RON CLARK wins the loved ones reward challenge and picks Gavin and Julie to get the reward. Victoria and Lauren scheme, in case Rick has a hidden immunity idol (he does!). They decide to vote out RON CLARK if Rick plays his idol. Rick plays the fake advantage menu that RON CLARK had given him, then plays his hidden idol. Gavin, using Aurora’s 2nd vote, and Lauren vote for RON CLARK, Rick votes for Aurora, and everyone else votes for Rick. RON CLARK is shocked! But he is finally sent to The Edge. What will happen this week is anyone’s guess, so let’s find out!
Also, please excuse our lack of gifs this week—and our lateness in this post! A special someone named Todd graduated this past weekend. Congrats, Todd!
Todd: At the start of the episode, Gavin feels guilty about voting out RON CLARK, and Aurora feels like she has a group she can work with in Lauren, Victoria, and Gavin. She also feels that Devens is their #1 target. Meanwhile, Devens tells everyone that the idol came from The Edge to keep their suspicions off of him for finding it.
Mary: Which is such an obvious lie. Lauren immediately sees through it--being in possession of an idol herself! Lauren confronts Rick about it, and he doesn’t confess he’s telling a bit of a story. Instead, he finds ANOTHER idol, waking up in the middle of the night to go hunt.
Todd: Rick feels like he is on the outs at this point, and his only way forward is through finding idols? Do you think he could have forged an alliance with the remaining players? Or nah?
Mary: Naaaah, I don’t think so. Maybe, if it was earlier in the game, or if he hadn’t already been to The Edge, he could have, but by now it’s too late. The rest of the group sees him as a threat--both in challenges and in terms of finding idols/using those idols well. Also, I think everyone knows that the jury will like Rick and probably vote for him. He hasn’t really burned any bridges with them, and as people on The Edge, they might like the redemption arc Rick is building--or has fallen into.
Todd: Yeah, that is all on target, I think, and it all helps explain my feelings about Rick at this point (which I am sure we will get into later). But as a bit of foreshadowing: I like Rick, but don’t love the game he is playing (or being forced to play, as you aptly point out) right now.
COME ON IN, GUYS!
Todd: This challenge is positively filthy with balls. The survivors must throw what look like kick balls up into a track and then quickly navigate an obstacle course in time to catch the ball on the other end. This leads to many people eating it--HARD. Then, they must dig under a beam for another ball, and finally, they must land both balls on a narrow perch. The winner gets a helicopter tour of the island they are staying on (really seems like Survivor is skimping on the rewards this season) and a fancy lunch, and the hatred of everyone they don’t pick to go on the reward.
It is somewhat close, but Gavin wins and, unsurprisingly, picks Victoria and Lauren, his closest allies. An argument could perhaps have been made to take Rick so he wouldn’t be on the beach getting an idol, but of course you also don’t want him getting the reward as that might help him in the immunity challenge. What I’m saying is that Survivor is a complex game!
Rick and Julie try to make Aurora feel bad about not being picked, and it seems like it works, if the editors are to be believed. At the reward, Lauren, Gavin, and Victoria agree that Rick should go next, and Gavin hopes that Aurora will understand that her not being picked was not personal.
Mary: This was truly one of the weirdest views on The Edge. Everyone’s getting ready for whatever big challenge will give one lucky person a chance to get back in the game. But no, we don’t see that challenge this week. Instead, each castaway gets a letter they wrote to themselves at the beginning of the game. The letters don’t really say anything specific, and instead the letters say generic statements about believing in yourself, never giving up, etc. etc. It’s shocking how vague these letters are! And that’s it. That’s all we get from The Edge.
Todd: It is weird and it is also something that, to my knowledge, Survivor has never done before (and hopefully will not do again). I am sure 90% of these people would have traded that letter for a week’s stay at a hotel and a plate of burgers. I am very excited to see what happens when all of these people leave the game for real and get to take showers.
