Millennials vs Gen X

The Characters and Their Stories-Survivor 33: Episode 7

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

The Characters and Their Stories-Survivor 33: Episode 7

left-lizard-shadowPreviously on Survivor

At the Ikabula tribe, Sunday and Bret were outnumbered by the Millennials.

Jay: “See ya later, Gen Xers!”

At the Vanua tribe, Zeke was starting to grow closer to the Gen-Xers.

Zeke: “It may be necessary for me to give up on the Millennial tribe.”

At the Takali tribe, Adam was in control and had to decide if he should vote with the Millennial couple or to trust the Gen-Xers.

Adam: “The question is which side is going to be better for my future in this game.”

At Tribal Council, Adam and the Gen-Xers voted out Taylor’s girlfriend.

This recap focused entirely on the Gen X members and their two new recruits, the two players that were left hanging after the Millennials voted out Mari.  It clearly suggests that those will be the main players, the ones we should remember.   This episode would create even more fractures in the Millennials’ camp.


You Messed Up a Good Thing.

Takali Night 18

Adam wanted to talk to Adam as soon as they made it back to camp.

Taylor’s interview: “Oh, my God!  Tribal sucked to the max.  I can’t trust these people like I could Fig.  Just the comfort of having her around, the smiles and just the high spirit in camp.  For me, Fig was the life and our camp is kind of grey right now.”

Explaining his decision, Adam said: “I screwed you, I lied to you, and I screwed you 100%.  You are now in a worse position than you were before and that’s my fault and I admit that.”

Was this supposed to make Taylor feel better?  I think Adam needs a lesson in empathy because it sure sounded more like rubbing it in instead of an apology.

Adam’s interview had been placed in the middle of his talk with Taylor: “I feel badly that I ended their island romance but I did what I needed to do.  I put myself in a position where I can move forward with a group of Gen-Xers and Figgy was ultimately the sacrifice that had to happen.”

We then had the follow up to Taylor’s interview: “I am beyond pissed at Adam.  Now this is a total game of revenge.  I’ll keep my cool for now, but when it comes time, I will destroy you.”

We heard laughter in the background before Taylor started to laugh also.  Maybe Taylor will get the last laugh after all.  Without Figgy, he is much less threatening.  Will someone else fall for his blue eyes?


Vanua Day 19

The tribe was sitting down for a rice breakfast.  David thanked Michelle for cooking the rice.  She simply said that it was easy to cook rice.

David’s interview:  “Sitting on the beach of the Vanua tribe, I’m thinking if we lose the next immunity Michelle is absolutely who we would vote out of this game but I will not put it past Chris to try and pull a fast one and vote me out instead of Michelle.  But I feel like I do have a tighter bond with Zeke than I do with Chris,and frankly, I think we are cut from the same cloth.  So, I’m thinking I could show him my idol.  That would establish a tremendous amount of trust but, hum, I hate sharing knowledge that I have an idol.  It’s a very risky move or it’s a great move.  You just really never know.”

Walking along the ocean, David asked Zeke to take a look around to see if anyone was coming up to them from behind.  Reassured, he stopped and told Zeke about his idol.  He told Zeke that no one else knew about this idol and asked him to keep it to himself.  He said: “I found it the very next day.”  David said he wanted to go to the end with Zeke.

By saying he had found the idol “the very next day”, David gave us a clear indication that Zeke knew he had already played an idol at a previous council.  Zeke, therefore, must know how close David is to Jessica.

Speaking of cloth, this scene was shown in the previews and it led some to speculate that the editors had done color manipulation on the buffs (the old Buff-o-matic trick) because the floral pattern on David’s buff wasn’t seen on the original Vanua garment.  While this scene could still have come from the post-merger episode when these two will actually have to go to Tribal Council, the interview itself originated while David was still in Vanua because he started by saying he was sitting on the Vanua beach.  I wonder if David knows that Ken put him in an alliance with Adam and that Zeke was close to Adam himself!  Including someone in an alliance without telling him could put Ken in a hot pickle but he could be having a change of heart regarding Adam!

Zeke’s interview: “David told me that he had a hidden immunity idol.  I was just delighted to hear it, right, because if you can’t have a hidden immunity idol, it’s good that a person you are very close to has a hidden immunity idol.  I think David and I could have a future in this game together.  He has put his life in my hands and I am going to take very, very good care of his life…for the time being.”

