Welcome back to Survivor. I’m still in mourning from Joaquin’s premature exit last week. I’m wearing a black patch on my arm tonight, while playing Runaway Train on repeat:
He was one vote away from making it to the merge…one goddamn vote away…I guess I (and we) all have to move on. It looks like we’re going to get the merge tonight, and with that, we will finally get a good look at the dynamics moving forward in the game.
This season’s fate has been determined by background players like Nina who started the domino effect of Vince being voted out, and Sierra who decided to stick with Mike and vote that way. Because of the moments I just mentioned, the table of this season has been set. This is the reality that we are forced to work with, for better or for worse.
You could go back, and maybe if one conversation didn’t happen, the game would look completely different now. With that said, the game is what it is now. The merge means that we get the opportunity to see where this season is headed. Lines will be drawn in the sand tonight.
I get the feeling that the women are going to take control of this game in a major way. I hope I’m wrong because I’m a man and I hate seasons where the guys don’t “man up” and end up walking right into the transparent web that gets set up to trap them. The only man playing this season that’s left in the game, who seems to have more than half a brain is Tyler, but we have seen very little of Tyler this season. Tyler has been like John Turturro in Rounders:
He is never playing any big hands or doing anything, only commenting from the sidelines, never taking a big risk. If Tyler can somehow rally the men to his side to make this a fair fight, that may be the only thing that can prevent this season from turning into The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Let’s face it, if you take Tyler out of the equation, the rest of the men this season are basically this:
What also makes tonight’s episode potentially interesting is that, unlike in past seasons in which a couple of people on the bottom would be looking forward to the merge, this season it seems like every single player is looking forward to the merge. Everybody basically seems to hate everybody else and that dynamic can lead to a very interesting game of Survivor. Carolyn and Jenn have the idols, so they are probably feeling the best out of anybody in the game.
There are many different scenarios that could play out tonight, but the biggest one to look for is how the teams shake out. Will there be two clear teams against one another, or will this basically be four teams of two with everyone else playing possum trying to stay out of the way? I’m looking forward to finding out. It’s 8 pm Portland, Oregon time, so let’s dive in!
Previously on Survivor: Jeff pours four pounds of salt on my wound, recapping the demise of my pre-season pick, Joaquin. I blame Rodney for this. I almost want to go Sam Jackson from A Time to Kill on the man:
It must be like being a parent, watching your child hanging out with people you know are trouble…But it’s time to move on…
We rejoin the blue tribe: Rodney is sulking, while Tyler is trying to take the high road, telling us that the people who voted out Joaquin showed a lot of “symmetry”, whatever the hell that means.
Mike does some damage control with Rodney. He asks Rodney to take a walk away from the others. Mike tries to be the voice of reason. On what planet could Mike ever be the voice of reason? Wasn’t this the guy that for some inexplicable reason decided to eat a live scorpion and promptly became violently ill? This is the guy that is now the voice of reason?
Rodney is claiming he was only putting on his De Niro with Joaquin to gather information…I guess he’s implying he was acting and I guess if you’re talking about post-2000 De Niro then it’s a fair comparison (insert shameless plug on post-2000 De Niro):
We join the red team receiving news about a potential merge. Carolyn makes a comment about picking off the former blue collars one by one. Kelly plays along, but reveals that she is planning to ride and die with the blue collars.
We officially merge. Everybody pretends to like one another, a proud Survivor tradition. Each player by Survivor law has to do the fake, forced “OMG, I’m so happy I finally get to play the game with you. We should totally strategize together back at camp because I can tell that, unlike these other players, you actually know how to PLAY the game” hug.
Carolyn shares that the only person she truly trusts is Tyler, so we get a glimpse early on with how this might shake out. We know that Mike and Kelly are a pair and we know Carolyn and Tyler are one as well. We know Jenn, Hali, and probably Joe are sticking together…Everybody else seems up for grabs…Joe is basically the guy that gets picked last that neither captain wants and tries to pawn off to the other guy’s team.
I finally saw Interstellar last night…Pretty good movie. Just skip this part if you haven’t seen the movie yet. It was nice seeing Matt Damon play his least likable character since The Talented Mr. Ripley:
I also felt like I needed a PhD in physics to understand what the hell was going on with the plot. I will say that I love the talking robotic things and want one… Not as badly as I wanted Teddy from A.I., but at least in the same ball park.
