First, here are a few random observtions after finishing my Episode 2 rewatch.
I'm a continuity freak, so there are some things I look for to identify editing tricks. Last episode, Drew's hands were very cut up and bruised. So if we see him in confessional with healed hands,we'll know that confessional was filmed long after day 5. Austin's knees are pretty chopped up too.
When Bruce 'won" the chance to take a journey, Kendra held up a high five above her head, and Bruce totally missed it (little things like that make me giggle)
When Brando put on his buff to hold up his boobs, at first it was right side up. But in the next shot, it was upside down
During the Immunity Challenge, Kaleb crossed the balance beam, but left his key floating behind him. He had to go back to get it, which no doubt put Lulu even further behind, but we didn't see that part.
The two sitout benches were very close together, which may have inhibited Katurah and Sifu from searching for an Advantage. Or, it could have encouraged them to search together.
After the Reba tribe barely beat Belo for Immunity, Bruce flashed a "kick 'em while they're down," unsportsmanlike glare at Lulu before he jumped into the water. He was the last to jump in. What was that about?
There aren't many things I'm looking for in this week's episode, but I will say I don't think Lulu will be going to Tribal Council. All 4 remaining Lulu members have done fairly well in challenges. Sifu and Katurah both have to compete since they sat out last week. Belo and Reba will have to sit out two players, so it could be interesting to see if they plan ahead when choosing who sits, knowing they can't sit out of the next Challenge. Way back in the olden days, when players knew there'd be Reward Challenges, this was easier to plan around. But this season's players might not know what challenge is coming next.
And away we go ....
I didn't miss Probst's voice on the "Previously on" recap. I think I like that. Listening to Katurah was much more entertaining.
Booting Brandon was probably the smarter move, but Sabiyah should still see Emily as a landmine. I think Sean said it best: "Emily will turn on you in a heartbeat."
Emily: "Jeff read only 2 votes." Emily didn't know Sabiyah lost her vote, but calling it out in front of everyone is a bad move. She can't stop herself from blurting out information that can come back to haunt her. Even though she was right, she just publicized a reason for Sabiyah NOT to trust her long term. People want to keep partners who they can fool, at least that what I think they should be doing. If your partners can see through your lies, that gives them an edge over you.
Kaleb put it perfectly: "Emily just picked a fight with the one person she's not supposed to pick a fight with. The old Emily is not gone."
Jake falling like that over the fire reminded me of Michael Skupin in The Australian Outback. Let's hope that's the only thing he does that reminds anyone about Skupin. Note to future players: DON'T inhale large quantities of smoke.
Kendra: "I'm a wild creature out here." Kendra, please read what I just wrote about Emily sharing too much info. Telling Jake she targeted him because he's a lawyer just helped Jake realize how the tribe perceives him. Now he can change that perception.
Austin's knees still look pretty chewed up in his confessional. On the other hand, Dee's arms and legs don't have any scars at all in her very green-screened confessional.
Dee and Julie suspect Austin and Drew are close because they spend a lot of time alone ... as the two of them are spending time alone.
Drew's hands look pretty healed in this confessional on the sand, but they were still pretty bruised in his previous confessional.
Dee's BS meter reminds me of Sandra's BS meter. Sandra's is the best in Survivor history. She's the only one who saw through Jonny Fairplay's "Dead Grandma" lie. But while Dee immediately confronted the guys, Sandra didn't initially confront Fairplay. She tried to turn the rest of the tribe against Fairplay first.
Napoleon Dynamite for sure.
A challenge only 15 minutes in? Its got to be for Reward.
Probst: "Are you ready to get to today's Reward Challenge?" There is an echo in here.
I remember this challenge. Michele was horrible at catching the ball, and cried. Then in Survivor 41, Heather also suffered through it, but didn't cry. I'm gonna guess Katurah will have a tough time with this one (but I don't make predictions).
Belo sits out Bruce and Jake, so they'll be in the Immunity Challenge. Same goes for J. Maya and Drew. This decision is more interesting when there are only Immunity Challenges.
There goes Kaleb ... eager to wear the "Challenge Beast" title. And Austin is right behind him. Probst: "Austin, making it look easy." Funny how Probst didn't mention how Austin ran back to his team's mat with his ball, then had to go back and put the ball in the bin. I don't think he'd miss that if one if a woman made that mistake.
Probst: "Katurah drops, she's gotta go again." Hmm...
Probst: "Dee is rippin' it up!" Probst can't say I'm not being fair.
I know its a tough call, especially when you have no food or flint, but I still say its a bad move to kill it in a Reward Challenge. Kaleb and Austin taking these spotlight roles just raised their threat levels.
And Kaleb makes it worse by volunteering to visit another camp. I say always stay with the majority. When you leave, you give the others a chance to plot against you.
Kaleb has to give a "Goodwill Advantage" to someone?" I see that as bad for Kaleb He's already gonna be under suspicion. And now somebody is gonna be able to confirm this for others.
What if Kaleb chose to go to Belo? Nobody has lost their vote in that camp yet?
If I ever play Survivor (I won't), fruit rewards would be worthless to me because I'm allergic to most fresh fruits.
Drew: "I knew it would be Kaleb because Kaleb is running that tribe." I like to say a player is identified as a "leader" when another player makes a statement like this to other players. Drew says this in confessional, but I don't think its a stretch to say he has shared his opinion with other Reba members.
Ok, this is the second time I've seen Kaleb with a leaf stuck in his hair. Does that leaf give him power like Wendell's toothpicks in Ghost Island.
Kaleb takes the fishing kit. No-brainer there, but then he asks for individual chats with everyone? That target on Kaleb's back is getting bigger with every word.
