Rodney was putting together a strong alliance…but being in charge doesn’t always lead to happiness.
Tyler and Carolyn discovered the power of Dan’s advantage.
After exposing Rodney’s secret alliance, everyone was targeting Mike. Rodney was heard saying Mike will never know if they get him out while Mike told us that he knows they are coming after him.
He was unstoppable at immunity challenges, and at Tribal Council, he revealed his idol to shake up the majority of six.
Even if Tyler and Will changed their votes, Shirin was sent home. We saw Rodney and Dan celebrating while Mike said “Dan still got two votes.”
Besides reminding us that Tyler and Carolyn knew about Dan’s advantage, this recap was once again centered on Mike. Even if he is in a great position, we had another example that Rodney wasn’t a very smart player when he told us that Mike would be caught unaware just before we heard Mike say he knew all about Rodney’s plan. This episode will feature a new power player so Mike will face a new contender.
I’m the One in Charge Right Now
Coming back to camp, Carolyn said she thought Dan voted for Tyler while Tyler voted for Dan.
Dan was quick to point out he voted for Shirin as planned. Sierra confirmed that she recognized his handwriting.
Will told everyone that they shouldn’t argue about this.
Smiling, Mike said: “One of you is going home next time, so you better start scrambling.”
Mike’s confessional: “When we got back to camp, they called a little team meeting of the six and it was kind of fun. It’s kind of fun watching people start to scramble because, for the past three votes, I’ve been scrambling. Right now, I am safe with my hidden immunity idol so that target is taken off of me and they’ll start turning on each other. The fallout of all of this is going to be interesting to watch– that’s for sure.”
Mike is going to need to do more than just watch…unless he winds up on the jury. This was just the first hint that he could be slipping.
We joined the argument between Tyler and Dan. Dan was telling Tyler that he should have known it was a bluff.
Tyler’s confessional: “I put down Dan’s name thinking that I got to do whatever I can to stay alive.”A Final 2 Nightmare[/caption]
In the end, Dan told Tyler that he was fine with the vote. That seemed to encourage Will who told Dan that he also wrote his name in order to split the votes. Dan thanked him and shook his hand and said: “You and I are going far. We are not going anywhere”
In the middle of his talk with Will, we heard Dan’s confessional: “The fact that I got two votes gave me reason for pause. That’s bad on Will and Tyler because they did flinch. Mike is still public enemy number one right now but here is the problem: Mike has an immunity idol. He is guaranteed one more trip.”
From a game perspective, it is very troubling for Mike’s chances that Dan was so quick to forgive Tyler and Will, especially hearing Dan assuring Will that they were going far together. We speculated that Mike could make it to the end via Dan’s advantage. The two would somehow make up after Dan’s near death experience and rejoin his old friend, but that road had already been permanently shut. This scene opened the door for a Final 3 that would include Dan and Will and who else would be there with those two but Rodney?
Tyler’s confessional resumed: “Last night’s vote showed that the six are willing to vote for each other and that Dan is most likely on the bottom which is why he got votes, but I was on the chopping block as well so I don’t have too many lifelines remaining. I voted for Dan and I plan on doing it again. I don’t know if I can call Dan extremely gullible. I call him extremely loyal, and in this game, they are one and the same.”
As a viewer, I’ve been saying the same about loyalty for a long time now and the Tocantins’ version of Coach was the perfect example. Too bad Tyler waited for his exit episode to say something of substance. Maybe I would have enjoyed him a little more. Then again, Tyler would have impressed me more if he had followed up on his own assessment by getting as tight as possible with the loyal dumbass instead of targeting him.
Will walked over to Rodney, saying it was his birthday.
Rodney’s confessional: “Today is my birthday. Hopefully, we get a reward and hopefully I can get out of here. I’ve been stuck on this beach for 30 days doing the same damn thing over and over again.”
Carolyn and Mike brought tree mail. Will told Rodney that he’d give up his place if he can.
Rodney’s confessional: “People don’t know how tight me and Will are. And Mama C., she has a lot of love too and they are going to take me on this reward. If I don’t go on the reward, it will be a sad, sad day. My whole game will change, but guess what? The chance of that happening is 0.000% chance because that is how much faith I have in these people.”
Instead of counting on his tribemates, Rodney should have known his future depended much more on production. I wonder if they switched challenges just so they could have the one that was played in predetermined teams. I mean, this challenge could have been planned at the F6 instead of forcing one to witness it from the sidelines. I won’t need to make many comments on Rodney’s behavior because one of his allies will explain it perfectly in just a bit.
