Welcome back, boys and girls. Sorry about missing last week. Indeed I’m really sorry because the “merge” is my favorite moment of any season. In fact, I would argue, nothing really matters before the “merge.” Sure, there’s some interesting game-play, and this season we have two people who entered the merge with Hidden Immunity Idols, but mostly, in my mind, the pre-merge stuff is simply setting the stage. In any season, I could start watching at the merge and if someone just sorta caught me up, I’d be good to go.

But of course, I’m a liar, because I would never skip the pre-merge. If you have, let’s set the stage for how we came into the merge.

Let’s start with my ranking coming into last week’s episode (post-Kass). I rank players based 50% on who I like and 50% on who I think can win. If it was purely popularity, Super Joe would be at the top, because I, and everyone else, likes him the best. But he’s #4 on my list because he’s dumb and isn’t a strategic player. Like, imagine Russel Hantz in Joe’s body? It would be like an unstoppable RoboSurvivor.

  1. Wiglesworth
  2. Fishbach
  3. Tasha the Black Girl
  4. Super Joe
  5. Spencer
  6. Keith the Hillbilly
  7. Soft Spoken Savage
  8. Big Kimmi
  9. Kelley Wentworth (yes, even though she has a Hidden Immunity Idol)
  10. Jeremy the Black Guy
  11. Ciera
  12. Abi

I realize a list like that is sorta useless because before this recap ends, I’ll have watched both episodes and could easily go back and revise the list to make it look like I’m Nostradamous. I promise you, that list is part prediction and part fan-boy-love-letter.

On the night of the merge, we lost Chaos Kass because she tried to make a “big move.” She went right at Tasha. Kass overestimated the strength of her alliances and thought she could publicly attack Tasha and be seen as some sorta leader around camp. Instead, she looked like trouble. That might work for Kass in a regular season, but these are all second-chancers, and when they see trouble and someone unstable and rocking the boat …see ya. I guess I would’ve expected that from Abi.

Prior to the merge, CBS had started with three tribes and then mixed things up and made two tribes. It was an interesting wrinkle because it almost made it like we had multiple merges. This tested alliances formed early on and then after the shake-up when alliance-members were voted out, or might’ve possibly been swayed.

So, last week (in a post-Kass world) the episode started immediately with a Reward Challenge. The winning team had Super Joe, Ciera, Kimmi, Hillbilly Keith, Kelley Wentworth, and Wiglesworth. Ciera used the opportunity while at the reward to try and mend fences and not much of that story line was explored. The highlight was Hillbilly Keith hot-wiring the motorcycle and trailering everyone around. I adore Hillbilly Keith.

Post-reward, when everyone was back at camp, Soft Spoken Savage caught wind of the plot to oust Joe and went directly to Joe and told him what’s up. That’s exactly what Spencer should’ve done. And then, Joe should’ve been gathering the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Which makes me sad, because we see Joe simply doesn’t have the mental part of this game figured out. Lucky for him, he’s sooooooo amazing, he won ANOTHER IMMUNITY and for another week I jumped off my couch, high-fived my kids, pumped my fist, and I don’t have to worry about Joe going home.

The sad truth is, however, his ouster is only a matter of time because, as I’ve said, he’s completely unaware that he’s everyone’s target.

Joe then went marching back to camp to get Fishbach out! Hooray! But what’s obvious to us at home (which is that Fishbach is a problem for everyone) isn’t obvious in camp. I’m jumping ahead to Tribal Council, but Ciera nailed it …there’s obviously four (of five) people running the show and everyone else is afraid to make a move against the alliance. The lesson? The longer you let Fishbach hang around, the more you risk him blindsiding you.

Ciera is Right!

In the merge-episode, when Kass was causing trouble and, in my opinion, making waves when she shouldn’t have been, Ceira jumped into the fight and I felt she made a big error. I thought she would’ve been better off staying off the radar, letting the trouble makers make trouble, and by opening her mouth, Ciera was putting herself in the bottom group and in harms way. She obviously already saw the 8 or 9-person alliance and realized she was on the outside looking in. So this week, when she spoke up at Tribal Council about “making big moves” and “I’m playing with people afraid to do anything,” she was more prophetic than I gave her credit for.

Landslide Vote

I just shook my head in amazement that the 9-person alliance didn’t once think about splitting the vote between Kelley and Ciera “in case one of them have the Idol.” Splitting the vote has become commonplace, nowadays. Which makes me wonder . . . does everyone in the 9-person alliance know there’s a 9-person alliance? I’m betting against that. I think there’s a group of 3 who think they’re part of a group of 5, and another group of 4 that thinks they’re part of a group of 5. And maybe …maaaaaaybe …someone’s gonna wise up this week and move onto team-Ciera/Abi/Wentworth. And it should be Joe, Spencer, and Wiglesworth who move over and go against Fishbach and Jeremy. Yes. I like Jeremy, too, but I’m not rooting for him.

Angry Jury

Kass walked into Tribal Council and flipped the bird to the remaining 12 Survivors and when Savage was voted off, Abi made a snippy comment and he turned and shot her the middle finger …daaaaang. A lot can happen between now and final Tribal Council, but I like that people might hold their grudges and be extra pissed when we finally get to the final three.

My new worst-to-first rankings (weighted  look like this.

  1. Wiglesworth (Season 1 Runner-Up and SHOULD’VE WON INSTEAD OF RICHARD HATCH)
  2. Keith the Hillbilly
  3. Tasha the Black Girl
  4. Spencer
  5. Ciera
  6. Big Kimmi
  7. Kelley Wentworth (yes, even though she has a Hidden Immunity Idol)
  8. Jeremy the Black Guy
  9. Super Joe
  10. Fishbach
  11. Abi
  12. Soft-Spoken Savage (Jury)
  13. Chaos Kass (Jury)

My big hope for this week is that the 9-person alliance gets broken. Odds are that one of them will win Immunity, so the drama  will come if Joe does NOT win immunity or if he finally decides to make a strategic move and not simply rely on his physical game and like-ability.

Thanks for reading. This season is getting epic. Tweet along with me on Wednesday nights (@spunkybean) and  make sure  you leave a comment and keep reading.


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