Brad shares the best bonus scenes from the previous episode of Survivor: Ghost Island.
This Week In Secret (Extended) Scenes
”There Are Real Curses Out Here”
On Wednesday night, I thought the “Pick an urn” segment was a waste of time. Why should we care which urn the votes go into? Were we seeing it because Production just wanted to play mind games with Dom but then had to edit this in so that eagle-eyed superfans didn’t howl in content-deprived anguish when they spotted the Cagayan urn?
Well, it looks like the mind games worked; we just didn’t see it. In reminiscing about the Outback, Cagayan, and Game Changers (which btw, was Dom reading off of cards? Or was he that articulate about these seasons off the top of his head?), Domenick sees parallels to each of his competitors. To him, Game Changers represents Laurel (Is Domenick underestimating her game and about to lose to her at the end?); Cagayan represents Wendell (Will facing his biggest competition at FTC be Domenick’s downfall?); and Outback represents Angela (Will the
nice friendly pleasant older lady edge him out?).
Domenick’s solution to this brewing Kobayashi Maru is the fourth option: forgoing Immunity. Which, it should be noted, IS DUMB. I won’t even discuss why it’s dumb because that would entertain and thereby validate this dumb idea. But I will say that half of the Relics in Ghost Island were from instances where players didn’t use their Immunities to protect themselves, so take that for what you will. The worst part of this is that Domenick’s choice to not put himself in the fire-making challenge will forever be portrayed as a “Cursed Decision” in the Survivor meta lore EVEN THOUGH HE MADE THE RIGHT CALL.
Though I also want to point out the irony of Domenick picking the Cagayan urn (and recalling what that meant to him) and losing.
This Week In Confessionals
”I Am The Biggest Threat”
It’s very cute that Don Don thinks he and Angela and Laurel could have voted out Domenick at F5 if not for that dang idol. It definitely wasn’t as if Domdell had a disregarded but determined third partner who would have voted whichever Domdell told
her them to.
But let’s cut to it, Donathan confidently states that he is the biggest threat to win out of the eliminable trio. And seeing how he came into this game as an eager but somewhat-timid country boy, good for him for feeling this way and saying so with conviction.
Then he overshoots. Aside from Jenna, did Donathan play one of the greatest games in the history of Survivor? As he says, “I was playin’, ya know, one of the greatest games I think probably coulda ever been played before out here.” I mean, the statement on its face is absurd. But I guess if you want to be narrow, “out here” could refer just to the Mamanuca Islands in Fiji. And “one of” does not mean “the greatest.” So if you count the 77 greatest players to play in the Mamanuca Islands and Jacob Derwin, then yeah, Donathan is one of the greatest. Good on ya, Don Don.
This Week At Ponderosa
”This Is Sea Bass”
He called himself Sea Bass. HE CALLED HIMSELF SEA BASS. I don’t know why that’s exciting, but it is.
That’s the general sentiment I feel about this Ponderosa: I can’t name the feeling I get from it, but it’s a good one. Like, Sea Bass is good-natured, just overall but also in this particular Ponderosa. Right after being voted out, he isn’t super bitter about misplaying (i.e. not playing) his double vote. He’s talking about his connection to the number 36. It’s the season number; it’s the day he was voted out; it was his football number; it’s his number of cats (jk, Kimora); multiply it by 100 and it’s his number of bongs. Like, it’s weird in the good way. And I just have questions: was the hand dove thingy at the beginning supposed to mean something? Has a Ponderosa ever leaned so hard into the dodo edit? And what kind of animal is Raspberry Chocolate?
I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t do a rundown of Sea Bass’s spirit animals. According to Sea Bass, Chris Noble is a lion, WHICH IS CORRECT. Des is a poison dart frog; not what I would have said, but it’s not wrong. Jenna is a pelican, which is surprisingly correct. Kellyn is a blue macaw, which is amazingly correct. Chelsea is a “northern Pennsylvania pine forest woodpecker,” which I truly believe Sea Bass chose for Chelsea simply because this bird has red plumage and because he didn’t know enough about her to make a good call here. Also, Chelsea is from Utah. Libby is a “ground squirrel,” which is correct if you assume this squirrel on sedatives for whatever reason. Michael is a “mud-dwelling warthog,” which is so incorrect that it’s rude. Overall, it’s a pretty good score for Sea Bass, whose spirit animal, by the way, is a sea otter.
”The Hair Still Does Look Fresh, Doesn’t It?”
Donathan is happy to be at Ponderosa; everyone on the jury is happy to have him; watch this clip and feel happy (unless you’re still clinging onto an irrational hatred of Donathan).