This scene was thoroughly analyzed in the previews; some saying it spelled the end for Michelle, others offering the counterpoint that it put her in an underdog position which could prolong her story.  The truth is that it simply doesn’t involve Michelle at all.  Except for cooking the rice, she seemed completely irrelevant in this whole scene.  It was, as is the custom from the start of the season, only about David and Zeke.  Those two will go far, a good fortune that the other two in this scene may not share.


The Reward Challenge and Some Reactions

When Jeff said that Figgy had been voted out, we saw surprised reactions from Hannah (Oh, my God!), Jay and Will (Wow!) and then a big smile from Michaela.

I wonder if Figgy and Michaela enjoyed all that time they had to share togetherWe must note that Michelle’s reaction didn’t seem to matter.

Jeff turned to Michaela, recalling her words at the end of the last challenge.

She said: “Sometimes you say what you’re supposed to say, not what you want to say.  That was one of them times.”

That puzzled Jeff so she made it clear: “That means it’s been time for Figgy to go home for a while so…Bye Felicia!”

Jeff could only say: “Wow!”  He asked if Taylor was surprised to hear that.  Wisely, the boyfriend said “No comment.”

Did those words play a part in Jay’s decision not to trust Michaela?  As for the challenge, it was too bad the previews had shown us 6 kabobs, spoiling the fact that Ikabula was taking second place.

Bret and Sunday sat out for Ikabula.

Jeff: “Jay standing on the shoulders of his tribemates and it is working.  Zeke takes a big fall…David struggling just as much as Zeke.”

Once more, the tribe that fell way behind early won.  Not only that but Ikabula who had fallen to last place in the second portion, also made a big come back to get second place thanks once more to Michaela’s shooting abilities.

Michaela’s interview:  “To come from ahead to behind to ahead again and get that second place: On the one hand, I was happy because we got skewers, but on the other hand, it makes me nervous when I help the team win because I don’t want people thinking that I’m the one to beat.”

That realization came a little late.


Vanua Day 19

David had the first interview (Did you even have doubts?): “Walking into camp after winning reward and seeing the chef with his barbecue, his grill and all his fixings, it was such a relief! Jeff completely undersold this…”

Zeke’s interview: “This game requires you to change and adapt.  I’ve spent most of my youth on a diet so I’m always watching what I eat, but out here, I pile food onto my plate, I funnel it directly into my mouth and I just kept going because the more calories I can eat now, the longer it’s going to benefit me, and because of my inner fat kid, I could binge, baby!”

Chris also gave an interview: “The three guys turned into a bunch of animals and we’re just scraping food off the plate.  Michelle is eating food with her knife and fork like a human.”

That’s when these “animals” started their dissonant choir.

Michelle’s interview: “By the end of the meal, all I’m hearing is bodily functions and noises coming from the guys sitting next to me.  It got gross and annoying. (Right when Michelle said that, we heard another fart and saw Zeke smiling.) I don’t eat like that.  My mom taught me manners.  Ha! Ha! But now, I am a little nervous because me being the only girl, I could be an easy vote, but I’m not going to change who I am for the game.”

The scene ended on a picture of Michelle looking down and it was punctuated by a loud burp.

Could this scene be telling us that Fiji isn’t a place for women?  I certainly hope not but it sure looks that way.   This scene elevated our sympathy for Michelle even if it was mostly meant to amuse us. The problem is that Michelle said she won’t change for this game even if it is all about adapting and changing like Zeke just said.  The fact that Michelle looks better in this scene than great characters like Chris, David and Zeke will encourage her fans to put her back in contention, but I’m not convinced.  I think this was simply acknowledging a good player who finds herself in an impossible situation.


Takali Day 19

Ken was talking politics or rather policies dictated by elected officials.  Taylor said his generation didn’t really care.  He asked if they thought his generation would change things like eliminate the electoral vote.

Taylor’s interview: “I hate talking about politics.  No matter what, one group of people is never going to be happy.  I’m not so concerned with who is going to be President; I just don’t want to put my hopes in politics.”

Interesting segment considering this is the last episode before the election.

Jessica’s interview:  “Taylor is a classic Millennial.  He’s so honest with his answers.  He might not always sound the brightest, but you like him just the same because he will give you the answer that is truly the answer.”

