I have this neighbor. Don’t even know his name. He walks by my house all the time with his big, hairy dog, and I always make a point of saying hello. Now, I don’t go crazy and, like, start a conversation or anything. But I extend common courtesy—a cheery greeting coupled with an awkward smile (because I don’t know how to smile normally ever since I got braces, retainers, and headgear as a teenager and therefore did not show my teeth in photos for an extended period of time). Am I doing this to make like State Farm and be a good neighbor? Hardly. I do this so the dude doesn’t let his big hairy dog take a crap in my yard.
I used to find such droppings on my lawn on a semi-regular basis and this particular canine became suspect #1. The best way to put a stop to such shenanigans, I figured, was to make sure the man allowing—nay, encouraging!—this activity could put a friendly face with the house and thereby feel too guilty to continue. And you know what? It worked!
I bring this up to illustrate why Jon & Jaclyn just took a proverbial dump all over Josh’s game. The lack of alliance maintenance is something I will never understand on this show. How many times throughout the years have we seen people on the top of an alliance completely ignore people on the bottom, only to then watch those neglected parties jump ship and turn the tables? (Somewhere, Shambo is nodding her mullet vigorously in approval.) This is the most underrated aspect of Boston Rob’s game in the Redemption Island season. He constantly checked in with every single member of his alliance of sheep and made them each feel vitally important.
Josh, Reed, Alex, Wes, and Keith are clearly no Boston Rob (although maybe they will be in their fourth time playing). They got way too comfortable. They thought they had Jon and Jaclyn safely in their alliance and once Jon went off to Exile (non) Island, they did not feel the need to socialize nor interact with Jaclyn. Instead, I guess Wes thought it would be cool to fart in her face. And Alec thought she would take kindly to him treating the women like second-class citizens by ordering them to throw out his trash.
But don’t take my word for it that Alec and the others felt way too comfortable. Let him tell you! “I’m feeling as comfortable as I probably could,” he said about Jaclyn as an alliance partner, noting that she “will do whatever Jon says.” And that’s the attitude that just lost you their votes, and, in all likelihood, the game. I don’t know how much clearer I can state this, but I seemingly say it every season and yet players still ignore it: The people on the bottom of your alliance are the ones you need to be nicest to. They are the ones who control the game… at least when they are the swing votes. Don’t be an idiot! Suck it up, do the extra work, act interested in what they have to say, and for God’s sake, stop passing gas in the shelter! And the fact that Alec thought that Jon, not Jaclyn, would be the one to determine which alliance they went with when one side was acting so dismissively toward her shows that Alec has absolutely zero idea of how decision-making works in a relationship. And zero idea how the game of Survivor works as well.
As a result, Josh was voted out in what may just qualify as the shocker of the season. I say shocker because Josh had definitely been getting the “winner’s edit” so far—a pumped-up edit usually given to people who will make it very far in the game. But here he is, the first person voted out after the merge. It’s a shame to see him go, as he and Jeremy have been the biggest gamers so far, and their battle was the best thing about this season. How will San Juan del Sur fill that dramatic void with that battle now over? We’ll have to wait and see, but here’s the other activity that went down in episode 8. We better get through it before my neighbor makes his regular late-night rounds with his dog, Max. I actually have no idea if that is the dog’s name, but seemingly every other dog on the planet is named Max, so I figure I have a 50/50 shot of being right. Okay, other notes of interest from this episode in handy bullet-point form:
• Am I the only person who gets a bit bummed out when Probst announces they are going to choose teams for a reward challenge by a schoolyard pick ‘em… and then they do not show the schoolyard pick ‘em? We know Missy was not picked and had to sit out, but who were the captains? Who was picked first? Who was picked last, before Missy? Kinda curious. I get that there are only so many minutes in the broadcast and you don’t want to eat up airtime with someone hemming and hawing like Eliza Orlins voting at the Micronesia final Tribal Council (check her out at the 1:42 mark, milking it for a full 25 seconds!). The deliberations would probably not be all that interesting: “Hmmm… whom should I pick? Reed’s a dancer so he must be athletic. But Wes might be able to disorient the other team by breaking wind in their faces, so he also could be a good call. Decisions! Decisions!” Anyway, I’m happy to air said pick ‘em as a deleted scene on EW.com if CBS would hook me up with the footage.
NEXT: Jon finally gets a clue… as in, a real clue