Survivor

Survivor Caramoan Liveblog Recap

Episode 10

Previously on Survivor:  Stealth R Us has controlled the game even with Dawn crying, Andrea flirting and Phillip being obnoxious.  Brenda won immunity and SRU wanted to vote Malcolm out, but Eddie blabbed about their plans and freaked Andrea out, who changed the vote to Michael, the first member of our jury.  And now…

It’s night with the group coming back to camp after Tribal; there’s a super-secret Stealth R Us meeting as they get back to camp, leaving Malcolm quite obviously on the outs.  Malcolm thinks the Bro Alliance made the right move at Tribal despite it not really working out while the secret meeting sees Stealth R Us scramble-gloating about how the Bros have no idol and so they’re toast.  Malcolm reminds us that he does indeed have an idol and the Bro Alliance decides to seek out the rehidden idol first thing in the morning.

Stealth R Us breaks with Phillip leading a corny quiet “S R Us” chant which makes Cochran roll his eyes and roll his finger around his ear in the “this is crazy” symbol.

Day 26 and Cochran is plotting with Phillip about how Dawn is turning into a pretty good goat herself when someone starts hollering.  It’s Dawn with the promised freak out.

Brenda alert!  She comes running to see what’s going on and to help Dawn who is freaking out because she lost a retainer with her bottom teeth in the water.  Brenda slaps on the snorkel and finds them quickly while Dawn continues freaking out.  She reminds me of the kid in Parenthood who freaks out about losing his retainer.

The previews all week promised a huge meltdown and… that?  That was it?  We saw about 70% of that in the preview! Lame.

Brenda gets a confessional, breaking her 8 episode streak (longest in Survivor history)!  She feels like she’s bonded with Dawn after that and isn’t going to turn her back on her… unless something that I didn’t quite catch.

Reward time.  They split into teams and run an obstacle course.  Balance beam, climbing through a mini-rope course down a slide into mud where they have to dig out some bags of balls, climb through rice,  and then shoot them into a hoop.  The teams are Eddie, Malcolm, Sherri, Andrea, and Brenda vs. Erik, Reynold, Cochran, Phillip, and Dawn.

Malcolm is using the strategy used by Jonathan Penner last season when he dug out all of the bags at once to give his team a huge lead at the end while Erik just grabs his bag and moves on.  However, Reynold uses the same strategy and finds all the bags before Malcolm, giving their team back the huge lead.  Everyone does admirably in the challenge but Sherri, again.  Reynold’s team has a huge lead at the end thanks to Sherri screwing up and finish scoring their balls before the other team even starts throwing.

Reward time and there is good food, showers and a nice pool.  Dawn enjoys it as the game makes her feel schizophrenic but this is a chance to relax.  Reynold is excited about the shower as Phillip just Philliply stomps into the pool, takes off his shorts and begins to clean himself as mud expands around in a cloud around him.  Erik gets a rare confessional (an Erik and a Brenda confessional in the same episode?  Madness!) where he explains how disgusted Phillips makes him every day and this is just the latest example.  He’d love to vote him out.  Foreshadowing?

Dawn is freaking out that night as everyone else is asleep.  She is paranoid that Andrea is spending a lot of time with Malcolm and Eddie.  She is trying to plot with Phillip and Cochran but later Phillip says that if he had to vote out one of his own he would vote out Dawn because she is a “lunatic.”  Cochran is baffled that Dawn feels she is so important that she would be blindsided if Andrea teamed up with Malcolm and Eddie.  He says it makes her not trust him.

We get a scene of Andrea talking with Malcolm and Eddie with Dawn watching and acting paranoid and then says something to Andrea who goes on to tell Phillip Dawn is losing it.  Dawn, meanwhile, is losing it with Cochran.  “I cry more than a baby, literally,” she says.

Cochran in a confessional explains that they had one cuckoo bird in the nest but Brandon is gone while the crazy is not quite gone as Dawn is a hummingbird zipping over the cuckoo nest.  The entire nest being for cuckoos only indicates that you’re all crazy, John.

Day 28 and Dawn has slept all night which means she is smiling and appears not crazy.  She was voted out on Day 28 last time, but feels like she’s gotten over the hump and is happy.

Quick Stealth R Us briefing before the immunity challenge and they want to vote Reynold out, but they’re going to split the votes for Malcolm too.  Andrea says nothing can go wrong, which is forewarning that something will go wrong.  Cochran says he doesn’t want to sound overly confident, but his side has the numbers and they should have nothing to worry about.

Immunity challenge time and it’s a classic from Pearl Islands.  Two heats of five start on a raft where they jump in the water and pull themselves under the raft on a rope, come up on the other side to grab a life ring, run across the raft and drop it on the other end, then do it again.  Reynold dominates the first heat and Andrea moves on with him.  Second heat time and Phillip decides to sit out the challenge because of an incident from his childhood.  Probst rags on him about how important immunity is on Day 28 while Phillip shrugs.  More foreshadowing?

Malcolm and Brenda win the second heat after Eddie fails to put his second ring on the post.

Final heat and they must run 5 rings this time, and Probst reminds them how exhausting this is going to be.  Malcolm and Reynold are off to quick starts over everyone else for the first and second rings.  Reynold has a tiny lead for the third ring and the fourth while Malcolm starts to struggle.  Reynold completes the final lap with room to spare and wins immunity, ruining Stealth R Us’s plans to get rid of him.

Back at camp and no one seems happy for him at all, which is rude.  At least congratulate the dude even if you have to do it falsely.  Reynold then talks trash about Phillip quitting the challenge and how he has no respect for him.

Phillip explains that he’s finally in a leadership position and he has a shot at making the final three and if the jury isn’t bitter he can win this.

Malcolm knows his head is on the guillotine but he has the idol so he’s safe, but he wants to be able to get through this without using his idol or losing Eddie.

Dawn is annoyed that everyone is sitting around doing nothing while the guys search for the idol, specifically Phillip.  They should be looking too because game freaking on!

As Dawn tries to get Malcolm to talk about letting her know if he finds it he finds it, and he lets them know.  Andrea knows this means Eddie is all but gone.  Andrea still wants to split the votes just in case he doesn’t play it.

Eddie knows he’s double-screwed.  His only chance of staying for a few days longer was if Malcolm got voted out tonight.  He knows he’s gone.

Tribal time.  Probst immediately points out how Reynold, Eddie and Malcolm are on the outs of the tribe.  Reynold knows it was a win immunity scenario or they’re gone.  Eddie is reminiscent about his time in the game already and Cochran tries to make him feel better by telling him Eddie was their last choice.  Probst calls Phillip out on quitting and Phillip says its because he got confused while under a raft one time and so that’s why he couldn’t do the challenge.

Andrea talks about life at camp and mentions how their alliance can’t talk to Eddie, Reynold or Malcolm.  She did and it might have made her a target so she stopped and they’re ex-communicated.  Malcolm knows he’s on the outs but he wants to do something about it so he pulls out his second immunity idol and hands it to Eddie!  Everyone starts freaking out quietly.  Cochran and Erik start talking.  Andrea looks like she’s about to faint.  Brenda mouths to Dawn that they should vote Andrea out.  Andrea mouths to vote out Phillip.

The previews for this part were correct, as this chaotic scrambling is a first for Tribal council.  And fun to watch.

Malcolm knows it will still be 6-3 tomorrow but tonight they have the power.  And he informs the tribe that they are voting Phillip, to bring some fun back to camp.  He is sick of life having this militaristic tinge and getting rid of Phillip should brighten all their lives.  Phillip doesn’t like his character being maligned, showing how oblivious he is to his own obnoxiousness.  He and Erik both try to tell everyone to stick to the plan in case Eddie or Malcolm refuse to play their idol.

Cochran is having a bipolar reaction.  The Survivor fan in him is excited but the Survivor player is freaking out.  As he casts his vote he even says, “Whatever happens tonight, this is why I love Survivor after 13 years.”

The votes are cast and Eddie plays his idol while Malcolm bluffs and stalls for a second before getting up to play his.  The “Three Amigos” as they dubbed themselves, are safe.

The votes:

Malcolm, Malcolm, Eddie, Eddie, Eddie, Eddie, but none of them count; Phillip, Phillip, Phillip and that’s enough.  Phillip is taken out of the game and as he gets his torch snuffed it’s like the game has a gust of fresh air moving into Caramoan now that Captain Buzzkill is gone.

And he is gone, but does that mean Malcolm, Eddie, and Reynold are safe?  Probably not, but this was a very exciting play tonight.  The obvious Stealth R Us goat is gone which means it’s a new game for one person who didn’t have a chance at Final Three before.

Next time:  Reynold is seen trying to bring Sherri and Erik in to give their group the majority while the Survivor Auction promises some lighthearted fun.

Episode 9

Previously on Survivor… the tribes merged and people thought about making moves while Corinne and Malcolm started planning a big move.  Cochran won the gross food challenge, Sherri was targeted but Corinne decided to tell Dawn everything which ended up getting her blindsided.

And Day 23 dawns with monkeys and Andrea’s booty, which has had more camera time this season than Brenda and Erik combined.  Phillip knows they’re going to win because their numbers are strong.

Reynold looks at last night as a victory because a Favorite got voted out instead of him.  He has nothing to lose and he’s iron-clad with Eddie and Malcolm so it’s time to play the game and use his idol if needed.

