Welcome back Kotter...I mean Aruba. I'm sorry you had to deal with Zeus. I keep telling you that Aphrodite would be more fun...
Before I get to my list I must echo Michaela's words: "You didn't do this right Jeff."
The swap and its timing showed the sexism of this show. There were men in trouble on both tribes but a swap fixed all that for them and, to make sure they wouldn't fall back into trouble we saw that Jeff had one basket for the men and one for the women so it was pre-determined that all tribes would have three men while only one of them would have an equal number of women.
If that wasn’t pernicious enough, consider that the tribes have to account for 4 cycles before the merger so they had to think of winning challenges. Looking at the three tribes, I say there was nearly a 90% chance (8 out of 9 actually) of seeing a woman voted out in episode 5. Vanua was always going to vote between Michelle and Cece, Ikabula would have voted out Sunday while only Takali could have seen Taylor leave but Jessica and Figgy would have been just as much if not more in danger than him.
At least they didn’t push the affront by exiling one woman until the next TC like they did last season because that would have been an even bigger incentive for the men to stick together to avoid seeing the women suddenly finding themselves with a numerical advantage.
Another thing that wasn’t right about the switch was having a tribe going to a deserted beach. Ikabula should have received a minimum of supplies but production doesn’t care because casual viewers see dehydration and famine as great TV. What will happen if someone actually dies? With Africa counting as one of my favorite seasons, I’m all for tough conditions but the first iteration of Survivor in Fiji showed that the tribes have to be treated fairly. The players’ safety should be of great concern.
Enough with this editorial and on to the list:
These Players shared their personal story and are playing a good game:
1- Michaela: While we haven't seen her strategic capabilities much yet we had another proof that this woman has game. She handled those free throws like a WNBA star and her determination in starting a player was a marvelous television moment. Bret had just said that Gen X are known for not giving up but everyone but her had already given up. She said no one in her family has achieved success but I hope she will and that the whole cast will applaud her when Jeff announces the Sole Survivor just like the ones that were in Ikabula did when she returned from the jungle after her emotional moment. Also, I have to say that she became my new hero when she said she wanted to flip off Jeff!
As for Aruba's comments, I marvel at the triple dose of Godwin's law Not only did he hit me with Hitler but he added Saddam and Osama for good measure. Why not Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan while you're at it.
Do you want to know why I laugh at your penchant for proactivity? It's mostly because you use the term inexactly.
Proactivity doesn't simply mean making a big positive effort it means: Being anticipitory, Acting in advance to deal with an expected difficulty.
Lucy felt that Jessica would be a problem so she acted in advance to get rid of the problem. It would have worked also because the majority of the tribe followed her lead. Players rarely put out optimum effort to win a challenge before the challenge starts! And as Jay explained, he would have acted proactively by LOSING that challenge. He would have been able to vote out a Gen X-er immediately, avoiding having to deal with their numbers in the future.
2- Ken: I was surprised to see Jessica tell him about her advantage and its rules. It gives him an incentive to vote her out but will he be smart enough to use the perfect alibi that the swap provides? The fact that people went to him doesn't change the fact that he is asocial. How else do you define someone who goes off the grid for 4 years? He's been mostly able to hide his darker sides up to now but it may show up before long. I'm surprised you didn't note the hypocrisy he showed when he said he didn't like being told what to do. The first thing he did was tell David what he had to do. I think Takali's second place finish had much more to do with David's ineptitude than Ken's effort.
3- Adam: : We heard about his personal drama and we saw that he didn’t let the first vote bring him down. The switch put him in a great position but will he seize the opportunity? He doesn’t seem to have decided yet and hesitations are often fatal in this game. Ken thinks he's a fantastic guy but he could have more success moving forward with goats like Figgy and Taylor.
4- Figgy: : The importance given to her relationship with Taylor could simply be to fill some airtime in much the same way Tai and Caleb’s friendship was featured on the Beauty tribe. This season’s romance certainly doesn’t have the same appeal as the connection between the Asian Gardener and the country boy but I think it will take Figgy just as far as it took Tai. Unlike Taylor, that romance isn’t her only dimension. She realized how it can hurt her and she took action to avoid danger. In other words, she has the ability to look ahead and see how the others think. Maybe it will be true: “Those who write Figgy’s name go home.” I laughed out loud when Figgy asked if Takali had goats! From home I had the perfect answer: "Takali used to have two goats named David and Cece but they were swapped for Figgy and Taylor!"
