The Vata tribe, led by Wardog, decided to get rid of the returning players once and for all (Edge of Extinction notwithstanding), sending David “My Brand is Loyalty” Wright and Kelley “Wentworth” Wentworth to the Edge of Extinction. Will those decisions put a target on Wardog’s back now that he seems to be in charge? And will RON CLARK go full villain and throw all the rice into the ocean? Probably not, but let’s find out in this recap!
HE TALKED TO ME LIKE A DOG
Mary: The group comes back from tribal reeling, and we spend the first part of the episode processing Kelley’s abrupt dismissal from Vata. Again, I contend that voting Kelley out isn’t all that surprising at all, but whatever. Wardog and Gavin talk a bit, and Gavin says that he wished he would’ve been in on Kelley’s “blindside.” Wardog responds it’s easy to say you wanted be in on it after the vote has already happened. Gavin then says, repeatedly, that Wardog talked to him “like a dog.” Ron Clark is shocked at this for some reason.
Todd: There is a lot of Wardog-ing at the beginning of this episode, and it seems to rub everyone the wrong way. Lauren admits that she wants to get revenge on Wardog for Kelley, and Gavin says that Wardog has burned a bridge by the way he has treated him. It is almost impressive how early the episode seems to forecast that Wardog will be the next boot, before taking many twists and turns throughout the rest of the episode.
RON CLARK talks to Julie, who seems fine with the way RON CLARK voted, and they solidify their own alliance. At the same time, Rick meets with Wardog and RON CLARK, calling themselves the obvious threats and basically saying that if they vote any of them out, it will result in their own destruction. They all agree to vote out Aurora.
Mary: I want you to start considering that Ron Clark could win this game. He’s playing smarter than we’ve given him credit for!
Todd: Slander! I will not hear such vile calumnies, Mary!
COME ON IN GUYS
Mary: I just want to start by saying, when we got to this challenge I immediately asked Todd, “How is Wardog going to mess this one up?”
Todd: And boy did he! The challenge involves swimming and Wardog almost immediately slips off the platform and sort of flops into the water. He then starts swimming toward the wrong platform before his teammates yell at him to swim the other way. This gave me a lot of flashbacks to all the Manu and Lesu challenges that basically consisted of Lauren yelling at Wardog for being very bad.
Coincidentally, the teams for this reward challenge consist of basically, the remaining original Manu members plus Julie, and the remaining Kama members. Fun!
Somehow, despite Aurora continuing to prove how great she is at challenges, the “blue team,” as Jeff calls them, pull out a victory, and Wardog, Rick, Lauren, and Julie get to enjoy mudbaths and some nice food!
Gavin doesn’t mind, though, because he sees this as an opportunity to grow his bond with RON CLARK, Victoria, and Aurora.
LISTEN, DUDE! KARMA!
Mary: Shocker, Reem does NOT like that Kelley is now on the Edge of Extinction (or as Kelley calls it, “The Edge”). Reem lays into Kelley, telling her she ruined her Survivor experience. To Reem, Kelley getting voted out is karma. Hm...I’m not so sure about this. Reem has given us a lot of takes like this throughout the season. She’s basically set up shop on the Edge of Extinction to gripe at people for her getting voted out early, but really, she was always going to get voted out early. Even though one of my favorite players (Shambo!) was an older woman, it’s common knowledge--for better or worse--that older women tend to get voted out immediately. If you’re a “motherly” older woman, you might be on the way out even faster. It makes sense that people voted Reem out. Also, she’s a little bit abrasive in how she chooses to mother people, which can feel annoying, I’m sure.
Shortly after, we get a great shot of Reem walking up to a sunbathing Kelley and telling her, “You’ve been out here for a while!” before shepherding her back to camp and shade.
Kelley says she has time to reflect while on the Edge and that makes sense. She’s regretting some of her choices and she’s sad that she got voted out and, like she mentions, there’s no food to mask the hurt of being cast off. This is a very different Kelley than who we saw at the beginning of the season, and I like this one better for sure.
Todd: Oh yeah, this is the Kelley from previous seasons, who is much more relatable than the overly-idolized “Wentworth” that has been on display throughout much of this season. This feeling of dejectedness is captured well, I think, when Joe and Kelley talk about the ways that this Survivor experience has brought them both low. “I have not had one fun day here,” Kelley tells Joe. They share a hug, and then when Aubry approaches, Joe says, “Give her an Aubs!” Which correlates to Aubry bear-hugging Kelley, which then becomes a big group hug for the younger returning players on The Edge.
Mary: And here we are, calling it the Edge now after we said we hated it!
