Survivor San Juan Del Sur

Follow My Lead

Previously on Survivor: Hunahpu was starving and decided to trade nearly everything for a bag of rice… and no one felt it more than Julie.

Despite losing everything, Hunahpu won the immunity challenge.

We heard Keith saying that they can’t catch a break and we saw him spit on the ground.

Back at camp, Dale was in trouble and hoped his fake immunity idol could keep him in the game.

Worried that the idol was real, the majority alliance decided to split the votes between Dale and their ally Keith.

Missy said that she was sad about that but, she adds: “Better Keith than me.”

At Tribal Council, Keith was shocked to get votes but, in the end, it was Dale who was sent home, leaving Keith confused and in the dark.

Irreconcilable Differences Irreconcilable Differences[/caption]

 

The relationship between Keith and Missy is proving to be very important and now, for the first time, they are in conflict. The episode will show that Missy won’t be able to control the damage created by this vote so will it be her undoing?    Keith has an idol so it’s dangerous to be on his radar.  However, this scene could also serve to explain why Keith would not vote for Missy in the end.  Some will say that Missy didn’t receive any credit for the vote; Jeff was once more talking about the majority’s decision but such an omission isn’t damaging when we are dealing with a low-key winner.  Jon is the one that is hurt because he was at the forefront of this decision.

As a footnote, the recap was the first indication that Julie wouldn’t be shamed for quitting. She was already given an excuse for feeling bad. 

Follow My Lead

Coyopa – Day 16

The music was very dramatic when the tribe started the day.

Missy in confessional: “Last night, we voted Dale out but there has been so much paranoia and talk of him having an idol that we decided that Baylor and I would write Keith but we were pretty worried about it because no one likes to have their name written down.”

Missy explained the situation to Keith, saying he’d have probably done the same thing if Wes had been on the tribe and there was a threat of an idol. Missy said she didn’t want to see Baylor going home or go home herself.  Keith said she could have let him know.

Keith in interview: “When I saw my name come up twice at Tribal, I said: What in the world? Are you kidding me? My name wasn’t in the plan.  Did I miss the memo?” Keith asked the tribe what would have happened if Dale had voted for him.  They told him that they would have all voted against Dale on the revote.  Keith replied: “No more lies. We don’t have to lie. His confessional continued: “It was Missy and Baylor who voted for me and they gave me some lame excuse. I think that I’m somebody who stays loyal but I’m done with you all.  I’m going to leave you hanging high and dry.”

High and Dry...

High and Dry…

...but Still Hanging

…but Still Hanging

Right then we saw a little frog hanging on for dear life. It looked like it was going to fall but it didn’t!  Will Keith fail to get rid of Missy as the image suggests?   That is a story worth keeping in mind in addition to the much larger conflict that will consume much of this episode.

 

 

Hunahpu

The music was much lighter when the camera followed a flock of birds that were on their way to Hunahpu. We arrived just in time for us to hear their tree mail message.

Natalie read the instructions telling them that they were about to merge.

Josh gave us an interview: “We got our tree mail which basically said we were merged and it was a mixed emotion feeling at that point because we needed to get rid of Jeremy and we didn’t do it when we had the chance because we’ve not gone to tribal with this whole tribe. So now, it makes it a little more precarious to get Jeremy out but we can do this.”

Talking to Reed, Josh said: “Alec and Wes are totally on board with us and Keith would easily come over so that’s five.”

So much for “Surround and Drown”: I don’t believe that Alec is a good enough player to fool anyone so, if Josh and Reed were convinced that he was with them then they should have thrown the challenge and booted Jeremy when they had the chance. This episode will end in another failure so we have a trend, a theme to this conflict.  After missing so many times to get rid of Jeremy, it stands to reason that Josh and Reed will have to pay.

Jeremy had an interview: “In this game, I always say that you have ups and downs, ups and downs, and I was down. At Hunahpu, Reed and Josh were in charge and they ran it and I took a back seat and that’s alright; you guys have your fun. But now it’s merge time and when it’s time to vote, I want to crush them.”