The Reward Challenge
This time Jeff told us how the picks unfolded.
As the first captain, Dan chose Rodney and Tyler while Carolyn picked Mike and Sierra.
See Jiffy, you don’t have to waste “valuable” airtime on the picks to satisfy us, just give us the details.
Mike, Sierra, and Carolyn held a lead for most of the challenge, especially when the other team was wrong in assembling their ladder and when Rodney forgot to bring his balls through the net sling.
Despite his huge lead, Mike couldn’t get the balls in the goals. It opened the door for Dan who quickly gained the lead and was launching the winning ball, but it just missed. Carolyn and Sierra begged Mike to switch and let them try it, but it fell on deaf ears. Jeff said: “Sierra wants in, but Mike won’t give her a shot.” Down 4-2 at one point, Mike made a comeback and won it for his team.
This is the second hint that Mike’s game could have reached its zenith and is on a downward trajectory. Using the catapult required practice, so changing players could have wasted even more time when Dan was practically making every hit. Was it necessary to include another example that Mike isn’t a team player at this late date? Maybe it was to show that he can still pull out the victory, but it made me cringe.
Sierra and Carolyn hugged and they were jumping with joy at the thought of the reward.
That told us they weren’t going to let Rodney take their place.
(I’d like to know what the cameraman was thinking right after this: We first had an overhead shot of the challenge arena, then it seemed like we were taking a plunge towards the trees, but the camera quickly flipped around and we came right back to another overhead angle of the same arena. The montage just looked weird, amateurish even.)
After Rodney told him that it was his birthday, Jeff tried to help Rodney: “Are you hoping one of these three will feel for you on your special day and give up their reward for you?”
Rodney said he didn’t want to pressure them.
Yet he repeated that it was his birthday three times. The song “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to…” came to mind.
Rodney’s confessional was more of the same: “They just turned me into the psychotic person that I am.”
Mike’s confessional: “Carolyn, Sierra and myself get to jump into the back of this truck loaded down with toys, bats, balls, school supplies and we get to go to this orphanage where we can be ambassadors of goodwill for Survivor. To see the faces of all these little boys and girls when we pulled up filled me up inside because I just enjoy being around kids and being a kid because I’m a big kid.”
Sierra told the kids that she was a cowgirl and had horses. We then heard her confessional: “This is one of the coolest experiences that I ever had. To come here and meet these amazing children who are so grateful and spend time with them– I couldn’t ask for a better reward today.”
When they sat down to eat, the trio had a thought for Rodney, but Mike said it was also a special day for them.
Carolyn’s confessional: “Rodney is going to be pissed off at me because I didn’t give up this reward, but when you think about it, this is not a horrible birthday: You’re on Survivor for God’s sake. I hadn’t been on a reward with Mike before so I got a chance to see him in a different light. Mike has a lot of power in this game right now: He does win challenges and does have an idol. So, he is not going home and we have to vote one of the six out. That’s why I’m worried about myself. Yeah, I’m thinking about aligning myself with the people I think are going to take me further in this game. So, maybe it’s time to join forces. Who knows? It could happen!”
First, we have to thank Carolyn for bashing Rodney, saying what every viewer was thinking about the spoiled brat. Next, we have to realize that Mike’s confessional was the kind we usually associate with journey players instead of winners. It can be said that his words fleshed him out even more, humanized him in such a way that even Carolyn saw him in a different light, but Mike’s confessional had the same value as Sierra’s. Sierra isn’t exactly edited as a winner, yet her words gave us just as nice a glimpse into her personality as Mike’s. The one that had the important confessional was Carolyn because it returned the focus on the game. It also served as misdirection, making us think that Mike could have a new option, but Carolyn cannot be thinking of joining Mike for the long term, can she? Still the scene ended by showing Mike and Carolyn locking arms over Sierra’s shoulders.
We returned to camp accompanied by a sad melody and then, suddenly, something disturbed the beehive. From melancholic, the music changed to feature heavy drums. It wasn’t hard to imagine what was coming next…
Rod’s confessional: “___Washing dishes on my birthday. Nine miserable days left…0 for five in reward challenges and a bunch of scumbags who neglected me on my birthday, who claim to be Survivor family…All bets are off now. Carolyn and Sierra: They ain’t going to the end.”
Could Rodney wind up making the decision for Carolyn and Sierra, pushing them directly into Mike’s arms? Those two are evidently playing to make it to the end with players they can beat, but they could switch if they realize they aren’t part of Rodney’s Final 3.
Dan told Tyler that Rodney wasn’t about to cool off: “It’s who he is.”
