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Survivor: Edge of Extinction Tribal Talk – An Inside Job


Jaden Bartlett guides you through the latest Tribal Council.

Photo: CBS

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.

HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF

This week, we saw the demise of yet another original Kama member, Eric. After an intense episode full of strategic prowess from both sides of the vote, Kama ultimately made the decision to cannibalize another member of their alliance in hopes of making the game easier for themselves. Eric’s elimination was definitely a #blindside moment, but it was quite a journey to arrive there. In today’s “Tribal Talk,” we’ll be taking a look at what ultimately led to this plan being the one that was carried out, and why.

THE DYNAMIC DUO

Instead of doing a question highlight, I’m going to use this space to elaborate a bit on the true masterminds behind this vote – Gavin and Julia, and also Wardog for planting the initial seed in their heads. Both original Kamas, Gavin and Julia clearly had the advantage here. If they flipped, Manu/Lesu could have the majority and run the rest of the game. Or, they could take the easy Pagonging strategy and simply eliminate the remaining Manu/Lesu one by one. Ultimately, they took control of the vote and ran it somewhere in the middle.

This move may appear small, but the actual weight it carries is a lot more than you might think. Gavin and Julia recognized that they can’t keep doing what Kama has been doing because as soon as Manu/Lesu can maintain a majority, they’ll take off and never look back. However, they also realized that sticking with Kama is just going to delay their elimination as they could tell that neither of them was on top of the totem pole. Thus, they devised a crafty plan that would serve the best of both worlds.

MEET ME IN THE MIDDLE

At camp, the numbers are beginning to become more and more even as Kama members continue to be eliminated. To keep the numbers in Kama’s favor but also eliminate big targets and make statements, Gavin and Julia teamed up to plot the blindside of Eric. The reason this worked so well is because it makes a statement, which can be used on their resumé at the end of the game. It also helps keep alive the heart of Kama that Gavin and Julia can use as a majority when that becomes necessary.

Eliminating Eric was also smart because it helped put a crack in Ron’s power wall that he’s been building. Way back in episode one, Reem fulfilled the placement of the “evil stepmother” to the tribe, and now Ron is taking his seat on the throne as the “evil stepfather.” He does this by not only being snappy and arrogant to his tribemates but thinking he has control of the game and believing so openly, without any remorse. This is never good for someone struggling to find themselves in the majority, because the big players in the game will want to keep those “evil step-parents” around for as long as possible since they know they’re goats to take to the end. Thus, the smart players in the minority get sent home so that the goats can get dragged to the end.

This proved not to be the case though with this vote, seeing as Gavin and Julia were able to successfully maneuver a blindside that not only dented the power wall but also kept the people they need to maintain a majority on their side, hopefully.

S38 Julia

Photo: CBS

THE TRIBAL

At Tribal Council, a few other important things happened. To note the most important ones:

-Devens, who supposedly thought he had found a place in the Kama tribe – was left out of the vote.
-The Lesu 4 continued to survive and made it through yet another vote unscathed.
-Ron went from spearheading a blindside to being a victim of one – which does not indicate good things for his edit.
-Finally, Gavin and Julia presented strategic prowess which looks very good on their resumés should they make it to the end, but at the same time, they made it harder by making such a statement so early.

The biggest thing to look at here is Devens. His arrogance radiated throughout the episode and was presented to us as idiotic. As of now, he is an emotional player who believes that Kama trusts him, when he’s really just making himself look like a goat to take to the end. Regardless, I don’t doubt his drive, and I wouldn’t call him a lost cause just yet. He was probably left out of the vote because Gavin and Julia feared he would snitch on the plan.

The other thing to dive a little deeper into is Ron’s outlook on this Tribal. He went from top to bottom over the course of one episode. These archetypes of players – the “edgic fluctuators,” as I like to call them – are hard to predict because they can end up on both the positive and negative ends of the viewpoint spectrum, and anywhere in between. It all depends on how they recover from those lows and proceed onward. I feel that Ron is smart enough to move on from this and turn it around, but it’s always possible that he is just headed on a downward spiral now.

THE AFTERMATH

As a result of this Tribal, I’m predicting based on the preview for next week that the Kama alliance will be in shambles, but as mentioned earlier, a core few such as Victoria and Aurora will remain loyal to Gavin and Julia. I think the real person to watch, however, will be Gavin, because his edit is actually going somewhere, while Julia’s is just, well, not looking good at all. It’s going to come down to which side those four end up going with, the Kama or the Manu. Personally, after a blindside of that magnitude, both going with Manu and sticking with Kama would entail positive and negative effects, and it’s up to Gavin and Julia to decide which one can minimize their losses the most.

I think the Kama that were left out of the vote are seriously in trouble because it’s going to be hard for them to regain numbers now that they’ve lost them. The power gameplay from people like Ron is a big turn off and it may just prevent them from reassembling their alliance.

And lastly, without a doubt, I’m sure that Manu/Lesu will use this hectic opportunity next week to at least try to arrange a move against the Kama majority and try to get themselves into a position where they would be able to be the final four.

DOWN THE ROAD

This episode was almost a continuation of last week’s, in a way, with two Kama blindsides back to back. I would predict that the craziness we’ve been searching for will be on its way next week based on the preview alone. It’d be nearly impossible to predict a boot since so many names are being thrown out, but if I had to choose one, I’d say Ron. He is just too arrogant and has too much power, and everyone recognizes it. That sort of reputation isn’t something you want until very, very late in the game, and he has it too early. But with the spontaneity of the strategy this season and the idea of the Edge still in everyone’s mind, I doubt the decision will be that easy. See you next week!


Jaden Bartlett is a 16-year-old high school sophomore from a small town in central Iowa. In his free time, he hosts a Survivor game on Twitter called "Twistvivor." He also enjoys singing, running, playing the piano, and being around his friends.