You have to feel sorry for the Survivor editors this episode. Obviously, Taylor is the next to go. He's close to Jay (whom everyone views as a huge threat), he's been caught stealing food (though the magnitude of the theft is only known by Adam at this point), and he only has two people left in his alliance (Will who is not seen as a threat and Jay who many suspect may have an idol). So how to pad the hour? A little misdirection, a lot of filler and a little explosiveness right at the end.
|Can you believe we lost someone who we trusted so much?|
Jay can't believe the Gen Xers trusted Adam over him, but he doesn't realize that no one trusts Adam at this point. I doubt Adam trusts Adam. Adam has run back and forth between the two sides so much that on the Google satellite picture of the Vinaka beach you can see the rut he created. But he is an easy later boot, he's not winning any challenges and he has no one at this point. By contrast, the tight four person, now three, about to be two, Triforce alliance was a bigger immediate threat.
We - and I speak for every viewer out there - already are over Taylor, so we didn't need another confessional of him gloating about having stolen half of the merge feast and playing guess the fruit in the dark. If the purpose of the scene was to make us all stand up and cheer when he's eventually voted off the island, we're already there. Taylor boasts that his secret is safe because the only one who knows is Adam and Adam has a bigger secret that Taylor is keeping.
While Taylor is stuffing his face with soggy pretzels and mystery fruits, Hannah is reveling in turning the table on Jay. Remember Jay how you kept Hannah in the dark about your plan to blindside Michaela? You told Hannah that you couldn't tell her ahead of time and you were sorry and you'd let her know next time? Well, guess what Hannah gets to say? I'm sorry Jay, but I had to do what was best for me. Sorry I couldn't tell you ahead of time. Maybe next time. Ah, sweet revenge.
Right after Hannah's "I'm really playing the game" quote, she comes way back down to earth after the Reward Challenge. Charged with putting a team together, school-yard pick style, she went for potential allies instead of brute strength and her team was smoked by the unbeatable Chris-Bret-Ken combo.
|Is this Survivor or Club Med?|
So everyone on the winning side is well fed, well lubricated, and happy, right? Not so much. Sunday is fretting about the fractured Gen X tribe. Despite their unified vote at Tribal, she sees the six as two warring groups of three with David, Jessica and Ken on one side and Sunday, Chris and Bret on the other. Sunday wants to make a move before the other side does and she's convinced Jessica is gunning for her. So she wants to put Jessica's head on the chopping block as soon as possible. We sure didn't see this cutthroat person behind that Fargo-esque "donchaknow" voice, the mom of four persona, and the unruly mop of curly blond hair!
While Sunday may be an under the radar strategist, Adam is waving huge red flags wherever he goes, drawing unneeded attention to himself. He suggests to us that maybe...MAYBE?????...he's been playing too hard. Ya think? So what does he do to slow down? He takes Jay aside and tries to strategize with him. Adam tests the waters with Jay, explaining his vote, discussing his thoughts going forward. He doesn't apologize for flipping against one of Jay's allies as he was Jay's target. Okay, fair point. He goes on to tell Jay the truth, that Taylor pisses people off and is the number one target and that those aligned with him are by the transitive property of annoyance also going to be targeted. That's why you, Jay, and Will and Taylor are at the bottom.
This somehow is a bombshell to Jay. He is flabbergasted. I'm at the bottom? He asks this incredulously, after one of his closest allies was just voted off in a 9-4 blindsiding vote. Somehow it is a complete shock to him that he, one of the remaining three in that alliance, would be at the bottom in a tribe of twelve? Simple math would have told him he's at the bottom. But he acted like Adam kicked sand in his face, then stomped on his head, chortling all the way. His overreaction to Adam explaining obvious facts to him was hard to comprehend. How oblivious was Jay to his surroundings that Adam telling him the truth was seen as mocking, ridiculing, and insulting him?
|Jay, you can do math, right?|
After Taylor and Jay catch up and Jay informs him of his conversation with Adam, the camera pans back and we see that both Hannah and Zeke were around for this anti-Adam bitchfest. And they are more than happy to join in. Jay and Taylor may be at the bottom and one of them may be going next, but nobody trusts Adam. And nobody sees how dangerous it is to keep someone around that you can't trust and targeting obvious targets instead. So they all join in Adam bashing, yet two of them are still going to are putting off dealing with him until later.
One person does want to switch up the target and that's Sunday. She confides in Jay that Jessica is her real target and he's more than thrilled to promise her his vote against Jessica or pretty much anyone she mentions. This is the crack in the majority alliance he's been hoping for. Sunday next tells Bret she'll do whatever the majority wants, but she would rather get rid of Jessica. Since for us the viewer it's been months since the two were on the same tribe, we don't understand why Sunday is afraid of Jessica and why she wants her out so badly. But whatever bad blood existed on the old Gen X tribe is not long forgotten, at least not for Sunday.
