The second episode of the season certainly continued the gripping engagement created during the premiere. We saw multiple new bonds formed, including a rising female-led alliance on the Goliath tribe, as well as the Mason-Dixon Line pair in Nick and Christian on the David tribe. We saw escalating clashes and delineating lines drawn more clearly in the sand, a new puzzle that closed the immunity challenge, and of course, we saw our first #blindside of the season.
The preview trailer for Episode 3 is a rather interesting one packed with many relationships to explore. It thus seems that social strategy – its success, its corollary, its development – would be an important focus in the episode to come.
“When you feel all alone…”
The first portion of the trailer is a confessional from Carl and a close-up shot of his face registering his shock and also a strand of loss. He explains that he “didn’t expect this game to be so hard,” and I think it’s quite clear that this scene comes shortly after the David’s first tribal council where his closest ally Jessica was voted out. The blindside was one that Carl’s loose alliance of Jessica, Bi, and Davie definitely did not anticipate.
Seeing the intensity of emotion here, the outcome of tribal probably served as an unexpected but necessary wake-up call that will hopefully help Carl manage his expectations as he navigates the aftermath of the vote in the immediate future. Drawing from the premiere episode, I feel like Carl is a perceptive player who just got over-comfortable this week; I don’t see Carl leaving the game so soon.
On top of this, what I also found noteworthy was that Jeff’s narration implies that Carl was “feel[ing] all alone” on the tribe. This attests the astute move by Elizabeth to target Jessica, leaving her two unconnected parallel allies behind.
“…you need to find a kindred spirit…”
The second part to the trailer draws focus to Christian and Gabby’s platonic couple nerd alliance. As we watch the pair weaving together, Jeff’s voice-over echoes Gabby in the premiere, where she confesses that she and Christian are “kindred spirits.” Considering how Christian decided to take Gabby’s side in the last tribal council, I feel like this would be one of the more lasting alliances this season that’ll hopefully take both of them far. I do feel like they share equal power in this relationship (even the framing has them taking up equal portions of the shot!! I’m kidding. I study film, I overanalyze mise-en-scene.)
However, even with equal relations between themselves, where does their alliance stand compared to the bonds they have with the rest of their tribe? It seems to me that Gabby has more of her eggs in this basket, making this very much her main social alliance. On the other hand, Christian looks like he’s spreading his eggs out. Gabby might be his main ally, but he also has other plans that might diminish the weight of this alliance in the larger picture of his game – we’ve already seen him pairing up with Nick. Nonetheless, they’ve placed themselves in a nice majority for the next episode, so I don’t think either of them will be running into trouble for now.
“… or you’ll go crazy.”
The last part of the preview trailer highlights Jeremy, the 40-year-old attorney on the Goliath tribe. Clearly, there’s going to be some sort of squabble between him and Natalie, whom he tried giving advice to, out of good will, only to be cut off. This matchup is probably what the episode description “two castaways bump heads when their Survivor lives are on the line” is referring to.
But, I’m not sure how much of this I’m buying. Sure, the preview continues to show the lack of awareness of Natalie pit against Jeremy’s grasp of the game – the two are not going to get along. However, I’m going to make a bold prediction here that, should the Goliaths go to tribal, Jeremy isn’t going to target Natalie right away. Yes, he’s said that he will “go into turbo overdrive in getting Natalie out,” but I think he knows it’s in his interest to keep Natalie around as she’ll be a convenient target any day.
Instead, I think we’ll see Jeremy gathering enough numbers to take down Dan and his idol. I’m standing by my prediction from last week that Dan is going to get blindsided sometime soon, and it might very well be at the hands of Jeremy. The preview trailer shows Jeremy connecting with Mike and John, telling the latter about Dan’s idol. I’m guessing that enough members of the tribe will find the threat of the idol outweighs the need/want of voting out Natalie Cole.
Tribal Council Predictions
I’m honestly not sure which tribe will lose the immunity challenge this time. There’s not much clarity, as I feel most scenes in the preview trailer can happen both before and after the challenge. I don’t want to speculate without adequate substantiation, but if I had to make a choice, I’d guess that the Goliaths will be going to tribal council. It’ll certainly be interesting to see the scramble and dynamics at play in the tribe.
In any case, here are my predictions for who’s on the chopping block for both tribes:
For Goliath, I feel that Natalie will be in danger, for obvious reasons I shan’t repeat. She’ll probably be the easy target of the Angelina/Kara/Natalia + extensions alliance. But as mentioned, I also think Dan is a prime target because of his idol. I don’t think he’ll see it coming, as so far he’s been painted as quite a conceited and vain player, blinded by an asymmetrical showmance with Kara.
On the David tribe, the minority alliance at risk seems to be Davie, Carl, and Bi. Of the three, Davie should be the safest as he wasn’t identified in the whole rationalising to boot Jessica, and he never outrightly gunned for Lyrsa to our knowledge. Of the remaining two, I feel like Bi will be voted out, but only because I think Carl will be kept around over her, perhaps for his more obvious strength. That being said, the tribe lines are still pretty fluid at this point of the game. I won’t be surprised if we see some shuffling around.
Last week’s episode reminded me how unpredictable the show is. In the premiere episode, Mike and Nick placed early targets on their back for prematurely searching for the idol, and not helping enough during shelter-building, respectively. Come Episode 2; both had good weeks locking in with at least some of their tribemates. Natalia also surprised me – I thought she would be leading an anti-Natalie rally that would make herself a target.
With that, who’s to say what’ll happen in the third episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!