Jessica then asked him THE question!  Had Adam promised to vote with the couple before the last vote?   Taylor did give them the true answer.

We saw that Ken was deep in thoughts after hearing this.

Taylor added that he knew they had to do what they had to do, but he wouldn’t have any allegiance after the merge and he was ready to shake their hands, promising he would not write their names.  Jessica told him she appreciated that a lot and Ken nodded his approval.

We then had the conclusion of Jessica’s interview:  “We have Taylor who wouldn’t understand strategy even if you tried to explain it to him.  So maybe what he tells us is a little more reliable than what we’re getting from Adam who is more strategic.  So Ken and I are just taking in all the information that we are being provided.  If we don’t win, it’s going to be a huge decision and we need to make the right one.”

The scene ended with a picture of Jessica mulling things over and a screeching sound effect suggesting this dénouement is on hold.


Ikabula Day 20

A full moon was presiding over the early morning hours.  It even hung over Jay’s shoulder and then we saw it hovering high above the Ikabula beach where everyone was assembled EXCEPT Michaela while we heard a sorrowful melody.  Survivor was already saying goodbye to a great character.

The Moon is generally associated with women but more intriguing than gender, is the means by which the moon wields her force and influence. She is considered a luminary, but she produces no light of her own accord. She is reliant upon the sun’s light to reflect her image to our eyes.  This method of projecting light makes the moon a symbol of subtlety.  Clarity, reflection, and indirect deduction are gained by passive means. Where the sun will boldly bear down its blaze upon a given philosophical subject – the moon softly enfolds our attention – illumining our psyche in a gossamer glow that is more open to esoteric impressions. In particular, the full moon is symbolic of the height of power, the peak of clarity, fullness and obtainment of desire.

Personally, I think it is the latter symbol that was intended.  Jay was at the height of his power so he peaked too soon.  Wouldn’t it be awesome if he was voted out the day of the next new moon?  Or maybe Day 34 will simply be the last day for the Millennials.  I wonder if anyone has been associated with the Sun.  I don’t recall seeing the sun hanging over someone’s shoulder but I will have to take a look back.

Bret was happy to have made it passed hump day while Michaela said she had to tell herself that she didn’t feel anything crawling over her during the night; it was just her imagination.

Maybe it was Jay’s machinations that were already crawling all over her.  Maybe that fly was only buzzing but Jay was about to bite.

Michaela’s interview:  “I’ve been on this island 20 days and I’m halfway through but I’m a strong girl, clearly the strongest girl on this tribe.  I know I’m a pretty intense person…  Steve Jobs was pretty intense, Michael Jordan is pretty intense, so Michaela Bradshaw is pretty intense.  That’s what makes us winners you know.  So if you can’t handle it, you can’t handle my heat. Get out of the kitchen.”

Hannah’s interview:  “We are trying to keep ourselves feeling united so that we can keep winning.  Of course, this is all sort of a mirage because, ha, there are four Millennials and two Gen Xers.  Sunday is so sweet but Bret feels suspicious to me.  I want to cast doubt about Bret because I think he is like lying about his funeral directing.”

Bret’s interview:  “So I’m sitting here minding my own business and Hannah starts asking me questions about the funeral home business, so I give her the answers that I think she wants to hear.  You know, I hated to lie to her but I know the history of Survivor:  Police officers don’t generally do well, so I’m going to stick to my guns.”

That is quite an ironic way of putting it!  With “the truth works well” being a theme of the story up to now, it seems that Bret’s lie won’t work…at least in the long run.

Hannah told the other Millennials that she was 70% sure Bret was a cop.

Hannah’s next interview:  “I think I might have just interrogated a cop!  Bret talks like a cop, walks like a cop but more than that for me, it’s about making the other three Millennials be sketched out by these two really sweet Gen-Xers because I want the four of us to stay tight.”

So our little Hannah can be devious!  That’s an interesting development.

Jay’s interview: “Bret says he’s a funeral director but the thing is: I know Florida cops and, honestly, if you took away his accent, put him a uniform, put him in Florida, he would be someone I’m running away from every time I start a bonfire on the beach.  He’s too funny and too lively, I feel, to be a funeral director.  And it matters if he’s a cop because he’s already lying to my face.”


