Survivor San Juan Del Sur

If They Were Smart

The Recap

After Jon blindsided Natalie’s closest ally, Jeremy, and revealed that he found another immunity idol, Natalie and Baylor wanted him out.

I'm saying "That" but thinking "You"... I’m saying “That” but thinking “You”…[/caption]

(When Jon told her about his idol, Natalie’s reaction was perfect:  “That’s crazy” she said. Indeed!)

We heard Natalie warning Baylor not to tell Missy about their plan and then we saw Jon pouting about his empty wine glass.

When Jon won immunity, the majority alliance decided to take out Keith but Natalie had a different plan.  She told Baylor that she was voting against Alec instead.

At Tribal Council, Natalie secretly switched her vote to ruin Jon’s plan.

Once more, we saw the surprise on Jon and Missy’s faces when Jeff said that Alec had been voted out.

I know many viewers were still counting on Jon being the Sole Survivor but this recap set up his fall quite nicely.  Indirectly, Natalie told him that trusting her was “crazy”.  He would pay dearly for his gullibility.

If They Were Smart

Huyopa – Night 32

We heard some drum rolls and saw a snake when the tribe came back to camp. 

Jaclyn was confused, even considering that Alec voted for himself. Natalie told her that he didn’t and added that she thought she was supposed to vote for Alec.  Jaclyn was fooled into believing that Natalie had written the wrong name.

Natalie in confessional: “Just the way Tribal went, I knew I had to pretend to mess up and accidently vote out Alec instead of Keith. I had to act my ass off to convince them that it was a mistake.  It was a risk I was willing to take because I didn’t want Jon to have more power and control in this game right now than he needs.  I think I sold it to them properly but it’s going to be scary.  Jon is on my hit list.  He’s been on my hit list since he sent Jeremy home.  It’s been a long time coming and I need to make a move soon.”

Baylor in confessional: “It’s hilarious watching Natalie be an actress towards Jon and Jaclyn tonight because, if they were smart, they would know that Natalie knew exactly what she was doing.”

As if to show us  that he wasn’t that smart, we heard Jon tell Natalie that everything was fine.

 Jon’s confessional sealed his fate: “Tribal was a little bit of a debacle. I guess we didn’t talk enough going into it, and Natalie didn’t fully understand who she was voting for.  It’s unfortunate that it happened here because Keith really is a threat in immunity challenges. I mean, that’s a big, big deal. That potentially could screw up a lot of plans.”

Keith was then shown half asleep in the shelter.

That image did not make him look like a threat at all but does Keith have us fooled also?  Is the door opened wide enough for him?  Jon was still portrayed mostly as a positive “Journey” player and, while we heard that his journey had been completed when he told Jeff that his father would be proud of him, it could be that he had one last message to tell us.  Maybe Natalie did screw up by letting Keith stay.  If he was a challenge threat before, then removing Jon makes him that much more dangerous. 

Day 33

Keith was walking outside of camp, spitting as usual.  Natalie came to join him by the water and told him that she was supposed to vote for him but voted for Alec instead. She added that Jon and Jaclyn didn’t know that she changed her vote on purpose. Finally, she told Keith that they had to be tight with Baylor and Missy.

 The inclusion of Missy is strange at this stage because, from what we’ve seen, Missy wasn’t in on the plan.  By hearing this, Keith could have made another gaffe and said too much to Missy thinking she knew already.  On the other hand, maybe she did know.  We’ll have more on that later. 

Keith (solo): “Man, I just keep squeaking by, squeaking by and squeaking by. Maybe now I have somebody.  Can you believe that?  Thirty days into this baby and now I have Nat.  Good grief, what can happen after that?  Who knows?”

That’s what we’d like to know.  Many already think that Keith will squeak by to the very end.

Natalie in confessional: “Keith is still unpredictable but I told him that he was here basically because of me.  I told him that me and Baylor, at the end of the day, have his back.  Hopefully, that will resonate with him and he will be the perfect person to use in a plan against Jon.”

The Reward Challenge

Jeff told them that they were playing for a day at the spa and he turned to Keith to say that they need it.

(Jeff, don’t you think that asking them who stinks the most would have been a funnier question to use at the chopping challenge than asking them about Julie’s tanning salon? )

The Blue team had Jon, Missy and Keith while the players in Yellow were Natalie, Baylor and Jaclyn.

