In the aftershock of final week’s Tribal Council detonation, I predicted that we’d be rebuilding anew this week. Factions such because the Lesu 3 and the duos of David & Devens and Ron & Julie may keep robust, but otherwise, it was a new and open enjoying subject. That definitely bore out across the first of this episode’s double boots, however as we neared the climax of the second vote, it felt like we have been heading back to sq. one once more. As Ron articulated at Tribal, once you’ve received the taste of blood that may be a blindside, it’s onerous to satiate your appetite with straightforward votes.
This season’s new players have demonstrated a willingness to play aggressively and recklessly, and that makes for an exciting and altogether dangerous combination. In the meantime, the final surviving returning gamers in Wentworth and David had proven their experienced finesse, resilience and adaptability in navigating a continuously shifting dynamic, together with the will-they, gained’t-they dance of their very own conflicted relationship. But here, they have been consumed by the chaos and in a somewhat becoming end to their inextricably linked trajectories, they each met their end by the hands of their bloodthirsty fresh-faced opponents.
It appears prudent to dig into this fast-paced episode chronologically, so let’s start with the primary execution. Scorching off the heels of Julia’s elimination, a new majority alliance was cobbled collectively in the dead of night of night time. The Lesu Three – an ever-increasing drive of power on the Vata tribe – shortly re-established belief with Gavin, the Kama who had been most reluctant to activate the allies he’d cast on the Eric vote, and the disillusioned Julie & Ron who have been determined for some measure of stability. Naturally, Aurora – the only remaining player to have missed the boat on the Julia vote held unusually chargeable for Tribal’s dissolution into madness – was left on the surface wanting in.
However what stunned me was that David & Rick and Victoria have been instantly pushed out of the new energy structure. It’s a testomony to how shortly the sport can transfer, as I anticipated that the open enjoying subject might properly favour these players. Victoria folded into the majority for the vote to avoid ruffling feathers, but with Julie & Ron leaping ship, and her obvious ally Gavin having seemingly reduce ties as properly, she was simply excised. David had tested the waters of rebuilding Lesu bridges in his conversations with Kelley, and Rick had initiated and gained credit for facilitating the Tribal switcheroo, but it wasn’t sufficient, they usually weren’t capable of gather collectively the numbers shortly sufficient.
Kama vs. Lesu was lifeless, however a brand new monolith loomed over the Vata seashore within the new 6-strong alliance. Wardog appeared to be the driving pressure, capitalising on his conversion of Julie & Ron at Tribal, they usually shaped an easy plan: goal the ostracised and remoted Immunity menace in Aurora, and failing that, gun for the large all-around menace in David. When the previous beat out the latter at Immunity, it made the decision all too easy.
It was nonetheless an aggressive move – concentrating on a big menace virtually all the time is – however it was a natural progression from the tentative bonds cast in the crucible of the Julia Tribal. Voting together to take out a harmful, eloquent, strategic and shocking robust problem performer in David was a chance to solidify those bonds, and while I used to be slightly stunned to see Lesu hold concentrating on one another after lastly evening out the numbers, it was a fulfilment of the returnee rivalry that had been brewing since Day 1.
For the outsiders, though, it was also an opportunity to galvanise a resistance. David & Devens noticed the writing on the wall and pulled in Victoria and Aurora with relative ease. They have been all in a precarious place, and with an alliance coalescing across the seemingly immovable object that was the unbreakable Lesu Three, they wanted to behave shortly. In order that they turned to the two individuals who had made their own precarious positions extensively recognized: Julie & Ron. If they all banded together, they might fracture the Lesu 3, and David pitched concentrating on Wardog.
While it’s clear that David recognised the conniving gameplay Wardog was able to, I am stunned he didn’t push for the names that had been bandied about before in Kelley or Lauren, however maybe it was time to attempt a new tactic as an alternative of returning to the same dry nicely. Regardless of the target amongst the Lesu 3, it came right down to a choice by Julie & Ron, who found themselves with two attainable alliances of six and the deciding votes to chart their paths. It was a challenging determination: each side had demonstrated loyalty and betrayal; each side also needed to target strategically slippery male threats.
