Survivor San Juan Del Sur

The Honeymoon

Previously on Survivor, since day 1, Blood versus Water has been the tale of 2 tribes heading in opposite directions. Coyopa couldn’t win a challenge and they weren’t getting along (We hear Val saying that Baylor told her to vote Dale).

Hunahpu was unbeaten (Reed shown doing his stretch) and living like kings but even they couldn’t live in peace. (We see Keith telling everyone that Jeremy has an idol, we hear Jeremy’s trying to rally the group against Keith, and finally Drew is heard saying they need to get the snakes out of the tribe.) Drew decided to throw the immunity challenge but, at tribal Council, his plan backfired as a majority came together to blindside Drew, leaving his lone ally, Jon, in shock.

While this recap is much more in tune with what we saw than the one we were served last week, it still changes our perceptions of the events.

First, we only heard Keith say that they should keep in mind that Jeremy has an idol, so it makes it look once more like Val’s husband overreacted when he said that Keith wanted to vote him out.

More importantly, it wasn’t the girls or Jeremy that were credited with getting Drew but simply an unnamed “majority”. (We did see the voters minus Missy though) Jeff could have told us that Natalie and Missy set the stage for Drew’s comeuppance or that Jeremy’s alliance was in charge, but it was presented simply as a majority turning on Drew.

When we heard Jon’s reaction to the vote, it wasn’t to say “Good Play, Girls” like we originally heard but only “Good Play” and it was directed at Kelley.

Jeff also neglected to say that Jon wasn’t the only one left in shock because Keith and Reed were also left out of the majority. Jeff’s words lead us to believe that Jon was the only one in the dark which makes for a nice underdog story.

The Honeymoon

Hunahpu Day 10

The tribe’s entrance was accompanied by very loud war drums. The return from that “learning experience” was going to be a serious scene.

Jon gave the first interview: “Tribal was freaking insane. I was definitely one of the odd ones out. Drew was definitely a friend of mine but he stepped on a lot of people’s toes the last few days. I am very nervous and I have a lot of damage control to do.” We heard him telling the tribe that he would have been on board if they had told him about the vote.  Kelley told him he would be much better off without Drew.

How prophetic of Kelley! It really didn’t take time for Jon to find a better game partner and a better situation!  The question after this episode is just how much better off will Jon be?  If this was a race to the title, I’d say that Jon made his move in this episode and has taken the lead.

Jeremy looked very happy when he gave his interview: “Jon is on his apology tour because he knows he will be gone next.” We then saw Jon talking in private to Jeremy, saying he should have gone to him and apologizing for not doing it. Jeremy’s interview continued: “He comes to me and I didn’t have to do anything; I just swooped him up. You know what I mean?! This is beautiful. I’m right in the middle of where I want to be.  This is perfect. I’m in a beautiful spot right now.”

Hum... Does Jon Deserve to Survive? Hum… Does Jon Deserve to Survive?[/caption]

 

Kim had a few confessionals where we heard her say that things were going well for her but she never looked on her allies with condescension the way Jeremy constantly does. The body language was that of a king looking down on someone, passing judgment.  Jon wasn’t the next one to go so Jeremy may regret this moment. Instead of making Jon want to work for him, I’d say that Jeremy’s arrogance could very well have made Jon want to find the right time to knock him off his throne. 

 

 

 

Coyopa Day 11

After Wes read tree mail (Another writer’s pathetic attempt to be funny), we heard Dale say that it was good that they’d walk in first this time while the other tribe would do the walk of shame in front of them. It led to questions about the identity of the person voted out.

Josh (solo): “Someone coined walking into the arena with one less person, the “Walk of Shame” and, since we won immunity, it’s going to be nice to have the other team do it except if it’s your Loved One that is not there.”

We saw a close up of Alec when he said: “I just don’t see Drew being the one voted out first on his tribe.”

Alec gave an interview: “There’s another challenge in the arena and I will be absolutely excited to face off against Drew. He socked me in the mouth a couple of times already but I’m still standing and if I can sock him and knock him down, I’m gonna.”

It seems that Alec’s new role is to make us chuckle. For now, his brother was still funnier.

