Category Archives: Survivor

Survivor Kaôh Rōng, Season 32 – Scariest Episode I’ve Ever Seen

Survivor030916If there was ever an episode of Survivor to prove it’s real life, it was this week’s. There is no way these people aren’t really putting their lives on the line. I don’t remember ever watching this show and feeling as much fear as I did this time.

The Challenge

While the episodes thus far this season have all had just one challenge that provided both reward and immunity, tonight’s show was designed to have two separate challenges. Even still, the reward challenge started earlier in the episode than it normally would, so we should have known something was up.

For the challenge, the teams needed to dig under a log to get everyone on the team through, then they needed to dig in a big circle to find three bags of balls that they would use in the end to roll up a slide hoping for them to land in one of six holes. When they hit all six holes they’d win.

The problem with this is that it was unbelievably hot out there. They never indicated what the temperature was, but by the sunburns everyone is sporting, it’s obvious that it’s a really hot location.

First Survivor Down

All the teams had a really difficult time digging, and it’s clear they were starting to get too hot in the sun. The Brains tribe completed the challenge first and won the better of the two rewards, but right after that Debbie collapsed. The medical team was brought in, and they poured cold water on her to bring her temperature down.

Second Survivor Down

As medical was tending to Deb, the Beauty tribe won second place. The Brawn tribe lost, but now Cydney was having a difficult time pulling herself together. After Caleb won the challenge, he walked off and collapsed.

Third Survivor Down

Jeff Probst looked over and realized Caleb was in trouble. He called medical over to Caleb. But he wasn’t bouncing right back like Debbie. And now as they tended to him, Cydney finally collapsed. They had three people down. Deb was curled up in a fetal position, Caleb was played out flat, and Cydney was shaking terribly.

There weren’t enough medics to go around apparently. Luckily Deb recovered and wandered away from her spot looking like she’d just been through a natural disaster. All medical was focused on Caleb while Jason tended to Cydney.

Cydney started to come back just like Deb, so we were expecting Caleb to do the same. But he didn’t. And in my mind I was thinking, they aren’t going to show a guy dying on TV. He has to be okay. But it was still the scariest thing I have ever seen on the show.

Still One Survivor Down

There wasn’t anyone whose spirit was in the right place after this. Everyone was worried. When the water wasn’t helping they put ice on him and some type of blanket on his lower half. They eventually had to give him some oxygen. He was still struggling, so they started an IV right there to give him fluids, and Jeff called for an evacuation.

Jeff explained to Caleb that other than being voted out, there are only two ways to leave, and he definitely wasn’t quitting, but he was going to have to be removed for medical reasons. Caleb shook his head very weakly, but it wasn’t up to him. It was clear he couldn’t continue.

Concern for Their Family Member

With Caleb removed from the game, Jeff regrouped everyone, and Tai just could not control his emotions. He talked about cuddling with Caleb on the first night and said how much he would miss him. Sure, he may have a crush on Caleb, but I think there was a friendship there behind all that.

Lastly, Jeff asked Jason if he could still vote out Cydney after spending his time taking care of her. He said all that goes to the side, and it reminded him of being in the military. For the most part right now, he said they were like family out there. In the end he didn’t vote her out. They finally got rid of “Blondie” which is what they should have done the first week.

Some might think it wasn’t the scariest episode ever and might think that award should go to the episode when Michael Skupin fell in the fire. But that was the grossest episode. I didn’t have any fears of his survival. I knew his hands were burned, but I didn’t fear that he wasn’t going to make it. I feared for Caleb tonight and sat her crying with my jaw on the floor.

And that’s what makes Survivor one of the best shows out there. They ran a slide during a commercial break that said Caleb is recovered and well and that he hopes to play again. That’s how we know he belonged there. This game attracts a certain type of person, and only one of them would want to go back and do it all over again.

Image Credit: YouTube Video

Survivor Kaoh Rong, Season 32 – “Brain” Tribe? Sure About That?

Survivor030216What I’m finding amusing this season of Survivor is the alternate tribe names of Beauty, Brains, and Brawn. Okay, so the Beauty tag fits, but I’m really not sure about Brains and Brawn.

Supposedly the purpose of dividing the group into these specific teams is so that they have to rely on their given traits. Yet when the Brawn tribe was found to be not very … Brawny … in their first challenge, they booted out one of the brawniest, Darnell, when he lost the scuba mask and kept Alecia, aka “Blondie,” the smallest of all of them who had lost the puzzle portion of their first challenge and who did nothing in camp.