Napoleon immediately tells Kaleb he's got "Safety Without Power." Its hard for me to see why volunteering this info is a smart move. He just gave up something without trying to get anything in return.
But he gets lucky when Kaleb gives him the "Goodwill Advantage."
If I'm Kaleb, since I have to give that Advantage to somebody, I think I'd just announce that before meeting alone with everyone. It might remove a little suspicion from me since all the Reba members would start eyeing each other wondering who got it.
I don't know what I think about this "Goodwill Advantage," but Drew telling his partners about it without also telling them Austin doesn't have a vote seems like its bound to blow up in his face.
Sabiyah: "I know I can't sit with Kaleb at the end. Kaleb's a beast." And just like that Sabiyah and Sean are talking about booting "Challenge Beast" Kaleb.
Sabiyah and Sean sharing their plan with Emily could blow up in their faces. Emily can warn Kaleb - especially if a swap happens.
Kaleb now has more than half the players talking about what a good social player he is. He doesn't appear to know he's creating and enhancing a reason to want him gone.
Kendra to the women: "I bonded with Jake .... People are gonna love him (Bruce) or hate him." If they hate Bruce, that's a reason to keep him around.
Katurah taking dead aim at Bruce is another example that disproves the myth that says minority players are always natural partners.
Kellie is playing the middle well, but she should be making a damage control plan for appeasing whoever she betrays. What if she gets swapped with Bruce and Jake? We didn't see Brando saying much in this sequence, but he was smart to spend time with the guys.
Drew and Austin telling Julie and Dee about their Idol clue AFTER they got caught digging could easily backfire on them too. Sometimes you lose trust when someone learns you shared your information with someone else first.
Dee: "They wouldn't have told us if we didn't catch Drew." Yeah, Dee is channeling Queen Sandra.
Dee finds the Idol clue on a rope. I say hide the rope.
Dee hides the rope. Good job, girl! This Dee/Julie relationship is starting to remind of of the Erika/Heather bond from 41.
Why is everybody excluding J. Maya? I'd REALLY like to know. Is she annoying? Is she a loner? Is she spending too much time harmonizing with uber-sketchy Sifu?
This conditional Idol is confusing. It almost forces the Idol holder to tell people about it. Four people knowing about an Idol is a recipe for disaster for Austin, especially if there's a swap.
This could be meaningless, but Austin's note said "The power of this Idol will extend until all players are on the same beach together." It did NOT say the word "merge."
Just in case this season sees 10 more Idols appearing and/or disappearing, this is what Austin's Idol looks like.
With all this information sharing - forced and unforced - it's hard for me to believe there won't be some kind of swap. If that happens, it means even more people will know about Austin's Idol.
I remember this challenge. They used part of it in Cagayan. Garrett killed his tribe's chances when he didn't put his wheel back on the cart correctly (it fell off). Then he spilled puzzle pieces all over the course. But J'Tia got the blame for the loss. J'Tia played a pretty bad game, but she doesn't deserve the blame for that Immunity loss. She and Kass barely got to start on the puzzle because of Garrett.
Austin is killing it in the spotlight roles again ...
... but its Emily, Kendra and J.Maya taking the biggest spotlight roles as callers.
Bruce is giving orders like a typical alpha male.
There sure are a lot of shots of Emily looking defeated. Are we supposed to think she has given up? Lulu is in the middle, which means she could peek at Reba's completed puzzle to catch up to Belo, but it doesn't appear she thought of that.
I didn't see another Lulu loss coming. Everyone seems to be listening to Sabiyah, but she's a sitting duck because she doesn't have a vote. Have Kaleb and Sean had private chats? If they haven't, now is a good time to start.
Sabiyah - "Tell Emily you're voting for me." I understand the strategy, but you should NEVER serve up your own name. I call this the Ciera Eastin rule.
But I like Sabiyah's idea of telling Emily about throwing the wax Idol in the fire. She's come up with a plausible way to get her Idol. She might need it sooner than she thinks.
Emily goes straight to Kaleb and asks him to vote for Sabiyah. That landmine has been armed and buried now.
Kaleb - "I haven't made a decision yet." That's why you should have talked with Sean.
I love how Sabiyah covered her tracks with the Idol. Nobody is suspicious enough of her to stop her efforts to get an Idol. She could easily play it tonight. Sean even helps her cool it off. What if its a conditional Idol, and she can't use it tonight? Sabiyah could be booted. If that happens, can anybody else grab that Idol?
Tough decision for Sabiyah. My mind is racing too fast to think of all the possibilities, but I think she should vote.
Sabiyah is gone, and an Idol is dead. The landmine exploded, and she joins the long list of players blindsided while holding an Idol. She gave Emily all the information she needed to flip the vote. Props to Emily, but she really didn't have another choice, did she? This sucks for Sean, though.
And sure enough, there's a swap next week. Bruce and Jake have yellow buffs now.
I don't know what to make of Emily. After episode 1, I listed her as a candidate for my "Worst players" list, but she has found a way to stick around so far. On the surface, this move to flip the vote on Sabayiah seems impressive. But after further review, I think Emily backed herself into a corner that left her with only one viable voting option for at least two straight votes. She had to vote for Brandon both times. And at this vote, she only had a choice between Kaleb and Sabiyah. And either way, she alienates Sean.
Is it fair to say Emily saved herself when she created the dilemma that necessitated the save in the first place? To use a basketball analogy, if you hit the game winning shot, should you be praised if your 15 turnovers created the need for the buzzer beater in the first place?
What do you think? Did Kaleb make the right call? Is saving Emily all but a guarantee that she'll spell his ultimate demise just like she did with Sabiyah? What do you think of these conditional Idols? Does Dee remind you of Sandra and Erika too? Does that mean she's destined to win this season? Will anybody this season learn how to keep a secret? Let me know in the comments.