The Grandstands

Jeff noticed the shocked faces and the emotions so he turned to Alec who said: “I don’t get it. I thought Drew was one of their best players over there.” Alec turned to Hunahpu, asking if Drew was seen as a big threat, but he only got silence as an answer.  Baylor explained her shock by saying that she thought Drew was Mr Popular. That got some laughs from Kelley and Missy.  Jeff told Josh that he was shocked to see so many shocked reactions.  Josh agreed, saying that they don’t know the dynamics of the other tribe, and that it sucked.

Jeff told them to drop their buffs. We heard Kelley saying that she knew it while Baylor exclaimed: “Son of a Gun.”

After the commercials, we had an instant replay of the players’ shocked reactions. Asked if she was happy at the prospect of playing with her dad, Kelley said that she didn’t know because the singles would feel a little bit free while the ones with Loved Ones are looked as targets.  Jeremy agreed that it was dangerous to be in a pair but said he’d prefer to see Val on the other side.  Josh said he didn’t know what he wanted because he got close to his tribe but could now be with his Loved One.

It was interesting that the pairs were said to be in danger like they were in the first Blood versus Water. The editors always put some doubts, some obstacles on the road to victory, so these words could be telling us that the pairs will succeed. That would simply be normal.  These players don’t have the previous relations that enabled many of the returning players to gel even if they were singles.    

The new tribes were:

  • Hunahpu: Jeremy, Natalie, Julie, Alec, Wes, Josh, and Reed.
  • Coyopa: Missy, Baylor, Jon, Jaclyn, Kelley, Dale, and Keith.

Reed and Josh kissed as did Jon and Jaclyn.

Jeff pointed out the asymmetry between tribes but didn’t point to the obvious imbalance in physical strength between the two. Hunahpu should be unbeatable in physical challenges.  (I bet there won’t be a puzzle or a balance beam in the immediate future to make sure that the Blue tribe remains intact) 

Asked how he felt being the lone single on his tribe, Keith said it didn’t feel good but that they’d do OK. Reed told Jeff that he could be a target since he represented two votes. Jeremy was seen listening intently at that answer.

Jeff sent them back to camp, giving them the chance to get to know each other.

Jon gave an interview: “When I first realized that Jaclyn and I were going to be on the same tribe, it was an extremely happy moment right when I needed it. When I was in Hunahpu, I was on the wrong side of the numbers so the tribe swap came at the right time. It’s a whole game changer.”

Survivor has had quite a few showmances, some less appreciated by viewers than others but this is a real romance so we know the editors will use it for all its worth. Despite that proviso, it wasn’t only about their romance; there was much more substance to Jon and Jaclyn’s story.  Was it only due to the vote?  We will be able to tell by the way this pair evolves now that they are in charge.  Will it be simply about their love story or will we hear about their long term connections to others?

Hunahpu

Julie and Natalie greeted the newcomers.

Josh said their place was twice the size and they had plenty of food over there. Realizing there was only a few scoops of rice left, Hunahpu had to admit they were eating two portions a day while Coyopa was on one meal a day.

Wes gave an interview: “We come to a new tribe, a new camp and it sucks kinda because the food situation on this camp is horrible. I don’t know what they were thinking since they got this much rice left and they got twenty-some days. We probably had more than half a bag and they got a handful of rice left so it had to be why they were winning.”

Imagine that: Wes is the one the editors chose to tell us that Coyopa was smarter about rationing their food supply than Hunahpu. That can’t be good for the present members of Hunahpu. The ones that left were also responsible, but the comment was directed at the 4 present.

Alec said he was bummed, but that they would figure it out.

Jeremy gave us an interview: “This morning, I wasn’t on anyone’s radar and I could do whatever I wanted and what happens? My worst nightmare: A tribe swap. We get Wes and Alec and Josh together on our tribe. So, all they have to do is Josh work his magic on Reed and Reed could jump ship and my game is history.  They are going to go right after me.  I guarantee that.”

I wonder why Jeremy didn’t try to work his magic on Josh and Reed, offering them a Final 4 deal with Natalie. This confessional made it look like Jeremy never even considered it.

It was Josh’s turn to give us his thoughts: “I’m so excited about the switch and I was excited to actually play with Reed.  I’ve been wondering what’s been going on with him. My relationship with Reed definitely gave me the strength to come out to my family and to my friends. I grew up a very conservative Christian…Not everyone agrees with how I am living my life. We’ve been together for two years and… it’s that level of commitment that’s going to take us all the way to the end.”

Surround and Drown.

Surround and Drown.

