Survivor Millennials vs. Gen X Episode 8 Recap, Edgic and Analysis

It’s the merge time in Survivor Millennials vs. Gen X and with the merge comes a whole new set of strategy, entertaining game-play and a mix up in the dynamics of the now one tribe. The merge episode of Survivor never disappoints and is always one of the highlights of the season and this was no different as it was perhaps one of my favourite merge episdoes in Survivor history. With an amazing episode like this, there is now a great amount of hope and optimism behind this season as Survivor Millennials vs. Gen X continues to grow on everyone involved. It’s always been my dream to blog about the merge in Survivor so let’s get right into the action with a recap of Episode 8 titled “I’m The Kingpin” of the hit TV show’s 33rd season.

The episode started off with Jay the Sea Monster being proud of his amazing blindside over Michaela. Highlighting his bravado and confidence with his stance in the game, Jay would also later claim that he was the kingpin of the island. Oh Jay, how you’ll soon regret those words. As Jay was talking about how amazing it was that he managed to get out an immunity threat before the merge, the scene cuts to Hannah talking about wanting revenge. Then shortly thereafter a boat arrives early in the morning with a strange note and we all know what that means! It’s merge time! Ika Bula immediately became the happiest set of contestants ever with loud cheers and massive hugs. Bret for example was as happy as can be, especially with the prospect of teaming up with his old ally Chris.

Then the scene shifted gears over to Takali, with Adam talking about how the game was about to get serious. He said “The merge is where the really great players get separated from the mediocre players”. This was a really great winner’s quote from Adam, but the rocky episode he had afterward may have made him appear to be anything but a strategically sound player. Nonetheless, this was the first big moment of the episode from the man who would become it’s star, Adam Klein. The homeless shelter manager had such a big role to play in the story of episode 8 of Survivor, that he deserves his own section in this article.

Adam & The Advantage 

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Immediately from the onset of this episode, Adam Klein looked set to be the star. Many have been optimistic over Adam’s chances to win this season, but I am still rather down on his chances and his normally very calm demeanor changed to a highly erratic and neurotic set of behaviours this episode.  As a fan of the show, Adam knew that with a merge in the game, comes a new hidden immunity idol. So at the first chance of alone time that he got, he started to search the jungle. The 25-year old did end up finding something but it wasn’t exactly what he bargained for. Instead of finding the hidden immunity idol, Adam retrieved an advantage, in which he can steal a reward away from another person. This could have been amazing to his game, if only he had kept it a secret. At the moment he was given a chance to share the information, he did, trying to use it as a tool to make his relationship with Taylor stronger and completely misreading the tight hold that he had on the snowboarder. He also in the process let slip that he was targeting Will, the best bro of Taylor’s best bro Jay. The next day, Taylor immediately went to Jay and Will and told them that Adam was targeting Will, immediately forcing the two men to call into question Adam’s loyalty and begin to plot to take him out. We’ll dive more into the dynamics leading up to vote that nearly got Adam kicked off the island later on but first let’s talk about Taylor, whose roll as the archetypal Surfer Dude or as I like to call it the Babbling Buffoon, only continues to grow larger.

Taylor The Thief

In “a classic Survivor move” that has only been done twice in the entire history of the show by two of the most infamous contestants ever, someone who quit the game named Julie McGee and Na’Onka Nixon, late at night while everyone else was sleeping, Taylor attempted to steal food from everyone else. Actually he didn’t just attempt to, he succeeded in stealing a large proportion of food. Only problem was, Bret and Adam caught the whole thing. It’s probably too obvious to even mention how terrible this is from a game-play perspective as not only was he caught by Bret and Adam, but he didn’t do anything to keep it a secret after that! However, that isn’t the part that bugs me about Taylor’s decision here. It’s been evident for a while how unintelligent the snowboarder is, especially when it comes to how to play the game of Survivor but in what way was this “A Classic Survivor Move”. For the life of me I can’t remember anyone else stealing food from the rest of the tribe other than San Juan del Sur quitter Julie McGee, who has faded into the forgotten land of Survivor folklore despite her season airing just two years ago and Na’Onka Nixon who to this day is one of the most hated contestants in the show’s history. Congratulations Taylor, you entered a club of food stealing quitters. What a classic Survivor move.