The Immunity Challenge

The tribes had to throw coconuts at Annette so that she’d give them the combination to her safe.  Then they would use the money in that safe to buy a slingshot that they would use for target practice.  I guess it could be seen as self defense, an important survival skill….

Hannah and Will sat out for Ikabula.

We have to wonder if Ikabula wanted to throw this challenge.  If they did, they went with the honorable approach, giving Bret and Sunday a chance to save their lives.  Still, looking at how poorly Jay and Michaela used the slingshot, it may have been their plan.

Takali was the first to knock Annette to the ground so Adam raced to empty her safe.  He got the loot before either of the other tribes finished their first leg.

Ikabula was the second to the safe which Michaela opened very quickly.

Vanua was dead last and when Michelle tried to open their safe, she had all sorts of problems.  We even heard David saying:  “I think she is having a meltdown.”

By that time, Takali had hit three targets but Ikabula still didn’t have one.  Michaela had come closer to a Vanua target than her own on one shot.  Chris got one on his first try, taking over second place.  Finally, Jay hit one but Ken finished off the two remaining targets, giving Takali the first immunity.

I don’t know how much it’s worth noting but Jeff said: “Ken won immunity for Takali!” instead of the more common: “Takali wins immunity.”

Zeke and Bret got one for their respective tribe but then Chris took over Vanua’s slingshot and he connected on his next three shots.

Just before that, we heard Jeff saying: “Michaela does not know what it’s like to lose with this tribe.  It would be a bad time to find out.”

She found out all right what it meant to lose with this tribe and it was a bad time for her.

Sunday told Jeff she expected that they would play it cool for a few seconds then they would switch on the panic button.

Jay’s interview: “The Millennials obviously have to come together and decide if it’s going to be Bret or is it going to be Sunday.  But, considering Bret keeps lying, I’m sorry Bret, but you’re going to have to go home.”


Ikabula Day 20

Six castaways sitting on a log…

Hannah looked as surprised as we were at the silence.  Even the music faded away and the jungle was absolutely quiet.

We had to wait until Sunday for an interview:  “For us to lose felt like getting punched in the stomach.  We actually sat in silence for at least half an hour (Aren’t we lucky to see the edited portion?) because we genuinely like each other.  Bret and I were looking at each other and it was like, “Crap, it’s one of us”.  I just had to hold back tears because I’m not used to being in a position where others are deciding my fate but it’s Survivor and we both know it.”  She had to hold back tears:  “Sorry.”

The two walked out to the ocean where Bret said: “You have to vote my name and I have to put your name unless we can come up with another plan… It sucks but if you vote for anyone else and you get through they are going to gun for you.”

That’s pretty hollow rationalization.  Even if Jay hadn’t come up with a different plan, these two should have agreed on a target and tried to get others to join.  Voting for each other amounted to giving up.

Bret’s interview:  “Me and Sunday have always said: “I will not write your name down but tonight we have to break that little promise and she agreed.  You know it stinks not having your fate in your own hands but that’s this game.  There are going to be times when you’re at the whim of everyone that you’re on the island with.  But it is Survivor and you never know what’s going to happen.”

What was happening was Michaela drawing up the next play using shells on the sand.  She had played out the scenario in her mind: “This is our Final Four,” she told them.

Michaela’s interview:  “I pulled the Millennials together and used some rocks and shells to lay out a plan.  Just to show them it doesn’t matter really who stays and who goes if we play these numbers right.”

Hannah explained their decision in interview:  “This split vote plan is just in case an idol is played.  So the girls are going to vote for Bret; the boys are going to vote for Sunday.  That would make it a tie and then we’ll revote and hopefully vote for Brett.”

Jay’s interview: “Michaela’s got seashells; it’s like a football play if you know what I’m saying.  She’s going:  Post-merge, we are eliminating this person and then she’s like there is going to be four seashells left which is us.  Michaela is a smart girl so that’s the problem.  She’s a huge threat because she is good at competitions and she’s a smart chick.  So I had this epiphany of saying: Boom! Michaela should go home before the merge.”

I think a big part of the problem is that Jay, much like Ken, doesn’t like to be told what to do.  It didn’t help that, in a way similar to Lucy, Michaela imposed her plan by standing over the three Millennials, a pose similar to a teacher talking to grade school kids when she told them they should enjoy going to Tribal Council.

