Survivor: Edge of Extinction

Tribal Talk – And It All Comes Crashing Down

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.


Survivor has always had its share of arrogant players. Sure, confidence is key, but the key needs to be small enough to fit into the lock. Too much confidence and your key will be too big, as many castaways have figured out the hard way. Big-headed players like Russell Hantz, Chris Noble, and now Ron Clark, have all suffered the same hardship – which is learning that on Survivor, no one gets to be “in charge” of the game.

The power is constantly shifting, and what makes the game such a spectacle is watching people trying to gain enough control to justify jury votes at the end, yet hopping over to the passenger seat just moments before the blade of the sword slashes the head of the snake. In today’s Tribal Talk, we’re going to take a look at Ron’s arrogance and what led him to ultimately be the backup target.


Often used in elementary classrooms, the “Talking Stick” is typically some sort of handheld object that indicates the right to speak. If you aren’t holding the talking stick – you cannot speak. In this week’s episode, and really throughout the season, it has just been a giant game of “who has the talking stick?” Everyone wants a say in the move, yet somebody always grabs the talking stick at some point and forces everyone else to assimilate into their plan. Wardog and Ron, especially, have been known to grab the stick, and it caught up with both of them.

Ron and Rick
Photo: CBS

When Ron’s strategy became virtually the equivalent of “I know I’m a threat, so I’m going to play it out to the best of my ability” I could tell his game was headed down the drain. It’s similar to a Japanese Banzai attack, a tactic from WWII rooted in the samurai practice of seppuku, where cornered troops would band together and run a suicide charge into the center of American troops. They were all killed, but they took down significant numbers in the process. Ron did a lot of that during his time in the game. He did bring some people down with him on the way by controlling a couple of the blindsides – but in the end, someone is going to slay you. Ron got too confident in his ability to play the votes like he had been doing and forgot that the other players are humans, not sheep.


This week’s Tribal revolved largely around the Ron vs. Devens storyline, and there are a few key components worth looking at, even outside of that duel.

Firstly, Devens’ idol and fake advantage (given to him by Ron). He had both and played them beautifully. He received exactly the reactions he had been fearing back at camp when he played the expired advantage menu, leading him to play the actual idol. This was executed very well on Devens’ part, and he took the information he had at camp and translated it into a move at Tribal, even though he was not included in the actual vote-off plan.

Tribal Ep12
Photo: CBS

Secondly, Aurora’s Bag-Gate incident, which was obviously brought up at Tribal. From my perspective, looking through someone’s bag in Survivor is completely fine. Despite it being allowed in the rules, I don’t see anything morally wrong with it either from a game perspective since it is a game based on lies and deception. If you don’t want something seen, don’t put it in your bag. However, Aurora managed to shift the spotlight off herself by openly admitting to the incident, which helped avoid any unnecessary drama, but she then shifted the conversation to the voting plan by referencing how despite game moves, everyone needs to have options. Whether this was on purpose or out of fear, Aurora managed to not get herself in a trap with the bag incident as a whole.

Finally, Ron. Ron’s overconfidence, as I mentioned in previous weeks, was his biggest liability throughout the game. And now, after twelve episodes, it finally had a reckoning. When asked by Jeff about having a grip on the plan, he responded, “Nobody said my name to my face, of course, they could’ve said it behind my back, but I’d like to think I have a grip on what’s happening tonight.” Following this, he was asked about the loved ones visit, which he won, and his choices on who to bring with him. To this, he gave what was a very convincing wince, acting like the decision had pained him. Ron honestly didn’t think he was going home, and as is always said in Survivor, the night you are most confident is the night you will get snuffed.


In light of this Tribal, there a few castaways left who I still deem to have decent shots at winning. In my opinion, the best edits go to Gavin & Lauren, and maybe even Victoria as a dark horse. The issue coming out of this Tribal is that now, with the ringleader out and a bunch of free agents looking for a team, the tribe will most likely be in anarchy, causing even more issues.

I also predict that the idea of the second person returning from the Edge will begin to creep into people’s minds as the game nears its end. Will the tribe prepare for this somehow? Or will they continue on their current strategies as normal and just pray to the Survivor Gods that somebody powerful doesn’t return? I can see either happening with any mix of people, in all honesty. The castaways this season continue to be unpredictable and surprising.


Tonight’s new episode is the penultimate of the season, which historically has a tendency to oust one of the season’s major characters, so it’s always a bit scary that a favorite could be making the walk down the exit path. But regardless of who it is, the majority of the players left in the game at this point could make acceptable cases for why they should win, so I’m not overly worried about having a crappy winner. The strategic development we’ve been seeking since the premiere has finally almost fulfilled itself, which means we could be in for a decent finale if tonight’s episode continues down that path.

Who do you think will be in the finale? Let me know in the comments below! See you next week for more “Tribal Talk!”

Written by

Jaden Bartlett

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.

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