Hey everyone! We missed last week because we were SO SHOCKED by that TWIST (j/k, but welcome back Devens!). In other events, Joe did not win the immunity challenge (Julie won! You go Julie!), and instead of trying to convince the Kama 6 not to vote him out, he painted a phoenix on the merged tribe’s new flag. And then, Joe was voted out! But he immediately went to the Edge of Extinction. If you have other thoughts on that episode, or any Survivor thoughts, leave them in the comments section below, but without further ado, let’s jump into this week’s episode of...Survivor!
JUST GOTTA KEEP IT ALL TOGETHER
Todd: The Vata tribe returns from tribal council and has lots of questions about the jury and what that means for the future of Edge of Extinction Island. Aurora says there were two idiots: Joe and her, and she will go wherever the numbers are. Her allegiance to Kama is completely dead now.
Meanwhile, RON CLARK is convinced that he “saved” David and Rick, and thus deserves there undying love. I am less convinced. RON CLARK’s strategy, however, is sound: he wants to create a chasm between the old Lesu members so they will not bind together and vote Kama members out.
And the Lesu trio of Wardog, Kelley, and Lauren are all pretty dejected as they go over exactly what happened at tribal. They know they are on the bottom and the only path forward is for them to bring David and Devens back in and possibly add Aurora. Wardog is willing to go to rocks because they are going home anyway.
Over on the Edge of Extinction Island, Joe is just trying to keep it all together. There are shots of Joe sitting on the beach with tears in his eyes, and it is honestly very moving. It is tough to see Joe struggling, but kudos to him for not just trying to bury his emotions.
Mary: Poor Joe. I felt really bad for him! I’m also SO CONFUSED at how Ron Clark has suddenly become a mastermind (or at least in his own opinion of himself). It seems like he came out of nowhere. There were so many episodes of him dancing and having fun with Kama and now he wants to be all manipulative and cuthroat.
Also, still loving the drama of going to rocks. It’s just such a wild phrase.
THIS MIGHT BE FAST, BUT I LOVE YOU GUYS
Mary: The reward challenge involved two teams getting a long stack of puzzle pieces off of a crow’s nest, then swimming over to a puzzle board and putting them together. Wardog, Eric, Devens, Julia, and Victoria won a prize of Chinese food, and WOW did I feel called out by Jeff, who said, “It’s just like a Wednesday night at home watching Survivor with takeout!” OK, Jeff, maybe I got Chinese food for dinner, and maybe I ate it while watching Survivor, but there’s no need to CALL ME OUT LIKE THAT. The winners eat up their prize and talk about how yummy it tastes while the losers sit nearby and Kelley says, “We haven’t won anything.”
Todd: RON CLARK is happy that Kelley and Lauren didn’t win, as he wants them to be weak for the immunity challenge so that his alliance can vote one of them out. Around this point, my Spidey-sense started tingling and I kept looking over at Mary and saying, “RON CLARK is about to be hoisted on his own petard!”
At one point, Rick says, “This might be fast, but I love you guys,” which is a funny joke in the moment but turns out to be more true as the episode progresses. A nice bit of foreshadowing there by the producers.
Mary: WHAT FORESHADOWING!
Lauren talks about how hungry she is, and how she feels like she’s potentially cursed. The edit shows her crying a little bit, I think to make her seem more vulnerable as a bit of a hint at what’s in store for her later in the episode. That being said, her feelings are completely valid. It’s true that Lauren hasn’t won anything throughout the challenges, and it’s not for her lack of trying. Later in the episode, Victoria identifies her as one of the most physical players there. Lauren hasn’t been eating (if she’s still getting sick on rice), and she’s presumably weak. She’s still kicking butt at challenges, though! I would’ve cried, too.
Todd: One of these producers was paying attention during their sophomore English course (foreshadowing!). And yeah, it sucks that Lauren got stuck on tribes opposite Joey Amazing, otherwise, I am sure her prowess at challenges would be more notable. Still, if she keeps surviving tribal councils, she will be able to show her skills in these individual challenges.
