There were so many new things happening this week that I could hardly keep up! Joe was in trouble on Kama, Wendy was coming up with a master plan on how to spare the lives of chickens, and Kelley, Lauren, Rick, David, and The Wardog couldn’t win an immunity challenge! Meanwhile, at the Edge of Extinction, Keith contemplated leaving the game. Oh wait ... that all sounds very familiar, actually. The swap usually promises to flip the game upside down, but this one was less of a flip and more of a flop. At least that new shade of green was pretty, I guess?
READ THE SIGN, BRO
I love opening every week with Reem laughing in the face of every new Edge of Extinction resident. It may just be because Keith and Chris both had hands in her own elimination, but I hope she finds reason to still point and laugh at the Kamas she’s yet to meet. “I bet they won’t even air your confessionals, Julia. HAHAHAHA!”
She shows absolutely no mercy with lines like “read the sign, bro” and making it clear to Chris that the Edge of Extinction isn’t the Holiday Inn. Some may say Reem’s just bitter, but I think this is just real, raw emotion we’re witnessing in its rarest form. We’ve seen Ponderosa, but there the jury is well-fed and relatively well-rested, while Edge of Extinction is Survivor Purgatory. The players can’t “leave it all on the island” when they’re still on the island, so without being able to step back and process their pseudo-elimination, I expect us to be in store for more no-holds-barred interactions.
Edge of Extinction’s only negative for me is that it eats up time from the “real” game, but honestly, I find Reem Island more captivating than continued conversation over chickens or Joe, Aubry, Kelley, and David, so until we get something new from the other camps, I’m okay with the show further milking its first-boot breakout star.
How can you not love that face?
Later, we returned to the Edge which made me wonder if someone was about to raise that sail and ship out, but instead of shipping it was bitching from the two people not named Reem. I didn’t feel too much reemorse watching Keith and Chris sulk. If you want to leave, leave. Let Reem tough it out. Also, where did that Hawaiian sling come from and why did we see Reem and Keith climb Mt. Everest for rice while the fishing gear appeared out of thin air? Or did the editors just cut the scene of Reem swimming 20,000 leagues under the sea to get it?
So lame. That’s just freakin’ lame!
Did Wendy actually think she pulled a fast one on the tribe when she put the stolen flint back where it belonged? At least she recognized that she had lost her rocker, but I’m not sure if she fully got it back if she thought she masterminded Manu into thinking their flint was magic. I laughed when David awkwardly asked, “You want to win, don’t you?” and Wendy replied with a straight, deadpan “Yeah, of course I do.”
I was on the Wendy wagon in the premiere, but I just don’t know if I can take her seriously anymore, and how she has managed to outlast now 4 Manus is a damn mystery. I keep saying, “she’s next” every week, but then by some miracle she survives! I feel like this could turn into a theme of the season and I can only help but to wonder, if Wendy’s this wacko 11 days in, what fresh hell are we going to witness from her on Day 20, 30, or, heaven help us Day 39? Do we even want to know?
That’s the last thing Manu says before going to sleep every night.
WHAT ARE THE ODDS?
Jeff called Kama’s reaction to seeing Chris voted out the biggest reaction he’s ever seen to a vote-out, so I guess he isn’t aware of the widely Internet-famous gif that comes from Survivor: Gabon post-Marcus blindside.
David repeated the phrase he first uttered in Millennials vs. Gen X in dubbing this swap another “expansion.” Back then, the concept was still fresh, but now it’s basically a bore for 2 tribes to become 3 after three eliminations in the game. The “new” tribes were as follows:
Kama: Aurora, Joe, Julia, Julie, Ron
Lesu: David, Kelley, Lauren, Rick, The Wardog
Manu: Aubry, Eric, Gavin, Victoria, Wendy
The Wardog tweeted out some math regarding the chance of that happening the way it did, but in layman’s terms: ISSA LITTLE.
Probst forgot this actually had happened before when he asked Gavin, the resident superfan I suppose, if he’d ever seen anything like this. Gavin forgot too, but at least he’d been starving and not sleeping for over a week, so what’s Probst’s excuse? I’m of course talking about when Amber was the only one to be swapped away from her tribe in All-Stars in what may or may not have been attempt on the Production side to prevent an inevitable Romber merge domination. Leave it to Probst to purge his memory of the woman who stole the heart of the man who stole his…
Oh no. We lost Aubry and Victoria, so is Joe the new spokesperson for Kama? He said he was really trying something new this time by making stronger relationships with people, but he’s literally only made friends with Aurora and Aubry, the latter of which was a total freebie. Joe also said he wasn’t sure where he stood with old Kama despite literally watching Victoria and Ron plot against him last week. How much clear of a picture could that have painted? So yeah, I’m buying this “new Joe” storyline as much as I’m buying the “new Kama” one.