Rodney told everyone that he was pissed at Mama C.
We saw that Tyler heard him loud and clear. How much did he tell Carolyn? We didn’t see them talking about it but Tyler must have told Carolyn that Rodney would be gunning for her after this.
Dan’s confessional: “I understand him being hurt…being upset, but even in my opinion, that was a bit much.”
Rodney then came up with a new plan: He was going to say he wants to be voted out so that Mike doesn’t play his idol and they can blindside him. He assured them that Mike was going home.
Dan’s confessional continued: “I do not think for a second that it’s going to work. I really think Rodney is slipping off into that abyss! That’s all right with me. Let him have his moment of explosion. Hopefully, he’s on the chopping block and they won’t see me as a target. We’ll see how it all plays out.”
Tyler’s confessional: “We sat around and essentially watched Rodney storm around, kick the dirt, curse, spit like he’s lost it; he’s going crazy which is scary because Rodney is in my alliance. I certainly can’t rely on him and Mike most likely will play his idol. It would be stupid for Mike to buy this story, and I’m the first one he wants gone. I’m going to be the one he votes for. If we just leave it in Mike’s hands, I am out of here.”
In the middle of the confessional, we heard Tyler asking Rodney what would happen if Mike played his idol and voted for him. Rodney refused to even consider the possibility that his plan could fail.
It was such a scary, stormy night that even the bats were going bat-shit crazy!
Rodney was going through with his act.
Rodney’s confessional: “I’m telling them that they can vote me out– that I’ve had enough. Hopefully, Mike doesn’t play his idol and we pull up the biggest blindside of the game. We’ll see what happens.”
With one sentence, Mike showed Rodney the problem with his plan: “It totally makes more sense to keep you right now.”
Mike’s interview: “I see right through the plan; trying to make me feel like I’m safe so I don’t play my idol. That ain’t happening, brother. I’m not an idiot. Just because I talk slow, it doesn’t mean that I think slow.”
Will gave us an interview: “Mike didn’t buy Rodney’s act for a second. He just stopped that conversation. Mike has his immunity idol and we are back to square one.”
Tyler and Carolyn had a conversation away from everyone. She told him that Mike would vote for him or Dan so he had to win immunity. Tyler asked her about the idol. She said: “We will use it when we need it.”
Tyler’s confessional: “Would Carolyn be willing to put down the White Collar idol to save me? I hope so. My trust is in Mama C. I’m also her closest alliance member, and as things get down to the wire, you got to trust people in order to get further.”
Carolyn’s interview: “From a strategic game perspective, I’m playing the game hard. I know that Tyler trusts me, but I think Mike doesn’t really have anybody else to work with, so I actually do feel like I’m the one in charge right now.”
Right then, we saw a frog take a leap and turn into a blue bird. It was a nice camera trick and it makes me think that Carolyn just made a transformation from a follower to the leader. I’d really like to know if that particular bird has symbolic or mythological importance in Nicaragua. Frogs usually turn into princes, not princesses. Or was it just to show neat camera work?
Day 32 – The Immunity Challenge
Rodney started complaining as soon as the challenge started, but Will was the first to drop. He was quickly followed by Dan. Sierra and Rodney didn’t last much longer. Mike made it to the first transition, but he couldn’t hold up.
Dan was particularly happy about that, but I noticed Sierra’s expression also. Her face showed surprise but maybe also disappointment.
Tyler also let go, so Carolyn won a second immunity in a row. Sierra was particularly happy for Carolyn.
Sierra’s reaction makes me think that the two had already decided on eliminating Tyler. Despite the fact that a woman won this particular type of challenge every time they ran it, we must admit that Carolyn is building up a nice résumé to present to the jury.
Dan’s confessional: “The good news is that Mike has to play that idol. Bad news? I got two votes at the last Tribal Council and right now there is a lot of talk about my advantage which makes me an easy target.”
Back in Camp
Carolyn’s confessional: “I won my second immunity challenge in a row. Woo-woo! I’m so excited! It’s not cut and dry how to play this game now because there are so many options. So, you have to make sure you figure out the right move.”
Dan’s interview: “Does it put fear into me that my name could get written down? Of course it does. I feel like one of three people are going home tonight: Me, Mike or Tyler. Mike is probably going to play his idol, so the odds are on either Tyler or myself because they see Tyler as a threat and my name keeps getting written down.”
To Rodney, Sierra and Dan, Carolyn proposed: “Guys vote Mike; girls vote Tyler?”
Carolyn gave us another confessional: “As far as Dan is concerned, we are voting for Tyler, but voting for Dan is not really a bad idea because we get rid of the advantage.”
