Who cares about Game 7 of the World Series when Survivor is on? This week marked the very last “pre-merge” episode, which means that stuff is about to get real starting next week. All three tribes at this point have some good drama going on, so it will be interesting to see how it all comes together once the individual portion of the game begins. But while the season thus far hasn’t shed too many memorable players, that all changed tonight when one front-runner saw their game come to a shocking end after putting their trust in the wrong person. Isn’t that the way it usually goes?
Please remember that this recap assumes that you have already seen this week’s Episode 6 of Survivor: HHH, so if you have not and don’t want to be spoiled, please come back later! It’s important to add too that while we WILL hit on all of the important developments of the episode, this is not a linear “blow-by-blow” recap, and is more of a discussion and reaction of what we just witnessed together.
CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON FOR MORE, AND THIS IS YOUR LAST *SPOILER* WARNING!
No not Ali! I for one have to admit that I was blindsided with the results of tonight’s Tribal Council…I thought there was just no way that Ali wouldn’t make it to the merge. She had been highlighted nearly all six episodes of the season, which led me to believe that she was going to be one of the key players down the stretch. Boy was I wrong. It’s clear that Ali falls into that unique category though, of “early boot” Survivors that the producers and host Jeff Probst seem to really like despite their premature exit. Ali is one of those contestants that wouldn’t surprise me if she became a returning player on some future season.
Looking back at it now though, Ali‘s game really ended last week with Ryan‘s decision to blindside Roark instead of Chrissy. And we may have gotten an answer as to why Ryan didn’t tell Ali about the blindside, and it’s because Ryan apparently couldn’t care less about the alliance he had built with Ali. Not only did he stab her in the back last week, but he dug the knife in a bit further and twisted it a little by leading her on once again this week before ultimately cutting her loose for good. Dang, that’s harsh Ryan! He clearly feels a real bond with Chrissy who is back in the saddle again after a momentary lapse a week ago, and with JP remaining at their side heading into the merge, JP could end up being a good lightning rod for Ryan and Chrissy to hide beneath moving forward.
One of the other developments this week had to do with the ongoing annoyance that is Cole Medders. Now I don’t know this for a fact, but it’s becoming clear that Cole is a recruit and may have never seen the show before…how else do you explain his actions and mindset? It’s one thing to not be very strategic, or blurt out secrets, like Cole has done from the start. It’s another to fight for a “larger portion” of food than your fellow tribe mates. I mean, it’s pretty Survivor 101 to understand that you have to share and at least appear to be a team player. Cole is rubbing everybody the wrong way, everybody except for Jessica, who also had a pivotal development tonight. After Cole passed out – you know, because his lack of food and all – Jessica tells us that this made her realize her true feelings for Cole, and that she doesn’t want to play the game without him. That’s too bad, because he will be Jessica’s downfall and I was hoping she’d be able to cut loose the dead weight at some point. Ironically, Cole passing out just galvanized the others in thinking that Cole will definitely have to go, and sometime soon.
And how about that Joe? I’m sort of rooting for this guy thus far. He is an aggressive player who has been compared to Tony Vlachos, but he seems to be a little more calm and collected at this point in the game. He is definitely carving out his spot among the players this season, now having found a second hidden Immunity Idol. It’s a good thing too, because Desi admitted to Ashley and Devon that she would be willing to flip on Joe should the need arise…we’ll never know how that dynamic might have played out now that we know the merge is next week.
Episode Take-Away: We’re finally heading into the merge, officially done with the pre-merge episodes. As many of you know, the first merge episode is typically one of the very best episodes of each season, and sometimes can shape the energy of what is to come. But calling it like it is, this season up until now has been sort of ho-hum…I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a “bad” season, but it’s definitely not feeling like a great one. There are some interesting players left (and then there’s Cole), so here’s hoping that next week sucks all of the fair-weather Survivor fans back into the fold.
I’m also a bit sad to see Ali go, as I liked her and thought she was going to go far. Ryan is definitely someone to keep an eye on moving forward, as he’s gotten a ton of screen-time and looks to be set-up nicely post-merge. As is Chrissy. As was pointed out tonight, sometimes the strongest players become the targets post-merge, so if that’s the case this season, who in their right mind would target either Chrissy or Ryan?
Strategic Move of the Week: For the second straight week, I don’t feel inclined to name this, as I just don’t feel like anybody did enough to deserve it. That’s got to change next week, right?
Voted out this week: Ali
Won Immunity: Red Tribe, Blue Tribe.
Vote: No Idols or advantages played. 3 – Ali (JP, Ryan, Chrissy), 1 – JP (Ali)
Next Week’s Episode: It’s the merge!
Quick Note! Remember to return right here to Reality Tea for my FilmSurvivor Podcast Thursday, where you can listen to my full exit interview with Ali. Last but not least, I encourage you to check out my weekly movie reviews, including my reviews of “Thor: Ragnarok” and “A Bad Moms Christmas” this week. And as always, the easiest way to get all of my Survivor coverage and movie reviews is to follow me on Twitter – @tomsantilli – or on Facebook.
TELL US – DID YOU SEE RYAN’S DECISION TO BLINDSIDE ALI COMING? WHO DO YOU THINK IS IN THE BEST POSITION HEADING INTO THE MERGE? WHO IS IN THE WORST POSITION?
Photo Credit: CBS/Monty Brinton/Robert Voets/Timothy Kuratek/Jeffrey Neira