The great debate of tribe strength vs. future threat served as the central theme of Survivor: Edge of Extinction’s second episode. It’s a tale as old as Survivor’s history. While the individual phase holds a greater stock for determining who wins Survivor, the first half determines the relationships and which players make it to the jury. It’s a big choice of whether to pick off the weak players to ensure tribe immunities or to knock out potentially bigger threats who could win. “One of Us Is Going to Win the War” chose the former, but if history has proven anything, this decision will cause a ripple effect.
Wendy risked it all to get the target squarely on Kelley Wentworth – and it’s a move that might be her eventual undoing. In Survivor, you have to be flexible enough to adapt and cunning enough to be subtle about your campaigning. Wendy brought her plans to the forefront (i.e. getting Kelley out) and didn’t back down from them, even going so far as to vote for Kelley at Tribal Council when the votes weren’t there. Her determination was admirable, but it was a lofty goal that could’ve ruined everything, if not for Wardog’s push for Keith. If she wants a chance to survive, she needs to change her approach before it’s too late.
Still, her campaigning did successfully build steam. If she, David, Rick, Keith, and Chris had stayed together, they would’ve eliminated one of the biggest threats on Survivor. As much as I am a fan of Kelley Wentworth, a turning of the tides would’ve been an amazing strategic move for their games. And, we can’t disregard Kelley’s shaky gameplay.
Why isn’t she getting close to David?! She’s letting that relationship slip through her fingers out of fear of being a big target. Her reputation is her biggest hurdle. She won’t be able to shake that, but she can’t let it ruin her future.
Speaking of the veterans, Aubry made such a rookie move for her third appearance. Did she not think the others would talk and compare notes? A simple conversation unraveled her entire social game. Everyone thinks she’s shady now and can spot the game she’s playing. The best solution as a veteran is to make real and genuine relationships with the newbies, like actually making connections about things you have in common. Her odds of making strong alliances have hit a major wall.
Lauren made the right call in not telling Kelley about discovering the hidden immunity idol. Regardless of everyone going out and searching together, Survivor is an individual game. Lauren can only trust herself in the end. If things come down to it, Kelley would easily blindside her to save herself or flush out the immunity. Thankfully, Lauren is proving that there are limits to fandom and gameplay.
Ithe opposite tribe, why did none of the women go out to search for idols? The men were blatantly looking, but the rest stayed behind and pointed out the obviousness of the situation. Julie perfectly called out this lack of action – and her determination to change that gave hints of a confident player. Hopefully, we see more of her strategy.
Victoria and Julia, on the other hand, need to get it together. They looked completely unfazed and apathetic about the whole situation; that inertia will be their downfall. A good rule of thumb for any future player: if you’re not searching for an idol, it means someone else is finding it.
The immunity challenge returned from a game last seen in Survivor: Kaôh Rōng. I love the mix of physically taxing challenges with precision throwing. No one could stand out on their own. The players had to work together if they wanted any hope of winning it. From the looks of the challenge, the snake looked heavy and hard to move; the winning tribe definitely earned their victory. It’s not surprising that Joe flew through the game – it’s almost like second nature to him at this point. He’ll most likely make it to the jury round due to the tribe needing him around for the challenges.
Keith’s elimination wasn’t surprising. After failing in two challenges to improve his swimming, and his lackluster throwing of the hoops, the value he added to his tribe diminished by the day. The tribe wanted to win challenges and for that to happen, they need strong competitors. His only case to survive would’ve been to throw Wendy under the bus and campaign to Wardog/Kelley/Lauren about unshakable loyalty against the others. He already had a good relationship with Chris, but he needed to improve his standing with the others and show how valuable he could be for them. Without it, he had no chance.
“One of Us Is Going to Win the War” furthered the story of the Wendy vs. Kelley battle. Ultimately, Kelley won the battle, but the sparks were set that could foster into flames. Will Wendy be joining Keith and Reem next? Will they finally turn on Kelley? Someone is going to win the war, but they’ll need to make sure that they haven’t destroyed everything in their path for victory. Survivor: Edge of Extinction has just started and it’s too early for this type of animosity!