He’s shown talking to Andrea, whose strategy is playing it day to day.  Reynold says he’s just trying to open a door.

Malcolm is not happy about losing his closest ally but he now is the only one who knows about his idol.  He still believes he has the Fans on his side and the rest of the Favorites think Corinne was the head of the snake; the rebel leader as he puts it.  But he’s still around to make some noise.  Unless those idols are played wisely, it’s probably not going to be a lot of noise but good for Malcolm for not having the fight beat out of him after Corinne’s blindside.

Later on Day 23 we see a snake and a baby monkey.

Phillip is explaining to Sherri that when he arrived off the helicopter he thought she was hot.  Because that’s important to the overall scope of the show.

Phillip is targeting Michael because he had the audacity to want to vote out Sherri, who everyone was going to vote out until Corinne gave away her plans.  Great logic there, moron.  He says some other stuff but I really, really don’t care.

Sherri says she has to not just play Survivor but also The Specialist.  She has no problem dealing with Phillip because she dealt with Shamar, but if she has her way she’ll wrap some more players around her finger and take back over the game.  No you won’t, Sherri.

Reward challenge time, it’s another classic.  One defender on a platform in the water while someone has a ball they try to throw past them into a net.  The reward is getting to rappel down a waterfall and then eat food.

The teams are Erik, Eddie, Reynold, Michael, and Cochran vs. Dawn, Phillip, Andrea, Malcolm, and Brenda.  Malcolm and Michael are defending while Sherri wasn’t picked which suggests her attempt to make people want her to lead them might not work out so well.  The strategy for the game basically consists of trying to throw the ball over the defender’s head and into the net.  This challenge is a rare miss, as its really not that entertaining, and challenges have been one of the few strengths of this season.

Brenda alert – she misses the last shot and allows Erik to win it for the purple team.

I predict we see some fretting back at camp as notorious traitor Cochran and strategic weakling Erik are with the three remaining Fans (as Sherri has effectively jumped ship) who will likely try hard to pull them into some type of alliance.

Commercial over and reward time.  Cochran acknowledges that rappelling isn’t something he does as Erik tries to give him advice.  He makes fun of himself some more but points out he is the same guy who was afraid to take off his shirt the first time he played.

The guys then eat, drink and be merry.  Reynold likes it because it’s simple and pure until they try to convince Cochran that it should be an all-male alliance.  But Cochran isn’t having any of it.  He’s not going to engage in any of that masculine tomfoolery with those numbskulls.

Malcolm, meanwhile, knew his team was going to lose and he’s happy because he wants to talk to Sherri and Dawn about joining his side.  Big mistake there, buddy.  Dawn immediately says he’s going to be a problem but she wants to give him the impression she’s voting with him and then take him out.  Meanwhile Sherri is dishing to Andrea and Phillip about Malcolm and then Dawn joins in.  They now plan on blindsiding Malcolm.

Phillip emphasizes this plan in the annoyingly arrogant manner that is turning Survivor fans off in droves.  This guy is not entertaining.  He’s not good television.  I don’t even want to see him lose – again.  I just want him off the show.  Ugh.

Day 25 and Eddie and Andrea are flirting.  Andrea explains that she’s doing it in an attempt to get him to give her information or vote for her in the end.  Eddie tells her he’ll do whatever she wants and she gives him googly eyes in return but Andrea seems like the type who gives googly eyes to every guy in order to get her way.

Eddie wants Andrea to drag him forward a few more votes, until he’s able to get up and knock some people down.  I don’t know how he’ll do that if all his allies are gone, but he’s never really come across as a master with logic.

Immunity challenge time and it’s yet another classic.  The players are in the water under a grate and as the tide comes in the water rises.  They have to stay calm and hold their breath as long as possible while the water slowly rises over their faces.

After 30 minutes the water is nipping at their ears as Probst informs them.  After 1 hour the water has just about made them run out of space.  As the water comes over the grate they have it smacking them in the face.  Phillip is the first one to drop out… guess that wasn’t covered in secret agent school.  Sherri and Erik drop out right after that, which comes as a surprise as I thought he’d make it far.  Dawn drops out as well and then Malcolm.  Michael is struggling and then he drops out.  Eddie, Cochran and Reynold drop out in succession and that leaves Brenda and Andrea.

Brenda hasn’t moved the whole challenge as Andrea starts to struggle but she troopers through some more, dropping into the water only to pop back up in the grate but she eventually has to drop out.

Brenda alert!  She wins immunity.

Immunity challenge is over, time to congratulate Brenda and then scramble.  Malcolm says this next vote must be the turning point, though he has to make Andrea trust him because she’s running things.  Even though Phillip is all bluster and thinks he is running things, he’s really a joke (a bad joke) and it’s Andrea who is the most trouble so he wants to vote her out.

Dawn meanwhile is cleaning the knife she just took out of Corinne’s back.

Reynold shows his idol to Dawn to try to get her on his side.  She, meanwhile, doesn’t like that she felt intimidated by him when he told her not to screw him over.  Reynold explains the plan to Eddie who runs off immediately to Andrea, so that was well played by her earlier.

Eddie makes Andrea think that she’s the target so she becomes uber-paranoid and wants to change the vote to Michael who for sure doesn’t have an idol.

Andrea tells Dawn about the new plan and Dawn freaks out because she’ll have to face both Malcolm and Reynold the next day and she doesn’t think she can handle that.  So it’s not betraying people’s trust that’s the problem, it’s having to face them afterward.

Tribal time and Michael explains that he doesn’t really have a chance but the Favorites alliance should be breaking up eventually.

Phillip acts even more obnoxious and arrogant.  He reveals that Sherri is with them and she acts like a smug ass too.  Joy.

Andrea knows from her prior season when she was on the bottom that the right person with the right numbers at the right time can change the game.  Phillip believes so as well but doesn’t believe there is a chance for that to happen here as they have the proper numbers and as a result that person is going to get squashed.  From the look on Malcolm’s face he believes he’s been outed.

Time to vote.

My gut is saying Malcolm talked even more than usual for a second consecutive blindside.

Let’s find out:

There’s another apparent first.  Malcolm talks Reynold into giving him the idol instead of playing it himself because he believes everyone is voting for him after that.  This was after voting for Reynold as a way to potentially get back in the good graces with Stealth R Us, a cutthroat move.

Andrea, Andrea, Andrea, Reynold, Michael, Michael, Michael, Michael, Michael, and Michael is gone but not before giving the group the finger.

Malcolm and Reynold both look unhappy, though Malcolm looks begrudgingly respectful while Dawn looks guilty.  I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

Next time on Survivor: Sure enough, Dawn bawls, a lot.  She’s like a wailing howler monkey, completely breaking down.  Cochran thinks it’s baffling and Phillip says she’s acting like a lunatic which he would be an expert on.

And that’s it.  Did Michael even get a single confessional this episode?  Wow, the blatant disregard for some of the contestants in the edit is yet another first this season.  There’s been a Brett, Rick, Purple Kelly, Leif, etc for years now but this is the first time that multiple people aren’t getting confessionals even in their boot episode.  A season of firsts, but shouldn’t that be more exciting?

Until next week!

Episode 8

Previously on Survivor… There was a tribe swap where the Favorites had a numbers advantage but Corinne and Phillip didn’t like each other.  The other tribe was eating and stuff while Malcolm was plotting a four-male alliance.  Phillip claimed he meant to throw the challenge to get rid of Julia, Cochran knew it was full of crap, and Phillip maybe kind of wanted to get rid of Michael instead.  But they voted out Julia instead.

And now Night 19 at Bikal camp, the tribe is returning and Phillip is congratulating Michael.  Michael is happy it wasn’t him and Corinne was happy she got the gay and he is now hers.

Phillip tells Corinne and Dawn he threw the challenge and Corinne’s face says it all.

Ugh, 3 minutes into this episode and I want Phillip to shut up already.  What is the point of showing this?  I doubt it will have anything to do with the rest of the episode and there isn’t anything else to spend a minute of screen time on?  Not a single bit of confessional or strategy to take up time rather than more of Phillip looking like a fool on national television?  This is the freaking merge and rather than having someone we haven’t heard from all game, like Brenda or Erik, we have more of Phillip’s delusions.  Perfect example of what has been wrong with this season.  Ugh.

Dawn and Corinne make fun of him and stuff and Corinne calls him cuckoo for cocoa puffs.  We’re going to have to deal with a whole episode of this crap aren’t we?

Back at Bikal on Day 20, Corinne is trying to blow up Michael as a potential big time player as opposed to the others which… does not seem like a good strategy to convince others to keep him.  Phillip commands them to not talk to anyone one on one when they merge, because they’re going to merge soon.

Dawn is nervous because last game it was around this time that her game exploded and so she’s gotta have a cry or three.  She cries because the game blew up last time.  She cries because she wants money for her kids.  She cries because that poor bug was eaten by the big-eyed thing-a-majig in the cut scene.

At the Favorites camp spa day concludes with a boat coming to shore.  Erik doesn’t know whats going on but something awesome probably.

Andrea reads a note the boat person gives her and it is the merge.  Dancey dance time because it’s merge time.

Andrea hasn’t seen the other Favorites in a while but it’s now an individual game so she has to be wary of everyone.

