Survivor San Juan Del Sur

Making Changes

Previously, on Survivor… Julie beat…John Rocker and sent Val’s husband, Jeremy, to join him on Exile Island.

…John promised Jeremy that he’d look after his wife.

At the immunity challenge…

Hunahpu Wins Immunity Hunahpu Wins Immunity[/caption]

 

(note that we saw only Natalie defeating Val and that round was presented as the winning point, Jeff screaming Hunahpu wins the immunity challenge while Natalie is on the platform celebrating) …Coyopa continued their losing streak. (Note also that John’s poor sportsmanship was already displayed when we heard him yell “chokehold”)

Back in camp, John found the immunity idol and he kept his promise to Jeremy to save Val… but Val was lying to John: She didn’t have an idol.

Josh got suspicious…and, at Tribal Council, he switched his vote from Baylor to Val.

 

One has to wonder about the choice of showing Natalie as the one winning immunity for Hunahpu and Dale being so distraught when we didn’t see Kelley’s battle with Jaclyn. I don’t think it was so much to showcase Natalie as to show that Val didn’t do enough to save herself.  One thing that has to be noted is that the recap of the challenge would have been an excellent occasion to feature Jon Misch and Kelley’s big win.  Ignoring them is a bad sign for both. 

What am I doing Here?

What Am I Doing Here?

 

As for Dale’s presence, it could be simply to underline Coyopa’s distress, but it was more likely shown to begin his own end of game story.  Dale had been able to direct the first two votes but, by the end of this episode, he would be completely isolated.    

 

 

 

 

The more interesting question concerns Jeremy: Since we heard Jeff say that Rocker kept his promise to save Val, is it the editing line that Jeremy will be wrong to throw John under the bus at both challenges? This question is at the heart of Jeremy’s story. If we were able to confidently answer it, we would know whether Jeremy is our winner or not.  The problem is that he didn’t say anything that wasn’t true when he talked about the former pitcher.  In a sense, Rocker deserved it so Jeremy didn’t bully him out of the game.  I will still say that Jeremy’s actions will cost him the game, not necessarily from an editing analysis but from a game perspective.  When he sees that Coyopa eliminated John, he will think that they are a good group, that they will be fun people to get to know after the merge but there are some real cut-throat players (and alligators!) in Coyopa.

Making Changes

Coyopa – Night 6

The evening started with Baylor’s confessional: “I think I’m officially woken up from thinking I’m safe in this game.  It’s now a “Baylor-fight-for-herself” game, not a Baylor-rely-on-Josh to talk to everybody because I was pretty close to being completely blindsided tonight.  At this point, I don’t trust anybody necessarily but I’m still open to playing the game with just about anybody.”

This is a great confessional for Baylor. It tells the audience that she isn’t a blind follower and that she could surprise Josh somewhere down the line.  The problem is that we’ve had quite a few of these spunky girls making it far but not winning the game.  Erinn and Ciera immediately come to mind.  While we could be witnessing the birth of Baylor’s winning story, she could also wind up on a Journey that will turn her into the last one standing.  The main difference we have between Baylor, Erinn and Ciera is that our cheerleader isn’t isolated.  Even if she received votes, she is aligned with Josh, her tribe’s true leader while Coach was gunning for Erinn and Culpepper probably didn’t even talk to Ciera.   On the other hand, Baylor was targeted by Rocker, the one Hunahpu considered as the leader, and we will soon hear Josh say that, despite everything, Jaclyn AND Baylor will be the next to go.  It must be said that Baylor has an important story ahead.

Right after, John had a confessional: “When Jeremy sees that Val got voted out, he will be pretty pissed but I told her to play an idol, that they were coming after her and she didn’t do it. What else to do? I gave her inside information that, if the alliance of five found out, they would be pretty pissed at me.”

It’s quite funny that John is aware that the inside information he gave to Val would hurt him if it became known but then he would be the one to reveal it to his whole tribe. I guess this is why they have coaches in baseball: The athletes are the ones playing the game but many really don’t know how to do it.  It would have been a good time for Bobby Cox to make a visit to the mound.

Back on the beach, John asked Josh who flipped. The actor was honest: “It was me. I’m sorry I didn’t have time to tell you…I was looking at the numbers and no, I had to vote for Val.”

John conceded: “Smart move.”

Josh in confessional: “Just before Tribal Council, I realized that Jaclyn and Val were voting for Baylor and that was not the plan.  I think that John had something to do with that because he had been walking around with Val before Tribal Council and they never spent any time together.  John’s credibility has gone way down for me just in this last day but what we will probably end up doing is still the strong boys’ alliance and, unless something crazy happens, Jaclyn and Baylor are probably next on the chopping block.”

In the middle of the confessional, we heard John telling Josh that the alliance of five guys was still solid and Josh agreed that it was.

