Survivor San Juan Del Sur

Complete Chaos

In the recap, Jeff reminded us that no idols had been played, leaving three idols still in the game:  Jon’s idol that he shared only with Jaclyn and Missy.  Keith’s idol that Reed told everyone about and one idol that still hadn’t been found (We see Baylor and Natalie with the clue).

Facing Tribal Council, Reed was the target of the majority alliance but after Jeremy became suspicious that his ally Jon had an idol, everything changed.

At Tribal Council, Jon convinced enough of the tribe to take out Jeremy, sparing Reed and blindsiding Jeremy’s closest ally, Natalie.

We saw Jaclyn, Missy, and Baylor vote for Jeremy.  Reed’s vote wasn’t shown.

The recap concentrated mostly on idols in order to set up the upcoming episode so it makes it difficult to see any hints about the players.  What we can say is that Reed’s and Natalie’s precarious positions were noted.  We didn’t see that Reed got close enough to the alliance to vote with them.  Jon’s mistake of sending Jeremy to Exile Island wasn’t mentioned.  We saw Jon talking to Missy about the vote but nothing was said about her role in blindsiding an ally.     

Complete Chaos

Huyopa – Night 24

Our New Narrator Our New Narrator[/caption]


The tribes were greeted by a sloth, a pretty good symbol for Keith who isn’t the fastest out there.

Keith had the first confessional: “I tell you what: Tribal! That was a biggie tonight.  Reed was going home.  That is the last word I got.  I even voted for Reed.  Reed’s a gamer. He plays and he knows how to talk to folks, figures stuff out:  mathematic numbers and all that mess which is way above me.”

In the middle of Keith’s confessional, we saw Reed talking to Keith, Alec, and Wes telling them they were on thin ice.  Alec said they needed one more person.  Reed said they had to stick together and that they would figure something out.

Reed’s interview: “Jeremy went home.  It was a big play and it was a big success…  I’m trying to decide how I can go deeper into this game. Whether it’s sticking with Jon and his group and just picking off people who are in my alliance or taking out Jon.  That would be a really great play because Jon thinks he’s alpha-male here.”

We then saw Natalie talking to Missy and the others, saying she felt blindsided and wondering how she could trust them.  Missy explained the situation, saying that Natalie was off with Jeremy but the audio went to Natalie’s interview instead.  When the sound cut back to the group, we heard Jon telling Natalie about his idol, saying it was a factor in the decision and telling her it shows he still trusts her.

Natalie (solo): “Oh! My god! Talk about a blindside. It sucks because I had Jeremy as my partner.  It was really hard for me but I had to put on a good face and just try to figure out what to do next.  It was definitely Jon in charge of the whole blindside and I want to give Jon a little taste of his own medicine.  I want to do it for Jeremy and it’s just figuring out the right plan and the right moment.”

It was still night when Natalie went looking for the idol that was buried somewhere in camp. Natalie explained: “Baylor showed me her clue when we were in Exile.  I have to find that bloody idol… If I can pull it off, it will be amazing because I would love to get rid of Jon.”

The two players that were in danger took a different path to get to the same conclusion.  They both want to get Jon out but, while Reed went directly against Jon’s alliance, Natalie got back inside the alliance and gained Jon’s trust.  This episode showed us that Reed’s path was unsuccessful but what about Natalie’s?  I really think that she will get revenge for Jeremy and cause Jon’s torch to meet Jeff’s snuffer.

We also noted that whatever Missy told Natalie to smooth things over with Natalie, all that we heard was that Natalie was too close to Jeremy to let her know the plan.  Missy didn’t give us a confessional about that sticky situation. 

The Reward Challenge

For once we had an interesting reward, one that featured the children of Nicaragua playing baseball.  It had been a while since we had some local flavor.

I would like to have seen the selections on this one because the teams seemed lopsided:

Yellow had Jon, Alec, Reed and Jaclyn.