Cochran is most excited about the merge, and yeah, no wonder.  It means you’ve succeeded at the first part of the game.  No matter your position in the game or alliance, making it to the merge is a huge step for anyone in the game.

Reynold didn’t know what type of reception he’d receive but it was welcoming and stuff so that gives him hope that he’s not totally hosed.

They have the requisite merge feast and their new green buffs.  They name the new tribe Enil Edam which means new beginning, except it doesn’t.  It stands for Madeline backward, which is Malcolm’s mom’s name.

Phillip and Andrea cement their alliance between themselves and explain that they also have Cochran and Dawn.  Andrea says to her the first vote doesn’t mean a lot because there are 8 Faves to 4 Fans.  This is the time people start scrambling and anything can happen and they have the numbers to get rid of dead weight.

And speaking of scrambling, Corinne is complaining about Phillip to Malcolm.  “He’s like he was in his first season but 10 times crazier.”  Malcolm explains to Corinne that he has four votes in his pocket and with Corinne and Michael that makes 6.  It’s not a clear-cut majority, but if they get rid of just one they cement their game.

They want to target Sherri and Malcolm explains, “She’s weird.  You’ll see.  It’s uncomfortable dealing with her.”

Corinne says they’re going to vote with the Favorites one last time to get rid of Sherri and then it’s blindside time.  I get the feeling this is going to backfire.  It’s just like Survivor to show someone making that quote, name the episode after it and then have that person be the victim of the blindside.

Back at camp and Cochran has treemail for an eating challenge.  And after many years, the gross food challenge is back.  Reynold’s kryptonite is eating disgusting things and Cochran said something too.

Probst unveils the new immunity necklace and explains that the challenge is a race to eat local delicacies.

First up is beetle larva which makes a comeback from season one.  Andrea, Malcolm, and Eddie make it through the round while Sherri, Corinne and Erik don’t make the cut.  Next up is more beetle larva.  Cochran slams his, followed by Phillip and Michael.  Brenda, Dawn and Reynold are out.

The next dish is ship worms, which are part of the clam family and not actually worms.  They’re the ocean’s equivalent of termites, Probst explains.  Malcolm, Eddie and Cochran make it through and Cochran is just pleased with himself here as it’s the first time he’s been successful in a challenge.

Next up is balut, duck embryo, and Eddie just wants to know why.  Cochran destroys his balut while Eddie struggles as Malcolm just kind of does his thing and moves on.

Probst even admits how impressed he is that Cochran of all people made it to the finals of an immunity challenge.

Final dish is pig brain.  “It’s bacon!” yells Cochran and slams it once again to win his first ever immunity.  “I’ve been waiting my whole life for this,” he crows as he struts about in joy.  While I’m not nearly as big of a Survivor nerd as Cochran (he appeared in his senior yearbook photo in a buff), I am a Survivor nerd and it’s fun seeing a fellow nerd do so well.  Gives me hope that one day I may make it on the show.

Back at camp on Day 22 and Cochran is still very happy.  “Pardon my excessive celebration but there are very few challenges I know I have a chance at.”  He’s stoked because he went up again the “Golden God” of Survivor challenges and beat him, and everyone is thrilled he won.

Malcolm then says that he’s glad Cochran had this moment because he doesn’t plan on keeping him around long, so he gets to write this off his bucket list.  He cements his alliance with Eddie.

Phillip meanwhile is telling Corinne he wants to split the votes to get rid of Eddie and Reynold.  Corinne wants to avoid that as she needs Eddie and Reynold to further her game.  They both want to target Sherri so why not vote out Sherri but Phillip is The Specialist and its his way or his way.  He wants a “big fish” taken out of the game.

Corinne is adamant about not targeting Eddie or Reynold and that makes Cochran nervous, but he’s also okay with getting rid of Sherri because an 8-3 advantage is insurmountable and all but guarantees one of them wins the game.  He also understands that if they don’t vote as a united group the Favorites can and probably will fall apart.

Corinne is making a mistake here as she wants to try to bring Dawn in.  Dawn’s confessional earlier about her last game being ruined by someone flipping takes a whole new light with this.  If Corinne tries to bring her in and explains what is going on, I have no doubt Dawn will inform the rest of the alliance.

Reynold is optimistic again but he admits he’s been delusionally optimistic the whole game.  He can’t help it because this might be his chance to finally be in a strong position in a power alliance.

Here comes Corinne and Dawn talking, and Corinne explains that Sherri seems the easiest target but she also wants a voice.  This is a democracy and if she doesn’t have a voice she doesn’t want to be in a democracy.  She goes on to spill all the beans about her and Malcolms’ plans and sure enough, Dawn goes right to Cochran and spills all the beans.

Dawn says if they had the numbers to vote out Corinne tonight she would do it.  Cochran knows that if they don’t come up with a plan to stop Corinne, it will be the end of his game.  He goes on to spill the beans to Andrea, who is up for a blindside.  They want to pull in Sherri and Brenda, maybe even Erik who doesn’t talk strategy with anyone.

Andrea then spills the beans to Phillip and they both want to get rid of Corinne that night.  Phillip says some more stupid arrogant stuff that I don’t care to repeat.  He provides his usual threatening promise of alliance to bring Sherri in.  She wants to stay in the game but she doesn’t want to play with Phillip because he’s an arrogant douchetard.

Erik’s strategy is basically to have Andrea point to a name on the tribe flag.  Then Malcolm talks to him and he realizes he’s become a valuable player and likes it.  He thinks he’s the swing vote but he’d really be the tying vote.

At Tribal and Corinne buries herself more by saying she’s open to strategizing beyond the Fans vs. Favorites alliance.

Reynold knows that if you’ve played the game before and you’re not on the top of a eight-person alliance now is the time to make moves to make sure you make it to the end.  He also thinks that tonight’s vote will be standard but then things are going to get shook up.  If the other people weren’t aware of plotting before they certainly are after those two basically wrote it on the wall.

Andrea is much more paranoid this time around because every one of the Favorites has experience lying and deceiving or being deceived.

Corinne brings up a Mike Tyson quote about getting punched in the face and how everyone is waiting to get punched in the face.

Time to vote and it’s almost surely going to be Corinne.  She talked half the episode while Sherri had one 5 second confessional.  No doubt in my mind.

Lets find out:

Malcolm and Corinne both have cocky smirks on their face, which means they’re getting blindsided.

First vote is Sherri, Sherri, Sherri, Sherri, Sherri, Corinne, Corinne, Corinne, Corinne, Corinne, Corinne, Corinne.

She is quite obviously blindsided and the cocky grins move from Malcolm to Phillip, Cochran and Sherri.  Corinne looks like she’s about to cry as her torch is snuffed.  Malcolm looks supremely disappointed, and no doubt why, his game just basically ended.  No way do they keep him around much longer now.

Next time on Survivor: It’s time for Malcolm to make a move and Eddie flirts his way back into the game.

I think it’s too little too late for Malcolm, but he’ll give it a valiant try.  I could tell he didn’t have a chance this season from his demeanor at the Philippines reunion show.  He looked, like Russell Hantz at the Samoa reunion, dejected and annoyed at having to jump through hoops he knew he would fall through.

But it should be fun to watch a likable, strong player like him crash and burn.  Until next time!

Greatest Blind Sides in Survivor History, Part 2

9) Vanuatu: Leann Slaby

The “battle of the sexes” season had several memorable moments, but none more so than when Ami Cusack’s girl-power alliance saw its downfall.  Ami, in my eyes, was a classic villain that season in that she quickly became arrogant and cocky about her position of power.  And after her powerful alliance knocked off all but one of the remaining guys, rather than finishing the men off once and for all Ami and her right-hand woman Leann decided to turn on their own and vote out the mega-annoying Eliza.  Despite being at what appeared to be a 6-1 disadvantage, Chris (with a little help from the traitorous Twila) managed to bring together a 4-person alliance that changed the game and saw them seated at the final tribal council.  Since Ami won immunity, it was her close confidant that was sent packing.  The apparent glee by Sarge and Chad on the jury combined with Ami’s look of disgust and the doe-in-headlights look of stunned disbelief on Leann’s face easily puts this blindside at the top for this season.

10) Palau: Ian Rosenberger

In Palau, Tom Westman’s Koror tribe dominated the game.  The final four of that season saw four Koror left standing when drama erupted.  Ian, Tom’s loyal partner throughout the game, revealed to Tom that he had considered voting Tom off should Tom lose immunity.  This was a smart move to contemplate, though maybe not the smartest to actually tell Tom of this.  This led Tom on a crusade against Ian, who had broken his trust and lost his respect, and a bunch of other phony crap.  Tom was completely playing Ian, and it worked.  During the final tribal council in the most impressive one on one battle in Survivor history, Tom and Ian lasted twelve hours holding onto a pole above the water.  Twelve hours, and then Ian decided that in order to regain Tom’s respect he would step down and allow Tom to take the mostly worthless Katie with him to the end.  Ian was blindsided, in my mind, by Tom’s bullying attitude about what was a common sense game decision and it worked because Westman walked away from that season a million dollars richer.

