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: Episodes 10 and 11
There are three idols in play held by Adam, David and Jay.
After the merge, Chris, Bret and Sunday saw Jessica as the biggest threat, but the majority had already made their decision.
David said: “The safest decision is to split the votes between Taylor and Jay.”
With little hope left, Taylor revealed Adam’s secret but the tribe couldn’t forgive him for stealing food, sending Taylor to the jury.
Vinaka Night 25
First, we heard Adam apologizing to the group.
Adam: “Oh, man! Taylor and Jay drew my name through the mud and now everybody knows about my advantage. I want Jay out of this game so bad I can taste his blood in my mouth.”
David asked if there was any food left so Adam said he knew where it was hidden, but Jay intervened to say that Taylor moved it so Adam couldn’t eat anymore.
Jay: “Dude, so I’m in tribal Council and I’m just thinking Taylor: Stop talking dude. You are burying me with you. Not only are you going out but now you are making sure I go out next. How am I going to clean this up? So, I unburied the food just like in good faith, like: Hey… Here’s the food…Here’s what’s left and I’m going to be honest about it because now my back is literally up against the wall. But, considering the fact that I haven’t used my idol this whole time, it’s perfect because now they really think I don’t have one.”
That realization brought a smile to Jay’s face.
If Jay only knew what was about to happen!
Chris: “Taylor leaving was my goal; Taylor left. Next move, let’s go. Jay is seemingly on the bottom but he’s not right now in my opinion. It’s got to be Jess. 90% of it is she’s a strategic player; 10% is I owe her one for blindsiding Paulie and my alliance. If I don’t hit her first, she’s going to hit me. It’s a small tactical squad that’s got to go in and take out Jess, and if it’s the last thing I do, I’m going to vote her out.”
Chris isn’t the first player this season to leave before accomplishing his stated goal. This opening segment served to tell us that Adam and Jay, the two players who were accused of wrong doings in the previous Council, would not see their case go to trial. The accusations were simply dropped because the accusers had more pressing matters to attend to. The leading attorney would soon be paying the price for pushing his personal agenda over the “public” good!
Vinaka Day 26
Ken and Hannah were admiring the sunrise.
Hannah: “In Survivor, you got to find a way to connect with someone who is drastically different from you and I do flirt with Ken, Hi! Hi! You just look at Ken and you go: Ken wouldn’t have any sort of crush on me because like, look at him, but maybe, just maybe, yes, Ken and I, yeah, no, yeah, I could, I, I could see that.”
The scene was accompanied by romantic soap opera music. Hannah brings a smile to my face every time she is the featured character in a scene.
Zeke and Will took a walk where Zeke said that he, David, and Chris put those votes together because they each have their people.
Will in interview: “I’m done working with Jay. It’s time to jump off a sinking ship onto a life raft and that life raft’s name is Zeke. Telling Zeke that Jay has the idol is a way of building trust. I don’t want to tell too many people but telling one individual who I need to build trust with definitely doesn’t hurt my game. If anything, it only helps my game.”
If Will only knew what was about to happen! The gossip telephone scene was simply hilarious. News of Jay’s idol went around faster than when teenagers learn about a heartthrob’s break up.
Zeke: “I need to have the most power in the game and everything in Survivor is about relationships. There’s no better way to build trust with an ally than revealing the location of an immunity idol. On top of that, a person with an immunity idol has a major advantage in this game, but if everybody knows that they have it, that advantage decreases significantly. We want Jay to think he’s the next one to go so he plays the hidden immunity idol, but in actuality, Chris wants to vote out Jess. We’ve had these two nice votes with lots of people voting together but now the time has come to turn on each other. The opening shots have been fired and the war is about to get bloody.
This interview was accompanied by music that could have been the soundtrack to a military movie. We would see Zeke manoeuvring very efficiently. Where everyone only saw two factions, Chris’ and David’s, Zeke had control of a third army that remained hidden. He would then claim the soldiers of the defeated general.
