I had the fun of watching this episode live with Jonny Fairplay and a few other Survivors nearby in Nashville and knowing Fairplay’s feelings toward The Wardog, what a fitting finish the night had. I have many mixed feelings about losing another big character like that — it was shocking, but it also sucks to lose three titans in a row as we have. On the plus side, it means I have no idea where the rest of the season will go, especially with the Edge of Extinction twist not over yet. Anyone left could win — well, except one I can eliminate. I’ll get to that.
OUT FOR BLOOD
With the Lesu 3 at last dissolved, Lauren got the first words about The Wardog’s big betrayal back at camp. Saying she was “out for blood,” she set her sights on Rick and The Wardog in hopes of gaining favor of non-Lesu allies. Kelley’s exit will hopefully allow Lauren to step out of that shadow and show us what she can do on her own. I’m all here for her “revenge for Kelley” storyline if that’s where Lauren lands.
Lauren was also not alone in being blindsided by the vote — the other two being Julie and Gavin. Gavin gave The Wardog a few words about wishing he had been included on the vote, but The Wardog wasn’t wanting to hear them. The Wardog almost literally barked at Gavin, calling him out for only wanting to go wherever the numbers went (which was kind of valid). Gavin still said he’d have waited a bit longer before voting out Kelley, but as The Wardog then pointed out, the longer Kelley stayed, the harder it would have been to get rid of her as “it gets harder as you get deeper.”
Gavin was “not about that life” of getting barked at by The Wardog and went The Laurdog’s way of getting revenge by circling back to his old Kama krew of Aurora and Ron, the latter of whom was smoothing the situation over much better than The Wardog. Ron worried about Julie not trusting him, but Julie didn’t mind as much to be left out of the vote, or at least so she told Ron. With them being so tight, she even mentioned that voting opposite for once would be a good thing, thinking that the others wouldn’t be as threatened by them as a pair.
Ron got a little arrogant during his days as the self-proclaimed puppet master, but here he showed he still has a lot of control over camp. He made a move with The Wardog and Rick but even those he blindsided weren’t bothered by it. That’s a sign of a savvy social game. Bouncing between sides is a dangerous dance, but go figure Ron’s the one who can keep it up.
ONLY ONES WITH A RÉSUMÉ
That was such an ridiculous statement, Rick claiming that he, Ron, and The Wardog were the only threats and the only ones with a résumé. Last I checked, Rick was voted out of the game, came back because of a twist and got a free idol, a free immunity challenge advantage, and since the merge, he’s been (after this week) 2 for 6 on voting correctly at tribal council. Apparently, Rick didn’t fact-check his story before reporting on it. I’ll give it to Rick that he has a résumé, but it’s not an impressive one if you ask me (and I’m asking me). If it wasn’t for the jury being in his corner just because he’s “one of them,” I’d call Rick the goat.
Ron and The Wardog do have respectable résumés, and if everyone perceives them and Rick to be the biggest threats, then it’s smart to stick together, but where was this logic last week, Wardog??? You took out the biggest threat, making you the new biggest threat. If you’d have just kept Kelley, then maybe that Big Move™ wouldn’t have been your last ....
REWARD – SLIPPERY START
To quote Reem, “Oh for the love of GAWD!” Literally the first step in this challenge was a misstep for The Wardog, and then to make to matters worse, The Wardog started swimming to the wrong team’s platform. I truly thought I’d seen it all when it comes to The Wardog in challenges but every single week The Wardog just can’t get his Chet together. I think I’ve even un out of jokes to make about it!
Only kidding! I’ll always find a wisecrack about The Wardog to toss out ...
... better than The Wardog can toss a ring.
Gavin also had a tough go at the ring toss and blew a big lead established by Aurora in the water (speaking of threats). You’d think being from being eastern Tennessee, Gavin would have grown up playing this kind of backyard/carnival game, but his form almost made The Wardog’s look impressive.
