I really thought we were going to get a Survivor: South Africa – Philippines situation with a tribe drawing rocks at an early vote — a mistake to set the bar that high — but the night still ended with lots of excitement despite a turbulent time in the ocean and another ~journey~ that didn’t move me at all. What should’ve been an easy call turned into a huge mistake that blew up this episode’s ending which it so desperately needed. Imagine Lydia leaving in Episode 3? Lol, absolutely not.
Picking up right where we left off last week, it was Taku’s turn to fail at the art of keeping your mouth shut. You’d think that people would listen to the Queen of Survivor who once said, “Loose lips sink ships,” but no — immediately we learned that Maryanne returned from tribal council and told her tribe about her new extra vote.
This may not be the death of Maryanne’s game, for if Taku’s as tight as they claim to be, maybe Maryanne’s name will stay off the chopping block for the next vote knowing that going into a merge she’s an ally with two votes as opposed to say, Lindsay, only having one vote to use “for the tribe.” It remains to be seen whether Lindsay was as open about her own advantage — which, at worst, is an extra vote — but if she did, then Maryanne may not have as much leverage over Lindsay. I guess I’ll eat a rock, though, if Lindsay goes for not having loose lips while Maryanne stays for having lips that never stop moving.
The next morning, there was a “tribe” search for the one “tribe” idol buried at camp, so I guess Taku really is just totally open and honest about everything (that won’t last). What’s not as transparent is my beloved Beware Advantage whose victim this week was, of course, Maryanne.
At least in regards to pulling off the prerequisite for activating her idol, Maryanne is the most likely of anyone to be saying some wacky shiz at immunity challenges, so few eyebrows should ever raise when she repeats the rabbit line again and again until Mike and someone from Ika join her. Until then, everyone will just chalk it up to “shiz Maryanne says.”
LOOK AT THE FINE PRINT
The latest development at Vati was that Daniel loses everything — his water bottle, his shoes, his shoulder, all of his allies at the next tribal council … like Hai said, Daniel’s going through it.
One thing Daniel hadn’t lost was his lawyer sense. That, or he did listen to another Survivor legend who learned the hard way to always read the fine print.
Daniel was determined to take a closer look at Mike’s advantage note so that he could get a clearer picture of how this inactive idol worked. After much pestering, Mike finally caved and gave Daniel the package, probably just to get him off his back for a few minutes. Daniel soon learned, and so did we, that the Beware Advantage had been tweaked since last season. Instead of the idols just being dead if not all three advantages are found, the ones that are found become activated at the merge anyway — no doubt this has to do with the fact that none of the idols were played last season. Jeff didn’t like that.
My question is, though, what if everyone played like Mike? That is, what if all three advantages are found but the idols aren’t activated? Suddenly at the merge, all three holders would think they’ve got an active idol, but since they were all technically found, that caveat wouldn’t be applicable, so they would be dead. However, the note says the idols won’t “die” so how the hell does it work? Do we just end up with a Schrödinger’s Idol that’s both active and inactive at the same time? Realistically, I’m sure they’ll all be found and activated just like last season (even if a nudge is needed from Production) so this is all moot, and I’m no lawyer, but the “fine print” here seems to have some loopholes. The Survivor legal team could use a better brain, in my opinion.
Thus, Daniel’s master plan to backstab Mike was thwarted because voting out Mike wouldn’t actually nullify the other idols; it would only ensure that Daniel had no access to any of them, so Mike was back to being Daniel’s best friend … but Daniel was about to become a very far thing from Mike’s best friend.
After reading that fine print, Daniel gave Mike’s note back but without an idol which Daniel claimed Mike didn’t give him. Rather, in more lawyery lingo, he “didn’t recall” Mike giving him the idol. This, naturally, turned up the Hoboken whisper up to a sensible Hoboken inside voice which is just shy of something like this:
Mike asked to “get medical in here” and I wasn’t sure if it was truly out of concern for Daniel’s mental state or if Mike was about to rip Daniel’s shoulder out of it socket and secure it never went back in. Luckily for both, Daniel was able to retrace his steps and give Mike back the idol along with the additional note that had been in Daniel’s undies, of which I’m sure Mike was very appreciative. He definitely won’t be putting his eyes too close to that parchment for a while, not before it airs out first.
Something tells me this won’t be the last heated exchange between these two.
IMMUNITY: JUST SWELL!
