It’s time for the swap! We’ve been swapping at episode 4 for a couple of seasons now, so it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise. But before we get into that, let’s make some predictions about the central twist of this season, the Edge of Extinction.
So far we have three castaways on Extinction – Reem, Keith, and Chris, who were voted out from Manu in that order. The episode trailer doesn’t reveal much more about the operations of the island, but we know from episode 3 itself that the players have to work hard in order to attain a small amount of rice for themselves. We also saw that Reem welcomed Keith pretty much with open arms, and the pair decided to help each other stake it out on Extinction.
Now, with the addition of Chris – a member who voted against them both – I’m hoping for some sense of tension, but ultimately I feel like the group is still too small for any dramatic competing to take place. Despite the rain that we see the preview trailer, I think the three ex-Manu tribemates will band together and wait out their fate. I don’t think anyone will raise the white flag and leave the game in the next episode.
Back to the main game, the swap is turning Kama and Manu into three tribes, each with five players. With their full group of nine members, having avoided every tribal so far, Kama is in the majority over the six players from Manu. On most seasons, careful examination of the trailers, press photos, and sneak previews often reveal certain positions of the players post-swap. This time, as far as I can tell, Rick Devens stays on Manu and Joe on Kama, since they’re wearing blue and yellow buffs respectively in confessionals that are likely to have happened after the tribe swap.
It’s difficult to predict the new dynamics of the tribes, especially since we haven’t seen much of Kama. Nonetheless, I do have some vague predictions moving forward from the tribe swap. Off the bat, I think Aubry benefits the most since she wasn’t getting much from her current tribemates. From what we know, the non-returnee group, consisting of Eric, Gavin, Victoria, Ron, Julia and Julie, is said to be pretty against working with Aubry and Joe. The exception would perhaps be Eric and Gavin who mentioned in episode 1 that they could bring in Joe to take out Aubry – maybe we’ll pick up from this if the two are swapped on the same tribe as Joe? Overall, I think these Kama members will bring similar sentiments over to their new tribes, targeting the returning players if numbers are to their favour.
Manu, on the other hand, seems more fractured than what is revealed by their voting history. I think the episodes have been setting up two rather distinct alliances – Lauren and Wentworth on one side, and David and Devens on the other – and I predict we’ll see this divide play out on one of the three swap tribes.
A large part of the previews highlighted Wendy and #chickengate, showing her successfully releasing the chickens that Manu won on reward. I’m trying to read her moves so far (adamantly voting with Reem, hiding the flint, freeing chickens) as strategy, but I’m struggling to see her rationalising in confessionals as intentional game moves. As an obvious wildcard, I feel like she’ll be an easy vote, especially on a tribe of only five people where there’s nowhere to hide her blatant unpredictability. As such, I think she’ll be eliminated if her tribe doesn’t win immunity.
Leave a comment with your predictions for episode 4!