 

If we are to judge by the image of the big wave submerging him, then we can say that the road to the end may not be as easy as Josh thinks.

 

 

 

 

Coyopa

We saw a howler monkey jump from one tree to the next, demonstrating a lot of skills and balance in doing so. It seemed to symbolise Jon’s leap from Hunahpu to Coyopa.

We heard more of Jon’s interview (He was sitting at the same spot as before so this interview was taken at the same time as the one heard right after the swap.): “My first steps on the new Coyopa camp: It’s good. I feel good about it.  They got a bunch of rice and I was like Yesss! We get to eat!  I couldn’t have been happier but even more importantly; I am on the same tribe as Jaclyn.”  We saw him kissing his girlfriend while saying: “I don’t care what implications this has. I’m just pumped.” His interview continued: “Being here with Jaclyn right now is a huge weight off my shoulders.  She knows everything that is going on in my life especially my dad right now is dying of brain cancer.  Jaclyn has been there for me every step of the way.  I am excited that I can actually share so much of this experience with her and even more excited that it seems like we can help each other.”

While his “we get to eat” isn’t very smart considering the previous scene, it’s good for Jon’s chances that we remained connected with his personal drama. If we go back to the introduction videos, Jaclyn also shared her personal drama, her inability to have children but that hasn’t been mentioned during the season.  We just heard Jon say that Jaclyn will be able to support him and that seems to be her role, a supporting actress. 

Jaclyn gave us an interview also: “When Jon got a yellow buff, I was like: I have no idea what this means for my individual game right now. It’s unheard of: To have someone playing with you that you trust 100 percent. It’s kind of crazy.” (The scene below was shown here) “We’ve been together for three years and we definitely know how to work together as a team…in this kind of situation.”

In the middle of her confessional we heard Jaclyn tell Jon about the alliance of guys on the original Coyopa and Baylor flipping back and forth. She added: “I don’t trust Baylor or Josh. And Baylor knows that”.

Seeing the couple kissing one more time, Baylor looked quite envious. Jaclyn said: “You guys are going to hate us” to which Baylor answered “No, I love it. So cute.”

Baylor in confessional: “Jaclyn and Jon are in love. It was like I was watching a honeymoon. I’m totally jealous. I’m sitting here single, twenty, hanging out with my mom. My mom and I are both single.  My mom has made her share of mistakes…My time will come. My mom’s next time will come. Ha! Ha! Ha!”

Keith (solo): “Brand new tribe. It is a little weird being the odd man out. I don’t know: It’s a mom and a daughter, it’s a daddy and a daughter and it’s a guy and a girlfriend. I’m kinda between a rock and a hard place.  I might be by myself, but I got a little idol. As a matter of fact, it’s in my boot.  If all else fails: I got the back-up plan.  That’s always an ace in the hole”

Me and My Idol

Me and My Idol

 

We had another helicopter shot, this time of Keith observing his new tribe. Could this be the right one?!  We can at least say it wasn’t used ironically like it was for Drew who was seen as the “Fool on the Hill” instead of the King of San Juan del Sur.   This last sequence showed Keith attempting to be the provider for his tribe, going for the role of the father in Coyopa, a role that Dale failed to assume.  

 

 

 

Hunahpu

The tribe was talking about the difficulty of the game. Alec said it takes a strong mind and body.

Alec gave an interview: “I feel pretty good about the new tribe to be honest. I feel like we have the more athletic of the two tribes.  Maybe my tribe won’t suck like the last one.  It’s only day eleven and I’m fine. I feel good.  I think that I’ve proven that I am not in my brother’s shadow anymore.  I outlasted him in the game so, for the first time in my life, I can say that I beat Drew.”

This confessional signals the end of Alec’s sibling rivalry story. We will need to see him pick up a new storyline if he is to last deep into the game and have an impact on it.  It could be that he will be the deciding factor between the original singles of Hunahpu and the pairs of Coyopa.  Are there any doubts about where he’d go?  It would be very surprising to see Alec flip on Josh and Wes to go with Jeremy and Natalie, two players that played a key role in eliminating Drew. 

A snake accompanied Natalie and Jeremy as they went to the well. Natalie was saying that Alec was like his brother, contradicting Alec who had just said he had stepped out of his brother’s shadow. Jeremy didn’t care because they needed Alec right now.

