Manu lost again, and after being voted out, Keith had to make a decision. Will he leave the game or join Reem at…the EDGE. OF. EXTINCTION! Let’s find out!
Mary: Over on the OTHER island, Reem is sitting quietly, staring off into the dark as weird tribal music plays. But then...Keith appears in a boat! Reem welcomes him, then launches into a confessional about how she now feels the need to mother Keith and stay in the game for him. REEM, PLEASE. Just because you are a mom doesn’t mean you have to be a mom to everyone! That being said, I do love her openness to helping Keith, but he shouldn’t be the only reason she’s saying in the game.
The next morning, Reem and Keith find bottles with their names on them, containing maps that tell about some “stairs” that lead...somewhere. After wandering around the island a bit, they find the steps and weakly walk up them. Keith sees them first and says, “We’re at the steps!” Reem responds, “ARE WE?!” I laughed, and completely feel her exhaustion coming through her words.
At the top of the steps is a reward of rice! Not a lot of rice, but still, something to sustain them. They’ll have to climb those steps every day to receive a tiny bit of rice, but at least they know how to get some food now. I’d be interested to see if--as more people come to the other island--a tiny society develops. I’m also curious when these people will be allowed to get back in the game.
Todd: That is the big questions hanging over all of Edge of Extinction. My guess would be at the Merge? (Based on the precedent of earlier seasons, especially Pearl Islands.) I am intrigued by the way Edge of Extinction seems to be working so far, and it will be interesting to see how the dynamic on the island shifts as it becomes more and more populated.
COME ON IN, GUYS!
Todd: We have our first reward-only challenge of the season! And it is a doozy. There are wheelbarrows and slingshots and pain! Let’s get into it.
When Manu comes in, Julia excitedly turns to Kama and says, “I knew it” about Keith being voted out. Nothing else to add about that, but it is a moment where Julia says something, so there’s that!
The winning tribe has the choice between “comfort” in the form of blankets or chickens, another Survivor staple that always seem to bring drama along with it.
For the first time all season, Manu does not seem woefully out-performed in this challenge, managing to construct a wheelbarrow and move it into a maze before Kama. However, Kama, led by Joe, unties their knots faster, and manages to move through the maze, gathering sandbags, faster than Manu.
At this point, however, Joe (along with Eric and Julie) have to switch out for Gavin, Aurora, Victoria, and Julia. While these players are all very capable, they are not Joey Amazing, and this is where Kama starts to fall behind. Led by Chris, Manu builds their catapult and Chris goes 4 for 4 before Julia can knock down more than 2 targets. MANU WINS. Finally! And for some reason RON CLARK decides not to use his aDvAnTaGe MeNu on what would be the last (and only) chance for him to steal a reward.
Look, I understand his rationale. He is saving it in case Kama loses the Immunity challenge, but still. Come on, RON CLARK!
Manu picks the chickens over the “comfort,” and everything seems great for the once-beleaguered tribe. But, as Wendy informs us as we go to commercial, she hurt her ankle and she is afraid what this could mean for her game moving forward.
Mary: I’ve gotta be honest, I felt PUMPED to see my tribe win something--anything--for once! I think picking the chickens is the smarter choice. Just think of all the eggs they could get! Of course, they immediately start talking about eating the chickens, which leads to some tribe drama we’ll get into momentarily. We also see the first glimpse of another big event this episode: Wendy’s ankle injury.
Also, how exciting was it to see Jeff reunited with one of his greatest loves--flags and raising flags!
Todd: The true love story of Survivor is Jeff and flags (and balls, of course).
CHICKENS COME HOME TO ROOST
Mary: Manu has chickens now. That’s a real thing that’s happening on this show, and I can’t help but remember many seasons ago when Shambo was in charge of chickens and released them into the wild on accident.
Well, this time Wendy wants to release chickens into the wild on purpose, and no one is down with that plan. Wendy, injured and sitting by the chickens, gets increasingly upset hearing her tribe mates talk about killing a rooster and eating it. She tries to get Rick to help her set them free, but he refuses--politely. “It was the most surprising part of my game so far, when Wendy asked me to be an accomplice in a jailbreak,” Rick says. You can tell he’s amused by the situation, and I admit I’m coming around on Rick! He seems like a nice guy.
This situation escalates as the episode goes on, but the groundwork is laid; Wendy wants those chickens free for rEaSoNs. We know she’s not a vegetarian. She eats meat at home because “those animals are already dead.” Uh...that’s not how farming works, Wendy!
