Between the announcement of the Edge of Extinction, the re-entry of Rick Devens, and the newly merged tribe, a lot was going on in the episode last week. To briefly break down the most important components from the last tribal, the dominant alliance that succeeded was the Kama 6 – Ron, Eric, Gavin, Julie, Victoria, Julia – who voted out their former captain Joe and leaving his closest ally Aurora behind. Though the five Lesu members survived the merge tribal, it seems to be a split between the Wentworth versus David alliances again.
In the Next Time On Survivor scene, we see a conversation between Eric and Ron, with the latter declaring “I’m the puppet master” (also the title of the episode). The sequence then cuts to Lauren and Wentworth, cementing the rift along original tribal lines. I think it’s safe to assume that Ron believes the Kama 6 will stick together, and this is certainly evident by the “Kama strong” mantra that has been associated pretty distinctly with him throughout the pre-merge.
Assuming ceteris paribus, the remaining six players on the outside of the Kama 6 need to work with one another even though they didn’t vote together at the previous tribal. This sentiment is put forth by David to Wentworth and Lauren in the sneak preview, which leads me to think that he recognises that they’re going to be picked off by the Kama 6. After being blindsided and backed into the minority last week, I feel like the Wentworth, Lauren, Wardog trio will be receptive to David’s suggestion here, and pull in Aurora as a free floater to band together for the next vote.
However, it’s never that straightforward on Survivor is it? The trailer also reveals Devens assertively telling Wardog that he doesn’t want to work with his former Lesu tribemates – “You guys tried to vote me out twice!”. Valid concerns on Devens’ end, in my opinion. The news anchor doesn’t want to go back to the Edge of Extinction. From what I can tell, his unwillingness is the huge difficulty David has in carrying out his plan to band against the Kama 6. As Devens argues that “you’re getting played,” David reveals to us in a confessional that he has to “find another path to day 39”.
The editing of the sequence makes it seem like David is thinking of alternative plans, deviating from Devens moving forward. However, I don’t really see that happening, at least for now. There’s just too much of them as a solid pair, and it doesn’t seem like it’s in their best interest to split now, given that they somewhat share an idol advantage. Perhaps David is thinking of making other moves, such as pulling someone to work with from the Kama 6?
After a merge episode that was heavy on the Edge of Extinction twist, we don’t have any new information about the island happenings this week. Joe’s arrival probably won’t shake much up, and I don’t think there’ll be any new advantages appearing so soon.
Another key preview worth mentioning from the trailers is the immunity challenge. It’s a challenge that we’ve seen several times before, but this week the previews show an unexpected incident where medical is brought in. There’s no telling who it’s going to be, except that it’s not Victoria because she’s shown still competing in the challenge asking what happened. If I were made to guess, I’d say Lauren falls, only because we saw her feeling under the weather a lot in the pre-merge portion of the game.
To sum up, my prediction for this week is that Ron goes home. I think the Lesu players and Aurora work together and idol out someone from the Kama 6 since they have three idols among them. I think the target will be Ron because David identified him and Eric to be in control of the tribe, on top of the fact that Ron had quite a poor portrayal at tribal last week. It’s never good to be too comfortable on Survivor, and “I’m the pupper master” sure screams overconfidence to me.
That’s all I have for Episode 8, leave a comment below with your predictions!