The promos had shown us that Missy was injured while going over and under the obstacles but it happened when the teeter-totter hit the ground.  That was another ill-conceived apparatus.  Haven’t they learned yet? 

We heard Missy say twice that her ankle was bad but she kept up with the guys as best she could.

The Yellow team were in the lead and needed only two buckets of water to open their gate.  The Blue team had to go back for a third bucket after spilling some.  The women had a lead but they started arguing while Keith, Missy and Jon were working very well together according to Jeff.

Missy seemed to be the one to figure the puzzle out when she told Jon to scoot it over towards her.  Right before she said that we saw that their puzzle was in a mess but suddenly, with a good scoot, they were almost done.

What a Mess

What a Mess

Scoot it Over

Scoot it Over

Voilà!

Voilà!

 

 

 

 

 

Keith, Missy and Jon won reward.  The two guys put Missy on the puzzle table and she was heard saying: “It’s just swollen; it’s no big deal.”  Jeff wanted to know if she was alright and she told him she was good. Asked how a spa day sounded, Missy told Jeff that it was a game changer, that she could last 16 more days.  Jon added that she was going to feel as young as she looks.  Jaclyn thought that Jon was being annoying.  Jeff asked Jaclyn if she thought she deserved the spa.  She deflected the question by saying that they all feel like they deserved it.

The implication was clear: Even Jeff sees that Jaclyn is conceited, thinking she is more deserving than others.

Jon said he wasn’t going on the reward.  He wanted to give it to Baylor. He wasn’t into massages but Baylor and her mom would remember this always.  He hugged his “little sis”.  Jeff was surprised that a reward was traded once again and he was even more surprised when Natalie volunteered to go to Exile Island.  Jon also said that he could handle going to Exile Island but Natalie insisted so she went.

As they left for the spa, Baylor insisted on giving a piggy-back ride to her mom.  Jeff reminded Missy that the medical team could be called in if she wanted.

Jon and Jaclyn were happy to be alone in camp.  Jon, in confessional, said that it was an easy decision for him, that it may have also strengthened his case for the jury.

I wonder what he thought about that as he watched last night!  As for Missy, I think it’s more likely that her injury will be the game changer instead of the visit to the spa.  If she does fight through the pain and makes it to the end, the jury will probably reward her grit, her passion for the game.  If she is forced to retire then it will have game changing value for someone else.   The images that made it appear as if she won the puzzle for her team were either put together to reinforce her winner’s story or to complete a “tribute” story.

The Reward

After being greeted with cold drinks and nice food, Missy cheered with Keith for their victory

Baylor (solo): “My mom, Keith and Jon won the reward and before I knew it, Jon was saying: “I’m switching with Baylor” and I was like, what?  That was super nice of him to do that but getting Jon out is me and Natalie’s pretty much number one priority.””

Missy wanted Keith to take a look at her ankle.  He immediately realized that it was pretty swollen.

Missy in confessional: “At the reward challenge, I was trying so hard not to show any signs of pain in my ankle but I could just feel it swelling up. I’m in a lot of pain and I don’t know exactly how the next couple of days are going to go down in the challenges.  I’ll do the best I can; I’ll crawl if I have to but I am going to finish.”

It seems that, even after all these years, the Survivor editors are still rubbing it in Jeff Wilson’s face.  We must remember however that Amy O’Hara had a “tribute” story when she didn’t let her injured ankle slow her down.  I could be mistaking a similar type of respect from the editors for the winner’s story.

Keith was happy to have food and Baylor joked that Wes will be jealous when he sees that.

Keith in confessional: “I never had a spa day…but it turned out not too bad… I went into the shower. It knocked some funk off of me… Then it was off to the massage.”

If Keith never had a day at the spa, he never had a month on Survivor either and that’s turned out not too bad also.

“George Clooney” enjoyed his massage.

Baylor gave us her impressions: “Keith at the spa was pretty dang funny!  I hadn’t seen that side of Keith before.  I had a realization that Keith is kind of cool.”

Yes, and she should also realize that the jury will find Keith kind of cool also if they let him squeak by.

In confessional, Keith said he wanted to keep his day at the spa a secret from the guys at the station. He added: “I got 4, 5, 6 days left. I can take this on now.”

I always enjoy it when we hear numbers.  The numbers are usually bad on Survivor:  If Keith makes it only 4 more days, he will fall short by a couple.