Rick ended up the hero for the Blue team while Yellow ended up as the blew it team, winning himself, Julie, Lauren, and The Wardog a day at the Survivor spa. Jeff called in their boat and sent them on their way – not before The Wardog nearly injured himself trying to board.
Definitely not a Seadog.
GET IT OFF YOUR CHEST
LET IT OUT REEM! LET IT OUT!
Reem had been holding in some harsh words for Kelley for 25 days, and she was nice enough to let Kelley sleep before giving her the official Reem welcome to the Edge of Extinction. Reem felt her whole experience had gone to shit because of Kelley/because of trying to vote out Kelley. Reem wasn’t actually that brutal about it, in my opinion, as she explained to Kelley that she just had to get those feelings off her chest as part of the EoE healing process, adding that everyone’s mad at someone and if they didn’t let it out, things would just get ugly. Reem didn’t mean to make Kelley cry.
The new camera guy is really killing it.
No, Kelley wasn’t crying because of Reem. She was just emotional over losing the game (well, for now) and needed a hug — an “Aubs” as it’s called on the Edge which is adorable, by the way. (Aubdorable? Oh my god no, what’s wrong with me?)
I liked that Reem was cool with burning a member of the Witches Coven alive at the stake, but when it came to sunburn, the mom emerged as Reem went all, “Kelley, come back in the shade!” I don’t know what’s hotter — getting roasted by the sun or by Reem (my money’s on the latter).
Kelley could conceivably win her way back into the game as well as anyone who’s gotten a lengthy monologue upon their arrival to the Edge of Extinction. The only person I can confidently rule out at this point is Julia for that reason who, after leaving in the most rambunctious tribal council of the season, has barely gotten a peep. I hope she at least found one in her Easter basket.
THE RICE NAZI
While half of the tribe was taking a mud bath, Ron reeled in the rest of Vata, starting with returning Aurora’s extra vote as a sign of good will. He didn’t have to per any Survivor rules, but he felt this gesture would get Aurora to do anything he wanted her to do ... except cook a little extra rice.
Ron wanted to indulge in a more substantial serving since the other four tribemates would be doing the same at their reward, but Aurora was adamant that they needed to stick to their normal rice rations which made Ron reaffirm to Aurora that she was not the Rice Nazi and didn’t have the right to dictate the amount of rice dished out for dinner.
Aurora may have rolled her eyes but otherwise was unfazed by Ron’s rice outburst. She said she was used to being around drama queens because she is one (a favorite quote of mine from the episode). Ron felt a little differently, arguing that if he went 39 days with Aurora, he should be awarded two million dollars instead of just the one. Spoken like a true drama queen.
He just can’t even!
A BONDING EXPERIENCE
This was certainly some kind of experience. Rick described it as Heaven, or rather, Rick described Heaven as “getting mud rubbed on you by Wardog in Fiji” followed by his signature line, “Oh yeah!” As much as Probst likes his “Devens,” I can only wonder if he’d have preferred to have had this scene play out instead with either Boston Rob or Colby. I guess the closest he’ll ever get to something like that was when he got to watch Colby shower on his reward in The Australian Outback ... right before Colby’s mom showed up and made Jeff a third wheel.
(What did we do in the days before HD?)
After the failed date with Kelly Wiglesworth in Borneo, and the two one-on-ones with Colby in the Outback, that was the last straw for Jeff who never went on another reward trip again.
Another classic Rick the dick moment took place soon after the scrub-down when he said the reward was so relaxing because he and The Wardog didn’t have worry at all about Julie and Lauren going off alone because they weren’t playing the game. Seconds later, Julie and Lauren were off alone, discussing who to vote out first between Rick and The Wardog — a brilliantly edited moment that may make Rick regret his words. I think we could’ve gotten a Rick blindside which would have been way more ideal given his comments this episode, but the stars were just not aligned for that.
