Millennials vs Gen X

The Characters and Their Stories–Survivor 33: Episode 2

The Characters and Their Stories is a blog in which we use the edit to determine the themes of the season and try to find its long-term players. Each week, we will explore the overt signs as well as the more nuanced nods.

The Characters and Their Stories–Survivor 33: Episode 2

Previously on Survivor

At the Millennial Tribe, Figgy flirted with the men and put together an alliance of four but the tribe was catching on.

Mari, talking to Michaela:  “Figgy’s running the show.”

At the Gen X tribe, David was scared of everything while a majority alliance came together.

We heard Bret first telling his group that it’s either Rachel or David and then, in confessional, saying that he had 6 people so he felt good.

At Tribal Council, David pled his case and, in the end, he was spared and Rachel was sent home.

While fairly straightforward, this recap is notable for three editing choices:  While we did see the alliance of 4 taking shape in the Millennial camp, the previous episode hadn’t shown that Figgy put it together.  Jay and Taylor’s connection had been its foundation.  That tells us the two guys could be less important down the road than Figgy.  Next, we weren’t reminded that Jessica found the legacy advantage so we can assume that she won’t be using it to make deals.  Finally, David was given a bigger role in saving himself than what we actually saw because, according to Jeff, his plea at Tribal Council was heard.  But did we have to be reminded that David will be an important character this season?


Work Your Magic

Gen X Day 5

Having received flint, Paul was trying to make fire but couldn’t.  “This is getting embarrassing,” he said.

Paul’s interview: “Here it is, day 5, and we still don’t have a fire.  Other than that, everything is going ahead as planned.  I got a six-person alliance and I’m going to say it like it is for Cece and David:  They don’t have a chance.  Cece aligned herself with Rachel which was a kiss of death.  With David, he just can’t handle it out here.”

After Paul failed to make a fire, David asked to take a whack at it.

David’s interview: “Right now, I think I am playing a miserable Survivor game so I really want to be a hero to my tribe and bring them fire because I am so grateful for them sparing me last night.  I really want to prove myself today and it’s in line with the Generation X attitude in that you don’t ever give up, but I’m more of a Cochran than I am an Ozzy.”

To everyone’s surprise, including his own, David succeeded.

It’s sad to see that Survivor has sunk to a new low when you realize we are being encouraged to applaud someone for making fire with FLINT!!  Yes, we saw that Paul couldn’t do it at first but can this really be considered an accomplishment?  Becky and Sundra couldn’t do it to save their lives but every single tribe has managed to make fire once they’ve received flint.  The importance attached to this scene shows us just how much production wants us to like David’s story.   

Chris in interview: “Oddly enough, Dave, out of all of us, got a flame going but he’s still going home next.  David is probably the weakest challenge person we have.  He’s like our puppy dog right now.  We are trying to keep petting him until we get rid of him.  We’re just keeping him busy.  If you let him get in his own head, that’s when he goes nuts, starts looking for idols and getting all paranoid.”

The ungrateful Chris is being set up to be the bully who torments our designated, fabricated star.  We can already assume that David comes out on top of their little battle.  

In order to keep busy, David came up with the idea to go pick up some rocks so that they could sit around the fire.  He told us he had an ulterior motive:

David’s comments: “I would love an idol but contribute to the tribe first and, while doing that, just kind of be looking around because looking for rocks and looking for idols; they both make you dirty.  So this is an alibi.”  The idol suddenly appeared in the form of a coconut with painting on it.  David explained: “Oh, my God! It’s in here, isn’t it?  I just have to split this open… This is why we come to play Survivor.  I never ever thought this was going to happen for me especially like on the nadir that I was on and now I’m at a zenith.  This is amazing.   This is exactly what I need to have the confidence to really make big strategic moves right now.  This is like serendipity.”

The music was mostly percussion instruments when he started his search which didn’t make it seem serious.  Strings moved in when he went for “one more” rock and then the cymbals signaled “Voilà!”  He had found the marked coconut.  So nowadays idols grow on trees!  Coconut trees that is!  The musical theme was light throughout his search so I’m not sure the idol will have a big impact on the game and once more the idol was simply there for the taking.  When it isn’t buried and no one needs clues to find it, then anyone walking by could wind up with it.  David’s paranoia paid off and if he winds up on the other beach after a swap he could very well find its match.


