It was double the fun on Survivor this week with a double episode bringing twice as much fun to our screens as any typical Wednesday. The two hour “event” didn’t really disappoint at all as it gave us bickering, blood, backstabbing, and a blindside to boot. While some of the arguments of the first hour were ridiculous and obnoxious to sit through, the tribe swap in the second hour really shook the game up and set up the rest of the season’s play pretty well. I enjoyed the tribe swap a lot, and I’m very excited to see how the new alliance lines might get drawn. Even though I’m not happy about who got voted out at the end, the season is shaping up nicely. Here are my thoughts on the double episode that was:
- The first solo reward challenge of the season ended up being quite an ordeal. It was a blindfolded racer, seeing caller challenge where one person would be designated the tribe’s caller and the rest of the tribe would have to manage a few obstacles blindfolded to retrieve items. We’ve seen this kind of challenge on just about every season of the show, and it usually ends up with people violently bumping into things while blindfolded, but this challenge took a bit of a different turn. While falling behind in the challenge, the Blue Collar tribe had to maneuver their platform to get Sierra, the tribe’s caller, the item they picked up. Unfortunately, the platform hit Kelly on the way down, giving her a sizable gash on her forehead. It was a surreal moment as all of the contestants were oblivious and blindfolded, yet the viewers and on lookers at the challenge could see the blood pouring down Kelly’s face from under the blindfold. Jeff quickly called medical to attend to Kelly, as they patched up her forehead temporarily while still blindfolded. It was so weird that they had to work around the blindfold for the challenge even while she was injured; I figured they would spare no expense for player safety, but I guess in the end it was no harm, no foul as she ended up getting the stitches she needed after the challenge and returned to the game uneventfully. It was a very strange and kind of disgusting moment overshadowing the fact that No Collar finally had something good happen as they won the reward of a couple chickens and a rooster. It was nice for them to get some momentum after two straight losses, and it directly set up another interesting twist in the game.
- Jenn had another fantastic episode, and a lot of it started as a result of her tribe winning the chickens. Since it was Will’s birthday, the rest of the tribe was in agreement that they would slaughter a chicken and have a feast, but Jenn was extremely uncomfortable with that decision. Being a vegetarian in her day-to-day life, Jenn decided to exclude herself from the slaughter and the feasting, and instead went off to the woods to go idol searching. After a while, she managed to successfully find the idol in a tree trunk, better securing her future in the game just like that. It was impressive of her to find the idol without a clue, much like Carolyn did earlier, but it begs the question as to whether or not the idol is too easy to find. Not taking anything away from Jenn, she beasted on the night getting an idol, and making a new allies of Carolyn and Kelly, but I think the show has gone over the top with the idols. They always have to be in a weird looking tree, huh? Why is that though, the whole purpose of a hidden idol should be to make the Survivors work really hard and agonize over something that could give them an advantage, and I don’t think that’s what finding the idol has become. They need to be more creative with the hidden immunity idol or they just need to nix the concept of having them at the camps, because it’s getting to be a bit of a joke.
- Who would’ve ever guessed Blue Collar would be a dysfunctional train wreck again this week? The bickering continued on their beach this week, and ramped up a little bit more than usual as Rodney decided to share some potentially chauvinistic opinions of his with Lindsey and Sierra. According to Rodney, women should hold themselves to higher standards than men, which set off the tumultuous Lindsey on another grand arguing session. I respect the fact that she has opinions and is a strong, independent woman, but she clearly had the wrong approach in dealing with her teammates. Being aggressive and opinionated will usually put a target on your back in the game of Survivor, and regardless of whether or not she was right or wrong, she went about everything the wrong way. After losing the immunity challenge, the Blue Collar tribe was faced with the dilemma of which outspoken tribe member they need to get rid of to create some team unity. Unfortunately, the tribe botched their attempts at unifying their tribe when the four of Mike, Dan, Kelly, and Rodney decided to split the votes between Sierra and Lindsey, alienating Sierra as they voted Lindsey out. Just like last week, I do understand the concept of splitting the vote to safeguard against the idol, but you have to understand the ramifications in doing so. Most Survivors aren’t going to take the votes as well as Will did, and Sierra was none too pleased with the way her tribe berated her for her friendship with Lindsey. It was a dumb idea to split the votes in that circumstance, especially given that there wasn’t much to lose if Rodney got voted out, and also given that a tribe swap could make Sierra invaluable to the rest of the tribe, should they be split up in any considerable way. Blue Collar just seems to screw things up, and a simple misstep like this could see them lose one of their own if Sierra decides to vote in a bloc with Tyler, Joaquin, and Joe as the outsiders on Escameca.
