Survivor San Juan Del Sur

It’s Part of the Game

Previously on Survivor, we saw the power alliance that was formed when Josh recruited Jaclyn and Jon (we hear that Josh is very confident that he has the numbers) … and they were targeting Jeremy.

But when Jon was sent to Exile Island, Jaclyn’s new alliance showed their true colors. (The editors used a short cut to make it look like Alec was talking to Jaclyn instead of Baylor)

At Exile Island, Jon found a hidden immunity idol and, at the immunity challenge, Jeremy won security of his own.  (Jeremy is shown, happy to have foiled Josh and his goons’ plan)

Facing Tribal Council Jon and Jaclyn were second guessing their new alliance and it came to bite Josh and his alliance when Jon and Jaclyn flipped.

We saw Jon winking at Jaclyn.

In this summary, Alec looked even worse than in the last episode.  The scene where he was bugging Baylor was cut in such a way that it looked like he was addressing Jaclyn directly. It was as if he was the only reason why Jaclyn didn’t want to work with the guys anymore.  On the other hand, Jeff’s recap completely ignored Keith and Wes’ responsibility in the mess.  This tells us to keep an eye on the father and son team.  Keith’s story in particular merits our attention.     

It’s Part of the Game

Huyopa – Night 21

A Farewell to Josh A Farewell to Josh[/caption]

The music was like a long lament while we were shown the Tribal flag, the camera practically focusing on Josh and Reed’s name.

I think this choice of music and the camera’s focus on Josh’s name painted on the flag is a tip of the cap to Josh, a good player.  It could also be a sign that Jon and Jaclyn made the wrong decision; that Josh’s elimination will not work out for them in the end.

 

The tribe agreed that the council had been intense and we saw Missy hugging Jon and then all the women hugged.

Isn't He a Good Boy?

Isn’t He a Good Boy?

 

Like the Colby/Tina alliance was key in understanding the story that came out of The Outback, I see the Jon/Missy alliance as the key to this season.  Between the two couples we have a mixture of Blood and Water alliances.

Reed had a confessional:  “I am furious that Josh is gone.  Our game together has now officially come to an end.  So, I’m not exactly sure who to turn to just yet but, right now, all I have to do is worry about me now.  I need to figure out how to move forward being in the minority.”

For this episode, Reed will be successful but let’s not get carried away by his developing story arc.  We have to keep in mind that the post-merge episodes are always designed to create distractions, players that suddenly appear to have great potential.  The winner’s story is constructed carefully over the course of the whole season and it’s evident that Reed hasn’t received that patient construction before this episode. 

Jon asked Jaclyn and Missy if everyone hated him.  He felt bad because he really led Josh on.  Missy told him that it was just part of the game.  Baylor came in and hugged him, saying: “The big brother that I never had.”

Jon in confessional: “The thing that pushed me over the edge to join the alliance with Jeremy was when Jaclyn felt disrespected by everybody in Josh and Reed’s alliance.  I wasn’t sure why but my instincts were telling me that it wasn’t the right thing to do.  If there is anything that I learned watching past Survivor it’s trust your instincts.”

Keith joined the conversation, saying:  “You two jump ship quick.  Jon has been lying to me for 18 days.  Missy has probably been lying to me for 17 days.”

Jon replied that they were never lined up while Missy said that it was part of the game.

Keith in confessional:  “It didn’t go our way tonight.  Jon and Jaclyn flipped over there again with them and we’re in a bad place.  They can pick us off one at a time.  I have the idol and the thing with that is playing it at the right time to maybe get one of them out.  Maybe I can tell them to vote me off, they all put my name down and I play the idol.  I’ve had it with Jon, I’ve had it with Missy so it might not be a bad idea because it’s getting to crunch time now.”

That confessional was presented in two parts. In the middle of it, we heard Keith blaming Missy for not staying with the couples.