This was a very good confessional according to Game Theory: Jeremy knew he had to act like a follower when someone else was in charge but he will soon be on an up and will be looking to reverse the trap on Josh. Everything about the edit tells us that Jeremy will come out on top.  The most important hint we have is that Jeremy’s main allies, Natalie and Missy, have been much more visible than Wes, Alec and Reed.

We were back to Coyopa and the Howler monkey was taking care of its little one.

Keith read the merge message.

Jaclyn in confessional: “We got tree mail; it said pack your things– we are merging. I’m really excited. It’s a big milestone for me and Jon to have made the merge together. We never thought that this would happen.  Now, here we are, both going into it, day 16 and it’s the merge. When we get to the other side, we’ll feel it out because we definitely want to keep our options open.”

Jon jokingly said that nobody wants to date someone that doesn’t make it to the merge, so he was happy that he and his girlfriend could still date.

I really enjoyed this little wink at Kat!

While the tribe was climbing a hill, we heard Missy saying: “We are almost there.”

I do think that Missy is almost there!

Hunahpu was also on the move and we heard Reed’s confessional: “Coming into the merge, it’s a whole new chapter. We are all coming back together; you’re trying to figure what still stands, what’s dissipated and then there’s this whole Blood versus Water element.  You have a natural alliance that’s built in and that is so apparent and then you have people that don’t have their Loved Ones in the game anymore so it’s going to be interesting to see what happens.”

The first two players that we saw hugging were Missy and Natalie while Jon and Jeremy hugged just as Reed ended his confessional. It will be interesting to see what happens with these two because that will be the key to the tribe’s first vote.  As for the seating arrangements, it was very interesting to see that Baylor and Missy were the only pair that didn’t sit next to each other.  It was as if they figured it was better to mingle with the others.  Missy sat between Wes and Reed while Baylor was next to Jeremy.  In this social game, it’s good to talk to everyone if you can do it without making your allies nervous. 

Jon had a confessional: “After having absolutely nothing for 16 days, then seeing this giant feast waiting… It was awesome.”

I find it troubling that Jon keeps getting these Stephanie-type confessionals, always showing his craving for food. While Jeff said eating well was a good way to win challenges, he also said that it wasn’t the right thing to do on Survivor.  Added to his indecisiveness, I do not believe that Jon is being portrayed as our winner.  It seems more like he is getting the fan favorite edit which would be a nice way to end his journey.  Like in the previous challenge, he is doing very well but not enough.

Julie had a confessional that set up her exit: “On our previous tribe, we just had one couple and that was Reed and Josh. That was a little annoying seeing them have their lovers’ vacay but now, with the merge, we have multiple Loved Ones together and it’s really tough on me because I miss my boyfriend John.  I want to separate myself from the group and cry a little bit.”

Had she been voted out, Julie would have been part of the jury, forced to stay in isolation at Loser Lodge for the duration. Now she is free to join Rocker on the all-expense paid “vacay” for the pre-jury players.   It looks like that was the plan all along.

Wes had a confessional: “This feast was the number one highlight in the game so far. I mean, everything was great and we got to take out all the food that was left when we head home so we’re going to have a feast tomorrow, too.”

It was certainly the highlight for Wes’s character so far. He’s had very few occasions to talk to the audience. Unfortunately, it was only about the food.

It was Keith’s turn to give a confessional: “I’m excited to be playing with Wes.  It’s been sixteen days so it was good to see him.  I could care less about Missy and Baylor.”

Once more we see him spit. It lacked elegance, but it showed his disgust with the mom and daughter team.

Josh gave us his thoughts: “The game is all of a sudden speeding because you are doing so much. You are going through exhaustion; you are going through just mental mind craziness and then, to add on to all that, the elements out here, it’s not easy. Now, we’re merged and it’s a little daunting with so many people, and it’s a little scary, and it’s a little uncomfortable because this is where you make or break if you’re going to have the numbers for the rest of this game.”

The part of “it’s not easy” was heard while Julie was shown on screen. Josh’s words were being used as another excuse for Julie’s decision.  The message was: If even Josh who has a Loved One finds it hard then the audience should forgive her.  What’s with the apology for quitters?  If they are still watching, Osten and Kelly must be really upset by the pampering that Jeff and the editors give to today’s quitters.   Survivor was so much more fun when the players were actually surviving.

