Taylor has done just about everything exactly wrong since Day 1. He's barely aware of what's going on around him. He starts a showmance on Day 1, then complains when told to keep it hush-hush. He goes full NaOnka at the merge, and steals and buries food, except he does it so poorly that multiple people know before he's even left camp. And yet, despite all this, nobody can work up the energy to actually vote against him. Oh sure, it's briefly bandied about, but then everyone gets short-term memory loss, and nobody ends up writing his name down on parchment. Michelle mentioned in her exit interview with Josh Wigler that people didn't really like Taylor: The Millennials rejected his showmance with Figgy; the Gen X people didn't like him eating all the food. So maybe that explains his apparent invulnerability? Four episodes after the Millennials wandered off from Vanua camp, allegedly hunting goats, they all returned home and found one already there: Taylor. Then they set him free.
It's confounding, all the moreso because the show (well, mostly Probst) has tried desperately to play Taylor up as some kind of essential avatar of millennial-ness. Even though none of the other Millennials act anything like Taylor. The others care about their position in the game. In contrast, Taylor's just snowboarding through the game, plowing over skiiers left and right, not really caring about anything except maybe catching some air off a sick bump here or there. His lack of interest in... you know, stuff... carries over to his tribemates, who are happy to turn their attention to more pressing matters. But it's also mirrored in the audience: Why should we be invested in whether he stays or goes? He's not charmingly oblivious, like Keith Nale. At the same time, he's too blandly lackadaisical to be an Abi-Maria. He's just there. If a player falls in Survivor and he DGAF, would it make the audience care?
But he hasn't fallen yet, and seems unlikely he will any time particularly soon. Why bother? As better (read: actual) players get picked off left and right around him, he'll probably float to 4th or 5th place, then be totally chill about that being the end. Whatevs.
What was Adam thinking?
With all that in mind, Adam's decision to try to work with Taylor actually makes some sense. (As presented on the show, it made very little. Sorry, Adam!) Adam sees himself as a Boston Rob to Taylor's Phillip. Additionally, by taking out Jay and Will, Adam would also destroy a nexus of Millennial power, and Taylor would become dependent on Adam. This seems like a great strategy, except for one minor detail: Taylor can't keep a secret to save his life. (To be fair, he doesn't reallyhave any incentive to do so, either.) This should have been obvious from how poorly he was able to conceal his showmance.
Still, we did get a brief snippet of unintentional comedy after Adam told Taylor: "I went looking for an idol today... and I found an advantage." At that point Taylor stops chewing, stares blankly for a second, and says... "Okay." And waits for Adam to explain what an advantage is.
One can only imagine the millions of questions racing through Taylor's head at that exact moment, such as:
Adam's "advantage": WTF?
It's sort of hilarious that the "reward steal advantage" was somewhat difficult to find. (There was actually a coded clue for it in the reward chest, which was obviously a waste of time, since Adam skipped right past that step and just looked in a likely spot.) That's because this alleged advantage is actually the equivalent of Brenda's crappy choice at the Loved Ones visit in Caramoan. Alternatively, t's the exact opposite of everyone (including the winner) voluntarily swapping out to give others their rewards in San Juan del Sur. Its only seeming value is to make the other recent advantages (Dan Foley's and Stephen Fishbach's extra votes) seem actually somewhat advantageous by comparison.
Maybe his discussion with Taylor was actually a fishing expedition to see if Taylor had an idol, and if so, would he be willing to swap it for Adam's advantage? "Come on, Taylor! Think of how awesome it would be to eat a bunch of food when you didn't even win it!" Or maybe Adam could have turned it around by tricking Taylor into using it: "Hey Taylor. I really screwed you over with that Figgy vote. I see you enjoy stealing food. With this advantage, you can do that at a challenge, which would be awesome! I'm doing this because I trust you, bro!"
To be honest, we're amazed Adam didn't just immediately throw it in the well.
Breaking out with her crucial Episode 2 role in conceiving and guiding the Mari boot, Michelle opened the season as a seemingly important person to watch. And then, apart from a brief stint as the decoy boot for post-swap Vanua (when CeCe left instead), the show seemed to forget Michelle was even there, except when she was solving puzzles for whatever tribe or complaining about farts. And then, in the ultimate indignity, she was doused in purple paint in her final challenge, literally turning her into Purple Michelle.
Part of her invisibility is that she only attended Tribal Council three times, and in that post-swap one, David and Chris drove the decision-making, not the Millennials. (It's important to note that Zeke was in the same position as she was post-swap, and received extensive screentime, apparently because he was from Oklahoma and likes football players.) Perhaps part of this was her sleep deprivation, as she suggested in her post-game interviews: that she was just exhausted and not as involved in the post-merge decision-making (on purpose, apparently, as suggested by her alliance-mates).