We are being told that Josh is still with Rocker which isn’t a good sign for him. He will get a confessional that will completely disassociate him from the unsavory character but there is still the impression that it took Josh a long time to see the light.    

Hunahpu – Day 7

We heard Drew telling his tribe that a monsoon was coming. He told them that they had to put in a team effort to tighten up the shelter.

Drew (solo): “I’m trying to warn my tribe because we need to find something to cover the roof of the shelter. It looks like Swiss cheese. It’s not going to be good when these tropical storms start coming through.”

Missy narrated the events: “We redesigned the roof and we started weaving these palm fronds. We had lessons and we had everybody going, even the boys…except for Drew. He tried for a minute and he got too frustrated. He had to lie down and take a nap.”

After hearing that Drew had other assets besides weaving, Keith gave us a confessional: “Drew is a big sleeper. If my son was acting like Drew, you’d probably don’t want to know. I probably can’t say it on camera…We still spank, we still whoop, whatever you want to call it, in the South.”

I really saw these two confessionals as a sign of things to come. In Hunahpu, we have Missy, “the Nice Mom” and Keith, “the Strict Father”. Knowing how people need to recreate structure in these trying conditions, Missy and Keith could very well be the nucleus of the “Family” that makes it to the end.  Which ones of the many kids still left in the game will make the long trip to day 39 with them? Maybe we will be able to answer that by the end of this episode.  

Just when Drew started snoring, Natalie used a leaf to tickle his nose, waking him up. That made Kelley and Jeremy laugh.  Natalie said she was sorry that she was working in his sleep area.  She asked him point blank to name one thing he’s done.

Natalie in confessional: “I don’t understand how you come here with total strangers and you don’t feel the need to pull your own weight. Drew is just a waste of space.”

This won’t be the last time that Natalie calls out someone in this episode. Since her two targets were Drew and Rocker, two people who certainly deserved it, the audience will appreciate her actions but this is a social game so, to paraphrase her, I don’t understand how she goes there with total strangers and didn’t feel the need to use some tact. It’s not her strong suit for sure and we will soon see that her chances of winning the game are gone. 

Natalie and Jeremy went off for a walk. She explained her frustration, saying that she has very low tolerance but Jeremy wisely said: “It’s good for this game. He’s not going to win a million dollars.”

I'm the Leader of this Tribe!

I’m the Leader of this Tribe!

 

Jeremy in confessional: “Drew is all over the place. I was planning on taking him longer because he’s a moron but I’m not going to be able to. If he is physically falling apart right now, I think that, by day 20, he’ll be like: “Listen, I want to go home. I’m all done, Jeremy. Take my million dollars. You can have it.”

 

 

 

As soon as Jeremy’s confessional ended, the familiar Survivor horn sounded. It served to underline the possible million dollar quote.  It was quite telling that we had another image of Drew sleeping while Jeremy was saying that the young man was spent.  Contrary to Natalie, Jeremy knows that you don’t need to get frustrated by dumb players, that they are good for his game.  We are still receiving hints that Jeremy will be our winner but those hints look more and more like lures. The editors could be creating a false trail, so let’s keep our eyes open and see what happens when Hunahpu goes to Tribal Council.  We will be in a better position to compare his treatment to the one that Josh has received.

The Reward Challenge

The focus was on Jeremy and Rocker when Jeff said that Val had been voted out. Jeremy simply said: “Whatever.”  Asked by Jeff to explain his reaction, Jeremy said: “The men are taking over.  They are going to try to take out all the strong women that are threats to them so you all need to start changing it all on them.  That’s what you need to do because you all are next.”

"The Strong Women"

“The Strong Women”

 

Even if the camera included Jaclyn, our attention was clearly on Baylor when Jeremy mentioned the “strong women that are threats…” It’s interesting that Jeremy misread the dynamics of Coyopa.  It certainly isn’t a fatal error like the one made by JT and the Heroes when they thought the Villains were run by the women, but he thinks that Rocker was their leader.  With Drew being the moron who wants to lead on his tribe, Jeremy could also think that Alec has to be targeted, not seeing who are the real threats in that tribe.

 

 

Julie looked really troubled when Jeff turned to John, asking him to explain how this new layer affects the game.

John answered: “I want to apologize to Jeremy. I gave him my word as a man that I would look out after his wife. I lobbied as hard as I could but I couldn’t swing the rest of my alliance so I had to go along with them.”

John, John, John. You had to know that you’d have to say something so why didn’t you prepare your tribe to what you were going to say before getting to the arena. It would have been simple to tell them that you would be lying to Jeremy to soften the blow, to avoid creating an enemy.

In confessional, Josh immediately confirmed that Rocker didn’t do anything to cover his ass with his own tribe: “All of us guys are like: “WHAT?” I suspected that he was probably working with Val but he totally admitted to it in the middle of the arena.”