Jay explained his idea to Will.  Will mentioned that Michaela knew about the idol and they agreed not to tell Hannah who would freak out.  Jay admitted that he trusted Michaela and that her only alliance was with them.

Will’s reaction:  “Michaela is so intelligent; every time I have a conversation with her about this game, she thinks about it methodically.  I can’t see a time when it will be the right time to vote her out because I like Michaela.  She is a great positive vibe to have around camp and I don’t think any of us want to see her go.”

Jay had the final comments: “I’m nervous: Michaela is a great alliance and I’ve been with her since day one and I still don’t trust Bret.  It’s crazy when you make a big move because you’re thinking:  Is this the right, logical thing to do?  Survivor is not a joke.  This decision tonight could honestly mold the rest of my game either for a win or for a loss.  I’m freaking out.”

Having been informed of the plan to vote Michaela, Bret and Sunday could have voted against Jay!  The resulting 2-2-2 tie would have clearly revealed Jay’s treachery and on the revote Hannah would have probably joined Sunday to vote him out. 

As for this move being the right, logical thing to do, I can say with certainty that Jay would not have been the target of the next vote if he had eliminated Bret but he will be in the cross-hairs next time.  And he would have been in the cross-hairs even without a merger.  Bret and Sunday would have likely gone with Hannah just to get rid of him.


Tribal Council

Jeff started off by reminding them that the last two Tribal Councils had seen the majority voting out one of their own.

Michaela said that the other two tribes were full of sketchy people but that the nice thing about Ikabula is that all six were trustworthy people.

Jay said he couldn’t understand why a Millennial took out a Millennial on Takali and that the Gen-Xers did the same in Vanua.

Sunday said she was wrong about her time estimate, explaining that they sat in silence.

Jeff couldn’t believe that even Michaela kept silent.

She must have talked back to Jeff much more often than we’ve seen which, if true, is too bad.

Michaela said she was thinking that it sucks to have to go down to five because they liked each other.  “This is Uncle Bret and Mama Sunday,” she said, adding: “We were tight and we would have taken over this game if you had let us all make it to the merge.”

Jeff jokingly noted that it was always his fault.

Michaela answered:  “You did it. We didn’t ask for slingshots.”

Sunday said that they were on the outs even if they did a tremendous job of not making them feel on the outs.

Jeff turned to Bret and said that the majority on the other two tribes voted out one of their own.

Twice Jeff?  Did you really have to push it that much?

Bret said he was game for anything.  He added that he was being genuine with them.

That got a negative reaction from Jay.

Turning to Will, Jeff said: “As important as trust is, is it possible that the gameplay has just surpassed it and it really is temporary alliances and voting blocs and I don’t mind blindsiding anybody at any time because I’m just playing a maverick sort of game.”

Will countered: “The game you described is like a Tony Vlachos kind of game and that is dangerous.  People recognize that you are playing crazy, guns a blazing like that, and in a game where trust is a rare commodity, any time you can find that with anybody, you latch on to it because that may be what gets you to the end of this game.”

What Will is saying is that Tony was very lucky to survive despite his crazy gameplay.  Unfortunately for Will, “He’s old enough to know what’s right, and young enough not to choose it.”*

Jay said it came down to his gut and he just had to go with it.

Michaela said that the merge had to be soon so they just had to figure out who was going to make it all the way to five with us.

Will said that he thought the tribe would have five strong, trustworthy people after this vote.

The dissonant whistling sound effect was almost in counterpoint.

Jay agreed that their bonds would grow after this.

Michaela didn’t want either Sunday or Bret to feel like they were on the bottom after the other leaves.

It was time to vote.

By this time, it was getting so late that we knew the vote couldn’t possibly end in a tie.  Dragging out the Council this long was just another way of killing the suspense.  It would have been fun if Jeff had sent them to vote early enough so that we would be sure a tie was about to happen.  Of course, the episode would have needed 5 minutes or so to fill after the votes were read but why not change the formula and show them arriving back at camp in THIS episode?  It would have been fun to hear Hannah’s reactions immediately instead of waiting for next week.  It would also have given us more time to spend on the merger.

Hannah voted for Bret but said she was shaking because she didn’t know if people’s words were true.

Jeff went to tally the votes and then no one played an idol.

The first two votes were for Bret.

