Category Archives: Survivor

Survivor: Cagayan – Ep 6 – Quitters Never Win…Obviously

I know you’ve heard this song and dance before – but really, I mean it this time. I am mostly caught up on a lot of the backlog I have been working through at home and at work and am crossing my fingers that I will reset my schedule and routine to enable a more timely post to you folks. Especially next week when the merge comes and the game begins to take shape for the later episodes.

This week we had two Survivors depart for the price of one – and they couldn’t have been framed as more diametrically opposite as possible. We had a quit and a vote out. Normally, when there’s a quit – Probst has no use for them. Remember the double-quit from NaOnka and Purple Kelly? Probst was livid. Remember Osten? That torch may still be laying in the Pearl Islands because Probst wants to prove a point. And Colton got verbally abused by the host last season for what was likely his second quit.

So why did Lindsay get off so easily? Probst essentially praised her for choosing to quit rather than risk doing something she would regret with Trish. This all stemmed from the pitch black/night vision argument between the two women following the Cliff blindside. After their verbal venom exchange, Lindsay felt like she would potentially do harm to Trish. So instead of having her daughter see that immortalized on television – she quit.

I guess when described that way it seems noble. However, it seems she doesn’t mind that her daughter witnessed her insulting Trish’s appearance, mannerisms and age on television. Mocking is fine for parental guidance, I guess. It’s ok to have her daughter learn that giving up rather than controlling your own outburst and emotions is preferable. I get that walking away is a good way to avert a situation – but not getting fired up to the point where you feel you may get physical is a bigger lesson to learn.

Perhaps if Lindsay didn’t time this noble gesture for the moment where her game got blown up. She was fine sitting back and mocking Trish from a position of power – but in the face of some gloating she fell completely apart. Perhaps a lesson she could have taught was that in the face of adversity, you find inner strength and power through and do your best. And who knows – maybe a merge is about to come and the game is going to be blown up all over again. Oh well.

Meanwhile, Alexis played hard and felt as if she was in a good spot, but the tribe elected to trust Jeremiah and Sarah over her and sent her packing in tears. She really wanted to stay – and part of me wished the show had a provision where in the event someone quits AND they keep a scheduled elimination in place that the person is given the choice if they want to join the other tribe. Not sure how feasible that is – but at least it would offset losing someone who truly, truly wants to be there.

And as for her ouster – I think the Brains made a big mistake here. They were fearful of her allegiance to LJ and Jefra – and they are likely correct that this would be a big concern. However, that’s only three people. And why would Alexis join up with them as the bottom rung of a Beauty/Brawn alliance? The Brains are also putting an awful lot of trust into Sarah who DOES have strong allegiance to the three Brawns on the other side. She can flip and be in the majority of the majority. Alexis couldn’t unless she took Jeremiah – who she was flipping on – or Morganna, who she was not aligned with. The Brains have taken a bit risk in believing Sarah is with them.

The only way Sarah doesn’t flip – in my opinion – is if she has been given a solid Final Four alliance with the Brains. And even then, I think she’s still about 50-50 with her chances. I will also add that Sarah is now in a horrible position – she will piss off the Brains if she flips and likely lose their votes. She will piss off her old alliance if she stays and likely lose their votes. She is the swing vote and there is really few worse positions to be in on Survivor.

A little bit about Pitbull and then we can wrap up. He is really playing hard. But oftentimes with someone playing very hard, he makes one move too many. I didn’t think it would work, but his gambit with Jeremiah worked almost perfectly. After winning the reward, he and Woooooooo! got a chance to raid the other camp (I loved the return of the raiding). They also got a clue to the idol. They chose to pretend that they were told to give it to a member of the other tribe. They targeted Jeremiah as someone strong and hoped the other tribe would go after him because of the clue and because of friendliness from the other side. He even thought to have Jeremiah read it in private and to get it back from him afterwards. Nice creative move. Jeremiah knew it was a clue to the idol from the old Beauty camp – so he wasn’t tricked. But the rest of the tribe seemed to buy it hook, line and sinker – even if their fishing gear was just raided.

Nice move – but then Pitbull gave it right back in his giddiness by telling his whole tribe that he was going to be totally honest with them…and revealed he was a cop. LJ said it best – “To solidify his trustworthiness, Tony admitted that he lied….Different.” HA! LJ just jumped about 20 points in my imaginary scorecard.

I think Pitbull is going too hard – and has some math issues (five is not more than half of 11). Unless he is counting Sarah as in the fold, but then why chant “Final Five!?” I wonder if that will be a major unforced error if it prevents Sarah from flipping back to his side. We will find out very, very soon.

Treemail Top 10
1 – Lindsay didn’t want to “stick around Trish’s mouth.” She could have just stayed arms length away. Unless she was looking for a smooch.
2 – Spencer after learning of the Cliff/Lindsay twofer – “Two people are out of the game…and I didn’t have to do anything.” Yup. Sure helps.
3 – Reward Challenge – I like this one. Survivors go one-on-one holding a small platform with an idol balanced on it. They must knock the other person’s idol to the ground to win. First tribe to four wins. The right play is sort of what Spencer did – toss you own up in the air and lunge at the other. However, I think Spencer did it by accident and didn’t realize it, because he didn’t do it the second time. The Spencer/Woo battles were the best ones as they eyed each other over and over. The funniest one was Jefra just dropping hers as Sarah approached her.
4 – Look in the eyes, Pitbull. If you look to close at Morganna’s…assets…you will become hypnotized.
5 – The Shame on You Lindsay message in the sand would have been so much more clever if they spelled her name correctly.
6 – Did Trish admit that she is really a man….baby.
7 – Alexis on Jeremiah – “He’s so dumb, he wouldn’t know how to lie.” Next up – your mamma jokes.
8 – Why was Spencer doing a confessional from between three trees? Was he, er, relieving himself?
9 – Elimination Challenge – The editing of the show was so heavy handed this week that you knew Aparri was going to lose. This was a mixed bag of about 15 challenges in one. All you need to know is you had to do an obstacle course and end with a puzzle. Sarah and Spencer struggled on the second number in the puzzle and allowed LJ and Woo, with some Pitbull verbal clues, to come from behind and win. Another Brain loss on the puzzles.
10 – Tribal – meh – not all that interesting other than Alexis’ tears. Kass’ quote about how the Brains needed a body to rule the game was kind of cool. She claims to have found their zombies. And the Survivor/Walking Dead crossover begins.