Todd: Over at Kama, the tribe is sad they lost, but Victoria rightly points out that she is not too upset because they haven’t lost an immunity challenge yet. Still, any loss puts more of a light on the losing tribe, and Kama finally gets some DRAMA! Namely, there are 6 people (everyone except Aurora, Aubry, and Joe) aligned against the returning players.
Victoria and RON CLARK discuss their strategy regarding voting out Joe and Aubry, and then the camera moves over to reveal that JOE IS STANDING RIGHT BEHIND THEM. Victoria, I believe in you. I believe in your ability to be good at Survivor, but you have got to have more awareness of where everyone is at all times, especially if you are talking about them at that very moment.
Mary: I DIED laughing at this moment. The camera work is perfect here. Joe’s not in the shot, then he is. It’s honestly wonderful. Also, what is Joe even doing in the water?! He’s just sort of...digging around?
Todd: Seriously! Joe is clearly just eavesdropping. Joe says he and Aubry are at the bottom of the barrel, to which Victoria replies, “I don’t even think there is a barrel,” which is a non-answer of the highest degree. Joe tries to talk to Victoria and RON CLARK, who stonewall him. Then we see Joe and Aubry and Aurora talking about how they feel like they are in danger. Then, for the 2nd week in a row, we get an Aubry montage--this time of her looking for Hidden Immunity Idols, including footage from her past seasons. Aubry talks about how she needs to check getting a Hidden Immunity Idol off her Survivor checklist. Then, we see Aubry dig in a tree and pull something out. She’s in tears. The audience is in tears. She found the Hidden Immunity Idol!
“I’m so proud of myself,” Aubry says, and she should be! She has guaranteed another 3 days for herself and that is huge this early in the game.
COME ON IN, GUYS (AGAIN)
Todd: At the Immunity Challenge, Wendy’s foot is bandaged, and she looks like her ankle is in pain as she stands on the platform before the challenge, but she seems ready to perform. Julie doesn’t want to give Jeff the Immunity Idol back, and I guess that will be her main contribution to this episode, but it is feisty to be sure! Jeff chuckles and then gives the rundown of the challenge: 3 tribe members will be in a boat, 4 will pull the boat in the water. The tribe members in the boat must climb a ladder, jump and grab a key. They use the keys to open a chest which has puzzle pieces in it. The puzzle creates a ship’s wheel which, when spun, raises a tribe flag!
Immediately, this seems like a bad idea for Wendy, who has to help pull her tribe’s boat through the water, but if her ankle hurts her, it does not slow her down. The tribes are dead even, and Manu even manages to pull ahead up until they get to the puzzle. David, Kelley, and Lauren work on the puzzle for Manu, while Aubry, RON CLARK, and Julia work on it for Kama. Manu cannot figure out their ship’s wheel, which leads to Lauren becoming frustrated with everything that is happening and undoing someone else’s mistake. Kama, on the other hand, works well together and manages to raise their tribe’s flag. Manu is 0-3 in Immunity Challenges.
On the way out, David says that his Survivor Spidey-Sense is telling him to target Wentworth.
Mary: Didn’t Wendy kill it in that challenge, though?! I’m really happy she powered through, even with her messed up ankle.
I’LL SEE YOU TONIGHT
Mary: This is where things really go off the rails. Wendy announces in a confessional that if she’s going to go home anyway, she’s not going to let them eat the chickens. Cut to the camp, where the flint has mysteriously gone missing. Everyone immediately suspects Wendy, and...yeah, Wendy took it! She feels pretty triumphant about it, too. I still don’t fully understand why Wendy doesn’t want to eat the chicken, but whatever.
David and Rick go to talk to Wendy and ask her if she has the flint. They’re very nice about it, and she lies and tells them that she has no idea where the flint went. However, this chat gives them all a good opportunity to “talk shop.” They all agree to go after Kelley, and things seem settled. All they need is Chris.
Todd: Famous last Survivor words.
Mary: Unsurprisingly, things don’t go as planned. Chris IMMEDIATELY goes to Wardog, who he’s close with I guess? Wardog does NOT want to go after Kelley, so he makes the decision they should vote out Chris instead. Somehow, Rick gets caught in the middle of all of this. Wardog confides in Rick that he wants to vote Chris out, and Rick says, “I’m a villain now! I’ve been turned into a villain!” because he feels he’ll have to betray someone. Nah, Rick, you’re ok! This is just how the game is played.
