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"Season 33 - Millennials vs Gen X - The Characters and Their Stories: "
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michel2 2037 desperate attention whore postings
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09-17-16, 06:55 PM (EST)
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"Season 33 - Millennials vs Gen X - The Characters and Their Stories: "
How can we understand the story that is being presented when, Jeff, the host and main narrator lies to us? We’ve often had seasons where the eventual winner wasn’t the main focus of the story, Marquesas, Guatemala, Gabon, Samoa and South Pacific come to mind, but looking back we could always see the themes of the season fitting well with the eventual winner.

Looking first at Marquesas, most viewers were disappointed when they realized that Kathy wasn’t going to win. It wasn’t only because of their affection for the Vermonter; it was because the editors presented her as the player of the season, giving her more confessionals than the two finalists combined. We saw that she was respected by her rivals and that she was the season’s strategist. Still, with everyone getting nicknames that season (Cleopatra, McGyver, Johnny pots and pans, the Robfather, Malcolm X, Tinkerbell, the General) and with Sarah attracting immediate disapproval because of her grand entrance, the season’s main theme became: “You can’t stand out if you want to win Survivor.” Evidence of that was seen when Peter was voted out first simply because of his weirdness and when the biggest move of the season, only the fourth bold move in the show’s history, was possible only because the Rotu 4 stood out at the coconut chop challenge. With a theme like that, the winner couldn’t possibly be a huge character and Vee, the one who made a point of staying out of drama and who was never dubbed with a strange nickname, certainly fit the role.

In Guatemala, many were shocked by Danni’s win but by defeating the “axis of evil” she fit the theme of the “fall of the Mayan Empire” which had been ruled with an iron fist by mean Queen Stephenie. Like the Mayans, Stephenie and her right hand man Judd held their rivals under their power, Danni even commenting that she along with Gary and Lydia were being treated like slaves. Also that season there was a theme of “Deserving Players Making it to the End.” We even heard that theme’s corollary: “Returning players already had their chance and didn’t deserve to win”. Under those considerations, Stephenie couldn’t possibly have the winner’s role. And if that wasn’t enough, Danni had a lot of presence:

-She gave us the firs theme of the season when she said that women had more endurance than men.
- We heard from many players that she was awesome.
- Jeff never missed an opportunity to point out Danni’s challenge prowess especially when they came over Stephenie.
- Gary told Rafe she was strong and trustworthy.
- Her birthday party was the focal point of a whole episode.
-We saw that she was the one making the voting decisions in her tribes before the merger.
- She played a big role in the story about Gary’s true identity.

In Gabon, “Earth’s last Eden”, the story centered on “Saints and Sinners”. With Dan’s gluttony, Marcus’ Hubris, Charlie’s lust, Susie’s sloth, Randy’s Greed, Kenny’s Envy and the Wrath we saw from both Corinne and Crystal, it became evident that Sugar, playing the role of Eve, would be the cause of many downfalls. She would also give the game to the only two good guys of the season, Bob and Matt. From the start we heard that everyone liked the “forever boy scout” Bob so even if he played a very minor role in the season’s strategy, his actions fit with the themes of the season.

More recently, Natalie’s winning story in Samoa was presented in contrast to Russell’s aggressive game play. We saw all the feathers that Russell ruffled and we also saw Mick’s feckless type of leadership. Despite the horrible conditions and Foa Foa’s constant defeats we saw Natalie as someone who never complained and always kept hoping for better days. When Galu turned on itself by eliminating Erik, the credit was squarely given to Natalie even if she played a minor role in the vote. Many viewers hated seeing her win but we saw that she played a much better social game than her final opponents.

In South Pacific, while the editors had a lot of difficulty in hiding Sophie’s poor social game, we always heard her point of view on the votes and how the game should unfold. In effect, the season was mostly about “Sophie’s Choices.”

The first theme we encountered in Survivor Kaôh Rông came from Aubry in episode 1: “I think this heat may be one of the biggest factors in this game.” That theme connected directly with all the pre-season promotions telling us we were about to witness the toughest season ever. It found its corollary in episode 4 when Jeff said after Caleb’s evacuation: “It’s as if you have to have suffered to be considered worthy.”

The second main theme we heard was that the game was like a roller coaster ride. Jeff expressed it clearly at the end of episode 9: “Rarely is there a theme as strong as this season and it’s very clear: No matter how bad it seems it doesn’t mean you’re out and no matter how safe you feel, it doesn’t mean you are.” As a corollary, we heard the players saying that “You definitely have to make a move at some point or another in order for your game to be respected.”

Finally we had the Theme of Nerds getting their revenge on the bullying jocks and the popular girls that hung out with them.
What was So Wrong about Kaôh Rông was that Aubry fit the themes that were clearly outlined while Michelle simply didn’t. Her stay in Gondol was like a beach holiday compared to Aubry’s stay in the putrescent, bacteria infested beach of Chan Lo. Michelle didn’t even have to go to Tribal Council before the merger while Aubry was the one always facing danger and losing allies left and right either because of the tough conditions or their unreliability.

With the themes of the story last season, only Cydney or Aubry could be seen as possible winners. The only way Michelle could be seen as winner was because of all the pre-seasons spoilers that pointed to her. So if you want to get a good winner’s pick, you can do like others and search for those spoilers now. I’ll continue to look at the story to find its themes and see which players will have a real impact on the season.

To start, here are my impressions of the players after looking at their presentation videos. Please note that I haven’t read any of Jeff’s comments about these players since even our host likes to play spoilers these days.

We’ll start with the Millenials of Vanua:

Mari Takahashi When I watched the presentation video for this season, it quickly hit me that the underlying theme to this cast is a rehashing of Blue Collars and No Collars. Outside of a couple of lawyers and a writer, the Gen X are all Blue collars while a collar of any color wouldn’t fit on any of the Millennials except for one or two. So, instead of a replay of Nicaragua as the theme suggests, I initially felt like we’d have a make-over of the Worlds Apart season without the mostly boring “White Collars”... I’m not sure that would be an improvement because even if Nicaragua is my least favorite season, Worlds Apart isn’t much better.

That No Collar feeling to the Millennials is evident when you watch Mari’s video. I realized that she should have been cast in place of Nina. At least a chameleon doesn’t complain as much but I started growing tired of her when she mentioned that she will be great TV. We will be the judge of that and I’m certainly not sold on her just yet. How many women have we heard saying they will be great at challenges only to fall flat on their faces? How many have said they wanted to be villains but wind up getting their torch snuffed before they even realize it was time to start playing?

Will Whal: Will certainly doesn’t lack confidence but already it feels like he will be edited as a "Player on a Journey" out to prove that teenagers can play this game. I suspect he will create some blindsides because he doesn’t have a problem with his conscience but then he will still come short of the ultimate goal. It’s interesting that many people talked about religion in the Millennial camp. I expect the subject will pop up at some point. I don't see it reaching the level that we witnessed in So Pathetic because I think the religious types will be in trouble with this group.

Zeke Smith: Obviously, Zeke will be playing for the cameras and the cameras will probably fall in love with his style. Not too many people act like hippos and just roll in the mud! I prefer the less flamboyant type, the quiet assassins but the casting department rarely agrees with me anymore. Hopefully, Zeke will be good for a few laughs but he’ll be too obvious to fool them all the way to the end.

Michaela Bradshaw: Michaela is one of the few Millennial that could qualify as Blue Collar and frankly one of only two women I found interesting in this tribe. I liked the way she described her work ethics. In a sense, she’s more like the Gen Xers than the Millennials! Like many others, she mentioned God in her presentation video but Michaela seems able to separate church and game and that could be to her advantage.

Michelle Shubert: I was enjoying the beginning of Michelle’s video where she said she was somewhat rebellious but that came to a crashing end when she went on to say her rebellion ended 4 years ago. Maybe she should have been cast 5 years ago then. Everything she said after that was meaningless blabber that she rehearsed for the cameras. He may be there for her but He won’t help her, not in this tribe. It could be fun to watch her flirt but I feel her plans will not have time to develop.

Taylor Lee Stocker: Some people will see Taylor as someone who won’t last long but I had the opposite feeling. His drive combined with that smile should get him far. He was one of the four Millennials shown when Paul mentioned that he doesn’t come from the generation that is given a trophy just for participating, the others being Adam, Figgy and Jay. So, either Paul is right and these four are going to crash under the pressures of a true competition or these four will prove that Paul misjudged the new generation. Right now, I’m inclined to think the Millennials will succeed, Taylor being one of the successful ones.

What I liked most about Taylor’s video is that he only talked about himself, not how he was going to be good TV or play the Villain or blindside everyone. Now, if he can go from one alliance to another as easily as he does from job to job, Taylor will be an interesting player to follow.

Adam Klein: It’s easy to like the idealistic Stanford graduate and hope he does well in memory of his mom. Being a manager of a homeless shelter gives Adam an interesting baggage of experience in dealing with all sorts of personalities and that should help him work with the athletes and the nerds on his team. It should make him a member of the main alliance. Adam is another member of Paul’s foursome, the ones we saw when the rock singer mentioned participation trophies so I see him going far into the game. Since his mom’s cancer was part of his introductory video, it could be featured in the opening episode. That would create a strong bond between him and the audience especially if he has more than one confessional over the first few episodes telling us he is playing for his mom. On the other hand, if we don’t have those repetitions then it will lead us to conclude that Adam won’t be as important as I think.

Hannah Shapiro: With her rapid fire speech, her insecurities and her nerdy glasses, I think Hannah would do much better as a stand-up comic than as a Survivor. The nerdy women often attract a lot of supporters who hope they will go far but if there is a designated first boot in this tribe, it could very well be Ms. Shapiro. She could gain friends by being the funny one around camp but I don’t think this tribe will be short on quirky characters. She may have a hard time finding another role to play.

Jessica “Figgy” Figueroa: If I indentified them correctly, Figgy is the only woman that we saw when we heard Paul talk about the “participation trophy” so I think Figgy will go far. Describing herself as an open book, I think Figgy will be seen as honest and that should gain her trust. I don’t really see her winning the game but I’d place her as the last female Millennial standing. I don’t know if she’ll find her showmance that she wants but maybe she’ll be closely aligned to the guy who wins it all. In place of a ring, that should give her the third or fourth place check which isn’t so bad.

Justin Jay Stirrett: Jay is the fourth member of the “Kids that get trophies just for participating” and he had one of the few videos that impressed me. Jay seems charming but ready to play the game even planning on starting arguments between other people to get them eliminated. I will be keeping a close eye on Jay, hoping that he proves to be the expert manipulator he claims. Along with listening to people, investing your time in them is one of the most powerful tools in this game. If he can make them think he loves them then Jay will be golden. Right now, Jay would be my pick to win it all. After all, he already gave us a victory pose!

As for the Gen-X on the Takali tribe, we have:

Brett Labelle : Brett’s a big fan of the show and he wants to use his training as a police officer to detect the liars. He’s already passing judgment on the other players’ appearance which could be a problem if he winds up needing them as allies. I think Brett will soon run into trouble in this game and this policeman will not repeat Tony’s exploits.

Paul Wachter: By saying that he doesn’t come from the era where everyone gets a trophy, Paul addresses the central theme of the season. I’m sure others mentioned the age difference between the players even if they didn’t know yet they would be split along that great divide but since it was Paul’s segment that was chosen both in the season’s presentation video and in Paul’s personal one, I think there’s a chance that Paul will be a narrator this season. How lucky would production be to have such a motor-mouth narrating the season!

What I took most out of his video is that Paul completely changed his life 5 years ago. He was a business owner before becoming this Pirate rock band singer so he has many facets to his personality and that could help him bond with both the Blue collars in his tribe and the “No Collars” if he makes it to the swap. Yes, his big personality can get him in trouble but I see Paul making it far, maybe even as the last Gen X member standing. The problem I have with Paul is that there have been too many Pauls and Paulies in my reality TV diet lately. Why couldn’t he be the one with a nickname?!

Rachel Ako: I have a game for you: Guess if Rachel had more plastic surgeries BEFORE or AFTER she posed for Playboy. I see a nose job, eye-lid surgery, a tummy tuck, a face lift, lips and ##### augmentation and probably two boob jobs. Needless to say; I feel that Rachel comes off fake. The only thing that interested me in Rachel’s video was a mention about one guy being a jerk. Unfortunately, in the short version that I saw she doesn’t even describe that jerk so I’m curious. Certainly more so about that than in finding those old Playboy pictures.

Sunday Burquest: I don’t think she has what it takes to play this game. I should just stop with that but I just want to add that it would make me smile if she does make it far because it would show her own kids they were wrong about her. For now however, I just don’t care.

Jessica Lewis: Jessica is one of the few White Collar people in this game. What can help her is that she looks younger than her age, that she grew up on a farm and the big tattoo on her back doesn’t exactly say “Attorney”. I found it refreshing that she took the opposite approach to most mothers we’ve seen on the show: She is out there focusing in herself, not doing it for her family. Now that’s shows she ready for this individual game but will she be able to carry it out? How long before she cracks and starts missing her life back home? I just don’t see Jessica making the right connections in her tribe.

Ken McNickle: One could make a parallel between the male model and Nick from last season but I don’t see the same wit at all. In fact his monotone voice made his presentation video extremely boring. Hopefully the game brings out his personality a bit but we usually see the opposite. His daughter changed his life and he wants to do this for her but I don’t think he has what it takes.

Lucy Huang: Lucy, as a 42 year old body builder and mother of 4 is one of the few interesting characters in the Gen X bunch. Like Paul, she mentioned the difference between the generations and how life experience and hard work should help her age group. She has a relaxed attitude which could help her integrate the group. I don’t have much hope of seeing Lucy win but she should be around for a while.

Chris Hammons: Interestingly, the 2nd lawyer in the Gen X tribe also grew up in a rural community. Unlike Jessica, I felt immediate antipathy for this guy. His smugness and his snarly expression caused an immediate negative reaction as a viewer and I’d be ready to bet that he is the jerk that Rachel mentioned. Chris, despite his strength, should be an early boot because he gives off a really bad first impression and he seems intent on being a leader. He does mention that Paul made a good impression on him but will it be mutual?

Ciandre “CeCe” Taylor: : Like many others, Cece mentions that she had a hard childhood. I wonder if this will play out in the alliances that are formed. For now, what I can say is that I enjoyed Cece’s video. For some reason, she reminded me of an edgier version of Cirie. Will the audience fall in love with the insurance agent the same way they did with the nurse? I doubt it but maybe Cece will make her own mark. I can see her clashing with Chris and forming a group in order to get him out. Now that would be fun. I don’t know what to make of the little segment where we see her chasing a frog. It seemed to tell us that she would be going around after the wrong target but then we saw her catch the critter so maybe Cece can put her hands on the prize. I only give her an outside chance though, especially considering the frog escaped in the end!

Last season, we had a player telling us that she had multiple personas but we never really saw it. This time, Cece says it’s her ex-husband that thinks she has different personalities so maybe we’ll have more luck this time.

David Wright: Didn’t we see this story already? This Cochran rerun practically put me to sleep. I’m really hoping that there is a bully in the Gen X tribe and that he sends David right to Loser Lodge. Come on, Chris: Do me this favor before getting yourself voted out.

In conclusion, this season is presented as a demonstration of “New Ideas vs Old Ideas”, and how the culture has changed. Jeff said this was a twist we’ve never had before but once more he’s lying to us: We saw it informally in Africa where we had the Mall Rats vs the older group and then formally in Nicaragua where the young generation of La Flor went against the old folks of Espada and we all saw how disastrous both those seasons turned out for the older folks. As a baby boomer, I’m even a bit turned off by Jeff’s pretention that Generation X built this world while the Millennials are changing it. We did both before these players even got out of school!

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  Table of Contents

  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
 RE: Season 33 - Millennials vs Gen ... kingfish 09-20-16 1
 Episode 1 - Short Term Gain ar Long... michel2 09-24-16 2
   Comments Flowerpower1 09-29-16 3
       RE: Comments michel2 09-29-16 4
       RE: Comments personofinterest 09-29-16 5
           RE: Comments michel2 09-29-16 6
           RE: Comments Flowerpower1 09-29-16 7
 Episode 2 - Work Your Magic: michel2 10-01-16 8
   RE: Episode 2 - Work Your Magic: Flowerpower1 10-01-16 9
       RE: Episode 2 - Work Your Magic: michel2 10-01-16 10
   RE: Episode 2 - Work Your Magic: Jims03 10-03-16 11
       RE: Episode 2 - Work Your Magic: michel2 10-04-16 12
       RE: Episode 2 - Work Your Magic: Flowerpower1 10-04-16 13
           RE: Episode 2 - Work Your Magic: Jims03 10-05-16 14
               RE: Episode 2 - Work Your Magic: michel2 10-05-16 15
 Working Her Magic michel2 10-05-16 16
   WOW! Flowerpower1 10-08-16 18
       RE: WOW! michel2 10-08-16 19
           RE: WOW! Flowerpower1 10-11-16 23
 Episode 3 - Sitting on Dumbass Isla... michel2 10-08-16 17
   RE: Episode 3 - Sitting on Dumbass ... kingfish 10-09-16 20
       RE: Episode 3 - Sitting on Dumbass ... michel2 10-09-16 21
   RE: Episode 3 - Sitting on Dumbass ... Flowerpower1 10-11-16 22
 Episode 4 - The Agents of Chaos: michel2 10-15-16 24
   RE: Episode 4 - The Agents of Chaos... Flowerpower1 10-15-16 25
       RE: Episode 4 - The Agents of Chaos... michel2 10-15-16 26
           RE: Episode 4 - The Agents of Chaos... Flowerpower1 10-15-16 30
   RE: Episode 4 - The Agents of Chaos... kingfish 10-15-16 27
       RE: Episode 4 - The Agents of Chaos... michel2 10-15-16 28
           RE: Episode 4 - The Agents of Chaos... Flowerpower1 10-15-16 29
               RE: Episode 4 - The Agents of Chaos... kingfish 10-16-16 31
 Episode 5 - You Didn't Do This Righ... michel2 10-22-16 32
   RE: Episode 5 - You Didn't Do This ... Jims03 10-24-16 33
       RE: Episode 5 - You Didn't Do This ... michel2 10-26-16 34
 Episode 6 - These Kids Think They A... michel2 10-29-16 35
   RE: Episode 6 - These Kids Think Th... Flowerpower1 10-30-16 36
       RE: Episode 6 - These Kids Think Th... michel2 10-30-16 37
           RE: Episode 6 - These Kids Think Th... Flowerpower1 10-31-16 38
 Episode 7 - You Messed Up A Good Th... michel2 11-05-16 39
   RE: Episode 7 - You Messed Up A Goo... Flowerpower1 11-06-16 40
       RE: Episode 7 - You Messed Up A Goo... michel2 11-07-16 41
           RE: Episode 7 - You Messed Up A Goo... Flowerpower1 11-07-16 42
           Oh, one other thing... Flowerpower1 11-07-16 43
               RE: Oh, one other thing... michel2 11-08-16 44
 Episode 8 - Ready To Play: michel2 11-12-16 45
   RE: Episode 8 - Ready To Play: Flowerpower1 11-14-16 46
       RE: Episode 8 - Ready To Play: michel2 11-14-16 47
 Episode 9 - Truth and Consequences michel2 11-19-16 48
   RE: Episode 9 - Truth and Consequen... Flowerpower1 11-23-16 49
       RE: Episode 9 - Truth and Consequen... michel2 11-23-16 50
 Episode 10 & 11 - Trust Clusterfuck michel2 11-26-16 51
   RE: Episode 10 & 11 - Trust Cluster... Flowerpower1 11-28-16 52
 Episode 12 - A Showdown of Millenni... michel2 12-03-16 53
   RE: Episode 12 - A Showdown of Mill... Flowerpower1 12-04-16 54
       RE: Episode 12 - A Showdown of Mill... michel2 12-04-16 55
           A few more editing notes.... Flowerpower1 12-04-16 56
               RE: A few more editing notes.... michel2 12-04-16 57
                   RE: A few more editing notes.... Flowerpower1 12-05-16 58
 Episode 13 - The Black Plague: michel2 12-10-16 59
   RE: Episode 13 - The Black Plague: Chez 12-10-16 60
       RE: Episode 13 - The Black Plague: michel2 12-10-16 61
           RE: Episode 13 - The Black Plague: Chez 12-11-16 63
   RE: Episode 13 - The Black Plague: Flowerpower1 12-10-16 62
 RE: Season 33 - Millennials vs Gen ... DRONES 12-18-16 64
   RE: Season 33 - Millennials vs Gen ... kingfish 12-18-16 65
       RE: Season 33 - Millennials vs Gen ... michel2 12-18-16 66

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kingfish 19541 desperate attention whore postings
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09-20-16, 12:47 PM (EST)
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1. "RE: Season 33 - Millennials vs Gen X - The Characters and Their Stories: "
Thanks Michel, that's a great 'starting from ground zero' post. Haven't read spoilers either, so although I will user this to pick an entry in CTgirl's thread, it will be as precise as a dart thrown on a moonless night with blindfold at a moving target a mile away.
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michel2 2037 desperate attention whore postings
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09-24-16, 02:07 PM (EST)
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2. "Episode 1 - Short Term Gain ar Long Term Advantage"
The season opened with a comment from Jeff that made me laugh: “These 20 Americans don’t know it yet but they are about to be divided into two tribes”.

Jeff, we’re on season 33 so anyone who has watched this show for more than a couple of seasons knows that the people dressed in shades of Blue will be in one tribe while those wearing reddish colors will be on the other.

Buffs weren’t even required.

When we got down to business, the first confessional was delivered by Taylor: “My generation; it’s all about doing what you want to do and I’ve done a lot...I will never grow up; this is who I am and I can’t change.”

We saw Chris sitting ominously behind him as Taylor was delivering the voice-over portion of his confessional.

It could be a sign that there will be conflict between those two later on. The cymbal sound heard when Taylor mentioned going to North Dakota as if it was some exotic or extreme destination could be an indication that Taylor will not be someone to take seriously but as the first player interviewed he may be someone to remember. Also saying he can’t change might have been included as the stereotype for his generation but individually, it isn’t a good sign in this game where adaptability is key.

Next, we had Mari: “I play video games on line for a living. As an adult, we are constantly told, grow up, stop playing, it’s not a game but I want to make my entire life about playing. Survivor is the game of games and I am going to win.”
Mari just delivered the first winner’s quote of the evening.

The image of Jay sticking out his tongue to catch raindrops at the moment Mari talked about growing up tells me that Jay will be a fun character.

Zeke: “The stereotype of young people is that they are always on social media...but...I generally resent technology, I think twitter is the worst thing ever invented. I mean, I’m on twitter but I still think it’s horrendous.”

Zeke starts off by being a narrator for the young generation or maybe it would be more accurate to say that he is in opposition to the young generation.

Chris was the first Gen X member to be interviewed: “I’m an attorney and I’m 38 years old. I know the older generation... they actually listen and they use their life experiences. If you’ve never been knocked down then you don’t know how to get up and fight.”

Sunday was next: “I have four kids and I’m surprised at the 25 year old kids who live at home and play video games all day. I feel they are a little bit more Que sera, sera. If it takes me 7 years to do school, who cares; my parents are paying for it.”
Will, the youngest player, was shown when Chris talked about life experiences and when Sunday mentioned her surprise at the young kids. That could be a sign that Will won’t succeed. As a video gamer, Mari was also shown when Sunday expressed her surprise about the young generation.

David’s interview: “I’m a TV writer and it took me 14 years in assistant purgatory to finally become a writer and I don’t think younger people would put that kind of time in whatever their dream is. They would just find a new dream.

While Jeff was talking we saw a montage of the faces of many players with Zeke’s face being the last one shown just before Jeff said his famous line: “39 days, 20 people, One Survivor.”

After the introduction montage, we had Jeff going through the motions of distributing buffs. The players dressed in Blue all got purple buffs and red became orange.

Will’s interview: “I was like; Holy crap! This is definitely a war between generations. We’re at each other’s throats right at the beginning. It’s crazy! May the best generation win.”
I heard a distorted “Old dudes” when Jeff mentioned the years that encompass Gen X. It could have been Will saying it in the background but it sounded more like sound effect created in studio. Either way, sublimely, the viewers were encouraged to root for the Millennials who, in turn, were “greeted” by the sound of their own applause.

Jeff said this season would show which approach to life is better suited to win Survivor.

After all, Jeff’s primary role is salesman.

Will immediately told everyone that he was 18 and still in High School. Paul presented himself as the oldest one out there and he said that his generation didn’t get a trophy just for participating. “Only the winners got a trophy” he added.

Zeke and Jay were on screen when Paul talked about the winners getting trophies.

Will it come down to those two?

Jeff turned to Cece who had been nodding along. She said: “They don’t work for anything; everything is handed to them.”
Michaela and Adam’s expressions showed they were in complete disagreement.

Jeff turned next to Adam who made everyone laugh by addressing our host by his last name. He then added: “When we win the first immunity challenge we will see who has to work to win.”

Adam’s words carry some weight because the Millennials would eventually win that challenge.

The two tribes were then ordered to scramble collecting items that would either help them in the short term, or the long term.

I noted that Ken was the fastest runner, Adam knocked David to the ground to get an item, and Lucy fumbled with some fruits and left a note behind for Jessica to grab.

Jessica’s interview afterwards: “There was an envelope... I grabbed it...It was one of those moments where I got to keep working but my heart is pounding because this is obviously something good.”

Jeff was filled with joy to see that Gen X chose the fishing gear over the chickens while the Millennials made the opposite choice. According to him, “Gen X is looking long term, Millennials are looking short term.”

Paul said that fishing gear was the most important item out there, that it meant 39 days.

When asked about it, Taylor told Jeff that the chickens will lay eggs.

I would have told the host that it’s dumb to look long term because soon there will be some lavish rewards to win and they will be switching tribes anyway. It was funny to hear something in the background supporting the Millennials. “Chicken is the good call” we heard. We will see how well Takali does with that fishing gear but I don’t expect to see much fish coming out of the ocean. If we remember the last time they went to Fiji, Ravu would have loved to have 4 chickens while the ocean was infested with snakes so it wasn’t the ideal fishing hole! Those snakes scared a player so much that she quit before even getting started. Maybe we will be lucky and they’ll rid us of a few losers again this time.

After Jeff warned them about the cyclone, the tribes headed out for their beach.

Mari’s interview: “This is a war between generations. I guarantee you that there are people on that Gen X tribe have spoken the exact words that I have said: “This is the best generation ever.”

The music was very upbeat when we joined the Millennials when they arrived at the Vanua Beach. That kind of island music has proven to be a good sign.

Adam’s interview: “Everybody is so exited, everybody is happy to get to know each other and we are going to prove a lot of people wrong about their misconceptions about Millennials.”

The castaways introduced each other with “Figgy” going first and she was followed by Mari.

Mari’s next interview: “As Millennials, we’re just all over the map. No one has just a regular job and I think it’s amazing. I absolutely think that our tribe and our generation see things in a completely different way and as Millennials that is a huge advantage.”

With Zeke starting out in the role of narrator sitting on the outside looking in, Mari picked up the role of narrator who embraces being a Millennial.

We then had the first indications of an alliance when Taylor, Jay and Adam sat together.

Jay was saying that he liked the group and Taylor adding that they were solid.

Taylor’s interview: “I’ve got an awesome tribe. There this one guy that I connect with really well with named Jay...He’s a bro... He’s going to be someone I can get along with pretty easily. And then I really hit it off with Figs because she’s pretty dang cute! Michelle also is cool and they are both good looking and I’m a sucker for pretty girls so I already have a connection with these people here.”

Reynold, Eddie, Ally and Hope already tried having a four person alliance in a group of ten in the Gota tribe and that didn’t work out really well. But the editors could very well be hiding the real alliance in Vanua. Are they only four? Adam seemed to be very close to the two other guys and we have no idea where Will would go.

Michelle then proposed using lint or hair to start a fire as long as it wasn’t her hair!

I guess that’s a variation of the “Anyone but me” strategy!

Zeke’s interview: “I’m 28 years old but, to be honest, I’ve never called myself a Millennial once in my life... I’m dressed... for the retirement center. I’m an 80 year old man at heart. I’m on a tribe with children. When I looked around and saw all these kids, I thought; you know what none of these kids have had in their lives? A real job. They can’t do anything.”
Figs, Michelle, Will and Taylor were all seen during Zeke’s rant.

We then went over to Gen X and the Takali beach. There the music was more adventurous, a precursor to the conflicts to come.

Paul had the first interview: “I expect Gen X to be Gen Xers. I expect them to be people of my caliber... They work hard, have good core values with their families with very strong opinions but based on sound decision making.”

Addressing the tribe, Paul said their odds improved by being on this tribe but Ken countered that they couldn’t underestimate their opponents. He said that this tribe works with their hands while the other works with their brains.

In other words, we have a rerun of Brains versus Brawn!

Chris put an end to that by saying they needed shelter and fire. Before they could get started, Ken interrupted again saying he spent four years in the jungle of Maui so he knew what to do.

Ken’s interview: “To me, this is home and I want to help kind of guide my team to the way I think is necessary but do so as the guy who is supporting, uplifting and they know that I’ve got their backs.”

Jessica’s interview: “When I was running around to find items, I found a nice little envelope. This is Survivor; it could any number of wonderful things and I don’t want anyone to find me with it because I feel that would put a target on my back.”

The bat that we saw in the intro was seen observing Jessica as she walked into the jungle to read her message. It will be interesting to see if the bat continues to be associated with Jessica because we will soon see that the little critter is very resistant: It would outlast even the cyclone that was about to hit.

Jessica’s envelope contained a new twist called the Legacy advantage.

I wonder how many people will have it in their possession before we reach day 36? Jessica was confident she’d be there to get the advantage in the game but I’ll say it changes hands two times!

Back from commercial we joined the Millennials

Figgy was handling the chicken.

Figgy’s interview: “Back home, I am the center of attention. I’m a flirty girl and I’m good at manipulating men. People think I’m just a pretty face but they don’t know the brains behind the face. Maybe I’ll end up getting the million dollar check and I get a husband.”

This is the second winning quote of the evening even if Figgy has two objectives. That won’t help her focus.

Realizing she was alone in camp with Jay and Taylor, Figgy wondered where everyone went. Jay joked about idols. He then said that this three was solid and that they only needed three more.

Figgy’s interview continued: “Jay and I had a connection right off the bat and Taylor is my blue-eyed beauty and I think he’s so attractive and I knew those two boys were tight so of course I want to be a part of that. It’s going to be something strong.”
Taylor told his two friends that they were invincible and he called his trio the “Triforce.”

Jay’s interview: “I love Taylor. Taylor is my boy. I call him “Tails” because he’s like my homeboy from home he’s just one of those guys who is like “Bro’ everything is fine. Let’s go hang out. And then Figs is a cool chick. Tails and Figgy; they are my go to and I really appreciate them and they are good people. And I’ve got Namaste which her name is Michelle and I know we’re cool. She is freaking hot girl too by the way; super hot!”

Figgy said they needed to add Michelle and the guys agreed.

We soon saw Jay telling Michelle that they were cool and so were Taylor and Figgy.

In reaction to that alliance, we had Hannah’s interview: “So, looking around, it makes me nervous seeing all the beautiful faces...just because I don’t want to be the obvious first out but it’s hard when you don’t immediately fit in.”

Michelle’s interview: “I think people see me as truthful probably because of my faith, because of my prayers. People have been coming up to me. Jay and I have a little bond. I also have Hannah telling me she trusts me and in this game, having people trust you and view you as someone who really cares for them; that’s very beneficial.”

Right then, we saw Michelle using the machete to give a hard chop.

Could this woman have some surprises in store for those who trust her? Now that would be fun!

We returned to Gen X where a gecko was licking itself after spotting an insect that looked appetizing. At least for the gecko...

After observing Rachel working with Paul, we heard Sunday’s interview: “Rachel is definitely over-eager, she’s overly “confrontive” (sic!). When you’re in a group setting, it can really bring a lot of negativity to the group and people don’t like it.”

Turning to Bret, Chris said they needed to work on the shelter because there was too much talking going on. David offered his services.

David’s interview: “I don’t really like sleeping outside, I don’t like bugs, and I don’t like the sun, the water, the ocean; all of those things are terrible. What I do love is the game play and that’s why I’m here.”

Bret’s interview: “Dave is afraid of his own shadow. I was chopping the bamboo and he was jumping up and covering his ears as if it was too loud. Dave’s got to man-up. There are girls with more testosterone back at that camp than he’s got.”

Dave then told Bret and Chris that he was sure Ken and Paul had found an idol. He then told both Bret and Chris that he trusted them and had their backs

Chris’ reaction: “Dave got really paranoid with us. He’s a guy that’s scared but he’s also funny at times, charming at times. He’s trying way too hard. He’s running around talking strategy and I think it’s too early to be pushing too hard.”

We went back to the Millennial’s beach were the wind was really picking up. The Vanua tribe flag dropped to the ground which wasn’t a very good sign.

Adam’s interview: “Heading into the first night, I’m a little nervous because we are in a world of hurt when it comes to our shelter. We have no real roof but every single person on this tribe thinks everything is going to be OK. Everybody is so exited, everybody is really happy to get to know each other. I’m looking up at the sky and it’s getting dark and it’s only going to get worse but nobody seems to care. I think the difference between Gen X and the Millennials is that Gen X believes that you have to put in your time in order to get to where you want to be. Millennials don’t believe that. They believe that if you set your mind to something and you dream big, you can go and accomplish it now.”

Will’s interview: “We were having a little party on the beach and it started getting dark. We rushed back because the shelter is not built. We started trying to build palm fronds to keep ourselves dry because we think rain is coming. We are rushing to get the shelter done. Jay and I are up trying to tie the roof together. Our shelter was definitely one of the worse in the history of Survivor. We all went into the shelter but when weight went on it, it started sinking and it eventually cracked and I’m thinking to myself that there is no way we’re getting the shelter finished in time.”

To think he was about 6 years old when Rupert built that horrible shelter in All-Stars!

Taylor was sure that they would survive the night.

Hannah’s interview: “We’re terrified because it’s pouring rain and we don’t have a shelter. We’re just sitting in the rain, freezing cold. It’s just the hardest thing I’ve ever been through; it’s the longest night ever. I’m shaking and you can feel people mentally breaking down. You feel like it’s endless. We could hear the booming, the thunder and the lightning and we saw the storm from far out on the water making its way to us and it was like a monster was coming to get us, to punish us for not building a shelter.”

Gen X – Day 2

The bat was hanging tough on the tree limb.

Cece’s Interview: “We just had basically a night in hell. We didn’t get our shelter built in time and it started raining and it never stopped. It never stopped raining and it’s still raining.”

That’s when the mailman delivered a tarp for protection.

Chris’ comments: “I don’t remember an occasion when a tribe was actually given a tarp. We are going to see what people are made of. This is going to be a difficult season of Survivor in my opinion. I think this weather is going to be something none of us are prepared for.”

Millennials - Day 2:

Michaela’s reaction: “Man! you know it’s bad when Jeff gives you a tarp. You don’t even have to win the tarp; it just comes in the tree mail so that’s when we also knew that the weather was going to get worse so we got a lot of work to do.”

Zeke’s confessional: “I would rate our camp at pig pen level. It is just a mud flat with sticks of bamboo stuck haphazardly. I’m thinking; great! We are going to build a base, hang the tarp and it isn’t going to be as bad as last night. It’s hard though because the rain never lets up and last night was like one of the hardest nights of my life. I don’t understand how it could get much worse than that.” Thankfully, Jeff came in so that Zeke wouldn’t have to see how much worse it could get. “Jeff casually strolls into camp and I’m a little nervous.”

Hearing the news of the evacuation, Adam gave us his reaction: “My jaw dropped. This is unprecedented. This is something we’ve never seen. There have been bad storms on Survivor but we have never done this in 33 seasons of Survivor...This is a real cyclone...”

At Gen X, Paul was the one that spoke for the tribe: “When I saw Jeff, my breath completely left my body. I knew something was wrong because Jeff very rarely comes to camp unless it’s a safety situation.”

Rachel told us about their evacuation.

It felt like the Gen X tribe’s evacuation came very late because the sea looked very dangerous. Maybe Jeff should have sent the boats simultaneously instead of taking the time to visit both camps. At least, everyone got safely off the island. We had some very impressive pictures of the storm but I hope they were taken by remote control and that no cameraman was left behind just for that.

Day 3 – Gen X

Now, it was nice and sunny, time for the hermit crab and the bat to take a peek at their surroundings just like the players were about to do.

Cece’s interview: “On day 3 we came back to the camp after the cyclone passed and everything was knocked over and a tree actually did fall on our shelter. This is alarming; this is scary because now you are talking about our lives and someone getting injured by a tree falling down. So it was good that we were evacuated. That was definitely a saving grace that Jeff decided to do that.”

I’m thinking production could have simply delayed the start of filming by a couple of days but that they wanted to take the risk just to have something new to show.

David’s interview: “The first few days on Survivor are all about building a shelter and I’m terrible at that and we had to do it twice. I don’t think anybody sees me as physically strong so there’s no reason they’d want to keep me over anybody else. So it’s really resonating with me, that paranoia, that nervousness, that anxiety that I’m the chopping block. I’m not sure there’s much hope for me in this game of Survivor but I am a Gen Xer and I don’t give up and I’m going to work hard to make this happen and I’m going to turn this around. I’m going to look really hard for the immunity idol. It might be the only thing that could save me.”

His struggles with the branch reminded me of the scene with Stephen but we certainly didn’t have the time to make the same kind of connection with David as we had with Stephen so it didn’t have the same appeal. That scene was accompanied by the kooky musical theme but as soon as David started talking about not giving up we heard the melancholic piano that serves to make us sympathize with a character’s struggles. As for looking for the idol, it was the very thing that nearly got him voted out because he certainly wasn’t casual about it. If David survives next week, we may have to endure watching his neurosis for a while and that’s not why I watch Survivor.

Chris, Bret and Paul all thought that David's obvious search for the idol was a dumb move.

Jessica, showing the first signs of the infection to her eyes, gave us an interview: “David was out madly looking for an idol while we were building a shelter and that upset a lot of people. If David has an idol, it certainly would complicate things moving forward so if we lose, it’s going to be David.”

Anyone who thinks that Jessica will still be in the game on day 36 to use her advantage should take notice that we never heard about her eye infection.

An interviewer must have asked the question and she must have talked about it since it was already very apparent but it wasn’t included in the story until much later.

Millennials – Day 3

Zeke was taking charge and speaking for the tribe: “We get back to camp and it’s a mess. We have a base for the shelter but we don’t have a roof...I led the building of the second shelter. Look, I don’t know how to build a shelter, I live in Brooklyn! I know how to ride the subway and that’s about the extent of my outdoors skills but you know what, I stepped up and I did it. So, against all odds, I have become the leader of the camp.” We even saw Zeke attempting to make fire! His interview continued: “I never think of myself as the person who feels adept out here in the outdoors. I’m not that kind of person but I am very intrigued by the idea of proving how tough I am and so, in a weird way, Survivor is helping me rise to my potential. We have fire and I made it! I never, in a million years, thought that I’d be the guy who makes fire without flint. I feel like a milestone has been reached in my life, like I’ve become a new man. I feel like I am growing as a person out here; I am affected by this experience in a very positive way and I’m very proud of myself right now.”

My first impression was that Zeke would fail in his attempt to make fire like so many others before him but no! The music was too upbeat for a failure and he actually got the fire started and he was congratulated by the whole tribe, particularly by Jay and Adam, giving him high fives and Mari who called him the “Fire Starter.” In the end, Adam put his arm around his shoulder him and Figgy put her arms around his neck.

The juxtaposition of Zeke’s story to David’s is astonishing in its contrast: Their first scenes showed that both were out of their elements but where David whimpered, Zeke took charge. In fact, from narrator that was on the outside compared to Mari who was speaking for her generation, Zeke is now the one that’s on the inside while Mari would soon find herself with the Misfits! What a fascinating roundabout we are witnessing.

The next scene showed Taylor, Jay and Figgy sitting alone on the beach saying how solid they were together. That didn’t escape Hannah attention.

Hannah’s interview: “When you look at the group, I started noticing that there really has been that sort of division between the High School cool kids and the sort of weirdo nerds. Cool kids versus Misfits and I do feel like the Misfits are going to be on the outs so I need to squash that in the bud.”

Hannah quickly talked to Mari about her impressions, telling her that Figgy and the boys were dangerous.

Mari’s interview: “So the good looking popular group is isolating themselves from the entire tribe. So, we need to tear apart that popular group. My goal is to play like I would play video games so at this point; I’m pulling together kind of like the misfits and kind of like the Outcasts. So, I kind of started putting into people’s ears that the four pretty people; they are inseparable and that’s dangerous so while we have all the numbers this is our opportunity to strike.”

We saw Mari talking to Adam and Michaela.

I really wonder on which side Adam, Will and Zeke will fall? I’m not sure that Mari and Hannah will have the numbers when they need them but, like so often, the edit could go both ways so we will have to wait and see.

Day 4 – The Immunity Challenge

After Jeff’s explanations we heard the tribes talking about their strategy. We heard Rachel say that she was going for the first club and that she would do the puzzle with David while, on the other side, Zeke said they should use the shortcut on the balance beam.

Once more, Ken was the fastest out of the gates, something to remember for future challenges involving speed

Chris had a good short term idea when he blocked two members of the other tribe but for the long term, he made many enemies.
With much larger bodies, the Gen X tribe (yes I did say you were fat but so did Jeff!) took the shortcut at the first obstacle but these challenges always come down to the puzzle. Gen X chose the short term benefit and it hurt them in the end.

Rachel and David didn’t make any progress on their puzzle so they gave way to Jessica and Sunday.

Jeff took a cheap shot at Rachel, saying she didn’t accomplish anything.

For their part, Michelle and Figgy flew through their puzzle and gave the Millennials the first win.

I heard a few: “Good job, Figgy” but nothing for Michelle.

Chris gave an interview while his tribe left the arena: “The challenge did not go as we wanted. It was a disaster. Rachel was barking off orders, David told us he was a supreme puzzle maker and they failed on it so those two are on the hatchet.”

Day 4 - Gen X Scrambling

Bret: “I wanted to beat the Millennials so bad and I really thought we would. I think we have a lot of people with strength and experience. I really thought we would outshine them today and I’m shocked we didn’t. Rachel tells everyone that she can do puzzles, puzzles are her thing and she screws it all up.”

Sitting in the ocean, Bret told Sunday and Jessica that they should have done the puzzle from the start since they did well when they stepped in.

Jessica’s interview: “If someone doesn’t do well in a challenge it always going to magnify on that person... So we are going to be voting for Rachel but my fear obviously is a hidden immunity idol...”

David’s interview: “Everybody has been strategizing and they are not including me in any of it. I don’t think anyone trusts me at this point. I know the position I’m in; I’m on the chopping block. I think I’m going home tonight.”

Unfortunately, he was wrong... This was Rachel only episode so it’s a shame that the editors wasted time on this neurotic, whiny guy instead of giving her more airtime.

David told Jessica and the other guys that he didn’t have an idol.

In confessional, Bret told us he still thought Dave had an idol. He wanted to vote out either David or Rachel so he was going to split the vote

That tells us all we need to know about this police officer’s ability to tell when someone is lying. For him, David is guilty until proven innocent. Bret’s first thought was to split 6 votes, leaving Rachel, Cece, Ken and David out of the loop but luckily for him someone was better at math so they used 8 votes.

Rachel and Cece saw that everyone was talking and not including them so Rachel finally had an interview telling us that she knew she was on the chopping block along with Cece. She also saw right through Paul and Chris who lied about not knowing what was going on.

Those two aren’t very good liars. It would have been so easy to sell a David vote.

David had the last confessional of the episode, telling us he was at the mercy of his tribe.

Tribal Council

Jessica explained that the blowing sand had irritated her eyes and that it developed into a bacterial infection.

Bret said the storm was 10 times worse than a Boston northeaster.
David got scared as soon as Jeff said his name. All the members of the tribe broke out in laughter.

I wasn’t much amused.

Hearing him say that the last few days seemed like a year, Jeff said that Dave sounded like someone who would be OK with going home.

For once, I was happy to see Jeff interfering with the voting decision. I knew it wouldn’t work but maybe next time!

David said he didn’t want to go home but thought he would.
Cece said she didn’t want to see anyone going home.
Sunday said it was nice to feel less pressure about being the one going home.

When Jeff asked who felt that it could be them, I saw everyone raising their hand except Lucy and Bret and even Bret’s hand could have been hidden by Jessica.

So Lucy? Really? For someone who was totally irrelevant in this episode, she showed some confidence...either that, foolish bravado or total lack of self-awareness.

Jeff turned to Chris who said he thought he was on the outs on day 2.
Rachel told Jeff she felt that she was in trouble when no one talked to her. She apologized to everyone in case she had made them feel bad.
Jessica said that there were idols in the game and opportunities to find them.

In the end, we had:
Cece voted for Dave while Rachel voted for Sunday
Jessica, Lucy and Sunday voted for Cece
The 5 guys voted for Rachel.
We all saw the contempt in Cece’s face.

Jeff sent them back to camp after saying “One of the hallmarks of Generation X; you’re not afraid of working hard. There’s no question you worked hard these first few days but the question is: How are you going to recover against those Millennials?”

The Story

How can we understand the story that is being presented when we know that Jeff, the host and main narrator, can lie to us? Not simple misdirection but by giving us themes to the story that lead nowhere? I think we have to thread carefully and simply gather our evidence as we go along.

The first theme we’ve encountered is that you have to decide between short term gains or long term advantages. With the Millennials finding long term advantages in picking the chickens and then knowing to avoid the first shortcut in the challenge, we have to say that the premiere favored them. We can also add the subliminal messages that we heard during the introductions that seemed to encourage the viewers into rooting for the young tribe. However, I think it’s best to simply file this information away and return to it when we have more material.

The Characters

I will simply place the players in three general categories:

1- The Background Actors

Lucy: Besides not being worried about the vote, there isn’t a thing to say about Lucy. Even Jeff wasn’t intrigued by her confidence so why should we?

CeCe: She finds herself in the role of underdog but we barely connected with her. Will she recover or will she be next? It probably won’t matter in the end.

Michaela: She was approached by Mari to be part of the Misfits alliance but we didn’t hear her point of view.

Sunday: While her role was very limited, she did get an introduction confessional but it was more about setting up the season’s theme than a true personal presentation moment.

Ken: He wanted to guide his team but it looks like they made the decision without him. We saw him slightly hesitating at the voting booth so maybe he wasn’t told about the vote and simply voted against Rachel because it was the obvious thing to do.

2- The Supporting Cast

Mari: The player that could earn the title of "Best actress in a supporting role" Mari started as the narrator for her generation but, in a fascinating turn of events, she ended up forming an alliance of Misfits because she felt as an outsider in her own tribe. The conflict between the Misfits and the popular kids should be interesting. This time, the popular kids aren’t aligned with bullies and they seem much more likable so Mari may be facing a tough battle.

Hannah: She had a nice introduction: We got to know her and we saw that she is aware of the game being played around her. She first got close to Michelle but not her three friends. How will that work out?

Will: He gave us many confessionals and we could see him as another narrator for the Millennials but his role isn’t well defined yet. Which way will he go? It seems that he would fit in better with Jay and Taylor than with Hannah and Mari but we haven’t heard anything to help us with that question. Will could have a big role to play in the tribe’s dynamics.

Bret, Paul, Chris: Takali’s three big guys were mostly on the same page so they should continue working together even if the previews make us wonder about Paul’s health. When we hear heart attack, we have to look at the older guy and we saw that he struggled climbing the hill that leads to their camp so how much exertion can he take? Bret and Chris were big characters but they could very well become Villains.

Taylor, Figgy, Jay and Michelle: The four members of “triforce” could be in trouble but their alliance was treated with more care than the two couples in Caramoan’s Fan tribe. Figgy and Michelle’s role in winning immunity could very well help them gain people for their side if they didn’t already have them. Everyone in Vanua owes them for making sure they wouldn’t suffer the humiliation of being voted out first.

Figgy had a confessional that was very reminiscent of Michelle's last season and she performed well in the challenge, receiving most of the bravos. Already she surprised us with her mental abilities sso she isn't just a pretty face.

Jay and Taylor were seen as fun loving young men with no signs of arrogance or rudeness to make them targets. Of course, that could change with a challenge loss.

As the Three Musketeers' D'Artagnan, Michelle wasn't completely tied in to the other three she could succeed even if they fail

3- The Stars

David: For me, his story was so negative that I wouldn’t mind seeing him leave next. This isn’t Big Brother. As long as the word Survivor is in the title of this show, someone like David should not be cast. Unfortunately, the time that was devoted to his story makes it look like he could be there a while.

Adam: I thought that he had a very good presentation and his description of the Millenials could be seen as his winner’s quote: “If you set your mind to something and you dream big, you can go and accomplish it now.” Will Adam accomplish this goal? Interestingly, we didn’t hear him talk about his mom’s health so there is a lot of room for his story to grow. Mari talked to him about the alliance of 4 so how will he react? We first saw him sitting with Jay and Taylor, agreeing that he liked their group.

Jessica: It’s hard to say how much of a story she would have received if Lucy had grabbed that envelope first. The fact that Jessica didn’t talk about her eye infection in interview and that it was only brought up at TC could be a bad sign for her chances but it’s too early to tell.

