Millennials vs Gen X

The Characters and Their Stories-Survivor 33: Episode 5

The Characters and Their Stories is a blog in which Michel Trudeau uses the edit to determine the themes of the season to try to find its long-term players. Each week, he will explores the overt signs as well as the more nuanced nods.

The Characters and Their Stories-Survivor 33: Episode 5

left-lizard-shadowPreviously on Survivor

At the Millennial tribe, Figgy and Taylor couldn’t hide their love.

At the Gen X tribe, a blindsided Bret and Chris sought revenge on Jessica…

We heard Chris saying: “You’ve got to zap her ass.”

…but David and Ken wanted to save her.

We saw Ken when he told Jessica: “It’s your name going down.” And then we heard Jessica’s interview: “Ken says they are gunning for me but it seems a little suspicious.”

At Tribal Council, David played his idol for Jessica, saving her and sending Lucy home.

The first thing that stands out of this recap is that nothing was said of Ken’s change of heart.  Someone with a short memory would think he voted with David to save her.  It also removed his conflict with Lucy that showed his hypocrisy.

As for the Millennials, it seems that only Figgy and Taylor’s love affair mattered.  Nothing was said about Adam finding his idol, Michaela’s determination, the three women’s success at the immunity challenge or even Zeke’s last second help.

Considering only this recap then it seems that Ken and Figgy are the only contenders, but thankfully, the episode would give us a fuller account.  As for the episode’s theme, I feel Michaela said it best:

You Didn’t Do This Right, Jeff

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Gen X Night 12

There were low flying clouds when the tribe returned to camp, and sure enough, this cycle wouldn’t bring relief for everyone on this tribe.

David’s interview: “I played an idol tonight but I don’t know that playing that idol was the right move because I saved someone who really nobody wants to work with, and now I don’t have an idol and I’m incredibly vulnerable.”

Sitting with Ken by the ocean, Jessica said that she owed Dave and him and she apologized for not listening to his warning.  She then told Ken that she had a legacy advantage, what it meant and that she would hand it to him if she was voted out.

I wonder how David felt seeing this on TV.  I mean, he saved Jessica but instead of showing him her gratitude she ran straight into the arms of the tall, dark and handsome guy!

Jessica’s interview: “I told Ken about the legacy advantage because I wanted him to know that he can trust me, so I’m hoping that that bought me some more goodwill.”

Ken’s interview: “Jess says that she has a legacy and she is going to share it with me.  That means a lot.  I’m giving Jess my full trust again.”

As a District Attorney, Jessica should know that murders are sometimes committed by those who stand to inherit!  If I were Ken I’d be actively looking for a way to remove from the game without her knowing.  The swap was about to provide the perfect alibi.

Day 13

The morning brought a new mission:  A search for the new idol.

We heard Chris telling Cece that there was no shame in looking for that idol.  She agreed.

Cece’s confessional: “Since the immunity was played, the immunity idol is back up for grabs so we’re kind of having an idol search party.”

I don’t know about you but giving the job of narrator suddenly to Cece was very suspicious.  This tribe wouldn’t be going to Tribal Council so they couldn’t set up the vote the same way they had in the previous episodes so they found a new way to spoil their own show. 

Like Christine pointed out in her Casual Survivor blog, David had a big advantage over everyone else because he knew to look for the tribe’s colors on an object.  Is production so unimaginative that they couldn’t come up with a different method?  Or did they want David to find it again?  Okay, maybe not David in particular but anyone that needed to play it once would certainly need it again so that’s another way to help the underdog.

David’s interview: “We were openly on the hunt for an immunity idol.  I felt empowered by the fact that I knew to look for a symbol of our tribe but the one issue with an open idol hunt is that everybody is looking for an idol and you might be seen having found it. So, I’m wandering the jungle and then I just turn and I spot on the ground a log with our tribe symbol on it but right nearby was Sunday and Cece and I’m thinking this is the worst. This is the worst.  Eventually, Cece gets bored, she gets back to camp and so does Sunday (It wasn’t their day.)  I found the other one.  I can’t believe that I am so fortunate to play and idol and then find it again the very next day.  I tasted no victory in real life that compares to the victory that I feel right now in Survivor.  It’s just a shame that it took me until 42 years of age to get it.  But I want to be that guy because it’s going to get me further in this game.”

