Well, it couldn’t last forever. Now don’t get me wrong, Survivor: David vs. Goliath continues to be one of the best seasons in several years by all measures. Of course, the show had to come down a bit at some point following what had truly been two back-to-back “Hall of Fame”-worthy Tribal Councils. Tonight’s double-episode extravaganza was solid, but not legendary. It was entertaining, but not all that exciting. But it’s impossible to match what we’ve been given the past two weeks. I urge you – implore you – to go get one of your non-Survivor-watching friends right now, and get them to start binging this season. Because, oh man, this season is still red-hot and far from over. Friends don’t let friends not watch Survivor, right?
As I do at the beginning of every recap, please heed the following: Remember that this recap assumes that you have already seen this week’s Episode 10 and 11 of Survivor: David vs. Goliath. If you have not and don’t want to be spoiled, please come back later! It’s important to add that while we WILL hit on all of the important developments of the episode, this is not a linear “blow-by-blow” recap. It 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!
Pretty much the only thing I hate about double-episodes of Survivor is how it screws up how us Survivor recappers title our articles (#firstworldproblems). Yes, it was a two-hour episode, but technically it was two different episodes played in a row, and labeled by the network as such. So whenever there is a double-episode, people usually feel like they’ve missed an ep, or skipped over one, or they start to get confused with the numbering of future episodes. But for those scoring at home, tonight was indeed Episodes 10 and 11. This means, believe it or not, we are now a mere three weeks away from the Survivor: David vs. Goliath Finale on December 19th. That’s just two more regular episodes leading up to the two-hour Finale and Live Reunion Show!
And wow is there a lot to speculate about. As solid as this double-episode night was, the “Next Time On” segment was such a powerful bombshell that it is almost worthy of its own recap. So let’s begin at the end, shall we? Next week’s preview teased that Gabby – gasp! – might be looking to blindside….Christian? Yes, I know I’ve fantasized about the so-called “nerd-mance” between Gabby and Christian all season, on the Podcast and on this very site. Yes, I know that they’re in a relationship or whatever back home. They’re just so frickin’ cute and likable. They seemed to really be there for one another at the beginning of the season, in a way that made me want to root for them as a pair.
Gabby’s emotions have become somewhat of a running joke (even by Gabby herself on Twitter). They even make for a fun Survivor drinking game (drink every time Gabby sheds a tear!). Even so, she has definitely been getting more emotional these past few episodes, to the point where the emotions have possibly clouded her strategic reasoning. Like, was it a good move to get rid of Carl (more on that in a minute)? Is it really in Gabby’s best interest to turn on Christian, especially with eight people still in the game?
The Survivor jury is still out on that one, but here’s my take: I think Gabby was definitely on to something during tonight’s episodes. She mentioned that they would need to get rid of Carl at some point, to show on their resumes that they were not mere followers of his. Now having seen that end preview though, it’s pretty clear that Gabby wasn’t just saying that with respect to her and Christian together, but for her own game. And using that same reasoning – that she must usurp Carl for the jury to respect her – the same would then have to be true of Christian…if she dared go to the end with him, she would once again be risking the perception that she wasn’t the mastermind, that she was possibly riding Christian’s coattails.
Where I think the emotions come in, and my comment about her “strategic reasoning” becoming cloudy, is that I question if next week is the right time for her to go after Christian. I can’t wait to play Monday-Morning Quarterback on that one. If that move propels her to the end and she wins the game, then by golly it was obviously incredible timing to go after Christian next week! But should it blow up in her face, it will be easy to wag a finger and point out that she might have gone too big, too early. You’ve just got to love this game.
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Backtracking a bit, Alec was the first victim tonight. I, for one, was sorry to see him go. Despite the pre-season controversies and drama swirling around Alec and also Kara, Alec had an uphill battle to win people over in the audience. He managed to do just that. He was likable, he had some good confessional interviews, and he played a major part this season. Despite some sloppy game-play throughout, he emerged as the clear physical threat post-merge. While we’ve seen a physical threat winning their way into the finals a few times before, it’s quite rare. More commonly, we’ve seen physical threats taken out at the first opportunity.
Alec didn’t help his case by battling for over five-and-a-half hours (!!!), even though he ended up losing to Christian anyways. But he had to go, for pretty much everyone else’s game to continue on. Rumor has it though, that because of the aforementioned pre-season drama, Alec not only was docked some money, but he was apparently uninvited from the Live Reunion Show. I plan to ask him about that in tomorrow’s double-stuffed podcast.
Of course, the reason that the podcast is double-stuffed on Thursday is that we lost not one, but two players this week. We also said goodbye to Carl, who has been another interesting character this season. He is the sort of guy who didn’t seem to have much chance of winning, but he definitely added to the show. He was sent to this season’s only Exile Island visit, where he made history by acquiring the new “Idol Nullifyer” advantage, which he correctly used in order to get Dan out of the game last week.