Zeke: The real revelation of this premiere, it seems evident that Zeke will be on a Journey to prove how tough he is and it was fascinating to see him get with the tribe so quickly after hearing him say he couldn’t possibly fit in with these young kids. Have we ever had such an unusual tribe leader, someone who’s outdoors experience is the Brooklyn subway? I hope he doesn’t get carried away to the point where he tries to impose his voting decisions but his unique position could very well decide which way the votes go. He could vote with Mari’s misfits but he really seemed to enjoy the way Jay, Adam, Taylor and Figgy embraced him after he made fire so he could join their side.

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Flowerpower1 1905 desperate attention whore postings
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09-29-16, 08:03 AM (EST)
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3. "Comments"
Hello michel! So happy to get in here and read the post from last week! I traveled this past week, without my laptop, and so had a lot of catching up to do yesterday. I got halfway through your post and then distracted!

As always, it's so great to sink my teeth into it. I wish I had read it in it's entirety before the show last night. Doing the confessional counts, I did get a great feeling about Michelle as a player, and apparently you did to! The girls, Michelle and Figgy seem so much more ahead of the guys to me, so I would love to see a strong woman win. But, I do like Jay, but Taylor seems clueless. I love how Michelle seems to be using her occupation to garner trust with them all. In vidcaps and press images we see her dividing her time between them all, which I consider a good sign.

I did see Zeke as the journey player and boy, he's really started out with a bang. But, I hope he doesn't get too wrapped up in his own accomplishments in the outdoors and neglect to play the game. What a lovely character!

I saw David as a true underdog, and someone that the editors may want us to get behind. (Cue the soft, sympathetic music). I recall Cirie's fears in the woods, she was afraid of a, if she can evolve maybe he can too? Sort of Cochranesque as well. Regardless, I can't see how someone like that makes it past casting, to be honest. But, made it he did, and now, he's making it farther. I have to say I loved that he bonded with Ken in this last episode. I do find myself rooting for him, despite his ineptitude at challenges and the outdoors!

I do appreciate Brett and Chris too, but mostly Brett with his snarky comments....Girls on the tribe have more testosterone than David! etc.

Hannah reminds me of an Audrey type. I wish casting would try to cast NEW characters, please.

Anyway, I hope to be all caught up now, can't wait to read your post ep 2 thoughts!

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michel2 2037 desperate attention whore postings
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09-29-16, 11:12 AM (EST)
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4. "RE: Comments"
Thank you, FP. The new post should be up Saturday. Working on it now!
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personofinterest 266 desperate attention whore postings
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09-29-16, 02:36 PM (EST)
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5. "RE: Comments"
Survivor's back! I just watched both episodes yesterday (with some Bull in between). So, I don't know who most of them are, but I was entertained. I thought is was a better first episode (and even better second one) than others in recent history, but I couldn't remember most of them at Tribal Council.
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michel2 2037 desperate attention whore postings
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09-29-16, 03:36 PM (EST)
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6. "RE: Comments"
Well there was also a lot of Bull during both episodes!!
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09-29-16, 05:32 PM (EST)
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7. "RE: Comments"
Hi PoI! I have to say that was the best second episode I have seen in a VERY long time. I think a lot of us get complacent, and think that most of these daws are going to roll over, so it was thrilling to see some that want to play, and are willing to do what they have to do right out of the gait. I just hope them "playing" from the start doesn't create too big a target on their backs.

I just appreciate game play!

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10-01-16, 01:12 PM (EST)
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8. "Episode 2 - Work Your Magic:"
Previously on Survivor

At the Millennial Tribe, Figgy flirted with the men and put together an alliance of four but the tribe was catching on.
Mari, talking to Michaela: “Figgy’s running the show.”

At the Gen X tribe, David was scared of everything while a majority alliance came together.

We heard Bret first telling his group that it’s either Rachel or David and then, in confessional, saying that he had 6 people so he felt good.

At Tribal Council, David pled his case and, in the end, he was spared and Rachel was sent home.

While fairly straightforward, this recap is notable for three editing choices:
While we did see the alliance of 4 taking shape in the Millennial camp the previous episode hadn’t showed that Figgy put it together. Jay and Taylor’s connection had been its foundation. That tells us the two guys could be less important down the road than Figgy.

Next, we weren’t reminded that Jessica found the legacy advantage so we can assume that she won’t be using it to make deals.

Finally, David was given a bigger role in saving himself than what we actually saw because, according to Jeff, his plea at TC was heard. But did we have to be reminded that David will be an important character this season.

Work Your Magic

Gen X Day 5

Having received flint, Paul was trying to make fire but couldn’t. “This is getting embarrassing” he said.

Paul’s interview: “Here it is, day 5 and we still don’t have a fire. Other than that, everything is going ahead as planned. I got a six person alliance and I’m going to say it like it is for Cece and David: They don’t have a chance. Cece aligned herself with Rachel which was a kiss of death. With David; he just can’t handle it out here.”

After Paul failed to make a fire, David asked to take a whack at it.

David’s interview: “Right now, I think I am playing a miserable Survivor game so I really want to be a hero to my tribe and bring them fire because I am so grateful for them sparing me last night. I really want to prove myself today and it’s in line with the Generation X attitude in that you don’t ever give up but I’m more of a Cochran than I am an Ozzy.”

To everyone’s surprise, including his own, David succeeded.

It’s sad to see that Survivor has sunk to a new low when you realize we are being encouraged to applaud someone for making fire with FLINT!! Yes, we saw that Paul couldn’t do it at first but can this really be considered an accomplishment? Becky and Sundra couldn’t do it to save their lives but every single tribe has managed to make fire once they’ve received flint. The importance attached to this scene shows us just how much production wants us to like David’s story.

Chris in interview: “Oddly enough, Dave, out of all of us, got a flame going but he’s still going home next. David is probably the weakest challenge person we have. He’s like our puppy dog right now. We are trying to keep petting him until we get rid of him. We’re just keeping him busy. If you let him get in his own head, that’s when he goes nuts, starts looking for idols and getting all paranoid.”

The ungrateful Chris is being set up to be the bully who torments our designated, fabricated star. We can already assume that David comes out on top of their little battle.

In order to keep busy, David came up with the idea to go pick up some rocks so that they could sit around the fire. He told us he had an ulterior motive:

David’s comments: “I would love an idol but contribute to the tribe first and, while doing that, just kind of be looking around because looking for rocks and looking for idols; they both make you dirty. So this is an alibi.” The idol suddenly appeared in the form of a coconut with painting on it. David explained: “Oh! my God! it’s in here, isn’t it? I just have to split this open... This is why we come to play Survivor. I never ever thought this was going to happen for me especially like on the nadir that I was on and now I’m at a zenith. This is amazing. This is exactly what I need to have the confidence to really make big strategic moves right now. This is like serendipity.”

The music was mostly percussion instruments when he started his search which didn’t make it seem serious. Strings moved in when he went for “one more” rock and then the cymbals signaled “Voilà!” He had found the marked coconut. So nowadays idols grow on trees! Coconut trees that is! The musical theme was light throughout his search so I’m not sure the idol will have a big impact on the game and once more the idol was simply there for the taking. When it isn’t buried and no one needs clues to find it then anyone walking by could wind up with it. David’s paranoia paid off and if he winds up on the other beach after a swap he could very well find its match.

Millennial Camp Day 5

Figgy and Taylor were alone in the shelter, talking about living on the West Coast.

Taylor’s confessional: “I really like Figs. She’s super rad, easy to be around, I mean she’s really beautiful it’s like love goggles and Figs is directly in front of me.”

Figgy’s interview: “I didn’t come here for romance but Oh! my God! those blue eyes! they are dangerous. Waa! They are just gorgeous. They are so beautiful and I get to cuddle up with that and I’m like; it’s fine.”

As the night arrived, they did more than just cuddling.

Michaela’ Interview: “In the middle of the night, I hear a kissing sound and I was like; you can’t be for real. You stink, your mouth is nasty, you have sand in your drawers and you are kissing somebody. That’s disgusting.”

The couple didn’t look like they were disgusted but it was interesting to finally get an introduction to Michaela’s character. By being so down to earth, Michaela’s going to be the counter point to the Millennials’ exuberance.

Day 6

As soon as Taylor got up, Michaela told everyone that she heard him kissing Figgy. Taylor couldn’t hide his smile.

Taylor’s interview: “Me and Figs got called out. I look at that as a risky move but Millennials are dreamers and I’m dreaming big.”

Figgy’s interview: “My tribe doesn’t even consider Taylor and myself being a power couple threat and maybe that’s because we’re the Millennials. Only people like *cough*cough*Michaela are going to throw it out there and put a target on our backs but nobody cares.”

The two idealistic lovers were soon to be proven wrong by the next two interviews. You can’t even find paradise on a deserted island anymore! Not when someone else’s million dollar check is in the balance.

Zeke’s interview: “I think the Millennial generation takes hook ups much less seriously than maybe the Gen Xers do and I think it’s that casual attitude which might be getting Taylor and Figgy into trouble because you need to have the mentality that you are also playing Survivor and I think they might be missing that part.”

Jay’s interview: “Figgy and Taylor are freaking stupid, man! No couple ever lasts on Survivor, ever! Me and Michelle are still in an alliance with them and this power couple can destroy everything that we’ve created. Taylor is my boy. I love that kid but sometimes women blind you and then you end up stuck with a woman and you’re bailing on your boys when it’s bowling night and you’re stuck at home with your girlfriend. You’re a dork; like wake up!”

Is anyone as surprised as me that Jay talked about bowling night? Come to think of it, Taylor was working on building a bowling alley in episode one so maybe bowling is the new thing for the kids these days. I’ve probably bowled once in the last 30 years because I thought it was for dorks but apparently nowadays you’re a dork when you’re with someone like Figs! We can make note that Jay isn’t very good at Survivor History because he forgot about Romber but it was so long ago that we can forgive him.

Jay warned Taylor that they could be taken out one by one. He didn’t want to lose a million dollars over it and he was sure Taylor didn’t want that either.

It’s a little bit out of left field but that was a winning quote from Jay. Unfortunately, we have to remember that Mari had the very first winning quote of the season and she certainly won’t be collecting the big check!

Jay’s Interview resumed: “Taylor is so oblivious to the fact that dude! it’s not going to work because he is so infatuated with Figgy but this power couple is like a bull’s eye for a nuclear missile. That’s how big it is! It’s like this is where we need to blow up because this is not good.”

We went across the water towards the Gen X beach.

Ken was spear hunting in the octopus’ garden.

Ken’s interview: “Spear fishing and Surviving in this kind environment, that’s something I’ve been doing my entire life and something I’m good at but in a social game like this, you have to develop connections and bonds and I’m socially shy sometimes. It’s something that’s plague me my entire life. I was the kid with the speech impediments and the nervous twitches so David and I are kind of mirror images of each other. Socially we are a little bit awkward; we are a little bit shy. As I see him opening up, it’s inspiring me to open up.”

This was a very interesting and important glimpse into Ken’s character. Looking at him like David is about to do, you’d never guess that he had any problems to socialize with people but this gives us an idea of why he decided to go off the map for such a long time. Ken is a Survivor but will he be THE Survivor? This scene puts him in contention.

Ken and David agreed that the tribe was like Paul’s posse. They agreed they had to make a move.

David’s interview: “Ken and I, we are on opposite sides of the science spectrum. I don’t look anything like Ken: He’s built like a super athlete, he looks like an Adonis. What girl wouldn’t want to date him? you know. A girl doesn’t want to date a neurotic, bald guy but I like Ken a lot and in Survivor you absolutely need at least one person that you can trust. For me right now, it’s Ken and I think for Ken, it’s me.”

David showed Ken his idol.

Ken’s interview: “I believe in David and I as an alliance. It’s real, it’s legit and Dave’s got and idol and I think we will be using that to band together and do something big and for us to move forward, Paul’s got to go. I’m ready for a fight and I don’t want to give Paul too much time to come in and try to counter.”

At that moment we saw Paul shadow boxing and he seemed ready for that fight.

What I liked most about the juxtaposition of these two scenes was that we focused on a pair of outsiders on both sides: Ken and David on one, Figgy and Taylor on the other. Ken and Dave did all the right things, Figgy and Taylor all the wrong ones: David was making fire and finding idols while Ken was providing food in Gen X while Figgy and Taylor were putting themselves in danger with the Millennials. You’d think David and Ken would have been the ones to turn things around but it was the couple who finds itself in the majority while the Gen X outsiders haven't made any significant progress. However, in the long run, we could very well see these four outsiders come together.
Ken delivered the last interview of the scene, the one where he talks about strategy and moving forward so maybe he will profit more from this alliance with David.

Millennials Day 6

The music was serene when Hannah’s scene with the coconut started but then it became arrhythmic when we saw she was having trouble.

Mari’s interview: “It’s day six and the Millennials’ morale is good but we didn’t realize that playing this game would be so hard...Nothing you experience in front of a television screen can compare to experiencing it in real life and it’s surreal, man!”

By then, Hannah had ripped apart that coconut. She was all smiles.

It was a totally unnecessary scene but those are the most endearing ones. There are so few of these that make it on air that we have to make note. There is care given to Hannah in order for the viewers to make a positive connection with her.

Figgy and Taylor were still together, talking about surfing.

Michaela’s interview: “Figgy has been a flirt since the boat came up to Fiji like this girl is dumb. You’re supposed to blend in a little at the beginning and work your magic behind the scenes but her magic is trying to be all over the place so it’s not magic. You need to pull the rabbit out of a hat; you can’t just walk in with a rabbit. The problem is that it’s hard to act like I don’t know what is going on. If I have something to say and I’m not saying it my mouth will close but my eyebrows and this face will talk.”

The machete she had in hand while standing next to Figgy did the talking for her!

Figgy clearly understood the threat.
Figgy accused Michaela of being phony.

Figgy’s interview: “Michaela is being a complete b*tch about nothing. This girl is crazy. I want her as far away from me as possible. This girl has got to go.”

Adam’s interview: “Literally, Figgy has put herself in the crosshairs. Basic laws of Survivor will tell you: Don’t come blazing out of the gate, don’t get into a catfight and sure as hell don’t get yourself into a showmance.”

Taylor and Figgy’s answer to that was to walk away and hug each other.

Those two really don’t understand how the game works yet it’s working for them. I’m sure the viewers aren’t taking them seriously but they could be going a long way.

Gen X Day 6

Paul was telling everyone to bring every piece of wood that they could carry.

We won’t see Paul over-exerting himself to the point of suffering from heat exhaustion but it’s very likely that he was the one carrying every piece of driftwood that he could find.

Paul’s interview: “With me, it’s very simple: When it comes to taking control of the game, I one hundred percent want to be in control. That’s where I have to be, I don’t have a choice because I breathe control.”

Not being a control freak could have been part of Adam’s rules.

Ken was talking to Cece about “The Paul Show” and how the three of them were on the outside. Cece agreed, adding that they needed to cut off the head.

While they were talking against Paul, we saw that he was starting to feel dizzy.

I found that putting Ken’s words about Paul feeling invincible and having to stroke his ego in order to bring him down in voice-over while we were witnessing Paul possibly suffering a stroke was a very interesting choice of editing. It would have been much better to hear them talking behind Paul’s back when he was still in a fighting mood, not when he was in need of medical help. At least they have the excuse of not knowing what was happening.

The production team had to step in and they told Paul that the doctor was on his way.

After the commercial break we saw Doctor Joe working on Paul while Jeff made his way into camp. The doctor told Jeff that they’d have to check if Paul had a heart attack. Paul said he hated not being in control.

Sunday’s confessional: “It’s extremely scary seeing him go down makes you think if it can happen to him it can happen to anyone. I really, really need Paul to stay in the game. He’s a huge key part of our alliance but beyond that I just care about him.”

The doctor ruled out any heart problems, it was heat exhaustion and dehydration. The game was back on.

David’s reaction: “I feel so guilty saying this and I’m glad Paul didn’t have a heart attack but honestly, when he went down, I thought this might be a good thing for me because he’s the one I want to vote out. He’s really calling all the shots and he’s so weak right now that’s going to make it easier to convince people that, you know what? it might be time to get rid of Paul.”

The cymbal and whipping sound effect underlined the enormity of this comment. It really takes a loser to count on someone’s illness to advance even in this evil game. I prefer those who want to show that they are the best by beating the best. Luckily, David didn’t get a chance to tell anyone that Paul’s weakness was a reason to vote him out because even diminished Paul completely outperformed David in the challenge that followed.

Day 7 - The immunity Challenge

Realizing that Rachel had been voted out, Figgy commented: “That’s about right.”

While it told us she read the other tribe correctly, it showed her insensitivity.

Hannah told Jeff she’d sit out.

Chris and Michelle were the first swimmers. While Jeff noted that Chris was ripping through the water, Hannah yelled to Michelle that she was ripping through the water too.

Take that Jeff! Our host couldn’t even admit that Michelle finished her leg tied with Chris!

I’d like to have Hannah as our new host!

Going against Will and Michaela, Paul and Sunday gained a small lead for their tribe but David quickly surrendered it to Zeke.

Seeing David in the water, I was reminded of Chet in Micronesia. I wonder if Chet is watching and wondering why he didn’t get as much airtime as David. He’s probably blaming a defective microphone.

Retrieving the rings that were tied under water, Cece had problems with hers but Ken retrieved two of them, saving his team a lot of time.

Jay tossed the rings for his team but Cece and Ken bettered him.

The way the ring toss was presented made Ken look better than he really was because we didn’t see him miss a single shot but we know he had to miss a couple at least because we saw him waiting twice for someone to retrieve a ring.

Swimming to bring the idol back to his team, Paul was heard saying: “Dr. Joe brought this old pirate back from the dead, baby!”

When her tribe left the challenge area, Mari gave us a confessional: “Tonight we want Figgy to be really comfortable, we want to blindside her without her even knowing. When I beat an opponent in a video game, it feels great but this is somebody’s dream that we’re crushing and that is what makes Survivor real.”

While editing isn’t always this formulaic, we have another example of a confident player delivering a confessional in the kiss-of-death spot. At that point in time, it was hard to foresee how the vote could possibly change but it was clear that Figgy wasn’t going to be eliminated. It was simply much too evident. Before we all laugh at Mari’s pleonasm, (we want to blindside her without her even knowing) we have to remember the editors’ specialty: Pretending that someone is being blindsided even if the player knew it was coming! This time it was not only real, it had salt on it!!

Millennials Day 7

Michelle was leading the tribe back into camp and she would soon assume leadership in the voting decision also.

Zeke’s interview: “We lost today’s immunity challenge but I’m a little bit tickled to be going to Tribal Council. I came to vote people out and I came to win a million dollars and I want to get started. Figgy’s in the hot seat right now because wherever Figgy goes her little puppy dog Taylor goes. Like one person isn’t allowed to have two votes. That’s against the spirit of the game.”

Having a winning quote in a confessional where the player isn’t right about upcoming events doesn’t sound very promising. Zeke and Adam will soon find themselves out of the loop and in the minority. Will they be able to pull a magic trick?

We first saw Zeke, Adam, Mari and Hannah talking about voting out Figgy then Hannah joined Michaela and Will who were saying the same thing.

Michaela’s interview: “The couple would be dangerous if Figgy was going to stay around but I’m just convinced that Figgy is going home so get your kisses in because that couple is about to get back down to one real quick.”

What should we think now that we know Figgy didn’t go home? We’ve heard many people say that she’s dangerous so she’s probably in for a deep run.

Zeke told Jay and Adam that they had to break up the twosome and that would bring Michaela back into the group but, if not, then Michaela would be the next to go. Jay said he was OK with that.

The scene made me realize that color coordination on Survivor extends to underwear! All three guys had matching red boxers. Production’s habit of deciding what everyone will wear is kind of dumb. On the other hand, it must be noted that Jay played it very smoothly, not showing that he was sticking with his boy.

Jay’s confessional: “Figgy is going home and it sucks because I had Figgy and Taylor in the Trifecta, OK, and we were going to make things happen. Unless something happens and things go crazy like they usually do, my alliance is gone.”

Jay informed Michelle that the others wanted Fig out first.

The dramatic chant gave us an idea of Michelle’s distress at the news.

Her next interview was divided into three parts so that we could also hear what she was saying to Jay: “You realize that we’re losing numbers if we vote out Figgy. We have to vote out Mari unless you have a better idea. We need Figgy and Michaela to kiss and make up.”

Michelle’s interview: “It doesn’t make sense to vote out Figgy right now. My alliance with Jay, Figgy and Taylor, we got to keep that number and we got to switch the vote. Mari is really dangerous because she is smart but tonight’s Tribal Council is about keeping people who I know will stick with me moving forward.”

It was interesting to watch Michelle talking about her alliance with Jay, Figgy and Taylor while holding up 5 fingers!

It’s possible that she named a fifth person but we weren’t supposed to know about it yet to make the turnaround even more dramatic. Needless to say that this scrambling portion of the episode made Jay and even more so Michelle look like high caliber players.

Jay took on the job of talking to Figgy and Michaela. He started by saying he loved them both but that the tribe was planning to vote Figgy out first and Michaela second.

In a previous interview, Michaela told us that magic was about pulling a rabbit out of the hat but Jay showed us another great magic trick by reconciling Figgy and Michaela!

Figgy’s interview: “My name is on the chopping block. It’s like hitting you in the chest with a knife. Michaela and I have definitely had our differences but she has to stick with us, there’s nothing else to it.”

Michaela’s interview: “This girl is trying to be my friend now. Figgy was going home and I was perfectly fine with that but if Jay is telling the truth, I could definitely be in trouble so this whole thing is up in the air.”

Figgy said they had to stay six strong, saying that Will had to be in their group.

We saw that Michelle was already talking to Will. She was telling him that they knew what Figgy could do so it would be easy to get her later. Will didn’t see it that way, saying she would gain momentum just like Parvati and Cochran. Michelle said she wanted to see Mari go because she was strategic. Will said that the change of plan was very nerve wracking.

Will’s comment about Parvati and Cochran is another hint that Figgy could be in for a deep run.

Michelle’s interview: “This first Tribal Council is going to draw a line. Figgy can’t go tonight. It has to be someone else. It’s scary to me because I’m not sure we have the numbers to really, truly save Figgy. So, I might have to try to pull strings at Tribal Council to make sure I have the numbers and get what I want.”

No one has ever managed to pull strings at Tribal Council quite like this. Way back in the Outback, we were told that Tina brilliantly pulled strings to vote out Mitchell but that was on the way to Tribal Council. For a long time players weren’t even allowed to talk if Jeff hadn’t addressed them. They’ve been much freer in recent years but, while Kass and Tasha came close, no one ever reached the level of pressure we saw Michelle putting on Hannah.

Tribal Council

With everyone looking around and Hannah saying “wow!” we saw that the tribe was very impressed by the set.
Adam told Jeff that the place was unbelievable and it made him feel like he was watching on television.
Mari explained that it was much harder to play with real people than in the two dimensional world.
Zeke said he was living in a dream world and that Survivor was bringing out the best of him.
Michaela disagreed, saying this situation could bring out the worse in people.
Adam said that he liked that Michaela was very direct but that it wasn’t always a good thing to have on Survivor.

I wonder if it was Michaela’s words that pushed Michelle to whisper to Hannah. Michaela’s disagreement could have made Michelle doubt her. It’s also possible that Adam’s words sent Michaela back to the group that was targeting Mari but Michelle wasn’t going to risk it.

- Michele turned to Hannah and whispered “I’m voting Mari”, shocking her tribe mate. -

Hannah told Jeff that Taylor and Figgy were cuddling closer than others.
Zeke added: “If the shelter is-a-rockin’ don’t come-a-knockin’, Jeff.”

- While Taylor explained that they had been called out, Hannah quietly asked Michelle for a reason to vote against Mari. Michelle said she would tell her later. -

Will agreed that the couple shared two votes.
Zeke said it wasn’t good because Figgy would always be more loyal to Taylor than to him.
Figgy and Taylor tried to brush off any concerns.
Michaela told Jeff that she wasn’t stupid, that she knew when people were lying to her. She told Jeff that her animosity was directed at Miss Cuddleshack.

- Needing more information, Hannah whispered to Jay if he knew what Michelle was saying. Jay said he did. -

Finally, Jeff turned to Jay, Michelle and Hannah, asking about their conversation.
Jay said it was just a combination of youth, energy and paranoia.
With a nervous giggle, Hannah told Jeff she was feeling dizzy.
Michelle said that they were playing a game where you try to move forward.
Figgy said she felt nervous but that her mind was at peace.

- Quietly, Michelle once more asked Hannah to trust her. -

The tribe started getting nervous about that secret discussion going on at one end but Mari said it was simply an example of Hannah simply being Hannah and she was probably talking about puppies or bugs.

Sometimes, a little paranoia is very useful!

It was time to vote.

Zeke, holding up his parchment with the name Figgy written on it said: “Darling, you are much too dangerous to stay in this game.”

Figgy held up her vote against Mari and said: “I really, really hope I can trust Michaela.”

We saw that Hannah couldn’t decide what to do. We heard her whispering about her dilemma.

It took so long that Jeff had to take a few steps to see what she was doing.

Michelle and Figgy held hands when Jeff went to tally the votes.
Zeke, Adam and Mari voted for Figgy, everyone else blindsided Mari.

Figgy let out a deep breath, Jay and Michelle smiled while the only thing Adam could say was “Well done.”

After snuffing Mari’s torch, Jeff said: “It is clear that the enthusiasm on this tribe is overshadowed only by the level of game play. The gloves are off and it is on.”

The Story

The Millennials are pumping a lot of fresh air in a series that had become quite stale over the years. It’s still early to make a fair comparison but right now I’d say they are as fun to watch as Mara’amu, Casaya and Fei Long because every single one of them is well developed. It was painful to see Mari leave because she had quite a nice premiere but it would have been painful to see anyone of them leave. Hannah is the most enjoyable one of the bunch while Michelle and Jay have shown a level of game play that we have rarely seen.

I’m not as enthusiastic about the other side where only Ken is the type of character that I like. David has a big story of course but that story is better suited for a Soap Opera than Survivor. We should be asking which side will come out on top but there hasn’t been enough connections established between these players and the audience for it to really matter.

That being said, the theme of the episode seemed to revolve around “Working Magic” so here’s how I’d characterize our actors.

The Characters

Disappearing Act – The editors snapped their fingers and made these players disappear

Lucy and Cece: For these two we could even say that they haven’t even made it on stage yet. For Cece it’s even more troubling because we never heard her reaction after losing an ally and receiving three votes. A magician could still turn one of them into a winner but I’m not sure we’d appreciate that trick.

Bret and Jessica: Each had a strong premiere but the magic wand took them away from our television screens. We have to consider that Takali’s camp scenes were filled up with someone finding an idol and getting a house call from Doctor Joe and Jeff. Their immunity win took more airtime away from this group. We question Bret and Jessica’s chances of being long term players but we’ll have to see if they can regain some presence in the next few episodes.

Sunday and Chris: They each made a brief appearance, one telling us that she likes Paul while the other said that David would be going next but their roles were insignificant. It’s a safe prediction to say that Chris won’t make it as far as Sunday. Maybe we should call him Thursday.

Sitting in the Front Row – These players could still leave their mark on stage but will it be to take over or to become the magicians' next victims?

Will: If Michelle’s alliance really was five strong than Will was probably their fifth but he soured on Figgy faster than the other members of that alliance. Michelle had to reel him back in and she found the words to get him back in the fold. Will isn’t going to be a big character but he has a role to play and we’ve been following his train of thought on a regular basis so he should have a nice future.

Michaela: Her sour disposition is in sharp contrast to the easy-going nature of Vanua but she adds to the tribe’s charm. After all, Figgy’s narrow escape wouldn’t have been as fun to watch if Michaela hadn’t called her out. Michaela has a very interesting way of commenting about the events around her. She’s very down to earth, she tells it like it is and she doesn’t seem to worry how she will be perceived. Like Adam said, it isn’t the optimal way to integrate a group but it is fun.

Adam and Zeke: Two of last week’s stars, they find themselves in a very difficult situation. There has been a clear investment in each of these players so I seriously doubt that either one is leaving soon. That must mean that the Millennials are about to start a winning streak. It must be noted that Zeke has a very entertaining way of narrating the events around him. His observations are on point and he can see how that affects his position in the game but he was clearly blindsided by the latest vote so now he needs to find some magic.

The Miraculous:

Paul: Doctor Joe brought him back from the dead and he performed quite well in the challenge. It will be interesting to see if he keeps control of the tribe. Our impression after the first episode was that Takali was under Chris and Bret’s control but that role was given to Paul by Ken and David. Can he stay in control and if he doesn’t, how will he react?

The Rabbits – Well yes, you could see them that way but I meant they were pulled out of danger just like rabbits out of a hat:

Taylor and Figgy: I don’t hold much hope for Jay’s boy but I wonder just how much we have to take seriously everyone’s mention that Figgy will be dangerous now that she has been saved. Mari, Michaela, Will and Zeke all warned us that she could gain a lot of momentum. Will even compared her to Parvati. (At least it’s not Jeff this time!) Taylor will probably realize that while a woman is more at risk in the early part of the game, it’s the guy who winds up on the chopping block when we get close to a swap or a merger. As for Figgy, I have the impression that she will be around for quite a while.

The Magician’s Assistant:

Hannah: Her enthusiasm reminds me of Dolly in Vanuatu and it looks like we will have a lot more time to enjoy her than we had with the sheep farmer. If we look at the game play, she was Michelle’s tool, the magician’s assistant, but her camera presence was outstanding. She stole the show, grabbing our attention every time she was on screen. I was very impressed.

The Magicians – These Players have Tricks up their Sleeves:

Ken: He wasn’t the headliner but we saw that he had a nice trick up his sleeve when he got David to show his cards, revealing the immunity idol. Ken surprised us also by sharing his personal problems. We all had the same impression of him as David but Ken had to work hard to transform himself. That kind of chameleon can cause a lot of surprises down the road and his MVP performance in the immunity challenge should give him time to find a better position in the tribe. Even if Paul’s posse gets his way, they should target Cece and Dave first and then maybe even turn on one of their own before eliminating Ken especially if they go on a losing streak.

David: He is clearly following the theme of “Not Giving Up”. We saw it when he made fire and then when he pulled an idol out of a coconut. The care the editors have given to his story tells us that we will follow his journey for quite a while and he may pull off some nice moves down the road but we can’t forget his contemptible comment after Paul went down. That interview was totally unnecessary but it showed his loser’s mentality.

Jay: It’s funny when you consider that Jay told us in his pre-season interview that he’d like to start fights between tribe mates in order to get them voted out but then we saw him working his magic to reconcile two bitter enemies. I also liked how he was able to fool Zeke and Adam into thinking he had given up on Taylor and Figgy. Jay has a lot of potential but he was clearly overshadowed by his alliance mate.

Michelle: This Michelle really has game! This was her episode; she was the tactical star of the evening, a player of high caliber like we’ve rarely seen. She is liked by everyone in her tribe and she has shown an ability to present convincing arguments to the people she wants on her side. The only drawback is that Jeff didn’t tell us that she managed to keep up with Chris during the challenge but at least we had Hannah telling us that she was ripping through the water also!

The seating arrangement at tribal council was certainly conducive to Michelle’s action so I wonder if she said something in her final interview about talking to Hannah during the council discussion and if production decided to give her a hand by seating her right next to Hannah while Mari, Adam and Zeke were placed on the other side.

I think Michelle is definitely a long term player and that will be fun to watch.

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9. "RE: Episode 2 - Work Your Magic:"
First of all I have to comment that I think this is the very best second episode I can remember seeing! I loved it! All of us suspected it would be business as usual and that they would all go along with the easy vote, so hats off to PLAYERS!!! Michelle and Jay, I'll be rooting for one of them from here on out! Stellar, stellar game play!

I agree with you though as well, michel, I have high hopes for Ken. Wow, that was surprising, how he came out with his statement about how he was in his youth. Just goes to show you that you really can't read a book by it's cover! I am rooting for him so much now as well!

I love how you have contrasted these couples, Figgy and Taylor and Ken and David. Both on the outs, and they both are making headway, especially the ones that were up to bat first. But, it wasn't at all by Figgy/Taylor's efforts! That's what is so amazing! I still feel like some of these millennials are just so naive. They are that and gullible, and the only two that are not are the players, Michelle and Jay.

I don't know why but the start of this season brings me back a bit to Vanuatu! Since that was my favorite season ever, I am reservedly excited about what's to come!

Excellent observations, michel, as always! I am drinking your koolaid, 100%! Thanks so much!

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10. "RE: Episode 2 - Work Your Magic:"
Thank you for sharing your point of view, FP

>First of all I have to
>comment that I think this
>is the very best second
I can remember seeing!
> I loved it!

I have to agree. Second episodes are too often very boring because of their linearity with the first episode. Ashley's boot in China was totally expected as was Gillian in Gabon, Betsy in Samoa, Stephenie in HvV, Papa Bear in So Pathetic, Nina in One World, etc... man! that list is long.

>Michelle and Jay, I'll be
>rooting for one of them
>from here on out!
>Stellar, stellar game play!

Who knew that selling bibles could lead to being good at this game!

>I agree with you though as
>well, michel, I have high
>hopes for Ken. Wow, that
>was surprising, how he came
>out with his statement about
>how he was in his
>youth. Just goes to show
>you that you really can't
>read a book by it's
>cover! I am rooting
>for him so much now
>as well!

It was fun to hear David read that cover just a few seconds after Ken gave us some insights into his life story.

>I love how you have contrasted
>these couples, Figgy and Taylor
>and Ken and David. Both
>on the outs, and they
>both are making headway, especially
>the ones that were up
>to bat first. But, it
>wasn't at all by Figgy/Taylor's
>efforts! That's what is
>so amazing! I still feel
>like some of these millennials
>are just so naive. They
>are that and gullible, and
>the only two that are
>not are the players, Michelle
>and Jay.

We know that the editors present some scenes out of sequence but it's very hard to tell when they do it. What I do instead is look for juxtaposition in scenes. They probably presented Figgy and Taylor's "adventure" right before Ken and David's talk for a reason. It's very unlikely that both events coincided in real time but they were shown back-to-back so that always gets me thinking.

>I don't know why but the
>start of this season brings
>me back a bit to
>Vanuatu! Since that was
>my favorite season ever, I
>am reservedly excited about what's
>to come!

Well maybe the fact that one tribe is called Vanua helps! But I agree that this season has a freshness that had been lost since the end of Survivor's golden age. Vanuatu is certainly one of my favorites and probably the most under-estimated season by most fans of the series. We had a great advantage though over all those fans because we could follow Veruca's analysis along with all her contributors.

>Excellent observations, michel, as always! I
>am drinking your koolaid, 100%!
>Thanks so much!

You are welcome, FP. I almost decided to stop altogether after last season but then I met a Survivor fan at work and that convinced me to give it another shot. Thankfully, I am amused by this season so far.

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10-03-16, 08:56 PM (EST)
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11. "RE: Episode 2 - Work Your Magic:"
LAST EDITED ON 10-03-16 AT 08:57 PM (EST)

Great breakdown, michel. I'm on the same page with you on a lot of these so far, although I am worried about a couple cases. After Michele's win last year and the giant editing "controversy" (basically complaints from the internet), I am inclined to look for a more obvious winner edit this year. Not sure if the past history bears that out (although Brian was way more visible than Vecepia!), I feel like the editors are going to force the issue more this year.

In particular, the editors took a lot of criticism for not showing of Michele's relationships and social game last season. When Cydney chooses to vote for her, it doesn't make a ton of sense because we got more Cydney/Aubry. They have obviously always shown important relationships, but I feel like they're making sure to take a moment to highlight them.

Like, in the premiere, how Hannah got her own little aside, talking about how she's an outsider but is taking a moment to bond with Michelle. And then it comes up this week. Little things like that should say a lot.

Anyway, here my rundowns.

Pretty Unlikely Winners

Lucy - Obviously way too invisible. I've heard of the dog who didn't bark, but this is pushing credulity. Production clearly doesn't care about her. She'll pop back up for her boot episode, kinda like Monica from Second Chances.
Paul - Way too much focus on David for this guy to win out. They're setting up Paul as the pre-merge kingpin of the alliance, and that very very rarely goes well for that player. Expecting him to get bounced by a twist. He's basically Joel from Micronesia.
Cece - She just appears to be the +1 to whoever she's hanging out with, which is a really bad sign. Not really getting much of her perspective, it's just Cece is someone that more important people are with.
Jessica - I really liked her premiere, although the lack of explanation of her eyes was a red flag. But nothing this week. I feel like it's a really bad sign when the attention you get is related to a twist that kicks in when you're voted out. I doubt she's in immediate danger, but her story needs to pick up pronto if she's going to be a contender.

Volatile Millennials

(People who I think could either be the next boot or will be around for awhile. People we'll find out very soon about.)

Hannah - I walked away from this episode the opposite of what I said about Aubry. I felt like, with the Aubry thing, they had no choice to edit in her indecisiveness because of the nature of the crossed-out vote. That situation was at least arguable, I felt. This example, I just don't feel like there's any way they would've edited it as a laugh if Hannah does pull out a win. She's either a long-term journey player or out next. Starting to suspect this mini-plot with Michelle might be the extent of her story. You mentioned Dolly, and that might be apt way to describe her arc, potentially.
Adam - Adam makes me nervous because his narrator-esque edit reminds me a little of Mari's. He speaks very generally about themes, not really talking a lot about specific strategy stuff as it relates to him. Can't tell if this is him getting facetime because he'll be around or if he's not around long. I think he'll make it but my spidey senses are tingling.
Will - He strikes me as a merge boot type. We got to hear him talk about his own strategy a bit and his wants, when considering Figgy. They like to highlight his youth as well. Not much of a story so far, but I could see one developing.
Figgy - I actually don't like Figgy much, from an edit perspective. She got the puzzling Parvati/Cochran comparison, but I read it more about people already onto her potential, rather than foreshadowing a long run. While the story has revolved around her and Taylor, they showed absolutely nothing about Figgy actually saving herself. I like Taylor way more as a long-term character.

Boring Gen X'ers With Potential

Bret and Chris - Putting them together, they both got pretty solid team-player type edits. There isn't anything really to disqualify them from being the winner, but they served more as commentary to the David story and being simple alliance members with Paul. They feel like they might be the mid-boss Scot and Jason types of this season.
Sunday - Pretty invisible overall, but the facetime they have given her has been pretty thoughtful. Choosing her words carefully talking about Paul as a person and alliance member. I suspect Sunday is going to be around for awhile.

Major Characters So Far

Ken - Liking his edit so far. It's Ken who did the stick bug thing last week (establishing a key relationship) and this week seemed to be completely about establishing Ken as one of the good guys. Would like to see more from his point of view, but it's a start.
David - He's very unlikely to win (especially given the Paul confessional) but it doesn't make sense for him to hog all the spotlight if he doesn't at least make it 6 or 7 episodes. It might just be because he's funny and they have to show him. We'll see, though. Really David-centric show.
Taylor - I just get the sense that the editors think he's fun and they go out of their way to highlight the goofiness. No one is really harping on how Taylor is ruining his game specifically (Figgy gets most of the blame). I think he's the dopey Woo or Keith character of the season that will make a pretty deep run.
Zeke - Not a great episode 2, but he was visible enough. His conversation with Jay read less like Zeke blowing it for Mari, and more about him having connections. I think he bounces back.
Michaela - Episode 2 was quite the coming out party! If Michaela was one of the next couple of boots, I think they would've spread around the Figgy-complaining to a few more people. They seemed to really want to establish Michaela as the Sandra-type of this season, so she's probably good for awhile.
Jay - I really liked the scene of him talking with the guys. Showed off that he has a lot of angles he can play. They gave him a decent amount of credit trying to wrangle up the votes and gather information. I think the audience is supposed to view the Triforce alliance as dumb, so they've done a noteworthy job distancing Jay from that criticism.
Michelle - The front-runner so far, for obvious reasons. Girl has put in some work.

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12. "RE: Episode 2 - Work Your Magic:"
LAST EDITED ON 10-04-16 AT 00:07 AM (EST)

Thank you for your input, Jims. I always like reading your thoughts.

I like your breakdown a lot. I'd flip Figgy and Taylor but I don't havea solid case for thinking that way, just a couple of hints.

I also think Hannah is going to go far. I compared her enthusiastic naiveté to Dolly but I don't think she'll go so early. Again, just an impression rather than anything solid.

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10-04-16, 08:49 AM (EST)
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13. "RE: Episode 2 - Work Your Magic:"
I almost decided to stop altogether after last season but then I met a Survivor fan at work and that convinced me to give it another shot.

michel, it would be OVER without you to do this thread here! OMG! I hate to even think about it. Last season was crazy....and the editing set Michele up to be an unfavored winner if you ask me. They gave her no credit for her moves or her story, and it affected all of us and our thoughts on the season. Jim is right, After Michele's win last year and the giant editing "controversy" (basically complaints from the internet), I am inclined to look for a more obvious winner edit this year. Not sure if the past history bears that out (although Brian was way more visible than Vecepia!), I feel like the editors are going to force the issue more this year.

I don't know how they will edit it this season, but it has to be an improvement over last season. I also agree that Figgy has more on the ball than Taylor. Taylor is just over the top blinded. Nice assessments, Jim!

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14. "RE: Episode 2 - Work Your Magic:"
LAST EDITED ON 10-05-16 AT 00:04 AM (EST)

Also sorry to hear you thought about quitting, michel. Was it the Michelle and Aubry thing that made the edit no fun last year or was it just a "tired of this nonsense" thing?

I went on a lengthy diatribe last year about how I wish so much that the show could tell a winner's story like Aubry and what an interesting and nuanced character arc would be. How, maybe the show's story-telling has evolved and we could have a winner with such an up-and-down story? And then when Michele won like a lot of us were suspecting might happen, it just kinda deflated things. I was kinda grouchy about Michele in general, but after listening to her on RHAP and in interviews, I'm more of the opinion that she was totally great and the show did her wrong. Some people blamed her instead of blaming the show for editing the winner like the murderer in a mystery novel.

(I'm not saying anyone in this thread was blaming Michele as a person/player, just kinda venting on how philosophical I got about Kaoh Rong after having some distance from it.)

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15. "RE: Episode 2 - Work Your Magic:"
It's mostly that I don't enjoy the show as much as before. It's become so formulaic that it totally misses the adventure which was its greatest appeal. Last season didn't help either and it's ironic when you say that they edited it like a mystery novel because that's exactly how I usually see it and I felt that last year they completely missed that because their hints weren't pointing in the right direction. At the end of mystery novels, it all makes sense but not this time.
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10-05-16, 10:32 AM (EST)
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16. "Working Her Magic"
Going with "Working Your Magic" for the main theme of the latest episode and naming Michelle as the main magician was quite the coincidence. I just finished playing an on-line Survivor game where the characters were taken from Harry Potter and at the cast reveal we were told that Michelle Schubert was one of the participants. Not only that, I was in an alliance with her but when it came time to turn on each other, she got me out by using a magical item!

She seems to be much better in the real game than on a computer because she didn't have a good social game. It was probably due to her work schedule.

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10-08-16, 06:39 PM (EST)
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18. "WOW! "
Wow, what a coincidence, michel! I am really on the Michelle train. She's subtle though, she gains trust and is loud and out there. Far more calculating and engaging than the louder guys, imo.

This will be great to watch moving forward knowing this! So, if she got you out when you had to turn on each other, did she win the game?

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19. "RE: WOW! "
LAST EDITED ON 10-08-16 AT 07:11 PM (EST)

No she didn't. I got voted out right before the merger (I know, that makes me undateable...) but my allies got everyone to vote her out on the next vote.


Here's also a link to the cast reveal page but I don't know if it will work since the board is password protected.

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23. "RE: WOW! "
So, she played the org game AFTER she returned from production of the real show? Hmmmmm?
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17. "Episode 3 - Sitting on Dumbass Island"
Previously on Survivor

At the Gen X tribe, Paul was in charge of an alliance of 6 but the elements brought him down.
At the Millennial tribe, Zeke, Adam, Hannah and Mari wanted to dismantle the power couple but Michelle had plans of her own.
We first see Michelle talking to Jay about targeting Mari and then we hear her confessional: “I might have to pull strings at Tribal Council to make sure I have the numbers.”
At Tribal Council, Michelle convinced Hannah and the majority of the tribe to vote out Mari leaving Zeke and Adam on the outside.
While the preview gave Michelle the full credit for the season’s first big move, the following episode wouldn’t feature her, focusing more on the players that find themselves on the bottom of each tribe’s totem pole. Their struggles are structuring the story but will they become our long term players? It’s doubtful that they will make it all unscathed to the end.

Sitting on Dumbass Island

Millennials Night 7

Talking to the whole tribe, Adam and Zeke expressed their surprise about the vote, taking their hats off to Taylor and Figgy.

Figgy answered: “No hats off to us.”

Figgy’s interview: “Zeke and Adam were like: “Taylor and Figgy; well done, I commend you.” And like it’s not just us, buddy. There were seven votes. Adam and Zeke are at the bottom at this rate if we go back to Tribal. People that write down Figgy’s name go home.”

The cymbal crash underlined that threat as if it was fatality. We will have to see what happens to those who write Figgy’s name. Will they be going home systematically one after the other? The audience has certainly connected more positively with Adam and Zeke than with Figgy and Taylor so this could become tragedy. Already we have seen that Mari’s flaw was trusting Hannah too much so will Adam and Zeke also fail when tested?

Hannah wanted to explain her vote to Zeke and Adam but they didn’t want to listen. She started by saying: “I’m going to try to be an adult about it and not play the victim.” Zeke wanted to wait until the next day to talk but Hannah wouldn’t give up. She explained that Michelle told her at Tribal Council that they had the numbers so she didn’t see the point of voting with the minority. Zeke didn’t see the point of talking about it so Hannah talked about it. Hannah didn’t want to be seen as an awful person but Zeke simply wanted some space. Hannah said it was going to be 6 to 4 anyway but Adam interrupted by saying that Zeke wanted some space. Hannah told them that she was only told at Tribal Council but Zeke wanted to talk later about it. He was upset with her and he just wanted to breathe a little. Hannah then said (the funniest line of the evening): “Before you breathe, meditate on this.” Adam and Zeke pleaded with her once more to wait until later so Hannah said that the votes would still have gone against them. Hannah finally got up but still had to say something about not being a bad person.

The music was composed of tense strings which only added to the hilarity of the scene. We had two interviews inserted during that scene just to underline how long it took Hannah to understand. It made Hannah sound a bit like one of those trolls on the internet! For someone who wanted to be an adult about the events, she certainly acted like a child. Despite all this, I have a feeling that most viewers still love Hannah and her endearing naïveté. She acted like the little kid who doesn’t understand why the adults want to be left alone.

Hannah’s interview (Her interviewer has more power than Zeke and Adam because he managed to keep her waiting until the next day!): “Even walking into Tribal, I thought Figgy was going home and then Michelle said “trust me, we have the numbers” and suddenly I couldn’t think of anything else. I did what I felt was best for my game and I had to and it sucked.”

Zeke’s confessional: “So you know how you’re totally in control of the game and you’re totally excited to go to Tribal Council and then, oh! wait... you get totally blindsided! That’s what happened in Tribal Council tonight.”

Of course, Hannah’s interview also had to go on: “Hopefully something can happen with Zeke and I. Hopefully I can repair enough to the point where we can work together. Maybe even Adam and Zeke can make a move using me. I want them to use me. Use me! I don’t like everyone in this damn majority alliance.”

Hannah, turning against both sides is the perfect recipe for everyone to hate you! Jonathan Penner tried it once and look what that got him. Well, it did get him a return invitation but I meant it killed any chances he had in that first season. It must be noted that Hannah didn’t mention any connection or loyalty to Michelle for making that move, only that she forced her hand.

Zeke told Adam that they had to be chill but he was glad that they were sitting next to each other because it made it easy to see who the other fool was. Adam agreed, saying he was sitting right next to Zeke on Dumbass Island.

Adam’s interview: “It’s been my dream since I was 9 years old to play this game and have this experience. I did not expect my first Tribal Council to be my first Blindside. Now, I’m going to have to play from the bottom and it’s going to take a lot of work to get back into a position of power but I wouldn’t count me out. I think I can get back up to the top again.”

The scene ended with the sound of a tribal chant while Adam was looking out to the horizon; an image of hope.

Adam is embarking on a story reminiscent of Spencer’s in Cagayan but he has the advantage of being on a tribe that is winning immunity challenges. Of the two guys sitting on Dumbass Island, Adam had the interview that held more promise for the future but Zeke has received more character development in the first three episodes so they could both go a long way in this story.

As mentioned above it was odd that Michelle wasn’t given an interview or a role in this first segment after her big move at Tribal Council. It could be the story teller’s way of showing that despite standing out at the previous council she has the ability to hide back under cover. She was the mastermind behind that big blindside but the onus still fell on Figgy, Taylor and Hannah.

Gen X Day 8

Jessica, Sunday, Bret and Paul were enjoying a beautiful morning even if Paul reminded them that a red sky in the morning was a sailor’s warning.

Interestingly, Paul is a sailor living in the Florida Keys so this warning was a hint, an instant spoiler if you will, about the outcome of the episode.