Instead of breaking down this Ponderosa (there wasn’t much to it), I’m going to get on my soapbox and rant about food again. What I noticed is that pretty much everyone’s first meal at Ponderosa has been “seafood pizza.” Obviously I won’t knock this specific pizza because I haven’t eaten it, but can we all agree that seafood pizza sounds gross as a concept? What seafood are you putting on that? Shrimp? I love shrimp, but pass. Clams? Same; pass. Oysters? PASS. These aren’t pizza toppings, and I’m saying that as a person who thinks you should put pineapple on your pizza if it makes you happy. I can see crab meat and potentially lobster working on a pizza, but then you should really be branding this pizza as a “crabmeat pizza” or a “lobster pizza.”
I will also point out that this Ponderosa did not have a gimmick. Even though Sea Bass’s gimmick was fun, I did not miss one from Donathan.
This Week In The Jury Box
With no other confessional being remotely interesting and Angela’s Ponderosa missing, let’s dive into the jurors’ thoughts entering FTC. But note that these jury clips to total over an hour of footage, so I’m not going to embed the videos themselves (click on the links if you want to watch the full videos).
Chris Noble says that making the jury was one of his top two goals. Which makes sense assuming that his first goal was to win; placing where he did means that he was, in Chris Noble’s mind, a threat that need to be taken out early (which isn’t an incorrect assessment fwiw). Chris Noble respects Wendell as a social manipulator, challenge competitor, and carpenter but finds that his weakness was his reliance on Domenick. Also, he calls Wendell a “silent assassin” which makes me wonder if that was a thing on the island. However, Chris Noble has respect and admiration for Domenick, “the Godfather,” based on his game and the rivalry between them. Chris Noble says that he’s 50/50 going into FTC, but you can tell by the tonal shift that he’s leaning towards Dom.
Chris Noble’s Drag of Laurel: “Her game, I would say, would fall in line with her personality. It wasn’t much.”
Libby is also split between Dom and Wendell (and hey, this trend might explain the tie vote). She thinks that Dom built better connections, but she sees Wendell as the “big dog” of the game. She also calls Wendell a “silent assassin” fwiw (and I’m starting to get Yiga Clan flashbacks). In the end, Libby says she’ll vote by judging who was true to their word, worked hard around camp, and performed well at challenges; I’m not sure I could have expected more from Libby.
Libby’s Drag of Laurel: “She’s with two guys that have really played the game, and you’re just there.”
Desiree wants to see Domenick and Wendell outpitch each other at FTC even though they played as a close pair; I don’t really know how either of them would win otherwise. Des sees Wendell as the analytical mastermind and Domenick as the boots-on-the-ground commander; which role she values more had yet to be determined. But she’s really leaning into those Outwit/Outplay themes to help guide her decision.
Des’s Drag of Laurel: “Laurel’s going to have a lot that she has to say in order for me to vote for her. I don’t even see me putting an ‘L’ down on the paper unless it’s at the end of Wendell’s name.”
Jenna is excited to hear more about how Laurel played her way to the end. Good luck with that. She thinks Dom played a great, near-flawless game, but it sounds like there was a lot of talk about Dom’s bullying around the island. Judging by the way the votes shook out, maybe he got more aggressive around camp after the double boot tribal? Turning to Wendell, Jenna thinks “Dom played harder and Wendell played smarter.” This is mostly because he was always on the right side of the vote while maintaining his distance from everyone else. This reiterates what Des was saying, and it highlights how people perceive the Domdell relationship differently. Where one person sees Wendell as the mastermind making Dom do his dirty work, another might see Dom doing all the heavy lifting and just keeping Wendell in the loop. In truth, Domdell most likely operated as a true pair; but in the need to pick one winner, that narrative simply can’t be abided.
Jenna’s Drag of Laurel: “There are some things that I don’t know that she’s done.” (yes, this is out of context. Yes, Jenna didn’t really rag on Laurel at all. But that wouldn’t keep the bit going, would it?)
Michael thinks Domenick was a hard worker, a hard gamer, and a hard-ass. To get his vote, Michael says that Domenick needs to make amends for the unnecessary things he did in the game. To Michael, Wendell was a strong player with a calm demeanor, but was he too reserved to the point of seeming disengaged? Michael thinks that might have been a smokescreen because everyone always wanted to run their plans by Wendell before committing to them. Michael also thinks Laurel deserves credit for being on four different tribes (she doesn’t), was always on the wrong side of the numbers (she wasn’t), and is a scrappy player (how?). Where most people saw Laurel riding Wendell’s coattails, Michael saw a loyal player being rewarded (which really just sounds like a nicer way of saying “riding coattails,” but whatever).
