It’s the episode before the season finale! There’s still a lot left on the table before we get to the end – we have a returnee coming back from the Edge of Extinction, Lauren’s still holding onto her idol, and of course, a fire-making challenge at the final 4. With the dynamics of the six remaining players, I’m sure it’ll make an exciting penultimate episode this week.
After an episode that didn’t feature the happenings on Extinction, we learn that there’s a “special delivery” arriving for the liminal players this week. As we know, there will be a challenge that’ll allow one person re-entry into the main game. I think this announcement signals the end approaching, and possibly gives a clue to a challenge advantage, much like the ones Keith/Reem and Chris found before the merge challenge. Perhaps the power would be similar to Keith disadvantaging Chris earlier in the season – since the practicing advantage Aubry found parallels the one Chris had as well.
Onto the main game: last week’s tribal council saw Aurora, Gavin, Lauren and Victoria working together on a contingency plan should Devens immune himself an idol. Doing so, they blindsided Julie and Ron, and of course, also left Devens out of the vote. With Ron gone, Julie and Devens are on the bottom of the six, but I highly doubt they’ll be aligning with each other, seeing how Devens called Julie out during that same tribal.
It’s glaringly apparent that Devens is the biggest target this week. The episode description “With only two episodes left, and everyone against him” certainly corroborates with Aurora’s confessional that “he is target number one.” If Devens doesn’t win immunity, I can definitely see the group (including Julie) proposing to get him out immediately.
However, preview trailers don’t usually reveal the actual episode’s boot. Working backwards, having Devens featured prominently as a target would typically suggest that he’s safe this week. Looking at how things are shaping up, I’m really hoping this season’s end game doesn’t simulate Ben’s run from Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers. I don’t think Devens wins the immunity challenge this week, and so he desperately needs to find the idol that we can assume has been rehidden after his play last tribal.
In the trailers, Devens is seen comically running around camp and hiding from the other players. I’m sure its a tactic to create paranoia, and it definitely managed to catch the attention of a couple of them. This leads me to believe that Devens doesn’t actually find the idol, but is faking it to throw a massive question mark on everyone else’s plans. I think this will be enough to tip over the other players – I’m predicting there’ll be an alternate plan that saves Devens from being sent to Extinction this week.
The group of four (Gavin, Victoria, Aurora, Lauren) don’t come across as that solid an alliance, but rather a group that came together momentarily for a vote that mutually benefitted them as individuals. At the same time, having been blindsided and left out multiple votes, I don’t think Julie would feel secure following a straightforward plan headed by the four as well. Surely, she’ll realise that she’s at risk going next right after Devens. Therefore, I’m predicting there’ll be some sort of a blindsiding split vote between Devens and Gavin, orchestrated by Lauren, Victoria, and Aurora with Julie.
I don’t think Lauren plays her idol unless she feels like she isn’t completely safe. In other words, I feel like she wouldn’t share it with the rest to orchestrate a move, but keep it for the finale episode. She’s been doing a great job herself keeping the idol a secret, but we should note that Wentworth revealed her idol to the players on Extinction, where one would inevitably re-enter with that knowledge.
To sum up, my guess is that the votes are split between Devens and Gavin. Gavin is sent to Extinction, either because Devens manages to pull off a successful idol play, or because the group decides to go with a relatively secure vote to keep their individual games secure by delaying the vote of Devens.