The Lesu tribe (minus the returned Devens) convinced Julia, Gavin, and Victoria they were on the bottom of the Kama alliance (because Aurora, who is actually on the bottom, won immunity) and Eric the fireman was voted out before he got to the loved ones’ visit! Also, Aubry found an advantage! But without further ado, let’s dive into tonight’s episode of Survivor: Edge of Extinction!
I’M KIND OF GUTTED
Mary: Everyone’s a little shaken after Eric’s departure last episode. In this first bit of pre-challenge talking, I’m most interested in David and Rick (who I’m gradually accepting shall be called Devens). Last episode, the two had a bit of a rift growing between them, with Rick wanting to jump in with the Kama tribe and David insisting that they remain loyal to their old tribemates. Rick aptly pointed out that his old tribemates voted him off, but David wasn’t having it. At the beginning of this episode, the two seem to have patched up things a little--but out of necessity more than anything else. David and Rick both have half of what will make a whole immunity idol, and neither of them want to lose that--or their friendship. *cue awwwws*
We also get a peek at what’s happening over on Extinction Island. Eric says, bluntly, “I had a horrible night,” and like everyone else he acknowledges that the nature of Extinction Island gives you a lot of time to think and get inside your head to hyper analyze everything that’s happened to you so far. Things are still rough over on the island, but Chris caught a stingray, so I guess that’s fun.
Todd: The stingray did not look fun, but I imagine it is better than eating nothing or hiking a mile uphill to get a small cup of rice.
Back at the Vata camp, Julie is done with being blindsided and seems willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that never happens again. She talks to Rick, and they agree to ally themselves, along with David and RON CLARK. Julie voices some concerns about Julia, and then begins to break down, both in her confessional and during her conversation with David, Rick, and RON CLARK. It is an emotional moment, that is also perfectly understandable for Julie. I was side-eyeing her a little at this point, because it seems like she only really got affected when she was on the bottom of the game rather than in a power position, as she had been up to that point. Still, it is a perfectly understandable response, especially when the lack of real sleep or food is factored in.
COME ON IN, GUYS
Todd: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the castaways have to balance a ball on a wooden bow while balancing on a beam that gets narrower each round. You have heard me? Well, that makes sense, since David even competed in this challenge before. When Jeff asks how it went the last time, David replies: “Not well for me!”
The challenge starts and Jeff is laying it on thick about how this would normally be a nice day in Fiji but instead everyone is hot and sweaty and having to balance, and then Wardog almost immediately goes out. It is becoming almost impressive how bad Wardog is at every single challenge. Then, Julie drops, followed by RON CLARK, Rick, Aurora, and Victoria.
Mary: I’d never seen this challenge before, and it didn’t go at all how I expected it to! I thought that Lauren would probably do well, or maybe Victoria--because both of them have done good in endurance challenges like this--but no! Gavin came out of nowhere and won. It felt kind of anticlimactic to me because Gavin didn’t seem in any real danger this week, but that’s OK. Mostly, I was happy my prediction that Wardog would drop first was correct.
Todd: Mmhmm. Also, while it was not as dramatically satisfying to have Gavin win--as a David win would have certainly thrown the camp into even more chaos--it was still a nice moment for Gavin.
I’LL SEE YOU TONIGHT
Mary: When the group returns to camp, everyone immediately splits up, no pretenses. The groups switch around and switch around, which gives David and Rick a chance to chat up everyone and attempt to get a plan going. We get a nice sequence of Rick giving a similar speech to everyone: let’s vote out Kelley and break up the “Lesu three.” Meanwhile, many of the old Kama members want to vote out David. It’s confusing, with everyone running around and telling different things to different people.
Todd: Rick’s pitch to Julia, Gavin, and Victoria gave me flashbacks to Wardog doing the same thing last week. And honestly, that is kind of exciting but also shows that while Gavin or Julia might feel like they are in the “pilot seat,” they are easily swayed by whoever made the last pitch to them.
At one point, Lauren pitches voting out RON CLARK to Julia, because he has long been the leader of the Kama Cult (or Kult?), but Julia is not so certain of this plan. Really, that was just a fun moment for Lauren, who keeps rising in my estimation from week to week. At the same time, RON CLARK is just asking to be a passenger for Kama, so that he won’t go home that week and it is a sad sight to behold. RON CLARK has quickly fallen from a mustache-twirling villain to a very sad side-player, but I suspect this won’t be the last we see of RON CLARK the mastermind.
Mary: Awkwardly, the group falls silent once they determine who they’re voting for. There’s an extremely tense dinner scene where everyone is eating their tiny portions of rice, and it’s just...silent. After dinner, Victoria annoyingly scrapes a pot while everyone else just sits. SO TENSE. No one feels great going into tribal.
And this is where Todd and I started wondering, hey, why are we going to tribal so EARLY?! Almost half of the show was left by the time everyone grabbed their torch and walked down to vote. BUT OH, we were in for a treat!
THE LONGEST TRIBAL EVER
Todd: We get the Tribal Council/Night 23 chyron around the 35 minute mark, and that is the first sign that tribal is going to be wild! The jury enters, with Eric, and we are off to the races. The first question we see is to Julie, who says that after last tribal, she doesn’t trust anyone anymore. Aurora talks about how it is important to leave people out when putting together a blindside, which immediately piques Wardog’s interest, who now feels like he might have been a “passenger on their plan.” Kelley agrees and says she feels like the Kama group might have gotten back together because of how everyone acted at camp all day. This is a good moment for Kelley who shows that she is not merely strategic but also that she is paying attention to what is happening around her.
