Guest Post: How the Hidden Immunity Idol Will Determine Survivor

The following is a guest post from Contributor, Sarah Freeman

Every week, here at Rob Has a Website, I’m going to be posting a blog analyzing the individual games of the contestants as they unfold. If there is the slightest hint as to what somebody is doing – in episode, in an online video or through social media – I will run with it and jump to conclusions ranging from obvious to wild. You probably don’t want to look here for predictions, but I do aim to get you away from the impressions given by editing.

For the record, I started writing for this season on my own (now defunct) blog, so when I refer to my earlier theories, that’s where I was speculating.

But this week is a fresh start, where I throw away old opinions and come up with new ones. Like how the Hidden Immunity Idol is the greatest thing to have happened to the game. For a few seasons now, I’ve been asserting that they should just get rid of the idol, because every season, one ends up in the hands of somebody in no danger, and they just hold onto it until it’s no longer valid. The other one is usually taken into account when voting and has zero effect when it is played.

All the above could yet happen this season, but the difference this time is that the idol is hidden in plain sight, which has set the stage for, dare I say it, honest-to-goodness original moves.

Kalabaw – It’s not just Jonathan’s Arse that’s Smart

Kalabaw is leading the pack here, since Jonathan found the idol last week. Sure enough, in this week’s episode, Dana observed that the decoration from the rice lid was missing. Jonathan did a good job of joining in the “Oh, yeah… that thing… with the thing…” discussion that followed, but Jeff (and others) rapidly joined the dots.

Jonathan realized that the gig was up as far as Jeff went, so he used the idol to reach out to his biggest rival. This for me was the move of the episode. We’ve seen the idol used to cement an alliance lots of times, but not as an olive branch to the person targeting the holder. The closest thing to a precedent that I can think of was when Yul reached out to Jonathan himself in Cook Islands, but while the conversation was similar, the circumstances were very different.

Jonathan has an absolutely fantastic confessional at the CBS site, where he outlines his thinking. He had not wanted to reveal the idol this early (and, indeed, had pretended to still be looking for it), but he did not want Jeff having control of that information and spreading it for his own advantage.

So reason #1 for telling Jeff about the idol was to push Jonathan’s game narrative: the idol is the bit of information that only they know; the secret that separates them from the chaff of the tribe. This didn’t work, because Jeff had already developed his own interpretation of events, where he was the guy who alerted the supporting cast to the danger in their midst. However, so much of Survivor is about perception, and had Jonathan been a bit quicker off the mark, Jeff might well have accepted the returner’s point of view.

The second reason for telling him about the idol was simply to get some sort of alliance with Jeff. Jonathan may or may not know that Jeff has been trying to turn the rest of the tribe against him, but he’s well aware that Jeff views him as a threat – and thus Jeff is a threat to him. He figures he can tell the rest of the tribe anything and they’ll believe it, but Jeff is too smart and experienced for that. But rather than going head to head with him now, he’s falling back on the tack Yul took with him: “Is there any way in which it makes sense for us to work together?”

As Jonathan explains in his webclip, it’s only day eight. He might want to get rid of Jeff at final five or final seven (he certainly doesn’t want to take him to the end), but in between now and then, they have twenty days to put their brains together – or as he more bluntly put it: “use each other.” I love it. It’s risky, because sooner or later, one of them is going to turn on the other, and Jeff could get Jonathan before Jonathan gets him, but what would Survivor be without a little risk-taking?

More importantly, it’s working. Jeff was canny enough to realise Jonathan would not have told him if Jeff hadn’t guessed in the first place, but all season his confessionals have been about getting rid of Jonathan at the first possible opportunity. For the first time, he’s started considering how to use him. I don’t think Jonathan’s safe yet, but as Jeff’s attitude shifts, so will his crosshairs.

One thing of interest was the way Jeff kept pushing for Jonathan to prove his loyalty. I’m pretty sure he was trying to exact a promise that Jonathan would give him the idol if Jeff needed it (maybe even trying to get the idol there and then). In return, Jonathan kept insisting that he take it on faith.

Obviously, Jonathan could have made a promise that he never intended to honour, but aside from being wary of ending up as the guy who betrays everybody again, I think Jonathan wants this to be a “Two Grown Men” alliance. They’re not going to make deals and play pretend with each other. They’re going to be frank that they’re working together until they turn on each other (exact time of betrayal tbc by Jeff Probst’s torch-snuffer).