IMMUNITY – SEEING STARS
This challenge started off pretty physical, but we’re shifting now from the slow-paced endurance challenges to the faster-paced physicals but that are also determined in the end by a puzzle. Aurora was first to the puzzle, followed closely by Rick and Gavin, but adding to the list of things Aurora hates (soccer moms, people whose names rhyme with “Don”), she stated she hated puzzles, allowing Rick to win this race for immunity.
Whatever that meant…it’s literally “the cheese shop” in French.
Rick winning immunity took his name off the table which meant Gavin and the gang would have their guns pointed at The Wardog. Gavin was all in with a vote for The Wardog, so this may have even been the best-case scenario for Gavin who said, “Sayonara, Wardog!”
Aww, don’t cry about not winning, Wardog. You should be proud for just making it to the puzzle in this challenge.
BANKING ON STUPIDITY
The Wardog said that with Rick immune, the smartest move for the tribe to make would be to take out the next biggest threat, The Wardog. However, The Wardog was banking on Vata not making the smartest move, but that was the exact vote up for debate. Rick and The Wardog were voting for Aurora while she was fixing up the broken Kama to take out The Wardog. With Ron’s relationship with Aurora, for better or for worse, he felt his vote would decide where the numbers went. I wasn’t so sure – the move could have been made with or without Ron if everyone else was on board, and I think that’s what Julie realized too, so she wanted to talk to Lauren.
Lauren listened to the pitch to vote out The Wardog and recognized that it would be sweet revenge for Kelley, but she wasn’t 100% committed. I have to say, I was a little disappointed she wasn’t diving at the opportunity to drive the dagger in The Wardog’s back the same way The Wardog did to Kelley and to Lauren by proxy. We didn’t see them discuss how that all went down, but there must have been a conversation behind the scenes where they reformed a Lesu 2 or else this shouldn’t have been such a hard decision for Lauren.
The past few weeks have been rough for me as the vote hasn’t been between anyone I wanted to see leave. Last week it was David vs. The Wardog, then Kelley vs. Aurora, and here we had The Wardog vs. The Aurordog. I don’t like it. Also, can we cut this poor girl some slack?
I mean, come on, guys. Give Aurora a week off.
REVENGE FOR KELLEY
I wasn’t convinced Aurora would be walking out of this one alive, so everything from here on was a total surprise to me. The Wardog must have sniffed out at least a little that The Wardog was in the hot seat when the tribe talked about voting out whoever they deemed to be the biggest threat. The Wardog acknowledged the impact of the Kelley vote on The Wardog’s résumé and decided to drag Ron in front the bus as well. Probst had a classic line in all of this, dropping what he must have thought was a truth bomb revelation which was, “the targets are the ones who are the biggest threats.” Thanks for that cold AF take, Jeff.
Another highlight — I know not everyone’s a fan of the jury being a little too involved in the tribal council experience, but when there’s nearly a dozen of them now, it’s hard to ignore.
After this week, the group’s now officially larger than the amount of Caramoan pre-jurors who weren’t allowed on stage at their finale.
Anyways, I’m kind of here for it. A lot of tribal talk can be tedious, but staying very much on brand, Wentworth was a star with all her snarky shots to the players on the other side.
Another favorite moment of mine was Gavin’s anxiously-awaited voting confessional for The Wardog. The Wardog had just finished saying how he had been battling with David all season, but it turned out that Gavin was The Wardog’s real rival with the parting words that perked up the Pokémon fan in me:
I was most definitely the only person who didn’t clap from the Fairplay audience, partially because I was still in shock The Wardog was actually voted out, but mostly because I was pissed another big character was cut short.
Image source: Media.tenor.com
The one bit of happiness I got out of this was this lovely look from Lauren to her BFF Kelley to let her know that vote was for her.
Kelley and Lolly forever!
