In his recap, Jeff said that 10 pairs of players, made up of 10 returning players and their loved ones, began the game together…
…but they soon found out they wouldn’t have their loved one to lean on… (Monica and Colton highlighted)
…making a complicated game even tougher. (Mrs Boneham’s shock was shown)
We heard Brad repeating his comment about letting Monica win the tarp and Marissa calling him out for it.After saying their goodbyes, the new tribes were forced to vote out one of their own, drawing first blood in front of their loved ones.
Galang (sic!) voted out Rupert’s wife, Laura while Tadhana (re-sic) voted out John’s wife, Candice. (get your tribes straight, Probst!)
The game wasn’t over for Laura and Candice: Redemption Island was back in play and Blood versus Water was put to the ultimate test.
Rupert gave up his life in the game while John decided to let his wife fight her way off Redemption island.
At Galang, Colton was working on repairing his image.
We heard Monica saying that he was a villain and asking if zebras changed their stripes.
At Tadhana, Brad, the former NFL player, hit the ground running, putting together a majority alliance of men.
Galang got off to a slow start at the immunity challenge (We heard Jeff saying that Gervase was slowing his tribe) but when Katie struggled, they pulled off the victory. After Gervase’s excessive celebration, the men’s alliance targeted his niece, Marissa but Katie’s struggles at the challenge were hard to overlook.
At Tribal Council, the men chose vengeance over keeping the tribe strong by voting out Marissa.
Besides showing that Jeff isn’t completely into this season (!) it was interesting to note how much he talked about Katie’s struggles because she wouldn’t be a target in this episode. It only served to remind us of her presence and maybe set the stage for a comeback story.
Redemption Island – Night 3
Marissa arrived and needed to introduce herself to Candice and Rupert. Her confessional was placed here while the scene in camp continued with Marissa explaining the Gervase incident. Rupert had a confessional about his fear of seeing Laura get voted out and then we heard Candice saying that Marissa was really voted out because of her comment about Brad.
Marissa was pissed about being the first one but Candice corrected her, saying she was third.
It could mean nothing but since Rupert would soon be the first to leave, but I wonder if Marissa stays one more round and gets to throw her buff in the fire during episode 4. It would give double meaning to what we heard Candice saying and editors love to include sayings that have double meanings when they find them. Marissa’s elimination had been explained in the recap and didn’t really need another interpretation but Candice reached a different conclusion. That showed the viewers that she’s sharp.
Marissa (conf.): “…I came in thinking Katie was a go. No; Marissa was a go. People had the audacity to put a frowny face next to my name…I’m really pissed off.”
The scene ended with Rupert saying: “This is Redemption Island. Welcome here. It’s a bunch of people sitting, pissed off.”
Galang – Day 4.
The music was very joyous and light while an army of ants was making its way on a tree trunk. The ants have been predominant up to now and we will soon have a shot of a group of them tearing a large beetle apart. That suggests a group of players might tear up the strong ones before the season ends. Who are the ants? In this episode, the ants first appeared while we were in Galang but the group that quartered the beetle was shown during Tadhana’s scrambling scene and the strong practically have to be Brad and his alliance. If we are to speculate on the meaning, we’d say that Cierra and Katie will use the help of Galang’s alliance to bring down the all-male alliance.
Tyson, Laura M., Laura B., Kat, Tina and Aras were standing one in front of the other, massaging each other’s back.
Mrs Boneham in confessional: “As soon as Rupert was taken away and I was by myself, my heart just sunk. It’s been a very peaceful tribe as far as considerations for others, it’s been a blessing.”
Colton wasn’t enjoying the peace and he said so in confessional: “I though that this whole Zen, calm, yoga mentality would be appealing to me but it was for like 3 days. Now I’m over it.” We then hear him telling Monica that he came to play Survivor and she wisely told him that the game required patience, that it’s 39 days. Colton’s rant continued: “I don’t want to live with these people. I don’t want this to be the final 9. I love Caleb with every fiber of my being and I just need to get to him.”
