I’ve been saying it for a couple weeks, and tonight, I think it will finally arrive. It’s a time of coming together, a time to remember why you love the game so much. A time to realize that just when you think you have things under control, you don’t at all. It’s merge time, baby.

At least…I think it will be. A merge into two tribes would make total since during Episode 5 for a couple of reasons. First, we have even numbers across the board, so a 50/50 split would be logical. Second, Matsing might as well not even exist. It’s way to early for a total of six people to be competing in a challenge. And third, it’s about that time where things need to be mixed up. One of the reasons why I love Survivor is the unpredictability of day to day life during those 39 days, whether it be relationships, challenges, the weather, or an impending merge. A merge always flips things upside down. But even more so, it brings every single castaway back to Earth. How they each deal with it, will determine how much further they can go. Some get a fresh start, while others, have to rethink the past 15 days and may find themselves instantly on the outs, and it’s usually a shock to their system. After all, Survivor prides itself in misdirection and surprise when you least expect, so I am hoping tonight is no different.

Part of me wants to see how far the Matsing Two can go, but it just doesn’t feel like we will get that chance. What’s more interesting to think about though is how Malcolm and Denise will intermix into two very comfortable and strong groups, especially if they are separated.

Personally, I’m hoping for a crazy twist to the merge itself. Perhaps we wont have the classic “pick a buff out of the hat” scenario, and instead, we hear Jeff say, “Drop your buffs, Malcolm, Denise, you are captains picking new tribes”. Yeah, that would definitely throw a wrench in things.

Speaking of misdirection and surprise, are we about to see yet another castaway removed from the game? This week’s promo really caught my eye while I was watching the Patriots let me down once again. Dana, of the Man vs. Women Kalabaw tribe, seems to have united her tribe momentarily as she is brought down with severe stomach pains. Is this a minor injury from a challenge, or perhaps something far worse? I like to try and judge the concern on Jeff’s face every time something like this happens. You can usually tell when he’s like “Okay, suck it up idiot”, but this just doesn’t look like one of those times.

Or maybe I have fallen prey to another great Survivor misdirection, just like those genius producers were hoping for.


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Catch Survivor: Philippines every Wednesday on CBS, 8pm ET.