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The Challenge Arena

The Millennials walked in first and then, when their rivals arrived, they saw that Lucy had been voted out.

It was so anti-climactic that only Figgy was seen nodding while others weren’t even looking!

Jeff went into his number about the elements of the game that you can control by practicing but that some elements are completely out of their control and those can change your luck in an instant.  Already, Michaela’s expression told us she didn’t like what she was about to hear: “Everybody, drop your buffs.”

The camera turned to catch Figgy’s reaction.  Then we saw Cece shaking her head.

We know why the camera showed Cece, but it’s fascinating to see how much attention is given to Figgy.  Survivor rarely concerns itself with the love connections that develop on the show.  We knew that Jaime and Erik were a couple, but it was only a small part of the narrative.  We never even heard that Ryno was infatuated with Darrah even Savage said it played a role in saving her and booting Lil. The only couple who got this much attention was Rob and Amber, of course, so what can possibly be in store for Figgy and Taylor?

Jeff then told them there would be three tribes and that the new Ikabula tribe would have to start from scratch.  They would have 6 members to compensate for the extra work.

Many posters have talked about sexism in Survivor but their main issue is with the editing. Here we had a much worse example of sexism in this show. First, we saw that Jeff had one basket for the men and one for the women so it was predetermined that all tribes would have three men while only one of them would have an equal number of women.  If that wasn’t pernicious enough, consider that the tribes have to account for 4 cycles before the merger so they had to think of winning challenges. 

Looking at the three tribes, I say there was nearly a 90% chance (8 out of 9 actually) of seeing a woman voted out in episode 5.  Vanua was always going to vote between Michelle and Cece, Ikabula would have voted out Sunday while only Takali could have seen Taylor leave but Jessica and Figgy would have been just as much if not more in danger than he would have been.  At least they didn’t push the affront by exiling one woman until the next Tribal Council like they did last season because that would have been an even bigger incentive for the men to stick together to avoid seeing the women suddenly finding themselves with a numerical advantage.

Another thing that wasn’t right about the switch was having a tribe going to a deserted beach.  Ikabula should have received a minimum of supplies but production doesn’t care because casual viewers see dehydration and famine as great TV.  What will happen if someone actually dies?   With Africa counting as one of my favorite seasons, I’m all for tough conditions but the tribes should be treated fairly and the players’ safety should be of great concern. 

Taylor’s interview: “The swap is random.  You have no idea what’s going to happen, especially like me and Figs with this little romance going on.  My biggest fear right now is getting split up.”

Somewhat reminiscent of Tyson, Adam said: “Give me something good, Jeff.”

While Figgy’s only concern was to see if Taylor’s buff matched hers, Michaela was so pissed to see a green buff that she threw it to the ground.

Jeff’s magic gave us these tribes:

Takali:  Ken, Jessica, Figgy, Taylor and Adam

Jeff noticed Figgy’s smile.  She said: “I’m just pumped up. I see success from here.”

We quickly went back to Taylor’s confessional where he was all smiles: “Rock on!  Figtails continues.  I was so stoked because I’ve got the numbers and I’ve got Fig, so it could not go any better.”

Vanua: Chris, David, Cece, Zeke and Michelle

Zeke told Jeff that the numbers weren’t in his favor but that he saw a strong tribe (!)

Ikabula: Michaela, Hannah, Jay, Will, Bret, Sunday

Still showing her anger, Michaela told Jeff:  “You didn’t do this right, Jeff.”

That can fuel some thoughts that it was rigged, but it made for a great interview.

