Survivor is a game of numbers. It's as simple as that. If you're part of the majority, you can go very far in the competition as long as everybody sticks to the plan. But loyalty can be trumped by an unexpected turn of events that changes everything within a solid alliance.
The upcoming finale for Survivor's 32nd edition seemed like it was an easy skate-to-the-finish-line contest with Aubry Bracco, Tai Trang and Joseph Del Campo holding a three vs. two advantage. Too easy, right?
Instead of celebrating their end-game scheme, an unexpected medical emergency put Joe in the cross hairs of this tough season. It's all thanks to Joe's excessive appetite for beef. That's right. Beef. He gobbled down piles of red meat while enjoying a reward with Cydney and Aubry. Admittedly not much of a meat eater, Joe said he just couldn't get enough because the protein was making him feel great.
That all changed by the next day when his concave stomach transformed into a bloated bulbous belly. He privately complained about being in pain and his inability to pass any urine, which triggered a fast visit from the show's main medic. Upon initial evaluation, the doctor expressed concern that Joe could face permanent kidney damage if his system stayed plugged up. They treated him with medication and some water, but it wasn't enough to solve the trouble.
By Day 34, he was stumbling around camp like a zombie with both hands cradling his gut. After enjoying a beautiful sunset with his tribe mates, the medic returned to camp with Jeff Probst at his side. Uh-oh. That's never a good sign. With just five days left before the final Tribal Council, it was deemed necessary for Joe to be pulled from the game so his situation wouldn't get any more serious. It was a somber goodbye as Joe brought a new record to Survivor, becoming the only season with three different medical evacuations.
I feel bad about all the Joe jokes I made throughout this season. This is really sad to watch. #Survivor— Luke Polanczyk (@LukePrower) May 12, 2016
I feel bad for Joe, but that opens up another seat in the final that he had on lockdown #Survivor— Mark Toerpe (@mtoe1935) May 12, 2016
But let's be honest. Joe's evacuation wasn't as unexpected as him actually winning that Reward challenge, huh?
His unexpected departure has changed everything. Tai and Aubry are now in a battle to get to the end against Cydney and Michele, which means somebody will be forced to swap alliances in order to secure their spot in the final three. With Joe now gone, it would seem Aubry faces the biggest detriment. Joe was her best buddy who fell in line with every single strategic decision Aubry told him to follow. Now, she only has Tai, and he's proven to be a flip-flopper on numerous occasions. He's also formed a strange bond with Michele despite their spat a few days earlier, which means he might be swayed to join her side instead.
I'm still rooting for Aubry to win, and I think she stands a great shot at claiming the $1 million prize. While many viewers are expecting Michele to be named sole Survivor, I still haven't jumped on that bandwagon. Yes, she has a shot at walking away as the victor, but I think Aubry has played an overall better game.
This season has been incredible. I'm pulling for too many people #survivor— Benjamin Martin (@benlately) May 12, 2016
The winner will be crowned Wednesday May 18 during the live finale and reunion show in Los Angeles. For my 20th consecutive time, I will be there to bring you interviews with the finalists on the red carpet. Stay tuned for all our coverage, which is more in-depth than you will find anywhere else. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @RyanSurvivor, too, as I will have live updates from my seat in the audience.
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