Survivor David vs. Goliath: Should Alec Merlino return?

Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

He played hard from the first chance he got after laying low early, becoming the Survivor: David vs. Goliath challenge beast. Should Alec Merlino return?

It’s hard to be a competition beast in Survivor and make it to the end. You kind of have to stumble into it and pull it off when it’s too late to stay in the game otherwise, as you’ll likely be viewed as a challenge threat early. Beasting out early just puts too much of a target on your back, even when you’re contributing to wins for your tribe in the pre-merge. Alec Merlino said “f— it” and played his game.

He was one of the more quiet voices on the Goliath tribe, offering his input here and there but never really pushing the vote. It looked like he was going to get a purple edit before arriving on the Vuku tribe where he started to plant his flag on the game. Natalia proved to be too paranoid, demanding and didn’t value his input, so he took Elizabeth and Davie’s separate arguments to heart and publicly flipped during Tribal Council, betraying Goliath first in the tribe swap phase.

From there, he helped keep the tribe out of Tribal Council with his strength, as he always led out individual speed, dexterity and strength portions in the tribal phases, often to great results. It was when the tribes merged that Alec Merlino rounded out his skill as a player, reaching out to Christian and Nick to form bonds and an informal Strike Force alliance, specifically seeking Christian as a source of information.

Despite the Final Six alliance falling through immediately, it seemed like Alec was able to avoid being tagged as a traitor, but a sought-after voice in alliance discussions. He did happen to tip Nick off that Christian was being blindsided at Final 12, ultimately leading to the series of Goliath blindsides, but even then it was a sign of good faith.

Once the other Brochachos (John, then Dan) were being eliminated one by one, the only obvious threat for everyone left in the game was Alec. No matter how strong his social game grew at the merge, he couldn’t stop being Alec, so he had to do something likely within his capabilities; win the next Immunity Challenge and hope to force someone else’s hand and spin it from there.

Enter the “Uncomfortably Numb” challenge. Normally ending after roughly an hour, players hang on a narrow perch for as long as possible. One by one, the others dropped. Even Gabby held on for a long time. It was up to one behemoth that would test his body and mind; robotics scientist Christian Hubicki.

What were minutes became hours as Christian droned on and on about several topics of conversation, including a Q&A with Probst himself. Finally, after more than five hours, Alec just slipped. Even worse, he couldn’t be voted out that night, as the competition ran so much later than expected that they had to hold Tribal Council the next night.

Next. Vote Here - Should Alec Merlino return to Survivor?. dark

Alec Merlino gave it his all and more, losing out in one of the most monumental challenges in modern Survivor history. Vote here in our straw poll to let us know if you think Alec Merlino should compete in a future season once more.