Survivor showcases a great physical performance and a lot of terrible strategic ones.
by Jeremy Fogelman
It was a ridiculous series of unforced errors that answered the perennial question: Why did Jenny lose and get voted out? Unfortunately despite clearly being smart and good at puzzles (she certainly helped with that triangle one), both she and Lydia were on the “not strong” part of the targets. But it was also about a very specific split team and a mistake made in multiple places.
I don’t really think Jenny made a particular mistake, at least that we saw, so instead we need to look at the bizarre situation where she was betrayed by an ally.
After Jonathan absolutely destroyed the challenge, Omar and Chanelle get sent to the risk your vote island -- and both give excellent, correct reasons to protect their vote -- and then both switch at the last minute and lose it! Chanelle should’ve realized how precarious her position was and protected herself -- that would’ve been enough to protect her alliance.
As for noted superfan and paranoid Daniel, he had quite a few “epic fails” -- he dropped Mike’s idol for one, and spiraled out of control when it came down to the unprecedented “two votes left” situation at the tribal council. Hai immediately had a stronger position since Daniel was saying he didn’t want to go to rocks -- but if he had a stronger reason other than uncertainty, we didn’t hear it.
Daniel kept throwing Chanelle under the bus to make himself seem less of a strategic thinker, which she correctly pointed out -- and of course, he eventually backed down and voted out Jenny. So Daniel leaves this episode in a pretty bad social position, and poor Jenny is the victim -- although if Chanelle had not lost her vote, likely Lydia would’ve been voted out instead.
Most of the episode focused on these strategic choices, but we did see Maryanne find the second of the threeway shared advantage and pretty cleverly drop her odd phrase at the immunity challenge. Mike noticed but didn’t say anything (smartly), as the third one hadn’t yet been found. And of course, it was highly impressive to watch Jonathan manage physical feats no one else could manage, and acted fairly humbly afterwards about it -- he’s an interesting player so far, certainly. Not the cliché of the physical dude who brags about his prowess.
So two firsts for the episode, one that was Jeff skipping half a challenge due to safety reasons and the other where it was literally down to two people with votes. But that made the episode both exciting and frustrating, because I don’t really like watching people make errors when they shouldn’t have to -- everyone makes mistakes, especially as the game continues and people get hungrier.
But at this early stage of the game, it’s less enjoyable and forgivable. Still, there are plenty of interesting players left in the game, even if it’s likely Vati may be permanently damaged. Curious to see how these people will act after this terrible situation.
Next time on Survivor, even more arguments seem to arise.