Colton started telling conflicting stories: He first talked to Aras, Gervase and Tina, saying that Laura Morrett was throwing Tina under the bus. Aras didn’t want to hear it because they didn’t need to at that time. Colton said he didn’t care since he’d volunteer to go to TC. That really caught Aras and Tina’s attention. Gervase shut him up by saying they didn’t need to talk strategy. Aras’ confessional was inserted here and then we heard Tina telling Colton that she was ready to talk about anything except Survivor. For effect, the last part of Colton’s confessional was heard just before the commercial break.
Aras’ confessional: “I really thought that Colton had seen the way he played and he had changed but you can only fake it for so long. You come out here and you fake who you are for 4 days, 5 days but then the elements get to you and your true personality emerges.”
The end of Colton’s confessional: “Strategy? What strategy? We are a unit. We are unity, we are peace, we are Zen. We are stupid.”
It was fascinating to hear Monica telling Colton that Survivor required patience considering that just last week we heard she had told Brad to hit the ground running. We have Brad playing fast and Colton being impatient on one side, Monica showing restraint and Aras, Gervase and Tina calming the situation on the other. This gives us such contrasting game plays that we have to consider it a Theme for this story. Our first impression is that Brad and Colton’s approach is bad, that it is better to stay calm while playing the game. If that is the correct interpretation then Colton’s “We are stupid” was really addressed to himself and indirectly to Brad instead of Galang.
Tadhana – Day 4
Brad had a confessional while the camera showed us his fishing trip: “We feel great this morning. We’ve got flint last night. It was unfortunate that we had to lose a tribe member to get the flint but we got the flint. I showed the guys how to use the Hawaiian sling and we got some fish.”
Rachel also had a confessional: “I have a good feeling that I am more at risk in this game right now than Tyson is. I think alliances are just starting to form. I think there’s a lot more going on that what it looks like just at camp. I’m a girl in this tribe; I’m a minority. I’m living in a man’s world right now so that’s why my strategy is to really play it cool with the guys, be with the guys and try to work with them.”
While Cierra was watching, Rachel approached John and told him that she trusted him.
Cierra gave us a confessional: “The fact that Rachel is not strategizing with the girls at this point which, you kind of assume she would be closest with, is really fishy to me and I am 75 percent confident that Rachel and John have an alliance.” She told Katie about her suspicions, warning her to be careful about those two. Her confessional continued: “I definitely take it upon myself to let people know that John has an alliance in the tribe so it puts a big red flag on John which is great for me because the red flag is not on me.”
We could think that, by letting “people know that John has an alliance in the tribe”, Cierra was actually putting a red flag on herself: The people in John’s alliance could see Cierra as being too smart to keep around. However, the rest of the episode won’t be going that way so the conclusion to reach from this confessional is that Cierra is a smart observer.
Next, we had John bringing news that it was time for the whole tribe to go to the challenge arena.
John’s confessional came next: “This game is crazy! The whole tribe is going to Redemption Island. I hope to see Candice but it is going to be tough for me, emotionally. I’ve been wrestling with a lot of difficult feelings of guilt. If Candice looks at me and smiles and says she loves me, honestly, that would take this weight that is crushing my heart right now and it would throw it off.”
Filing in first, Galang looked anxiously towards the entrance, towards Tadhana to see who would be missing. The camera focused on Tina and Laura who had seen their daughters lose the challenge. When Jeff said Marissa had been voted out, Aras patted Gervase on the back to console him just as a grinning Brad made his entrance. Tina was shown drying a tear and Jeff pointed out that 4 of them were crying. Monica and Laura said they were happy to see them safe.
Candice gave John a nice wink when she walked in and we saw his relief.
Jeff noted the long stare that Marissa gave her tribe. She told Jeff she didn’t think she should be there. She then told Gervase: “You burned the tribe with your celebration. You rubbed salt in their open wound and that’s why I’m here.”
Gervase turned around and simply said: “I am going to rub some more. I promise you that.”
The camera went immediately to Brad, making him Gervase’s direct target even if Marissa hadn’t mentioned him.
That whole exchange made Candice laugh.
Given the chance to swap, Gervase simply said: “Handle your biz.”
Jeff had just said that the challenge required speed and dexterity when he noticed that Rupert was throwing caution to the wind and blowing through the contraption.