Jeremy said he needed Alec, but what will happen when his vote against Drew is revealed? With Reed there to spill the beans, it’s only a matter of time before Alec chooses to avenge his brother.

Jeremy in interview: “I can only assume that Reed jumped ship with Josh, Wes and Alec.  I’m hoping that I can say to Alec: Just roll with us, Alec. He is by himself; he is a single.  The couples are not going to break their bond.  He’s going to be out if he sticks with Josh and Reed.  I’m a firefighter and we have this thing called: Surround and Drown…  If (a fire) gets out of control… everybody stays outside with their hoses, surround it and drown it.  That’s what we need to do.  We need to drown him with the water of the singles.  I’m definitely going to play to Alec’s ego. He’s just like his brother.  It’s like a little Drew but I’m still working on him.”

Did Jeremy really only assume that Reed was a lost cause? These words seem to imply that there were frictions between Jeremy and Reed that weren’t shown or that Jeremy never really talked to Reed before the swap. Was he that comfortable in his alliance?  He was in such a beautiful spot that he may have neglected the social game, the need to keep everyone happy.

We saw Natalie and Jeremy taking turns talking to Alec but, strangely, Julie didn’t participate in the plan to surround him. Since Alec liked Rocker, maybe she would have been the one to convince him.  It really didn’t look like the singles made any progress with Alec.

Coyopa

Missy was cooking rice, a lot of rice, way too much rice according to Dale. Realizing this, Missy told Baylor: “He is monitoring me.”

Missy in confessional: “There is a ton of rice over at this camp and Dale is on monitor duty about how much they have. It’s not how we did it over there.  We made so much more than this.” Dramatic chords were heard in the background when Baylor told her mom that Dale had been trying to get her voted out from the beginning.  Missy’s confessional continued: “My daughter told me that Dale has tried to vote her out pretty much the entire time.  It’s hard when you hear that someone is not being nice to your kid.  I’m just telling you: Blood is Blood.  So, in this experience, the only thing I want to protect my kid from is that guy picking on her.”

Dale was heard saying “One less mouth in three days” to no one in particular before giving an interview: “Our tribe has been doing real good about rice. We’ve still got two-thirds of our jug left and then Missy comes in and starts dishing out double helpings.  I was biting my lip hard enough to draw blood because it took every bit of self control not to walk over and slap those rice dishes out of their hands and say: “Guys, this is our camp; this is my rice. Stay the hell away from it.”

Kelley gave us an interview also: “I’m almost waiting for Missy and my dad to get into a battle over the rice. I see it forming.  Missy plays that sweet mom role, but she can be a bit of a diva and my dad is a small town, hard-working, farm man and he doesn’t deal with that kind of stuff. I’m really happy to be playing with my dad, but he is really set in his ways and says what’s on his mind.  There are certain things that he does that I think can bother people a little bit. In the long run, getting into a fight with someone over an extra scoop of rice could get you voted out next time.  I’m going to play peacemaker. I have to otherwise my dad is going to put a big bull’s eye on his back which puts a bull’s eye on my back.”

Even after Kelley tried to calm him down, Dale said: “She’s a self-centered, bossy bitch.”

Hearing Kelley call Missy a diva which Dale raised to self-centered, bossy bitch, I assume that most editing analysts will say that Missy cannot win, but I won’t go that far yet. In fact, this may have been her finest moment up to date.  It confirmed her role as the mother of the tribe and she gave her “kids” exactly what they needed: Food.  The game in Coyopa was coming down to a power play to align with Jon and Jaclyn and we had just heard that Jon was ecstatic at the idea of having plenty of rice to eat.  Missy probably knows that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so it’s possible that this meal played a big role down the line.  Who had the upper hand in attracting Jon?  Since the choice was between a militaristic “father” who was on rice monitoring duty and a doting mom that kept saying, “Have some more. Have some more,” no one should be surprised by the outcome.  Also, Missy knew that Dale was getting upset. “He is monitoring me,” she said so maybe she added some rice just to irk him even more.  Of course, I will be listening to the next recap, waiting to see if Jeff says that Missy wasted rice or simply mentions that she fed the tribe if he says anything at all.  

Hunahpu Day 13

The tribe was lethargic when Reed gave us an interview: “The food is getting dire. We are down to a handful of rice, a handful of beans, and it takes its toll.”