This is the one piece of evidence that plays in Keith’s favor:  After the last vote, we knew that the focus at the start of the episode would be on Reed and Jon.  We really didn’t need to hear from Keith at all at this point yet he not only intervened, he gave us a great reason why he could win over Jon and Missy.  They are liars while he is an honest man.  The question becomes: Is lying part of the game?  Before you say that it obviously is, remember that it would be a great story for the often outwitted but honest man to make an amazing come back and take the title.  I mean, the guy was even outwitted by a piece of flint yet he still has one of the best stories out there. It may have been designed only for its entertainment value but it could hold the moral of the story.

The Reward Challenge – Keith! Keith! Keith!

The Blue team had Wes, Missy, Jon, Jaclyn and Keith. They were facing off against Alec, Baylor, Reed, Jeremy and Natalie.

When Wes went up against Reed, we heard Jon’s encouragements: “Wes, think of food… my first freakin’ meal since the merge.”  Despite that, Reed won the point.

Even if she had a longer reach, Jaclyn lost to Natalie.

Jon lunged at Jeremy and threw him in the mud, scoring his team’s first point.

When Missy faced Baylor, Jeff reminded us that the daughter defeated her mom the last time. Missy went for it but missed and wound up in the mud.

When Keith tricked Alec, pretending to relax just before giving him a push, we heard a chorus of Keith! Keith! Keith! Keith! from his team.

After slapping some mud in Reed’s eye, Wes won their rematch.

In a second rematch, Jaclyn tried to give a hard push to Natalie who didn’t budge. The reaction sent Jaclyn into the mud.

When Jon faced Jeremy for the second time, Jaclyn reminded him of the sandwiches. That was all Jon needed to defeat Jeremy.

It came down to Missy and Baylor, which was very fitting in Blood versus Water according to Jeff.   Jeff asked: “Does mom have anything left in that tank?”  Jeff told us that Missy went for it but she fell in so Baylor won the reward for her team.  Keith went to help Missy out of the pool of mud.

The fulcrum of the season was presented in this challenge:  On one side, many viewers had been saying that Missy would give in to her daughter, would sacrifice her game for her.  Here however, we saw that Missy will not hesitate to go for the win.  Now, some will still argue that she will fail in the game just like she did in the challenge but the outcome of the challenge wasn’t something that could be manipulated.  Only Jeff’s words were and he told us that she went for it.  

On the other side, we heard everyone cheering for Keith as if that’s what the audience should do also.  Granted, Jon and the others were mostly thinking of sandwiches when Keith surprised Alec but I’d expect the jury to cheer much in the same way if Keith makes his way to the end against other “goons”. 

Besides those two aspects of the story, I also enjoyed seeing Keith helping Missy out of the mud.  It could simply have been a courteous gesture but I think it tells us that there is something going on between those two.  A secret affair perhaps?  No, not that kind of affair but it’s possible that Honest Keith isn’t telling us everything that is going on.  Someone will be telling him to vote against Reed and we know that Missy will be thinking of splitting the votes to include Reed’s name on the parchments.

Natalie asked Jeff if she could trade positions.  Jeff replied: “You can give up your reward.”  So Natalie gave the yacht trip and the food to Jon. Jeremy immediately jumped in, giving his place to Jaclyn.  The Michigan couple could hardly believe it.  Jeff admiringly said that it was a “crazy trade”.  Jon said he was holding back tears.  Natalie explained that she had been nervous at Tribal Council so she wanted to reward their loyalty by showing love and respect.

The five agreed on sending Jeremy to Exile.  Jeff could hardly believe it: “Two minutes ago he was on a yacht.”

Baylor, who had voiced the team’s decision, explained in confessional:  “We chose Jeremy to go to Exile just because I’m positive there is an idol on Exile and it would be better for our alliance to find it.”

There was an obvious change in voice tone before the last part of Baylor’s comment so we know her words were spliced together. Maybe the cut was done only to save time but it’s possible that Baylor mentioned an ulterior motive in sending Jeremy and we weren’t meant to hear it.  I suspect she said she’d like to see her mom find the idol but that she didn’t think her mom would handle exile well.  If so, cutting her sentence protects Missy’s credibility as a survivalist.  As is, the alliance’s possession of the idol is all that mattered.