Could this be another hint that going too fast isn’t good in this game? It certainly seemed to resonate with what we had heard before. When Rupert lost his first spool, Jeff even said it didn’t do any good to rush. Add John’s advice to go “slow and steady”, Gervase’s recommendation to “take your time” and we definitely have a recurring theme.
Rupert still managed to tie Candice at 7 but he lost his stack, opening the door to the two women which made Laura hide her face in her hands while Gervase, sitting right next to her, started laughing. When Marissa completed her stack, Rupert simply went for a last hug with Laura, telling her she will be fine. Rupert couldn’t believe he was the first one out. He didn’t regret his move: “I love Survivor” he said, “but I love my wife more.”
Candice gave the idol clue to John.
As they left, we heard John’s confessional: “I am so pumped! Candice kicked so much ass. I had those guilty feelings and she just took them off the table. She doesn’t hold it against me at all and I have a clue to the hidden immunity idol. This is like, incredible.”
We’re noticing that an investment is being made in Candice. The work ethic she showed in camp last week, the emotions expressed by John and the wink she gave him which was replayed in slow motion at the end of the scene as if we were watching Sports Center, were meant to have us root for Candice…at least for now. It could be that she will be the one to root for only until a bigger favorite gets sent to RI but it could also mean she outplays everyone there and comes back in the game. We just have to see if the investment continues to grow like it did with Matt.
Tadhana – Day 4
John received his tribe’s congratulations and he had a confessional: “I can’t explain the amount of pride and happiness I had in seeing Candice dominate. I want to have as many weak people around Candice as humanly possible (Cierra shown on screen right then) so, if both people out there suck and are weak in challenges, then I’m happy.”
Right then, Vytas had a new take on the elimination: “Who has the most likely chance to swap are the players who have played the game so who we want out of that tribe is their strongest players and who is most likely to switch that is strong?” Tyson was the answer so Vytas continued: “Exactly. For example, Rachel would be the next to go and Tyson would have a really tough time not switching.”
Immediately, we saw John’s shock.
John had one more confessional: “The selfish reason I have for not wanting to vote Rachel out is, if in fact Tyson does switch places with her then he’s going against Candice. I would rather have that not happen.”
He didn’t say that to the tribe and the talk went to the idol which he said he would use at the merge to get numbers.
Brad then had a confessional: “John is with us. I like the kid. I think he’s solid. I think it’s good for him to have the clue because getting the clue in front of everybody is a curse and a blessing. It’s a blessing because you have an opportunity to find the idol but it’s a curse in the sense that you have a target.”
After reading the clue alone, we heard from John again: “I have a decision point to make; there’s a fork in the road. Do I go this way and tell the guys in my alliance or do I find a way to run off in secret and find the immunity idol myself. I think I am going to be private about it, make sure that I am the only one that could find it.”
The intensity of the music suggested that this was the wrong direction for John.
Galang – Day 4
Mrs Boneham told everyone that she was “surprisingly OK. There is a sense of relief that I don’t have to worry about him…I’m not a target anymore; I’m not two, I am one.”
Colton told us his reaction in confessional: “I feel like I’m in middle school again. I mean, I don’t mind campfire side chats or whatever but that is all they want to do. Do you think this is a YMCA camping trip for a week where we want to improve ourselves? You know what? I want to improve myself by winning a million dollars.” That’s when he went to Gervase saying that Laura Morrett was a big threat and had to go first. He then told Monica that Tyson wanted to get rid of her. His confessional went on: “It’s not hard for me to twist the story and lie to someone to benefit me in this game.” So he told Tina that Gervase was on board to get rid of Aras. Colton added: “If I can get all this Zen out of here, I can run this show.”
Just then, we had an image of water splashing in Colton’s face, which could be a sign that he will be the one surprised because Tina and Kat were heard comparing notes about Colton.
Kat in confessional: “I do not want to play against Colton. I can’t have him against me because he will turn on me. He loves that stuff. He thrives on that and it’s sick.”
We then had a argument between Colton and Kat about what Tina had told the ex-Salani member. Colton, wanting to know, went to get Tina and gave us a confessional that was presented in the meantime: “When I get angry, I turn into a raging bitch and hopefully, this camp will erupt into chaos. If there is one thing I know is that I can rule in chaos.”