I DESERVE $2 MILLION
Mary: This is honestly one of my favorite parts of the show, where the group waffles around camp and talks about who they should vote off next. There are two camps setting up here: one group that wants to vote out Wardog and one group that wants to vote out Aurora.
The group that lost the challenge sits around, trying to make the best of it by soaking coconut in coffee (is that good? IDK) and plotting to vote Rick out. They all agree to vote out Rick, who they see as a huge threat in the game (huge turnaround from the beginning!). In an aside, Ron gives Aurora her extra vote advantage back. His reasoning is sound; he can lure her in by letting her think he’s on her side, then blindside her later.
Then Aurora starts getting on Ron’s nerves by telling him he should only cook one cup of rice, no more. This is a CLASSIC Survivor argument that I love. Food is such a comfort thing, and I understand that the losers of the challenge want to feel better about not winning a delicious meal, but you gotta conserve your rice! Ron then sets up an argument against Aurora by saying she’s extremely annoying, and that, if he won the game at this point he’d deserve TWO million dollars instead of one because he’d have put up with Aurora for that long. To be honest, I don’t love Aurora either, but probably because, as she says herself, she’s a drama queen. Then again, maybe I need to to reassess my biases about why I think women need to be friendly or nice.
Todd: Reassess those biases, Mary!
At the reward challenge, Rick and Wardog slather mud all over each other’s bodies, while Lauren and Julie also help each other with the mud. Wardog and Rick joke about wanting to do this for a while, and Wardog says, “Nothing better than having Devens rub mud on me,” to which Devens replies, “Heaven is having mud rubbed on you by Wardog.”
Devens is more than happy to use this reward as just a reward, mostly because he thinks that Lauren and Julie are not playing a strategic game. “They’re not in the driver’s seat and they seem fine with that,” he says, over footage of him and Wardog showering. Meanwhile, over in the Dramatic Irony Pool, Lauren and Julie strategize about the need to take Rick out next. They both say they trust each other and they want to work together. Julie wants to vote out Wardog because she sees him as a big threat, but Lauren thinks that Rick is the bigger threat and isn’t sure about voting Wardog out first!
Mary: I think we should all take a moment to remember Mike White on his reward challenge, poking around for a hidden immunity idol with his glass of wine in hand. You always have to be working, even if you’re on a holiday, Rick!
COME ON IN, AGAIN, GUYS!
Mary: I’d also like to note that at the beginning of this challenge, I turned and said, “Wouldn’t it be crazy if Rick won again?”
Todd: This is another Survivor tradition: a person is discussed as a big threat who has to go home for the whole episode, and then that person wins the immunity challenge. This one was quite a doozy though. The castaways have to cross over 4 wooden A-frames while holding a buoy without touching the ground. Then they have to get another buoy through a net obstacle and finally they have to grab the last buoy and crawl under a rope net. Then, they must unlock their puzzle with one of the keys from their 3 buoys. At first, Aurora gets a big lead, but then Rick catches up with her. By the time they get to the puzzle (which is shaped like a star and looks pretty difficult), everyone seems to be at around the same place. Aurora says, “I hate puzzles,” but makes pretty good work of the puzzle. However, she cannot top the Kool-Aid Man himself, who wins yet another immunity challenge and yells “La Cheeserie” when he finishes the puzzle.
Mary: According to Twitter, La Cheeserie is a reference to a sports thing. I honestly do not care. It was a weird thing to say, Rick. That being said, I kept screaming it throughout the rest of the episode.
I’M BANKING ON STUPIDITY TONIGHT
Mary: Before we even START this segment, there’s a lot of B-roll of sharks eating fish and such, which we know bodes ill for what’s about to come. Rick and Wardog go to get water, and the rest of the group seems invested in voting out Wardog. It is WILD that Rick won another immunity challenge, but also exciting, because the group that wanted to vote him out now has to make a new plan. In a confessional, Wardog says that if the group is smart, they’ll vote him out, but that he’s “banking on stupidity.” Wardog should KNOW by now that people are not DUMB in Survivor!
Todd: Wardog’s quote here all but seals his fate. If there is anything Survivor loves more than secret advantages and well-played hidden immunity idols, it is someone hoisting themselves with their own petard, and by the end of the episode, Wardog was well and truly hoisted. He tries to convince Julie to vote out Aurora, but Julie isn’t sure she can trust him after the last vote (despite her being able to trust RON CLARK, probably because they have been allied together longer). Lauren and Julie talk, but they still aren’t sure what they should do (or at least that’s what the editors want us to think). Lauren says she would love to get revenge for Kelley but she isn’t sure if that’s what is best for her game. “If I don’t look toward the future...then I won’t have a future,” she says. Aurora thinks, at this point, everyone left in the game is a threat, and while she’s not wrong, there are definitely different threat levels being displayed by each of these players.