The third ballot had Michaela’s name on it and already she was surprised.

She was obviously expecting Bret and Sunday to vote against each other.

When Jeff showed a third vote against Michaela, she nearly fell out of her seat, asking “What?” as she looked straight at Jay.

“Did you do that?” she asked him.

“Yeah” was his simple answer.  After Jeff paused for effect, Jay added: “I did it.”

The camera showed his death stare, Michaela’s confusion and Bret’s appreciation.

The two kept staring at each other even after Jay said “Sorry” which was sounded more like “checkmate” than a real apology.

Hannah felt the need to say that she did not do that.

The stare down continued until Jeff brought them back to the moment by saying:  “The 7th person voted out: Michaela.”

Standing up, Michaela looked at Jay and said: “Damn, Jay, you just f*cked up.”

Hannah could simply ask “What?  Woowhat?” and looked like she was going to have another panic attack.

When Jeff snuffed her torch, Michaela could only stare at Jay.  She said: “You are going to feel like an ass.”  Retrieving her shoes, she added: “You f*cked up something good, bro.”

Jeff ended the festivities by saying:  “Well, it was going to be trust or blindside.  As it turned out, the one that was preaching trust the most is the one who was blindsided.”

Survivor 33

The Story

The vote wasn’t as straightforward as expected but it was even more disastrous for the Millennials than we could imagine.  Now they are irremediably fractured, and like Michaela said, this was a dumb move.  What’s worse is that the previews still present the Gen-Xers as the underdogs!  In the previous episode, Adam acted much too early even if he couldn’t really trust Figgy and Taylor in the long-run.  This week, Jay even said that Michaela was a great alliance and that he couldn’t trust Bret, so this may just end his game.  Of course, Jeff likes to see people acting like Tony Vlachos, all guns blazing and our host does everything he can to push the players into making big moves but that doesn’t work against rational players.  It seems like we are going to see it with this merger. What Jeff is selling as a 7-6 advantage for the Millennials could actually be a 9-4 disadvantage for the original Millennials’ majority alliance.

Survivor 33

The Characters

The Followers – These players represent solid numbers for the Gen-Xers.   

Sunday:  Because of the bloated number of players making the merger, Sunday wasn’t in danger of missing the feast and she will gladly reunite with her original Takali allies to eliminate the scheming Millennials.

Bret:  We didn’t even see him trying to come up with another plan even if his life was on the line.  Jay’s power play was a gift that just fell in Bret’s lap.  Similarly, I expect he will go along with someone else’s plans until he becomes expendable.  In a game where truth works well, his lie should come back to bite him.  I didn’t put him with the liars because keeping his profession secret is not a grievous fault compared to some of the lies we have witnessed in the name of gameplay.

Hannah: Tribal Council is not kind to our favorite follower.  Both times she entered Jeff’s lair feeling relatively confident but left in a complete mess.  With Adam and Zeke making it to the merger, Hannah will probably get her wish: Those two will use her to get rid of Jay and his friends. Hannah’s only chance is that, like Will said of Michaela, I can’t see a time when it would be the right time to vote out Hannah so she could make it to the Finale but could she get the votes?  The right time to vote her out could come when someone realizes she’s taking his spot.

The Liars – Up to now, they have done well for themselves but it should come back to bite them.

Adam:  Already, we saw that Jessica and Ken aren’t as enamored with their savior as we expected.  Jessica went as far as to say that she preferred playing with the honest Taylor.  It would have been interesting to see how this tribe would have voted but the merger will come at the right time for Adam.  His connection to Zeke and Hannah should keep him inside the merger’s majority but he will probably be kept under careful watch.  This strategic player showed his hand too early and the patient Gen-Xers will probably wait just long enough for him to feel confident and then vote him out despite the idol.

Zeke:  A very interesting character, I place Zeke with the liars mostly because of his intentions instead of his actions.  From the start he said he didn’t fit with the Milllennials and he told us he was ready to vote out Michelle.  Also, while he wants to take care of David, he made it clear that his good intentions had an expiry date.  We had memorable scenes where both Tom and Brian got drunk after a few too many wine bottles and those scenes humanized them, fleshed out their character, but Zeke’s post-feast scene was a bit too human.  Showing him laughing at all the farts and burps seemed exaggerated.  Zeke, despite some great plans, still feels more like an amusing character than a real player.