Blue had Wes, Baylor, Natalie and Missy.

Keith wasn’t selected so he spit when Jeff informed us.

It turned into a close challenge because they were all fairly even swimmers.  Blue had a small lead up until the end of the 3rd leg where Reed pulled slightly ahead of Baylor. Alec kept the lead over Natalie.  It all went downhill for Blue when they tried to unlock the platform.  They were unable to find the right key.  Wes and Missy were the ones that seemed to be handling the keys but Jeff didn’t assign blame.   We did hear them say “don’t panic, just calm down.”

My Poor Mommy!

My Poor Mommy!


As soon as the Yellow team won, the camera went to Baylor, showing her despair.  Jeff turned to them first: “The bigger story seems to be with Natalie, Baylor, Missy and Wes.  Baylor, the minute it was over, your head was down like you were ready to cry.”  She answered: “My mom hasn’t won a reward yet. I wanted us to win for her.”

Reed then told Jeff that he would give up his reward to Missy since she wanted to go. He explained: “It’s about doing good for other people.”

Jon said that Wes would have to go to Exile Island.

Reed in interview:  “Missy wants to go on this reward and in the grand scheme of things, I can suck this up because, with them being gone, it will give me a chance to get the ball rolling in taking out Jon.”

Since I am always looking for the “big story,” It was interesting to hear Jeff say that the bigger story was about Natalie, Baylor, Missy and Wes.  Was he telling us something?  Well, Wes was the boot story while Baylor and Natalie found an idol so they were part of a bigger story than just winning a reward.  Of course, the biggest story of all is the winner’s story so maybe Jeff was hinting that we’ll find that story in this group also. 

A Field of Dreams

I wonder if Dennis Martinez ever played on that field.

Missy had the first confessional: “…These kids swarm us…It was just the sweetest thing… I’m going to start crying again.  This is so fun for me. I’ve been a single mom raising two girls…My kids are my number one priority… I needed that recharge.  I feel like the energizer bunny.”  She spoke a bit of Spanish to the kids.

The yellow team got a couple of runs.

Jon’s confessional was next: “Right next to me is the cutest kid ever.  Kids are definitely a huge heartstring for Jaclyn and me…I’ve wanted to have a kid but, unfortunately, Jaclyn is not able to have children…When Jaclyn told me she couldn’t have kids it was like, OK, so we can adopt.  I’m not going to leave a woman who I think is one of the most incredible people I’ve met just because she’s not able to birth a kid.”



It was time for Jon to show us what he had as a baseball player.  So…he bunted and was safe at first.

Jaclyn also had a confessional: “The reward was a lot more important for me and Jon than I thought it would be going in.  Jon and I have a lot of love to give and it doesn’t matter if it’s an adopted child…It’s going to be OK.”

Finally, Jon and Jaclyn got the airtime to let us know about their inability to have children.  I think it was a very nice touch to show it during this reward.  Some will say that Jon’s victory pose is an indication that he will win it all in the end.  That worked for Bob in the Gabon premiere but here?  Jon only bunted and was safe at first so let’s not get carried away!  I think it was shown to symbolize his story in this episode.  Like he did when he walked over to the plate, Jon entered TC with a lot of confidence.  Then he was surprised by a high and in fastball by a young pitcher just as much as he was by Reed’s tactic.  By reflex, he bunted the ball in self-defense just like he played his idol.  At the end, he was very glad and surprised to be safe.   

Huyopa – Day 25

Reed’s interview: “I needed to get to Keith and have kind of this heart-to-heart, come-to-Jesus conversation and say:  Where do you stand in this game?  Sometimes I don’t know if Keith understands the intricacies of this game.”

Natalie sent the boys to go check the fishing nets, making things simple for Reed…and for herself!

Talking in private with Keith, Reed explained how the other alliance would split the votes.  Keith figured that Reed and Alec would have to pretend to be with them.

Is Anyone Home?