Elsewhere, Kelley and David bury the hatchet, realizing that they have to stick together to have any chance of surviving the next vote. This is intercut with Aurora talking to RON CLARK, and asking why she wasn’t included in the last vote. She clearly feels like she is not truly a part of the Kama alliance, and she’s not wrong! Kelley and David decide they have to bring in Aurora and Devens with the old Lesu alliance and try to get one of the Kama out, assuming that Kama will split their vote.
Later, RON CLARK tells Eric that he talked to Aurora and she just cried and cried, and man the editors were really putting a villain edit on RON CLARK tonight. But also: what a mean thing to say!
Mary: Boy, Ron Clark is competing for the biggest jerk award, isn’t he?
Wardog approaches Rick and they talk about a possible alliance. Rick says (logically, IMO) that he doesn’t want to have an alliance with the people who voted him out literal days ago. The best part of this interaction is that when directly confronted with his actions, Wardog stands with his mouth open in shock. Rick says in a confessional, “Don’t come out here and Wardog at me! Don’t yell at me!” RIGHT?! No one needs a Wardog in their life yelling at them hypocritically. Wardog wants to think he’s a mastermind but he’s really not.
Todd: Wardog may not be a mastermind, but he is thinking more logically. I totally get where Rick is coming from here, but as a fan I want him to side with the underdogs!
Mary: I guess a key component of the argument that I left out was that Wardog said Rick was playing with his emotions, and...maybe? But look! Those emotions are valid! They did him dirt!
Todd: Definitely! After this conversation, David sits down with Rick, and very portentously states, “You always remember one conversation in Survivor, and we’re gonna remember this one.” OK, cool it, David! Although, he may not be wrong. David lays out the plan that he and Kelley had worked out earlier to break up the Kama alliance, but then Rick says he doesn’t want to break up the Kama alliance, he wants to join it. My heart sank at this moment. I like David and Rick, and I liked them working together as allies. At this moment, David refuses to give Devens the other half of the idol back because Rick is thinking too much with his head. It’s sad!
Mary: I was sad, too. But all alliances must come to an end. At least they don’t seem to hate each other.
Over on Extinction Island, the gang gets a clue that there’s something hidden on the island. Reem, as she often does, complains that she had been planning to take a nap. They all begin to scour the island for an advantage, but Aubry is the first to find it. She doesn’t tell anyone, though, and heads to the secret practice area on her own. Additionally, Aubry finds an advantage that allows her to grant an additional vote to a tribe member. Her decision to keep it all secret is very much in line with the way Aubry has been playing so far, and it’s smart, frankly. I wonder, though, if when everyone else came up empty handed they suspected something. Aubry begins to practice with some rope contraption on her own.
COME ON IN GUYS
Todd: The Immunity Challenge is a standard stamina-off, this time with the survivors having to balance a block against a wooden beam with only their head. The twist is they have to do so on tiptoe! Everyone is put into a specially sized frame that they are not allowed to touch and the challenge begins!
And almost immediately Wardog is out, followed by basically everyone until we get down to David, Lauren, Aurora, and Victoria. All of these contestants seem strong, and 25 minutes elapse. At one point, Lauren says that she feels dizzy, and it certainly seems at this point as if Jeff cannot hear her but the microphones are picking up her words as she continues to get dizzy and at one point appears to momentarily black out and then catch herself. Then, David falls off.
And then things take a turn for the worse. Lauren says she cannot see anything and that she is about to blackout, and she falls off her frame, unconscious. Doctor Joe and the medical staff are called in and there are a few moments when everything is legitimately scary (though less so, I imagine, if you follow Lauren on social media).
Mary: This is not a super uncommon experience, especially considering that most of them had their legs locked. I go to barre 2-3 times a week and have definitely almost passed out before, so I’m not shocked Lauren did pass out after being on her toes AND not eating. What was wild for me was that Jeff WAITED to call the med team until she actually fell off the frame. There are a lot of factors here, and we don’t really know how it all happened (because editing is MAGIC), but the edit makes it seem like Jeff could’ve called the med team when Lauren clearly said, “I can’t see anything. I’m going to black out.”