Since the players wanted to know what they were playing for (I wish someday someone says: “Even if we say no, you’re going to tell us anyway”) Jeff revealed that they would be playing for either comfort in the form of a tarp, hammock, mattress, pillow and blankets or the fishing gear that Hunahpu traded for flint.

Having the choice of competitors, Coyopa talked about the decision for once. Wes said: “I feel like my dad wouldn’t be good at all at that.” The others went along so we had Keith versus Wes and while dad did well, the son won the challenge.

It was interesting to hear Kelly comment: “Nice job, Keith: Nice and slow. You got it. Good job; you are killing it.”

That comment tied in nicely to Keith’s strategy of taking a few days to figure things out. Will Keith “kill” it in the end?

Keith and Wes showed emotions after the challenge. Keith said he was proud of his son. Wes told Jeff that he never saw his father this way except for when his great-grandfather, Keith’s grandfather, died. The two hugged and everyone applauded while Baylor and Missy had a few tears also.

The Nice Mom

The Nice Mom

 

 

Having to send someone from his tribe to Exile Island with his dad, Wes chose Josh. Jeff wanted to know why. Wes said that he gets along with Josh so he thought his father would also get along.

I really wish that Jeff would force the players to stay quiet and not explain their decisions. That way, when Josh gets to Exile Island and tells Keith that he is aligned with Wes, Keith would have some doubts.  He’d have to wonder if Josh was lying.  With Jeff opening the door, Wes was actually telling Keith: “I’m in an alliance with Josh so you should trust him.”

Without hesitations, Coyopa chose the fishing gear.

I found that choice intriguing considering that the tarp was included in the comfort items. Nothing is more important than shelter and the fact that the tarp comes AFTER the fishing gear proves that production sees it as a bigger reward.  Rewards usually grow in value. I definitely think it was a mistake.

When Coyopa left the arena, John whispered to Jeremy: “I did everything I could, brother. I swear to you.”

Jeremy in confessional: “I did everything I could. No, you didn’t because, if you did, she would still be here. I’m out to get him now. Point blank.”

This Won't End Well.

This Won’t End Well.

 

Julie realized that things were about to get tough for both her and John.

Once again, it’s difficult to assess Jeremy’s comment. The recap made it clear that John kept his promise to Jeremy so we could say that Val’s husband misread the situation and his going after the wrong target which could foreshadow some problems for him in reading people down the line. However, we are talking about John Rocker so the audience couldn’t be unhappy with Jeremy’s tirade.  If we add the fact that John could have done more to save Val (give her his idol or, more realistically, tell his alliance that, if they kept Val, they’d have Jeremy on their side) then was Jeremy really wrong to be angry?  John did say that protecting Val was a done deal, implying that his decision would sway the tribe.  He should have told Jeremy that he wasn’t in an ideal position to save her.

Hunahpu – Day 7

The tribe consoled Jeremy while Julie walked away in tears.

I wonder if parts of this scene weren’t actually taken from the tribe’s return from the immunity challenge instead of the reward. Because of time constraints, we wouldn’t return to Hunahpu after their win but the confrontation at the RC was quite mild compared to what was going to happen later on. I don’t think there was enough said during the reward challenge to make Julie cry so maybe she just walked off to get water or something this time.

Jeremy was telling his tribe that John was running the show on the other side so that tribe had to go after him.

Jeremy in confessional: “I was mad when I didn’t see Val because John Rocker told me and shook my hand saying he would take care of her. He turned his back on his agreement with me so, even though he is not from my tribe, I need him out.”

The events would be presented in such a way that the audience will be able to say that Jeremy played a big role in getting rid of Rocker.

Jeremy told his tribe who John Rocker really was.

After realizing that John was a racist and a bigot, Natalie had a confessional: “I don’t feel sorry for Julie at all. She is just trying to cover his ass in order to cover hers knowing that Big John made some racist comments, some homophobic comments.  I want the other tribe to grow a pair of balls and stand up against him.”

Despite the bashing from the other members of the tribe, Missy went to comfort Julie.

Julie in confessional: “I feel really alone after what happened. If everybody believes Jeremy, believes that my boyfriend John is running the show; then my boyfriend John made me an open target. (This is when we saw Missy joining Julie) I never thought, in my wildest dreams that Blood versus Water would be this difficult. I know it’s a game but knowing that my boyfriend put me in this situation is hard.”

In the middle of her confessional we heard Julie telling Missy: “If they believe what he is saying then what I do doesn’t matter. John is my counterpart in this.”

Missy replied: “You’ve got to play your own game.”

Julie: “It’s just all twisted and messed up.”

At this point, the animal imagery told us that it’s already too late for Julie. Like the wave that overwhelmed the little bird, this game will drown Julie.

This is a Nice Beach

This is a Nice Beach

Run Away Little Bird

Run Away Little Bird

Too Late

Too Late

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Already, the previews to next week’s episode show a group of vultures feeding on carrion left on Hunahpu’s beach which could very well be that little bird. Julie will probably not make it out of Hunahpu.