Again, I love Jonathan.

Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Children?

Of course, this entire plan is based on the rest of the tribe being simple votes to be won. They probably aren’t, so let’s try and figure out who is where. In his webclip last week, Jeff talked about working with Carter and Dana, although it wasn’t clear if that was a formal alliance. When he discussed Jonathan having the idol, it was with Carter and Dawson. Meanwhile, when Jonathan was considering the younger batch of Kalabaw, he suggested Carter and Katie as ideal final three opponents.

The best conclusion we can draw from this is that Carter is the safest person on his tribe, for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with his physical prowess. It was a banner week for Carter because he actually got to speak in the episode and he had his first confessional online. Unfortunately, it was mostly about how good the challenge and reward was, and how rosy things were looking for Kalabaw which hardly reveals his gameplan. That said, it’s entirely possible that his gameplan revolves around winning challenges – he’s a fan of Ozzy, after all. He did say pre-game that he wanted to get into the strategic side, but I’m guessing he’s taking the ‘wait and see’ approach for now.

Of the women, Dana has revealed almost as little about her game, although going in, she wanted to let the alpha males have their run, then get rid of them so that she could take the leadership position. She’s the only woman on Kalabaw to have done all three challenges so far, and has acquitted herself well – for somebody who was concerned about swimming in the ocean, she had no trouble in the challenge. That kind of thing will have earned her respect within her tribe, but what bugs me is the lack of information on her relationships. If Dana’s big weakness is her social game, she’s not going to be able to rally an alliance against Jeff/Jonathan.

Katie was the subject of Entertainment Weekly’s deleted scene this week, where she discussed her strategy in the vaguest possible terms. She considers herself the most strategic of the tribe’s women, and she admits that she’s doing the least work around the camp, but as her name isn’t getting brought up, she feels that her strategy is working. At no point does she explain what this strategy is, so I am not as confident as Katie.

Finally, there’s Dawson who is notable as the one person nobody’s cited as a potential ally. Considering the dearth of alliance-talk we’ve had from Kalabaw, we can’t put too much stock in this, and clearly Jeff trusted her (or discounted her) enough to include her in the conversation about Jonathan’s idol. Was she invited to that, or did she follow along when she saw Jeff and Carter going off? Dawson has stated that she is a social player, and her current game is to be a background figure, watching people, sitting in on conversations and gathering information. I fancy her chances at that style of play, but time will tell how good she is at using what she knows.

What we don’t know about any of the young people are the friendships they have with each other. If Jeff and Jonathan’s plans come to fruition, it will be this group of four who chooses between them. Indeed, it might be this group of four who thwarts both of them. If they’ve got a strong enough bond with each other, that could supplant any loyalty to an older guy. Neither Jonathan nor Jeff come across as a supportive father-figure type, and we’ve seen nothing to suggest that they can form a genuine friendship with the players two decades their junior.

Tandang – Opposites Distract

This brings us to Tandang, where Michael is very much a father figure and rock of support. But on the rooster tribe, it’s the spring chickens who are the aggressive players. RC, Pete and Abi, who each entered the game seeking to pass themselves off as the casting cliché of the brainless flirt and who each bought the others’ portrayals, because their game plan hinged on aligning with that casting cliché.

Indeed, RC admitted in her web clip this week that she had aligned with Abi because she seemed free-flowing and creative, and she felt that would complement her own precise approach. She wasn’t totally off-base there, but Abi has been pretending to be somebody younger, and RC clearly wasn’t expecting to have so much trouble controlling her.

While I didn’t think their false impressions would last, I never expected this to blow up as quickly and dramatically as it did. The clue for the hidden immunity idol wasn’t the reason for the fracture – that was RC and Michael being perceived as a close pair – but it was the catalyst. Last week, Abi confronted RC with a warning not to cross her, and this week, RC is frustrated and bewildered by Abi’s behavior.

I’m not sure how much of this is Abi putting on a front and how much is genuine. In her webclip this week, filmed after her discovery of the idol, she smugly notes that everybody underestimated her as the crippled, dumb blonde. The implication is that she’s been playing up her knee injury so that people don’t perceive her as a threat. That fits in with her excuse for not going on an idol-hunt with RC, only to go running off with Pete as soon as RC’s back was turned.