Huyopa

The Howler monkey greeted Natalie, Missy, Keith and Wes back in camp.

Natalie in confessional: “We got the “W” but I decided to give up my spot to Jon.”  Missy was heard at this point: “Jon needs food.”  Natalie’s confessional continued: “I just wanted to do this so he knew that I appreciated him siding with us at Tribal but also to make sure that, moving forward, I could always count on Jaclyn and Jon to trust me and Jeremy.  This is going to be leverage for me down the road.”

If Survivor was a fair game, maybe it would have worked out like Natalie hoped but it’s an evil game as Jeremy found out.  The game now depends on Natalie’s reaction after a vote that really shocked her.

Keith told Natalie that Jon was with her for life since he was almost crying when he realized he was going on reward.

Wes in confessional: “Natalie and Jeremy trading place for the reward was a big time strategic move. Jon and Jackie aren’t going to flip now.  I congratulate them for it.  Touché!”

Kat was cuter when she (mis)used the expression.

Wes pleaded with Natalie and Missy: “If me or him are going home, please let us know.  I don’t want to be blindsided.”  Natalie replied that she wanted Reed gone.  Keith assured them they would be final 6 after the move they pulled.

Keith gave us an interview: “Wesley was letting Nat know that he didn’t want to be blindsided.  I don’t know if they took that hint.  It was kind of a subtle hint really.  That way we could get a little bit of a heads up on playing the idol or passing the idol between us two.”

Now Keith is even plunging into the subtleties of the game!  What an interesting turn of events.  On the other hand, if Amazon Matt could learn the game well enough to imitate Hatch during final immunity then there certainly is hope for Keith.  However, Matt had Rob teaching him those subtleties so it’s really amusing to see Keith discovering them on his own.

Exile Island

Jeremy: “Jon and Jaclyn joined our alliance and I appreciate that so giving up my reward to them is the least that I could do.  I came to exile because I want to find the idol so that I can protect myself and I can bring it back to my alliance and say: Look at what we have. And now everybody feels like we can trust him. So, when I make a move, they don’t expect it.  But first, I need to find this idol.”

The staff of Survivor likes to torture their players because they sent the yacht right by Exile Island.  Jeremy saw it and told us he really wanted that food and the beer.  He would soon get a chance for all the sandwiches and drinks he wanted.

On that yacht, the group was observing dolphins that were swimming by on starboard.

Jon gave us a confessional: “…It was really cool and being able to share it with Jaclyn was incredible.  It was a very good way for Jeremy and Natalie to show their gratitude.  We are very thankful for it but we do have to realize that this is a social game and that was a very big play on their part.”

Reed also had an interview: “I enjoy food and I enjoy rewards but Jon and Jaclyn were not supposed to be on the reward.  Natalie is just trying to ingratiate herself to everyone by going: I love you so I’m going to give up my spot for that.  It makes you want to hurl because it’s so transparent.  Yes, it cements Jon and Jaclyn into their alliance but, in the end, does it really mean anything?  Not if I can help it because I don’t have anything to lose right now.  I might have to stir up a little bit of chaos to stay in the game right now.  It may end up being the last nail in my coffin but it’s a risk I am willing to take at this point.”

The first part of Reed’s confessional really made him sound jealous that he didn’t think of doing the same.  I’m sure those sandwiches didn’t taste as good as they should have when he realized he missed an opportunity.  It’s also funny that someone who would resort to a dirty trick to ingratiate himself to everyone would hurl when someone did something so transparent.  The gall!  Would he prefer that his enemies be sneaky?! Even if this episode would be great for Reed, it didn’t turn him into an endearing character.  

