A relatively quiet week found its way to Survivor: Ghost Island. Not every round turns out to be a dramatic game of push, pull and changing alliances; sometimes the chess pieces are already placed for a set week. The former five Naviti members on the new Malolo tribe stuck together and they had the majority vote; the round basically wrote itself. Sure, we all love the action-packed episodes when blindsides occur, but we also need the ones where the game plays out according to relationships and strategy. This was exactly what happened during “Trust Your Gut.”
When Naviti returned back from Tribal Council, the players were faced with the reality of their last decision. The best part of a blindside is not only the shock of eliminating someone, but also about the after-effects it creates. Wendell and Dominick were both reeling after their plan to oust Angela blew up in their faces and Morgan got the boot. Based on the scenes we saw, they realized they were at the bottom of the totem pole and probably made a bad decision. This is the type of moment that separates the gameplayers from the filler players. They need to use this fire to build relationships and claw their way back up the tribe grouping or else they’ll be the next ones voted out.
Luckily, the pair realized this pretty early on. They started making some genuine connections in their tribe, like Wendell with Donathan and Domenick with Laurel. Relationship building will help them in the long run, especially since the Malolo players were keener to work with them instead of Chris and Angela. Though, Domenick telling Laurel about his hidden immunity idol was a bad idea. She may be open to working with him now, but she’s still on the opposing side. Someone with a hidden immunity idol is dangerous to keep around; Domenick only made himself look like a bigger target. He needs to hope that Laurel doesn’t tell the others about Domenick’s little secret.
The reward challenge was a physically enduring and fun challenge. Head-to-head battles bring out the competitive side of castaways; they always fight extra hard to win the prize when they’re battling only against one to two other people. We saw the castaways try to take each other down in the water, and in some cases, drag their enemies to their own markers to score the points. These challenges are always a pleasant welcome – we need to see more of them!
Kellyn going to Ghost Island and refusing to take part in the twist caused a mixed reaction. She made the smart decision to not take part since she was guaranteed to keep her vote in the round. And, it turned out she needed it since her tribe lost the challenge and her alliances had the majority, so she made the right call. However, to not take part in a Survivor game of odds is a missed opportunity. You only sometimes get one chance (if you’re lucky) to play the Survivor twist; this is a treasured moment to add to your experience. Kellyn chose to decline and now she’ll never know what she might have won if she had taken part.
The immunity challenge had one of the best (and largest) comeback stories ever. Malolo had a huge lead and they were set to win the game, but Naviti came back and dominated it near the end. My jaw was on the floor after seeing Naviti come from so far behind and sweep the rest of the match to steal the victory. This moment will forever show to future castaways that you should never give up in an immunity challenge; there is always a chance to pull the odds in your favor and win. The game isn’t over until Jeff Probst yells out someone’s name as the winner.
Bradley is going to have a hard time winning Survivor: Ghost Island. Strong social games can be the deciding factor for getting jury members to vote for you in the end. You have to build relationships and, to sum it up, people have to like you. Bradley is rubbing people the wrong way and putting them off; right now it could affect him by voting him out. When he told Stephanie there was no hope for her alliance, he had zero empathy or remorse in his voice – he did not care at all and enjoyed the feeling. He burned a bridge with Stephanie and the former Malolos and he’s going to need to change his approach.
We have to give the Malolos credit for trying. Their campaigning to Sebastian and Chelsea was a strong effort, but unfortunately they couldn’t break the majority of five. And, they had a 25% chance of choosing the right person with the hidden immunity idol – Michael just chose the wrong person to save. Brendan’s elimination stemmed from being in the minority alliance and unable to crack the majority. His placement could’ve ended up being anyone else; the majority simply went for the leader on the opposing side. If Kellyn had played the Ghost Island game and lost her vote, who knows who might’ve been sent home. She listened to her gut and it paid off.