Huyopa

Jon told us that it was nice to be alone in camp with Jaclyn.  They talked about the vote and how it was a big screw up for Natalie.  As oblivious as could be, Jon even said that he would bring up Natalie’s screw up to the jury.  “If you are going to split votes, know who you are voting for” he said.

Jon (solo): “Natalie made a big mistake, voting for the wrong person and now you kept Keith, one of the biggest threats.”

That’s when it dawned on Jaclyn that Natalie and Keith could have something going. She added: “Maybe she did it on purpose and lied about it.”

Jon dismissed the idea: “I don’t see Nat flipping.  I think our five is set.”

Jaclyn had a confessional: “Keith is freakishly good at these challenges so, if Keith keeps winning immunity then I think that everybody will get more mad at Natalie for screwing up that vote and we will have to break the five sooner than we thought.”

Just then Jon was shown blowing a lot of smoke.

Jon was portrayed as being blinded by the “Fogs of War.”  As for Keith, his ability in challenges is being discussed so intensely for a reason.  Either it is telling us that he will stay safe to the end and he will be rewarded for it by the jury or it is used to create doubts about the winner’s chances.  The interesting side effect of this is that it could be telling us that Natalie won’t win.  If Keith wins all the challenges, Natalie will be exposed at Final 4.  If she is voted out because Keith won immunity then Jon was right and she truly did screw up.  Even the alternative, that Keith’s threat is used only to create doubts is less applicable to Natalie because most viewers would assume she’d beat Keith in the end anyway.

Exile Island – Night 34

Natalie wasn’t ignored like Wes and Alec.

Natalie: “I volunteered to go to Exile, but at this point in the game when your body is already so drained and it’s so close to the end, you can almost taste it but you are not there yet; it’s really depressing me to be out here.  It’s been a roller-coaster of emotions for me because this is the longest I’ve gone without seeing or talking to my sister.  I’ve lived with Nadyia for 28 years. We’ve never done anything alone and I don’t want anyone to see how I miss her.  I haven’t cried in front of anybody and I always kind of pretend like I’m fine but Nadiya’s been gone for like thirty days now and I’ve been doing this without her but I am trying to make it into something where I can use it as motivation instead of bringing me down.  It’s time to buck up and make every decision moving forward count.  I have one shot to prove to myself that I left everything on the table and make these last four days fully worth it.”

Again the numbers and she said 4 days! By her count, Natalie will fall one day short of the end game! This confessional was great because it can apply equally well to a “Journey Player” and to a winner.  Much like Tyson talking about Rachel, these words put Natalie on the right direction to win in a Blood versus Water season.  She is using her Loved One’s elimination as motivation and that was the key in the first Blood versus Water winning story.  However, the first Blood versus Water season was dominated by the singles while this one has been dominated, at least up to now, by the couples.  Some will say that Natalie ended that domination but I think this Blood versus Water “will come down to Mother versus Daughter as it should be” according to Jeff.  If that is the case then this confessional gives us the scope of Natalie’s journey:  She did some amazing things on her own and certainly didn’t leave anything on the table. 

The Challenge arena

When the “guys” came in, we saw that Missy needed a cane and was being helped by Baylor and Keith.

This wasn’t the first time that Keith is seen helping Missy and not the last.  Shouldn’t that in itself have alerted Jon and Jaclyn?

When Natalie returned from Exile Island, Baylor gave her a shell containing rice.  It brought tears to Natalie’s eyes.  She told Jeff that Exile Island had been very hard.

Jeff then turned to Missy and asked her about her ankle. She had tears in her eyes when she told him that it had gotten worse but she said she wasn’t going to quit.  Jeff asked for the doctor to look at her before the challenge.

Baylor and Keith were shown having trouble watching Missy’s pain.

The scene ended with the doctor saying that the ankle could be fractured but they would need to pull Missy from the game to do an X-ray.

When we returned from the “cliff-hanger” commercial break, we heard a melancholic air played on the piano that reminded me a lot of the melody that accompanied Penner’s medical evacuation.

Missy was in tears, saying that this was so frustrating.  Jeff turned to the doc and asked if it was severe enough to pull her from the game.  Missy was shown nodding her head no and doc agreed.  They could immobilize the leg since there were only a few days left.  When asked what she wanted to do, Missy said:  “I am staying in this game.  I am not quitting.”   Jeff then said: “You will sit out this challenge and then take each day as it comes.”