However, RC’s webclip this week says that everybody in the tribe is frustrated with Abi, and RC is tired from trying to keep Abi calm and trying to keep everybody else happy with her. The game Abi’s playing is a dangerous one, although sooner or later, somebody’s going to start viewing her as a perfect finals goat.

Perhaps RC already does, because for me, the biggest mystery this week is why RC is so reluctant to break her ties with Abi. She doesn’t like that the brazilian is a loose cannon rather than a level-headed player who will have her back, but she still wants her to be her number two. She won’t even look for the idol without Abi!

That last could also be because of Abi’s paranoia. RC might be trying to placate Abi and regain her trust by waiting until the other girl is ready to accompany her on the hunt. It seems to me that it would have been perfectly reasonable for her to say: “Well, I’m looking. I’ll let you know how I do.” Of course, if she’d genuinely come up empty-handed, she’d risk Abi believing she found it and kept it secret.

Ultimately, RC’s game is being severely handicapped by her catering to Abi’s exaggerated insecurities. Not least because Abi’s overall scheme was to search without RC.

It was fascinating then that Abi was so willing to let Pete be part of her idol plan. Did she need him to help her figure out the clue or did she want to use the idol to secure their alliance? Either way, she included him both in the hunt for the idol and in hiding it again, which means she must have complete faith in him.

I don’t know about anybody else, but I was so dumbfounded when Abi spilled the clue to Pete, that I started rooting for him to find it by himself and not tell her. (He could have later pointed out to her that the decoration was missing: “I bet that’s the idol, and RC found it without telling you!”) That is no longer an option, but a different scenario has presented itself.

As I understand it (Jeff Probst has reportedly specified this, but I have no citation for it), once an idol has been found, nobody can take it directly from the holder nor from their bag. However, if the holder hides it again, (i.e. to prevent people from going through their bag and finding it), and another player finds it, they are free to take possession of it.

It wouldn’t benefit Pete hugely to dig up the idol and hide it somewhere else (although that would be pretty funny). Abi would freak out on him and probably tell the rest of the tribe what he’d done, putting a major target on his back. But if he was complicit in an Abi blindside, he could make sure she did not take the idol to Tribal Council and then quietly pocket it afterwards.

Of course, it’s also possible that another player, just scouting around without the clue could stumble across the idol’s hiding place. This hasn’t happened in all the seasons players have been hiding idols, but statistically, you’d think it would happen eventually!

At any rate, Abi was not only happy to let Pete stand by while she hid her idol, but she was chanting “I found the idol! I found the idol!” as she did so. Whatever else happens, Abi trusts Pete.

That includes trusting him to forge their new alliance with Lisa and Artis, relying on him to make the deal and report back to her. That’s ceding far too much control. I expect Abi wants Pete to be her figurehead leader while she acts as his puppetmaster, but letting him be seen making the deals while she plays her Crippled, Dumb Blonde role is going to make it hard for her to prove her case if she gets to final Tribal Council. I hope she’s planning to change it up later.

It is possible that Pete took the initiative entirely on this one, since this is the game he wants to play: the black sheep. Pete was my pre-season pick to win, and while his edit has not encouraged me, I am relieved that he is making some moves and putting himself in a position of power. Now I won’t look like a total idiot.

Who’s your Daddy?

Pete’s motivation here is to get rid of Michael, and in his online confessional, he cites a few reasons. One is simply that Michael is better known than they are. The other tribes know who he is and will want to play with him; they’ll have no interest in the rest of Tandang. Pre-game, he declared that he wanted to get rid of the returners so they couldn’t beat him out for Fan Favorite, so perhaps this is playing into his thinking here, but his point about the other tribes recognizing Michael Skupin is entirely valid. Whenever we’ve heard people talking about Matsing, it’s Russell they comment on. We’ve not heard anybody say “Sucks for the young dude and the older woman,” but they do say that they can’t imagine what Russell is going through right now.

Having the sympathies of your fellow contestants is always a huge advantage, but it could equally be argued that Michael’s fame should put a target on his back, and Pete could use him as a shield in a post-merge situation. However, as Pete feels more comfortable leveling the playing field, we might never know.