Todd: Rick, you are not a villain. You are just a simple anchorman, standing in front of his tribe, asking them to vote out Wentworth...or Chris...or really anyone but him. Before they go to tribal, David has a devious little smirk on his face! He doesn’t think whoever gets voted out will take it kindly. You don’t say, David!
BECAUSE IN THIS GAME, FIRE REPRESENTS YOUR LIFE
Mary: Tribal is tense, as per usual. Manu doesn’t do well with hiding their emotions, I think, but this episode has a different sort of unease. No one really says what they mean, and they all dance around the topic at hand: who’s going home.
I’d like to note here that the music, with all it’s yelling and grunting, is still just a lot to handle.
Todd: Look, the music is very important! Music gonna music.
Mary: Wardog rightly notes that Wendy is kind of like him, and Jeff labels her the Warpup. It’s cute, but it warrants many eyerolls from the rest of the tribe. They’re all tired of Wendy’s newfound vegetarianism.
Todd: Rick rightly points out that voting people out based on strength hasn’t helped Manu over the last two tribal councils, so they should focus more on voting strategically.
Mary: Kelley makes a LOT of faces during this tribal. I say they look like mean faces, but Todd says they’re “done with this” faces. Probably some amount of it has to do with editing, but WOW. These faces. Eye rolling, mouth drawn into a tight line. David mentions something that alludes to the fact Kelley might be going home, and Kelley looks MAD. When Jeff asks her about it, she stumbles to respond, which is unusual. Wendy smiles through it all. Jeff turns to Rick and says, “WOW, Devens, this is fascinating!” OK, Jeff, reel it in! We know you love Rick!
Todd: Rick hopes that their complex strategic play can be an asset as they continue on in the game, since they have nothing else going for them.
Mary: I do agree that the amount of social configuration they’ve had to go through might be an asset to them once things get switched around next week. And look, they’re doing the best they can. They just don’t have Joe.
Todd: Yup. Hard to compete against Joey Amazing.
AND WHEN YOUR FIRE’S GONE, SO ARE YOU...OR ARE YOU?
Mary: Chris gets voted out, with only two votes for Kelley opposing him (his own vote and Wendy’s). When Chris gets to the signs pointing towards home or the edge of extinction, he says, “Screw those guys, I’m getting back in the boat” and walks towards the boat.
I’m curious what will happen with THREE people on the edge of extinction. I think Chris could be a real game changer there, because he seems to be pretty fit and useful camp-wise. He’s done a lot for Manu in terms of challenges, even if he didn’t help them win per se. It’s also a lot easier to build things and settle into a camp with three people instead of two.
Todd: It will also be interesting to see how he interacts with Reem and Keith, two people he voted for, but for whom he seemed to have little or no animosity. Will Keith’s vow to never vote against Chris come back in play? Or will Keith abandon it because its every person for themselves on the Edge of Extinction?
Todd: We got to see more of Kama, but fully half of that tribe is an utter mystery to me. As a fellow Tennessean, I want good things for Gavin, but he needs to do more than rock a pineapple shirt.
Mary: And also pineapple shorts, I think, or at least floral shorts. I’m very into Gavin’s brightly colored swim short look. It’s fun! Overall, I’m noticing more and more smart wardrobe decisions this season, and that’s a good thing. Swim shorts make a lot more sense than ragged underwear.
Todd: That is definitely true. You have to have versatile clothing decisions! Pieces that can go from day to night, from challenge to tribal council. It’s a Survivor must!
Mary: I mean, David does have a suit coat.I know you dislike Ron Clark, but I think I’m coming around on him. I don’t know why, but his dancing is kind of endearing.
Todd: Mostly, I am confused why RON CLARK did not even mention his aDvAnTaGe MeNu this episode. The premiere made it seem like it would only be good up to this point, so he found this advantage and just never used it? Then why show it to us in the first place, producers? (I’m betting he uses it as a fake later this season. That’s why!). Do you have any thoughts on this seemingly wasted opportunity, Mary?
Mary: I get why he doesn’t use it--it’d cause the rest of the tribe to focus in on him a bit and make him a potential target. There was no real reason to use it this go round, so why put a target on himself?
Todd: Totally. Also: chickens. Chickens always seem like a straightforward choice, but almost always someone has a problem with killing chickens. An understandable problem, usually. And while I don’t disagree with Wendy in this episode, she does herself no favors in her arguments for the chickens to live. Mostly, I just want people to remember that chickens can also lay eggs, and a consistent food source will probably be more useful than a one-time meal, no matter how tasty.
Next week: everything changes as two tribes become 3 and Chris joins Keith and Reem on the