(Julie was shown resting in the shelter, looking exhausted)

Josh then gave us his thoughts: “On our tribe, we were eating once a day. We could have gone 39 days easily the way we were going.  Here, we have three days of food left and then what?  I’m shocked to be honest that people weren’t smarter.  There were some very foolhardy players on this side.  It’s really, really frustrating.  I don’t know what we are going to do.”

Yum... Nicaragua Fried Vultures.

Yum… Nicaragua Fried Vultures.

 

Reed was hallucinating, thinking the vultures were actually rotisserie chicken. Alec said those vultures were disgusting, but Josh’s mouth was watering at the thought. Alec said they had to propose some trade to Jeff.

Reed (solo): “I feel that the last time we tried to barter with Jeff, it kind of made us all look like a little foolish because this is not Survivor market. But, if that is what it takes, that’s what we are going to have to settle for because we need food to be competitive.”

The vultures were just there, teasing them as they walked to the challenge area.

 

The Immunity challenge

Even though Hunahpu was digging harder and faster, it sure looked like their bag wasn’t buried as much as Coyopa’s. Hunahpu got out to a huge lead and never really looked back.  Maybe some were amused to see them all looking like they were feathered and tarred, but what a waste of time.  Jeff had the audacity to blame it on lack of communication among the Loved Ones when Coyopa was simply outmatched.  Jeff could have simply given immunity to Hunahpu.

After Coyopa was dismissed, Reed asked Jeff for a few minutes to talk to him. Jeff knew that this conversation would be good.  Reed explained that they wanted to trade for a bag of rice.  Jeff said the tribe had to pay for eating so much.  He told them it would be costly but that he had to take care of Tribal Council first so he’d see them in the morning.

For some reason, it was Julie that gave us a confessional: “Jeff said that he would come to our camp to discuss some sort of a trade.  We need to negotiate something in order to get more rice, but that’s really going to be heavy, that is going to hit hard.  I’m not really sure what is going to happen. I’m scared.”

Coyopa Day 13

If we go by the music then we should feel sorry for this tribe’s loss. The muddy figures got back to camp to a melancholic air.

Keith gave an interview: “The fact that we lost this challenge, it seems that these three couples would be gunning to get me. That’s just a free vote.  They wouldn’t lose none of their Loved Ones. Keith would be gone, everything would be good.  But, of the three couples, one doesn’t like the other so that could be real good for me.  We’ll see tonight at Tribal.”

Keith is getting a nice narrator role here. Of course, it could simply be because of his particular situation but it’s always good to have confessionals about tribal dynamics, to keep a player on our mind.  Keith is in for the long run.

Dale stepped to the microphone next: “It’s three couples and Keith so, if you can get another couple, you control our tribe. It’s as simple as that: It’s four against three.  The way Missy and Baylor have both been around camp are one of the key things driving my vote.  Missy is very pushy around camp and Baylor has proven in the past that she will tell somebody to vote one way, and then she changes her vote at the last minute and that makes you nervous as hell at this stage of the game. So, we absolutely have to work with Jon and Jaclyn because they are swing votes.  Now it’s scramble city.”

Dale told Jon and Jaclyn that Baylor flips and flops. Jaclyn agreed that it was risky and scary.  Jon wondered about Missy, but Kelley told him she was the same.

The audience knows that Baylor is unreliable but Missy has never been disloyal, so this whole scene is more damaging to the daughter than the mother.

Kelley had a confessional in which she told us they were working on Jon and Jaclyn. She added: “The point is to choose a pair and that’s the name of the game. I’m choosing Jon and Jaclyn. Missy and Baylor are out.”

Dale was happy that it was a new game: “I’ve got your back, Michigan.”

Jon gave us an interview: “We have so many couples here that it really is all about finding your couple that you match up with. The most important thing is to read a situation and be able to say: Is this the best thing for me now? So, I’m leaving room to make adjustments.”

This confessional tells us that Jon could very well be our winner. This whole game is about reading people and adapting to changing situations.  Jon expressed it very nicely.  This could very well be a clip that will be used at the reunion if Jon is indeed the Sole Survivor.

Jon and Jaclyn agreed that they had to get to know people better. They talked with Missy and Baylor who had to explain why she voted with the guys, going against Jaclyn.

Baylor (solo): “Prior to the switch, Jaclyn and I never really worked together one-on-one, so this is a new ball game between me and her for sure. My mom and I put some cards on the table. Hopefully they choose us over Dale and Kelley.”