Cece was talking to David, saying she thought things would be alright; she prayed for things to be alright so she was confident they would.

Indeed, Cece’s prayers would soon be answered.

David’s interview: “On my tribe right now, I have a pretty good handle on what is going on and it’s definitely me, Ken and Cece on the bottom, without question. But I found an idol already. That was on my Survivor bucket list so there is hope for me. I am a Gen Xer and I don’t think you should ever give up.”

Chopping a coconut, Paul said he felt as if he was back from the dead. He went fishing which he figured would be as easy as it is back home in the Florida Keys. He thought he’d show them that he was really good. Bret was dreaming of eating something like a tuna or a shahk.

The stumble Paul took coming out of the surf told us that he was far from being as good as he claimed.

Ken’s interview: “Paul comes back and says there is a school of yellow tail but he can’t get him, they’re too fast. I look at these people and it’s like do you not see that time and time again, he says something and he doesn’t follow through. Who do you want leading you into battle? People talk about, you know, Cece; she’s on the outs. David is terrified about everything physical but what about Paul? What is he currently offering the tribe? He’s not providing food, he’s not providing shelter and I’m baffled that I’m on the bottom.”

Adam and Zeke aren’t alone on Dumbass Island: I’m baffled by the decision of Takali’s alliance of six of not including Ken in their group. It would have been so easy to simply include him in their huddles and, like Chris would say, it was much too early to consider an exact order for everyone if you work hard at keeping everyone happy.

On a side note, I chuckled when Ken said that David was terrified of everything because, right then, we saw a bug fly near him, scaring him. What a dumbass! (I wonder how many readers will be offended this time!)

Millennials Day 8

We saw Adam walking out of camp and going right by a clam that had painting on its side.

Instead of an idol, Adam came back with tree mail.

The message told them about a summit that was also a recon mission.

We heard Will’s confessional, part of which had been used in the promo (that promo told us that the High School student would indeed be one of the ambassadors): “Adam comes back to camp with tree mail and he has this bag of rocks and whichever four pick an orange rock will leave camp and go intermingle with the other tribe. I think a lot of people don’t want to go but me being a super fan; I want to be a part of this twist. Why not work with people from the other side if they are going to help you advance in this game?”

Some players didn’t want to go because, often, these summits are sources of suspicion especially when the outsiders participate. No one in Gen X considered that David and Cece would lay the ground work for betraying their present allies.
Will, Jay, Taylor and Figgy had the orange rocks. Zeke was happy that he was the biggest boy left in camp.

Taylor’s interview: “It’s like just glorious of who got to go. Ha! Ha! Ha! It’s me, it’s Fig, it’s Will and it’s Jay: The top people in my alliance! Thank you.”

When Taylor named Will as one of his top allies it told me that the teenager had been part of this alliance all along. Where we had been shown a dumb alliance of 4 on a tribe of ten had always included at least 5 out of ten.

With the boat waiting for the foursome we heard a woman, most likely Michelle, yelling advice: “Open ears, closed mouths!”
Jay’s interview: “I’m fully excited honestly to go on this journey and get to feel out the Gen X generation of we work hard and we do things the right way and I want to see: Ok, what is the right way? I really hope that Figgy and Tails don’t start making out because then we’re going to look like a bunch of idiots and then they are really going to have this idea that Millennials don’t know what we’re doing because we’re letting a power couple stay in the game.”

Just how far will they let this power couple go? The editors have included so many remarks about the dangers of having a couple in the game that the odds of seeing them make it to the end are increasing. The game is so young that it’s still a long shot but it would pay you much less if you’d place your bet today than if you had wagered before episode 2.

It was only when the two boats met halfway to the other beach that the Gen X ambassadors were revealed. We had Chris, Paul, Cece and David.

Chris gave us an interview: “On the boat, the word summit kept popping up in my head and for me that is a meeting of like when different countries come and they have a G8 summit. From the Gen X was Paul, Dave, Cece and myself. I’m really excited to do this. This is the first time that the Gen X and the Millennials are going to mix together and, for my game, making some connections to them is a good thing. An old attorney once said to me: “You have to look at the opposition with clear eyes and a cold heart and that’s how I’m trying to view this game so my strategy is to keep my mouth shut and just get information.”

Chris acted like an attorney with his team of assistants but the situation was very different: Not every members of his tribe shared his agenda. The real opposition weren’t the ones he thought so even with clear eyes he didn’t see what developed.

David’s interview: “I’m a Survivor super fan and being the one selected to go to a summit like this was just fantastic. So far, I’m achieving all of my Survivor dreams.”

After breaking bread, David asked who was voted out and if they knew it was coming. Will told them it was Mari and they said she didn’t know.

Chris asked if there were any boyfriends-girlfriends on their tribe. Everyone, including Figgy, said no.

Paul said he was a lead singer in a rock band.

Paul told us in interview that the Millennials liked him because he’s older and they hadn’t talked to their parents in a while.
Paul then said David was one of the most incredible guys he ever met, that he was honest but was afraid of everything and that maybe they could hear him screaming from their camp.

David’s interview: “Paul wants an audience. He’s in a rock and roll band and he gets on stage and he doesn’t ask the audience what they think, he tells them what he thinks. That is not a guy I would ever imagine myself aligning with. Those are the guys who annoy me. Right now, I’m at the bottom with Cece and Ken so I need to find a way to make new friends among the Millennial tribe because when there is a swap or a merge, I’m going to need their help to get rid of Paul.”

Taylor and Figgy were the ones on screen when David mentioned needing new friends.

Figgy asked about Ken-doll. David and Cece said he was the opposite of what they thought; he was a very humble man.
Figgy’s interview: “The boys went in the water and Taylor and I talked to Cece and David. We are trying to learn if they are on the outs, if there are any divisions in their tribe.”

Cece and David said they had a couple of bosses and agreed that Paul was one of them.

Cece’s interview: “Me and David, we let Taylor and Figgy know that Paul is the head person in charge; he’s the alpha male, he’s the one running things in camp so leaving us alone was the stupidest decision they could have did and it may cost them a million dollars.”

We saw Cece and Figgy walking together on the beach so that Left David alone with Taylor.

David told Taylor that he would want to work with him after a swap or the merge. Taylor agreed and when he said he was solid with his group, David added that he would vote against his tribe if Taylor asked.

David’s interview: “I got to have a very important 30 second conversation with Taylor and I mean it: Come a swap, if it’s 3 Millennials and 2 Gen X, I’m getting rid of that other Gen X.”

Just how important was that conversation? It could actually be the most important one to date. But in David’s imaginary scenario, I’d consider that if I got rid of that other Gen X, I’d be the next to go.

It was extremely interesting to see the contrast between the presentations of the two tribes. The Millennials were clearly the tribe of interest when it came to show us interviews leading to the summit. It’s also very important to note that the Millennials gave only minimal information. Jay’s interview warned us that Figgy and Taylor could blow it for them but they were on their best behavior and they were the ones who received a lot of information, especially from David. This couple lives on their own Dumbass Island at times but when it comes time to play, they’ve done well. They aren’t the perfect pair like Rob and Amber but, after three episodes, they’ve been much more developed than other couples we’ve seen in the past who made it far without winning like Palau’s Gregg and Jenn, Cook Islands’ Adam and Candice or China’s Jaime and Erik for example.

I’m also curious to see how the Millennials will react when they see that Paul was voted out. Will David and Cece lose all credibility in their eyes? How will the Millennials react when they see that the leader was voted out? Myself, I would think that David and Cece lied to me, that they were the ones on top.

Gen X Day 8

The Ambassadors were back home.

David’s interview: “Paul, Chris, Cece and myself we came back from the summit and everybody wanted to know how it was, what happened. The thing about talking to Taylor is that I felt like I had a ray of hope that, other than finding that idol, has really been missing this entire game.”

When he heard that all the girls wanted to know about Ken-doll, Ken said he didn’t like the nickname: “When you’re a boy the last thing you want to be referred to is a plastic Barbie with no penis.”

Ken’s interview: “So the Millennials know me as Ken-doll. They think of me as the pretty boy and all the things that come along with that but I have the body strength and mind to make it far in this game. The Gen X tribe would be hurting if they got rid of me as far as the challenges go and my work ethic.” Proving his point, we saw Ken going fishing and he didn’t come back empty handed. His confessional continued: “We need food, we need fish and what I say I do, I wind up doing 90 percent of the time. When I say I’ll do something, I know how to do something, I do it and it works. Paul is the greatest fisherman yet he comes back empty handed. I would never go into battle with a leader who was incompetent or incapable. You pick the person who follows through; you pick the person who does what they say they are going to do. ”

Ken’s catch was impressive: there were 6 fish cooking over the fire.

In comparison, we saw Paul taking a nap in the shelter. Walking through the jungle, Ken seized the occasion and talked to Jessica about her leader, saying he hadn’t brought anything to the tribe. Ken added that he thought she and Sunday were two of the most humble people in camp compared to the rock star who was out for himself.

Jessica’s interview: “Ken feels like he’s on the outs and I totally understand why he feels that way because he’s not part of the six. Ken wants to vote out Paul but I’ve committed myself to Chris and Paul and Bret and Sunday and Lucy who are my best bet moving forward to day 36 and then day 36 I will get to read the legacy advantage that I found and then utilize that to my advantage.”

Now that we know Jessica won’t be able to count on her six to make it to day 36 it seems very unlikely she’ll make it herself. Who will inherit the advantage? Right now she’d give it to Sunday but what if Sunday leaves in turn? It could ultimately wind up in David’s hands!

Millennials Day 10

Once again, we skipped an entire day. Instead of showing three full scenes to set up the Paul’s blindside we could have seen more of the camp life featuring some funny moments that happened during their down time. With only one challenge to show, the opportunity was there but it all went to waste because they weren’t talking about strategy of immediate importance.

We saw the kids acting like kids, just hanging out by the beach.

Figgy was inviting Taylor, Michelle and Will to visit her in Nashville and they would have the time of their lives.

A million dollar would certainly help! I’d imagine that Figgy would throw quite the party!

Taylor’s interview: “Strategically, the Millennial tribe is moving forward and it’s really great for me. Ha! Ha! Me and Figs are pretty good at the moment. My girl’s here, she’s happy and this couldn’t be a better position to be in, really.”
All four felt that it was nice to sit by the ocean and not worry about what was happening back there. They had already gotten rid of one and they could get rid of the other two. Michelle said that Zeke had to be the first to go because he would kick their ass in the end if they took him. Figgy agreed that it had to be Zeke and that there was nothing to it.

Maybe they should have been worrying. In fact, a rule of Survivor is that you always have to worry. And Zeke wasn’t the one that was stirring the pot.

Adam’s interview: “The status quo of the tribe is not a good position for me. I’m still flabbergasted by that vote because Figgy sucks at Survivor. You can’t make an obvious pair that is strong, good looking, talented in the challenges and not be a threat in this game. So if Figgy goes home there would be a shift and that’s what I need to happen in order to have some semblance of power here.”

After surviving the first vote, having more than just her partner to count on and being talented in the challenges then we can’t say Figgy really sucks at Survivor. We also have to consider that Michelle and Jay are just as strong, just as good looking and also very talented in the challenges but they aren’t as obvious.

Adam decided to use the time to talk to Michaela and Hannah. He told them that Figgy and Taylor have to give credit to Michelle for saving them. He added: “If you’re Michelle and Jay and you know Figgy and Taylor credit you for their lives, you know those two are never going to vote you out. That tells me those four are as tight as can be.” He concluded that they had to vote out either Figgy or Taylor.

Michaela’s interview: “Adam gives me different things to think about even though I am in the majority. I still don’t like Figgy, she’s sneaky and I do not trust her but I’m not making any decisions right now, I’m just watching and thinking and my gut will tell me something when the time comes.”

While she is much less flashy than the other players, Michaela continues to have a very consistent portrayal. She is more or less in the same position as Lucy but her portrayal is much richer. She is certainly someone to keep in mind.

The Immunity Challenge

Probst delivered the news to the Gen X tribe that Mari had been voted out.

Our host is really on auto-pilot and unable to change his formula. Did he forget about the Summit?!

When the challenge started, Taylor, Chris, Bret and Figgy all easily crossed the balance beam. Will had to ask Taylor to come pick up his bag while Cece went slowly across the balance beam.

Jeff’s comments: “Cece taking a long time on that beam when she could simply let another tribe member take the bag which is what the Millennials are doing... The Millennials with a big lead right now thanks to a great strategy...Taylor has become a workhorse with the 5th and final bag.”

Lucy also cost her tribe a lot of time by falling off and then taking a lot of time to cross even without a bag.

I noted that, just like Cece, three Millennials had time to cross the beam while Lucy was on it. It was funny to hear Lucy ordering people to stay quiet because it seems someone has been ordering Lucy herself to stay quiet!

Paul also fell while carrying a bag forcing Chris to carry the last two bags.

Then it came time to break down the puzzle by throwing sandbags. Jay had a big head start on Ken and he kept most of that lead for Michelle and Zeke, the puzzle solvers for the Millennials. They were up against David and Sunday.

Even if Jeff credited the Millennials’ bench for helping the puzzle makers, the sound editors let us hear Michelle giving directions to Zeke.

The Millennials won immunity so, like we heard Jay saying, no one from that tribe was going home that night.

When Jeff told the Millennials to collect their reward, Jay asked if they could trade it for fishing gear.

It seems that the chickens aren’t laying enough eggs after all! Looking a bit at the implications of the request, I’d say that it isn’t a good idea to show your weakness to the other side. Should Gen X have agreed to the request? Saying no looked like a short term decision. Yes, it’s better to keep your opponents weak but good will could have gone a long way. Another thing to consider is that Ken may wind up on the Vanua beach after a swap so why not have fishing gear there already?
As soon as Jeff said Gen X had to agree to it, we saw Ken turning to his tribe and shaking his head no. Then, he didn’t just say no, he rubbed it in by saying he was catching all kind of seafood so they could keep their comfort items.

I wonder if this will come back to hurt Ken later on. Why not simply say no? The social game is always on but Ken preferred to look like the bad guy.

Leaving the challenge arena, Michaela gave us an interview: “The Gen X, they said no. If they were our parents they would have said yes but we’re already beating them so they don’t want to make us any stronger and that makes sense.”

Chris then gave the interview for the losing tribe: “Cece, she wanted that personal victory of inching her way across the balance beam. Three and a half Millennials crossed in that amount of time and it was the difference maker. At tribal Council it’s on and I’m not sure how Cece does not go home tonight.”

Cece certainly had her problems but watching closely, it certainly looked like Lucy and Paul were just as bad on that beam.

Gen X - Decision Time

As he told us in confessional, Paul was certain that Cece was going home.

Sunday’s interview: “I went to the well with Chris and Bret and we basically talked about sticking to our alliance of six. So what we have on the docket for tonight is to vote out Cece. Voting Cece out to keep the tribe strong is a good thing to do. She has not done well in challenges and I can’t argue it at all."

Cece asked Jessica and Sunday about the plan but all Jessica would say is that the boys were working on the details.

Cece’s interview: “I am worried about tonight because I had three votes the last time and no one ever comes to me and says let’s do this. Paul never comes to me. Chris, Bret, Sunday, Jessica and Lucy, they never come to me so I worry about that.”

David asked Ken if they should put a target on Paul. Ken said they had to do it.

David’s interview: “We have to get rid of Paul. As soon as Paul goes away then some other connections and bonds can happen. There’s Cece, myself and Ken on the bottom. I have already retrieved my idol from its hiding spot but other people could absolutely take control of the game right now if they wanted to and vote off Paul. That’s all we need and I wish they can see that there is no point in keeping Paul on their side.”

Paul then talked to Jessica and Sunday saying they were staying on course. Jessica only wanted some reassurance that they weren’t doing an all-boys thing. Paul said they weren’t and he gave them his word that if an all-boys thing came up he would come to them and say: “Ladies, you’re on your own.”

What? How nice to have a quote that can be used to pinpoint the root cause of an elimination. It might not have been the only factor because a hundred other little details may have influenced this vote but the editors jumped on Paul’s words to say: “See; he had to go after this.” What it does is take all the credit for Paul’s elimination away from David and Ken.

Naturally, Paul’s words got an immediate reaction from Jessica and Sunday. Jessica realized they were all three on the bottom of the six.

The women jumped to a conclusion based only on a hypothetic situation! While Chris and Bret do look like they are close, they’ve never made it seem like they had Paul as their third. It’s never bad to turn on someone who isn’t trustworthy but doing it without consulting Chris and Bret opens the door for those two to join Ken, David and Cece against the three women. After all, the women are the ones that appear untrustworthy now.
Jessica had the final interview of the evening: “I’m sure Cece, Ken and David would vote off Paul so tonight, we have a very big decision to make. If we determine that voting out Paul will be the best thing for our tribe, I am going to be hurting two individuals that I’ve worked with, Bret and Chris. I’m fearful of what will happen if we don’t vote off Paul but I’m fearful of what will happen if we do vote off Paul.”

Tribal Council

Turning to David, Probst asked who went to the summit for their tribe.

Probst wants us to think he didn’t know but he certainly did ask one of the four ambassadors, didn’t he?!

David said he felt mutual respect from the Millennials and that it transformed him. He added that this experience was helping him cope with his anxieties.
Cece said she didn’t feel safe either because no one gives her a straight answer.
Asked about keeping the alliance of six together, Chris said it was much too early to think about being at the bottom of the alliance.

Talking about the challenge, Jeff said the Millennials were cooperating while this tribe acted like individuals.
Bret fumbled but kind of agreed with Jeff.
Sunday said they were thinking in terms of the right way and the wrong way while the Millennials will give anything a try.

Jeff tested their texting habits, making them admit that they don’t use short cuts with spelling while the Millennials are changing the words to make it more efficient.
Ken said there was something about efficiency but that there was something poetic about the language itself.

It’s off-topic but I completely agree with Ken. Language is even more than poetry because our words define our ideas.

For some reason, Ken's comment made Bret and Paul laugh.

Paul then told Jeff that the level of paranoia among the six was low while it was high for the other three but the six made the moves needed to feel safe.
Ken said he was relying on his work ethic to be an asset but that could make him an idiot.
Cece gave herself only 10% chances of staying.
Jessica said she was hoping the vote would make the tribe stronger because winning the next challenge would take more than just six players.

It was time to vote.

When Jeff read the 4th vote against Paul we saw David's eyebrows raise as if he was surprised.

We never saw if any of the three women talked to the outsiders to let them know what was going to happen or if they simply relied on them voting against Paul.

Paul was voted out 6 to three.

Bret was shocked, Chris was already scowling.

Jeff sent them home by saying: “Whether you’re a Millennial or a Gen Xer, a blindside is a blindside.”

The Story

This season, many players have taken turns on Dumbass Island. After Pearl Island, Exile Island, Redemption Island, how fun would it be to have Survivor: Dumbass Island?! The story is focusing on the players that are on the bottom so we can expect that some episodes will feel like tragedies where a likable “hero” is eliminated. With big surprises in the last two Tribal Councils though, we could see one or more of those cellar dwellers emerge on top. We could also see a power player so adept at pulling the strings from behind the scene that it takes her to the end.

Our story focuses a lot on the different pairings so this season could very well mark the return of the “Dynamic Duo”. From Rich and Rudy, Tina and Colby, Tom and Ian, Earl and Yau Man, the series has shown us a variety of duos that worked well together. We have four players who aren’t solidly connected to anyone in particular while all the others have a close partner. Some have even been connected to more than one.

The Characters

Lucy: She was a number in the alliance of six but it has been blown apart. Her story will most likely pick up only in her final episode.

Will: While it hadn’t been spelled out before the tribe went to their first council, we know that Will was in an alliance with Taylor, Figgy, Jay and Michelle but he isn’t connected to one of them in particular. Up to now, he has mostly acted as a narrator so we don’t know much about his game, his plans. He will likely go as far as his alliance needs him and he’ll show that a teenager can play this game but his turn will come.

Hannah: I am happy that we saw Hannah’s scene with Zeke and Adam because it was the most amusing portion of the episode. Hannah is poorly equipped for this game but that makes her charm. I wonder how the second encounter between Hannah and the two guys went. We saw Hannah sitting next to Michaela when Adam talked about the bond between the two couples so she must have said something but we didn’t have the privilege to hear her comments. No one sees her as a player but no one is targeting her so she should last for some time. Maybe she goes hunting for clams and finds an idol instead.

Michaela: Of all the loners, Michaela is the one that holds the most promise. While she isn’t flamboyant and doesn’t say much, we are still following her thoughts very consistently. There has to be something special about her story for the editors to maintain our connection to her. Will she make a move that eclipses all the others? Will she simply be the one that stays safe to the end? At least we know that she still doesn’t like Figgy so their conflict should be entertaining.

Adam and Zeke: The two guys that were blindsided by the tribe have been important characters up to now so they should both find a way to stay in the game. The switch should happen soon enough and they both have temperaments that match well with the older players. Those two could have profited from the summit but they will have to work from scratch. In particular, I liked the end of the night scene when we saw Adam looking out at the horizon while we heard his words of hope.

Chris and Bret: It’s their turn to visit Dumbass Island but their opposition is even less unified than the one facing Adam and Zeke. In fact, we never saw Jessica, Sunday and Lucy talking to Ken, David and Cece about voting against Paul after the immunity challenge. It’s possible that Chris and Bret could be the ones to get in an alliance with the former outsiders and get their revenge on the women who betrayed them. This pair however has one member that has been very quiet up to now so I still don’t think they will make it very far in the game. They probably get one or two women out but then a switch will occur and they could be easy targets.

Jessica and Sunday: Once Paul said he wouldn’t be on their side if Chris and Bret wanted to do an all-boys thing, the two women should have talked to those two guys. They could even have gotten the guys to agree to have Ken replace Paul in their group of six. Acting on impulse, they simply threw away their alliance and now they may struggle to stay in the game. Even if many viewers like this pair, neither has a big role so they wouldn’t be terribly missed. In fact, the legacy advantage would be a more appealing twist if we had to follow the envelope from one hand to the other.

Cece and David: This pair only serves David’s underdog story. We are told that they are both hurting the tribe in challenges but they have been spared twice already. It’s evident that Cece would be going first in an episode where the viewers will fear it could be David’s turn.

David and Ken: This pairing offers David a much better role. However, it’s easy to see that, of the two, Ken is the real survivor while David is simply fulfilling his survivor dreams. David is on a journey and we are told that he won’t give up but, in the end, his journey will probably help Ken’s game. The last two episodes have been great for Ken but I wonder why the scrambling scene was edited the way it was. Instead of showing Ken’s talk with Jessica in the first portion of the episode, his role in turning the tables on Paul would have been much better served if they had kept it for the last segment. Also, showing Ken saying that he didn’t appreciate the way the Millennials perceived him and then denying their request could be a hint that he won’t connect with them when the time comes. Ken has a very interesting story but I have some reservations about him.

Jay and Taylor: This pair serves to show Taylor’s immaturity. Of the two, it’s evident that Jay has a better understanding of the game. Taylor is simply too goofy to win this game.

Figgy and Taylor: As improbable as it seems I cannot say with certainty that our “power couple” won’t be the new Rob and Amber. For every negative comment we’ve heard about them, there was a positive one to counter balance. Figgy’s threat that anyone writing her name will be sent home sounded a lot like a prophecy. We also saw how smartly the two acted during the summit. Those two have spent more time than anyone else on Dumbass Island yet they are still going strong, we are seeing that they are talented in challenges and they have the numbers. Many things could go wrong but it would be funny to see them making it to the end proving everyone wrong!

Michelle and Jay: In this pair, it’s evident that Michelle is the strategist and even Adam recognized it when he talked to Michaela. It’s certainly troubling that Michelle didn’t give us an interview during the episode’s opening segment but was there anything to add after Jeff’s recap? I would also have liked to see Michelle talking to Hannah because of the promise made during the previous Tribal Council to explain the vote against Mari. Instead, Michelle was practically invisible during the episode. Even her work on the puzzle wasn’t praised by our host. It is possible that a choice was made to illustrate her ability to stay away from trouble by keeping her out of the spotlight. Even when Adam talked about her influence, he still mentioned that Figgy and Taylor were the ones that had to go, not Michelle. That kind of stealth can be very rewarding especially when it’s used to make some daring moves.

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kingfish 19541 desperate attention whore postings
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10-09-16, 11:33 AM (EST)
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20. "RE: Episode 3 - Sitting on Dumbass Island"
Veruca would be proud. Or is proud, I assume she is still alive. Maybe she'll show up to see what her protégé is up to. Well reasoned and a lot of work went into all of that. Just think how productive you will be when you get snowed in.


Unsurprisingly, Dumbass Island is an accurate assessment.

Hanna could be this season's Aubry story. Inauspicious beginning slowly gaining strength as time goes on to finally emerge as a woman in charge of her own fate. David would be an even better Aubry. After S33, and the heroic trail Aubry blazed, I'm sure that the editors are looking for similar stories.

Chris and Bret could be a more successful version of Scot and Kyle if they can keep their misogyny and self important attitudes in check.

Unless she shows some aptitude for the game, or at least realizes that she is playing a game, I agree that CeCe can't last. Contrary to her beliefs, God doesn't care if she wins or loses, and her success isn't dependent on her prayer requests.

The David and Ken story has legs. Their story arc competition right now is the Bret and Chris pairing.

I am not reluctant to state that the Figgy and Taylor pairing will not be as successful as Rob and Amber. Probably. If by some miracle they are, it will be because the roles will be reversed with Figgy taking the lead.

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10-09-16, 12:46 PM (EST)
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21. "RE: Episode 3 - Sitting on Dumbass Island"
Thank you, Kingfish.

I'm glad you like the Dumbass island theme. Most of the times, a theme comes to me just by listening to what the players are saying but I had trouble this week and, besides the summit, the only scene that really stood out was the black and white one with Zeke, Adam and Hannah. Even then, I couldn't really put the players in specific categories so I just paired them as best I could.

I don't think Fails will be the next Romber either but the possibility still exists.

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10-11-16, 08:29 AM (EST)
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22. "RE: Episode 3 - Sitting on Dumbass Island"
This season is really setting up nicely, I think. It seems as though those on the top can go right down the drain, while those down in their luck at one moment, can be right back on top the next! Still giving me lots of hope! Mari thought she was sitting pretty and bam, now that leaves Zeke and Adam at the bottom. I agree, with Zeke's character development and Adam's stellar showing this past week, I don't think either of them are going anywhere soon! Which leads me to believe that the pretty people may be on the hot seat next, and of them, I don't mean Michelle or Jay.

Adam had a million dollar confessional, and it was placed right before they cut to the intro. I took that as a very positive sign.

Between Taylor and Figgy, Taylor is simply a tool. He's blinded by Figgy, and she does have some insight into the game, far more than he does. But, Adam is on to her. Right now it looks as though the one thread holding the new 6 together is Michaela, and we all know how she really feels about Figgy. I could certainly see Adam, Zeke, Hannah, pulling in Michaela. Will is up in the air. We'll see. Regardless, I love that there are multiple ways it could go at Tribe Millennial.

Then, Paul was blindsided, and in turn Bret and Chris were blindsided. He was on top, now he's out. Chris' confessionals all supported how they were thinking. I feel that Jessica is a hot mess right now and her last confessional underlined that. She was scared to think what would happen if Paul stayed and she was scared to think what would happen if he went home. That's not a good sign, imo. Foreshadowing.

When we saw Hannah coming to talk with Zeke and Adam, clearly you can see that Hannah will most likely do anything to work those guys. I do see Hannah as the new Aubrey, but I don't know if she'll start thinking independently. She certainly seems driven far more by her emotions than by rational thinking. But, I do see that Michelle is able to certainly manipulate her.

When they cut from Adam at the Millennial's not counting him out, they switched over to the Gen X tribe, where we heard Cece and David talking about how Cece was good with their position as she had prayed on it real hard, and we heard David say, well if it's you next, I will be right after you, and Lucy is sitting right there next to her and him? Made me wonder? What is Lucy's relationship with all of them?

She has had 0 confessionals, yet during the challenge she seems like a beeyotch. She has a snarky comment to those that are trying to encourage her across. Then, in the previews we see her threatening Ken and David not to say a word. Don't see much ahead in Lucy's Survivor future. Certainly lacks in the social game.

While Mill's were doing the puzzle building, we hear Jay say, no one's going home tonight, and then cut to a pic of Paul. The editing did a number on him with his going fishing and coming out empty handed, and getting knocked down by the wave on his emergence. There were many, many editing clues that Paul was indeed toast.

Michel, your assessments are spot on as always. Figgy and Taylor are the shields for others in the Millennial tribe. As long as they are a couple, everyone is really going to be gunning for them. I think Figgy and Jay must realize that, so I wonder just how many times they will stick their necks out for them.

This episode was one where the music was so on point. There were several statements that ended with dramatic and quick music that stopped short, and then when they went to the summit it was fun and frolicy adventurous music, then when the 4 Millennials were hanging out, flipping, and talking, it was light and islandy, frivolous. If I get time, I will try to re-watch it just for the music notes.

Great job, Michel! Thanks so much for doing this every week, we'd all be lost without it!

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10-15-16, 01:05 AM (EST)
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24. "Episode 4 - The Agents of Chaos:"
]b]Previously on Survivor

At the Millennial tribe, Zeke and Adam were betrayed after a blindside.
Zeke to Hannah: “I am upset right now.”
Adam solo: “Now I am going to have to play from the bottom
At the Gen X tribe, David found an idol and thought he might need to use it but Jessica wanted to turn on the majority alliance.
Jessica: “Voting out Paul will be the best thing for our tribe.”
At Tribal Council, Sunday and Lucy went along with Jessica’s plan and voted out Paul, blindsiding Bret and Chris.

The first thing that stands out of this recap was Jessica’s mistaken assessment of Paul’s elimination. The chaos that we will soon witness wasn’t the best thing to happen for the Gen-X tribe and we can all blame it on the way it was executed. For the Millennials, the difference in reaction between Zeke and Adam tells us a lot about their roles. By showing his emotional reaction, we can say that Zeke is no more than a character while Adam’s resolve makes him a real player.

Things that were omitted also have importance and most notably, we didn’t hear that Ken was the first to put the target on Paul because the recap focused only on two players:

The Agents of Chaos

Gen-X Night 10

Jessica wanted to talk to Chris but he wanted to wait until the morning.

Didn’t we already see this scene?! And they say Gen-X and Millennials are completely different!

Chris in interview: “When we got back from Tribal, I was quite frankly pissed off. That was big blindside. I was just about to take the rice and throw it in the ocean and make it a tribe of one. That was what I was about to do.”

For his part, Bret did want to talk to Jessica and Sunday. They quietly told him that Paul was running the show. Seeing them talking, Chris said they should stop whispering and talk about it. Jessica then told them what Paul said about an all-boys alliance. Chris and Bret both said that Paul never promised them anything about that.

Jessica’s interview: “Tonight, there’s some very unhappy people, especially Bret and Chris. Whether or not they believe me, I really don’t know. I think right now there’s too much anger. I’m very nervous now. I’m hoping this wasn’t a bad idea.”

I’d say it was about as bad as an idea can be. This fall out and the rest of the episode certainly don’t make Jessica look like a smart player. It was already unwise to tell Chris and Bret that her motivation was to avoid an all-boys alliance because that implies she’s with the women. The fact that she still wanted to work with them instead of Ken, David and Cece also showed the flaw in the way she executed her plan. To stay with Chris and Bret, she needed to talk to them before the vote. Looking back at the reaction we saw from the Millennials after their big blindside, we can say that Michelle was much less exposed by her move than Jessica.

Gen-X Day 11

Sunday asked Lucy if they had made a mistake.

The crackling sound effect was the editors’ way of saying yes you most certainly did.

Lucy’s interview: “This morning, I felt bad because Bret and Chris felt betrayed. It’s almost like you feel you cheated on somebody and now the relationship has to mend itself. The guys are pissed off because they really trusted Jessica and honestly, I don’t trust Jessica completely. She’s the first one that implanted in my head voting out Paul. There’s a reason why she’s implanting that in my head. It’s like she is trying to take control and for me I feel I need to do something about it.”

The colony of ants swarming over a dead insect told us that there would be “bloodshed” in this tribe tonight.

Talking to Bret and Chris, Lucy said one power hungry person was trying to take it away from another power hungry person and that Jessica was trying to take all the power.

We would soon see that the one really trying to take power was the “Tiger Mom”.

Bret’s interview: “Lucy comes up saying Jessica is pulling all the strings. Jess has a huge game going and I applaud her for that but you’ve now shown your “cahds”.”

Lucy told the two guys that Ken and Dave trusted her completely.
Now that is news to us because we’ve never seen the three talking.

Chris in interview: “Lucy feels like she has Dave and Ken in her pocket and would possibly make a move on Jess. I don’t like Jess; I can’t stand her so if I can help chop Jess that is what I am going to do now.”

To Bret, Chris said: “Next tribal, you got to zap her ass.” Bret agreed.

I think it is safe to say that Chris and Bret aren’t edited as winners. Chris is presented as someone who lacks diplomacy, someone who thought of sabotaging his tribe and just wants revenge while Bret is too insignificant.

Millennials Day 11

We saw three goats running around close to camp.

No, I am not talking about Hannah, Figgy and Taylor but real goats.

The tribe wanted to hunt for pig since they saw some tracks on the beach. Machete in hand, Figgy was ready to go hunt for pig.

Skupin must have been happy to see that.

Jay’s confessional: “The definition of a millennial would be a young person with a lot of dreams ready to go out and conquer the world and I appreciate that because I’m a dreamer. Gen-X is like high school, college; nine to five get a life. I don’t want that.”

This is quite a strange place for this interview. It would have fit in episode one but why play it now unless it serves to tell us that it will hard for Jay to find a way to fit in with the Gen-X players.

Most of tribe went on a hunt for goats.

Meanwhile, Adam stayed on the beach and looked for the idol.
Adam’s interview: “Immunity idol searching has really died down at this camp but I have a feeling that it might still be out there. I do feel that I need to rededicate myself to that search because after Mari was voted out my head is definitely on the chopping block. If I could somehow get my hands on an idol, I could save myself.” What he found was a clue hidden in a tree. It had a map of the search area, a hint that it was inside a shell that had the tribe’s color painted on it. (Actually more than a hint because it was spelled “shell tered” with a space between syllables. Why not hand it to him, really?) His confessional continued: “This is incredible. For a super duper Survivor fan like me this is what dreams are made of. I found a clue, now I just have to figure this thing out. I don’t know how much time I can spare looking for it so I’ve got to go back to camp and look another time.”

The Reward Challenge

When the Millennials saw that Paul had been voted out, we heard two ambassadors, Jay and Figgy, say that they didn’t see that coming.

I was expecting more, maybe even a cut to an interview about what they had been told during the summit. They must have thought David lied to them about being on the bottom.

The challenge would have been much fairer if there had been one round with one man and one woman for each tribe because it was evident that a 3 out of 5 contest where the men went three times would be an advantage for the hulking Gen-X tribe. I must say though that I’m happy the underwear portion of the season is over and that everyone got their bathing suits. Why not give them from the start? And if they are concerned about them getting dirty too soon, why not give them a pair of bathing suits?

Michelle sat out for the Millennials

The first round featured Chris and Dave against Jay and Adam.
Jay tried to tie up Chris letting Adam go for the ring which led to Jeff saying: “Very good strategy by the Millennials” but then when Chris caught up to Adam: “Adam easily gives up the ring without a fight.”

Like he did in the very first challenge of the season, Chris grabbed the two guys and tossed the ring forward where David could take it and simply walk over to his post.

The second round had Figgy and Michaela facing off against Sunday and Cece.
Working together the younger women prevailed.

Next, we had Bret and Ken battling Taylor and Will. Taylor tried the same trick that Chris had used but Ken easily escaped and then stripped Will of the ring. Taylor struggled to get away from Bret and then tried to stop Ken but the two bigger guys prevailed.

Jessica and Lucy went at it against Michaela and Hannah. Jessica was left alone to grab the ring while the other three women battled it out. Feeling restricted (!) Michaela took off her bikini top and swam freely towards Jessica. Probst made note of it while Figgy applauded it. Still the Gen-X women were much closer to their post but then Michaela showed her determination
Jeff’s comment: “Michaela pulling them back now. Michaela is pulling them further away from the flag. Michaela has some momentum now. Michaela is digging, digging. That is effort! Michaela does it...Huge effort from Michaela, lost her top in the process, did not care. That is what it takes to win on Survivor.”

Did Jeff just tell us who was going to win this season? He may just have done so.

The final showdown had David and Chris versus Jay and Zeke. Very sportsman like, Jay gave a fist bump to Chris while saying: “Come on, Hulk.”

Michelle was seen praying for the huge upset.
Zeke went straight for Chris, trying to bother him enough to open the door for Jay. It worked for a little while but Chris eventually caught up to Jay. Probst noted how Zeke was making it tough but the group of four was slowly moving away from the Millennials flag to the Gen-X one. Gen-X soon had their third point.

Right when the challenge ended, a huge wave hit Probst.

Unfortunately, the previews had spoiled our fun because we knew he wouldn’t drown...


It must be noted that even if Gen-X won the reward, we went to the Millennials camp first. The tribe of interest is often treated this way.

Zeke’s interview: “The reward challenge was a nightmare from the beginning. Their guys are huge. I mean, Chris is like the size of three of me. We just got demolished. Michaela on the other hand is like an Amazon woman.”

Both Hannah and Figgy called Michaela their MVP.

Michaela’s Interview: “I’m one of those people I just like to win and when things happen like my whole bathing suit getting ripped off it’s like you can either lose or let your bathing get ripped off and win. So I was like: They are about to see some tatas today.”

Adam’s confessional: “I wish I could have performed better but that was never going to be my challenge. I’m not super comfortable with totally physical competitions. I just feel like I need to find this idol more than ever but I don’t have a whole lot of time left because I need to make sure I find it before we either go back to Tribal Council or we swap... The clue says you have to look for the tribe motif somewhere in this designated area and look for a shell. If you break open the shell, you will find the immunity idol...I’m looking everywhere and I just don’t see it. It’s not there so I just walk along the beach and I hope something hits me and that I find something.” Finally, he found the shell and after many attempts, he finally ripped it open and took out the idol.

Just when he tossed the shell away we heard Hannah yelling: “Hey Adam, how’s your idol search going?” He answered that he was working on it.

She said: “good luck, buddy!”

Adam’s interview resumed: “I hope Hannah didn’t bust me. Did she see me with this? I just found a hidden immunity idol. This is like beyond my wildest dream. I finally went for it today and I got it! Mom, this is for you, I love you so much. It was really tough to make the decision to come out here. My mom was diagnosed about seven months ago with stage four lung cancer. It’s such a devastating disease; it’s been such a nightmare. It’s the worst thing you can possibly imagine. So to have my biggest dreams coming through at the same time that my worst nightmare is happening it’s not... it doesn’t feel real. My mom is a huge super fan; she is the ultimate reason for being here. I want to give my mom something to look forward to. Being able to watch me find this, that’s what I came out here to do, is bring some joy back to my family.”

I had tears in my eyes when I first watched this and then again when I transcribed it. I don’t know if it was accurate but I read that Adam’s mom died before the season started so it’s even more stirring. If the Millennials are the tribe of interest this segment tells us that Michaela and Adam are the clear stand outs, the ones to follow. The conversation they had last week may lead to some sort of alliance between the two that could get them to the end.

Gen-X Day 12

The tribe was enjoying sausage for breakfast. Lucy and Dave went out to get some water and Ken joined them.

David’s interview: “I went for a walk with Lucy today just trying to get a sense of what’s going on in her head because even though I survived the last Tribal Council, I’m worried that Ken and I are still on the bottom. So I think the smartest thing for me right now is to go along wherever the majority is leaning.”

We will soon see that David won’t follow his own advice.

Lucy told David and Ken that they had nothing to worry and, after first telling David that she didn’t want to give out a name so early she said that they were going to get Jessica out. She added: “I don’t want to see you guys talking to anybody else. If I do, I’m going to get upset.”

The familiar whiplash sound effect underlined Lucy’s mistake.

Ken’s interview: “Lucy approached me and Dave and said we are going to vote out Jess. What really got to me is that Lucy basically had a list of rules and regulations of what we were and weren’t allowed to do. Do not talk to this person. Do not sneak off here. Don’t go off by yourself. I’m thinking we went from one dictator to another and it doesn’t fly with me.”

The Immunity Challenge

With the Gen-X conflict so well set up there was little doubt that they were going to lose this challenge. This season the episodes have all been edited in preparation of the vote and we had seen nothing suggesting how the Millennials would vote so they had to win.

When I saw Gen-X putting Chris and Ken in their chair, leaving only Bret, Lucy, Sunday and Jessica to pull it up, I thought the Millennials would run away with this because they had all their guys doing the pulling. However, Gen-X won the race to get the letters mostly because of the obstacle course. Pulling the chair wasn’t really a factor but then we got to the puzzle which had 30 letters in 6 words of 8, 5, 5, 5 and 7 letters each:

“Somebody loses their flame tonight.”

Adam sat out for the Millennials who always rely on Michelle and Figgy for their puzzles.

Even if Gen-X was still in the lead after Michelle’s relay, we heard Jeff say that the Millennials were back in it.

One of Jeff’s comments made me laugh: “David working his way through the high step just like high school football!”

As if David ever played football in his life.

David was left in charge of the puzzle for Gen-X while Ken was reduced to being a human shield, using his body and his shirt to block the Millennials’ view of their words. The Millennials were all trying to figure out the words before assembling them

Will Ken be a shield throughout the game?

After 20 minutes, the Millennials had “Their Flame” in the right spot and were putting “Tonight” in place...

while Gen-X had...


Maybe Ken should have been looking over instead of shielding but Michaela was now serving as the Millennials’ shield!

After 45 minutes, Zeke called the girls over. Figgy said it was “something” loses their flame tonight”. Zeke knew that the first word was “Somebody”. Figgy and Michelle quickly put it together and won immunity.

Jeff handed the immunity idol to Michelle.

At least that was some acknowledgment for her travail. No one gave us a confessional after the loss, the fun would be all in camp.

Gen-X – Decision Time

Chris’ interview: “Losing immunity today was a tough loss because tonight at Tribal, I’m not sure what’s going to happen. I mean Bret and I just got blindsided two nights ago so I don’t feel comfortable at all but we have a plan to blindside Jess and I’m counting on Lucy to make that happen.”

Taking a walk in the woods, Lucy reassured Chris that she had Ken and David on board and they would do Jessica.

Lucy’s interview: “I’m like a Tiger Mom because the scenario that I love is just me being in control. I mean my husband and kids dislike me a lot of times because I’m making all the decisions but somebody has to do it so if it’s successful at home, it should be successful here.”

Lucy should know that success at home doesn’t always transpose to this game. The biggest difference being that divorcing her is much more expensive than voting her out! I have the sneaking suspicion that this episode was a bit of a guilty pleasure for Lucy’s husband!

Ken told David that he was done with following orders and that if Lucy, Chris, Bret and Sunday wound up together, they were back to the bottom. His plan was to get Cece and Jess to vote with them against Lucy. David pointed out they only had 4 but Ken said Jess could pull in Sunday.

David’s interview: “In real life, I think Lucy is used to calling the shots but out here, you have to be careful not to say the wrong thing or rub people the wrong way because you can really p*ss some people off. That’s exactly what happened because now Ken wants to vote her out and to be honest; it sounds like a very great idea.”

David told Cece that they were voting against Lucy.

Saving Jessica and voting out Lucy would have been a good idea if Jessica had been on board!

Ken went to Jessica and said: “Sweetie, Lucy wants you out.”
Jessica’s interview: “I’m stunned. Ken is telling me that I’m now the one people are gunning for because I was the mastermind behind the Paul thing which surprises me greatly because I felt like we all came up with it together so it seems a little suspicious.”

In this game you always have to be suspicious but Jessica went about it completely wrong, ignoring the possibility that Ken could be saying the truth. What she should have done was go to everyone individually and simply ask them how they were voting. Someone may not have been able to lie convincingly. If that exercise hadn’t rid Jessica of her suspicions about Ken then she should have gone to Sunday first and ask if her name was being thrown around. There was no need to go directly to Lucy and simply blurt out what Ken had said. Ken is lucky that Jessica’s stupidity didn’t cost him the game.

Lucy told Jessica that they were voting Cece. Jessica agreed but she revealed Ken’s plan.

Observing the scene, David gave us an interview: “Right now, things are blowing up in a big way.”

Lucy told everyone that Ken made the stupidest move in the world. Chris agreed.

David warned Ken that Jessica had exposed his plan.

Ken’s interview: “I’m shocked. I felt that the connection I had with Jess was genuine and I just found out that she totally betrayed me, taking everything I said and delivering it to Lucy on a silver platter.”

Lucy confronted Ken and he told her he didn’t like her rules.
Lucy’s reaction: “Ken is the biggest snake. He’s pissed off because of the way I came at him. Looking back, I guess I could have been nicer but Ken is so emotional like a girl I was come on, get serious, we are only voting out Jessica. Why have emotions about voting people out now? The whole thing is; you are in the game still, right?”

David’s interview: “At this point, things are so messed up. I think the safest thing might just be to simply write down Jessica’s name but if I do that I just end up back in the bottom. Another option I have is I could play my immunity idol for Jessica and save her but I lied to Lucy straight to her face and I think she knows it. I’m sure she knows it. I just want to have the idol for safety and security. I don’t plan on playing it but ah! I have a lot to think about.”

Tribal Council

David told Jeff that their last Tribal Council didn’t bring them together.
Chris explained that Bret and he were very upset after the last vote and that the tribe was in chaos.
Jessica said that she hoped the five had come back together.
Lucy agreed that they were in chaos because everyone’s name was being thrown around. She added that she felt unsafe because she didn’t know if Ken had raised numbers against her.
Ken said he didn’t like the way Lucy gave him orders.
Lucy said it was simply the way she expresses herself and that she thought men could handle bluntness.
Ken said he wavered all day because he had been loyal to someone who hadn’t been loyal in return.
Jessica asked if she was supposed to believe everything he told her 100%?
Ken, looking right at her, simply said yeah.

David said it was a live tribal.
Chris said he was second guessing his vote but he was wondering who the sucker at the table was. He added: “Everybody can be all in but who is the chump playing that shouldn’t have been playing?”

Jeff figured it was a good time to find out.

When Jeff asked if anyone wanted to play an idol, David stood up, walked over and asked to say a few words. He turned to the tribe and said that he loved meeting them and enjoyed their company but he knew he was going to upset some people by playing his idol for Jessica.

Lucy’s eyes were like daggers while Jessica could hardly believe it and neither could Ken.

Jeff turned 5 parchments with Jessica’s name on them. None of them counted.
We then saw that Jessica had voted for Cece while David and Cece voted for Lucy.

Jeff said: “Well, you talk about live Tribals; it doesn’t get more live than this.”

Going for her torch, Jessica thanked David who silently nodded.

The Story

More than ever before, the episodes are limited in scope to the outcome of the vote. Production has been lucky to have three surprise eliminations but the lack of long term stories comes from the sterility of this season’s theme. While speaking from Probst’s pulpit, David said that he was enjoying everyone’s company, he was demonstrating that sterility: The main conflicts only arise when they need to make a vote. There are no real inter-personal conflicts because there aren’t enough irritation factors between these players. You could say it was the same thing in Brains versus Brawn versus Beauty but there at least we had the Beauty and the Brawn who wanted to prove they had brains while the brain wanted to show they could match up physically with the other tribes and outsmart their own.

Of course, the smart way to play the tribal phase of the game is to keep harmony, build your inner core but make everyone feel part of the “team”. Still, constantly sharing the same restricted living quarters and having limited supplies in harsh condition is usually enough to create sparks when there are social and cultural differences between the members of a tribe. Here we’ve had a tribe of “California-Dreaming” Kids versus one made up of Small Town adults so all we’ve seen are little bouts of jealousy and misunderstandings but not enough to drive a story. The good nature observed at the summit and even during challenges (Jay’s “come on, Hulk” for example) proves that these tribes don’t hate each other. They probably know that they will mix soon so, while they would like to be up in numbers, they know that the important phase of the game will be coming up next.

So, considering that the long term story arcs are probably not set yet, how can we look at these characters? After seeing the first four chapters of this story, I think it’s becoming clear that we have some who don’t stand a chance, some who could take over when the game really starts and others who are already making their marks.

The Characters

The Goats: These players have practically no shot at winning the game

Cece: How will she react now that David forced her to save someone who wanted her out since day 1? Like the rest of Cece’s story we probably won’t even hear her point of view.

Sunday: Can we get to next week already? I mean, I don’t like Mondays but this Sunday is insipid. The target was squarely placed on her closest ally and she was simply going along. She has totally relinquished her free will to the tribe’s interest. She should have warned Jessica about Lucy’s plan. The tribe wouldn’t be in as much chaos if she had. Unfortunately, I don’t think next week will be her turn yet. As a goat, she is becoming very valuable. We’d need a week with 4 Wednesdays for her turn to come sooner.

Bret: For the last 15 seasons or so, Survivor editing, much like those paintings for kids, is being done by numbers. They hear the name Kelly or Bret and they immediately forget to show that person. (Kelly Wentworth was only featured once she simply became “Wentworth”) It could be that Bret is only temporarily kept out of the spotlight so that he can be disassociated from his dumber allies later on but right now he appears to be just as dumb as them.