Michaela: “I open up my buff and I see green.  Man! I was pissed.  You gonna send us to an empty beach where we got to make the shelter and we don’t have any food.  I just wanted to flip him off right there but I didn’t.”

If you listen carefully, you hear a big male voice laughing in the background Ha! Ha! Ha! right after Michaela mentioned the empty beach and the absence of food.  It must have been Burnett!  But I loved this confessional so much because it reminded me of the very first time we heard Sandra. Saying that she wanted to flip off Jeff makes Michaela my new hero! 

Looking at the “random” distribution, we immediately notice that the important plotlines were kept active.  Not only is Taylor still able to canoodle with Figgy but Ken is still with Jessica while David is still caught between Chris and Cece.   

Zeke’s interview: “This was like the disaster scenario.  I’m in the one tribe where the Millennials are not in the numbers and I’m with Michelle, the one person from my tribe I have zero trust in, and we’re outnumbered so we’re in a bad spot.”

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Ikabula Day 13

The beach looked more like wasteland than a Fijian paradise.

Bret’s interview: “Sunday and I are in serious trouble right now, but Gen X, we have the drive to get through tough times in life and not to quit.  So, I need to prove to them that I am worth keeping around because right now it’s all about surviving this game.”

Jay’s interview: “On the Millennials’ side of things, everyone says we’re just dreamers but the truth is most of us are relentless.  The Gen X-ers said “Oh, we work hard and we do things the right way but the people that I have right now– I got Bret and Sunday and it sucks because they can’t figure things out for themselves.  They just sit back and wait until you say something.  But, even if I have to build a new shelter, I’m happy because we have the numbers.  Four Millennials, 2 Gen X-ers; See you later Gen X-ers because I’m chilling even if I lose a challenge.  I don’t care.  Boom! You’re out of here.”

The image of Bret and Sunday standing uselessly with their hands on their waists proved that Jay was right.  Even Bret had to acknowledge that the kid knows how to do everything; however, Jay sounded much too confident.  It could simply be in line with his overall portrayal and we’ve seen many end game players speaking with a lot of confidence but we have to consider that he may live to regret this and see one of these Gen X-ers outlasting him.

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We followed a bird formation on our way to Takali.

The music fit the lightness of the moment.

After offering them a tour, Ken was interviewed: “Coming back to camp was interesting.  The Millennials definitely bring some high energy, some goofy energy to the tribe.  Hopefully, Jess and I, being more grounded and more subtle with the way we speak and maybe do things can help us.”

Figgy wanted to know if they had a goat because there used to be one over at their camp.

Well, Figgy, some would say that two goats were swapped over to Takali when you and your boyfriend picked purple buffs.

Back in camp, Figgy told Taylor that he shouldn’t hug her.  Taylor thought it didn’t matter because they had the numbers but Figgy would have none of it.  She told Adam that she wouldn’t let Taylor hug her.

Figgy’s confessional: “Taylor thinks that, because we have the numbers, that we can be out in the open.  No, sorry, Taylor.  I love you to pieces but being with these new people that’s going to put a target on our back so it’s not smart.”

I found it interesting that the part we had seen in the previews about Figgy loving Taylor to pieces was heard here only in voiceover.  It clearly diminished its portent by putting it in a totally new context.  Figgy wasn’t just a young woman in love but a player thinking of the consequences. 

Taylor was still trying to get his way but Adam said that he would do what she says anyway.  Taylor admitted he would.

Taylor’s interview:  “Figs doesn’t want to have anything to do with me.  She’s like: “Stay away from me. Stay away from me.” But I really think that us being a power couple isn’t any different than two people in an alliance that really trust each other.”

Well, Taylor, you can always deny you are in an alliance if you keep your distance but it’s a little harder when you’re in each other’s pantsOn the other hand, maybe Figgy wanted to see if Ken was availableShe certainly seemed to enjoy watching him cook their meal…

From afar, Taylor whispered the words “You’re hot”.  She responded by blowing him a kiss.