Millennial Camp Day 5

Figgy and Taylor were alone in the shelter, talking about living on the West Coast.

Taylor’s confessional: “I really like Figs. She’s super rad, easy to be around. I mean, she’s really beautiful. It’s like love goggles and Figs is directly in front of me.”

Figgy’s interview: “I didn’t come here for romance but oh, my God! Those blue eyes!  They are dangerous.  Waa!  They are just gorgeous.  They are so beautiful and I get to cuddle up with that and I’m like: It’s fine.”

As the night arrived, they did more than just cuddling.

Michaela’s Interview: “In the middle of the night, I hear a kissing sound and I was like– you can’t be for real.  You stink, your mouth is nasty, you have sand in your drawers and you are kissing somebody.  That’s disgusting.”

The couple didn’t look like they were disgusted but it was interesting to finally get an introduction to Michaela’s character.   By being so down to earth, Michaela’s going to be the counterpoint to the Millennials’ exuberance. 

Day 6

As soon as Taylor got up, Michaela told everyone that she heard him kissing Figgy.  Taylor couldn’t hide his smile.

Taylor’s interview:  “Me and Figs got called out.  I look at that as a risky move but Millennials are dreamers and I’m dreaming big.”

Figgy’s interview:  “My tribe doesn’t even consider Taylor and myself being a power couple threat and maybe that’s because we’re the Millennials.  Only people like *cough**cough*Michaela are going to throw it out there and put a target on our backs but nobody cares.”

The two idealistic lovers were soon to be proven wrong by the next two interviews.  You can’t even find paradise on a deserted island anymore!  Not when someone else’s million dollar check is in the balance.

Zeke’s interview:  “I think the Millennial generation takes hook ups much less seriously than maybe the Gen Xers do and I think it’s that casual attitude which might be getting Taylor and Figgy into trouble because you need to have the mentality that you are also playing Survivor and I think they might be missing that part.”

Jay’s interview:  “Figgy and Taylor are freaking stupid, man!  No couple ever lasts on Survivor, ever!  Me and Michelle are still in an alliance with them and this power couple can destroy everything that we’ve created.  Taylor is my boy.  I love that kid but sometimes women blind you and then you end up stuck with a woman and you’re bailing on your boys when it’s bowling night and you’re stuck at home with your girlfriend.  You’re a dork; like, wake up!”

Is anyone as surprised as me that Jay talked about bowling night?  Come to think of it, Taylor was working on building a bowling alley in episode one so maybe bowling is the new thing for the kids these days.  I’ve probably bowled once in the last 30 years because I thought it was for dorks, but apparently nowadays, you’re a dork when you’re with someone like Figs!  We can make note that Jay isn’t very good at Survivor History because he forgot about Romber but it was so long ago that we can forgive him.   

Jay warned Taylor that they could be taken out one by one.  He didn’t want to lose a million dollars over it and he was sure Taylor didn’t want that either.

It’s a little bit out of left field but that was a winning quote from Jay.  Unfortunately, we have to remember that Mari had the very first winning quote of the season and she certainly won’t be collecting the big check!

Jay’s Interview resumed: “Taylor is so oblivious to the fact that Dude, it’s not going to work because he is so infatuated with Figgy but this power couple is like a bull’s eye for a nuclear missile.  That’s how big it is!  It’s like this is where we need to blow up because this is not good.”


We went across the water towards the Gen X beach.

Ken was spear hunting in the octopus’ garden.

Ken’s interview:  “Spearfishing and surviving in this kind environment, that’s something I’ve been doing my entire life and something I’m good at but in a social game like this, you have to develop connections and bonds and I’m socially shy sometimes.  It’s something that’s plagued me my entire life.  I was the kid with the speech impediments and the nervous twitches so David and I are kind of mirror images of each other.  Socially we are a little bit awkward; we are a little bit shy.  As I see him opening up, it’s inspiring me to open up.”

This was a very interesting and important glimpse into Ken’s character.  Looking at him like David is about to do, you’d never guess that he had any problems to socialize with people but this gives us an idea of why he decided to go off the map for such a long time.  Ken is a survivor but will he be THE Survivor?   At least, this scene puts him in contention.