It’s more interesting to look at what Josh is revealing about himself in this confessional. Josh feels mentally drained which isn’t the best way to enter into the titanic fight he will have with Jeremy who has repeatedly said he can suck it up.  Before this episode is over, we will have many occasions to compare Jeremy and Josh and the Broadway actor will always seem to be one step behind, having to catch up to the firefighter. 

When they arrived at camp, Jeremy and Natalie were on screen when she said: “We’re each other’s loved one.”

Jeremy gave us a confessional that was divided in multiple segments, allowing us to see him talk to different people. We heard him say that he needed to keep his numbers while he was talking to Julie. We next saw Jeremy take a walk with Jon who told him they were still good with Missy. Jeremy told Jon that Josh was running everything.  Jeremy and Jon agreed they had seven votes, enough to take out Josh.  Finally, we saw Jeremy and Missy take a little walk.  After Jeremy counted their allies, Missy said they had been good from the beginning and that she was glad to have him back

Jeremy’s confessional: “The merge is a milestone but I think even more than that, this is where the game starts. The first half of the game– those are pre-lims, you know.  This is a totally different level of play.  We all have to step our games up.  The only way I can keep up in this game is if I can keep numbers.  So, I have myself, Nat always, Julie. Julie is just our number… so now I need to get two couples: Jon and Jaclyn and Missy and Baylor…  As soon as I got here, there were a few people I wanted to talk to but Jon was number one on the list… The first vibe I got from Jon was a good vibe.  He has Jaclyn so I said we are good, we are back together, and we are moving forward… Missy’s been with me since day one. I know I have Missy and Missy will bring Baylor.  We have seven, that’s all we need.”

I noticed that when Jeremy said that Missy will bring Baylor, it was Keith that was in the foreground while Missy’s daughter was in the back.  Missy will certainly try to bring Missy but will Keith, and his idol, foil that plan? The image could also be telling us that, unbeknownst to Jeremy, Missy will also bring Keith’s anger.  Keith’s idol could very well be Jeremy’s downfall.

While Reed asked everyone for their idea for a new tribe name, Josh gave us another interview: “I’ll tell you what: Alliances are crazy right now.  There’s a lot of mayhem and a lot of talking going on.  I think Jeremy has been talking to everyone. He’s just trying to gather his troops around because he knows it could be the couples.  The goal is to make sure that Jeremy doesn’t get the numbers before we get the numbers.  If not then I’m screwed.”

Josh said he needed to act before Jeremy got his numbers but, at that moment, Jeremy already had his numbers. Josh was already one step behind.  Jon’s 180 will temporarily reverse the balance of power but, editing-wise, it seems that Josh is screwed.

Huyopa – Day 17

The crabs were scurrying along the beach as if symbolizing the scrambling that was about to take place.

Keith made a mark on the rock to show that they were on Day 17 while Josh wished Wes a happy birthday. Keith had forgotten it was his son’s birthday even if the two had been talking all morning.

Some will say that this scene was meant to show that Josh is attentive to his allies’ needs, an essential quality in this game but a simpler explanation was that the editors wanted to have a little fun at Keith’s expense. It does show once again that it takes time for Keith to figure things out.

Keith (solo): “It’s Wesley’s birthday today. As a matter of fact, I woke up this morning and forgot all about it and Josh wished him a happy birthday before I did.  I did forget for a minute but no big deal, I finally remembered and wished him a happy birthday and everything’s good.”

Dad tried to make up for his mistake by roasting a crab for his son.

Josh and Reed talked quietly about Jeremy and the great job he was doing.

Josh gave us an interview: “There are four people who are singles and eight people who are couples so I am thinking why don’t we stick together as couples and be able to get down in numbers with the people we love? Right now, my tightest alliance is me and Reed, Alec, Wes and Keith but that’s only five, we need at least seven so I think I can still get Baylor to vote with me because I did save her once and Missy is going to transfer with Baylor to me.”

The confessional told us that Josh was clearly misreading Missy if he thought she would transfer to him that easily.

With Keith and Reed following, Josh and Baylor talked while walking away from the shelter. He asked her if they were still good and Baylor answered that they were… as far as she knew.