Votes – Alexis 6 (Spencer, Tasha, Kass, Jeremiah, Sarah, Morganna), Jeremiah 1 (Alexis)

Next episode – We merge. And Sarah is, of course, in the middle.

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Survivor: Cagayan – Ep 5 – The Meek Shall Inherit The Tribe

So, I was out of town for a few days and began working a new job this week. It was also my first week living as a single dad, without my kid, so it was a bit weird. That’s my really, really good excuse for a late and short Survivor column this week. You guys ok with that? It’s not as if you really have a choice after all.

Anyway, this week showed two things about Survivor that we should always remember – first, contestants should never give up because the downtrodden can quickly become the powerful. The second is that sometimes on this show, we really don’t see everything that’s going on.

I’m going to go with that second part initially. Having watched these few episodes, I am unclear as to what was really going on with the Brawns, other than Pitbull’s scheming, that would translate into the clear desire to eliminate Cliff. Trish kept calling him shady – and I just don’t get it. Cliff was not really a compelling Survivor – he didn’t say very much, but he seemed amiable enough. So, either we saw a LOT of shadiness edited out, or this was all Trish and Pitbull. Either way, it was completely worth it for the stunned reaction shots we got from Lindsay and Woooooooooo!!

Pitbull clearly wanted the big man out for some time because he was both threatened by him physically, and he initially started in the minority of that tribe’s power structure. He worked hard on Sarah and Trish to influence them to go with him and clearly it worked. Trish was not only at the bottom of that same power structure, but the show seemed to indicate that she wanted to link up – strategically and socially – with LJ after the tribal shuffle. The tribe’s loss and LJ’s potential ouster at the vote seemed to seriously motivate her to make a move against Cliff. And just like that, we have a new power alliance in one tribe – Pitbull, Trish, LJ and Jefra.

Meanwhile, on the other new tribe, we had all three refugees from the BRAAAAAAAIIIIIIINNSSSS tribe (sorry – my last time getting to do that – and I want to link to Urban Dictionary here…and well, Google it to know what I am talking about.) magically picking the same new buff and forming a formidable voting bloc on the new Aparri Tribe – the actual name of the former Brawn tribe. Officer Sarah was the only one left from the Brawns, so it made sense for her to link up with the Brains against the transferring Beauties. However, that’s not what appears to have happened. Granted, we won’t know for certain since they didn’t go to Tribal Council, but interestingly enough it was Alexis who finally showed up this season.

I thought at the time that Morganna’s lie about the idol or rice moment at the beginning was being shown to us for a reason – and, granted, as lies go, it was pretty solid lie. But we saw it for this reason – Sarah innocently outed her. As Cop Rock welcomed the Brains and Beauties to her camp, she mentioned the extra rice that Trish elected to collect. Genius Garrett was gone, so his idol search didn’t amount to anything – and even if he got the extra rice, the Vulcan just would have dumped it. However, Morganna’s decision came back to bite her here – Alexis was not happy and, seemingly, instantly went over to the Brains. Interestingly, we got to see the Brain Block get a complete information download from all three Beauties who came over. With the Beauties fractured and Sarah an apparent swing vote, the Brains have gone from an endangered species to being the power brokers in the Aparri Tribe.

I’ll go a step further – the editing of this season seems to be leading to a merge clash between the Brains and Pitbull. Let’s speculate. There are 13 left – and with a Final Three and potentially a nine-person jury, we have a merge in two weeks. Maybe three weeks. If Aparri wins again, they go in up 7-5 in numbers, with Sarah likely defecting. That leaves it at a 6-6 tie and the likely swing vote of Wooooooo!! or Lindsay becoming huge. If Salana wins, I can see Sarah go, and a 6-6 tie at the merge being completely crazy – will Woo/Lindsay bolt? Will the Beauties re-form? That could be fun.

Treemail Top 10
1 – Did I imagine it, or did the cameraman trip over the shelter just a bit after the Vulcan vote out? Perhaps he wasn’t watching his night vision.
2 – Someone must have made a Crap For Brains Tribe t-shirt by now, right?
3 – Reward Challenge – I love this type of challenge. It is very physical – one person essentially clings to a pole while the other tribe tries to remove them and drag them across the finish line. They competed for the right to take gigantic sugar craps in the woods…er…a pile of donuts and cookies. No word on if there were any cronuts. The best battle was Morganna/Sarah battling Lindsay and beating Trish/Jefra against Tasha. Spencer/Jeremiah had to, twice, remove Cliff from the pole. That’s a rough task. Alexis was removed so quickly they went back in time. And Officer Sarah battled, but Lindsay/Pitbull took her out too. Even though she lost her shoes. I did appreciate Lindsay wrapping Morganna in a scissors lock.
4 – Spencer – It was nice to upgrade from the moms to the hot girls. I’m sure it was. Although sometimes they can be both. I’m just saying.
5 – So, was Trish drawn to LJ because of Boston? Or because he was hot? Hmm…I’ve been to Boston. It’s nice. But I wouldn’t base my Survivor strategy on the randomness of birthplace. Even if the chowder is good. But at least she put “Mrs. Robinson” in my head.
6 – This episode of Survivor had way too many references to twerking with no footage of actual twerking.
7 – Immunity Challenge – Carry a big, long pole (shut up you guys) and bash your way through a wooden wall. The pole then becomes a table maze. At the end – get it on. Bang a gong. Get it on. The Brawn-led tribe dominated early, but a nice move by Spencer to restructure the Brain-led tribe’s set up permitted them to say close. They squeaked their way to the win on the maze.
8 – I am not sure if I love or despise Lindsay for her bluntness and candor. I ride the fence on that one. She does have great hair. And introduced me to the phrase – “I’ll swear on anything I love.”
9 – LJ must have gotten one heck of a reassurance from his new alliance for him to choose to keep his idol. Because, boy, that’s a risk.
10 – Tribal – Only highlight…Cliff gets to make one NBA reference before getting the snuff.

Vote – Cliff 4 (LJ, Jefra, Pitbull, Trish), LJ 3 (Cliff, Lindsay, Woooooooooo!!)

Next Week – Lindsay vs. Trish. And Probst has to make a camp appearance.

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Survivor: Cagayan – Ep 4 – Brains Save Brawn From Themselves

Sorry for the late posting, and I am hopeful the era of my late postings will be ending now (or at least lessened). I will say I have some pretty damn good excuses this week – on Thursday, I spent the day visiting my new office as I start a new job next week. Also on Thursday, I officially became a single man again for the first time in a very long time – although I’ve unofficially had that status for a great number of weeks. And then on Friday I rushed myself to the doctor after I thought I was having a cardiac incident. It seems I wasn’t – but interestingly enough…it seems I have been experiencing some stress recently.

