Did Ryan make the right decision? That was the burning question I was left with after watching Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers. Tribal Councils are no funny matter. Like Alli said in the episode, you have no idea where loyalties lie until someone casts their vote. We saw Ryan play the swing vote role when the Soko tribe was sent to Tribal Council, and he made a bold statement about his loyalties. As a “social player” in the game of Survivor, I think he made a shaky move. It’s not a bad one, but it’s dangerous.
Let me count the ways Ryan might’ve ruined his game: (1) He didn’t tell Alli, who was his closest ally in the current tribe, that he switched his vote, (2) he didn’t try to flip the vote to JP so that he wouldn’t get blood on his hands, and (3) his “nice guy” image has been marked as a lie. Ryan had a good thing going for many of the early weeks. He still looks like a shoe-in for the jury, but now he’s going to need to do some damage control to win back Alli. If they don’t bury the hatchet soon and she makes it to jury, everyone will find out and he’ll be on the outs with the Hustlers and the Healers. If he had only told Alli that he was keeping Chrissy, things would’ve looked much better for his future. His position is up in the air at this point.
Cole is suffering from the “close quarters” curse. I don’t know if there’s an actual name for it, but I’m giving it one now. It’s the moment of the game in reality TV shows where the simple living habits of another contestant become so unbearable that you can’t live with them any longer. Survivor sees this a few times – Big Brother gets this a lot in the earlier weeks. Cole’s habits are working against him. He’s already on the outs with the other four players in his tribe, but if he doesn’t become self-aware anytime soon, he could see his chances snuffed out. Even his old team members, Mike and Jessica, are tired of him; that is not a good sign to see this early in the season.
Mike and Jessica found the hidden immunity idol together and I could not be happier. I like this new alliance between them – it gives them someone to start trusting and want to work with. Jessica somewhat has that with Cole, but Mike is more likely to keep a secret and collaborate with her. Would he ever use the idol on her? I think he would in the right scenario, especially if he knew he was safe regardless.
I’m happy the others gave Ben space after the bamboo exploded. He needed some breathing room. They took the time to understand his situation and do something that was best for him in the moment. Certain castaways in the past look for any reason to target someone or justify why they’re voting them out. Luckily that wasn’t the case here.
The challenges this week were interesting to watch. My favorite of the night has to be the reward challenge with the snake push. Forcing your body over beach sand while pushing a tiny ball takes a lot of energy – we saw a lot of castaways pushed to the brink. I don’t want to solely blame Ryan for losing the challenge for his tribe, but he did lose it. Why push the ball with your shoulder? The best strategy is directly using your head to roll it forward. He saw the others try out different strategies; we saw them too. I’m still surprised no one blamed him or thought of writing his name down. It seems imbalanced to the Roark/Chrissy argument during the immunity challenge.
Regardless of what they said at Tribal Council or at camp, let’s face it, Survivor fans: Chrissy and Roark were never going to work together. Chrissy hated Roark. Roark hated Chrissy. Both of them simply wanted to find a reason to target each other. And, if we’re led to believe their loss was the first time they talked game with each other, their decision was a done deal from the get-go. The new Soko had six days together before their first Tribal Council – these two should’ve talked to each other. It’s a bad Survivor move to not try and get to know a player in the game, especially one at your tribe.
It’s not surprising to see Roark get the boot. She was the only former Healer on the tribe, and Ryan, Alli, JP and Chrissy had closer connections with each other. Her alliance with Alli looked to be solid and she almost got to stay, so we should give her some credit as a game player. However, it may have been the right move to get her out as there were still six Healers left in the game. That is a HUGE number to keep around by the time of the merge.
Roark was a subtle player, but we can look back at her legacy for the drama. She had a big blow-up with Chrissy, and her vote-off has sparked the huge drama between Alli and Ryan. That will be a big blow-up we can’t afford to miss.