I ALWAYS HATED HIDE AND SEEK
Mary: While waiting for their next challenge, Rick continues to rile up the rest of the group by running around the island “looking for an idol.” He jumps out of hiding and scares Aurora (who tries to act super cool about it *sigh*), runs around giggling, and just generally seems to have a great time leading everyone on. And instead of letting him go, they follow him. It’s wild to me that they don’t just let Rick go, that they can’t see that he’s messing with them. What do you think?
Todd: This is definitely an interesting moment. Rick says he feels like a kid, and he seems to be having fun, so good for him, I guess? It is more shocking to me that the group only now started following Rick around, especially since he ALREADY HAS THE IDOL! Where was this fervor earlier, you know, WHEN HE FOUND THE IDOL? Oof. Their foolishness (and Rick’s) is on their own head.
COME ON IN, AGAIN, GUYS
Todd: The immunity challenge arrives and everyone’s goal (except, perhaps, for Julie) is to defeat Rick. There are a couple stages but it all leads up to a word puzzle: “Not Living on the Edge Tonight.” I’m glad that the parlance “The Edge” has reached production. Way to go, Wentworth, making your legacy count!
Of course, they can’t defeat Rick, and he wins yet another immunity challenge, which means he does not have to use his hidden immunity idol tonight. This is where my frustrations with Rick’s gameplay began to mount. And look, I get it, Rick doesn’t have a lot of choices, and I would not hate it if he won, but it would be yet another season where the most strategic person did not win in favor of the person who was the flashiest at tribal challenge.
Mary: Well, OK, it’s not like they COULDN’T defeat Rick! Rick just happened to win. I know that you don’t like the easiness--for lack of a better word--of Rick’s quick trajectory towards the million dollars, but I would argue that Rick is playing a pretty good game. He had the underdog arc on his side, even though it might not look like it from the last few episodes. When Rick appeared in episode one, I didn’t expect him to last long--no one really did, I think. He was a nerdy, chubby news anchor and no one saw that as a threat. He was funny, they kept him around, but when push came to shove they voted him to The Edge. BUT, he RETURNED! And now he’s dominating! Isn’t that a nice turn of events for the nerdy guy? I think it’s nice and I’m enjoying it. I can’t think of someone I’d rather have win, though I’d be OK with Lauren.
Todd: These are all good points. I think I felt more sympathy for the pre-Edge Rick, and since he’s come back he has definitely been playing harder but I don’t think he has been playing smarter. BUT, as you point out, it has worked for him. Whether he has truly outwitted, outplayed, and outlasted the other survivors will ultimately be up to the jury to decide.
TRICKS UP MY SLEEVE
Todd: A lot of talk happens before tribal, which basically ends with Rick and Julie deciding to work together to vote for Aurora. Julie tries to bring in Lauren, and Lauren, who thinks she has a better chance of beating Julie in a final 3 than Aurora, tells her that she will never writer Julie’s name down. Lauren floats the idea of voting Aurora out to Gavin, but he says he needs to talk to Victoria first. Victoria does not want to do that, under any circumstances, and she is more than a little put off by the fact that Lauren would vote out Aurora with or without her. It is all kind of a mess and makes what seemed like an easy vote for Julie much more complex.
Mary: I think the important thing to note here is that Lauren’s talk planted the seed of doubt in Victoria and Gavin. They were at least thinking about Aurora, weighing their options.
Todd: And of course, Rick says he is willing to do “anything” to protect Julie tonight, implying that there could still be some idols played at tribal.
IN THIS GAME, FIRE REPRESENTS YOUR LIFE
Todd: At tribal, Aurora yet again paints a big target on Rick, saying that anyone who makes it to the final tribal with him will lose. Victoria agrees, saying, “it is a collective goal that Devens should go home.” Gavin says he is “the center of attention” and “the master of disguise.” Lauren agrees, and Gavin talks about how earlier that day he had turned around for a second and then Devens was gone.
This leads Rick to imply that while they are looking for him, he can find “some interesting things.” He also says that Aurora is on the outside of her 4-person alliance. He also pulls out his hidden immunity idol and says that he will play it for Julie tonight and vote for one of the other four. When Jeff asks Rick if his bravado is related to being voted out the first time, Rick says it definitely is. He went out too easy the first time, he says, and now he wants to do everything he can to better his position in the game.