Exile Island – Night 23

The crabs were surrounding Jeremy and the weather wasn’t helping.  “I hate exile.  It’s just a long night, there’s no shelter, and you are sleeping on rocks next to the fire.  It’s just not fun.  I stayed up most of the night and now I feel really lethargic this morning… I wanted to find the immunity idol but I didn’t find it.  I am going to go check the island one more time.  I climbed this all day yesterday and I couldn’t find it.  The only thing I’m thinking is if Jon already found it.  If Jon found it, it would be great but he should have told me he found it and I wouldn’t be out here for two days.  I’m dying over here, I’m tired.”

As this image showed, this season put the good guy in a nest of crabs. 

Huyopa – Day 24

Jon was talking to Jaclyn, realizing that Jeremy would suspect he had the idol.  He said: “Either people are going to think he is extremely stupid and he’s trying to pull off that he couldn’t find it or they are going to think that I was lying this whole time.  They know he’s not dumb.”

Jon’s confessional started in the middle of his discussion with Jaclyn: “This is one of those times when I hadn’t really considered what is going to happen when Jeremy does come back and says he can’t find the idol. My entire cover would be blown and I could be in very big trouble.”

For someone who was expecting the need for damage control, Jon looked ill-prepared when the time came.

The Immunity Challenge

Jeff noticed that Jeremy looked beat up.  Jeremy told him that the bugs and the crabs were scary.  Baylor and Natalie’s reaction told us that they knew what he meant.  Jon looked sorry.

Jeff’s initial instructions were clear: Use only your feet so when Natalie picked up a piece that had fallen out of her basket with her hands, I was expecting either a disqualification or at least a time penalty but Jeff was silent at first.  Then, when Wes and Reed also replaced some pieces by hand in their basket, we heard him say:  “If a piece drops at any point, you can pick it up with your hands to put it back in the basket but you got to use your feet to do everything else.”

It made the whole thing look like he was making the rules as he went but hey! that’s part of the game!  I wonder if other players that were disqualified of challenges like Rafe and Jenna fill bitter when they see just how flexible the rules can be.

Missy was moving slowly but we heard her say: “No panic. No panic.”

Keith did surprisingly well but, he met disaster on the last piece of the final row.

I really think Keith will come close but will meet disaster during the final few episodes…or will he?

Looking at the set up, it was obvious that Reed had an advantage: Nimble feet, flexibility and strong abdomens because of his dance training.  However, the same athletic skills apply to cheerleaders also.   Baylor won because this challenge also involved another of her skills: Sitting around, doing nothing with her hands. 

Missy was really happy and led the applause.

The “kiss of death” spot for a confessional went to… JEREMY!  “Exile zapped me.  If I was one hundred percent then that would have made a difference.  I always want to win but as long as one of our alliance members won, I’m happy how it turned out.”

I know that the person giving the confessional immediately after the immunity challenge hasn’t always gone home but when someone is about to be blindsided and that person feels as comfortable as Jeremy, it’s almost always is the way the editors start the funeral march towards Tribal Council. 

Huyopa – Day 24

When the tribe arrived back in camp, we only heard a “Good job, Baylor.”

There was much less effusions than we normally hear.  Jealousy again or was the joy cut out so that we wouldn’t join in?

Reed had a confessional: “I didn’t win immunity today, which I came close to.  I’m a little bummed about that because I feel that was a custom made challenge for me.  Now, I’m thinking that my chances of being here tomorrow are pretty slim.  I may be going home tonight so I will light this camp on fire on my way out.”

By the way, whenever we say that production designed a challenge to help a specific person, we have posters write that we are making up conspiracy theories but Reed was in trouble and he even admitted that the challenge was custom made for him.  It could have been a coincidence but it is amazing how often lucky coincidences happen on this show.

Reed went through Keith’s bag and his confessional continued: “So, I want to see what Keith has in his bag.  I want to see what this old coot is sitting on… He’s got…directions on what to do with the immunity idol.  Keith left a paper trail and it’s a big rookie mistake.  Don’t leave stuff in your bag that you don’t want people to find.  I always thought that I hate it when people go through people’s stuff but desperate time calls for desperate measures.”

Reed showed the paper to Jaclyn, Missy and Baylor, saying he got it by going through what he thought was Julie’s bag but it was Keith’s instead.