The Reward Challenge
David offered to be the one left out because he felt he was so bad in the water that he didn’t want to be the reason his team lost.
While Bret voiced a lot of encouragement, it was Hannah who appeared to be touched the most by David’s words.
I think this moment had a lot to do with Hannah’s decision to go with David later on. To me, however, it sounded like more theatrics from David: The distance they had to swim was so short that even Michael Phelps couldn’t have gained more than a minute on David. The course was in full view so he had to know that the swim would be meaningless and that the puzzle, like always, would be the deciding factor. The guy knows how to play the cameras. I was wondering when he’d get called on it and I’d have to wait for the second Tribal Council of the night.
It was David and Chris versus Zeke and Adam on the puzzle.
The purple team, with Adam, Zeke, Hannah, Sunday and Bret won the challenge.
I wonder if Jeff would have mentioned the letters from home if Adam hadn’t been on the winning side just to tempt him into using his advantage.
Hannah: “This reward was my first reward and I couldn’t help it that my body just reacted with elation. I just collapsed into myself in happiness. I also felt pretty guilty because I could see the people back at camp, people who you know are hungry and I’ve been on that side of it.”
Bret didn’t show such concern as he just yelled: “Ken, here’s a chicken wing” while he faked tossing one over.
Bret: “I don’t care what everyone else thought at camp. Reward is huge for your game because it makes you feel human again. It was like I was sitting in a bar having some beers and eating with some friends. It was good because Zeke and I really bonded and I think that’s going to be a big help down the road because he’s been really closer with Chris and I needed that bond.”
If Bret becomes an alcoholic after this, he can blame Survivor!
That’s when the letters arrived.
Adam: “To get a letter from home, I don’t know that anyone will ever know what that meant. The other four saw what it meant to me, but they don’t know that my mom was diagnosed with cancer. One of the hardest parts out here is the fear that, at any point, it’s not going to be good news for me. Every day that I know my mom is doing okay, and every day that I stay here, that I make it further in the game, that I get closer to that Loved One’s visit and closer to the end is another big win. Just that little piece– it’s enough to get me going, to get me through the last two weeks of the game.”
His poor gameplay in the last few episodes had overshadowed Adam’s great emotional connection to the audience because of his mother’s story. It’s nice to see that he will actually make it to the family visit but isn’t that where his story likely ends? In comparison, Zeke’s letter included a message from his dad’s dog which, while amusing, was so trivial that it looked like a waste of time.
Back in camp, Ken and David had time to talk. Contemplating his depleted body, David said pizza and beer were exactly what he was craving. Ken wanted to know how he was doing emotionally. David answered that he appreciated all the support. Ken said that David had earned everyone’s respect for the way he’s grown since day 1.
In the middle of the confessional transcribed below, David told Ken that he still wanted to go to the Final Three with him because he trusted him.
David: “I’m on a journey and it’s about coming out of this game as a better person than I was coming into this game. My whole life I’ve had this gigantic fear of death, but over the years, it got into something far worse: It morphed into a fear of life and it’s why I’m here. I’m here to start taking control of my life and I really believe that if any experience can give me that power, it’s Survivor. Ken and I had some alone time and he really gives me a sense of confidence within myself and I’m realizing that in life just like in this game, you have to take control of your own destiny. And you know what? Timing is everything in Survivor but the threesome of Chris, Bret and Sunday is too strong and I’m uncomfortable with how deep in this game they’ve made it. It’s time for me, Jessica and Ken to make a big move right now.”
I think it would be mean of me to say that he didn’t set the bar too high on day one! It makes it quite easy to leave a better man! Is David simply a “Player on a Journey”? This confessional strongly suggests it, but he still could be the season’s winner.
David told Ken and Jessica they had to vote out Chris and that Zeke and Hannah would go along. Ken wasn’t sure about Zeke. David said that Zeke was playing the best game right now but that voting out Chris would be in his best interest.
Jessica’s confessional: “David wants to vote out Chris which would be incredible because I feel he’s my arch-nemesis out here. We’ve had some issues in our original tribe together. So, as far as I’m concerned, Chris has got to go home.”