DAMMIT, WARDOG! I’d venture a guess that The Wardog was kicking himself all the way down that walk of shame for voting out Kelley, but I could also see The Wardog still claiming that was the best move and that the outcome of this vote was totally unrelated. The Wardog’s soon to be a lawyer, so I’ll let the Defense present its case after the season before I make any final judgment (it needs to be one hell of a case).
If this is your first time reading my blog, hey cool, thanks! If you’re a returning reader, then you’ll know why this vote sucks so much for me. I won’t make my Player of the Season decision before the finale, but The Wardog is currently the biggest threat to win that title (if Reem re-enters the game, it’s hers). The Wardog has been the biggest breakout star as both a player and a crazy character who has given me more material to make memes out of than anyone. Technically, The Wardog is still in the running to win the game, but can we be real for a second? The Wardog’s not winning any challenge. The only way The Wardog re-enters the game is if everyone else on the Edge quits during the next seven days on the island which is unlikely, so dude, don’t get excited.
We, however, can get excited over the Reem/Wardog interaction next week. “You can bet your rear end you’re gonna get it tomorrow from me” is easily my favorite Reemism to close out the show. I’d 1000% watch just an entire episode of Reem giving The Wardog a what-for.
NEXT TIME ON SURVIVOR ...
Ron made the family visit! Now he can go home in peace, right? He’s certainly not going to go quietly, giving Rick his now-useless advantage from the early days of the game. It should be fun to watch all the “non-players” playing against Rick now. However, I can’t imagine a scenario where David, Kelley, The Wardog, and Rick go out one after the other, so my gut’s saying he’ll either win immunity again or find some other way to save himself. I was about to say that I’m happy that no idols have been rehidden after David used one and Aubry and Kelley held on to theirs, but this would be a perfect time for Production to throw another bone to Rick…
Ron – I was nervous for Ron when the merge came. He was pretty much King Kama and calling yourself the puppet master is usually the sign of a swift comeuppance, but Ron has managed to move his way through the game on good terms with everyone minus the rice war he had with Aurora. Ron looks like he’ll have a lot more options than The Wardog did after voting out “the biggest threat” but he could still be in danger should Rick be immune next week. Ron’s already held on to power longer than I thought he would, so we’ll see if he can keep on moving and grooving.
Gavin – Gavin was a real Jan Brady this week with his “Wardog, Wardog, Wardog” shtick but a spike in visibility when your #1 target gets eliminated is probably a good thing. I feel like we were meant to attribute a lot of The Wardog’s boot to Gavin given that he was so vocal about it, though I’m not sure the uptick in airtime is enough for Gavin to still win, but I felt this was his breakout week nonetheless.
Julie – Low key I think Julie positioned herself the best this week and was the one to get her way in the best way possible. Ron thinks he has all the power, but between him and his partner Julie, I think Julie’s the one keeping all the ducks in a row. She surely has a much better relationship with Aurora, a closer connection to Gavin having been another one left out of the Kelley vote, and she quickly snatched up Lauren and got her revved up on revenge against Rick and The Wardog. I think Julie’s the one who people perceive as a passenger but she’s actually piloting the plane. I don’t see how Julie is voted out anytime soon, so as long as she gets to the end with the right people, I think she’s got the strongest case to win. She’s my winner pick at the moment.
Lauren – Lauren’s too nice I think to have any rage-fueled revenge against The Wardog, but I’m glad she ultimately decided to get The Wardog back for doing Kelley dirty. I’d absolutely ship Lauren and Kelley as a team for the next reality star Amazing Race. Of course, I’d also like to see The Wardog ride an elephant like Rupert.
Maybe The Wardog would run the race with Keith? Eh, but that’d be a lot of dead weight to be dragged across the globe ... by Keith.
Ryan Kaiser has been a lifelong fan of Survivor since the show first aired during his days in elementary school, and he plans to one day put his money where his mouth is by competing in the greatest game on Earth. Until that day comes, however, he'll stick to running his mouth here and on Twitter: @Ryan__Kaiser