Survivor settles down as it inches towards the end

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Previously on Survivor, Ben’s alliance turned against him, chaos happened at Tribal, but he played his idol and sent Lauren to the jury.

This time, the show felt like it was taking a quick break, letting us breathe and think about what we’ve done so far. I think that Ashley lost for only one real reason — Chrissy had a specific final three in mind, and it didn’t include Ashley for whatever reason and she was able to convince Devon and Mike to follow her lead.

It isn’t clear why Ashley was Chrissy’s target, because she seems an easy goat for the final Tribal Council, an easy no-vote-getter. Of course, the plan was to vote out Ben, but after Ben pulled out yet another idol, it seemed like they panicked and reverted to Chrissy’s demands. I do not understand why Chrissy had a problem with Ashley, except maybe just a personal animus for something specific.

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Right now, there’s a lot of mystery. I’m not sure what’s really going on behind the scenes; when Devon mentioned that his game had layers, I believed him, but I also wonder what we’re missing. Chrissy has a big presence right now, but she’s also a bit villainous. She’s smart (like realizing that Ben was looking for idols) but makes foolish mistakes (like not actually having anyone monitor Ben’s hunting).

A lot of her moves have been emotion-based, and that seems dangerous. It can work in the final Tribal, but it can also backfire if people are angry at you. Ryan has essentially disappeared, a player without any will of his own. Instead he floats along, impressed by Ben and barely doing anything. I wonder what we’re missing.

Devon is playing pretty well, but he’s inconsistent. As I already said, I don’t know what’s going on with his game, but it seems he did anger Ashley by voting her off. A dangerous position for him. Mike is playing chaotically, so it’s hard to imagine him ever winning.

But Ben, despite his missteps, is playing the showiest and most interesting game left. Of course you never know what will happen at the end, but right now it’s hard to imagine him losing. It was funny to see all the fake prophecies, like Devon saying Ben was a threat due to the Survivor devils that would be voted out, or Mike asserting that Ben would surely never find another idol.

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The first challenge was the most fun to watch, although the dynamics were more interesting afterwards with Ashley’s hurt face. I think the season overall has been very in the middle, some fun characters, some stupid play, a few good moves, a few meh episodes, but it’s decent. I think I’d be okay with a few returnees from this season, although nothing beats “Millennials vs Gen-X” in terms of recent seasons with nearly 100% interesting characters.

Next time on the season finale, it’s the finale!

Catch up with this week’s eliminated players at the Survivor Ponderosa.

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

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