Pete’s other reason for getting rid of Michael is because he and RC are such a tight pair. Pete’s recognized RC as a big player and wants to neutralize her by taking away her father figure. Judging by RC’s video titled “I love Skupin,” this is a fair assessment. Losing Michael on top of Abi’s duplicity would probably devastate RC, though I’d expect her to rally sooner or later and start fighting again.

There might be more to it than Pete’s calm confessional. Lisa reported that Pete had an issue with Mike, that he felt dismissed and that both he and Abi were angry. She certainly felt that emotions were to blame rather than rational thinking. Pete’s current edit doesn’t show an emotional side, but I wonder what we’ve missed. Is Pete’s confessional merely a rationalization of what he wants to do for personal reasons?

It’s possible that it was actually Pete who got Abi worked up over RC’s closeness to Michael, but he’s not the only one to notice, since Lisa agreed with him that they were a dangerous pair who were running the game. So why is nobody (save for RC’s feeble counter to Abi last week) worrying about Abi and Pete? Abi even summoned him to go walking with her from camp, making no attempt to disguise their partnership. Compare that to Kim’s comments on last week’s Podcast that she and Chelsea took pains to avoid going off from camp together.

There is of course a difference between the alliance of two brainless flirts and an alliance between the two most dominant members of the tribe. Despite RC’s attempts at a façade, it seems everybody’s recognised her as a player, while Michael is the veteran and obvious leader of the tribe. Abi is not popular among her tribe, from what we can tell, and she and Pete were clearly Lisa’s second choice of alliance.

Lisa has two web clips for the week and both are worth watching, because they show an insight into the game that I had not suspected of her. She notes that she is obliged to go with Pete and Abi rather than Mike and RC, because the latter pair doesn’t need her, indeed RC is targeting her. (Who let slip that bit of information? Mike? Pete?) Since RC is Lisa’s preferred target, Michael must be her preferred choice of ally.

And yet she’s willing to vote him off. After the first episode, I opined that Michael should push harder to save Lisa because she would be his ally, his backup plan. Instead, he hung back and, had they lost this week’s immunity challenge, this could have ended his game. It still could, if something doesn’t change. According to RC, he’s also hanging back from the leadership role, not ready to step up and give orders, even though he is effectively the tribe’s leader.

It’s an odd picture to build up of the guy who said he wanted to go all out because that was the only way he knew how to play. A little caution is good, but Michael needs to find his feet in this game.

Not that I’m giving up hope on him. Tandang is too volatile right now for me to think the current dynamics will last through the next episode, and RC did cheerfully observe that he’s level-headed. It sounds like RC should forget Abi and make Michael her number two, but she’s well aware that he’d be dangerous to face at the end. (I’m guessing Abi, not so much.) Still, as Jonathan said, there are twenty days to go before anybody needs to worry about that. Michael could have influence over this game now, if he only tries to wield it.

As it stands, he would not stick his neck out to save Lisa and she won’t stick hers out to save him just yet. She thinks Pete is crazy to vote him off, because they need his strength in the challenges. I’m not so sure that RC is necessarily a weaker link in the challenges than Michael. She was the only person of the entire cast to do three pieces in a row this week, saving them the time of getting in and out of the water. That kind of swimming stamina might yet serve them well in another challenge.

However, the truth is that at this point, challenge strength is less imperative. Matsing have lost half their number, making it virtually impossible for another tribe to reach the merge / tribal swap in the minority. This means the players of Tandang and Kalabaw can afford to prioritize loyalty over physical ability. It also means that only three people need compete in a challenge, so RC, Artis and Pete can cover it.

It’s the craziness that reassures Lisa though. Because Pete and Abi are coming from a place of emotion, she feels she can trust them. There’s no duplicitous double-dealing going on, just revenge. Again, this is totally at odds with what we’ve seen of Pete, but Lisa’s logic is sound and it could be an accurate description of events.

Lisa’s game is a social one, but she can articulate the theory behind her moves, which is something we don’t normally see from social players. She explains that she’s making genuine connections with everybody, trying to keep track of who’s in control from day to day and avoiding making enemies. This includes RC. RC wants Lisa off, and Lisa wants RC off, but she’s not going to write RC off as somebody who could potentially help her down the road.

Lisa also correctly observes that now she’s a required vote for a power struggle, she’s in a better position to get to the merge and then she won’t be anybody’s target. I think we can safely say that Lisa has officially survived her First Week Breakdown, and I’m beginning to be optimistic about her chances, and certainly curious to watch her.