Before the challenge, Jeff asked Baylor for her feelings.  Baylor said that her mom was a fighter and never gives up.  She added: “I’ll carry her to the finish line if I have to.”  Natalie said: “I’ll help you.”

Baylor’s quote really stood out when I watched the show and it still resonates as the winning quote for the season. 

When the challenge started, Jeff turned to Missy saying: “You can see you had no…” and she ended his sentence: “I had no chance.”

Some editing analysts will pounce on that quote and say that Missy herself admits she has no chance of winning.  Isn’t doubt a wonderful thing?  It makes us question everything!  I’ll say that Missy’s game was never about winning challenges.  That could be bad in a season where Jeff said that winning challenges contributes to the résumé that the jury will evaluate but even that implied that it wasn’t the only case to make.

Jaclyn was first out and she was soon followed by Baylor.  Keith lasted a while but the wind was too much for him and his vase hit the ground, leaving Jon and Natalie.  When Jeff told them that they had to fight to win it, we heard Jon ask: “What’s up, Nat?”  If he wanted to negotiate an end to the challenge. Natalie pretended that she didn’t hear him!  Out of nowhere, “Mother Nature” decided that Jon’s vase would fall off.

Jon had the kiss of death confessional: “Keith is an incredible threat on all immunity challenges so Natalie winning today kind of makes up for her messing the last vote. The plan is to do what we planned on doing last time and get Keith out.”

If doubt is wonderful then so is irony.  Can you just picture Jon kicking himself as he watched this on his TV?

Right then, Keith was shown helping Missy walk back to camp.

It makes me wonder how much Keith’s assistance helped him stay in the game.  Where was Missy’s “son”?  Shouldn’t Jon have offered the helping hand? 

A Lifesaver or Saving his Own Life?

A Lifesaver or Saving his Own Life?

Back in camp, Missy called Keith a lifesaver.

Jon gave us a confessional: “The fact that Missy had to sit out today I’m sure was excruciating for her, probably just as bad as the pain she was actually feeling.”

That was not a bad confessional for Missy especially coming from someone that will soon be on the jury!  It wasn’t really needed for the narrative but it could be telling us how the jury will see Missy at the end. 

While Keith was off on his own in the ocean, Natalie was telling everyone that he knew he was going.

Natalie in confessional: “Jon and Jaclyn think we are all voting out Keith, that Keith is going home but my plan, basically, is to get out Jon. Jon has an idol so I know it’s not going to be easy.  My ultimate plan is to split the vote and blindside Jon tonight.”

She explained the plan to Keith, telling him he’d have to look depressed to sell it.

Keith gave us a confessional to let us know he got it this time: “If things go according to plan, Mister All-American or Miss USA is going home and I’ll be sitting here with five.  I think I can trust this one. If I can’t, I’m a goner.”

We saw the snake (which has come to symbolize Natalie) approaching just when Jaclyn told Jon that she was a little worried when Jon lost the challenge, but Jon wasn’t.

Jaclyn’s confessional: “Keith was supposed to go home last time so it’s like, OK, let’s get it over with but I feel  that your mind causes all this paranoia.  Could I go home tonight?  Could Jon go home tonight?  You never know 100 percent but at least Jon still has his idol.  Jon is super big on visualizing the win and it always worked out for him so hopefully it does this time too.”

After agreeing on the vote with Natalie, Baylor gave us a confessional: “I need my mom to get on board with voting Jon out but my mom treats Jon like her son that she never had so I’m worried about if she is going to write his name down.  It really depends on my mom”

While Baylor was out gathering firewood, we saw her and Missy talking about the plan: “Natalie and I think we should vote Jon.”

Missy told her that she couldn’t do it: “I’ve given him my word to the end and I will get no votes.”

Baylor objected: “Challenge-wise, you are never going to win.”

Missy replied: “It doesn’t matter. I couldn’t care less.”

Another quote to pounce on!!  Some will write that Missy doesn’t care about winning.  I will say she doesn’t care about winning challenges which is much different.  Time will tell how that quote should have been interpreted.

Baylor wanted them to go with Natalie and Keith but Missy said she had a deal with Jon.

While they argued, we heard Baylor’s confessional that is transcribed below.  Baylor said she had no deal with Jon. And that they should vote him out with his idol.