Is Anyone Home?

Reed explained the plan in confessional: “What I am counting on is the majority alliance will split the vote between Wes and Keith but, if we stay four strong, we will be able to take out Jon in one fell swoop.  I’m playing a “go big or go home” game right now and I really hope it pans out.”

Keith’s confessional: “That’s a really good plan.  We can play all four and get Jon, the ringleader which I don’t care for to begin with and I still won’t have to play the idol…Hopefully.”

So Reed played big but didn’t go home while Keith wasted his idol, didn’t get Jon but saw his son get the boot instead.  Surprisingly, it seems that Keith will come out of all this in better shape than the schemer.

While this was going on, Natalie told Baylor they were going idol hunting.

Baylor’s interview:  “I was ready to get some water and Natalie is like: What are you doing?  We are going to look for this idol right now.  I was like: Oh! Shoot! Ok, let’s go.  We thought about the clue…the four symbols…”

Natalie’s interview: “I went back to the flag and then right in the middle of camp.  It’s…by the fire.  We went berserk.  We were…out of our minds… We ran to the water as fast as we’ve ever done in our lives.  This is the idol.  Finding it is exactly how you think it will feel.  We are…so elated.  This is my little twinnie…I want Jon out bad but we have to get rid of one more boy before Jon because that allows to take out Jon and still have a majority girls.  Baylor has become my number one.  Me and her, we are on the same page and we have to get rid of Reed because he is really good at immunity challenges and all he does is make up stuff so then target is off of him and is on other people.”

Before Natalie told us that she wanted Jon out, we heard her tell her plan to Baylor:  Keep Jon feeling comfortable for one more vote, keep in mind that Reed is scary, take out one of the boys so that they couldn’t take out the women one by one.  Reed was their first target.

For something that wasn’t going to be put in action immediately, Natalie’s plan was very well-explained.  It gives us the impression that it will work but Reed needs to go first.  The one caveat for Natalie is that she considers Baylor to be her closest ally.  We know that Baylor will always be closer to her mother so will that come back to bite Natalie later on.

As for this segment, I hope everyone noticed that we didn’t even bother going to see Wes on Exile Island.  This proves that the search for idols is now considered more important than the characters, EVEN when it is the last episode for that person. 

The Immunity Challenge

In a classic endurance/temptation challenge, Jon was out first for candy and milk (didn’t he just have all that baseball food?  He’s worse than Stephenie!)  I noted that Jeff said there was a million dollars on the line just before Jon went out.  Tasting the sugar, Jon let out a scream that must have scared a few Howler Monkeys.  Jeff rubbed it in, saying that Jon stayed up only 7 minutes.  Keith noted that Jon must feel safe.  He couldn’t believe that someone less than half his age couldn’t last.

This scene was very bad for Jon.  There was a million dollars on the line and Jon cared only for food which has been a theme this season.  Keith rubbing it in was typical character assassination.  I do not think Jon will be able to recover from this and that his chances of winning the game are done.

After 30 minutes, Alec was comparing his situation to Jesus on the cross.  Missy went out shortly after but Jeff didn’t say anything about missing an opportunity to get some food.  Missy teased the guys, saying it felt good to be walking on the sand but Baylor didn’t appreciate it.

When Jeff brought out cookies and milk, Baylor ran faster than after finding the idol!  Jaclyn also went for the cookies.  Jeff said: “Baylor and Jaclyn gave up a shot at a million dollars for two glasses of milk and 5 chocolate chip cookies.”

Thank you, Jeff:  You have just eliminated two more players even if they weren’t serious contenders.  The players are falling like flies.

That’s when Keith was attacked by some “damn wasps.”

As soon as Jeff showed chicken wings and beers, Wes was out.

Keith told Natalie that her team was sitting out over there.  He said: “Natalie is fighting for her team; the three of us are fighting for our lives.”  He added that he would have a father-son talk with Wes after.

