This week on Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, “Idol Search Party” reintroduced a twist to its castaways that any passive Survivor fan expects each year: it’s the dreaded tribe swap! Similar to the moment in Big Brother when the season’s twist is dropped (usually around the end of week four), the tribes are shuffled from their original selection into new groups. This is usually to shake things up, break up alliances and change the balance of power if one tribe isn’t doing too well in the game. This Survivor season, however, is going one step further by breaking them apart into three tribes, not two.
This higher number of tribes isn’t a new concept. The game of Survivor has seen as high as four tribes competing against each other for immunity, with this type of twist beginning in Survivor: Pearl Islands when a third tribe – the “Outcasts” tribe – appeared during an immunity challenge for the chance to return to the game. Although, the twist started officially as a “real tribe” with Survivor: All-Stars. In terms of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, this twist was definitely needed to break up the longstanding majority alliances that were being formed. (Imagine how boring that would’ve been with Figgy’s alliance staying strong until merge.)
With this twist, the new Ikabula tribe (green buffs) was formed with six members–and Michaela could not have looked more pissed! I get it, when things don’t go your way, you need to vent and express your frustration, but this isn’t the first time Michaela has shown her attitude. She’s gotten into arguments with Figgy, and it nearly made her a target for her old tribe. This is a fresh start for her, and Survivor IS a social game at the end of the day. People will not want to keep her around if they don’t want to be around her. The other tribes, however, were breaking with convention to do something unthinkable–they were making alliances with other tribe members to backstab their former teammates!
Pairings like Chris/Zeke were exploring new alliance possibilities away from their original tribes. This tends to happen when someone was at the bottom of the totem pole before the switch. Even if their old tribe has the majority in their new group, it doesn’t erase the actions of the past–it only bides their time. Heading into the switch, the Millennials outnumbered the Gen X-ers with two more players in the game; if they all stuck together, there could be a serious systematic decimation of the former Gen X tribe. But we’re talking about Survivor here; nothing ever goes according to plan.
It’s not even a full round into the new tribe before Chris (former Gen X) turns on his old team and votes out CeCe (also Gen X), convincing David to also go along for the ride. He and Zeke may have formed a new friendship in the time since the new Vanua tribe was formed, but this was a poor decision on his part. The former Millennials already outnumbered the Gen X-ers overall in the season; however, the Vanua tribe had the most Gen X tribe members in it–Chris was in the MAJORITY ALLIANCE! On top of this, his former Gen X teammates were going to target Michelle, not his friend Zeke, so he had some wiggle room. Everything lined up perfectly for him to have an easy week.
While the debate of saving himself and making his stock rise over CeCe and David in his tribe are valid, this move could ruin his chances later on. The Gen X-ers are at even more of a disadvantage. When it comes time to merge, they need to hope, pray and find any four leaf clovers they can to make sure that the old Millennial tribe doesn’t band together to pick them off one by one. This could be a “Cochran” all over again. (In Survivor: South Pacific, Cochran voted against his former tribe at the merge after a tied vote–his former team was systemically voted out one after the other by the other tribe.)
Let’s talk about CeCe for a moment. Was this vote off a long time coming? Ever since the first episode of the season, her name has been thrown out there, but never came to fruition. She’s flown under the radar and gone unnoticed after some near misses, until it finally was her time. She did genuinely seem shocked to be voted out, though I don’t think it was shock from the blindside. It could have been from the vote mentioned above. Her former tribe members DID vote her out at a majority! Somewhere out there, CeCe must be watching at home and waiting for karma to come back at Chris. You can’t plan this type of karmic revenge.