Every week, our panel of elite Survivor analysts will gather to discuss the goings-on in Micronesia. Who's dealing? Who's reeling? What does our panel think of these weighty questions? Read on to find out.
1. Joel was right in the thick of it this week. Will his need to assert his alpha male nature and foil Mikey B.'s plan come back to bite him in the end? After all his scheming to get the majority of the Fans tribe to vote for Mary, why did Joel vote for Tracy?
AJane: I thought Joel voted for Tracy because he wasn't confident of his tribemates coming over to his side. Risky move but it obviously went in his favour. Like most big tough guys, he'll likely be safe for a while, as his tribe will need his strength in the challenges. At this point I think he's likely to outlast Mikey B.
burntbrat: It was an enormous mistake on Joel's part to make such a powerful move so early in the game. He is now guilty of what he was accusing Mikey B. of doing all along (controlling the tribe). I think we'll see another blindside very soon and Joel will be on the losing end of it. Joel must've voted for Tracy to cover his own butt. This way if he's confronted he can deny it. That's not going to sit very well with those he convinced to vote for Mary, though.
waywyrd: I'm sure it's hard for a guy of his stature to play wallflower, but he really should reel it in a bit if he doesn't want to paint a huge target on his back. The Incredible Hulk needs to morph back into Bruce Banner for a while and not be such a glaring alpha male. As far as his vote, I'm not sure. He either thought his tribe was going to vote that way, or he did it to keep the peace with Mikey - "Hey, bro, I didn't vote for her!"
Mariner: The longer this episode went on the more Joel started to resemble a Neanderthal to me. He really should have reeled in his need to pee over any spot another dog has marked. Mikey B.'s convoluted plan to get rid of Chet or Tracy should have been just fine with Joel. Joel's tendency to bully his tribemates is going to lead to the pack turning on him as soon as they don't think they need him to win challenges anymore. As for his vote for Tracy, I agree with the others and think he voted that way either because his vote for Mary wasn't necessary if his plan had worked and gives him an out with Mikey if his plan did.
MsFroggy: I think he made a tactical error too early in the game. I agree with Mariner about his caveman behavior as well. He comes across as a musclebound windbag with a touch of megalomania thrown in. He will be brought down as soon as the others realize that they just replaced one tyrant with another.
Yardgnome: He is going to play his alpha male role and it WILL be his downfall. He thinks he is going to rule this game but I don't think he has the smarts. Being an ass and strong does not get you far in this game. I really don't know why he voted the way he did but I hope the tribe votes to cut his hair because it is really resembling a faux mullet.
Leo: Joel's moves made zero sense. Setting up Mary's boot, but not voting for her? Huh? Kicking her out was a mistake in any event (you don't need to get fancy all the time), but it won't bite him right away. They need him physically - but post-merge, when the Fans come in down on numbers (which they will, thanks to Chet), he's gone.
2. What's going to happen between Joel and Mikey B. when they get back to camp after Tribal Council?
AJane: I hope Joel beats him up. (Kidding, sort of.) Since Mikey B. loves the scheming end of things so much, I think he'll be able to accept the fact that he was just outplayed. I don't see a confrontation - I think he'll just move on to his Plan B, whatever it may be.
burntbrat: There will definitely be a minor blow-up back at camp. Then Mikey B. will form an alliance with those who weren't part of the Mary plan and split from the younger group. Joel and his gaggle will stick together. Then both new alliances will be trying to get the older folks to join their fold. I can't see the Fans tribe being unified at all in the future.
waywyrd: I think Mikey B. (I so wish he'd just go by Mike) will be a little miffed at having his cheesecake voted out, but he'll get over it. There are other cute girls, and they really haven't been there long enough to form serious bonds.
Mariner: I'm guessing we'll get one of those night vision shouting matches as soon as the Fans return to camp. Then, we won't hear another thing from Mikey about it until he can engineer a blindside of Joel.
MsFroggy: Judging from Mikey's reaction at Tribal Council, he will have a few choice bleeped words for Joel back at camp but neither will risk a big fight. Big fights tend to paint big targets on the participants' backs.
Yardgnome: I think Mikey B. will play nice and stab Joel in the back the first opportunity he gets. If he makes it to merge, he will be the first petitioning to get Joel out.
Leo: Mikey B. finds Joel's hidden stash of steroids from Brian McNamee, Joel is disqualified, and Joel, Jeff Probst, and Mark Burnett are all called to testify before Congress.
3. Were you surprised by the division along age lines among the fans?
AJane: Very much so. Kathy is a little eccentric, so I thought she might be put in the role of outcast, but I was very surprised to see such a divisive split among the tribe as a whole.
burntbrat: Not really. There's always some sort of division within tribes. If it hadn't been age, it would've been gender or work ethic. Kathy and Chet are odd little birds anyway, so it must be hard for the majority to relate to them. I was surprised at how blatant the shunning was, though.
waywyrd: I'm not surprised at all that Chet and Krazy Kathy were ostracized. And really, I'm not so sure it was purely ageism. It may just be their inherent weirdness that's causing the split. I can see Tracy working her way into the cool kid's group, but not these two.