Baylor in confessional: “It’s difficult because my mom has a bunch of alliances and I only have one, strong one with Josh and she’s with Jon, Jaclyn, Jeremy and Natalie. So, being aligned with Josh still is really difficult for me right now. Starting off this game, me and Josh, we immediately aligned and he pretty much protected me. That is what’s hard for me is being like: Thank you so much for helping me, now I have to vote you out.”

Josh told Baylor about his plan for the four couples adding: “You don’t want to side with the singles.”

Josh realized that Baylor wasn’t too enthusiastic so he had another confessional: “I chatted to Baylor and I was like: I saved your life and now we are coming over here and you are just going to ignore that completely? Honestly, I was a little hurt.”

Josh told Reed that Baylor was very sketchy and they agreed it was because she was with Missy.

Baylor went to her mom with her dilemma. Missy told her that she would have to be a little bit phony adding: “He is going to respect you as a player when you blindside him.”  In the middle of the confessional that is transcribed below, Missy told Baylor that she would have to do as she is told because she already talked to Jeremy.  She added that they had the numbers while Josh didn’t so he was freaking out. “It’s a game. Suck it up.  Just smile and say that sounds great. I’ll talk to my mom.  Just smile to everybody right now.”

Missy gave us an interview: “Baylor is twenty and sometimes she acts like she’s thirty and sometimes she acts like she’s ten. She has this need to please but she is going to have to figure out how she is going to handle her heart.  She does have a sweet heart when it comes down to voting Reed or Josh out… I know she respects me but the difference is that she is coming to me and asking questions and it feels pretty good because it’s like, yes, I made some bad decisions in my life.  She’s had to stand by and watch them and I felt pretty crappy about that.  No mom is proud of being divorced one, two or three times and especially to have your kid watch you go through it.  But it’s like I get to redeem myself here and she is watching it because now she is back to being my kid and she is listening to me.  I’m like look: Trust me on this, follow my lead. Get in the backseat and let me drive. We are going to head down this path and we are going to be fine but you got to listen to me.”

This confessional was delivered in almost perfect silence. Except for a few notes here and there, the music editors didn’t want to distract our attention from what Missy was saying. It underlined the importance of what I see as the pivotal moment for Missy.  Like the moment when Natalie told us that she would follow Russell to the end and beat him because he ruffled feathers, this was the moment that really made Missy stand out.  By her own words, she is redeeming herself for the troubles that her divorces caused Baylor and she is also telling us that she will not play for Baylor but actually get Baylor to play by her rules.  The only question one could ask regarding Missy’s chances to win is: Will Baylor listen to her mom or will she rebel?  When she was in Coyopa, Baylor said she would play for herself but now that she as reunited with her mother, she has been very obedient.  The fake smile that Baylor put on at her mother’s request tells us that she will do as she is told.

Josh realized what was going on. He gave us another confessional: “I feel that the time that Baylor was away from me that she really got under her mom’s influence in diverting her away from myself and Reed. So now I have no other option than Jon and Jaclyn.  We have to make a play for these people or we will be out of the numbers.”

Outside of misreading Missy earlier on, Josh has a good read on people and the situations, so he is still a dangerous player.

We saw Josh sit down to talk to the Michigan couple. He said: “Reed and I really would love to work with you guys. We feel like getting in bed with Jeremy… I think he is going to be the strongest competitor.  He is the one working the most, he is talking to everyone…  Who do you think they are going to give the money to, two Broadway stars who are very successful or the fireman who has two kids?”

Jon and Jaclyn looked pensive but didn’t give Josh an answer.

Hi Missy!

Hi, Missy!

At the end of Josh’s plea, we saw that Missy had been standing right behind him. Josh was a little startled when Jon noticed her and said “hi” as she walked by.

Jon in confessional: “Josh approached Jaclyn and I and said that “We would love to work with you.” Once again, we find ourselves in the middle.  It seems that Jaclyn and I became a power couple once the tribe swap happened.  With two couples, we were kind of in the middle and both of them needed our help so we are being given a lot of opportunities to control our fate.”

If it is fate, then Jon can’t control it, can he? Semantics aside, Jon should realize that being in the middle gives you only one opportunity to decide.  You have to decide and make that decision work for you. The others will respect you.  Staying in the middle only makes you look indecisive and that makes you lose the jury’s respect quickly.  Just ask Ian or Chase.