Adam saw it all and gave us an interview: “Being swapped into a tribe with only Taylor and Figgy from my original Millennial tribe, it’s my worst nightmare.  Figgy is very controlling, she lies constantly and she’s going to go through this charade for as long as she can about how they are not a couple.  I don’t know how long that will last because Taylor is ready to start canoodling again.  To me, that’s a worthless partnership.”

Just before showing Ken and Adam talking in the jungle, the camera focused on a spider waiting at the center of its web.  I’m not sure what we should make of that imagery but someone is about to get caught.  With the two guys getting together, the dangerous arachnid seems to be waiting for Figgy and Taylor. 

Adam told Ken that he was close to the bottom of his tribe and, to explain, he told him that he, Zeke and Mari wrote Figgy’s name but wound up on the short end of their first vote.

Ken’s interview: “Adam is like the nicest kid ever. I kind of feel like I hit the jackpot: He’s super positive, he’s respectful, he’s polite and there’s a little bit of a crack in the Millennials so hopefully Jess and I have Adam.”

Ken told Adam that he had his back.

While he thinks he’s already hit the jackpot, this interview by Ken could very well explain why he’d vote for Adam in the end giving him the real jackpot.

Adam’s interview:  “Ken and Jessica, they seem like they have a tight bond and I know Taylor and Figgy won’t turn on each other so I have pairs on both sides of me.  I’m the guy they need to come to; I’m the guy they need to work with.  I get to decide which side moves forward.”

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Vanua Day 14

Michelle was the last to get up and join the tribe that was already sitting by the beach.

Maybe playing online taught Michelle that it’s important to be with the late night crew and the early birds even if it isn’t easy to stay awake!

The tribe was talking about dreams and Zeke was saying he never remembers his. “I have no dreams,” he said.

Well, that’s not what people on Survivor usually say!

Michelle’s interview:  “My whole game was turned upside down.  I happen to be on the only tribe with the minority Millennials; just me and Zeke and three Gen X-ers.  My problem is that the alliance might be stacked against me so I’m definitely scared.”

When Michelle asked where everyone came from Chris said he was from Oklahoma which got a reaction from Zeke who was born in Edmond, OK.  The connection grew even more when Zeke realized that Chris played for the last Sooner team to win the National Championship.

Chris gave an interview: “Zeke’s a Oklahoma boy just like me.  He grew up in Oklahoma probably an hour from where I grew up.  He’s a big Sooners fan and of course I played on the last National Championship so we had that connection immediately.  I am feeling better on this new tribe than I did at the end with Gen X because here I feel like I have a tad bit more control over my decisions and how I am going to play the game.”

When we talked about how the “random” draw worked nicely to keep the main storylines intact and to protect some players, we didn’t know that two more of the early big characters that had been in trouble would be given new life with this connection.  It reminded me a lot of the immediate connection between Trish and LJ.  For Michelle, it looked like she would wind up just like Anna.

By the ocean, Chris told Zeke that being with three Millennials didn’t mean he was on the outside because the lawyer was ready to make a move.

Zeke in interview: “Chris played for my team, the University of Oklahoma Sooners.  Not only did he play for the Sooners, he was on the 2000 National Championship team.  These guys were my childhood heroes and that National Championship was one of the biggest events of my childhood.  Who do I want to work with?  I want to work with the big ginger haired football player who says: “Buddy, don’t worry.  Things aren’t what they seem.  You are not on the bottom and I want to work with you.”  It’s like the heavens opened and the light shined down and finally I catch a break in this game.”

Gary famously said during Guatemala: “You should wait for the reunion before you ask for an autograph.”

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Ikabula Day 14

Jay’s interview: “So we wake up this morning, we don’t have a fire yet, and I’m starving and I’m thirsty.  I’m trying to use the flint; I’m exhausted. It just does not work for me and I don’t understand why and I’m losing all hope and I’m like you know what? Forget this.”

Michaela gave it a try.