Ken and David agreed that the tribe was like Paul’s posse.  They agreed they had to make a move.

David’s interview:  “Ken and I, we are on opposite sides of the science spectrum.  I don’t look anything like Ken:  He’s built like a super athlete; he looks like an Adonis.  What girl wouldn’t want to date him? You know. A girl doesn’t want to date a neurotic, bald guy but I like Ken a lot and in Survivor you absolutely need at least one person that you can trust.  For me right now, it’s Ken and I think for Ken, it’s me.”

David showed Ken his idol.

Ken’s interview:  “I believe in David and I as an alliance.  It’s real, it’s legit and Dave’s got an idol and I think we will be using that to band together and do something big, and for us to move forward, Paul’s got to go.  I’m ready for a fight and I don’t want to give Paul too much time to come in and try to counter.”

At that moment we saw Paul shadow boxing and he seemed ready for that fight.

What I liked most about the juxtaposition of these two scenes was that we focused on a pair of outsiders on both sides: Ken and David on one, Figgy and Taylor on the other. Ken and Dave did all the right things, Figgy and Taylor all the wrong ones:  David was making fire and finding idols while Ken was providing food in Gen X while Figgy and Taylor were putting themselves in danger with the Millennials.   You’d think David and Ken would have been the ones to turn things around but it was the couple who finds itself in the majority while the Gen X outsiders haven’t made any significant progress.  However, in the long run, we could very well see these four outsiders come together.

Ken delivered the last interview of the scene, the one where he talks about strategy and moving forward so maybe he will profit more from this alliance with David. 


Millennials Day 6

The music was serene when Hannah’s scene with the coconut started but then it became arrhythmic when we saw she was having trouble.

Mari’s interview:  “It’s day six and the Millennials’ morale is good but we didn’t realize that playing this game would be so hard…Nothing you experience in front of a television screen can compare to experiencing it in real life and it’s surreal, man!”

By then, Hannah had ripped apart that coconut.  She was all smiles.

It was a totally unnecessary scene but those are the most endearing ones.  There are so few of these that make it on air that we have to make note.  There is care given to Hannah in order for the viewers to make a positive connection with her.

Figgy and Taylor were still together, talking about surfing.

Michaela’s interview: “Figgy has been a flirt since the boat came up to Fiji. Like, this girl is dumb.  You’re supposed to blend in a little at the beginning and work your magic behind the scenes but her magic is trying to be all over the place so it’s not magic.  You need to pull the bunny out of a hat; you can’t just walk in with a bunny.  The problem is that it’s hard to act like I don’t know what is going on.   If I have something to say and I’m not saying it my mouth will close but my eyebrows and this face will talk.”

The machete she had in hand while standing next to Figgy did the talking for her!  Figgy clearly understood the threat.

Figgy accused Michaela of being phony.

Figgy’s interview: “Michaela is being a complete bitch about nothing.  This girl is crazy.  I want her as far away from me as possible.  This girl has got to go.”

Adam’s interview:  “Literally, Figgy has put herself in the crosshairs.  Basic laws of Survivor will tell you:  Don’t come blazing out of the gate, don’t get into a catfight, and sure as hell, don’t get yourself into a showmance.”

Taylor and Figgy’s answer to that was to walk away and hug each other.

Those two really don’t understand how the game works yet it’s working for themI’m sure the viewers aren’t taking them seriously but they could be going a long way.


Gen X Day 6

Paul was telling everyone to bring every piece of wood that they could carry.

We won’t see Paul overexerting himself to the point of suffering from heat exhaustion but it’s very likely that he was the one carrying every piece of driftwood that he could find.

Paul’s interview: “With me, it’s very simple:  When it comes to taking control of the game, I one hundred percent want to be in control.  That’s where I have to be; I don’t have a choice because I breathe control.”

Not being a control freak could have been part of Adam’s rules.

Ken was talking to Cece about “The Paul Show” and how the three of them were on the outside.  Cece agreed, adding that they needed to cut off the head.

While they were talking against Paul, we saw that he was starting to get dizzy.

I found that putting Ken’s words about Paul feeling invincible and having to stroke his ego in order to bring him down in voiceover while we were witnessing Paul possibly suffering a stroke was a very interesting choice of editing.  It would have been much better to hear them talking behind Paul’s back when he was still in a fighting mood, not when he was in need of medical help.  At least they have the excuse of not knowing what was happening.