Whatever the reason, Michelle leaves the season brimming with untapped potential. Casting has done a great job finding interesting, competent, aggressive new female players these past couple of seasons. Now it's up to the show itself to actually show them. Maybe next time.
One more thing... Probst at Tribal: Just shut up, man!
Two seconds into the first post-merge Tribal Council, and again, Probst is beating everyone over the head with "So... anyone want to make some broad and highly suspect generalizations about Millennials or Gen-Xers?" Please let this joining of the Millennials and Gen X-ers be the last time Probst attempts to wring trite generational stereotypes out of different people's complex gameplay. Nobody took the bait this time, at least. Let's hope nobody does so at the reunion, either, or it could take up the entire run-time of the show.
Okay, that's enough of that. On to the vidcaps!
Getting rid of Michaela was so awesome! I am the best.
I will destroy you! Maybe. Eventually. Possibly. I hope.
What could this Note From a Boat possibly say?
Is it directions to some food?
No, just instructions to hug someone. It's needed.
Actually, it's the merge, which you can tell, because I had to remove my buff.
Whoops, how'd that black thing get there?
Ah, that's better. Turns out I was on Mogo Mogo this whole time!
I made the merge! I'm somebody! Things are going to start happening to me now!
Hello! We bring you more women to vote out!
Thanks! Although we're good for at least one more episode! Wait where'd she go?
Hugs for all! Uh, you'll have to wait a sec, Will. Gotta hug our real friends first.
I love the merge! This is great! You will now not hear from me again until it's too late.
Hey Tayls! Fists, bro! Don't worry, nobody will see.
The greatest story puzzle never told
I totally have Hannah, Bret, and Sunday locked down. I'm the best!
Mmm, room-temperature meat.
Hey, everyone! Let's introduce: I'm Taylor, I mack in the shack.
Fascinating, Taylor! Can't talk, eating
Remember how Michaela was thinking she might vote with us? Too late.
Jeff Probst's dream starting tribe
I can haz moar idolz?
All signs point to yes
It's either an idol clue or some kind of bomb
Hooray! It's both!
Well... this sucks. But at least I got a cool hashtag.
From my investigation of past seasons, I calculate the most probable hiding spot for an idol clue is within merge feast items
My approach? Empty all the containers of their food, leaving just the clue
You guys are talking to me twice in a single episode? Nothing to see here, move along.
Now to abscond with the evidence. Perhaps the clue is written on individual food items.
I concur, Adam. It was foolish to attempt to read these clues in the dark. I shall consume them instead.
Pish posh, Adam. Without Free Will we are all but mindless automatons.
Did you, though? I wager, perchance, your judgment has been swayed by its title.
Maintain the facade, Taylor. Maintain the facade.
This is my third confessional this episode. I don't remember what I said, either.
That sneaky Adam is voting against me? After we flipped the vote on him and Mari six episodes ago? Rude.
Zounds, a word is missing. Could that be where the idol is hiding?
Dude, come on. There's only so far you can stretch the Taylor-as-19th-Century-savant joke
Actually, that's Will, guys. Maybe you'll be up to speed after the challenge.
Good news, everyone! I kept my handle in my pants this week!
That's a relief, Probst
I am the best!
Um, Jeff? Could you bring in Dr. Joe? This time I *CAN* feel my face
Like watching watery paint dry on Survivor contestants
Why yes, Jeff, I'd love to be distracted by talking about my kids. Make sure you ask Will about his.
From the Tower of Sauron to your neck, Will
I'm the youngest person to win individual immunity! Your record lasted one season, Julia Sokolowski!
Again, he's Will
We're voting for Adam? That's dumb. But at least this is just my second confessional, so I'm totally safe.
Graduate program faculty meeting
L.A.-based comedy writer meeting
I'm just happy these buffs are black, to match my shirt.
Three weeks earlier...
That's not very nice, Jay
Hooray, we got them all in a single shot!
Okay, now that you're all here... show of hands: who likes Snapchat?
That is quite amusing!
If I say Taylor represents all Millennials, can we talk about how he ate all our food?
If I say something, can you get a shot of all of us from this end? Cool!
Have we wasted the whole Tribal Council without talking about the person getting voted out yet?
Look, they just wanted to avoid giving hope to Michelle Truthers.
Hey, is that made from dragon horn?
Millennials vs. Gen X Episode 8 recaps and commentary
Exit interviews: Michelle Schubert
Episode 8 Podcasts