Michaela’s interview:  “The fire got to the point where Jay gave up.  I was exhausted but I was like fire is necessary for our life in the game, so I started trying.  Deeper down, there’s this theme in my life that sometimes that I get to a point where I’ve given all that I have and I’m almost to the point of giving up then I push a little further and things pop.  Like, I work for things.  I worked to get myself through college, worked to pay off my own loans. I work.”

Bret’s interview: “Michaela said let me try and she went berserk and all these sparks came out and then the next thing you know it went boom! The whole thing ignited into fire.  We were psyched and I was psyched for her. Man, it really brought us all back to life and it was a great moment because she saved us today and it was really kind of emotional for her.”

Ken had just told us that Adam was a great person and now Bret is saying that Michaela is awesome.  That’s the kind of praise we usually hear for the eventual winner.  What I found interesting was that Bret mentioned that not giving up was the main trait of Gen X-ers but he and Sunday more or less gave up during the shelter building effort leaving the job in Jay’s hands.  Then Jay gave up the fire making task and it was left to Michaela to finish the job.  Then she ties the theme of not giving up into something deeply ingrained in her character.  It was particularly interesting to note that it all tied into the fire is life motto.

As soon as the fire was burning nicely, Michaela walked out into the jungle to calm down.

Michaela’s interview:  “I’m normally not a person that cries but sometimes you need something so bad.  Sometimes when you have no other choice but to get something done, it happens. It’s just letting me know that the life I’m trying to get by winning this thing is worth it.  I do want it badly for my family and there’s nobody in my family that’s been able to have success and keep it.  It’s like everybody has some type of problem and I’m just want to prove that you can have success and you can have your family together.”

The tribe applauded Michaela when she came back to camp.  They all gave her a high five.

That’s also the first thing the cast does when Jeff announces the Sole Survivor.

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Day 15 – The Immunity Challenge

I thought Will sitting out for Ikabula was a weird choice but it wouldn’t hurt them.

Notable comments by Jeff:  “Sunday is giving up and swimming in, costing her tribe a lot of time.”

“Cece is taking forever to get out of the water.”

“David struggling…David cannot get out of the water with the buoy… A huge setback for Vanua… And now David loses the buoy, he’s got to get back into the water: Disaster!  David absolutely out of gas and he’s lost the buoy again.”

Zeke asked out loud if David was throwing the challenge, but no, he’s just inept.

“Takali has all five. You can start shooting…They have a lead…that lead is evaporating.  Jay is a monster in the water.”

“Michelle trying to get a buoy and she can’t get it.”

“Takali has had a lead through the entire challenge but Ken has not yet scored.”

“Michaela scores on her first shot!  Michaela with a third. She’s been on fire.  Michaela for the win.  Ikabula wins immunity.”

Michaela actually looked like a WNBA star!

“Ken on a hot streak… It is a battle for the second immunity… Frustration is setting in for Vanua… Takali wins immunity sending Vanua to Tribal Council.”

Zeke’s interview: “I’m frustrated because Cece and David are just atrocious in challenges and they don’t even seem to care because they think they have the numbers but thankfully Chris is trying to make a move with us and if he does, a Gen X-er goes home regardless.”

I’m not the one that said it this time!

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Vanua – Decision Time

There was a snake in the Vanua camp, a symbol that someone was going to be blindsided.

Chris was the one who said he sucked.

He certainly sucked less than most in this tribe.

Cece’s interview: “It’s like a nightmare, a recurring nightmare.  It’s like I go to sleep, I wake up and I’m in the same nightmare back to Tribal Council.  The one positive is finally I’m not on the bottom.  This time we have the majority:  Three Gen X against two Milleniums so either Michelle or Zeke will be voted off.”

Chris in interview:  “Huge night tonight. This is a crucial decision and quite honestly, I made a different decision.  Cece and Dave backstabbed me and one of them has to go today.  Dave bit me in the butt a couple of times but he at least has some numbers that will survive this three tribe situation that we’re in.  I have to have a big alliance to protect me at the merge so we’re going to vote Cece off tonight.”