Mariner: I was a bit surprised. We've seen Kathy's tribemates reservations about her from the beginning. But, until Chet basically managed to lose the challenge on his own, there was no particular reason other than age to single out Chet and Tracy. I was really surprised to see the youngsters declare that none of the three of them could sleep in the shelter with the others. There was no need for that. All that accomplished was making any of the three who make the merge all the more likely to jump to the Favorites.
MsFroggy: I would have thought the Fans a bit smarter than this. It's like they haven't learned any lessons from previous Survivors. Unity, at least in the early stages, is better than infighting. Besides, the age based division is so stupidly cliche that it makes me think the Young Alliance collectively isn't very smart.
Yardgnome: I wasn't really surprised. This always seems to happen. The young folk will mess up at some point and need the others to help them in some way and will probably end up having to sacrifice one of their own at a tribal council.
Leo: It's not the division that surprised me; it was the fact that they took one of their own off right away. I think it really goes to the mentality of the Fans that "we must conspire, we must plot, etc."... which is rubbish. It wasn't just Joel who overthought this week's boot, it was all of the Young Alliance.
4. Did we see the beginning of a long lasting alliance between Jonathan and Cirie?
AJane: I think so, only because Jonathan is probably pretty confident he's smarter and more devious than Cirie. Anyway, they need to stick it out together at least until the couples are broken up.
burntbrat: No. Jonathan is only using Cirie so that his alliance has the majority. I hope she realizes this and takes steps to insure her safety further on in the game. If Cirie finds an idol she will have power since she's not the core part of any alliance, yet. I hope that she can get some people to break off from their original alliance and join with her. Otherwise she's in a lot of trouble when numbers start dwindling.
waywyrd: Yes. They now have a common goal (lose the couples) and while Jonathan tends to think highly of himself, Cirie is a smart social player and won't let Jonathan play her. They need each other for now.
Mariner: I wouldn't be surprised. The two of them seem pretty compatible and they can use each other to get farther in the game. Jonathan lost his first time out the second he decided to mutiny, so I'll be surprised if he betrays any ally before it is absolutely necessary.
MsFroggy: It's an opportunistic pairing. Jonathan would reach out to the devil if it helped him and Cirie will let herself be used if it can keep her in the game longer. They may share a sandbox for a while but sooner or later it will be splitsville for these two.
Yardgnome: In a way, they both kind of need each other. I can see this actually going for a while, if not to the end. Sometimes these odd pairings turn out to be the strongest.
Leo: I'm not convinced yet. I'm sure the Showmance Alliance has offered Cirie a deal, too, even if it hasn't been shown yet. Fireside talk is cheap, votes are the ultimate proof.
5. What did you think of the Exile Island twist requiring the tribe that wins a challenge to send one of their own members along with a member of the losing tribe?
AJane: I don't know how entertaining it's going to be for us as viewers, but I can see it being a useful strategy for both tribes.
burntbrat: It's an excellent opportunity for both tribes to gain information about the other tribe's weaknesses and strengths. I can't see any information becoming relevant until after the tribes merge, though.
waywyrd: I agree with burntbrat, if they play it right it will be a great chance to get the scoop on the other tribe. Perhaps when it gets closer to merge time, a conniving person might even be able to turn an Exile Island partner who feels left out of their tribe into an ally for later.
Mariner: I really like it. It is going to be highly entertaining to see how the first person to go back for a second trip to Exile Island deals with the person from the other tribe who goes with them. The fact that there are two people there at once, only one idol, and that one will have a headstart on finding it should lead to some interesting dynamics. I also agree that it will lead to chances to gather intelligence from the other tribe. Other than looking for the immunity idol, the two Survivors at Exile Island won't have much to do but talk to each other. It will also offer opportunities for cross-tribe alliances which can come into play after the merge.
MsFroggy: It seemed like a boring twist with all that swimming back and forth for no good reason. On the other hand, I agree that it could be a good way to form an alliance in the opposing tribe but what happens when a pair finds the idol together and only one of them can have it?
Yardgnome: It's kind of a fun, new twist. I don't really know if it will get old eventually, but it's something new.
Leo: I never really liked the whole Exile Island idea, so I'm not exactly impartial. I'm wait-and-see on this one.
