What is happening to the typical game of Survivor? For the longest time, I don’t think I’ve been kept on my toes every week more than I have with Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X. Be it the unconventional Millennials, the prize-hungry Gen X-ers or simply the twists themselves, my initial thinking has been proven wrong by the end of Tribal Council. And the surprises keep on coming. The castaways may be the ones getting blindsided during their season, but as a viewer, my jaw is dropped (in a good way).
Figgy is gone. History. Torch snuffed. After weeks of “controlling” the game with her tight-knit alliance, her new tribe turned on her and sent her packing. I won’t deny the fact that I’m excited to see her go! (No offence, Figgy–it’s not you, it’s me.) Her ego had clouded her judgment and if left unchecked, she could have easily used this authority to push herself into a sweet Final Four/Five spot. It also didn’t hurt that her showmance partner was also in her new tribe, and her former tribemates would’ve loved keeping her around for numbers. But her ego wasn’t the only reason her vote off came as a pleasant surprise: Adam voted her out!
Her former tribemate who was previously at the BOTTOM of the totem pole turned against Figgy and Jay to side with the Gen X-ers on the new tribe. It’s an interesting move, and one that comes with debate. While I might sound a bit contradictory to the opinion I had last episode with Chris turning on the Gen X tribe, Adam’s situation and move adds a new layer to that previous decision. It’s one in hindsight, with a full picture, that has some potential.
Let me explain: when Chris turned against the Gen X-ers to vote out CeCe, he had no motivation to do so except for siding with a new friend. He already had the majority and was safe. Adam, on the other hand, had this new information that his friend Zeke was spared at their tribe, and made a decision to target his former enemies. If Adam and Zeke end up making it to the merge in the future, they have some new alliances that would favor keeping them around over others like Michelle or Jay. Adam and Zeke could move to the top of the totem pole, not the bottom. Let’s face it, Figgy and Taylor would’ve never honored any deal they had with Adam–they were loyal to each other above all others. It’s the “showmance” game; it’s dangerous, and one that was a smart decision to get rid of early on, before jury and finals.
“The Truth Works Well” offered up another change for the challenge format. Instead of a combined reward/immunity challenge, the castaways got to compete in two different games: one with blindfolds (reward) and another with a game of Labyrinth (immunity). The blindfolded challenges are always fun to watch; the players never have a great sense of direction and it makes it harder for the more physically strong competitors to win when they have to rely on someone else. But sometimes they can push themselves and others to score the win.
I need to take a minute to recognize Michaela. Ever since the early weeks, she’s taken on a bigger leadership role to help her new team and make a big shift on the island. She may not be the most well-liked or a competition threat, but she does have determination and drive. This could be the stepping stone she needs to make it to the end and survive the individual rounds. (I just jinxed her, didn’t I?)
The post-merge challenges can sometimes be a bit unbalanced, so it’s nice to see people on an even playing field for the first half of the season competing with each other. The same goes for the reward challenge. Having the players rely on each other to complete the labyrinth brings the feeling of team unity before they have to betray each other again. The team challenges become few and far between once the merge happens.
Speaking of the merge, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were to happen soon. There are 14 castaways left in the game and, if there were to be a Final Three this year, an 11-person jury would start after this episode. Either the merge is next or two more castaways will get the boot for a Final Three, with a nine person jury. With the game still split evenly (from an original tribe standpoint), the game could go anywhere at this point. Everything is up in the air… and I love it!