Zeke and His Nerd Pals 

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Probably one of the standout stars of the season thus far despite barely doing anything noteworthy from a game-play perspective, Zeke Smith, had another fantastic episode. The mustached male was overjoyed to be reunited with his “nerd friends” Adam and Hannah and was at the same time also immediately taken aback by Jay’s charm and ability to bond with anyone and everyone. This led to Zeke, not Adam despite what the edit tells you, leading the charge to flip the game around on Jay and his alliance. Zeke is in the best position right now in the game. He has connections with both the Millennials and the Gen X’ers and is a top ally for several people including David, Chris, Adam and Hannah. He also will not be targeted anytime soon as he is not particularly strong in challenges nor outwardly outspoken with the things that he says. Zeke can easily fly under the radar for the first part of the merge at the very least and from a game-play perspective I am really liking Zeke’s chances to go far in this season.

Zeke and his nerd pals had initially set the target on Will under Adam’s advice so that the powerful Jay was going to lose a close ally. What is it in Survivor about people being afraid to take the shot at the big dog and always going for their second in command? It happened in Survivor Cambodia when Woo was voted out simply for being aligned with Andrew Savage, it happened in the merge episode of Survivor Kaoh Rong when Aubry Bracco looked set to be sent home instead of Neil Gottleib and spoiler alert, it happened again tonight with the elimination of Michelle Schubert.

Will however was the initial target but after claiming victory when he seemingly needed it most at the ensuing immunity challenge, the plans had to immediately shift to someone else with Taylor’s name being the one that started to get thrown around.

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As a side note, I absolutely love this immunity challenge. Firstly, it’s just a good old fashion test of stamina, endurance and concentration. But secondly, it’s historical significance is there for all to see. Legendary yoga instructor Parvati Shallow, who many consider to be the greatest player this game has ever seen, won this challenge in both Micronesia and Heroes vs. Villains, lasting longer than 4 hours both times. Her competitor, Amanda Kimmel even famously only had to drop out in Micronesia to go to the washroom because of how long Parvati was hanging in there! By the way the three-time contestant and two-time finalist is the reason why they needed to make this challenge harder by changing it to two hands this time around, because people like Parvati were lasting far too long. Not to sound like a Mr. Know It All or anything but when Jeff introduced the challenge I immediately thought that Will was going to be the perfect person for this challenge and have the gusto and endurance to take it home and the young man proved me right when he outlasted all of his fellow competitors lasting almost 2 hours. I was however very surprised that Jessica finished in second for this challenge! Who would’ve thought this would be her type of challenge! I certainly didn’t! But you have to congratulate Will the eighteen year old on winning the first challenge after the merge and accomplishing a dream of his while in the process saving himself from elimination.

A Shocking Blindside 

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As soon as the contestants got back to camp from the challenge, the pre-tribal discussions were as lively as ever with several different names getting tossed around. Jay and Will immediately pulled aside Hannah and Michelle, telling them to vote for Adam. Michelle was clearly not having it and was vouching for Adam to stay in the game in favour of one of the Gen X’ers going home instead but it was rather obvious that she wasn’t going to try and make any waves to go against her close allies. Meanwhile, the majority alliance of the Gen X’ers plus Adam, Zeke and Hannah, were discussing taking out Taylor but as Adam started to freak out more and more at the prospect of his name getting tossed around, his allies started to call into question his trustworthiness. Suddenly it was looking like the homeless shelter manager was going to be the next to be sent home. At tribal council, Adam claimed to be very worried about going home. So naturally the obvious thing for him to do would have been for him to play the hidden immunity idol and save himself. As Jeff walked up to claim the votes all I was thinking was ‘Adam play the idol! Play the idol!’ He knew he was in danger! Why wouldn’t he play it? Even as Jeff was reading the first couple of votes I was convinced that Adam, one of this season’s biggest characters was about to be sent home. But then suddenly Michelle’s name popped up one too many times and in a shocking blindside, she was sent home by a vote of 9-4.

