WHAT? HUH? WOW! As disappointed as I am with the result, this is why I refuse any kind of spoiler site.
KEN – Still my favorite. I don’t think he faltered in the RC as much as Chris and Michaela kicked butt. Yet there was no question about his performance in the IC. Now that the merge is upon us we’ll see just how “asocial” this hard-nosed competitor really is. Provided the most comical moment of the episode—engaging in a political conversation with...Taylor? ROFLMAO!
CHRIS – Dominated both challenges. Earned the reward feast for Vanua. Responsible for the come from behind save in the IC. Yeah, I know I’m ranking him too high, but figured I’ll give him props now because I doubt he’ll last much longer after the merge due to his challenge prowess.
JAY – Have to rank him high just for outlasting Michaela during their death stare standoff without even changing expression. It will be interesting to see if Michel criticizes Jay’s move as he did with Adam last week. On a personal level I wanted to smack him; but on a game level I can see where he was coming from. Not only did he apply the ADS to perfection, he ensures the bitterest of all Bettys doesn’t get a sniff of the Jury. Big moves don’t come much bigger this early in the game than the Michaela blindside. We all know how Jeff covets big moves...can we now expect Jiffy to start referring to Jay on a last name basis?
DAVID – First he shared his earlier HII with Ken. Then at the PB&J summit he attempts a bonding session with Taylor. He used his HII to save Jessica. And in the latest development he shares his second HII knowledge with Zeke. As “sickening” as he may appear, he gets major kudos for proactively trying to network and put himself in the best position he can going forward. It’s a wonder he didn’t double his weight after the reward feast.
HANNAH – The best body left in the game has a pretty sharp head on her shoulders as well. What a call nailing Brett as a cop! YO Adrian...you did well. I thought for sure we’d have a Survivor first with medical needing to attend to a fallen castaway at TC...suffering another anxiety attack.
ZEKE – I’ll keep him near the top mostly for entertainment reasons. We now know he can diet and he can binge. His “bodily functions” can attest to those facts. He’s feeling stoked that David has “put his life in his hands.” With the upcoming merge we shall see how that unfolds.
ADAM – A drop from being the focal figure in the prior episode. Interesting development with Jessica and David possibly gravitating more toward Taylor. Proof positive that goats are always in season in the game of Survivor and Adam has proven himself a proactive player and more of a threat. I was hoping for Takali to go to TC just to see how this development played out. Of course Adam’s HII could have just added to the drama.
JESSICA – During the prior episode we saw Jessica working Adam to put the finishing touches on his flip. She picks up where she left off doing the same with Taylor. That approach could serve her well post-merge.
MICHELLE – Her effort with Zeke gets an assist on winning the RC. Could be placed higher just for exhibiting tribe unity by sticking around after the feast and having to put up with the all-male oink oink session. That’s called “taking one for the team.” But her meltdown during the IC could have been personal tragedy. In the end Chris’s efforts were what stood between future time in the game and a plane ticket for back home.
TAYLOR – During his opening scene confessional when he stated “I will destroy you,” I could have sworn I heard someone actually laughing in the background. Fortunately for Taylor (due to his ignorance) he probably thought they were laughing WITH him. But in reality they (as well as a majority of the viewers/fans) continue to laugh AT him.
WILL – Every castaway will be attending every TC from here on in, so his vote will always be needed. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see him sitting on a stomp at FTC. What did surprise me was how well-spoken he was at TC. His answers were impressive for an 18-year old. So if he becomes someone’s goat in the Finals I don’t think he’ll make a fool of himself, but I give him zero chance to win.
TWIDDLE-DEE AND TWIDDLE-DUMB
BRET/SUNDAY – I’ll pair these two together for essentially throwing in the towel and deciding to write each other’s name instead of either or both trying to find a crack and go down swinging. Fortunately Jay created an opening the size of the Grand Canyon keeping them in the game. For Twiddle-Dee it will make Michel happy because the object of his affection should advance deep post-merge due to her pathetic ineptness. As for Twiddle-Dumb it should just be a matter of time before the fake Funeral Director gets laid out for his real wake service.
MICHAELA – I knew she eventually would be victimized by the ADS...I just didn’t think it would be this early. A big loss for this season. But as I stated in Jay’s assessment I can see why. Jud (Guatemala) can now officially hand over his title for most obnoxious and disgruntled TC exit and place the crown squarely on Michaela’s head. How stunned was Michaela?...she didn’t even think of making good on her “snitch” when it would have been the perfect opportunity to narc out Jay for having a HII.
I'm, not sure if your remark about spoilers is addressed to me but I assure you that I didn't know Michaela was going. Everyone in spoilers was taken by surprise and I'm sure Kingfish will confirm this. At most, we had a screenshot from the promos suggesting that Takali would finish first in the IC but that was it.
The Honest Players - Unfortunately, some will see that honesty doesn’t always pay.
1- Jessica: I'm suddenly very interested in Jessica's story. Not only was she the one who turned Adam but now she got a deal from Taylor and confimation that Adam lied. Her fortune in the game depends on finding away to regain Chris and Bret's trust but I expect she will manage it easily. The Gen X tribe is poised to take over this game and she has many options.
2- Ken: This was a quiet episode for Ken and he lost the RC for his tribe. I wonder what he would have done if Takali had gone back to TC. His game intelligence comes into question when we realize that Jessica had to tell what to say to Adam last week and he had nothing to say when she built a bridge with taylor this week. Will he simply follow her lead?
3- Michelle: She's the one that said the truth works well but it hasn't helped her side up top now. It was funny to see Michelle having to deal with those "animals" during the reward. Unfortunately for Michelle, I think her choice of alliance will end her game.
4- 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. This time, I thought Jeff would have to call the doctor again because she was starting to hyper-ventilate. 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.
5- 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? 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.
6- 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.
BTW, the laughter you thought you heard, was real. It was sound editors adding their take on Taylor's interview.
The Liars - Up to now, they have done well for themselves but it should come back to bite them:
7- 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. As much as I loved his death stare, he made an incredibly dumb move. Adam's move showed that the Millennials' tribe had cracks, Jay's decision irremediably broke it. It's 7-6 in favor of the Millennials at the merger but I see it more like a 9-4 disavadvantage for Jay, Michelle and their minions.
The image of the full moon resting on Jay’s shoulder seemed to tell us 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.
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. Will Jay make a second big move, probably using his idol to get a Gen Xer out of the game?
8- 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. Seeing Zeke’s post-feast scene, showing him laughing at all the farts and burps showed his lack of maturity.
9- Adam: Already, we saw that Jessica and Ken weren’t as enamored with their savior as 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.
10- 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 old enough to know what's right, and young enough not to choose it... He's wise enough to win the world, but fool enough to lose it.”*
11- David: This schemer has surprised many players 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 could 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 Followers - They are going to be good numbers for the Gen Xers
12- 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.
13- 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.
Booted - Michaela: While her challenge abilities were a consideration, we can't say that was the main reason for her elimination. It was her intellignece that first alerted Jay but her interviews revealed her real mistake: She told everyone that Michelle should be their first target after the merger:
If you think her exit was obnoxious, you need to have your sense of humor repaired. That exit (and Judd's) was simply amazing. Her raw emotions made me smile.
PS. Just because I think Sunday looks better in her blue swimsuit than Hannah doesn't mean she is the "object of my affections"! It's just to show that you have weird tastes.
*Taken from "New World Man" by Rush.