So what was the point of this scene? It reinforced the “Nice Mom” role that Missy is playing. Her social game has now been shown to be in clear contrast to Drew, Jeremy and Natalie.   This could carry her far, especially considering that Coyopa has no mother figures. The only “parent” in that tribe is Dale and the young ones have moved out of Dale’s place. Dale looks too isolated to play the “Good Parent” role for Coyopa but, once we reach the merge, Missy certainly could.

Exile Island – Day 7

Josh thanked Keith for inviting him to his home then he gave us a confessional: “Exile Island is full of rocks. It’s barren and it sucks. I’m probably going to sleep on rocks tonight, but at least we get the clue to the immunity idol.”

Before they picked urns, Keith made it clear that they should share the information.  He gave us this confessional: “I wasn’t thinking the first time that me and Val come out here. She got the clue and I got a blank piece of paper. I was thinking that, this time by gosh, I was going to get something. “

I made a note that this confessional worked perfectly with Keith’s theme of needing a few days to figure things out.

The two guys realized that John and Jeremy could have the idols.

That brings an interesting point: We couldn’t see Jeremy going to look for the idol last week since we didn’t go to Hunahpu after he returned from Exile Island but why didn’t he go look for it in this episode? Did the footage of his search get cut and if so, for what purpose?  Maybe Jeremy didn’t find the idol despite the easy directions he was given or the editors are being creative and keeping us in the dark.  Whenever a player found an idol without the discovery being shown (Gary and Amanda), they played it during that episode’s Tribal Council.  If Jeremy has the idol, it could be a long time before he needs it.  Will we be kept in the dark that long?  It would be fun for a change. However, since the show is so formulaic, Keith could very well still have a chance to find it.

Keith’s confessional resumed: “There haven’t been too many people here. There’s been Jeremy besides me on my crew. I need to get back, find the idol and Jeremy is kind of the only one standing in my way.”

Hey Jeremy! I have Somthing for you.

Hey Jeremy! I have Somthing for you.

 

The image shown when Keith said that there was only Jeremy standing in his way was extremely interesting. Here we had Keith, machete in hand, chopping firewood as if it was in his way. This is a big clue that Keith will backstab Jeremy… maybe even sooner than we think.

Keith then told Josh that they could go look for snails. They found enough for a meal or at least to avoid starving to death.

This led to quite an exceptional succession of confessionals. It’s rare that we have alternate confessionals in this manner. It’s usually a juxtaposition of point-counterpoint but here they went back and forth, agreeing with each other.  I think that, in Josh, we have discovered one of the sons that will form the “Family” trying to make it to the finals.

Josh in confessional: “I think people would be shocked at how well Keith and I get along. You know: A Louisiana hick and a gay guy from New York. It’s not the two people that you would think that would be chilling out and having a good time.”

Keith concurred in his own confessional: “Me and Josh are probably as far apart as night and day, or black and white. He seems like a good ole boy, just not my good ole boy.”

Back to Josh: “I think it’s so cool to hang out with people from a different walk of life that you wouldn’t normally do.  How else do we change?  How else do we grow?”

Keith’s turn: “Josh is on one side of the fire, I am on the other side of the fire. There won’t be no spooning going on up here tonight either.  I just don’t see too many Joshes in Louisiana. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!”

What a wonderful scene! It reminded me of Hatch and Rudy when Rudy famously said: “I like him but not in a homosexual way”. Over at RTVW,  CTGirl brought up a parallel between country boy JT and city boy Stephen which was another pair that went a long way together. Therefore we have to consider the strong possibility that, like Tocantins and Borneo’s Odd Couples, Josh and Keith will make it far together. There certainly was a lot of time spent with the two and they had a very balanced presence, something that was clearly lacking in our first two trips to Exile (Keith was featured much more than Val while Jeremy overshadowed John.  By the way, those were strong indications of the next two eliminations.)  The only problem I noted was the kooky music that accompanied the second half of that scene, the part where the odd couple talked about each other.  Usually a musical theme like that is associated with losers but maybe, just this once, it served to highlight the amusing scene. Maybe the dramatic theme that accompanied the first half, their arrival at Exile Island and the reading of the clue, was enough to convey the importance of this union.

Coyopa – Night 7

John walked up to camp with “one more catfish.” It led to his confessional: “We won! We actually managed a win today. We got fishing gear. I’m trying to provide for the tribe. Hopefully, they appreciate that and it puts me in good standing with the rest of my tribe mates.”

Wes (solo): “I give all the props to John for catching fish. It felt good eating some real proteins. I feel that we will have the upper hand in the next challenge.”

These two confessionals serve to tell us that Wes still wasn’t questioning his alliance with John. Wes did hold him in good standing.  Therefore, the next scene could be considered very important.

