Survivor: David vs. Goliath has reached the merge! We’re officially entering the second phase of the game with a 13-person tribe. From this point on, everything is an individual game; no more team immunity challenges, only solo risks. The time put into building relationships from the previous six episodes will now come to fruition where it truly counts. And based on “There’s Gonna Be Tears Shed,” a few of the castaways take advantage in order to get the ball moving.
The Brochachos are stronger than ever now that the Goliath men (Alec, Dan & John) have reunited. With the addition of David and Christian, the bromance is stronger than ever. We should keep an eye on them because their friendship is one that looks like it will swing votes. Simply look to Elizabeth’s elimination here–Dan didn’t want her to stay and the men sided with him instead of Angelina.
Another close alliance is the reunion of Dan and Kara’s flirtmance. It’s still too early to tell if this relationship has legs, but they have a level of trust with each other that will help for the time being. Dan, on the other hand, played his reunion stupidly! He should not have told Kara about the second hidden immunity idol he found. Survivor is a solo game where only one person will win. He should’ve kept that idol as a secret for a rainy day; that move would’ve protected him. Now, he’ll need to watch his back to make sure Kara doesn’t stab him in the back to get ahead.
The new alliance of Alec, Alison, Mike, Christian, Gabby, and Nick could be the secret threat that will dominate. I love secret alliances because they deliver the biggest impact. Alec is flexing his strategic aptitude here. Thinking about the future is important, and setting up the pieces now will help him make the bold moves he needs to make it easier when the time comes. If these six can stick together and not turn on one another, they will have all the power to determine the votes.
The merge episode introduced a new and unique game for the immunity challenge. The pendulum challenge looked simple from the onset, but it was harder to play than the castaways even realized. You had to be in constant motion to make sure the pendulum kept moving, that it didn’t lose momentum, and that it didn’t knock over the idol. I love when Survivor introduces new challenge ideas to the mix and this one definitely didn’t disappoint.
One word to describe the post-challenge segments: explosive. Both Elizabeth and Angelina were responsible for the trouble caused that destroyed their Survivor games. Elizabeth already had her fate sealed, but Angelina imploded any chance she had. We couldn’t look from the train wreck that happened before our eyes.
Look, Angelina is not a terrible player. In fact, she’s TOO strategic. Jury management is an important part of Survivor and eliminating big threats is essential for getting to the finals to win the vote. However, Angelina made moves that worked against her and showed everyone that she’s too big of a threat.
Firstly, she kept campaigning for Christian’s ouster even when the rest of the tribe shot down the idea. They made up their minds. She didn’t need to force the vote or try to undermine her Goliath allies. Angelina should’ve gone with the flow and brought up the idea at a later date. The “anyone but me” strategy works for a reason!
Secondly, telling Elizabeth that she was getting voted out was a bad idea. Angelina did that to get Elizabeth’s jury vote, regardless of what she said at Tribal Council. The move would’ve worked had they had a closer relationship OR they planned to flip the vote against someone else. Angelina simply told the information without a plan in mind; you can’t drop a bomb without a course of action to seize the opportunity. Spilling the information came from more of a place of frustration than strategy.
Elizabeth, on the other hand, blew up her game by exposing what Angelina told her and then telling everyone to vote her out. A crack, whether big or small, can lead to big changes in Survivor; Elizabeth squandered hers. She should’ve used the opportunity to curry favor with Angelina to turn against someone on the Goliath tribe (or even against one of the Davids). Angelina felt devastated that the Goliaths disregarded her plan. With a little comfort and manipulation, Angelina might’ve agreed to get Dan out.
“There’s Gonna Be Tears Shed” brought the big bad drama from within the Goliaths. The momentum jumped right into the surprise merge and it didn’t stop until Elizabeth got booted in a unanimous vote. We need more Survivor rounds like this: dramatic, strategic, and explosive.