Did Atlanta’s Ron Clark make it through two eliminations on ‘Survivor’?

Originally posted Wednesday, April 17, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

“Survivor” brought back four returning players this season, a move that split fans who felt like they received in inordinate amount of attention in the early episodes at the expense of the newbies. Some, like Julia Carter and Aurora McCreary, were practically invisible until the merge. 

Cerebral fan favorite Aubry Bracco was cut first, followed by fan favorite and challenge beast Joe Anglim.  But the top 10 entering this 10th episode still had two returning players: David Wright and Kelley Wentworth

Tonight, with two tribal councils squeezed into one hour, the players decided to go after David first, then Kelley. David knew it was coming and tried his darndest to get Atlanta educator Ron Clark and his ally Julie Rosenberg on his side.  

David already knew he was on the outs and tried to draw Ron and Julie into an alliance with him, Victoria Baamonde, Aurora and Macon broadcaster Rick Devens. Ron decided not to go that route.  

The show is making it appear that Wardog is a master (albeit a bit overly aggressive) strategist - and the worst challenge competitor ever. Three times in a row, he dropped out first. But that doesn’t appear to matter. In fact, it probably helped him. 

Wardog created a new six-person alliance, featuring him, Lauren, Kelley, Ron, Julie and Gavin. 

They originally targeted Aurora, who fueled the implosion of the previous tribal council. “I put a foot in my mouth and I possibly ruined my game,” said the product of the foster-care system. 

A super determined Aurora instead won another immunity challenge and threw Wardog’s original plans awry. So David became the new target. Daivd was great at challenges and almost beat Aurora. Both knew they were in trouble if they didn’t win.

And Ron, to his credit, found himself in the strategic middle instead of a target. He was able to effectively decide who would go home. Ron has said several  times on the show he has wanted the returnees gone before it was too late, that they already had their time. 

During tribal, Wardog did not hide the fact he wanted David out. And Ron and Julie stuck with Wardog and David was off to Edge of Extinction.

This being a double elimination episode, we quickly cut to David, on the Edge of Extinction, finding an advantage, which he passed on to his buddy Devens.

For the second immunity challenge, thanks to David, Devens only had to put in four balls into tiny slots on a dimpled paddle instead of five for everyone else. It mattered. He won and saved himself. 

This left a seemingly “easy vote” for Aurora. But who ever wants an “easy vote” when a blindside is so much more satisfying?

So Wardog decided to break with his long-time trio and target his ally Kelley. He quietly went to Victoria, Devens and Aurora to tell them his plans. All of them were on the bottom and happily went along with the blindside.

He then needed a fifth vote in Ron, who was open to the idea because he was never a fan of keeping around returnees. But he knew the move would upset his ally Julie because he wasn’t in a position to tell her. 

 “I love being in the middle and being the decision maker but I have quite a dilemma,” Ron said before the next tribal council. 

In the end, Ron again stuck with Wardog’s plan. The blindside worked. Kelley didn’t use her immunity idol. If she had, Aurora would have gone home since the vote was 5-4. 

I’m not sure it really mattered but Aurora, in desperation before the vote, secretly gave Ron her extra vote advantage to curry favor. But he now has that extra power and if he needs Aurora at some point, he could give it back to her in the future. 

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.