Hopefully, nobody missed last week’s epic double-episode, where two major strategic threats were eliminated. Sometimes a “double-ep” means that the producers are just trying to burn through some predictable stretches of the show, in order to get to the good stuff that follows. This season though, has been nothing but the good stuff. Both Ciera and Fishbach were sent to the jury after two shocking Tribal Councils, keeping alive the momentum of what has truly become a great season. Let’s hope it finishes just as strong.
Since my recap of last week’s double-ep was a bit less thorough than usual (damned family taking me away from my Survivor duties…), let’s return for a moment to analyze what just happened. First, the weather and conditions out in Cambodia have been down-right brutal (rumor has it things don’t improve for Season 32, which took place prior to this Second Chance season and which premieres in February). Watching from home, it is easy to dismiss the mental anguish that results from such brutal, physical turmoil. But man does it look rough out there this season.
The first major thing we witnessed (other than the weather) was Jeremy deciding to use one of his two hidden Idols…not on himself, but to save his close ally Fishbach. This was a dangerous but daring move that Jeremy obviously felt was necessary. It ended up sending Ciera home, who although she has been in the “minority,” had really been involved in several votes that had occurred and was definitely a threat the longer she was going to remain in the game. She actually had the votes to blindside Fishbach, but Jeremy squashed that dream. Because of what happened at the next Tribal (and with hindsight being 20/20), it seems like it ended up being the wrong play for Jeremy…had hen not played it, Fishbach would have went home but Jeremy would have remained in possession of two Idols. Now, Fishbach ended up going home anyways the following Tribal, and not only is Jeremy down to one Idol, but he allowed a new Idol into play, which was discovered by Kelley, who is not in his alliance. But at the time, with an Idol to burn, I guess it made sense that Jeremy wanted to keep his alliance intact. But in doing so, he also revealed to the others his ability to be sneaky and just how close he and Fishbach were in the game.
Fishbach’s double-vote advantage was a cool one, but it ended up not helping him in the long run. He explained why they decided to split their votes (read my interview with Fishbach below), but ultimately it didn’t work out. The major fear was that Joe had an Idol, so they felt it necessary to split votes with Abi. With Fishbach now out of the game, we are down to eight players left – just three episodes – as we enter tonight’s pivotal chapter.
That brings us to tonight’s episode. The preview hints at a loved ones visit, where we will see some familiar faces (like Kelley’s dad Dale and Jeremy’s wife Val, both who appeared during the Blood vs. Water season). But it also hints at some tragedy for one player at a challenge…where it looks like a serious injury will befall one of our male players. Here is the synopsis of tonight’s episode from CBS:
Episode 12 – “Tiny Little Shanks To The Heart” – Emotions run deep when loved ones visit the island, and a desperate reward challenge leaves castaways’ heads spinning. Also, exhaustion takes a serious toll on one castaway in the middle of an immunity battle, on SURVIVOR, Wednesday, Dec. 2 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Analysis. First of all, I love the loved ones Reward Challenges. Usually I end up looking like Fishbach in a confessional, balling my eyes out, as I watch these competitors reunite with the people that they are out there playing the game for in the first place. It is almost always good television, whether due to emotion or whether someone makes up a story about a dead grandmother back home.
As for the injury, let’s just hope that it isn’t severe enough to cause someone to leave the game…that is never a good thing to witness, but especially during a second chance season and definitely not this close to the ultimate prize. From what we can gather from the preview, it will either be Keith, Joe or Spencer. The one thing that has me worried is just math: With the Finale (presumably) on Dec 16, that means that if one person is voted out tonight, and one person is voted out next week, that we will end up having SIX total players left in the game going into Finale night. Usually we are down to five at that point (but not always). So the only way we get down to five before then is for (gulp) a medical evacuation or a quit.
So who is it that gets injured? How will this effect the game? Leave your comments below, and make sure to check out the episode tonight on CBS and come back here later for my full recap, analysis and of course, my exclusive interview with the voted-out castaway tomorrow!
Be sure to subscribe to this column (above) or follow me on Twitter, @tomsantilli. This week – and every week throughout the season – I will post an Episode Preview article (like this one) every Wednesday morning. Then after the episode airs (usually by around midnight EST), look for my full episode recap as well as my analysis of what just happened in the episode. Finally, you won’t want to miss my exclusive one-on-one exit interviews every Thursday afternoon, with the person who was just voted out. Following me on Twitter or subscribing (where you would get email alerts every time a new article posts) are the best ways to stay tuned-in with all things Survivor as we progress through the season…and thanks for reading!