11) Guatemala: Judd Sargeant

I almost chose Stephenie for this one, as she played the most aggressive “Survivor” game during this season and received only 1 vote for the million for her troubles.  After studying this season a bit, there were the typical early vote offs, and then Jamie’s outburst after being voted out.  But Judd’s exit takes the cake.  After acting like an obnoxious alpha male, stirring the waters and ruffling feathers, Judd was actually in a decent position for the end game on Day 33.  Until, that is, Danni helped convince enough people that he was an untrustworthy threat to win the game.  His final words as he exited were some of the more remarkable in the show’s history for the immediate sour grapes being shown, “Thanks guys.  Hope you guys all get bit by a freaking crocodile.  Scumbags.”

12) Panama: Shane Powers

This could have easily gone to Courtney Marit, who both Shane and Terry were targeting as their final two goat.  Both Shane and Terry were blindsided when Cirie stepped up and masterminded Courtney’s ousting.  Despite the warning, Shane was very comfortable in the game.  He had gone from someone who looked like he was cracking and heading toward an early elimination to at one point believing he had full control of the game.  “I can win against anyone,” he would say but Cirie once again showed why she’s one of the best non-winners to ever play the game.  She orchestrated his ousting just as she had Courtney’s to Shane’s complete – and comical – surprise.

13) Cook Islands: The Aitu Four

Really, a couple of Jonathan Penner’s moves could be considered here, but I went with the momentum-shifting Mutiny.  Not only did this move change the tribes from a 6-6 tie to a 4-8 disadvantage for Aitu, but it solidified the Aitu four’s alliance to the point where it could not be broken.  And it had the added advantage of showing Penner for a schemer and flipper, which Yul would later use to his advantage when he showed Penner his immunity idol and badgered him into flipping on his new alliance and blindsiding Nate.  There’s no doubt that the mutiny move changed the game up in a big way, but no one at the time thought the Aitu Four, at a 4-8 disadvantage, would end up the final four players in the game.  Penner and his penchant for blindsiding others during this season deserves a lot of credit for that.

14) Fiji: Edgardo Rivera

The “Four Horsemen” alliance in Fiji made several mistakes, none moreso than trusting the duplicitous, weak-willed flip-flopping Dreamz, a guy notorious in Survivor fame for refusing to keep his word.  The Four Horsemen were made up of Dreamz and three other young strong guys, but little did the other three know that Dreamz was playing every side.  No sooner would he hear someone’s plans than he would run off to blab about it to the other tribe.  When Dreamz informed the other alliance that the Horsemen planned on playing an idol at that night’s council, it allowed eventual winner Earl Cole to position his alliance to take over the game.  Rather than alliance leader Alex Angarita going home as they originally wished, thanks to Dreamz’s double-dealing they knew Edgardo would be unprotected at tribal and as a result he, Alex, and Mookie were completely blindsided.

15) China: James Clement

This is one of the biggest blindsides in game history, though it really shouldn’t be.  James the Gravedigger was an instant fan favorite in China.  The soft-spoken, humble giant of a man worked hard and slowly came out of his shell, helping his tribe come to dominate the game and in the process he found himself in possession of two immunity idols.  Around Day 30 James found himself in a great place with an apparent Final Four position within his alliance.  That concerned Amanda Kimmel, who knew no one would have a chance against James in the finals.  So was hatched the plan to remove him and his two idols from the game.  Despite some warning signs at tribal, James refused to play either of his idols and was in stunned disbelief as he became yet another player who became too comfortable within the game and was voted out because of it.

16) Fans vs. Favorites: Ozzy Lusth

This season had so many blindsides, quite a few of them classic.  Some might argue Erik giving up his immunity necklace and immediately being voted out was bigger, but in my mind that wasn’t a blindside, it was a given.  As soon as he handed his necklace over it was over for him, but he did it out of desperation to get further.  Alexis is also a classic blindside because of Amanda’s excellent job of acting like she was definitely getting voted out, only to reveal the immunity idol.  Ozzy, however, was in a very strong position within the game, part of the majority alliance and in possession of the immunity idol.  Ozzy made the classic mistake of being too comfortable and too cocky.  He didn’t even bring his idol with him to tribal, he was so confident that it wasn’t him being voted out.  But Cirie once again showed why she is one of the best players to never win the game, putting together a duct tape alliance to blindside a visibly dumbstruck and then very angry Ozzy as well as Amanda, James, and Erik.  His final words also stand out in their combination of self-loathing and bitterness, “I’m an idiot.  Should have seen it coming but I got too comfortable… To whoever in my alliance that voted the other way, right now I pretty much hate you.  So screw you, basically.”

And there’s part two.  Part three will be up tomorrow!

Greatest Blind Sides in Survivor History, Part 1

So I’m hiding out in the bedroom tonight while my wife and her friends have a giddy, wine-fueled girl’s night.  And while doing so I visited /r/survivor and saw a topic asking for opinions on the greatest/most conniving blind side in the history of the show.  I tried to answer, I did, but I simply couldn’t.  There are too many great blindsides in the history of the game to come up with just one.

Heck, its hard coming up with just a single greatest from many seasons, let alone the entire 26-season span of the series.  And after thinking about it some of the early seasons, the best blindsides weren’t necessarily when someone was voted out of the game.

Since Wednesday night’s episode of Survivor is called Blindside Time, I figured why not take a look and pick the best blindside from each season throughout the week.  I’ve written up the first eight seasons, and will cover another 8-9 tomorrow and Wednesday leading up to the episode.  So let’s get it started, shall we:

1) Borneo: Kelly Wiglesworth

This is the first example of what I meant when I said some blind sides aren’t exactly someone getting voted out.  Kelly wasn’t voted out of the game, but the final vote of the first season of Survivor sure enough looked like it blindsided her.  She was a prime target to be blindsided through the last several episodes of the season after the Tagi alliance had gained the numbers advantage over Pagong.  Everyone recognized her for the threat she was but went on an immunity challenge streak that saw her seated at the final tribal council.  She had outplayed and outlasted all but Richard Hatch, who she had also helped to outwit all the others.  She was a hard worker, dominating in challenges, and joined an alliance to get herself ahead but she lost to the conniving weasel, setting the tone for the future of the game.

2)  Australia: The entire Kucha tribe

This is a tough one.  I originally had Jerri listed here, but after thinking about it, I got to say the biggest blindside of that season came when Mike Skupin fell in the fire and ruined the chances for not just himself but the rest of his tribe.  The Kucha tribe was dominating the game at that point and there is little doubt in my mind that they would have won the next immunity challenge and went into the merge with a 6-4 majority.  The rest of game would have played out in a completely different way for Kucha and chances are good we might have seen a Mike Skupin/Nick Brown final tribal, or a Jeff Varner/Alicia Calaway combo, or maybe even an Elizabeth/Rodger Bingham pairing.  The possibilities are endless, but in most of them Kucha sits at the end instead of Ogakor.

3) Africa: Silas Gaither

Silas was sitting pretty as the leader of the dominant younger persons alliance on the Samburu tribe.  He appeared to set to coast until the merge, where his physical ability and cutthroat attitude together had him poised to make a mark.  And then a twist.  The first ever tribal swap abruptly sent him and two non-alliance members to Boran where he had no chance whatsoever and was immediately voted off.

4) Marquesas – Hunter Ellis

This could easily have been either John Carroll or Paschal English.  Both had significant blind sides, with John being outed by the underdog alliance in the first ever totem pole shakeup while Paschal was eliminated by the dreaded purple rock tiebreaker at final four despite not having a single vote against him all game.  But it was Hunter’s elimination that stood out the most.  Hunter was a huge physical threat and intelligent to boot, but didn’t have the conniving nature to best someone like Boston Rob.  Mariano organized his troops to vote out Hunter because Rob, in a strategy he would use nine years later to win the game, didn’t care about strength if he couldn’t control someone’s vote.

5) Thailand – Shii Ann Huang

This is another example of someone being blindsided not so much by being voted out as a twist in the game.  Shii Ann was on the outside of Sook Jai when the tribes believed they merged.  She wasted little time jumping over to the Chuay Gahn alliance, only to discover that there was no merge; the tribes had moved to the same beach but were still competing against each other. Shii Ann was immediately voted out.

6) Amazon – Christy Smith

Christy was one of Survivor’s first huge underdogs as she was 90% deaf.  Despite this handicap she managed to last until the final six, but this is where she sealed her fate.  Christy was to be the swing vote at tribal council that night.  Matthew and Rob Cesternino wanted Christy to vote out Heidi with them while Heidi and Jenna wanted her to vote with them to get out Matthew.  Christy couldn’t commit to either and couldn’t lie about committing, so Rob turned the game on her and allied with Heidi and Jenna to vote out a visibly confident and bragging Christy.

7) Pearl Islands – Rupert Boneham

Rupert thought believed he was in control of the tribe – or at least shared control.  He definitely had viewers on his side but little did he know the duplicitous Jonny Fairplay was working against him.  Rupert’s reaction was classic, a mixture of dumbfounded surprise turning into a seething rage, and helped cement this one.