Hannah: She gave us another funny moment when she caught Adam looking for his idol. Wouldn’t it be fun if we were to learn that she did see the idol after all? However, Survivor editing is so formulaic that we know she didn’t see it. If she had, they would have shown her interview telling us about it before the next commercial break.

(As an aside, I wish that once they wouldn’t tell us that a person found an idol. Imagine our shock if we didn’t know David even had that idol)

Jessica: This whole episode was about the chaos that Jessica’s knee jerk reaction created and how she was totally unaware of her allies’ true feelings. In our list of characters that makes her a “Dumb Player” and a “Dumb Player” has never won Survivor. Yes, Fabio was a very dumb kid but the edit went out of its way to show him as “someone who wasn’t as dumb as the others thought” when he was probably even dumber than they imagined! Trust and information are the most important commodities in this game so when information comes to you from someone you don’t really trust (and you should trust no one) then you must treat it as if it was a diamond. You don’t believe its authenticity immediately but you don’t throw it away either. You keep it hidden, run your due diligence and then see how you can use it.

Chris: Cast in a role that is a combination of the “Bully” and the “Dumb Player” our other attorney doesn’t stand a chance either. He’s done well in challenges so that should put a big target on his even bigger back.

The Goat Hunters: One of them could win if they catch the right goat but the goat could be them!

Taylor, Figgy, Will, Jay and Zeke: Our five hunters have all received a good amount of attention from the editors. Nothing spectacular but their screen presence is very consistent.

Zeke still has those fun interviews but the contrast between his presentation and Adam’s during the recap tells us he isn’t really a player.

Jay will be fun to watch after the swap because he was an ambassador, he was surprised by the Gen-X vote, he doesn’t want to be like a typical Gen-X but he still seems to like Chris. His confessional was so oddly placed that I think Jay’s actions will be decisive after the swap.

Figgy and Taylor were featured as lovers who could be dramatically split by the random shuffle. It’s rare that a swap preview focuses on two individuals so it will be interesting to see how they are portrayed after the split. Will their game pick up or will they become dispirited after their separation? We have to consider that all the talk of Figgy becoming more and more dangerous could be foreshadowing.

The Shooting Star

Michelle: Her meteoric rise in the first two episodes didn’t lead to any consistency. The good thing is that she is the only player to take control and not get voted out for it. I always thought that the best player in Survivor Worlds Apart was Kelly Remington but, like many of her name sakes, we didn’t see enough of her. Following Kelly’s path, Michelle could be a good player that simply runs into some terrible luck. At least Michelle had presence once more in the tribe’s challenge win and we’ve had a glimpse of her strategic capabilities so she could become relevant again after the swap when the game really heats up. With the numbers the way they are, the Millennials will have to stick together if they want to keep their advantage and they should be able to do so because their fractures are insignificant compared to those facing the Gen-X players. Being a unifier, Michelle should be able to maneuver her way with these numbers.

The Stars

Ken: For someone who doesn’t like authority figures, he certainly acted with authority himself when he decreed that Lucy had to go. He was lucky that Jessica’s stupidity didn’t cost him the game because once the alliance saw him as a snitch the target should have turned on him. His challenge prowess saved him but the tribe should have realized that a swap was looming as it always does so why keep the snake? Then he made it clear at Tribal Council that he didn’t like Jessica so I wonder what went through his mind when he saw the person he thought was his closest ally playing “their” idol to save HER? Despite a very good edit, it is starting to show that Ken is asocial, that he spent four years off the grid on his own in a jungle. Now he will have to deal with kids so I don’t think his disposition will improve.

David: While his move was great for TV, we can certainly say that it wasn’t a good move for David himself because it leaves too many questions unanswered: Did it really matter to David whether Lucy or Jessica left? Did it matter enough to lose his idol? I know David said that voting out Jessica would leave him, Cece and Ken on the bottom but so what? Cece was always going before him and they would have had at least three days to turn Chris, Bret and Sunday against Lucy just like they turned on Jessica. Even if they wouldn’t have turned on Lucy then that would have been the time to use his idol either on himself or on a true ally. What happens now if Chris or Bret gets the next idol? Did David put the target directly on himself? Also, did David gain Jessica's trust only to lose Ken's? And what about Cece whom he forced to save someone who wrote her name down? How will Cece and Ken work with Jessica who is someone they simply can’t trust? Once more, this leads me to think that David is there to pander to the cameras, not to play the game and I really dislike those players. At least now we know where the legacy envelope will go...

Michaela: Like Jeff said, Michaela’s effort was what it takes to win this game. Her MVP performance in that challenge combined with Jeff’s acknowledgement and her consistent role in the story make her a front runner for the title of Sole Survivor. She had the only semblance of a conflict in the Millennials tribe so I expect there will be a showdown between Michaela and Figgy late in the game. Those two worked very well together in their reward challenge leg and again in the immunity challenge so I don’t think their confrontation will be personal but that they will reach a point where only one can move forward. The one that does win that confrontation could very well wind up facing the jury.

Adam: The other front runner has to be Adam. The recap admirably portrayed the difference between a player and a character. Adam was already thinking of the next move while Zeke could only complain. Then morning came and, with it, the time to make that move, so Adam went to work. Of course, I dislike the way production simply gives idols away these days but Adam’s find led to a very poignant scene. The introduction of his mother’s illness was done in the most powerful way possible and it solidly connected Adam to the audience. The audience fell in love with Jeremy’s desire to play for his wife and his unborn child but having a loved one facing such a mortal illness should carry even more weight. Can Adam bring back some joy to his family? Right now, I think he can.

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10-15-16, 09:09 AM (EST)
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25. "RE: Episode 4 - The Agents of Chaos:"
Michel: Excellent observations and notes. I agree with it all, your thorough nature leaves no stone unturned. Every note I made on the episode, you recounted. Well done! Yes, the fact that the ken X'rs won reward and they go to the Millennial tribe was not a good sign for them! I especially agreed with your assessment of Jay. He claims to know Millennials and Gen X'rs, but I think he really doesn't. And, his surprise at Paul going was evidence of that. I am sure we'll see more evidence moving forward.

I am a bit worried about Michelle, but I still have hope for her. Let's face it, we all know if there is a female winner, she's far more hidden than the men winners. So, she's still in good stead.

Adam, OMG! TEARS! As a mom, I cannot imagine the grief this situation brings to a child/young man. It was truly heartbreaking to see his anguish. I am all in on Team Adam from here on out. He does embody everything valuable to Survivor. So so sad for his devastating circumstance.

Hannah does seem to be there for comic relief, *snort*!

Loved the use of animal/insect imagery, and the musical editing. Always on point.

Agree with Ken, while being so stellar at surviving, he's really a fish OUT of water when it comes to the social game. Reminds me a bit of Ozzy, but Ozzy was quieter, which served him well. Ozzy found himself with Yul, while Ken is finding himself with David. Hmmmm?

Chris and Bret, how many times will they be blindsided in this game? Chuckle.

Keep it coming, Michel! Excellent! I have to say that regardless of their stupid moves, I am enjoying the season because of it's unpredictability! At least these people are making moves, however impulsive or emotional. Can't wait to see which one rises to the top!

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26. "RE: Episode 4 - The Agents of Chaos:"
Thank you so much, FP.

I haven't discounted Michelle's chances but I had to write that she isn't a front runner at this time.

Did you know that Adam was nearly cast with his mom for Blood vs Water? He wrote it on his instagram account:

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30. "RE: Episode 4 - The Agents of Chaos:"
Oh, that would have been so great if they could have participated in the show together. I have to ask, when did his mom die exactly? I assume 3 months ago was longer than that. She didn't die during his time out there did she?

I am all screwed up with time, time to consult TDT with his calendars. I know that they shot S:34 already as well, so was S:33 first to shoot, or second? Ugh!

Sure hope that Adam got time with his mom after the show wrapped...

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27. "RE: Episode 4 - The Agents of Chaos:"
Very interesting, observant, and very persuasive. And very long but worth the read.

I think the jury should be considered to be not out with Bret yet just because of his name. Maybe because of his Boston-ness, but not because of his name (apologies to Ayak and other Bostonians - but not to Rob.)

Great capture of the bug-eyed expression from Jessica. Combined with the hands in face of Ken, that pretty much provided the visual encapsulation of the episode.

While I agree with you on your assessment that she probably didn't see Adam's HI, I would not put Hannah in the Goat column yet. She, like Michele, had her moment of underlined importance, and I think her and Michele's story arcs have begun.

I like Michaela's spirit and IMO she definitely is a shooting star. But that straightforward no-holds-barred attitude carries with it possible co-tribemate irritation factor, and can be her downfall (just as it was with Lucy). It could very well spell disaster for her, especially with a whole new set of tribe mates with which she needs to establish new relationships.

You didn't comment on Taylor, so I can't comment on your comments of him. But if you had, I would have responded that he reminds me that brain development scientists report that the brain doesn't really complete it's development until it is about 22 years old, and that his lack of a physiologically completed brain is reflected in his actions and words. His best use in this world at this point is as a lab specimen. It is a sad observation that his libido seems to be at full strength, which would increase his chances of procreation and a resulting evolutionary backslide for humanity.

Hopefully Will's offspring will mate with Taylor's somewhere down the line and nullify this retrograde Darwinism.

Great assessments though, Michel, you have a keen eye for between the lines detail.


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28. "RE: Episode 4 - The Agents of Chaos:"
Thank you, Kingfish.

I agree that Bret would probably gets some votes from a jury so he isn't really a goat but as far as the cameras go, he isn't liked at all. I don't think he makes it to the end.

As for Hannah, I don't think she'd earn the jury's respect as it stands now. She's great comic relief for us but for them she must be irritating.

If we hadn't seen Michaela on a regular basis, this episode could be just a flash in the pan but she has substance. Contrary to Lucy, Michaela has mostly limited her snark to the confessionals. Figgy had to draw it out of her.

I did comment on Taylor, just not individually! There's rarely a Taylor-centric segment on the show. It's always Taylor and Figgy, Taylor and Jay or Taylor and Will so how can Taylor be the Sole Survivor?

Is Will really that much higher on the evolution chain than Taylor? Did you see his goofy expression when he spotted the goats?

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29. "RE: Episode 4 - The Agents of Chaos:"
LAST EDITED ON 10-15-16 AT 07:06 PM (EST)

His best use in this world at this point is as a lab specimen. It is a sad observation that his libido seems to be at full strength, which would increase his chances of procreation and a resulting evolutionary backslide for humanity.

Is Will really that much higher on the evolution chain than Taylor? Did you see his goofy expression when he spotted the goats?

So eloquently said, you two!

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31. "RE: Episode 4 - The Agents of Chaos:"
Thanks FP, I was kinda proud of that too. And I agree with Michel's follow-on that Will is not much higher in the evolutionary chain than Taylor.

However Will is a few years younger, and there is more time for his brain to reach it's maturity. Hopefully the extra time will allow his brain to make the leap that Taylor's hasn't.

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32. "Episode 5 - You Didn't Do This Right, Jeff"
Previously on Survivor

At the Millennial tribe, Figgy and Taylor couldn’t hide their love.

At the Gen X tribe, a blindsided Bret and Chris sought revenge on Jessica...
We heard Chris saying: “You’ve got to zap her ass.”
...but David and Ken wanted to save her.
We saw Ken when he told Jessica: “It’s your name going down.” And then we heard Jessica’s interview: “Ken says they are gunning for me but it seems a little suspicious.”

At Tribal Council, David played his idol for Jessica, saving her and sending Lucy home.

The first thing that stands out of this recap is that nothing was said of Ken’s change of heart. Someone with a short memory would think he voted with David to save her. It also removed his conflict with Lucy that showed his hypocrisy.
As for the Millennials, it seems that only Figgy and Taylor’s love affair mattered. Nothing was said about Adam finding his idol, Michaela’s determination, the three women’s success at the immunity challenge or even Zeke’s last second help.
Considering only this recap then it seems that Ken and Figgy are the only contenders but thankfully the episode would give us a fuller account.

As for the episode’s theme I feel Michaela said it best:

You Didn’t Do This Right, Jeff

Gen X Night 12

There were low flying clouds when the tribe returned to camp and sure enough this cycle wouldn’t bring relief for everyone on this tribe.

David’s interview: “I played an idol tonight but I don’t know that playing that idol was the right move because I saved someone who really nobody wants to work with and now I don’t have an idol and I’m incredibly vulnerable.”

Sitting with Ken by the ocean, Jessica said that she owed Dave and him and she apologized for not listening to his warning. She then told Ken that she had a legacy advantage, what it meant and that she would hand it to him if she was voted out.

I wonder how David felt seeing this on TV. I mean he saved Jessica but instead of showing him her gratitude she ran straight into the arms of the tall, dark and handsome guy!

Jessica’s interview: “I told Ken about the legacy advantage because I wanted him to know that he can trust me so I’m hoping that that bought me some more goodwill.”

Ken’s interview: “Jess says that she has a legacy and she is going to share it with me. That means a lot. I’m giving Jess my full trust again.”

As a District Attorney, Jessica should know that murders are sometimes committed by those who stand to inherit! If I were Ken I’d be actively looking for a way to remove from the game without her knowing. The swap was about to provide the perfect alibi.

Day 13

The morning brought a new mission: A search for the new idol.

We heard Chris telling Cece that there was no shame in looking for that idol. She agreed.

Cece’s confessional: “Since the immunity was played, the immunity idol is back up for grabs so we’re kind of having an idol search party.”

I don’t know about you but giving the job of narrator suddenly to Cece was very suspicious. This tribe wouldn’t be going to Tribal Council so they couldn’t set up the vote the same way they had in the previous episodes so they found a new way to spoil their own show.

David had a big advantage over everyone else because he knew to look for the tribe’s colors on an object. Is production so unimaginative that they couldn’t come up with a different method? Or did they want David to find it again? OK, maybe not David in particular but anyone that needed to play it once would certainly need it again so that’s another way to help the underdog.

David’s interview: “We were openly on the hunt for an immunity idol. I felt empowered by the fact that I knew to look for a symbol of our tribe but the one issue with an open idol hunt is that everybody is looking for an idol and you might be seen having found it. So, I’m wandering the jungle and then I just turn and I spot on the ground a log with our tribe symbol on it but right nearby was Sunday and Cece and I’m thinking this is the worst, this is the worst. Eventually, Cece gets bored, she gets back to camp and so does Sunday (It wasn’t their day.) I found the other one. I can’t believe that I am so fortunate to play and idol and then find it again the very next day. I tasted no victory in real life that compares to the victory that I feel right now in Survivor. It’s just a shame that it took me until 42 years of age to get it. But I want to be that guy because it’s going to get me further in this game.”

The Challenge Arena

The Millennials walked in first and then, when their rivals arrived, they saw that Lucy had been voted out.

It was so anti-climactic that only Figgy was seen nodding while others weren’t even looking!

Jeff went into his number about the elements of the game that you can control by practicing but that some elements are completely out of their control and those can change your luck in an instant. Already, Michaela’s expression told us she didn’t like what she was about to hear: “Everybody, drop your buffs.”

The camera turned to catch Figgy’s reaction. Then we saw Cece shaking her head.

We know why the camera showed Cece but it’s fascinating to see how much attention is given to Figgy. Survivor rarely concerns itself with the love connections that develop on the show. We knew that Jaime and Erik were a couple but it was only a small part of the narrative. We never even heard that Ryno was infatuated with Darrah even Savage said it played a role in saving her and booting Lil. The only couple who got this much attention was Rob and Amber of course so what can possibly be in store for Figgy and Taylor?

Jeff then told them there would be three tribes and that the new Ikabula tribe would have to start from scratch. They would have 6 members to compensate for the extra work.

Many posters have talked about sexism in Survivor but their main issue is with the editing. Here we had a much worse example of sexism in this show. First, 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 season, I’m all for tough conditions but the tribes should be treated fairly and the players’ safety should be of great concern.

Taylor’s interview: “The swap is random. You have no idea what’s going to happen especially like me and Figs with this little romance going on. My biggest fear right now is getting split up.”

Somewhat reminiscent of Tyson, Adam said: “Give me something good, Jeff.”

While Figgy’s only concern was to see if Taylor’s buff matched hers, Michaela was so pissed to see a green buff that she threw it to the ground.

Jeff’s magic gave us these tribes:

Takali: Ken, Jessica, Figgy, Taylor and Adam

Jeff noticed Figgy’s smile. She said: “I’m just pumped up. I see success from here.”

We quickly went back to Taylor’s confessional where he was all smiles:

“Rock on! Figtails continues. I was so stoked because I’ve got the numbers and I’ve got Fig so it could not go any better.”

Vanua: Chris, David, Cece, Zeke and Michelle

Zeke told Jeff that the numbers weren’t in his favor but that he saw a strong tribe (!)

Ikabula: Michaela, Hannah, Jay, Will, Bret, Sunday
Still showing her anger, Michaela told Jeff: “You didn’t do this right, Jeff.”

That can fuel some thoughts that it was rigged but it made for a great interview.

Michaela: “I open up my buff and I see green. Man! I was pissed. You gonna send us to an empty beach where we got to make the shelter and we don’t have any food. I just wanted to flip him off right there but I didn’t.”

If you listen carefully, you hear a big male voice laughing in the background Ha! Ha! Ha! right after Michaela mentioned the empty beach and the absence of food. It must have been Burnett! But I loved this confessional so much because it reminded me of the very first time we heard Sandra. Saying that she wanted to flip off Jeff makes Michaela my new hero!

Looking at the “random” distribution, we immediately notice that the important plotlines were kept active. Not only is Taylor still able to canoodle with Figgy but Ken is still with Jessica while David is still caught between Chris and Cece.

Zeke’s interview: “This was like the disaster scenario. I’m in the one tribe where the Millennials are not in the numbers and I’m with Michelle, the one person from my tribe I have zero trust in and we’re outnumbered so we’re in a bad spot.”

Ikabula Day 13

The beach looked more like waste land than a Fijian paradise.

Bret’s interview: “Sunday and I are in serious trouble right now but Gen X we have the drive to get through tough times in life and not to quit. So, I need to prove to them that I am worth keeping around because right now it’s all about surviving this game.”

Jay’s interview: “On the Millennials’ side of things, everyone says we’re just dreamers but the truth is most of us are relentless. The Gen Xers said “Oh! we work hard and we do things the right way but the people that I have right now, I got Bret and Sunday and it sucks because they can’t figure things out for themselves. They just sit back and wait until you say something. But, even if I have to build a new shelter, I’m happy because we have the numbers. Four Millennials, 2 Gen X-ers; See you later Gen X-ers because I’m chilling even if I lose a challenge. I don’t care. Boom! You’re out of here.”

The image of Bret and Sunday standing uselessly with their hands on their waist proved that Jay was right.

Even Bret had to acknowledge that the kid knows how to do everything. However, Jay sounded much too confident. It could simply be in line with his overall portrayal and we’ve seen many end game players speaking with a lot of confidence but we have to consider that he may live to regret this and see one of these Gen X-ers outlasting him.

We followed a bird formation on our way to Takali

The music fit the lightness of the moment.

After offering to take the newest members of the tribe on a tour, Ken was interviewed: “Coming back to camp was interesting. The Millennials definitely bring some high energy, some goofy energy to the tribe. Hopefully Jess and I, being more grounded and more subtle with the way we speak and maybe do things can help us.”

Figgy wanted to know if they had a goat because there used to be one over at their camp.

Well...Figgy; some would say that the goats were simply swapped over when you and your boyfriend picked purple buffs while David and Cece picked orange ones.

Back in camp, Figgy told Taylor that he shouldn’t hug her. Taylor thought it didn’t matter because they had the numbers but Figgy would have none of it. She told Adam that wouldn’t let Taylor hug her.

Figgy’s confessional: “Taylor thinks that, because we have the numbers, that we can be out in the open. No! sorry Taylor. I love you to pieces but being with these new people that’s going to put a target on our back so it’s not smart.”

I found it interesting that the part we had seen in the previews about Figgy loving Taylor to pieces was heard here only in voice over. It clearly diminished it’s portent by putting it in a totally new context. Figgy wasn’t just a young woman in love but a player thinking of the consequences.

Taylor was still trying to get his way but Adam said that he would do what she says anyway. Taylor admitted he would.

Taylor’s interview: “Figs doesn’t want to have anything to do with me. She’s like: “Stay away from me, stay away from me.” But I really think that us being a power couple isn’t any different than two people in an alliance that really trust each other.”

Well Taylor, you can always deny you are in an alliance if you keep your distance but it’s a little harder when you’re in each other’s pants. On the other hand, maybe Figgy wanted to see if Ken was available!

She certainly seemed to enjoy watching him cook their meal...

From afar, Taylor whispered the words “you’re hot”. She responded by blowing him a kiss.

Adam saw it all and gave us an interview: “Being swapped into a tribe with only Taylor and Figgy from my original Millennial tribe, it’s my worst nightmare. Figgy is very controlling, she lies constantly and she’s going to go through this charade for as long as she can about how they are not a couple. I don’t know how long that will last because Taylor is ready to start canoodling again. To me, that’s a worthless partnership.”

Just before showing Ken and Adam talking in the jungle, the camera focused on a spider waiting at the center of its web. I’m not sure what we should make of that imagery but someone is about to get caught. With the two guys getting together, the dangerous arachnid seems to be waiting for Figgy and Tailor.

Adam told Ken that he was close to the bottom of his tribe and, to explain, he told him that he, Zeke and Mari wrote Figgy’s name but wound up on the short end of their first vote.

Ken’s interview: “Adam is like the nicest kid ever. I kind of feel like I hit the jackpot: He’s super positive, he’s respectful, he’s polite and there’s a little bit of a crack in the Millennials so hopefully Jess and I have Adam.”
Ken told Adam that he had his back.

While he thinks he’s already hit the jackpot, this interview by Ken could very well explain why he’d vote for Adam in the end giving him the real jackpot.

Adam’s interview: “Ken and Jessica, they seem like they have a tight bond and I know Taylor and Figgy won’t turn on each other so I have pairs on both sides of me. I’m the guy they need to come to; I’m the guy they need to work with. I get to decide which side moves forward.”

Vanua Day 14

Michelle was the last to get up and join the tribe that was already sitting by the beach.

Maybe playing on line taught Michelle that it’s important to be with the late night crew and the early birds even if it isn’t easy to stay awake!

The tribe was talking about dreams and Zeke was saying he never remembers his. “I have no dreams” he said.

Well, that’s not what people on Survivor usually say!

Michelle’s interview: “My whole game was turned upside down. I happen to be on the only tribe with the minority Millennials; just me and Zeke and three Gen X-ers. My problem is that the alliance might be stacked against me so I’m definitely scared.”

When Michelle asked where everyone came from Chris said he was from Oklahoma which got a reaction from Zeke who was born in Edmond OK. The connection grew even more when Zeke realized that Chris played for the last Sooner team to win the National Championship.

Chris gave an interview: “Zeke’s a Oklahoma boy just like me. He grew up in Oklahoma probably an hour from where I grew up. He’s a big Sooners fan and of course I played on the last National Championship so we had that connection immediately. I am feeling better on this new tribe than I did at the end with Gen X because here I feel like I have a tad bit more control over my decisions and how I am going to play the game.”

When we talked about how the “random” draw worked nicely to keep the main story lines intact and to protect some players, we didn’t know that two more of the early big characters that had been in trouble would be given new life with this connection. It reminded me a lot of the immediate connection between Trish and LJ. For Michelle, it looked like she would wind up just like Anna.

By the ocean, Chris told Zeke that being with three Millennials didn’t mean he was on the outside because the lawyer was ready to make a move.

Zeke in interview: “Chris played for my team, the University of Oklahoma Sooners. Not only did he play for the Sooners, he was on the 2000 National Championship team. These guys were my childhood heroes and that National Championship was one of the biggest events of my childhood. Who do I want to work with? I want to work with the big ginger haired football player who says: “Buddy, don’t worry. Things aren’t what they seem. You are not on the bottom and I want to work with you.” It’s like the heavens opened and the light shined down and finally I catch a break in this game.”

Gary famously said during Guatemala: “You should wait for the reunion before you ask for an autograph.”

Ikabula Day 14

Jay’s interview: “So we wake up this morning; we don’t have a fire yet and I’m starving and I’m thirsty. I’m trying to use the flint, I’m exhausted, it just does not work for me and I don’t understand why and I’m losing all hope and I’m like you know what? forget this.”

Michaela gave it a try and we heard parts of her interview in voice over: “The fire got to the point where Jay gave up. I was exhausted but I was like; fire is necessary for our life in the game. So, I started trying. Deeper down, there’s this theme in my life that sometimes that I get to a point where I’ve given all that I have and I’m almost to the point of giving up then I push a little further and things pop. Like, I work for things. I worked to get myself through college, worked to pay off my own loans. I work.”

Bret’s interview: “Michaela said let me try and she went berserk and all these sparks came out and then the next thing you know it went boom! The whole thing ignited into fire. We were psyched and I was psyched for her. Man! it really brought us all back to life and it was a great moment because she saved us today and it was really kind of emotional for her.”

Ken had just told us that Adam was a great person and now Bret is saying that Michaela is awesome. That’s the kind of praise we usually hear for the eventual winner. What I found interesting was that Bret mentioned that not giving up was the main trait of Gen X-ers but he and Sunday more or less gave up during the shelter building effort leaving the job in Jay’s hands. Then Jay gave up the fire making task and it was left to Michaela to finish the job. Then she ties the theme of not giving up into something deeply ingrained in her character. It was particularly interesting to note that it all tied into the fire is life motto.

As soon as the fire was burning nicely, Michaela walked out into the jungle to calm down.

Michaela’s interview: “I’m normally not a person that cries but sometimes you need something so bad. Sometimes when you have no other choice but to get something done, it happens, it’s just letting me know that the life I’m trying to get by winning this thing is worth it. I do want it badly for my family and there’s nobody in my family that’s been able to have success and keep it. It’s like everybody has some type of problem and I’m just want to prove that you can have success and you can have your family together.”

The tribe applauded Michaela when she came back to camp. They all gave her a high five.

That’s also the first thing the cast does when Jeff announces the Sole Survivor.

Day 15 - The Immunity Challenge

I thought Will sitting out for Ikabula was a weird choice but it wouldn’t hurt them.

Notable comments by Jeff: “Sunday is giving up and swimming in, costing her tribe a lot of time.”
“Cece is taking forever to get out of the water.”
“David struggling...David cannot get out of the water with the buoy... A huge setback for Vanua... And now David loses the buoy, he’s got to get back into the water: Disaster! David absolutely out of gas and he’s lost the buoy again.”

Zeke asked out loud if David was throwing the challenge but no, he’s just inept.

“Takali has all five, you can start shooting...They have a lead...that lead is evaporating. Jay is a monster in the water.”
“Michelle trying to get a buoy and she can’t get it.”
“Takali has had a lead through the entire challenge but Ken has not yet scored.”
“Michaela scores on her first shot! Michaela with a third, she’s been on fire. Michaela for the win. Ikabula wins immunity.”

Michaela actually looked like a WNBA star!

“Ken on a hot streak... It is a battle for the second immunity... Frustration is setting in for Vanua... Takali wins immunity sending Vanua to Tribal Council.”

Zeke’s interview: “I’m frustrated because Cece and David are just atrocious in challenges and they don’t even seem to care because they think they have the numbers but thankfully Chris is trying to make a move with us and if he does, a Gen X-er goes home regardless.”

I’m not the one that said it this time!

Vanua – Decision Time

There was a snake in the Vanua camp, a symbol that someone was going to be blindsided.

Chris was the one who said he sucked.

He certainly sucked less than most in this tribe.

Cece’s interview: “It’s like a nightmare, a recurring nightmare. It’s like I go to sleep, I wake up and I’m in the same nightmare back to Tribal Council. The one positive is finally I’m not on the bottom. This time we have the majority: Three Gen X against two Milleniums so either Michelle or Zeke will be voted off.”

Chris in interview: “Huge night tonight. This is a crucial decision and quite honestly, I made a different decision. Cece and Dave backstabbed me and one of them has to go today. Dave bit me in the butt a couple of times but he at least has some numbers that will survive this three tribe situation that we’re in. I have to have a big alliance to protect me at the merge so we’re going to vote Cece off tonight.”

Talking with David, Chris first said that they couldn’t get rid of Zeke and that they had to think through this pivotal moment. David asked if he was thinking about eliminating Cece. Chris hesitantly said yes.

David’s interview: “It sounds like Chris wants to vote out Cece and I’m extremely nervous about that. Chris has on his side Zeke and Michelle so I think I should go along with the plan and make him believe that he can trust me.”

Chris’ interview continued: “If we can come together we can benefit each other. Now, whether David can stay true to his word or not I don’t know. I’m trusting a guy that’s burned me twice.”

The duo came back to camp to tell Zeke and Michelle that they wanted to vote out Cece.

Michelle’s interview: “David and Chris say: It’s not you, we are voting Cece but how do you trust it? There are a thousand possibilities that he’s not telling the truth. I’m not going to sit back and let other people decide my fate because that’s not how I’m used to doing things.”

Cece joined Michelle in the hammock and quickly the younger woman said she knew she was on the chopping block but she proposed voting out David because she was better than him.

Michelle’s interview continued: “I tried to talk strategy with her, I can’t get anywhere so all I can do right now is hope David and Chris are telling me the truth and hope for the best.”

Cece quickly told David and the rest of the group that Michelle wanted to vote against David because he was weak and clumsy.
David laughed it off saying that every girl says that about him.

David’s interview: “Chris and I talked and we decided that we would work with the Millennials to vote for Cece but I really don’t trust Michelle. She wanted to woo Cece over and target me. Once Cece is gone, I would be the weakest person of our tribe and I worry that Chris, Michelle and Zeke could form a voting bloc ad vote me out at the next Tribal. It’s got me thinking whether or not I should give my idol to Cece and then vote out Michelle. I play a lot of chess and the thing about chess if you’re going to play a good game is you have to look at as many moves ahead as you possibly can. If that means betraying an alliance and people that trust you then do it.”

I play a lot of chess myself and I know that some moves don’t require that much calculation. If your queen is in danger you don’t give it up unless it gives you a deadly attack. Here, the position was clear: Cece was a pawn while the idol was the Queen so it was much better to sacrifice the pawn and save the Queen. If Vanua goes once more to TC then David could use his idol and make a much bigger move. On the other hand, the lame way production is hiding the idols means David is in a position where he has multiple pawns on the 7th row all ready to promote into Queens.

Tribal Council

Jeff first asked Zeke about what was at stake during the challenge.
Zeke said that he and Michelle felt as if one of the two was going home.

Jeff then went on with a convoluted attempt to have someone make a move: Who was at the bottom of the three he asked and why not go to the other side and be at the top of that three?

Well Jeff, the person flipping would still be at the bottom on the other side. So what is gained? His argument was a great example of sophism but I guess some thought he sounded smart. The only reason to flip was to go with people that could help you win challenges and that you could trust.

David said that the three Gen X players were strong and none felt insecure.
Zeke argued that it could be intimidating to work with a Millennial because of their numbers advantage overall but he pointed out that you needed connections to Millennials to move forward.
Chris pointed out that his original tribe was down in numbers so they needed to work with the other side. He added that Michelle and Zeke tried to work on them. He also mentioned the Oklahoma connection he has with Zeke.
Cece said she was concerned about Chris moving forward with Zeke.
Chris recalled that he had been blindsided on the last two occasions so he wanted this vote to show that they had rebuilt their bonds.
David said that trust was paramount and he was going to prove his loyalty to Chris.
Chris said he was taking a risk on David.
David told Jeff that Chris threatened to choke him if he blindsided him again but Chris said he was only joking.
Michelle told Jeff that she couldn’t see how those two could trust each other. She asked why you would want to move forward with someone who blindsided you twice.

That wasn’t smart considering Michelle had blindsided Zeke once already.

When Jeff asked her who she would vote out Michelle immediately said David.

I think I see why Michelle felt the need to play online!

David thought that was fun to hear. He added that the Gen X three had nothing to worry about.

It seems that David wanted Cece to “enjoy” the full shock of being blindsided. He was in the unique position of knowing she couldn’t save herself but he lied to her anyway.

It was time to vote.

David didn’t want to go through a new idol hunt so he stayed quiet when Jeff asked if anyone wanted to play an idol.

A nervous Michelle held on to Zeke’s hand.

Cece voted for Michelle but everyone else wrote CC on their parchment.

Cece was shocked, Michelle smiled and Chris slowly turned to David as if he still wasn’t convinced of his loyalty.

Jeff said: “If there is one thing this group of four can take comfort in it’s knowing you can trust each other...unless of course you’re the one being lied to.”
David smiled when he heard that line.

When they walked out, the tribal chant went something like: Momodu mami makarey, Momodu mami makarey, Momodu mami makarey.

Try it; if you get the right rhythm it’s fun! It reminded me of the Meke that we once saw in Fiji.

In her final words, Cece said: “My two fellow Gen X-ers voted against me and, moving forward, they are going to lose. I think it was the dumbest mistake that they made.”

The Story

The first thing to ask ourselves is whether or not Cece’s final words will prove to be prophetic. The secret scenes in earlier seasons showed us that those final words last much longer than the ten seconds we hear at the end of the episode so this segment was carefully chosen by the editors. It could very well be another indication that neither David nor Chris will win. We didn’t have them as contenders so this solidifies our position.

The switch has given us new dynamics: Takali is now the home of 5 big characters so their first vote will be crucial to the story’s future. Once more we are led to believe that Taylor and Figgy are in trouble but that was a false trail once before and could be again. Vanua’s first vote didn’t change much but their next one could be interesting while Ikabula shouldn’t surprise us when they go to Tribal Council.

One recurring theme we’ve heard is about not giving up. David was the first to mention that he won’t give up and now we heard Bret saying it is the Gen X-ers main trait but he wasn’t very persistent in his attempts to build the shelter or make fire. Jay did the job on the shelter but then he gave up when it came to the fire. That whole scene was a nice build up for Michaela’s never give up attitude. Add her performance in the challenge and we are certainly looking at a new fan favorite. However, we are interested in determining the long term players and trying to figure out the eventual winner so where do we stand after five episodes?

The Characters

They neither have Game or a Personal Story

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.

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.

Will: We did hear 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.

Hannah: After a promising start, she has faded into the background and we realize that we haven’t learned much from her and even less about her plans. She wants Adam and Zeke to use her but they aren’t with her anymore!

Some have Game but no Personal Story

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.

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.

Michelle: Her play in the second episode was impressive but the follow up has been lacking. In this episode where she was in trouble, her actions nearly got her voted out instead. 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. We did hear about her background in episode one but it really hasn’t connected her on a personal basis to the audience. We can't give up on her yet because it would only take one great episode to put her back into contention. Some winners were portrayed as clinical players, people that didn't let their emotions interfere with their strategy so the edit gave us very few looks into their personal character but we still had more than from Michelle up to now.

Some have a Personal Story but no Game

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 feels 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.

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.

Jay: His game isn’t totally ignored but it is reduced to its simplest expression. The tribe targeted Figgy so he went along until Michelle told him it wouldn’t be good for them. He managed to get Figgy and Michaela back together but he didn’t solidify that alliance after the vote. Then he winds up 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 really about being different than the Gen X-ers. He won’t work with them and he doesn’t really like them so he won’t get their votes even if he makes it to the end. Maybe he’ll even fall victim to the Gen X-ers before the end.

Some have a Personal Story and Game

David: The season’s biggest character is also a chess player and he’s already made one big move. He’ll most certainly have more to come even if his weakness in challenges should get him voted out. Where will David wind up? That is an interesting question but I don’t have an answer yet. He could wind up as the last Gen X-er standing or he could be Ken’s final goat.

Adam: Finding the idol gave him both a personal connection to the audience and a part in the game but even before that we saw that he didn’t let the first vote bring him down. When Zeke said he was upset with Hannah and didn’t want to talk, Adam showed us that he was already looking forward and still had hope. 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. If Adam does make it to the end, we will have to remember Ken’s words and consider how his mother’s story will affect the voters.

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.”

Ken: The manipulation we saw during the recap was certainly a good point for him. Then Jessica asked for his forgiveness and promised to give him her advantage. The switch was very favorable for Ken because he is in a strong tribe and he still has Jessica with him. Adam’s distrust of Figgy and Taylor puts Ken in a very good position but I’m not sure he should go that way. Now that he knows he is Jessica’s “heir”, he should use this situation to remove her from the game. If Adam and Jessica want to target Figgy, Ken could go with the two lovers to vote against Jessica. She will think Adam lied to her and would still give Ken her advantage.

Michaela: The star of this episode could very well be our winner and we’ve heard some very touching comments about her personal life. She showed she can play the game when she decided to help save Figgy but she kept her eyes on her. Wouldn’t it be funny to see both making it to the end? If Michaela makes it to the end she should win. We wouldn’t have heard the part where no one in her family has known success or kept it if she was to fail at the very end. Will she make it there though? We still need more clues before deciding.

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10-24-16, 08:58 PM (EST)
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33. "RE: Episode 5 - You Didn't Do This Right, Jeff"
LAST EDITED ON 10-24-16 AT 09:01 PM (EST)

Nice analysis as always, michel. It feels like we're getting to around the time in the season where we can really narrow things down with where the story is going.

You're right that we can pretty much write off Sunday, Bret, Will, and Hannah from being the winner. Sunday and Will are notably quiet in the edit, even though they have specific personality traits (Will's youth and Sunday's faith) that could be leaned upon for a personal story. The lack of anything is very telling. Bret is just getting a boring sort of "good soldier" edit that often leads to a boring 8th or 9th or 10th place finish or something like that. Hannah's edit feels like a response to Aubry's from last year. Just kind of pop-ins so that we kind of like her goofiness but don't follow along with her enough to get invested.

Hannah and maybe Sunday probably have the most longevity as long-term players but neither will win.

Jessica is kinda in the same boat as above, although she has a closer link to the Ken and David story, where more of the action is. The repeated focus on her plans for the legacy advantage probably doesn't bode well for her.

Zeke is definitely a character and we're supposed to like him in general, but they don't really give him any credit for being a good strategist or social gamer. His bond with Chris is more coincidence and commonality and, notably, they don't outline how he managed to get Michelle on his side.

Taylor and Figgy are a problem. They kind of feel like our villains of the season (and therefore will not win), but they're more of the bratty dumb types, more of the Nicaragua or Amazon type. Of course, the winner came from both of those groups. I don't think that is the case here. I'm also still kinda down on Figgy's long term prospects. While she is trying to control Taylor, there are too many red flags, like being explicitly mentioned to be "bad at Survivor." I didn't get the sense that that quote was supposed to be ironic, foreshadowing, or given by an unreliable narrator. I still think Figgy falls and Taylor floats to, like, 6th or 5th place or something.

Chris' story is heating up a little bit. His friend-foe dynamic with David was specifically outlined and the vote proved that his next attempt is going well (so far). There is still no personal story with this guy yet, but this little cat-and-mouse game with David is something that could develop.

Michelle is so hot and cold with her story. It did kinda feel like she was getting a Tracy from Micronesia edit... The doomed strategist that fell too early due to circumstance. This episode kinda set it up that way, but she managed to wriggle out of it. We are supposed to be sympathetic to her bad luck and have a generally positive view from before, but her final plea to CeCe (as TC misdirection for us) also made her look dumb and scheme-y. Her insistence that she's voting for David makes me suspect there's something going on behind the scenes with her and David. Signs pointing negative as being the winner, but she could be a Kelley Wentworth type.

David is still where a lot of the story revolves around. He's way way way way too overexposed to be the winner, but he'll be around until mid-merge at the very worst.

The winner is probably one of these 4 people, handicapped right now as follows.

4. Michaela. The star of recent episodes, one of the people that we are really supposed to connect to. There's a little of Aubry's journey edit here, where Michaela is using her experiences on the island to demonstrate how she begins to believe in herself. Self esteem story here. She's missing the strategic element still (just being a swing vote), would like to see more of this.

3. Jay. The editors really seem to like him and chose him specifically to briefly handle the "we got this on lock" strategy mention. It seems pretty clear, based on that, that this is the boring tribe that doesn't go to Tribal. He is also supposed to be viewed as someone with credibility, given his criticism of Figgy/Taylor and his dissatisfaction of Bret and Sunday's work ability. His edit is still a little brash (shades of, ugh, Ozzy) but he has the lightness and credibility that is promising. He could be a midboss type that goes down during the merge, but his outsider dynamic with Figgy/Taylor insulates him a bit, strategically and in the edit.

2. Adam. Personal story plus visibility plus strategic insight. Like Jay, he is also primarily responsible for pushing the bad strategy angle of Figgy and Taylor. Am concerned we could be going down Spencer Avenue again with him, but I like his earnestness.

1. Ken. Oh gawd, the shilling that has been done for Ken this season. I mean, I like him, so the edit is working... But gawd, so much shilling for him. This show has been the Ken is a Great Guy show lately, something we haven't seen since Mike in Worlds Apart. The run-in with Lucy could have been edited waaaay differently (portraying her as less bossy and him more wishy-washy). They gave Jessica's gratitude scene to him. He was David's first connection in the early going. If this season's edit is a response to Michele's last season, our winner might be right here.

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10-26-16, 01:53 PM (EST)
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34. "RE: Episode 5 - You Didn't Do This Right, Jeff"
Thank you, Jims. I always enjoy reading your thoughts and you make a good case for your contenders. I think Jay is stuck in the moment but he is always present so maybe his story will pick up.

Michelle still has her supporters but, like you said, she is blowing hot and cold so it's hard to get a good feel. All I know is that's she's had very little content and FP's confessional tracker really proves it.

We'll see what happens to Figtails but I really think she's a finalist and he falls at some point. I don' think she can win the vote and maybe that's why we had her focus on those goats but who knows for sure? If Taylor is booted soon, she could have a "refocusing-her-goal" type of story.

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35. "Episode 6 - These Kids Think They Are In Charge"
LAST EDITED ON 10-29-16 AT 02:31 PM (EST)

Previously on Survivor

At the IkaBula tribe, Sunday and Bret were in the minority.
Bret: “I’m down 4 to 2.”

At the Takali tribe, Figgy and Taylor were trying to hide their romance and Adam found himself in the power spot between 2 Gen X-ers and the Millennial lovers.

At the Vanua tribe, Gen X was in control but there were cracks from within and Chris used his relationship with Zeke to pull in the Millennials.
Zeke: “Finally, I catch a break in this game.”

At Tribal Council, the Gen X-ers gave up their numbers and Cece.

If we don’t count the typical reference to Figgy and Taylor, this summary was mostly focused on the Gen X-ers. The only other Millennials that were mentioned were the two that are going to side with those Gen X-ers. The story was about to change and we will see that some have made false assumptions:

These Kids Think They Are in Charge

Vanua Night 15

David’s interview: “Coming back after Tribal Council was an absolute relief. Chris and I said goodbye to Cece with these two Millennials. It was absolutely the right thing to do going forward. It’s no longer the Millennials versus Gen X; it’s people I trust versus the people you trust.”

Wasn’t Cece someone that David could trust? It would have been more accurate for David to say: It’s the people that can help me versus the people that won’t. Cece was someone that could only help David passively, someone that was weaker than him so she would always go before him. By eliminating her now, David earned Chris and Zeke’s trust, two players who can help him actively by bringing in more allies such as Bret, Sunday and Adam.

Zeke had a different view: “Tribal was such a delight because those silly Gen X-ers sent home one of their own on the one tribe they had the numbers. Now, all of a sudden, I seem to be in a power position with Chris and I’m so stoked. I’m a brand new baby in this game of Survivor.”

Right then, a little beetle took flight.

The symbol seemed clear: Zeke was about to take flight. His journey could take him far but first he must realize that the game is changing.

Day 16: We followed a heron on its way to the IkaBula tribe

Jay’s confessional: “Everyone is hungry, everybody is getting grumpy but I got to stay focused on this game because I have this passion inside of myself that says; you got to take care of your family. I got my mom and my sister and I never had a dad or nothing. So, to me, it was like I got to take care of these two beautiful ladies. They say the Millennials are selfish and they want to do things their own way and they do whatever they want but it’s not true. This is for my family: I’m going to win Survivor.” Using the excuse of looking for coconuts and Will following, Jay went to look for the idol. His confessional continued: “The hidden immunity idol is the only cushion. I need to find this thing and I am searching everywhere to find this thing.” He then spotted a weird log: It had the tribe’s color on it so he played around with it and finally smashed it on a tree. “I break this bamboo and then Ah! Ah! Ah! and then I hear the Survivor song in the background; Oh! hey! ta-doo la hey! and I’m saying: This is freaking awesome, this is epic. This immunity idol means: Mom, you just got one step closer to getting a house. Today is probably the best day I had on Survivor. I’m set right now.”

This is a great confessional and it clearly connects Jay with the audience. It had all the necessary ingredients: Emotion, Family and Drive. The problem is that it was a lot like the one we heard from Adam when he found his own idol. Instead of standing out, it reduces the value of both. Where we felt it added to Adam’s story and made him a stronger contender, we are now forced to say that the two young men are naively jumping too far ahead. An idol, like David just showed, is often only good for one move. It’s certainly not worth a down payment on a new house!

Right when Jay said that to keep this secret, we heard Michaela walking up to them.

Michaela’s interview: “Hey! what you got there! I walk up on them two huddled up like two Eskimos and out pops this idol.” Jay said that the good thing was they knew the others didn’t have it. Michaela went on: “Jay is one of my allies at this point but do I think Jay would play that immunity idol on me? Heck no! Right now, I’m not going to tell anyone that Jay has the idol but if I get wind of something going down, I’m snitching.”

The Reward Challenge

When Vanua walked in with Michelle leading the march, Figgy started clapping while Bret was quite surprised.

The tribes always walk in order of height but it would be interesting to have it changed once in a while. Michelle should have been told to walk behind the Hulk just to get a bigger reaction.

Asked about her reaction, Figgy said: “I love Michelle. I love Zeke too but I was really, really worried. It sounded bad but Michelle and I are really close so...”

Jeff asked Michelle if it concerned her that Figgy was so open.
Michelle said: “No, actually I think the truth works well in this game.”

Jeff said he had never heard someone say that before.

Jay, Figgy and Michelle were the callers and puzzle solvers for their respective tribes.

The soft spoken Michelle wasn’t able to direct her tribe as well as Jay and Figgy whose commands were much easier to understand. Figgy laughed when Ken kept hitting himself on a post that was just high enough to hit him where it hurts. Then he fell over and Figgy couldn't help but laugh!

The interactions between Michelle and David were quite amusing. The guy kept going in the wrong direction.

Chris even had to act as relay but David still wound up on another team’s puzzle.
Takali finished first and they were closely followed by Ikabula.

That’s when Hannah started feeling bad.

We heard her and the doctor say it was caused by a panic attack and too much cheering but she seemed very calm all along. It couldn’t be because she hasn’t had anything to eat for the last 4 days, could it?

Even if Figgy and Jay had a big lead, Michelle proved once again to the puzzle expert.

Figgy started crying but the attention went to Hannah who needed medical attention. When she finally got up, the players applauded her but she told them to stop.

Vanua Day 16

Michelle said she felt content and Chris agreed, saying they came out there to win a million dollars but now they have pie.
David said they wouldn’t have won with Cece and Zeke added that they owed it to Michelle for solving that puzzle.

Michelle commented on Figgy’s admission.

That led to Zeke’s confessional: “Michelle is a very dangerous player in this game because Figgy announced to the world in this challenge: “I’m so happy to see Michelle” and then she waits a beat and then says “Oh! and Zeke too.”

The whole tribe joked about Figgy’s comment so Zeke raised his hand to show that he’d salute Figgy by giving her the finger. Michelle said that Figgy owed her for saving her life in the game.

Zeke’s interview continued: “I’m obviously at the bottom of the Millennials so my gut tells me that getting rid of Michelle isn’t bad for me, right? Michelle was plotting against me before and has connections to Taylor and Figgy. I never thought I would say this but I think to go forward it might be necessary for me to give up on the Millennial Tribe.”

Did you feel the wind suddenly changing direction? Just a few moments ago, Zeke was berating the Gen X guys for giving up their numbers so easily and now he’s thinking of doing the same thing. This confessional seemed to mark a turning point in the story: The Millennials had been riding high from the start of the season but now their naïveté and their openness are going to be fully exploited by their more experienced rivals. We had a first glimpse of it during the challenge with Figgy’s comments, Michelle made a similar mistake when she said that Figgy owed her and it would only get worse as the episode moved along until it all came crashing down on them before the end of the evening. Figgy’s elimination can certainly help Michelle momentarily because she becomes much less threatening but, in the long run, it will cost her the numbers she dearly wanted.

We swam over to the Ikabula tribe

Jay was trying to hit some fish with a stick but he didn’t appear to kill any.

Symbolically, it was like shooting in the dark. Could it be an indication that Jay’s plans, including his idol, will all be wasted?

Back in the shelter, Hannah was explaining her panic attack to Sunday.