Todd: While this is all happening, Victoria and Aurora ARE STILL ON THEIR FRAMES, and Aurora is asking Victoria to step down to help win over Aurora’s trust after the last vote. Aurora makes a last-ditch offer--basically the only offer she has--that she feels like she is at the bottom (because she is). Victoria is unmoved (literally), and Julie is appalled that Aurora would try to win immunity while Lauren is unconscious. And while I understand Julie’s feelings, I also understand Aurora wanting to win immunity to try to prolong her game a little longer. Realistically, Victoria does not need to win immunity, and Aurora could very well feel like she has to win after her only ally got voted out last week.
Mary: When Lauren wakes up, her response instantly made me love her (a complete flip from my previous dislike of her). Jeff walks over and tells her, “You passed out,” to which she responds, “I’m embarrassed.” Jeff tells her that she’s a warrior, that she’s strong, and she just says, “I’m embarrassed!” She then follows up with, “I’M GREAT.” But you know, it’s really sarcastic in a beautiful way. Lauren is now the best. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.
Todd: The challenge continues and while Aurora’s pleas don’t persuade Victoria, Victoria wobbles and her block falls, and Aurora “earns” her immunity as Jeff says. This is very exciting for Aurora, who has a pretty good episode in an episode full of previously anonymous players stepping into the sunlight. You go, Aurora!
I'LL SEE YOU TONIGHT
Todd: Aurora is excited to have the immunity necklace, and when she gets back to camp she discovers that she also has an extra vote! “Thank you Joe, or Aubry, or whoever,” she says. This is a pretty smart move on Aubry’s part, since Aurora is most likely to be a free agent and thus most likely to sow chaos with her extra vote.
Mary: I don’t particularly like Aurora, and feel like she’s mostly been a nonentity in the game so far, but I did cheer for her when she both won AND got an extra vote. What a nice confidence boost!
Todd: Totally! At this point, the strategy talk kicks into full gear. The Kama “7” are weirdly obsessed with the loved ones’ visit, which we soon discover is a tactic that RON CLARK is using to keep everyone in Kama passive. He is using it like a lure to make sure that everyone votes the way he wants, and honestly this is one of the weirder things I have seen on Survivor? But also, Kama seems very easily manipulated by emotional appeals.
Mary: In a confessional, Eric says that he and Ron (Todd: RON CLARK!) have “craftily” obtained votes and trust from the rest of the Kama tribe. Todd, please explain this brilliant craftiness.
Todd: Well, you see, Mary. Eric “craftily” landed on a beach with 8 strangers, including Aubry and Joe. Then, he “craftily” let Joe carry Kama to win EVERY SINGLE IMMUNITY CHALLENGE PRE-MERGE. Then, he “craftily”--no, screw it. THERE IS NOTHING CRAFTY ABOUT THIS ERIC. It is literally the most basic Survivor strategy in the book. In Borneo, Richard Hatch came up with the idea to vote along tribal lines, and he decimated his opposing tribe one-by-one. This is not a new plan, and you did not craftily acquire anything. You simply all existed, more or less, on the same beach for 17 straight days and then, when it was convenient, you voted out the returning players who might throw a wrench into your “craftily acquired” alliance. And then you voted out the one player who helped you assemble this alliance, leaving him, poor Joe, to stare sadly at the horizon and cry. WHAT IS CRAFTY ABOUT THAT, ERIC?
At this point, Wardog talks to Julia and Gavin and lays out a pretty compelling argument that the older members of the Kama alliance are using David and Rick as goats to bring along with them and then use to vote out the younger alliance members--namely, Julia, Victoria, and Gavin. It is a pretty nice use of editing to show Wardog laying out his case to both Julia and Gavin in what appears to be the same location, and once again, Wardog shows himself to be the consummate strategist. He’s playing 4-dimensional chess while everyone else is playing chess.
To test Wardog’s theory, Julia floats to Eric the idea of voting out David or Rick tonight. Eric shuts it down, and Julia seems convinced that Wardog was right. She talks to Gavin about voting out either Eric or RON CLARK. Initially, Gavin seems to want to vote out RON CLARK (probably due to his early alliance with Eric). They pitch the idea to Victoria, but she seems hesitant. She thinks it is too early to make this kind of move.
