If one thing was made clear during this two-hour Survivor episode, it’s that tribal lines are over… for now. The former Davids and Goliaths bounced back and forth so much lately that picking out the true loyalties have become harder than ever. What’s to say these most recent alliances won’t be broken up next week? Alec and Carl were the unfortunate casualties of war, but their loss was our gain. The tribal divides will no longer keep things predictable and separated.
After Dan’s epic blindside, the game surprisingly reset its tone. Something about the way the castaways talked at camp afterward made it seem like they were ready to shake up the game and try something new. In particular, once Angelina jumped shipped to the Davids, everything tumbled like a row of dominoes.
I called it last week that Alec and Kara (and by extension Alison) voting out Angelina as a backup plan would come back to haunt them – and it absolutely did. If they had not made that move, Angelina wouldn’t have switched and the Davids wouldn’t have had the majority to vote out Alec. Lapses in strategic judgments like this set the tone for how the game moves forward; you have to play Survivor like a game of chess. If the Goliaths were willing to sacrifice Angelina, they needed to make sure it wouldn’t hurt them as a result. They didn’t properly foresee the consequences.
Alec’s elimination was a foregone conclusion. You can’t allow a physical threat like him to make it far into the game. Many seasons of Survivor have been lost because a challenge superstar went on a winning streak. He fought his hardest to stay in, and he was one of the most likable castaways left, but it was the best decision to get him out.
Carl’s elimination, on the other hand, was a bad move for Gabby and Christian. Sure, the tribal lines had blurred and people started playing outside of the original alliances. However, the tribe numbers were still too close that they could revert back to normal. By them voting out a David, the numbers have returned to four vs. four, but it’s sowed the seeds of doubt against them in the eyes of Davie and Nick. Plus, it hurt some goodwill they had built with Angelina. I wouldn’t be surprised if next week the Goliaths turned on them again. Gabby and Christian ended up worse than they had begun.
I understand why they turned on Carl. He tried calling the shots in a leadership position and he rubbed them the wrong way in his drunken state. But, keeping Carl would’ve been better in the long run. No one was going to vote for him as the Survivor winner. He burned a lot of bridges with his personality and people started to regard him like Angelina. Carl would’ve been the perfect GOAT to bring to the end.
The challenges stood out this week for their inventiveness and new styles. Whenever Survivor comes up with a new game that doesn’t rehash past elements, the castaways are pushed even further out of their comfort zones. The basketball-inspired reward challenge and the rope-balancing challenge allowed some of the behind-the-scenes players to shine, like Davie. And Carl should’ve been given extra bonus points for coming up with another viable word during the immunity challenge. He was so close that you had to feel bad for him, but, the true superstar challenge was the cross balance.
Christian, Alec, and Gabby hustled in one of the most grueling immunity challenges yet. Alec would’ve stayed on there forever had it not been for Christian having the long, arduous conversation with Jeff Probst distracting him. He won me over as a player because he looked so heartbroken losing and knowing he would be voted out; Alec truly loved the game. The same goes for Christian and Gabby. They pushed themselves hard and Gabby’s tears this time seemed genuine and honest – she really wanted to win. We need more challenges and players like this. People should want to play and win Survivor.
“Tribal Lines Are Blurred” kept the momentum going with two strong eliminations. The players finally shed their former tribal alliances to start thinking about their own futures. Some positioned themselves in a good spot, while others placed themselves in the line of fire. Now that they’re back at even, we’ll have to wait and see where the target lands next. My gut feeling: Gabby and Christian should be worried.