He suddenly became the leader of the flourishing David tribe, and with this new-found in-game confidence came some courage to just tell other players like it was. But he rubbed Elizabeth the wrong way and rubbed Gabby the wrong way, two women who seem like they get along with everyone. There’s no better metaphor than showing Carl tonight, drunk and over-indulging at the reward feast. He became drunk on power in the game and over-indulged. Sadly, it seems that his blindside sobered him up quickly. Even moments after his ousting during his final remarks, he admitted to having slipped into “cruise control” down the stretch. He knew better, but the game got the best of him before he realized it.
Carl and Alec‘s exit tonight means that we are still at 4-4 when it comes to Davids vs. Goliaths, for those still measuring by that criteria. As it was pointed out, the lines have all been blurred, as they should now with just eight players remaining. Angelina seems to have preserved her game by flopping over to the Davids, who if they’re smart, will take her loyalty all the way to the end…there is no way even a jury full of Goliaths would give her a million bucks. She’s the only person left that I don’t think has a shot at actually winning. But making the Finals? I’ll predict right here and now that she sits at Final Three.
The other big development tonight was what was NOT shown. What the heck happened to the good ole’ “Mason-Dixon” alliance between Nick and Christian? At one point, these two had forged a powerful secret alliance. Now, they are the only two in the game in possession of hidden Idols. You’d think they’d try running the show together, right? But we just have not been shown any one-on-one interaction between the two of them over the past few weeks. This leads me to believe that maybe they just simply aren’t working together anymore?
Like, why did Gabby and Christian have to make the move against Carl on their own? Wouldn’t it have been in their best interest to have looped Nick and Davie in on the blindside as well? Nick clearly did not know what was going on at Tribal, a rarity if you think about Nick’s track record in this game. I understand that Gabby felt betrayed by all of the other Davids for not looping her in on voting out Alison. However, Christian really drew a line in the sand tonight when he decided to stick it out with Gabby. He is in the middle of the feud, but I feel like Christian just sewed some distrust with Nick and Davie when he didn’t have to.
And while the Davids are imploding, there sits Mike White. A guy that CAN win, although he is the darkest of horses in this race, the longest of long-shots. He continues to play a game that isn’t kicking up much dust, and he’s never the most formidable threat. If Gabby is really turning on Christian, Mike will once again be in a key position moving forward, because you’ve got to believe that Gabby will be working with Kara, Alison, and Mike in order to pull off the big move. She won’t work with Angelina and she definitely won’t go to Davie or Nick, who just lied to her. Christian needs Mike too. With the way things are shaking out, I think Mike might just be in a great spot. If my Survivor-expertise serves me as it has in the past, this means he’s probably the next to go.
Episode Take-Away: There is no way that even with a double-episode we were going to match what we saw the last two Tribal Councils. But we did lose two good players tonight, and the cuts are not going to get any easier this season. I feel like Gabby and Christian probably did the right thing by voting out Carl. Maybe they didn’t handle it the best way that they could have. They should have got Nick and Davie on-board as well. We’re down to two episodes this season leading into the Finale on December 19th. I feel like this season is going to finish the way it’s been going all season: Strong, and wholly unpredictable.
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Voted out this week: Alec Merlino and Carl Boudreaux
Won Immunity: Christian and Davie
Vote #1: No idols or advantages played. 9 – Alec (Christian, Gabby, Nick, Davie, Angelina, Kara, Mike, Alison, Carl), 1 – Carl (Alec)
Vote #2: No idols or advantages played. 5 – Carl (Gabby, Christian, Mike, Alison, Kara), 4 – Alison (Carl, Davie, Angelina, Nick)
Next Week’s Episode: The only thing I can tell you for sure, is to bring tissues…you’ll need them for the famed “Loved Ones” challenge that will be happening. You may need it even more when and if Gabby decides to blindside her closest ally, Christian.
Quick Note! I appreciate that you are reading this recap! But all season long, remember to return right here to Reality Tea for my FilmSurvivor Podcast on Thursday, where you can listen to my full exit interview with the eliminated contestants. This week is a “two-fer” as in, I will be chatting exclusively with BOTH Alec Merlino and Carl Boudreaux. Those that have followed me also know that I am a RottenTomatoes-approved film critic, and I encourage you to check out my weekly movie reviews as I am also the national film critic for AXS.com and am a movie critic/TV personality in the Detroit area. 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 – WHAT DID YOU THINK OF TONIGHT’S SURVIVOR EPISODE? DID GABBY AND CHRISTIAN MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION IN VOTING OUT CARL? AND WHO DO YOU THINK WILL WIN SURVIVOR?
Photo Credit: CBS/Monty Brinton/Robert Voets/Timothy Kuratek/Jeffrey Neira/Michele Crowe/David M. Russell