But I am ok. The world has continued to spin. Doors have closed and new ones have opened. Sunrise, sunset. Here I stand in the light of day. Let the storm rage on, the cold never bothered me anyway.

Who is not ok? The BRAAAAAAAIIIIINNNNSSS tribe. Thankfully for the remaining members – they will be subject to a consolidation next week as the remaining 14 Survivors are likely going to be split into two seven-person tribes. And you never know in this game – Denise and Malcolm came from one of the worst tribes in show history and made it to the end. Then there was the Samoa, Russell-dominated tribe that got hammered in the beginning but then turned it around to take out the larger tribe. Then there was the Yul/Ozzy mutiny-decimated tribe who just kept winning. There are many examples of horrible early performances that turned into great Survivor success stories.

But for now…their incompetence is blinding. At least, finally, the Vulcan met her demise. It’s incredible to me that she even made it as far as she did. It is possible she may be the worst Survivor contestant to ever make it double digits in days. Think about it – is there anything she did well on the show? She was bad at leading the construction of the shelter. She was epically horrible at puzzles. She couldn’t do the physical challenges. And, of course, there was the rice incident. It is incredible she lasted this long and if the geniuses were even remotely considering keeping her around, they were insane.

There was a good point made – they had more of a chance for the Vulcan to be loyal once the buffs got dropped. But there was still a real chance they were not getting dropped, and if that was the case, they needed Spencer much more. Finally, someone on that tribe made a wise decision!

I’ve also noticed on this season a much greater emphasis on the long game rather than the short game. It is what doomed Marlin Dave in the first episode and it is evident in some of the drama taking place with the Brawn and Beauty tribes. Early on in Survivor you have to keep your tribes strong and win immunities and prepare for game twists and the eventual merge. Numbers are key. Later on you can turn on your strong tribemates – but don’t rush it.

And now I am looking directly at you Brawn Tribe. Really? Throwing a challenge to oust one of your strongest people? Are you out of your minds? How many times do we need to see a tribe throw a challenge to eliminate someone and then have it completely backfire on them? Officer Sarah needs to brush up on her Survivor history. I had high hopes for her – she seemed to be a good player right away, but boy, she has fallen hook, line and sinker for Pitbull’s BS.

Let’s assume for a moment that Pitbull’s story about Uncle Cliffy and Lindsay was true. How do you deal with that? You bide your time, Sarah. Brawn tribe hasn’t lost yet. You have numbers over both of the other two tribes. Keep your people together. It is possible that you won’t be doing a full shakeup – so keep all six of your people in line to take out any newcomers. If you are totally shaken up – you may wind up on a tribe with Cliff and Lindsay, along with four Beauty and Brains people. You may need these two. Just suck it up and keep winning and get into a good position. Later on…THEN you take them out.

Blowing a challenge on purpose only gives hope to the hopeless. Think Pearl Islands. That blown challenge led to a giant comeback and a tied merge. Think Redemption Island. Rob’s team hadn’t won a thing and was starting to fracture before the blown challenge to take out Russell took place. Zapatera could have just dealt with Russell for long enough to knock out Rob’s tribe and then teamed up to take down Russell.

Just stop blowing challenges, people. It is just not a good idea.

The only thing that kept the Brawns from doing something amazingly stupid was the complete and utter futility of the Vulcan and the Brains. Four people and only Spencer seemed capable of doing anything. If two of them were somewhat competent, then the Brawns’ foolish plan would have worked. But one on four is not a recipe for success.

The stupidity of the Immunity Challenge –clearly won by the Beauties against a lame Brains and a quitting Brawns – was offset by the brilliance of the comedic Reward Challenge. Blindfolded Survivor challenges are always comic gold. This time, they had the inspiration to place all of the obstacles at crotch levels. Hysterically, they seemed to forbid Probst from saying crotch, or groin, or nether regions, or Happy Land, or whatever. It meant Probst had to tiptoe around the words like the famous masturbation episode of Seinfeld. Clearly, I am not forbidden to use the words.

And speaking of stupidity…how is it possible to NOT KNOW HOW EGGS WORK? I understand that these pretty people are walking stereotypes but come on. The “Egg Chicken Process” is not rocket science. Although as we learned from the Vulcan, rocket science doesn’t always translate into wise decisions. So yes, Alexis, the rooster and the hen need to “get it on.” Science teachers around the world are sad. At least they heard of the word asexual.

This episode was fun due to the crotch attacks, the Vulcan elevating pathetic to new levels and the Brawn tribe being saved from themselves, but otherwise this was a bit of a placeholder. The Vulcan was never going to make it far and her elimination was overdue. And we are just an episode away from a shuffle – so we will get some new drama this way.

Treemail Top 10
1 – I will give Morganna credit – she came out pot stirring after the Brice vote out. She immediately started to point the finger at Jeremiah because otherwise she is the next target. (Of course, there is no further Beauty Tribe after next week, but still, she didn’t know that). Part of me wants to see Morganna and Spencer team up and make some noise going forward. That could be fun.
2 – Also, Jeremiah may be a pretty male model, but let’s not joke around…the man has some oratory issues. He can choke a chicken well. (see what I did there, callback)
3 – I assume LJ didn’t get much screen time this week because his crotch was hurting way too much. However, he did have the hysterical choice of covering up with his hand as a makeshift athletic protector.
4 – I need a gif of Lindsay getting conked on the head and falling over in a cartoonish way. Loved that. That one, along with Kass essentially humping a barrel.
5 – The Vulcan was so bad at the challenges that it made me think she was trying to be the worst Survivor at challenges in history.
6 – Survivor teaches us many things – this week we learned the answer to the age old question – what came first, the chicken or the egg. The answer? The dinosaurs. Thanks for that, LJ.
7 – Boy, Woooooooooooo! sure has gone to the Jeremiah School Of Oratory Skills. And clearly missed the classes on loyalty as well. I weep for the end of CliffWoo.
8 – So surprising to see a basketball challenge on a season featuring a basketball player. I wonder if Marlin Dave survived if we would get a luxury tax calculation challenge.
9 – Who expected Spencer to be the challenge monster this season? That was an amazing performance this week – he singlehandedly almost won that second place for them against the tanking Brawns. Meanwhile, I watched it twice – I don’t think Alexis actually participated in the challenge even though she was not sitting out.
10 – At Tribal, Probst all but told these Mensa folks that they needed to cut The Vulcan loose. Thankfully, they listened, including an amazing moment where Kass and Tasha were holding a side conversation directly in front of the Vulcan and Spencer. This tribe was one for the ages.

