Sorry for the delay on the recap, but better late than never. We’re down to 14. Pre-merge should be wrapping up within the next few weeks and the games will officially begin. This pre-merge has been absolutely nothing to scoff at though. Wednesday was yet another big play and blindside. This has been one of the best pre-merges in recent memory. Let’s get into it.
Lairo Camp (Orange)
We join Lairo after the Tom elimination where Dean was left out. Noura tells Dean that she wants to eventually target Jamal and Jack. Dean wisely chooses to go to tell them this, hoping to form a bond with them and knowing he can’t trust the bat-shit insane Noura as a serious ally in this game.
Vokai Camp (Purple)
With the 4 vs. 4 lock at Vokai, people were already thinking about how to avoid drawing rocks in a potential tribal council. Aaron told Jason he’d be willing to flip on old Lairo and vote for Elaine, knowing she’s a threat and wanting to protect himself. We’re shown a confessional from Jason saying something about how “It’s all good in the hood over here.” Once I saw this, I knew our guy was in trouble. That’s a classic foreshadowing edit.
Reward Challenge/Island Of The Idols
The reward was for chickens. Luckily for the castaways and unfortunately for the viewers, there was no lunatic like Wendy from last season who wanted to set the chickens free. Vokai won reward and got the chickens. They had to sit someone out and chose Elaine. But sitting her out actually just sent her to the Island Of The Idols.
The two Red Sox hats finally met as Elaine saw Boston Rob and Sandra and their giant shelter. Side note: there’s no way Rob and Sandra are actually sleeping in that right? Have to assume they have some sort of Ponderosa set up. No way they would’ve signed up for that otherwise. They’re probably feasting like kings too.
Elaine’s lesson was about quick decision making. A bottle of sand was pouring out and she had to decide if she wanted to partake in the challenge by the time it emptied. Elaine didn’t even wait to hear what the proposal was and blindly accepted. She said she’s just here for the adventure of Survivor more than winning, which is fair but also a dumb strategy. What she agreed to was the following: She had to steal a piece at the next immunity challenge. If she could do it successfully, she could block a vote at the next tribal. If she couldn’t grab it, she’d lose her vote. Needless to say, this was huge with a 4-4 split.
Awkward Vokai Moment
We had a bit of a racial incident at Vokai between Jack and Jamal. Jack referred to Jamal’s buff as a durag. This upset Jamal as he found it racially insensitive. I don’t think it’s my place to give a cultural analysis of this incident, so I’ll just say that it was a dumb thing for Jack to say, but he did handle it well with a genuine apology. Jamal sensed that Jack felt actually bad for what he said, and they had an emotional heart-to-heart. Overall, I think this will bring the two allies even closer together.
The big thing to watch for at immunity was if Elaine would be able to grab the advantage, and she successfully did. Her tribe lost immunity so it ended up being huge that she did. The second part of the challenge involved a basketball-style game throwing balls into buckets. Luckily, Jack refrained from making another racially insensitive comment such as “Oh Jamal, you should be good at this!”
Back at Vokai, Elaine told Aaron, Elizabeth, and Missy about the block-a-vote advantage. Missy and especially Aaron were considering flipping, but this changed things as it made flipping unnecessary since drawing rocks could be avoided. But Aaron could still flip and vote out Elaine, even with the blocked vote. If he and the 4 original Vokai voted for Elaine, that would count as 4 votes since one would be nullified. That would outnumber the trio of Elaine, Missy, and Elizabeth. So Aaron had a big decision on his hands. Should he betray his original tribe? Or should he betray the people he’s recently bonded with and promised to vote with? He was going to upset people either way.
The Vokai 4 – Jason, Tommy, Lauren, Dan – were solid and not budging. They were ready to go to rocks if necessary. What they didn’t see coming was Elaine revealing her advantage and blocking Jason’s vote. This led to a lot of whispering and scrambling, but as long as Aaron still voted with them, everything would be fine. Lauren also started crying which was bizarre.
The votes were read and Aaron decided to stick with Lairo and vote Jason out. I was a little surprised that they blocked Jason’s vote and also voted for him. Thought maybe they would use a decoy in case of an idol. So there were 4 votes for Jason and 3 for Elaine. Vokai was pissed at Aaron. Jason said “Don’t trust Aaron” as he left, and Tommy was shooting him dirty looks and was clearly upset. Suck. It. Up. Aaron didn’t owe you guys shit. You only knew each other for a few days , and he chose to stay loyal to the people he’s played the entire game with. I get being upset, but Vokai came off as a bunch of spoiled brats here. It’s the game.
Was this the right game move for Aaron? It’s tough to say because he was making enemies either way. That’s the problem when you’re everyone’s friend and end up being the swing vote. It’s too early in the game to make enemies, but that’s exactly what Aaron did with Tommy, Lauren, and Dan. There’s a chance he can regain their trust back. But there’s also a chance that he’s just proven himself as an unreliable ally that will struggle to make connections going forward.
It was tough seeing my guy Jason go. He was my pre-season favorite, and I had him at the top of my winner rankings last week too. He’s also a Stoolie who reads these recaps, so I’m really sorry to see you go, Jason. I still think he had a strong chance to win, but he got screwed over a by a tribe swap and an unforeseen twist. Like Chelsea, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him back on another Second Chances season.
This is a running list I’ll keep all season long. This is NOT who will last the longest. Don’t look at the person ranked last as the person likely to go home next. Look at them as the person with the least chance to win. That person could very easily get dragged to FTC as a goat, but won’t win. This is ranking people based on their chance to actually win the game.
I switched up my ranking groups to tiers. Jason going out really messes things up for me. I think Kellee is the clear favorite right now, but there’s a lot of people who can make a run as an under-the-radar winner.
Just Not Happening