“Is this how I’m supposed to connect with people?”
I’m not even sure if Ron’s diversion of having Julia dig through Joe’s bag was necessary. If they were caught rummaging around in there, they probably could’ve gotten away with an excuse like “oh, we’re just looking for Aubry” and Joe would have carried on his merry way. I did appreciate Ron’s approach though, and obviously any plan to get rid of Joe is a plan I stan. My fear is, however, that Ron, Julie, and Julie may decide to keep Joe for “one more challenge” and then poor Aurora will be picked off by proxy.
It’s too soon! We haven’t seen nearly enough of this beautiful face!
LESS AT LESU
LOL at this tribe. As if matters for Manu couldn’t get worse, they literally lost everything including an easy next boot. My biggest gripe about the “expansion” other than its predictability nowadays is that new tribe #3 always gets shafted because they have to expend exponentially more energy than the other two tribes to get a camp up and running again. These five especially had it rough because, well ... they’ve just kind of sucked.
While it is their fault for having lost so much in the first 8 days, it’s not their doing to have ended up so swap-screwed — The Wardog gave a brief math lecture on how the odds of the swap going the way it did was less than 1%. I think most of us could have guessed at that, but thanks anyway Professor Pitbull.
The one we saw crack the most was Lauren who probably had some people thinking BOOT but just because someone cries doesn’t mean they’re about to quit or go home. I’m sure everyone cries on Survivor, we just don’t see it all. Except Gabby. I hope that what we saw from her was most of it. Whether this will start some “journey” for Lauren, I don’t know. I’m in the camp of thinking this scene was shown solely to provide some kind of suspense during the vote later, but either way, it was some actual character development this episode so that was nice.
BIG WENDY’S BIG MOVE™
The only thing Wendy did faster than freeing those chickens was dishing the dirt on her former Manu tribe. Most of all, she buried “The Godfather” Kelley which we still don’t have any actual evidence supporting even though Wendy and David have been damning her name for weeks.
Talk got even more awkward when the old Kamas brought up the chickens as Wendy tried to turn their heads to the wonderful fishing gear, but they were too focused on the food that was already waiting back at camp. As Eric egged on the birds and brought up cooking them on a rotisserie, Wendy was imagining some different heads about to roll.
It’s true what they say that shoplifting is a gateway crime. Since she thought her last Manu misdemeanor went unnoticed, Wendy went bigger and did what she said she’d do by releasing the chickens into the wild. I wish this scene hadn’t made the preview last week because we had a week to wait for it — had this been the first we saw, I think we all would’ve had an even bigger WTF reaction to this madness.
I’m still not convinced this was the most merciful move to be made. Like, what are the chickens going to do now that they’re free?
They’re like the fish at the end of Finding Nemo – where the hell are they supposed to go?
As Victoria laid out, this was just the worst thing Wendy could have done. No one wants to work with the girl who made dinner say goodbye. If Wendy’s still playing to win at this point, then she’s either lying to herself or isn’t the fan of the game she’s claimed to be. I just can’t support a Wendy win anymore. These many mistakes are not deserving of a million dollars. Take the Sia money and run, girl.
IMMUNITY – HUMAN LADDER
New tribes, same results but not before more kudos could be given to Joe for REINVENTING HOW THIS GAME IS PLAYED by using his body as a human ladder. Fine, I’ll give him some credit for this idea, but only because it made for some hilarious body-on-body contact.
Jeff also made a really dumbass comment, even for him, while handing out the idols after the challenge was over. As he presented the idol to the Manu tribe for its first time, he pointed out, “New tribe make-up, same tribe name. Maybe that’s the difference.”
Uhh, yeah Jeff. That literally is the difference.
On the way back to camp, Kelley lamented on how truly horrible Lesu was, frustrated by having to cut out one of “the family” with the next vote, so maybe Wendy was onto something with calling her the Godfather after all.
WHAT WOULD WARDOG DO?
Rick opened the pre-Tribal segment with, “We’re not very good at challenges” which — just refer to the Clay quote above. Rick and David established they weren’t voting for each other and that Lauren was the best move given her recent sinking in spirit, but OH MY GOD not until after David reminded us that he wanted out Wentworth. He followed with “I have no evidence to back this up ... but I’m 100% convinced that Wentworth has a hidden immunity idol.”
Kelley and Lauren landed on Rick after coming to the conclusion that he’d be the more likely of the David/”Devens” duo to successfully sneak his way into the other tribe’s good graces at the merge. The one whose good graces Kelley and Lauren would need to slide into was The Wardog. In fact, they even acknowledged that ultimately the vote would be “whatever [The] Wardog’s thinking.”
