Blog disclaimer: This episode of Survivor may bring up strong feelings and opinions of viewers. As always with our WORTH PLAYING FOR take on Survivor we aim to be light hearted. Please be aware that our response to tribal council will not be a comedic one.
Sandra’s gone. Tai goes to his usual pre-recorded script of why he lost his mind at tribal. His efforts at explaining his brain fade over throwing Ozzy’s name up doesn’t seem to wash. However, like most returning player seasons it seems being open and honest about votes is okay! Debbie is smug due to the fact that no one knows she spoke with Cochran on Exile Island and that she has an extra vote up her lobster breeding sleeve.
For those playing at the home here is the lay of the idol/advantage land…
Tai – 2 x Hidden Immunity Idol
Troyzan – 1 x Hidden Immunity Idol
Debbie – 1 x Extra Vote Advantage
Sierra – 1 x Legacy Advantage & 2 x Eyebrow Advantage
With the moon glistening Zeke reassures Varner that there is still hope. Varner likes the sound of this. There seems to be a mini bond and respect between these two.
Reward is for Pizza. With some fragile minds at current and hunger at major highs this will be an important one. Long story short… Nuku wins the carbo loading and bloated stomachs.
Emotions are flowing at Mana with everyone commenting on how the game takes its toll on you. What strikes me as another tell-tale sign that Culpepper either wins or comes runner up in that the edit shows him crying! Antiques, WWMD and now CRYING! Hmmm… what other polarising male contestants have we seen cry and win before? Tyson, Tony, Mike, Adam and Jeremy spring to mind! Foreshadowing?
Water obstacles plus a puzzle… will the over consumption of pizza come back to haunt Nuku? Yes it does! Mana successfully spell METAMORPHSISISISISISISIIISSISIS on the buoy ball spelling bee and Nuku are headed to tribal… PS. Cirie dodges yet another Tribal! I look forward to more CHANGING themed challenges such as tribes building a cocoon and then lighting a fire underneath it to release the immunity butterfly!
Varner sets his sights on ousting Ozzy. Not a bad idea as the trend of the season has been big threats going first. The snag in the plan is that Zeke, getting the honesty guilts, informs him that as much as he will do everything to save him, it’s not looking great. Varner being the cunning player that he is finds an opening. He scurries off to turn the tide against Zeke, spilling to Sarah and Andrea that they told Zeke they were going to lie to Varner. Varner’s selection of words and information leaking was well placed. Sarah doing her best dumb criminal buys it hook line and sinker! Either way Varner is throwing enough shade to raise genuine concerns about Captain Jack Sparrow and Zeke’s strategic relationship.
TRIBAL * A reminder that this will not be a comedic recount of events
Tribal kicks off with Varner declaring he is certain that he is the next to go and then proceeds to throw all of his thoughts out on the table. Varner is making a great case until he asks Zeke why he hasn’t informed everyone that he is transgender. Zeke is silent. Probst is stunned. The onlooking Nuku throw out a number of different emotions; anger, disbelief and disgust. Probst does his best to unpack things and the majority try to unpack that Varner is misplaced and wrong in his outing of Zeke.
Varner apologises and states he only said it because he believed Zeke was out and proud. Zeke handles the situation with class and understanding. He doesn’t ask for sympathy and his demeanour and response to a challenging situation is admirable. Survivor once again does not discriminate, it encourages social discussion and understanding.
There is no need for a vote. Varner is clearly upset and realises the error of his words. Varner and Zeke hug on his exit.
I hope this episode is remembered for the right reasons, one of them being that Zeke is a role model for all on how to handle oneself with dignity despite conflict and that all youth, regardless of their gender, sexuality or identity can look to others for guidance and strength in being comfortable in their own skin.
Have a listen to Craig’s insight on the entire episode and the impact the game can take on your mind, body and soul.
VARNER DAY AFTER