Survivor tosses out a blindside in what has become a new pattern.
by Jeremy Fogelman
As the rain finally calms down and people get some sleep, we ask our question of questions: Why did Hai lose and get voted out? In this case, I put Hai in the Shan camp of being a bit visibly good at the game with a theoretical ally betraying them -- she got voted out 11th while Hai got voted out 10th. This is part of the new school post 'Winners at War' style, which I suppose doesn’t have a name exactly.
At first, Survivor players post-merge would vote out physical and immunity threats, disloyal people, and simply people in the minority. Then you started to shake things up with alliances breaking apart to make big moves, and that was the “big move” era. In that era, the most dangerous people were the obviously social and talented people. In general these were targets that had significant chances of winning the game at the final council.
But now, in the post-“big move” era, people target the theoretical winners of the game once their capabilities become too obvious. That’s why you had Erika winning last season -- twists aside, she was strategic but not too strategic -- but also not too passive. That seems to be the trick to getting further in this era, but as more and more players realize this, it becomes trickier and trickier.
At this point, Hai was indeed one of those players, but he pushed things a bit too far a few too many times. His move to convince Mike to betray Rocksroy grated on Mike, so he became a super easy target for Omar’s believable lies about Hai. Suddenly Mike was dead set on getting Hai out, just like he was with Chanelle -- and we saw how that went. Hai also miscalculated with his move with Jonathan -- his idol move was definitely an “overplay” moment.
It’d have been one thing to use a fake idol as a trick or threat, but to expect Jonathan to believe Hai would play it for him? Even the less savvy Jonathan wouldn’t fall for that one. Instead, we saw the rise of Lindsay this episode, her winning two challenges in a row, and being on the right side of everyone’s conversations -- her only bad moment was missing an idol. Omar also continued to manage his subtle social game -- if he can keep it up without blowing his spot, he really has a great chance of going to the end.
Both Drea and Maryanne had good moments too, with the latter finding a new idol and the former managing to stay off anyone’s radar. The episode also had our “loved ones” moment, with a sweet take on the classic “videos of family” idea. That’s all well and good, but the more interesting part was leading into the tribal council when it was legitimately hard to guess who was heading home.
But is Jonathan a real threat to win? Bringing a “goat” or someone less likely to win is still a valid strategy, and at this point I don’t see any way he could win against any other player. At the tribal council we heard such interesting metaphors as “Survivor Jenga” or “Long distance runners with blindfolds on” -- while Lindsay simply hilariously said that they were all sick.
Too bad about Hai, he was a fun player -- but everyone left is also a fun player, one way or another. What a nice way to move into the endgame for this season. Maybe we should’ve guessed it was Hai’s final moments with that lovely little flashback moment for him.
Next time on Survivor, new targets arise and there’s some sort of twist.