Another episode in the books and another blindside. Sophie was sent packing with an idol in her pocket in what was a true and complete blindside for over half of the tribe. The blindside being set up last minute by Tony, who is really picking up steam in this game. The preview for this week showed Tony once again spying, Sarah accusing Tony of ruining her game and Kim looking to vote out Tony in a big move.
Note: Fun thing about this season is everyone playing is a former winner. With one winner winning literally 20 years ago! So everyone playing is really good at this game, making for, IMO, one of the best seasons to date.
Tribal Council- This is where players are voted out. Now that we have reached the merge, only the person who won the immunity challenge is safe from possible elimination.
Idol- An idol can be played at tribal council and will make the person immune from being voted out. All votes against that person (or the person the idol is played for) will no longer count. Most powerful tool in the game.
Fire Token- This is a new twist to the game and I personally love it. Tokens are essentially currency and can be used to “buy” certain advantages or luxuries in the game. It is a bit early on, but tokens are going to play a massive part of this season. The more a player has, the better for them.
Extinction Island- In this years season, when a player is voted out, they do not go home. Instead they go to “The Edge of Extinction” where they are given chances to earn Fire Tokens which will help them potentially win there way back in to the game. We have also seen multiple examples of someone here being able to “sell” a reward to a player currently in the game in return for a Fire Token.
With teams gone, let’s take a quick look at each player.
Sarah- Sarah lost her closest ally in Sophie last week. Sophie did give her a fire token, giving Sarah 2.
Michele- Michele has a “Coin Flip Idol”. This is exactly as it sounds. A big coin which she can flip at Tribal Council, giving her a 50/50 shot at immunity. She has one of the few advantages left in the game.
Jeremy- Jeremy gave a fire token to Tony last week, which ultimately worked in his favor as Tony saved him by flipping the votes. Tony said he would be repaying the fire tokens he received from Jeremy, Ben and Nick, but they never showed if or who he repaid to. So Jeremy has 1, potentially 2 fire tokens. Jeremy has 1 immunity win and has finished 2nd 2 other times. he is a constant threat to win immunity.
Kim- Kim has 2 fire token’s and was one of the featured players in this weeks preview, shown wanting to target Tony. They also showed Tony hiding in a tree. Did he hear this conversation? Kim does have 1 immunity win.
Denise- 3 fire tokens. This gives her some level of power as like we saw with Michele, fire tokens can be flipped in to advantages. With all of the advantages off the board and only 1 idol and a coin flip idol out there, Denise gets a step up due to her 3 fire tokens and the potential for them to be flipped in to something with power.
Tony- Tony won his second immunity challenge in a row and found an idol. He now has the only current idol in the game. He won 2 fire tokens last week, but as mentioned, he said he was going to repay Nick, Ben and Jeremy but they did not show whether he did or not.
Ben- Ben either has 1 or 0 fire tokens (see note in Tony writeup). Ben is known for his idol finding skills which he may need with one of his closest ally’s in Sophie out of the game.
Nick- After a few weeks of being on the bottom, Nick flew under the radar this week and was actually part of the blindside vote with Tony, Michele and Jeremy to eliminate Sophie. Nick has 2 or 3 fire tokens and seems to be in a fairly safe spot now.
Natalie and Boston Rob purchased Idols with their fire tokens in Episode 8 while Parvati found the coin flip idol which she sold to Michel for 4 Fire Tokens (she mentioned buying peanut butter for the tribe with them so she probably has 0 of those 4 left). In last weeks episode, Parv and Natalie found an extortion advantage and played it properly, earning themselves 6 fire tokens. I don’t anticipate we see anything from the Island outside of fire token challenges for a few more weeks. If you play anybody here (they are the players shown with black logo’s), you are just punting. Though understand there is very little upside here.
Once again, the Merge means only 1 player will win immunity. We are also seeing individual (or group) reward challenges. We saw Sophie go to extinction with an idol in her pocket (most likely means a new one has been hidden) and we saw Tony find an idol. This means really only Tony and Michele hold power and both will be popular. You can also take in to account physical ability if you believe they can win the challenge or not. As mentioned in the player breakdown, Jeremy, Kim & Tony x2 have won the first 4 individual challenges. Typically we see individual immunity challenges be based on balance more so than strength (see Kim winning). That way it is an even playing field. Because of this, I am personally looking at players with advantages as my starting point followed by players with lots of fire tokens as they can be flipped in to advantages. Good luck!
Note: There are other random scoring opurtunities like: Bequeathed a Fire Token, Cries on cameral, catches a fish, finds an idol, etc. But I think you are better off concentrating on the things above then worrying about little things that are random and nearly impossible to predict (not every player gets camera time each week, not every week do they show fish being caught, fire token all depends on who gets sent home, etc.).