The production team had to step in and they told Paul that the doctor was on his way.

After the commercial break, we saw Doctor Joe working on Paul while Jeff made his way into camp.  The doctor told Jeff that they’d have to check if Paul had a heart attack.  Paul said he hated not being in control.

Sunday’s confessional: “It’s extremely scary seeing him go down– makes you think if it can happen to him it can happen to anyone.  I really, really need Paul to stay in the game.  He’s a huge key part of our alliance, but beyond that, I just care about him.”

The doctor ruled out any heart problems; it was heat exhaustion and dehydration.  The game was back on.

David’s reaction: “I feel so guilty saying this and I’m glad Paul didn’t have a heart attack, but honestly, when he went down, I thought this might be a good thing for me because he’s the one I want to vote out.  He’s really calling all the shots and he’s so weak right now. That’s going to make it easier to convince people that: You know what? It might be time to get rid of Paul.”

The cymbal and whipping sound effect underlined the enormity of this comment.  It really takes a loser to count on someone’s illness to advance even in this evil game.  I prefer those who want to show that they are the best by beating the best.  Luckily, David didn’t get a chance to tell anyone that Paul’s weakness was a reason to vote him out because even diminished Paul completely outperformed David in the challenge that followed.


Day 7 – The Immunity Challenge

Realizing that Rachel had been voted out, Figgy commented: “That’s about right.”

While it told us she read the other tribe correctly, it showed her insensitivity.

Hannah told Jeff she’d sit out.

Chris and Michelle were the first swimmers.  While Jeff noted that Chris was ripping through the water, Hannah yelled to Michelle that she was ripping through the water too.

Take that, Jeff!  Our host couldn’t even admit that Michelle finished her leg tied with Chris!  I’d like to have Hannah as our new host!

Going against Will and Michaela, Paul and Sunday gained a small lead for their tribe but David quickly surrendered it to Zeke.

Seeing David in the water, I was reminded of Chet in Micronesia.  I wonder if Chet is watching and wondering why he didn’t get as much airtime as David.  He’s probably blaming a defective microphone.

Retrieving the rings that were tied under water, Cece had problems with hers but Ken retrieved two of them, saving his team a lot of time.

Jay tossed the rings for his team but Cece and Ken bettered him.

The way the ring toss was presented made Ken look better than he really was because we didn’t see him miss a single shot but we know he had to miss a couple at least because we saw him waiting twice for someone to retrieve a ring.

Swimming to bring the idol back to his team, Paul was heard saying: “Dr. Joe brought this old pirate back from the dead, baby!”

When her tribe left the challenge area, Mari gave us a confessional: “Tonight we want Figgy to be really comfortable; we want to blindside her without her even knowing.  When I beat an opponent in a video game, it feels great but this is somebody’s dream that we’re crushing and that is what makes Survivor real.”

While editing isn’t always this formulaic, we have another example of a confident player delivering a confessional in the kiss-of-death spot.  At that point in time, it was hard to foresee how the vote could possibly change but it was clear that Figgy wasn’t going to be eliminated.  It was simply much too evident.  Before we all laugh at Mari’s pleonasm, (We want to blindside her without her even knowing) we have to remember the editors’ specialty: Pretending that someone is being blindsided even if the player knew it was comingThis time, it was not only real; it had salt on it!!


Millennials Day 7

Michelle was leading the tribe back into camp and she would soon assume leadership in the voting decision also.

Zeke’s interview: “We lost today’s immunity challenge but I’m a little bit tickled to be going to Tribal Council.  I came to vote people out and I came to win a million dollars and I want to get started.  Figgy’s in the hot seat right now because wherever Figgy goes her little puppy dog Taylor goes.  Like, one person isn’t allowed to have two votes.  That’s against the spirit of the game.”

Having a winning quote in a confessional where the player isn’t right about upcoming events doesn’t sound very promising.  Zeke and Adam will soon find themselves out of the loop and in the minority.  Will they be able to pull a magic trick?

We first saw Zeke, Adam, Mari and Hannah talking about voting out Figgy then Hannah joined Michaela and Will who were saying the same thing.