At least Mike got to cool down a bit in that chill, refreshing water.
This challenge was just … not fun? No, that shouldn’t even need a question mark. It just wasn’t.
There’s “tough” and then there’s “too much.” This was the latter. Obviously it’s Survivor, so we love our grueling challenges, but this just seemed recklessly dangerous. I’m not going to sit and watch a dozen people drown and be cheering, “Wow! This is great television!” I prefer only my scripted TV shows to be killing people off — not this this one.
The one redeeming moment was just watching Jonathan single-handedly carry — literally carry — his tribe to victory. Jeff usually only calls out people for sucking in challenges, but after this one, he made a special point to give props to Jonathan, as if the behemoth needed a bigger target on his back.
Logistically, I’m sure it would’ve been hard to ferry everyone to another challenge location last-minute, but I wish this one would’ve been handled differently. I really can’t believe that after 20 years, the show wouldn’t have a contingency plan for this sort of thing. Instead, we got a longer challenge segment than the norm, which is already too much for me, in addition to my faves, Vati, having to face tribal. To add insult to injury, it was revealed that we were also in for a “journey” this episode. More challenges, more advantages, more time for twists … this episode definitely had me stop believin’ at this point.
You know what’s really awkward? Talking about who to vote out when you can’t vote. That was Mike’s misfortune, now having his fate lie solely in the hands of Jenny, Daniel, and hopefully Chanelle who may or may not be off somewhere losing her vote as well.
I knew this Vati vote was going to be tragic any way it went, and my worst fears were realized when Lydia’s was the first name to leave someone’s lips with the opposing side’s vote being for Jenny. My tear ducts were on the verge of busting through and making those immunity challenge tidal waves look like drops of dew.
Daniel and Chanelle were thus in the middle between the two pairs of Mike/Jenny and Hai/Lydia, and with Chanelle off on another island, that made Daniel the current king at camp, which was terrifying. “Chaos is a ladder,” and somehow Daniel managed to fall upwards to the top of Vati with the fate of Jenny and Lydia presumably in his hands.
She’s thinking, “How did I end up here?”
PLAY IT SAFE
Omar and Chanelle didn’t even get a personal showcase on this week’s journey. Instead, the show had to explain to us again how this whole "risk your vote"/"protect your vote" decision works, because we all have the short-term memory of Dory.
Chanelle made it abundantly clear that under no circumstance could she lose her vote, so it would only be natural to come to the conclusion that Omar would obviously make a choice keeping that knowledge in mind. The pair discussed how they’d like to both walk away with a win, but we knew that wasn’t possible, and I think they knew too. Survivor doesn’t let two people win.
I still can’t understand Chanelle’s logic here. Omar’s was easy. Chanelle told him multiple times she wouldn’t risk her vote, so he risked his probably being 99.9% certain he’d get the advantage. You don’t even have to game theory this if you’re Chanelle. She knew Omar thought she would protect her vote, so she had to think he’d risk his, thus meaning the only way to go back to camp without a loss was to simply play it safe and protect her vote. What she did instead was just stupid.
Chanelle flat-out told Omar she would play it safe, so why did she think he wouldn’t take the gamble?
I realize I already used the Kass joke this week but I’m doing my part for the ENVIRONMENT by recycling.
Chanelle’s logic was trash, and I get wanting to do the “fun” thing on Survivor, but it just made zero sense here. Still, I’m actually glad she did it because this bad decision made an underwhelming episode end on a thrilling Hai!
When Chanelle returned to Vati beach, Daniel rushed to greet her and confirm that they’d have the numbers to execute a Lydia vote. Chanelle quickly confided in him about potentially not having a vote which meant that on this tribe of 6, only 4 would potentially be voting, throwing Daniel’s numbers game way out of whack.
The deciding duo no longer held all the power, so they had to convince Hai and Lydia to split their votes between Mike and Jenny or else risk a tie. Chanelle’s pitch to Hai about this was almost as questionable as her decision to risk her vote in the first place, and Hai saw right through it. Chanelle, who was usually so calm, cool, and collected was coming off as “frazzled” here which shot up red flags for Hai. Something didn’t add up — Vati’s numbers weren’t what they seemed to be.