These Players have game but no personal story
5- Michelle: First, I have to share a fun piece of information with you, Aruba. Just before this season started I embarked in a Survivor on line game and when it ended two week ago, we all found out that Michelle was one of the participants! I was even in an alliance with her. Her social game was weak and this episode reminded me of that. Earlier, Michelle had played a good game but she almost got herself voted out this week. She stayed in the game only because Chris wanted to work with the Millennials. Once she saw that Cece wasn’t willing to play the game with her, she should have told David that she only mentioned his name to throw Cece off the scent but she persisted and tossed his name out there during Tribal Council. That wasn't very smart.
6- Chris: We know he’s an attorney and now that he’s told us about his football playing days, his personal story isn’t completely neglected but it’s more like reading a bio than learning about the man and what makes him tick. All his confessionals are about his game and how he wants to take control, get revenge, see if he can trust David despite being blindsided twice.
Some have a story but no game
7- Jay: His game isn’t totally ignored but it is reduced to its simplest expression. He finds himself in a great position after the swap but he simply sees it as a way to coast to the merger. That makes us realize that Jay’s story is only about being different than the Gen X-ers. He won’t work with them and he doesn’t really like them. How will he get their votes if he makes it to the end? His confidence could hurt him and we might see him fall victim to the Gen X-ers before the end.
8- Zeke: : The switch forced him to talk about his position in the game but even that was reduced to his Oklahoma connection to Chris. He didn’t scheme with Chris, he became his fan. He doesn’t trust Michelle but when Chris mentioned that he wanted to save her, we didn’t hear how Zeke felt about that decision and we don’t even see him talk to Michelle to see if he should save her. He’s a great character though so he could go far but he’s not really part of the game.
9- Taylor: : The free-spirited young man is in love and he doesn’t care how it affects his game. He just wants to be with Figgy and the rest doesn’t matter.
Some have no story and no game
10- Hannah: The best to look at??? Now we have proof that Aruba writes some stuff just because he thinks it will annoy me but even she called Figgy beautiful so enough said... As for my impressions, Hannah had a promising start but she has faded into the background and we realize that we haven’t learned much from her and even less about her plans. She's mostly used for comic relief.
11- Bret: : We heard more from him in this episode but it was only circumstantial. Someone from the minority had to say something so the fact that Bret was chosen as the narrator shows he will outlast Sunday but he won’t have much impact after the merger. Despite is bad position we didn't see Bret trying to talk to anyone about strategy or even appearing to be looking for cracks so that tells us he doesn't have game.
12- Will: We heard that he was still in High School but that isn’t enough to qualify as a personal story. He’s just part of the group and, as such, he could last a long time but that will only serve to show that such a young person can outlast many others.
13- Sunday: : It’s almost a given that she would be voted out if Ikabula goes to Tribal Council. There isn’t a conflict between the four Millennials on this tribe so they would keep Bret to help with the challenges. Despite this, we didn't hear from her so that means she's just a figurant.
She has no personal story and is playing a bad game
14- Jessica: : She has made moves but were they really to her advantage? It seems that most have been detrimental to her game. Telling Ken about her legacy advantage could turn into a fatal mistake. As a DA, she should know that many murders are committed by those who stand to inherit.
He has a big annoying story and is playing a bad game
15- David He is simply atrocious in challenges so I don't understand Aruba's love. Let's try to analyze this. He wrote:
"...had Gen-X stayed together--Dave/Ken/Jessica/CeCe would have emerged as the majority alliance making Dave’s idol play a risk worth taking.
That is far from a certainty. With their numbers down another loss would have signaled the end of Cece. Anyway, with only 7 left, I think Ken would have naturally gravitated towards Chris, Bret and Sunday. But even if Aruba is right, an unexpected outcome cannot justify a bad decision. For example, in a poker game, going all in when you have an off-suit 2 and 7 is dumb even if the flop gives you a full house.
Next we had: "Dave the only one with knowledge of the tribal mark on the idol encasement thanks to his earlier proactive play, it gave him a huge advantage to find the idol again...
If production wasn't so lame they would have used another method of hiding the idol. Instead of praising David, Aruba should be upset with production's ineptness. Repeating the joke twice was a huge advantage given to one player, so huge in fact that it borders on rigging the game in his favor.
He also wrote: "As a superfan he knew the idol would be back in play..."
The whole tribe, including CECE knew the idol was back in play. Playing it was giving a chance for his rivals to find it which is dumb.
Finally, once more Aruba misuses the term proactive to applaud David's manic idol search. I will remind him that Sandra also found an idol in Heroes versus Villain so he should applaud her just as much as he does David. But of course, his applause go to the man...
Booted - Cece: A dud? In part yes but production always gives a tribe an easy first boot to give them time to get acclimated. If she had gone first we wouldn't have this discussion and maybe Gen X wouldn't have loss three challenges.