Missy in interview: “I know Reed is scrambling but Keith really has an idol.  It’s not good at all.  You know, quite frankly, it may be something that we should think about.”

Baylor also had an interview: “If what Reed is saying is true, freaking Keith, out of all people, has an idol which is baffling.  I would never think that Keith would be the one to find it and be able to hide it this long.  Who knows how long he’s had it?  So, it’s about to get crazy.”

It’s funny that Baylor couldn’t believe that Keith had the idol because, like most of us, she probably doesn’t think that Keith is a contender for the victory.  However, this is certainly another thing that makes us wonder because he is still in contention and has one of the best stories remainingWe also have to add Reed and Baylor to those who have said that Keith isn’t smart.  It’s really going into overkill which always makes me question the editors’ intentWill Keith overcome all these odds at the end of the story?  One thing the viewers had to think when Baylor mentioned “Keith out of all people” is that Baylor herself would never have found it but at least Keith put in the effort.

Keith was quick to tell Wes that someone broke into his bag so that everybody knew he had the idol.

Keith had a confessional: “I mean; that is my stuff.  I don’t go through your stuff so I don’t expect people to go through my stuff but different people got different values.  The word might be out that Keith’s got the idol and it may come in play sooner than later.”

This is another example of “Honest Keith” having to deal with “bad” people.

Jaclyn informed Jon about the idol.  He couldn’t believe his ears.  Jon said that he burned his instructions.

Jon’s interview: “There’s a lot going on.  It’s total mayhem right now in camp.  Keith has an idol so he’s got a very good play in his pocket.  It really complicates things.”

It would get even more complicated next because Jeremy was telling Natalie that Jon had an idol.  He also said that Natalie was the only one he trusted: “I don’t trust nobody else.”

Jeremy had a confessional where he told us he wanted to catch Jon in a lie: “Jon is like the worst liar.”

Jeremy took out the clue he had received during his exile and asked both Natalie and Jon to tell him where they think the idol was hidden.  When Jon said it meant that it was on the island, Jeremy said he looked so that he thought Jon had to have it.  Jon tried to act like he didn’t have it but it was quite apparent that he was hiding something.

Jeremy’s confessional continued: “Jon has got to be lying but I have to trust him a little bit.  We are all in this together, we are trying to get to the final 6 and then we will see what happens.”

Jon in confessional: “Sending Jeremy to exile was a great thing at first but I think right now that Jeremy believes I have the idol and isn’t saying that.  So I need to do something and change the course of the game.”

Jon talked to Missy, saying that both he and Jaclyn trust her. He added: “I found the idol.  I would like Jeremy out at this tribal or the next.”  Missy realized that Jeremy would start telling people that Jon had the idol.

Missy in confessional: “I just got this information about the idol and I’m very pleased to know that Jon is super-aligned with me.  But, he’s got this look in his eyes.  Jon is saying that Jeremy’s a threat, Jeremy’s a threat.  Now may be the time to take out Jeremy but you know, it’s interesting because I watched Jon and Jaclyn barrel through some people so far and they have no problem pissing people off.  Since I’ve started this game, I have been aligned with Jeremy and Natalie from my old tribe.  Jeremy and I initially were together full-fledge, so, for the first time, it’s a little bit cloudy and at the end of the day, is it like we are making the right decision?  I think maybe a better way to do it is split the votes Keith and Reed, try to flush the idol and stick together six strong just because, if we rock the boat too hard, one of us is going to fall out.”

If we remember, Josh introduced a theme this season that it was good to have people come to him with their plans.  Of course, it didn’t turn out so good for Josh but that’s mainly because he started scrambling at the merger.  Now, Missy is the one getting people to come to her, first Reed and now Jon.  Maybe she will have better luck with that great advantage than Josh had.  We also have to note that Missy just told us how she would beat Jon and Jaclyn if they were to face the jury together.  “Jon and Jaclyn barrel through some people and they have no problem pissing people off.”  That really sounded like the final argument in her favor.