Wes said he won a chicken nugget eating contest.  Later, he joked around with Jeff about his small role in Two and a Half Men.

Wes isn’t the first contestant to learn the hard way that you don’t make fun of Jeff!!

After an hour and 20 minutes, Wes, Alec, Reed and Natalie were still holding on while Jon was licking his plate of candy.  Keith’s feet were turning purple.  He went down soon after, Jeff saying he was wise to do so and we heard Missy say that he was amazing.

Alec couldn’t bear his cross any longer so he was the next to go.

After 3 hours and spitting in herself, Natalie realized that she wouldn’t beat Reed so she struck a deal with Jeff.  Reed won immunity but Natalie got pizza, wings, a cookie, water and a beer.

Not a bad deal!

Both players had cramps but, for some reason, Reed decided to show off and did the split.  He remained in that pose until Jeff gave him the necklace.

After calling Reed a fool, Natalie had a confessional: “When I started seeing stars and feeling like I was going to throw up, I figured I might as well get some sustenance in my body even if I lose.”

For Reed, it was a dream come true.  He had a confessional: “At least, I am not going home tonight because I am not giving up this immunity necklace and hopefully I can rally people around to vote Jon tonight.”

Huyopa – Day 26

Reed:  “Jon stepped down seven minutes into the challenge today.  It’s always very telling when people step down and they don’t really have to try, and who ends up stepping down first.  I was like, fine! He is going home tonight.  Basically, how this works is I’m going to try to get the majority alliance have four people vote for Keith and have three more people vote for Wes.  That is what everyone thinks is going to happen but basically, myself, Wes, Alec and Keith vote four strong and we would be sending Jon home tonight.  It’s an amazing plan but it has to be stuck to.”

Reed talked to Keith and Alec to let them know the plan.  With Alec, he then approached Missy and Baylor.

Alec’s interview: “The opposing alliance thinks that we are going to vote with them tonight against Wes and Keith but what we are going to do is we are going to blindside Jon tonight.”

Missy went to Jon, saying they had to do the split vote in order to prevent Keith and Wes to “scoot on out with an idol.”

Jon thought Reed wouldn’t be with them but Missy replied that he and Alec were trying to be in with them.  She was ready to bet with Jon that Reed would vote with them.

Alec came by so Jon asked him if he was 100% with them.  Alec said he was so Jon said it was a matter of building trust.

Jon gave us an interview: “Tonight’s tribal is the first tribal where I am not really calling the shots.  It is the first time that I am at the mercy of my alliance.  I’m saving the idol for either Jaclyn or me, whoever makes it the farthest.  It would be selfish to use it on myself right now.  The only thing that gives me hope going into tonight is the reassurance I had talking with Alec and that is why I believe that tonight will go as planned.  This tribal is definitely the most important so far.”

Jon’s view of the game is really weird.  This was actually the first time that Jon was not a swing voter but the true leader of the alliance so he should have been the one calling the shots.  It had to be Jon’s call.  You never let an outsider like Reed call the shots.  Missy made an even bigger mistake because she’s the one that believed Reed and Alec.  They should have realized that Reed and especially Alec had nothing to gain by eliminating Keith and his idol.  Anyway, you don’t need to split the votes to get rid of an idol; you just have to keep the minority guessing.  At this stage, you don’t start building trust with the players you want to eliminate; you start working on getting their votes.  Jon should have pulled Missy aside and told her something like: “Let Reed and Alec vote for Keith and Wes but we vote for Alec.” 

During Jon’s confessional, we saw the players picking up their torches and start walking in a single file.  They were probably hurried out of camp because the staff sensed that the pot had already been stirred long enough and they didn’t want anything to spoil this big blindside before Jeff could get his hands on the players.   The short time used on this segment reminded me of the old days when we spent very little time in camp once immunity had been decided.

Tribal Council

When Jeremy walked in, we saw that his eyes were on Missy and Jon, the players who backstabbed him.  His vote won’t be easy to earn.

