‘Survivor: Worlds Apart’ Review: ‘My Word Is My Bond’ Brings Unprecedented Tribal Council
Recap and review of Survivor: Worlds Apart – Episode 13 – My Word Is My Bond:
One of the interesting things about Survivor: Worlds Apart is that it features a group of contestants that, more than many other groups in the previous 29 seasons, have very little agency over their own game. Tonight’s result was inevitable, as “My Word Is My Bond” brought about an unprecedented tribal council twist that left one player talking the long walk to the jury.
Yes, it was the end of the road for Dan, and although it wasn’t for lack of trying on his part, it turns out that there was virtually nothing he could have done to prevent what ended up happening. It goes like this: Mike wins an immunity in an extremely close table maze challenge, narrowly defeating Sierra to keep himself safe for one more vote, at least. In attempting to further fracture Carolyn’s alliance, he tells her that Dan, Will and Rodney are planning to vote against her. He does this only after attempts to reunite with Dan fail. Now, the edit tries to imply that an unwillingness to work with Mike ultimately brings about his downfall, but the events of tribal council ultimately show that, once Mike won immunity, Dan was going home no matter what. And here’s why: absolutely no one left in the game knew Carolyn had an idol. Because of this, Dan was always going to target Carolyn after Mike won immunity, since 1) Sierra isn’t as big of a threat, and 2) Will and Rodney are the only two guys he’d be able to beat at Final Tribal Council. Even if Dan had worked with Mike, Dan still would have been eliminated, because Mike didn’t know about Carolyn’s idol either, so he couldn’t plan for that contingency. Realistically, the only thing Dan could have done to prevent his ouster would have been to split his advantage. He tells Will, Rodney and Sierra to put three votes on Carolyn, while he plays his advantage to put two votes on Sierra without her knowledge. Carolyn plays her idol, and Mike and Carolyn’s two votes would have resulted in a 2-2 tie. Then they dump Sierra on the revote.
Of course, the problem here is that, on a revote, the two people with the most votes wouldn’t be allowed to vote again. So Mike and Carolyn would likely still vote for Dan, while Will and Rodney will likely still vote to save their buddy by getting rid of Sierra, resulting in another tie. And a second tie means leaving the decision up to the purple rock draw. With Carolyn and Mike immune due to their respective idols, that means the pool for rock-drawing is considerable smaller. Are Will and Rodney really going to let their game life come down to the luck of the draw, particularly when that draw is a 1-in-4 chance? Sure, maybe the tie gets broken when Carolyn decides to vote against Sierra for voting against her, assuming that since Dan’s advantage is now removed, he poses no threat. But that’s all supposition at this point. Granted, so is everything I’m theorizing. But one thing seems certain: the forces were cosmically aligned against Dan once Mike won immunity. The only way he was going to be able to stay would have been if he convinced Carolyn he was 100% with her, enough that she wouldn’t play her idol. However, I don’t think there was any chance Carolyn wasn’t going to play her idol once Dan played his advantage, since it likely spooked her. And since Dan’s big goal is to be remembered, I don’t think not playing the advantage ever entered into his head. So Dan is essentially felled by his own hubris, assuming that he had Carolyn dead-to-rights when, really, her superior gameplay (as evidenced by the fact that nobody knew she had an idol out there) ultimately made it so that Dan’s ouster was the only possible result.
With five left, the next immunity challenge is very likely going to determine who wins this game. If Mike wins immunity, I don’t see how the remaining four let Carolyn stick around. And Mike is 100% finished if he fails to win immunity. Well, unless they reburied Carolyn’s idol, and Mike manages to find it. But that would be the last time he’d be able to play the idol, meaning even if he were to make final four, he’d still have to win his way to the end in an immunity challenge, since no one in their right mind would take him to the end. It’s either Mike or Carolyn at this point, as the edit has left these two as the only viable, likable choices among the cast (could you IMAGINE the revolt if it were Rodney or Will? Hell, even a Sierra victory would be ghastly, considering what a non-entity she’s been for much of this season. And I say that as someone who believes that, while it’s a style of gameplay that makes for terrible television, Sierra’s under-the-radar, “get to the end with the worst possible people so the jury will hand me the million” strategy has been quite savvy). With next week’s finale, it’s not so much going to be a battle of wills as a battle of physicality, and I’ll be interested to see who comes out on top. Either way, the person going home is almost guaranteed a spot on Survivor: Second Chance, since both Mike and Carolyn are on the ballot to return. It should be a great finale next week, if nothing else. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was anxious to just get to Season 31, already.
“My Word Is My Bond” is an episode anchored by an unprecedented tribal council double-twist, as Dan’s attempt to play his first-time advantage backfires after Carolyn plays her advantage. Ultimately, it was a result that became inevitable the minute Mike won that immunity challenge, so I’m not sure Dan should feel too bad about getting voted out, since there was nothing he could have done. That said, I still don’t like Dan, and I’d be thrilled if he never played again. But I get the feeling that, even outside of Survivor: Second Chances, we’ll see a few faces from Survivor: Worlds Apart again.
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