by Jeremy Fogelman
As the twin councils disappear from view and the voted out castaways get weighed and fed, we ask our perennial query: Why did Naseer and Evvie lose?
In both cases, it was a situation of threats and missing the danger right in front of you. Starting with the episode’s little twist, I thought it worked well -- both teams competed for immunity against each other, with two people going home and one slightly better team getting food. The start of the episode had Shan and Deshawn at odds then better then at odds again, while Deshawn was creating a new ally with Evvie.
At the same time, Naseer and Heather were at odds of a sort, although Naseer was as always, unfailingly polite. I cackled out loud when he said “Do I buy that? I do not” in response to Heather. And all the while, Xander and Erika plotted to take out the big power five while Shan kept complaining about finding Erika untrustworthy, for a reason I still don't understand. We also got a nice little moment where Ricard discusses his issues being hard of hearing while the show actually gives us the muffled sounds so we can understand how it might be for him.
But as for Naseer, he was voted out because Ricard and Shan changed their “vote out Heather” plan to vote out Naseer instead. Why did they do this? Because Erika, the target they wanted, was immune and because Ricard wanted to remove a threat and someone he probably thought was more loyal to Shan. Shan did as her ally asked and played an extra vote on Naseer, who unfortunately did not play his vote -- but although Naseer always understood the game (like knowing never to have his name as a decoy vote), there are subtleties especially with the other people he may have missed.
Naseer was absolutely one of the most fun and engaging players in years, and I’d be more than happy to see him again. His energy and competency was always fun, and it gave us one of the great moments when he had his “confused as a goat on astroturf” speech. As for our other fave, Evvie was also a threat -- winning an immunity and clearly being both a superfan and being extremely level-headed (which stands out among the hotheads this season). I also don’t really think Ricard and Shan made the right move since Naseer was so loyal to them, but hey, it’s not my game.
Evvie likely only could’ve stayed in the game if Xander had played his idol, and why didn’t he? Did he not see it coming? I don’t think he did, or maybe he was just playing it a bit safer for his own game, even though Evvie was one of his only real potential allies. Xander still has his immunity idol but for how long? Still, he does have one thing that does help -- the conflicts that still exist with everyone else.
But despite losing two faves, it was a pretty fun episode, with good plays and bad, chaos and order, and no game breaking twists to really overcomplicate things. Alas for poor Heather, she has no chance to win, but otherwise... it may really be anyone’s game.
Next time on Survivor, Danny and Deshawn want Ricard out, Liana cries to Shan, and suddenly Shan wants to vote out Deshawn.