Then in the next episode, “Blondie” was on the block again, but they also considered doing a ladies alliance and voting out Kyle, another of their most brawny individuals. Instead, Jennifer opened up her mouth at Tribal Council and admitted to the plan, so they just decided to vote her out instead. Yet, they still had Blondie who isn’t helpful to them in challenges, so now they only have three “Brawny” people left on the tribe.

Luckily for them, they finally won second place in a challenge, saving them from voting someone else out. However, Kyle saw Blondie and Cydney searching for the idol. Cydney found the tool for it and Blondie didn’t, so she had a leg up. But she wanted to come clean with the others, who booted her aside and went for the idol themselves. Kyle now has the idol. Cydney should not have told them they found a clue and should have found a way to go there on her own.

As for as the Brains tribe, they have no idea how to gameplay. Peter and Liz were aligned and knew they had to break up the other two pairs: Joe and Deb and Aubry and Neal. They decide Joe will be loyal and that Deb doesn’t have the drive in her for a big move, so they decide they need to get rid of Aubry and Neal.

Once they lost the challenge, they thought it was a good thing as they can’t wait to start carrying out their plan. They tell Aubry and Neal to vote out Joe and tell Joe and Deb to vote out Aubry. But the other four want them out. They see Peter as very narcissistic and aren’t too fond of Liz either.

At the tribal council, the Brain tribe nailed it, realizing that their tribe was bound to either over-analyze everything or that everyone would feel individually that they are smarter than everyone else. That was definitely the case with Peter and Liz.

The vote came down to a three-way tie of Aubry, Liz, and Peter. At this point Peter and Liz’s alliance was going down; those who received votes couldn’t cast votes in the revotes, so neither Liz nor Peter could vote out the others. Neal, Joe, and Deb decided that Liz had to go.

Peter needs to really scramble here to find his way into an alliance with one of the other pairs, but at this point they don’t trust him or like him. Really his only hope is for a tribal shakeup so that he can regroup.

But it doesn’t appear to be coming next week. The preview shows someone getting so ill during a challenge that they need to be Medivaced out of there.

Image Credit: CBS App

Survivor: Second Chances – Episode Catch Up – Who’s The Hero This Season?

I warned you all. I said it was going to be hit or miss. And after three straight hits…three straight misses. I am to Survivor blogging as a cocky three-point shooter is to basketball. Just a bit streaky. And it’s going to stay that way for a while. You see, not only am I trying to earn money – this column pays me just as much as I get for eating my after-dinner dessert – but I am also getting married in just over a week.

Happy things. But, boy, it sure makes regular blogging quite the trick.

So, there is no way to make this column a big ol’ blow-by-blow of the last few episodes. Or else, I’ll be writing this through my honeymoon. And, really, that ain’t happening.

So, let’s get the boots out of the way first – as none were all that surprising to anyone. None of the three taken out were given much of an edit so far – PG was not seen doing much except being Abi’s foil, Varner was being shown as an erratic mischief-maker, and Monica was barely seen. None were given hero’s edits – or even villain edits. So, as much as they are all likely very nice people – and I was always a big fan of PG, and of watching Monica on screen (ahem) – no one who has ever watched Survivor thought they were really going anywhere this season based on this edit.

What has been the big piece of news over the last few episodes was the first time the show ever expanded tribes. I absolutely loved that twist. First of all, it saved a couple of my favorites – Spencer and Fishy. Second of all, I love it when the show does things that are unexpected. Plus, there have been 31 seasons of this show and it is just simply fascinating to me that they keep finding new ways to surprise us. This season alone – the first fan vote, hidden idols at challenges and now the increase in tribes.

These new tribes have their own personality – we have Angkor and their bare camp and tribal weakness, we have Bayonne and a lack of much drama at all, and we have Takeo Spikes and their utter dominance. Our friends in Bayonne, Queens got their first showcase this week. And Monica and Kimmi actually became part of the narrative for the first time. The Takeo Spikes tribe just continues to win and is building up a very dominant five-person alliance if it holds. And Angkor has gotten much attention early on thanks to the Abi madness, many losses, and a rather good bit of Survivor playing.

That last piece leads to what I wish to discuss in this summary column – who is shaping up to be the Sole Survivor this season based on the early editing?

Option 1 – Spencer. He was on the precipice of defeat. He had to beg and plead his way out of being the second boot of the season. He was dead man walking. And then the tribe switch. And a LOT of confessionals. And some big challenge performances. He worked on bonding with Namesake and was ready to turn on Not E in order to survive just a bit longer in the game. So when it was time for their first Tribal Council – he was ready to turn his back on his former tribesmate and linger. But thanks to his successful social game – remember, this is Spencer! – he was able to fill the crack in the Bayonne alliance. If that’s not a burgeoning Hero Edit…well, then it’s hard to say what one truly is.