Vote – The Vulcan 3 (Spencer, Tasha, Kass), Spencer 1 (The Vulcan)

Next Week – Drop your buffs.

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Survivor Cagayan – Ep 3 – Cops R’ Us Is The Talk Of The Town

So far so good this season with Survivor as we have had three hours of very entertaining Survivor madness. We have Team Beauty wilting before our eyes, we have Tasha repeatedly getting salt water thrown in her face – by her own doing, we have Philip Sheppard’s lawyers preparing intellectual property lawsuits and we have a budding super villain who may in fact turn out to be awesome.

And I didn’t even mention the 8 pm family hour wet t-shirt contest starring Morganna. But don’t think I didn’t notice that, folks.

Team Brains. BRAAAAAAIIIIINSSSS! (NSFW) Sorry. Team Nerds. NEEEEEERRRRDDDSSS!!! Damn. Team Losers. LOOOOO-H-SSSSERRSS! C’mon!! C’MON!!! Who keeps doing that? OK, Team SAT Scores…ok, we’re clear, managed to be pathetic for another 30 minutes of airtime before finally getting it together. Typical of this dysfunctional bunch, upon learning about the water tossing challenge, the smart people couldn’t decide what they wanted to do. Tasha wanted to practice – because, you know, they suck at challenges. Spencer wanted to drink – and not in a fun way, but because they were dehydrated. And the Vulcan wanted to eat, but clearly forgot she went all scorched earth a few days earlier.

However, it did give us an amazing sequence of the four remaining Mensa members in the ocean tossing water back and forth using homemade coconut bowls. Badly. With “The Blue Danube” playing over it – making me want to demand HAL to open the pod bay doors. Tasha managed to get a montage of her getting water thrown in her face repeatedly. It was almost as if they were missing on purpose – a theory I would espouse if they didn’t prove to be so inept at water tossing in the challenge. The Vulcan even got to utter the amazing double entendre line of how she “liked the hand technique.” Yowza!

The challenge got on and they were horrible again. I loved how Tasha tossed the bucket upside down at one point, and how the Vulcan is shown tossing the water to anchorwoman Kass and just drops emerging. Kass breaks the fourth wall for a moment and curses. Hilarious.

However, they eventually pull it off and make it to the puzzle/maze portion of the challenge. The Vulcan is nowhere near the challenge as Kass and Spencer take it on. They arrive last as CliffWoo is finishing it up and the Beauty Dudes are blowing their lead. Incredibly, the smart people beat the pretty people at a puzzle challenge. Who knew? And this horrible tribe manages to not lose for once. Spencer probably was that close to being taken out – and I wonder if we will look back on this moment in another 10 episodes and wonder if that was a pivotal moment in the game.

The weather played a huge factor this week, as it was not just raining, it was weather of Biblical proportions. Dogs and cats, living together. Mass hysteria. The production team got Emmy Award caliber pictures of the storming skies above the Philippines. Incredible. Pitbull was trying to move some palm fronds and almost became airborne thanks to the wind gusts. He reminds his shivering tribe that the sun always comes out in the morning. He bets his bottom dollar on that. Wooooooooo! is stoked – “this is what Survivor’s all about, baby.” Pitbull believes this is what hell would be like. No way man – that would be the office I was just working in. Lindsey may in fact have trench foot – I would know since I got it at Woodstock 94 (True story). One thing is for sure is that she is now Lindsay of the Nine Toenails.

The Beauty Tribe only needs some Sarah McLaughlin music to play over the montage of their sad, miserable pretty faces. Jefra is also concerned with flies. Last week she delivered with poop queries, and this week it was about flies and how she didn’t understand about how strategy was being conducted around her. LJ chose to take this misery and use it to his advantage by exploring Morganna’s cliffs. No, not like that! The shoreline where the idol is hidden – because amazingly, Morganna never went back to it in a week’s worth of time. And lo and behold, LJ has an idol. So he and Pitbull each have one and the third is buried somewhere in the Mensa Camp since the Genius buried it rather than take it to Tribal.

Between this morale-sapping weather and their puzzle loss, the Beauties began to unravel a bit as their led up to their first Tribal. Brice’s attempts to use Morganna’s “cliffs” to distract Jeremiah and lure him to their side failed as my sort-of namesake stuck with his LJ/Alexis/Jefra alliance and took out the fashionista. Brice used the phrase “talk of the town” about 200 times at Tribal and tried to cast aspersions on Alexis’ work habits, without actually doing it, leading Probst to verbalize a “dot dot dot” to Brice’s comments. Typical great Tribal work from Mr. Host. I had high hopes for Mr. Purple Pants, but alas, he couldn’t pull it off. At least he came to play.

Survivor Cagayan Premiere – Eps 1 and 2 – If They Only Had A Brain

They could wile away the hours/Conferrin’ with the flowers/Consultin’ with the rain/And their heads’ll be a scratcin’/With crazy thoughts they’ll be hatchin’/If they only had some brains.

The Scarecrow knew. And now Survivor knows. If you only had a brain.

On behalf of nerds around the world, I would like to formally apologize to the Survivor community. You can put six super smart people in a room and ask them to do anything other than play a smashing game of D&D and it will fall apart. The ego of always being the smartest person in the room usually gets the best of them. And as for Survivor skills, well, most brainy folks are indoor people. The skills that made you a nuclear engineer, chess champion, undefeated litigator or president of a baseball team usually meant you were not outside exercising or shopping for cosmetics at the mall.

What we witnessed in the Survivor premiere was what happens when too many brains are thrown together – and it ain’t The Big Bang Theory. Although in this case it provided a big bang alright. A big bang of pathetic.
What the show has tried to do with the Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty idea is to not just put together the high school cliques we all know and don’t love. What it tried to do is also flip the stereotype on its ear. That’s why you get a totally physically ripped brain (Garrett), and a very smart brawny cop (Sarah), and a physically fit beauty (LJ), etc. Sarah the Cop said it well after she Boston Robbed the Brains on the puzzle challenge – are we sure she was placed on the right tribe?