Baylor was in the shelter talking to Alec and Wes while John was sleeping on the beach. She said: “This is a game, you can’t forget that. I really love that you get along with all the guys but they do not care about you.  Jaclyn would easily come with us so us four…”

Baylor had a confessional: “Right now, the guys seem to be teaming up and throwing the girls under the bus. I have been thinking about what I can say to push the younger guys in the direction of voting John out.”

During their conversation, Baylor brought John’s anger and negativity but Alec countered that he found him to be “a very good dude even if, in some aspects, he was like a virus.” Baylor told them to think about numbers which got Alec to say that they were thinking about them.  Baylor countered that it didn’t look that way.

Alec, in confessional: “Baylor is at the bottom of the tribe and she knows it. She is trying to crawl her way up any way she can but we have a pretty strong group of guys so we are still planning on getting these girls out one by one.”

To Wes, Alec said that they had to lie to her because they could still use her.

Another marvelous scene! Not only does it show that Alec isn’t really aware of the dynamics within his own alliance, condemning him to failure, but it robs Jaclyn of her underdog status to put it squarely on Baylor, the one that Alec sees as being at the bottom of the tribe.  This scene tells us not only that Baylor is quite a player but that she doesn’t need Josh to help her out.  She is trying to establish a side alliance between Alec, Wes and Jaclyn while keeping the one she has with Josh.  Interesting game she is playing.  The guys think they can use her but, before long, she will be the one using them. There was a funny moment at the end of the scene: Baylor was shown shaking her head in disbelief as if she could hear all the nonsense coming from the two boys.

The Immunity Challenge

In a bit of a departure from the normal rules, Hunahpu was only allowed to sit 1 person. That meant that they would have 4 pairs competing against Coyopa’s three. Dale and Keith didn’t play.  With pairs going through an obstacle course, I was hoping for a funny moment like the one with Joel and Chet but, unless hearing people yelling insults makes you laugh, we were not in for a funny scene at all.

In the first match-up, Jon and Natalie faced Josh and Baylor. It didn’t take long for Rocker to show his colors: “Run ‘em over” he yelled when the 2 pairs met in the middle of the course.  Jon and Baylor missed their first attempt but Jon’s second shot was good.

The second round saw Wes and Alec taking on Missy and Julie (a bit of a mismatch due to the rule that had only 1 member of Hunahpu on the bench.) We clearly saw Alec give a hip check to Julie, leading Jeremy to yell: “He just smashed your girl, John.”  Wes scored a point before the two women retrieved their ball.

Next, we had Drew and Reed going up against John and Jaclyn. John and Jaclyn used their long legs to climb over the obstacles. John mixed it up a little with Reed but nothing serious.  Still, Jeremy and Natalie noted his bad sportsmanship.  The former pitcher showed he still had good control, making the basket on his first throw.

Facing elimination, Jeremy and Kelley went up against Josh and Baylor. Jeff was heard saying: “Josh dragging Baylor through this course”.  Once more though, it was Baylor who took the shot, just missing.  Jeremy didn’t miss so we were tied 2-2.

For the final round, Wes and Alec went up against Jon and Natalie. This time, it was Natalie giving a good body check to Wes.  Jon and Wes both missed their first attempt.  (When we saw the yellow ball landing close to Natalie, I wondered if she could she have kicked it farther away?)  Retrieving their ball well before Wes and Alec, Jon had plenty of time to aim and score the winning point.

Immediately, Natalie was heard telling Coyopa to “change it up.” John, knowing what she meant, gestured that she had a big mouth.  She called him a racist and a bad sport.  We heard Dale reply: “Way to bring the class, Natalie.”  She wasn’t finished, telling Coyopa once again that they should vote him out.  Julie told Jeff that the reaction was due to the fact the tribe saw John as the mastermind and that they knew about “The Article.”

I won’t get into the whole exchange but it must be pointed out that John stood silent for most of it and Dale said that John was part of their tribe so they had his back.   Natalie’s renewed demand that they vote him out got John to end his silence and say: “If you were a man, I’d knock your teeth out.”  Julie pleaded with John to cut it.

Finally, Jeff did his job and gave the immunity idol to Missy.

Josh had a confessional: “It is scary that John loses his patience; he loses his temper. I think that John is playing haphazardly and he is doing things that are not going to be helpful for the tribe right now. That’s a problem.”

Even if he didn’t say it directly, Josh’s last words told us that he was thinking of getting the other tribe to like them. That will be important if he wants to get someone to flip, if he wants to create a “Family” between members from both tribes.  One thing is now certain, Natalie won’t be part of that “Family”. That fury killed her social game.

Coyopa – Day 8

Returning from the IC loss, Baylor gave us a confessional: “The challenge stunk and I might be in trouble because of the guy/girl ratio.  The fact that I started off with a vote and the second tribal, I had votes, I feel like I am going to have votes tonight.  They should vote John tonight. Natalie is a fighter and she is a trash talker but, for John to be a professional athlete and act like that.  I didn’t respect his responses whatsoever.  I felt they were seriously harsh and mean and scary.”