Everyone still thinking that Ken is our eventual winner has to take note that this was the perfect occasion to present his thoughts about this big move. Instead, we heard from Jessica who wouldn’t survive the evening. Despite David’s strong confessional it feels like no one in this threesome is going to be there at the end. Chris failed in getting rid of Jessica but then she won’t be able to savor her victory very long. I wonder if the same will happen to the other people who have told us about their primary target. David, Zeke, Adam, Sunday and Ken are all players who revealed their agendas. Hannah wanted to take revenge on Jay but did their little scene last week put an end to that? Maybe it’s better to go with the flow so that would leave only Bret and Jay.
Day 28: The Immunity Challenge
It seems that production can’t come up with anything but balance and puzzles to test our castaways. When was the last challenge that really tested their survival skills? For example, if you want to win a reward or get the immunity necklace, go find it in the jungle or in some cave under water.
David won reward. Bret was the first to stand and applaud.
When he received the necklace, David told Jeff he was trying to listen to the voice who says he can instead of the one that says he can’t.
David: “This immunity necklace can only be the beginning; it can’t be the end. It’s a risk to put your foot down, but if I have anything to say about it, Chris is going to go home.”
At least this time we know that the person giving the confessional after the challenge isn’t going home. Jeff asked who would have predicted a final two of Zeke and David and I think it was a popular choice but the second hour would put an end to that possibility.
Vinaka: Decision Time
Jay in confessional: “The immunity challenge was today and I completely blew it. Damn it. Now I got to go to Tribal without immunity and it freaks me out because I have no idea what’s going on. No one wants to talk to me. All I know is if I feel it in my gut to use this immunity idol, I’m going to pull it out and throw it out there.”
Sunday’s thoughts: “Chris and Bret are ready to vote out Jessica and that’s exactly what I wanted to do for the last vote because I worry literally every day that she is putting something together to get me out of the game.”
Chris was sure Zeke was on board while Jay would waste his idol.
We never heard Zeke say anything during this conspiracy. Did he really stay quiet? If so, shouldn’t it have told Chris, Bret and Sunday that he wasn’t on their side. Zeke is too clever not to have given them some assurances but we didn’t hear him so we knew he’d flip on Chris.
We next saw Zeke talking to David about the vote.
Zeke’s interview: “Chris wants to go after Jess, and David wants to go after Chris so this is what I’m deeming the Gen X Civil War. I’m tight with Chris but if this war is starting, I want to have the power and the control. So now it’s time to pit the Gen Xers against each other.”
To do so, Zeke told David that Chris was going after Jess.
It’s interesting that Zeke named only Chris even if Sunday and Bret were co-conspirators. Was he already setting the stage to recuperate them? It would have been harder to recruit them if they heard that Zeke threw them under the bus along with Chris.
David in confessional: “Chris is targeting Jess. He’s been targeting Jess since the beginning of the game. So Jessica is not safe as long as Chris is in the game.”
Jessica was aware that Chris was gunning for her so that frightened her. She knew she had to trust an enormous amount of people.
She told Adam about the plan against her. Adam wanted to vote out Jay so Jess said they would take care of him right after Chris.
Zeke and Hannah talked.
Zeke: “Right now, I have what I always wanted to have which are options. My little clique of nerdy Millennials can work with Chris, my Okie buddy or we can work with David and make this huge move but it’s hard for me because I trust both of these guys. To win this game, you have to know where you’re going and you need to know who you need to get there so this next vote is all about amassing the soldiers that I need to march my army down the field.”
Zeke was doing everything extremely well and he should have had all the players he needed to march down the field, but he would inexplicably fumble the ball. Losing Hannah was one thing but he should never have let Adam drift away. Zeke was angry at Adam because of his actions with Taylor but he still should have been there for his nerdy friend. Who would have imagined that Adam would be ready to draw rocks because he didn’t want to save Zeke? For him to be ready to do something so drastic, he must have felt that Zeke wasn’t there for him anymore. Zeke is a very good player but his plans were derailed by the stupid actions of Adam.