Michaela’s interview:  “The couple would be dangerous if Figgy was going to stay around but I’m just convinced that Figgy is going home so get your kisses in because that couple is about to get back down to one real quick.”

What should we think now that Figgy didn’t go home?   We’ve heard many people say that she’s dangerous so she’s probably in for a deep run.

Zeke told Jay and Adam that they had to break up the twosome and that would bring Michaela back into the group but, if not, then Michaela would be the next to go.  Jay said he was OK with that.

The scene made me realize that color coordination on Survivor extends to underwear!  All three guys had matching red boxers.  Production’s habit of deciding what everyone will wear is kind of dumb. On the other hand, it must be noted that Jay played it very smoothly, not showing that he was sticking with his boy.

Jay’s confessional:  “Figgy is going home and it sucks because I had Figgy and Taylor in the Trifecta, okay, and we were going to make things happen.  Unless something happens and things go crazy like they usually do, my alliance is gone.”

Jay informed Michelle that the others wanted Fig out first.

The dramatic chant gave us an idea of Michelle’s distress at the news.

Her next interview was divided into three parts so that we could also hear what she was saying to Jay: “You realize that we’re losing numbers if we vote out Figgy.  We have to vote out Mari unless you have a better idea.  We need Figgy and Michaela to kiss and make up.”

Michelle’s interview: “It doesn’t make sense to vote out Figgy right now.  My alliance with Jay, Figgy, and Taylor; we got to keep that number and we got to switch the vote.  Mari is really dangerous because she is smart but tonight’s Tribal Council is about keeping people who I know will stick with me moving forward.”

It was interesting to watch Michelle talking about her alliance with Jay, Figgy, and Taylor while holding up 5 fingers!  It’s possible that she named a fifth person but we weren’t supposed to know about it yet to make the turnaround even more dramatic.  Needless to say that this scrambling portion of the episode made Jay, and even more so Michelle, look like high caliber players.

Jay took on the job of talking to Figgy and Michaela.  He started by saying he loved them both but that the tribe was planning to vote Figgy out first and Michaela second.

In a previous interview, Michaela told us that magic was about pulling a rabbit out of the hat but Jay showed us another great magic trick by reconciling Figgy and Michaela!

Figgy’s interview: “My name is on the chopping block.  It’s like hitting you in the chest with a knife.  Michaela and I have definitely had our differences but she has to stick with us, there’s nothing else to it.”

Michaela’s interview: “This girl is trying to be my friend now.  Figgy was going home and I was perfectly fine with that but if Jay is telling the truth, I could definitely be in trouble so this whole thing is up in the air.”

Figgy said they had to stay six strong, saying that Will had to be in their group.

We saw that Michelle was already talking to Will.  She was telling him that they knew what Figgy could do so it would be easy to get her later.  Will didn’t see it that way, saying she would gain momentum just like Parvati and Cochran. Michelle said she wanted to see Mari go because she was strategic.  Will said that the change of plan was very nerve wracking.

Will’s comment about Parvati and Cochran is another hint that Figgy could be in for a deep run.

Michelle’s interview: “This first Tribal Council is going to draw a line.  Figgy can’t go tonight.  It has to be someone else.  It’s scary to me because I’m not sure we have the numbers to really, truly save Figgy.  So, I might have to try to pull strings at Tribal Council to make sure I have the numbers and get what I want.”

No one has ever managed to pull strings at Tribal Council quite like this.  Way back in the Outback, we were told that Tina brilliantly pulled strings to vote out Mitchell but that was on the way to Tribal Council.  For a long time players weren’t even allowed to talk if Jeff hadn’t addressed them.  They’ve been much freer in recent years but, while Kass and Tasha came close, no one ever reached the level of pressure we saw Michelle putting on Hannah.


Tribal Council

With everyone looking around and Hannah saying “Wow!” we saw that the tribe was very impressed by the set.

Adam told Jeff that the place was unbelievable and it made him feel like he was watching on television.

Mari explained that it was much harder to play with real people than in the two-dimensional world.

Zeke said he was living in a dream world and that Survivor was bringing out the best of him.

Michaela disagreed, saying this situation could bring out the worse in people.

Adam said that he liked that Michaela was very direct but that it wasn’t always a good thing to have on Survivor.

