Utter bleakness on Extinction? Emotional catharsis on Kama? A bonkers jailbreak and flint heist on Manu, to not point out the strategic switcheroo in its wake? Two entire challenges? This episode had a few of the sharpest tonal shifts in current Survivor. This potpourri of narrative continuity might not have resulted in probably the most balanced episode, however it did serve to advance various the storylines begun in earlier instalments, and in view of the approaching tribe swap, even gave us a partial decision to many.
Allow us to start with the most important character to emerge from our new crop of castaways: the inimitable Massive Wendy. This episode was a tour de pressure as Wendy stored charging alongside the trajectory of the apparent subsequent boot solely to utterly evade seeing her identify on that parchment by the top of all of it. Already ostracised by nearly all of Manu, Wendy had been fortunate to keep away from the goal as soon as as a consequence of Keith’s poor problem efficiency. However the vultures have been nonetheless circling, and when she badly injured her ankle through the reward problem, it appeared this may be the dying knell. It’s all the time tragic to see a participant eradicated for medical causes, whether or not it’s an evacuation or the mercy kill of the tribe voting out their injured member. It will have been notably unlucky this season, the place Wendy has emerged as one of many extra vibrant new additions to the Survivor roster.
But when that wasn’t cause sufficient, Wendy turned fixated on the chickens. After lastly profitable a problem, Manu had scored a coop of chickens and a rooster, and as ravenous minds are need to do, speak instantly started of once they might kill and eat some hen. However not Wendy! She made it her private marketing campaign to save lots of the feathered-friends. At first, she made her reservations recognized and was met with confusion and frustration from the remainder of the tribe. Wentworth and Lauren appeared notably infuriated, and Wardog was baffled by her admission that she ate meat again house, however wouldn’t do it right here. Nevertheless, Wendy owned the inherent hypocrisy and retorted to Wardog’s problem, saying that she would develop into a vegetarian, which solely appeared to frustrate him extra. To him, it was a trait he recognised in himself, nevertheless it was nonetheless stubbornness to a mad excessive.
Wendy, too, acknowledged her cussed resolve, however her emotions in the direction of the chickens appeared to be a private turning level for her. Again house, she needed to stay in “a meatless world” however felt powerless to do something to save lots of the tens of millions of animals farmed for meals, however out on the island, it felt extra actual and totally different – and punishing the dwelling chickens they’d gained appeared too merciless. It was not the primary time within the episode that the stark distinction between the actual world and Survivor would hang-out a participant – they usually, in contrast to Wendy, would finally pay the bill for his or her epiphany.
However Huge Wendy’s Hen Escapade was removed from over. It’s one factor to object to consuming meat. It’s one other to actively forestall your tribe from consuming. Within the opening moments of the episode, Reem and Keith (who made the apparent selection to remain within the recreation; a flat, however unsurprising, decision to final week’s cliffhanger) found that there was a meals provide on Extinction Island. Nevertheless it was solely a single days’ portion of rice at a time, and on the finish of a gruelling hike to the highest of the Island. The eradicated pair lamented that the signal on the Edge held true to its menace that the whole lot can be onerous – even the essential wants of sustenance.
Meals on the Tribal camps could also be slightly extra plentiful and fewer exacting to acquire, however the gamers remaining within the recreation are nonetheless ravenous. But Wendy’s intent wasn’t simply to abstain from consuming the chickens however to sabotage her tribe and cease anybody from partaking. As she lay injured and (unsuccessfully) tried to recruit Rick as her confederate in a jailbreak to free the chickens from their coop, it appeared like yet one more dying knell for her recreation.
