Social games took a big hit during the sixth week of Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers. In pursuit of making it to the merge, many of the castaways threw caution to the wind and openly turned against each other with no remorse. In fact, some of it was pretty mean. While only one person wasn’t going to make the merge, the rest of the players would eventually join the main group. Were their actions more about ignoring the pre-merge boot or sloppy gameplay?
As I previously discussed during the fifth review, I was on the fence about Ryan’s decision. It wasn’t so much about voting out Roark, but not telling Alli he was doing it. After taking some time afterwards, I think it was the best move for his game – he wasn’t the low man on the totem pole and he strengthened his relationship with Chrissy. However, his actions during “This is Why You Play Survivor” were troubling to see from a social game standpoint.
Of course Alli was going to be mad about being blindsided; her closest ally in the game lied to her and betrayed the plan. Ryan shouldn’t have become defensive and hostile toward her – it heightened the tension between them and it blew up in their faces. If this was at a point after the merge, he could’ve shot himself in the foot and lost his jury vote or tainted himself with the jury. Ryan KNOWS he’s being underhanded and sneaky, and while making big moves is great for a Survivor resume, the bitter taste in someone’s mouth as they’ve been lied to and betrayed can seriously affect their jury vote. Ryan (and Chrissy too) should use this blow up with Alli as a learning lesson – if they continue to treat people like this with such disregard and no remorse, they will lose any chance to win the game.
Though, I can’t blame Ryan completely, Alli is just at fault for getting voted out. Being lied to is part of the game of Survivor – sometimes you may not be included in the majority vote and you’re left scrambling. Alli should’ve returned to camp, brush off the shock of being betrayed and accepted with ease as another part of the game. If she had not blown up with Ryan, there could’ve been a small chance Ryan and Chrissy may have kept her around. Unfortunately for her, they both knew she had tension against them – you can’t bring someone like that to the merge. A clean slate is needed with a large group.
I love the challenges this week. Seriously, give me more of these obstacles and tweaks to previous competitions! The reward challenge was simple enough to compete, but the team immunity challenge was the highlight of the week. We’ve seen this challenge done before in past seasons as an individual immunity challenge and it’s a really hard game to play as one person. In this case, tweaking it to be a team balancing twist made the game fresh and new. I can’t wait for more of these updates.
How did Joe not find the hidden immunity idol sooner? He previously found an idol before at his last beach and he’s been here at the new one for a while now. Joe is a dangerous player and with another idol, he could potentially use it during the merge to shake things up. However, I fully expect him to only use it on himself. He seems more of a selfish player. That type of attitude could get you to the end if you’re lucky, but it’s not a great strategy to win the game. You need help from others to win in Survivor.
My prediction: Cole is going to be one of the early merge boots. If not him, it will be Jessica. There’s no way Cole is going to win the game of Survivor. His tribemates hate his attitude and it has burnt a lot of bridges. The second he went through that smug speech of claiming all their challenge wins were because of him and that’s why he needed food cemented my opinion that he will be voted out soon. People do not stand for that type of behavior. Regardless of him passing out, he has done too much in this game already to destroy his social game that he will easily be a post-merge boot based on his physicality and relationships.
“This is Why You Play Survivor” was a fun episode that set up the pieces for the eventual merge. Castaways cleaned house with the player they couldn’t keep around and the discussions already started for what blindsides will happen next. This is a week that gets you excited as a Survivor fan. I can see the drama in the distance – it’s so close and it’s beautiful.