Before we begin to lament the fate of the four remaining Brains, remember that Denise and Malcolm were the last two left on their pathetic Russell Swan-led tribe and they managed to make the Final Four – with Denise winning and Malcolm likely to have won if he won that last challenge. So there is hope for Spencer and Tasha – both of whom I have begun to have instant affection for – and the other two. Let’s go into the insanity of the Brains for a bit before we do a bit on the others. I want to get this column in at a reasonable word count, but boy, CBS, thanks for not helping with a double episode full of crazy.

Instantly, the Brains were off to a horrible start. Probst had each group select a leader – a ridiculous thing the show has done before – based solely on what they saw in front of them. The Brains picked Miami Marlins President David Samson because he was wearing a blazer. On Survivor. To me, that’s not a leader, that’s bad planning. He then had to select one person from the tribe who was the “weakest.” He had no idea why, unless he had actually watched Survivor: Tocantins. So, instead of the skinny woman, or the skinny man, or the older lady, he chose the huge muscular guy as the “weakest.” He then actually verbalized why – because he was playing ahead for the last 2/3 of the game. And he did so without a shred of remorse for having to make such a stupid decision so early. He also forgot that in order to get to the back 2/3 of the game, you have to get through the first third! You are a tribe of brainy folks – keep the burly guy around if you think this is an impromptu elimination. And for a brainy guy, let me ask, have you ever seen a season of Survivor with only 15 people?

So we start off with a mistake. However, everyone knows a nuclear engineer is the same as a, well, a building shelter engineer, right? Oh yeah, it’s not. So J’Tia has stepped up to project manage the shelter building. Of course, she has chosen to do this is in the worst possible way – barking orders and not lifting a finger. In a perfect metaphor for the tribe, their shelter collapsed instantly.

And J’Tia? Wasn’t that the Vulcan from that horrible Scott Bakula Star Trek show?

Then we have the challenge, and the Brains can’t figure out how to properly move chains or fit items through holes. They get totally smoked. Between her chain issues and the shelter, Marlins has targeted the Vulcan for elimination. However, Counselor Kass has chosen to tell the Vulcan about this plan. Brilliant! Give her a chance to scramble! And she scrambles. Effectively. In another perfect metaphor for his rebuilding baseball team, the Marlins President is in last place.

Survivor: Blood vs. Water – Finale – That Spot Between Brazen And Reckless

An outstanding season of Survivor comes to a close not with a bang, but with a whimper. We were teased that big moves could be coming at all times – none came. We were informed of a brutal Final Tribal in published reports – and it was tame and borderline annoying. And the man who deserved the win, who received the hero edit despite claims by others of his villainy, earned the win in the end. Survivor is on a roll now with four consecutive deserving winners (Kim, Denise, Cochran and now Tyson) and five of six (Boston Rob) with an argument to be made about Sophie vs. Coach as the sixth.

Yes. Tyson is Survivor champion. The man who voted himself out of Season 20 has come back to win Season 27. And he deserved it more than anyone else. Hands down. Think about it – if he lost the Final Four immunity and got booted, whom would you have voted for? Gervase, Monica or Tina? And if any of them had actually own would it have felt satisfying? No. All played decent to solid games but none were Sole Survivor worthy. Only Ciera would have been a worthy winner and I still would have voted Tyson over her.

Tyson had the idols. He owned the strategy. He won the last two immunities. And he aced the Final Tribal Council. While Gervase could only cling to his “I haven’t played in 13 years argument” and Monica had to claim her no big moves as being a big move, Tyson owned his moves and played on the jury’s hearts at the same time. By saying that he only came on the show so Rachel could play and after she wouldn’t let him Rupert his way out of the game, he vowed to make it count by winning. Gold. He made his one apology for his jerk comments to Katie’s face after she Paschaled her way out of the game. And he was the only one to answer Aras’ good question correctly. When the three we’re asked who the would vote for in a Final Two of the others, the other two said Tyson and made good arguments for doing so. Tyson said Monica because he read the room correctly and judged that Gervase may have been a bigger threat.

Was the jury brutal to Monica? No. We’re they puzzling? Heck yeah. Why did they keep asking the same questions over and over again – who is Monica? It was as if they wanted some dark secret to be revealed like this was some movie script. Did they want to find out that she shared needles with Vytas in a previous life? It was bizarre. Monica exasperatedly asked if they have never met a nice person before. Now I am wary of people who think that way about themselves – but point is valid. Monica seems like she is an open book – they just wanted to read something else. I think she is one of many women who have ignored themselves for most of their lives in order to nurture a family. She is my age and I get that. She came on the show to share it with Brad but also to prove something to herself. That’s it. If the jury didn’t respect her game then fine, say that. Don’t keep picking at her frayed emotions just to make her cry. It was unbecoming of them.

I respect Monica’s game. She flipped on Aras/Tina when a better deal came and got herself embedded in the leadership of that Unloved Alliance. She chose to go to the end with the boys because she thought she could best them more than beat the others. She was probably right. Personally, I felt she played the third best game of them all and would have been pleased if she beat Gervase and Tina. Not totally satisfied, but pleased.

Now if she would just quit talking about herself in third person then we can really get along.

So. The Finale. I guess we start with the Truel. As soon as I saw the balance challenge – the same one with vases that enabled Andrea to defeat the guys during Season 22 and re-enter the game – I predicted that Tina would win. Her slight frame seemed to be better equipped for this. Hayden struggled perhaps due to sweat dripping in his eyes and was out first. Laura flailed her arms comically throughout the challenge, barely holding on several times. Tina even wobbled badly at one point – but in the end Laura lost it. I must admit, she did a lot better than I expected. Her physical game is probably as good as almost any other woman to play. However, socially she appears to need work.

In fact, with Laura and Tina each getting voted out twice, it may be time to update the list of Survivors Snuffed Three Times. Each of them has now done just that. Andrea, Jerri, Cirie and Candice too. Ozzy holds the record for four torch snuffs. Rupert would have joined him but he was never actually voted out this season.

Ciera was hoping for a solid two with her mom to sway Monica. It was telling that this young woman who never played before felt that she couldn’t trust a three-time veteran, former winner to talk to Monica properly to sway her. I will give Ciera credit – she went ALL OUT to convince Monica over several days to flip. As Probst said during the horrible reunion show – Ciera showed how you play this game. Do whatever it takes to win. Vote out your mom. Draw rocks. Whatever. I want to see her back. She is very Cirie-like to me. Not a physical threat but a serious strategic and social threat.