8) All Stars – Lex van den Berghe

Lex was one of my favorite players before All Stars.  In Africa he and Ethan played a tremendous game and Kim Johnson’s surprise final immunity win robbed viewers of one of the most deserving final two.  And then came All Stars, where Lex overplayed himself into what has become the most personal blind side in Survivor history.  Lex famously saved Amber at Boston Rob’s request after a tribe swap.  Lex voted out Jerri, who he was allied with, thus giving Rob’s alliance the numbers advantage.  Just a couple episodes after voting out Colby in order to make a big, bold move – something he felt he didn’t do in Africa – Lex decided to put his game in the hands of Boston Rob.  Rob voted him out immediately, but not before having the guts to tell Lex to his face, so this was not a blind side in the technical sense either.  Lex knew he was getting voted out but remained shocked and stunned.  To this day, the two men – who were friends before the season – have reportedly still not spoken to each other.

There they are, the first 8 seasons and the best blind side from each.  Tomorrow I’ll put up Vanuatu to Fans vs. Favorites.  Until then, cheers.

 ♦

SURVIVOR: CARAMOAN - FANS VS. FAVORITES

Survivor Caramoan Liveblog Recap

Episode 7

After a bit of a break last week thanks to sick children, on we go.  It was announced today that Survivor was renewed for next season, which is good news for any fan of the show.

And … previously on Survivor:  The infamous tribal swap created perhaps the most physically mismatched tribes in game history.  At Gota, Eddie and Reynold still don’t like Sherri and Sherri returns the favor.  Phillip wanted to recruit someone named Julia into Stealth R Us.  And Corinne loved Michael because he was gay.  They sucked in the challenge, and Matt was blindsided.

Tonight at Bikal, someone named Julia almost peed herself when her name was read at Tribal.  Corinne hated voted out Matt because he was her gay boyfriend’s best friend and Michael is stunned. Corinne doesn’t want Michael to go and would rather get rid of Phillip.

Phillip thinks that’s unacceptable.  He also thinks its unacceptable that Corinne has the nerve to talk to Michael and not report every detail of the conversation.  Cochran tries to talk sense into him, but the Specialist is livid because he’s the boss and just because.  His reaction when his Stealth R Us inevitably turn on him is going to be classic, and so well deserved.  Phillip would be playing a great game if he had the type of personality that didn’t make people ridicule or hate him, but alas…

Day 17 at Bikal and there’s tree mail for a reward challenge.  Cochran likes the concept of the strong carrying the weak as tree mail says, since that likely means he’ll be useful if someone carries him.

Phillip, though, is psyched because he’s super strong and stuff.  Just ask him.  Muscles don’t determine how tough you are, which is true, but Phillip’s method of delivery is lacking.  He may not have the big muscles but he has the big mouth.  And to prove just how tough he is, he challenges Cochran to an arm wrestling match.  He is pretty tough too, because to dominate Cochran in a challenge… wow… you gotta be super awesome tough then.

Challenge time and it’s another classic.  A fun challenge, except for the fact that these are two of the most lopsided tribes in history.  This is going to be a slaughter.

Phillip wants to be first because he can run the fastest with the most weight, and anyone who watched the preview knows how that works out.  His strategy, after running for a bit and wearing himself out, is to just walk.  He can’t run because all the weight is going to come to him despite the fact that he’s already worn out.

The other tribe is quickly gaining on them but Phillip isn’t concerned.

Brenda alert: she’s adorably excited.

Phillip falls down and that’s it.  Erik tags him and he looks like he’s barely broken a sweat.  That was an absolutely worthless challenge that was decided before it started, which is a real shame because it’s a fun challenge.

Dawn calls Phillip out in her confessional: he’s arrogant, caught up in thinking he’s the leader, sees all of his strengths and none of his weaknesses.  Pretty adept.  But is it all just words or will they do something about it?

Reward time for the Favorites.  I know a few Fans are part of the tribe but currently they’re the Favorites to win every challenge until the merge – and I can’t remember their tribe name – so Favorites they are. Andrea wants to spend her time on jury management at the challenge because she wants the Fans voting for her at the end.  Smart, but saying that all but guarantees she won’t be at the end.

Reynold, meanwhile, is a bacchanalian: life is there to indulge in glorious abundance.  He’s having the time of his life.  And he’s glad he’s bonding with the Favorites.

Malcolm says it’s fun but it’s always a good time and partying at the Favorites tribe, and that’s well and good but the time to play is soon.

Phillip back at Bikal is whitewashing the loss as inevitable and Corinne isn’t happy that he blew the challenge.

Cochran sees that Phillip and Corinne hate each other, and that means a death sentence for the tribe.  He wants to keep on the path of voting out a Fan, but Michael is getting tight with Corinne.  And someone named Julia is very vanilla, but no, that’s a disservice to things that are vanilla. No one wants anything Julia has to offer except Phillip, who is creating, building, mentoring a double agent.

Someone named Julia is now talking!  She knows Phillip is a character, but staying in the game depends on kissing his ass, although he’s going to cause disunity in the tribe eventually, so why not get rid of him?  Good job, Julia person who is playing Survivor.

Reynold and Malcolm are plotting and Malcolm wants to bring together the strong Alpha males into an alliance.  Malcolm, Reynold, Eddie, and Erik because they’re going to be targeted come the merge so why not join together to try to prevent that?  Good thinking, but it will be hard to carry out without more numbers.  Malcolm is already allied with Corinne, and if Erik can bring Brenda into the equation, they could be in business.

Reynold sees himself in Malcolm, so this idea is great to him.  Reynold then tells Malcolm about his idol, and this idea is great to Malcolm because he now knows the location of both idols in the game.  He’s sitting in a pretty sweet spot and sees the game in the palm of his hand.

Day 19 at Bikal and Dawn needs to talk to Julia about the next stage of the game.  Julia talked with Phillip and he said he wants to take her along, but not without making her feel bullied.

Dawn is impressed that Julia is actually thinking about the game and immediately goes to tell Phillip, who is not happy.  He specifically told Julia not to talk to anyone about her role as his lackey, so Lackey Rule #1 has been violated and she will be going home.

Immunity challenge time: it’s a challenge the Favorites are going to win.  Okay, that’s not fair.  Maybe Bikal will actually be able to… no, I can’t even write that in a joking way.  There is simply no chance for them.

The Favorites – Brenda, Eddie and Erik – are off to an early lead rowing a boat out to where they’ll have to jump in the water to retrieve a statue.  Bikal – Corinna, Dawn, and Michael – are out of it quickly but the Fave’s ineptitude in clipping their pontoon at the diving point lets Bikal come back.  It’s an even race at the moment, but the statue they had to retrieve is very heavy and hard to move with.  This results in the Favorites regaining the lead.

They tag in Reynold, Malcolm and Andrea on the second leg of the course against Phillip, Cochran, and Julia.  It’s another classic, throwing a grappling hook to retrieve a ring with a key.  Reynold proves once again that he’s good at throwing things while Phillip proves that he’s not as good as Reynold at throwing things.

In the end it, of course, isn’t really close.  Favorites run away with it and Bikal is going to Tribal Council tonight.  It’s fairly obvious who is going home.  Even if Phillip is annoying, a Fan is going home and since Julia has actually spoken this episode despite having one confessional in the previous 6 episodes, she fulfills both the strategic boot and the talking too much boot requirements.

Phillip would fulfill the talking too much requirement but for the sad fact is he’s talked too much in every single episode so far.  A very poor editing choice to showcase him so much the first half of the season.  He’s really not as entertaining as the producers of the show seem to believe.

Dawn thinks Michael did great, and Phillip is sulking around.  He pulls Cochran aside for a confession.  They sneak off into the woods and Phillip’s confession is that he threw the challenge to vote off a fan.  He’s doing it for the good of their alliance, he claims, but Cochran knows he’s full of it because the Favorites could have voted out a much bigger Fan threat had they lost.

“You can’t make up this level of delusion, and that’s what excites me about playing with Phillip,” Cochran says in a line of the night.

I figured there would be some random pre-Tribal scrambling but not this high comedy. Back at camp, Phillip says he wants to split the votes, but Corinne doesn’t want to do that because she wants Michael to trust her.  So that makes Phillip crazier than usual because how dare she not follow him.  It’s a problem and that means they have to vote out Michael to spite Corinne.  Because that won’t stir shit up.

More Phillip blathering on… growing bored.

Tribal Council time

I missed the first few lines, but Corinne admits it comes down to voting Michael or Julia. Phillip needs to jump in and explain that his process on who to vote out is different from Corinne’s because Phillip needs to talk.  All the time.

Probst takes this opportunity to call out Phillip for failing at the challenge, which Phillip waves away.

Michael thinks he should stay because they’ll feel comfortable moving forward with him.  Probst wanders if his friendship with Corinne can hurt him in the long run, and Cochran thinks it can, but Corinne is quick to backtrack on how close they are.

Julia says she came into the game thinking one way and the game changed so that messed her up and as a result she may be too comfortable.  What?

Time for the vote and Phillip is smirking like he’s about to get his way, and he is, as the vote comes down to:

Michael, Julia, Michael, Julia, Michael, Julia.

A tie, because paranoia of immunity idols is important.

Time for the revote and Michael is trying to look nonchalant while Julia looks close to tears:

Julia, Julia, Julia, Julia

And this woman who has somehow managed to play 19 days of Survivor while being completely and unequivocally invisible is now gone.  So long, someone named Julia.

Next time on Survivor: It’s the merge and the playing-field is “leveled.”  Looks like we get another classic challenge that we haven’t seen in some time: the gross food eating competition.  Nice.

