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Last Week: The fifteen players were divided thrice, Wendell and Chris finally made nice, and James was put on ice…
39 Days, 20 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog
The tribes as they currently stand…
The Naviti Tribe (wearing purple)
Bradley, 26 – Law Student
Chelsea, 24 – EMT/Professional Cheerleader
Donathan, 26 – Caretaker
Domenick, 38 – Construction Supervisor
Libby, 24 – Social Media Strategist
The Malolo Tribe (wearing orange)
Angela, 42 – Army Veteran
Desiree, 21 – Student
Kellyn, 31 – Career Counselor
Michael, 18 – Real Estate Agent
The Yanuya Tribe (wearing green)
Chris, 27 – Male Model
Jenna, 23 – Advertising Account Executive
Laurel, 29 – Financial Consultant
Sebastian, 22 – Fishing Guide
Wendell, 33 – Furniture Company Owner
A (Expletive Deleted) Stick Story
The stick never asked for any of this.
Having fallen off a branch a few years prior, the stick was content to spend the rest of his days as most Micronesian sticks do; laying on the ground, being moved about by wild animals…maybe even floating off to sea. Who knows where he could end up?
One day, he was plucked from the ground by a handsome man in a straw hat. The stick was a bit nervous, but he was excited to have a new friend. That excitement quickly turned to horror as the man cruelly carved away at his bark with a knife, wrapped him in a cloth, and buried him under a rock.
Terrified, the stick laid there not knowing what to think. Finally he heard the man whisper, “Do your job now, buddy.”
Those words rattled around the poor stick’s head. What could that possibly mean?
He’d have his answer soon enough. A few days later, a second handsome man came to retrieve him. And with that, the stranger exclaimed, “I guess this is the hidden immunity idol.”
Wait…the carving, the wrapping, the burying…was this how someone becomes a hidden immunity idol?
If so, it had all been worth it.
The stick was brought back to the tribe’s camp. He eventually learned that the person who had created him was named Ozzy and the person who now wielded his considerable influence was Jason.
He waited, in the shadows, eager for the moment where he’d get to display his new-found power.
And that day finally came. Jason had won an individual immunity challenge and had promised the stick to his alliance member, an attractive young woman named Eliza.
The stick was ecstatic as Jason handed him over. But Eliza didn’t share his enthusiasm. Instead of being overjoyed by Jason’s generous gift, she became enraged.
They argued back and forth, the stick didn’t know what to think. But he knew he’d never forget the look of disgust on the New York attorney’s face when she said, “It’s a (expletive deleted) stick.”
“A (expletive deleted) stick?” he thought. “Well, I’ll show you what this (expletive deleted) stick can do.”
That night at Tribal Council, the stick waited patiently for his opportunity to shine. The back-and-forth debate didn’t seem particularly heated, but it was clear that Eliza would need his assistance.
Votes were cast and then Jeff Probst asked if anyone would like to play a hidden immunity idol. The stick was so excited he felt like he was about to burst.
Eliza stood, crossed the Tribal Council set, and handed her prize to the show’s host. The stick beamed with pride as Probst explained that a hidden immunity idol would negate all of Eliza’s votes and the person with next highest amount of votes would be asked to leave the game.
It was at that moment that the stick saw something he’d never forget…Ozzy was laughing.
Why would the man who had granted him such immense power find this humorous?
This thought was quickly put aside when Jeff Probst proclaimed, “This is not a hidden immunity idol.”
Disappointment, disbelief, shame, anger…all rushed through the stick’s tiny body. And before he had a chance to fully compute any of these complex emotions, he felt his body hurtling through the air.
Had Jeff thrown him? Why would he throw…?
Then fire…all around him. White hot flames licked at the tiny stick’s body.
The final indignity? Hearing Ozzy’s faux protest, “C’mon, that took hours to make.” Followed by the raucous laughter of his cohorts.
And then darkness.
