In the latest episode of Survivor we saw the tribes make a deal to settle a reward challenge, the returning players suffer repercussions at their decisions, and Katie voted out of the Kalabaw tribe.
Katie was my favorite to be the one who goes this week, but I will credit the editors for making it look unclear who would go. One minute into the episode I said to myself ‘Katie is gone!’ but when the votes were being read, I expected either to go (though I think if Penner had went they would have made it a little more dramatic).
Let’s start with the reward challenge, because really for the first time ever, a reward challenge was settled by deal making, not by a tribe being victorious.
The only things I can think of as being similar to this are when Yau Man offered Dreamz a car if he promised to give his final immunity to him or maybe people making deals in an endurance challenge. The only ones that come to mind are Vecepia and Neleh making one at the final 3 in Marquesas, Teresa and Clarence at the first individual immunity in Africa, there are a few others, but none that are really as significant.
This certainly differs though, because it was a deal struck between two whole tribes! I thought this was fantastic to watch! It was fairly obvious to me who came away with a better deal, which was the Tandang tribe. Not only did they double their rice, but they took away the consistent food supply from Kalabaw.
Mike Skupin was great to make this deal, but I really don’t know what Penner was thinking. How could this possibly work out for your tribe? Unless he figured that the reward would energize them not only physically, but emotionally as well, there is no way this was a good move.
The only reason I think Penner pushed for this to happen would be to make his mark on Survivor. Honestly I think he just wanted some unprecedented to happen.
Also, it was a good thing Jeff Kent didn’t have to participate in the reward, because this could have wrecked his knee even more!
Tandang Cries Over Spilled Milk
Tandang’s reaction to the move was absolutely ridiculous. Pete, Abi Maria, and Artis are the biggest bunch of whiners out there. This often happens to tribes that don’t get to go to Tribal and work out there issues. They clearly got the better deal.
I am okay with complaining about this, but only if it is done on a strategic level. Being a whiner is not usually helpful, as no one wants to reward a baby a million dollars. (SIDE NOTE: Have any whiners ever won the game? I guess Jenna in the Amazon, maybe Aras a bit in Panama, Todd in China but they never were at this level and all could be grateful as well). However, if you are Pete and your goal is to get Mike out of the game, complaining about the deal that was made might be a good decision, even if you think it was a good one.
This would be dependent on the rest of the tribe’s reaction, but if you saw that they didn’t like it, why not throw Mike under the bus? Make him take the downfall for his decisions. Heck, if I was Pete (knowing how he’s already playing the game), I might try to get rid of some of the rice making his decision look even worse. Unfortunately, I don’t think either of the three were doing this.
The person who might have been leaning this way was Lisa. It was hard to understand what she meant in her confessional responding to the situation, but it seemed to hint that she would react however everyone else was reacting. If you can get away with this, then I like this move.
Malcolm seemed to think it was a good decision, but played it up as if he was just trying “to be positive”. Again, go with the flow. I never thought Malcolm would be the positive, humble one. After dominating the 2nd half of the challenge, he acted very humble at what he had done and really just seems grateful to be there. His pregame interviews made him look like a snarky, cocky, villainous type player, could he be our hero? It certainly seems that way so far.
Mike Skupin is getting the weirdest edit. He hasn’t gotten a confessional in several episode, yet has been the center of attention in nearly every one. Notice how 4 or 5 others talked about him and his decision, but we never saw him actually explain what happened! This is strange for being a famous returning player who is certainly a leader type. Either he sucks in confessionals or something weird happens with him. I can’t quite get my finger on the pulse.
Jeff Kent, Future Survivor Hall of Famer?
On the other side of things, Jeff Kent is playing a great game! Getting rid of Katie was the right move in this scenario. She would’ve been successful post-merge and wouldn’t do anything to advance his game. Keeping Penner has several positives to it: he will be a big target come the merge, he has the social skills to get in with others, but doesn’t have enough that he can turn against Jeff or Carter, and he has an idol that could be used in a team effort.
Keeping Denise helps more than it hurts, because either she flips Malcolm to their side or joins the other side, which wouldn’t matter anyway.
And obviously he wants to keep Carter who is his inferior counterpart. I think in Survivor if you can find someone like this, you are golden. You know they will never turn against you, they will always inform you of things, and you can beat them in the end! I like their relationship (though Carter might blow things if he ever repeats the “who do you want? Katie or Penner?” mistake)
MINI SPOILER BELOW about next week from a preview that was recently released.
So a preview has been released that the merge will indeed happen next week. Good on Survivor as there was too big of a risk to lose somebody important before the merge, which is usually the best episode of the season.
This year’s merge brings along an excitement that most don’t have! There are so many things that could happen and so many levels of alliances.
Tandang becomes the first tribe to never attend a tribal council prior to the merge and will have to sort out their tribe lines. This will be complicated by the fact that they will have to do it with 4 other people added into the mix. Not only this, but 2 out of the 11 voters are potential wild cards with few allegiances other than themselves.
Keeping Track of the Alliances
There is an alliance of 5 (Pete, Abi, Artis, Lisa, Malcolm)
One of 4 (Pete, Abi, Artis, Lisa)
One of 3 (Pete, Abi, Artis)
One of 7 (potentially all of Tandang)
One of 4 (the original: Skupin, RC, Abi, Pete)
One of 2 (RC, Skupin)
Another of 2 (Denise, Malcolm)
One of 4 (Carter, Jeff, Penner, Denise)
One of 3 (Carter, Jeff, Penner)
Another of 3 (Carter, Jeff, Denise)
And many more to come! It looks like Malcolm and Lisa are going to try to throw something together as well.
I won’t even try to predict or say what I think is best to do in this scenario because there are so many options and it is hard to know what is actually viable and what is not. Oh and did I mention that there will be 3 Hidden Immunity Idols going into this Tribal Council? For the first time ever! Crazy stuff.
Player of the week: Jeff Kent. He made a good decision, has a loyal partner in Carter, has Penner where he wants him, and Denise possibly with him. He is running things and seems like a solid player.
Winner power rankings:
11. Artis-The only things we’ve seen from you have been bad.
10. Abi-Maria-There’s no way, right?
9.Carter finally is getting some air time, but I don’t think he has what it takes strategically or socially. His physical game hasn’t seemed to been that great either, at least not great enough to win.
8. Pete-You’re just too unlikable!
7. Skupin-Don’t know what to make of him.
6. Penner-I can’t see him holding on. The idol helps, but it would take a miracle.
5. RC moves up this week, because she was edited in a more positive light. I just can’t help but think that Malcolm, Lisa, and Denise will join with RC and Skupin to make a move.
4. Lisa-If she plays her cards right she could do this.
3. Jeff-Will likely be knocked out early merge, but if any original Kalabaw was gonna win it would be him right?
2. Denise-Now that the merge has come she almost passed Malcolm, but can’t risk a Pagonging knocking her out.
1. Malcolm seems better and better every week. He’s gotta have a downfall right?