The trouble for Colton is that Tina didn’t say a word while others heard his rant.
Tina in confessional: “So this is what Survivor 27 looks like? There is just so much drama. You don’t want to deal with drama for 39 days.”
This was another reference to playing the game with calm. Staying out of the drama was the theme that led to Vee’s victory. In a season where “Cleopatra”, “McGyver”, the “Godfather”, the “General”, “Tinkerbell” and “Malcolm X” all stood out, Vee remained calm. Could we be revisiting the same story? I suppose it could be something similar but with a few twists added.
During one of those campfire chats, Colton addressed everyone: “Can I just say that…I am all for burying the hatchet but I cannot forge forward in a relationship with somebody…”
Aras, who was resting in Tyson’s arms, interrupted him saying: “It doesn’t matter to most of us. I know at least for me, for Gervase, for Laura, Monica, I want a peaceful camp and I want to win.”
Tyson in confessional: “That fight was awesome. The thing with Colton is I think he came out here wanting to be different than the person he was and he pretended to be for maybe a day and a half or something but now you look at him and he’s going to end up over-thinking himself out of the game probably.”
We heard someone saying that Tina was fine, telling us that Colton’s rant was directed at her also even if it was Kat that was shown crying.
Colton in confessional: “I hope we get to the immunity challenge tomorrow and we get slaughtered. These people need to experience Tribal Council and realize that this is a game. This isn’t National Lampoon’s horrible vacation.”
That’s pretty ironic considering most of “these people” have had more experience in Tribal Council than the guy that asked to be taken out of the game during One World.
Galang – Day 5
It started with Colton’s confessional: “I woke up this morning and everyone is being super sketchy. I don’t know why. I don’t know if the vibe has been thrown off or what exactly is going on.”
By the way the camera showed Tina looking at him, I’d suggest that Colton didn’t understand that the game can be played without drama or chaos and that it can be played at his expense.
Colton asked Monica if he was in trouble and she reassured him, adding that she would keep her ears open.
Monica had a confessional: “I like Colton but, for the first time in my life, I came to play for me. That Monica that is just going to sit in mediocrity, she died in Samoa.”
Just then, we saw the skin of a snake that had been shed, suggesting that, indeed, we were in front of a new Monica.
That’s when we saw Tyson talking to Aras, Gervase, Monica and Tina, saying that Colton’s whole game is to get people to turn on each other. He added that they shouldn’t listen to whatever he says about targeting any of them but that they should compare notes instead.
Monica told the group that Colton asked her if everyone was still on Kat or if they were on him.
Aras said that Colton was a bully but that they didn’t have to be afraid. He added that Colton was a gay Russell Hantz.
Aras: “I saw a side of Colton that was nasty. What he did to Kat last night was bullying. If he did it to Kat, he can do it to Tyson, he can do it to Aras, to Gervase. So, at a certain point you say: I don’t want to play with that person.”
Aras then looked at his group, Gervase, Tyson, Monica and Tina and said: “This is it right here. This is the five to the end.”
Monica had another confessional: “A new alliance has formed and it is Tyson, Aras, Gervase, Tina and me and I feel really good about this alliance. Wisdom is experience and everybody in this alliance of 5 that I have, have had a lot of life experience.”
I also feel really good about this alliance. It used to be that alliances revealed don’t succeed but we’ve seen quite a few endure to the end lately. The fact that it includes all the players that are associated with the theme of playing the game calmly makes it even more promising.
The Immunity/Reward Challenge
As the tribes walked in, the camera focused on Cierra who gave a thumbs up to her mom Laura.
Let’s file this away as a possible important connection. Neither are in the main alliances as we have seen them so one of them could be sent to RI at one point or they could eventually join to flip the game.
The reward, as usual for episode 2, was fishing gear.
Kat was the designated cheerleader for Galang but we only saw her in the background a few times as she encouraged her team.
Although built as a team challenge, there were only two important players on each side. The barrel rollers had a role to play but it was marginal. It came down to the two women untying the knots, Katie and Laura, and the two guys that threw the balls, Hayden and Gervase. It was so evident that Jeff didn’t even mention Vytas, Brad, John, Tyson, Aras or Monica, the runners, except at the very end when we heard him say: “Brad nearly rolls over that barrel.”
