Not Just a Fucking Stick
Come on in guys! Hopefully you all have good gag reflexes because a classic Survivor challenge has returned. But, we’ll get to that in a bit. First we need to adjust to life without The Noble One. Domenick is already enjoying it, but he’s quick to note that his “performance” at Tribal may have a negative impact on his game, so he is determined to lay low for a little while. Libby is frustrated that she keeps receiving votes, and honestly who can blame her. Being the secondary boot is an awful position to be in.
The next day, Wendell notices that Laurel seems a little hesitant around him and Dom. He wants to stick to the alliance of them plus Donathan, so he has a chat with Laurel where he reveals to her he has an idol and intends to go to the final four with them. The new meta has been that revealing idols can gain trust, but in this situation it in fact backfires. Laurel is pretty sketched by the idea of Wendell just now telling her about the idol, and remarks that him and Dom have a lot of power. She also says that at some point, the balance in power will have to shift. Ominous.
Ironically, the reward challenge ends up essentially being Dom v. Wendell. In two groups of six, they were the only ones to consistently hit a series of targets with slingshots. There were a few great quotes from Jeff Probst though in his play by play: “Sebastian can’t hit anything, he’s high every time,” (I mean, he is clearly dabbling in the devil’s lettuce), and “Chelsea fulfills her goal of participating,” (ultimate savagery from Probst here). Ultimately, Wendell (and his team of Libby, Laurel, Chelsea, Angela, and Donathan) win reward. The other team draws rocks for Ghost Island, and Jenna picks the odd rock.
Jenna has been on the bottom for much of this game, and it sure would be nice for her to get an advantage from Ghost Island. Perhaps it was the Survivor Gods telling her now was her ti– nope sorry, no game today. “What’s the point if I’m not gonna play a game?” mulls Jenna. What, indeed. Can’t help but think that the randomly placed game opportunities at Ghost Island haven’t fully hit the mark, but hey — beats having an overflow of advantages right?
At the reward feast, Wendell toasts to the winning ways while Libby confides in her peers to ponder what the heck she’s doing wrong. Well, consensus is she’s just not too close with anyone… except Michael. They’re viewed as a power couple and that’s quite a scary thought in the game of Survivor.
The following morning, Michael confides in Angela that he’s thinking of targeting Wendell at the next vote, and that nobody else trusted her. But Angela reveals she’s feeling much better about her game with Chris gone, and decides to shake things up. What does she do? Immediately spill the beans to Kellyn, Chelsea, Wendell… heck almost all the Navitis. She also mentions wanting to be standing at the end of the war with all those casualties, but this is a family-friendly recap (ignoring my blatant NSFW language in the subheading, of course.)
The immunity challenge is an all-time Survivor classic: the gross food competition. We’re talking alive grubs, we’re talking fish eyes, we’re talking gross sea slugs. And who’s standing at the end, with all those casualties? Angela, of course. Sure, she did this weird devilish dance with her tongue wagging out after every round, and that was pretty weird, but she went and won the damn thing. Michael came in 2nd, but he finished his “meal” after the competition ended. Credit to the kid, he doesn’t give up. You know who did give up? Wendell, who dropped the first “meal” before he could even try to eat it. Relatable, I’m sure.
Not only is Angela stoked that she won immunity, but Michael isn’t, which means her plan to get him out can go forward. It sounds like the plan is solid, because everyone is on board to split the votes between Michael and Libby. However, Michael’s aware of this, and gathers the five original Malolos to convince them to come together and blindside Wendell. Mathematically it checks out, as five beats out a split vote of seven. Laurel is keen to the idea, saying blindsiding Wendell would be great for a resumé. The issue is whether or not he’d catch wind and play his idol. Donathan talks with her and is seemingly on board with the idea. (Author’s note: the idea of Survivor “resumés” drives me up the wall with how pseudo-intellectually meta it is. The whole point of the show is there’s no set way to win the game. But, that’s how the game evolves I suppose. Also, blindsiding an ally at final 12 objectively sounds like a bad game move. But hey, maybe that’s just me.)
Domenick tells Libby 1 on 1 that Michael’s getting votes and hey, maybe you can come with us and vote him to save yourself? But then Donathan tells her that she’s receiving votes on the split, so Libby’s in a bit of pickle. Maybe sticking Malolo strong is the best move?
At Tribal Council, nothing happens. Seriously. It’s an incredibly boring Tribal; Jeff Probst just randomly talks about the new jury format and how great it is (Author’s note: it’s not) and how big moves should always happen (Author’s note: they shouldn’t). So yadda yadda yadda, much ado about nothing, let’s read the votes. But wait! Michael has himself a fucking stick. Jeff announces that it is NOT… just a stick anymore. It is in fact a real idol, and Michael nailed that read. He winds up negating seven votes against him (including Libby’s!), reversing the curse of the fucking stick. He voted for Wendell, but he was the only one, as the split votes send Libby off to Ponderosa.
So two jurors down, one curse reversed. The stars of the episode were definitely Angela for her temporary slip into madness at the immunity challenge and for getting the gang in on Michael, and Michael for pulling off an impressive, albeit anticlimactic, idol play. Dom and Wendell still seem to have control, but will the remaining Malolos find a crack in the Naviti alliance? Until they do, or until Wednesday, may the Survivor Gods smile down upon you.