The stick awoke days later in the possession of “Survivor” Executive Producer Matt Van Wagenen. Matt had asked a production assistant to fish the stick out of the fire. And honestly, a few scorch marks aside, the poor stick wasn’t in that bad of shape…physically.
Mentally, the past few days had taken quite a toll. To go from regular Micronesian stick, to powerful immunity idol, to kindling? It was too much of an emotional rollercoaster for the little guy to bear. After it was all said and done Eliza was right, he was just a stick.
Just a (expletive deleted) stick.
Matt had considered keeping the stick on his desk as a souvenir. But, as the game played out, Eliza was sent home, followed by Ozzy and Jason, both of whom had real idols in their possession.
All three of the players who’d handled the stick had met embarrassing ends…was it possible this stick was…cursed?
And was Matt himself now cursed? Sure, as a television producer, he didn’t have to be worried about being voted out of a reality show, but he had a full life and a family to think about.
So, he did what any sensible person would do. He sent it far away.
Matt had purchased a small Fijian island a few years prior. He thought it’d make a good vacation spot for some time in the future.
He gathered up the stick, along with a few other dubious “Survivor” mementoes he’d acquired over the years, and left them there.
Matt sent quite a few failed items there over the years; legacy advantages that had backfired, extra votes that were misplayed. He considered it to be his “Island of Misfit Toys.”
But, the stick and the other inhabitants began to refer to it by a different name…“Ghost Island.”
For ten years the stick lived there, and while the majority of the game’s discarded advantages were polite enough, there was one inhabitant who seemed to delight in making the stick’s life difficult.
“My season of ‘Survivor’ was one of the most popular ever,” he’d boast.
“You could trade me for a bucket of water in an immunity challenge,” he’d crow.
“I’m a shiny medallion and you’re just a (expletive deleted) stick,” he’d chide.
That last jibe was the one that would always get to the stick. He knew his place in the world, he didn’t have to be reminded.
The funny thing about this story is that old sticks tend to be like Guatemala cast members…they don’t get second chances. But that all changed the day Matt Van Wagenen and several production assistants returned to pay the misfit toys a visit.
The island’s inhabitants assumed he was just dropping off more disappointing trinkets, but the look on his face told a different story. The crew slowly started gathering the items. They even overheard Matt telling the staff members that the advantages would have a chance to return to the game and “reverse the curse.”
All of the items were overjoyed with this news. Well, everyone except for the stick. An idol can be replayed, an extra vote can be recast. What can you possibly do with a stick?
“Oh, don’t forget that one,” Matt said as he reached down to claim the stick.
One of the crew tilted his head and asked, “What’s that?”
Matt smiled and said, “Oh, this might be the most cursed item of them all. All three of the players who touched it met horrible fates. Eliza Orlins spent her entire time on the jury with a shocked look on her face. Ozzy Lusth would go on to be voted out four more times. And Jason Siska? Well, nobody ever saw him again.”
“So,” Matt continued, “We’re bringing it back and making it a real immunity idol.”
If the crude face Ozzy had carved into the side of the stick was capable of movement, it would have been grinning from ear to ear. The stick was simply elated knowing that his life’s dream had finally been realized.
Matt placed the stick into his bag along with the Medallion of Power and several other items. The arrogant Medallion, upon seeing the stick, asked, “Where do you think you’re going? You’re just a (expletive deleted) stick.”
“That’s where you’re wrong, Medallion,” he replied.
“I’m the (expletive deleted) stick.”
All of the items were taken back to the “Survivor” production facility where they were repackaged and eventually hidden in the game.
The stick found himself placed by a tree on Malolo Beach. From the little he overheard from passing contestants, he knew this tribe was in dire straits. Yeah…the stick could relate.
Finally, he was plucked from the ground by an attractive young man named Michael. “Huh,” the stick thought to himself, “Everyone on this show is good looking.”
