Disclaimer: Because this episode was so good, this is going to be long.
I am now starting to understand why Jeff is so stoked with this group.
That is not to say that this is the best batch of Survivors but I have to say that they are really good collectively.
Merge episodes are exciting because this is the part where the story line of major players are determined. As Carolyn put it, this is where the line is drawn.
But what set this episode apart is the impressive display of moves from several people. While some worked and others didn’t, it goes without saying that everyone is making moves they think will benefit their individual games.
You have to admit that in most seasons, only a handful of people strategize so hard all at the same time that you never really know what’s up.
For viewers, it’s exhilirating. And I couldn’t imagine how it must have been for the players at that time. Everyone is playing each other that it’s very difficult to have even a hint of how things are going to go. Even those who have masterminded the moves probably have no inkling of how their cards are going to turn up.
That’s what this episode is.
And that’s why this is the most memorable yet.
The last time I was so excited about the merge was 5 years ago, when Parvati masterfully played two hidden immunity idols and single-handedly changed the course of the game.
An idol is involved this time but what makes it so special is that it came so unexpectedly, everyone, except for Jenn and Hali, was caught off guard.
This further showed how cunning and savvy Jenn is at reading people. Without a lot to go with, she was able to make accurate predictions based simply on intuition. Clearly, she’s one to watch out for.
After this vote, she’ll be on everyone’s radar. She’s good at challenges, knows how to deal with people, and figure out pretty much what’s going on.
So she plays her idol and sends Kelly home. By doing that, she managed to dismantle the strong Blue Collar 5.
It was sad to see Kelly go. She hasn’t shown much but you can see the potential and that’s why it wasn’t hard to root for her.
Her elimination could end Mike’s game because she’s his only trusted ally. I wouldn’t count on Dan as being a level-headed ally. He could be loyal but he’d only hurt Mike’s chances of winning.
Among the entire group, Mike’s the most obvious in playing the game. He does come up with good plans and he can assess situations well but he’s way out there. It wouldn’t surprise me if someone decides to get rid of him prematurely. And based on next episode’s preview, Rodney is already plotting his ouster.
Also, why can’t you think of better tribe name, Mike? Yours is totally lame.
The thing about Rodney is he knows what he’s supposed to do but he falters in the execution.
He did right in getting Will on his side and rallying the White Collars but there’s always something missing in his moves.
It maybe the words that come out of his mouth, his arrogance, or inability to accurately read people.
But you have to give it to him. He can mask his fury and make Mike believe that he’s back on his side.
But I doubt that he can pull off power play.
What about the rest?
Shirin is commendable for successfully aligning with the No Collars. And it didn’t appear like she had no choice. She decided to stick with Jenn and Hali and Joe even when it didn’t seem they had the numbers.
I liked how she made it clear at tribal that she’s not among the swing votes. Even if it meant alienating herself even more. Girl got some balls.
As for Carolyn and Tyler, they might have made the wrong move this week but I don’t see it having an immediate consequence. However, it will hard to gain the No Collar’s trust.
Speaking of trust, it was so foolish of Will to side with the Blue Collars. It didn’t help his game at all. If anything, it made him look stupid, especially with the way Mike made him vote for Hali.
While he’s clearly not winning this game, he went from being number four to number eight.
He did nothing but betray every single person he’s aligned with.
How did this guy even get on the show?
Sierra looked really cute at the challenge and basically every frame she’s on. But that was all we saw from her. I’ve yet to see her make a move.
Golden Joe is both in a good and bad spot. He’s good at challenges but that also makes him a huge threat. He better find the idol and win every single immunity challenge until there’s not enough Blue Collar to worry about.
To cap this off, I’d like to make a bold prediction that Hali is going to win this thing.
She hasn’t made any game-changing move but in every episode there’s something that shows her in a good light, as if the editors are throwing us bits and pieces to justify her victory.
Case in point: the scene where Jenn told her she has the idol. It wasn’t necessary because we know she has it. Showing us that Hali knew about the idol prevents us from thinking she’s clueless about what’s about to go down.
She’s also been portrayed as a threat, in a way. The vote against her kinda establishes the fact that she’s not just a floater, that she can be a legit threat.
Plus, isn’t it a little uncanny that she had unnecessary shots during the challenge?
I get the feeling that we are being conditioned to believe how she’s working hard to win the game in an under-the-radar kind of way.