The next several episodes should be exciting as I think the Favorites will turn on each other rather than getting rid of the remnants of the Fans.  My early prediction for boot will be one of Phillip or Corinne as it’s been obviously building up.  In this battle, you can officially count me as Team Corinne.

Until next time, thanks for reading!

Episode 5

Previously on Survivor… Reynold was good at challenges but the Fans suck anyway.  Andrea was targeting Corinne for no discernible reason.  Brandon was promising to be a jackass.  Shamar was being a jackass and got himself pulled from the game for a scratched eyeball while Laura was booted for not being very good at challenges.

Back at camp, Matt is acting like he’s totally BFFs with Eddie and Reynold because he finally voted with him.  Sherri is not too happy about voting out Laura because she was a sweet girl who reminds her of her daughter.  Not because her closest ally was a hindrance and had to be removed from the game so that they weren’t as horrible in challenges.

Reynold doesn’t want to move forward despite telling the tribe he wants to move forward.  He still dislikes everyone on the tribe for beating him at the strategic aspect of Survivor.

Meanwhile, Michael is still nervous about Reynold.  He doesn’t want him around because he’s such a threat.  And something tells me that may be the last we’re seeing of the Fans this episode, which has the aforementioned promise by Brandon to be a jackass.

Let’s find out how much of one, shall we?

It’s still Night 10, the Favorites are having a campfire chat.  Brandon is talking about much family means to him and how he feels selfish for abandoning his children at home to go try to win a million dollars that certainly wouldn’t help him with his family at all.  He tells the Faves that he wants them to vote him out at the next Tribal.

It really hurts his pride to have to admit all these stupid things, so he admits all the stupid things he was going to do like fire the shelter and pee in the beans and rice.  Corinne wants him gone because he is loco, which, well, yeah.  Duh.

It’s morning and yet another pep talk and Brandon now wants to stay.  This is just annoying me because looking at the kid’s eyes, he is clearly not all there.  Bad, bad form CBS and Survivor for bringing him back despite seeing him play the first time.  This is not a mentally stable human being.  Whether he truly needs therapeutic help or not or is playing it up for the Hantz family name, it doesn’t matter.  This turd should not have been brought to play Survivor.  So many better male prospects.

Marty, Troyzan, Jonas, Dave Ball, Jaison, Kenny

Each of those guys have played in the last 4 or 5 years and were trying very hard to win the game of Survivor.  It’s ridiculous that Brandon freaking Hantz was brought back over so many other better potentials.  All because of the inevitable controversy he would cause.  Well I hope this seasons downward spiral in ratings is worth the drama.

Okay, rant aside, it’s the reward challenge.  Another classic challenge where one tribe throws coconuts into a net while two tribe members must hold ropes attached to the net.  As the coconuts pile up the net becomes heavier and heavier.  First tribe to still have a member holding rope wins.  The reward is a barbecue feast.  Phillip plays mind games by yelling at the Fans just as they’re throwing and the editing makes it seem like it’s working.

Reynold is killing it and piling the weight on Brandon while Sherri sucks and the Favorites are all doing well.  Brandon is the first to drop, then Matt.  Michael vs. Phillip and Phillip is still yelling and talking trash.  Reynold and Malcolm are in beastmode nailing coconut after coconut while the holders start struggling.  Michael releases first after making perhaps the ugliest strain-face ever and Phillip wins the challenge.

Crazy antics aside, Phillip has brought it this season.  He created the power alliance and has been a strength in challenges.  If they didn’t focus on making him seem like Coach 1.0 he would be as entertaining as they hoped he would be.

Looks like we do get another look at the Fans before the fireworks start.  Eddie talks about how they blew the challenge and Michael and Reynold say they need to try something new.  Sherri wants to rant about how they got rid of Laura and lost the challenge anyway.  She needs to find the idol, and so does Michael.  And Matt.  And Reynold.

Matt explains that it’s no secret everyone is trying to find the idol because it’s back in play.  He definitely wants to find the idol and if he does, he’s not telling anyone.  Sherri is following her instincts because it’s always hidden in a unique place… that’s not following your instincts, it’s following show history.  Michael wants to find it as long as Reynold doesn’t find it.  You know what that means?

Reynold finds it and explains that he’s not going to open his big fat mouth.  So he goes back to camp and tells Eddie despite some brunette lady standing nearby.  Apparently there’s a brunette lady playing on the Fans tribe.

Back at the Favorites and Brandon is sullen despite having a winning feast.  Andrea says she doesn’t think he would be happy even if he won the million.  Brandon, meanwhile, is pissed off because Phillip is claiming responsibility for the win.  It can’t be, because, you know, he won the challenge?  So he quietly flips out on Phillip and berates him before the tribe.

Corinne doesn’t know what to do with Brandon’s craziness.

Malcolm knows that despite his use down the road, Brandon can quickly turn into a drain around camp.  Because he has.

Phillip, though, is a street fighter so he doesn’t play that.  Don’t bring it unless you want it brought!  Is there anything this man can’t do?

Brandon goes to apologize and they appear to mend fences while also arguing as Phillip claims superiority.  Yawn.

Brandon says he has to keep himself under control.  So of course after the commercial break he’ll lose control.

We get one more look at the Fans where they all have pruny feet.  Michael wants to work, Matt doesn’t want to do anything.  Neither does anyone else.  “But you can’t just wallow under the palm fronds and hope it gets better, because it won’t,” Michael says as he busybees around camp.  Except you can.

Eddie, our resident time keeper, says it’s been raining for 48 hours.  And it sucks.

Matt is cold and thirsty and wet.  He wishes something good would happen to his tribe.  And just in time, we go back to the Favorites camp where Brandon is lighting a fire in the rain.

“This Phillip and Brandon rivalry is getting to me!”  Brandon says as he starts the fire and apparently in his eyes he’s the only one who can make a fire.  Not Phillip! He doesn’t need the 54-year-old loser telling him what to do.

Cochran speaks long enough to tell us what the challenge is, and Phillip contemplates throwing the challenge to get rid of Brandon.  He tells Andrea his plan and she gives incredulous face – that woman does give great face – but says okay.

“If he doesn’t go, I won’t be happy.  Do what you want to do,” he tells Andrea, meaning “do what I say.”

Brandon comes up and to his credit quickly snuffs out that Phillip may want to throw the challenge.  And he’s angry.  He wants to talk to Phillip.  He thought they figured out how to squash this.  Phillip isn’t happy.

“Drop the Stealth R Us stuff.  It’s like playing with a child.  Nobody falls for it.  Nobody likes it, nobody likes you.”  Finally someone said it, but too bad it was another childish boor who makes Phillip look very sane and mature by comparison.

And here comes the tantrum.  He dumps the rice, dumps the beans.  What a jackass.

“He’s not going to disrespect me anymore,” he says, giving everyone else a reason to disrespect him.  Irony is not a Hantz strong suit.  I’m sure his piece of dirt uncle Russell Hantz will be excited by his play, and Probst has acted downright giddy about this episode, but they are both wrong.  This isn’t a top moment in Survivor history.  This isn’t fun or entertaining or anything but reprehensible on the part of CBS for bringing this mentally disturbed young man back into the game.  For allowing him to skate through their physicals and assessments because they knew he would do something like this and are desperate for one of “Those Moments in Survivor History”… you know, the one they advertised about all week.

Okay, immunity challenge time.  Will there even be a challenge?  I’m guessing Favorites give up immunity right then and there without actually playing the challenge.  The Fans look beat, look just completely downtrodden so this blowup couldn’t have come at a better time for them.

Brandon gives a little speech about how he feels like he’s one of the Fans or what he’s doing is for them.  I don’t care.

Corinne then tells Jeff that they are forfeiting the challenge to hash out some issues at camp.

Brandon calls that bullshit and goes on a rant about the Fans being underdogs.  Probst brings him up next to him away from his tribe and Brandon proceeds to throw another tantrum, much to the Fans’ shock and delight.  Especially Reynold.  Reynold is getting a lot of joy out of this.

I’m not really going to go into the depths of his childish rant because I just don’t care.

When Phillip comes across as the sane and adult one, you know you’re an idiot.

Andrea cries and laments the lost team unity.

More yelling, this time he eggs Phillip on and they spend a few yelling at each other.

Dawn is trying to forget the drama because she’s trying to play the game.

Brandon says more stupid shit.  No one cares except Jeff Probst and the Hantzes.

Reynold brings a moment of funny into the proceedings, asking Jeff if he can throw his hands up and do the “Fans win immunity” signal.  Jeff also is getting handsy with the Brandon shoulder massage.  Creepy, Probst.  Creepy.

And Brandon is gone.  Like Shamar, I’m happy that I don’t have to waste any more space on this turd.  Good riddance.

Next time… Phillip wants Corinne gone.  Corinne wants Phillip gone.  But they’re not going to get what they want because there’s like a tribal swap or something similar, maybe both tribes will vote someone out.  Finally, the game of Survivor will be back into play.  I don’t know how Drama Island took over, but hopefully it never ever comes back.

Game on.

Episode 4

Previously on Survivor… the cool kids club discovered they weren’t so cool after all.  And Shamar threw another tantrum in the “weak” alliance… how an alliance of 6 is the “weak” alliance is beyond me.  The fans lost and Hope went home despite Laura sucking in the challenge and Shamar being Shamar.