John had a confessional to tell us that he expected that people would remember his past and get upset. In response to Natalie’s comment that he was a homophobe, he said: “My closest ally and closest friend on this tribe is a gay man. Actions versus accusations aren’t really gelling.” Knowing that the girls would target him, he said he had a decent strategy.  We saw that his plan was to get Baylor and Jaclyn to vote against Dale while he got the guys to vote on Baylor.  The problem was that, as soon a she left the shelter, Jaclyn told Baylor: “I don’t want to vote out Dale; I want to vote out John.”

John exposed that plan to Wes, saying: “We are voting Baylor tonight. Do you have a problem with that?”  Wes was good with that idea and so were Dale and Alec when John talked to them.

Next came Josh and John added: “If something funny comes down, I’ve got an idol.”

Josh certainly had a problem with John’s plan as he told us in confessional: “I was kind of shocked because I didn’t know he had an immunity idol. You want the people that are going to be the most honest and the most trusting with you when we are getting so far down in numbers.  John has shown some sketchiness and done some things that I don’t agree with as far as his mouth with the other tribe, getting on with Val and doing all this other stuff. He’s got an idol and he’s not going to use that idol for me; he’s going to use that idol for himself.  Sometimes you make allies and you don’t know really who they are yet. When you get to know them, you are like: Ooh, I don’t want to be an ally with this person because they stand for so many things that I am against. In John’s case, if I don’t have to use him then I don’t want to.”

This was the confessional that Josh needed to remain a top contender. It finally disassociated him from the jerk and told us that he had been mistaken to align with him.  The audience can still say that it took him a long time though and that makes us turn once again to Baylor who had been opposed to John even before the challenge confrontation.  Of the 4 people that can be credited with turning the tables on John, namely Jeremy, Natalie, Josh and Baylor, I think that it was the “Fight-for-Herself” Baylor that made the best impression.

Like the alligator going on the hunt, Josh went into the ocean to tell Wes that he had a good time with his dad. He added that John probably had their idol. With Wes saying he was ready for a big move, Josh explained that with Alec and Baylor, they had the four votes needed to get rid of John.  Wes was on board and so was Baylor when she heard the plan.

Baylor in confessional: “Obviously, I am celebrating. All the votes that I know about, except Dale, are going towards John.  I just really hope that Josh is telling me the truth and Wes is not just lying to my face.  It’s freaky; it’s scary because you never know that you could be completely played.”

Relief Pitchers Taste Like Chicken

Relief Pitchers Taste Like Chicken

 

The trap was set: Just like the fish that couldn’t get out of the reptile’s jaws, John wasn’t going to save himself.

Still, Alec had some doubts as we heard in his confessional: “We are talking about maybe getting rid of John while we can but, physically, John is an asset so is that smart right now?  Maybe not.”

Even after Wes told him that John had an idol, Alec was still hesitant.

John also felt some doubts because we saw him retrieving his idol and putting it in his pocket. “I think I may as well bring the idol with me even if I think I manipulated the pieces that needed to be manipulated. The tide may turn against me, who knows, but it’s nice to have a get out of jail free card.”

Once again, Josh had the last confessional of the episode.  “Tonight’s decision at tribal is pretty huge because, if we decide to vote out John, we’re finally breaking up the five guy alliance and we are losing the big guy on our team but, if John doesn’t go home, it’s Baylor. Baylor was my first ally in this game and I know she is with me 100 percent.  John is such a wild card, I don’t know. Is there an easy vote tonight? No, but I have to go with my gut and how I think I will be able to continue the farthest in this game.  I have no idea if I’m making the right decision tonight.”

It’s very interesting that Josh considers Baylor to be 100 percent with him when we actually heard the cheerleader trying to form a 4 person voting bloc that didn’t include him. Baylor must have also told Jaclyn that the vote was indeed going against John which is another thing that Josh probably doesn’t know.

Tribal Council

Jeff asked John about the fallout after the conversation with Jeremy at the reward challenge.

John said that, after the merge, he would tell Jeremy that he did what he could but that Val made a bluff that she couldn’t back up.

Wes told Jeff that he didn’t like hearing that John tried to save Val but he wasn’t voted out so he was alright.

Alec was asked about the animosity at the immunity challenge. He said that Natalie was hooting and hollering at them before the ball had gone down the hoop. He added: “W can’t win so what else can we do? We can’t vote her out.”

I’m thinking they will get a chance to vote her out at some point.

John told Jeff that he wasn’t the leader of the tribe despite what Hunahpu thought.

Jaclyn told Jeff that she would be in trouble at the merge because Hunahpu thought that she and Baylor were stupid. Asked if she thought another woman would be voted out, Jaclyn answered that she was seeing some shifting of alliances happening.