IN THIS GAME, FIRE REPRESENTS YOUR LIFE
Mary: In tribal, Gavin is still mad that Wardog hasn’t talked to him enough, or that he talked to him like a dog. *sigh* For me personally, this wasn’t an exciting tribal. It’s clear that everyone’s on edge right now, paranoid about everyone else in the game--and with good reason, to be honest. My favorite part of tribal was when Jeff makes up an elaborate ball metaphor for no reason. Is this a more recent thing, everyone making up these huge metaphors? David’s done it a lot and we see it again at this tribal.
Todd: It does feel weirdly like a way to make a name for yourself, at this point, is to create a metaphor that then catches on with other people. It reminds me of a creative writing workshop, where you feel really good if someone takes your idea for a poem or story and then runs with it, and less good if someone just moves on without commenting on what you just said. You want to be a “pilot” of the tribal conversation, not simply a “passenger.”
Also, there is a lot of discussion of “threats” in this tribal. And some players say that everyone sitting on the jury was a threat to win, and while I appreciate the idea of that, I am not sure that Reem or Julia or even Chris and Eric were ever really threats. Sorry, guys!
At one point, Wardog says that he and RON CLARK voted out Kelley last week and RON CLARK’s eyes go wide, but then he admits that it’s true. Jeff, rightly, points out that all of the players are trying to play to the jury. This is a common occurrence, but it really seems like players in recent seasons have been doing this even more, and it often doesn’t work well for them. (I am thinking specifically of Carl’s *bing* moment from last season, which directly preceded his ouster.)
Everyone votes, and Gavin gets a great zinger in as he votes for Wardog and says, “Smell ya later.” A classic, really. While I understand why Survivor has let the viewer see less of the votes as they are cast to sustain the suspense, I miss hearing what the castaways say when they cast their vote, as it is often them at their most raw and real.
The camera shifts to a long-distance perspective for Aurora’s vote, leaving us to wonder if she used her extra vote or not. And then Jeff is back with the votes! Lauren doesn’t play her idol, and on the jury Joe whispers, “Fasten your seatbelts.” Indeed!
AND WHEN YOUR FIRE’S GONE SO ARE YOU…OR ARE YOU?
Mary: I’ve been waiting so long to say this. GOODBYE WARDOG! I won’t miss you, or at least I think I won’t. I honestly think Ron Clark is gunning to stay in for a while longer and maybe go all the way to the end, and I’ve come around on him. I’ve also come around on Lauren and like her a lot now. I’d like to see her go far, too! But what an awkward last day breakfast that would be, Ron and Lauren.
Todd: And probably Julie? Yeah, that would be a weird one for sure.
Mary: Ooooh yeah, Julie. She’s still in there, too! I like Julie a lot, really.
Todd: I agree. I’ve been sort of up and down with Julie, but she is proving to be pretty savvy when it comes to Survivor, as is...ugh...RON CLARK. Look, as you keep pointing out, RON CLARK is one of my favorite Survivor types and I will have to begrudgingly admit that is true. I feel like Victoria is similar to RON CLARK but does it in a much aggressive/irritating way.
After Wardog’s name gets called 5 times, basically everyone erupts into smiles. Kelley says they got revenge for her. Gavin winks at her in reply. Lauren nods her head in agreement. Wardog gets snuffed and then turns to the remaining Vata members and says, “You made the right decision.” They certainly did, Wardog.
On the path out of tribal, he looks at the Edge of Extinction sign and, without saying a word, grabs the torch and heads to his new island home.
After the votes are shown, Reem once again gets the last words of the episode: ““Listen, dude, you can bet your rear end you’re gonna get it from me tomorrow.” Well said, Reem. Well said.
Todd: The Previously on…Survivor! returns tonight! Yay!
Mary: I didn’t even miss it, honestly, but this is a good point! I’d like to point out here that I have a newfound appreciation for Kelley’s glasses. They’re very good!
Todd: Survivor castaways often rock a good pair of glasses!
At the reward challenge, there is a part where you have to swim under a long platform with a guiding rope. There is a gap in the middle that you can use to catch your breath, which everyone does, except for Aurora who just swims right on through. Whew!
Mary: Aurora was a beast! I wonder if she’s a professional swimmer or something? Or if she’s got a lot of swimming experience. I can’t imagine going on Survivor and not brushing up on my swimming skills.
Todd: Only while writing this blog post did I even remember that Julia exists on the Edge. Sorry, Julia! You were un-memorable in Survivor life and you are still un-memorable in your Survivor afterlife.
That’s all for now but we will see you next time on the