Warning: This recap for the “I’m the Kingpin” episode of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X contains spoilers.
Trust is up in the air as the tribes merge in Episode 8 of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X.
The last thing people want to talk about right now is “votes,” but at least the voting in Survivor affects only those playing the game and not the entire human civilization as we know it. This week’s votes count more than ever, as we enter the individual portion of the game with the three tribes merging and multiple alliances battling for power and trust.
Things start back at the Ikabula camp after last week’s devastating blindside of Michaela (it still stings). Jay is proud of his handiwork, removing a big challenge threat before the merge. There was a lot of talk last week about whether this was a smart move or not for Jay. It still isn’t clear after this episode. Timing-wise, it worked out perfectly, as the merge did indeed come next. However, Jay’s name comes up a lot throughout the hour as someone who needs to be eliminated. Was his risk worth it? He’s safe for now, but the clock is ticking.
Hannah is just one of many who is ready to vote out Jay. Having being left out of last week’s vote, she knows there is no trust between the two of them and wisely plays along with Jay’s plans for the time being. “I’m ready to play,” Hannah says, hoping she’ll soon get the chance.
The next morning a boat arrives with a note that informs the Ikabula tribe that they’ve reached the merge and will be heading to their new home. Takali receives the same message, and both tribes journey over to Vanua beach, where new and old friends await — plus a merge feast, and who doesn’t love a merge feast?
The new tribe, Vinaka (which means “thank you” in Fijian), tucks into the food, while Jay continues to boast about his position in the game. He’s stoked to be reunited with his boy “Tayls,” and his girl Michelle — his original bro and bro-ette. He also believes he has Will and Hannah in his back pocket and, hopes, Bret and Sunday too. On top of that, he has an idol. “I’m the kingpin,” he brags. Overconfidence is always a death knell in the game of Survivor, so Jay needs to tread carefully.
“Triforce” isn’t the only alliance throwing a reunion party. All of the other old connections and alliances check in with each other too. The original odd couple, Ken and David, share a hug on the beach. Bret and Chris catch each other up on what’s been happening. And the Millennial nerd contingency of Adam, Hannah, and Zeke are ecstatic to all still be in the game.
Zeke is looking to expand Team Nerd, especially after Hannah fills him in on what went down with the Michaela blindside last week. He doesn’t trust Jay and is worried that he’ll use his “Jay charm” to sway more people over to the bro brigade.
Meanwhile, Adam slips away from the feast to go idol hunting. Having already had luck finding one earlier this season, Adam is experienced in this field and soon spots a note hidden in the roof of the tribe’s tree-mail. However, it isn’t an idol; it’s a brand new advantage that allows him to steal someone’s reward immediately after they win it. Err. Isn’t that more of a disadvantage? Seems like a surefire way to piss people off and put a target on yourself. This might top the Medallion of Power for worst Survivor advantage/twist ever.
Later on, when the rest of the tribe is sleeping, Taylor decides to do some stealing of his own, filling his face with the merge feast leftovers. We’ve seen castaways secretly stash food for themselves in the past to great success (Sandra and her bananas, and coconut bandits Tyson and Gervase). However, Taylor is not subtle and makes so much noise during his grand theft that both Bret and Adam catch him in the act. If only Bret weren’t lying about being a cop, he could have made an arrest.
Adam does take action, using the opportunity to build trust with Taylor. It’s obvious Adam is still trying to repair the damage caused by blindsiding Taylor’s island girlfriend, Figgy, but it’s a lost cause. Adam reveals too much, not only pitching Taylor on the idea of taking out Jay’s right-hand man, Will, but revealing information about the reward steal advantage he found earlier. Taylor nods and agrees but underneath is itching to enact his revenge on the Figgy slayer.
The following day, Taylor has a powwow with Jay and lets him know that Adam is planning to vote out Will. Obviously, this doesn’t sit well with Jay, and the two plan to target Adam. But once again, Taylor is caught with his pants down (not literally), as Zeke overhears their bro-chat and recognizes that he needs to save his nerdy comrade Adam.
The first individual immunity challenge of the season is a Survivor classic. Each player must stand on a perch while holding onto a handle attached to a bucket without letting go. The last person standing wins immunity and is safe from the vote. Each time Survivor has used this challenge in the past a woman has won, but given that there are only four women left this season, they don’t start with high odds. Jessica, though, does it make it down to the final two against Will, but knowing his name is on the chopping block, he finds the will (get it?) to hold on for more than an hour and a half, becoming the youngest player ever to win immunity.
With Will safe, Adam’s original plan is in tatters and sends him into scramble mode back at camp. Jay, Taylor, and Will are set with voting out the “weasel” Adam, but Michelle is reluctant, believing it’s a personal move as opposed to a strategic one and would be a mistake. Meanwhile, Zeke informs Adam that he overheard Jay and Taylor (Jaylor?) talking about voting him out, but he believes there’s enough anti-Taylor sentiment because of the feast theft that they’ll have the numbers to eliminate the snowboard bro.
The Gen Xers do indeed seem like they’re onboard to remove Taylor, and why wouldn’t they be — the Millennials outnumber them, so any chance to save themselves and put a dent in the other side would be a blessing. However, David is worried about Taylor potentially having an idol, and thinks that targeting Michelle might be the safer option. This indecision makes Adam nervous, and fearing for his own safety he once again goes to Taylor to try and strike a deal. Unfortunately, Adam’s paranoia seems to disgruntle his own allies, who are beginning to tire of his sketchy scrambling.
At tribal council, the entire Vinaka tribe piles on Taylor for his food heist, and he has no choice but to own up to it. He says that it wasn’t stealing, it was more a medical situation because his stomach was messed up. I’m not sure that defense would hold up in court, especially if lawyers Chris and Jessica were on the prosecution. After Jeff Probst polls the tribe on who else is hungry, Hannah tells Jeff she’s so hungry, “I could eat you.” I said cannibalism was going to be the next “Survivor first” back in Episode 1!
Food talk out of the way, the focus returns to the game, and once again David says the game has evolved beyond Millennials vs. Gen X to “the people I trust vs. the people you trust.” Adam backs this up by saying he doesn’t believe the Millennials are an alliance anymore. Michelle also suggests that trust will be broken tonight. Before we head to the vote, Taylor looks right at Adam when he says, “There’s nothing that can be done at this point.” It all seems like a preamble to Adam playing his idol, saving himself, and blindsiding a cocky and well-nourished Taylor.
But that’s not what happens. Instead, Adam keeps hold of his idol, which at first seems like a huge miscall but turns out to be an accurate read, as nine votes go toward Michelle, and only four toward himself. Michelle becomes the first member of the jury, leaving only three women in the game.
It was somewhat of a lackluster end to what seemed to be shaping up to be a monumental tribal council. The Michelle vote, while not completely out of nowhere, as she had been mentioned as a target the past couple of weeks, didn’t offer quite as satisfying conclusion as, say, a Taylor blindside would have provided. But Michelle was right about one thing: Trust was certainly broken, and now the remaining Triforce members are left to pick up the pieces.
Players of the Week
David: He was the one who suggested targeting Michelle in case of an idol play. As we didn’t get much more info on how the vote ended up on Michelle, David gets the credit.
Zeke: He found himself in the right places at the right time and used information to his benefit. He was able to pull his self-described nerd alliance into the majority.
Hannah: She said she was ready to play, and she proved it this episode. She connected with the people she needed to, passing on vital info, and calming down an anxious Adam.
Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.