Survivor hits things hard with a strategy-packed merge episode

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Previously on Survivor, Adam betrayed Taylor, David and Zeke connected, and Jay blindsided Michaela to vote her out amidst a flurry of fury and furor.

So why did Michelle lose? The truth is, I only saw one mistake: letting the vote get steamrolled by Jay, Will and Taylor. She identified (correctly) that it was a personal, not strategic vote. But she just let it go, which really was the only mistake. The Gen-X/Nerd alliance hadn’t agreed on her or Taylor, so she probably didn’t even know she was on the radar. Sort of like Mari.

Which means … this was “karma” for Michelle voting out Mari. Is that utter nonsense? Of course. But it feels right to say it nonetheless. So we know Michelle didn’t seem to do anything wrong that we saw (we’ll know more as the behind the scenes stuff and interviews come out in the next few days). According to her “day after” video. she felt muted because of hunger and exhaustion, and also failed due to not strategizing enough. So at least that’s her perspective.

What about the rest?

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Among the Millennials, Hannah was all over the place, with a lot of funny moments, like being honest to Probst and joking about eating him. But she also both threw Adam under the bus to Zeke while also warning Adam not to go all crazy. She connected with David about the vote, all around, a decent performance. Not great, but no serious mistakes.

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Adam was also mixed, cleverly finding the advantage and also correctly seeing that he didn’t need to use his idol. That must’ve been a very tough decision, and was both uncomfortable and thrilling to watch. But he also handled Taylor superbly stupidly. Why reveal any secrets at all? Sure, he made Taylor think he didn’t have the idol, but did he really think Taylor would care? It’s sort of how Adam isn’t really such a great social player. But I like watching him.

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Taylor was a fool, despite successfully playing along with Adam. His obsession with voting out Adam led to the push back and loss of his ally. Will did the same, despite doing great at the immunity challenge, which was a lot of fun to watch, and super impressive. An hour and a half is a long time to keep your hands in the air. Oh, and Taylor stealing the food was stupid.

Although more stupid? Jeff Probst asking if that sort of behavior was Millennial specific. No, Jeff, it’s Taylor specific. Let the theme go, we’re at the merge.

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Mr. Big Man Kingpin Jay was similarly mixed. He stayed calm with plans until Taylor told him Adam was targeting Will. That’s good, but it seems that people know he has the idol. That’s not good. But Zeke was probably the best, shaking things up and keeping strong ties to many people. Sure, he may be a bit too paranoid, but he’s great TV. His note on “delayed gratification” is a real winner quote.

For the Gen-Xers, Sunday was nothing as per usual. I don’t foresee good things in her future. Bret maintained his paranoia and didn’t lie about being a cop, while being on the side of the numbers once again. That’s good for him, although he’s not really pushing the narrative. Similarly Chris kept a strong presence, without being a strong character.

And good ol’ David did surprisingly well in the challenge, while staying off the radar as a possible boot. And he still has an idol, which only Zeke knows about. So far.

It was a fun episode, with more strategy talk than usual and a classic immunity challenge. I’m not really liking Taylor much, but I guess it’s good to have a villain to root against. Otherwise, (other than Sunday unfortunately) everyone’s a great character. So far, it’s been a pretty strong season, and I predict an exciting next few episodes.

Survivor: Ponderosa 1

– Watch what happens when the first jury member from Survivor: Millennials Vs. Gen X heads to Ponderosa to reflect on their experience.

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