Welcome to Give Me Five! Each week, Brent Sullivan will look at the top five impactful moments from the latest episode that could influence the rest of the season.
This week is always a little different. Like in past seasons, I am going to go back and pick out five big moments that I got correct from this season plus one bonus one that I completely missed the mark on:
1. Episode 4 – The Chris and Domenick saga continues.
“This is clearly going to be a thing until one of them is gone. At first, it looked like Chris was going to get the upper hand back at old Naviti, but then when the tribes swapped, it appeared as if Domenick had the advantage until Chris went to Ghost Island. Now that they are both back in camp at the same time, they are both trying to turn the tables on each other. Chris spoke with the ex-Malolos first, but then we saw a conversation between Laurel and Donathan about who they would rather keep around, and they both were leaning towards keeping Wendell and Domenick. This, of course, led to the idol conversation between Domenick and Laurel. I don’t usually like to use the previews for the next episode, but it made a point to show Chris bonding with Donathan, so who knows whose head this thing is going to land on once they are finished going back and forth.”
This was clearly a thing until that excellent merge episode when Chris got voted out. Those two battled it out even when they weren’t on the same tribe and it ended with them going head-to-head. But in the end, Chris respected Domenick and even voted for him to win the game during final tribal council.
2. Episode 5 – Michael has social skills.
“News Flash! Michael Yerger is really good at this game. We have already seen what he is capable of over the last few episodes with both his idol play and lying ability, but this week we got a peek at how good his social game can be as well. Immediately after they returned from Tribal Council, he started to lay the charm on. Talking about how he only made a move to save his group, and wouldn’t do anything like that again. It continued later in the episode when we saw the original Naviti tribe trying to figure out who to vote for; Michael pleaded his case to Bradley, who in return threw out a different name to vote for. Finally, at the very end of Tribal, Michael looked at Bradley and said, “Thank You.” That was another great move in his social game. His actions this week not only saved him for this vote, but they may end up pulling him into the Naviti alliance if they need the numbers later as well. Oh, and by the way, in case you didn’t know yet, the dude is only 18 years old!”
I think it was pretty obvious how good Michael was at this game. He was very well spoken and a lot of people seemed to like him. Just look at all of the hugs that he got on his way out. He was just stuck in a tough spot all season and never really had the numbers. I think that he would thrive if he is ever given a chance to play again.
3. Episode 8 – Four-way alliance.
“Early on, Domenick mentioned that he had a four-way alliance between himself, Wendell, Laurel, and Donathan. At first, I didn’t really think much of it, but it ended up coming back later after the group of eleven returned from “getting water.” Both Laurel and Donathan told Domenick and Wendell about Chris’ plans to vote out one of them. At that point, they had no reason to tell unless they planned on staying with Dom and Wendell. This also puts them into sort of a power position moving forward. Now, I know that four isn’t a majority when there are 12 people left in the game but having a solid four at this point is still a good thing – especially if they can keep a couple more on their side for a vote or two. I am not sure if they will be the final four people in the game, but I bet they have the ability to last for a bit with some big names still out there to be picked off.”
So this little four-way alliance stayed strong almost to the very end. The Dom/Wendell/Laurel/Donathan alliance made up four of the final five left at the end before Donathan got voted out in fifth place. They worked well together all season and I believe that it would have been a very different season had they not started working together when they did.
4. Episode 8 – Wendell is a good friend.
“A few weeks ago, I brought up the Wendell and Chris relationship after the swap. It appears that Wendell was just trying to play along while they were on the same tribe together. Wendell is all in with Domenick! During the episode, he tried really hard to get Chris and Domenick to talk through their differences, which Chris handled poorly. What was he thinking? You always agree to a plan regardless of if you are planning on sticking with it or not. Later, both Wendell and Domenick were left behind when Chris took the whole group to discuss strategy and voting options. Finally, he even went to bat for Dom during tribal council. This seems like an entertaining pair, and I can see them doing a lot of great things this season. The fact that they both still have an idol will help too.”
I wasn’t exactly sure what to think about Wendell when he and Dom were split up. However, all of those doubts changed when they got back together at the merge. At that point, Dom and Wendell took the game over and it was pretty much lights out from there.
5. Episode 11 – Laurel feels comfortable.
“Domenick thanked Laurel for saving himself and Kellyn and apologized for ever doubting her. Laurel was feeling pretty good about herself at this point. She had just saved those two, along with Wendell, from getting voted out. Kellyn still didn’t trust her, but Laurel told us that she was feeling pretty good about her place in the game and that both Wendell and Domenick are two of her closest allies. A lot has been made of her and Donathan’s relationship with the other two guys, and she still says that this is her top four, but after watching this week’s episode, either she is a great actor, or she is really bothered by the actions of her alliance. With only eight people left in the game, I am sure we are going to find out real soon how she really feels, but her actions at tribal this week might have just been a good show.”
Laurel clearly felt comfortable enough to ride all the way to the end with the two biggest threats in the game. I owe a lot of this to the work that Dom and Wendell had to do on her to make her feel that way in the first place. This is just another aspect of the game that those two dominated.
Now for the one that I believe that I missed the mark on the most, from Episodes 1 and 2…
“Domenick is playing the game hard. There is always someone that comes out playing too hard and fast as the season starts. For this season, that guy is Domenick. Don’t get me wrong, the guy is a character, and I enjoyed watching him over the first two episodes, but the dude needs to tone it down a notch. First of all, when everyone was just standing there when Probst asked if they would do anything different, he raised his hand. That is a bold move on the first few minutes of the game. Then back at camp, he was taking control of the shelter building and talking non-stop. Finally, something good happened to him, he was able to find a hidden immunity idol in the middle of the night. I really thought that would turn his game around until he made a fake one and then shared it with Chris. I really couldn’t follow his thinking on this, but either way, he has a real idol now and an excellent chance to make an impact with it in the near future.”
I clearly had a bad read on Domenick’s game. He was playing hard, but not too hard. I thought for sure that he was going to be one of the first few voted out, but it ended up taking a tie vote at the end of the game to take him down!
There you go! Congrats to Wendell on barely beating out Domenick on a historic season finale. Both men played an amazing game this season and it was fun to watch them work. Once again, I want to thank everyone who spent the time to read and/or comment on my article this season. I not only do this because I love it, but also because people enjoy reading it.