The following scene was shown in the middle of Baylor’s confessional: Missy asked Jaclyn about Dale. Miss Michigan said he was supposed to be the next out. Missy said: “I hate to say this, but those two could be huge, huge threats to the end because they are so smart.”

I think we can assume that the choice came down to Jon’s previous relations inside Hunahpu since Jaclyn had equal reasons to worry about Baylor and Dale. We noted early on that Missy had interacted with everyone on her original tribe so I have no trouble imagining that she got a lot closer to Jon than Kelley ever did.  You always have to keep your options open, something that a few players seem to have neglected, especially those that were in a beautiful spot. 

When Dale and Kelley walked out of camp, Missy was quick to point out that they were going to look for an idol. Missy proposed splitting the vote.

Jaclyn in interview: “What makes me nervous about working with Missy and Baylor right now is because of Baylor’s past. The basic idea is that Baylor flipped on me once and she could do it again.  But Dale is sneaky and I’m sure that his daughter is the same way.  Missy and Baylor want us, and Kelley and Dale want us and we both keep telling them: Yeah! We’re in.  If we are planning on teaming up with Dale and Kelley, Jon and I are voting Baylor.  If we’re teaming up with Baylor and Missy then we are splitting the vote in case there is an immunity idol and one of them plays it.  This is a huge decision tonight.  It will determine which couple we may or may not be playing with later. Knocking out one of them is a big move. You’re going to have to vote out somebody’s Loved One and somebody is not going to be happy.”

During this confessional, we heard the two pairs in waiting saying that they felt good about Jon and Jaclyn’s decision. Missy and Baylor even told Keith that it was all good.

Tribal Council

I noted that Baylor and Kelley were at the two extremities, making the division very clear. Also noteworthy was Keith’s position: He was placed right between mother and daughter.  I took that as a hint that those three are now solidly together, a newly assembled family with Jon and Jaclyn ready to join.

Jeff went directly to Keith, asking him if he felt in danger.

Keith said that he did initially but that some of his teammates came with him. (Missy was highlighted right then). He added: “It seems to have its good and bad. I hope it’s not six to one.  If it is, I’ve been really had.”

Jeff asked Jaclyn about the fact that Keith was only one vote; that two couples would have to gang up on one at some point.

Jaclyn told him that it will be hard to maintain relationship with the remaining Loved One.

Jeff brought up the fact that they were 7, an odd number, which was a good time to make a move.

Relax Jeff; they don’t need you to make that “big” move.

Jon simply answered that he was glad he could talk to Jaclyn because he trusted her.

Dale told Jeff that he spoke very little to Baylor.

Asked about the friction with Dale and Kelley, Baylor said that things had gotten crazy, but it didn’t mean she didn’t like Dale.

He threw it back at her, reminding Jeff that she had gotten all the girls to vote against him at the first TC and that she then aligned with the guys.

Jeff finally realized that Jaclyn and Jon were the couple to go to.

Jaclyn said they were in a good position to be strategic.

I'll Have to Show You Strategy.

I’ll Have to Show You Strategy.

 

(That got a reaction from Missy)

 

 

 

Dale said that Jaclyn and Jon were the hottest couple in camp right now.  Baylor corrected him: “They are the hottest couple period.”

Kelley explained that the friction between her father and Baylor prevented her from working with Baylor.

Missy told Jeff that the only thoughts were spinning in her head. She said she was like a mama bear: “I can’t get over the fact that Dale has been gunning for my daughter this whole time without me there. So I’m kind of stuck on that.”

Dale replied that Baylor came after him first.

Baylor said it was simply the case of being at the first tribal where no one knows what to do.

Missy said that Dale’s vote against her daughter put a damper on her relation with Kelley. “I’m going to protect my kid. That’s just a no-brainer.”

Jeff asked Keith if the two parents were screwing up their game by protecting their kids.

Keith answered that it was great for him but that he was with Missy and Dale because someone was going to be disappointed.

Dale concluded by saying: “There’s no way to vote somebody out and feel good about it.”

It was time to vote.

There were 2 votes against Baylor and Dale, three against Kelley. They all came from the other women.

After snuffing Kelley’s torch, Jeff asked the tribe if they could work as a tribe after voting out a Loved One.