I wonder if it was Michaela’s words that pushed Michelle to whisper to Hannah.  Michaela’s disagreement could have made Michelle doubt her.  It’s also possible that Adam’s words sent Michaela back to the group that was targeting Mari but Michelle wasn’t going to risk it.

Michelle turned to Hannah and whispered “I’m voting Mari”, shocking her tribemate.

Hannah told Jeff that Taylor and Figgy were cuddling closer than others.

Zeke added: “If the shelter is-a-rockin’, don’t come-a-knockin’, Jeff.”

While Taylor explained that they had been called out, Hannah quietly asked Michelle for a reason to vote against Mari.  Michelle said she would tell her later.

Will agreed that the couple shared two votes.

Zeke said it wasn’t good because Figgy would always be more loyal to Taylor than to him.

Figgy and Taylor tried to brush off any concerns.

Michaela told Jeff that she wasn’t stupid, that she knew when people were lying to her.   She told Jeff that her animosity was directed at Miss Cuddleshack.

Needing more information, Hannah whispered to Jay if he knew what Michelle was saying.  Jay said he did.

Finally, Jeff turned to Jay, Michelle, and Hannah, asking about their conversation.

Jay said it was just a combination of youth, energy, and paranoia.

With a nervous giggle, Hannah told Jeff she was feeling dizzy.

Michelle said that they were playing a game where you try to move forward.

Figgy said she felt nervous but that her mind was at peace.

Quietly, Michelle once more asked Hannah to trust her.

The tribe started getting nervous about that secret discussion going on at one end but Mari said it was simply an example of Hannah simply being Hannah and she was probably talking about puppies or bugs.

Sometimes, a little paranoia is very useful!

It was time to vote.

Zeke, holding up his parchment with the name Figgy written on it said:  “Darling, you are much too dangerous to stay in this game.”

Figgy held up her vote against Mari and said: “I really, really hope I can trust Michaela.”

We saw that Hannah couldn’t decide what to do.  We heard her whispering about her dilemma.  It took so long that Jeff had to take a few steps to see what she was doing.

Michelle and Figgy held hands when Jeff went to tally the votes.

Zeke, Adam, and Mari voted for Figgy; everyone else blindsided Mari.

Figgy let out a deep breath. Jay and Michelle smiled while the only thing Adam could say was: “Well done.”

After snuffing Mari’s torch, Jeff said: “It is clear that the enthusiasm on this tribe is overshadowed only by the level of gameplay.  The gloves are off and it is on.”


The Story

The Millennials are pumping a lot of fresh air in a series that had become quite stale over the years.  It’s still early to make a fair comparison, but right now, I’d say they are as fun to watch as Mara’amu, Casaya, and Fei Long because every single one of them is well-developed.  It was painful to see Mari leave because she had quite a nice premiere but it would have been painful to see anyone of them leave.  Hannah is the most enjoyable one of the bunch while Michelle and Jay have shown a level of gameplay that we have rarely seen.

I’m not as enthusiastic about the other side where only Ken is the type of character that I like.  David has a big story, of course, but that story is better suited for a soap opera than Survivor.  We should be asking which side will come out on top but there haven’t been enough connections established between these players and the audience for it to really matter.

That being said, the theme of the episode seemed to revolve around “Working Magic” so here’s how I’d characterize our actors.


The Characters

Disappearing Act – The editors snapped their fingers and made these players disappear:

Lucy and Cece:  For these two we could even say that they haven’t even made it on stage yet.  For Cece, it’s even more troubling because we never heard her reaction after losing an ally and receiving three votes.  A magician could still turn one of them into a winner, but I’m not sure we’d appreciate that trick.

Bret and Jessica: Each had a strong premiere but the magic wand took them away from our television screens.  We have to consider that Takali’s camp scenes were filled up with someone finding an idol and getting a house call from Doctor Joe and Jeff.   Their immunity win took more airtime away from this group.  We question Bret and Jessica’s chances of being long-term players but we’ll have to see if they can regain some presence in the next few episodes.

Sunday and Chris:  They each made a brief appearance, one telling us that she likes Paul while the other said that David would be going next but their roles were insignificant.  It’s a safe prediction to say that Chris won’t make it as far as Sunday.  Maybe we should call him Thursday.