Tribal Council

When Josh entered, he only exchanged sweet smiles with Reed, giving us no indication that he was angry with anyone.

Jeff asked Jeremy about trust with the six people in his alliance.

That’s pretty much Jeff-speak for: “Can’t you see what they are about to do to you?”

Jeremy said that trust was huge.  He was hoping it would last all the way to the end.

Seeing that Jeremy wasn’t catching on, Probe pressed the point, asking how he could make sure that it stayed that way.

Jeremy mentioned that he and Natalie gave their reward to Jon and Jaclyn.

Jaclyn, for once, didn’t put her foot in her mouth when she told Jiffy that it didn’t complicate the game, it just reassured them, told them they made the right decision to go with them.

Jeremy was all smiles when Jeff mentioned that he was sent to Exile Island.

Obviously tired of this discussion, Reed interrupted: “Jeff it’s not exactly selfless.  It definitely serves a purpose.  It cements trust, it’s: You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. So, it’s self-serving in being selfless.”

Jeremy admitted it was true and Reed agreed with Jeff that it was a good move.

Jeremy then told Probe that he was spent after his trip to Exile Island. “It kicked my butt.”

Missy agreed, saying Jeremy looked completely fatigued.  “It was a different Jeremy.”

Probe asked Missy about idols, noting that none had been played after 24 days.

Missy said there was a lot of speculation but that people were feeling comfortable. “You shouldn’t be comfortable in your skin this entire game because you have no idea.  It can switch on a dime.”

Jon said he was confident that someone had one.

Natalie said it was scary that the other side could have one adding: “It’s also scary that a member of your alliance could be hiding one from you as well.”

Jaclyn went back to Keith and Wes who, contrary to Reed and Alec, had not been talking to her and Jon.  She concluded: “That shows me confidence so, if I was going to take a wild guess at who has an idol, I would say either Wes or Keith because they are not really scrambling.”

Wes replied by saying he hadn’t talked to her about strategy the whole game and that she hadn’t talked to him either.

Jon pointed out that they were the ones that needed him and Jaclyn so talking may have helped.

A shouting match started which Keith tried to end by saying that he tried to talk to Jon until he sided with them.

Baylor interrupted saying that they should talk to the girls.

Keith countered that by saying: “I talk to your mom all the time.”

Baylor raised her arms saying: “I’m a girl, she’s a girl and so is Natalie.”

Keith said: “I talk to them when I pass them.”

Probe realized that was great news for Reed.

Reed said that he wanted the fight to continue because it could give him a whole new world of opportunities.

Jeff asked Jeremy about the timing of the move.

Jeremy brought it back to talking to Jaclyn when they were on the fence. He felt it was the time to show Jon that he had his back by taking care of his wife.

Natalie told Jeff that she wanted her alliance to stick to the plan. She didn’t want anything to distract them from their long term goals.

Of course, the camera went directly to Missy when Natalie said that.

It was time to vote.

We saw quite a few votes:

  • Jeremy voted Keith.
  • Keith voted for Reed.
  • Natalie voted for Keith.
  • Alec voted for Reed.
Will Keith Play His idol?

Will Keith Play His idol?

 

Jeff went to tally the votes and we saw Missy turning towards Keith, suggesting that Missy was hoping Keith would play his idol.

When Jeff asked if anyone wanted to play an idol, the camera stayed on Keith a little longer than it usually does.  How close was Keith to playing that idol?

 

 

Josh Doing his Best Eliza Imitation.

Josh Doing his Best Eliza Imitation.

 

Of course, none of the votes shown mattered because Jon, Jaclyn, Missy, Baylor and Reed all voted against Jeremy, shocking Josh and Natalie.  She immediately turned to Missy: “What the ___, Missy?”

Reed winked at Josh just as Jeremy slammed his torch in the ground in front of Jeff.

Jeff concluded the evening by saying: “Tonight’s vote is both a brutal and a beautiful example of why you should never give up.  Anything can happen.”

