Season 35 of Survivor has organized contestants into three separate tribes based on how others see them. This intriguing premise is certainly adding some additional layers to Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers. After all, can someone labeled a "Healer" be a self-centered person who calls his fellow Healers "victims?" If you are Joe, the probation officer, you certainly can -- with a smile.
Now that we have seen the tribes in action, we can evaluate which Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers tribe is the strongest this season. Let's break it down.
The Levu Tribe (Heroes)
This tribe was off to a promising start. They were the second tribe to reach the beach and light their torch, so they received flint as a prize. There are several physically dominant players on the Heroes tribe, such as Ben, who is a Marine, and Alan, who is a former NFL player. Ashley is a lifeguard, so she is a fantastic asset for the water and swimming challenges. The first immunity challenge was a wake-up call for the group. They came in last place so they were the first tribe to attend tribal council. The second challenge for immunity and a reward went a bit better, and the tribe grabbed second place and a small fishing kit.
Socially, this tribe is a wreck. There was a "core four" comprised of Alan, Ben, Ashley and J.P, which left Katrina and Chrissy on the fringes of the group. Alan became paranoid about J.P. and Ashley becoming a "power couple," and decided that he needed to strip-search J.P. to see if he had an idol. The firefighter consented, which was a bit odd, although he indeed had nothing to hide. Alan hoped to cast suspicion on J.P. and Ashley. Chrissy had received a secret Super Idol from Ryan on the Hustlers' tribe. It had to be used at the first tribal council, but Chrissy held onto it, rather than saving Katrina. I must confess that keeping the idol to use purely as a decoy was a brilliant idea.
After that initial tribal, everyone decided that Alan was too crazy to align with, and there were continued fears that J.P. and Ashley were a "power couple." Ben decided that the "core four" was no more. In the end, Chrissy and Ben decided to work together for as long as possible, becoming an undercover "power couple."
The Soko Tribe (Healers)
This tribe has several members that are physically strong, like Joe, the probation officer, social worker Roark, and Cole, the wilderness guide. In challenges, this tribe has some impressive statistics. In the first challenge, the Healers were the first to reach the beach and stick their torch in the burning urn that was hanging above the sand. As a reward, the tribe received the fire-making kit. In the first immunity challenge, the Healers handily won with Mike and Desi moving the ball on the maze/puzzle. The second challenge, for both immunity and a huge fish-catching kit, was also won by the Healers. The unbeatable combination of Desi, a physical therapist, and Mike, a urologist, came from behind and finished the sign-post puzzle first. (Brains do matter, people!)
The Healers' lovable, idol-hunting, super fan, Mike annoys Joe, who is actively plotting how to manipulate his tribe mates, and wants to get rid of Mike. Other than a tense discussion between Mike and Joe about if Mike had an idol, the tribe has largely remained peaceful. This group, for the most part, really seems to like each other. Joe even shows Cole a map that he found on a tree trunk that had clues to find an idol. This duo worked together, and after they dug in the dirt for a bit, Joe located the idol. The only real draw back for this tribe is Joe and his manipulative behavior.
The Yawa Tribe (Hustlers)
The Hustlers were off to a bad start. Before jumping off the boat, Ryan found a secret advantage, which was a Super Idol that had to be used at the first tribal, or gifted to a member of the tribe that was attending tribal. Once it was time to reach the beach, the tribe rowed off in the wrong direction -- several times. Since they were the last tribe to reach the beach, they received no fire-making tools. This hard-working tribe was organized by fisherman Lauren when creating their camp.
There are a couple of physically fit competitors on this tribe, such as Devon, the surfer, and Patrick, who owns a small business. The Hustlers took second place in the immunity challenge, and won flint. The second immunity challenge involved a lot of diving and swimming, so Devon, as a surfer, handed the tribe a commanding lead. It wasn't long before Ali and Simone, the tribe's puzzle solvers, fell behind the other teams, and the Hustlers went to tribal council. It was obvious that Simone is a weak player who does not enjoy being outdoors, although some tribe members considered keeping her based on her loyalty alone. I am wondering why Simone wanted to join Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers in the first place.
The harmony of the tribe was destroyed by Patrick, and his unpredictability and insistence on loudly entertaining as many people as possible -- all the time. He tried Lauren's patience to the breaking point, and although everyone stuck together to vote Simone out, it is obvious that a showdown is going to occur. This fracture in the group could make things dicey for this tribe.
I think that the Healers' tribe has both physical strength and, for the most part, tribal unity. I think that the Healers have the strongest tribe on season 35 of Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers.
What do you think of this season so far? Do you think that the Hustlers' tribe can unite? Will Chrissy and Ben stay united? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.