Mary: David makes a bananas analogy where he tells a story about seeing some minnows swimming in the ocean, but then a shark comes by and eats some of them. Jeff nods and listens, but when David’s done, he asks, “So did that really happen?” David says it did, but he was actually pooping. Jeff turns to Rick and asks, “Are you the shark or the minnow?” Rick responds, “I might be the poop.” I have never laughed so hard at tribal. Rick continues to bring humor in a deft, fun way, and I hope he stays around to keep being funny. I also suspect he’s craftier than we think!
Todd: That seems true! This also confirms what many Survivor fans have long known: the castaways use the ocean as a toilet. What I’m saying is: if you’re in Fiji, avoid the water! After this, Julie breaks down, and while Julie is crying, she lets slip that she isn’t sure if she can trust the plan. Kelley, not knowing about this plan presumably, turns to Julia and asks if they’re good, to which Julia says they’re good. Rick puts forth a plan that the Lesu 5 could vote with Julie and RON CLARK, since they would have the majority with 7 votes, and then things really go off the rails.
Mary: I felt completely overwhelmed by this tribal. Everyone was walking around, talking about who they wanted to vote out openly. It felt more honest than it ever felt before, but also WOW. It’s stressful! Julia really showed her true colors during this meeting, trying to plot with others, but failing to do so covertly and snapping at anyone who questioned her motives. She’s just not great at lying, I think. The group chats, swaps around, and Jeff just looks super pleased the whole time.
Todd: He literally leans back and just enjoys the show! Meanwhile, the Edge of Extinctioneers are gasping, and at one point Joe says, “Where’s the popcorn?” It was all very entertaining, and very stressful as well. At one point Victoria openly says they were voting for David, and when David says “I’m right here!”, Victoria just shrugs and says, “Whatever man. This is like a mess now.”
Mary: It WAS a mess. A big ole mess. To sum up how I feel about it, I will quote Ron Clark who, in voting, sighed really big and said “LORDT!”
Todd: I think this episode might have made me feel...bad?...for RON CLARK? Of all people?
Mary: I mean, he was very sad! I felt bad for him, too, although I’d argue that it’s easy to feel sad and bad for yourself when things aren’t going your way. If his plans were still working, Ron would be singing a very different tune. I don’t think we should feel TOO bad for him.
Todd: Oh, certainly not. But the needle has, at least for now, begun to swing the other way. Very. Slowly.
Mary: One more thing I have to mention here is that this tribal had a lot of talk about being a pilot versus being a passenger. At one point, Julia accuses Rick of being a “passenger” (and says it like such an insult), but he later insists his stirring everyone into a “live” tribal was him making a move to “be a pilot.”
AND WHEN YOUR FIRE’S OUT YOU GO TO EDGE OF EXTINCTION PROBABLY, LOOK, THIS SEASON IS CRAZY
Todd: At one point, when it seems like things have settled down, Wardog says, as he is wont to do, “Let’s vote!” And Julia says, snappily, “Shut up, Wardog!”
Mary: I mean, I was with Wardog for once. Yes, let’s vote!
Todd: Mmhmm. And they do! And basically everyone (except Aurora and Julia) votes for Julia. Devens and David reunite their idol to play for David, with Devens saying they don’t want to have any secrets when they get back to camp. At the same time, Lauren and Kelley don’t play their idols AGAIN, in a vote that certainly seemed, at least to me, that their names had a high chance of being written down. Good on them for being able to read the tribal council correctly.
Mary: It’s wild that they haven’t played those idols yet! But also, it seems to be working for them!
As the votes roll in, it becomes clear that Julia is going to get voted out. After yelling at Wardog and being straight up rude and sneaky to everyone, she walks over, gets her flame snuffed out, then turns to the rest of the survivors to...give a speech? She tells them that they need to take care of themselves and, more importantly, take care of each other. Is that...normal? Giving a little speech to everyone? I mean...WHY. She also went from mean to nice SO QUICKLY.
Todd: Usually people just say, Good job, or something short like that. Occasionally people might say more, but to move so quickly from “Shut up, Wardog!” and “I’m pissed!” to “The light in me recognizes the light in you” is a little much.
Mary: OOF--it really was. Julia, like everyone else, heads off to Extinction Island.
Todd: When Gavin wins Immunity, he tells Jeff that he has been dreaming about that moment for a long time. Jeff, obviously not sensing the trap he is walking into, asks how long he’s been dreaming of it, to which Gavin says, “Since I was 8.” And once again, I have to wonder how that makes Jeff “I Will Never Die” Probst feel?
Also, David is the king of analogies this week, with his poop-minnows and his Survivor Spidey-Sense. Even if David gets voted out soon, he has proven that he is great at giving Survivor confessionals.
Mary: Love it. That’s honestly a great way to describe it. A little feeling that lets you know something is up! And hey, his Spidey-Sense wasn’t wrong!
Todd: Another great David moment is when, in the chaos that was Tribal Council, he taps Kelley on the shoulder and says, “Hi! Remember me?” and then asks her what the plan for that night was, to which Kelley responds, “You.” It was a very honest, human moment between two old Survivor pros in the midst of a lot of amateurish play from the (all-new) Kama players.
Mary: He had a menacing, gleeful look and it was great.
I’ve said this many times before, but I want to know who has the job of Sharpie decorator for voting. Someone has to lovingly craft a little wooden case for the markers they all vote with, and this season it seems bigger than ever.
Thanks for tuning in this week! Join us again next week on the EDGE