What made this elimination so shocking was that we never heard Michelle’s name come up once as a contender for elimination this entire episode. We heard an assortment of names including Adam, Jay, Taylor and Will but we were never shown a conversation held by the majority alliance or anyone for that matter about voting off Michelle making this one of the most shocking audience blindsides in the show’s history. In terms of the shock value of Michelle’s elimination it certainly made this episode all the more entertaining but I can’t help but feel that from a storytelling perspective that fans of the show are just going to be left scratching their heads on this one. At this point we honestly have no idea how Michelle was sent home but if I had to guess I would say that Zeke, Chris and David had something to do with it, maybe begrudging Michelle’s decision to jump back over with the Millennials after the merge. Whatever the reason was for her shocking elimination, Michelle Schubert is the first person to be sent home following the merge and is the first member of this season’s jury which will decide on the winner.

But Was It The Right Move? 

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Was it the right move for the majority tribe? Probably, but Michelle was never in love with the idea of voting out Adam and was clearly more open to working with the Millennials than people like Jay, Taylor and Will who were adamant that Adam should be the one to go home. Although taking out Michelle does take a number away from Jay who was the real person that everyone was threatened by, it does nothing to separate the real power duo of that alliance in Jay and Taylor. Jay was also clearly the far more threatening player in terms of his capabilities in challenges, general game awareness and likability, which were all traits talked about on this very episode by other contestants who discussed their fear of The Sea Monster. Therefore, I believe that taking Michelle out was the incorrect move, but is an incorrect move that won’t hinder anyone’s game and won’t really make a difference in who is the ultimate winner of the season. I think the writing is on the wall for Jay and Taylor at this point and I think no matter who went home tonight from that alliance that it will not have too much of an impact.

This is what those of you who voted had to say going into the episode about who would be be sent home. Jay was the favourite to go home this episode with 38% of the vote while Taylor was close behind, receiving 23% of the vote. Tonight’s eliminated castaway Michelle received just 7% of the vote, equal to that of Chris Hammons and Will Wahl, while Adam Klein who was nearly sent home this episode, received 0% of the votes.

millennials-vs-gen-x-voting-poll

Confessional Count – Episode 8

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One of the great things about the merge in Survivor is that you usually get to hear every single castaway’s perspective on where the game is headed, making for an incredibly entertaining episode of television with so many different viewpoints on the game. Jessica, Ken and Sunday were the only contestants not to get a confessional this episode and that certainly doesn’t discount their chances of winning but it certainly at the very least calls into question Ken’s supposed Winner’s Edit that I’ve been proposing ever since episode 2.

Adam Klein was the confessional leader this episode with a whopping total of nine! Zeke and Taylor tied for the next most with 4 while Jay the Sea monster and former Family Guy writer David Wright continue to impress as well. There was also a noticeable spike in visibility for police officer Bret LaBelle. This is where we stand in terms of confessionals after eight episodes.

CASTAWAY

CONFESSIONALS TONE RUNNING TOTAL

Adam Klein

9 Mixed

25

Zeke Smith

4 Positive 21
Taylor Lee Stocker

4

Negative

17

Jay Starett

3 18
David Wright 3

32

Bret LaBelle 3

8

Chris Hammons

2 Positive 16

Michelle Schubert

2 9

Will Wahl

2

6
Hannah Shapiro 1

8

Ken McNickle 0 DNS

12

Jessica Lewis 0 DNS

10

Sunday Burquest 0 DNS

5

Edgic – Episode 8 

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Look at how happy Zeke and Will are! They must have heard us whisper about Edgic! What is Edgic, click here -> Survivor Millennials vs. Gen X Premiere Recap, Edgic and Analysis to find out more. Here are my Edgic scores for Episode 8 of Survivor Millennials vs. Gen X.