Jeff went to Jaclyn asking for her thoughts after the two big blindsides that took out players with a good shot at winning the game.

Jaclyn said: “I think that I am in the five strong right now.”

Since they were five strong, why were they relying on votes from the others?  And if it was OK to say that there is a five strong alliance because everyone knew about it, why did they think the others were with them? Right there, Jaclyn put her finger on the problem that everyone in Jon’s alliance should have seen but no one realized it.

Baylor told Jeff that it was hard to trust people.

What's Going On Here?

What’s Going On Here?

As he would throughout this whole council, Alec looked baffled when he heard this.

Keith told Jeff that the reason no one had played an idol was because they felt comfortable.

Jeff asked Natalie about the problem with playing an idol at the right time.

(Some people believed Probe when he said he didn’t get information from camp!)

Natalie said the idol was both a blessing and a curse. She added that it was all about timing in this game.

Reed pointed to the people who stepped down early in the challenge, saying they looked comfortable.  He then mentioned that Wes stepped down early so that probably meant he or Keith had an idol.

While Reed was trying to be coy, making Jon think he was truly with him, it wasn’t the smartest thing to say because it made Keith unsure of Reed’s position.

Jeff turned to Keith, saying: “It doesn’t get more direct than that.”

Stick to the Plan

Stick to the Plan


After telling Jeff that he was surprised by this sudden talk about idols, Keith leaned over and looked directly at Reed when he said the fatal words: “I say: Stick to the plan.”

Like the cymbal crashes indicated, all hell broke loose.  In his panic, Reed completely lost it.  While Jon told Jeff that Keith’s remark was very confusing, Reed started whispering, trying to do quick damage control but making it even worse.  Natalie turned to Jaclyn and asked: “Do you trust him?”  Jaclyn simply said “No”.  Reed’s expression sank as he hid half his face in his hands.

Sitting away from the action, Missy told Jeff that it was complete chaos. “I’m talking and they are popping.”

Jeff was enjoying it: “I have the best seat.”

Baylor said it reminded her of the distorted mirrors that you see in a fair.  She summed it up well when she said: “We may not have been as organized as we thought.”

When Jeff told them it was time to vote, Reed asked once more if they were still doing this.

Josh was smiling, not realizing that his partner’s plan had been exposed.

Lucky Man

Lucky Man


It was only when Jeff went to tally the votes, at a time when the players used to be under strict gag orders, that Natalie saved the day by telling Jon to play his idol.  He had to ask her to repeat what she said.  She did but he still wasn’t sure.  Natalie looked like she was about to smack some sense into him!

When Jeff asked if anyone wanted to play an idol, Jon and Keith looked nervous while Reed still looked optimistic.  That changed when Jon told Jeff he wasn’t keeping his idol in his pocket.  Keith then asked Wes to “pull it out”.

In turn, Keith stood up but, before giving it to Jeff, he told Wes: “You play it.”  Wes told him “No, you got it.”

Jeremy slapped Josh’s thigh, saying: “They played both. Oh! Snap.”

When Jeff turned the fourth vote against him, Jon smiled and said: “I’m so glad I played that.”

There were four votes wasted on Jon and three on Keith before Jeff turned the two that sent Wes packing.

Still smiling, Jon turned to Reed and said: “Sly dog, you.”

A bit slow on the uptake, Baylor asked: “So, Alec voted for Jon?”  Natalie had to tell her: “Yeah. And so did Reed.”  For some reason, Baylor found that funny.

Jeff sent them back to camp after saying:  “You guys are truly playing this game in the moment.  It’s aggressive and it’s risky.  Now that you started, you can never go back.”