Jay said he still felt on the outs.
David said that there were different voting blocs. It was predictability versus blindside.
Zeke said it was something between a voting bloc and an alliance.
Hannah said it was more like a trust cluster.
Jeff loved it, and Hannah loved that Jeff loved her term, and Jeff loved that she loved it.
Bret said it was about going forward with the people he trusted.
Chris said that every vote drew new lines.
Adam said there was a cold war brewing but he wanted to go after Jay.
Jay said he liked the “compliment”.
Sunday said it was about the people she couldn’t trust according to their past actions.
Jessica knew that Sunday was referring to the vote against Paul.
Chris said he had a short memory so that Jess had nothing to worry about.
David was 100% sure about the vote. Zeke was also 100% sure as were Sunday, Chris and Jay but he was only kidding.
Zeke said they were very good at blindsides.
It was time to vote.
No one played an idol.
Chris, Bret, Sunday, and Jay voted for Jessica.
Everyone else voted for Chris.
Jay was grinning from ear to ear when Chris stood to get his torch.
Chris knew who got him because he turned to Zeke and said: “Boomer” to which Zeke replied with the customary: “Sooner”.
Jeff sent them back to camp after saying: “Alliances, voting blocs, and trust clusters– whatever you call it, this game is being played at a very high level and that means one thing: More blindsides to come.”
Vinaka Night 28
Once more, Jay had the first interview: “At tribal, I thought I was going to have to pull my idol but, sitting there, it was like no one is really talking about me so don’t use it. It was a million dollar gamble and I was right. My name didn’t even show up once.”
We have to note the consistency and the content of Jay’s confessionals. His presence at the start of each episode and each important segment presents the game from his point of view.
Jessica said that voting out Chris solidified her group and that the next vote was going to be Jay.
Bret told Zeke that he understood his move, that he knew why it had to be done. Zeke said he was sorry that they couldn’t do it together and that he and Sunday weren’t on the bottom.
Zeke’s interview: “Tonight’s vote went as I anticipated. It was necessary to see Chris go because Chris was in a major power position: He controlled Bret and Sunday. I saw going forward I was going to need to make a move against David and his coalition. If I am going to come for David soon, I need at least six. Bret and Sunday are integral to that six and I’m glad most of all that I got to Bret before David did.”
Not only did Zeke strike first, but we saw that David was sleeping on the job! Zeke would soon get rewarded for his proactive talk with Bret. But then, we had a magnificent look at the Milky Way and we saw a shooting star across our screen which could also be telling us that Zeke’s success will be short-lived.
Vinaka Day 29
It was still very early in the morning when David tried to recruit Bret and Sunday to go after Zeke once they had taken care of Jay. David used practically the same words that Zeke used so Bret repeated that he knew Chris had to be voted out at some point even if he was his buddy.
David’s interview: “I want to make Jay the next target, but the thing is the person winning this game right now is Zeke, so I need to get rid of Zeke in three votes because I do want to go after Jay and Will and then Zeke.”
Bret then gave us an interview: “Unbeknownst to David, I’ve signed on with Zeke because with David, I know he can’t be trusted. I’m thinking David needs to go and he needs to go fast.”
While David said he wanted to go after Jay next, we saw Jay sleeping in the shelter which isn’t a good sign but once more the target would be deflected without Jay needing to do a thing so why not sleep late?! It was much worse to hear Bret’s interview on top of David’s.
It didn’t take long for Zeke to reconnect with Bret and get some valuable information: Bret told him that David was gunning for him. Zeke told Bret that David had an idol which didn’t surprise the policeman because David always has an idol.
Zeke’s interview: “Wouldn’t you know? I wake up this morning and David is already starting to come for me. I mean, it’s understandable right because I’ve already started to go for David. I’m like the doughy little gay guy and a lot of people believed I couldn’t hack it out here and I think it’s developed a toughness in me. Today, I am a warrior and my goal, ultimately, is to make a move against David.”
