Missed opportunities are the backbone of game losses on Survivor. Taking a risk and failing to measure up has resulted in castaways getting the boot, but it’s those moments that the players don’t make the move which haunt them. Hindsight really is 20/20 when you end up sitting on the jury. We saw a few of these opportunities this week on Survivor: Ghost Island. When presented with the risk, the players decided to take the easier route for a safe and dull week.
The Malolo vs. Naviti storyline has plagued this season of Survivor. With the exception of Dominick and Chris ending up in a war against each other, the rest of the castaways aren’t willing to shake things up. And why would they? Naviti has the majority so they don’t need to go against their own while Malolo is willing to do whatever as long as they’re not the next ones to go. Jeff hit the nail on the head during his discussion at Tribal Council. The strategy on Survivor: Ghost Island seems to be riding coattails simply to get to the end and then make a case for votes. Kellyn also brought up the same strategy – she pointed out that it would be stupid for any of the Naviti tribe members to turn against the majority alliance now. It’s a smart move to hold onto the alliance for safety, but it’s a boring one to watch as viewers.
The castaways went wrong during the vote. Malolo had a slim chance to knock out one of the Naviti players, but it was a shot that would’ve given them a leg up. If they had banded together during the Tribal Council vote, someone from Naviti would’ve been voted out when Michael had used his hidden immunity idol. Libby wouldn’t have gone and Malolo would still be intact. It’s understandable why they turned on their own – they wanted safety and the majority made it known votes were going on Malolo. Still, smarter and more strategic players would’ve used the opportunity to shake up the game. Kudos to Michael for being the only one to try! The targets are squarely on their backs; it’s never coming off.
The return of the food eating competition was a welcome surprise! We haven’t seen this immunity competition appear on Survivor in a really long time; as Jeff mentioned, this game started all the way back in the first season, which was 18 years ago. After the countless obstacle courses, digging and making puzzles, an eating challenge kept the players on their toes and it offered something new to us as viewers. There are so many local delicacies and items that castaways can barely tolerate; it would eliminate anyone who couldn’t stomach the competition. Just look at Wendell – he dropped out because he couldn’t eat larvae! Even though the reward challenge was a fun shooting game, the eating game eclipsed it completely.
We need to give Jenna a round of applause because she said exactly what we were all thinking during her trip to Ghost Island. Why was she even there? Survivor: Ghost Island is in the second phase of the game where every move, power and vote is crucial to making up the jury and who wins a million dollars. Getting the chance to risk anything for a leg up in the game would be tempting for anyone. Jenna wanted that chance when she went to Ghost Island; she would’ve risked everything to earn a power. With the trip offering no game, her visit (and the footage) felt like a waste of time. Jenna was frustrated and we’re frustrated. Do better, Ghost Island.
If there’s one thing the quieter members of Malolo are doing right, it’s that they’re open to any vote and alliance. Libby, Jenna, Laurel and Donathan made it known that they were willing to work and split the votes to get Michael out. Michael was the big target and one of the strongest men in the season. The Naviti group seemed prime to use them as scale votes to shift the power. And, their actions worked because Michael would have had the votes if he had not used his immunity idol. Also, Wendell wanted to work with Laurel without any secrets or lies between them; she might be the one with power now that he told her about his secret idol.
Libby getting voted off wasn’t surprising at all. Whereas Big Brother has the moniker of “pawn” when it comes to nominating someone weak on the block, Libby earned herself the Survivor equivalent. The Naviti women realized she was a safe person to place votes on as she didn’t have an idol and she was sociable enough. Eventually she was going to get the boot – it just so happened to be this week due to a hidden immunity idol.
“The Sea Slug Slugger” was a quiet episode that didn’t keep the momentum it gained after Chris’ elimination. The castaways refused to shake things up and an easy target got the boot. As long as the Naviti tribe holds power, and that they’re content with sticking together, we’re in a few more rounds of simple eliminations to come.