Keith, Reed and Wes were on screen when Jeff said you shouldn’t give up.

Natalie was still shaking her head when she walked out of the council area.

The Story

Now we know why Jeff was so open when he said that Julie’s decision saved Jeremy.  It really didn’t matter that they showed us that Jeremy was lucky to have survived because his survival wasn’t linked to his allies’ success.  Now, the two couples will have to find a way to the end without him.  Many viewers will say that they made a big mistake, that their timing was wrong because now they are 4 in a group of 9.  But the story isn’t really about the two couples making it to the end; it’s about the women fighting for respect.   Natalie was shocked by this vote but, like Trish last season, she has nowhere to go.  Since the four women have Jon in their pocket, they still have the numbers.  At the start of the season, there were eight women competing against ten men and that numbers disadvantage got worse over the first two votes.  Now, the tables are starting to turn and, with the elimination of the two biggest male players, the women may soon find themselves in the majority.  It was the first time since Marquesas that the two big leaders of rival alliances got eliminated in the first two votes after the merger.  We should all echo Jon’s words at the end of episode 4:  “Good play, girls.”

Can the remnants of Josh’s alliance take back control from the two couples?  While the numbers tell us that it is quite possible, we have to keep in mind that “the Goons” don’t have the end story ties that we would have seen before this turn of events.  The story that we have watched coming out of San Juan del Sur wasn’t about Wes, Alec, Reed and Keith making it to the Final 4 together.  It would be very disturbing to see the Frat boys succeed even if Survivor isn’t the Hilton.

The Characters

So whodunit?  Who came back from Central America with his or her name on the majority of the ballots? Let’s see if we can make a case for these players.

The Innocents: They still don’t seem to know what went on around them.

Alec:  I have read some comments that Alec is about to emerge as the victor but he is the leading Frat boy so I simply cannot make a case for his victory.  The previews for the next episode show us a Christy brother starting to get interested in making a move.  While some see it as the start of his story, I see it as its end.  Like Drew, Alec will come up with a plan that will deliver his torch directly to Jeff’s snuffer.

Wes:  The Baba Looey to this season’s “Slow Draw McGraw”, Wes cannot win.  Even if the “goons” find a way to overturn the game, Wes cannot get the votes in the end.  We have seen some random confessionals interspersed throughout the season but their content is severely lacking.  He is a player without a story or strategy which tells us he is headed for a dead end.

The Accomplices

Natalie:  She was left out of the loop but the move wasn’t designed to end her game.  Can she realize that and put her hurt feelings aside or will she react like Keith and spit on her alliance with Missy?  That really will be the key to next episode.  With her, Missy and Jon don’t need Reed and the “goons” anymore.  Her immediate reaction after the vote wasn’t very promising but a good discussion can heel all wounds.  Missy has to make Natalie realize that she got too close to Jeremy, a player that neither could beat in the end.  Maybe it will be Natalie’s turn to observe that Missy and Jon barrel through people.

A case can certainly be made for Natalie because she has shown an ability to think outside the box and come up with new ideas even if they are transparently self-serving. The main problem is that her only end game connections were with Jeremy and Missy and we just saw that Missy isn’t afraid to get rid of end game threats.  There just doesn’t seem to be a seat for Natalie in the Finale, no matter which way she turns.  Like Jeremy, she is now on borrowed time.

Jaclyn:  After looking like the smarter member of the Michigan couple, we saw that Jaclyn was a few steps behind even Jon when he realized that Jeremy’s trip to Exile Island was a source of problems for them.  Recent events had slowly built a case for Jaclyn but this episode has sent her back to square one.  After receiving such a nice gift, one of Jon and Jaclyn was guaranteed to have a confessional during the reward, the fact that she was ignored in favor of Jon told us that the editors were Frat boys just like Wes and Alec: They go to Jon and ignore her.  That ended her chances.  We had concluded this a while back: Jaclyn’s story won’t reach further than that of a supporting actress to Jon’s role.