We come back from commercial joining the castaways as they go back to camp to find that their previous shelter is gone. Is this a Survivor first? Great, we get to relive Mike alienating himself as he aggressively takes the lead to build a shelter.
Mike and Kelly rekindle their pact and make it official. Mike tells us that blue collars are going to stick together and control the votes…I wouldn’t bet the house on that.
Jenn and Hali talk about pulling Shirin over with them and then getting the rest of the white collars with them. Maybe what we have are two teams now. I guess that would leave Rodney and Will on the “Who the hell knows which way they will go?” team.
Just like that we join Will and Rodney talking alone. Rodney being the deep Survivor game thinker that he is tells us that his plan is not to find a way to make it far in the game. No, he wants to go after Mike, Joe, and Sierra, all of whom want him on their side. Rodney thinks he’s the Count of Monte Cristo now…This should work out well.
We next join Rodney talking with Carolyn, Will, and Kelly telling them to join the blue collar tribe for now and then turn on them when they get down to seven. Rodney is a ball of fire tonight and all his planning seems to be coming from the mind of a ten year old in a fort.
Tyler and Carolyn have a talk and understand that they have to lie low and join the blue collars for now. Carolyn seems like she is on the fence, which is understandable because she knows she has a good thing going with Jenn and the No Collars.
We get a The Amazing Race preview. Doesn’t it seem like The Amazing Race is on 12 months a year? I can’t imagine going on that show with a girlfriend. You have cameras on you all the time, so you have to pretend to be calm as you’re asking her to read a map while you’re driving… and you know she’s not reading it well, so you have to do the thing where you talk very slowly as you’re gripping the wheel way too hard trying to remain calm. The camera zooms in on you as your girlfriend tells you to look for a turn that you passed thirty-seven miles ago… I would last about four hours before quitting.
Back from commercial, we join Dan as he casually tells Jenn that he has been stung by a jellyfish. Last time this happened, Max was never seen or heard from again. Hopefully, Dan doesn’t have any warts like Max, because apparently in Survivor, if you have warts on your feet, it’s like you just got bit by a zombie and it rushes to kill you before you turn. In fact, let’s go back and look at what happened with Max when they discovered he had a foot wart:
Everybody is sitting by the fire trying to come up with a tribe name. Mike comes up with the cheesy “Merica” name, and for some reason, everybody agrees to go along with it…not the proudest moment this Survivor season.
This leads to the highlight of the season as Hali tells us how much she loves the name and then she goes on to profess her love for the constitution. I would have loved to see Ben Franklin’s and Thomas Jefferson’s faces as Hali is saying: “And I just think… the like… the Constitution is the greatest blueprint ever devised”… Yikes. Breaking News: Fox News reportedly has signed Hali to a five-year contract.
Shirin is not pleased with the tribe name. For the first time this season I’m on the same page with her. How could this happen? Granted, I usually make fun of the name that the producers come up with, like Xyeuxkeuu and zpooleizekj$j*. Can’t they just come up with names like we had, growing up playing soccer, like the Stingrays or Alley Cats?
Mike takes Rodney aside and tells him that Joe is going to be his first target. Not the worst idea in the world if you’re in Mike’s shoes; clearly, he is looking to take out obvious physical targets.
Rodney is still lamenting the last vote. He compares himself to Tom Brady as we go to commercial. Rodney strikes me as more of an Aaron Hernandez type of guy (for all you sports fans out there).
What’s the over/under on the amount of pictures of people on Facebook or Instagram in nature with a douchey quote underneath it? Do you think Oscar Wilde had a thirty-something-year-old mother taking a selfie on top of a hill that was a total of 0.6 miles in mind when he wrote whatever quote you’re using to try to capture a manufactured deep moment? Can we just all agree that: yes, we’re impressed you decided to hike; yes, we’re impressed that it has had a profound effect on you and how you’re going to treat life now. We get it…We get it.
We go to the Immunity Challenge. Jeff hasn’t been seen so far this episode, so he’s making up for it with a very powerful performance about the importance of immunity… Last one hanging on a pole wins. This seems like a very pro-Joe competition.