Survivor: Blood vs. Water – Ep 14 – Hail Mary, Full of Lapdogs

Ok – Let’s get this column in the books. Stat. We have the Survivor Finale coming in a couple of days – and I will be spending that day in attendance, for the first time, for one of my beloved Miami Dolphins’ home games. The catch – I don’t live in Miami. So, because of this little quirk in the space-time continuum – the always-anticipated recap of the Finale and Reunion will be, most likely, delayed.

However, even so, I can safely say that I can give you the theme – Tyson or Monica wins Survivor: Blood vs. Water. Although, I will say for certain right now that I will be rooting for Ciera to take home the crown. I don’t expect she will, but that’s who I am rooting for. I think Tyson has earned it, but Ciera is not far off. He’s earned the title by living in the Winner’s Bracket all season – he’s always been in a position of power – first in the Aras Alliance, and then the Unloved. Ciera has done it through the Losers Bracket. She barely survived all of the early votes, and then latched on to the back end of the Unloved Alliance. She now stands exactly where she would have if she didn’t flip last week – fourth among the Final Four.

The two games are very different – but both have been impressive. In fact, there have been a lot of impressive people this season – both returnees and newbies. Monica did not impress me much in One World, but she’s been a beast in challenges and was wise to flip from Team Aras to the Unloved. Hayden has shown some real charisma these last two episodes – and some scrappy fighting skills too. Gervase’s game hasn’t been great – but he’s still here and is light years beyond what he showed back in the first season of the show. Laura has begun to challenge Matt and Ozzy for the title of Best Redemption Island competitor. If they are the Kings of RI, she’s the Queen. And that doesn’t even take in the quality showings from Caleb, Vytas, Dr. Cody, and others.

I guess what I am trying to say is – Blood vs. Water is going to be (barring a horrible train wreck finale) one of the upper echelon of Survivor seasons.

What impressed me in this episode?

1 – Sportsmanship. Let’s be honest – Survivor has not always been known for sportsmanlike conduct. There is a long history of hard feelings and bitter juries that we all don’t need to rehash here. Even the fans have been rough – remember Jerri getting booed off stage at the All-Stars Reunion Show? But perhaps it’s the spirit of family that we have had this season – that nastiness has been few and far between. It really only existed between Culpy and Marissa, and Culpy and the Codys. Oh, and Colton – but he really doesn’t count.

In this episode, we see good gamesmanship after the Rock Pull as the Final Five return. Hayden is praised for his good move, and Ciera for taking a huge risk. Tyson says he was excited to be a part of it – although he is sure Katie wasn’t excited to be a part of it. Snerk. But there was no nastiness to Ciera. In fact, there was goofing around with her. Kudos to the Final Five.

When Ciera had her unlikely win later on – they were all happy for her. No one was bitter when they didn’t get chosen for the reward. It was all positive. And when Hayden and Ciera’s plan to load up a bunch of negative emotions on Monica – there was no lashing out. It seemed as if she took it as pure gameplay. And as Hayden left with his torch snuffed – he shook hands and called a good game and left with dignity. Are we sure this guy was on Big Brother? Everyone else I have ever seen from that show was not like this.

I hope this bodes well for a solid jury with no axes to grind. Time will tell.

2 – Ciera wins immunity. Now, let me just say that it is very likely the fact that I watch these shows with a close attention paid to details and changes – something most people don’t do – but I called this early on in the challenge. How? Because Probst was laying it on rather thick with his mocking of her last place status leading up to the word challenge. In fact, I noticed how some of the commentary from Probst was in voice over format. This means they looped it in after the fact to add to the drama. This is done all the time on Top Chef – but I guess CBS techies are much better than the Bravo ones because it is seamless on Survivor and jarring on Top Chef.

So, Ciera, who has been horrid in challenges, the yin to her mom’s challenge yang, gets the win and can say she has won an immunity challenge. She has now won one more individual immunities than three-time player James ever won. And just as many as three-time player Jonathan Penner won. She proves, yet again, that you don’t have to be super buff, or a man (looking at you Probst), to be a great Survivor player.

That’s right. I think she is a great Survivor player. Her game play the last couple of weeks has impressed the hell out of me. I am very hopeful that she gets another chance at Survivor – it would be interesting to see her play again without her mom as part of the season. Not that it mattered much this time – remember, the woman voted her own mom out of the tribe.

3 – Good strategy. How often have we seen arguments at Tribal Council? Tons of them. How often have they been part of a legitimate strategic debate? Rarely. This is two weeks in a row where interesting game play was debated on the floor of Tribal Council. If only Congress could still do that. I like how Ciera and Hayden realized where they were and what they had to do – with no idol to be found, they had to find a way to flip one of the other three. Tyson and Gervase would be a waste of time – Tyson knows that Hayden and Ciera are serious F3 vote threats. Gervase seems to think he can beat Tyson. He’s wrong. He’s made the same enemies – but Tyson has done it better.

So they had to work on Monica. And there is logic to that play – Monica may beat Tyson, but she may have a better shot at beating Hayden and Ciera. And that was also the only chance the newbies had to make this work. Hayden called it a Hail Mary play – for non-football fans, that’s the name of the play that you usually see at the end of the half or the end of the game where the quarterback heaves it 50 yards to the end zone with the hopes that someone will catch it. Sometimes it works – usually it doesn’t. That’s what they had to rely on.

So, Ciera is tasked with approaching Monica – which she does just before Tribal, a smart play as it gives Tyson and Gervase little time to react. Ciera lays it on thick – to sum up…she tells her that the boys have been talking smack about her behind her back. They don’t respect her. They think she’s a lapdog and a puppet on a string. Monica is such a strong woman, she needs to show them who’s boss. And the like. It is the correct play – but a long shot. The argument back is a hard one to deflect – if it was so awful, then why not tell Monica before, over the last several days, rather than right before the Tribal Council where you are about to lose the vote?

Survivor: Blood vs. Water – Ep 13 – I Wanna Rock!

This week is late. I know. But better late than never. One thing you will not be seeing in this column this week – anything mean about Tina or Katie. Their family has been through too much this week to be mocked.

But what did happen this week was pure madness. Madness, I say! There is one thing that cannot be denied about this simply excellent season – these are some really bold players. This Tribal Council proved it – Hayden made a relentless argument. Ciera chose to roll the dice on a risky strategy. And Tyson went over the cliff without hesitating – risking what has been an excellent game so far and seemingly not worrying about it.

Another thing I took from this Tribal Council – Gervase is not going to win this season.