Vinaka Day 29
David’s interview: “The thing about Zeke and I is that I think we are like chess players in this game of Survivor and I feel like I can read Zeke’s mind. I feel we’re having much the same thoughts. I hope people see Zeke as playing harder than I am so it’s not going to be such a hard sell when it comes time to vote him out.”
While David was boiling water, Zeke had his eyes on him. David was laughing; Zeke was calculating. That was the image we were given. It wasn’t hard to determine who the real chess player was.
Zeke in confessional: “David and I are very similar people. Like, I understand that I am threatening; David understands that I am threatening. I think people see it, but I think David is more of a threat to win than I am. This is the war that everyone has been alluding to and now it’s a scramble for who has the troops.”
Zeke tried to grab Adam and Hannah who should have been in his corner but she had hesitations. Hannah said that Will and Jay were the most dangerous couple. Zeke said that neither Will nor Jay was coming after him.
Hannah: “I want both David and Zeke to feel like I am in their corner and they are both two extremely threatening players. I mean, I would love to work with David. David and I are very similar, both very neurotic people but it’s been a month of Zeke and me working side by side so I don’t know who I choose either Zeke or David.”
Maybe Zeke should have given Hannah more assurances that he wasn’t going to stay with Jay and Will very long. While she didn’t say it explicitly, we know that Hannah doesn’t trust those two guys very much and she even wanted to get her revenge for their vote against Michaela.
The Reward Challenge
The sand spit reminded me of Borneo.
David was assured of going on the reward even if he didn’t have to get sand in his face. He only had to wait for it to end.
Some players, Bret in particular, didn’t seem to have their hands tied as tightly as the others. He had his hands all the way up to his shoulders while Jessica couldn’t even move them higher than her waist.
Bret, Zeke and Sunday solved the puzzle first, winning that reward.
Sunday and Zeke were happy to get the chopper ride while Bret was smiling at the idea that he went naked on Survivor!
He isn’t the first fat gay guy to go naked on Survivor–Two flashbacks to Borneo in one scene. Not bad!
Adam: “I have an advantage in this game which allows me to steal a reward from another. I was very tempted to use it especially because David didn’t earn this one, but I felt it was the best decision for me to hang on to my advantage and to save it for another day.”
While David would have been upset, no one would have really held it against Adam if he had used his advantage here. Using it over someone who earned their reward will certainly increase the negative reactions to his move.
Sunday: “My dream was not only to get on Survivor but to win a helicopter reward so this ranks up there as one of my favorite days in my life. I feel like I’m ten years old.
Zeke and Sunday must have bonded much more than we heard because as soon as they won, Zeke said: “We get our helicopter ride” which means he knew how important it was to Sunday.
Then we had more beer for Bret.
Zeke: “My new drinking buddy is Bret. I don’t really like to drink beer, but I really want to cultivate a relationship with Bret, so if he wants me to be his new drinking buddy, I’m his new drinking buddy.”
Then both Bret and Sunday went for a walk in opposite directions so the two guys had an open discussion.
Sunday warned them not to say anything important while she was gone but we heard one of the most important exchanges of the season.
Bret in confessional: “I’ve been a big fan of Survivor and it’s just a part of my life. As you get older, you start to learn who you really are and you start to not care what people think. I’m trying to get closer to Zeke because I want to work with Zeke and I just like him as a person. I didn’t grow up in a time when it was normal to talk about being gay and the Millennials do not care. Zeke finds comfort in being himself, and I think that’s great and I’m hoping that as my life goes on from here on out, I can be that way.”
Bret told Zeke that he was gay. He explained that he couldn’t tell everyone because he was in such a macho group and that his generation didn’t really talk about that. Zeke said: “You have to play Survivor like you live your life. You can’t do something new on Survivor.”