The Immunity Challenge was a balance upon balance contest and Jeff offered the Survivors a choice. Compete or feast. Only two opted out of the challenge, taking the bait and trying to live down Jeff's repeated suggestion that these two feel awfully safe to give up a chance at immunity just for some delicious sandwiches and beer. But not for Will, who's only 18 in case you forgot. Put down the phones, ladies, Will will be drinking a nice safe soda pop. Zeke rightly points out that he had zero chance of beating the boarders (surf, snow, skate, any plank you have to stand up on) in a balance challenge and that he was better off refueling for a challenge he might have a chance at later. But Jeff would not let it go unnoticed that you had to feel pretty darn confident not to try for immunity.
|Your obligatory Ken photo. You're welcome.|
So Taylor and Jay realize it's down to them in tonight's vote. Taylor decides to share with Jay his hidden jars of food and they have their island Last Supper. He tells Jay that Adam knows about the stash and that Adam has a secret of his own that he's going to blow up at Tribal Council. He's doing this for Figs, his woman. He will avenge her! Until he breaks her heart by breaking up with her after the show, but for now, he will avenge her!
At Tribal Council Taylor, Jay and Adam act like immature middle schoolers. Jay says it was rough being blindsided, Adam says welcome to my world, Jay says, well welcome to Survivor, and they go back and forth seeing who can be more petty and more whiny. It's a tie.
While Jeff points out the obvious - the three who voted wrong last Tribal are now at the bottom - Chris throws out a lifeline. You can be on the bottom (like he was) and you can fight back. There are cracks. That's a hell of a lot of information to slip out at Tribal. Chris is admitting that the nine are not tight and a savvy player can find and take advantage of the rifts. Taylor misreads the situation and decides that the crack Chris is talking about deals with Adam so he puts all of his energy in trying to undermine Adam. The problem with this is, the tribe could have voted out Adam if they had wanted to last week. He is not seen as the biggest threat and he is not currently the biggest target. This was a shot that Taylor, and Jay, tried to take last week and they missed. They should have worked to find a new target, maybe even Sunday's target.
|Happy, hyperventilating, confused, giddy|
But now the entire tribe is in chaos. Hannah needs oxygen lest she have another panic attack. Will can't believe that his ally kept this secret from him. Michelle thinks this is hysterically funny. And the rest of the tribe isn't sure who to strangle first. David wants an accounting of what food items were stolen. Sunday wants to know if anything remains.
But wait, there's more. Taylor then tells the tribe that not only did Adam know about the food stash (which Adam admits), not only did he keep the secret (which Adam admits), but he did so because ADAM IS KEEPING HIS OWN SECRET. He's Batman. No, that's not it. He's got a secret advantage which he can use to drug and rape your women, murder your children and wipe out your bloodline. When your loved one comes to the island, he can have them murdered and their bodies used as chum to summon sharks while you look on helplessly.
Taylor tries to make Adam having found an advantage that anyone could have found the moral equivalent to stealing food from your hungry tribemates.
Just when things cannot get any crazier, Jeff lays a wet fart in the middle of the proceedings and tries to connect Taylor's brazen selfishness and audacity to the Millennials v. Gen X theme. But he's wrong. Taylor is not espousing a Millennial position, he's being a jerk. He has not played Survivor since he first decided to hook up in a showmance on day one and he's still not playing Survivor. He's playing, have as much fun as I can while I'm out here, and he's the only Millennial who has taken that approach.
So not Millennial is Taylor's approach that his best buddy Jay rips him for it, calling him a dumb surfer, no offense. Taylor doesn't take offense at being called dumb, only at being called a surfer. He's a dumb snow boarder, bro. But not Jay. He has hopes and dreams and is willing to work for them. And to his credit, he is and has been playing Survivor and not Fijian Fantasy Island. Maybe the best thing for Jay's game would be for Taylor to be gone.
Adam is becoming apoplectic and you expect him to burst a blood vessel in his brain as everything seems to be crashing down around him. Taylor admits to stealing, hoarding and feasting on the tribe's food. Jay admits to eating some of the stolen food. Yet the focus is still on Adam who did not partake of even a crumb. Keeping Taylor's secret is becoming a bigger crime than what Taylor or Jay did. This Kafkaesque drama is about to torpedo Adam's game and he feels powerless to stop it. Until secret cop Bret puts this all into perspective: There were a lot of errors made, we have to determine who's the most culpable.
And with that, the tribe votes. Shockingly, Jay does not play his hidden immunity idol, but when all the votes are shown we discover why. Knowing the tribes would be splitting the votes, he thought it would be 5-4. If he voted for Taylor, as he smartly did, at worst it's a tie. But it was pretty clear to him that the 5 would probably go for Taylor, the "most culpable" of the two. And so it did.
Want more Taylor? Check out these post-eviction interviews:
Josh Wigler - Parade
Gordon Holmes - Xfinity
Rob Has a Podcast