1. There are some Survivor episodes that affect me more than others. This episode was one of them. I didn’t see Max’s eviction coming at all. In hindsight, there were some signs that Max would be evicted pre-merge, but I am not going to apologize for my pre-show prediction. I said that I thought the former reality television professor and current media consultant had this in the bag and in the end, I was just as blindsided as he was.
2. Where did Max go wrong? I think he would be the first to admit that he overestimated Carolyn’s loyalty. The fact is that he really didn’t have a reason to question it as I am sure Carolyn was smart enough to not present how she really felt about Max and Shirin in front of them. The bigger question for me is why Max chose not to take a page from Rob Cesternino’s book and eliminate Kelly as the swing. While I am speculating, I believe it was the result of Kelly being a relatively older player (only in the context of this game, not in general) and Max believing he could trust that she was with them. In any event, like so many before him, Max got too comfortable and paid the ultimate price. I wonder what he thought when he saw himself get the confident confessional right after the immunity challenge. That’s when I knew it was over.
3. The more interesting question is what Kenn/Hali/Will/Carolyn/Will were thinking. By losing Max, they eliminated another guy from their team. I don’t mind girl power at all, but Max’s physical strength certainly should have been a factor. The only thing I can think of is that the No Collars + Kelly & Carolyn are okay with losing the next immunity (where they know they can dump Shirin) and ideally merge after that. It’s still risky.
4. I believe that Carolyn made a bad move. I understand the momentary thrill of blindsiding Max, but from a long-term perspective she has now put herself at the bottom of her new crew. The No Collars are more loyal to each other and Kelly has Blue Collar allies on the other side. While Tyler and Joaquin like Carolyn, they will still always be more loyal to each other then they are to her. Carolyn might have gained a few friends but she lost pivotal long-term allies by icing the professor.
5. Kelly is a badass. I loved that she continued even after suffering such a gruesome injury. It was in sharp contrast to other players who quit for no reason.
6. Joaquin is starting to grow on me. His confessionals are consistently hilarious and his fortunes seem to be on the upswing if he can continue his alliance with Tyler and secure Sierra’s vote.
7. I absolutely adore Shirin. She is absolutely hilarious and loves Survivor more than almost anyone I have ever seen play. While I was obviously sad to see Max go, I am very happy that I got to see Shirin stay. I just hope she is somehow able to drive a wedge within her tribe and figure out a way to stay. If anyone can do it, Shirin can.
8. What happened to Rodney’s game? I thought Sierra, Lindsey and Kelly were the strongest members of his alliance. Remember how he bonded with Lindsey over tattoos in the first episode (the same strategy he used in tonight’s episode with Joe)? In what seemed like five minutes, he basically formed a new alliance with two guys that he has been fighting with for the entire season and sent Lindsey home. While Rodney is in a bad position now (primarily because Dan offended Sierra), he has shown that he has the ability to adapt and adapt quickly. He is dangerous.
9. Why did they waste half an hour on a challenge? I understand that Kelly was injured but I wanted to see more of the Rodney/Lindsey fight.
10. Max, we’ll see you on All-Stars 2.
Tags: murtz, Murtz Jaffer, Survivor Worlds Apart