Talking with David, Chris first said that they couldn’t get rid of Zeke and that they had to think through this pivotal moment. David asked if he was thinking about eliminating Cece.  Chris hesitantly said yes.

David’s interview:  “It sounds like Chris wants to vote out Cece and I’m extremely nervous about that.  Chris has on his side Zeke and Michelle, so I think I should go along with the plan and make him believe that he can trust me.”

Chris’ interview continued:  “If we can come together we can benefit each other.  Now, whether David can stay true to his word or not I don’t know.  I’m trusting a guy that’s burned me twice.”

The duo came back to camp to tell Zeke and Michelle that they wanted to vote out Cece.

Michelle’s interview:  “David and Chris say: It’s not you. We are voting Cece but how do you trust it?  There are a thousand possibilities that he’s not telling the truth.  I’m not going to sit back and let other people decide my fate because that’s not how I’m used to doing things.”

Cece joined Michelle in the hammock and quickly the younger woman said she knew she was on the chopping block but she proposed voting out David because she was better than him.

Michelle’s interview continued:  “I tried to talk strategy with her. I can’t get anywhere so all I can do right now is hope David and Chris are telling me the truth and hope for the best.”

Cece quickly told David and the rest of the group that Michelle wanted to vote against David because he was weak and clumsy.

David laughed it off saying that every girl says that about him.

David’s interview:  “Chris and I talked and we decided that we would work with the Millennials to vote for Cece but I really don’t trust Michelle.  She wanted to woo Cece over and target me.  Once Cece is gone, I would be the weakest person of our tribe and I worry that Chris, Michelle and Zeke could form a voting bloc ad vote me out at the next Tribal.  It’s got me thinking whether or not I should give my idol to Cece and then vote out Michelle.  I play a lot of chess and the thing about chess if you’re going to play a good game is you have to look at as many moves ahead as you possibly can.  If that means betraying an alliance and people that trust you then do it.”

I play a lot of chess myself and I know that some moves don’t require that much calculation.  If your queen is in danger you don’t give it up unless it gives you a deadly attack.  Here, the position was clear: Cece was a pawn while the idol was the Queen, so it was much better to sacrifice the pawn and save the Queen.  If Vanua goes once more to Tribal Council then David could use his idol and make a much bigger move.  On the other hand, the lame way production is hiding the idols means David is in a position where he has multiple pawns on the 7th row all ready to promote into Queens.

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Tribal Council

Jeff first asked Zeke about what was at stake during the challenge.

Zeke said that he and Michelle felt as if one of the two was going home.

Jeff then went on with a convoluted attempt to have someone make a move:  Who was at the bottom of the three he asked and why not go to the other side and be at the top of that three?

Well Jeff, the person flipping would still be at the bottom on the other side.  So what is gained?  His argument was a great example of sophism but I guess some thought he sounded smartThe only reason to flip was to go with people that could help you win challenges and that you could trust.

David said that the three Gen X players were strong and none felt insecure.

Zeke pointed out that it could be intimidating to work with a Millennial because of their numbers advantage overall but he pointed out that you needed connections to Millennials to move forward.

Chris pointed out that his original tribe was down in numbers so they needed to work with the other side.  He added that Michelle and Zeke tried to work on them.  He also mentioned the Oklahoma connection he has with Zeke.

Cece said she was concerned about Chris moving forward with Zeke.

Chris recalled that he had been blindsided on the last two occasions so he wanted this vote to show that they had rebuilt their bonds.

David said that trust was paramount and he was going to prove his loyalty to Chris.

Chris said he was taking a risk on David.

David told Jeff that Chris threatened to choke him if he blindsided him again but Chris said he was only joking.

Michelle told Jeff that she couldn’t see how those two could trust each other.  She asked why you would want to move forward with someone who blindsided you twice.

