Updated: Oct 13, 2020
It would be fair to say the Survivor Gods dealt Tyson a bad hand from the moment he stepped onto the beach in Fiji. Considering he was already a threat to win, his connections to Boston Rob and the alleged poker alliance put an immensely large target on his back. Unfortunately, all of this caught up with Tyson this week, as he becomes the fifth winner voted out of the game.
Of course, Tyson didn't help his game either. While he did vote with the tribe against Amber, he made a big mistake by going to Yul about voting out Sandra last week. Yes, Sandra is a threat, but Tyson had no reason to believe he could trust Yul at that point. With a lack of credible power in the game, Tyson pushed this notion too early. Why not hold onto that information until Dakal had to return to tribal council? To put it in poker terms, Tyson went all-in with a bad hand, and Yul called his bluff.
You have to give Tyson credit though, at least he went down swinging. For a moment, it looked like he was making inroads with Sandra's alliance members by targeting Nick. Quite honestly, Nick hasn't provided much this season in terms of confessionals or strategy, so it wouldn't have been overly disappointing to see him go home. The tribe even had a built-in excuse as he struggled with the puzzle during the immunity challenge (along with Sarah, but she wasn't even a consideration).
The decision ultimately came down to Sandra, who wasn't on board with keeping Tyson around since he was targeting her. Only time will tell if Dakal made the right choice. While he would have been a shield for Sandra and her alliance, Tyson would likely flip after the tribe swap next week. In the short term, this looks like a decent move for all of Dakal.
In the long term, though, this move may be a big mistake. Yul's alliance is a real threat to dominate the game. Anytime you vote someone out that isn't apart of Yul's group, you are removing someone who can potentially help you mobilize against them later. The fear of letting Tyson reconnect with Rob blinded Dakal from seeing the big picture.
Fighting to stay alive
The season has not been kind to potential Boston Rob allies. Rob may have saved Parvati at the last tribal council, but he lost Ethan in the process. It is quite a sobering scene watching two of the greatest players of all time chat on the beach about being on the bottom. While Parvati has found herself in this position before, this is all new to Rob. He likes to control the game, a difficult task when stuck on the bottom.
Luckily for both of them, they aren't alone. Adam, whose ego got the best of him last week, had to deal with the ramifications of being left out of a vote. The rest of Sele wants to work with him, but by leaving him out of the plan to vote out Ethan, they managed to knock him down a few pegs on the ladder. All Adam can do now is keep his head down and work hard around camp.
Give Adam credit because he was doing well to earn back some leeway with his tribe. Jeremy even talked about wanting to keep Adam around as long as he was doing work around camp. The key moving forward for Adam is to lay back, not overplay, and avoid Rob. If he can do this, he should be in a decent spot to recover.
Except Adam is not capable of avoiding Rob! Adam just got in trouble for plotting with Rob, so why is he chatting with him and Parvati on the beach? Maybe he feels like he has a genuine bond with them, or perhaps he is sub coming to his super fandom. Either way, Adam cannot seem to stay away. The conversation itself was seemingly harmless, incorporating little strategy talk. But his tribe noticed, and this puts a dent into his plan of keeping a low profile.
Rob, on the other hand, sees this as an opportunity to throw Adam under the bus. Rob immediately goes to Jeremy to let them know that Adam approached him about working with Rob and Parvati again. Of course, it is a lie, but it convinces Jeremy that Adam isn't trust-worthy and shifts the target away from Rob. Had Sele's immunity challenge losing streak continued, Adam would probably be going to the Edge.
As Jeff would say, never give up!
It feels appropriate to end this week's recap talking about the big hero moments if you will. Let's start with the immunity challenge.
Sele somehow managed to grasp victory from the jaws of defeat. At one point, Jeff was touting this week's challenge as the biggest blow out in the show's history. It was Adam of all people who brought his tribe back, subsequently saving his game at the same time.
Part of the immunity challenge this week included three tribe members leaping off of a platform to grab keys suspended in the air. Survivor has utilized this in challenges countless times before, but we have never seen a tribe struggle as much as Sele did. They struggled mightily to reach the keys.
Poor Adam made four or five attempts to get the last key. It was gut-wrenching watching him fail over and over again. Finally, a tired and worn Adam made one more desperate jump, unknowingly making the leap that will inevitably save his game. Adam's hero moment here is a clear metaphor for his game. Right now, he is down and out, but he has to keep taking leaps of faith if he wants to turn it around. The literal key to his game will rest in his willingness to push himself when he doesn't think he can, and I am excited to watch him try to fight his way from the bottom.
Finally, we find ourselves at the Edge of Extinction for possibly the best segment the Edge has ever produced. The challenge this week was more straightforward than the last few weeks. The exiled castaways had to traverse the island to collect firewood, returning one log at a time. Each castaway had twenty total logs to retrieve.
Everyone started strong, retrieving their first piece of firewood relatively quickly. As the task went on, though, the physicality of the challenge caught up to everyone. Except for Natalie, that girl is a monster. She is dominating the Edge, and this week was a clear demonstration of that.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Ethan struggled the most with the challenge. It is heartbreaking to watch his body give out even when his spirit wouldn't. Ethan is a man who has fought so many battles in his life and survived so much. For him, this experience feels like it is so much bigger than just a game for a million dollars. His Survivor journey this season is an opportunity to live his life to the fullest after facing the uncertainty of getting to live life at all. I fell in love with Survivor because it showed me the power of perseverance and the capacity of the human spirit to carry you to do anything. This segment was a reminder of what makes Survivor so damn enjoyable.
After getting clear from medical, Ethan completed the task, along with the ladies who already finished. They have quickly become a family, and it's great to see them support each other in the most difficult of times. When Jeff Probst and the producers of Survivor dreamt up the twist, they must have envisioned more moments like this, illustrating the lengths an individual will go to hold on one more day in the face of great adversity. The Edge isn't a great twist, but at least it gave us this beautiful moment.
Well, that about covers it all for this week. Everything changes next week when castaways swap tribes. With only fifteen castaways left, look for the show to feature three tribes of five for the next few weeks. The tribe swap is a good reset for many, offering opportunities for Rob, Parvati, Kim, and Adam to pull themselves up from the bottom.