Natalie was now shown with the two.  Either she just joined them or she had been listening quietly all along. She spoke out: “I don’t think I can move forward trusting Jon on any vote.   I know you trust him, but I don’t.  I say we vote Jon tonight.”

Missy was categorical: “Tonight, it’s not happening.”

Old News

Old News

It was quite interesting that this scene was shown here when it was actually filmed before Wes was sent home.  A poster at Sucks (Mayan Sun) traced that scene first seen in the promos back to episode 10 by the way each of the three women were wearing their hair and their buffs and now we know he was right because there is no way that Missy would be out in the woods gathering some branches with her ankle in a cast. We even see her hands at some point, telling us she didn’t even have her cane!  Baylor’s scenes were also from different days because she was wearing a bikini with her hair tied up when she talked to Natalie about the 2-2-2 split (that had to occur on day 35) then she had a red suit in the first part of her confessional, she was back in a bikini with her hair down and wet when she talked to her mom (on day 26), and then she featured a brown tank top in her last confessional.

Outfit #1

Outfit #1

All Change

All Change

 

This tells us that Natalie, Baylor and Missy had discussed voting out Jon on day 26 and that’s when Missy put a stop to the plan with her “Tonight, it’s not happening”. She probably explained that there were other guys to eliminate before Jon.  She must have gotten Natalie to agree because that was the Tribal Council where Natalie told Jon to play his idol.   So why put this discussion here?  It was helpful in creating suspense for this episode but, mostly, it showed that Missy was loyal to Jon as long as she could.  If they had shown Missy more open to the idea, all of Jon’s followers would have seen her as a villain. Presented this way, they still won’t like what Missy did but it is more acceptable.  That’s what the editors need: An acceptable winner.

Baylor’s confessional heard during her argument with her mom (If the editors can put scenes out of sequence then so can I!): “It’s frustrating talking to my mom…  She is putting the men first before herself.  That’s her downside I think and that’s what I feel is happening in this game with Jon.  It’s like: Mom, I’m your first born; you don’t even know this guy.  Let’s play this game together.  I hope she is going to see it before it’s too late.”

Divide and Conquer

Divide and Conquer

 

One can wonder if it will happen with Keith now that he is the only man left!  It was interesting that, after Jon and Jaclyn kissed, they parted and Keith was shown behind them as if only waiting for these two to be broken up!

 

Missy was wearing her cast during the evening’s last confessional: “When my child says to me: Mom, our goal is to get to the end together, I have to start and listen.  Has it crossed my mind that this Jon and Jaclyn show may need to come to an end? Absolutely, but it’s important for me to feel that I played this game truthfully.  I wasn’t some sly dog who came in, shook people’s hands and lied to their faces.  I haven’t.  I pride myself on that.  That’s why tonight, for the first time, I am having a tough time with it.”

Follow the Sun

Follow the Sun

 

Apparently, according to the cameraman, it was actually her time to be in the sun

 

 

Tribal Council

Keith was still helping Missy while Baylor was wearing a T-shirt that didn’t match any of the outfits she wore for her two confessionals just before TC.

Quite the Wardrobe She Has!

Quite the Wardrobe She Has!

 

Keith didn’t wait for Jeff to give it to him; he went ahead and said that he tried to pierce the five but that they were solid.  He argued that he had a vote they should use.  He added that the jury would see it as a big move and big moves gets you votes.

Missy was shown at that time and the jury had to know she was close to Jon so that it would be her big move to make.

Jeff brought up the fact that Keith was a fireman so that he was trustworthy.

Jon said it wasn’t a question of not trusting Keith; it was that they had built this alliance of five together.  He said he’d feel hypocritical if he let them down.

Josh and Jeremy weren’t buying it.

Jaclyn said that she felt strong in the five adding: “I don’t think Jon and I are going anywhere.

Missy was shown again; this time a bell rung at the same time as if she had heard something important.  Baylor rolled her eyes while Wes and Josh could hardly contain themselves after hearing so much confidence.

Natalie said that it was tough to be the only single in the five so she was thankful to have the immunity necklace.

When Jeff asked Jon about his final speech rehearsal, Jeremy slapped Josh in the ribs. That told us that they were also anticipating Jon’s final speech and they were ready to blast him. (Maybe they’ll use it on Jaclyn.)