CASTAWAY

VISIBILTIY TONE EDGIC

Adam Klein

5 Mixed OTT

Zeke Smith

5 Positive CP

Taylor Lee Stocker

5 Negative OTT

Jay Starett

5 CP
David Wright 3

CP

Bret LaBelle 3

CP

Chris Hammons 3 Positive

CP

Michelle Schubert 3

MOR

Will Wahl

4 MOR

Hannah Shapiro

3

UTR
Ken McNickle 1 DNS

INV

Jessica Lewis 1

UTR

Sunday Burquest 1 DNS

INV

Several contestants have CP scores which is actually fairly normal for a merge episode of Survivor when fans are always eager to see what everyone is thinking going into the next stage of the competition. Jay had a few Over The Top confessionals like when he was talking about being “The Kingpin” but receives a Complex Player score nonetheless while Bret LaBelle also accumulated the honour for the first time this season. Ken and Sunday were are two invisible contestants this episode while Jessica was only given airtime in her brief battle for immunity against Will Wahl.

The Winner’s Edit 

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With Ken McNickle going two confessional-less episodes in a row now, The Mastermind is finally diverting away from the male model as their pick to be the eventual winner of Survivor Millennials vs. Gen X. But that leaves things a bit up in the air with who could possibly take his place. Adam would be the obvious replacement but the homeless shelter manager had honestly a bit of a shocker of an episode this time around and was nearly eliminated. Although Adam had that amazing winner’s quote at the start of the episode he was talked about several times in a negative light, even by his own allies Zeke and Hannah so I am very pessimistic over his chances now.

So with that it is time to change our attention over to the man we have been subtly keeping an eye on but at the same time discounting as a potential winner week after week on this episode recap, and that man is David Wright. David has had quite the narrative so far; from the opening day of this game where he was freaking out and shouting at people two feet away saying “I TRUST YOU!”, to wasting his idol on someone he didn’t really need to use it on only to find a new one the next day to now where he is as cool as a cucumber in front of the cameras, David has never disappointed from an entertainment perspective. But now he is starting to really show some signs that he actually could have winner’s upside and has finally become The Mastermind’s Chosen One. David Wright will be the winner of Survivor Millennials vs. Gen X if Ken McNickle is not. I love how calm and composed he is in front of the cameras now and I also love the positive ray of light that is shone upon him every single time he speaks now as well so I just can no longer ignore him as winner material.

So in short after Ken has gone missing for the past two episodes, comedic writer David Wright has taken his place as The Mastermind‘s pick to win this season. Having said that this is not set in stone quite yet as Ken could still come back into the fold as could the rather neurotic Adam who still has quite a few tools in his back pocket to use to his advantage.

Next Time On Survivor & Where On Earth Do We Go From Here?

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Next time on Survivor…”The battle lines have been drawn and Taylor can’t keep a secret”. Uh oh Adam, I told you this wasn’t the right move. You should have never told Taylor about your secret advantage because now Taylor is going to go and disclose that information to his pals Jay and Will. However, this will likely only rebound onto the babbling buffoon himself rather than the savvy player that is Adam who still has a hidden immunity idol to play should he find himself in danger. I predict that Taylor will become the next person to be voted out of this game. Who do you think will go home. Let The Mastermind know in the comment section below.

Conclusion 

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This was an amazing episode of Survivor! It was without question the best of the season so far with the vote twisting and turning so many different times. You could just never tell which way the vote was going to go, especially when the producers hid it from us all along. Michelle’s elimination will go down in the history books as one of the best audience blindsides of all time (see some other pretty awesome audience blindsides here -> Top 10 Audience Blindsides in Survivor History) and has massive implications on where this season of Survivor could be headed. Will Jay and his allies manage to rebound or will they crumble under the pressure as Zeke and his nerd pals take control of the game? Be back next week for another recap special on The Mastermind to find out. We’ll see you next time!

 

 

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