I warned you all. I said it was going to be hit or miss. And after three straight hits…three straight misses. I am to Survivor blogging as a cocky three-point shooter is to basketball. Just a bit streaky. And it’s going to stay that way for a while. You see, not only am I trying to earn money – this column pays me just as much as I get for eating my after-dinner dessert – but I am also getting married in just over a week.
Happy things. But, boy, it sure makes regular blogging quite the trick.
So, there is no way to make this column a big ol’ blow-by-blow of the last few episodes. Or else, I’ll be writing this through my honeymoon. And, really, that ain’t happening.
So, let’s get the boots out of the way first – as none were all that surprising to anyone. None of the three taken out were given much of an edit so far – PG was not seen doing much except being Abi’s foil, Varner was being shown as an erratic mischief-maker, and Monica was barely seen. None were given hero’s edits – or even villain edits. So, as much as they are all likely very nice people – and I was always a big fan of PG, and of watching Monica on screen (ahem) – no one who has ever watched Survivor thought they were really going anywhere this season based on this edit.
What has been the big piece of news over the last few episodes was the first time the show ever expanded tribes. I absolutely loved that twist. First of all, it saved a couple of my favorites – Spencer and Fishy. Second of all, I love it when the show does things that are unexpected. Plus, there have been 31 seasons of this show and it is just simply fascinating to me that they keep finding new ways to surprise us. This season alone – the first fan vote, hidden idols at challenges and now the increase in tribes.
These new tribes have their own personality – we have Angkor and their bare camp and tribal weakness, we have Bayonne and a lack of much drama at all, and we have Takeo Spikes and their utter dominance. Our friends in Bayonne, Queens got their first showcase this week. And Monica and Kimmi actually became part of the narrative for the first time. The Takeo Spikes tribe just continues to win and is building up a very dominant five-person alliance if it holds. And Angkor has gotten much attention early on thanks to the Abi madness, many losses, and a rather good bit of Survivor playing.
That last piece leads to what I wish to discuss in this summary column – who is shaping up to be the Sole Survivor this season based on the early editing?
Option 1 – Spencer. He was on the precipice of defeat. He had to beg and plead his way out of being the second boot of the season. He was dead man walking. And then the tribe switch. And a LOT of confessionals. And some big challenge performances. He worked on bonding with Namesake and was ready to turn on Not E in order to survive just a bit longer in the game. So when it was time for their first Tribal Council – he was ready to turn his back on his former tribesmate and linger. But thanks to his successful social game – remember, this is Spencer! – he was able to fill the crack in the Bayonne alliance. If that’s not a burgeoning Hero Edit…well, then it’s hard to say what one truly is.
Option 2 – Tasha. I could have said Savage here, but I say Tasha is more of the option. When the two of them went over to Angkor, they were doomed. Just like Spencer and Not E. However, it was Tasha that worked on expanding the rift between Abi and PG and exploited it. Instead of watching PG and Shirin struggle with how to manage Abi, we are now enjoying the mastery of how Tasha does this unenviable task. At one point last week, we actually watched the patience in Tasha face take hold and manifest in a kind smile. She and Savage have moved from low cogs in a weak tribe to the power players in said tribe. What will happen as they move into another shift or a merge? Who knows. But Tasha is getting the attention that a master manipulator gets. And it’s a whole lot of fun to watch.
Option 3 – Savage. Not as much as Tasha, but Savage is getting the hero call as well. He is getting the more common thread of tough guy. Survivor and Probst love the tough guy edit. The fact that Savage is an older guy makes it even better. In fact, it is not unheard of for the show to have a woman pulling the strings but the guy winning challenges and being strong gets the glory. Is that Savage’s fate? Perhaps.