We’ve reached the second phase of the game, Survivor fans. I’ve been waiting for this moment for weeks! Everything you’ve learned during the first few rounds of Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers…you can forget a majority of it. This is when the game really begins. The alliances, team challenges and betrayals were done to get the castaways to this point. It’s almost like a game of chess; if the players have successfully set up their position, it could be a million dollar strategy. And, if we’re being honest with ourselves, the merge needed to happen quickly.
I’ve been watching Survivor since the beginning and after all these years, it’s easy to forget the survival element of the game sometimes. Whereas food is provided on Big Brother, the castaways on Survivor have to rely on finding their own food and the portion of rice they get from the start. It’s a tough environment to live in when you’re hungry. Not everyone is cut out to find food; however, why didn’t the Levu tribe even attempt to go fishing? Were they having that much trouble? Devon looked like he was about to pass out, Desi was exhausted and the others could’ve collapsed. I’m surprised some of the players didn’t take the initiative to hunt or fish for food before everything went to hell.
Chrissy won the merge feast, hands-down. Don’t get me wrong, there is no challenge and the players are supposed to celebrate, but the game is still going on. From the amount of information she discovered, her alliance was able to plan ahead for the eventual Tribal Council. This was a smart move on her part. Joe and Cole, on the other hand, made several bad mistakes. While Cole was eating too much food after the fact, Joe should have kept his mouth shut. I mean, he just met Chrissy – he didn’t need to give her important details, like the fact he found and used a hidden immunity idol! A strategic player would hold onto that information until they could determine if they trust the new tribe members.
For new fans (and prospective players), an important determinant of future success is past alliances/relationships. Tribe swaps happen all the time in Survivor; these castaways get the chance to meet new people and reaffirm old relationships. It was great to see pairs like Chrissy/Ben and Devon/Ryan reunite because they have solid trust and their gaming style complements each other. Plus, the relationships they made with their new tribes, like Devon/Ashley, Lauren/Ben and Ryan/Chrissy, had the potential to combine and become a super group. Based on the events of “Get to Gettin’”, that’s exactly what happened.
I like the simple design of the first individual immunity challenge. Spinning a ball in place around a thin hoop looked easy, but it must’ve been incredibly difficult while also balanced on wood. Still, Ryan… losing after two seconds was bad. If he wanted to come across as a non-competition threat, his strategy worked. No one will pay attention to him until they notice his strategic game. Desi winning the first challenge brought her back into the spotlight for the first time in a really long time. We hadn’t seen much of her and I feared that could’ve meant she was an early boot. Her future is still up in the air, but she should use this opportunity to propel her further into the game while she still has the chance.
The real highlight of this week’s Survivor: Tribal Council. Not only did the editing leave us guessing right to the final minute, but we were treated to another boneheaded move that didn’t need to happen. The clear targets were Joe or Cole, with Jessica’s name casually thrown out there for good measure; however, the focus was on the first two men. It’s not surprising that Joe decided to use his hidden immunity idol when his name was up in the air. His decision to reveal the idol BEFORE the vote, on the other hand, was stupid. Why give up the element of surprise? The enemies could’ve flipped the vote if he was the target. Also, why didn’t he notice none of the Heroes and Hustlers whisper to change their votes? Them not talking was a clear sign he wasn’t the target.
Jessica getting the boot is bittersweet. She is a nice person who didn’t have a terrible game; she merely ended up on the side of the minority alliance. I wish, however, that her editing wasn’t only focused on her virginity and her dating life. We didn’t learn much else about her except that she had a thing for Cole (and the waiter) and she never had sex. Hopefully, if she is ever given the chance to compete again, she’ll get a different edit that explores more of her character that isn’t connected to a guy.