Survivor tribe swaps are a tricky foe. A castaway’s game is left up to fate as the entire landscape is shaken up. Sometimes it’s a complete overhaul; other times nothing really happens. In the case of “I Need a Dance Partner” on Survivor: Edge of Extinction, we ended up with the latter. Out of 15 people, only one person ended up meeting a new tribe. That’s unheard of based on the odds!
The fact that all 15 castaways were barely split up between the three new tribes ruined the excitement of the tribe swap twist. How could Wendy be the only one to move? In addition to that, many of the players ended up on tribes with their closest allies, like the Manu 5 being on Lesu together, Joe with Aurora on Kama, Eric with Gavin on Manu, and other similar combinations. The twist is based on odds, so nothing could be added to make it more evenly split without impacting the fairness. The cards didn’t land in our favor this season.
Wendy had the perfect chance to start her Survivor game anew, but she might’ve blown it yet again. Even though the former Kama members outnumbered her, her light-hearted and wacky personality could serve as a great flip-vote for anyone on Kama ready to make a big move. And while I didn’t agree with her spilling ALL her tribe information (a move like that had the chance to hurt her), it at least wiped the slate clean and made her seem ready to flip. For the most part, her trying did work, but then the chickens happened.
Freeing the chickens will come back to haunt Wendy – both in her current tribe and with her former Manu members. Everyone knew she did it, and even if they mostly doubted her, she still seemed like the obvious culprit. That action made Wendy look like a reckless and impulsive player who will only make decisions based on emotions and impulses. Other players can’t trust that. As Survivor: Edge of Extinction gets deeper into the game, the castaways will want alliances that are consistent. Wendy might’ve thrown her game away for the chickens.
Over at Kama, Ron is a player that we should keep our eyes on. His plan for Julia to look into Joe’s bag to search for the hidden immunity idol was genius. Knowledge is power, and if you know that someone has the idol, you can make moves against them at Tribal Council. If they had found it, these behind-the-scenes players would’ve had leverage. Though, Ron and Julia will still need to keep on edge because Joe is a smart player. He wouldn’t have kept the idol on him in his bag for anyone to find. Of course, Joe doesn’t have the idol, so it’s a moot point.
Survivor producers must’ve been ecstatic that there was a rainstorm the day of the challenge. The rain added more tension and difficulty for the castaways to get over the hills. It’s not that the competition was boring – it just didn’t add anything new to the table for a big impactful round like this one. Mother Nature deserves a production credit here. And to make matters worse, the castaways still made the same mistakes, but on different tribes. Kelley and David need to stop doing the puzzle challenges, they’re terrible at them and they keep losing for their tribe.
The second Lesu lost the tribe immunity challenge, it became clear that either David or Rick would be the one voted off. Lauren’s sickness story was obviously set as a diversion tactic to provide some doubt. But, in reality, Wardog, Lauren, and Kelley were a tight trio that weren’t going to break up any time soon. Survivor can only work with what the odds and players gave them during the round’s footage. Unfortunately, it ended up with a non-tension tribe unity vote.
Similar to Chris before him, Rick’s elimination resulted in moves he made earlier in the season. If he had not voted out Keith and/or Chris, Rick and David would’ve had the majority. But even outside of the Lesu tribe, Rick had a better shot of playing Survivor if he had made a move against a powerful alliance. His inability to strike allowed another alliance to overpower him.
How did the Edge of Extinction Island become the more interesting island dynamic to follow? Reem and Keith tore into Chris with their pettiness and I was living for every second of it. We need more scenes as these eliminated players are faced with the people who voted them out.
“I Need a Dance Partner” didn’t have the same wow factor as previous tribe swaps in Survivor history. The game barely shook up and we ended up with a lot of the same-old-same-old. Survivor can’t win them all.