Michael’s Drag of Laurel: “I wouldn’t even really think of her sometimes.”
Chelsea thinks that Wendell was an under-the-radar puppet master. She claims that Dom might have been the first boot had Naviti gone to Tribal first. My read of this clip was that Chelsea was leaning towards voting for Dom going into Tribal, but it was still a close split between Dom and Wendell. Something changed, however, to cause Chelsea to vote for Wendell to win. Was it that Dom didn’t fully own up to his bullying tactics on the island? By the way, you may have noticed that we’re progressing through the jurors in boot order, and the reports of bullying seem to be coming from the later jurors. I don’t know if Dom’s bullying was entirely represented by what we saw at Tribal or if there was more to it at camp. But I wonder why the edit didn’t play up that part of Dom’s game more (assuming it was there) to support the Wendell Winner edit. Overall, I feel like this season’s edit showcased both players but leaned more into Dom’s story than Wendell’s.
Chelsea’s Drag of Laurel: “Honestly, in my opinion, she rode Wendell’s coattails like crazy. So, um, it would take a lot for me to decide that Laurel would get my vote tonight. It would be pretty much impossible in my opinion.”
Kellyn is trying to decide if she’ll vote with her head or with her heart. Going by what’s been said already, you might think that voting for Dom is voting with her heart and voting for Wendell is voting with her heart. Apparently, Dom OR Wendell is the emotion-free, analyzed voted and LAUREL is the sentimental vote. Good on Laurel for even making someone consider her, I guess. Though I wonder if that’s a commendation for Laurel or a condemnation for Dom and for Wendell (being Dom’s complicit partner). But either way, Kellyn followed her brother’s advice and voted with her head.
Kellyn’s Drag of Laurel: “We can ask questions, and if Dom or Wendell or Laurel—although probably not Laurel.”
Sea Bass highly values the social game and doesn’t really care to consider the strategic; what a surprise. He also says that the first 30 days were more important to him than the last nine. To that end, Dom (who reminds Sea Bass of his Italian family: cigar breath, pesto stench, and all) was always talking with everyone (for better or for worse) and was always helping out around camp which gave him good bonds all around. But Sea Bass had the better connection with Wendell personally, as he sees Wendell as an older version of himself. It’s hard to parse more from this because Sea Bass frequently talks about an unspecified “he,” almost as if a producer asked him a question about a specific person and he didn’t realize the question wouldn’t be included.
Sea Bass’s Drag of Laurel: “She’s at the end now because of how she latched onto the big boys.”
Watch this one to hear how Donathan claims credit for the successes of the finalists. It was Donathan’s encouragement after the Morgan boot that gave Domenick the confidence to play a bolder game. Donathan was the shield that gave Laurel cover to go deep into the endgame. Sure thing, Don Don. But what’s interesting here is that Donathan labels Domenick the mastermind of the Domdell pair and thinks that Wendell was pulled along by Domenick. However, Wendell’s social game and fire-making challenge win are going to be what locks up Donathan’s vote. That last criterion is quite a choice.
Donathan’s Drag of Laurel: “I would’ve never dreamed that she would be the last [Malolo].”
After watching this, I will say that I, like Angela, am glad that jurors other than Angela can talk more.
Angela’s Drag of Laurel: Angela literally only talked about the new FTC format. I’m disappointed that I couldn’t finish the bit, but I’m also hoping that you’ve skipped past Angela’s section and went straight to the gif.
This Week In Gifable Moments
When you hear that changes are coming to the PRP
Bonus Content For Your Offseason
OOO put up Best Ofs for Tony and Michaela (and other players, but who cares about them?). So there’s another one-and-a-half hours of Survivor content (btw, The Llama Moment is at 45:35). There’s also an Aubry compilation, but I generally don’t like to revisit Kaoh Rong.
Brad (formerly known as Taako from Teevhii) has watched every season live but was too young to remember the first ten seasons (and is only saying that to make you all feel bad). He treats Wednesday nights like a religious observance and wonders if he can finagle that into a tax benefit.
Favorite Seasons: Winners At War, Heroes vs. Villains, Cagayan, Cambodia, Micronesia
Favorite Players: Kelley Wentworth, Sandra Diaz-Twine, Kim Spradlin, Denise Stapley, Todd Herzog, Courtney Yates, Yul Kwon, Charlie Herschel