But it escalated once more! After preventing via her damage to provide a robust efficiency within the immunity problem and proving herself once more to be certainly one of her tribe’s strongest swimmers, Manu nonetheless misplaced, and Wendy knew she was in peril. However she was seemingly extra fixated on saving the chickens then saving herself, and rolled into camp to steal the tribe’s flint. Her considering: no hearth, no roast hen. The remainder of the tribe have been dumbfounded by the disappearing flint (Wentworth, particularly, appeared shell-shocked given her historical past with misplaced flint in San Juan del Sur), and Wardog appeared suspicious that Wendy had taken it, recruiting David and Dangerous Cop Rick to resolve the thriller. Maybe Wendy sensed she was in all probability going residence that night time, and simply needed to stay it to her tribe on the best way out the door, however whatever the cause, Wendy picked that hill to die on.
Solely one way or the other this wasn’t her night time to go house. The ankle-swollen, chicken-freeing, flint-stealing outcast would reside to plot her fowl jailbreak one other day. Who would go residence as an alternative? The inoffensive salesman. His crime? Breaking belief for worry of burning bridges. Survivor might be such a fickle recreation.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
So how did we go from an apparent boot in Wendy to eliminating Chris? As a lot of this season has, it comes again to the returning gamers. David’s mistrust of Wentworth was based final week as he, and his principal man Rick, tried to collect the numbers to blindside Kelley just for it to disintegrate when Wardog pulled Chris again from the ledge of creating the transfer. However now with solely seven gamers left on the tribe, it was simpler to swing the numbers. David had Rick, and Wendy was prepared to vote with them – notably towards Kelley. All they wanted was another vote to execute a blindside whereas Wentworth was distracted by the “smokescreen” of Wendy’s antics and damage.
Naturally, they noticed Chris because the swing vote. He’d been fascinated about making the transfer on the final Tribal, so David and Rick approached him once more – on one situation. They needed to depart Lauren and Wardog out of the plan, making it a Four-Three blindside. Excluding Lauren was apparent – she was clearly tight with Kelley – however David & Rick feared that Wardog was additionally in Kelley’s pocket, or a minimum of needed to maintain working together with her. Chris agreed however was torn. Having an trustworthy and open nature again house was catching as much as him on Survivor, the place he was discovering it exhausting to navigate the actual relationships he was forming with the sport’s want for subterfuge. Survivor was extra actual – and far more durable – than it seems on TV and he wasn’t prepared to burn his relationship with Wardog this early. So once more, Chris spilled the plan to blindside Wentworth.
Simply as David & Rick had feared, Wardog wasn’t . However surprisingly, he additionally carved out an entire new plan. For the second week in a row, Wardog managed to tug the strings from the sideline, placing an choice C on the desk as an alternative of the apparent Wendy vs. Wentworth divide, and as soon as once more, he managed to get the numbers on board for his scheme. Wardog knew Kelley was a menace, however he nonetheless trusted her greater than Chris and ratted out the plan to the three-time participant. Collectively, they concocted the brand new scheme to blindside Chris and recruited Rick.
Rick was shocked to study that Chris had dug his personal grave by telling Wardog, however performed dumb and agreed to the plan, so long as they might deliver David in on the choice. It’s value noting for anybody doubting David’s suspicion of Kelley – her alliance needed to go away him out of this vote, so there’s clearly a mutual mistrust between the 2 returnees that provides weight to David’s want to focus on her. So Rick and David discovered themselves within the center. If they might belief that Chris nonetheless needed to vote out Kelley – regardless of breaking his settlement to not inform Wardog – then they might have the numbers to vote out Kelley, nevertheless it wouldn’t have been the blindside assassination they hoped. Or they might hold their heads down and let Chris take the autumn.
Finally, they selected for the latter. Successfully, it maintained the established order – Wendy nonetheless on the outs (once more, voting for Wentworth and solidifying that rivalry), David & Rick skirting the surface of the obvious Kelley/Lauren/Wardog trio. I’ve to say I’m a bit of shocked they didn’t take their shot at Wentworth. The numbers have been there, and even when Wentworth had an Idol, it appeared like Chris can be the one hit by the blowback. If Manu needed to go to Tribal once more, how might they probably go after Kelley? At greatest, it was Three-to-Three until Wardog abruptly modified colors.