Jon naïvely told Jeff that he was thinking about his final speech quite a bit which seemed to perturb Missy.  Jon added that sticking to the five wasn’t that easy. For him, building that trust throughout the game was a rare thing to find in Survivor.

Missy told Jeff that she had a hard time focusing on one thing because of her foot and that she was loyal to a fault and that she doesn’t waver.

It was time to vote.  Keith was shown escorting Missy to the voting booth and back.  Again, where was her “son”?

No votes were shown and no one played an idol when Jeff asked for it.

With two votes for Keith and one vote for Jaclyn, things were still going as expected for Mister All-American and Miss USA.  The second vote for Jaclyn caused concern for them but the jury didn’t react immediately. The next vote was for Jon and you could tell that Jon was visualizing what was going to happen next.  We saw the jury’s enjoyment when Jeff revealed the sixth vote.  Keith, Jaclyn and Jon each had two votes so that meant that Jon and Jaclyn couldn’t even vote.  They had to watch in silence as Missy, Baylor and Natalie went for the coup de grâce.

Jon knew what was coming and you could tell he was regretting saving that idol.  Natalie’s smile when she voted was something to see!

Natalie’s smile grew wider and Keith winked at Wes when Jeff read the votes.  Jon left with a lot of class and patted Keith on the shoulder: “Nice move, bud” he told him before realizing that he was forgetting to bring his torch.

Jeff ended the night by saying: “Survivor is a tricky game.  It can lull you into believing things that aren’t real like trust and, before you know it, you’ve forgotten the basic premise: Outwit, Outplay, Outlast.  This game is wide open.”

While Jeff said these words, the camera action was quite telling.  First, we realized that Jaclyn was fuming inside and that her wrath was directed at Natalie. Then, Natalie was the one that was on-screen when Jeff said the word “Outwit”, Keith was shown for “Outplay”, but Missy was the one featured under “Outlast.”  We can certainly say that Natalie and Keith were the perfect choices for Outwit and Outplay respectively.  Does that mean that Missy outlasts them all?

The Story

As we expected a while back, the end story has been dominated by a “Family” nucleus with Missy as the Mother, Keith as the Father and their three “daughters”.  While we expected the “son” to last longer, this season also featured the good game play by the women so Jon was taking too much place in the narrative.  Maybe our winner is to be found in the one that fills his or her role in the family the best.  I’ll list the pros and cons for every player as I see them but if you have stronger cases to make, let me know in the comments below.

The Characters

The Pros for Jaclyn:  For the remaining players, the “princess” should be a good player to take to the end because she acted so poorly on many occasions.  Once in front of the jury, she could make a strong case for herself, both in the personal department and in the game.  She could claim that, even if it was by luck, she and Jon were in a position of power and their decisions shaped this game.  Even if Jon fell, their tactics were good enough to get her to the end.  Since, as a group, the jury won’t be in love with any of the three finalists no matter who they are, Jaclyn could get some votes.

The Cons:  Since this was a Family Final Five, Jaclyn could have easily been portrayed as the Sweetheart, even the “Cinderella” of the season.  She had to cope with the gross behavior of the other kids and even the “father” was less than elegant.  That was used to explain Josh’s elimination but it certainly hasn’t been Jaclyn’s overall story.  A true sweetheart would not have been ignored before the swap like Jaclyn was.  When she finally became part of the story, she turned more into the bad sister, the one that was so conceited that she got constantly frustrated and even argued for hours with Jon despite the game that was going on.  If she could gain favor from the jury by admitting to luck, I feel she will borrow Jon’s final speech and claim that she decided the outcome of the season.  The jury will cruelly roast her.

The Pros for Baylor:  If she can make it to the end without Natalie, she could claim to be the finalist that made the most crucial decisions.  From the beginning of the season, she has been in on every vote and she could even appease Josh by explaining how his first vote against her was scary.  She knew right then that he was dangerous so she couldn’t trust him.  Like Jaclyn, she won’t be facing a Yul or a Tom in the Final Three so she doesn’t have to beat insurmountable odds.  If her mother is forced from the game, Baylor could gain some sympathy by association.

The Cons:  We have heard many negative comments about Baylor and her laziness will be difficult to overcome.  More importantly, we saw on a few occasions that Baylor cannot own up to her game and that is something the jury cannot accept.

