“Survivor: Tocantins.” If there is one clear comparison that we’d make between the “Survivor: Kaoh Rong” merge episode and another one that we’ve seen in recent years, that one is it. Another good one would be “Survivor: San Juan del Sur.”
You see, all of these episodes have a fairly-similar editing pattern when it comes to these sorts of episodes: They make it pretty clear who would be going home, and then something happens that shakes up the game. In this case, that something was the exit of Neal. He was a pretty powerful player within the Brains tribe, and probably had the most going for to go far. He even had an idol! However, an infection on his knee, something that we really did not even know about before this episode, ended up being his undoing. Medical came in after the challenge to look at some of the different injuries, and much like Jonathan Penner in “Fans vs. Favorites,” he was pulled out of fear that the infection would hamper him the rest of his life.
Based on what happened to Caleb earlier this season, it’s hard to blame the producers for being cautious. It’ll just be interesting to see if all of the other players are able to hold up with some of the injuries that they have.
Strategically, it looked like Aubry was probably going home, at least provided that Neal didn’t play his idol for her at tribal council. Nick received a ton of airtime tonight, and that was great given that we really had a chance to see how this all played out from his perspective. He successfully gathered information on all sides, and by the end knew about multiple immunity idols. He and Michele opted to go with the Brawn for now, smartly realizing that Scot and Jason would likely not get any votes at the end of the game. Also, they could beat them in puzzles.
Meanwhile, the Brains had a big problem tonight in the form of Debbie, who was way too aggressive in her approach. With the Brains now down to three, though, we may be looking at a situation where a hail Mary is needed in order for them to figure out their footing once more. It was fascinating to see the divisions and such tonight, but at the same time the ending was a letdown. It’s sad to see someone go like this, and “Survivor” without Tribal Council frankly just isn’t the same. Grade: B-.
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