That wasn’t smart considering Michelle had blindsided Zeke once already.

When Jeff asked her who she would vote out Michelle immediately said David.

I think I see why Michelle felt the need to play online!

David thought that was fun to hear.  He added that the Gen X three had nothing to worry about.

It seems that David wanted Cece to “enjoy” the full shock of being blindsided.  He was in the unique position of knowing she couldn’t save herself but he lied to her anyway.

It was time to vote.

David didn’t want to go through a new idol hunt so he stayed quiet when Jeff asked if anyone wanted to play an idol.

A nervous Michelle held on to Zeke’s hand.

Cece voted for Michelle but everyone else wrote CC on their parchment.

Cece was shocked, Michelle smiled and Chris slowly turned to David as if he still wasn’t convinced of his loyalty.

Jeff said: “If there is one thing this group of four can take comfort in, it’s knowing you can trust each other…unless of course you’re the one being lied to.”

David smiled when he heard that line.

When they walked out, the tribal chant went something like: Momodu mami macarey, Momodu mami macarey, Momodu mami macarey.

Try it; if you get the right rhythm, it’s fun!  It reminded me of the Meke that we once saw in Fiji.

In her final words, Cece said: “My two fellow Gen X-ers voted against me, and moving forward, they are going to lose.  I think it was the dumbest mistake that they made.”

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The Story

The first thing to ask ourselves is whether or not Cece’s final words will prove to be prophetic.  The secret scenes in earlier seasons showed us that those final words last much longer than the ten seconds we hear at the end of the episode so this segment was carefully chosen by the editors.  It could very well be another indication that neither David nor Chris will win.  We didn’t have them as contenders so this solidifies our position.

The switch has given us new dynamics: Takali is now the home of 5 big characters, so their first vote will be crucial to the story’s future.  Once more we are led to believe that Taylor and Figgy are in trouble but that was a false trail once before and could be again.  Vanua’s first vote didn’t change much but their next one could be interesting while Ikabula shouldn’t surprise us when they go to Tribal Council.

One recurring theme we’ve heard is about not giving up.  David was the first to mention that he won’t give up and now we heard Bret saying it is the Gen X-ers main trait, but he wasn’t very persistent in his attempts to build the shelter or make fire.  Jay did the job on the shelter, but then he gave up when it came to the fire.  That whole scene was a nice build-up for Michaela’s never give up attitude.  Add her performance in the challenge and we are certainly looking at a new fan favorite.  However, we are interested in determining the long-term players and trying to figure out the eventual winner, so where do we stand after five episodes?

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The Characters

They Neither Have Game Nor a Personal Story

Sunday:  It’s almost a given that she would be voted out if Ikabula goes to Tribal Council.  There isn’t a conflict between the four Millennials on this tribe so they would keep Bret to help with the challenges.

Bret:  We heard more from him in this episode but it was only circumstantial.  Someone from the minority had to say something so the fact that Bret was chosen as the narrator shows he will outlast Sunday, but he won’t have much impact after the merger.

Will:  We did hear that he was still in high school but that isn’t enough to qualify as a personal story.  He’s just part of the group and, as such, he could last a long time but that will only serve to show that such a young person can outlast many others.

Hannah:  After a promising start, she has faded into the background and we realize that we haven’t learned much from her and even less about her plans.  She wants Adam and Zeke to use her but they aren’t with her anymore!

Some Have Game But No Personal Story

Jessica:  She has made moves but were they really to her advantage?  It seems that most have been detrimental to her game.  Telling Ken about her legacy advantage could turn into a fatal mistake.

Michelle:  Her play in the second episode was impressive but the follow-up has been lacking.   In this episode where she was in trouble, her actions nearly got her voted out instead.  She stayed in the game only because Chris wanted to work with the Millennials.  Once she saw that Cece wasn’t willing to play the game with her, she should have told David that she only mentioned his name to throw Cece off the scent but she persisted and tossed his name out there during Tribal Council.  We did hear about her background in episode one but it really hasn’t connected her on a personal basis to the audience.  We can’t give up on her yet because it would only take one great episode to put her back into contention.