Meanwhile, Lauren and Kelley are contemplating what to do if they have to play their idols. They agree that they will just have to find the idols again when they are put back into play.
IN THIS GAME, FIRE REPRESENTS YOUR LIFE
Mary: Tribal seems pretty typical to me, honestly. There’s a lot of veiled talk about alliances and Wardog seems particularly frustrated that he doesn’t have any buds (like David and Rick). It’s true, though, that Kama can’t stay together forever, and I’m not sure that a “civil war” is really a great idea for them.
Rick talks a little bit more about how he wants to be with Kama, though it seems like while they accept him, they’re not exactly letting him in on their official Kama meetings. It’s clear that everyone is divided at this point, whether they know it or not. No matter how much Kama talks about being together, we known from secret conversations that there are outliers in the group!
Todd: At one point, Eric brings up the loved ones’ visit again, and Wardog quickly claps back, saying “Are we playing for $1 million or playing to get to our loved ones?”
David hates to say that he agrees with Wardog, but David, using a favorite Survivor analogy, talks about how everyone needs a résumé. He says there are a lot of people at the tribal council with blank papers “that read 44 44 Edge of Extinction Drive.” A very solid résumé burn from David.
As the votes are about to be read, Lauren and Kelley do not use their idols! Ah!
Mary: All the emphasis on the loved one’s visit makes me think, you know, they volunteered to be here. They wanted to come play the game. It’s not like they’ve been forcibly separated from their loved ones, and while it’s nice to get a visit after not seeing loved ones for a while, and while it might be specifically sweet considering they’ve experienced emotional highs and lows, Wardog is absolutely right that the game is for the ultimate prize, not a visit.
AND WHEN YOUR FIRE’S GONE, SO ARE YOU...OR ARE YOU?
Mary: Bye bye, Eric. I can’t say I’m going to miss you, but I also can’t say I’m celebrating as much as I would have if Ron had gotten voted out. But don’t worry, Ron, your time is coming. Of course, Eric, like everyone else so far, picks up the new torch and heads to the EDGE OF EXTINCTION!
Todd: Yep. I doubt anyone will choose not to go to Edge of Extinction Island at this point, and Eric makes his decision without hesitating.
When he gets to Edge of Extinction, Eric says, “This is better than I thought it’d be.” To which Reem quickly replies, “Dude, don’t get excited.” Reem, never change.
Mary: The biggest thing I struggled with this episode is wondering about Lauren’s choice of bra/swimsuit top. Why why why would you CHOOSE to bring a push up underwire ANYTHING to a remote island? Is looking good that big of a priority? Why not bring a sports bra? I spent most of the episode wondering if it was a Victoria’s Secret swimsuit top or just a bra. Ugh. Think of how long all that padding takes to dry out.
Todd: I know I complain about him a lot, but does RON CLARK know how to eat? He really seemed to struggle with the rice.
Mary: He does not! It’s not clear if he was laughing or just bad at eating, but he definitely had a whole bite of rice just fall out of his mouth at one point.
Also, Joe’s hair is wonderful and I am completely jealous of it. When he walked into tribal with it swept over to the side *chef kiss*
Todd: Joe’s hair looked great, and he looked so mad when he walked into tribal, rightfully so.
I am glad that Kelley and David were able to bury the hatchet, and sad that Rick is still holding a grudge against Lesu. I get it, but this game is all about letting that stuff go, Rick! Come on!
Also, interestingly, in an episode where it seems that one of the earliest alliances, David and Rick, has been dissolved, another Day 1 Alliance goes down in flames when my Tennessee boy Gavin votes out his buddy Eric.
Mary: During the immunity challenge, Aurora mutters under her breath that the “skinny girls” are winning. Um, Aurora, I don’t know if you’ve seen yourself, but you too are a skinny girl. Also, weight doesn’t always have anything to do with strength. UGH.
See you next week on the