The tribe swap era continues. In recent seasons this has been all the rage, sometimes happening several times before the merge. Before seeing the preview, I was thinking we were going to get a relatively straightforward season with not much trickery other than the Redemption Island twist. I could not have been more wrong, and the season that was taking the old-school approach to the game took a turn into the new age of Survivor. Well kind of, there still are not any idols.
We begin the episode where we left off. The Mogoton tribe is a complete mess of emotions and comforting each other over the possible loss of Lou from their family. As infuriating as this tribe can be, I believe they truly do feel like a family out there, and you can see it translate over the television. Lou was their little sister, Sala the father, Shay the mother, Avi the favorite child, and Tom the troublemaker. That was their semblance of a family, and you never like to see a family lose a child. Sorry for the dark comparison there.
Every time a player is evacuated from the game my heart really hurts for them. Maybe because it is my dream to play the game, and I imagine it being the same way for the players out there. So whenever someone has to exit the game by means other than being voted out, you just have to feel for them. It was out of their control, and their dream got cut short. I liked Lou, and I think if this show becomes successful enough to the point of players returning, I would not be shocked at all to see her be given a second chance, especially considering how young she is.
Over at the Hermosa tribe, we have the complete opposite of Mogoton. If Mogoton is a family, Hermosa is the two cousins who refuse to talk to each other. Barb and Nate are on the complete outs. Barb is even willing to throw in the towel on the game and go home due to being one of the outcasts and not having any fun. The strong five seem set on throwing the next challenge in order to give them numbers in the long run. This is a really risky move given one player gets to reenter the game via Redemption Island. Normally you don’t want to try that with such a twist, but given the age and athleticism of the two outcasts, it would not be a bad strategic move at all.
We see Jak imitating Katniss Everdeen with a slingshot and made up target, with the goal to eventually get a pelican for them to eat. I know he is trying to be the funny guy and pull his best Fabio move by faking dumb to get far in the game, but I am starting to think it isn’t an act. He was seriously convinced in his confessionals that he would be able to kill a pelican, which is in the water, with a slingshot. I don’t think this is a joke anymore.
We then get to the moment we were all waiting for, the tribe swap. They all have to pick a buff out of a bag, and the person who selects the black buff is headed to Redemption Island. When this was first stated, I almost fell off my chair because I thought they meant they were being “voted out” of the game. Chisholm then clarifies they will return to the game in 24 hours after the first tribal for the losing tribe. I’m especially glad the scenario in my head was not the one that played out because it ends up being the last buff selected, so the person would not even have had a shot to save himself or herself. Shannon ends up drawing the unlucky black buff and heads off for some alone time.
The new tribes are divided as follows:
Mogoton: Jak, Lee, Mike, Tom, Shay
Hermosa: Sala, Avi, Nate, Georgia, Barb
At first look, there are two very noticeable things. Mogoton is loaded with the strength, while Hermosa has the four oldest people left in the game. Also, the original Hermosa has a 3-2 advantage on both tribes.
The first point means Mogoton probably won’t be going to tribal until the merge (unless they throw a challenge), which means the 3-2 advantage on Hermosa should be an easy vote right? Wrong. Looking deeper at who the three former Hermosa are, you see the two former outcasts and only one member of the strong five. This immediately spells trouble for poor Georgia considering the other tribe will most likely win the challenge and send them to tribal.
So this is where I have a problem with not having idols in the season. Tribe swaps can completely screw over someone’s game, and there is not even the slim chance of finding an idol to be their saving grace.
After Mogoton blow out Hermosa in the challenge as expected, the new tribes go back to camp to get acquainted. Nate makes an immediate move to grab Sala, telling him they need to get Georgia out as she is part of the strong five and did not consider even talking to them before today. Also, if you remember last episode, Sala and Nate had a good strategy talk during the reward challenge, a reminder that the game never stops.
I am glad we get to see Nate have some freedom to play, I think he is downright dangerous and an extremely smart player. One moment during the episode tonight he asks Georgia, “Was the challenge going to be thrown today?” while she is pleading for her safety. This is such a tough question to answer. If you say yes, you kill yourself because you’re admitting they were going to vote out either Barb or Nate, but you are being honest. If you say no, they know you are lying to them, but you can’t admit you were going to vote them out and then go and ask for their help. There is no right answer.
Another person we got to see show some strategy is, ironically, Georgia. Listen, she had no shot to survive tonight. But she sure as hell tried her hardest. She played the whole scenarios of Barb isn’t strong for the tribe, Sala and Avi won’t be beaten in the final, and that she can pull Shannon in to be a strong four to go against the four guys on the other tribe. All three of these are terrific arguments and can put doubt into the heads of your opponents. But it all comes down to the fact that you can’t ignore the people on your tribe in the first place because you never know when you need them.
On the other tribe, we have “Planet of the Apes” being filmed. The four young guys are tightly bonded and act like any four young guys would together in normal life. I am so glad that Shay is on this tribe too because as I have stated before, I have no love in my heart for her game. The only thing she has going for her is that her tribe is strong. Her only ally is Tom, who she has been gunning for since day one. Not the ideal scenario for her.
There were a couple of things I noted about this new tribe. We learned that Mike did not intend to take Lee to the final three, which is against what we had heard so far. We also heard the idea of throwing the next challenge to vote off Shay, and give both Shannon and Georgia a fighting chance. This is a terrific game move, but of course, relies on Georgia winning Redemption and the merge coming soon. Also, can people stop slicing their feet open?
At tribal, as expected, Georgia gets voted off, but not before throwing a glaring threat out to her tribe. She tells them if she gets back in the game, “we will see where the numbers are at then.” That is an extreme signal of the Georgia revenge tour, and I cannot wait to buy tickets. I think her only bad move this episode, besides luck, is voting for Avi, the only person who seemed friendly and was willing to talk with her.
All in all, I think the show really turned a corner this episode. Tribe swaps always help to make the game more interesting, and we got to see some real gameplay from people who were not playing much before. I am excited to see where we go from here.
As we see on the preview, it looks like the throwing of the challenge is fully in play, with the guys asking Tom if he is willing to do so. It would get rid of one of his original four, but this person has wanted him out the entire game, so he is in a conundrum. Shannon joins her new tribe, in a very similar spot Georgia was just in, and I’m sure we will see her throwing everything at the wall and hoping something sticks. And lastly, it looks like we may have a very close duel on our hand’s folks. Sweet as.