Well that was ugly! It’s easy to sit back and “armchair quarterback” the game of Survivor, but I think it’s pretty easy to agree this week that a very bad decision was made, and it led to an absolute disaster at Tribal Council. We’ve seen extra vote advantages wreak havoc at Tribal in the past, but we’ve never quite seen the loss of a vote create such drama.
Of course, I’m referring to Chanelle, who was chosen to go on a “journey” along with Omar from a competing tribe, and whose decision to risk her vote ended up costing her and allies dearly. Poor Jenny is the one that ultimately took the fall, a victim not only of Chanelle’s decision but also of Daniel‘s equally awful gameplay. With Mike already without a vote, Chanelle’s vote was crucial this week, and she knew that…heck, she made it a point to tell Omar that before her fateful choice. So face value, it already seemed like an unnecessary risk to take. Add to this, that if you’re trying to think like your opponents think – a key to succeeding on Survivor – then she must have known that in telling Omar that her vote was super-important to her, that this probably made him even more likely to risk HIS vote, meaning that Chanelle’s vote would also be lost.
Aye, aye, aye. The good news is that the chaos that we all witnessed was superb, if uncomfortable, television. You could gauge that just by looking at Jeff Probst‘s face at Tribal Council, which went from giddy with excitement to ashen-grey stunned silence by the time the tribe headed back to camp. And while Chanelle created this mess, it was Daniel who plastered some C-4 on it and blew it all to hell. Some of the others on his tribe had pegged him as maybe a bit sneaky or untrustworthy, and boy were they proven correct. While it does seem that Daniel initially planned to honor flipping on Hai and Lydia in favor of siding with Mike and Jenny, not even Chanelle could have anticipated that Daniel would take his closest ally – Chanelle – and not only throw her under the bus but back over her a few times to boot.
In case you were having trouble following along, let’s break down exactly what happened. Mike actually was the target of the tribe at the beginning on this episode, but upon finding out that this “three-way Idol” becomes three individual Immunity Idols should they make it to the merge, Daniel realized that it wouldn’t do them much good to try to blindside Mike and flush his Idol, because there would still be potentially two Idols left at the merge, and perhaps Mike’s Idol could end up benefitting Daniel and his closest (ahem) ally, Chanelle. When Hai and Lydia named Jenny as their target, Daniel took this info to Jenny, but because Mike still is hanging on to that Beware Advantage, he already didn’t have a vote. That meant if Jenny and Daniel were to vote for Lydia, they would absolutely need Chanelle’s vote to tip the scales in their favor. That should have been an easy thing to do, being that CHANELLE AND DANIEL WERE ALIGNED!
Chanelle of course did not know until Tribal Council that she didn’t have a vote, and the plan went accordingly up until that point. Mike and Chanelle had no vote, Jenny voted for Lydia and Lydia voted for Jenny. That meant that the initial “tie-vote” was created when Hai voted for Jenny (expected) and Daniel voted for Lydia, following through with his plan to flip on Hai/Lydia. The re-vote yielded the same results, and then that’s when the fun began.
So the major question most have is: Why would Daniel blow up his alliance with Chanelle for no reason? Throwing her under the bus definitely caught Chanelle off guard, and I think Jenny also didn’t verbalize a great plan to keep herself in the game solely because Jenny was sitting by in stunned silence as Daniel was whipping up all of this madness. Hai taking a hard stance on voting for Jenny, and his willingness to possibly draw rocks might have been why Daniel made the decision to abruptly betray Chanelle. Knowing in the moment that Daniel had no desire to go to rocks, his only out was to vote for Jenny. So in deciding that he HAD to vote for Jenny to avoid rocks, that mean he had to side with Hai, whom he had just double-crossed. To smooth things over (I use this phrase loosely), he decided to blame his votes on Chanelle…when Jenny leaves the game because of Daniel’s decision, he knows that he’s already lost Chanelle and Mike, so why not try to do some damage control with Hai and Lydia? Makes sense…um…I guess?
It’s ironic that Tribal began with Daniel telling Jeff that he could never win the game because his paranoia was out of control, but the real reason Daniel won’t be able to win the game now is because of this sort of shiftiness and the ease he shows in flipping sides. Sure, Hai and Lydia will need Daniel to stay in the majority over Mike and Chanelle, but do you really think that Hai/Lydia are going to trust Daniel any further? On the flip, Daniel’s relationship is completely shattered with Chanelle and Mike, so he’s a dead man walking. Even if he gets to the merge, which is now likely, his reputation will be shot and he won’t have any true allies.