Hannah’s interview: “I can’t help that I am a person that has anxiety. Of course it’s embarrassing; you’re just collapsing and you’re not even in the challenge. There were game thoughts that I can’t seem weak. That’s the worse part; I can’t seem weak in front of my tribe. My brain is just so exhausted. There’s not a moment where you can just breathe out and be like “okay, I’m going to take five minute out of Survivor and go take a breath.” And so, now I have to keep going. Perception is reality and I have to keep saying I’m good so people know that I’m good so that it doesn’t become a hindrance in my game.”

Flying over to Takali we were about to see that some people didn’t mind taking a break from the game.

With Ken walking away from the shelter, Figgy offered her cheek to get a kiss from Taylor. Adam sounded disgusted so Figgy said it was only on the cheek.

Taylor’s interview: “My survivor romance is growing each day but Fig is like: “Don’t tell Jess and Ken about Figtails”, our little romance we got going on here. But the Millennials have the numbers so we’re in a good position right now. We’re a power couple and at this point there’s no reason to hide it.”
Taylor said that they had Adam on their side so it couldn’t hurt to tell Ken and Jess. Figgy relented but needed to practice her announcement. Taylor played the role of Jessica.

In interview, Figgy said she was worried about coming out because she didn’t know what reaction to expect.

Both Jessica and Ken found her hilarious for thinking they didn’t know, Jessica adding that Figgy wasn’t very good with keeping secrets.

It was just a little romance, not a huge game secret but it shows once more the Millennials’ naïveté.

Ken’s interview: “I’ve been around the bloc, little girl. I’ve been around it way longer than you and it’s obvious and she was shocked. She thought they were doing a great job of hiding it. These kids think they are in charge of it all and they think: “This is vacation, this is fun! I’m on Survivor! This is awesome! but that little couple of Taylor and Figgy aren’t as cool as they think they are. I’m not going to sit on my ass and hope and pray that everything is okay. I’m going to make the moves to make sure I’m okay.”

It was funny to see that the camera showed Ken sitting on his ass while, in voice over, we heard him saying he wasn’t going to be sitting on his ass.

At least he was sitting right next to Adam, the guy he needed to make that move. It looked like Ken was sizing him up. For his part, Adam was yawning so he didn’t look like someone that was ready to make a big move.

Day 18 - The Immunity Challenge

Another day lost! What happened of Day 17?

Handing the little idol back to Jeff, Figgy said: “Gonna trade him in for the big one today.”

Yep, size matters!

Adam sat on the bench for Takali while Sunday and Will (again?) did the same for Ikabula.

Ken, Jay and David went in the water first. (Luckily for David, they didn’t really have to swim!) Ken fell off the beam so that cost him time but he caught up to David to take second place by carrying all three bags at once.

We heard comments on Jay and Ken’s big fall while Jeff, at first, said that David was the big surprise of this challenge.

On the second leg, Taylor took the lead, Bret slowly made his way over the course and Chris made up some of the time that David lost.

Once more, Takali had a huge lead when Figgy and Jessica took over.

If you pay close attention, you hear Jeff ordering Bret and Jay to get on their mat before Michaela and Hannah were allowed to go untie their bags but he let Michelle and Zeke go even if David was still up on the stand.

Get on the Mat - Go in, Ladies - Go Vanua

We’ve often suspected production interference but we rarely had such clear visual proof. Maybe Jeff wasn’t favoring Vanua specifically but only helping the last place team. He did make it easier for the 3rd place team to catch up. When you remember all the “amazing’ come from behind victories in Survivor (way more than anywhere else) then maybe we have part of the explanation.

Another thing to note is that the camera never focused on the three people sitting out. Adam was one of our contenders but he was ignored.

Jessica and Figgy had a lead but they couldn’t figure out the right tactic. Michaela figured it out when she yelled at Hannah to stop moving so big and that she was too stiff on the board. She barked more orders: “Don’t move it, Hannah, just hold it steady... I don’t need you to move it at all”

Having only one person tilting the board was the right tactic. That was the only way to control the ball.

Michaela and Hannah were first to get their ball to the end and then they got on a roll. Michaela said: “Don’t get frustrated, I’m just trying to get you to win, trying to keep us all here.”
Figgy and Jessica placed their first ball right after Michaela and Hannah finished their second one. Meanwhile, Michelle and Zeke were going nowhere.

Starting on their 3rd ball, Hannah wanted to know if Michaela needed her for anything. “Shut up” was all that Michaela wanted. When Jeff said that Michaela and Hannah wouldn’t want to go on a road trip together, Michaela said she loves Hannah but just needs people to shut up.

I think that last part was directed at Jeff! I like
Michaela so much!

Michaela and Hannah won immunity for Ikabula.

When Bret hugged Michaela, he said: “There’s nothing you can’t do.”

Watching the other two tribes struggling, Michaela started giving instructions to Michelle and Zeke. “You only have one person moving when you get passed that bar.” That caught Taylor’s ear. Michaela applauded when Michelle and Zeke tied the score.

Even if they were still making some wild moves, Jessica and Figgy saw their second ball fall into place. Both tribes got to their last ball at practically the same time but Takali’s wouldn’t fall.

It lipped out just my last birdie putt!

Michelle and Zeke won the second immunity.

Jeff had to ask why Michaela was encouraging Vanua.

She answered: “We kind of want Millennials to stay and when you get two and two somebody’s got to go home so...”

Taylor pointed out that there were Millennials on the other side also.

Michaela flatly said: “Yeah but there are three of you. If you can’t figure out how to work together, you deserve to go home.”

A scary-movie type of sound effect underlined Michaela’s words. I have to say though that with a 4-2 advantage, Michaela could have saved all the Millennials by simply letting Hannah do whatever she wanted with that board. Michaela’s comments are another example of the Millennials’ openness.

Figgy had the kiss-of-death interview spot: “The Takali tribe is going to Tribal Council tonight and it really blows but if the Millennials are smart, we’ll stick together and take out the Gen X-ers.”

Takali Day 18

Adam gave the first interview: “Losing puts me in a bind because this whole time that I’ve been out here, I’ve been playing double agent and it certainly feels like if I wanted to side with Jessica and Ken then I could do that. If I wanted to side with Figgy and Taylor then I could do that, but no matter how I vote tonight, somebody is coming back unhappy and I am in a really, really tough position.”

Figgy took a walk with Adam using the time to ask who he would rather take out. He answered: “I guess Ken.”
Figgy agreed and she told us in confessional that Ken would be a big threat if they let him make it to the merge.

While it was evident that Figgy would be in danger every time she went to Tribal Council, there had been hints that she could last long because some players kept saying it would be dangerous to keep her around. So hearing Figgy saying that someone else would be dangerous to keep around, we must take notice.

Taylor’s interview: “Tonight at Tribal Council, we are going to vote out Ken but who knows? maybe Adam is double-crossing us and he’s way smarter than we think he is... Unlikely but maybe.”

This means that Adam is indeed smarter than Taylor thought. There is no way that Taylor can avenge his girlfriend’s elimination.

Talking with Adam in the shelter, Jessica promised him that he would be safe with her and Ken.

Jessica’s interview: “Figgy and Taylor are going to vote for Ken but clearly this can’t happen because I need Ken to move forward. He’s got my back and I have his and if Ken went home, I would be the next one to go.”

Jessica simply needed to ask if they were voting against Ken and Adam readily confirmed it. Already that was a clear indication that Adam was heavily leaning towards the Gen X-ers.

Jessica went to Ken, telling him he needed to convince Adam that he would never write his name down. She added that the three of them would run this game.

Ken’s interview: “I could be going home but I’ve never gone down without a fight. So, until Tribal tonight, I am going to be fighting for this.”

To Adam, he said that he and Jess respected him and that they didn’t want to move forward with two conniving, arrogant kids. He said their vote was going to be Figgy. He asked: “Do you want to be sitting with me, and David and Jess or do you want to sit over there with Taylor, Figgy and the cool kids knowing that you are at the very bottom?”

Did Ken just give us our Final 4? I think he may have done just that. It was a bit strange to hear Ken mentioning David’s name clear out of the blue so there must have been a previous discussion letting Adam know that Ken and Jessica were aligned with David. While Adam couldn’t know for sure that David had a hand in saving Zeke he may have seen Vanua’s vote as an indication that he could trust the Gen X-ers.

Adam said he’d be putting his trust in people he didn’t know so Ken assured him he’d have his back until the end and that he would fight for him.

As rain started coming down hard, we heard Adam giving the last interview of the evening: “My mind is just reeling right now because Ken makes really good arguments. The question is: Which side is going to be better for my future in this game. I mean the whole world is probably screaming: “Get out the power couple! What are you thinking? But at this point, I don’t know that it makes sense for me.”

I’d say that the vast majority of people in this world (and even in America) don’t give a crap about Adam’s dilemma. They haven’t even heard of Figtails so it’s funny to hear him say that he is making such an important decision. What he has done is open the door for the Ken and the Gen X-ers to take over the game while he’s probably grabbed the goat costume for himself.

Tribal Council

The seating arrangement made it clear that Adam was in the middle in case we had missed most of the episode.

Ken said he was definitely on the outside.
Even if Taylor said they had a bond, Figgy pointed out that Adam voted for her at their first council but she had forgiven him.
When Jeff said that Figgy was saying that she looked at him the same way she looked at Taylor, Figgy burst out laughing.

I will miss that spontaneity.

Jeff asked Taylor if he was in love.
The guy said that he wouldn’t use that word but that they liked each other.


Jeff went on to suggest that he could marry them on the spot.
Figgy was game: “Survivor first, let’s go” but Taylor wasn’t sure if she was serious.

Jeff and Ken realized that Figgy was waiting for Taylor to confirm what she just said.

Figgy said that it was just two people voting together just like Jessica and Ken were two people voting together.

Jeff pointed out that it was different because Ken and Jessica were using it as their strategy.
Figgy said they were just as strategic.

The tug-o-war for Adam was on but Taylor pointed out that the Millennials have the numbers so it would be dumb for Adam to go against the majority.

Figgy was voted out 3-2

Once more, Jeff ruined the outcome but not for us this time. He kept Ken’s vote against “Figaroo” for last so Ken already knew he wasn’t going home.

Adam’s ballot should have been turned last.

Adam turned to Taylor saying he’d explain if he could.

I think Adam should have learned something from Zeke who didn’t want to hear Hanna’s explanation.

Jeff said: “Somebody will be voted out and somebody will go back to camp unhappy. The question becomes: how do you deal with it?”

The Story

Before this vote, everyone was under the impression that the Millennials had the numbers to rule the game after the merger but one vote changed all that. This episode marked the end of the innocence. Already the scales have fallen from Figgy and Taylor’s eyes and that will soon spread to the others, starting with Michelle and Jay, their closest allies. How will they react? It won’t be only them either because we saw that Michaela and Will were also counting on the Millennials staying together. It appears that, after the merger, the game will be dominated by Ken, Jessica, David, Chris, Adam and Zeke. They could even be joined by Bret and Sunday if Michaela and Jay don’t wake up and realize they absolutely need to throw the next two challenges and eliminate them. We are probably headed for a long string of predictable Tribal Councils.

Another aspect to consider is that this visit to Fiji is starting to have a familiar look. Just like in season 14, the women are being decimated. In the original Fiji the first five votes were against women and here we’ve had 5 out of 6. It’s never the same when there aren’t enough women. At least we won’t hear Jeff talking about a female alliance. He must be so happy.

The Characters

The Dominoes:

Taylor: He may kick and scream but the only thing he can do is tell everyone at the next reward challenge that Adam is despicable. I think Figgy was wrong and that Figtails will soon be reunited. Will their romance florish or will they get bored with each other? That’s the biggest question I have when it comes to Taylor.

Sunday: If she can make it to the merger then she would be fine but this is a castaway without a role to play. We saw her listening to Hannah during her period of distress so her social game isn’t a problem but her stay in the game depends entirely on Ikabula winning immunity challenges. Why should they save her?

Bret: The same can be said of him. He lent a helping hand to Hannah but that’s mostly because circumstances put him by her side. For someone that is in trouble within his new tribe, we haven’t seen him trying to find a way to stay safe. That either means Ikabula won’t go to Tribal Council so it wasn’t necessary to show his discussions with the Millennials or we will see him hopelessly scrambling to save himself when facing that vote.

Hannah: The desolate conditions in Ikabula certainly contributed to Hannah’s medical situation but I’m sure production will continue putting people at risk just to have material to put on air. Even if she only served as Michaela’s helper, it was fun to see Hannah doing her best to win that competition. Her hair falling over her eyes, her glasses askew (that’s not orthogonal in case Rocky is reading) she was determined not to be the zero. Michaela said she was only trying to get Hannah a win and if the themes had been a little different then we could say those words were great foreshadowing for Hannah but, here, they only meant one win in one challenge. Hannah will follow most Millennials when they start falling like dominoes.

Will: Seeing him just following quietly behind Jay during the idol search really showed his story up to now: He’s a nice guy to have around and he won’t cause any trouble even when his number comes. I’m sure he must have looked around for the idol himself but whenever the camera found him, he was simply watching Jay.

The Resistance - Unlike the previous five, these three players have a chance to put up a fight

Jay: He gave us a great moment when he found the third idol but it was so similar to Adam’s moment that it reduced the impact of both. With them each saying this was their ticket to victory we know at least one is wrong so why not both? If we strip Jay’s interview of its emotional content then we realize its naïveté: Finding an idol isn’t an end, a guarantee of success. It’s just a tool to help your game and it may turn out to be good for only three more days.

Michaela: This was another excellent episode for Michaela as far as character development is concerned but it showed that, like all the Millennials, she doesn’t see the bigger picture. Like David said, the game isn’t Millennials versus Gen X anymore but Michaela is still living in the past. She told everyone her priorities in the game and where her loyalties lie so she shouldn’t be surprised if the Gen X-ers turn on her first. They all saw what she can do in challenges so they’ll have her in their sights. Her earlier connection with Adam could come into play though but it would only be a momentary reprieve.

Michelle: Of all the Millennials that haven’t yet aligned with the Gen X-ers, Michelle is in the best position to find an opening and a new life in the game. The moments of joy that accompany victories are always good bonding opportunities and Michelle just gave two such moments to Chris and David. Jeff recognized her accomplishment in the puzzle and Zeke added that their win was entirely due to Michelle. On the other hand, her skills with puzzle will eventually turn her into a threat and it will be extremely difficult to infiltrate a group that is battle experienced like Ken, David and Jessica. Even in her present tribe, she’ll never be more than a 4th to the tight bond between Chris and Zeke and their developing trust in David.

The Tools – Their votes will continue to be greatly appreciated:

Zeke: In the first episode, he was quick to say that he didn’t fit in with the Millennials and he certainly used his first opportunity to make new bonds. This decision will certainly carry Zeke far into the game but no matter how close he gets to Chris and David, he will never be in the inner core. They will gladly use his vote until they can safely make it to the end game with Ken and Jessica.

Chris: Now that he is in control of his tribe we know that Chris will make the merger and then rejoin the Gen X alliance that is practically certain to dominate the numbers. Like he said, he needs the numbers but they won’t exactly be his numbers. Maybe David will blindside him a 3rd time.

Adam: Some will applaud his move but what he’s done is give the game away. His move isn’t as bad as the one Kass made in Cagayan or that Cochran made in South Pacific for two reasons: He did it before the merger so his immediate victims won’t be on the jury and he’s got an idol to use as protection when his new allies inevitably turn on him. Still, there will be a minimum of 5 Millennials on the jury and they will have plenty of reasons to vote against him. Granted, the road to the end would have been difficult if he had stayed with the Millennials but he certainly could have used Zeke, Hannah, Michaela and one or two Gen X-ers to overthrow Jay, Michelle and the Love Birds.

The Real Players – This episode gave us a glimpse of the Favorites to make Final 3:

David: Our wayward Survivor is in a good position at the moment but his penchant for big moves could screw his own chances. Right now, all he has to do is stay on course but we all saw what happened when he tried to do just that in the reward challenge. He wound up in the Millennials’ side of the obstacle course. Was it symbolic? Will his next move have the same result? Even if this theatrical castaway finds a way to handle the boring pagonging, he will have problems earning the jury’s respect.

Jessica: It was interesting to see that Adam first went to her when he had to make up his mind. She found the words needed to convince him to ditch his old tribe. While her social game was deplorable during the first week she spent on the island, it has picked up nicely since the close call she had in the third cycle. In a sense, she’s in the position of a returning player: She realized that her behavior turned a whole tribe against her so she’s learned from her mistake and she is doing the most of her second chance. Will that experience prove as useful to her as it does to veterans facing rookies? I’d say it’s already paying dividends and she will probably be there to use her legacy advantage. Can she win the vote? She’d probably need to get rid of her closest ally to do so but will she do it? That, I doubt.

Ken: Like he said, Ken has been around the block and nothing has really troubled him yet. The marooning was an occasion for him to show his survival skills. The formation of an alliance that didn’t include him was a way for him to make new bonds and work his way inside a stronger alliance. Finally, an unfavorable switch was a way for him to connect with a member of the other side and turn the whole game upside down. There is little doubt that he will now make it to the merger and there he will reunite with David who, by delivering Chris and Zeke, will put the numbers squarely in Ken’s favor. We heard him telling Adam that they would be with David and Jessica to the end and the edit gives us no reason to say he will be proven wrong. The promise wasn’t delivered arrogantly or with deception but with the same truthful intentions that we saw when he approached Jessica. Like Jessica asked, should we believe Ken 100%? I think we better believe him. The truth works well, not for those who say it out loud to everyone, but for those who use it to gain trust.

Things can certainly change in the next few episodes so we will wait for the merger to make an official pick but, right now, Ken has all the makings of our Sole Survivor.

ETA: Some pictures always help!

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10-30-16, 10:42 AM (EST)
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36. "RE: Episode 6 - These Kids Think They Are In Charge"
I really have noticed that this season, unlike most of the rest, they seem to be developing a handful of players. We see that they have given at least 5, million dollar quotes along with reasons to win the million, and they have given at least 2 others very "meaty" quotes that portray their conviction to win. I find this to be in contrast to prior seasons where they usually had the journey player and the contenders. This season, with 7 people given meaty and telling confessionals, it appears to me that they are developing multiple journey players, one of which is our winner. I love this mixing it up.

Figgy was the first one to get a million dollar quote, and her story seemed totally intwined with Taylor's, so much so, that I thought they were beginning to be edited as one character, Figtails. They both fell under the radar together in episode 4, then emerged in episode 5, but Taylor emerged more prominently with 3 confessionals to Figgy's one. But, they were both at risk. Figgy is out now, so we'll soon see how Taylor moves forward.

I loved Jay's confessional and I do think it throws him squarely into the group of possible winners. But, what? No comment on Michaela's confessional regarding finding Will and Adam with an HII?

LOVE that you saw when Ken said he wasn't going to sit on his a$$, and the camera shows him sitting on his a$$ with Adam yawning! WOW, what a powerful picture and I can't wait to see if this pans out in some way, shape or form! Makes me think that Adam will prevail...?

You see so much, and I love reading your very astute observations!

We have to consider ALL of the things that production does to paint the story, the visuals, the animals, the critters, the music, etc. Taking all of this into account, I see the contenders as: Figgy, Michaela, Adam, Jay, Zeke, David, Ken. All of these players are being developed. I see Hanna as a journey player. Clearly, Sunday, Bret, and Will are receiving minimal development, but Will is starting to be seen as Jay's sidekick. At this point, I don't see Jessica as a contender, but she is receiving at least one confessional per week, and we know she has the legacy advantage. If the big dogs go after each other at merge, she could prevail, perhaps.

Michelle is seen as strategic, social, and good in challenges. She has all the ingredients, but at this point I would say she lacks good luck. I do see her falling short well before the end.

While Michaela is being invested in, I think this was a pivotal episode for me regarding her. I appreciate and love her snark! But, this week, I think she crossed a line. With her confessional cutting short Jay's poignant confessional, I saw that as presenting her as the foil to Jay.

Then, later, with her performance with the IC....bossing and barking orders to Hanna in a condescending way, just after we heard Hanna's confessional regarding her anxiety....this alienated Michaela, I felt. Then, she tells them all that her motivation to help Zeke and Michelle was to preserve the millennials. Clearly, she's painted a huge target on her back to ALL of the current Gen X'rs that are still in the game, not only as someone that is a beast in challenges, but as someone that is firmly opposed to their progress in the game. I feel like Michaela does not have the social awareness or social diplomacy to win this game. Just in this episode, she alienated all of the remaining GenX'rs, Jay, Will, and Hanna. Do love her snark, though.

Chris completes his first story arc, because he's been integral to the story so far. He falls under the radar this week, which I believe is a good sign for him.

Next week, we see the 3 tribes competing against each other in the RC as well as in the IC. I do believe that Taylor and his revenge will be the misdirection...

Despite how the numbers appear, they favor the millennials, we see that they could be falling though the cracks. The cracks being Adam and Zeke.

I have to say that I am really enjoying this season! Thanks for all your incredible insight week after week, michel.

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10-30-16, 08:16 PM (EST)
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37. "RE: Episode 6 - These Kids Think They Are In Charge"
Thank you very much, FP.

If you remember, they gave nice introductory confessionals to many players last season but the winner didn't get one. It seems that the overall story isn't as important as it used to be and they concentrate on one episode at a time much more than before. It makes it easier to surprise us but really I feel that only the Mari boot was surprising. The order of Rachel, Paul, Lucy, Cece and Figgy leaving wasn't easy to see but it was clear from episode 1 that they were at high risk. I did write that there was a chance Figgy could go far but it was evident that she would be at risk every time she went to TC. Losing two challenges in a row was too much to overcome.

I'm curious to see what happens next but I certainly hope we stop seeing one woman after the other leaving.

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10-31-16, 08:24 AM (EST)
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38. "RE: Episode 6 - These Kids Think They Are In Charge"
I'm curious to see what happens next but I certainly hope we stop seeing one woman after the other leaving.


The way the boots have been going, it makes me think that ANY remaining woman (maybe exception Michaela), if they can make it to merge, they will be around till end game because the boys will start going after each other....

And, David is so weak at challenges, he could almost be classified with the girls as non-threatening in challenges. No offense. Same reason that Michaela could be targeted because she is such a challenge beast, she's an obvious threat.

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11-05-16, 01:51 PM (EST)
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39. "Episode 7 - You Messed Up A Good Thing:"
Previously on Survivor

At the Ikabula tribe, Sunday and Brett were outnumbered by the Millennials.
Jay: “See ya later, Gen Xers!”

At the Vanua tribe, Zeke was starting to grow closer to the Gen Xers.
Zeke: “It may be necessary for me to give up on the Millennial tribe.”

At the Takali tribe, Adam was in control and had to decide if he should vote with the Millennial couple or to trust the gen Xers.
Adam: “The question is; which side is going to be better for my future in this game.”

At Tribal Council, Adam and the Gen Xers voted out Taylor’s girlfriend.

This recap focused entirely on the Gen X members and their two new recruits, the two players that were left hanging after the Millennials voted out Mari. It clearly suggests that those will be the main players, the ones we should remember. This episode would create even more fractures in the Millennials’ camp.

You Messed Up a Good Thing.

Takali Night 18

Adam wanted to talk to Taylor as soon as they made it back to camp.

Taylor’s interview: “Oh! my God! Tribal sucked to the max. I can’t trust these people like I could Figs. Just the comfort of having her around; the smiles and just the high spirit in camp. For me, Figs was the life and our camp is kind of grey right now.”

Explaining his decision, Adam said: “I screwed you, I lied to you and I screwed you 100%. You are now in a worse position than you were before and that’s my fault and I admit that.”

Was this supposed to make Taylor feel better? I think Adam needs a lesson in empathy because it sure sounded more like rubbing it in instead of an apology.

Adam’s interview had been placed in the middle of his talk with Taylor: “I feel badly that I ended their island romance but I did what I needed to do. I put myself in a position where I can move forward with a group of Gen Xers and Figgy was ultimately the sacrifice that had to happen.”

We then had the follow up to Taylor’s interview: “I am beyond pissed at Adam. Now this is a total game of revenge. I’ll keep my cool for now but when it comes time; I will destroy you.”
We heard laughter in the background before Taylor started to laugh also. Maybe Taylor will get the last laugh after all.

Without Figgy, he is much less threatening. Will someone else fall for his blue eyes?

Vanua Day 19

The tribe was sitting down for a rice breakfast. David thanked Michelle for cooking the rice. She simply said that it was easy to cook rice.

David’s interview: “Sitting on the beach of the Vanua tribe, I’m thinking if we lose the next immunity Michelle is absolutely who we would vote out of this game but I will not put it past Chris to try and pull a fast one and vote me out instead of Michelle. But I feel like I do have a tighter bond with Zeke than I do with Chris and frankly I think we are cut from the same cloth. So, I’m thinking I could show him my idol. That would establish a tremendous amount of trust but, hum, I hate sharing knowledge that I have an idol. It’s a very risky move or it’s a great move. You just really never know.”

Walking along the ocean, David asked Zeke to take a look around to see if anyone was coming up to them from behind. Reassured, he stopped and told Zeke about his idol. He told Zeke that no one else knew about this idol and asked him to keep it to himself. He said: “I found it the very next day.” David said he wanted to go to the end with Zeke.

By saying he had found the idol “the very next day”, David gave us a clear indication that Zeke knew he had already played an idol at a previous council. Zeke therefore must know how close David is to Jessica.

Speaking of cloth, this scene was shown in the previews and it led some to speculate that the editors had done color manipulation on the buffs (the old Buff-o-matic trick) because the floral pattern on David’s buff wasn’t seen on the original Vanua garment. While this scene could still have come from the post merger episode when these two will actually have to go to Tribal Council, the interview itself originated while David was still in Vanua because he started by saying he was sitting on the Vanua beach. I wonder if David knows that Ken put him in an alliance with Adam and that Zeke was close to Adam himself! Including someone in an alliance without telling him could put Ken in a hot pickle but he could be having a change of heart regarding Adam!

Zeke’s interview: “David told me that he had a hidden immunity idol. I was just delighted to hear it, right, because if you can’t have a hidden immunity idol, it’s good that a person you are very close to has a hidden immunity idol. I think David and I could have a future in this game together. He has put his life in my hands and I am going to take very, very good care of his life...for the time being.”

This scene was thoroughly analyzed in the previews; some saying it spelled the end for Michelle, others offering the counter point that it put her in an underdog position which could prolong her story. The truth is that it simply doesn’t involve Michelle at all. Except for cooking the rice, she seemed completely irrelevant in this whole scene. It was, as is the custom from the start of the season, only about David and Zeke. Those two will go far, a good fortune that the other two in this scene may not share.

The Reward Challenge and Some Reactions

When Jeff said that Figgy had been voted out, we saw surprised reactions from Hannah (Oh! my God!), Jay and Will (wow!) and then a big smile from Michaela.

I wonder if Figgy and Michaela enjoyed all that time they had to share together. We must note that Michelle’s reaction didn’t seem to matter.

Jeff turned to Michaela, recalling her words at the end of the last challenge.
She said: “Sometimes you say what you’re supposed to say, not what you want to say. That was one of them times.”
That puzzled Jeff so she made it clear: “That means it’s been time for Figgy to go home for a while so...Bye Felicia!”
Jeff could only say: “Wow!” He asked if Taylor was surprised to hear that. Wisely, the boyfriend said “no comment.”

Did those words play a part in Jay’s decision not to trust Michaela? As for the challenge it was too bad the previews had shown us 6 kabobs, spoiling the fact that Ikabula was taking second place.

Bret and Sunday sat out for Ikabula.

Jeff: “Jay standing on the shoulders of his tribe mates and it is working. Zeke takes a big fall...David struggling just as much as Zeke.”

Once more, the tribe that fell way behind early won. Not only that but Ikabula who had fallen to last place in the second portion, also made a big come back to get second place thanks once more to Michaela’s shooting abilities.

Jeff said: “What did Michelle and Zeke figure out that nobody else has? That is the difference in this challenge.”

Michaela’s interview: “To come from ahead to behind to ahead again and get that second place: On the one hand, I was happy because we got skewers but on the other hand, it makes me nervous when I help the team win because I don’t want people thinking that I’m the one to beat.”

That realization came a little late.

Vanua Day 19

David had the first interview (did you even have doubts?): “Walking into camp after winning reward and seeing the chef with his bar-b-q, his grill and all his fixings, it was such a relief! Jeff completely undersold this...”

Zeke’s interview: “This game requires you to change and adapt. I’ve spent most of my youth on a diet so I’m always watching what I eat but out here, I pile food onto my plate, I funnel it directly into my mouth and I just kept going because the more calories I can eat now, the longer it’s going to benefit me and, because of my inner fat kid, I could binge, baby!”

Chris also gave an interview: “The three guys turned into a bunch of animals and we’re just scraping food off the plate. Michelle is eating food with her knife and fork like a human.”
That’s when these “animals” started their dissonant choir.

Michelle’s interview: “By the end of the meal, all I’m hearing is bodily functions and noises coming from the guys sitting next to me. It got gross and annoying. (Right when Michelle said that, we heard another fart and saw Zeke smiling) I don’t eat like that. My mom taught me manners. Ha! Ha! But now, I am a little nervous because me being the only girl, I could be an easy vote but I’m not going to change who I am for the game.”

The scene ended on a picture of Michelle looking down and it was punctuated by a loud burp

Could this scene be telling us that Fiji isn’t a place for women? I certainly hope not but it sure looks that way. This scene elevated our sympathy for Michelle even if it was mostly meant to amuse us. The problem is that Michelle said she won’t change for this game even if it is all about adapting and changing like Zeke just said. The fact that Michelle look better in this scene than great characters like Chris, David and Zeke will encourage her fans to put her back in contention but I’m not convinced. I think this was simply acknowledging a good player who finds herself in an impossible situation.

Takali Day 19

Ken was talking politics or rather policies dictated by elected officials. Taylor said his generation didn’t really care. He asked if they thought his generation would change things like eliminate the electoral vote.

Taylor’s interview: “I hate talking about politics. No matter what, one group of people is never going to be happy. I’m not so concerned with who is going to be President; I just don’t want to put my hopes in politics.”

Interesting segment considering this is the last episode before the election.

Jessica’s interview: “Taylor is a classic Millennial. He’s so honest with his answers. He might not always sound the brightest but you like him just the same because he will give you the answer that is truly the answer.”

Jessica then asked him THE question! Had Adam promised to vote with the couple before the last vote? Taylor said he did.

We saw that Ken was deep in thoughts after hearing this.

Taylor added that he knew they had to do what they had to do but he wouldn’t have any allegiance after the merge and he was ready to shake their hands, promising he would not write their names. Jessica told him she appreciated that a lot and Ken nodded his approval.

We then had the conclusion of Jessica’s interview: “We have Taylor who wouldn’t understand strategy even if you tried to explain it to him. So maybe what he tells us is a little more reliable than what we’re getting from Adam who is more strategic. So Ken and I are just taking in all the information that we are being provided. If we don’t win, it’s going to be a huge decision and we need to make the right one.”

The scene ended with a picture of Jessica mulling things over.

A screeching sound effect suggesting this dénouement is on hold.

Ikabula Day 20

A full moon was presiding over the early morning hours. It even hung over Jay’s shoulder and then we saw it hovering high above the Ikabula beach where everyone was assembled EXCEPT Michaela while we heard a sorrowful melody. Survivor was already saying goodbye to a great character.

The Moon is generally associated with women but more intriguing than gender, is the means by which the moon wields her force and influence. She is considered a luminary, but she produces no light of her own accord. She is reliant upon the sun's light to reflect her image to our eyes. This method of projecting light makes the moon a symbol of subtlety. Clarity, reflection, and indirect deduction are gained by passive means. Where the sun will boldly bear down its blaze upon a given philosophical subject - the moon softly enfolds our attention - illumining our psyche in a gossamer glow that is more open to esoteric impressions. In particular, the full moon is Symbolic of the height of power, the peak of clarity, fullness and obtainment of desire.

Personally, I think it is the latter symbol that was intended. Jay was at the height of his power so he peaked too soon. Wouldn’t it be awesome if he was voted out the day of the next new moon? Or maybe Day 34 will simply be the last day for all the Millennials. I wonder if anyone has been associated with the Sun.

Bret was happy to have made it passed hump day while Michaela said she had to tell herself that she didn’t feel anything crawling over her during the night; it was just her imagination.
Maybe it was Jay’s machinations that were already all over her. Maybe the fly was only buzzing but Jay was about to bite.

Michaela’ interview: “I’ve been on this island 20 days and I’m halfway through but I’m a strong girl, clearly the strongest girl on this tribe. I know I’m a pretty intense person... Steve Jobs was pretty intense, Michael Jordan is pretty intense, so Michaela Bradshaw is pretty intense. That’s what makes us winners you know. So if you can’t handle it, you can’t handle my heat, get out of the kitchen.”

Hannah’s interview: “We are trying to keep ourselves feeling united so that we can keep winning. Of course, this is all sort of a mirage because, ha, there are four Millennials and two Gen Xers. Sunday is so sweet but Bret feels suspicious to me. I want to cast doubt about Bret because I think he is like lying about his funeral directing.”

Bret’s interview: “So I’m sitting here minding my own business and Hannah starts asking me questions about the funeral home business. So I give her the answers that I think she wants to hear. You know, I hated to lie to her but I know the history of Survivor: Police officers don’t generally do well. So I’m going to stick to my guns.”

That is quite an ironic way of putting it! With “the truth works well” being a theme of the story up to now, it seems that Bret’s lie won’t least in the long run.

Hannah told the other Millennials that she was 70% sure Bret was a cop.

Hannah’s next interview: “I think I might have just interrogated a cop! Bret talks like a cop, walks like a cop but more than that for me, it’s about making the other 3 Millennials be sketched out by these two really sweet Gen Xers because I want the four of us to stay tight.”

So our little Hannah can be devious! That’s an interesting development.

Jay’s interview: “Bret says he’s a funeral director but the thing is; I know Florida cops and, honestly, if you took away his accent, put him a uniform, put him in Florida, he would be someone I’m running away from every time I start a bonfire on the beach. He’s too funny and too lively, I feel, to be a funeral director. And it matters if he’s a cop because he’s already lying to my face.”

The Immunity Challenge

The tribes had to throw coconuts at Annette so that she’d give them the combination to her safe. Then they would use the money in that safe to buy a sling shot that they would use for target practice. I guess it could be seen as self defense, an important survival skill...

Hannah and Will sat out for Ikabula.

We have to wonder if Ikabula wanted to throw this challenge. If they did, they went with the honorable approach, giving Bret and Sunday a chance to save their lives. Still, looking at how poorly Jay and Michaela used the slingshot, it may have been their plan.

Takali was the first to knock Annette to the ground so Adam raced to empty her safe. He got the loot before either of the other tribes finished their first leg.

Ikabula was the second to the safe which Michaela opened very quickly.

Vanua was dead last and when Michelle tried to open their safe, she had all sorts of problems. We even heard David saying: “I think she is having a meltdown.”

By that time, Takali had hit three targets but Ikabula still didn’t have one. Michaela had come closer to a Vanua target than her own on one shot. Chris got one on his first try, taking over second place. Finally, Jay hit one but Ken finished off the two remaining targets, giving Takali the first immunity.

I don’t know how much it’s worth noting but Jeff said: “Ken won immunity for Takali!” instead of the more common: “Takali wins immunity.”

Zeke and Bret got one for their respective tribe but then Chris took over Vanua’s slingshot and he connected on his next three shots.

Just before that, we heard Jeff saying: “Michaela does not know what it’s like to lose with this tribe. It would be a bad time to find out.”

She found out alright what it meant to lose with this tribe and it was a bad time for her.

Sunday told Jeff she expected that they would play it cool for a few seconds then they would switch on the panic button.

Jay’s interview: “The Millennials obviously have to come together and decide if it’s going to be Bret or is it going to be Sunday. But, considering Bret keeps lying, I’m sorry Bret but you’re going to have to go home.”

Ikabula Day 20

Six castaways sitting on a log...

Hannah looked as surprised as we were at the silence. Even the music faded away and the jungle was absolutely quiet.

We had to wait until Sunday for an interview: “For us to lose felt like getting punched in the stomach. We actually sat in silence for at least half an hour (aren’t we lucky to see the edited portion) because we genuinely like each other. Bret and I were looking at each other and it was like; crap, it’s one of us. I just had to hold back tears because I’m not used to being in a position where others are deciding my fate but it’s Survivor and we both know it.” She had to hold back tears: “Sorry.”

The two walked out to the ocean where Bret said: “You have to vote my name and I have to put your name unless we can come up with another plan... It sucks but if you vote for anyone else and you get through they are going to gun for you.”

That’s pretty hollow rationalization. Even if Jay hadn’t come up with a different plan, these two should have agreed on a target and tried to get others to join. Voting for each other amounted to giving up.

Bret’s interview: “Me and Sunday have always said: “I will not write your name down but tonight we have to break that little promise and she agreed. You know it stinks not having your fate in your own hands but that’s this game. There are going to be times when you’re at the whim of everyone that you’re on the island with. But it is Survivor and you never know what’s going to happen.”

What was happening was Michaela drawing up the next play using shells on the sand. She had played out the scenario in her mind: “This is our Final Four’ she told them.

Michaela’s interview: “I pulled the Millennials together and used some rocks and shells to lay out a plan. Just to show them it doesn’t matter really who stays and who goes if we play these numbers right.”

Hannah explained their decision in interview: “This split vote plan is just in case an idol is played. So the girls are going to vote for Bret, the boys are going to vote for Sunday. That would make it a tie and then we’ll revote and hopefully vote for Brett.”

Jay’s interview: “Michaela’s got seashells; it’s like a football play if you know what I’m saying. She’s going: Post merge, we are eliminating this person and then she’s like there is going to be four seashells left which is us. Michaela is a smart girl so that’s the problem. She’s a huge threat because she is good at competitions and she’s a smart chick. So I had this epiphany of saying: Boom! Michaela should go home before the merge.”

I think a big part of the problem is that Jay, much like Ken, doesn’t like to be told what to do. It didn’t help that, in a way similar to Lucy, Michaela imposed her plan by standing over the three Millennials, a pose similar to a teacher talking to grade school kids when she told them they should enjoy going to tribal Council.

Jay explained his idea to Will. Will mentioned that Michaela knew about the idol and they agreed not to tell Hannah who would freak out. Jay admitted that he trusted Michaela and that her only alliance was with them.

Will’s reaction: “Michaela is so intelligent; every time I have a conversation with her about this game, she thinks about it methodically. I can’t see a time when it will be the right time to vote her out because I like Michaela. She is a great positive vibe to have around camp and I don’t think any of us want to see her go.”

Jay had the final comments: “I’m nervous: Michaela is a great alliance and I’ve been with her since day one and I still don’t trust Bret. It’s crazy when you make a big move because you’re thinking: Is this the right, logical thing to do? Survivor is not a joke. This decision tonight could honestly mold the rest of my game either for a win or for a loss. I’m freaking out.”
Having been informed of the plan to vote Michaela, Bret and Sunday could have voted against Jay! The resulting 2-2-2 tie would have clearly revealed Jay’s treachery and on the revote Hannah would have most joined Sunday in voting him out. As for this move being the right logical thing to do, I can say with certainty that jay would not have been the target of the next vote if he had eliminated Bret while he will be in the cross hairs next time. And he would have been in the cross hairs even without a merger. Bret and Sunday would have likely gone with Hannah just to get rid of him.

Tribal Council

Jeff started off by reminding them that the last two Tribal Councils had seen the majority voting out one of their own.
Michaela said that the other two tribes were full of sketchy people but that the nice thing about Ikabula is that all 6 were trustworthy people.
Jay said he couldn’t understand why a Millennial took out a Millennial on Takali and that the Gen Xers did the same in Vanua.
Sunday said she was wrong about her time estimate, explaining that they sat in silence.
Jeff couldn’t believe that even Michaela kept silent.

She must have talked back to Jeff much more often than we’ve seen which, if true, is too bad.

Michaela said she was thinking that it sucks to have to go down to five because they liked each other. “This is Uncle Bret and Mama Sunday” she said, adding: “We were tight and we would have taken over this game if you had let us all make it to the merge.”
Jeff jokingly noted that it was always his fault.
Michaela answered: “You did it. We didn’t ask for slingshots”
Sunday said that they were on the outs even if they did a tremendous job of not making them feel on the outs.
Jeff turned to Bret and said that the majority on the other two tribes voted out one of their own.

Twice Jeff? Did you really have to push it that much?

Bret said he was game for anything. He added that he was being genuine with them.
That got a negative reaction from Jay.
Turning to Will, Jeff said: “As important as trust is, is it possible that the game play has just surpassed it and it really is temporary alliances and voting blocs and I don’t mind blindsiding anybody at any time because I’m just playing a maverick sort of game.”
Will countered: “The game you described is like a Tony Vlachos kind of game and that is dangerous. People recognize that you are playing crazy, guns a blazing like that and, in a game where trust is a rare commodity, any time you can find that with anybody, you latch on to it because that may be what gets you to the end of this game.”

What Will is saying is that Tony was very lucky to survive despite his game play. Unfortunately for Will, “He's old enough to know what's right, and young enough not to choose it.”*

Jay said it came down to his gut and he just had to go with it.
Michaela said that the merge had to be soon so they just had to figure out who was going to make it all the way to five with us.
Will said that he thought the tribe would have 5 strong, trustworthy people after this vote.

The dissonant whistling sound effect was almost in counterpoint.

Jay agreed that their bonds would grow after this.
Michaela didn’t want either Sunday or Bret to feel like they were on the bottom after the other leaves.

It was time to vote.

By this time, it was getting so late that we knew the vote couldn’t possibly end in a tie. Dragging out the Council this long was just another way to kill the suspense. It would have been fun if Jeff had sent them to vote early enough so that we would be sure a tie was about to happen. Of course, the episode would have needed 5 minutes or so to fill after the votes were read but why not change the formula and show them arriving back at camp in THIS episode? It would have been fun to hear Hannah’s reactions immediately instead of waiting for next week. It would also have given us more time to spend on the merger.

Hannah voted for Bret but said she was shaking because she didn’t know if people’s words were true.

Jeff went to tally the votes and then no one played an idol.

The first two votes were for Bret.
The third ballot had Michaela’s name on it and already she was surprised.

She was obviously expecting Bret and Sunday to vote against each other.

When Jeff showed a third vote against Michaela, she nearly fell out of her seat, asking “What?” as she looked straight at Jay.

“Did you do that?” she asked him.
“Yeah” was his simple answer. After Jeff paused for effect, Jay added: “I did it.”

The camera showed his death stare, Michaela’s confusion and Bret’s appreciation.

The two kept staring at each other even after Jay said “sorry” which was sounded more like “checkmate” than a true apology.

Hannah felt the need to say that she did not do that.

The stare continued until Jeff brought them back to the moment by saying: “The 7th person voted out: Michaela.”

Standing up, Michaela looked at Jay and said: “Damn Jay, you just f*cked up.

Hannah could simply ask “what? woowhat? and looked like she was going into another panic attack.

While Jeff snuffed her torch, Michaela could only stare at Jay. She said: “You are going to feel like an ass.” Retrieving her shoes she added: “You f*cked up something good, bro.”

Jeff ended the festivities by saying: “Well, it was going to be trust or blindside. As it turned out, the one that was preaching trust the most is the one who was blindsided.”

The Story

The vote wasn’t as straightforward as expected but it was even more disastrous for the Millennials. Now they are irremediably fractured and, like Michaela said, this was a dumb move. What’s worse is that the previews still present the Gen Xers as the underdogs! In the previous episode Adam acted much too early even if he couldn’t really trust Figgy and Taylor in the long run. This week, Jay even said that Michaela was a great alliance and that he couldn’t trust Bret so this may just end his game. Of course Jeff likes to see people acting like Tony Vlachos, all guns blazing and our host does everything he can to push the players into making big moves but that doesn’t work against rational players. It seems like we are going to see it with the merger. What Jeff is selling as a 7-6 advantage for the Millennials could actually be a 9-4 disadvantage for the original Millennials’ majority alliance.

The Characters

The Followers – These players represent solid numbers for the Gen Xers.

Sunday: Because of the bloated number of players making the merger, Sunday wasn’t in danger of missing the feast and she will gladly reunite with her original Takali allies to eliminate the scheming Millennials.

Brett: We didn’t even see him trying to come up with another plan even if his life was on the line. Jay’s power play was a gift that just fell in Bret’s lap. Likewise, I expect he will go along with someone else’s plans until he becomes expendable. In a game where truth works well, his lie should come back to bite him. I didn’t put him with the liars because keeping his profession secret is not a grievous fault compared to some of the lies we have witnessed in the name of game play.

Hannah: Tribal Council is not kind to our favorite follower. Both times she entered Jeff’s lair feeling relatively confident but left in a complete mess. With Adam and Zeke making it to the merger, Hannah will probably get her wish: Those two will use her to get rid of Jay and his friends. Hannah’s only chance is that, Like Will said of Michaela, I can’t see a time when it would be the right time to vote out Hannah so she could make it to the Finale but could she get the votes? The right time to vote her out will come when someone realizes she’s taking his spot.

The Liars – Up to now, they have done well for themselves but it should come back to bite them.

Adam: Already, we saw that Jessica and Ken aren’t as enamored with their savior as we expected. Jessica went as far as to say that she preferred playing with the honest Taylor. It would have been interesting to see how this tribe would have voted but the merger will come at the right time for Adam. His connection to Zeke and Hannah should keep him inside the merger’s majority but he will probably be kept under careful watch. This strategic player showed his hand too early and the patient Gen Xers will probably wait just long enough for him to feel confident and then vote him out despite the idol.

Zeke: A very interesting character, I place Zeke with the liars mostly because of his intentions instead of his actions. From the start he said he didn’t fit with the Milllennials and he told us he was ready to vote out Michelle. Also, while he wants to take care of David, he made it clear that his good intentions had an expiry date. We had memorable scenes where both Tom and Brian got drunk after a few too many wine bottles and those scenes humanized them, fleshed out their character, but Zeke’s post-feast scene was a bit too human. Showing him laughing at all the farts and burps seemed exaggerated. Zeke, despite some great plans, still feels more like an amusing character than a real player.

Will: The High School student should only be counted as one of the participants but his role in Jay’s lie was such a grievous act that he has to be included here. His lack of athleticism and the fact that he could have an idol will probably keep him momentarily safe but he should be an early jury boot. “He's wise enough to win the world, but fool enough to lose it.”*

Jay: With Michaela being much more loved than Figgy, I expect that less people will praise Jay this week than we saw with Adam last week. In my book, however, both made dumb moves. The image of the full moon resting on Jay’s shoulder seemed a clear indication that he’s reached his zenith a fortnight too early. It would be fun to see him voted out during the next new moon but I doubt he will make it that far. The full moon hovered also over Ikabula as a whole so maybe it was symbolic of the whole tribe and that their last member will not make it passed day 34. What I also found interesting is that by super-imposing two images to show Jay with the moon on his shoulder, we actually saw two Full Moons in the same picture. That tells me Jay will make a second big move, probably using his idol to get a Gen Xer out of the game.

David: This schemer has surprised many people with his lies including his two closest early allies. He will now be reunited with Ken and Jessica who will probably be curious about the vote against Cece. It should be easily explained but it should keep them alerted to his deceptions. We heard that David is worried about Chris and that is the biggest danger for the Gen Xers. Will David believe that he is safely included in two different end game scenarios or will he overplay his hand, creating more chaos down the road? He is the player with the most options right now but I don’t think he has the patience to let them play out.

The Honest Players – Some will certainly see that honesty doesn’t pay.

Taylor: Maybe the merger comes at the wrong time for Taylor. If Takali had gone to Tribal Council once more, I think his honesty would have won over Ken and Jessica even if they had promised Adam to work with him. Now his honesty will play against him. I’m sure he will be unable to hide his joy at being reunited with Jay, Will and Michelle and that will isolate him from any possible protection from the new majority.

Chris: His honesty has already led him to two unpleasant surprises. He survived one Tribal Council where he had to trust David but how long will that last? I’m guessing he’ll trust David one cycle too many. Just when he thinks he can go along with him for one more cycle, David will orchestrate his demise. In the majority that is lining up, Chris is close to Bret on one side and Zeke on the other and while Bret will be a loyal ally, it seems that Zeke could trade his Okie love for some California grass.

Michelle: It was a totally meaningless scene but showing David, Zeke and Chris acting all too human in front of the well mannered Michelle put her in a very favorable light. Still, her lack of presence in some very important moments doesn’t bode well for her. It feels that her story is about a smart player that was a bit too honest for her own good and who got caught in an alliance with the wrong people. Her position was so precarious when Vanua went to tribal Council that she would have played an idol if she had one so Chris and David must have figured out she doesn’t. If we couple that with the great performance she showed in every challenge that involved a puzzle and we come to the conclusion that Michelle could be in immediate danger after the merger. (That would be quite ironic considering she was the merger boot in the online game I just played with her!)

Ken: This was a very quiet episode for Ken even if he reminded everyone of the importance to vote next week! Maybe it was a good sign that he didn’t tell us how he felt about Taylor since Takali won’t be going back to Tribal Council. If he had told us that he preferred Taylor over Adam like Jessica did, then we would have been forced to put him with the other liars. Even if we saw him shaking Taylor’s hand, we cannot say that he was ready to vote against Adam. Ken’s story has some weak spots and this episode didn’t help the case we’re building for him but he’s still very much in the running.