Will:  The high school student should only be counted as one of the participants but his role in Jay’s lie was such a grievous act that he has to be included here.  His lack of athleticism and the fact that he could have an idol will probably keep him momentarily safe but he should be an early jury boot.   “He’s wise enough to win the world, but fool enough to lose it.”*

Jay:  With Michaela being much more loved than Figgy, I expect that fewer people will praise Jay this week than we saw with Adam last week. In my book, however, both made dumb moves.   The image of the full moon resting on Jay’s shoulder seemed a clear indication that he’s reached his zenith a fortnight too early.  It would be fun to see him voted out during the next new moon but I doubt he will make it that far.  The full moon hovered also over Ikabula as a whole so maybe it was symbolic of the whole tribe and that their last member will not make it passed day 34.

David:  This schemer has surprised many players with his lies including his two closest early allies.  He will now be reunited with Ken and Jessica who will probably be curious about the vote against Cece.   It could be easily explained but it should keep them alerted to his deceptions.  We heard that David is worried about Chris; that is the biggest danger for the Gen-Xers.  Will David believe that he is safely included in two different end game scenarios or will he overplay his hand, creating more chaos down the road?  He is the player with the most options right now but I don’t think he has the patience to let them play out.

The Honest Players – Some will certainly see that honesty doesn’t pay.

Taylor:  Maybe the merger comes at the wrong time for Taylor.  If Takali had gone to Tribal Council once more, I think his honesty would have won over Ken and Jessica even if they had promised Adam to work with him.  Now his honesty will play against him.  I’m sure he will be unable to hide his joy at being reunited with Jay, Will and Michelle and that will isolate him from any possible protection from the new majority.

Chris:  His honesty has already led him to two unpleasant surprises. He survived one Tribal Council where he had to trust David but how long will that last?  I’m guessing he’ll trust David one cycle too many.  Just when he thinks he can go along with him for one more cycle, David will orchestrate his demise.  In the majority that is lining up, Chris is close to Bret on one side and Zeke on the other, and while Bret will be a loyal ally, it seems that Zeke could trade his Okie love for some California grass.

Michelle:  It was a totally meaningless scene but showing David, Zeke and Chris acting all too human in front of the well-mannered Michelle put her in a very favorable light.  Still, her lack of presence in some very important moments doesn’t bode well for her.  It feels that her story is about a smart player that was a bit too honest for her own good and who got caught in an alliance with the wrong people. Her position was so precarious when Vanua went to tribal Council that she would have played an idol if she had one so Chris and David must have figured out she doesn’t.  If we couple that with the great performance she showed in every challenge that involved a puzzle, we come to the conclusion that Michelle could be in immediate danger after the merger.  (That would be quite ironic considering she was the merger boot in the online game I just played with her!)

Ken:  This was a very quiet episode for Ken even if he reminded everyone of the importance to vote next week! Maybe it was a good sign that he didn’t tell us how he felt about Taylor since Takali won’t be going back to Tribal Council.  If he had told us that he preferred Taylor over Adam like Jessica did, then we would have been forced to put him with the other liars.  Even if we saw him shaking Taylor’s hand, we cannot say that he was ready to vote against Adam.  Ken’s story has some weak spots and this episode didn’t help the case we’re building for him but he’s still very much in the running.

A woman’s struggle with truths and lies

Jessica:  I’m suddenly very interested in Jessica’s story.  Her premiere episode was quite remarkable and then she made the first big move of the season.  I was very harsh on her, calling her a dumb player for the way she reacted to Ken’s warnings but we have to remember that she was right to question his honesty.  We knew Ken was telling her the truth but she couldn’t know that.  Of course, she should have reacted differently but maybe we misjudged the editors’ intentions.  Instead of her error, maybe they were focusing on her struggles with the truth.  If the truth works well in a game where truth is a rare commodity, then those struggles make for a great story.  When she returned to camp with her tribe after their big vote, we didn’t hear from her or Ken but later, when Taylor pleaded his case, she was the one that commented on the situation.  The success of the Gen-Xers depend a lot on David but also on Jessica’s abilities to mend fences with Chris, Bret, and Sunday so it will be interesting to follow her merge episode.  If she has a solid one then maybe she will become our top contender.

* Taken from “New World Man” by Rush.

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