Option 2 – Tasha. I could have said Savage here, but I say Tasha is more of the option. When the two of them went over to Angkor, they were doomed. Just like Spencer and Not E. However, it was Tasha that worked on expanding the rift between Abi and PG and exploited it. Instead of watching PG and Shirin struggle with how to manage Abi, we are now enjoying the mastery of how Tasha does this unenviable task. At one point last week, we actually watched the patience in Tasha face take hold and manifest in a kind smile. She and Savage have moved from low cogs in a weak tribe to the power players in said tribe. What will happen as they move into another shift or a merge? Who knows. But Tasha is getting the attention that a master manipulator gets. And it’s a whole lot of fun to watch.

Option 3 – Savage. Not as much as Tasha, but Savage is getting the hero call as well. He is getting the more common thread of tough guy. Survivor and Probst love the tough guy edit. The fact that Savage is an older guy makes it even better. In fact, it is not unheard of for the show to have a woman pulling the strings but the guy winning challenges and being strong gets the glory. Is that Savage’s fate? Perhaps.

Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chances – Ep 2 – The Feast of Permanent Liability

I remember a great Simpsons episode were Homer was making up his own religion and needed a fake holiday so he could call off from work. He looked up and saw the sign in Moe’s that said “Maximum Occupancy.” It became the Feast of Maximum Occupancy and Homer had himself a day off at the bar. That popped into my head during this episode after Spencer called Abi a “permanent liability.” He’s not wrong. However, by the end of this episode she had the last laugh and the feast.

In Survivor, you never, ever, ever make one of your alliance members feel as if they are not wanted. Because if you do, they will go find someone who wants them. The Takeo Spikes majority of Spencer, Shirin, PG, and E forgot about that with Abi. Or…they were really taken in by Jeff Varner. The Australian vet told us that he flipped on Vytas in the first vote because his secret Early Season alliance was not trying very hard. It seems as if Season 1 & 2 joined forces with Season 12 before anyone even hit the beaches. I wonder if Kimmi is secretly part of that too. Varner got rid of S12 winner’s brother so that the others felt energized in the game. If you believe him, then he was never a part of that majority alliance in the first place.

If you believe his victim this week, it was because she tried to express doubt about him. Who knows. What we saw was something completely different.

Abi is a maniac. We saw that in her season, we are witnessing it now. She’s probably a very nice actual person – but on Survivor…maniac. She was shown being a general nuisance for the first half of the episode and driving her alliance mates – and the other side, Terry included – a bit nuts. And then Shirin and PG decided to have a fairly audible bitch session in the dark. Never a good idea – because…the not seeing who is listening in part of it. Abi heard it all and confronted them. PG defended herself and they had it out. Shirin slinked off. PG returned the shelter and said it felt good, as they all laughed.

All except Terry. It was an unexpected move for the guy who really played a horrible social game in Panama. He found Abi and sat with her and did something that guys all around the world fail at all the time, to the chagrin of the ladies who love them. He listened to her. Guys…sometimes that is ALL you have to do. Shut up and listen. She flipped right there on the beach.

Later, Probst would draw a parallel between Shirin abandoning her alliance mate and joining in the mocking to what happened to her last season. That’s a bit weak. It’s like comparing Zac Efron and Zach Galafinakis. Sure, they are both humans named Zachary. But ask most ladies about who they want shirtless in their room…and we have an overwhelming winner. Sure, Shirin felt alone last year and Mike came to her, and a parallel could be found here. However, last year it was after some vicious personal attacks. What happened to Abi wasn’t like that. It was wrong – and horrible Survivor gameplay. But it wasn’t ugly. I see what Probst was doing – trying so hard to tie in the season’s theme – but it was forced.

It’s a darn shame that Shirin and Spencer had their game completely collapse upon them because of an unforced error and a secret, pre-game alliance. But it did. And Spencer did have his parallel be apt – a plea for a chance at Tribal Council. I’m glad he got it – I like Shirin and would have liked to see her play another time, but I like Spencer even more.

It is interesting to see that strategic players are getting targeted this time around. Fishy is also getting flack in the other tribe for playing the game. This is not a good development for this season – I don’t want a season full of alpha males grunting their way to the title. I like schemers with a bit of a sense of humor – and I am very hopeful that next week’s twist makes it easier for Spencer and Fishy to have a new lease on life.