A woman’s struggle with truths and lies

Jessica: I’m suddenly very interested in Jessica’s story. Her premiere episode was quite remarkable and then she made the first big move of the season. I was very harsh on her, calling her a dumb player for the way she reacted to Ken’s warnings but we have to remember that she was right to question his honesty. We knew Ken was telling her the truth but she couldn’t know that. Of course, she should have reacted differently but maybe we misjudged the editors’ intentions. Instead of her error, maybe they were focusing on her struggles with the truth. If the truth works well in a game where truth is a rare commodity, then those struggles make for a great story. When she returned to camp with her tribe after their big vote, we didn’t hear from her or Ken but later, when Taylor pleaded his case, she was the one that commented on the situation. The success of the Gen Xers depend a lot on David but also on Jessica’s abilities to mend fences with Chris, Bret and Sunday so it will be interesting to follow her merge episode. If she has a solid one then maybe she will be our top contender.

* Taken from “New World Man” by Rush.

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Flowerpower1 1905 desperate attention whore postings
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11-06-16, 10:00 PM (EST)
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40. "RE: Episode 7 - You Messed Up A Good Thing:"
Great job, michel! This is really turning out to be a stellar season, imo. I am really getting a kick out of these kids and their big moves, and to think, we haven't even hit the merge yet!

You are always so observant and I appreciate it so much!

This season really seems like it's turning into a game of who wants to be the leader! Mari seemed like she was a leader and the Tri-force didn't like it. Then, Ken got all mad at the big guy, Paul, that was calling all the shots at his tribe and voted him out. Now, Jay, doesn't like Michaela calling all the shots, so he votes her out. Haven't these people ever heard of the term, "shield"? D'oh.

Regardless, Jay makes a big move indeed. But, while some may think his chances go right down the drain, I'm still hopeful regarding his chances. He's playing for the long term, imo. Hanna is now seen quoting, she wants to get revenge on Jay, but if Hanna is his worst opposition, then I've got even higher hopes for him.

Jay also has quite a few minions...Will, Taylor, Michelle, and he's well liked by Zeke. I still have hope. Is this doubt cast upon his win or is he really blowing it by putting a big target on his own back? Time will tell!

Right from the start, from the intro onward, it seemed as if we were hit over the head with majority in the tribes voting out one of their that seed was planted early, foreshadowing. Then, we had a lot of slight remorse from Michaela, she's intense, but she is who she is, and she doesn't want everyone to think that she is the one to beat. Final nail in the coffin is when Jay notes how strategic she is with the shells and rocks.

I thought this was a great episode because once again something very unpredictable happened! These crazy kids!

Jessica is going to find herself in a pretty good position, moving forward. Hard to see her as a possible winner at this point, but stranger things have happened! Great job!

Can't wait to see what happens at merge time!

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11-07-16, 12:03 PM (EST)
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41. "RE: Episode 7 - You Messed Up A Good Thing:"
I agree that this season has fun characters but I feel like we are watching a TV show instead of a game. That's the problem with having so many seasons of returning players: The new ones don't see Survivor as a chance of a lifetime but as an opportunity to have a recurring role in prime time. Jeff looks more like a director than a host in these Tribal Council. Players make move to please him instead of advancing their games.

It could all be youthful craziness combined with some "Davidness" but I doubt it.

Any thoughts on the Full Moon scene?

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Flowerpower1 1905 desperate attention whore postings
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11-07-16, 01:54 PM (EST)
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42. "RE: Episode 7 - You Messed Up A Good Thing:"
Love the full moon scenes, and I particularly like that it's associated with Jay. Is it illuminating him? I truly think the editors really LOVE all of these kinds of symbolic references and symbols. I seem to recall a lot of sun and sun shining onto characters in the past, in particular I recall a lot of it in Gabon, and then again in Coache's first season, Tocantins. They use the rising sun and sun glare, etc all the time, so I love this!

Definitely think there is something to it, and thanks for calling it to our attention!

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11-07-16, 05:03 PM (EST)
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43. "Oh, one other thing..."
Oh, one other thing that I wanted to mention that slipped by. The fact that Michaela and Figgy were at odds early in this season. There was animosity between them from very early on, and how many times have we seen a rivalry develop, where once one of the 2 is out, the other follows immediately. This is a case in point. When Figgy leaves, Michaela gloats, and is out next....

Are there any other rivalry's like this that are being presented this way this season?

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11-08-16, 05:21 PM (EST)
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44. "RE: Oh, one other thing..."
Well, now we have Taylor and Adam. Before we had Chris and Bret vs Jessica but I don't think they'll go after each other yet. And I'm not sure what to call the tiff between Zeke and Hannah!!
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11-12-16, 02:10 AM (EST)
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45. "Episode 8 - Ready To Play:"
Previously on Survivor

At the Takali tribe, Adam betrayed Taylor.

At the Vanua tribe, David and Zeke were growing closer

At the Ikabula tribe, the 4 Millennials planned on sticking together but Jay wanted to do a big move

At Tribal Council, Jay and Will voted with the Gen Xers, sending Michaela home and leaving Hannah in the dark.

Jeff’s recap didn’t mention that David revealed his idol to Zeke. We only heard David say that he trusted Zeke and that they were made from the same cloth. This makes me think that the idol will not come between them. Zeke won’t betray David’s secret and David won’t use it against Zeke. Instead, I think the two will go very far together mostly because that was the only positive relationship that was mentioned when ACT I was about to come to an end.

As for Jay’s big move, Jeff had been pushing for it during the last Tribal Council but now his words gave it a definitive negative slant. We didn’t hear that Michaela was dangerous, just that Jay wanted to make a move. It underlined his selfishness. Then Jeff went on to say that he sided with the Gen Xers instead of saying that he brought them in to his side. We did hear Jay say that this was going to mold the rest of his game and this episode showed just how dumb the move was, just how bad his game had become. If it was to save Michelle then Jay’s move failed miserably!

With the merger, we saw some players take a surprising back seat while others emerged.

Ready to Play

Ikabula Day 21

When the tribe got back to camp, Bret was heard saying that it was a hard vote and that Michaela was mad.

My attention was on Hannah who smartly stayed quiet.

Jay’s interview: “I made a big ass move tonight and I thought I was going to get punched in the face, honestly. But Michaela is the closer; she closed on every single challenge so I needed to do this pre-merge just to be safe and I’m pretty proud of myself right now.”

The edited version of the story doesn’t mention anything about keeping Michelle and Taylor safe. It was all as if Jay feared that Michaela would run the tables during individual immunity! That’s how cowards think. A true competitor would not have been afraid of losing but would have appreciated the opposition. Especially since Jay knew that he was Michaela’s only alliance.

When Bret and Sunday thanked everyone for keeping them, Jay said that Hannah hadn’t been told about the plan because they didn’t want her to be dirty. Hannah used the opportunity: “You know I would have voted with you all, though.” Later, when she was alone with Jay she said he had to trust her and that she didn’t care about having bloody hands.

Hannah: “At this point, I’m clearly at the bottom of this tribe. I can’t trust any of these people. Being completely excluded from a vote is a sure fire way to break trust and to create enemies. Jay thinks I’m this pathetic idiot that can’t see pass his pretty face and intense game play I’m just plotting for getting back at them for not including me in their game play. I hope I can get my freaking revenge. I’m ready to play!”

That was an excellent tactic. Here Hannah showed a very impressive social strategy and the blood that Hannah will have on her hands will likely be Jay’s!

Ikabula Day 22

A boat arrived, Pirates? No, they were messengers bringing news of the merge.

I wonder what they would do if they had been pirates? Keep the cameras rolling?

Bret’s interview: “That was music to my ears. I went from terrified that I was going home to now I’m at the merge within 24 hours. I can’t tell you how awesome that feels. Now, the whole game is just opening up for me. Jay’s word has been true so far so maybe I can trust Will and Jay but yet I know I still have Chris and I want to see what he has been working on.”

Bret was about to receive a very important role in this merger episode. He could be a late emerging player.


We arrived after the “pirates” had already made their visit and the tribe was packing all their belongings.

Adam’s interview: “I made the merge. To get to this point means so much. It really means the world but this is when things start to get really serious. This is the point in the game where alliances and loyalty are really tested. The really great players get separated from the mediocre players and I hope that I’m in the former group.”

Getting four votes and letting his own alliance see his clumsy game play, I think we can put Adam in the group of mediocre players. This episode showed us his limitations. Borrowing from election night coverage, it’s too early to call but, if the tendency continues, Adam won’t last long.

The Merger

The screams of the arriving castaways alerted the Vanua tribe members of the merger.

Zeke’s interview: “I’m so stoked! I was down on the bottom for so many days I didn’t know I would make the merge and here I am. The clouds have cleared and I’m utterly thrilled. I’m also a little nervous because who knows what connections were made on the other beaches but for now, I’m just excited to be here.”

Hannah was the first that we saw jumping in Zeke’s arms.

We also had a close up of Ken and David’s reunion and then, from a distance, we saw Jay going to hug Michelle.

David’s words “We are back together, man” were even shown on screen. I think the camera work identified the truly important pairs of players to watch and which will be distant memories when we get to the finale.

Michelle confessional: “Thank God! it’s the merge. This is gigantic. To be back with the people that you originally trusted and I want to work with is huge. Jay and Taylor; those are the relationships that I can take to the end so I’m back in the game.”

We only had some brief scenes of the festivities.

Jay solo: “I’m super excited because I’m back with Michelle and I got Tayls back but then I got also in my pocket, I got Will and Hannah and I’m pretty sure Bret and Sunday. Besides that, I got an idol in my back pocket so I’m the kingpin and nobody knows and I want to keep it that way.”

To show Jay’s delusion, we saw Bret laughing while Chris was putting his hand on the policeman’s shoulder

Bret’s interview: “Seeing everyone together, I have no idea who I can really trust and who I cannot. I still can truly trust Chris and Sunday the most and then I thought I could really trust Jay but I saw some Millennials coming together, laughing, joking and it got me a little nervous. So I don’t know man! we’ll see.”

I found it interesting that Bret showed concern after seeing the Millennials laughing together right after Jay didn’t notice Bret and Chris sharing a laugh. That’s another indication that Jay’s group isn’t as good at this game as their rivals.

Taking a walk in the jungle, Chris told Bret that David wanted to get back with the two Ikabula Gen Xers.

Chris then gave us his thoughts: “I haven’t decided if the merge is going to be a good thing or a bad thing for me. Everything was going very well for me at Vanua; we were on a roll. But the fact that there were two tribes then a swap and now we are back to thirteen and trying to figure out those relationships is extremely difficult. Dave, Zeke and myself are meshing pretty well. That’s a pretty good core that I have to work with and then I want to regroup with Bret and Sunday and figure out what the next move is.”

While we didn’t hear Chris mentioning Jessica, there was a distinct pause after he said the name Sunday. He may have added Jessica although, even if he didn’t, we saw the two women sitting next to each other so that could be Jessica’s way back in the group. Another noticeable difference between Jay’s Millennials and the Gen Xers is that the older group showed much more caution. Chris and Bret said they had to take their time to figure things out while Jay was already crowning himself King of Fiji. Sorry bud, but that title still belongs to Earl.

Zeke, Hannah and Adam took a walk of their own. Zeke congratulated them all for making the merge.

Zeke’s reaction to the merge: “I’m delighted to see my old nerdy pals, Hannah and Adam. You know it’s almost good that we got split up, right? Because I’ve got intel from Vanua, Adam’s got intel from Takali and Hannah is tapped into the intel from Jay. (Hannah was heard telling them exactly what went down at the last Tribal Council) Having my nerd voting bloc, I should be feeling great but Jay worries me. He is the locus of power right now because Jay is very charming. He looks at you with those deep brown eyes and he smiles that surfer’s smile and it’s very enchanting and it’s making me nervous to see all the dudes, Ken and Chris and Tay, everyone getting taken in by this Jay charm. He has this sort of mystique about him and everyone is drawn to him. He controls Will outright, he probably controls Michelle and I’m like: If this bro alliance happens, I’m in trouble.”

It is interesting that Zeke had the first interview when the tribe got together and the last one before the end of the first scene. It makes us see the merge mostly from his perspective. To think that, if Jay hadn’t blindsided her, Hannah could have acted as a bridge between the two guys instead of confirming Zeke’s opinion of Jay. Also, it was quite ironic, to hear Jay saying “I almost had you” and pointing at Zeke right in the middle of Zeke’s confessional. Yes, Jay, you could have had Zeke but you failed and you will soon pay.

Vinaka Day 21

We used to have charming scenes of the tribe figuring out their new name and then painting the flag. Now, it all looks like both came directly from production. Of course, we could blame that on Boston Rob because of the way he turned the merged tribe name into his own personal joke.

Speaking of production, we witnessed a big waste of ingenuity. There was a clue in the merge feast basket that Tribephyl figured out. Maybe production should have hidden the advantage in such a way that deciphering the message was essential. They should know by now that tree mail is always the first place people look so the secret message should have directed them to a more obscure location. Instead, production seems to think that these castaways aren’t very smart so they don’t make it too difficult.

The tribe was still enjoying the feast but Jay used the time to snoop around.

Adam’s interview: “My philosophy here is having a merge feast; it’s nice, it’s fun. I like to eat but do I need it? No. In almost every merge in Survivor, there’s going to be a merge idol here somewhere and I know this camp well. I’m the only person that’s been able to find an idol here. So, if there is an idol out here, I feel like I may have a good chance of finding something. I take a look at tree mail, I look up and there’s a note but there is no idol... I know everything about this game and this is definitely a first and it’s exciting to be part of Survivor history to have a new power that no one ever had in this game before... I think I’m in one of the best positions in this game and I have an idol. So, I’m going to sit on this and use it on something that really matters.”

Winning rewards often cause jealousy so imagine someone stealing a hard earned prize. This twist can easily derail someone’s game so it’s surprising that a Survivor historian didn’t mention it. Probably the interviewer didn’t want us to hear that part. Imagine if they still had a car reward! On the other hand, you could use this to solidify something if you get in a tricky situation. You know the reward winner gets to share his prize with others so by stealing someone’s advantage you could invite the right people and get them to vote with you. It really would have to be a Hail Mary! type of play though. I guess that’s what production wanted: It’s a twist that could derail an arrogant player or help an underdog.

Hearing Adam say that he would use it during the family visit, probably the most desired reward left, and still think he is in a great position in the game makes him look arrogant.
Night came and someone was going through the remaining food reserve.

Taylor’s interview: “I wake up in the middle of the night and I get this idea. I’m pretty good with mason jars and canning stuff so I pull a classic Survivor move. I take a mason jar and I put so much stuff in there. I’m going to try to eat as much of that as I possibly can. Ha! Ha! Ha! That’s my stash.”

I guess Taylor thought that Na’Onka’s way of playing Survivor was a good idea. Well, everyone was planning on taking Na’Onka to the end if she hadn’t quit! Is this a hint of things to come?

Bret: “It’s the middle of the night and I hear clanging. I look up and the kid is grabbing dried bananas. That’s our food for the week. This is thirteen people living out here. You don’t just jump in and start divvying up food for yourself. I don’t want to be the one to say anything so I got back to bed.”

Adam: “I wake up in the middle of the night and see Taylor sneaking some food. I see it as an opportunity to build trust with him. I’m going to have a midnight bro-down and talk some game. Taylor is an extremely unlikely ally for me. I have voted against his girlfriend twice and actually voted her out. If I can convince him to vote my way then I’ve got control of this game.”

Adam told Taylor that Jay was building an army and that Will was his right hand man. Voting out Will, he reasoned, would enable Taylor to reclaim his position with Jay.

Munching on his food, Taylor started looking around, just listening to what Adam was saying.

It was a bit like Dreamz listening to Mookie’s rant after he voted out Michelle!

This is Fiji v2.0 after all! Come to think of it, Dreamz was a very good goat himself! How many hints do we need before we start seeing Taylor as a Final 3 goat? Maybe that’s why Figgy was looking for goats!

Taylor’s reaction: “Holy crap! Adam is trying to get Will out. Are you dumb? I couldn’t believe it! I don’t want to work with Adam. He wrote my woman’s name down but Adam thinks we are very buddy-buddy and I want to keep it that way.” In the middle of Taylor’s confessional we heard Adam telling him about his advantage adding that he wants to use it to steal the family visit reward. Taylor’s confessional then resumed: “That could not have been easier. I get all this intel from Adam and I didn’t really have to do anything. I am a fan of the survivor revenge so I want to blindside Adam as best as possible.”

The two shook hand and Taylor said it was going to be epic. Adam laughed at the perspective.

I didn’t think it would be possible but this scene made someone look dumber at the game of Survivor than Taylor! I think Adam’s failure will indeed be epic. He won’t be laughing when Jeff snuffs his torch. I just hope we see him stealing someone’s reward before then just to show everyone how dumb this super fan is.

Vinaka Day 22

Early in the morning, Chris, Ken, Sunday and Brett talked about the disappearing food. Bret said it was Taylor.

Chris: “I’m starting to think we underestimated the Millennials hold on each other and their actual bond. I see a tight group over there so I’m thinking we got to get one of them gone or we’re in trouble.”

To Bret, Chris enumerated the people that could vote with them. He said: “You, Sunday, me, Dave, Zeke; that’s five, Jess and Ken; that’s seven.” Bret said that Ken was ready to pounce and Chris added that everybody was pissed at Taylor.

So right now, the target is clearly on Taylor. It will be interesting to follow the trail to see how the vote gets deflected to Michelle.

Talking to David, Jessica and Zeke, Ken said: “The tightest bonds in this game are Jay with Taylor, Jay with Michelle and Will.” David agreed so he asked if they were good with voting out Taylor. We saw Jessica agreeing and it was implied that the others did also.

David’s interview: “Already, people are floating around the name Taylor and it seems we’re all on board with it but it’s so early. We’re at a point of the game where everyone is trying to carve out a path to final Tribal Council so there’s going to be a ton of scrambling. People are going to get unsure and that’s when the game gets crazy.”

When David said that everyone was trying to carve out their path in the game, we saw in succession, Chris, Jay, Zeke and Michelle. Will one of these players be successful? We already know that it won’t be Michelle but Zeke’s inclusion is very interesting. On the other hand, when David said that some people get unsure and the game gets crazy, we saw Adam, Will and Taylor. We saw that Adam’s paranoia put a target on his back and we know that Taylor is planning his revenge so will the game get crazy? It looks like it will and that could mean Adam goes soon.

Vinaka Day 23

Jay told Taylor that he wanted to keep the Millennials’ numbers strong. He wanted the Gen Xers to flip on one of their own first. That’s when Taylor informed Jay of Adam’s plan. Jay realized that if Adam was gunning for his right hand man then he was the real target.

Jay’s interview: “I’m chilling, just sitting back and Tayls comes to me and says “we need to talk.” He’s like; “Dude, Adam is gunning for Will”. I’m like: What the hell is going on?”

When Taylor said they should vote out Adam, we saw that Zeke heard everything.

Zeke’s interview: “I just heard Taylor and Jay discussing getting rid of Adam and I’m like Oh! my god! this is not good. Right now, Jay and his company (?) are the most dangerous. I was hoping to get this nerd alliance together but if Adam gets voted out it will throw a wrench into my beautifully laid plan.”

Taylor told Will about Adam’s plan.

Will: “Adam’s a rat and we need to get him out but now I’m freaking out because if he can get the numbers I’m screwed. I’m starting to think to myself that I have to win immunity.”

Immunity Challenge

Jeff mentioned the improvements that were designed to make this challenge more painful but the biggest difference that I noticed was that by shackling the players’ wrists they couldn’t avoid getting drenched.

Sunday was the first out of the challenge and she was closely followed by Chris and Bret.

Jeff’s comment: “Survivor challenges are made to test how far
you can dig.”

Maybe we shouldn’t expect too much from Sunday, Chris and Bret then.

Jay and Zeke fell out right after.

No one would tell where they were feeling pain but Hannah was honest: she hurt everywhere including her face.

Ken and Hannah were the next two to go. Michelle lasted just over 20 minutes. Taylor, David and Adam fell soon after.

The target still seemed to be on Taylor because we saw Bret and Ken smile when his bucket tipped.

It came down to Jessica and Adam who said they both felt good.
That seemed to be the extent of their discussion. Neither proposed a deal.

After one hour, Jessica told Jeff that her kids would be proud. She said she told them they could do everything. Will said his mom told him the same thing so Jessica said he had a good mom.

Back in the day, I would have said that this was a hint that one of Jessica’s kids would make the trip to Fiji on the same plane as Will’s mom but we can’t rely on these words anymore. So, maybe Jessica and Will are going to be around during the family visit but I’m not banking on it.

We reached the hour 30 minute mark and that’s when Jessica’s legs gave out.

Will won the first immunity and when he went to hug Jessica, he said: “I knew I needed it so I kept pushing.”

That caught Adam’s ear.

Adam: “My plan totally just blew up in my face. I got to give him credit: Will needed to win today and he did. Now I need to figure out another plan.”

Vinaka Day 23

Some were scrambling, some weren’t

Will had the first interview: “I can’t believe that I, the youngest person to ever play this game, won the first immunity challenge and what makes it even better is that I needed this one because I know Adam had a plan to try and vote me out of this game so he has to go.”

In front of Hannah, Jay and Will said they wanted to get Adam out of the game.

Hannah’s great play at the start of the episode was already paying off. Jay didn’t keep her in the dark this time.

Michelle’s interview: “We get back and almost immediately, Jay turns around and says: “We’re voting Adam out tonight. My immediate reaction is: What? That’s stupid. We have all these other people who would be great to go home. (Bret and Chris were on screen when she said that) It seems more of a personal move than a strategic move and I’m really worried we’re making a huge mistake.”

At least, Michelle was right.

With Jessica present, Zeke told Adam that he overheard Taylor and Jay planning on voting him out. Adam realized that Will knew so that explained his words after the challenge.

Adam in confessional: “I laid the groundwork for what I thought was a solid plan and then the day of Tribal Council, it all unravels. I had a feeling I might be playing too hard, I was playing too hard and now I have to scramble. At this point, I’m willing to work with anybody on this tribe if it will keep me in this game.”

Zeke said he thought they had the votes to get out Taylor. They huddled with Chris, David and Ken. David said he was worried that Taylor had an idol but Zeke thought Jay had it. David reasoned that Jay could give it to Taylor.

David’s interview: “What needs to get broken up is the upper echelon of the Millennials and that’s Jay, Michelle and Taylor. It’s just a question of getting everybody on the same page because in the back of our minds we’re thinking; well there are idols out there, right?”

To the group, David said that Michelle was the safest option because she didn’t have an idol. Ken still wanted to go after Taylor.

So the credit goes to David for shifting the vote away from Taylor and putting it squarely on Michelle. It’s doubly interesting because we have to recall David’s conversation with Taylor at the summit so long ago. Did David have an ulterior motive in taking out Michelle instead of Taylor? Is he planning on working with Taylor down the road? That’s another hint that Taylor could be carried to the end as the goat.

Adam’s interview: “I need Zeke and the Gen Xers to get through this Tribal Council but they’re back and forth on who to vote for. If they can’t get it together then I need my plan B which is to see if I can get Taylor to target somebody else.”
Taylor told Adam that he acted too soon and that the information leaked.

Taylor’s confessional: “At this point, Adam has a good idea that his name has been dropped so he’s scrambling but it’s too late, man. Tonight is 100 percent about revenge. Adam is responsible for Figgy going home so now we’re at the merge and I got my boys back. We’re coming to beat you up.”

Will and Taylor talked about the possibility that Adam had an idol to play but they figured he was scrambling too much to have one.

In the meantime, Hannah talked to David about Adam’s odd behavior.

David’s interview: “We were going to try to save Adam but I don’t know if we can trust him. And then paranoia sets in and the panic and that little seed of doubt can grow into a gigantic forest of doubt.

Hannah then talked to Adam, telling him to relax or he could screw up the vote.

Hannah’s interview: “Adam’s name is being thrown out there hardcore and I knew this was going to happen because Adam decided he couldn’t just play with the weirdoes, he had to sit at the popular kids’ table.”

So not only Taylor looked like a smarter player than Adam but now so does Hannah! I also want to point out that Hannah talked directly to David about her doubts. That implies a big degree of trust after such a short period of time together. I suspect that Zeke brought those two together, increasing the size of his nerd voting bloc.

Hannah then told Zeke that Adam was the worst team mate ever. Zeke agreed that he had to go very soon because he wasn’t trustworthy.

Zeke’s interview: “I was hoping to preserve my sort of nerd voting bloc but Adam is the most frustrating person to work with because I don’t know what he’s up to. So now I’m thinking we should just vote him out.”

There was a clear audio cut right after Zeke said “I’m thinking...” as if the end was spliced in but didn’t exactly mesh with the first part. It makes me think that the “we should just vote him out” part came from a different time, like maybe when they actually do vote him out.

Adam had the final interview of the evening: “Hannah tells me that I should just relax and that everything is going to be okay but I know for a fact that my position in this game is very tenuous. Now, the good news is; I have a hidden immunity idol so I could play it and know that I’m still going to be here tomorrow but if I use it and I had the numbers, I look like a chump. Ah! I don’t know what to do.”

Tribal Council

Turning first to David, Jeff asked about the difference between the two age groups.
David said the Millennials ate more food and that their reserve was gone.
Bret told Jeff that Taylor ate it.
Taylor laughed along with everyone and even said he wasn’t keeping it a secret.
Jeff couldn’t believe that Taylor could admit openly to stealing the food.
Taylor said it wasn’t really stealing because he needed it.
Jeff polled everyone: Chris and Jessica said they were very hungry, Hannah said she could eat Jeff.
Everyone laughed at the double entendre.
Jeff was in complete disbelief that Taylor didn’t show remorse.
Chris said that it wasn’t cool but selfish.
Taylor wanted to make the clarification that it wasn’t because he was hungry, it was a medical emergency.
Zeke countered that they all had that medical emergency. He added: “In a game for a million dollars, you have to practice a little delayed gratification because it might cost you a million dollars down the line.”
Going back to Hannah, Jeff asked about Taylor’s calmness despite the possibility of being on the bloc.
Hannah said he was a chill bro.

Finally turning to the vote, Jeff asked about the state of the tribe.
Adam said it wasn’t just about the early loyalties but about the people they got to know on the three different tribes.
Jay was sitting right behind Adam and we saw his death stare again.
David told Jeff that they were in the phase where it’s “the people I trust versus the people you trust.”
Jay said it really was about finding someone you can trust.
Michelle, who should have known she was in danger just from where production told her to sit, didn’t take Jeff’s warning about being too trusting. She agreed with Jay. According to her, it was about being with people that mesh best together.
Will told Jeff that everyone had their own objective but the question was about the prevailing objective.
Chris said that despite all their personal objectives, a line was going to be drawn in the sand.
Michelle agreed that a line was going to be drawn and that trust will be broken with some people and strengthened with others.
Taylor explained that worrying doesn’t accomplish anything because there was nothing that could be done at this point.
Adam realized that Taylor was looking right at him when he said that. Adam admitted that he was very nervous. He added that nobody wanted to be the first person voted out after the merge because this is where the fun begins.

Jeff took that as a cue to let the good times roll: It was time to vote.

We saw Taylor voting against Adam and saying: “This one’s for Figs.”

While his ballot remained secret, we heard Zeke voting confessional: “I have never been able to trust you.”

Well that didn’t apply to Adam and since we knew Zeke was voting with the majority then we knew Adam wasn’t going to be voted out. Why kill the suspense? Maybe the editors had a bigger objective.

When Jeff asked if anyone wanted to play an idol, Adam looked around at everyone but decided to remain seated, keeping his idol in his pocket.

As expected, a majority of 9 players voted together against Michelle who became the first member of the jury.

Will and Jay looked stunned while Chris was smiling behind his beard.

After Michelle left them with a goodbye kiss, Jeff said: “Any time there are lines drawn in the sand, the question is: Will they be there in the morning or will the tides of Fiji wash them away?”

I think this is the first time we’ve actually been told we are in Fiji. We certainly haven’t visited the island paradise much.

The Story

As expected, the Millennials tribe was hopelessly fractured but Michelle final words told us that Jay’s “army” really thought they had the numbers. She must have been counting on Zeke, David, Chris, Sunday and Bret to be on their side yet we never saw Jay or Michelle talking to either of the 5 after the merger. The episode’s suspense would have been better served if we had witnessed a discussion between Jay, Michelle and someone from the other side agreeing on voting out Adam. It must have happened but the immediate suspense was neglected in order to present the real objective which was to show us the real players. Jay and his army are just obstacles that have to be eliminated before the real game is played. That game will oppose Zeke and his nerd voting bloc against Chris and his Bro alliance. With David’s bond to both Ken and Zeke, we will probably see him in the middle of a tug of war.

The Characters

Sitting on the Bench – Besides enjoying the feast, these three had nothing to offer

Sunday: At least we heard her tell everyone that she was older than all of them. There’s not much else to say about her story.

Jessica: Even if she starred in the immunity challenge, we have to note her absence during all the important strategy discussion. We didn’t hear anything from her even when the tribe was vacillating between Adam and Taylor, the two Millennials she knew best. Her point of view could have guided the discussion and she probably expressed her opinion but it didn’t matter.

Ken: That makes two lackluster episodes in a row for Ken and this one coming during the merger was particularly troubling. His earlier experience with the Gen X tribe members was good interview material considering he had to be hesitant about rejoining Chris and Bret but we simply saw him siding with them. He was the last one heard gunning for Taylor so I wonder if he’s the one that loses his seat when someone decides to take Taylor to the end.

In Foul Territory – They’re on the wrong side of the newly drawn line

Adam: He started the season on a great roll but the last three episodes have shown us that he isn’t a good player. Here we even saw that Taylor and Hannah understood the subtleties of the game far better than him. Hannah called him the worst team mate ever and Zeke said that working with him was very frustrating. With Jay’s dwindling army forced into full retreat, the tribe could decide that it’s the perfect time to get rid of him.

Will: He had a great moment but it could be his last. We had a hint that he could make it to the family visit but that could lead to nothing. Will is seen as Jay’s right hand man so he’d be the automatic choice in a split vote situation.
Jay: The selfishness he showed when he went after Michaela came back to hurt him immediately. Michelle told us that Jay’s plan was stupid and he seemed to think that Bret and Sunday would automatically side with him. His idol could be used against a big player and Chris looks a lot like Savage, a famous idol victim but where would he go after that? He is out of big moves.

Grazing in the field – Just like a good goat

Taylor: Like his girlfriend Figgy, Taylor could be voted out at any Tribal Council but all the hints we had suggesting she could be there at the end could have actually been meant for him. Maybe we just misread those hints and we should have realized that Figgy, who had been looking for a goat, actually found Taylor! We also had funny parallels, first between Taylor and Na’Onka, another food stealer, and then with Dreamz when Taylor was too distracted to listen to Adam’s plan. Were those parallels accidental or did they have meaning? All I know is that the tribe seemed to agree that Taylor wasn’t a smart player so that can easily lead someone to want to sit next to him at the end. The problem is that he will have three good friends on that jury and there is bound to be some people unhappy to have been betrayed. Everything that Zeke said about Jay’s charm also applies to Taylor and that is always dangerous when it comes to the jury.

The Playing Field – The real players:

Chris: He had some good moments during the merger and he isn’t even considered as a threat so he could go far enough where he could dominate the end game yet there is something lacking in his story. He looks more like a victim than a winner. There really is no place for him in Zeke’s nerd voting bloc so maybe he’ll put too much trust in his fellow Oklahoman.
Bret: After being a figurant for most of the season, Bret suddenly gained substance in this episode. We heard about his options and even heard why he decided not to go further with Jay’s side who simply took him for granted. That means he still has to deal with Hannah who knows his secret. Will she use it at the right time? We haven’t seen enough of Bret since the start of the season to suddenly consider a contender despite a good merge episode.

Hannah: I’m sure many will be shocked at her placement but Hannah really emerged as a player in this episode. She completely fooled Jay when she said she would have voted with him against Michaela and that enabled her to hear all his plans. Then we saw that she was close enough to David to talk about her doubts regarding Adam. She could be Zeke’s right hand woman and that would carry her far in the game.

David: He was the one that turned the target away from Taylor and focused it on Michelle. It’s always important to see who gets credit for the big votes and the merge vote is often crucial. What is even better for David is that he could have an ulterior motive for saving Taylor. Those two had the most memorable scene during the Summit so it seems bound to bear fruits. What is particularly interesting is that their respective situations are now reversed. Taylor was flying high as a member of his tribe’s majority alliance while David was eager to ditch his tribe for new allies. It would be quite a move for David to sneak Taylor to the end but it wouldn’t be appreciated by his present allies. The calmer version of David is much easier to take but no one changes this drastically over 22 days. Was it all theatrics or will his paranoia return?

Zeke: His voting confessional told us that he had written Michelle’s name and not Adam’s whom he had trusted up until the last day or so. Why kill the suspense? I think it was to show that Zeke, despite looking more like a journey player at times, had been playing all along. If we remember day 1, Michelle told us she’d use her missionary work as a cover to gain people’s trust yet and use it to her advantage but now we hear that Zeke hadn’t fallen for her ruse at all. According to his words, Zeke didn’t have to wait for the Mari vote to see through Michelle. He would solidify his position in the game by delaying the elimination of Jay’s army in order to dispatch the frustrating Adam and he would still have his nerd voting bloc against Chris and his allies. His comment to Jeff about delaying gratification in order to win the game sounded like a winning quote.

The merge episode is usually the moment I make the winner’s pick but this one changed the narrative of many important players so I’ll use the excuse that we had a merger at 13 to delay the official pick. However, considering his great story from the start of the season and his important role in this episode, I see Zeke as the top contender for the title of Sole Survivor.

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11-14-16, 08:00 PM (EST)
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46. "RE: Episode 8 - Ready To Play:"
Stellar, as always, Michel. I love how astute you are with your observations. I agree with it all!

I made a long response earlier this AM, then I accidentally deleted....d'oh. So, I will try to make a few comments, nevertheless!

Love how you noted the sequence of players being reunited at the merge...first we see Zeke and Hanna, then we see Ken and David, with a sound bite, "We're back together, man!" Then we hear Michelle's confessional as Hanna lifts her up, then that's followed by a Jay and Taylor hugging, then Taylor hugging Michelle.

Jay has a confessional about being the king pin then we see him at the merge feast and his right hand man is right next to him, Will. Love how Jay counts Hanna among the people with him.

Zeke is thrilled to be back with his old nerdy pals and happy that they all split to different tribes, because now they can compare notes. Then he went on to note the enchanting and charming, Jay, working the "bro alliance" of Chris, Ken, and Tay. Clearly, I think that Zeke is playing the best game. He's got a good core group with his original millennials, and he's made great bonds with some of the gen X'rs as well. Right from he start he told us about how he never considered himself a millennial.... Here is his first and second confessional from the start of the show....The stereotype of young people is that they are always on social media...but...I generally resent technology, I think twitter is the worst thing ever invented. I mean, I’m on twitter but I still think it’s horrendous.

I’m 28 years old but, to be honest, I’ve never called myself a Millennial once in my life... I’m dressed... for the retirement center. I’m an 80 year old man at heart. I’m on a tribe with children. When I looked around and saw all these kids, I thought; you know what none of these kids have had in their lives? A real job. They can’t do anything.

Clearly, Zeke thinks of himself more with the GenX'rs than with the Millennials. Isn't it interesting to see the one that finds himself in the middle of the two groups is the one doing the best. I also wonder if some of the younger GenX'rs are doing better than the older ones as well? Ken, Jessica? David?

I love that you see Jay and company as an obstacle before the real divide occurs, between the nerd coalition led by Zeke, and the Bros alliance led by Chris....idk? But it will be fun to see how it breaks down!

I agree with your assessments for the super duper fan, Adam. It's a pretty rock bottom day when someone that has been blindsided twice, twice left out of the vote tells you to chill! OMG. Hanna, of all people!

I also agree that Taylor could indeed become the goat of the season. I am very interested in seeing how he and David may work together going forward, and like you, I fully expect them to. They were really featured during the summit. If Boston Rob can pick Philip and Natalie on the first days of Redemption Island, and get them both to the finals, than perhaps David could get Taylor to the end from the merge as well? Who knows? But, Ken did verbalize that he wanted Taylor out first, and he's certainly on Chris' radar to for stealing the food.....taking him to the end could bite them though especially if he goes on an IC run...

Thanks for all you do, michel!

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47. "RE: Episode 8 - Ready To Play:"
You're too kind, FP

I wasn't so high on Zeke before the swap but he's really progressed well and what is more important is that we see a lot of the game from his POV. Take his connections with both David and Chris. I think each Gen Xer feels closest to Zeke than the other but Zeke isn't really committed to either like we heard him say after David told him about his idol and when Zeke feared the Bro alliance forming around Jay.

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48. "Episode 9 - Truth and Consequences"
Previously on Survivor

At the old Gen X tribe, it was Chris, Bret and Sunday against David, Ken and Jessica but after the merge, the Gen Xers put their differences aside, forming a majority alliance with Hannah, Zeke and Adam.

But Adam and Taylor started sharing secrets and the alliance began to question Adam’s loyalty.

At Tribal Council, the majority decided to trust Adam, voting out Michele and leaving Will, Jay and Taylor out of the loop.

This episode’s vote wasn’t going to be a big surprise so this recap was more about setting up future events than about reminding us of what we saw in the previous episode. It used scenes from episode 3 to set the stage for the Gen X civil war that will erupt next week. We heard David saying that the goal was to get rid of the upper echelon of the Millennials’ alliance but after two tries all they’ve got is a lieutenant and a foolish soldier. Jay is still throwing punches and that doesn’t augur well for Gen X and David in particular

Truth and Consequences

Vinaka Night 23

Jay had the first interview of the evening: “I just lost one of my most trustworthy and loyal people and now I guess the big Gen X cesspool over there is gunning for the Millennials and even the Millennial flippers don’t even know because they are so stupid like Zeke and Adam and Hannah like Oh! Yea, you three are going to match up to the other six that are coming for you. Freaking idiots.”

We heard Chris’ reaction: “I was happy to see the votes come down the way they did because that means that I’m gaining some traction and some control in this majority group. I feel comfortable enough with the solid people in our group but maybe people like Adam, who may be floating in between and maybe lost on where they needed to go, it scares me and I don’t like it.”

Right when Chris mentioned that Adam scared him, we saw David hugging him and even telling him to stick around.

This image leads in two different directions: Adam could be a vote used against Chris in the upcoming Gen X civil war or David is making a mistake by keeping him around. We heard both Hannah and Zeke say that Adam was the worst team mate ever so I’m leaning towards the second option.

Taylor then had a confessional: “Me and Jay have to work our way somehow into the alliance that was solid tonight. I got to pull Adam aside and see that we are still in good terms as far as legal warfare because Adam could possibly spill the beans that I buried two tins of food.”

Taylor and Adam had a talk away from everyone else.

Adam’s interview: “Going into Tribal Council, Jay and Taylor blew up my spot and then they gunned for me and when they gunned for me all bets were off. Even if I am at the bottom of Gen X it certainly feels a lot better than being out of the game which is where you tried to put me.”

Taylor (solo): “I feel I hold a bigger secret of Adam’s than he holds of mine. If you rat me out about my food stash then I’m going to rat you out about your advantage in the game.”

We saw Taylor enjoying the food he hid and the scene was accompanied by the kooky musical theme.

At this point, Taylor had an easy option: Instead of doing a commercial for pretzels and dried fruits, it would have been much smarter for Taylor to bring back all the food to the group, apologize and then use his leverage against Adam at the right time. That could have worked better than eating the remaining food first and then telling everyone about Adam. As is, this scene set up the night’s vote even if it didn’t need much preparation. At least, it was funny.

The next morning, Jay went for a talk with Hannah.

Jay’s confessional: “Last night I got blindsided so now in my head, it’s like; dude, Jay, you might be next, dude so try to find your way out of this hole because even though I have the immunity idol in my back pocket, I’m in trouble. I think I could be next.

Hannah explained her decision to Jay, saying she felt like she was going to be a goat if she stayed by his side. So, instead, she decided to play independently. Jay said it was cool and that he was proud of her. In a complete role reversal, it was Jay who asked Hannah to keep him in the loop for the next vote.

Hannah gave us her thoughts: “I’ve taken my game into my own hands and I want to do it well, like I want to do it justice because I’ve loved this show since I was fourteen. I’m coming out here and I’m actually playing with the intention of trying to win and build a résumé and it’s so much fun. It’s like I’m finally getting to play and last night, I realized that I could do it and it is addicting. It’s like I want to pull off another vote and now I finally get the chance to make some moves.”

The scene ended with Jay giving Hannah a high five.

At the start of this scene we saw the bat with its wings curled around its body so I think I can finally see a meaning in that imagery.

It told us that Hannah is just now deploying her wings. We usually see a colony of bats but here we almost always only see one lone bat so it could be representing Hannah who, after being left aside for a long time, has decided to play independently. The bat was shown resisting through the torrential downpour at the start of the season and we see it in full flight at the start of every introduction segment so this would be a very good omen for Hannah.

What we know for certain is that she was the only one that managed to change Jay’s opinion of the Millennial flippers. That whole scene was very surprising. In a spot where we could have expected a confessional from either Zeke or David, we got Hannah instead. Last week, the crucial merge vote had been mostly credited to David, who suggested Michelle, and Zeke, who said he never trusted her yet now it’s presented as Hannah’s big move, the first entry in her résumé. Her confessional was accompanied by a very tender, emotional melody, underlining both its importance and its endearing qualities. Did we just see the birth of Bat Girl?

The Reward Challenge

With Chris and Hannah as captains for this challenge where strength was the determining factor, it was evident that Purple had a stronger first player so it wasn’t really about Chris making the better choice like Jeff said. It was pretty much decided when the captains were randomly drawn. It turned out into a Gen X versus Millennials contest and we know that the Gen X guys are much stronger.

Chris picked Bret, Ken, Taylor, David and Sunday.
Hannah chose Jay, Will, Adam, Zeke and Jessica.

Jeff’s comments: “Ken takes a big fall but it doesn’t slow him down.”
“David working quickly on those knots...Adam still working on the knots for Orange... He can feel the pressure.... Huge set-back for Orange.”

Waiting hopelessly for her team to get through the net, Hannah told Jessica that she would never be a sports captain.

When Jeff mentioned that Orange was still trapped in the net, it was Zeke that was shown like a captured fish.

It was good to hear Hannah say that she was never going to be a sports captain. It was as if to give her an excuse. Why would she need an excuse unless it’s to protect her reputation? Why would her reputation need to be protected unless it’s because she makes it to the end?

After his team gave him a huge lead, Taylor won the reward for the purple team while the orange team was still trapped under the net.

Hannah’s interview: “I was on such a high after pulling off my first blindside vote and I knew I wanted to keep Jay and Will closer to me because I know they feel on the bottom but I picked a horrible team and to make such a glaring mistake, it takes you back a step but if I want to stay in the game, I have to prove that I can handle this.”

We have to note that Adam, Jay or Zeke’s interview could have been placed here but Hannah got the editors’ nod. Not only did she explain her choices but she also told us she was determined not to let it affect her.

A Poolside Escapade

Taylor had the first interview, saying that by eating food more regularly than the others, his stomach was prepared so he could eat a lot. He figured it could help him win the next challenge.

Bret’s confessional was timed with the arrival of the cocktails: “Going into the reward, I told myself; there are going to be drinks, Bret, take it a little easy, don’t go crazy. But come on now! There is a pool looking out at the ocean, there’s food so at least my belly is going to be filled so I can have more drinks. (He told the waiter to keep the drinks coming until he dropped) So I just kind of went all out. I was going to drink as much as I can while I’m out here. This is ridiculous.”

Chris commented: “When my man Bret started knocking out the drinks, he was all in, man! He had probably 8 or 9 drinks. He was letting loose but that’s just Bret. You know, he’s a big loud guy.”

The only “dumb” thing we saw from Bret was a cannonball in the pool, so nothing bad. In fact, he mostly made everyone laugh which is a good thing. We heard Jay say that he was a fun guy and now we finally saw evidence of it. Even if he is a secondary character, Bret has been treated nicely by the editors.

Sunday: “It’s kind of an odd group that we have going out here. I mean, for a solid alliance we got: Chris, Bret, myself but we don’t 100% trust David, Ken or Jessica. We are fractured as Gen Xers because of the experience at the Gen X tribe. So, moving forward, what I want to make is a proactive move because I definitely feel I need to take control of the game.”

We have to note that David, for once, was ignored. Rewards are often used to flesh out the winner’s story, a time to tell us about their plans to the end so maybe the story is starting to turn away from him. Only Sunday was heard talking about strategy so once more, it was a woman that was the voice of reason when the boys were simply having fun. Sunday was a bit like Michelle after Vanua’s feast but it didn’t work very well for Michelle and we don’t expect it to work for Sunday either but maybe it could work for our little Bat Girl!

An Oceanside Escalation

Jay gave us the first interview: “Right now I’m on a losing streak: Michelle goes home from Tribal Council, I just lost reward. So, I tried to regroup myself and I thought: The Gen Xers are gone, I’ll talk to Adam, and maybe we can make something happen.”

Adam’s confessional (from the same spot as the one we heard at the beginning of the episode and probably recorded at the same time): “I’m worried that I might be playing too aggressively, that I might be playing too hard but I have to prove my loyalty to my alliance because I have a much stronger bond with Gen X than I certainly have with Will and Jay at this point.”
The only thing Adam told Jay was that he was on the bottom because of Taylor.

It wasn’t only the words that Adam used that were horrible, it was the satisfied smirk he had on his face while talking to Jay.

Jay’s interview: “I talked to Adam and Adam was just a huge jerk. He’s basically throwing it in my face that I’m on the wrong side of the line and basically saying: “How does it feel to be on the bottom, Jay?” So, my back is up against the wall; there’s going to be immunity tomorrow. Hopefully, it’s a challenge that I can win but, if not, I’m in trouble because it looks like they’re gunning my way.”

While we were wrong to think that Taylor would get his revenge on Adam, he will lay the groundwork so now it seems that it will be Jay who will have the pleasure to see the “huge jerk” leave first.

Jay told Will, Hannah and Zeke about Adam rubbing it in his face. When Jay called him an assh*le, Hannah agreed. Zeke told Jay that he didn’t like working with Adam. Hannah confirmed that Zeke said that before the last vote.

Zeke’s interview: “Adam can’t be smart like the rest of us trying to bring Will and Jay back into the fold. (At that moment, we saw Hannah giving Will a nice hug) Adam has to blow it and make Jay feel crappy. I’m just like; Adam, don’t be an idiot and make people feel like they are on the bottom because that’s when they vote against you.”

This will be Zeke’s only interview of the evening and it holds good content because it told us that Zeke understood the pitfalls of the game but where it was only words for Zeke, we saw Hannah putting the idea into action by comforting Will. Actions speak louder than words.

Vinaka Day 25

It was a beautiful morning and Bret was the one shown admiring it.

I don’t know if it was to show that he didn’t wake up all grumpy and hung over but we saw that he didn’t suffer any ill effects after that drinking binge.

Sunday in solo: “I am in a position right now where Jessica and I are at friendly hellos but something is underlying there. She’s nice, we connect as moms but I just think that since I voted for her, I feel she will really want to get me out. One of us is going to get the other first but I could definitely use Jay because right now he’s feeling like he’s at the bottom. We have a really good relationship from our time at Ikabula so I just need to talk to Jay.”

We have to note that while Sunday and Bret were plotting against her; Jessica was shown sleeping in the hammock.

That is usually a sign that she won’t see it coming.

Jay’s confessional: “As soon as Sunday says Jessica, I’m like okay; sweet! Anyone’s name but mine, Will or Tays and it’s cool. I got to stay positive and give good energy because, you know, the universe should be alright to give it back.”

The Immunity Challenge

Contrary to what we had in So Pathetic where the line was so firmly established that only 3 old Savaii felt the need to participate while all of Coach’s “family” opted out of the challenge, we only had two people sitting out: Zeke and Will. As Jeff said, this game was still up in the air. Zeke and Will had perceived certainty while the others were fighting for actual certainty. On a funny note, when Jeff mentioned that they had soft drinks in addition to the beer, we saw Will’s sad expression.

In confessional, Will explained his decision: “I opted to eat because I knew I was never going to win this challenge against these surfer guys. They are obviously going to beat me so I could lose and go back to camp with nothing or I could eat and go back to camp with a full belly.”

Why didn’t we hear from Zeke? Did they feel that Will’s explanation would fit for both? Did Zeke’s explanation make him sound so arrogant that the editors felt it was preferable not to show it? Just by opting out of the challenge we feel that he is sure of his safety and Jeff even mentioned it so anything would have been preferable to this silence.

Hannah was the first to drop out. All the others made it to stage two where Bret dropped his ball. As he walked over to the bench, he asked why he didn’t opt out of the challenge just when Zeke was shown savoring his cold brew.

Maybe Bret’s comment was used to show that Zeke was smart to opt out after all.

At the start of round three Jessica, Sunday, David and Chris quickly dropped out. Adam and Jay were next, leaving the surfer dude against Ken.

With Jay calmly whistling and Jay’s legs beginning to shake, Jay was certain that Ken would fall but he didn’t. Ken won immunity. He showed good sportsmanship by hugging Taylor.