However Rick and David are sensible gamers, and there needs to be good reasoning behind their determination. Have been they anticipating a tribe swap, and fearing that making a disruptive Massive Transfer™ might hurt them in the event that they find yourself in a nasty distribution on their new tribe? Have been they too distrustful of Chris, maybe deciphering his determination to speak to Wardog as being an indication that he wasn’t on board with their plan anymore? Was David having second ideas about drawing returnee blood this early? It’s definitely unclear from this episode, however I hope the longer term story can retroactively fill within the gaps. Nonetheless, right here ended Chris’ story (a minimum of, till he took the torch to start his quest on Extinction in probably the most unenthused method to date).
“THERE’S SOMETHING HERE”
In the meantime, Kama once more received the brief shrift of the air time. It’s not unusual for the tribes who win Immunity to have considerably much less display time, however that solely will get exacerbated by reward challenges or complicated twists. It’s only a matter of financial system – there are solely 42 minutes an episode – however when it signifies that an entire tribe solely will get a collective 5 minutes or so to give attention to their camp life dynamics and gamers like Julia nonetheless haven’t even had a confessional, it begins to put on just a little skinny. Truthfully, it makes me fear for the equitable story distribution within the coming weeks once we’re balancing three tribes – AND something taking place at The Edge.
However, Kama’s story appeared to resolve its arc by means of these first episodes. Whereas Manu has confronted three Tribals with a plethora of shifting plans, Kama has been on an excellent profitable streak that has solidified into an “us versus them” mentality. A lot of the new gamers (Eric, Gavin, Julia, Julie, Ron & Victoria) towards the returnees Aubry & Joe, and Aurora, the only beginner to have fallen consistent with the returnees. That’s Kama’s story, and it met a climax because it turned public information.
In a gaffe that may occur to one of the best of us, however belied a touch of inexperience, Victoria and Ron stood within the shallows discussing concentrating on the pair of Aubry and Joe just for the cameraman to shortly circle round them and reveal Joe crouched mere ft from Victoria. Whereas Victoria and Ron coated one of the best they might by reiterating the apparent (no doy, the returnees are a pair and are threats!), it confirmed the suspicion that Joe, Aubry, and Aurora had – they have been undoubtedly within the minority on this tribe.
For Aubry, it fuelled the necessity to clinch victory differently. Her makes an attempt to forge social bonds had largely fallen on disinterested ears, and she or he wanted armour. She wanted an Idol. In one of many extra intense Idol search montages we’ve seen, there was a desperation as Aubry narrated her have to tick it off her Survivor bucket listing. Not solely did she want the Idol given her predicament, however in her time on three seasons of Survivor, discovering an Idol was one of many few experiences that eluded her, and solely behind profitable the sport so as of precedence.
Because the patented sepia-toned flashbacks (a trope I’m having fun with in its sporadicity) punctuated Aubry’s three-season quest for an Idol, she came across a grove and located the blessed parcel. Bursting into tears, there was a way of catharsis and a uncooked realisation of a dream that was shifting. Aubry has had a tough street by means of Survivor and her first seven days of Fringe of Extinction appeared like one other path suffering from obstacles. This Idol discover was the primary spark of pleasure and aid, the primary victory, that Aubry has skilled in-game and it was an thrilling observe on which to finish Kama’s pre-swap story.
MIXING IT UP
As Extinction Island grows extra populated, it’s time to modify up the tribes. I wouldn’t be against a swap in precept, however I’m cautious of the promised swap to 3 tribes. Three tribes of 5 and three gamers on Extinction simply looks like lots to deal with, and I hope that Survivor can pull off the balancing act towards the chances. However regardless, I’m excited to see how this shakes up the tribe dynamics – hopefully we’ll see the simple divide on Kama pressured to vary tack and maybe even see the grizzled Tribal-hardened Manu gamers discover a bonus as the sport picks up. So let’s go forward and drop these buffs.