To Jaclyn, Jon said that Josh and Reed seemed tied on keeping the couples, giving them top six. He added that they could be full of crap because they are Broadway stars.

Jaclyn had an interview: “It’s the same story again for me and Jon. We are for sure in the middle so it’s like which way do me and Jon go? It’s really stressful because one wrong vote could be a million dollar decision.”

Huyopa – Day 18

Jon noticed that the giant bowl of Trail Mix was missing.

Julie had a confessional saying that she took her share of trail mix from the feast and kept it in her bag. She was feeling guilty because everyone else munched on their provisions and they were out.

When Julie went off to sunbathe, the tribe decided to go through all the bags. Jon went to Julie’s bag and came out of it with a handful of trail mix.  Everyone agreed that it was insane.

On a funny note, this is another parallel to the Outback where the players went through Kel’s bag to look for beef jerky.

Wes gave us the confessional: “The missing trail mix… We found out that Julie had it in her bag. The smallest girl here…  It is one of the most selfish things you can do in . I feel like so a lot of people are pissed off at her for doing that and we are probably going to take it from her bag and eat it all.”

The tribe acted like the vultures we had seen on the beach, taking handfuls from the bag and sharing the candy. Jon could hardly refrain himself: “That selfish little…Ouf!”

Jon (solo): “At home, OK, you take Trail Mix, no big deal. It’s trail mix, so who cares? Here, we don’t have anything to eat.  She’s selfish; she’s awful so, if I can’t trust somebody in my alliance who is stealing people’s food, it’s ridiculous.”

Everyone was laughing and looking at Julie when she came back to the shelter. In confessional, she told us that she felt the tension and knew she was in trouble.

The Immunity Challenge

Josh had a confessional: “I am definitely in the most precarious situation I’ve been in this game yet. Without Jon and Jaclyn on board, it’s still not a majority.  I think my name will be on the chopping block, so I’m just going to go out there and try to win and fight to the end.”

It didn’t take long after the challenge started for the wind to come up and for Jeremy to lose his ball. He was the first out of the challenge.  Missy and Julie joined him on the losers’ bench just a bit before the end of the first round.

Reed, Baylor, Alec and Jaclyn were eliminated at the beginning of the second round, Natalie joining them soon after.

Josh, Wes, Keith and Jon were able to make it to the last round where they balanced two balls.

Ha Ha

Ha Ha

Josh was the first to fall out and that brought a smile to Jeremy’s face. When Jon dropped his balls, it left the father and son duo of firefighters to battle for immunity.  This time, the old man won.

While Keith received a hug from Missy, Jon jabbed Wes, saying: “You blew it!”

Keith had a confessional: “It’s crazy: I won immunity. It came down to me and Wesley.  I’m not ready to turn over the reins to him.  Tonight is critical.  We’ll know where everybody stands after tonight’s vote.”

Since we didn’t have a vote can we still say that this was the critical merge episode? We don’t know where everyone stands, but we do have a good idea.

Huyopa – Day 18

The vultures were having their own feast on the beach. They would be circling in the sky throughout this scene.

Jeremy had a confessional: “My first immunity challenge and I’m the first one out. This is ridiculous.  I thought I’d kill at these challenges but I’m terrible at these challenges.  I was out before an old guy, a mom, and Julie. I was out before Julie!  I was out before Julie.  But going into Tribal Council tonight, I feel like I’m safe, like we have the numbers.”

Jeremy won’t be out of the game before Julie but his words made me think he will be out before the old guy and the mom. His confidence was evident here, but it was far from being a sure thing.  A little more effort was needed but Jeremy would spend the afternoon relaxing.

When the whole tribe started eating, Alec said: “I sure would love the Trail Mix” and silence fell over the tribe as all the attention went to Julie.

In confessional, she called him out: “I heard Alec’s little punk butt saying something about Trail Mix. I’m definitely angry but I don’t know what I am going to do.”

She had a talk with Missy, telling her it was hard to see everyone with their Loved Ones. Missy told her: “I’m your Loved One.”  She asked her to hang in there and not to quit so soon.

