*SPOILERS OBVIOUSLY AHEAD*
Last night was our last pre-merge episode of the season, marking a somewhat unofficial halfway point. What a ride it's been so far. While there are a lot of fan favorites sitting on the Edge Of Extinction, the gameplay and entertainment has been superb. We're well on our way to an all-time season that should only get better once the merge hits. Let's get into the recap.
Edge of Extinction
Parvati and Sandra both arrived at the Edge Of Extinction. Sandra explained her move, saying she felt something for Denise and trusted her, but ultimately it was a move that was inconsistent with her typical Survivor strategy. She then made a decision that shocked many: she left the Edge Of Extinction.
She explained that it was pointless for her to sit on that island with limited food and resources when there was no way she could win a physical challenge to get back in the game. She felt that she's proved all she's needed to prove. Her parting words were "I'm still the queen, and I'll always stay the queen."
She's getting a lot of heat online, and some of it is deserved. Personally, I get why she left. There's no way she was getting back in the game. She didn't want to waste her time and body when she already has $2 million in the bank from this game, plus she probably got a handsome payday to come back for Seasons 39 and 40. So it makes sense.
HOWEVA, I don't think we can ever call her the greatest of all-time anymore. I thought that was always a stretch, but it definitely is now. First of all, she will no longer be the only two-time winner once this season ends. She's now won twice and been out pre-merge twice. There's a good chance that whoever wins will have a better overall track record than that. And you just can't be hailed as the "queen" and the greatest player ever if you quit. Now I know technically she didn't "quit" and people have the option to leave Edge, but the Edge Of Extinction is a huge part of this season. It's still very much part of the game. And she's the only to leave it. She just can't be hailed as the greatest ever anymore. I do believe her already overrated legacy took a hit once she raised that white flag.
Next up on Edge was the hunt for four more fire tokens that were spread out at the top of the hill. Everyone made a mad dash to the top. Tyson found the first one just randomly on the ground. He had a funny confessional praising himself as "amazing" and calling Boston Rob a "portly chap." After some more searching, nobody could find the other three. They all came together and did some strip searches to no success. It seemed mysterious that three of them would just disappear.
Enter some Ocean's Eleven editing and a devilish grin from Boston Rob!
It turns out that the "portly chap" beat everyone up the hill, ran to the trails, and found three of the four tokens. Then he successfully hid them from everyone, even Amber, while everyone was frisked. Now that is some GOAT shit. Also shoutout to Survivor for the awesome editing there. Really led to maximum entertainment with a twist like that. Awesome stuff all around.
Edge also featured a nice moment last night with a deep conversation between Ethan and Parvati. Ethan was expressing his concern over staying on the island that much longer with scarce resources. He wasn't sure how it would impact his body as a cancer survivor. Parvati gave him a nice pep talk though, and he agreed to keep chugging along for now. Overall, the producers have used the Edge of Extinction perfectly this season.
Sele Camp (Blue)
We rejoin Sele after they voted out Parvati. Yul was a little upset at Wendell for how he handled tribal council, openly offering to work with Parvati in exchange for fire tokens. It made Yul weary of Wendell going forward, and in turn also made Wendell worry that he lost Yul's trust. After that, we got another painfully awkward Michele-Wendell moment. Michele was discussing the moves Wendell made at tribal, and Wendell snapped by saying "Thank you for schooling me" to Michele and then "Don't put me on a leash or I'll bite you" in a confessional. Michele then said in her confessional that she's not sure she wants to work with Wendell going forward just because of their past relationship. This blatantly was contradicted though when we saw her give Wendell one of Parvati's fire tokens. Maybe they agreed to the deal they discussed where Michele would write Wendell's name down so that Parvati would give her the fire tokens, and she'd then give one to Wendell. Whatever the case may be, it's clear that they are closer than they want people to believe and are using that to their advantage. Their relationship has been perhaps the main storyline of the season, and we'll get to that more later.
Dakal Tribe (Red)
Everyone got back to camp after the epic move Denise pulled to get Sandra out. Tony wisely was using this to try to paint a bigger target on Denise's back. He needs as many big threats out there as possible to shield him. Tony believed that him, Kim, and Jeremy were a solid trio. In reality, Jeremy was saying how Tony is still the biggest threat out there. It also appears like the real trio is Jeremy, Kim, and Denise. Kim and Denise particularly seem to have a strong bond. Kim was stressing the need for a solid merge plan, and it seems like those three plan to stick together. We'll see what happens with Tony. Otherwise, things were pretty uneventful over here.