Five Things:

1 – Stop trying to make me root for Savage. It’s not going to happen. How was anyone moved by a wealthy, buff lawyer talking about his love story with a South African model? Anyone relating to that? Any story that involves Playboy and tears…doesn’t tug on my heart strings. Namesake? Well, it worked for him. That Playboy story made him think of his pregnant wife in a positive way, which is not the usual guilty feeling guys get when thinking of their pregnant wives and Playboy at the same time. Fishy asked if Namesake was idol seeking and that further dropped him in the eyes of Savage. Not sure how Fishy’s morals are in question here…but whatever. Again, didn’t care much for Savage the first time around and he ain’t doing much for me now.

2 – Joe is playing the same game again. But he’s better at it now. As Fishy said, Joe is someone you want to keep around early on to keep you strong and then you turn on him the first chance you get. That’s what happened last season, and will happen again this season at this rate. That said…cool hammocks.

3 – Spencer’s foreshadowing. Last week, he told us that he didn’t realize Varner was a crazy person. Think about Varner’s game so far and he’s either an evil genius or a crazy person. He voted out an ally to rally his other allies, and then only managed to get the upper hand because the other side messed up. If they didn’t exile Abi, there is no chance his plan would have worked. Woooooo! would probably have been voted out this week instead. Crazy person…maybe.

Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chances – Ep 1 – Downward Dog or Downward Spiral

The 20 past Survivors that we all voted for to return to the game – or least some of the ones that I voted for – finally get the chance to jump in the water and make the most of their second chance at Survivor. Some of them do, at least, others have forgotten how to cut wood. Others seem to be obsessed with accessories. In other words, it’s just like any other season of Survivor. Wacky and unpredictable.

Who knew that Shirin would be viewed as a sage Survivor analyst? Who knew that we would get not one, but two, anecdotes from older male Survivors about how their kids have either true crushes or man crushes on younger Survivors? Who knew that Abi would be just as crazy as ever? Oh wait, that third one was completely expected.

What I didn’t expect was that yoga would be used as a negative for poor Vytas. I don’t believe that it was the actual practice of yoga that got him in trouble – it was just an excuse to get him out. Shirin said it more accurately – it was his connection to Terry that was the threat. It seems that Aras and Terry became best buds after Exile Island – and thus, Terry and big brother are now bros too. And Shirin has learned this little fact and used it to take him out.

One more unexpected fact…Vytas and I have the exact same type of underwear. Me Undies. Great website – even better under garments. Good taste, Vytas. I will say…I make it work better. Just saying.

In all seriousness, I was sad to see him go. However, I am fairly sure that I’ll be saying that a lot this season. Most of these past Survivors were enjoyable to watch the first time around. Even Kass. That’s the sign of a good piece of casting – this group. Think about what the vast majority of them all have in common – a real true love of the game, and a burning hunger to play it again. That’s what makes it a potentially great season.

Case in point – Jeff Varner. I will admit – it’s been a long time since I watched Australia. And it is not one of my favorite seasons. I remember that he got a little bit screwed over thanks to Skupin’s injury and Colby’s excellent fake out. Other than that…I don’t remember a thing about Varner. And here he is. And boy, wasn’t he interesting to watch. Remember him at the live vote last season? He leapt out of his seat like it was full of spikes. And he is playing hard – a bit awkwardly, but he’s playing hard. 14 years later.
Great job, Survivor. Now let’s hope that it plays out well.

Five Best Things I Saw

1 – Kelley Wentworth. I KNOW! I’m surprised too. Going into this – I thought she was a bad selection for the season. Honestly. And now I feel like an idiot. Don’t mess it up, Kelley. Even though I’m a little pissed for my notetaking shorthand that we have two Kelly Ws on the roster. She’ll have to be E from now on. E with the sexy high blue socks. E with the hidden immunity idol. It may have been one of my favorite pieces of editing ever seen before on this show – watching E looking back and forth from the ongoing challenge to the spot where she knew the idol was hidden. Amazing. Would she grab it despite having all 19 other players right there? Yes. Yes she will. This gorgeous blonde woman actually has balls. And that’s what Survivor does for us all.

2 – Kelly Wiglesworth. She’s back. And she will now be No E because I need symmetry. That’s right – this guy is giving a stupid nickname to one of the most important figures in the history of Survivor. But she’s back. And she is clearly not very interested in talking about how she lost to Richard Hatch. By one vote – because Greg was a massive flake. And because this is Survivor…she of course got another shot at the first ever challenge. And lost it again. Of course. Watching her and Varner go again – you can see that time is not an ally of Survivor players. It’s friggin hard to do. I am pulling for No E – there are no flaky crazy people this season like Greg, right?