This scene brings up a huge question: We heard that Carolyn wasn’t being completely honest with Dan; she was just paying lip service to keep him happy BUT was she doing the same with Rodney? Did Rodney expect her to vote against Tyler or was he also just going along to appease the mailman? He wouldn’t be too happy to see that she left him out of the loop, but we have to assume that he was on board with eliminating Tyler. That would close another door for Mike.
At the water reservoir, Tyler and Will were plotting against Dan.
We heard Tyler’s plan in confessional. He wanted to get rid of Mike’s idol and of Dan’s advantage by splitting the vote.
In the hammock, Mike told Carolyn that he was voting against Tyler.
Carolyn’s confessional: “Mike is gunning for Tyler and this could be the only opportunity for me to side with him, but I don’t know if that’s the right move to make right now.”
Mike’s interview: “I really, really hope that Mama C. is 100% on board with me right now because my options of who to work with at this point are a little bit limited.”
Tyler talked to Carolyn and they agreed to vote against Dan. The plan was for Carolyn and Will to vote against Dan. Tyler repeated that the advantage was going to haunt them if they didn’t get rid of it.
As they prepared for TC, Carolyn gave the last confessional of the evening: “It’s a toss-up between Dan and Tyler as to who needs to go first. Tyler and I have a bond. We’ve been together since literally day three, but he is the only one who knows that I have an ido,l so he could blow up my game, but Dan’s advantage gives him an extra vote so that’s a big threat. This is a game for a million dollars and I’m here to play the game so: Game on, boys and girls.”
The only positive point for Mike in all of this is that Carolyn’s move isn’t clearly presented as a good move for her. Her hesitations added to the episode’s suspense, but the power of the advantage was clearly stated as a big threat. Tyler wasn’t really a threat for Carolyn and her only concern was that he could tell everyone that she had an idol. Hearing Tyler’s confessionals, the viewers know that he wasn’t thinking of betraying her trust, so it could be said that she made her move too early. It really doesn’t matter that I think it was a terrific move and could reward her handsomely when she makes her case to the jury. The editing is much less decisive.
Jeff immediately turned to Mike who jokingly pretended to look through his pockets but then assured him he had brought his idol. He said it guaranteed that one of the six was going home.
Dan told Jeff he found out who had voted for him and that it showed him who was on the bottom of the six.
Tyler said he didn’t really scramble after the challenge but that he touched base with everyone.
Dan’s quick head turn told us that Tyler may not have touched base with him.
Mike told Jeff that there had been some talk about Dan’s advantage, adding that he hoped it was worth $480.
Carolyn told Jeff she was worried about Dan’s advantage, saying it could be a super idol like the one Tony had.
Dan said everyone approached him about his advantage.
It’s curious that we didn’t hear any of those talks.
Sierra agreed with Jeff that it was the perfect time to make a big move and that it will shock everybody. “I’m keeping every option open” she added.
Tyler said it was time to look at the people you can beat in the end. Tyler said he would be surprised to leave.
It was, already, time to vote.
Since Jeff had gotten Tyler to admit he would be blindsided, there was no need to prolong the council.
Once Jeff had tallied the votes, Mike jumped to his feet and played his idol, making sure to tell Jeff he was playing it for himself.
The jury was smiling, but Rodney wasn’t. Mike was also smiling when Jeff read the four votes against him while, from the jury box, Joe showed that he was anxiously waiting for the first vote against someone else than Mike.
The 5th parchment read Tyler.
That was Mike’s vote, so it didn’t tell us a whole lot. If the 6th vote was against Dan then the 7th would also likely be against Dan, but if it was Tyler… You could tell that the same thought ran through Tyler’s head just before Jeff spoiled it by saying: “The 12th person voted out and the fifth member of our jury” before turning the parchment.
Carolyn had a wry smile on her face. Besides Will, everyone looked happy with the result.
I found it funny that Tyler watched his torch get snuffed with the same serious look on his face that made so many think he was being portrayed as the “observer”.
Jeff sent them packing after saying: “If there is one thing that should be most concerning it’s the admission that everybody wants to take the weakest to the end.
You’d expect that the camera would have shown Will and Dan when Jeff said this but it showed Sierra, Mike and Carolyn instead.