And now we find ourselves at the Fans camp after Tribal.  Eddie isn’t happy about the prospect of him being gone next.  And Hope was apparently voted out because she was the prettiest.  That’s some swell logic you have there Edward.

Sherri has a weirdly chicken-like verbal attack/retaliation toward Eddie, who is just not happy with his tribe.  I probably wouldn’t be either, but then again I wouldn’t have alienated myself by acting so superior before the first Tribal’s votes were tallied.  Eddie and Reynold appear to be ready to join many previous strong men who were booted pre-merge, and they only have themselves to blame.

At the Favorites camp it’s more Phillip prosthelytizing.  Napoleon couldn’t pay money to his troops so he paid out in honor and favors.  As Survivor’s version of Napoleon he is going to do the same for Brandon, who is now a full-fledged member of Stealth-R-Us as The Destroyer.  Except both Phillip and Brandon know what a crock of crap it is.

And Erik is also in as the Quiet One.

Andrea is jealous that Erik has a name now too.  What, does everyone just get a name?  Does Brenda get a name?

Brenda alert!  She gets a name too.

Ooh, we have two challenges tonight!  This is a classic throwback challenge.  Two contestants have to walk across planks held by two of six rotating tribe mates and race towards two platforms.  At the second platform it’s then an all out race to the final platform, where everyone has to climb onto the two or three foot platform and stay for five seconds.  The reward is a local showing them some secrets about living off the land around camp.  And a chicken.

Laura not good at the challenge.  Again.  And as a result the Favorites have the edge at the end of the first leg after a neck-to-neck tie up until that point.

“Get on top of me, girls,” Shamar says at the end, fulfilling a lifelong dream.

And Favorites win, despite Shamar believing otherwise.  Oh Shamar, is there anything you can’t not do?

Reynold points out that Laura sucks at challenges, but I doubt it’s going to do much help.  If Sherri knows whats good for her, she’ll bring Reynold and Eddie into her alliance temporarily as long as they know they owe their life in the game to her.

16 minutes into the episode before we finally get Cochran or Malcolm narrating.  What is going on here editing?

And the little Filipino is there and he is right to work.  He teaches them how to cook rice in bamboo, and helps improve their shelter.  The little guy reminds me of a silly, hyper version of the protagonist from The Gods Must Be Crazy.

Back at the Fans, Michael is mad because of all the losing ad Shamar is sleeping again.  Here’s Eddie and Reynold to complain about Shamar sleeping while they work.  And now Shamar explaining that he’s so tired because he’s so big.  But he’ll stay as long as they serve him rice while he continues to lay around.  And Sherri is placating him… because walking those 20 feet to get your own food is pretty damned tough.

Laura complains about him being lazy.  She knows he’s probably starving, because they’re all starving.  And on cue, Shamar scratches his eye, because it always has to be something apparently.

Laura approaches Sherri and says that she thought they could put off the Shamar vote, and Sherri says, “we can.”  Sherri looks to be deeply in denial about Shamar being a liability to the tribe.

It’s night 9 and here comes the storm from last week’s previews.  The rats are all like, hook me up with some of those cuddlepuddles, Reynold.

Shamar can’t get to a happy place and Michael understands that because no one is happy because they’re all there with Shamar.

Shamar is explaining about his eye.  He doesn’t care about the game right now, he just wants his eye fixed.  Ad here comes Jeff for the medical eval which, in this case, is excessive whining.  The doc needs to make sure he doesn’t have an abrasion on his cornea, so they have some orange dye experiments.  And there is a divot on his cornea that can possibly affect his vision.

The doc grants his wish and wants to pull him from the game.  Goodbye Shamar.  And good riddance.

Hopefully next we get rid of Brandon and the drama is replaced with game play.

Reynold owns up that he thought Shamar was faking so he didn’t have to quit, but apologizes.  He does not, however, apologize for calling Shamar lazy and annoying, because he goes ahead and calls him those things again.  Quite the eulogy.

Immunity challenge time!  I’m glad they don’t let tribes who suffer a medical evac out of having to compete.  It can kill their chances or it can bring them together to overcome the adversity.  We’ll see what happens.

First up is Erik, who takes a massive face plant into the planks running across, and Sherri decides that’s so fun she wants to do so too.  He then proceeds to smoke her in the rest of the course, proving what a huge asset he is in challenges.

Brandon is a little beast as well.  He is halfway through his leg before Sherri gets back from the first run.

Matt and Brenda both take their own falls, but Brenda shows her chops by lapping Matt.  Eddie comes out and is a beast on the planks.  Someone named Julia does something while Malcolm brings in the Favorite’s final key.  Phillip and Cochran start on the locks while Michael goes out to get the final key for the Fans.  The Favorites look like they’re ready to dominate, but don’t look now, this challenge involves throwing things and Reynold has proven he can go beastmode at throwing.  Let’s see what he does.

Reynold quickly wipes out the Favorite’s lead but is it too little too late?  Reynold is beasting it while Phillip is getting gassed.  But no, the lead was too great and Favorites win yet another challenge.

Should be an interesting Tribal.  Do the Fans stick with their plan and take out Eddie or is it time to bring the two strong men into the core alliance and cut some dead weight?  My gut is that Eddie is going, though my “talking too much” meter says tonight is Laura’s night.  We shall see.

Because it’s scramble time.  Eddie acknowledges the target on his back.  The target he again put there by alienating the rest of the tribe.  Reynold believes they’re going to try to blindside him and his idol while Eddie is pretty sure it’s him.

Matt explains to Michael that the smartest thing would be to vote out Laura because they have to win challenges.  It’s a smart move and would be the right time to try to make your own power move.  With 7 people left, Matt and Michael could join up with Eddie and Reyold and have the new numbers.

Michael, however, trusts Laura more than Eddie or Reynold.

Matt approaches Reynold about voting out Laura, but Reynold’s not buying it because Matt has lied to him before.  Matt tells him if he feels nervous then play the idol, but he will be voting Laura.

Laura is justifiably nervous, because she knows how worthless she is in challenges.  She has hope in her alliance.

Matt explains to Sherri that Laura needs to go but Sherri is more worried about her numbers than winning.  She’s also nervous because if they’re voting out the weakest members, that means her and someone named Julia will surely be next.

Michael explains that it may come down to him and whether he wants to keep his alliance strong or his tribe strong.

At Tribal and Sherri misses Shamar because of his strength in the alliance.

Had to go change a diaper, but I come back in time for Laura’s best defense: with a potential tribal swap coming up, do you want to give power to Eddie and Reynold whose loyalty isn’t guaranteed or keep the alliance of five strong?

Votes are cast, and Reynold is playing his idol.  Let’s see if it helps.

The vote tally:  Laura, Laura, Reynold, Laura, and Laura which is enough.  The look on her face says it all.  She is not happy, and she shouldn’t be, but she also shouldn’t have been so weak.  Judging by how only one vote for Reynold was cast, it looks like the entire tribe turned on her and deemed her so weak that her vote wasn’t that important.

Eddie looks very pleased, which he should be, and Reynold looks like he’s kicking himself in the pants for playing his idol needlessly.

Next time on Survivor, Brandon blows a gasket.  He screams at Phillip like a madman and is that… is he pouring out the rice?  Wow, what a lunatic.  Bad form Brandon, and bad form Probst and company for wanting to bring this trainwreck back.  This is clearly not a stable human being, but apparently ratings are worth it.  Except the ratings are the worse they’ve ever been.  Will they learn from the bad, bad form?  Let’s hope so.

And that’s another wrap.  A good episode that now sees the Fans at a clear numbers disadvantage.  They looked prepped to be dominated from the first episode, but now it’s pretty apparent that the Fans as a tribe will have no power in this game.  One or two members may sneak into a new majority alliance at the merge (my money is on Sherri) but they will be bystanders a large chunk of this season.

Thanks for reading and see you next week!

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Episode 3 Recap

Previously on Survivor: Shamar acted like an ass, Phillip and Brandon clashed, and the Cool Kids Club discovered that 4 people do not make a majority alliance as Allie was booted despite Shamar being Shamar.

And now the Fans come back to camp.  Matt is nervous because he was waffling between alliances.  Reynold is not happy, and neither is Shamar.  So he takes it out on Matt… who voted with him.  Great plan!  I know the one thing that always helps players in the game is to scream at those who went against their word to others to save your ass.  What a joke this doucheasaurus turned out to be.

Reynold and Eddie are commiserating and someone just said “Revenge of the nerds.”  I’m guessing Eddie, because he seems like the big dumb jock type.  “We have the idol!” he says, showing that he still doesn’t understand math.

Sherri is showing again what a player she is by trying to take control of Shamar.  And, again, he shows what a joke of a stunt casting he turned out to be.  No one who is a self-proclaimed fan of Survivor will whine about what the game is really like.

Phillip is Coach 2.0.  Pointless confessionals.

Brenda alert!  She is stretching on the beach.

Corinne and Malcolm combining up is a smart move… and they just found the idol.  This puts them in a good position going forward, creating another power duo in the game.  And yet another reason for the Favorites to end up dominating the game.

The Favorites are laughing, and it takes two seconds to reveal they’re laughing at Phillip.  Surprise.

Cochran has some of the best analyst of this game in his confessionals because he truly is a Survivor nerd.  He gives us gems such as “Freudian picnic.”