3 – Abi. Oh yeah. That’s right. Someone our voters watched the first time around and say…oh yeah, let’s put this crazy person back on TV. She has told us that she doesn’t want to be crazy. But because this is TV – you know that this cannot happen. The crazy will win. It will win quickly. It will manifest faster than Francesca can get voted out of Survivor. It already has started – someone took her bracelet, and that person is PG. Um, what? Why would a professional jewelry maker (really) travel out to Cambodia to go on television and steal a piece of crap bracelet from a crazy woman? And if the previews from next week are any indication – we get night vision drama from her. The best part? She keeps saying how much she wants to not be crazy. It’s like the person we all know that complains about the assholes they date…and then they keep dating assholes. It’s just going to happen. Just run with it.

4 – Survivor producers. I love the fact that we are in Season 31 and the show keeps finding cool stuff to do. I loved how they had the Survivors board a boat to get stuff – that’s been done before – but then making them race to get to another boat to claim a big bag of rice. First of all – Big Bag of Rice is my favorite swing band. Second of all – so cool. I loved how Big E tried to swim all the way. Didn’t she learn from Steph? And then had to have Wooooooo! bail her out after SuperJoe tried to pass her.

5 – Insane Bro Posse. I don’t like this too much, I just wanted to come up with a fun nickname for them. We have Namesake, Savage and SuperJoe banded together on one tribe and poor Stephen Fishbach left on the outside. They are broing out so much that a football game almost broke out. They started watching old episodes of “Entourage.” One of them single handedly took down a tree. Ok, that last one actually happened. And poor Fishy couldn’t even cut a branch – and he got a sad goofy music montage showing him failing to actually cut anything. This guy finished second in his season – and he is getting the goofy edit after one episode. As someone who has always related to the nerds like Fishy – I am hoping he manages to put something together with Keith and the ladies on the tribe. But, doesn’t look good.

Survivor: Second Chances – Season 31 Preview – Who Will Earn Redemption?

Guess who’s back. Back again. Shady’s back. Tell a friend.

Honestly, I have no idea if I can do this with my insane schedule. But I am going to try. This season is such a cool idea and is completely Rodney-free…I just have to try. Between the new job (yay – unemployment sucks!), classes (yep, I’m gonna be that old guy sitting in the back trying to keep up), and getting re-married (double yay – divorce and dating both suck!), time is going to be a challenge. Not a Reward Challenge – I have plenty of chocolate and peanut butter here if Jenna and Heidi were asking.
But a challenge.

Forgive me for some weeks of late posts and possible short analyses. Some weeks it could just be something like this – “Did you see that? What was Woooooo! thinking?!?! Time to go to bed. G’nite.”

But I think that after last season’s Collection of Horrible People and The Dumb Ass Things They Say…we have a great season ahead of us. Many fans have been clamoring for years for the show to give second chances to many of the past contestants that had never gotten the Boston Rob, James, Parvati treatment and been brought back several times. There are tons of great Survivor players, crazy characters, hot men and women, and strong personalities that are just itching to return. Hooray for good ideas!

I both liked and hated the idea of having the fans vote. First, it’s a nice thing to put the fans in charge of something – we have been watching this show for 15 years and the only thing we have ever really had in our control was the stupid Fan Vote after All-Stars that gave Rupert and undeserved million bucks. And that leads me into the reason I hated the fan vote – people are pretty stupid. Case in point – Wooooo! is back, and Shane Powers is not. Wha? Come on people – Woooooo! gave a million bucks to Tony while Shane carved a BlackBerry out of a piece of wood. I mean, outside of government jobs, no one even use BlackBerrys anymore! Imagine what this guy could do with an Iphone 6?

Anyway, we also have a great innovation that I think could be fascinating – hidden idols at challenges. You get the clues at camp and then have to find them at the challenge. Awesome. I am really looking forward to seeing these people try and crawl through and obstacle course while searching for an idol. And add to that this…the idols could look like a carved bear on a rope necklace, or it could just be an everyday object. Jason and Eliza’s stick argument could actually be obsolete.

Overall, the fans did a pretty good job, and the show did well in providing us with some solid names to pick from. I’m still amazed a couple of them made the cut – Kelly Whatshername from Blood vs. Water 2 over Carolyn from last season? Did the fans expect Carolyn to win so her votes wound up staying home? Of course, the underachieving hot woman has won the second time around before…cough…Amber…cough.

So without further ado…Your Second Chance Survivors:

Survivor: Worlds Apart – Ep 3 – Cannon Fodder Follies

So, we had a great first two episodes and I guess a step backwards isn’t that big of a deal. I think after most of us witnessed the events of the first two we all realized that some of the people on this season were really not long for the world of Survivor. Incompetence in challenges, inability to communicate at camp, and utter annoyance just means that some folks are either early cannon fodder, or just horrible enough for savvy players to keep around at a voting foil at the end.