Zeke’s confessional: “I owe a lot to Bret’s generation. I would not have been able to come out at 15 were there not the pioneers who paved the way and I think it really reflects this Millennial-Gen X divide. He spent some time in the military during the “don’t ask, don’t tell” era where he couldn’t have been in the military if he had told people he was gay. I’m excited that now Bret gets to reap the rewards of what he has sowed.”
When Sunday returned, the two Gen Xers asked Zeke what he thought about blindsiding David. Sunday said it made her nervous and they all agreed. Zeke said he was glad that David was there because he could watch him. He was counting on pulling Will, Jay and Hannah on board.
Zeke: “Bret and I, we have like the rainbow connection and Bret, Sunday and I agree that David is the biggest threat in this game and I am delighted to hear this because now, I think, I have united them against an enemy and they are my loyal soldiers.”
Vinaka Day 29
Hannah: “The winners get back and I immediately grab David. I’m playing between David and Zeke but I am going with my gut and my decision is to go after Zeke because Zeke can be condescending and he can be a flip-flopper.”
Those are the first negative comments we’ve heard about Zeke.
She informed David that Bret told Zeke that he was the target and that Zeke revealed his secret about the idol. David realized he was in a mess but Hannah said that there was a good part because Zeke trusted her. David said his idol was for both of them. Bret and Jay, Hannah’s “Peruvian Ozzy”, both saw them talking on the beach
David’s confessional: “Zeke is now telling people that I have an idol. Hannah told me that Bret told Zeke that I’m gunning for him which is like complete miscalculation on my part.”
Hannah asked David not to get neurotic because then he would waste his idol. David wanted to go after Zeke now, let the other votes fall on him so that when he played his idol, Zeke would go home. Hannah then said that if Zeke found out she was working with David, then she was screwed.
She was absolutely correct on both points.
Day 30: The Immunity Challenge
It only took 33 seasons but Jeff finally realized that his play-by-play can help the players so he didn’t say anything about their progress during the blind maze.
Jay won immunity in a complete blow-out.
The tired old formula was put aside for once: We didn’t have a confessional to blow the night’s surprise.
Vinaka: Indecision Time
When they arrived back to camp we saw that the bat finally took flight and the moon was seen in the sky.
I think I was wrong about the bat’s gender! I haven’t studied enough zoology to recognize a male bat from a female bat just by looking at its head. Last week the bat appeared just before a scene between Hannah and Jay and it seemed that it was Hannah’s coming out moment but what if the bat represented Jay instead? Now, with him winning immunity, being free of worries and finding new allies, he can finally take off. Batman has always been much more powerful than Batgirl. When the moon is up, Jay is powerful and we saw the moon once more.
Jay’s interview: “We had an immunity challenge today and guess who came out champion! I did. I won and I crushed these fools. And surprise, I still have an idol but I’m not playing it tonight. I saved it so long for myself so I’m going to keep it for myself.”
Finding themselves alone in the shelter, David informed Jessica about his predicament. They then told Ken that the vote had to be against Zeke.
In confessional, Jessica told us she wanted to vote for Zeke to protect David.
Ken had an interview: “I am going to stay with David. I made a promise to the man that I would never put his name down so I’m going to go out swinging and fighting with David in this game.”
Could this confessional have actually been delivered after Tribal Council once Ken knew they’d be down in numbers? Before Tribal there was still a chance that it wouldn’t come down to a desperate fight which is what Ken implied when he talked about going out swinging and fighting.
Zeke tried to rally Hannah to his side but Hannah’s hesitations told Zeke all he had to know. He asked her if she was going to play the rest of the game with him or with David. All Hannah said was “alright”.
Looking up at the sky for an answer isn’t the best way to deceive someone. Hannah should have known that Zeke would ask her for her vote so why didn’t she prepare a good lie?
Zeke’s confessional: “I have tried to cultivate Hannah as a very, very close ally and as we’re talking, it becomes very clear to me that Hannah doesn’t have my best interest at heart. I realized that I no longer am going to be working with Hannah. The vote, it was going to be David but if David has an idol and David plays an idol then we’re screwed, so if Hannah wants to become one of David’s numbers, she becomes my enemy and I have no problem voting her out of the game. We’ve come to the day when it’s either going to be David’s army or my army so I’m trusting Bret and Sunday, Jay and Will. So we have five votes together which is half which means at worse we tie.”
