Survivor :: Fortunes jump back and forth in a fun episode

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Previously on Survivor, Chris was betrayed by Zeke, and Jessica lost at rocks, willing her advantage to Ken.

This latest episode was the rise of Adam after a lot of bad moves on his part. It was also the fall of Ken due to some stupid moves. But poor Zeke was the true loser, as he was voted out.

So why did Zeke lose?

It’s hard to be sure exactly why, because it could tie back, as he seems to think, to his voting out Chris too early and thus robbing him of an ally and meat shield. Chris was assuredly a loyal vote for a while, at least most likely. But in terms of mistakes in the episode alone, it was all about Will. After Ken blew up Will’s game, Zeke should’ve realized (which in recent interviews sounds like he has) that Will was a wild card.

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Will wanted so badly to make a move, he yelled in a confessional about not wanting to be a goat. Yeah, Will’s a super fan of the game, but that doesn’t make one a good player. Moves are fine, but the only real way to win the game is to be the least hated member of the final three (or two). Sometimes that’s about acknowledging your good moves and not being delusional about it (like first runner up Russell), but you can be dominant while still maintaining relationships (see: Kim and Boston Rob).

Will also wanting to feel wanted and part of the big game, but look at how everyone treated him: like a kid. Zeke didn’t confide in Will that we saw, he mainly assumed he’d fall in line. Jay was the real support player for Will, but that was a double edged sword, as he said to play with his gut. The funny thing is that Will’s betrayal move was ignored because Adam played an idol, and nobody realized he voted against Zeke.

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But was it a mistake for Adam to do it? I don’t think so, because Will was all over the place. I think he could’ve easily been swayed, and although he wasn’t, it was a strong possibility. Adam playing for Hannah also makes him look great to everyone, and the fact he gave his terrible advantage to Jay was also great. He did it in front of family, so Jay couldn’t just say no.

Great work. Now, it’s sad for Adam because his mother passed away shortly after the season finished filming, and the emotional breakdown he had was highly resonant. This is a guy with a strong need to win and is improving his game. That’s a good arc, which is similar to David’s. If Adam can either get rid of David or portray him as the evil mastermind successfully, that’s a path to winning.

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These family episodes are also hard hitting, and this was no exception. A lot of great moments, and a charged challenge. The final immunity was also pretty fun, a short but tricky endurance challenge.

I’m still not sure what Ken was thinking, maybe it was an overreaction, maybe a rationalization, maybe he really thought it was good move. In retrospect, he may survive it, but it’s a tough road ahead for him. I also think Jay is playing quite well now that he’s outlived Figtails. The game is at a tricky place, and I like that; a lot of strong players willing to try different things to win.

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Zeke was a real standout this season, and I think it’s highly likely he returns. That’s a solid bet if I’ve heard one for this show.

Next time, Will tries to take charge but Adam tries to fight back.

Survivor: Ponderosa 5

– 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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