I feel confident in saying that Nina, Will, Mike and Shirin are four such players. Not that they aren’t really nice people, or successful at what they do in the real world – but so far after over a week in the controlled jungle of Survivor…they are not cutting it. Let’s take them one at a time, and add one more for good luck.

Mike – Oh boy. I am not too sure if Mike has actually watched a season of Survivor, or if he just based it on the descriptions friends of relatives who read about Survivor 10 years ago provided to him. Yes, it is very important to have a well functioning camp. You really can’t sit around all day and assume the work will get done. However, one thing is for certain…if you do the opposite, your tribe will hate you.

Mike needs to listen to Lloyd Dobbler and chill! When the show does a montage of anything done by a Survivor…you know it is bad. Last week, it was a montage of Nina and her tribe failing to communicate. This week, it was of Mike chopping wood. Mike is pissed that he feels like he’s doing all of the hard work. Lindsey sums up the Blues rather accurately by stating that Blue Collar workers love to critique others’ work ethic because they each think they do it better. Very wise observation.

Mike’s proverbial nailing himself on the cross took a poor turn when he got on Rodney’s case for the last time. Rodney wanted to know if there was a “C” on Mike’s shirt, a sports reference to a player being selected as team captain. Rodney wants to eat before he helps get the firewood. Mike wants him to do it now. Rodney doesn’t like morning wood. Mike likes it quite a bit. Most guys? Big fans.

Rodney goes to get the wood and tosses it violently in the corner as Mike pleads his martyr case to the ladies. And then Lindsey owns him. She rips into him about how they cook the food, help with the chores and keeps the fire going. He doesn’t seem to be willing to give her the props, and she exclaims, “How to f*** do you think the fire got there? Your God? Did he make it with his beard?” Snerk.

Mike’s takeaway? Offended because of the blasphemy. Sigh. Totally missed the point and likely will never see the point. Rodney said it earlier, “ain’t nobody gonna be my daddy” out on the show. Mike can’t see the others and is amazed that they don’t see him the way he sees himself. Classic.

Shirin – Let me just point out…I like Shirin. However, her tribe doesn’t seem as much into her. I can’t imagine why – who doesn’t like a long, aggressive eyewitness account of Howler Monkey After Dark? Personally, I love learning about the mating of monkeys. I would especially enjoy it after several days of sleep, food and water depravation. Carolyn thinks Shirin is crazy and can’t imagine how she survived in Corporate America. Shirin can’t imagine how the monkeys don’t want to snuggle after sex.

Later, the tribe is going idol searching – something we incredibly don’t see the Blues and Nos doing – despite the fact that Carolyn already has it. Shirin and Max are going together, while Joaquin is off trying on his own. Remember, he was aligned with So and is on the outs with the tribe. Shirin suggests a truce in the search because, obviously, it is a fruitless endeavor. He chooses to be a dick. He compares her to a mosquito, and I am comparing him to a dick. That seems fair.

Joaquin – or Joaq, as Tyler calls him…or guac as I heard it the first time – tells her she needs to find it. Shirin calls him on this and tries to bait him into telling her that she is on the outs, not him. He is increasingly dismissive and obnoxious. My read? He thinks he’s a stud. And maybe he is back home – maybe his charms work on a lot of women. However, if a woman fails to fall for his brand of bro charm, then he has no use for her. This is textbook. Shirin sees through him and so he wants to get rid of her. Shirin and I have a common enemy here, so I am hopeful that he’s not long for the game.

The interesting part is that Guac shared the clue with Tyler. Now, as we all know, it mattered very little since Tyler is aware of Carolyn’s possession of the idol. However, it could lead to a pairing of these guys which could lead to some interesting drama with the Whites. The 4-1 vs. Guac seems most likely, but who knows what’s going to go down now.

Will – He seems like a nice guy. I have great respect for anyone who can dance and sing in public and not feel self-conscious. So, I can see how he got cast on the show. He’s, well, interesting. He also has a sharp wit. He could be a lot of fun if he lasts this season. Unfortunately, I can’t see him lasting very long.

Yet again, Will struggled physically during the challenge. All of the Nos were winded thanks to Pretty Boy Joe’s moronic strategy, but Will was even more winded. This trend does not bode well for him long term. His only hope, in my opinion, is that the Nos start to win challenges. If he can make it to the merge, then his failings in challenges will actually help him stick around. But that’s still a few episodes away. And the Nos better start shaping up.