The Story

There was a lot of chaos in San Juan del Unsure.  We can thank the staff member who made the seating arrangements for all that confusion.  Often, they sit members of alliances together but this time they were scattered with Reed on one end, Alec in the middle while Keith and Wes were on the other end and the members of Jon’s alliance were sprinkled in between.  Jeff said that their game was aggressive and risky. I’d say it was idiotic and I think quite a few people will agree with me.  The result is that everyone’s edit took a hit except one player who emerged as the only one who figured out what was going on.  So, instead of making a case for them, I’ll look at the flaws in their edit and see which looks best in comparison.


The Characters

Alec:  He was one of Survivor’s representatives at the baseball game but we practically didn’t see him or hear from him at the event.  I can understand because I’d be ashamed having him representing my franchise. He was part of Reed’s scam and he gave us his thoughts on the plan but his contribution didn’t bring anything new to the narrative.  We didn’t hear from him during Tribal Council but we saw his baffled expressions telling us that he didn’t understand what was going on.  We never considered Alec as a contender and that didn’t change even in what was probably his best episode.

Reed:  For him, there is no question that this was his best episode.  He gave up his reward to Missy in order to talk to Keith, he was impressive in his challenge victory, and he came up with a good plan that fooled his rivals.   Still, we saw a negative in each case.  Since he said that giving up rewards was transparently self-serving, no one was fooled about his motives.  While talking to Keith was important, he was tricked by Natalie who got him to leave camp long enough so that she could find the remaining idol.  His challenge victory and the showboating that followed will not be forgotten so he should be voted out the next time he isn’t wearing the necklace at TC.  As for his plan, he outsmarted himself when he told Jeff that Keith and Wes probably had an idol.  That was meant to sell the idea that he was voting with Jon’s group but it spooked Keith who wasn’t sure if the plan had changed.  If Reed had remained calm after Keith’s foot-in-mouth moment the plan may have still worked but his panicked reaction and all the whispering that followed told Natalie that he couldn’t be trusted.   Reed may be really smart when it comes to numbers but he doesn’t have the calm, reassuring attitude that keeps people’s trust and he doesn’t have the edit for the winner.

Baylor:  She was a bit slow when Natalie wanted to look for the idol but she was really slow when it came time to figure out what happened during the vote.  It feels that, like the mirrors at a fair, we are receiving a distorted image of Baylor.  Some say that she has a positive edit; others cannot stand her.  Objectively, it seems that she is getting a lot less negativity than she could.  We heard Keith and Alec say that she was lazy but we never really saw her lying around, doing nothing the way we saw Drew earlier on or even Morgan last season.  In fact, we’ve seen so little camp life that we can’t really judge each player’s workload so Alec’s complaints aren’t backed by visual evidence.  I think that part of the reason why some of her negativity is hidden is because she will be facing the jury in the end and the editors don’t want us to be certain that she will lose.

Jaclyn:  With Natalie gunning for Jon, I think I have to revise my Final 3 prediction and say that Jaclyn could be the one facing the jury instead of Jon.  It’s interesting to see that the frat boys and the editors aren’t the only ones that are ignoring Jaclyn because even Jon did it!  I’m not saying that he didn’t talk to her at all but the edited version of Jon only talked to Missy and Alec before making his decision and his confessional made it clear: “Tonight’s tribal is the first tribal where I am not really calling the shots.”  I thought Jon and Jaclyn were calling the shots together but here Jon used the first-person singular in the most important decision so far.  It’s clear that the editors aren’t giving her a lot of airtime to prevent as many viewers as possible from rooting for her.  Even if she is in the majority alliance, we could have had a nice underdog story if we had heard her confessionals about her position in the game and what she plans to do to win the title.  But, like Jeff said when she took the plate of cookies, she gave up her shot at the million dollars.

Jon: Despite his great showing at the reward where he got to interact with the cute kids, Jon had a terrible episode, one that put an end to my thoughts that he could win the million.  It wasn’t just that he gave up so easily for food in a season where we heard that eating too much isn’t the best idea if you are thinking long term but seeing him lick his plate brought back to mind the cartoon character comment that Jeremy made earlier.  Maybe back then that should have been enough for us to eliminate Jon from contention but there was always something more to Jon.  Not this time because, instead of Jon saying something to regain our sympathy we heard Keith severely putting him down.  In just a few words, Keith was telling us that Jon wasn’t made of the right stuff.