Laura was slightly faster than Katie at first but Tadhana made up their deficit at the last station, giving Hayden a slight lead.
Even if it was very much like a Big Brother challenge and he had a 3-1 lead, Hayden lost to Gervase who had “a nice touch going” according to Jeff. With a 6-4 win, Gervase did get a chance to rub more salt in the Loved Ones’ wound, like he promised. He dedicated the win to Marissa, screaming for everyone to hear!
Hayden could only stare at the board and we saw Kat looking troubled.
Brad winked at Monica when Jeff gave her the idol.
The Returning players left with their reward and it was time for Hayden to wink at Kat.
There are quite a few winks and signals going on, players reassuring their loved ones that they are safe. Are any of those gestures significant? For now, I’d say that the wink Candice gave John, because it was replayed, and the thumbs up Cierra gave Laura, because it was out of the blue, are the most intriguing ones. The others were “in the moment” so they probably don’t have any long range implications.
Tadhana – Day 6
Brad was furious against Gervase, asking if he could be as stupid as he looked and promising to body slam him out if they ever get a physical challenge.
Katie had a confessional: “We really needed this challenge. Not because of the fishing gear but we really needed the immunity idol. We don’t want to send anyone home. There’s 3 girls left. We have lots of guys, lots of brawn but there is only us three girls. The guys can pick us off if they wanted to. I’m hoping they keep me around. I don’t want to see the other girls go but there’s only 1 person who wins the game and I have to do what I have to do to win.”
While Katie was saying that, we saw the ants moving together. The ants could be symbolizing Katie’s drive to victory…or the guys decision to boot the girls because we saw them immediately after.
Brad was saying that “we both agree it has to be Rachel.”
(Who is Brad’s second here? He seemed to be addressing Caleb, John and Hayden and since Vytas was the first to mention how the twist can help them eliminate Tyson through Rachel, it follows that Brad and Vytas are the “we” who agreed on Rachel.)
Brad went on: “All things considered, the three girls are relatively even so the Tyson possibility of weakening their tribe kinda puts it over the edge.”
John started skating: “If Tyson doesn’t take her place then losing Rachel makes us weaker.”
Vytas said Tyson would still be weakened if he doesn’t swap.
John continued in his defense of Rachel.
John in confessional: “The consensus is Rachel because maybe Tyson will take Rachel’s spot…and thereby weaken their tribe. But, from a personal stand point, I don’t really want Rachel to go to Redemption Island and then have Tyson switching places with her because then Tyson is competing against Candice.”
Vytas’ confessional told us that John wasn’t handling things correctly: “Does John have more allegiance to the 5 guys or does John have more allegiance to Rachel? Doubts have arisen because of his extreme hesitancy to vote her out. This early in the game, to have doubts arise, is not a good thing.”
Something worse was happening to the beetle right then; it was being torn apart by a group of red ants. Note that Katie’s ants were black. Animal imagery can be fun and confusing at the same time. One thing for sure, the editors chose to include the beetle being torn apart right after Vytas expressed doubts in his alliance. It has to be a bad sign for the 5 guys. They probably won’t last as a group and the next scene went right back to Katie who chose the perfect words to make Vytas and Hayden doubt John even more.
Vytas was telling Katie that it was going to be Rachel, asking her for her thoughts.
Katie asked: “Have you talked to John about that. He’s not gonna get rid of her.”
Vytas could only agree: “He had a tough time with it.”
Katie said that she’d have a tough time believing he’d write her name down.
Hayden and Katie concluded that it didn’t matter what John did but then Katie reminded them of the idol: “What if he saves her?
Vytas was taken off guard but he quickly recovered, saying that they didn’t think he had found it yet. He told Katie that they would tell Rachel that the vote was against Cierra.
Cierra in confessional: “I’m freaked out. John told me that he was going to tell Rachel to vote me and don’t worry about it because we are all voting Rachel. That’s too sketchy for me.”
While the ants were carrying their prey, Katie talked to Cierra about what Vytas and Hayden had told her.
Cierra told Katie about her fear of being bounced by the idol.
Katie said she was concerned about that also, adding: “I told Vytas: Why don’t me a Cierra vote someone else.”