In the long run, Ron & Julie selected to stay with the primary new alliance cast, and at first, I used to be stunned by their determination. Going with the Lesu 6 would go away Julie & Ron in a more precarious position because the numbers dwindled, divided 3-to-Three by unique Tribal strains at a Ultimate 6. On the flip aspect, the outsider’s alliance afforded more flexibility with both teaming up with the pair of David & Devens or Victoria & Aurora (to get the Kama band back collectively) to put themselves within the majority. Yet it seemed to return right down to a matter of belief. Whereas Julie discovered herself vacillating between the choices, Ron had a stauncher view – David was much less reliable, and with the experience of a returnee, it made him the larger menace. Thus, David’s journey ended here.
However that’s to not say that David went down easily. His pitch concerning the hazard within the power trio was robust – and if not for Wardog’s unpredictability within the second half of the episode, it was straightforward to picture David’s premonitions of a Lesu 3 Last Three coming true. But he appeared to misstep too. Ron bristled on the arduous promote, and maybe David’s techniques got here on too robust. Perhaps his repeated mantras about “loyalty is my brand,” his spiel about “the one dialog you keep in mind” (equally pitched to Devens a pair episodes in the past) and his eloquent analogies and Tribal answers have been sporting skinny or have been elevating his profile as a formidable opponent. Or maybe it even goes again to David’s choice not to pull the set off on eliminating Kelley when he had the prospect earlier within the season.
All in all, David played a robust recreation that constructed on the social manoeuvring that acquired him to Day 38 in his first season. He was capable of let bygones be bygones, to de-escalate battle, and persuade potential allies far deeper into the sport than he may need. And he did it all with grace and humility that’s all the time refreshing in Survivor. But despite the fact that David may need been dying in the water after the formation of the brand new alliance of 6 and his elimination marked an “straightforward” choice, he was still an enormous kill by status alone, and that sated the appetite of the players still tasting the blood of a blindside.
The extra surprising end result got here in the second half of the episode. Simply as I was perplexed by Julia & Victoria eager to flip back to Kama after voting towards Eric, I was blown away by Wardog’s choice to dismantle his 6-strong alliance one vote after he shaped it – and more considerably, to utterly break aside his Day 1 partnership with Kelley and Lauren. As highlighted earlier, that trio had been in lock-step because the early days with only shades of disagreement within the twilight hours on Lesu, and Wardog’s selection to target Kelley at this vote seemed to return out of nowhere. Lastly, his core alliance had management, and he might experience out a vote or two to whittle down the numbers earlier than making his transfer. Nevertheless, the Wardog had tasted the large move, and after the easier vote in David, he needed a much bigger meal. However I don’t assume this was impulse from Wardog. All the best way back on the Chris vote, he knew he needed Wentworth out – it was only a matter of timing.
With Devens (Immune, partially because of David’s present of a problem benefit from Extinction), Aurora, and Victoria nonetheless on the outs, they have been natural allies for an enormous transfer, and Wardog solidified them efficiently by means of another flashback. The army veteran had numbers now to make a move, and if he waited, who might say whether he’d get to take another shot at Wentworth. Maybe she might win Immunities, or she might discover and play Idols, or perhaps the longer term returnee from Extinction might utterly derail his plans. When you might have the chance, typically it’s greatest to grab the moment.
So the key came right down to persuading the required fifth vote. Lauren was an apparent no, being in lock-step with Kelley all-game. Final week, Gavin had been reticent to hitch the supposed Kama plan precisely because he’d grown close to Wentworth. Julie may need been prepared to leap ship as soon as before, but despite her public unpredictability, she appeared to be in search of stability. That left Ron, and it was a fortunate choice for Wardog to have the ability to utilise.
Ron is calculating, competitive and had just made a option to maintain Wardog over David partly based mostly on trust. Thus, he made a superb candidate for Wardog’s logical pitch: clear the board of the returnees while they nonetheless had the prospect. The trouble was that Ron now found himself able where he must betray his closest ally Julie so as to make the transfer – and all of us noticed how things labored out for the last individuals to go away Julie out of the vote. Ron & Julie’s relationship appeared strong, however it was risky to fracture it at this level within the recreation, and it was for this very cause that I suspected Ron would back out of the plan and persist with the protected vote on Aurora for now. Notably with the added complication of Aurora’s additional vote.
Ron and Aurora have been on the same seashore all the recreation, and we’ve seen that they’ve somewhat of an in depth relationship, but that subtext turned text as Aurora sought to buy herself some favour through the use of the one foreign money she had: the extra vote gifted to her by Aubry. In an extremely risky move, she gave the benefit to Ron as an indication of trust – maintain it for one vote and give it again tomorrow. This type of technique has backfired earlier than (have been it not for wonderful print, Sarah Lacina virtually lost her benefit to a wily Cirie Fields in Recreation Changers, and earlier that season, Sarah blindsided Sierra Daybreak-Thomas to loot her Legacy Advantage), and Ron definitely noticed the temptation.