But let’s focus on the primary event of this episode. Unlike John from Samoa, and Cochran from South Pacific, no one from this crew was afraid of the randomness of the Survivor tiebreaker. Six players entered Tribal Council – four in an alliance – and in the course of the discussion, that alliance broke. Hayden played whatever card he could – and I say Hayden because Katie didn’t get any substantial screen time during this event. His best card? Showing former teammate Ciera that she is going to finish fourth – and will never be presenting to the jury. She is the bottom rung of her alliance – and deep down…she knew it.

Hayden played that well. Even if he was trying not to “rustle feathers.” What came from that misuse of the English language was hysterical. As the debate over who is going to be one step closer to the million-dollar prize raged on, Hayden and Tyson waged a battle over the proper way of saying “ruffle feathers.” That was my favorite part of a crazy episode – not the rocks, but the battle over grammar that preceded it.

I was beginning to wonder about him. I had written down my question if there had ever been someone who got this far in the game, with this kind of pedigree, with this kind of potential, who did nothing at all in their season. I have been disappointed with Hayden to this point – and yet he’s still there. Still alive. And he just came very, very close to winning this game with this move.

Because if this worked – he would have held the majority alliance with the two daughters. And Ciera would have few allies on the jury, and Katie would have no argument to make about any moves made in the game. Hayden would have won this game if Tyson had pulled the rock.

Now, as for the rocks. I have said it before – I hate this rule. I don’t like random things like picking rocks out of a bag deciding someone’s fate on Survivor. This game is too hard, too grueling and too important for these contestants. There has to be a better way to break these ties than something so arbitrary. If we make fire at the Final Four – why not here? What about an impromptu challenge? That would all be better. And I get why the two receiving votes gain immunity – it makes the others have motivation to avoid the tie vote – but I don’t like that the two targets of the vote are given the free pass.

While the drama was stellar, think about how horrible it would have been for us, the viewers, to watch Tyson play such a great game this season and have it ruined by a random selection of rocks. Now if his alliance turns on him, or something else caused him to get voted out – that’s different. But it would have been as big of a show-based tragedy as has unfolded in 27 seasons. That’s strictly show-related – obviously what happened this week to Tina and Katie is real life, as have others in the past. I would much rather see excellent game play either be rewarded or beaten with equally good game play than see it defeated by colored rocks and the pure luck.

So, we have the Final Five – with a Tyson/Gervase/Monica combination in the position of power. Tyson is the clear leader of the group – but could be victim of bitter jury when push comes to shove. Monica is his clear threat to his game – her social game as mom and her physical prowess is a real tough argument to beat for a guy who has betrayed a bunch of jury members. Tyson and Gervase would be wise to sub in Ciera at the Final Four into the final three in hopes that she’s angered just as many of the jury members as they have.

I discount Gervase because, as Hayden correctly stated, he has not done any big move that Tyson wasn’t the ringleader of in the first place. The laughter on the jury when Gervase was making his boasts during Tribal was a tell tale sign that he may soon become the latest member of the Zero Vote Club. That, and when he called the jury “losers” at the truel.

Survivor: Blood vs. Water – Ep 11 – Mom Strength and Daughter Power

Ok – it bears repeating. Anyone out there remotely think that Ciera would be such a power player when this season began? I sure didn’t as the show began to unfold, but I did predict her for Final Four as the season began (my Final Three were Caleb, Katie and Vytas – for the record). But she was barely surviving those early votes and now here she is a major factor in the end game of this season.

Ciera found herself in a very interesting situation. The Unloved Alliance only had Katie lingering in the game at this point. So, at the Final Seven we had a key turning point in the season – Katie’s vote becomes the fourth vote in a majority coalition. The question would be if someone would have the initiative to make the necessary move. And the answer came quickly – someone would.

The men of the Unloved seemed to be in charge – a sausage Final Four waiting to happen – but Hayden started to have doubts. He wondered whether or not he needed to make a move on Tyson before it became too late. I get that. I do question his reasoning though – and it goes into the whole thing with Ciera later on. We are watching Tyson enjoying a hero edit – but in the moment, I wonder if it is that clear. The question, which must have been going through all of their minds in the moment, is whether or not Tyson would be the one they want to sit next to. It is hard to say – he certainly did a lot of betraying. He is Tyson, so he likely irritated some of them. He didn’t really win any kind of challenge for the most part. It must be curious to them what the Tyson dynamic will be.

Hayden clearly thought he would have trouble beating him, while Ciera clearly thought she could.

To be honest – not really sure which one is right. I think Hayden underestimated his likability. He would have had a fighting chance against any combination of the men. But it would have been close. He probably envisioned a better chance matched up with Caleb and Ciera at the end. He also probably realized that he hadn’t made any power moves. His talking points in the Final Tribal would only be likability. That wouldn’t be enough. He had to make a move.

Caleb too. His only move so far was the coup against Culpy. That too would not be enough to sell to a jury – unless he was with Hayden and Ciera. So, a new alliance with Ciera and Katie would benefit them more than one with the returning players.

As for Ciera, I think she realized that sitting in the Finals against these two likable dudes would bode badly. Put her with one of them and Katie – with Katie’s mom and the brothers on the jury – and she’d lose as well. She must have believed that sitting with Tyson and Gervase – who betrayed half the jury – would be her best shot. She also got a little lucky as Tyson got spooked at Tribal and needlessly burned his Hidden Immunity Idol. Now that HII is back in play, and perhaps no one will burn the clue at the next Truel.

And honestly, I think both Hayden and Ciera were correct in their moves. Sometimes you can lose and still be right. And to Hayden’s benefit – he lost, but didn’t completely lose as Caleb took the fall first.

And they all must know that if Monica is sitting in front of the jury she’s going to win. But they have to manage to beat her in a challenge first.

So, with six left we have the Tyson/Gervase/Ciera/Monica combination in the drivers seat. One would assume Hayden is next to go, barring immunity, with Katie as the backup choice. The two of them will likely be battling each other for survival…unless, something really interesting takes place. I wonder if the previews indicating a Gervase/Tyson split could be more than the usual misdirection. I wonder if Gervase sees that he is moving right along into potentially joining the Zero Vote Club if he finishes the season as Tyson’s right hand man. Next week’s episode could be boring. Or it could really be epic.

The other interesting thing that I noticed in this episode was the dynamic at the Truel. With Vytas taking on two moms – Tina and Laura – one was going to be ousted. The challenge involved a puzzle, so I instantly realized Laura was going to win and the other two would clash for survival. I was correct. Laura stayed with Vytas in the rope tube portion of the challenge to free up the puzzle boxes, and smoked him in the puzzle creation.