Yara Tribe (Green)
This is definitely my least favorite of the three tribes. I don't find any of these players to be particularly entertaining. Adam and Ben were bickering like a married couple over the idol. Adam was convinced that someone had it. Everyone then went searching for it, and Adam kept saying that the rest of them were "fake searching." He was really focused in on Sarah having. If not her, then he thought Ben must have it. He was right that someone had it, but it was actually Sophie who he suspected least. It'll be interesting to see how these four handle the merge. I think that Sophie and Sarah are a really tight duo, and Ben should be with them as well. Adam will likely be a free agent and possible target if he can't find a voting bloc.
The challenge involved transferring water through an obstacle course to get puzzle pieces and then completing the puzzle. The same challenge was run in David vs. Goliath when Nick's tribe had one of the worst performances in Survivor challenge history according to Jeff. Both Sele and Dakal went with the strategy of moving faster, losing some water, and making two trips. Nick dropped a "Just don't listen to him" while Jeff was blabbering, which is basically the official motto for dealing with Jeff during challenges. Yara chose "slow and steady wins the race." They moved very slowly, but needed just one trip to the water well, getting out to a commanding lead and finishing in first.
Sele and Dakal were battling it out on the puzzle. It was Jeremy and Denise against Wendell and Michele. (I did hear one of them drop a "babe" by the way). It was neck-and-neck. Wendell was trying to get Jeff's attention.
People were claiming this was showboating and bragging, but I don't think that's the case. Wendell actually lost a challenge in his season because he didn't get Jeff's attention. He wanted to make sure that didn't happen again. But given the villain edit that he's been given, Wendell just came off looking cocky and braggadocios. Dakal finished their puzzle first by about one second, sending Sele to tribal.
I knew Yul was in trouble when we saw his confessional claiming that Wendell had sealed his fate with that challenge performance. It's never the obvious. At first, it did seem like that was the plan. Yul, Michele, and Nick would come together to vote for Wendell because of his tribal council and challenge performances. Wendell, however, was concocting his own plan to target Yul.
It was becoming very clear that Nick and Michele would be the swing votes, and they seemed very undecided. Yul really hurt his case though when he pitched an elaborate plan to somehow get Wendell's fire tokens despite voting him out. It didn't make much sense to me and seemed like an overplay. While the fire tokens can be advantageous, it has old-school players (Sandra, Yul) forgetting the basics of Survivor. This really made Nick realize just how dangerous Yul is in this game.
Wendell was immediately mad at Jeff for the smirk he was giving, knowing what was coming. There was some discussion about how all the old-school players are gone with the exception of Yul. The focus then shifted to some more Wendell-Michele awkwardness. Wendell was saying he'll work with anyone, not just Michele, and only cares about how he does in this game. This offended her. He apologized if she took it the wrong way, etc. It was time to vote.
Michele and Nick stuck with Wendell and voted out Yul with a 3-1 vote, who voted for Wendell. Yul was blindsided and gave one fire token each to Sarah and Sophie. It sucks to see Yul go, but it was the right move. He's more dangerous than Wendell. It's officially now all new-school players left, and a lot of underwhelming ones. The Edge Of Extinction meanwhile is filled with legend after legend. Hopefully one or two of them come back soon.
The Michele-Wendell dynamic has really been a major storyline these past few weeks. I think that means it will have a big impact on this game, more than it already has. I expect one or both of them to make a deep run. Michele is definitely getting the better edit of the two. I think she has the strongest winner edit of anyone thus far. Wendell has had a clear villain edit. Is this all setting up for Michele to vote out Wendell on her way to a win? It's possible. I think it's clear though that they have agreed to work together despite their past. Maybe they had a secret pre-game alliance where they would look like bitter enemies but actually be a power couple. That would be pretty brilliant if so.
The merge is coming next week, and it should be all out chaos. There was no mention of someone coming back from Edge, but you'd have to think that's coming too. I wouldn't be shocked if two people actually come back, with the producers wanting to get some old-school legends back in the game. We'll see what happens. I'm definitely excited.
This is a running ranking I'll keep all season long of who I think is most likely to win the game. The person ranked last isn't necessarily my prediction to go home next, but I just think they have the least chance of winning the game. It's based on "edgic" which is a mix of "logic" and "edit."
Previous Week Rank in ( )
1. Michele (1)
2. Jeremy (2)
3. Sophie (4)
4. Nick (8)
5. Adam (5)
6. Denise (6)
7. Sarah (7)
8. Tony (9)
9. Kim (10)
10. Ben (11)
11. Wendell (12)
12. Boston Rob (14)
13. Tyson (13)
14. Natalie (15)
15. Yul (3)
16. Parvati (16)
17. Amber (18)
18. Ethan (17)
19. Danni (20)
20. Sandra (19)