Andrea is paranoid and apparently doesn’t like Corinne.  Because she was talking to Malcolm.  Comes across as very catty.  So she wants to swap Brandon for Corinne.  Great move.

And it turns out Brandon’s threats of last weeks’ preview were out of context.  Lame.

Shamar appears to know how horribly he has come across so far, so he’s going to quit?  Jesus wept.  What a douchecanoe.  If you don’t want to be the angry black man… try not being the angry black man.  That helps.  Yeah, you saw bad stuff in the war.  Who didn’t?  You’re not in Iraq.  You’re playing the game of Survivor.  And, apparently, all he needed was to have some women grovel at his feet to decide to stay.  Ugh.

I feel bad for the fan tribe.  They’re hosed thanks to how divisive and selfish that douchenozzle is acting.

And here comes the next challenge.  I understand the need to only have one challenge per episode to save time, but that doesn’t mean I miss having two challenges.  Especially when we lose a challenge for such thrilling drama as Shamar whining or Phillip being delusional.

Again I’ll say how glad I am that water challenges are back.

The reward is nothing special, unless you’re gone a week without sitting in a chair or having something stable over your head.

Reynold is a beast in the water.  Laura not so much.  When Cochran has made you look terrible in a challenge, you might just be a terrible swimmer.

Fans just made up some time as the Favorites struggle to untie the underwater knot.  And now they’re through.  This has always been one of my favorite challenges, moving something heavy under water.  Good stuff.

This is where Shamar’s bulk should come into handy but he’s not even really helping.  I really really hope they lose and they cut the dead weight.  I think it’s kind of a given at this point considering the time spent on both tribes, but let’s see.  This is fairly close about two-thirds of the way through, with Shamar actually contributing.

Brenda alert!  She is very interested in what happens in the challenge.

And yep, Favorites win again.  Right now seems clear it should be Shamar, but you never know with people who want numbers more than they do tribe unity.  I expect Eddie or Reynold to try to push his buttons to make that clear to the rest of the tribe, just as Sherri predicted.

Hah, and Reynold does push his buttons… by saying his name.

Reynold is talking an awfully lot this episode.  It would be very stupid of his tribe to get rid of him.

Laura is paranoid, as she should be for how terrible she was in that challenge.  She wants Hope out, but has Hope even had a confessional since the first episode?  Here we go with splitting the vote.  How do you expect that when it would be a 3-3 tie ruined by any single person deciding Shamar going away will be better in the long run?

Here’s Hope with a confessional, right after Shamar basically tells her she’s gone.  Wow, so not only is he a big pain of the ass around camp but he’s terrible in the game as well by giving away his alliance’s plans.

Julia alert!  There’s apparently someone in the game named Julia.

And this strange newcomer to the game has helped dump the game on its head, maybe.  Laura is still paranoid, and goes to Reynold to hatch a plan to oust Shamar.

Here we go at Tribal, Probst immediately stirs the pot by bringing up Shamar’s tantrum.  And here we go with another tantrum about Reynold.  Followed by a tantrum about Hope misquoting him, which technically she did.  He first told her she was gone, then told her she was saved if he had his way.

Eddie, you’re right, you have had a target on your back.  It’s the same one you conveniently hung on your back when you created your cool kids club.

And the vote:  Shamar, Hope, Shamar, Hope, Shamar, Hope, Eddie, Eddie, Eddie.  We have a three-way tie for the first time ever.  Brilliant splitting of the votes plan.  Did I call some of these people playes?

Revote: Shamar, Hope, Hope, Hope, and Hope, which is enough.  Hope, we hardly knew ye.

Next time on Survivor: something else probably out of context.  The fans think they’ve hit rock bottom, but a storm and some rats are going to prove you wrong suckers.

And that’s a wrap.  Surprisingly boring episode despite a great water challenge.  I’ve never been a fan of the drama for the sake of drama contestants and that seems to be the whole point of Shamar.  You can’t argue with the “popularity” of such contestants, as Brandon and Phillip are back this season and it’s only a matter of time before the disgusting pig that is Colton (my apologies for reminding you of his existence) will be back eventually.

There always needs to be pre-merge drama and that seems to be all Shamar this season.  I still predict a tribal swap in the next two or three episodes, and I still predict that the Fans get dominated overall.  Though a Fan or two may make it through to the final six.

See you next week!

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Episode 2 Recap

Hi, my name is Lowell and I’m a Survivor fan.  I say that as if I’m a recovering addict, and that’s not untrue, except I’m not really recovering.  I am, however, recovering from the bit of shame I’ve always felt at my love for the godfather of reality television.  Maybe it’s because of my total and utter disdain for the spawn Survivor helped beget.  It did, after all, help open the door for the hundreds of terrible reality shows that plague our television.  But I’m recovering enough to write about it, so that’s a big step up!

I don’t feel like I need to qualify how much of a fan of Survivor I am, but I’ll give a bit of history anyway.  I remember seeing the previews for Survivor and thinking it looked interesting, but I didn’t catch it until the third or fourth episode (Stacey was the first person I remember being ousted).  Since then I’ve watched every episode almost religiously.  Not necessarily when they air, especially during Palau as I spent that semester of college in England, but I’ve seen every episode and enjoyed every season.  Even the stinkers like Nicaragua, Fuji, and One World.

I’ve talked at length and in-depth about Survivor with my wife and online, but I’ve never tried to write about Survivor, so this is new.  Here we go.

Brandon is off the deep end, as promised in previews.  Hopefully his tantrum is relegated to the opening scene and we don’t have to deal with much of it on.  He’s being unfair to Dawn, who is trying really hard to play the game but she can’t push down the nice motherly personality.  Berating her may be damaging to the game she wants to play long-term.

Shamar is lazy, but there’s a method to his laziness.

Sherri is a player.  Big time.

Cochran called Brandon a sociopath, which might not be too far off.  I’d say bipolar is closer to it.

Haha, Phillip calling someone else narcissistic moments after he called himself the CEO.  And Brandon immediately goes after him to the tribe.

We have yet to see Andrea, who apparently felt some heavy heat over Twitter from former players like Russell Hantz, Eliza Orlins, and Shannon the apparent bigot from Nicaragua.

Challenge time.  Water challenge time!  This is something the series has been missing for several years now, the great water challenges.

Sheri, you’re making a classic Survivor blunder.  Don’t take it all on you if you can’t do it all yourself!

Oh Cochran, even when you’re doing nothing but pulling on a rope you are hilarious.

Wonder if Reynold is as good as rings as bags?  Not so much.

Wow, I missed that it’s for Immunity and Reward.  There must be lots of drama about this exit on the Fans.  I recall in last weeks EW Q&A with Probst he teased something like, “Episode 2 and already someone wants to quit?  What the—&@%!!

I hope that was just a tease referring to Brandon’s talk of quitting earlier.  The only one I can see quitting is Shamar after a Tribal blowout.  The question is, would that be a mistake?  He’s obviously a physical asset in challenges for the near term.

Oh Phillip, you keep fooling yourself.

Shamar seems the clear choice, but there’s still more than 20 minutes left in the episode.  Must be some powerful Tribal Council fireworks coming up or Cheri (how do you spell that woman’s name?) is about to show how much mojo she has.  I dunno, though.  I understand that having a guy like Shamar next to you means you’re never going to the target of someone’s ire, but is it worth it to keep him around if he’s just negativity and drama waiting to happen around camp?  It worked for Boston Rob with Phillip but Rob had that season wrapped around his finger early on, didn’t matter who was next to him at the end.

And it comes down to Michael and Matt.  They are the tie-breakers between two four-person alliances.  Those two are in an excellent place on the Fans tribe.

Sure enough, Cheri just worked Michael and especially Matt away from Shamar and toward Allie, who has been talking an awful lot this episode.  That’s an in-joke between my wife and I while watching.  Oh, so-and-so is talking a lot….

While I was talking a lot, Reynolds just showed that he too is a player and found the immunity idol.  Good on him.  This Laura is very adept as well.  She pointed out how Michael looked like an astute player on the boat ride in and spotted Reynold’s “bulge.”

There has been a lot of drama on the Fans tribe so far but the drama is hiding some people who know how to play the game.  I don’t think it will matter much, as the Favorites are poised to dominate this game.

Oh snap, in the midst of pointless Shamar talk Laura just called out Reynold.  Survivor 101 indeed.  I feel bad for the dude because his game just got wrecked, but if you’re wearing tight pants you gotta put the idol somewhere else.

Regardless, that changed a Tribal that was duller than I thought into a fairly exciting one.  I think Allie is on her way out.  And smart, smart move by Reynold bluffing with his idol.  Good job not panicking.

First vote: Shamar, Shamar, Shamar, Shamar, Allie, Allie, Allie, Allie, Allie, Allie.  Goodbye Allie, we hardly knew ye.

The look on Eddie’s face says it all, or it did until we got the look on Reynold’s face.  Eddie is dumbfounded while Reynold is pissed.  The drama is just getting started on the Fans tribe, or is it?  I predict a tribal swap in the next two or three episodes.

Next time on Survivor, Shamar is annoying and Brandon is still crazy.  Ugh.

Well that was enjoyable, right?  I don’t know if I’ll continue this every week, but it’s something I’m definitely considering.  Thanks for reading and maybe see you next week?

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