That remark caught John’s attention. It’s funny that it was presented as a dumb remark; one that certainly could make John play his idol.  From John’s point of view, however, Jaclyn had to be talking about the plan he gave her. After all, it was John that told Jaclyn and Baylor that Dale was being voted out.  John was certainly thinking that Jaclyn was alluding to that shift in alliance.

Asked what he thought of Jaclyn’s comment, Wes said it didn’t worry him, that his alliance was sticking to the game plan.

John loved hearing that.

Josh added that a lot of people didn’t know what was going on. “No one has their story straight.”

Baylor said she was hoping to get rid of the dark cloud covering them saying: “You can’t go with the flow in this game.”

Baylor is working on becoming Probst’s favorite.

Baylor added that she didn’t know if she would be getting votes.

Jaclyn now had doubts about the vote. She said the guys should grow some balls which surprised Rocker.

It was time to vote.

While Jeff was retrieving the urn, we had a shot of one of the girl’s injured knee. The camera made it look like it was Baylor’s injury by showing her face immediately after the close-up of the leg but it was Jaclyn’s knee.

Ouch!

Ouch!

Poor Baylor, that must hurt

Poor, Baylor That Must Hurt

Jaclyn's Knee

Jaclyn’s Knee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Returning with the votes, Jeff asked if anyone wanted to play an idol. The camera lingered on John, creating some tension but, while he fidgeted around, he remained seated.  Everyone looked relieved.

Dale and John were surprised when a third vote turned up against the former pitcher. Then Jeff killed the suspense once more by saying: “Third person voted out” before flipping the decisive parchment.  Baylor thanked god, Jaclyn smiled while Dale was shown to be disgusted.

John walked over to plant his torch in front of Jeff who snuffed it. John said: “It was well played.” (He left with a lot of class.)

Jeff’s final words to the tribe: “You said you needed to change things up. Maybe this well-played blindside is just what this tribe needed to turn things around.”

Josh and Baylor were shown smiling.

 

The Story

The episode showed us that Coyopa could change and, now that the five guys’ alliance has been broken, we could witness the formation of an alliance of nice people. It could very well be Coyopa’s best chance to overcome their numbers disadvantage.  If they can form a “Family” type alliance from people in both tribes, then they could change the whole game and come out on top.  Interestingly at this stage, we still have many contenders and the story can go in many directions.

The Characters

 

The episode’s figurantes (since they had very little going on before, their futures look bleak.)

Reed: He probably left the island for a few days! While his association with Josh could make him a long term player if a cross-tribal “Blood” alliance forms, it’s impossible to give Reed any chances of being in contention to win the game since he is practically absent.  As an actor, he must be able to give interesting confessionals but he hasn’t been heard since the very short one when Hunahpu reached their beach on Day 1.

Kelley:  The recap robbed Kelley of her moment of glory from the previous episode and we only saw her laughing at Drew’s expense in this episode.  If Dale gets voted out then she has no place in the post-merge family.

Jaclyn:  The only good moment for Jaclyn in this episode was when she told Baylor that she wanted to go after John, not Dale.  From an editing perspective, the rest of the episode killed Jaclyn’s chances.  She was the true underdog in Coyopa, the next to go according to Josh whose opinion carries more weight than Alec’s, yet it was Baylor who was painted as the fighting underdog, the one that won’t go with the flow.  Jaclyn wasn’t shown once doing anything to save herself.  That can only be termed a disastrous showing. If that wasn’t enough, we weren’t shown how she injured her knee and that injury was made to look like it was suffered by Baylor.

Jon:  While it could be said that being the MVP of the challenge gave him a good presence in this episode, there really isn’t anything to say about Jon.  His challenge strength will make him a target after the merge, especially now that John is gone.  His own tribe may look to eliminate him once they join members of Coyopa.

The Dumb Players: They have already killed their game.

Drew:  This one is easy to call considering that Jeremy has already told us that he can’t win the million.  The interesting thing to see will be how Drew gets himself voted out.  The next episode could be funny.

Natalie: While she showed a lot of fight, her mouth has ended her chances of winning the game. The other tribe already wants to see her voted out so, even if by chance, she makes it to the end, she couldn’t get their votes.

Alec: Even when Wes told him about the plan to get rid of John, Alec still wanted to keep the former baseball player. Most importantly, he was shown simply going with the flow when he told Wes that they were still voting out the women but could use Baylor.  It’s more likely that he will be the one that gets used.

Wes: Being Keith’s son, he could very well play a role in the “Family” that should come out of Josh’s “Blood” alliance. We heard that Coyopa’s main problem was that they didn’t communicate well before challenges and Wes was the one that not only spoke out before the reward challenge but he won it for his tribe.  The problem is that Wes is presented as simply going with the flow.  We were told that you can’t go with the flow in this game so I doubt that Wes will be our winner.

The Out-of-Luck Players: They shouldn’t make the merge.

