Nothing is predictable on a fun double-stuffed Survivor

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Previously on Survivor, there are three idols, some thought Jessica was a threat, Taylor blew up Adam’s secret advantage, but due in part to his food theft, Taylor was voted out.

So when I think about these last two episodes, I think I need to consider them in parts. First, why did Chris lose? The answer is simple enough: He was outplayed by Jessica and to a lesser extent, David. Having both those two target him made it difficult for him to find out the truth, that he was also a target. That assumption, that he was safe, was his biggest mistake.

The first hour of the episode had a delightfully cut together sequence of people discussing Jay’s idol that was the first of many fun moments. Chris even played it well here, as did Hannah, pretending they hadn’t already heard about the idol. But Jay played it even better, correctly realizing at Tribal Council that he wasn’t really a target due to the not-really-faked animosity.

Sure, the plan, to get him paranoid, was a good one, but they didn’t really do it well. It’s a tough balance, but it’s hard to control that many people to lie about it. There was also a clear delineation of what Hannah would call “trust clusters,” which led to another cute moment when she giggled at Jeff Probst using her invented term. There was a little seed of a Hannah/Ken connection, which hasn’t yet paid off, so we’ll see on that one.

At this point the first “cluster” was Chris, Bret, Sunday, and Jay while the other side had Jessica, Adam, Hannah, Zeke, Ken, and Will. In there were other sub-alliances of Chris/Bret/Sunday, Hannah/Zeke/Adam, and Jessica/Ken/Dave with a few other floating tendrils. Of course, the Chris one ended and Zeke eventually switched things up.

The episode also showed two serious emotional scenes, one from Adam about his mother, and the other from Dave about his “journey.” It’s one good way to make sure we care about all these people. Another note was that several people were noting that Zeke was playing the best, yet these people were not in the Chris/Bret/Sunday cluster. Which led to how things shook up next.

Survivor: Ponderosa 3

– Watch what happens when the latest cast-off from Survivor: Millennials Vs. Gen X heads to Ponderosa to join the rest of the jury and reflect on their experience.

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The second hour got even crazier, so I’ll first answer this question: Why did Jessica lose? Two mistakes, really. She put herself at risk by drawing rocks instead of voting out Hannah, sure, but the other mistake was letting Adam convince Dave to put his idol on Ken. That’s harder, but they fell for Sunday’s ploy. It was a great move on her part, if she came up with it. If she did, it’s the first great move she’s done.

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Bret and Zeke bonded strongly because of their connection, which I’d suspect helped keep Bret on Zeke’s side against Dave later. The super clear alliance lines then shone through. On one side was Bret, Sunday, Will, Jay, and Zeke. Will and Jay are tenuous but still together, Bret/Sunday is rock solid, and Zeke/Bret is a new strong force. On the other side is Ken, Jessica, Adam, Hannah, and David. The Ken/Jessica bond was strong, and Adam/Hannah became stronger after she turned on Zeke. Dave’s complicated though.

I was honestly surprised by how Hannah correctly realized Zeke no longer trusted her because she seemed to mishandle their interaction. But instead both were true: she messed up but she also realized it. That’s a good arc potentially. Although right now Dave and Zeke seem to be at the center of the power plays, with a bit of “Hannah calls some shots” in there too. But really, everyone was playing to some extent, which is always great.

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The jury is also a really interesting mix of people, although it is sad that yet another woman left the game. Yeah, she wasn’t a target in this vote, but Hannah was, so … I don’t know. I want to see the finale with different players where the winner isn’t clear, so that they have to work to win at the end. Right now there aren’t any bad players, only a few that aren’t playing as strategically complex.

So I think we’re on track for a good resolution. Both hours were a lot of fun, and Jay squeaked by both times while holding on to his idol, while Dave wasted his. Nobody knows about Adam’s idol, and only Ken knows about the legacy advantage. So more twists can be anticipated.

Next time, David gets hope from Will, and a loved ones visit flips the game.

Survivor: Ponderosa 4

– Watch what happens when the latest cast-off from Survivor: Millennials Vs. Gen X heads to Ponderosa to join the rest of the jury and reflect on their experience.

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