The Pros for Natalie:  She has played an amazing game even if she was the first to lose her Loved One.  She is the most liked player left in the game, she never hesitated to confront the hardships of Exile Island, and she has won some key challenges, even an endurance one immediately after returning from Exile Island.  Natalie would make for a great winner.

The Cons:  This season isn’t set up for a great winner.  The story has featured the players’ failures much more than their successes.  If Natalie had won this season, the narrative would have been so much easier to construct and Jeremy would not have completely overshadowed her when they were both on Hunahpu.  The other players must see that Natalie would win the vote so they must consider that they have to get rid of her.  The problem is that she has an immunity idol so they will have only one shot to beat her.  I think they will succeed, bringing Natalie to the end of her journey without her “twinnies”, be it the real one, Nadyia, the honorary one, Jeremy, and the new one, her Hidden Immunity Idol. Once out of twinnies, Natalie’s game must end.

The Pros for Keith:  We often heard that everyone loves a fireman and that a firefighter and father of two kids would get the money.  Keith is also freakishly good in challenges and Natalie may very well have screwed up when she opened the door for him.  Like a good husband, Keith is always helping Missy even if she hasn’t always been nice to him.  It would have been fascinating to see more of their interactions because it seems that it played a role in Missy’s vote which saved Keith over Jon.  He has made some very dumb mistakes when the game got complicated but even his mistakes turned out well for him after the dust settled.  He keeps squeaking by and he’d make a dangerous opponent in front of a jury.  We’ve seen that “confessional Keith” is pretty good with words (even if they aren’t always the right ones!) and “Tribal Council Keith” had some good answers for Jeff.  It’s “every-day Keith” that puts his foot in his mouth when he isn’t using it to spit.  (Maybe it’s the taste of foot.) Now that Jon and Jaclyn have been separated, will Keith emerge from behind them?  That could have been quite the telling picture.

The Cons:  Would the jury accept to have been outwitted and outplayed by Keith?  If he doesn’t win the Final Five immunity, Keith should be everyone’s target and his edit could be completely explained because he is the last man standing.  (It should be funny to see Keith handling the next days with the four women.  I remember James saying how it was driving him crazy on Airai.) While Keith has played the role of the “father” by helping Missy and going out to fish, I think it’s interesting that, despite all the scenes that showed him with a fishing pole and tending the nets, we never saw him catch a fish or seen the group feasting on seafood.  I assume that “Keith-is-the-winner” story could have used some moments where he provided for the tribe.  In that important role, Keith failed so that could be a telling hint.

The Cons for Missy:  Jeff said she had no chance and she agreed. She told her daughter that she could care less about winning challenges and she could still be forced out of the game.  Hearing her talking about the fairness of staying in the game even if she can’t do a thing would be a way to end the “Tribute” edit that may have been the editors’ intent.  A tribute edit could certainly have pushed me in the wrong direction when I saw her as the winner.  Her hesitations at getting rid of the “son she never had” could indicate that she doesn’t have what it takes to beat her competition which includes her real daughter.  She was called a bitch by Dale but her likely opponents were called brat, princess and dumb.

The Pros for Missy:  The editors went out of their way to show that Missy was a “good mom”, the one that sympathized with the players who lost Loved Ones during the pre-merge challenges and who tried to help Julie in her different crises.  She even showed that she cared deeply for Jon, making it look like it was a last minute decision and only after hearing him talk at Tribal Council about rehearsing his final speech.   On the island, Missy had put a stop to any ideas of booting Jon on day 26 but the idea had been planted and she knew that the Jon and Jaclyn show had to come to an end.  The edit is backing her claim that she is loyal to the end and that this was a necessary move.  The camera also gave Missy credit for winning that challenge even if she was on one foot.  It isn’t the first time that her challenge performances were manipulated; a few times she could have been blamed for losses but she wasn’t.  Baylor’s quote that she will carry her to the end and the amount of time spent on showing Missy’s determination to keep on fighting are very good from an editing point of view. She showed her passion for the game and that could be the game changer; the argument that will tip the scale in her favor.  Jeff’s words told us that she will outlast them all.

While I don’t have the same confidence as in some of the previous seasons, I still think that Missy will be our Sole Survivor.

Now that we have reached the end of another season, I want to thank Rob for his generosity in providing this great space, Scott and Christine for editing the edit blog (!) and to all the readers who took time to read my ramblings. I really appreciate all the comments.

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