Michael was overjoyed with his discovery, telling the camera crew that he couldn’t wait to do some damage with the stick.
The stick agreed. He couldn’t wait to be presented at Tribal Council.
He couldn’t wait to save Michael’s skin.
And he couldn’t wait to shove Jeff Probst into the fire.
Reward Challenge Time: The players will hold up a platform using ropes. One by one, they’ll place blocks on the platform to spell the word “Reward.” The first tribe to complete this will win a barbecue with all the fixings. The second place tribe will enjoy kabobs. The winning team will also send someone from the second or third-place team to Ghost Island.
Domenick will sit for Naviti, Laurel will sit for Yanuya.
Result: Naviti took first place even though Bradley was doing his best to rub Donathan the wrong way. Then Yanuya claimed second place. Naviti unanimously decided to send Kellyn to Ghost Island because they wanted to keep the secrets of Ghost Island…er…secret.
At Ghost Island
Kellyn was offered an opportunity to play a game. She had to wager her vote at the next Tribal against a two-in-three shot of getting an advantage. Kellyn decides to “risk it for the biscuit” and is rewarded with the “steal a vote” from “Survivor: Game Changers.” However, now it’s just an extra vote.
And no, you don’t get a whole story about Michaela’s vote.
At Naviti Beach
Bradley is just driving everybody crazy. They’re trying to celebrate their big victory, and he keeps cutting them off.
Bradley admits to having no patience in his normal life…so that’s different from your in-game life how?
Sure enough, Bradley manages to turn the majority of Naviti against him. The four other members agree to vote him off if they go to Tribal, but Domenick seems like he’s on the fence.
At Yanuya Beach
Wendell goes on a little idol hunt after the kabob feast. He manages to locate a clue which leads him to the individual immunity idol that Erik gave away in Micronesia.
Holy cow, this is like Micronesia’s gritty reboot.
At Malolo Beach
Frustrated at being one of the most losing tribes in “Survivor” history, Desiree, Angela, and Michael decide to reverse the curse by burning their tribe’s banner. That should do it.
Immunity Challenge: The tribes will retrieve rings and then…do a ring toss. Wait, that’s it? The first two tribes to put all of their rings on their target will win immunity.
Chelsea sits out for Naviti, while Jenna rides the pine for Yanuya.
Result: Yanuya claimed first place, while Malolo’s banner-burning worked, earning them a second-place finish. Naviti will go to Tribal Council.
Back at camp, Domenick apologizes for his challenge performance, but Libby assures him that they win as a tribe and they lose as a tribe.
Bradley is back to his old tricks, with Domenick feeling like he’s constantly talking down to everyone.
Later on, Bradley pitches Libby as the vote. Domenick, Donathan, and Chelsea all seem cool with it.
On the other hand, Chelsea and the others are telling Libby that they’re voting for Bradley.
Huh…it’s got to be Libby, right? Ever since Special Agent Philip, people are happy to bring annoying players to the end.
This was really a low-key affair with neither Libby or Bradley fighting for their lives. That leads me to believe that they both genuinely feel like they’re safe.
However, Bradley is saying that he thinks everyone is a big happy family. It seems like a few people would disagree with that, but nobody does.
Voting Time: No votes are shown.
JPro tallies and returns. He asks if anyone wants to play an idol and…nobody does. We’ve got one vote for Libby, two votes for Bradley, and the seventh person voted out of “Survivor: Ghost Island” is…Bradley.
Wow…another blindside. Total E-lib-ination!
Verdict: There’s got to be more to that vote other than, “Bradley is bugging us.” If not, it’s very short-sighted in a season where classic Naviti has been sticking together. If anything it sends a signal that all bets are off.
Anywho, I’m prepared to say that I’ve really enjoyed this pre-merge.
Power Rankings Results: Roark had Bradley in spot twelve, I had him in spot eleven. The current score is Team Roark 65, Team Gordon 67.