The downfall of Lesu continued as expected on the latest episode of Survivor: Edge of Extinction. For the last few weeks, the balance of power shifted between the original Kama and Manu members, with the castaways turning on their own. Yet again, this tactic happened by sending out the brash and aggressive Wardog from the game after he looked to be on top. Survivor: Edge of Extinction has been a fresh experience because these voting blocs have made the weekly outcomes more unpredictable than the last. However, the changing narrative has created an air of sloppy gameplay and “Fasten Your Seatbelts” was no exception.
As discussed in the review of Julia’s elimination, social game is essential in the hours after a blindside. You need to quell any fires that head your way and reassure allies before the bridges are destroyed for good. Wardog failed massively when following this core Survivor credo. Gavin gave him the perfect opportunity to reassure and mend fences, but Wardog doubled-down on his ego trip and destroyed his working relationship. The move was so disastrous that it led to Gavin and the other “outsiders” banding together to turn on Wardog. All it takes is one bad conversation to ruin everything.
Ron, on the other hand, has emerged as a savvy and top contender for winning Survivor: Edge of Extinction. What he did with Julie in reassuring her was exactly what Wardog needed to do. Ron strengthened his relationship to the point that Julie doesn’t mind if Ron votes elsewhere, as long as she’s still working with him. And Ron has secured himself a cushy spot in the middle where people trust him, even though they know he’s a threat. We could be seeing Ron’s winner arc right now.
His actions after losing the reward challenge were spot on. He didn’t waste the alone time he had with Victoria, Gavin, and Aurora while the others were away – the four took the time to plan the next course of action, which could’ve led to Rick or Wardog leaving. People tend to realize that losing a reward challenge is also a prize in of itself. Having alone time with someone away from others can shape the game; this has happened plenty of times in past Survivor seasons. I’m glad that the four took advantage of this opportunity.
The same goes for Lauren and Julie too. Instead of taking their minds off the game while on reward, they used their alone time together to foster a new alliance and make plans for the future. Both Julie and Lauren needed someone after Kelly got voted out and Ron has shown to be an independent voter. Hopefully, this new alliance can continue to make big strides together. Wouldn’t it be amazing if this pairing went all the way to the finals?
The trio of Ron, Rick, and Wardog, on the other hand, had no chance to last. An alliance of necessity has the potential to work out, but when it’s created on the basis of the group being the “biggest threats” in the game, the alliance only highlights why they needed to be separated. If they followed their plan and voted Aurora out, would they have moved on to pick off the others like Gavin or Victoria? No. Someone would’ve eventually turned; their shaky alliance had been just that … shaky.
Between the two challenges, both had all the elements you’d expect from a Survivor game. However, I like whenever the puzzle gets an update so that it’s not the typical log image or slide puzzle. The star puzzle during the immunity challenge looked difficult due to the varying shapes and sizes. No doubt the castaways were mentally frustrated and threw in the towel; only Aurora and Rick kept their effort throughout.
Wardog’s elimination had been a long time coming; it’s surprising that he didn’t get the boot during the pre-merge phase due to his abrasive personality. He held a strong power position for many rounds, but once he turned against Kelley, he became exposed without any dedicated alliances to help him. His elimination suffered under the same weight as Kelley, David, and Julia before him. Had he stuck to his group and kept a strong bloc going to control the majority, the others most likely wouldn’t have turned on him. On the other hand, he wouldn’t have won Survivor: Edge of Extinction – the jury has to want to vote for you to win; it didn’t seem like they liked him at all.
Over at Edge of Extinction, Reem shouldn’t have blamed Kelley for ruining her Survivor experience. Getting voted out is part of the game and all the decisions you make (or don’t make) amount to why you lose. Reem is responsible for her own outcome.
“Fasten Your Seatbelts” continued the trend of strong threats being voted out of Survivor. Wardog’s days were numbered, and it was a satisfying conclusion to see him get blindsided after he so eloquently blindsided Kelley the week before. Her smile and joy at Tribal Council summed up the experience.