Move over Wentworth, because I think The Wardog may be the real Godfather. Watching everyone have their personal one-on-one with The Wardog was quite whimsical. The Wardog wasn’t kidding about being built for this game with the way everyone was at The Wardog’s feet, and admittedly, I was a little bit too when The Wardog was citing that impressive Debbie Wanner-sized resume. I’m actually blown away about considering The Wardog as a serious contender in this, but The Wardog has truly had some of the best, most insightful content this season. There’s no denying. #MustWatchWardog
SPECIAL IN A VERY SAD WAY
Watching news anchor Rick do what he does best in his opening delivery at tribal council was my favorite moment of his on the show thus far which made it especially sad that, as he suspected, it would be his last report.
A tribal council hasn’t been this sad to watch since the Stephanie Johnson boot of Ghost Island. That one maybe had zero suspense surrounding who was leaving while this one still had a little bit of a toss-up going between Rick and Lauren, but that wasn’t the big point of the vote and instead we just watched this small little family hold a funeral for itself. You know it’s emotional when even stone-cold Kelley cracks.
David said this was the most “incredible” tribal council he’d ever attended with all the emotion in the air which is a pretty powerful statement considering all the votes he’s been too, least of all Jessica Lewis’s last where she left shook and sobbing after the rock draw. We really haven’t been given much of a reason to cheer for old Kama other than the preconceived perceptions we have of Aubry and Joe, so maybe old Manu somehow turns this around and this is the beginning of The Wardog and the Underdogs story. That is until Reem comes back and destroys everyone.
This was another shock boot for me like Chris’s in that I had no idea it was coming until the name was first mentioned at camp following the immunity challenge. Rick’s had a consistent amount of content every week and his positioning within the Manu tribe made for what seemed like the start to a long stay in the game. In this season, he still could achieve that, but now just playing a very different kind of “game.” I haven’t seen enough of Rick to convince me that he’ll win a challenge and re-enter the game, but I’d say he and Reem have the strongest edits of the Extinctioners which could point to one of them returning. However, they could just as easily be the two meant to make us actually care about the Edge of Extinction for the rest of the game while Joe inevitably gets voted out and returns ( ... twice).
NEXT TIME ON SURVIVOR…
I really wanted the “diabolical plan” teased to involve Reem on the Edge of Extinction with the rusty machete (the winning answer to my last game of Survivor Clue) but apparently The Wardog’s just finally going rabid. Kelley calling The Wardog “a crazy man” should be nothing new to anyone that follows The Wardog on Twitter. The Wardog’s just managed to block that part of The Wardog’s personality for the first 11 days of the game. Also, I don’t buy that Victoria’s going to actually flip to vote with Aubry and Wendy to take out Eric when all she’s talked about thus far has been targeting the returning players, and her wide eyes over Wendy this week didn’t exactly scream “I want to work with this one.”
With two full episodes coming up, I think we’ll land on an Aurora boot in the first hour because of her closeness to Joe (nuKama wanting to save his strength for one more round), and then Joe, David, or Wendy in the second hour depending on who wins immunity. Don’t quote me. I’ve been horrible at the “guess the boot” game since I called the first one as Reem. I think I’ve pretty much been Wendy/Wendy/Wendy since then, so now that I’ve said “Aurora” it’ll probably finally be Wendy.
Also, I’m excited to see that the Edge of Extinction will officially be going full Blair Witch:
The Wardog – You guys, I think The Wardog may actually have the strongest winner’s edit right now. The Wardog has been the voice of all the votes as each has truly come down to “What Would Wardog Do?” Color me impressed by whatever color came out of that blender The Wardog mentioned. The Wardog has done a fantastic job of positioning within the Manu and Lesu tribes, but not being able to kick Kama in the crotch a bit could be The Wardog’s only failure in the game. The Wardog’s going to be seen as a major threat come the merge, but The Wardog has a lot of the edit on The Wardog’s side with many of the key points in the story being told through The Wardog’s perspective, so I think The Wardog still has more than a sniff at winning it all. I’m like 99% in for that win — the 1% difference is due to the amount of shit me and the other True Dorks will get (but somehow mostly me even though I ranked The Wardog higher than anyone else, WARDOG … ) for letting The Wardog go to Team Extinction in our draft.
Ron – I loved Ron’s devilish diversion plot this week! I thought Ron would be an easy early boot, but even had Kama lost, from the little we saw, Ron wouldn’t have been dancing his way down the walk of shame. I may go as far to say that Ron is The Wardog of Kama — the guy everyone’s going to about the vote, so cue Jeff Probst shouting, “RYAN. IS. WRONG. AGAIN!” If Kama does head into the merge with control via the original alliance of six, Ron could ride it out to the end in theory, but given that all the focus of the show has been on pretty much everyone else, I think Ron and his dance partners are more likely to do the boot scootin’ boogie on out of here.
Oh god, did I just reference a country song? What is my move to the South doing to me?
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