Aggression vs Passive-Aggression

So as things stand on Tandang, the alliance of four has shifted without the knowledge of RC and Michael, and they seem destined for a blindside. But they’ve got at least another three days before Tribal Council and a lot can happen in three days. Especially when the “hidden” immunity idol has so visibly disappeared.

I was wondering how Abi would react when she realized that the idol she was retrieving in secret was located in a place where it would surely be missed. She either failed to register this in her excitement at finding it or she didn’t care. But if Kalabaw are any reference, the change on the rice lid will be noticed quickly (after a week in the elements, you’d think the wood that had been underneath the idol would be a different color to the rest of it), and I have to believe that RC could put two and two together.

RC may be reluctant to part ways with Abi, but surely that level of duplicity would be the final straw? It should at least tip her off that she may not be as secure as she thinks she is, and at that point Michael becomes the only person she can trust. If Michael then consults Lisa, Lisa might well take her chance to align with the guy she really wants to play with, and the power will shift again. Lisa could even talk to them off her own bat after a few days to get her nerve up.

Assuming this happens (and I will be very disappointed in Michael and RC if it doesn’t!), who’s in trouble then? Abi’s an obvious one, but RC has been so hung up on keeping her, I don’t want to write-off the possibility that they’ll first target somebody less controversial, like Artis.

Where does Artis fit into the tribe? He was fifth in RC’s alliance, but third or fourth in Pete’s. Both were on the vague side when referring to him; RC was “not sure but not worried” about Artis, while Pete thought he’d have no trouble bringing him into his new alliance. Nobody else seems to talk about him, and we have no commentary from Artis on them. Artis’ online confessional this week was about his frustration that they weren’t beating Kalabaw.

If I were to guess (and I usually do), I’d say that Artis is sitting tight on the strategic game, possibly aware that he’s not mixing socially with this group, waiting for the merge. Or he could be another Cowboy Rick from South Pacific. Mike is the closest to his demographic but I’d also imagine that he gets on well with Pete. As a computer engineer, it’s likely that he is receptive to Pete’s analytical approach.

If RC was worried about the numbers game and wanted to find a way of breaking Abi/Pete’s control of the tribe without attacking them directly, she could do worse than shifting the crosshairs to Artis on some pretext or other. I doubt very much that he’s vital to anybody’s game.

Or she could pull a Pete and neutralize Abi by taking out her right hand man. Maddeningly, while RC listed off her thoughts on each member of her tribe this week, she omitted Pete. Was this editing? Does she just see him as an extension of Abi? Does she believe that she can manipulate him regardless of Abi? Pete’s disgruntlement that she had not told him about the idol clue would seem to suggest that they were close enough for him to expect that level of trust. Or maybe that was purely to egg on Abi.

Owing to RC’s and Michael’s (and Lisa’s) focus on challenges, my theory is that they would not get rid of Pete first. So that leaves Artis or Abi being in danger, depending on whether they want to tackle her directly or indirectly. Or maybe they’ll patch everything up and go back to voting off Lisa. Or maybe they’ll miss the boat and Michael will go home. I don’t know, but I’m beginning to want Tandang to lose a challenge just so I can find out.

My money would actually be on Pete being in the safest (if not necessarily strongest) position for now, but that could just be pre-season-pick bias. Still, he seems to be the only Tandang who is not willfully believing that everything is going according to their plan and who is actively trying to direct everything according to their plan. He’s perceptive and pro-active… it’s his ambition I worry about.

Matsing – Breaking Down a Breakdown

At least that’s better than being on Matsing where nobody is in a safe position, because they are on the road to Ulong. Although Artis has twice declared that they brought it on themselves by voting Zane off first, I don’t think their boot choice ever hurt them in a challenge. Zane got winded by a sprint; I doubt he’d have been a great improvement over Angie with that sled. Roxy admitted she was a weak swimmer pre-game, so she’d not have given them any advantage in this week’s challenge. Production screwed up when casting this tribe perhaps, but they probably didn’t expect Zane to quit smoking the day before leaving or for military Roxy to struggle so much with the hardships of camp life.