The votes are read, Rick DOES NOT PLAY HIS IDOL (and, in case you are keeping track at home, neither does Lauren), and everyone but Aurora votes her out.
AND WHEN YOUR FIRE’S GONE, SO ARE YOU...OR ARE YOU?
Mary: I can’t pretend that I am at all sad that Aurora is gone. I think she’s come across as kind of rude, but that’s just my opinion. That being said, I think she’s a strong contender to return to the game, being the newest person on The Edge and probably the most recently well-fed. She’s also really great at challenges on even an off day! Will she give Joey Amazing a run for his money?
Todd: She definitely has a good shot, and she would make for an interesting person to return to the game. She has been playing for a long time and has connections--both good and bad--with everyone left in the game. Like, what would even happen if someone like Reem or Aubry returned at this point?
Mary: I’ve been saying it would be W I L D for Reem to get back in the game at this point, and would make her, honestly, a really strong contender. She’s mothered everyone on The Edge (from what we’ve seen) and kind of been the leader over there. She’s really stuck it out, and it would be awesome if she won (despite me not really liking her…).
Todd: It would certainly be an unforgettable winner, for good or bad. I have said this in person a lot over the last week, but Rick’s seeming ascension is giving me flashbacks to Ben from the Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers season a few years back, when the fire-making challenge at the final 4 was first introduced. It seemed, then, like a pretty bold-faced attempt by the producers to get a person with a sad story and basically no strategic play into the final 3. And because of the former (and the fact that his lack of strategic play meant he hadn’t really been at fault for a lot of the votes--he was just trying to stay in the game!), he handily won at the final tribal. I’m not saying Rick’s story is exactly the same, but it is reminiscent of it in ways that don’t sit right with me, and remembering Ben’s season helped coalesce a lot of the less-than-positive feelings I’ve had with Rick over the past few weeks, even as I continue to like him as a player.
Mary: I think if I’d seen Ben’s season, and seen the producers suddenly institute a fire making challenge, I’d be a lot more opposed to Rick’s rise as a favorite. Buuut, I haven’t seen it, so it’s easy for me to still cheer for Rick.
Todd: As much as it is possible to do so, it feels like Chris is getting “the winner’s edit” on The Edge. We have seen almost nothing of the last few people to get there, starting with Julia (the main exception being Wentworth, who we saw a little of), but we keep getting told and re-told about Chris’s desire to play the “perfect” game and how he screwed all of that up. Either the producers wanted a nice button to Chris’s mini-”learning-from-Survivor” arc or he is getting back into the game in the finale.
Mary: That’s interesting! I didn’t think about Chris getting that edit, but then again...I don’t think much about Chris. Lololol.
In his letter to himself, David says he’s a 44 year old child, and I don’t understand that AT ALL. He has a job, lives on his own, and seems to be in a committed relationship. Sooo? What are we using as the definition of childhood here? I get that American society has weird and shifting definitions of adulthood, but C’MON DAVID. Pls.
Todd: Yep, that is definitely a strange way to describe yourself, especially for someone who keeps talking about how Survivor has helped him grow and evolve. Not enough, apparently!
Also, Reem once again walks away with the quote of the episode. When Aurora, who is not known for her positivity, sarcastically calls her “Miss Positivity,” Reem responds, “It’s been a long 30-whatever-the-f*** days.” It really has, Reem, but soon your watch will be ended.
One last thing: Any bold predictions before next week’s finale? Who returns from The Edge? Who wins? Will they let the Jury shower?
Mary: I have the mildest predictions. I think Rick will win--there’s no reason he shouldn’t go to the end with his idol. You’re right that Chris could come back, especially since we see him so much on this episode. But wow...I don’t want him to come back. I’d love to see Lauren trick and athlete her way to the top, tbh. Or the wildest card---REEM!
Todd: Reem for life! I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that Aubry uses her advantage to its full extent and makes it back into the game only to be voted out again immediately. As for the final three? I say Julie definitely makes it, along with Gavin and Lauren. Lauren wins unanimously.
Who will be right? Who will be proven drastically wrong? FIND OUT NEXT WEEK ON…