Keith:  After everyone else told us that Keith wasn’t very smart, it was his turn to tell us that this numbers game is way above him.  His dopey eyes when Reed told him about the plan reminded me of Dreamz when Mookie was trying to reason with him.  Dreamz at least had the excuse of hiding his alliance with Earl but what is Keith hiding?  It was his paranoia that ignited the Council and set the wheels in motion, getting his son’s torch snuffed.  Keith should be eliminated from consideration but I still can’t quite dismiss the “charges” against him.  Going by game play alone, he should have no chance at this because he lost his son and his idol but that’s what led me to dismiss Bob’s chances in Gabon.  Bob had a good edit and so does Keith so I don’t want to repeat that mistake.  If only that damned wasp had clearly landed on him!  All the “fly theorists” would have eliminated him.  The question is: why is Keith edited in such an important manner?  It could simply be because he is a funny character but looking back to his trips to Exile Island where he clearly outshone Val and Josh or to the start of the last few episodes where he got important confessionals after returning from TC we can see that there could be more to it than that.  He could still be the fireman that gets all the “love” in the end.

Missy:  Despite a very good showing at the reward, this wasn’t a good episode for Missy.  Her explanation to Natalie at the start of the episode was cut short and we didn’t hear her follow-up confessional that was recorded after the last TC.  She completely fell for Alec and Reed’s lie, unable to see that they were being phony with her.  She even was ready to bet with Jon that Reed was with them.  She would have lost that bet but it would have been much more costly for Jon.   Did she lose her chance to win the million at the same time?  Maybe I should divorce Missy!  She certainly has changed her mind about a few guys before but it’s a little late to change for me.    This episode makes it difficult to defend her case but who else is there?    The best indications that Missy will win is that Baylor isn’t as negative as she could be and Jeff didn’t say that she lost the reward when she fumbled with the keys.  If Baylor was really portrayed poorly then Missy would look worse when she defends her.  As for the challenges, that’s twice now that Jeff’s narrative covered up her failures.  It must mean something.  Even if it was self-serving, Reed’s decision to give her his reward tells us that she isn’t hated by her rivals, that she may even be liked a little.

Natalie:  If I were to divorce Missy it’s because there is another woman!  I’m falling for Natalie, maybe the smartest player there.  It took her until the very end of Tribal Council to realize that the numbers didn’t add up but she was the only one to see through Reed’s con game.  I just loved her expression when Jon wasn’t convinced he should play his idol.  She looked ready to slap him and she had good reason because her game could have sank with his.  It must be hard to play with idiots!   In this season that was destined to be ruled by the women, Natalie would make the best winner but her early edit makes it impossible to call her the Sole Survivor.  Her showing in the premiere was nondescript and she was ignored during the merge episode.  She had a few good moments before the merge when she realized that Nadiya was voted out, when Hunahpu got rid of Drew and when she volunteered to accompany Baylor to Exile Island.  That isn’t much considering that we didn’t hear many of her confessionals to connect us with her game.  The vote against Drew showed us that she was good at this game but it left me with the impression that she was underestimating Jon.  Now that she is gunning for Jon to get revenge for Jeremy, I think we are heading to a showdown between these two and I have more confidence that Natalie will win that battle than before.  What about the war though?  She still has no end game connections, her plans being limited to getting rid of Jon.  I had early doubts that Natalie could get votes because of her outbursts against Coyopa but she has been much calmer since then.  In fact, it would be hard to beat her if she makes it to the jury.  Natalie’s edit is very weak for a winner and it would be surprising that someone who was a “star” before the season started wouldn’t have been featured more if she was coming out on top.

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