6. Why was Kathy chosen, and why did Cirie volunteer, to go there?
AJane: No clue why Kathy was chosen, unless the Favorites have the impression that she isn't bright enough to find the hidden idol. I think it was very clever of Cirie to volunteer to go and form a relationship with someone from the other tribe. I'm guessing that people will be lining up to volunteer - it's potentially a great opportunity to network pre-merge.
burntbrat: I think they chose Kathy because she's already shown the Favorites how dingbatty she can be. She didn't participate in the challenge so they must assume she is weaker than the other players in her tribe. So she has less of a chance finding the hidden immunity idol. Plus she already has one idol; maybe she wouldn't be as motivated to find another one. Cirie volunteered simply because she needs immunity. Without that idol, she has little chance of lasting more than a few more trips to tribal council.
waywyrd: I can only guess that they thought Kathy didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of finding the idol, because she wasn't going to be missed by her tribe. Like I said, I think Cirie is a smart social player and took the opportunity to mingle. And hopefully pocket the idol.
Mariner: I think the Favorites picked the player on the other tribe that they knew already had an immunity idol for the first tribal council and who the Fans clearly feel is weak since they sat her out of the challenge. They probably figured that even if she found the immunity idol it wouldn't do anything other than extend her stay for one more tribal council. Cirie showed just how good she is at the social aspect of the game by volunteering to go. I hope it turns out that being one of the first two to visit Exile Island allows her to find the immunity idol. Next time the Favorites get to send someone from their own tribe she would be smart not to volunteer too quickly. She doesn't want the other members of her tribe worrying about her having the idol.
MsFroggy: Maybe they just wanted to have one Kathy-free day and night. They clearly think she's a weak link and probably felt safer sending somebody who seems a bit shaky than a smarter contender who might find the idol for themselves. Cirie knew she had a golden opportunity to be first in line to find the idol and took it. If Cirie or Kathy drop the ball and volunteer next time, their tribes will hopefully be smart enough to pick up on that and not allow them to return.
Yardgnome: I don't really know why Kathy was chosen to go. I think Cirie volunteered because she wants that immunity idol. She's a pretty opportunistic gal and took this opportunity. I can see her volunteering to go every time.
Leo: It was probably down to Kathy or Chet being picked to go - all things considered, you'd prefer the weakest person on the other tribe to have a shot at immunity, not the strong ones. As for Cirie, I agree with Yardgnome.
7. How many clues do you think there will be before one leads to the actual hidden immunity idol?
AJane: No idea, but it was pretty funny watching Cirie and Kathy slog back and forth across the ocean!
burntbrat: I could be mistaken, but I thought the camera panned up to a rock-like object in a tree when they were searching for the next clue. I assumed that object was hiding the immunity idol since the last clue said it was above their heads but under a rock (or something like that).
waywyrd: I hope there are lots of clues! I loved the treasure hunt feel, with them trudging across the water several times. Cirie's exasperation was hilarious.
Mariner: I missed what burntbrat described. If that's true, I'll be a bit disappointed because I agree that it was hilarious to see the disappointment everytime they found another clue. I'd love to see there be another four or five clues.
MsFroggy: It would be quite lame if the idol was buried under the first clue, or something, so I'd like to see them run around a bit more. It looks to me like the idol is waiting for somebody who is in good physical shape, can swim better than Kathy and Cirie and is better at deciphering clues.
Yardgnome: I personally think it would be the best if there were infinite clues and no immunity idol. The thought of these poor people searching for an idol that's not there makes me laugh...really hard.
Leo: I have no basis for saying this, but I'll guess it's an even dozen.
8. What puts a bigger target on Ozzy's back - his showmance with Amanda or his swimming/food gathering ability?
AJane: At this point, I'd say the relationship. I love watching Ozzy in the challenges - his athletic ability just blows me away. Certainly it's needed at this early stage of the game, but he needs to keep Amanda at arm's length.
burntbrat: Showmance! This early in the game his physical strengths are not target-worthy. He helps them win challenges and keeps them fed. Later on they will be a threat, but right now his tribe needs him.
waywyrd: Definitely the showmance. Everyone knew that Ozzy rocks the challenges when they came in, but all the kissy-face stuff has eyebrows raising. I agree that he'll be kept around for challenges, but Amanda is putting herself in a bad spot. They'll dump her in a heartbeat.
Mariner: I agree with everyone else that it's the showmance at this point. I loved Ozzy's confessional about having to be careful not to appear too close to Amanda followed shortly by the scenes of the two of them making out while surrounded by everyone else in the shelter.
MsFroggy: What makes Ozzy really dangerous are his superior skills in challenges, but while the tribe may be perfectly willing to exploit those skills and let him stay until they no longer need him, his hook-up with Amanda will make them itch sooner for his departure rather than later. Ozzy! Ditch the romance!
Yardgnome: His showmance! He is such a strong player and a huge asset to his team. I don't know why he's playing the game this way. This will ultimately be his downfall and that is sad because he is a great player.
Leo: Showmance, but not until post-merge. I don't think it really "hurts" Ozzy, but only because he had such a big target coming into the game anyway. He's not exactly helping himself here, but it's not like his position was all that good to start with.