Survivor has a fun episode with an inspired new twist and a tragicomic self-immolation.
by Jeremy Fogelman
Ah, poor Lindsay, sometimes it can be a bit tricky to figure out why people get voted out of Survivor, even on this episode which is called “Show No Mercy” -- and she certainly didn’t get any. The problem is that Lindsay had her mental wires crossed and became increasingly paranoid, yet didn’t do anything about that paranoia except make her allies worried about her reliability.
In fairness to them, if someone is suddenly saying they can’t trust anyone and that you’re lying to them, it’s hard to accept that they’ll be a safe ally in the future. James really wanted to keep Lindsay and calm her down while Karla (shown to be the savvy one at times) just wanted to flip on her ally to save their future.
Amusingly at the same time Geo was planting the seeds for his own voteout, being too obvious in his strategizing and being arrogant enough that other people totally picked up on it. His mention to us that he’s controlling things was a classic ironic interview moment. It felt likely he was doomed until Lindsay essentially self-eliminated -- the truth sadly is that if she really felt paranoid, the absolute worst response was to show that paranoia to anyone, especially her allies!
So the little last minute scheme where Noelle from Vesi tells Elie from Baka how to solve the immunity puzzle served very well to take down Coco. All of those potential allegiances and personalities collided and detonated. We can at least note that James and Karla are still quite solid -- Karla also had a great moment post the Cody stealing scene, which was a great twist idea.
The Vesi tribe is concerned about Cody offending the tribe and “going for the jugular” and the episode plays a fun trick on us, making us think that Cody was indeed going to go too far with scorched earth tactics and steal their machete. But instead it’s all part of his plan, getting the Coco tribe to agree happily to give what Vesi wanted in the first place.
All well and good, but then Karla realizes that perhaps they’ve been played -- quite a good episode for Karla, despite her tribe losing this time. As for Baka, there’s some fun stuff where Gabler and Elie have a personality clash, with a very silly moment of him putting a palm frond on other people in the middle of the night in lieu of a blanket. He’s certainly an interesting character.
In terms of the steal-an-item twist, I thought it was a good idea -- doing it in broad daylight and allowing the tribes to negotiate with each other down to the wire gave a lot more room for interesting gameplay and character interactions. Sadly we’re now getting to that point in the season where I basically like most people, so any vote-out is going to be rough -- but that’s all thanks to the new, great recruiting efforts the show has made.
Since we don’t have that stupid Hourglass twist to worry about, I’m pretty excited about the potential episodes to come -- there’s even more ways everyone can implode and plenty of people to root for, which is what I prefer.
Next time on Survivor, revenge is coming, Owen thinks he can screw things up and things are about to blow up.