Talking to Adam, Hannah said she trusted him and wanted him to vote out Zeke.
Adam’s reaction: “Hannah wants to vote for Zeke tonight but I am not confident about the plan tonight because I have been sitting back a little bit and allowing Hannah to run the show a little bit and Hannah is a nervous girl and it makes me nervous.”
Hannah told David that she needed his idol because it would be five against five. David thought she was being paranoid, but she said she knew that Zeke would go after her so she’d need his idol.
Hannah’s confessional: “My OCD is going crazy right now. It’s too much and my body can’t handle it. I feel that David should play his idol for me because if the vote changes at all, it’s going to be against me.”
David’s thoughts: “Tonight is huge. If we really do have five votes and there’s no really anymore, because who the hell knows what is happening, but if we really do have five votes against Zeke, that would be a tie and then we will revote and it will require somebody flipping. The question is who will flip: my people or their people? But I’m not even sure it will be five-five so I’m really schizophrenic about what I am going to do with my idol. I hope I play the idol for the right person. This is really the scariest part of the game for me thus far.”
No one was feeling 100% confident anymore except for Jay of course.
David said that he felt like a fruit bat looking at the world upside down. He added that it will be the most chaotic Tribal Council they have seen.
Jay said everyone was playing pedal to the metal.
Hannah started whispering to Adam about trusting her with the vote. Bret tried listening in on their talk.
Bret interrupted David saying there were no clusters– that it was every man for himself.
David asked for Zeke’s alliance to speak up which led to Bret’s mocking him about starting to cry because he was having more anxiety attacks. Zeke chimed in with a: “Don’t cry, David.”
David didn’t like the personal attack because he didn’t attack anyone.
Adam said he was nervous and that the vote was still alive.
Jessica said she was utterly confused.
Ken said the guillotine was about to drop, but he didn’t know who’s head was under it.
Bret sarcastically said: “Ken, this is the game. Welcome to it.”
Sunday turned to Hannah and Adam and quietly said they should stick to the plan about voting against Ken.
What an ingenious fake directly from the Art of War: Do not let your enemies know what you are planning.
Zeke said everyone was questioning the people they trusted.
Bret said they should vote so they voted. They liked it so much that they voted again!
Before that, though, David played an idol. He was going to play it for Hannah but Adam said they were whispering about voting for Ken so David wasted his idol on Ken.
Everyone realized that Jessica was the weak link so they worked her over. She didn’t want to go to rocks.
Jessica, who along with Will had been the most nervous about picking a rock, drew the wrong one.
Bret said he didn’t want to go to rocks but David did.
Jeff’s last words: “Drawing rocks is the ultimate survivor all-in move. With this many people willing to make an all-in move, it means the end of this game is going to be insane.”
Jessica gave her advantage to Ken.
Jay’s quote about the “Million Dollar Gamble” was chosen as the episode’s title but we saw more Million Dollar Gambles before the end of the evening. One thing we can say was that Jay’s gamble was based on accurate observations while going to rocks, despite Jeff’s paint job, is as dumb as playing Russian roulette. The worse part is that the two sides knew it was going to be a tie before they even got out of camp, so they should have found a better solution.
On the positive side, we’ve rarely seen two masterminds going after each other for as long as this. Alex, Jaime and Alicia were no match for Earl, Todd and Kim, but Zeke and David seem evenly matched. Which one will come out on top? I’m starting to think that this war will end in a Pyrrhic victory: that the winner of this duel will fall soon after to a player that hasn’t wasted his energy too early.
Will: Zeke was his life raft and he proved it by going to rocks for him so why is he now thinking of joining David? We will have to wait to see if it is another fake but Will looks like a very indecisive player. He wanted to gain Zeke’s trust by revealing Jay’s idol but we saw what everyone thought of Will’s trust. They were all ready to relay his secret. Now, Will is once more on Jay’s side so I wonder if they will reconnect.