The two girls exclaimed: “John!”
John had a confessional while we followed him in his search for the idol: “This is not the vote I wanted to make. I didn’t want Rachel to go and I am disagreeing with the guys in my alliance about that. I don’t want my alliance not to trust me because I was very publicly given a clue to the hidden immunity idol. I haven’t found it yet but I don’t necessarily need them having feelings of doubt when it comes to my faith in the alliance.”
While Katie, Hayden and Cierra were eating a bowl of rice, we saw John walking off towards the ocean. Cierra asked: “Where is John going?”
Hayden had a confessional: “John is hiding the idol clue, not filling everybody in. We all know he is looking for it. It makes you a little weary. Right now, John is with the 5 guys (he made quotation marks as he said that) but we will see how long he stays that way.”
John was in the ocean with Rachel and that made Hayden, Caleb and Vytas talk.
Vytas had an interview: “I don’t want to be the one that says let’s break up the five guys first but, to be honest, we should vote John. With his energy and resourcefulness, I can totally see that he could have the idol and if somebody starts to show signs that they are willing to do their own thing and go against the group then: Blindside him now.”
As they entered Tribal Council the camera focused first on Cierra and Katie, then John, Vytas and Rachel came one after the other on our screen.
While it is easy to understand why John, Rachel and Vytas were shown as the ones to watch in this council, Cierra and Katie didn’t need to be shown. Their inclusion gives us a hint that we need to keep an eye on those two.Jeff first looked at the tribe’s gender imbalance.
Cierra said that they see the men talking together and that it makes them feel vulnerable.
Hayden smiled at that while Brad looked uncomfortable.
Jeff noted Hayden’s smile and asked him about it.
Hayden made it clear that “the guys have bonded together.”
Interesting considering his Big Brother alliance, the Brigade, was successful mainly because it remained secret all along.
Jeff turned to Katie, asking her what could be done.
With a smile and a glance at Cierra, Katie simply said: “I think we are still trying to figure all this out.
That goes directly to the theme of being patient.
Jeff pointed out that John had a clue to the idol and asked Caleb if that put an X on his shoulder.
Caleb said that, historically, the idol does put a target on the one that has it.
Brad interrupted, saying that there is an assumption he already found it. He added that John had “to figure out if it is best to tell the whole tribe or not.”
There was a hint of a menace in Brad’s last sentence that had to make John feel uneasy but the topic changed to the upcoming Redemption Island challenge and that the booted player would be facing Candice.
John mentioned that there was also a twist: The loved one could take their place.
Hayden said that it was twisted, that they could weaken their tribe by their own vote.
The music’s crescendo showed that this answer pleased Jeff who pointed out that there were more layers to votes this season than they ever had.
(Personal Note: Just like a cake can have too much icing, more layers doesn’t mean better: It can make you sick)
It was already time to vote.
Rachel (who wasn’t heard saying a single word during TC) went first, John looked over in Brad’s direction but the ex-NFL player didn’t return the stare, bowing his head instead.
We saw that John went with the guys, voting against Rachel while Cierra was shown voting against John.
We had another exchange of looks between John and Vytas this time.
Jeff first revealed two votes against John and the camera showed him looking at Vytas and Brad as if they were guilty even if we were shown that one vote was from Cierra and guessed that the other had to be from Katie.
After sending Rachel to Redemption Island, Jeff told Tadhana that they had to win the next challenge. Cierra, Brad and Katie were on screen at that moment, while Hayden appeared just before they stood to pick up their torches.
Arriving at RI, Rachel said she wasn’t surprised by the vote since the guys were dominating the tribe but she did tell Candice that the tribe split their votes and that John looked surprised. Her last words revealed what could happen at Tadhana: “It is a close tribe because they are all friends but I think it’s going to change now.”
We have been presented with two conflicting ways to play the game. Some want to play hard and fast while others want to be patient and avoid the drama. What’s the most fascinating aspect of this duality is that both come from advices given by Monica. She told Brad that he had to “hit the ground running” but she also told Colton that Survivor requires patience since it lasts 39 days.