Survivor: Worlds Apart – Eps 1 and 2 – So What? And The Assistant Coach Is A Poor Remake

On the day of Episode 3, I have finally caught up with this season of Survivor. This past month involved a whole lot of travel, the start of a new job, my engagement to my beautiful fiancé and the ongoing efforts to merge all of our stuff together in the house. It’s been a bit crazy. I still haven’t watched the end of Top Chef! And House of Cards is sitting there waiting for me to binge watch.

But enough of that…we have Season 30 of Survivor to get into.

I like it.

That’s right – once again, a gimmick idea that Survivor producers have come up with had a chance of totally crashing and burning and somehow managed to totally work. At least so far. I remember when the show did the ethnic season (Cook Islands) it seemed to be a disaster waiting to happen. In fact, it started out pretty horrible and then it turned into one of the best seasons. It happens time and again – blood vs. water, Exile Island, etc.

The one exception is Redemption Island – the Boston Rob season started out so good and then got tiring as he dominated a bad bunch and Philips’ antics took center stage. Worlds Apart has started out this way – pretty great. Let’s hope it becomes something great by the end and not something tedious.

The season has three tribes divided by profession – White Collar, Blue Collar and No Collar. White = executives and corporate America people…those usually in charge. Blue = the vast majority of American workers…those who built America on their labor. No = people who live by their own rules and work in some of the more offbeat jobs. How will they interact with each other…and then once their tribes merge? Pretty fascinating.

One would expect the bosses to clash over who is going to be the Alpha Dog – and that’s already happened. However, unexpected is that these folks are better with their hands and in challenges than expected. The worker bees should be great at the physical aspects of the game, but would they be leaderless? Again, not unexpected to see them do well physically and to see them push back against someone who makes them feel as if they aren’t working hard. And the no collars? Creativity was expected, but the ruthlessness was not…I think that’s unexpected and very possible.

Because of the late nature of things, I will do a lot of Treemail Top 10s in this column. Let’s do a little on each person first, and then the challenges.

Masaya Tribe – The White Collars.

Max – He taught a class on Survivor in college. That’s hard-core. He’s also embraced the Richard Hatch School of Naked Survivoring. He is instantly one of my favorite ones this season – and to have him be on the White Collar team surprises me.

So – I disliked from the minute she said she made people cry at work. That’s everything I hate about corporate America.

Joaquin – I hate him instantly. He is every dude who thinks they are hot stuff but are really just assholes in a suit. I bet he gets a lot of women to fall for it and then treats them like garbage. Why did he gravitate to So? Because she’s hot. Of course, she’s too smart to fall for his crap. Maybe if he gets voted out soon they can flirt some more at the resort holding the early boots.

Carolyn – Also an unexpected favorite. I love how she instantly could tell that Joaquin and So were lying – extra funny because they thought they were such good liars – and she beat them to the hidden idol. So perfect. I also respect how she rolled her dice a bit and trusted the group that So was going to go instead of her. Now she has an idol and a majority alliance in the tribe.

Tyler – A former talent agent and NFL placekicker (really, how often do you get to say that sentence?), he is also a budding star from this season. Seeing him trying to carry on a conversation with Shirin as she was naked from the waist down…may be Top 10 in funniest Survivor moments ever.

Shirin – A Yahoo executive who has been a fan of the show since she was 16. She’s also catching the Hatch disease.

Survivor: San Juan Del Sur – Finale – Twinnie Coronation

Season 29 ends and you can tell it is not the best one when my favorite parts of the finale were seeing Keith break the fourth wall and do multiple takes on a confessional, and seeing Slackjaw Alec show up a couple of more times. Good times.

Anyway, it’s over. We move on to Season 30 after a rather subpar Season 29. But before we can move our attention to this new season, we need to wrap up Blood vs. Water 2. It was not a good season, but it wasn’t the worst. Things that this season had over bad seasons of the past – a number of likable players making the end, a lot of big moves, some great humor and a good winner.

We had five options, but only two of them would have been satisfying winners. Natalie was the one playing the hardest and playing the smartest. Keith was one of the most interesting and amusing Survivors in quite some time. BayMiss were playing, but it surely wasn’t all that interesting or likable. Jaclyn’s really hot. That’s about it. If Keith won, it would have been fun, but he would have simply been an older version of Fabio. He did ok with some aspects of the game – he won challenges, he charmed, and he managed to survive. But none of it was really due to his moves. He was never the master of his own destiny, except when he won challenges.