Vytas did was has been done a bazillion times on this show – he tried to copy off of her final puzzle. She began to spin it around to prevent him from doing so – and then went a step further. She began telling Tina how to solve it. Was that out of annoyance for his copying? I don’t think so. I think Laura is still playing the game. Vytas is a threat. He is a threat to her on RI in future truels, and he’s a threat to her daughter if he re-enters the game. She saw an opportunity and took it. I have no issue with his moves to copy – it’s in the rules – and I have no issue with her choice to gang up on him. I even have no issue with his choice to give her the cold shoulder after she caused him to lose by one second. In the moment, he was pissed.

Mom strength and mom power is sometimes infinitely stronger than anything else in the world. Probst called it the moms ganging up on the single guy. I don’t think that was the dynamic – I think it was Laura playing Survivor hard. But, really, don’t mess with moms. They’ll win every time.

So the brothers are both out and are tank top buddies on the jury. Tina, Laura and Caleb will clash in the truel next week. There are three truels left before re-entry, and wouldn’t that Final Five dynamic be interesting if Laura returns again?

Survivor: Blood vs. Water – Ep 10 – Water Wins

Blood was spilled this night on Survivor. The twist of the season was having returning players playing with and against their loved ones. The question was always going to be, in the end, would the previous relationships trump the ones made in the necessity of the game. Two weeks ago, with the ouster of Aras and the destruction of his six-person couple alliance, the defeat of blood began. This week – it is all but assured.

The only chance of a loved one reunion is if either Tina or Laura returns to the game at the Final Five AND Ciera or Katie remains in the game at the time. If so, then a pair of two out of five becomes very interesting. Will the other three band together? Or will one of them see an opportunity to be an alternative to two rather than three individuals in the Final Tribal? But the chances of that are small – as there are several truels still to come.

The other way blood got its platelets beaten down this week…for the first time a loved one voted against the other. And I have to give props – Ciera is proving to be a really good player. I mentioned how Vytas needs to come back some other time to play again, well, I think the same goes for Ciera. She is showing rather unexpected game – at least strategically. She is still horrible at challenges. However, two-time winner Sandra was simply awful at challenges and that never got in her way.

And I don’t know just how many past Survivors would have had the cojones to vote their own mother out of the game.

But she did. And she owned it. She very easily could have told her alliance that she wouldn’t fight the vote, but come on, it’s her mom. No vote from the daughter. Laura would have easily been voted out regardless of Ciera’s vote and the younger Morett’s loyalty would not have been questioned. But she went all in and wrote her mom’s name down.

The best part of it – it was the right strategic move, and Ciera knew it. And amazingly, it didn’t seem as if Laura knew it. Mom was in bad shape going into the merge – she was the returning RI truel winner. There is not a good history there for the winners. And now as the last remaining couple – they were both going to be targets. There is no real scenario building that would have seen Laura win this game. However, Ciera is in a good spot to get to the end. Presumably, she’d have one jury vote in mom. The question is can she sway the others – Ciera on the stand, and mom in Ponderosa – that she’s earned this. You can certainly make the argument that she has – she has played HARD. And had to survive a lot of early votes to get where she is right now. I can see the dudes all looking at her as the Unloved Dude tiebreaker vote at the Final Five. That could easily be a F3 alliance for her right there.

She saw this – and went full on House of Cards with her strategizing. Mom had to go. She even suggested to mom that if she didn’t go and lingered to the F6, that she’s clearly done at that point. And if she won the F6 immunity, it would seal Ciera’s ousting. Well played, indeed.

The funny thing is – this was not even my favorite Ciera move of the night. That would be her world class bluff to Katie’s face. I loved this move, even if it really meant nothing in the grand scheme of things in the game. We all know that Tyson has the idol. So, yes, this discussion doesn’t matter at all, but it was still a great piece of Survivor playing by Ciera. Katie had just searched for the idol and was chilling on the hammock. Ciera joined her former partner-in-crime and hung out. They pinky swore. It was nice.

However, Katie decided to let it drop that she had the idol. Nice try. Ciera said she could not have had it because she had it already. And Katie fell for it instantly. She folded more quickly than teenage boy’s vow of celibacy when surrounded by cheerleaders. Ciera had successfully figured out that Katie had no protection at Tribal Council and tried to use that info to save her mom at the vote. Really, really good job, Ciera. It didn’t make a difference…but I was impressed.

It’s funny – Tyson’s first time around, his nemesis was a woman named Sierra. Is it possible that could be the case again? Note that moment early in the episode where Ciera tells Laura to let Tyson do everything – puts the target on his back.

The only other substantial development was the truel. So, the first member of the jury would be decided , and two others would survive for another day on RI. Going into this, I was certain that the brothers would cruise for another three days. Especially after seeing that this was not a balance challenge. I will admit, I didn’t give Tina a chance at all. That’s not remotely sexist – there have been tons of women on this show that can ace challenges. This was Tina-ist. I just didn’t think she could do it.

The challenge was the same one from the South Pacific duel where Cochran almost beat Ozzy. Toss a grappling hook to secure three bags of balls. Then place a ball on a table maze, and using a system of pulleys, get the ball to the end of the maze. Tina aced the grappling hook part. That was unexpected. She earned a huge lead over the boys, and despite losing it at the end of the maze, had learned all of the twists and turns. Vytas caught up to her and passed her to win the challenge, but she was able to use her early advantage to defeat Aras. He never really seemed to get a grasp of the maze – he was going way too fast through it.

So, Aras is done. He got overconfident and lost it this season. I wonder how much of that comes from his huge success in winning Exile Island – he wasn’t on the lookout for mistakes. He should have been. Cirie was watching his back all throughout that season, doing the dirty work. All Aras had to worry about was making the jury happy and finding a way to beat Terry eventually. And if we all remember, it was Danielle who finally did that.

I still rank Aras low on the list of winners, and this season does not make me rethink that opinion at all. I will give him this – he left the game in a classy way, and I assume he will not be a bitter jury member. Probst tries to get a touching moment from the brothers as Aras leaves, but clearly they aren’t on board. It is a bit forced – clearly these guys are cool with each other. They fight. They have history. They’re friggin’ brothers – of course they fight and have some strained history. Bah.

So, we move along. The Unloved is in clear control. But what happens once they excise Katie? Or will they? Katie could be a very important vote right now if someone makes a move against Tyson or Gervase. And to be honest, whom do you trust to make that move? I only trust Ciera. And man, what an unexpected place to be in this season.