Our impression of the first two episodes is that it is preferable to play calmly. We heard that Rupert was throwing caution to the wind and he was the first eliminated. Jeff was heard saying it didn’t do any good to rush so, while he was talking about the challenge, it resonated as a theme to the whole story.
Even the music suggests that Galang’s general approach is preferable. In episode 1, the music that accompanied Galang was adventurous while it was joyous in this episode. Tadhana has been accompanied by tense music even in their scenes before they knew they had a date with Jeff. Therefore, we will look at the players according to the pace that they have shown.
Going Full Speed Ahead:
These players have either been scheming intently or they have been acting in a way that puts a target on their back
Brad: While he had some good moments, the fishing trip in particular, he continued to be seen as Tadhana’s ruler and the leader usually falls first. The bully is just below the surface as we see him smiling when Gervase saw that Marissa was voted out and we saw him avoiding John’s look at TC after making a veiled threat about the decision concerning the idol. As the head of the all-male alliance, the one that wants to eliminate the Cochrans and all the weak women, I see him being pictured by the big insect that was torn apart by the army of small ants. The only question is the timing.
Vytas: He is shown as a cold calculator, the one at the center of Tadhana’s main alliance. While he is going against the main theme of playing slow and steady, he still appears as a possibler winner because we see him as a smart player. It should be quite an episode when his intensity is confronted by Aras’ calm. That could be when the season’s outcome is determined.
John: It seems that John’s main problem is thinking too far ahead, making him worry about all the possibilities. That has caused his own alliance to doubt him which isn’t good this early. A better course of action would have been to open up about his reason to keep Rachel and to let the 4 guys know about the clue. An idol isn’t very good when everyone knows about it. While he is given a strong portrayal, showing us all his emotions, it seems that his confessionals serve more to build up Candice’s story than his own. It was her wink that relieved all his anxieties and, while her win gave him hope, she also gave him all the troubles that followed. Despite their present situation, Candice could outlast John. Wouldn’t that be a surprising result. It seems that John’s fate depends on what the guys think of his vote against Rachel. Will they see it as a sign of loyalty or will they feel that John didn’t have a choice?
Colton: He was talking about Galang when he uttered his “We are stupid” remark but he is the stupid one. He thought Galang wasn’t playing the game but they were already talking about eliminating him. Galang isn’t as stupid as Manono’s misfits, so they are more likely to give the boot to the bully than handing him the reins.
Gervase: Even if he’s in the group of players that are playing calmly and he told Marissa to take her time, Gervase is quickly putting a target on his back. The format of the season probably means there won’t be a swap so Gervase, being in the main alliance, should make it far. Wouldn’t it be a complete circle if the player with the most charm in season 1, the one that thought he could win this game on charm alone, becomes the goat of season 27? Now that would be a story!
Stuck in the Mud:
These players had a good start but haven’t done anything in episode 2 to follow up.
Hayden: While he still has a good presence, there seems to be something off about Hayden. The guy won Big Brother mostly because his alliance remained secret for 3 months but he had no problem letting everyone know about his new Brigade 6 days into this game. He also agrees to weaken Galang by voting out Rachel but he doesn’t realize that Galang’s reply would be to boot Kat. I was tempted to say it was a good sign that no one blamed him for the challenge loss but then he wasn’t given the opportunity to tell us how he felt about it either. The impression was more that it was forgotten than it was an attempt to preserve his good image.
Caleb: He only had one benign intervention during TC and that was interrupted by Brad. After a strong premiere, Caleb faded in this one. He certainly can turn it around but, for now, he appears to be only a number in an alliance that could be on the verge of collapse. His role is more about being Colton’s partner and that should soon come to the forefront. Nothing associated with Colton appears to be long term right now.
Laura B: While she could be irrelevant, Rupert’s wife still receives some nice moments. Seeing her in the row of people massaging each other’s back, it’s possible that Galang has another, secret, alliance with Tyson, Aras and Tina playing in both. For now though, I assume that Laura is mostly shown to appease Rupert’s army of fans, giving them hope that she will avenge their favorite. With Rupert out of the game, there is no reason for Galang to keep Laura except for her vote and that won’t be necessary if the alliance of 5 remains loyal. Her only hope right now is that Galang is up in numbers, that Colton is Colton and that Kat could be used to turn Tadhana’s strategy against them.