The Story

In this episode, we heard that the name of the game is to choose a pair, and I believe that the game will come down to pairs. We still have four in the game even if Keith and Wes are on opposite tribes.  If the merger is at twelve then all four pairs are likely to make it. Coyopa can go to another Tribal Council with the couples in charge and it seems that Jeremy’s “Surround and Drown” plan with Alec won’t float.  Jeremy, Natalie and Julie have to hope that their challenge strength carries them to the merger because Josh, Reed, Wes and Alec should control the votes. A delayed merger should still contain at least three pairs which would then be a majority voting bloc.

After the merger, it most likely comes down to something Jon said: “It really is all about finding your couple that you match up with.” We can already look at the possible matches.  It seems that the two pairs of lovers have no bonds between them because Jon wasn’t aligned with Reed while Jaclyn was playing against Josh.  Wes has a connection with Josh but not with Jaclyn while Keith and Reed weren’t together on Hunahpu. If Keith knows that Reed was the one that alerted Jeremy it could even burn that bridge completely.  The couple that matches the most with the others is Missy and Baylor.  They have gained a strong connection with Jon and Jaclyn, Missy gets along nicely with Keith and we never saw a conflict between her and Reed while Baylor was aligned with Josh and Wes.   They are in a prime position to choose a pair… and flip on another!  Will Jaclyn regret staying with Baylor?  Maybe, but that should be far down the road.  It would seem that a Final Six with the father and son team of firefighters, the mother daughter team of cheerleaders, and the hot Michigan couple is the most likely outcome to this story.

The Characters

These players are in trouble because this version of Blood versus Water isn’t going to favor the Singles:

Dale: This dead-man walking is reduced to bluffing his way to stay three more days. Of course, if he succeeds then he could be saved by the merger, but it seems that the farmer has been much more irritating than we have been shown.

Julie: Her only intervention of the episode was to tell us about the tribe’s talk with Jeff which scared her. I think she should be more scared about Jeremy’s plan to drop Reed and work on getting Alec to change alliance.  If Alec is conflicted at all, if he wants to keep his options open, then Julie becomes an easy vote… again.

Natalie:  Even if she played a big part in getting rid of Drew, her role wasn’t underlined in the recap and we continually see her as Jeremy’s follower.  Every time she says something, Jeremy is there to point out her mistake.  So, even if the singles manage to take over, Natalie’s role isn’t going to be rewarded.

Alec: He remained stoned-face when Natalie and Jeremy surrounded him.  That made it look like he was far from drowning.  While he did express some doubts about Josh and Wes’ strategy, especially when it came to Rocker, we haven’t seen any hints that he would betray them.

Jeremy: If Jeremy has lost Reed like he says, then he has also lost Josh, Wes and Alec.  His plan of working with Alec is bound to fail because of his role in eliminating Drew ,but his tribe is unlikely to go to Tribal Council before the merger.  There, it seems likely that his bad read of people will continue to hurt him if he tries to get Missy back on board and go against his old foes, Jon and Keith.  Jeremy started the game with more allies than anyone else but, except for dead-man walking Dale, he now has more enemies than everyone else. Many viewers will see it as doubts surrounding our eventual winner but I think we’ve seen his bad social game for a reason.  He continually looks down on people, even dismisses them if they don’t do it his way so, while some are still on his side, many others have to be waiting for the right time to vote him out.

The Couples:

Three pairs have a star and a supporting actor:

Reed: Like Dale who was a 50 pound bag on Kelley’s shoulders, Reed could be too much baggage for Josh to carry.  Most likely, his actions up to now will come back to drown Josh.  No one seems to trust Reed; Keith even has a very valid reason to distrust him.  So it will make it hard for anyone to work with Josh.  Since Josh was shown being submerged by a big wave during their own “Honeymoon” scene, we can even wonder if Jeremy’s plan won’t succeed after all. We’d really have to reassess our outlook on things but it wouldn’t change our view of Reed.  Either way, he won’t be our winner.

Wes: Despite the confessional in which he told us that Hunahpu wasn’t very smart with their rice, Wes is not really an important player this season. His story is on hold until he joins his father, the real star of this pair.  If, as I suspect, the Final 6 comes down to him, his dad, the Michigan couple and the cheerleaders, then it’s likely that he will make a quiet exit shortly before the Final Tribal Council.