Chris:  We know he’s an attorney and now that he’s told us about his football playing days, his personal story isn’t completely neglected but it’s more like reading a bio than learning about the man and what makes him tick.  All his confessionals are about his game and how he wants to take control, get revenge, and see if he can trust David despite being blindsided twice.

Some Have a Personal Story But No Game

Zeke:  The switch forced him to talk about his position in the game but even that was reduced to his Oklahoma connection to Chris.  He didn’t scheme with Chris; he became his fan.  He doesn’t trust Michelle, but when Chris mentioned that he wanted to save her, we didn’t hear how Zeke feels about that decision and we don’t even see him talk to Michelle to see if he should save her.  He’s a great character, though, so he could go far but he’s not really part of the game.

Taylor:  The fre- spirited young man is in love and he doesn’t care how it affects his game.  He just wants to be with Figgy and the rest doesn’t matter.

Jay:  His game isn’t totally ignored, but it is reduced to its simplest expression.  The tribe targeted Figgy so he went along until Michelle told him it wouldn’t be good for them.  He managed to get Figgy and Michaela back together but he didn’t solidify that alliance after the vote.  Then he winds up in a great position after the swap but he simply sees it as a way to coast to the merger.  That makes us realize that Jay’s story is really about being different than the Gen X-ers.  He won’t work with them and he doesn’t really like them so he won’t get their votes even if he makes it to the end.  Maybe he’ll even fall victim to the Gen X-ers before the end.

Some Have a Personal Story and Game

David:  The season’s biggest character is also a chess player and he’s already made one big move. He’ll most certainly have more to come even if his weakness in challenges should get him voted out. Where will David wind up?  That is an interesting question but I don’t have an answer yet.  He could wind up as the last Gen X-er standing or he could be Ken’s final goat.

Adam:   Finding the idol gave him both a personal connection to the audience and a part in the game but even before that we saw that he didn’t let the first vote bring him down.  When Zeke said he was upset with Hannah and didn’t want to talk, Adam showed us that he was already looking forward and still had hope.  The switch put him in a great position but will he seize the opportunity?  He doesn’t seem to have decided yet and hesitations are often fatal in this game.  If Adam does make it to the end, we will have to remember Ken’s words and consider how his mother’s story will affect the voters.

Figgy:  The importance given to her relationship with Taylor could simply be to fill some airtime in much the same way Tai and Caleb’s friendship was featured on the Beauty tribe.  This season’s romance certainly doesn’t have the same appeal as the connection between the Asian Gardener and the country boy, but I think it will take Figgy just as far as it took Tai.  Unlike Taylor, that romance isn’t her only dimension.  She realized how it can hurt her and she took action to avoid danger. In other words, she has the ability to look ahead and see how the others think.  Maybe it will be true: “Those who write Figgy’s name go home.”

Ken: The manipulation we saw during the recap was certainly a good point for him.  Then Jessica asked for his forgiveness and promised to give him her advantage.  The switch was very favorable for Ken because he is in a strong tribe and he still has Jessica with him.  Adam’s distrust of Figgy and Taylor puts Ken in a very good position but I’m not sure he should go that way. Now that he knows he is Jessica’s “heir”, he should use this situation to remove her from the game.  If Adam and Jessica want to target Figgy, Ken could go with the two lovers to vote against Jessica.  She will think Adam lied to her and would still give Ken her advantage.

Michaela:  The star of this episode could very well be our winner and we’ve heard some very touching comments about her personal life.  She showed she can play the game when she decided to help save Figgy but she kept her eyes on her.  Wouldn’t it be funny to see both making it to the end?  If Michaela makes it to the end, she should win.  We wouldn’t have heard the part where no one in her family has known success or kept it if she was to fail at the very end.  Will she make it there, though?  We still need more clues before deciding.


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