Well the tribe swap lasted all of two episode, and with the preview of next week’s Episode 7, we find ourselves on the verge of the merge! It makes sense, we’re down to just 12 remaining contestants, which usually means a jury of nine with a Final Three. So love ’em or hate ’em or fall somewhere in-between, get to know this group of twelve because we will be spending time with them all from here on out. But before we analyze the dynamics that may be at play when the merge occurs next week, let’s look back to the events of Wednesday night’s episode of “Survivor: San Juan del Sur” for some clues as to what’s to come.
In case you missed Episode 6, you can catch the full recap here.
Jeremy ended up being right. I mean, there’s no way to have predicted it, but he was right. Hunahpu was absolutely gutted of their comfort and shelter in order to score a new bag of rice, and only Jeremy seemed opposed to the eventual deal made with Jeff Probst. As it turned out, later that day, his tribe won a Survivor BBQ feast and then three days later, they will (presumably) feast again upon merging. Ultimately though, the deal had to be made. It may have set the stage for an eventual quit, with Julie given some airtime Wednesday, shown on the brink of giving up. Hopefully this was a filler segment included in an otherwise predictable episode, and not a foreshadow of what may come. Julie has gone against expectations thus far, it would be a major let-down to see her quit, especially now, post-merge.
A brief postmortem on Dale…a nice guy, presumably well-liked, but the sort of player that most of us could see from the beginning was not the sort of person who was going to win Survivor. He went down swinging though, so you have to give him that. His departure on the heels of his daughter Kelley’s, marks the first pair officially out of the game. So which pairs are still intact?
Of the nine couples that entered the game, four pairs remain: Baylor and Missy, Josh and Reed, Jon and Jaclyn and Wes and Keith. The most interesting pair moving forward for me, has to be Wes and Keith. Keith doesn’t have many allies in the game, especially now after seeing his name written down twice at Tribal. But with an Idol, he could be dangerous. Finally united with his son Wes, that Idol could be huge, because Wes is in a much better spot in the game. Wes is still aligned with Alec – also a single vote – and possibly Josh, who in turn has Reed. A potential alliance of Wes, Keith, Josh, Reed, Alec leaves them short of a full majority alliance, but it seems like a powerful group. On the flip, Missy and Baylor will surely reunite with Natalie and Julie and you would think that Jeremy would fit in with that group. So with five on one side and five on the other, who does that leave in the middle? Who else? The sudden-power couple of Jon and Jaclyn.
Where they ultimately swing might dictate where this game goes from here. Jaclyn and Baylor have had an uneasy alliance up until now, but they have stuck together out of necessity through the last few votes. Keith had been working with them – also out of necessity – but it is yet to be seen how he handles those votes cast against him and if he holds grudges. Remember too, that Jon was public enemy number one before swapping tribes. At least at first, it might just come down to which group Jon and Jaclyn decide to align with. Then again, this is Survivor. Maybe Jon and Jaclyn will be targeted by everyone else first?
Keith’s Idol – and his willingness to play it – may be huge. We’ll have to wait and see what happens after the merge next week!