Sitting in the Front Row – These players could still leave their mark on stage but will they take over or become the magicians’ next victims?:

Will:  If Michelle’s alliance really was five strong then Will was probably their fifth but he soured on Figgy faster than the other members of that alliance.  Michelle had to reel him back in and she found the words to get him back in the fold.  Will isn’t going to be a big character but he has a role to play and we’ve been following his train of thought on a regular basis so he should have a nice future.

Michaela:  Her sour disposition is in sharp contrast to the easy-going nature of Vanua but she adds to the tribe’s charm.  After all, Figgy’s narrow escape wouldn’t have been as fun to watch if Michaela hadn’t called her out.  Michaela has a very interesting way of commenting about the events around her.  She’s very down to earth, she tells it like it is and she doesn’t seem to worry how she will be perceived.  Like Adam said, it isn’t the optimal way to integrate a group, but it is fun.

Adam and Zeke:  Two of last week’s stars, they find themselves in a very difficult situation.  There has been a clear investment in each of these players so I seriously doubt that either one is leaving soon.  That must mean that the Millennials are about to start a winning streak.  It must be noted that Zeke has a very entertaining way of narrating the events around him.  His observations are on point and he can see how that affects his position in the game, but he was clearly blindsided by the latest vote so now he needs to find some magic.

The Miraculous:

Paul: Doctor Joe brought him back from the dead and he performed quite well in the challenge.  It will be interesting to see if he keeps control of the tribe.  Our impression after the first episode was that Takali was under Chris and Bret’s control but that role was given to Paul by Ken and David.  Can he stay in control and if he doesn’t, how will he react?

The Rabbits – Well yes, you could see them that way, but I meant they were pulled out of danger just like rabbits out of a hat:

Taylor and Figgy:  I don’t hold much hope for Jay’s boy but I wonder just how much we have to take seriously everyone’s mention that Figgy will be dangerous now that she has been saved.  Mari, Michaela, Will, and Zeke all warned us that she could gain a lot of momentum.  Will even compared her to Parvati.  (At least it’s not Jeff this time!)  Taylor will probably realize that while a woman is more at risk in the early part of the game, it’s the guy who winds up on the chopping block when we get close to a swap or a merger.  As for Figgy, I have the impression that she will be around for quite a while.

The Magician’s Assistant:

Hannah:  Her enthusiasm reminds me of Dolly in Vanuatu and it looks like we will have a lot more time to enjoy her than we had with the sheep farmer.  If we look at the gameplay, she was Michelle’s tool, the magician’s assistant, but her camera presence was outstanding.   She stole the show, grabbing our attention every time she was on screen.  I was very impressed.

The Magicians – These Players have Tricks up their Sleeves:

Ken:  He wasn’t the headliner but we saw that he had a nice trick up his sleeve when he got David to show his cards, revealing the immunity idol.  Ken surprised us also by sharing his personal problems.  We all had the same impression of him as David but Ken had to work hard to transform himself.  That kind of chameleon can cause a lot of surprises down the road and his MVP performance in the immunity challenge should give him time to find a better position in the tribe.  Even if Paul’s posse gets his way, they should target Cece and Dave first and then maybe even turn on one of their own before eliminating Ken especially if they go on a losing streak.

David:  He is clearly following the theme of “Not Giving Up”.  We saw it when he made fire and then when he pulled an idol out of a coconut.  The care the editors have given to his story tells us that we will follow his journey for quite a while and he may pull off some nice moves down the road but we can’t forget his contemptible comment after Paul went down.  That interview was totally unnecessary but it showed his loser’s mentality.

Jay:  It’s funny when you consider that Jay told us in his pre-season interview that he’d like to start fights between tribemates in order to get them voted out but then we saw him working his magic to reconcile two bitter enemies.  I also liked how he was able to fool Zeke and Adam into thinking he had given up on Taylor and Figgy.  Jay has a lot of potential, but he was clearly overshadowed by his alliance mate.

Michelle:  This Michelle really has game!  This was her episode; she was the tactical star of the evening, a player of high caliber like we’ve rarely seen.  She is liked by everyone in her tribe and she has shown an ability to present convincing arguments to the people she wants on her side.    The only drawback is that Jeff didn’t tell us that she managed to keep up with Chris during the challenge but at least we had Hannah telling us that she was ripping through the water also!  I think Michelle is definitely a long-term player and that will be fun to watch.

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