Sook Jai says buh-bye to Shii Ann -- But the most exciting part of the episode was the spectacular non-merge, says Dalton Ross
Shii Ann Huang, Survivor: Thailand
Credit: Shii Ann Huang: Monty Brinton/CBS

Sook Jai says buh-bye to Shii Ann

First things first. Pretty much any longtime ”Survivor” fan will tell you that this Thailand edition has been less than stellar. It hasn’t been quite as bad as Africa, but it’s been close. Too close. The cast has been boring and the challenges — while new — have been either confusing or just plain dull. But even so, every once in while, Mark Burnett will come up with something pretty gosh darn wiley.

Promos for this week’s episode hinted that there would not be a traditional merge, so when there was, or at least when it SEEMED there was, I was ready to go off on CBS for airing yet another series of misleading ads. But then Jeff Probst informed the castaways (and us dimwitted viewers) that it was NOT in fact a merge, but that the tribes were simply living together, and I gotta tell you — I LOVE IT!

First off, making the tribes live together while competing against each other is just an excellent concept in itself. How pissed do you think Sook Jai was to see little man Clay gloating after the immunity challenge, and then having to go sleep next to him later that night? The tension over the next couple of weeks should be off the charts. (Okay, maybe this is just wishful thinking on my part, but work with me, people!) Not informing the tribe members for a couple of days that it was not an actual merge was also a master stroke in that it completely once again altered the competitive landscape.

Poor, poor Shii Ann. Homegirl simply got PLAYED. And I gotta tell you, I’m not one of those people who found her to be elitist and annoying, but she deserved to go for her sheer stupidity in even CONSIDERING switching allegiances to the Chuay-Ghan posse. So you don’t like Penny — deal with it! Switch tribes and you ensure that you’re the first to go after they get rid of all your former buddies. They were right to vote her Benedict Arnold ass out.

Another nice thing about the non-merge is that it makes every week interesting in that before, once a team gained a 5 to 4 person advantage after the first post-merge immunity challenge, it was pretty much over for the other guys. Now, the members of Sook Jai still actually have a chance of having a winner end up on top. Not like I particularly want that to happen, but it will be nice knowing that it won’t simply be one after the other getting picked off in predictable fashion. Seems Mark Burnett still has a few tricks up his sleeve after all. If only the contestants were so clever.

What do you think about the non-merge move?

Survivor: Thailand
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