Survivor keeps it fun despite a mildly anticlimactic ending

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Previously on Survivor, Cole missed the clues, the Healers were looking in trouble, Joe played an idol unnecessarily on himself, and Jessica got sent home.

So why did Desi go home? Well, the obvious reasons are that she’s a classic post-merge threat: a strong challenge competitor, not an idiot, and gets along with people. Plus she was in the minority alliance, and unlike Mike, she seems dangerous. The only “mistake” I could see, given that the show has barely showed her doing anything, is not trying to work others to throw Joe or Mike under the bus.

Honestly, I think the majority alliance made a mistake, not voting out Joe. It’s not like he would’ve been able to play an idol, even if he had one. This seems like a miscalculation, and one likely to cause problems later on.

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Joe played it mixed this time around, being clear about Ben’s potential for danger on the one hand, but going over the line with his pushing of Ben’s “button” about swearing on his Marines. He should’ve recognized that Ben was actually getting triggered by the confrontation, but Ben admits to us that he’s struggled with anger. Ben plays well when he’s calm, it seems, but he has some emotional triggers.

Lauren got lucky with her accidental advantage find, but I liked the idea. The concept of risking a current vote to get two later is an interesting strategic challenge, one of two fun twists in the episode. The other one was the “one at a time” food reward, with the way the camera lingered on the hidden clue.

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Naturally JP completely missed it, and Devon didn’t eat enough to notice it. Cole wasn’t looking for it, but how could he miss it? He was smart enough to hide the plate, but not smart enough to get rid of the plate altogether, which only Ryan managed. Ryan’s doing a bit better this episode, especially with the fact that he got his idol with barely any notice.

And that delightful fight over the idol was fun, especially how quickly everyone assumed Cole had the idol, I actually felt a bit bad for him. That Immunity Challenge was the one he needed to win, but I don’t know about his overall game. He’s not as dumb as people say, but he seems like he’s not quite smart enough to outwit the serious strategists.

Both challenges were decent, although the Immunity had the more tense moments at the end. At this point, most of the players are shown with interesting personalities and individual playing styles, with the sole exception of Ashley. Even JP has a personality: a solid piece of granite. I prefer it that way, keeps things interesting and unpredictable.

Next time, Lauren pulled it off, and Ryan tells Devon and Ben about his idol by mistake? Unclear editing so I guess we’ll see.

Survivor airs Wednesday at 8:00 PM on CBS.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Tell us what you think!


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