by Jeremy Fogelman
This week on Survivor we ask the question, why did Voce get voted out?
Essentially there’s always an element in the pre-merge game of challenge success, so that even if you’re otherwise a decent player, if your tribe always loses you are at risk despite anything else. Thus here the yellow Yase tribe has lost immunity twice and also the initial reward one -- naturally they are doing poorly. And although there’s often that 'we need strength' vibe early on, Evvie notes that (a) that often means women are unfairly targeted, and (b) they haven’t been winning anyway.
Voce has one alliance to speak of, with Evvie and Xander -- we don’t really see anything else from him, so perhaps his lack of options was another factor. But he ultimately lost for two reasons -- Evvie had her true loyalty with the ladies’ alliance and thus knew the secrets of the others, and Tiff spun out about Xander maybe having an idol. Thus Voce became the safer choice (although you never know in Survivor what advantages someone might have).
On the twist side, Xander discovers a theoretical idol, although one that is only valid once each tribe has found theirs -- and until then he has no vote. It’s kind of a dangerous game, and it’s hard to imagine a player that looks for an idol not opening a risky note so I don’t blame Xander for it. But his radical honesty approach might have (and still might later) lesd to his demise so I don’t think it was a good idea at all. But I like the complicated idol idea, at least for now, silly phrases and all. We’ll see how it plays out.
Luvu and Ua each give us some interesting new complications too. On Luvu, we see Naseer seemingly changing from a helpful asset that will eventually be cut loose to a helpful asset that maybe should be kept around -- or at least so we hear from Sydney, which is an interesting note too. We also get one of those new backstory montages about Naseer’s fascinating journey to the show and see him very easily making fire -- hard to know of course how that will go.
On Ua, we get a sort of lesser Tony situation as Brad successfully hides and overhears a vital conversation between JD and Ricard about him. Although this is successful in terms of his informational gain, the episode made him look a bit of a buffoon in terms of how it was edited. But also he immediately told Shan everything, not understanding that her true alliance is with Ricard, who we already know is a perceptive player.
It was an entertaining episode, and I feel like we’ve already gotten a little something from most of the players, which I appreciate. Unfortunately the classic 'one worse off tribe is doing even worse' situation often leads to slightly less intriguing strategy because the numbers of players keep going down, but they did some interesting stuff with multiple alliances and last minute nonsense changes.
Right now the strongest social players we see are Shan and Evvie, both of whom have multiple alliances that think they’re the real one. Although Evvie actually got the chance to connect with Deshawn, who got his own montage backstory too. We don’t really have much from Erika or Heather at all, and less than others for Danny, Genie, and Liana -- but Liana kicked butt at the immunity challenge despite them ultimately losing. So we’ll see.
Next time on Survivor, Brad loves the twists and turns, Liana worries about a mistake, JD hasn’t found the idol, and Sydney really is scared.