Survivor’s characters repeat history while others evolve

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Previously on Survivor, Andrea clinched a win for her team, the other two tribes had to vote out one person at a chaotic tribal, JT leaked the plan, Tai gave Sierra his idol and sent Malcolm home in a marginally unfair conclusion.

So why did JT lose? Usually it takes a bit of an effort, but this time it’s easy. JT knew he was a target, and knew that Michaela was against him. And yet he was so bamboozled by her “it doesn’t matter” anyway (which was actually a double meaning) that he didn’t play his idol. Did Sandra and Michaela consider the idol? Varner mentioned it, so it’s likely they considered the possibility.

But if JT had played his idol, Michaela would still be in the game. Simple as that. He was also outplayed by Sandra, but that’s another matter. First, everything else.

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To very quickly discuss Tavua, there’s only the bare minimum about it. Andrea gets shown as having some skill, but has no speech. Ozzie makes good points and manages to save his team from elimination. And Sarah and Troy connect, each thinking they’re getting one over on the other. Troy is playing pretty well thus far, all things being equal.

Otherwise, not much from that tribe, which unfortunately did make me think they were safe. Sometimes the show plays games with that sort of thing, this time … nope! Tavua was fine, and we have almost no insight into the tribal dynamics.

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So each challenge was pretty great, partially because of how close each one was and because of the Debbie drama. When they showed the “minute to strategize,” I knew there had to be a reason. Zeke won his puzzle, Sandra came in second, and Debbie bragged about her balance. That was an obvious one, but the true genius came later.

After Debbie’s extreme blow up, the editors hilariously showed a rewind flashback of Debbie explicitly getting it wrong. That said … I don’t know if she was really sincerely going crazy. Maybe it was all an act. It just seemed a bit too obvious. Sure, it was ridiculous saying that Hali was “dicking around for ten minutes” while Debbie leapt across in 30 seconds when she actually never finished at all, but … I can’t tell if she was playing us.

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The way Debbie kept harping on it, even in the challenge, led me to that cynicism. I suppose perhaps we’ll have to wait until she tells us later on.

Tai had a very strong episode otherwise, trying his best to calm Debbie and finding another idol. Brad also had a decent time, attempting to apologize to Debbie, although I’m not sure he considered the possibility of fakery. Hali was a strong challenge competitor, but otherwise …

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Anyway, back to Nuku. Michaela crushed her little digging segments and fell completely for Sandra’s manipulations, which legitimately were genius. She confided the secret of eating all the sugar and blaming it on Michaela with Varner, who was the perfect target, as he loves the drama. He wasn’t going to give that away for no reason. Aubry was mixed though, as I’ll explain.

If JT had played his idol, I’d be impressed Sandra wasn’t his target. She played everyone. Aubry’s “you guys are good” is an interesting point, because she was such a strong strategic player on her own season. But now she’s out another potential ally, so she’s not in the best place. Honestly, Sandra is just simply killing it.

Next time, tribe switch-up, Exile Island returns, and a former contestant shows up for an unknown reason.

 

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