Aurora was already in peril, and his ride-or-die Julie was voting with a cushty majority towards her. It might have been painfully easy to do nothing, let Aurora go, and emerge with a bonus in hand. But Ron noticed the higher benefit in this – by maintaining his phrase to Aurora, he would shore up one other robust ally, and he needed no matter he might get. He may need had to burn Julie, however in making the move towards Wentworth at this Tribal, he cast trust with Aurora and with Wardog, and that provides him extra to work with in the weeks forward.
Thus, Wardog and Ron feasted on a recent blindside – however was it the best move for them all things thought-about? Eliminating a serious menace like Kelley clears the board for the brand new players to run the game, however it additionally resets the board but once more. Wardog has had battle with Lauren again on Lesu, and his betrayal of her right here only provides her purpose to break ties with him. It also serves to put him within the limelight, and as I noted final week, Wardog is at his greatest when he’s enjoying the game within the shadows. As soon as he’s within the spotlight and his scheming is out in the open, he finally ends up underneath the microscope – and there’s nonetheless plenty of recreation left to play.
I can’t assist however really feel like Wardog’s transfer was a vote or two early, but if he can keep away from turning into the alpha of the pack, he may have the ability to survive. I’m slightly more optimistic for Ron’s possibilities, having constructed up some goodwill from Wardog & Aurora, however like Wardog, Ron performs better when he’s not in the limelight and has the room to play stealthier. Ron might shortly grow to be a big target within the wake of his massive transfer – notably after abandoning an already unpredictable Julie. I feel concentrating on Wentworth was a superb move for the outsiders – and kudos to them for taking her out with an Idol in her pocket – but for the ringleader and the swing vote, it might now put an inescapable goal on their backs, in order that they will need to play with a substantial amount of finesse within the coming votes.
But what of Kelley’s demise? Just as David’s story ended with a level of irony, as he was taken down by his largest adversary in Kelley weeks after he’d passed on the opportunity to get her first, so too did Kelley’s story attain its dramatic finish. Wentworth’s claim to fame is undeniably her epic Idol performs in Cambodia, and notably her record-setting #UnderdogWentworth defeat of alpha majority leader Ander Savage. It’s a wierd reversal then that she goes out on this recreation as one of the figureheads of a brand new majority alliance, snug in simply choosing off the underdog minority – and with an unplayed Idol in her pocket as well. Very similar to Aubry before her, Kelley acquired snowed by new players desperate to make daring performs and acquired too cosy in a perceived majority.
To her credit score, Kelley was suspicious of how snug the vote might be, however having never really performed from an influence position, the prospect of being part of a simple majority determination was brand new territory (that conveniently offered wonderful cover for Wardog and Ron to take advantage of). But it’s nonetheless disappointing to see a robust and intuitive player make a obtrusive blunder – and I’m not speaking concerning the blindside or failing to play her Idol.
Somewhat, what I’m most stunned by was Kelley’s casual revelation in the blink-and-you-miss-it last seconds of the episode as she arrived at Extinction and informed the residents of the Loser Lodge that her closest ally Lauren had an Idol. Whenever you’re out of the game at Ponderosa, there’s no hurt in telling all, but Extinction continues to be an annex to the lively recreation, and there’s the very real potential that information of Lauren’s Idol – by way of Extinction – might have a dramatic influence when the ultimate Extinction returnee re-enters the game.
However, Kelley fought a troublesome recreation and as soon as once more proved she can’t be underestimated. But as she – and David – discovered the arduous approach, these new gamers are to not be taken flippantly both. They will not be enjoying professional video games, however the blend of recreation information and starvation for the blindside and the win is a combustible combination that’s already left a slew of sudden casualties.
A NEW DAWN
So we’re right down to the Remaining 8 (give or take eight Extinction residents!), and it’s a subject of all-new gamers. For the primary time in a combined season, we’re right down to the newbies, and that’s an exciting prospect. Even more thrilling is how fractured the Vata tribe is. At this level, Devens has misplaced his David, the Lesu Three is split, and even Ron & Julie have purpose to go their separate methods. It’s eight gamers with only a few ties between them – solely weeks of burned bridges, betrayals, and tenuous allegiances. It’s practically a brand new recreation, and if the previous few weeks are anything to guage by, I’m anticipating nothing lower than a massacre.