Can’t get the Engine Started
Like some Amazing racers that can’t start their car, these players can’t start their game.
Rachel: It was quite telling that Jeff didn’t even address her in her final Tribal Council. As we had seen in the first episode, Rachel was irrelevant to the story. Like quite a few before her, (Jenny in Cook Island and Michelle in Fiji come to mind) being the victim of a twist meant having a poor edit so that the viewers wouldn’t connect with her and be outraged that she was “robbed”. Since I’ve already said Marissa has to leave in episode 4 to finish 3rd and that Candice should last a while then it follows that Rachel loses this week.
Marissa: One more win and she will finish 3rd like Candice said.
Kat: She had to be considered the weakest if she was Galang’s first sit out. That isn’t a good sign if Galang decides to adopt Tadhana’s strategy. There is nothing in Kat’s edit suggesting that she will have an important role in this story but she still has time to find one.
Laura M.: We didn’t hear from the ex-Galu player and while she was in the barrel for the winning team, it seems her main scene was that exchange with Cierra at the challenge. It’s too early to make anything of that except that we were meant to remember their connection. It should play a part in the story at some point.
Going Slow and Steady
These players know that it’s a long game. The winner is likely found in this group.
Monica : She’s the one that gave Brad the advice to hit the ground running and told Colton to be patient because Survivor lasts 39 days. That makes her the fulcrum of the story, the one that will tip the outcome one way or the other. While she could be used by Galang to put Brad in the uncomfortable position of having to choose between his own game and hers, she appears to be safely ensconced in Galang’s main alliance…with Gervase! The Vytas-Aras conflict could decide the outcome of the game but it will be interesting to see how Monica and Galang handle the Gervase-Brad situation. Tina, Tyson and Aras could conceivably sacrifice Monica at some point so maybe that is why we saw them hanging with Kat and the Lauras.
Candice: Although her situation tells us she isn’t going to win, there is a story being built around Candice. It could be set up only to keep us interested in the arena challenge until an important player gets there but it feels more like a concerted effort to rehabilitate Candice. Instead of the love-sick Dumb Blonde that mutinied “only” to join Adam and that sealed the fate of the Heroes by flipping to the Villains, we see a strong, determined player that took her time and went slow and steady to win her first duel. I can see Candice lasting a long time on RI as her confidence builds with each win. I wonder if, after Rachel’s comment, she will say something to John to let him know that he should change his approach with the idol.
Cierra: She was shown as a smart player throughout this episode, as she was the first to notice the bond between Rachel and John. It appears that she could be in danger because Tadhana only has 2 women remaining but, as Rachel said, it’s going to change now. There is an interesting story growing around Cierra but it seems tilted more to her partner, Katie.
Katie: We heard her confessional where she said “I have to do what I have to do to win” and we took notice. Considering she was the one that confirmed the guys’ worries about John and Rachel and that she was shown coming up with the plan to split the votes then we are in the presence of a smart player that could go far. It was a good sign that she was the “girl in the barrel” for Tadhana because it meant she wasn’t afraid of stepping up and the tribe was willing to give her a second chance. Her subtle smile at Tribal Council when she told Jeff that we were still trying to figure things out fit marvelously in the theme of the story and that bodes very well for her.
Aras: With Tyson and Tina, Aras could be in the middle of two alliances on Galang; the one with Gervase and Monica that was revealed and the one with Kat and the Lauras that was suggested. Either way, the former winner is in a great position and his stance against Colton’s bullying tactics puts him in line with the theme of the story: Players don’t have to create drama and chaos by bullying people and Aras said it best: “I want a peaceful camp and I want to win.” This is also a possible winning quote so it is a great sign for Aras.
Tyson: His presence was so marginal that he could be placed in the “stuck in the mud” group but he was included in the new alliance and he had a confessional about Colton’s behavior so that keeps in with the players that made slow and steady progress in this story.
Tina: While her role was small in this episode, her intervention went directly to the theme of the story. Survivor has become quite the drama but you don’t need drama to last 39 days. With her inclusion in the alliance, Tina can take over just like she did in the Outback and even if she doesn’t want to talk about Survivor, I think everything she says is aimed at winning Survivor.