Jay: “Leaving the challenge, all I’m thinking it’s either going to be me or Tayls tonight but Sunday said it could be Jessica so my life is basically in Sunday’s hands right now.”

We didn’t hear Zeke’s reasoning for sitting out but we had many images of him enjoying the food. In the old days, being shown sitting out of a challenge was very damaging and the editors wouldn’t dwell on the future winner if he had decided to eat. JT for example wasn’t highlighted when he sat out with Coach and Stephen but Aras was presented as a real trooper for going up against Terry even if Casaya was in total control and everyone else in the alliance decided to pig out. However, there have been so many winners that have decided to sit out of challenges that the presentation has changed. After all, Zeke isn’t a surfer dude and maybe the message behind showing him with the beer glass was to show that he was smarter than someone like Bret who immediately regretted his decision.

Vinaka - Decision Time

We heard what sounded like cannons going off and a very somber musical theme

Everyone congratulated Ken.

David’s Interview: “The immunity challenge came down to a battle between Ken and Taylor but in the end, Ken pulled out a win. Now, we have a choice between whether to vote out Jay or Taylor. Will is safe because he is seen as less of a threat but an idol could come into play tonight and then whoever Taylor and Jay want to go home, goes home. So it’s the safest bet to split the vote.”

When David is heard talking about strategy in the voice-over portion of his confessional, we saw him sitting in camp behind a cloud of smoke from the camp fire.

The traditional Fog of War image implies that David will be making the wrong choice. In the upcoming Gen X civil war, Jay will be a vote for Sunday’s side which is Chris’ side, something that David could very well regret. Taylor would have naturally gone with Jessica on David’s side. If the Fog of War image wasn’t enough, we immediately saw Jay violently chopping a coconut with the machete, another sign that keeping him over Taylor is very dangerous for David’s life.

We heard the group talking about the split vote option and then David’s confessional continued: “In this particular instance we feel it’s the safest option to split the votes between Jay and Taylor. Jay is the biggest schemer, the biggest plotter but Taylor is the less trustworthy of the two. Because we are splitting the votes, I feel very confident that one of them is going to go home.”

After the group discussion, Sunday had a one on one with Bret. She didn’t like it, didn’t want to write Jay’s name.

Sunday had a confessional: “If it were up to me, I would 100% like to see Jessica go home but because of the way the numbers are I don’t think there’s any way that I would be making the move. It’s a bummer because I wanted to use Jay to make a move against Jessica.”

Right when Sunday said she wanted to make a move against her, we saw Jessica stumbling out of the ocean and we heard her expression of pain.

While David’s interview had great content, putting it right before Sunday’s analysis of the situation presented him as someone who wasn’t looking a few moves down the line. David was equally happy with either Jay or Taylor going but if he was really aware of the situation, he’d be thinking of the threat that Sunday, Chris and Bret represents.

Sunday told Jay that she couldn’t do anything to switch the vote.
Jay’s interview was shown while we saw the two guys sneaking away to the food “bunker” to share the fruits of Taylor’s great idea: “This sucks. Everything we’ve planned is out the window and I hate being on the freaking bottom, man. Tonight it’s either me or Tayls but I’m still in the ring, still throwing punches. I’m not going to give up. My closest friend out here was Tayls but I’m not going to tell Taylor that I have an idol. I got three options with my immunity idol. Plan A: Put it on my neck and be like; forget your plan, I’m not going anywhere. Option B: Put it on Tayls’ neck but if they’re splitting the votes that could just backfire and the next thing you know I’m going home. Or Option C: Be quiet about it, hope for the best and save it for a rainy day.”

It took nerves of steel for Jay to keep it for another day. Normally this would tell everyone that he didn’t have an idol but we know that secret won’t be kept long.

Taylor told Jay about Adam’s advantage. The two agreed to ruin Adam’s game.

Taylor had the last confessional of the evening: “If I state that Adam has an advantage in this game that is going to put a massive target on his back. In my mind, I’m still holding a lot of animosity towards Adam. I am an avenger of Figgy at this point. If you steal the love one visit, those people hate you and I think that’s more leverage against him that he has against me. People already know that I steal food so who cares. Figgy told me to fight as hard as I could to get to the end of this so that’s what I’m trying to do.”

It was a bit of a break from the tired old formula of giving the last confessional to the person with the deciding vote and it makes me think that the massive target on Adam’s back won’t be forgotten.

Tribal Council

Jay told Jeff that, as a fan, he enjoyed watching them blindside someone but he was on the wrong side.
Adam welcomed him to the club.
Jay rolled his eyes at that: “Obviously it’s the game.” He added that he would love to write Adam’s name again even if he knew his clock was ticking.
Chris said that he had been on the wrong side of the line and that you have to play the game and get back in because there are cracks.
Taylor liked hearing that so he used the opportunity to throw Adam under the bus by saying Adam helped him hide two huge jars full of food.
Adam tried denying it while Hannah started hyperventilating again and Michelle laughed.
An argument erupted between the Adam and Taylor.
Taylor said that he and Jay finished the food but that Adam had an advantage in the game.
Adam had to tell everyone about his advantage. “If the advantage that I got is so terrible then vote me out”
David was stunned by Adam’s “bomb”. He said that these admissions were like nails in the coffin.
Jessica said that Taylor’s admission wasn’t enough, that it wasn’t the way she was raised.
Even Jay said he was pissed at both Adam and Taylor and that he wasn’t a dumb surfer. He said he would have told Taylor it wasn’t morally right if he had been in Adam’s place.
Adam said eating the food was worse than staying quiet about it.
Hannah said that the game was more complicated and that it was about future votes and who you can trust.
Bret wanted to know who was the most culpable.

It was time to vote.

Neither Adam nor Jay played their immunity idol.

Taylor voted for Adam.
Bret, Hannah, Will and Jessica voted for Jay.
David, Ken, Chris, Sunday, Jay, Zeke and Adam voted for Taylor.

Jay seemed to smile at Sunday when Taylor presented his torch to Jeff’s snuffer.

Jeff: “Almost every single vote at Tribal Council is about strategy but every so often it’s just about consequences.”

The Story

The recap, the preview and Sunday’s restlessness all combined to show that these last two episodes were only a prologue to the story of the merger, the undercard before the main event. The Gen X tribe is divided between two factions of three players that barely talk to each other but only one side is heard worrying about the other. Sunday told Bret and he talked to Chris about her plan to vote out Jessica but David, Ken and Jessica seem only focused on voting out the Millennials. With Hannah, Jay and Will likely to side with Sunday and Bret because of their days in Ikabula then they would appear to have the upper hand. That would explain why Jessica and Ken have been disconnected from the story lately. Zeke has a solid connection with a member from each faction and to most of the Millennials so he could certainly influence the results. The next act could be all about Zeke’s decision.

In a season where we heard that the truth works well, we saw in this episode that not all truths are good to say. Sometimes there are consequences and Taylor should have known that committing a crime was worse than planning one. He was smart to say that Adam helped him with his theft but he should have staged a frame-up: After he and Jay finished most of the food, Taylor should have asked Adam to join him to “talk” while Jay could have asked policeman Bret to accompany him for a “walk” on the beach. Now that would have put Adam in a lot more trouble.

The Characters

The target:

Adam: This episode was an old-fashioned roast except the person being roasted only found out he was the subject of everyone’s darts in the last few minutes of the evening and he certainly wasn’t laughing. The “worst team mate” ever acted like a “huge jerk” to the players that were on the bottom because he thought he was safely on the right side of the divide but he quickly found himself under the proverbial Tribal Council bus. How long can he stay in the game? His idol should keep him safe for one cycle but he seems determined to keep it as long as possible and that could precipitate his downfall.

The Players still enjoying the Ride:

Will: It was very surprising to see Will writing down Jay’s name. We were under the impression that Will was much closer to Jay than Taylor but maybe he’s branching out on his own. It could be the reason why he’ll be the snitch that tells everyone about Jay’s idol. The High School student must have done the math: His calculations would have proven that Taylor would remain on top of everyone’s list at the next TC while Jay could wiggle his way to safety leaving Will in a tough spot.

Jessica: Not only has she fallen off of our screens, she was shown napping when Sunday first mentioned wanting to vote her out and then she was stumbling out of the ocean in pain when the threat came into focus. Getting blindsided by her old friend would be very painful.

Ken: Besides the immunity win and some looks of astonishment at the stupidity on display during Tribal Council, this was another quiet episode for Ken. He used to give us some intelligent commentaries but now he looks like a player in a dead-end instead of someone on a road to victory. Looking back, the only player I remember who had a good pre-merge but completely disappeared after it was Alexis in Micronesia and that was most likely due to her disqualification. I’m not sure what’s in store for Ken but it doesn’t look good.

Bret: This was another surprising vote against Jay. Bret probably knew how the numbers were about to unfold so he voted as he was told, knowing Jay was safe. I say this because we’ve had no indications that he’s planning to go against Sunday’s wishes. We are starting to see the policeman’s funny side so that tells us he wouldn’t be the first target but nice guys eventually become threats.

The Schemers:

Chris: No one is targeting him right now and he is cautiously gaining more control in the game so he could be in for the long run but he still looks like someone who will fall victim to an idol. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Zeke decide to go with with his Sooner idol instead of David and his idol but if Chris’ side comes out on top of the civil war then there’s Jay’s idol that could end his pathway to glory. With Sunday answering for him, Chris will probably use Jay’s vote to eliminate Ken and Jessica but then they’d eventually want to turn on him. Beware of the idol Chris, beware.

Jay: Zeke expressed fear that his charm would help him create a dangerous bro alliance but his charm works well on the ladies too. We first saw Hannah and then Sunday come to him and say they want to use him to make their moves. David knew that he was more dangerous but he let him live another day. Now that the immediate target is on Adam and that the two Gen X factions will see the dwindling number of Millennials as a sign to break the cease-fire, Jay probably has three or four cycles of safety but then he’ll get back on someone’s radar. He’d certainly make a nice trophy on Hannah’s wall.

David: Ever since the swap signaled the start of Millennial hunting season, David has been a top strategist. However, now he appeared lost in the Fogs of War when he couldn’t see the huge difference between Jay’s determination and Taylor’s carefree attitude. It was particularly troubling not to hear from him during the reward. All the people that he would need to use and then eliminate were right there with him so the opportunity to talk strategy, either with a few of them or in confessional, was ideal yet he was simply enjoying himself on the periphery of the festivities.

Sunday: Her sudden emergence as someone planning a big move was really unexpected. It either signals the beginning of a short story arc that leads to a jury seat or of a successful run that sees Jessica voted out of the game. Jessica was a much more prominent player early on so we would have expected to see Sunday fail but Jessica’s disappearance in the last episodes changes the cards. It seems that Sunday will have short term success but won’t make it to the end unless we have another incomplete story on our hand.

Zeke: His showing in the merger episode was so impressive that we could dismiss some of the shortcomings of his earlier story, the food binging scene and its gross conclusion in particular but this episode gave us more questions. Granted, he had a solid intervention when Jay told the group that Adam was acting like a jerk. We saw that Zeke’s head was in the game but will it be enough? With Adam going off the deep end, Zeke knows he can’t count on his original ally. He still has David and Chris but they are going to reach a point of no return soon. Will Zeke be able to navigate through the perils of the civil war? Seeing him trapped in the net like a dead fish wasn’t the best image and even if we can find excuses for showing him chugging beer after beer while the others were fighting for immunity, it still doesn’t help his case. It was impossible to hide his decision to sit but it wasn’t necessary to see him indulging so much. He’s still a strong contender and I’ll be curious to see how he handles the civil war.

Hannah: The star of the episode, she had some ups and downs much like she’s experienced throughout the season. The girl who seems to be associated with the bat suddenly spread her wings when she voted out Michelle and she is now planning more moves. As someone who isn’t perceived as a threat, Hannah should remain safe during the upcoming war and then some could mistake her for an easy opponent to beat in the end. However, she is already thinking of her résumé and she certainly would have a good case to present to the jury. And we know that even if they don’t want to listen, she’ll find a way to get her message across!

Could Hannah be the season’s Sole Survivor? Looking back at her story, she was the one that talked about the horrible conditions on day 1 and she was the first to mention the need for the Misfits to join together against the “Cool Kids” so Hannah was this season’s Aubry at the start. That meant we had to be careful to avoid falling in that trap again. She wasn’t a star of episode 1 but she certainly had a strong supporting role and we followed her story ever since. Even if she was trapped by Michelle in the second episode, her presence on camera was excellent. We connected with her more than with all these gamers and her amusing scene at the start of the third episode strengthened that connection. Then she faded away for a while but we still saw her medical emergency and her reactions to Michaela’s elimination, keeping her in our sights.

The men have been in charge for most of the season and the women have suffered numerous losses but now the targets are changing. We’ve seen with Mari, Paul, Lucy, Figgy, Michaela and even Michelle who was in charge early on, that having control of the game isn’t the best course of action this season so why not our little Bat Girl?

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11-23-16, 00:20 AM (EST)
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49. "RE: Episode 9 - Truth and Consequences"
Great observations concerning Hanna, Michel! I agree I have noticed the bat and clearly, at this point, it seems associated with Hanna. I also love that you note that Hanna receives credit for the Michelle boot, we all know that is a very positive sign, indeed! When you call it to my attention, I think of the jury, and of all the millennials that are likely to be on it, and all of them out with no animosity toward Hanna, with the exception of Michelle of course. How could they hold it against her when all of them kept her out of the loop for so many votes? She'd be likely to win a lot of votes for winner if she finds herself sitting across from the final jury! I think?

Great explanation/insight into the Sunday aiming for Jessica and the lack of confessionals from both Jessica and Ken. Foreshadowing! And, I loved your noting David behind the smoke! I really didn't catch all of it! Wow! Very interesting developments!

Great job, Michel!

Hanna is looking better and better but I will say that I noted Hanna getting extremely anxious at TC when Adam was exposed. It would be amazing if she could pull out a win when so much has happened that really blindsided her! As for Jay, I still don't count him out.

I was disappointed that we got nothing from Zeke as well regarding sitting out the IC.

Thanks so much for all of your thoughts, so impressive!

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11-23-16, 02:52 PM (EST)
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50. "RE: Episode 9 - Truth and Consequences"
Thank you, FP.

I won't be easy for Hannah to get the respect a winner needs but she could pull it off.

I've come to realize that Jay's edit merits more attention. If he gets out of this mess, he could make a long run. I didn't like his pre-merge story that was simply focused on "I'm not like Gen X" but it did keep him in our sights when maybe he had nothing else to give.

Zeke and David still have the most complete story so we will have to pay attention to all these players.

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11-26-16, 04:26 PM (EST)
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51. "Episode 10 & 11 - Trust Clusterfuck"
Previously on Survivor

There are three idols in play; held by Adam, David and Jay.

After the merge, Chris, Bret and Sunday saw Jessica as the biggest threat, but the majority had already made their decision.
David said: “The safest decision is to split the votes between Taylor and Jay.”

With little hope left, Taylor revealed Adam’s secret but the tribe couldn’t forgive him for stealing food, sending Taylor to the jury.

Trust Clusterfuck

Vinaka Night 25

First, we heard Adam apologizing to the group.

Adam: “Oh man! Taylor and Jay drew my name through the mud and now everybody knows about my advantage. I want Jay out of this game so bad; I can taste his blood in my mouth.”

David asked if there was any food left so Adam said he knew where it was hidden but Jay intervened to say that Taylor moved it so Adam couldn’t eat anymore.

Jay: “Dude so I’m in tribal Council and I’m just thinking Taylor: Stop talking dude, you are burying me with you. Not only are you going out but now you are making sure I go out next. How am I going to clean this up? So, I unburied the food just like in good faith, like Hey! Here’s the food, here’s what’s left and I’m going to be honest about it because now my back is literally up against the wall. But, considering the fact that I haven’t used my idol this whole time, it’s perfect because now they really think I don’t have one.”

That realization brought a smile to Jay’s face.

If Jay only knew what was about to happen!

Chris: “Taylor leaving was my goal; Taylor left. Next move; let’s go. Jay is seemingly on the bottom but he’s not right now in my opinion. It’s got to be Jess. 90% of it is she’s a strategic player, 10% is; I owe her one for blindsiding Paulie and my alliance. If I don’t hit her first, she’s going to hit me. It’s a small tactical squad that’s got to go in and take out Jess and if it’s the last thing I do, I’m going to vote her out.”

Chris isn’t the first player this season to leave before accomplishing his stated goal. This opening segment served to tell us that Adam and Jay, the two players who were accused of wrong doings in the previous Council, would not see their case go to trial. The accusations were simply dropped because the accusers had more pressing matters to attend. The leading attorney would soon be paying the price for pushing his personal agenda over the “public” good!

Vinaka Day 26

Ken and Hannah were admiring the sunrise.

Hannah: “In Survivor, you got to find a way to connect with someone who is drastically different from you and I do flirt with Ken, Hi! Hi! You just look at Ken and you go: Ken wouldn’t have any sort of crush on me because like, look at him but maybe, just maybe, yes, Ken and I, yeah, no, yeah, I could, I, I could see that.”

The scene was accompanied by romantic soap opera music. Hannah brings a smile to my face every time she is the featured character in a scene.

Zeke and Will took a walk where Zeke said that he, David and Chris put those votes together because they each have their people.

Will in interview: “I’m done working with Jay. It’s time to jump off a sinking ship onto a life raft and that life raft’s name is Zeke. Telling Zeke that Jay has the idol is a way of building trust. I don’t want to tell too many people but telling one individual who I need to build trust with definitely doesn’t hurt my game. If anything, it only helps my game.”

If Will only knew what was about to happen! The gossip telephone scene was simply hilarious. News of Jay’s idol went around faster than when teenagers learn about a heartthrob’s break up.

Zeke: “I need to have the most power in the game and everything in Survivor is about relationships. There’s no better way to build trust with an ally than revealing the location of an immunity idol. On top of that, a person with an immunity idol has a major advantage in this game but if everybody knows that they have it, that advantage decreases significantly. We want Jay to think he’s the next one to go so he plays the hidden immunity idol but in actuality, Chris wants to vote out Jess. We’ve had these two nice votes with lots of people voting together but now the time has come to turn on each other. The opening shots have been fired and the war is about to get bloody."

This interview was accompanied by music that could have been the soundtrack to a military movie. We would see Zeke manoeuvring very efficiently. Where everyone only saw two factions, Chris and David’s, Zeke had control of a third army that remained hidden. He would then claim the soldiers of the defeated general.

The Reward Challenge

David offered to be the one left out because he felt he was so bad in the water that he didn’t want to be the reason his team lost.

While Bret voiced a lot of encouragement, it was Hannah who appeared to be touched the most by David’s words.

I think this moment had a lot to do with Hannah’s decision to go with David later on. To me however, it sounded like more theatrics from David: The distance they had to swim was so short that even Michael Phelps couldn’t have gained more than a minute on David. The course was in full view so he had to know that the swim would be meaningless and that the puzzle, like always, would be the deciding factor. The guy knows how to play the cameras. I was wondering when he’d get called on it and I’d have to wait for the second Tribal Council of the night.

It was David and Chris versus Zeke and Adam on the puzzle.

The purple team, with Adam, Zeke, Hannah, Sunday and Bret won the challenge.

I wonder if Jeff would have mentioned the letters from home if Adam hadn’t been on the winning side just to tempt him into using his advantage.

The Reward

Hannah: “This reward was my first reward and I couldn’t help it that my body just reacted with elation. I just collapsed into myself in happiness. I also felt pretty guilty because I could see the people back at camp, people who you know are hungry and I’ve been on that side of it.”

Bret didn’t show such concern as he just yelled: “Ken, here’s a chicken wing” while he faked tossing one over.

Bret: “I don’t care what everyone else thought at camp. Reward is huge for your game because it makes you feel human again. It was like I was sitting in a bar having some beers and eating with some friends. It was good because Zeke and I really bonded and I think that’s going to be a big help down the road because he’s been really closer with Chris and I needed that bond.”

If Bret becomes an alcoholic after this, he can blame Survivor!

That’s when the letters arrived.

Adam: “To get a letter from home, I don’t know that anyone will ever know what that meant. The other four saw what it meant to me but they don’t know that my mom was diagnosed with cancer. One of the hardest parts out here is the fear that, at any point, it’s not going to be good news for me. Every day that I know my mom is doing okay, and every day that I stay here, that I make it further in the game, that I get closer to that Loved One’s visit and closer to the end is another big win. Just that little piece; it’s enough to get me going, to get me through the last two weeks of the game.”

His poor game play in the last few episodes had overshadowed Adam’s great emotional connection to the audience because of his mother’s story. It’s nice to see that he will actually make it to the family visit but isn’t that where his story likely ends? In comparison, Zeke’s letter included a message from his dad’s dog which, while amusing, was so trivial that it looked like a waste of time.

Back in camp, Ken and David had time to talk. Contemplating his depleted body, David said pizza and beer were exactly what he was craving. Ken wanted to know how he was doing emotionally. David answered that he appreciated all the support. Ken said that David had earned everyone’s respect for the way he’s grown since day 1.

In the middle of the confessional transcribed below, David told Ken that he still wanted to go to the Final Three with him because he trusted him.

David: “I’m on a journey and it’s about coming out of this game as a better person than I was coming into this game. My whole life I’ve had this gigantic fear of death but over the years it got into something far worse: It morphed into a fear of life and it’s why I’m here. I’m here to start taking control of my life and I really believe that if any experience can give me that power, it’s Survivor. Ken and I had some alone time and he really gives me a sense of confidence within myself and I’m realizing that in life just like in this game, you have to take control of your own destiny. And you know what? Timing is everything in Survivor but the threesome of Chris, Bret and Sunday is too strong and I’m uncomfortable with how deep in this game they’ve made it. It’s time for me, Jessica and Ken to make a big move right now.”

I think it would be mean of me to say that he didn’t set the bar too high on day one! It makes it quite easy to leave a better man! Is David simply a “Player on a Journey”? This confessional strongly suggests it but he still could be the season’s winner.

David told Ken and Jessica they had to vote out Chris and that Zeke and Hannah would go along. Ken wasn’t sure about Zeke. David said that Zeke was playing the best game right now but that voting out Chris would be in his best interest.

Jessica’s confessional: “David wants to vote out Chris which would be incredible because I feel he’s my arch nemesis out here. We’ve had some issues in our original tribe together. So, as far as I’m concerned, Chris has got to go home.”

Everyone still thinking that Ken is our eventual winner has to take note that this was the perfect occasion to present his thoughts about this big move. Instead we heard from Jessica who wouldn’t survive the evening. Despite David’s strong confessional it feels like no one in this threesome is going to be there at the end. Chris failed in getting rid of Jessica but then she won’t be able to savor her victory very long. I wonder if the same will happen to the other people who have told us about their primary target. David, Zeke, Adam, Sunday and Ken are all players who revealed their agendas. Hannah wanted to revenge on Jay but did their little scene last week put an end to that? Maybe it’s better to go with the flow so that would leave only Bret and Jay.

Day 28: The Immunity Challenge

It seems that production can’t come up with anything but balance and puzzles to test our castaways. When was the last challenge that really tested their survival skills? For example, if you want to win a reward or get the immunity necklace, go find it in the jungle or in some cave under water.

David won reward. Bret was the first to stand and applaud.

When he received the necklace, David told Jeff he was trying to listen to the voice who says he can instead of the one that says he can’t.

David: “This immunity necklace can only be the beginning, it can’t be the end. It’s a risk to put your foot down but if I have anything to say about it, Chris is going to go home.”

At least this time we know that the person giving the confessional after the challenge isn’t going home. Jeff asked who would have predicted a final two of Zeke and David and I think it was a popular choice but the second hour would put an end to that possibility.

Vinaka: Decision Time

Jay in confessional: “The immunity challenge was today and I completely blew it, damn it. Now I go to go to Tribal without immunity and it freaks me out because I have no idea what’s going on. No one wants to talk to me. All I know is if I feel it in my gut to use this immunity idol, I’m going to pull it out and throw it out there.”

Sunday’s thoughts: “Chris and Bret are ready to vote out Jessica and that’s exactly what I wanted to do for the last vote because I worry literally every day that she is putting something together to get me out of the game.”

Chris was sure Zeke was on board while Jay would waste his idol.

We never heard Zeke say anything during this conspiracy. Did he really stay quiet? If so, shouldn’t it have told Chris, Bret and Sunday that he wasn’t on their side. Zeke is too clever not to have given them some assurances but we didn’t hear him so we knew he’d flip on Chris.

We next saw Zeke talking to David about the vote.

Zeke’s interview: “Chris wants to go after Jess and David wants to go after David so this is what I’m deeming the Gen X civil war. I’m tight with Chris but if this war is starting, I want to have the power and the control. So now it’s time to pit the Gen Xers against each other.”

To do so, Zeke told David that Chris was going after Jess.

It’s interesting that Zeke named only Chris even if Sunday and Bret were co-conspirators. Was he already setting the stage to recuperate them? It would have been harder to recruit them if they heard that Zeke threw them under the bus along with Chris.

David in confessional: “Chris is targeting Jess. He’s been targeting Jess since the beginning of the game. So Jessica is not safe as long as Chris is in the game.”

Jessica was aware that Chris was gunning for her so that frightened her. She knew she had to trust an enormous amount of people.

She told Adam about the plan against her. Adam wanted to vote out Jay so Jess said they would take care of him right after Chris.

Zeke and Hannah talked.

Zeke: “Right now, I have what I always wanted to have which are options. My little clique of nerdy Millennials can work with Chris, my Okie buddy or we can work with David and make this huge move but it’s hard for me because I trust both of these guys. To win this game, you have to know where you’re going and you need to know who you need to get there so this next vote is all about amassing the soldiers that I need to march my army down the field.”

Zeke was doing everything extremely well and he should have had all the players he needed to march down the field but he would inexplicably fumble the ball. Losing Hannah was one thing but he should never have let Adam drift away. Zeke was angry at Adam because of his actions with Taylor but he still should have been there for his nerdy friend. Who would have imagined that Adam would be ready to draw rocks because he didn’t want to save Zeke? For him to be ready to do something so drastic, he must have felt that Zeke wasn’t there for him anymore. Zeke is a very good player but his plans were derailed by the stupid actions of Adam.

Tribal Council

Jay said he still felt on the outs.
David said that there were different voting blocs. It was predictability versus blindside.
Zeje said it was something between a voting bloc and an alliance.
Hannah said it was more like a trust cluster.
Jeff loved it, and Hannah loved that Jeff loved her term and Jeff loved that she loved it.
Bret said it was about going forward with the people he trusted.
Chris said that every vote drew new lines.
Adam said there was a cold war brewing but he wanted to go after Jay.
Jay said he liked the “compliment”.
Sunday said it was about the people she couldn’t trust according to their past action.
Jessica knew that Sunday was referring to the vote against Paul.
Chris said he had a short memory so that Jess had nothing to worry about.
David was 100% sure about the vote. Zeke was also 100% sure as were Sunday, Chris and Jay but he was only kidding.
Zeke said they were very good at blindsides.

It was time to vote.

No one played an idol.

Chris, Bret, Sunday and Jay voted for Jessica.
Everyone else voted for Chris.

Jay was grinning from ear to ear when Chris stood to get his torch.

Chris knew who got him because he turned to Zeke and said: “Boomer” to which Zeke replied with the customary: “Sooner”.

Jeff sent them back to camp after saying: “Alliances, voting blocs and trust clusters; whatever you call it, this game is being played at a very high level and that means one thing: More blindsides to come.”

Episode 11
War Time

Vinaka Night 28

Once more, Jay had the first interview: “At tribal, I thought I was going to have to pull my idol but, sitting there, it was like no one is really talking about me so don’t use it. It was a million dollar gamble and I was right. My name didn’t even show up once.”

We have to note the consistency and the content of Jay’s confessionals. His presence at the start of each episode and each important segment presents the game from his point of view.
Jessica said that voting out Chris solidified her group and that the next vote was going to be Jay.

Bret told Zeke that he understood his move, that he knew why it had to be done. Zeke said he was sorry that they couldn’t do it together and that he and Sunday weren’t on the bottom.

Zeke’s interview: “Tonight’s vote went as I anticipated. It was necessary to see Chris go because Chris was in a major power position: He controlled Bret and Sunday. I saw going forward I was going to need to make a move against David and his coalition. If I am going to come for David soon, I need at least six. Bret and Sunday are integral to that six and I’m glad most of all that I got to Bret before David did.”

Not only did Zeke strike first but we saw that David was sleeping on the job!

Zeke would soon get rewarded for his proactive talk with Bret.

But then, we had a magnificent look at the Milky Way and we saw a shooting star across our screen which could also be telling us that Zeke’s success will be short-lived.

Vinaka Day 29

It was still very early in the morning when David tried to recruit Bret and Sunday to go after Zeke once they had taken care of Jay. David used practically the same words that Zeke used so Bret repeated that he knew Chris had to be voted out at some point even if he was his buddy.

David’s interview: “I want to make Jay the next target but the thing is the person winning this game right now is Zeke so I need to get rid of Zeke in three votes because I do want to go after Jay and Will and then Zeke.”

Bret then gave us an interview: “Unbeknownst to David, I’ve signed on with Zeke because with David, I know he can’t be trusted. I’m thinking David needs to go and he needs to go fast.”

When David said he wanted to go after Jay next, we saw Jay sleeping in the shelter which isn’t a good sign but once more the target would be deflected without Jay needing to do a thing so why not sleep late?! It was much worse to hear Bret’s interview on top of David’s.

It didn’t take long for Zeke to reconnect with Bret and get some valuable information: Bret told him that David was gunning for him. Zeke told Bret that David had an idol which didn’t surprise the policeman because David always has an idol.

Zeke’s interview: “Wouldn’t you know? I wake up this morning and David is already starting to come for me. I mean, it’s understandable right because I’ve already started to go for David. I’m like the doughy little gay guy and a lot of people believed I couldn’t hack it out here and I think it’s developed a toughness in me. Today, I am a warrior and my goal, ultimately, is to make a move against David.”

Vinaka Day 29

David’s interview: “The thing about Zeke and I is that I think we are like chess players in this game of Survivor and I feel like I can read Zeke’s mind. I feel we’re having much the same thoughts. I hope people see Zeke as playing harder than I am so it’s not going to be such a hard sell when it comes time to vote him out.”

While David was boiling water, Zeke had his eyes on him.

David was laughing, Zeke was calculating. That was the image we were given. It wasn’t hard to determine who the real chess player was.

Zeke in confessional: “David and I are very similar people. Like, I understand that I am threatening; David understands that I am threatening. I think people see it but I think David is more of a threat to win than I am. This is the war that everyone has been alluding to and now it’s a scramble for who has the troops.”

Zeke tried to grab Adam and Hannah who should have been in his corner but she had hesitations. Hannah said that Will and Jay were the most dangerous couple. Zeke said that neither Will nor Jay was coming after him.

Hannah: “I want both David and Zeke to feel like I am in their corner and they are both two extremely threatening players. I mean, I would love to work with David. David and I are very similar, both very neurotic people but it’s been a month of Zeke and me working side by side so I don’t know who I choose either Zeke or David.”

Maybe Zeke should have given Hannah more assurances that he wasn’t going to stay with Jay and Will very long. While she didn’t say it explicitly, we know that Hannah doesn’t trust those two guys very much and she even wanted to get her revenge for their vote against Michaela.

The Reward Challenge

The sand spit reminded me of Borneo.

David was assured of going on the reward even if he didn’t have to get sand in his face. He only had to wait for it to end.
Some players, Bret in particular, didn’t seem to have their hands tied as tightly as the others. He had his hands all the way up to his shoulders while Jessica couldn’t even move them higher than her waist.

Bret, Zeke and Sunday solved the puzzle first, winning that reward.

Sunday and Zeke were happy to get the chopper ride while Bret was smiling at the idea that he went naked on Survivor!

He isn’t the first fat gay guy to go naked on Survivor. Two flashbacks to Borneo in one scene; not bad!

Adam: “I have an advantage in this game which allows me to steal a reward from another. I was very tempted to use it especially because David didn’t earn this one but I felt it was the best decision for me to hang on to my advantage and to save it for another day.”

While David would have been upset, no one would have really held it against Adam if he had used his advantage here. Using it over someone who earned their reward will certainly increase the negative reactions to his move.

The Reward

Sunday: “My dream was not only to get on Survivor but to win a helicopter reward so this ranks up there as one of my favorite days in my life. I feel like I’m ten years old.

Zeke and Sunday must have bonded much more than we heard because as soon as they won, Zeke said: “We get our helicopter ride” which means he knew how important it was to Sunday.

Then we had more beer for Brett.

Zeke: “My new drinking buddy is Bret. I don’t really like to drink beer but I really want to cultivate a relationship with Bret so if he wants me to be his new drinking buddy, I’m his new drinking buddy.”

Then both David and Sunday went for a walk in opposite directions so the two guys had an open discussion.

Sunday warned them not to say anything important while she was gone but we heard one of the most important exchanges of the season.

Bret in confessional: “I’ve been a big fan of Survivor and it’s just a part of my life. As you get older, you start to learn who you really are and you start to not care what people think. I’m trying to get closer to Zeke because I want to work with Zeke and I just like him as a person. I didn’t grow up in a time when it was normal to talk about being gay and the Millennials do not care. Zeke finds comfort in being himself and I think that’s great and I’m hoping that as my life goes on from here on out, I can be that way.”

Bret told Zeke that he was gay. He explained that he couldn’t tell everyone because he was in such a macho group and that his generation didn’t really talk about that. Zeke said: “You have to play Survivor like you live your life. You can’t do something new on Survivor.”

Zeke’s confessional: “I owe a lot to Bret’s generation. I would not have been able to come out at 15 were there not the pioneers who paved the way and I think it really reflects this Millennial-Gen X divide. He spent some time in the military during the “don’t ask, don’t tell” era where he couldn’t have been in the military if he had told people he was gay. I’m excited that now Bret gets to reap the rewards of what he has sowed.”

When Sunday returned, the two Gen Xers asked Zeke what he thought about blindsiding David. Sunday said it made her nervous and they all agreed. Zeke said he was glad that David was there because he could watch him. He was counting on pulling Will, Jay and Hannah on board.

Zeke: “Bret and I, we have like the rainbow connection and Bret, Sunday and I agree that David is the biggest threat in this game and I am delighted to hear this because now, I think, I have united them against an enemy and they are my loyal soldiers.”

Vinaka Day 29

Hannah: “The winners get back and I immediately grab David. I’m playing between David and Zeke but I am going with my gut and my decision is to go after Zeke because Zeke can be condescending and he can be a flip-flopper.”

Those are the first negative comments we’ve heard about Zeke.

She informed David that Bret told Zeke that he was the target and that Zeke revealed his secret about the idol. David realized he was in a mess but Hannah said that there was a good part because Zeke trusted her. David said his idol was for both of them. Bret and Jay, Hannah’s “Peruvian Ozzy”, both saw them talking on the beach

David’s confessional: “Zeke is now telling people that I have an idol. Hannah told me that Bret told Zeke that I’m gunning for him which is like complete miscalculation on my part.”

Hannah asked David not to get neurotic because then he would waste his idol. David wanted to go after Zeke now, let the other votes fall on him so that when he played his idol, Zeke would go home. Hannah then said that if Zeke found out she was working with David, then she was screwed.

She was absolutely correct on both points.

Day 30: The Immunity Challenge

It only took 33 seasons but Jeff finally realized that his play-by-play can help the players so he didn’t say anything about their progress during the blind maze.

Jay won immunity in a complete blow-out.

The tired old formula was put aside for once: We didn’t have a confessional to blow the night’s surprise.

Vinaka: Indecision Time

When they arrived back to camp we saw that the bat finally took flight and the moon was seen in the sky.

I think I was wrong about the bat’s gender! I haven’t studied enough zoology to recognize a male bat from a female bat just by looking at its head. Last week the bat appeared just before a scene between Hannah and Jay and it seemed that it was Hannah’s coming out moment but what if the bat represented Jay instead? Now, with him winning immunity, being free of worries and finding new allies, he can finally take off. Batman has always been much more powerful than Batgirl. When the moon is up, Jay is powerful and we saw the moon once more.

Jay’s interview: “We had an immunity challenge today and guess who came out champion! I did. I won and I crushed these fools. And surprise, I still have an idol but I’m not playing it tonight. I saved it so long for myself so I’m going to keep it for myself.”

Finding themselves alone in the shelter, David informed Jessica about his predicament. They then told Ken that the vote had to be against Zeke.

In confessional, Jessica told us she wanted to vote for Zeke to protect David.

Ken had an interview: “I am going to stay with David. I made a promise to the man that I would never put his name down so I’m going to go out swinging and fighting with David in this game.”

Could this confessional have actually been delivered after Tribal Council once Ken knew they’d be down in numbers? Before Tribal there was still a chance that it wouldn’t come down to a desperate fight which is what Ken implied when he talked about going out swinging and fighting.

Zeke tried to rally Hannah to his side but Hannah’s hesitations told Zeke all he had to know. He asked her if she was going to play the rest of the game with him or with David. All Hannah said was “alright”.

Looking up at the sky for an answer isn’t the best way to deceive someone.

Hannah should have known that Zeke would ask her for her vote so why didn’t she prepare a good lie?

Zeke’s confessional: “I have tried to cultivate Hannah as a very, very close ally and as we’re talking, it becomes very clear to me that Hannah doesn’t have my best interest at heart. I realized that I no longer am going to be working with Hannah. The vote; it was going to be David but if David has an idol and David plays an idol then we’re screwed so if Hannah wants to become one of David’s numbers she becomes my enemy and I have no problem voting her out of the game. We’ve come to the day when it’s either going to be David’s army or my army so I’m trusting Bret and Sunday, Jay and Will. So we have five votes together which is half which means at worse we tie.”

Talking to Adam, Hannah said she trusted him and wanted him to vote out Zeke.

Adam’s reaction: “Hannah wants to vote for Zeke tonight but I am not confident about the plan tonight because I have been sitting back a little bit and allowing Hannah to run the show a little bit and Hannah is a nervous girl and it makes me nervous.”
Hannah told David that she needed his idol because it would be five against five. David thought she was being paranoid but she said she knew that Zeke would go after her so she’d need his idol.

Hannah’s confessional: “My OCD is going crazy right now. It’s too much and my body can’t handle it. I feel that David should play his idol for me because if the vote changes at all, it’s going to be against me.”

David’s thoughts: “Tonight is huge. If we really do have five votes and there’s no really anymore, because who the hell knows what is happening, but if we really do have five votes against Zeke, that would be a tie and then we will revote and it will require somebody flipping. The question is who will flip; my people or their people? But I’m not even sure it will be five-five so I’m really schizophrenic about what I am going to do with my idol. I hope I play the idol for the right person. This is really the scariest part of the game for me thus far.”

Tribal Council

No one was feeling 100% confident anymore except for Jay of course.
David said that he felt like a fruit bat looking at the world upside down. He added that it will be the most chaotic TC they have seen.
Taylor said everyone was playing pedal to the metal.
Hannah started whispering to Adam about trusting her with the vote. Bret tried listening in on their talk.
Bret interrupted David saying there were no clusters that it was every man for himself.
David asked for Zeke’s alliance to speak up which led to Bret’s mocking him about starting to cry because he was having more anxiety attacks. Zeke chimed in with a: “Don’t cry, David.”
David didn’t like the personal attack because he didn’t attack anyone.
Adam said he was nervous and that the vote was still alive.
Jessica said she was utterly confused.
Ken said the guillotine was about to drop but he didn’t know who’s head was under it.
Bret sarcastically said: “Ken, this is the game, welcome to it.”
Sunday turned to Hannah and Adam and quietly said they should stick to the plan about voting against Ken.

What an ingenious fake directly from the Art of War: Do not let your enemies know what you are planning.

Zeke said everyone was questioning the people they trusted.

Bret said they should vote so they voted. They liked it so much that they voted again!

Before that though, David played an idol. He was going to play it for Hannah but Adam said they were whispering about voting for Ken so David wasted his idol on Ken.

Everyone realized that Jessica was the weak link so they worked her over. She didn’t want to go to rocks.

Jessica, who along with Will had been the most nervous about picking a rock, drew the wrong one.

Bret put the blame squarely oin David, saying he didn’t want to go to rocks but David did.

Jeff’s last words: “Drawing rocks is the ultimate survivor all-in move. With this many people willing to make an all-in move it means the end of this game is going to be insane.”

Jessica gave her advantage to Ken.

The Story

Jay’s quote about the “Million Dollar Gamble” was chosen as the episode’s title but we saw more Million Dollar Gambles before the end of the evening. One thing we can say was that Jay’s gamble was based on accurate observations while going to rocks, despite Jeff’s paint job, is as dumb as playing Russian roulette. The worse is that the two sides knew it was going to be a tie before they even got out of camp so they should have found a better solution.

We’ve rarely seen two masterminds going after each other for as long as this. Alex, Jaime and Alicia were no match for Earl, Todd and Kim but Zeke and David seem evenly matched. Which one will come out on top? I’m starting to think that this war will end in a Pyrrhic victory; that the winner of this duel will fall soon after to a player that hasn’t wasted his energy too early.

The Characters

Something Missing:

Will: Zeke was his life raft and he proved it by going to rocks for him so why is he now thinking of joining David? We will have to wait to see if it is another fake but Will looks like a very indecisive player. He wanted to gain Zeke’s trust by revealing Jay’s idol but we saw what everyone thought of Will’s trust. They were all ready to relay his secret. Now, Will is once more on Jay’s side so I wonder if they will reconnect.

Ken: Ever since Figgy’s elimination, Ken has been disconnected from the story. He’s still there but he’s reduced to a silent role in David’s army. That same silence was imposed on Jessica so it can’t be good for Ken’s future. No one really sees him as a threat to win, Sunday even used his name to fake out Adam and David but his turn should come soon. We can’t say that he is going with the flow because he said he was going to fight to the end for David.

Sunday: Now that she got her helicopter ride and gotten rid of Jessica, what is left for her? It seems like the end of her story. Her vote is still needed but now she may fall back into the shadows that surrounded her during the season’s first act.

The Following Players all have great stories:

Adam: He didn’t need to do much to remove the target that Taylor put on his back because no one was really worried about Adam in this game. That could get him far in the game but his advantage could prove to be a big disadvantage once more. He certainly has the emotional content to be the winner but he doesn’t have the game. The family Visit is so important to him that it may signal the end of his game.

Hannah: Some people simply steal all the scenes in which they are featured and Hannah is the one that does it best this season. For someone that has anxiety attacks, she survived that Tribal Council very well. However, we saw her shortcomings when she couldn’t lie to Zeke. She makes her allies nervous just by being nervous but if David had listened to her than Zeke would have been eliminated. She’s a smart player but like Zeke, her plan failed because of Adam! He really is the worst team mate ever!

Bret: He has shown a very good social game. He was the first to encourage David to participate in the reward challenge and then he congratulated him when he won the immunity challenge. He didn’t show any anger after Chris’ elimination, using it instead to advance his game. It was as if with Chris gone, both Zeke and David saw that Bret could be a solid ally. His new drinking buddy easily earned his favor and their connection as two gay guys should prove to be as solid as any bond left in the game. If Zeke gets voted out before the end, Bret could be the one carrying on to the win. In the early part of the game, we wondered why we didn’t hear him much in the strategy discussions but maybe it was to show that he is going with the flow. That seems like the best option this season.

David: If we are going to see that much insanity before the end of the season then David could certainly come out on top. Now that his alliance suffered a big loss and that he wasted his idol, David should go next but that doesn’t feel right. His story still has legs and, like he said, the immunity challenge win could only be a beginning. How far can he go? I think Zeke has been shown as the better chess player but David should find a way to prolong the game. His clock hasn’t reached zero yet.

Zeke: He told us he needed six but he soon found himself with only five votes. The rock would come to his rescue but his alliance now includes Will and Jay who weren’t part of his original nerdy alliance. That alliance wasn’t strong enough to survive the first battle so what can we say about Zeke’s new one? Still, Zeke is the player that has bridged the gap between Millennials and Gen Xers the best when he paid homage to the pioneers from the generation that preceded him. That could be the message of the season.

Jay: It seems that gaining control of the game and having an agenda against someone hasn’t paid off this season. Jay was completely taken by surprise when Michelle was voted out but he used Taylor as his shield and he was the first to reconnect with Sunday and Bret. Those two gave him a connection to Zeke and then the necessities of war made him a valuable soldier. By winning immunity, he was under no pressure to change his vote and since Hannah hadn’t held her part of the deal, he had a reason to go after her. I think it was important that the scene in the shelter between Jay and Hannah was shown. She had promised him to keep him informed about the votes but when he asked, she didn’t tell him anything useful.

Jay has received important confessionals during most episodes. He is now well placed to make it far in the game. His big move against Michaela was done too early so it wasn’t very smart but it was presented as the smartest thing to do at the time. We didn’t even hear the tribe blaming him for eating Taylor’s food; instead they thanked him for retrieving it. We heard that Jay can be very charming and this game is all about relationships so

I think that Jay will find a way to come out on top. Of all the characters left, I think Jay has the story to be the next Sole Survivor.

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11-28-16, 10:42 PM (EST)
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52. "RE: Episode 10 & 11 - Trust Clusterfuck"
Great observations, Michel, as always! I love Hanna too, she can definitely relate to David, but I like to think that perhaps Ken has more influence on her going with David and company, than David does, ha!

Her diplomatic skills definitely need a little more work, lol!

I have to say that with the last episode, that I highly doubt either David or Zeke will make it to the end now. I just think they have labeled each other as the biggest threat in the game to their "soldiers" so much so that they are both doomed. I don't see how they could make it to the end, especially since neither one is what I would call a challenge whore.

So, I take a look at the others that are left in the playing field. I agree that Jay is looking better and better to me, and who would have thought that a week ago?

I think one of the reasons that this season is so refreshing is because the Millennials are not as loyal as players once were. They are quick to jump off that sinking ship, as Will so noted.

I thought Sunday/Bret/Zeke played David and his idol to perfection, calling out Ken's name at a strategic time. Very interesting to note that Ken's confessional may have been post Jessica boot, sure would make sense.

With the big targets in the game being pitted against each other, it's crazy how both Adam and Jay have slid down under. I suspect Hanna could slide back under next week.

This season has really been fun and unexpected! Thanks for all the work you do, Michel!

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12-03-16, 02:58 PM (EST)
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53. "Episode 12 - A Showdown of Millennials "
Previously on Survivor,

Jessica picked the black rock and gave her legacy advantage to Ken.

What kind of recrap was that?! Did they forget that we had two hours to cover? I guess it makes my job easier as far as transcribing goes but how can this help us get insight into the way the story was spun?

A Showdown of Millennials

Vinaka Night 30

The bat and the moon, which both appear to be associated with Jay, were seen when the tribe returned to camp. However, the moon was in its last crescent.

Hannah’s confessional: “Tonight was very emotional. People picked a rock rather than vote me out of this game and then to have Jessica pick the black rock; it’s an awful feeling. I feel guilty and I feel thankful and I just feel awful.”
Sunday and David comforted Hannah, saying they all took the gamble.

David’ shared his thoughts: “I’m really angry at myself. I burned my idol for no reason and now I find myself in a minority with Hannah, Ken and Adam. I need to find some cracks somewhere otherwise the five is going to pick up us off one by one starting with me.”

On the other side, Zeke was thanking his group, saying he never had friends doing something like that for him. Jay, Bret and Will all said they were with him. Jay went on to say that David should go “freaking home” as he forcefully put it. They agreed to be the Final Five and to eliminate them one by one.

An elated Zeke gave an interview: “Tribal Council was amazing. I loved it, I loved it. I felt like a warrior. This vote was all about David and I going to war against each other and I definitely won the battle. I’m trying very hard not to be too excited but I’m feeling like I’m going to the Final Five. I think I can win this game and I’m just as happy that I could win this game as I am that David is going to lose it.”

That arrogance really doomed Zeke. We can seriously consider the possibility that the opposite will happen. As upset as Zeke is to have lost the game, maybe he will be even more upset to see David winning it. We also saw Jay overcome with anger when diplomacy would have worked better. At least, he didn’t turn that anger on his rivals and he would show much more diplomacy before long.

Vinaka Day 31

Ken read his advantage note: “I received a gift this morning: In my bag I got this. Jess told me that she’d give me the advantage if she got voted out and she did. There is something to be said about the power of authentic and genuine relationships in this game. Day 36, if I’m still here, I’m going to open this up and see what it brings me because I feel I have a really good shot to give my daughter and I a new life, a better life, and maybe walk away with a million dollars.”

There is certainly a disconnection between this side of Ken and the side we will see later. His gratitude to Jessica and his devotion to his daughter are admirable but what will come next is completely different. It could be that we heard the part of playing for his daughter to highlight the fact that he didn’t even ask about her when he saw his brother. Is Ken as genuine as he thinks he is? It soon won’t look like it.

Reward Challenge – The Loved ones visit

Have they ever done it with 9 players left in the game? It usually occurs with 6 or fewer but I haven’t checked to see if this is really the first time with so many visitors. It’s certainly unusual. During the introductions, the camera focused naturally on Adam but also on Jay and David. David was standing next to Adam while Jay would eventually win it so we don’t have to look far to explain the editors’ choices.

