Welcome to Give Me Five! Each week, Brent Sullivan will look at the top five moments from the latest episode that could impact 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 this season, plus one bonus one that I completely missed the mark on:
1. Episode 1:
“Ryan finds the game’s first advantage. This moment had sort of a trickle effect that impacted a few of the show’s other moments. To start with, kudos to Ryan for finding it. While everyone else was hopping off the boat or chucking fruit overboard, he stayed there long enough to find it. Accident or not, he was still able to spot it through all of the madness of the marooning. Next, Ryan decides to share his secret with Devon. Sharing idols is usually something that I disagree with, but since this idol is only good for one tribal, I think that Ryan made a good move and now he and Devon can potentially work together for the first part of this game. Finally, since the Hustler tribe won immunity and Ryan couldn’t use the idol, he had to give it to someone on the losing tribe (in this case, the Heroes). Ryan chooses to give it to Chrissy after seeing her get sick. The move all but guarantees some sort of goodwill between them now. If they can both make it to a swap or a merge together, who knows what can happen. Plus, Chrissy now has a tool to use in the game (see point #5 at the bottom for more explanation).”
This was one of the first moments of the whole season. Not only did it garner goodwill between Ryan and Chrissy, but it formed the only lasting alliance in the game. Both Chrissy and Ryan were sitting there in the final three, and both of them were loyal to each other from the moment that they swapped together. The actual idol did later make an appearance, although it didn’t end up having any real impact other than making Chrissy and Ryan look foolish.
2. Episode 2:
“Patrick is getting on his tribe’s nerves. It appears that not everyone likes Patrick. He is getting an edit that sort of shows all of the annoying things that he is doing like being loud and obnoxious. We also get to see the facial expressions of his tribemates as they grow more and more frustrated with him. In the end, I think that the Hustlers made the right move in keeping him over Simone for challenge strength, but you have to assume that it is only a matter of time before his game comes to an end or someone calls him out on his actions.”
This was an easy one. This obviously came true when Patrick got sent packing shortly after this episode. I still think that Patrick could have had a good run, but when even your closest ally is voting you out, you must be doing something wrong.
3. Episode 5:
“Ben struggles with PTSD. This is a tough one. This might not make any impact at all; perhaps we were just shown this moment because it was so powerful and it goes beyond the game. PTSD is a serious issue that lots of people struggle with and it was nice to see Ben making a statement about that. At the same time though, this is ultimately a game, and any sort of weakness or heart-tugging story can be a potential reason to vote you out. Or in this case, the edit is leading me to believe that Ben will overcome this and make it far into the game despite his problems. I personally like Ben as a character on the show and hope that I am correct about this assumption.”
This didn’t win Ben the game, but this was a huge topic of conversation all season long, both on and off the show. It might have swayed a vote or two during final tribal council when he brought it up as well. This is definitely a serious issue, and I really liked the way the show handled it.
4. Episode 7:
“Ben chooses a side. A significant majority of this episode revolved around Ben. We first see him in the water back at Yawa and the tribe agreeing to stay strong after the merge and Ben even saying that they need a plan and they need to stick to it. Later we see Chrissy trying to talk to him at the merge feast and him worrying that they could be overheard. There are then lots of side conversations going on (a lot of them with Ben involved). It becomes apparent that Ben is wavering between the alliance of originals Healers and the alliance of Heroes and Hustlers. It also appears that Lauren is with him still at this point. Ultimately, Ben and Lauren decide to side with Chrissy and the Heroes/Hustlers group. Leaving the five Healers on the outs and Jessica voted out. Now that Ben chose his side, there has to be some backlash from Cole and maybe Mike for going against the old Yawa tribe. Battle lines were definitely drawn in the sand, and I am curious to see what the last four Healers will do now.”
How much different would the game have gone had Ben and Lauren picked the other side at this moment? Would it have been an all Healers final? We don’t know, but we do know that this moment led to a great final five that still included one Healer.
5. Episode 10 & 11:
“Ben finds an idol. This two-hour block of episodes was sure good to Ben. Here we see him just relaxing while reading his letters from home and he stumbles upon an idol clue without even really looking for one at that moment. He is able to figure out where it is and gets it down from the tree without being seen. Up to this point in the game, pretty much every secret that anyone’s had has been told to someone else. Ben appears to be the one to break this streak and getting this close to the end, that will be a wise choice if that is the route that he chooses to take. At the point during this week’s episode when he finds the idol, there was one other active idol in the game which also could have been a potential moment, that didn’t happen, but I will explain below.”
This had to be on the list since it started a trend with Ben eventually finding and playing three immunity idols in a row. Many times in Survivor, when someone finds an idol, it makes it easier for them to find more. I think that is what happened here as well and Ben certainly capitalized on it.
Now for the one that I believe that I missed the mark on the most.
“Lauren finds the hidden advantage. Last week we saw the moment when the camera flashed onto a note hidden in the nails. It sits there unfound for a few days until Lauren happens upon it. There was a brief moment when I thought that Ryan was going to see it, but Lauren gets it and finds out that it is an advantage where she gets to secretly forfeit her vote at the next tribal and save it up for a later time where she would then get two votes. Of course, this happens when they are planning on splitting the vote. Lauren decides to tell Ben about this advantage and that it may affect the vote split. She successfully pulls this off, even succeeding in not voting again during the re-vote after the tie. Lauren now holds an extra vote that she can use later in the game. This is set up to make a pretty big impact later, let’s just hope that she is able to use it right and that Ben keeps quiet about it.”
I was definitely off on this one. I really thought that Lauren’s advantage was going to be something big. In seasons past, the extra vote has always been a bust, but the way that Lauren acquired it, I thought that it would be different this time!
There you go! Congrats to Ben on working hard and never stopping all the way to victory. This was a season that started slow but ended on a fantastic run of episodes. Once again, I want to thank everyone who spent the time to read and/or comment on my articles this season. I look forward to sharing my thoughts on Ghost Island in the Spring.