As some of you have probably already noticed, the above picture, of Zeke being voted off the island, is not from tonight’s episode.
Instead, it’s from the previous season. During Millennials vs. Gen X, Zeke was eliminated on Day 33 and he was the 11th person to voted out of the game. This season, Zeke was the 9th person voted out of the game and he left on Day 29. Zeke competed in two back-to-back seasons and he was eliminated at roughly the same point during each one of them. Both times, he was also eliminated for roughly the same reason.
During both of his seasons, Zeke emerged as a strong player and a genuine threat to win. He was good at making alliances. He was a good strategist. He’s a good social player, though perhaps not as good as he thinks he is. (During both seasons, his fellow castaways either loved Zeke or totally distrusted him.) Twice, Zeke’s downfall has been his ego. During both this season and the last, Zeke ended up getting cocky and, twice, this self-described master strategist was blind-sided.
To be honest, this was kind of a confusing episode. For most of the episode, I suspected that Zeke was going to be voted out. He was too strong of a player and even the majority of his alliance didn’t seem to really trust him. I knew that if Zeke didn’t go tonight, he would probably go next week. But, with all that in mind, it was still hard to keep track of what led to the votes coming down the way that they did.
The final tally was 5 votes for Zeke, 3 votes for Tai, and 2 votes for Sierra. Andrea, who was really the mastermind of the whole plot to get rid of Zeke, did a very good job of keeping both Zeke and the other alliance from finding out about her plan. As far as I can, it appears that Brad, Sierra, Troyzan, Tai, and Zeke all believed that 1) the target was Sierra and that 2) the plan was to split the vote between Sierra and Tai. That’s the only way that I can explain those 3 votes for Tai. Just imagine if all five of those non-Zeke votes had been cast for either Tai or Sierra. It would have led to a tie. The final vote was either the result of brilliant strategy or dumb luck.
(Hopefully, next week’s episode will fill us in on why Brad, Sierra, and Troyzan all voted for Tai.)
As for the rest of tonight’s episode, I enjoyed the reward challenge. I liked the fact that Jeff Probst’s endless monologue actually contained the solution to the puzzle. I know if I was on Survivor, I would probably tune out Jeff during any of the challenges but tonight’s episode showed why that would probably be a mistake.
I’ll admit that I yelled at the TV when Sarah told Cirie about her special advantage. Sarah’s putting a lot of trust in Cirie and I’m not sure that’s a great idea.
Speaking of yelling, was anyone else briefly excited at the idea of Tai being the first player to get voted out with not just one but two immunity idols on him? If that had happened, it would be a legendary moment in Survivor history.
Finally, I’m not sure that tonight was the right moment to vote out Zeke. I would have gotten rid of all the members of Brad’s alliance before turning on one of my own allies. Next week, I imagine that we’re going to see two new alliances form. Cirie is in a position of power right now but so far, all of the power players have been getting blind-sided.
We’ll see what happens!