After that zany, chaotic Tribal Council last week, things seemed to calm back down this week on Survivor. We were treated to a fairly straight-forward episode, one that was perhaps this season’s weakest to date. That’s OK, given the strength of the previous three! But there were no huge developments and no fireworks to speak of at Tribal Council, ending in an elimination that was eyebrow-raising if you consider where the tribe was at to begin the episode, but not all that surprising considering where things went during the course of the hour.
The episode began with the fallout and aftermath from that crazy Tribal that had sent Jenny home after her tribe had nearly gone to rocks. Daniel all but imploded, and when returning to camp it was clear that his head was still spinning. Chanelle tried to salvage the little bit of her game that remained after Daniel threw most of it under the bus, but it was Hai that really seemed to make the most of the situation. Still close with Lydia, Hai ceased this moment back at camp to bring Mike into the fold…Mike was left shell-shocked after Jenny was sent packing, but does he really want to align himself with the sinking ship that is Daniel/Chanelle? Teaming with Hai and Lydia – who mutually need Mike – the three will have the majority and can now decide who is the bigger threat: Daniel or Chanelle, should they go back to Tribal Council.
A Reward Challenge gave Jonathan another chance to show his dominance as a competitor, but a slip of the tongue ended up rubbing his tribemates the wrong way. When asked after the challenge about how they performed, Jonathan mentioned something about how amazingly tight their four are, referring to himself, Maryanne, Omar and Lindsay. He didn’t necessarily want to paint a target on them as a foursome, but he did just that. But let’s be real: Jonathan has already proven himself to be a major threat, and a massive target. So this might all be more of a big deal for Omar and Maryanne than for Jonathan, but we shall see if this has any long-term effects as the season progresses.
Beyond that, all of the drama this week occurred at the Blue Tribe, where Tori was solidly on the bottom. But just like she did to avoid getting her torch snuffed in the premiere episode, she is proving to be a real survivor, with a strong enough social game that continues to save her skin when her back is against the wall. Swati and Tori seemed close, and Swati was beginning to see Drea as a major threat…heck, Drea has an extra vote and seems to be in a comfy spot on the tribe. Swati calculates that if they can bring in Rocksroy, they can blindside Drea. But they underestimate Rocksroy’s loyalty, and even though they divulge to him that Drea is packing an extra vote advantage (something he did not yet know), things end up going sideways when they all start to compare notes. As it turns out, Romeo, Rocksroy, Tori and Drea had all been told by Swati that they are her “number one.” Uh oh. So even though Tori had clearly been the most untrustworthy player of the bunch, all eyes were on Swati. Romeo said it the clearest when he pointed out that although Swati is very young, she is playing very hard socially.
Once they had a reason to vote Swati out, Swati could do very little to save herself…although she tried. Although Rocksroy ended up voting for Tori and not Swati, the others all cast their vote on Swati. Swati must have known that she was in big trouble, because she sacrificed her vote to play her “shot in the dark” which could have saved her. However, there has yet to be a successful “shot” taken in Survivor history, and when Jeff Probst revealed that Swati’s shot had indeed failed, her fate was sealed.
I think we’re just one episode removed from a tribe swap of some kind, or at least it feels overdue? It seems like forever ago when tribes would so evenly be divided…even though Jonathan‘s tribe has dominated, the fact that there have been three tribes thus far have yielded a good mix of tribes at Tribal Council from week to week. The tribes now stand at 5-4-4, so the question also stands: Will there even be a tribe swap? Or are we going to just go straight into the merge? The merge often happens at 12, and next week’s preview did not indicate any sort of “drop your buffs” situation. As I think about it, it’s unlikely they would swap the following week for just one week. So maybe because the tribe’s have been so evenly divided thus far, this allows them to just keep three tribes until merge? I guess we shall see!
One other quick Survivor note: It was announced today that the THREE-HOUR Finale of Survivor 42 is set for Wednesday, May 25th, so mark your calendars!
Episode Take-Away: A bit of a ho-hum episode, where we weren’t given anything too shocking or, frankly, memorable. Poor Maryanne keeps looking a fool at the Immunity Challenge, having to say her silly phrase but without the other tribes jumping in on the fun. I am really liking Jonathan and his impressive competitiveness, but I’m getting vibes that he’s way too nice of a guy to make it to the end…although I would be all about watching him win every single Individual Immunity Challenge on his way to the million dollar prize. Wouldn’t that be fun? He floated the idea this episode that he’s the perfect shield, but does anybody want to risk going up against him down the stretch? A final word on Swati: She was likable enough and was clearly a strong player, but proves once again that this game is even more challenging for younger players…life experience becomes a major asset in the game of Survivor, and that’s just something that a 20-year-old just can’t bring enough of. It’s possible her tribe votes out Rocksroy next should they return to Tribal, as I wouldn’t put it past Tori to sneak by yet again. And although she’s been playing from the bottom, look out for her come merge: She is a savvy social player that will not be first on many people’s radars, and she has no real alliance or loyalty, making her an attractive extra vote for all of the other alliances post-merge. She is definitely one to watch.
Erik Reichenbach DabuDoodles Art. 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: Swati
Won Immunity: Orange Tribe (Jonathan, Maryanne, Lindsay, Omar), Green Tribe (Daniel, Mike, Hai, Lydia, Chanelle)
Vote: No advantages or Idols played. Swati played her “shot in the dark” but it failed, resulting in her having no vote. 3 – Swati (Drea, Romeo, Tori), 1 – Tori (Rocksroy).
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)
- Hai – 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: Rocksroy feels alone and starts to question the strength of his social game. Is there a rift forming between Jonathan and Maryanne? And Daniel seems to still have a big target on his back.
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TELL US – WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS EPISODE? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON SWATI BEING TARGETED OVER TORI? AND WHICH PLAYERS ARE YOU ROOTING FOR/AGAINST?
[Photo Credit: CBS/Monty Brinton/Robert Voets/Timothy Kuratek/Jeffrey Neira/Michele Crowe/David M. Russell]