Merge episodes on Survivor are always the best, and in the first of the two episodes to air on CBS tonight, we could feel the energy in the air!
Let’s start here by touching on how the show handled the aftermath of Zeke’s transgender reveal — the editors did great! We got a little bit of the castaways reflecting on it before the merge, and then Zeke cluing in everyone after the merge. They gave it time to breathe, but then they moved forward. It’s really what Zeke wanted — to let his game speak for itself. Well done there.
Merge feast twist – Two players were asked to sit out of the feast (one from each tribe) — if that didn’t happen, the two tribes wouldn’t be allowed to eat anything other than a cracker and a swig of tea. Tai and Brad took it upon themselves to take the sacrifice. For Tai, this was probably no big deal since he may be the most tenacious Survivor player of all time. For Brad, it felt more political and people picked up on that.
This is one of the big takeaways from the merge — Brad was on a bit of a redemption tour, and he was very intent on making sure he had good relationships almost everywhere. The problem is that sometimes, it does benefit you to have some flaws. Brad was well-liked, a physical asset, and someone who could get some votes at the end. The only reason to keep him was that he already has money and may not need it at the end — which we think is a really dumb argument to vote against someone if they played the game. He was almost in too good a spot, which was Zeke’s biggest flaw last season.
For Brad and his crew, the gameplan was pretty clear — vote out Hali, and round up people like Tai, Ozzy, Aubry, Sierra, and others in order to properly do so. Interestingly, it was actually Sierra who seemed to feel like she was running the show. That’s kind of fun! We like to see the female head of the alliance for a change. (Plus, Sierra is our winner pick.) She directed the target over to Michaela, mostly because of suspicions that Hali may have an immunity idol.
After Andrea ended up winning immunity, what ended up happening was a little less crazy than we actually expected things to be. It felt like the majority wanted Michaela out, but Cirie had a different plan. She was intent on finding a way to direct the target over to Hali. She worked really hard to ensure that she could save Michaela, someone she could work with down the line in this game.
The scenes of Cirie fighting to save Michaela were wonderfully entertaining, mostly because Cirie is one of the best narrators in the history of the show. We could watch her tell a story for hours — can she guest star on every CBS show?
Hali tried to mix things up at Tribal, claiming that if someone asked, she would dump out her whole bad. (Nobody took her up on it.) The votes came in — Zeke got two votes, and then it came down to either Michaela or Hali. Somehow, Cirie got the numbers messed around enough so that Hali went home! It’s not a huge move, but it’s a subtle move … one that could help her game in incredible ways down the road. This wasn’t a crazy vote, but a very solid episode nonetheless. Grade: B+.
What did you think about tonight’s episode, and the vote as a whole? Share below!
Meanwhile, head over to the link here to get some more news on Survivor, including a review for the second episode coming up. (Photo: CBS.)