twist so that the casuals don’t combust (I’m slightly nervous about that if Jonathan makes it to the end and inevitably loses). Lindsay finally shared more of her backstory this episode, building up her character, which only further solidified to me that Do or Die was not going to go in her favor.
Still, there was a chance Lindsay’s game wasn’t over, but she couldn’t do anything about it, and neither could anyone else, but they had to plan for the possibility that there would still be a vote at tribal council. Drea gave me her signature malicious laugh at the hope of Lindsay going home so that her amulet could turn into an idol, but her backup in the event that Lindsay was lucky was Romeo. What was Romeo’s plan? Keep doing what he does best:
It suddenly came out that Drea was actually who everyone was most afraid of to go up against in the end, the “great, badass woman” that she is, so “Mike’s” plan to move on Drea moved forward. Once again, though, Omar and his “options” couldn’t agree with the group as the “smarter” side of his brain said Mike was the bigger threat. To be fair, I think both are perceived as bigger threats than Omar right now, so he should get rid of both, but the bigger immediate one was Drea.
Drea observed that Omar was acting funny, interrupting his prayers to scurry off with Mike into the jungle, so she sensed something was up.
What happened next would be Drea’s downfall. In an attempt to, I don’t know, win back Omar’s favor(?) she confided in him her Knowledge is Power advantage, and in doing so gave up all that power by sharing its knowledge. Ironyyyyyyy!
This set wheels further spinning in Omar’s head about how to optimize this situation, but the Big Move™ of the night was actually Lindsay’s. I know, we all heard Omar talk about how great it would be to both flush Drea’s advantage and take Mike’s idol away from him, but this idea came first from Lindsay’s lips. Omar was important because he was the only one Mike would maybe give his idol to, but I don’t know if any of this would have gone down without Lindsay. Omar was happy to let Drea steal Mike’s idol and vote him out, but then Drea would have an idol. Lindsay’s plan would leave both Drea and Mike idol-less, at which point Omar and Lindsay could decide who’d be the next to go.
It was up to Omar then to inform Mike of Drea’s power or keep the knowledge to himself and let Mike be made the fool. There was a big chance for this to result in a big blow-up at tribal council, but as Omar reminded us, “none of this may matter” since Do or Die could’ve cut off any of the chaos before it ensued – the ultimate wet blanket.
Wet with my tears T_T
WINKS AND NODS
Ugh, Drea, why did you not observe what happens anytime anyone shares a secret on Survivor? It gets shared again! This tribal council was never going to end in a happy way for me. Either Lindsay would leave for no strategic or social fault of her own, or Drea and Mike – two great players I’d support winning – would be expelled over the exchange of an idol. For Lindsay, no amount of winking or nodding that day could’ve saved her, so I didn’t really care about all the talk at tribal and just wanted to know on a scale of 1 to Debbie how PISSED I was about to be.
Both times the Monty Hall problem has been presented with this twist, the test has been failed, yet that resulted in success. It reminds me of the whole premise of the almost-merge the last two seasons: “Hey remember how you lost? Just kidding, you won!” Are they some kind of trick boxes where if Jeff opens them a certain way, a specific symbol is shown? I’d be more okay with that than the twist actually sending someone home, but seeing this happen twice now makes me wonder. Hai, being a data scientist, knew what should have happened, so he was more shocked than anyone when it didn’t.
Almost as shocking as the outcome was also Hai’s new jury appearance. When we first saw him, I thought Hai had smashed an hourglass and turned back time to when he was a pre-teen. It’s amazing how much of a baby face one can have after shaving their beard!
Always ask to see a guy with and without facial hair before committing to anything long-term – just sayin’. (Hai no worries, you’re good either way)
With Lindsay safe, it meant Drea had to play the rest of her advantages as her own form of “do or die.” The moment came where she tried to claim Mike’s idol but was … denied. He ended up handing over his idol much like Xander did to Tiffany in order to nullify Drea’s advantage. While Drea seemed as doomed as she was dumbfounded, there was still a chance that Omar could have been playing both Mike and Drea, so I wasn’t 100% certain it would be Drea. However, that’s what it ended up being – Romeo, of course, voting opposite of the majority — and in one of the wildest exits ever, Drea becomes the first Survivor, I believe, to co-snuff her own torch.
This was almost a complete flip in character for Drea and I loved it. She’s so competitive and focused that I’m guessing it was probably hard for her to just relax and have fun throughout the game. In these last moments, once the game was effectively over for her, the flood gates opened and we got a big wave of “fun Drea.” It was a rare exit indeed, and I have to say that while I prefer the angry ones, I like Drea a lot and I’ve appreciated her dry humor during the seasons, so I was glad to see this other (wet?) humor from her. A “badass woman” to the end and one I’d definitely like to see play again.
NEXT TIME ON SURVIVOR…
Oh my god, someone finally saying Omar’s name??? Did Drea’s words have a real impact? The fact that it’s in the preview means he’s 99% not going anywhere, but that would be quite the big pre-finale surprise. According to Jonathan, Taku’s going to break up now that they have the majority they’ve always wanted, but this vote’s going to be a shitshow. There are 6 left in the game with 3 idols and 1 immunity up for grabs which means there are likely only 2 people who can actually leave (assuming idols aren’t held onto until 5). I’m interested to see if Omar is quick to give Mike back his idol, or if withholding it is what makes Mike announce, “Omar’s next!” Lindsay and Maryanne have idols, so I’m guessing they’re safe. Jonathan may be going on an immunity run per ominous words the other week about it being possibly the tribe’s last chance to get him out, so after Omar and Mike have a fight over an idol, I’ll say one of them goes, and whichever of the two stays I’ll say goes on to win it all? And poor Romeo will vote the wrong way again.
Lindsay — The defier of Do or Die and the instigator of the Knowledge is Powerless twist, Lindsay was a huge presence this week. I really thought at every single turn she was being set up to be screwed, but I’m ecstatic she didn’t go home in the dumbest way imaginable. Looking at Lindsay’s competitors, if she can get rid of both Mike and Omar, she has a strong chance to win, but her edit’s still lacking. Jeff made a point to call out that Deshawn made it to the end after overcoming Do or Die, so will history repeat itself? If so, then my new final three guess would be Lindsay, Romeo, and [the winner]. Last week I said Mike and Omar would be with her, but I think it’s evident now that neither will willingly go to the end with the other, but whoever comes out on top of that tussle will likely come out on top of the game. I hope Lindsay gets a respectable second, at least, if that’s the case. That said, I see her social game and notice how she’s never been a real target, she has solid relationships with everyone, and we’ve seen her involved in important strategy. She’d make a fine winner too, just a more surprising one (and another that would have me shouting, “WHY?” over her weak edit).
Mike — Boy better simmer down and not get too cocky now that he’s been severed from the strings. This week restored some stock in Mike with getting more credit than I thought he would for the Hai boot as well as being the main driver of the Drea decision. Drea also called him out as the winner as she walked off which Mike said was the “kiss of death” but I’m still holding out hope for Hoboken. He’s played a strong game and I don’t want to see him have it all fall apart so close to the end, so he needs to heed his own advice from tribal and “just relax.” People are going to get crazy trying to get one last big move on their resume before the end, but I think Mike’s done enough already to be respected by the jury, so he should just take a nap.
He’s 116. I’m sure he could use one.
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