Jaclyn: She should be happy to know that most viewers will see her as a better player than Jefra, her pre-season model.  At least, by now, most viewers know Jaclyn which wasn’t the case for Miss Kentucky.  Still, this isn’t a beauty contest so Jaclyn has many obstacles to overcome.  Her role is definitely to support Jon’s bigger story.  They will try to go as far together as possible and the others still find their romance cute. However, their allies will soon realize that they have to be broken apart.  As soon as Jon wins an individual immunity challenge, the target will appear on Jaclyn’s back.  However, everyone likes Michigan (well maybe not Dale at this point, but he doesn’t count) so sending her to the jury will also be dangerous.  She would certainly influence the other voters in Jon’s favor.

By this time, I usually have narrowed the list of “suspects” to one or two but I have to be cautious this time so these are the ones I still see as Contenders:

Josh: Like Jon and Jaclyn, Josh is part of a hot couple and he also had his “honeymoon” moment.  In the edited version of the events, Jeremy hasn’t talked to him and it seems that the firefighter was quick to dismiss the couple as possible allies. That could very well be Jeremy’s downfall because, at the merger, Josh and Reed should regain their attractiveness.  They could be the couple in demand at that point but that probably won’t last.  Baylor knows that Josh is sketchy while no one is connected to Reed.  If the four couples team up after the merger, Josh and Reed should be the first eliminated once they have secured the numbers.  Josh seems destined to drown in this game, but he is one of the few smart players so we have to keep him on our list.

Baylor: Her mother says that she is there only to protect her kid and Baylor has more confessionals than her mom, yet I see less positive content for the young cheerleader. Her own treachery almost led to Jaclyn and Jon aligning with Kelley and Dale. She should play a big role in uniting Josh and Reed to their couples’ alliance and she could also play a big role in betraying Josh and Jaclyn.  If she does make those big moves then she could pay the price for her disloyalty.  She would try to explain them as game moves but the others saw that she was disloyal from the start so they will see it as her true nature.  For now, I think that she will be in the Finale with her mom but wouldn’t get the votes against the “nice mom” and whoever is there with them if it is a Final 3.

Keith:  We already saw that he wants to provide for his tribe by going out to fish while the others relaxed in the water.  If he makes it to the merger, that role could then carry Keith far.  Being paired with Wes, no one will see him as an immediate threat and his good nature should contribute to keep him safe.  Can he maneuver his way to the end?  He’s already attached himself to Missy and Baylor; the idol can help if he can keep it secret and everyone likes to have a father figure around.  He was first seen as a strict father but he has been quite easy-going after his name came up at Tribal Council.  His answers to Jeff have always been very thoughtful, somewhat contradictory to his country bumpkin persona.  Would he be that level-headed answering a jury?  It wouldn’t be easy to convince them that he deserves the title of Sole Survivor but he’d make them laugh and that could be enough. The overhead shot of Keith was nicely done, and it’s another hint that Keith has to be on our list.

Missy: In protecting her daughter, could Missy win the game? It would truly be Survivor’s version of “Save the cheerleader, save the world”!  Even if Dale sees her as a self-centered, bossy bitch and Kelley called her a diva, everyone else likes Missy. Her motherly role was underlined with the rice scene.  Since it didn’t kill her, we can say that it made her place in the story much stronger.  Everyone can relate to the mama bear analogy so maybe her diva attitude can be forgiven or at least understood.  It certainly would be something she could explain to the jurors and, through them, to the viewers.  Her connection with Jon on Hunahpu, even if it wasn’t revealed, had to be the deciding factor in the couple’s vote.  Her connection to Keith could play a bigger role down the line.  I like Missy’s chances but even I have to note that her role in Drew’s boot wasn’t highlighted in the recap like it was in the previous episode.

Jon: We had noticed him in the premiere as being goofy but still having substance. Immediately, we knew that he was on a journey that could carry him far, a journey that, hopefully, he could share with his father.  Every time he made a mistake, he was given the opportunity to explain himself.  That led to a very consistent story, where only his vote against Keith was left unexplained.  Keith is still on his tribe and he’s probably a more important part of his alliance than Jon realizes, so that could be dangerous. We’ve had a big hint that Jon could win crucial immunity challenges down the road because Missy and Natalie saw Drew as a more dangerous opponent.  Considering what we’ve already seen of Jon, he could outplay everyone, win his way to the end.  There, his good nature could get him many votes.  After this episode, Jon becomes a very serious contender.

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