Fans of Daniel will rightly point to the fact that none of this happens if Chanelle doesn’t risk her vote! That Chanelle, in a sense, took the first shot since she put Daniel in this impossible situation. It’s just shocking to me that Daniel didn’t play things more down the middle and that he would so quickly ruin his relationship with Chanelle. Chanelle is even in a worse situation now because while her vote will be restored at the next Tribal Council, Mike is still without a vote. Things can turn around very quick for them though, if that third piece of the Idol is found and if all of those crazy lines are read at the next Immunity Challenge.
With all of the hoopla that occurred at Tribal, it’s easy to forget that this episode also gave us what has to be one of the most dominant individual challenge performances in the history of the game. I’m talking about Jonathan of course, who had his way with a massive ladder in the middle of a swirling current, who quite literally put his tribe on his back and won them Immunity, tools and fruit. Bravo. If there’s ever a season where I could see a player win themselves to the end, it would be this one, and it would be Jonathan. Just wow, man.
The other notable event was that Maryanne now has an extra vote and a Beware Advantage, both of which she has openly shared with her entire tribe. She’s so charming and likable, but is her style of gameplay going to make her an early boot or someone to root for down the stretch? Only time will tell.
Episode Take-Away. I just kept thinking, well that escalated quickly! From Jonathan‘s dominance at the challenge to Jeff having to call the other two tribes to the shore, a lot of things started off looking good this week and then quickly went to hell. I’m still baffled by Chanelle‘s decision to risk her vote given the situation she was in, but hey, I guess it’s easy for me to sit on my couch and make these kinds of calls. There is a difference though between taking calculated risks and being reckless, and Chanelle’s choice was the latter. I’m very sad that all of this resulted in Jenny being sent home, as I liked her and thought she was the sort of player that could have gone quite far. It was also interesting that Jeff had to reveal the two players that didn’t have their votes, due to the circumstances. 42 seasons and countless episodes of Survivor behind us, and this show still continues to give us more than a few “firsts” each and every time out. There is truly nothing better than Survivor!
Erik Reichenbach DabuDoodles Art. Erik’s piece last week was one of his most popular ever! For those that followed this column the past few seasons, you also know that this page is the EXCLUSIVE home to new artwork from none other than two-time Survivor contestant and legend, Erik Reichenbach. Each week, Erik contributes a brand-new, original piece of artwork relating to the new week’s episode. It will appear here usually in the days after the show’s airing, so if it does not appear here now, check back usually by the weekend following an episode and give this page a refresh. All of Erik’s work as well as past works can be found and purchased on his site, DabuDoodles.com, and I urge you to support this amazingly talented former Survivor player!
Out this week: Jenny
Won Immunity: Orange Tribe (Jonathan, Maryanne, Lindsay, Omar), Blue Tribe (Drea, Tori, Swati, Rocksroy, Romeo)
Vote: No advantages or Idols played. Mike and Chanelle both had no vote. 2 – Lydia (Daniel, Jenny), 2 – Jenny (Lydia, Hai). Tie-vote resulted in a re-vote where Hai voted again for Jenny and Daniel again for Lydia. A unanimous decision on who to send home needed to then be made, or else the four would draw rocks. Since Mike and Chanelle had lost their vote, their vote did not matter when it came to the unanimous vote. Hai and Daniel agreed to vote out Jenny.
Current Advantage List:
- Drea – 1 Extra Vote, also has Amulet (current power: 1 extra vote if all three are played)
- Lindsay – Amulet (current power: 1 extra vote if all three are played)
- Romeo – Amulet (current power: 1 extra vote if all three are played)
- Maryanne – 1 Extra Vote, Beware Advantage (currently cannot vote until three-way Idol is activated)
- Mike – Beware Advantage (currently cannot vote until three-way Idol is activated)
Next Week’s Episode: How do you follow up this week’s Tribal Council? Tune in next week, where we will witness the fallout back at camp…and could challenge-beast Jonathan possibly be the target of his tribe?
Quick Note! I appreciate that you are reading this recap! Those that have followed me also know that I am also a RottenTomatoes-approved film critic and I encourage you to check out my past movie reviews and my movie show (episodes are also available online at the website, www.MovieShowPlus.com.) 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 DO YOU THINK OF THIS EPISODE? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS TUMULTUOUS TRIBAL COUNCIL? AND WHICH PLAYERS ARE YOU ROOTING FOR/AGAINST?
[Photo Credit: CBS/Monty Brinton/Robert Voets/Timothy Kuratek/Jeffrey Neira/Michele Crowe/David M. Russell]