But he didn’t win. Natalie won. And I still can’t get over that I wound up rooting for a Twinnie this season. It is fascinating how she actually brought her A game to the show after losing her twin. They bookended the season – coming in first and last. I truly believe, and I think Natalie would agree, she would not have won if her twin didn’t get booted first. It’s almost as if that move snapped her into Game Mode.

I think she had already won the game with the moves made up to the Final Five, but she wasn’t done with making big moves. Natalie had an idol in her pocket and she wasn’t about to go home with a souviener. The question was going to be…how. Keith won immunity, so that option was gone. Jaclyn seemed the logical choice for the next vote, and the blonde beauty didn’t seem like she either had the ability to make it or the opportunity.

That was until Natalie chose an odd and somewhat brilliant move. If she took out Jaclyn, and Keith won immunity in the Final Four…she was done. Or at bare minimum, she had a fire challenge in her future. She realized that despite having her close alliance with BayMiss, her only move here was to break up that pair. She could have gathered up Keith and Jaclyn and told them to vote Baylor, but instead she chose a more dramatic move.

By playing her idol for Jaclyn and using just the two women’s votes as the deciding votes, she eliminated the Keith Wild Card. She remembered what happened to Reed. Plus, a dramatic idol play is one way to make a big show for the jury. It was an excellent move. It also made more sense to take out Baylor here because she may have had some votes on the jury and she was an immunity threat.

Survivor: San Juan Del Sur – Ep 13 – The Red Wedding of Season 29

OK – Congrats to Blood vs. Water 2. You have now officially avoided the bottom of the barrel when it comes to seasons of Survivor. Between the idol madness that led to Fartman’s ouster and this episode – you now have a couple of big moments to cling to and it is actually possible that you may produce a worthy winner.

I said last week that Natalie had won me over despite my poor memories of her Amazing Race days. Well, now I can add that I am truly rooting for her to win this whole shooting match. And if not her, then I want Keith to be the most accidental winner this side of Fabio. At least Fabio made a couple of moves at the end. Keith is just hanging in there while the others around him make bizarre decisions and eat each other whole.

The big news this week – the APC is no more. It’s about time. Never can I recall a player who did so well in placement, came so close to winning, and had no idea what they were doing. And then came Other Jon.

He managed to survive each week and I have yet to truly understand how that happened – other than that others simply kept screwing up all around him. The APC has been a swing vote so often, and that was baffling to the APC. However, this is Survivor – being a swing vote is fairly common. How they wound up in that position week in and week out was because they were never actually in a strong alliance. They were never really trusted even if they were liked. As a result, no one felt true loyalty to them. When you are ready to flip your allegiance on fart-related reasons, you just can’t be taken seriously.

Other Jon made hjs big move by betraying Namesake, and the reason he chose to make that move was because he screwed up with the idol and Exile Island. That failure led to him making a secret enemy in Natalie who learned the old lesson that you keep your friends close and your enemies closer. This week she turned into Michael Corleone mixed with Walder Frey, or anyone else in pop culture you can think of who waited patiently to obliterate their grudges.

This was the Red Wedding of Survivor – with less bloodshed. I bet Reed wishes he pulled it off, as do I because The Reed Wedding would have been a much better title to the episode.

Some props to Jaclyn who did sense that something was up. Other Jon was so very clueless to the plot around him that he did not listen to her. Maybe he’s still busy trying to make sure he got credit for all the moves. Not playing the idol now was doubly confounding when you consider that there was only one more tribal left for him to play it. Now John and Other Jon get to go home with an idol in their pockets.

Natalie played him like a harp from hell and orchestrated a truly brilliant blindside. It was compounded by the unexpected complication of Missy failing to see the logic to it. She claimed to have given Other Jon her word and would not move against him even though her daughter – Her DAUGHTER – was telling her this was the move to make. I found it ironic that Baylor had to literally carry her mother on her back at one point in the episode since she’s been doing it figuratively for quite some time. The worst part of that? Baylor isn’t even very good at this!

Let’s talk for a minute about the other Missy news from the episode. She badly hurt her ankle during the Reward Challenge. She hurt it so badly that it swelled up and she was unable to put pressure on it. At the Reward spa day, Keith and Baylor must have whipped up some makeshift healing sock or something but it was clearly not sufficient. She was in great pain and needed medical attention. I think the Survivor medical rules are so squishy they are becoming super frustrating. On the early seasons, they wouldn’t give them anything to help with small injuries. I cannot recall any time in the past when a contestant was given a cast or rudimentary crutches. Why was Missy allowed to stay in the game if she needed these devices? It seems totally against the concept of the game. I can only guess that they didn’t want to remove a Final Six contestant unless she was in danger of death.