Ken: Ever since Figgy’s elimination, Ken has been disconnected from the story. He’s still there but he’s reduced to a silent role in David’s army. That same silence was imposed on Jessica so it can’t be good for Ken’s future. No one really sees him as a threat to win, Sunday even used his name to fake out Adam and David, but his turn should come soon. We can’t say that he is going with the flow because he said he was going to fight to the end for David.
Sunday: Now that she got her helicopter ride and gotten rid of Jessica, what is left for her? It seems like the end of her story. Her vote is still needed but now she may fall back into the shadows that surrounded her during the season’s first act.
The Following Players All Have Great Stories:
Adam: He didn’t need to do much to remove the target that Taylor put on his back because no one was really worried about Adam in this game. That could get him far in the game but his advantage could prove to be a big disadvantage once more. He certainly has the emotional content to be the winner, but he doesn’t have the game. The family Visit is so important to him that it may signal the end of his game.
Hannah: Some people simply steal all the scenes in which they are featured, and Hannah is the one that does it best this season. For someone that has anxiety attacks, she survived that Tribal Council very well. However, we saw her shortcomings when she couldn’t lie to Zeke. She makes her allies nervous just by being nervous, but if David had listened to her then Zeke would have been eliminated. She’s a smart player, but like Zeke, her plan failed because of Adam! He really is the worst teammate ever!
Bret: He has shown a very good social game. He was the first to encourage David to participate in the reward challenge and then he congratulated him when he won the immunity challenge. He didn’t show any anger after Chris’ elimination, using it instead to advance his game. It was as if with Chris gone, both Zeke and David saw that Bret could be a solid ally. His new drinking buddy easily earned his favor and their connection as two gay guys should prove to be as solid as any bond left in the game. If Zeke gets voted out before the end, Bret could be the one carrying on to the win. In the early part of the game, we wondered why we didn’t hear him much in the strategy discussions, but maybe it was to show that he is going with the flow. That seems like the best option this season.
David: If we are going to see that much insanity before the end of the season then David could certainly come out on top. Now that his alliance suffered a big loss and that he wasted his idol, David should go next but that doesn’t feel right. His story still has legs and, like he said, the immunity challenge win could only be a beginning. How far can he go? I think Zeke has been shown as the better chess player but David should find a way to prolong the game. His clock hasn’t reached zero yet.
Zeke: He told us he needed six but he soon found himself with only five votes. The rock would come to his rescue but his alliance now includes Will and Jay who weren’t part of his original nerdy alliance. That alliance wasn’t strong enough to survive the first battle so what can we say about Zeke’s new one? Still, Zeke is the player that has bridged the gap between Millennials and Gen Xers the best when he paid homage to the pioneers from the generation that preceded him. That could be the message of the season.
Jay: It seems that gaining control of the game and having an agenda against someone hasn’t paid off this season. Jay was completely taken by surprise when Michelle was voted out but he used Taylor as his shield and he was the first to reconnect with Sunday and Bret. Those two gave him a connection to Zeke and then the necessities of war made him a valuable soldier. By winning immunity, he was under no pressure to change his vote and since Hannah hadn’t held her part of the deal, he had a reason to go after her. I think it was important that the scene in the shelter between Jay and Hannah was shown. She had promised to keep him informed about the votes, but when he asked, she didn’t tell him anything useful.
Jay has received important confessionals during most episodes. He is now well-placed to make it far in the game. His big move against Michaela was done too early, so it wasn’t very smart, but it was presented as the smartest thing to do at the time. We didn’t even hear the tribe blaming him for eating part of the food that Taylor hid; instead, they thanked him for retrieving it. We heard that Jay can be very charming and this game is all about relationships, so I think that Jay will find a way to come out on top. Even if many characters left have strong stories, I think Jay will be the next Sole Survivor.