Blindsides: You are truly the gift that keeps on giving! It’s only the second episode of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X and already the season is providing Tribal Council and life drama. It’s moments like these that make following a reality television show worth watching. Though, to get to this point, it takes a lot of finesse, luck, and player manipulation to make it happen. And it’s something the Millennials tribe had to learn the hard way.
In the second episode of the season, it was the Millennials’ turn to face the stressful vote. They dominated in last week’s episode and secured safety, but they weren’t so lucky the second time around – they lost badly at the Immunity Challenge. As any avid Survivor fan can arguably admit, you never really know how a castaway will think or perform until it is THEIR first time heading to Tribal Council. You get a sense of their mindset, who they want to work with, and if they plan to float by or mastermind the early strategy to control the vote. This vote, however, came down to either showmance (show romance) or future threat.
Mari, unfortunately, ended up losing the battle. Her “future potential” outweighed the direct threat of Figgy’s showmance in the tribe. A showmance is always a big threat, and as any Big Brother fan will agree, they’re dangerous to keep around. But Mari is a smart person and not being in the “popular clique” in the tribe worked against her. To make matters worse: She didn’t see it coming! She was blissfully ignorant as the others plotted against her. Regardless of being blindsided (it could happen to anyone!), getting out Mari OR Figgy was a smart move – one that was still being discussed down to the wire.
Let’s take a minute to evaluate the actions of the Millennials in their campaigning phase (i.e. the second/third day in the round when after losing the challenge). The camp had decided that Figgy was the one to go; she was in a dangerous showmance and had already strong relationships that would protect her. After Jay saw her value as a friend vote, while also noticing Mari’s potential value in the future, he planted the seeds for campaigning. Zeke, Hannah and Adam were keeping Mari while Jay, Taylor and Michelle were keeping Figgy. The real power was with those in the middle: Michaela and Will.
Michaela and Figgy got into a fight (which sealed Figgy’s fate) while Will played the middle. However, the case that tipped the favor back to Figgy? Mari’s alliance. Figgy’s side effectively made the case to Michaela that SHE would be the next to go due to Mari’s alliance after Figgy got the boot (all hearsay and conversations). The fear of a vote off clinched her flipped vote, and Will soon joined in. The castaways tend to forget the power of majority. There’s no way to tell if Mari’s alliance would’ve actually targeted Michaela but if the tribe had split down the middle, their side would’ve been short-sighted to waste a vote on a non-enemy. Michaela had no real danger to keep Mari; but Figgy’s alliance made a sound and strong case.
Another interesting development to come from the Millennials tribe this round occurred during Tribal Council. As Jeff was asking questions to certain castaways, a small group of the tribe – mainly Michelle and Hannah – were secretly discussing the upcoming vote. Michelle spilled to Hannah that she was voting Mari off; ultimately insinuating that the vote had flipped and asking her to trust her by flipping her vote. Hannah, confused and fearful of the turning events, changed her vote – Michelle’s plan worked. This scene showed a vast comparison to the Gen X tribe the previous week at Tribal Council. Whereas the Gen X tribe members were more subdued and accepting of the outcome, the Millennials tribe had a naive yet energetic quality to them. It’s almost as if the “experience” of the game finally hit them and they were taking it all in, even the negative scenario of Tribal Council.
While the secret conversation scene was exciting to watch, it did have a drawback: It became painfully clear that Mari was getting voted off. The result of Michaela’s and Will’s votes was still up in the air, but by the time the subtitles showed Michelle’s confidence, it spoiled the suspense. The blindside was still amazing to have in the second episode. However, the final moment didn’t deliver the full one-two punch.
Over at the Gen X tribe, the episode focused on a serious matter relating to Paul. He suffered heat exhaustion and was nearly pulled from the game. Medical emergencies are not uncommon to the game of Survivor; castaways can be removed for various reasons due to injuries or infection. It’s great to see that Paul was feeling better and got the necessary treatment. Though David delivered the shadiest moment of the season thus far: He reflected on the missed opportunity of Paul not being evacuated since he’s a big target to David. I don’t know if David will actually get Paul out, but those comments will no doubt haunt him later on.