Was Ron Clark able to land in the ‘Survivor’ top 6?

Credit: CBS

Credit: CBS

Originally posted Wednesday, May 1, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Atlanta educator Ron Clark played a fine game of "Survivor" over 12 episodes, but his self-proclaimed manipulations and lies eventually caught up with him Wednesday night. He was obviously a big-time player and a target but was able to hide behind others - until now.

He also didn’t help himself by winning the classic Loved Ones Reward Challenge. It’s when the spouse/sibling/parent/friend shows up and the reward involves spending a few hours with some food.

Ron and his spouse Lloyd (stupidly) won the challenge. He had to pick two others to join him, which meant pissing off the other four. He selected closest ally Julie Rosenberg and a wannabe ally in  Gavin Whitson, who had missed his honeymoon to play "Survivor." Ron hoped Gavin would stick with him because he gave him time with his new wife.

Inevitably, he drew the ire of two spurned players, Lauren O'Connell and Victoria Baamonde. They decided to target Ron as a back-up in case their primary target Macon TV broadcaster Rick Devens had an immunity idol.

They also convinced Gavin to join in on the Ron blindside. Aurora McCreary handed Gavin her extra vote advantage, the one she had previously given to Ron - and Ron returned. Ironically, Gavin ended up using those two votes against Ron which led to his ouster.

Ron earlier tried a tactic that may not have been very helpful: he gave Rick his now expired “secret advantage” from the beginning of the game and pretended it was real. Ron hoped this would allow Rick to relax his gameplay. But Rick isn’t stupid. He knew he was in big trouble so he hunted for a real idol and got a clue that forced him to have to climb a tree above the shelter while everyone else was sleeping without getting caught. He pulled it off Ninja style. Color me impressed.

Ultimately, during the tribal council, Rick made a big show of displaying Ron's expired and useless idol. (He wasn't sure how useful it was.). When Jeff Probst told him it wasn't going to help him, he called out Julie and Ron for being villains in front of the jury and how embarrassing this was to him. It was a feint. He whipped out his real idol and strutted to safety. The jury loved it.

The first four votes were for Rick and didn’t count. The next one was for Aurora. For a moment, Ron looked happy, thinking Auroral was going to go home. But when his name popped up three more times, his happiness disappeared. He was out of the game and onto Edge of Extinction island.

Credit: CBS

Credit: CBS

Julie and Ron had promised Rick earlier they were going to vote for Aurora. They lied. They voted for Rick, clueless he had that idol. So Ron was 100 percent blindsided.

Though Ron will be on the Edge of Extinction island, so are nine other people so the odds of him getting back in the game are not great. His only hope is landing a puzzle he can lock in on and win the return challenge that way.

Earlier, Ron got to see his spouse Lloyd during the loved ones reunion. "He's my protector," Ron said to Probst. "It's because of him I can do stuff like this who makes me feel safe... I love our life and I'm never going to take it for granted."

Ron later told Lloyd privately: “I have played double agent I have lied. I have cheated. I have manipulated so many people.”

Lloyd: “That’s part of the game. You’re still here.”

Ron: “I’m in charge of the game. It’s a target on me because I’m a threat. They are so loyal. Part of the game is picking people so you can trust them.”

At another point, Aurora was caught sifting through Rick’s bag at Lauren’s bequest while Rick was  hunting for an idol. “Awkward!” Rick said. Aurora denies feeling awkward. So only Rick felt awkward? Awkward!