As a refresher, each week, Tribal Talk will break down what happens at Tribal Council to try and determine what exactly caused the latest eliminee to get booted. Sometimes, that may mean a simple explanation of a simple boot, and sometimes it may mean a Cirie-style exit Tribal explanation with idols and advantages galore. This will usually entail a few different parts:
-A short analysis of one or two of Jeff Probst’s questions to the castaways.
-An analysis of how the plans made at camp compared to the actual result of the Tribal Council.
-A breakdown of any idol plays, advantages, and a review of who voted for who and why.
-An analysis of how the vote will affect everyone’s games moving forward.
AND THEN THERE WERE NONE
And just like that, all four of the returnees – who were hyped about so much during the preseason by fans – have ended up in the same place, the Edge of Extinction. While their paths varied greatly in strategic gameplay, they ultimately all converged into the same main path that led them to the hellish abode that is the Edge.
While both Tribals were important, Wentworth’s elimination was more of a blindside to both viewers and the castaways, so we will be taking a closer look at that Tribal.
A LONG TIME COMING
Survivor is all about editing, and this boot was no exception. While it appeared to us that Wardog flipping to vote Wentworth out was a bold move that no one saw coming – the decision was actually served to us on a silver platter a long time ago, it had just gone rotten since then and we all forgot about it.
In episode three, Wardog gave a confessional explaining how even though he was working closely with Wentworth, he wanted to take advantage of an opportunity to take her out; it just came down to timing. This was left untied until now when Wardog finally picked the ropes back up and began tying the blindside knot. With Devens, Victoria, and Aurora on the outs, they became easy numbers for Wardog’s big move; however, he needed to solidify one final vote to create a majority.
What seemed most interesting about the whole scenario is how Wardog was decimating his alliance of six only one vote after its formation. Because of this, I do agree with Wentworth and David in saying that Wardog is very all-over-the-place and can’t be trusted for any long term plans. I do believe that Wardog has good intentions for himself in everything he does, he just doesn’t always see the wake he leaves behind, and this may be the move that finally capsizes the boat completely.
Throughout this Tribal Council, the editors made it appear this would be another simple boot of someone in the minority. However, it ended up being anything but that. Wardog was very proud of the fact that he and the Lesu 3 had voted as a bloc for every single Tribal they’d been to. While this was a slightly dangerous tactic, given that it reminded the others of why there was a great reason to split them up, it worked well to convince Wentworth and Lauren that he had no intention of changing that streak. And it worked. Both Lauren and Wentworth saw no reason for an idol play.
The real thing that I thought was interesting was how Wardog seemed either completely ignorant or just didn’t care about the repercussions that this move will have in the long-run. Lauren will now be directly against him, most likely, and I wouldn’t count on Victoria, Devens, or Aurora sticking around as long-term allies, as they are floaters. This is a problem for Wardog because he is trying to find solid votes, which this route wouldn’t offer.
I think this is one of those moves that look amazing in the moment, but they fall through in the end because they can’t stick the landing. We saw a similar occurrence this season with Julia taking out Eric. I would almost describe it as a banzai sort of move – something that could appear as a last ditch effort before an inevitable death. This move would have worked better had Wardog known he was approaching the chopping block with no one and nothing to protect him, and he wanted to go out with a bang. Instead, he basically just dug himself his own grave and will now suffer the price for such a reckless move.
Wardog has had a constant idiosyncrasy throughout the season of needing to be the person in the driver’s seat on all moves, and while that has its benefits, it means that he’ll likely be the one to cause the crash.
As a result of this move, the only person I can for sure say will be in an unfavorable position is Wardog. He made a very risky move that isn’t going to end up well for him. As for the rest of the tribe… Vata is still in shambles from the Julia blindside, and everyone is still up in the air. The two votes we saw this episode were basically just stalling for time, as no one has really figured out where to go yet. Even Ron and Julie, the iconic power duo, have gone their separate ways… and that could prove costly for Ron, given how Julie takes betrayals.
Both Lauren and Devens lost the yin to their yang, so there is a possibility that they could work together as a package set since the numbers are really starting to dwindle. However, this is unlikely seeing that they voted against each other when Devens was sent to Extinction.
Then there is Victoria and Aurora (and possibly even Devens), who are complete wildcards at this point as all main alliances have abandoned them. Even Victoria, who has voted in the majority for every vote, did so simply out of necessity to stay on top of things. She hasn’t necessarily been part of a long-term alliance. My prediction is that this pair will end up being swing votes between two new sides that form, or they could end up being picked off one by one if both of the majorities decided to work together, however unlikely that may be.
All that being said, it’s hard to predict exactly what will go down since the tribe is still in such chaos.
DOWN THE ROAD
I said last week that we couldn’t backtrack strategically any further or it would be irreparable, and I don’t think we did that. However, we also didn’t really progress, because all we saw was an easy vote (David), and a recklessly attained blindside (Wentworth). Even if these two players were returnees, they just plateau the strategic narrative. I suppose that isn’t the worst thing that could happen, so I haven’t given up hope yet. There’s still a full three episodes plus the finale to figure things out, but if there’s anything I know for sure, it’s that whoever wins this season certainly will not be known for being a season-dominator like Kim Spradlin from One World or Domenick Abbate & Wendell Holland from Ghost Island.
Every single castaway left has felt what it’s like to be in the majority, in the middle, and in the dumps. The benefit to this is that if any of them find themselves in the dumps again soon, they could be able to pull themselves out since they’ve probably done it at least once already. These cast members definitely aren’t expert players, but they’re expert fighters, and that’s worth applauding. Tune in next week for more “Tribal Talk!”