Never underestimate the power of tribe unity on Survivor 42. “Good and Guilty” and “Go for the Gusto” showcased how powerful wheeling and dealing can be for a tribe’s longevity. The strategy will keep you and your allies safe if you’re on the inside. However, only a strong case will save you from elimination if you’re on the outside. We were treated to two examples where castaways didn’t fight hard enough to turn the tide and save themselves, leading to one of the most shocking Tribal Councils in recent history.
During “Good and Guilty,” the dynamics of the Taku tribe were pretty simple to understand. There’s a core group in the middle deciding the fate and two outsiders as the target: the distant-yet-strong Marya and the outgoing Maryanne. Both options had strong reasons to keep/eliminate, and at this phase in the game, it’s early enough to make any decision.
I agreed with them about keeping the more outgoing Maryanne. Maryanne’s intentions were easier to understand, and she seemed like a loyal player to people she considered her allies. On the other hand, Marya kept her cards close to her chest; you’d never know what she was thinking or how she’d play the game. Tribe unity is important in the early phase, and they need to know where you fit into the group. If she had pushed harder to build the bonds sooner, the outcome could’ve been different. Maryanne’s social game was far and ahead, better than Marya.
Playing the shot in the dark was a good idea for Marya. Her name had been floating around, so it was one way to guarantee a chance at safety. However, Marya should’ve pushed harder at showing her benefit over Maryanne. While she lacked positivity in the camp, she did perform better during challenges, and she hadn’t been caught searching for a hidden immunity idol. Maryanne had reasons against her that could’ve worked out in Marya’s favor. It’s not to say that Marya didn’t try these methods, but by the time Taku got to Tribal Council, she seemed defeated and ready for it to be over. You have to fight until the bitter end because anything could change.
A similar situation seemed to be forming in the Ika tribe. Look, it’s understandable why Drea told Swati and Tori about her powers–she wanted to build bonds with them, and the truth is a powerful weapon. However, the confusing aspect was why Swati quickly turned on Drea and wanted her eliminated next. Wouldn’t it be more advantageous for her to work with the girls and use the powers? Isn’t having the majority numbers a better outcome for her? Her scheming will haunt her; she had a good thing going, and if Tori needs to protect herself, the ammunition will seal Swati’s fate. It was way too early to betray someone when the numbers weren’t guaranteed in her favor.
Everything was murkier in “Go for the Gusto” than in the previous round. Maryanne telling her tribe about the extra vote was a bad decision. They already suspected her of having a hidden immunity idol, but knowing that she had an extra vote made her look more of a threat. Plus, now that she’s lost her vote with the “Beware Advantage,” she’s a sitting duck until the power is activated. Maryanne should’ve kept the vote a secret and continued to build back her trust.
Omar from the Taku tribe also made a terrible decision when visiting the summit with Chanelle from the Ika tribe. Why would he risk his vote? He knew blatantly that Chanelle needed her vote for the upcoming Tribal Council, and she would risk it to save herself. Someone on the brink of elimination is way more dangerous than someone sitting pretty for a few more days. And now, after all the mess that happened during the Ika Tribal Council, Chanelle will hold that anger over Omar; she can easily blame him for the cause of losing her vote and the tie. He didn’t think this through.
Speaking of the Tribal Council, did anyone expect how messy it would become? The vote was a train wreck across the board. Losing the votes forced the players to own up to their shady moves and be bolder with their scheming. The biggest failure during Tribal Council wasn’t that Jenny got eliminated; it was that Daniel overplayed his hand and was exposed as a rat. Why would he try to blame the tie on Chanelle? He destroyed that bridge and made himself a bigger target. Chanelle isn’t out of the woods either; she should’ve spoken up about wanting Jenny voted out, but Daniel blew up everything. It made no sense why he would risk it all to end up at the bottom of the tribe.
Jenny’s elimination was a case of survival passing her by. Lydia fought and pleaded to stay in the game, encouraging Hai to keep his vote firm. Jenny should’ve pushed harder on Daniel and Hai to keep her around; a bit of motivation can do wonders for shifting the vote. Jenny needed to prove to the guys why keeping her around was better for their games.
“Good and Guilty” and “Go for the Gusto” packed a few punches for some strong Tribal Councils. The players are making bolder moves, albeit to the detriment of their personal games. If a tribe swap comes soon, it could shake everything up, but some players are working at the edge of their seats. So messy yet so fun.
Survivor airs new episodes Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.