by Jeremy Fogelman
As the dust of the merge settles and the rice is no longer missing, we ask our regularly scheduled question: Why did Tiffany lose and get voted out?
I will certainly miss Tiffany the Player, with her hilarious asides and Eliza Orlins level of mugging for the camera. She played hard and often decently smart, even if she ended up in a minority alliance not really of any real fault of her own. But I am also looking forward to Tiffany on the Jury, where she can be even less filtered.
The majority alliance was quite a big one this time around, with former tribesfolk Deshawn, Danny, Erika, Heather, and Naseer working together while at the same time bringing in Liana and Shan with the most recent sub-alliance with Ricard as a connected member originally through Shan. Thus we are left with Tiffany, Evvie, and Xander as the people without any real support.
Evvie started the episode as a major threat but with minimal allies, as we saw Liana and Shan plot to target the superfan. But then Evvie killed it both in the reward and immunity challenge, and suddenly we are left with Xander (with two advantages) and Tiffany (with none). Sure, you could target Heather, who is no threat, but why bother? You could target Naseer, who has an idol and is a sweetheart, but he also loves the game and definitely wants to win -- although as Shan notes, he is also loyal and a great provider.
Naseer tells us himself that he trusts Shan and Ricard, and he also trusts his former tribe too -- so why lose him just because his immunity idol? This is the subject of a break of heart between Shan and Deshawn as they argue who to send home -- and Deshawn is highly touchy and sensitive about it while Shan is conciliatory if a bit condescending. Not a great look for either, although I suspect Shan is losing it a bit due to her hunger (as she also snaps at Ricard too).
So unfortunately this leads back to our initial question? Why did Tiffany lose? Because she couldn’t get enough of an alliance together and her former allies no longer would sacrifice for her -- because the only thing that would’ve saved Xander is he both used his extra vote to target Heather and his idol on her -- and that’s really too much to ask even of an ally.
But other than losing one of my faves, it was a pretty fun episode -- we even finally heard a confessional from the mysterious, enigmatic Heather, who... exists! Great news for her. Not great news for her game, though -- and her gambit at tribal council failed, so it’s not looking great for her either.
I also enjoyed both Jeff hiding the advantage and Xander totally missing it -- so both we at home and Jeff in the TV were frustrated by it. Honestly it’s a pretty compelling cast this season, and there are a lot of interesting back and forth situations that could be quite interesting going forward. Nobody currently looks like a “winner”, as even the savviest players have made blunders.
Definitely an open game going forward and that’s what I like to see.
Next time on Survivor, people are fighting with each other, and things are shaking up.