Baylor: After winning the final point in the reward challenge and beating everyone in a very tough immunity challenge, this episode could have been the one that made us cheer for the cheerleader but both accomplishments were practically ignored.  The two confessionals that aired during this episode were merely narration and during Tribal Council she reduced her role to just “one of the girls”.

The case for Baylor is simple:  We feel that she makes it to the end because we have received many indications that she will have to answer for her decisions.  The problem comes when we ask if she can get the votes.  If Jaclyn doesn’t feel respected, it’s even worse for Baylor.  Even Keith knows that the game goes through her mom.  Just like during the reward, the champagne will be reserved for the adults, the young one will have to be content without the grand prize.

The Interlopers

Reed:  For a player that was on the block, Reed had a very good episode but he had to resort to a dirty trick in order to find an opening in the opposing alliance.  It has to be noted that none of Reed’s action mattered in the end because it was the rivalry between Jon and Jeremy that was the deciding factor.  Reed got the opportunity to avenge his partner’s elimination but it came at a price:  His theft will cost him Keith and Wes’ trust.  He will now face a fork in the road:  Go back to the “Goons” or stay with the two couples and act as the swing vote at final 5.  That second option almost seems too good to ignore.  The problem is that the couples won’t need a swing at 5 because they are better off together at the Final 4.

The case for Reed has to include the fact that we heard he had caused drama earlier on.  Even before Drew was eliminated, we heard that Reed had an affinity for chaos.  The fact that we didn’t see any of his early antics could be considered a good sign.  Instead of seeing him as a jerk, we saw him as someone scrambling to save himself.  Were those antics really cut to make him more palatable or simply because they didn’t matter?  Another thing to consider is that we heard that Josh and Reed had come up with the idea to be on different teams during challenges in order to be present on all the discussions.  That’s a very good tactic.  So good in fact that it would have been presented if Reed mattered.  Just like we saw during the pre-merge, he doesn’t.

Keith:  If I am wrong and Missy isn’t our Sole Survivor, then it will have to be because Keith found a way to the end.  There are many scenes that make me say he won’t be our winner but nearly all of those are balanced by moments where it seems he is destined to make it to the end.  Honest Keith would make for a much better representative than Jon and Missy who have been lying for weeks.  We even see that the man who needs time to figure things out is starting to understand the subtleties of the game.   He now looks like the only fireman who could get the million.  But I will stay on course and say that Survivor is an evil game, that lying is part of the game and that Keith’s amusing story is nothing more than that. Survivor may not be the Hilton but there is still a need for respect, something Keith lacked in dealing with Baylor in particular.

The Main Suspects

Jon: Once more, we saw that Jon made a mistake, took a while to realize its significance and then made a big move to correct the situation.  His obvious inability to reassure Jeremy about then idol told us that he should have been honest with the fireman.  Just like he did with Missy, he could have come clean with Jeremy and they would have enjoyed smooth sailing to the Final 6.  Would that have been a better path for Jon?  He has faced more crossroads than most players in Survivor history so he will have a ton of “what ifs” to consider when this is all said and done.

Just the fact that the audience has been down the circuitous path along with Jon, being privy to all of his decisions, is a great case for him.  Jon may not exactly know how to get to the end but he is still alive and fighting.   We have heard about Jon’s personal story and he is given all the airtime needed to expose his strategy to the audience.  That is usually reserved to the winners.  However, the haphazard way that his thoughts are presented isn’t a good sign.  We have seen too many hesitations and too many reasons why the others will hate him in the end.

Missy:  As I showed when I chose the title that I thought represented the theme of this particular episode, I think that Missy’s actions are part of the game.  Keith, like Dale before him, may be upset by her actions but this is Survivor so I think we are being shown the deviousness needed to play this game while keeping the others’ respect.  Even after all she’s done to him, Keith still talks to Missy and was even quick to help her out of the mud pool after the loss.  Missy’s last confessional of the evening told us how she will win:  She will keep Jon wrapped around her finger and she will get more votes than him because he doesn’t have a problem with pissing off the others.

 

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