‘Survivor: Worlds Apart’ Review: A Crazy Tribal Council Boosts ‘Livin’ On The Edge’
Recap and review of Survivor: Worlds Apart – Episode 9 – Livin’ On The Edge:
You know you’re playing with savvy strategists when they’d rather keep a quitter over a major threat. Survivor: Worlds Apart has shown that these people don’t always know what’s best for their respective games, yet “Livin’ On the Edge” showed an encouraging amount of game wisdom.
Yes, Joe has finally been voted out after failing to win individual immunity for the first time this season. And yet, he might have been able to stay in the game had one of his allies made a different choice. Now, Jenn has been one of my favorite players, less for how she’s structured her game and more for how enjoyable she is to watch, from her commentary on the game to how she’s essentially helped other underdogs stick around longer. Joe probably wouldn’t have lasted anywhere as long as he did without having that alliance with Jenn. And yet, while tonight’s result is likely to upset Jenn, she only has herself to blame. In short, she planned on winning immunity and giving it to Joe if he lost. But this didn’t work out, as Tyler defeated them both in a challenge that required balancing a block between their head and the top of a doorframe. This caused Jenn to become even more dejected, as she spends the better part of the episode sulking around about her place in the game and the lousiness of the people she’s stuck playing it with (strangely, one of the few moments of levity she has in the episode is when she nearly busts a gut laughing at Rodney’s impressions of Mike and Dan. Who knew the guy could do impressions?). Basically, Jenn would quit if she could quit without actually quitting. I mean, she even tells Probst at tribal council that she can’t bring herself to officially quit, even if it would mean saving Joe, because she’s “just not a quitter.” So her solution is to allow herself to be voted out…which sort of sounds exactly quitting, except she’d get to at least keep the money the show pays for being on the jury.
Shirin realizes that Mike’s alliance will split the votes, so if Joe votes for Jenn, that leaves us with a 4-4 tie, and the decision on who goes home will rest with her. Mike seems to recognize this, and takes Shirin aside to make sure she votes Joe, since he can’t afford having a threat like him in the competition. Of course, having Joe in the competition prevents the target from falling on Mike’s head, but I guess he feels he can’t allow Joe to get into a position where he could go on an immunity run. It makes sense, and Mike’s game continues to be the strongest, although others are stepping up. For one, Shirin does a great job in recognizing she’s on a sinking ship with Jenn and Joe. She likes both, but not enough to torpedo her own game. So she approaches Mike and Sierra about the cracks in their alliance, namely that Carolyn has Will, Tyler and Rodney in her back pocket. Mike respects Shirin’s approach, and Carolyn’s secret alliance is something he’d picked up on himself, which shows him Shirin isn’t exactly the dolt they’ve all taken her for. And yet, now isn’t the time to strike. At least not yet. Shirin sticks with Mike and his alliance for now, choosing to go against Jenn’s wishes by voting out Joe, since Jenn is less of a threat, and by openly admitting she didn’t care about the game anymore, she essentially loses any hope of anyone voting for her at the end. In essence, Jenn becomes the perfect goat to take to Final 3, and she’ll likely stay in the game no matter how badly she wants to quit, since quitting now means Joe was eliminated for nothing. She could have saved him by quitting then, but she didn’t. So quitting now would be considerably worse for how she’s perceived. Then again, I don’t think Jenn particularly cares what anyone thinks about her. Hell, it’s one of the things I absolutely love about her. But I also can’t pretend that this was a great episode for her either. All that talk of shaking up the game, and yet the one thing she could have done to cause real chaos, she doesn’t do.
But it’s not as if Joe doesn’t do a lot of his own fighting to stay in the game. To his credit, he takes Dan aside under the guise of talking strategy, and then races off on his own to craft a fake hidden immunity idol. I know Survivor: Gabon winner Bob Crowley was the Father of Fake Hidden Immunity Idols, but Joe is the Boy Wonder, because that thing looked incredibly convincing for something he threw together in a matter of minutes. I’m somewhat surprised he didn’t just choose to wear it around his neck to goad people into voting for Jenn. I think it was a mistake to approach Mike and promise him the “idol” in exchange for a guarantee of safety, since it invited scrutiny from Mike. To agree to Joe’s deal, Mike insisted he would need the idol before tribal council. Joe acquiesced, and Mike spent the better part of the afternoon getting acquainted with the idol before apparently coming to the decision that it was likely fake. But he still had doubts, enough that he asked Probst if he could confirm or deny the authenticity of the idol. Probst said he couldn’t, since that would have violated the unwritten (or is it written?) rule against the host actively interfering in the game, but we still get a pretty funny moment as Mike plays it for Will anyway. And even though, by this point, everyone seemed to know it was fake, the castaways still seem to get a kick out of the reveal that it’s not real. Joe tried like hell, and I’ve got to give him credit for that. And Shirin also made one of her smartest decisions yet by not allowing her loyalty to Jenn cloud her judgment. She could respect Jenn’s wishes and keep Joe, to the detriment of her own game, or she could vote Joe and keep Jenn, allowing her an extra ally she could use while she attempts to get into Mike’s alliance — an extra ally who now has no chance of winning this game. Shirin voting Joe made all the sense in the world, and while I’m sad to see Joe leave, I’m actually really starting to root for Shirin.
“Livin’ On The Edge” is a mostly paint-by-numbers episode of Survivor: Worlds Apart, but it’s saved by the hectic tribal council. I still feel we have at least two more votes before things start getting crazy, but I love that there’s a powder keg potential here. Joe being gone means the castaways need to figure out who the new biggest target will be. Do they have the stones to go up against the guy who’s ostensibly been leading them since the merge? I’m pretty anxious to see the Blue Collar alliance implode, as it could open up this game in a big way.
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