Missy in confessional: “She stole food, put it in her bag, and didn’t share with anybody. That’s obnoxious but, if Julie goes home, that hurts us. One messed up vote at Tribal could throw this whole plan into the toilet.”

Missy got Julie to agree to stay one more night to carry out the plan.

In confessional, Julie said she understood she was being used, that she wasn’t going to hate them for it because that’s the way the game goes but she had to think of her own needs.

Jon was talking to Jeremy, saying that they were gunning for him even if they were pretending to go after Julie.

Jeremy asked for their reasons to target him.

Jon said it was because they thought he could win all the immunity challenges.

Jeremy laughed at that, saying he sucks at those challenges.

Jeremy (solo): “Josh is the only one in Josh’s alliance that is playing the game. If you take him out, it’s over.”

I wonder why they’d show this if Jeremy is going to get rid of Josh. Well, some will say that the game is indeed over and that Jeremy has it won so maybe that is the intent.  Even with Josh gone, Jeremy will have other sources of worry.

Josh also had a confessional: “This is my home turf, but I have to give Jeremy props because he is playing this game and he is actually playing it well. It’s just that it is opposite to what I am doing, and so it’s frustrating.  We have to get Jaclyn and Jon.  It would make sense to go couples together and singles out.  Blood versus Water, this is what this game is about.  Why don’t we get rid of the people who don’t have their Loved Ones anymore?”

The way Josh phrased it was like saying that he wasn’t playing well: Jeremy is playing well which is the opposite of what Josh is doing.  It made me chuckle.  I was also wondering where Alec fits in Josh’s plan. Could Alec become a problem for him? The thing to note was that, while Josh was scheming, Jeremy was oblivious, taking a swim in the ocean alone.

Wes, Keith, Josh and Reed worked on Jon, telling him that Jeremy was planning to take out the couples. They also pointed out that keeping Loved Ones meant there would be more camaraderie.

Jon in confessional: “After looking at the options, feeling out the people, I found myself making a complete 180 in terms of what alliances I am supporting. (a vulture was seen right then).”

He told Jaclyn that he couldn’t trust Jeremy and had to blindside him tonight. Jaclyn wasn’t sure about going the other way.  With more vultures on our screen, Jon said: “I don’t want to jump. It’s just the best thing for our game.”  Jaclyn said she felt good about that, but Jon said it was going to suck since he really liked Jeremy.

Jon’s confessional resumed: “It looks like we are going on the couples’ train and voting Jeremy out tonight. I’ve preached against jumping ship before because, if you jump ship you are going to be on the bottom of the totem pole but we are a couple so going with Josh, Reed, Alec, Wes and Keith has more long term potential with fewer bumps in the road.”

That’s when people started realizing that Julie was missing. Missy was surprised because Julie had told her she wouldn’t quit.

Julie had gone for a walk and asked to talk to Jeff. Having gone soft over the years, the host listened and even sympathized with her.  They mentioned how it could affect her allies in general and Missy in particular. Jeff pointed out that it could cost someone a million dollars.  Julie felt guilty but her decision was already made.

Jeff then informed the members of Julie’s alliance that they were down one member. Jeremy had a confessional where he said he could be going home because of that.  Josh also had a confessional saying that this put Jeremy in trouble.

Jeff then said that there wouldn’t be a Tribal Council. When he said that someone may have gotten a million dollar break, the camera went to Missy and Jeremy.  Josh’s was again heard in confessional, saying that they had missed their chance to eliminate Jeremy.  He concluded: “Hopefully, Jeremy is on borrowed time now.”

Jeremy told us he wanted Josh out of the game. His conclusion was that Julie really messed up his plan.

The smoke from the fire symbolized the fogs of war as it spread over both combatants.

 

The Story

One can wonder if this really was the crucial merge episode because we didn’t have a vote. It really looked more like an hour long promo for next week’s “thrills”.   The stage is set:  It will come down to Jon and Jaclyn’s decision to go with either Josh or Jeremy.  On a lower level, we have another conflict brewing between Missy and Keith. Once the dust settles over the battle of the Titans, I think the conflict between Missy and Keith will be the true deciding factor.

The Characters

The Guys’ Alliance

Wes:  He had a couple of confessionals, but they were only to tell us about the food situation.  It looked like a birthday present from the editors.  I’d say enjoy it because he won’t be getting much more.