Sunday saw her husband. She said it felt great to have someone that makes you feel like you are not alone.
Bret’s dad came to join him. Bret said his dad was the greatest guy and it made him cry even if he had promised he wouldn’t. Adam and David jokingly called him a loser.

We can say the same but for other reasons.

Jay had a visit from his sister, Melanie. He told Jeff that she was one half of his heart while his mother was the other half.

That’s a confirmation of his earlier confessional.

Hannah’s mom raced to join her daughter who was the one that had to comfort her. Hannah said her mom beat cancer and was her hero which made Adam cry.

Adam’s brother came out and we heard Adam’s confessional: “My mom has stage four lung cancer and I don’t know what’s going on with my mom, I don’t know what’s going on at home.” Evan told Adam that their mom was okay.

To the group, Adam said he couldn’t use his advantage; he couldn’t deprive someone of their loved one’s visit.

David spent a moment with his dad. David said he wanted to make his dad proud and he wanted to walk out of the game as fearless as his dad is.
Ken spent a moment with his brother who was his idol growing up and was now his best friend.
Zeke also saw his dad and it was the dad who said his son was his hero. Zeke said they had been apart for a while but had gotten to know each other in the last few years.
Will saw his mom but Jeff didn’t even comment.

Jay won the reward and he chose Will, Sunday and Adam to join him.

He picked Will because he promised him from day 1 while Sunday also made a deal with him. Picking Adam was to thank him for not stealing the reward even if they had been brawling the whole time.

For some reason, we saw Ken silently pleading with Jay to pick him even if he really had no reason to expect Jay would choose him. It didn’t make Ken look good.

It must be noted that no one blamed Jay for his choices. His explanations were completely accepted as far as we saw. The absence of negative comments is extremely rare when it comes to the winner of this particular reward.

The Picnic

Jay’s interview: “This whole time Adam had an advantage to take away a reward but when he walked out there and said: “I’m not stealing a family visit because that’s not right” for five seconds we saw the soft side of Adam so I was like: Yo! sometimes I hate you, sometimes I love you but at this moment I truly respect you and you’re a cool dude.”

Adam and his brother sat alone in the jungle so that Evan could give news about their mother.

Evan: “Nothing can really lighten the load back at home but me and my parents love Survivor as much as Adam does so having him out here is such a boon for us. It drives me and my parents forward especially my mom who is gaining so much strength knowing he’s out here.”

Adam: “I’m here to bring joy to my family, to make them proud and to give them as much to look forward to as humanly possible. The better I do in this game, the longer I last, the more I make my mom happy. I have to stay focused and I have to use this as inspiration to continue fighting out here.”

To thank Jay, Adam gave him his advantage, no strings attached because he had what he wanted.

Adam’s confessional concluded: “I’m playing for so much more than the Million dollars and the title of Sole Survivor. The stakes for me are maybe higher than for anyone who has played this game.”

This turn of events gives Adam a “Player on a Journey” type of edit. Yes, he wants to win for his mother but it’s not really about the title or the money at this point, it’s about positive energy and moments to share when he gets back home. As a side note, we didn’t hear from Will and Sunday at all during this time. It was only about Jay and Adam.

Vinaka Day 33

David noticed that Jay, Zeke, Bret and Sunday were huddled near the ocean.

Will’s Interview: “Seeing my mom made me realize that I need to start playing this game because, despite the moves I’ve made, despite the things that I’ve done in this game, people still don’t give me credit I deserve and that could ruin my shot at winning this game. It’s time to flip the script: The biggest threat out here is Zeke. And if he gets to the end, he will beat anyone of us. It is very risky but I didn’t come here to be dragged as a goat. I came here to play.”

He certainly read the situation correctly because no one in the audience gives him credit. Maybe if he hadn’t sat out of so many challenges or done so poorly in al, but one in which he participated, maybe if he had actually explained his plans or followed up on some strategic ideas, maybe if he had done things in camp then we could give him some credit but the only thing he’s done is following along and ratting people out which isn’t very commendable.

To David, Will said he was ready to play hard so he wanted to eliminate Zeke.

David’s confessional: “Will telling me that he wants to swing over to our side was music to my ears. Right now, I am an endangered species but I think Will is telling the truth so there’s a really good chance that Zeke is going home tonight.”

Usually, putting a target on someone just before the immunity challenge is a giveaway that the person won’t be leaving so I liked the editing curve ball. It must be noted however that David was wrong about the mechanics of Zeke’s elimination: Will’s vote wouldn’t even be needed.

The Immunity Challenge

We saw David’s happy reaction when Zeke dropped out of the challenge.

Adam beat Ken and Jay to claim the necklace.

Will’s interview: “Zeke lost the challenge so this is my moment, this my time to make a big move so that people realize that this 18 year old kid from Jersey is here to play.”

It’s funny that the kiss-of-death confessional was given to Will. Zeke did leave but Will’s vote was meaningless. In a sense, this confessional was a kiss-of-death because Will’s game would soon be shredded to pieces. Will should have said that he came to be played because he was about to have a taste of some medicine for grown-ups.

Vinaka – Showdown

Adam’s confessional: “The immunity challenge was awesome. I’m making my Survivor dreams come true. I only have one checkbox left and that’s winning this game. It might actually happen because I am safe at Tribal Council tonight and I have an immunity idol in my pocket and Will wants to make a move and blindside Zeke.”

Why did we see Jay when Adam mentioned he only had 1 checkbox left?

Was it to tell us that Jay will put an end to Adam’s dream? Adam wanted to eliminate Jay desperately but he’s forgotten about that so maybe this was to remind us he will regret it. He can no longer count on the hidden idol so his recipe for success needs to change.

David’s interview: “I no longer have a hidden immunity idol so I’m incredibly vulnerable and it’s like Will just got his driver’s licence and we’re all sitting in the back terrified because this is the first time he is going to take us for a drive. But, I think it’s going to work.”

Jay was the first to notice that something was wrong because David was much too calm.

Zeke told us that there was something amiss at the Vinaka camp. He said: “It does not make sense that the four should be as calm as they are.” Since David had a nose for idols, Zeke wanted to throw someone else under the bus. They decided to go for Ken.

Ken and Will took a walk along the beach. Ken asked how Will was doing with both sides tugging at him. The teenager said the other side just told him how to vote and took him for granted. Ken said that before he decides to talk strategy with someone, he needs to understand that person.

Ken’s interview: “I had a pretty good feeling about Will but it wasn’t a hundred percent. I don’t just have a five minute conversation and then just hop in bed with somebody. I got to know the core of a person, their integrity, their values because I’m trying to win for my little girl and I want to make sure that I’m safe.”

Will’s thoughts: “Working with Ken is like getting your finger and toe nails ripped out at the same time. It’s excruciating but I want to make a big move so I have to deal with that crap.”

Will told Ken that the Zeke’s side was writing his name. Ken said he couldn’t understand that.

Really? Did he think that no one would ever think of writing his name? This is another example of Ken’s incredible naïveté about this game.

Ken’s interview: “Apparently, Zeke and his group are voting for me and I’m like why? I’m not ready to go home.”

He’s been playing this game for over a month yet he thinks people leave only when they’re ready?!

Getting back in camp, Ken asked Jay to help him get a big piece of driftwood. Will understood what that meant.

Will’s confessional: “I’m thinking we’re good to go then Ken walks back into camp, gets Jay and says we need to talk. At this moment, I know we’re going to have a rumble.”

Ken told Jay that he had a talk with Will who revealed Jay’s voting decision. Jay was in shock.

Now we see Ken’s hypocrisy in full display. He is doing to Will exactly what Jessica did to him when she ratted his plan to Lucy. He hated Jessica so much for her betrayal that he voted against her. He thinks that everyone should believe him at face value but he doesn’t believe anyone until he drills them to the core.

Jay’s interview: “One minute the solid five is good to go: We are doing Ken. The next minute I have Ken come up to me and say: “Will told me that you are writing my name.” I’m like: What the F...”

Ken, Jay and Zeke confronted Will who understood that the Gen Xer was blowing up his game.

Will told Jay, Zeke and Bret that he never gets credit for any moves so how could he win in the end?

Realizing that he wasn’t part of the discussion anymore, Ken simply walked away.

Jay’s interview: “We all knew something was up. He’s just a young kid trying to prove himself to the whole world but I still need him.”

Jay asked Will to name his target and that he had been with him from the start. He pleaded with him to wait for Final Five to figure it out between them.

It’s interesting that Jay, not Zeke, was the one that said he still needed Will. He would also be the one that would make the last plea to Will during Tribal Council but to no avail. Is Jay doomed now that he lost Will or is it simply another obstacle on his road to the end? I think that even if Jay lost Will for this vote, it was more important for his chances that Zeke was removed from the game. It will force Jay to find a new road to the end but he’s shown he could do it already.

Back in camp, Ken told his group that he tested Will. Everyone but Ken knew that it was a bad idea.

Adam’s interview: “We have this plan and Ken “TESTS” Will, revealing Will’s plan. That’s not a test, that’s a betrayal.”

Will’s interview: “This guy preaches about honor and integrity and that he is this great and noble human being with his arrogance and his extreme ego and then he has the audacity to pull this crap on me.”

Hanna knew that Will had no incentive to vote with them anymore.

Hannah’s interview: “Ken just screwed up everything because if we do not have Will, whoever that alliance led by mobster Zeke wants to vote out; they are going home.”

The five decided to vote Hannah because they felt David would give his idol to Ken. Sunday said no one would expect it to be Hannah so they should vote against her.

They had just voted against Hannah so of course they would expect it to happen again. Zeke’s group simply outwitted themselves. Sometimes a chess player goes for a big Queen sacrifice but doesn’t notice that his opponent had a way around it. Like every Football coaches teaches running backs: Make one fake then plant your foot and turn the jets straight downfield. When you dance around in the backfield you usually get tackled for a loss. They had used a fake in the previous Tribal Council so it wasn’t time to dance around; it was time to go after Ken. That would have been the unexpected move and it probably would have kept Will in the fold.

David thought it would be him while Hannah was sure it was her again.

Will had the last interview of the evening: “Everybody knows that I’m in the middle. Now I have to make a decision. The logical side of me is telling me: This is my time to make a big move. But I am so angry with Ken; I would love to blow up his game. Either way, I am in control and there is nothing anyone can do about it.”

Well, Adam would soon prove him wrong!

Tribal Council

David said there were two sides vying for a single swing vote.
Sunday told Jeff about the two factions and that Will was appropriately sitting in the middle.

I’m always fascinated to see production forcing the players to follow their script. Sunday knew that Will and everyone else had been told where to sit so she wasn’t telling Jeff anything he didn’t already know.

Will told Jeff he wanted to blindside Zeke but that Ken blew it up by telling everyone about it.
Sunday explained that Will wanted to play hard but when she added that Will had been swayed by the other side it irritated Will.
Will wanted to clarify that he hadn’t been swayed; he was the one that went to the other side. He added that he wanted to be treated like an adult.
Zeke said that he always wanted to play with Will and he had protected him. When Adam intervened to point out that Zeke used the word protection as if Will needed it, Zeke explained that Will saved his ##### at the last tribal council and could save him again.
Jay said he never looked down on Will and that their made moves were made together including taking out Michaela.
David said Will was trying to build a résumé for the Final Tribal Council.
Bret said the other side would build Will up then vote him out.
Adam said their side was an equal partnership.
Will didn’t buy that: Five people couldn’t take credit for one move.
Hannah said the other side was fluffing Will, telling him that they would work with him.
Jay disagreed and told Will he had to vote with his gut.
Will said that Jay was the one person that always showed him respect.

It was time to vote.

When Jeff went to tally the votes, Hannah told her side that she was about to go home.

Adam played his immunity idol on Hannah.

While we saw David and Hannah’s surprise, we didn’t really see any reactions from the jury except for one quick look of surprise from Jessica. Usually when we have an unexpected move, we see the all the members of the jury reacting. Could this be telling us that the jury’s reaction wasn’t important because they wouldn’t have to judge Adam down the road?

On another note, I wonder why Jay didn’t play his idol since he knew all their votes were on Hannah. He knew that the other side’s plan was to vote out Zeke so he could have used the idol on his new ally or he could have felt in danger and used it for his own protection. It took nerves of steel to sit there waiting for Jeff to reveal the first ballot that didn’t read “Hannah”.

Zeke’s flame was snuffed when all votes on Hannah were cancelled. He told everyone that it had been an honor to play with them all.

Jeff: “The thing about big moves: They are great unless you are the one that gets punched. With eight people left there are a lot of knock-outs still to come. Everybody needs to have their gloves up.”

The Story

Will wanted to make a big move but Adam clearly beat him to the punch. The story of this episode was really about the Millennials’ showdown. Even if David and Ken played significant roles, they were completely overshadowed by Hannah, Will, Jay and Adam.

There are two likely combinations for the Final 4: The first would see David, Ken, Hannah and Adam sticking together. The second possibility would be to have the Ikabula Four making it to the end but with Sunday and Bret being the other two seashells next to Will and Jay. But there is another much more intriguing possibility which would see a reunion of Adam and Jay now that the family visit served as catharsis. Who would be the other two joining them? Bret and Sunday have been enjoying the ride up to now so why not them but would they matter? Adam won their first direct battle during the latest immunity Challenge and his story about him mother’s illness would make for a formidable final argument but Jay has many friends on that jury. It would quite the showdown.

The Characters

The Failing Players

Sunday: While we saw her excellent social game when she comforted a distraught Hannah once they got back to camp after the rock draw, Sunday doesn’t have the personal or the strategic content to be considered a possible winner. She’s undoubtedly a nice person and she is playing the game in her own way but she is completely overshadowed by her fellow castaways.

(On the other hand, she’s done much more than last season’s winner so who knows?! Just counting how often she had to survive pre-merger TCs should quiet all who were offended by that remark)

Bret: Much the same could be said about Bret but, even worse, he has dropped all the social niceties that got him further in the game than his buddy Chris. Now, he is clearly opposed to David and Ken and the gloves are off. However, he spent so much time on the periphery of the action that he isn’t the one wearing those gloves, he’s the one handing them over and tying them on the hands of the real fighters. He’s a corner man.

Will: He wanted to play hard but, slight distinction, he was played hard! First by Ken who blew up his game and then by Adam who thwarted his attempt at a big move. Despite what his best attempts, Will is a kid playing a game made for grownups.

Ken: His supporters were saying that he’d soon get a breakthrough episode and he certainly had one except the only thing that broke was his image. He started out nicely when he got the advantage from Jessica but then we had the reward and for some reason, Ken thought that Jay HAD to pick him. He never even tried to build a relationship with Jay so why would Jay give him a place at the table? Did production order the players to act this way much like studio audiences are asked to react on cue? I certainly hope so because otherwise the only words that come to mind to explain Ken’s behavior are entitlement and selfishness. Choose the one you prefer.

From there, he turned into one of the worst hypocrites we’ve ever seen. He got really angry at Jessica when she didn’t take him at face value so he tried to eliminate her from the game. However Ken found himself in the same situation as Jessica when Will, now playing Ken’s part, told him that the alliance was gunning for him. His first reaction could again only be explained by either entitlement or naiveté. He was dumbfounded at the mere thought that the opposing alliance could target him of all people. Why me? he asked. Why not you? I would have answered. But it got worse when he decided to “TEST” Will as Adam brilliantly, bitingly put it. Worse than Jessica who discretely asked Lucy how she was going to vote, Ken confronted Will in front of Jay, Bret and Zeke. Will had every reason to be furious and Ken should have been their target. Everyone on Ken’s side immediately saw the enormity of Ken’s mistake except Ken.

Hannah: Maybe she still has a small chance to win but she’s on the wrong side to do so. She could possibly win in a Final 3 with people like Will, Bret or Sunday but not with David and Adam and while I’d vote for her over Ken, I doubt the majority of players would do so. She’s extremely lucky to still be in the game because she had no reason to expect that level of loyalty from Jessica and David at the previous TC and she certainly didn’t expect to see Adam use his idol to save her this time or even that Will had flipped. However, despite all that luck, she could build her case around the awareness she demonstrated before those votes and the stoic demeanor she had during the votes. Far from the girl that was prone to panic attacks, she took those close calls in stride and that is all to her merit. I don think it’s enough to be respected as a real player though so she’d need to be up against players with even less to show.

The Contenders

David: A Final Four with Ken, Adam and Hannah looks very possible and David would then be in an excellent position to win it all. His edit has made him a very popular player and his win would satisfy a large portion of the audience. However, we heard that he was counting on Will but that proved to be a wrong decision. When he realized his mistake, he thought the votes would go against him. That could have been disastrous if he had been able to convince Adam to play the idol for him and Will had voted against Hannah. His chess game was strictly against Zeke so what is left now that someone else beat his opponent?

David does have a nice story: He doesn’t want to give up so that he can walk out of the game a better man. However, we can say that he’s already done that if we compare “Day 33 David” to the frightened man that entered the game. He doesn’t need to be the Sole Survivor to reach his goal. David’s main problem is that his story is mostly about the journey.

Adam: This contender had a rough road to get to this point. His game was so bad that even his closest allies at the time called him the worse team mate ever and considered removing him from the game. That means Zeke and Hannah considered he was less reliable than people like Chet, Shambo, Na’Onka, Abi-Maria and the rest! Okay, maybe they didn’t considered these particular players and were exaggerating but just to be associated with such a group shows how bad Adam played the middle section of this game.

Despite this, Adam has shown amazing adaptability lately. The reward advantage could have been a poisoned gift but the way he refused to use it was brilliant social strategy. Did it simply hit him that he couldn’t be that selfish when he saw all the Loved Ones or did he plan it all along? Imagine if, from the start, he realized that using this twist was suicidal so he told the least reliable person that he was going to steal the family visit only to earn respect by doing the opposite. Then he could earn even more respect by giving the poisoned gift to his rival! No, I don’t think Adam is that devious but still, he improvised admirably well.

The main problem with Adam is that there are big holes in his story. He was Zeke’s closest friend but we never heard why he turned on him. We heard Hannah’s reasons: Zeke was condescending and acted like a mobster so she wanted to go with David who was a lot like her. From Adam, all we heard was that he was following Hannah even if she made him nervous. He knew that path was leading them to rocks and he hadn’t burned his bridges with Zeke the way she did so it would have been wise to avoid that mess by voting with Zeke’s group. Was it simply because he couldn’t stand Jay? Did his time in Takali with Ken and Jessica make him realize he didn’t need Zeke? Those were probably all part of his reasoning but we never heard those reasons from him. Following the nervous Hannah isn’t typical winning strategy.

On the other hand, the episode’s last drama was shown as if Adam was saving his alliance when he actually wasted his idol because Will did vote against Zeke. Maybe that’s why we didn’t see reactions from the jury because they will soon learn that the idol play was meaningless. If that move was going to score big points with the jury, we would have seen them sitting on the edge of their seats with eyes wide open. Instead, we only very briefly saw Jessica’s surprise. We can even imagine that her surprise wasn’t because she was happy to see her former allies striking back but wondering why Adam didn’t play his idol for Hannah the last time. If we go by Hannah and David’s reaction to Adam’s play then we have to say he put a big move on his résumé but if we go by jury reaction and add Will’s vote revealed at the very end of the episode then there isn’t much left to show for that big move except a wasted idol.

Jay: He entered the merger as the main target for the alliance of nine yet he managed to align with three of those nine, he saw two of them get sent to the jury and now he is the only person left with a hidden immunity idol. When this episode started, he really only had one “mortal” enemy left in the game but by giving Adam a chance to spend time with his brother he removed the imminence of that threat. He may even be able to use that gesture to gain a new ally. Wouldn’t that be an exceptional tactical move?

Like David, Adam and Ken, Jay told us why he needed to win this game. Unlike David, it isn’t about personal growth. It isn’t about emotional support like it is for Adam. It isn’t warped by hypocrisy like it is with Ken. The reason for Jay’s quest was confirmed when we met his sister Melanie. While his edit at times has been questionable, he seems to fit the themes of this story better than the others. He has never actually taken control of the game: His move against Michaela was to prevent her from taking that control instead of gaining it himself. Even if he saw himself as the Kingpin, he never acted as such. His quote was I’m the Kingpin and no one knows about it. That fits better than everyone saying that Zeke and David were in control. Jay has played according to the values of his generation instead of rejecting them like Zeke but without going overboard like Taylor. He has been able to bridge the gap between himself and some members of the other generation. Mostly, he was targeted by the game’s biggest players but he has survived very efficiently up to now.

Can he make it to the end? It won’t be easy but I think he will.

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12-04-16, 01:26 PM (EST)
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54. "RE: Episode 12 - A Showdown of Millennials "
Great job, michel! I am totally on board. Jay has represented the Millennial side of the equation, the quintessential Millennial. But, he's used his charm, his knowledge, and his will to win drive him through this game. He's been out front, then back to the bottom of the totem pole as well.

I do see Adam and Jay getting together perhaps for the final few votes. I expect Ken to be a real target soon, and I think David was indeed a journey player. Will, go back to school. Sorry. So, I expect it just may be Adam at F4 perhaps, then Bret/Sunday/Jay at the F3.

What a great season. And, I have to credit those crazy millennials and their wild expectations and their loyalty only to themselves! Ha! Made for seriously unpredictable outcomes! They were a great bunch, so glad though when Taylor and his antics were off!

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12-04-16, 05:10 PM (EST)
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55. "RE: Episode 12 - A Showdown of Millennials "
Thank you, FP. I think the odds favor David at this point though especially since Jay can't even count on Will anymore. We have to think that Will is going to be one of the victims of double boot episode. If Adam and Hannah stay with Ken and David, Jay's idol might not be enough.
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12-04-16, 06:27 PM (EST)
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56. "A few more editing notes...."
LAST EDITED ON 12-04-16 AT 06:37 PM (EST)

A few more editing notes that I observed, but I will let you comment....

When Zeke had his first confessional at the beginning of the episode....the TC was amazing! I loved it. I loved it! Man, I felt like a warrier. This vote was all about David and I going to war together and I definitely won the battle. I’m trying very hard not to be too excited, but I feel like I am going to the F5. See Jay, Zeke, Will, Bret, (missing is Sunday). I think that I can win this game. And, I think I am just as happy that I can win this game as I am that David is going to lose.

When he was saying, "I am just as happy that I can win this game as I am that David is going to lose", we see David, standing by the fire and he's ILLUMINATED by the fire! I took it as David will out last Zeke.

I don't know how to stop the video and then not have it shrink like that with the CBS logo over it and the resume....ugh.

During Ken's first confessional regarding the advantage that Jess left him and how he's going to use it for he and his daughter, there was upbeat ukulele music...playing, throughout.

Next, at the RC, I noticed that the camera panned into David almost after EVERY new relative/family member was introduced! The camera spun back to David and his reactions every time!

Jay made the sign of the cross when Jiffy notes, "worth playing for?", and again when he wins the challenge.

Upbeat ukulele music again played at the barbecue.

Then, we saw the notorious snake coming out of the ocean when Will talked about that he knew there was about to be a rumble.

Just curious as to your thoughts....interesting presence of David all throughout the RC. And, a beautiful frame of the illuminated David as well.

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12-04-16, 09:10 PM (EST)
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57. "RE: A few more editing notes...."
First, concerning the video pictures, what I do is press the "print screen" button then copy the whole thing into Paint, cut what I don't want and resize the resulting image. Tribe probably has a better way but I don't need to stop the image that way just quick fingers!

Yes, I saw David's image during Zeke's confessional and thought that Zeke was celebrating too early. When he said "I won that battle" I could only wonder how he could forget the rest of that saying. Now the "happy David won't win" bothered me because I'd be happy if David lost but now I'm thinking Zeke jinxed it...

Another note about Zeke: When I heard his final words about playing better one day, I felt like he'd be someone to watch if he's on next season.

David was standing next to Adam during the family visit so I wouldn't read too much into it. Jay was also featured often but that's because he won. I wouldn't read too much into Jay signing himself but it can't be a bad thing that they showed it.

What struck me most about Ken was the fact that he didn't even ask for news about his daughter.

I don't remember what Applejax used to say about the ukulele but it's not normally used in serious moments. I'd have to take a second listen of Ken's confessional. (Our office Christmas party interfered with my RHAP dead-line!)

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12-05-16, 08:29 AM (EST)
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58. "RE: A few more editing notes...."
Thanks for the feedback, michel! I would love it if you get another chance to see how the camera went back to David all the time, it was even w/o Adam...I thought it was meant to be that way...

Thanks so much for the tip too! I do think that there is a way to stop the image but keep it normal size....?

For Mac, the print screen involves 3 keys, so more difficult to capture...

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12-10-16, 01:25 AM (EST)
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59. "Episode 13 - The Black Plague:"
Previously on Survivor,

Zeke’s alliance had a numbers advantage over David’s coalition but Will was ready to graduate from High School student to power player...

At Tribal Council, Adam played his idol but his move proved unnecessary when Will flipped to David’s side leaving Jay with the only idol left in the game.

Now this is the kind of recap that editing analysts love. It completely shifted the impression left by the previous episode. Jeff could have said that Adam didn’t want to rely on Will, left nothing to chance, preferred to take things in his own hands, pulling the rug right from under Will’s feet but the credit went fully to Will while Adam’s “big move” was termed unnecessary. Of course, this version reinforces the theme that anyone taking control will be voted out next but it doesn’t totally exonerate Adam.

The Black Plague

Vinaka Night 33

During last week’s episode, three days prior to this one in real time, we saw the moon in its last crescent but now it was already full again! This bodes well for Jay.

To make sure we remember that Jay is associated with the moon, he was the first we saw walking in camp.

The castaways congratulated Will on his great play.

Will had the first confessional: “I came into this game a kid and I feel like I’m leaving this Tribal Council the man... Everybody needs me in this game; I believe I can continue flip-flopping enough times to win this game.”

Talking to Sunday, Bret was pointing to the downside of big moves: “Making big moves, is that what everybody is trying? How about getting to the three? Why would you vote Zeke before Dave?”

Bret (solo): “I’m used to Tribal Council not going my way and again it didn’t go my way. Will flipped and voted out Zeke. He said: “You know; I want to make big moves in this game. I want to check it off in my checklist”. This kid wants everyone to think he’s not just a High School kid but he is acting like a High School kid: “Oh! I got to do all I my homework. I have to check off all these boxes.” Give me a break. This is becoming a crazy game and there are a lot of people really playing it. So, there’s got to be a way for me to stay alive in this game.”

This was a clear hint that Bret would survive the evening and it could even have a longer range. Can Bret make it to the F3? It’s certainly a possibility but can he be anything more than a goat? That doesn’t seem very likely. He would have two certain votes though in Chris and Sunday.

The next morning, Bret, Sunday and Adam agreed that Will, Jay and David had to be the next three to go.

Adam’s interview: “Bret and Sunday come up to me this morning and they said Dave, Jay and Will are the three biggest threats in this game. Those three need to be the next to go and it’s music to my ear. If they want to put themselves in a position where they are left with myself, Hannah and Ken; I love that.”

They shook on it, the camera showing clearly Adam shaking Sunday’s hand, something that could come back to haunt him because he’d soon send Sunday to the jury.

Day 34 Immunity Challenge

When Jeff said he had to take the necklace back, Adam said: “I’m not going to give it up”.

Funny but that was practically what he would do in the next IC, giving it to Ken.

Jay won immunity.

Jay’s confessional: “It felt phenomenal to win. I’ve already won two individual immunity challenges but any time Jeff says “Jay wins immunity” I’m like: Damn right I won immunity. Put that thing around my neck and let me go back to camp and I’ll go spear fishing if I want to. I don’t even need to talk to any of these fools. Plus, I still have my immunity idol, and I’m going to hold on to this baby until I really have to use it.”
Jay is being arrogant here but at least we will see that it was only a show of defiance. The cameras could have ignored Jay making us think he had indeed gone fishing but we will see him actively talking to these fools.

Vinaka Day 34

Ken in interview: “Jay again, three of the last four challenges, he’s won. He got the immunity challenge today and we probably would have targeted Jay tonight had he not won but now, we don’t know what’s going on. That’s how this game is being played right now. You never know from one day to the next so tonight is completely up in the air.”

Ken once more looks completely baffled by the game itself.

Sitting with Will in the ocean, Jay wanted to eliminate Ken because David was dying and couldn’t win a challenge. Will said that David was the bigger threat to win it all in the end, adding that it wouldn’t even be a contest if Ken made it to the end.

I wonder how many players share Will’s low opinion of Ken’s chances. While we didn’t hear many players besides the High School student saying negative things about Ken, he doesn’t seem to be very good at the social aspect of the game either.

Will told us that he had a working relationship with everyone in the game, making him the power player and he tried to get enough votes to eliminate David who would beat everyone in the end. They all agreed. Will felt like he was the one calling the shots.

David’s confessional: “Unfortunately because Jay is now safe tonight at Tribal, there is so much scrambling going around. The most insecure I’ve ever felt is right now. At the last tribal Will voted with us. It was great but the thing is Will is trying to pad his résumé a little bit more. So, if Will is smart; the thing to do is follow up one big move with yet another big move and there’s this perception in the tribe that I’m the biggest threat in the game. So, why wouldn’t you want to get rid of me tonight?”

Why not indeed? Adam had a chance to get rid of the biggest threat but he settled for Will instead.

Adam was told by Will and Jay that everyone was voting against David. Jay added: “Last vote, I didn’t write your name. This vote, I’m working with you.”

Adam’s interview: Will’s preference right off the bat is obviously to vote out David next. Will thinks now he has a degree of power and he is in control. That makes him more dangerous. So, to me, Will is the bigger threat. I do not want to put myself in a position where Will is controlling my fate in this game.”

Adam reached out to Bret saying to vote out Will who would continue to flip back and forth.

Bret in confessional: “I think Adam has been smart about how he is playing this. We have some common goals that we are looking to make. So, me and Sunday agree to go with Adam and vote together.”

Hannah talked to Adam but she pointed out that Will just rescued them from a really bad situation.

Hannah in confessional: “I’m torn up as I always am emotionally because Will saved my butt in the game. So, I do owe Will in a sense but I also feel I owe David in a sense. I mean, David pulled a rock for me and we have always been allies. So, you end up owing more than one person.”

Adam’s interview: “Right now Hannah and I are in a power position. We can decide who goes home next. It’s a really tough choice. Bret and Sunday are in a weak position and they are going to vote the way that I want them to vote. So, the question is; Blindside Will and take out someone who I do believe is loyal to me at this point or try to blindside Dave and take out potentially the biggest threat in this game. We have a huge decision tonight. This is the moment where I start making the moves that I need to make to win this game.”

Sunday would still be in a weak position on the next vote and she was still voting the way Adam wanted yet he will be going along with Hannah’s misconceived plan.

Tribal Council

Will told Jeff that Adam playing his idol caused a lot of stir around camp.
Jay said he was proud of Will as a fan but as a player it sucked.
David had deep concerns it would be him.
Jay said Will went on that side so he should be sticking with them.
Hannah pointed out that everyone worked with people and against the same people.
Adam said he was thinking about who he’d sit next at the end but how he could get there. He added that a lot of jury members made good moves but it contributed to them getting voted out.
David said it was a complicated game and if you don’t make big moves then you are just a goat so it is essential to make big moves even if you are perceived as a threat.

I found it funny that the camera showed Ken when David mentioned the complications of the game. Then we saw Will, Jay and Bret when David talked about the goats.

Jay was wondering who it could be: An easy vote or another big move.

It was time to vote

Jay and Will voted against David
Everyone else voted against Will.

The jury didn’t look thrilled with that so called “big move”.

Jay gave a little nod of recognition to Adam, probably another instance when it looked good for the fan but not so good for the player in Jay

Jeff said: “With the game being played at this level the natural instinct is to want to hide but in order to win this season, you must be seen.”

Vinaka Night 34

The moon was still full but clouds were moving in; a prelude to a difficult episode for Jay. Is it only temporary?

Jay’s interview: “Dude! anytime that someone tries to make a plan with me, they end up going home. I’m like the black plague right now, you know what I’m saying? I am all alone, I have no alliance but Tribal Council has been a complete chaotic mess every single time so you don’t know what is going to happen. So, it’s time to keep on fighting because I’m not going down without a fight, I still have an immunity idol, and there are still more immunity challenges on the way and I’m not going down."

The difference between Jay saying he didn’t know what would happen next and Ken earlier is that Jay was immediately seen having a talk with Adam to find out what to do instead of just looking baffled in camp. Also, Jay has the excuse of being outside the main alliance so he isn’t part of most talks. Right then, the clouds were gone and the moon was shown shining brightly again even if we only saw through branches.

Jay isn’t out of the woods but he wasn’t completely lost.

Adam apologized to Jay for lying to him. Jay had a sick relationship because they were always butting heads. Jay wondered if Adam was planning on taking David to the end. Adam said that wasn’t his plan. Jay promised to take Adam to the end.
Jay’s confessional continued: “Me and Adam, we have this is kind of like a yin yang relationship where we love each other but we hate each other and that’s how it’s been.”

Adam gave an interview: “I’m trying to make Jay feel as comfortable as possible with me so I tell Jay that the next move is to get rid of Dave but, to me, Jay has to go home. He has a hidden immunity idol so we have to take every possible opportunity we can to take a stab at the guy. If he doesn’t have immunity, he needs to go home.”

Jay didn’t go home but he did lose his immunity idol so was this good for Adam? The music came to an abrupt end so it could signal that Adam will regret the episode’s outcome. Adam could have taken a stab at Jay instead of going for his idol because the alternative was sending David home. Adam wasn’t threatened by Jay’s idol.

Day 35 Immunity Challenge - Pinball Wizard

When Ken had problems finishing his puzzle, Adam told him he still had time to work on it then twice he warned him when his ball was about to drop. Jay couldn’t believe what Adam was doing. Adam was first to congratulate Ken

With Adam’s help, Ken won immunity.

Ken’s confessional: “Jay is one of the strongest contenders in this game and it’s definitely a struggle to sit there and watch someone who is a younger version of myself doing what I would have been doing 10 years ago so I felt good about wearing the idol around my neck as opposed to Jay.”

Maybe he should have acknowledged the help he received. Maybe the others should have noted that Adam had to go. After being a hypocrite now Ken is envious.

Vinaka Decision Time

Predators were lurking so the turtle had to hide.

Adam’s interview: “My biggest fear going into the challenge was that Jay or David would win immunity. Of course, I would have preferred to win myself but if I couldn’t win, I was glad it was Ken.”

In camp, Jay pointed out that Ken didn’t win, Adam helped him. Adam said he did it so that Dave wouldn’t win. Jay told the group he was voting against David and pleaded for them to keep him longer than those two.

Adam’s confessional continued: “Yeah, I wanted to do everything I could to help Ken because the most important thing about the challenge is that Jay did not win and Dave did not win. My plan tonight is, in the case Jay does play his idol, David would go home.”

Well that plan didn’t work. We saw the little turtle swimming towards the surface to catch its breath. There were no predators in sight. The turtle could be symbolizing David who was about to be saved by Hannah’s intervention.

David’s confessional: “I don’t feel great about the state of my game at all especially since Jay will be afraid that we are throwing votes towards his way and if does have an idol and he does play it, I automatically go home,”

David explained his plan to Hannah who said that they should vote Sunday instead of Bret because she was an enticing goat and Adam could decide to take her to the end instead of one of them.

The camera had a weird angle, showing Hannah in the crook of David’s arm.

I’m not sure how to interpret that image. Was it simply a cameraman’s creativity or was there more than one camera on sight and the editors chose that particular angle? If it was a choice then it makes Hannah appear to be in David’s pocket.

Hannah’s interview: “It is important at some point to split up Bret and Sunday. Sunday is extremely dangerous because she sort of made herself into a tempting goat and people (Adam shown) would want to sit next to her. I’m very scared that someone who’s worked less hard will get a spot that I’ve worked really hard for.”

We saw that the turtle had completed its escape.

Adam, Ken and Hanna talked about the vote. Adam said he wanted to vote Jay and that if he plays his idol the other votes should go against Dave.

Ken’s interview: “I definitely want to be walking back here after Tribal Council with David who has been my closest ally and my closest friend but Adam is afraid of David and doesn’t want to play against David.”

Adam’s confessional: “I had a long conversation with Ken and Hannah and throughout the whole conversation, I knew what I wanted to do: We have to put enough votes on Jay that if he doesn’t play his idol; he goes home. And we have to put enough votes on Dave that if he does play his idol, Dave goes home. If we vote for Sunday, it would leave both David and Jay in the game and they are two strong, strategic players so we have to make sure that one of them goes home. There are so many moving parts and the worst thing that we can have is tomorrow morning, Jay is still here with an idol in his pocket.”

Bret told Adam that Jay could easily win every challenge.
Adam had a long talk with Jay that started right after Ken was seen chopping coconuts with the machete. Adam told Jay that he would have to play his idol. Jay asked if he was such a threat to him that he had to be stripped of everything. Adam was laughing when he answered yes because that was the only way he could beat him. Ken was still hopping coconuts. Jay told Adam that he hated him which made Adam laugh again.

Jay’s confessional: “It’s Adam telling me: “I know you have the idol so I’m going to force you to play it.” But Adam always lies to me so in all honesty; my name might not even come up tonight and if I feel like not playing the idol, then I might just do it.”

Jay told Adam that it was both of them until the end. Adam told Jay about his mother’s condition, making Jay pull his biff over his eyes to hide his tears. Jay said he has been scared for his mother’s life for the last 9 years.

Jay’s interview: “I love my mom just like he does and it’s crazy. My mom’s got brain aneurisms. Me and Adam we are both out here for our families, for our moms. He’s not a weasel in my book anymore, he’s a good freaking dude, he’s a warrior.”

This scene paves the way for a showdown between Jay and Adam during Final Tribal Council...unless Ken cuts it short. If both young men wind up in the Final 3 who would win? Jay’s confessional makes it clear that if he is on the jury then his vote would go to Adam. But what if they both get to present their cases to the jury?

Hannah told Adam that she was thinking of voting for Sunday. That clearly didn’t please her ally because he didn’t want to leave the two huge threats in the game.

Hannah’s interview: “Adam’s reluctance to vote out Sunday is my reluctance too because it leaves a visible threat which is David. The problem is if Jay plays his idol and David goes home, I lose David who I freaking love. So I don’t know the right choice but the kind of person that makes a decision and convinces other people of that decision is the kind of person that wins Survivor.”

That was a nice confessional to deliver right before the audience would see that Hannah was the one that convinced everyone else. She was the only one who had Sunday in mind while everyone else had conflicting plans and goals but, in the end, it was Hannah that rallied the votes. Is she the kind of person who wins Survivor? This episode certainly opened up the possibility.

Tribal Council

The image of the Full Moon and of the bat which are both associated with Jay, were superimposed as the tribe walked into Tribal Council.

David said that friendships and alliances are even more important now than they were at the start.
Jay said you need alliances but he doesn’t see any of his allies sitting next to him. Jay said a challenge threat with a necklace and who has an alliance is a bigger threat.
Bret said Jay was saying he wanted the necklace because he was scared.
David said Jay could also be seen as a free agent.
Jeff pointed out that David was a threat to win the game.
Adam said David has been in the majority every vote and has impressed people with his work around camp and his transformation.
Hannah said everyone has already written their final speech
Sunday said she was being underestimated because she’d get votes even if the others thought she wouldn’t.
Adam said everyone has been playing their own game.

It was time to vote.

After Jeff tallied the votes, Jay reluctantly played his idol saying it was better to be safe than sorry.

Sunday was the only one to vote against Jay who realized he didn’t have to use his idol.

Jay and Bret voted for David

Everyone else voted for Sunday.

On the jury we had reactions from Will and Jessica. She had probably been the only one rooting for Sunday’s elimination so that would explain why Will turned to her.

Jeff: “35 days ago we began this season Millennials versus Gen X so it is only fitting that there are three Millennials and three Gen X as we begin the battle to the finish.

The Story

It was very convenient to have two unpopular players getting voted out before the Finale. And while Jeff said it was fitting, I thought it fit a bit too nicely to have a thematic season wind up with equal numbers of each side. It’s really happened too often for it to be only by chance. Going back to Panama we had 1 member from each of the 4 original tribes. Cook Islands had at least one from each of the 4 ethnic groups at start of Final episode. Micronesia had 3 Fans versus 3 Favorites at F6. Nicaragua had 3 young ones versus 3 older players at the F6. Caramoan had 2 Fans versus 2 Favorites at F4. Worlds Apart had one member of each tribe in the F3 while Kaôh Rông had two from all three tribes in the F6. There have been some exceptions of course but this looks like a good way to keep the ratings up: Most viewers can still relate to one side or the other.

As for the story of the season, we see that the Theme of “Being in Control puts a Target on your Back” was really pushed by our host during the recap and during his interventions at the two Tribal Councils. It was a nice way to explain Will’s exit and to protect Adam and it also puts focus on Hannah now that she exercised control of the last vote. Will she have done it just at the right time? Will it end her game? Will it even matter?

The Characters

Ken: Ken has numerous fans. He has shown some Survival skills, something even I could appreciate but only when it is accompanied by a good social game. He’s even won some immunity challenges, something that many consider important but he’s looked envious after his loss. And did he really deserve that last one? While we did hear Jay’s complaint, it was mostly glossed over. In fact, I’m sure Adam’s help won’t even be part of the next recap. I’m not sure if it was to protect Ken’s record or Adam’s reputation.

For a while, the editors were ignoring Ken, now it seems that the players are ignoring his chances of winning the game. As viewers, we see that the game is being played well over his head and we’ve heard from Will that he can be very unlikable but the editors have protected his image much like they did with Sugar during Gabon. We heard after the game that she was really insufferable and we saw evidence of that during Heroes versus Villains (just ask Colby!) but we certainly were encouraged to like her in that first season. Will Ken make it to the end? With another immunity win, he could end Jay and Adam’s budding friendship as was hinted when he kept chopping coconuts while they were talking. If the legacy advantage does help him win the next Immunity Challenge, I’m not sure Jay can survive. If Jay leaves, that opens the door for David and Ken to simply walk all the way to the end together with their choice of goats.

Bret: While some of his interventions could be seen as hints that he will be in the Final 3, we know that Tribal Councils never go Bret’s way so it would be surprising to see him gather enough votes in the end. However, he would certainly receive votes from Chris, Sunday and possibly even from Zeke. Even Will and Jay could vote for him if he is there with Ken and David or Hannah. I couldn’t say it’s impossible. It would be a lot like last season after all. Bret has received more attention than his game or his personal story deserves and he certainly fits the theme of not being in control which is more than what’s-her-name...

Hannah: Cirie was the first one to use the goat hunting strategy so Hannah’s decision to go after Sunday will be applauded by some but this only served to put her signature on a move regardless of its consequences. There is such a huge difference between Cirie’s situation and Hannah’s that our nerdy castaway should have known better. Cirie was going to beat anyone not named Terry Dietz in that Panamanian Final 6 and since the biggest threat in the game was always immune then goat hunting was clearly the best tactic possible. Hannah, on the other hand, doesn’t beat everyone left in the game. In fact she will need goats in order to win so she should have made Sunday her best friend ever. Not only that, the three biggest threats to win the game weren’t immune so it was time to go head hunting, not goat hunting. At least, she’d be able to undermine Adam’s attempt to claim the control angle. While she clearly was the person that made that last decision and she convinced others of that decision, is Hannah the kind of person who wins Survivor? Maybe she is or maybe she’ll just play the part of the goat in Sunday’s place.

David: Much like the turtle escaped the lurking predator and swam to safety, David once more dodged a bullet. Why did Hannah save him? It seems that she is lucid enough to know he has to go before FTC and there are only 3 days left so even if she loves him she wouldn’t have had time to miss him. Much like the camera angle suggested, David has Hannah in his side pocket while Ken has been comfortably installed in the back one since the first day. How is anyone going to stop Dave? I’m practically resigned on seeing him win. It would be a lot like Survivor Philippines or Survivor Second Chance where everyone saw that Denise and Jeremy were going to win but no one did anything to stop them. Jeff loves big moves but why is it verboden to go after Dave? While only Jessica enjoyed seeing Sunday go, I’m sure the other jury members would have been happy to see David’s torch getting snuffed.

Adam: Adam should have been in an ideal position after this episode. It should have been evident that David had to go. Even if Will wanted to work with Adam for at least one vote, it was still understandable to go after the untrustworthy High School student but going after Sunday was inexcusable, a wasted opportunity. Adam knew that she would vote the way he dictated and Sunday’s vote against Jay proved that. Adam shouldn’t care at all about eliminating goats at this time because he has an excellent case to present to the jury and a very poignant personal story to influence the undecided.

Can Adam recover and win? The recap wasn’t favorable to his case. It would have been so much better for our opinion of Adam if Jeff had given him the credit his move deserved. Blatantly helping someone in an individual game could be seen as bad sportsmanship, even cheating by some so it was good that the story didn’t dwell on it. It now seems that Adam’s best chance is to go with Jay but is it too late? An immunity idol would have been very useful at this time and it seemed that Jay was being honest when he offered to go to the end with Adam.

Jay: Game logic seems to tell us that Jay should be the next to go. Even editing-wise, we heard him say that he needed to hold on to his idol for as long as possible but it has been wasted. Everyone wants him gone and Ken’s legacy advantage could make it extremely difficult to win the next immunity challenge. His touching scene with Adam could point towards the two winding up in the Final Three together but it could also simply have been to indicate how Jay will vote in the end. On the other hand, next week we will have a Full Moon so maybe that’s what the editors had in mind when they associated him to the night orb.

In a season where gaining control is bad for the players' health, Jay has never been able to hold power very long. Everyone that's tried to work with him has quickly been dispatched like he pointed out after Will's elimination. Yet Jay has kept forging ahead. No one has had a harder road to get from the merger to this point so if he does make it to the end he will deserve much more than a participation trophy.

Another season is quickly coming to an end so I want to take the opportunity to thank everyone that shared their thoughts and read this column. I hope you enjoyed it and that you will enjoy the Finale.

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Chez 678 desperate attention whore postings
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12-10-16, 03:50 PM (EST)
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60. "RE: Episode 13 - The Black Plague:"
Thank you so much for your analysis each week, Michel. I always look forward to it, and enjoy your insight. I don't comment here very often but I did want you to know your contribution is really appreciated.
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12-10-16, 05:37 PM (EST)
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61. "RE: Episode 13 - The Black Plague:"
You are welcome, Chez.

Who do you think will win?

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Chez 678 desperate attention whore postings
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12-11-16, 11:43 AM (EST)
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63. "RE: Episode 13 - The Black Plague:"
LAST EDITED ON 12-11-16 AT 11:45 AM (EST)

I think that David has a very good chance of winning. He has a good story to tell, and he has allies (certainly Ken and possibly also Hannah) who won't vote him out early. I think he also has the respect of several members of the jury.

But the person I would like to win is Adam. He has touched all of our hearts.

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12-10-16, 09:02 PM (EST)
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62. "RE: Episode 13 - The Black Plague:"
Oh Michel, another season almost under wraps! I have to say I had very low expectations with the theme this season, and much to my utter delight, I have LOVED this season. Full of great characters, and unpredictable moves. I'm sad to see it over.

Next season will be phun to bash because of all the returning daws! But, looking forward to it anyway.

You always "bring it" in this thread and I am so amazed at the things that you note in regard to the editing. You didn't give us your pick to win, and I would love to hear it!

At this point I see Bret as cooked. He's done. I could see Dave and Ken getting there, but Ken would never win, he'll be a goat if he gets there. Dave is desperate. I am seriously on team Adam or Jay.

I always love a good underdog story and let's face it, Jay has been an underdog for a long time. I do want these two, that have been at odds with each other throughout the entire season, to finally have each others backs and pull themselves through. Wouldn't that be great to have guys sitting in the finals that truly both have valid arguments to win the game. And, that they are both there for their families, their moms. It's just too much, I WANT THEM TO WIN!

I am hoping and praying that Hanna cuts the dang cord from Dave and goes with Adam, who she's been with the entire game. I think Hanna could be sitting at the end, but I do not see that she could win it. At least I hope not. She was not in control of her game for the majority of the game, she was out of the loop on many TC's. A nice character, but NO.

So, let's go Adam and/or Jay!

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DRONES 612 desperate attention whore postings
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12-18-16, 03:57 AM (EST)
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64. "RE: Season 33 - Millennials vs Gen X - The Characters and Their Stories: "
It's fun looking back on your initial analysis of the players. As we got closer to the end of the season the editing for Adam was really heavy about the emotional toll his mother's health was playing on him. My wife always asks me who I think is going to win after each episode. I had come to the conclusion after the family visit that it was going to be Adam. The focus on Adam and his mother was just so emotional. It overwhelmed all the other storylines. My wife said it would be really cruel for Adam not to win with everything he has been, and is going through. That is a winners edit.


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12-18-16, 09:33 AM (EST)
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65. "RE: Season 33 - Millennials vs Gen X - The Characters and Their Stories: "
So, this season it has been whoever has had the saddest sob story should win. Ridiculous.
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12-18-16, 09:59 PM (EST)
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66. "RE: Season 33 - Millennials vs Gen X - The Characters and Their Stories: "
Outplay? No, that was Ken. Outwit? No, that was Hannah. Adam Outcried them all.
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