Dale: His only chance was to stay inside the dominating alliance so it explains why he said he had John’s back despite everything that was said during the immunity challenge. Maybe that should place Dale in the Dumb Players category but what else could he do?   Now, his only hope is a tribal winning streak and an early merge but we had images showing that the game is too hard for him.  Dale still has to be considered the most likely to quit.

Julie: Again, some will place her in the Dumb Players category and they will get very little argument from me.  She should have known that she was teamed up with a “time bomb” so she should have been up front with her tribe, saying something like: “John isn’t made for Survivor so I won’t even consider aligning myself with him at any point.  I’ll always vote with you.”  However, I feel that the animal imagery and the scene where we saw her receiving Missy’s comforting words are meant to tell us that she is the victim in all this.  She is symbolized by the lost little bird that is going to be swallowed up by the incoming tide.

The Contenders

Jeremy: The editors are still giving us hints that Jeremy will win this game.  He got that million dollar quote when we heard him say that Drew will hand him the million.  That was immediately followed by the sound of the Survivor horn in a way that underlined his words.  However, Jeremy’s only chance is for the singles to take control of this game but it doesn’t seem that he sees it since he has done nothing to get Julie in his alliance.  She should be his surest ally once she sees that Coyopa booted John but I feel that Jeremy will feel indebted to Coyopa and boot her instead of any of their loved ones.  If a “Blood” alliance forms out of members of both tribes, creating a “Family” of “Nice People” that will try to get to the end together, then it’s troubling that Keith, the leading candidate for the “Strict Father” role, was shown with machete in hand, ready to get Jeremy out of his way.  I think that Jeremy is the fake trail, the big character that is being used to distract us from the real winner.

Missy:  She is in Jeremy’s alliance, she is already presented as the “Nice Mom” of Hunahpu, the only one to show sympathy for their lost little bird, and no one has raised any flags that she could flip to go with her daughter so Missy is safe and should easily make the merge.  I would like to see some interaction with Keith, her counterpart in this possible “Blood” Alliance.  If Missy makes it to the end, she certainly has the social game to get many votes but she will have to show that she isn’t simply going with the flow.  We know that, if there is only place for one of them, Missy will jump off the platform to save her daughter.

Josh: He is probably the top contender right now for many viewers and I do see him as a clinical player that makes all the voting decisions for his tribe without looking like he is the one in charge. That should certainly enable him to fool Jeremy and most of Hunahpu at the merge.  Even Wes and Alec don’t know his plans, ignoring his closeness to Baylor.  His visit to Keith’s “home” told us that he could very well fit the role of the “Good Son” in Keith’s Family but Josh is an alligator, a predator that is ready and willing to kill all his opponents. The problem is that we know that Josh has a blind spot when it comes to Baylor.  He sees her as a vote in his pocket, someone that can even receive a random vote without complaining, but we know that Baylor is in “Fight-for-Herself” mode and she has already made plans that didn’t include him.  Considering that “Clinical Players” usually have a monopoly on strategic confessionals, it could be an indication that, while going far, Josh isn’t our winner.

Keith: In this episode, Keith came across as well as Rudy and JT did at the start of their seasons.  He is truly a likeable character and, being on the tribe with a numbers advantage, he shouldn’t be in any trouble before the merge.  The “Strict Father” was shown in his confessional where he said he’d whoop Drew for being so lazy.  He got along very well with the “gay guy from New York” so he will be in a prime position to have the numbers at the merge to strike against Jeremy, the only one that stands in his way… that is if he doesn’t launch his attack sooner.  Again, the numbers show that Hunahpu could get rid of any of their strong guys without danger so why not go after Jeremy now? (I always said that one of Tom’s best moves was to instill such a good team spirit in Koror that they didn’t even consider eliminating him before the merge.  They were going to be up 8-4 so why boot Willard and not Tom?) I really like Keith’s chances of winning this whole thing.  When a father figure faces the jury, he usually wins.

Baylor:  I think that, despite all the other big characters of this episode, the one that really came across well was Baylor with her “Fight-for-Herself” attitude, her alliance attempts with Wes, Alec and Jaclyn, and the inclusion of Jaclyn in the vote against John.  She was presented as the underdog that was in big danger so we saw her doing all the right things to change the game.  Unlike Josh, she had no reservations in booting John because his display at the challenge was “mean and scary”.  The “good daughter” isn’t going with the flow which is a rare quality for such a young woman in this game.  Like I wrote above, it could simply mean that she will end up like Erinn and Ciera but she has a big advantage over the two: She is playing with the tribe’s leader and not against him.  To save herself, Erinn angered many future jurors while Ciera ran into a strong alliance of veteran players.  Baylor is already inside her tribe’s alliance and she has possible allies on the other side.  Jeremy’s words at the Reward Arena presented her as a strong woman that had to change things up and she did exactly that.  So, along with Keith and Josh, we have to consider Baylor as a top contender.

 

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