Last week, I theorized that one of the driving forces behind Denise’s vote has been to eliminate potential quitters. In support of that, we have Angie’s case for staying, relying heavily on her belief that she would never say “I can’t.” (It’s also a reminder of why contestants’ own memories should be taken with a pinch of salt; I’ve no doubt that Angie thought she was telling the truth.)

Really, voting Angie off was a bit of a no-brainer, since she’s physically their weakest link and the only tribe member who’s needed encouragement to get through every challenge. Of course, in Malcolm’s case, her loyalty was a big reason to keep her. I imagine that everybody on Matsing is praying for a tribal reshuffle, and loyalty counts for more than challenge strength in that scenario. Angie was somebody who would stick by Malcolm on a new tribe or rejoin him after the merge.

On the other hand, there might not be a reshuffle. There’s no reason for the producers not to stick with the original tribes until a merge at twelve, even if Matsing gets completely annihilated in the process. Russell noted with despair that for the next challenge, the three of them would have to face up against the cream of the other tribes. It would be difficult to justify keeping Angie in those circumstances.

It’s not clear if Malcolm tried to put up a fight to save Angie. He’s struggling too hard at the moment to keep his own morale up. In his online confessional, he appeared to be laughing in order to stop himself crying. He explained there that he was keeping his superfan status a secret from the tribe, yet he brought it up at Tribal Council later that day. While he insists that he’s still not counting himself out, that he’s still running scenarios of how it all could work, he’s clearly at an all time low.

So Malcolm’s in deep mourning for his lost game, Russell is struggling to find solace in prayer, and we’re hearing almost nothing from Denise. Like the men, she’s frustrated with how the game’s going, and we know that Denise is also a huge fan of the game. But she’s this season’s resident therapist, and if ever a tribe needed a therapist, it’s Matsing.

Angie commented on her podcast interview that she would go to Denise whenever she needed cheering up; I hope Denise can do likewise for Russell and Malcolm. I imagine that at this point, leadership has been thrown out of the window, but if Denise can step up and be the stabilizing and encouraging influence this tribe needs, she might yet be the saving of Matsing.

Denise remains in the strongest position on this sinking ship. She’s had a tight alliance with Malcolm from early on, and she was right to trust that he would pick her over Angie (at least at this stage of the game). Russell might not have talked strategy with Malcolm since day one, but that’s hardly the case with Denise. He failed to talk her into saving Roxy, but Denise clearly informed him of how she was going to vote and brought him on board with her plan. He is closer to her than he is to Malcolm, making her the lynchpin of this alliance.

Russell, of course, has an ace up his sleeve that he appears to have forgotten about: the clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol. His frustration with their losing streak might have reduced his motivation to go searching, but I bet it’s had the opposite effect on Malcolm, who is probably scouring the nooks and crannies of their campsite, trying to find that extra ray of hope.

If Russell does not remember his idol, will Malcolm or Denise bring it up? A campfire announcement of: “OK, guys, come the merge, that idol is the best chance any of us have of surviving.” I don’t recall any occasion where the entire tribe has hunted together for the hidden immunity idol (save for Upolu’s staged search for a previously discovered idol), but a shared knowledge of the idol was instrumental in the Aitu Four (Cook Islands) and the Jalapao Three (Tocantins) staying strong together until the end. It would be a fantastic morale boost for Matsing if they could find it.

On the other hand, we are looking at the very real chance of Matsing’s idol remaining undiscovered, yet anybody on Kalabaw and a good proportion of Tandang would know exactly where it is. If there is a tribal swap, Matsing could find their idol taken from right under their noses as James did to the Zhan Hu tribe in China. In this scenario, I can only assume that Malcolm will swear personal vengeance against Russell which should make the live reunion interesting!

Perhaps Matsing are cursed never to hold an immunity idol, hidden or otherwise. Let’s hope not. It would be a shame for this three tribe experiment to result in a six-six split at the merge, and besides, I’m longing to see some of the other players put to the test. At least the hidden-in-plain-sight idol twist has already paid off in dividends. Why has this not been done since China?

So for this episode at least, I take back my moans and groans about the hidden immunity idol. Between that and the fact that Matsing had very little scrambling that wasn’t stating the obvious this Tribal Council, we got another well-balanced edit between the three tribes. Add in a full intro and a cracking challenge, and this was just a fantastic episode. Bring on the rest of the season!

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