In his last word, Tyler told us that going after Dan was the right move but that his alliance didn’t follow suit. Was that intended to present him as being delusional or was it telling us that Carolyn will regret not getting rid of the advantage? It sounded like it fit in with the narrative that Carolyn didn’t make quite the best move. From a game perspective, she eliminated someone that could have beaten her in the end, but it was also someone that wasn’t going to target her. Rodney, Will and Dan, the trio of losers, have to be aware they need to stick together. Even Jeff realized that the weak players are looking to take each other to the end. That means Mike, Carolyn and Sierra are not going to break into that group easily.
The Bad Final 3: Say it ain’t so, Jeff…
Will: It was funny to hear Will telling Dan that he had also voted against him after Dan told Tyler that he had no hard feelings. Will’s first intention was to avoid that discussion all together but coming clean just earned him a spot in Dan’s Final 3. So why was he still gunning for the mailman when he talked to Tyler? Since Will eventually voted against Mike, it seems logical to assume that he was in on the plan to blindside Tyler. Since we didn’t hear his thoughts on the matter, it paints him as a player that is completely out of the loop.
Dan: He may say that it broke his heart to vote against Mike but he certainly healed quickly. In Will, Dan has found his perfect companion to take to the end and he would beat him…if it was a Final 2. I don’t believe I am going to say this, but I’m glad for the Final 3 just to remove this possibility.
Rodney: Carolyn said it all: The cry-baby should be happy to be on Survivor. I’d still like to tell him that he should win a challenge if he wants to get a reward. As the head goat, Rodney has a clear path to the Final 3 and even he would easily beat Will and Dan. What a disastrous result that would be. We are in the 4th quarter of the game right now and I’m still waiting to see “Tom Brady” taking over the game. Instead, we have to watch this deflated version.
The Good Final 3: Could we be so lucky?
Sierra: We’ve heard Sierra say a few times that she wants to go to the end with people she can beat but she probably won’t have the luxury to decide. There is no room for her with the frat boys. Her reaction when Mike fell into the water could be telling us that she already realized this. Working with him is a double-edged sword: Together, they could open up a spot in the Final 3, but then he could take it away from her. Their collaboration has already eliminated Tyler which was great for Sierra, much better for her than Carolyn actually. We know she had been actively working on that since last week. Was it just a one time deal? She should realize that she still needs his help if she wants to make it to the end. Her role in the overall story has been so limited that we don’t see her as the one that will profit from the big moves required.
Carolyn: Quietly, Carolyn is playing an excellent game. Besides Joaquin who wasn’t on her tribe at the time, she is directly responsible for eliminating all the White Collars, so she could be described as the season’s biggest flipper. She certainly fits the theme of “Making Decisions” now that Mike has no control over the course of the game except for winning immunity. The only reservation is that the viewers know that Max, Shirin, and Tyler weren’t gunning for her so she got rid of allies that would have helped her against the three goats. If she had gotten rid of Tyler last week and kept Shirin then she could have had the numbers to go after Rodney’s posse without keeping a real threat around. Now, she may need Mike and even his vote may not be enough against Dan’s advantage. She won’t have an easy road to navigate to the end and her impressive win will put a target on her back, but she still has an idol to play and maybe other surprises as well. As the new person in charge, the other players aren’t ready to deal with this powerful threat innocently called Mama C.
Mike: For the first time, I saw clear indications for a journey player in Mike’s presentation. When we heard him say that he’d enjoy watching the six scramble, it told us that he was forgetting that the job didn’t end there. He knew he’d use his idol, so he must have started working on the next step, but we didn’t hear him talk about that. Instead, we heard him describing the reward and telling us it made him happy to act like a kid again. Often, that’s an end of story presentation: Mike’s journey on Survivor was satisfying. He can certainly turn things around by winning immunity, but it wouldn’t be very satisfying to see him simply win his way to the end. If he is able to get people to vote for someone else when he doesn’t have immunity, then we could say he played a great game. Like he said, his moves are limited, but he could shake things up by pointing out that Rodney, Dan, and Will are all joined at the hip.
If my math is right then there are 20 different possible Final 3 combinations right now so these are only the two that I would call the extremes. It seems pretty obvious that anyone in the “good Final 3” would beat any of the “bad Final 3”, but can they make it with them? The best option for Sierra and Carolyn could be to keep Mike for one round, get rid of one goat and then to flip back against Mike, but that plan has many pitfalls, the biggest being that letting Mike one step closer to Final3 could be all he needs. Dan’s advantage can also disrupt that plan and even Mike could flip back to the guys if they realize that Carolyn and Sierra are sticking together. My “Mike wins” ticket has been punched a long time ago, and I can’t change that, so I’ll put some virtual money on Carolyn to “Place”. In a horse race, a place ticket pays if the horse wins. It doesn’t pay a lot but still…