Chanelle, however, was sure she knew her math was right. She cockily claimed, “That is the power of my social game. I can direct the votes without even having one” which shot up a red flag for me too. That’s not a confessional someone gets when they’re about to get their way, so that excited me because it meant that my leading lady Lydia was probably not in danger of leaving. No, this tribal council was going to get turnt. There was talk of a tie vote, so my senses were detecting a slight scent of rocks!
WHY DANIEL WILL LOSE SEASON 42
While it was tragic to see them here, I should’ve have known my favorite tribe Vati would D E L I V E R the goods at their first (hopefully only) vote. There was so much going on here. In the midst of Daniel talking in circles about not being able to keep his cool, he let slip that Mike and Chanelle are people who calm him, signaling to Hai that they were who Daniel was closest to, and if he was close to Mike, he probably was close to Jenny which meant …
I thought Hai was about to blow shiz up right then and there — that’s what Daniel would’ve done — but Hai kept his cool. The little exchange between Chanelle and Daniel confirmed Hai’s earlier gut instinct that they were up to something, so instead of going with the split vote like they wanted, Hai protected his girl and my girl Lydia. Jonathan may have been the hero of the challenge, but Hai was my hero of the night with that decision. His brain couldn’t even comprehend the wonderous act he just performed.
WHERE. ARE. THE VOTES???
I was kind of mad that Jeff forced Mike and Chanelle to out themselves as the non-voters. It would’ve been hilarious if either or both tried to act like they voted and attempted to gaslight Hai and Daniel. What we got though was still almost as entertaining. According to Daniel, Chanelle did kind of vote; she just did so vicariously through him. That’s it, Hai — don’t be mad at Daniel! He was just under Chanelle’s Imperius curse!
She wasn’t having any of that.
Daniel blew his game here big time, and immediately making his intention clear of not wanting to go to rocks, Hai gained the upper-hand in this negotiation. Hai would go to rocks, or at least go far enough to make Daniel think he would which would force Daniel to cave and switch his vote to Jenny … which is exactly what happened. Aside from himself leaving, Daniel could not have left this tribal council with a worse outcome. He had proven to be a liar to Hai and Lydia, he betrayed Mike by voting out Jenny, and he pissed off Chanelle — the one who had his back more than anyone — by trying to pin the entire vote on her when she wasn’t even able to cast one.
Vati is going to be fuuuuuuuuuuuuunnnn next week! Daniel can keep singing Britney’s “Would you hold it against me?” lyric all he wants, but it’s going to be a toxic circus at camp!
That face … these last two boots have been brutal! I so wish Jenny and Mike teamed up with Hai and Lydia instead — not that I hate Daniel or Chanelle, but this Lydia vs. Jenny vote was just very painful for me. I thought she was fun and funny, and I love someone who can cast so much shade with their looks. She just looked so done with some of these people!
That last one sums up her stay here. Screwed by her own alliance because they made a series of dumb decisions that were out of her control. Poor Jenny. She was just too good for this group.
NEXT TIME ON SURVIVOR…
Blow blow blow blow!
That’s us giving mouth-to-mouth to Ika for a sign of life! It’ll be Day 8 so it sounds like everyone’s starting to get on each other’s nerves. Jonathan’s a “slob,” Rocksroy’s still barking orders, and now Daniel’s lost all his friends. “There ain’t no kumbaya. It’s like holy crap-baya.” We already have the episode title, and I hope the hour lives up to its name.
Hai – Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii. Hai gave me everything this episode. Strategy. Commentary. Shady tribal council stares. Dazed and confused looks of bewilderment. The vegan dished it all! I do wish Daniel would’ve drawn rocks because I think Chanelle leaving would have been a hysterical end to her quick rise and flop, but it probably made sense for Daniel to back down. Hai was ready though! He was prepared to risk rocks to protect his #1, and they way he wouldn’t back down at all was just totally badass. Lydia picked right in picking Hai as her ally, and he hasn’t let me down yet as my winner pick! I think this was a wake-up call to him but with Daniel as public enemy number one now, hopefully Hai can hold strong and keep those bottoms at the top!
Jonathan – Worth a mention that this dude is insane. Remember when Jeff yelled that Boston Rob was “literally carrying his family on his back”? That’s what Jonathan did for Taku, but literally literally. Jeff isn’t so quick to call out people and give praise, so what does this mean for Jonathan? New era, new man crush? Colby, Rob, and Cochran better watch out. Jonathan may be coming for Jeff, but I’d guess Jeff already came.
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