Alec:  This “little punk butt” could very well be the next to go.  If Jon wants to test Josh, he should put the target on Alec who isn’t with a Loved One anymore.  If Josh agrees then the Michigan couple has three more days to weigh heir options.  If Josh wants to keep Alec then Jon and Jaclyn should know he is lying to them and they’d vote with Jeremy.  Even if Alec stays in the game and his alliance gains the numbers, we are seeing more and more that he is exactly like Drew, so he can’t win.

Reed: He was shown scheming with Josh but it was almost always his partner that talked directly to the audience. Either Reed is voted out because Josh will be wearing the immunity necklace or he leaves right after his partner’s elimination.

Josh: He had multiple confessionals, explaining his game play throughout the episode so he could come out on top of the conflict with Jeremy but most of the hints go in the opposite direction. Josh was always one step behind Jeremy and he needed a last minute “Hail Mary” pass completion by Jon to give him a chance. Then the joke was on him when Jeff cancelled Tribal Council.  The whole set up of the episode makes sense only if it is to show that three days can make a world of difference.  On day 18 Josh was 80% confident he’d come out on top, but the odds won’t be the same when they get to Day 21.  Probst’s decision to cancel Tribal Council will likely have big repercussions.

Keith:  The theme to his story is that he needs some time to figure things out.  That even included remembering Wes’ birthday.  So, the question is: Did he finally figure out that he needs to get rid of Missy or did he make up his mind too quickly after receiving those two votes?  Keith is given a lot of airtime and we see a very fun character, one that can make us laugh. Is that the extent of his story?  Will he get rid of Missy or will she hang on to the very end like the little frog?  He wants no more lies, but we saw that Missy can very easily lie with a phony smile on her face.

The Couple in the Middle

Jaclyn: She is becoming the voice of reason in the couple. Maybe it helps that they usually go to Jon first, giving her time to think things through which doesn’t seem to be her boyfriend’s strong suit.  I don’t see how Jaclyn would ever feel comfortable in an alliance with Wes, Alec and Josh so this is another reason why I see this whole episode as a smoke screen.

Jon: Jon’s story is being reduced to his hunger and his indecision. He is right to say that they are in the middle and that flipping isn’t a good idea because it puts them at the bottom of the totem pole so I wonder why he made that 180 degree turn before consulting Jaclyn.  We didn’t see him talk to Missy either so we have to wander if it was simply cut out to make us think that Jeremy was really in trouble.  I don’t see Jon as a contender anymore after this episode.

Jeremy’s alliance

Natalie: If this was the crucial merge episode then Natalie’s fans had to be disappointed by her absence from the story. She was only one of Jeremy’s numbers and we didn’t hear from her at all.  Like Reed, she will be the next to go if her strong ally is voted out.  If Jeremy wins the battle, she will be nothing more than his honorary Loved One.

Baylor: Forced into the back seat by her mom, one could think that Baylor rebels but everything we have seen about her tells us that she will follow her mother’s lead.

Jeremy: With the episode built around his conflict with Josh and the misdirection pointing to Jeremy’s fall, we should feel good about his chances to win the game but we still see his overconfidence and his lack of attention to details, going off for a swim when the vote was still being discussed. While I think that Jeremy will get Josh, I think he will be blind to the trouble from within his alliance.  Unlike Keith, he doesn’t seem ready for Missy’s lies.

Missy: This episode finally gave us her signature confessional, the one where she related her real life experience to her game and how she will get Baylor to follow her lead instead of just looking out to protect her kid. Missy wasn’t only Julie’s Island “Loved One,” everyone in her alliance likes and trusts her. When she told Baylor how to handle the questions and how she needs to separate her heart from the game, Missy also showed us that she wasn’t like Dawn or Lisa, a nice woman that cannot put her emotions aside.

Missy is also aware of what is going on, eavesdropping on the conversation between Josh, Jon, and Jaclyn. Maybe Jon will want to make the big move but Jaclyn should keep him in line and, in the end, he should vote with his “island Mother”.  Missy lost Keith however and that could turn out to be her last obstacle, but I think she will come out on top there also. Even without the all important vote after the merger, I see Missy as our Sole Survivor.

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