- One of the weirder results of the tribe swap was that most of the men in the game ended up on Escameca, while most of the women ended up on Nagarote, leading to a very mismatched immunity challenge that saw Escameca win in a landslide solely due to physical prowess. The new Nagarote tribe consisting of three White Collar members (Max, Shirin, Carolyn), three No Collar members (Will, Jenn, Hali) and Kelly from Blue Collar had the pleasure of being the tribal council guinea pigs for the new tribe alignment. On paper it seemed very much like the two groups of three would have to woo Kelly to get the vote the way they wanted it, but Carolyn decided to go rogue and turn on the two members of her old tribe whom she found annoying and irritating. In fact, the whole rest of Nagarote seemed to be very irritated with the super fan twosome of Max and Shirin, and in time it became a formality that one of the two of them would be voted out. As they talked about on air, it came down to strategy and annoyance for the tribe, as Max was voted out with a 5-2 vote, in what should go down as a decent blindside. I really hate that a super fan like Max was voted out of the game, because I for one can appreciate his respect and love for this game. For Carolyn, I think her turning on her tribe was emotional and not well thought out. She can’t honestly count on Kelly sticking with No Collar and keeping that fivesome post-merge, and her actions may lead to her being singled out as a backstabber or a flip-flopper to everyone else in the game. I think voting for Will would have been a much safer bet in this scenario, she would have had some semblance of an alliance remaining with her original tribe and she would at least have the idol to fall back on if things got dicey. Now she might have a target on her back for not staying true to people. I don’t mind being biased with my opinions; I’m really rooting against her now for taking out one of my favorites!
So there we have it, a double episode filled with bickering, bad social decisions, an epic tribe swap, and a slightly upsetting vote. I’ll miss having Max on the show to explain the correlations between astrological signs and Survivor wins or piss off Jeff at Tribal by sounding too articulate, he would have been fun to watch go deep. Still, there are thirteen Survivors left, and we’ve still yet to see how the alliances will truly hash out, especially if Escameca has to go to Tribal next week. Will the others be threatened by the prospect of a Rodney-Joaquin bromance? Will Sierra flip on Mike or Dan for screwing her over at the last Blue Collar Tribal Council? Will Tyler manage to come up with an even better quote than that hilarious and well-timed ‘huddled masses’ one he had this week? All those questions and more will be answered this coming Wednesday, but until then, I’ll finish up with some final musings:
- I keep going back and forth week to week about whether I like Hali and Jenn. One week I think they’re snotty young kids with ‘mean girl’ streaks, but then the next week I’m convinced they’ll go deep and be excellent players. Still very on the fence about them, but that idol sure might come in handy for Jenn…I really think the only way for Dan and Mike to get Sierra back on their side would be to vote out Rodney with Tyler joining them to make a solid four. I hate to prognosticate too much based on social media, but the fact that Sierra posted a recent picture on twitter with Mike, Tyler, and Dan sure does indicate that those four have become good friends since the show. I wonder if that could be some foreshadowing…Shirin may be kooky, but there’s nothing wrong with kooky. She’s certainly no Phillip Sheppard, and I really wonder why she’s getting that kind of treatment from others. The negativity shown towards her seems kind of unwarranted to me, and I hope she can find a way to dig out of the hole she’s in a and make it further in the game…I think the one question mark in this whole tribe swap is Joe. He seems to have been isolated, and he probably has the most potential options in terms of how he can play his game based upon the cards dealt to him with the swap. I hear a decent amount of people think he could be a potential winner, and depending on how he plays his position next week and directly after the merge will really make it or break it for him in this game.