Twenty-eight seconds into the comp and Dan falls off. Will falls of twenty seconds later…apparently having a few extra pounds is not pole-friendly. Jeff condescendingly talks about some competitions not being built for “certain people”. I think we could read between the lines there, Jeff.
While being on the pole, Jenn gets stung by something on her inner thigh, she stays on, and no joke, that is one of the most impressive things I’ve seen because I would have dropped immediately. Jenn’s starting to grow on me a little bit.
Almost like it’s manufactured by the producers, rain starts to pour down. I think they should add a flock of bats to fly around them next.
Carolyn tries to recreate her days working the pole for Tony Soprano at the Bada Bing to get her through this, but alas she falls.
Joe wins, and probably in doing so, saves his Survivor life. Jenn takes us to commercial, telling us that one of the blue collars has to go tonight, but who is the target????
It’s probably Friday or Saturday as you’re reading this, so you already know who got voted out, but I’m watching this live and I have no idea who the target is. I would say if I were Jenn or Carolyn, my target would be Mike because he has established himself as the leader of the blue tribe, as nobody else from that tribe seems like a real threat to win this season…I mean, Mike doesn’t seem like a real threat to win this season. Joe isn’t a threat and have we seen or heard from Sierra at all tonight? Seriously, has Sierra been in one camera shot this whole episode?
Back from commercial and Mike is kind of bitter about the Joe victory. Mike sends everybody off to go talk. Mike and Joe go talk and want to get Jenn out, but they know they have to make Rodney feel like he is somewhat in control.
Kelly and Carolyn go off and talk. Kelly thinks (maybe she’s right but not sure yet) that Carolyn is with her and that the plan should be to split up Hali and Jenn. Carolyn, at this moment, seems to be on board with this, but she has shown that she is cunning, and so I would not say her vote is locked in yet.
We next see Jenn, Hali and Shirin scheming to get Kelly out. Interesting idea, but it seems smart. If they had the numbers to do it, it would certainly shake things up.
Mike and Tyler chat, with Tyler trying to get Mike to win him over with a commitment to keep Tyler in the loop. This leads to Tyler next talking to Hali and hearing her pitch to get Kelly out.
Tyler and Carolyn talk to one another knowing that they are the swing votes. They lay out the two choices but don’t reveal which way they are going to go.
It’s chaos trying to keep up with all this going on. I think basically it’s coming down to Kelly or Jenn. My gut is telling me that Jenn could be going, with an idol in her pocket.
Tribal Council time: The topic of not taking being voted out personally is being discussed, with everybody pretending that they wouldn’t take it personally. It’s always fun to try to guess who will be that one angry jury member who makes the venom-fueled, incoherent speech that confuses everybody. My vote for that person is Carolyn if she doesn’t make it to the finals. My second choice is Joe.
Jeff addresses the fact that no immunity idol has been played up to this point. Does that mean an idol is going to be played tonight? If you get voted off with an idol in your pocket, are you allowed to throw it to someone else on your way out (Somebody answer this for me, please!)?
We go to the vote…I’m saying Jenn goes….Wait… She pulls out the idol!
Hali…Jen…Jen…Jen…Jen…Jen…Kelly…Kelly…Seventh person voted out: Kelly.
Will for the 9th time this season is thoroughly confused about the votes after not being trusted yet again. This is becoming quite the fun tradition.
Well, what an ending. Jenn plays her idol and saves her Survivor life, and in doing so, takes out a big member of the other team. It looked like Tyler and Carolyn went along with the blue collars, so it will be interesting to see if Jenn only bought herself one week, but regardless, she has proven that she is a formidable Survivor player. Next week will be huge as far as idol hunting goes because it looks like there is going to be a Richard Kimble-like search for that idol, like it’s the fugitive:
I would love if the idol grew a beard like Harrison Ford’s in that movie.
The game is wide open. If you ask me who I think the top three threats to win the game are, I would say Carolyn, Jenn, and Tyler. Trust me when I say that I’m not confident about those three, but gun to my head, those are the three I would choose. Let me know who your top three are, and did any of your three change from last week? Thanks for reading. See you next week!