Entertainment, Survivor

Survivor: Worlds Apart – Thoughts After Episode 9

This week on Survivor we had a bit of a down week, as a beloved cast member was voted out, another threatened to quit, and many members of the core alliance in the game were confused and off put by its leader’s tactics. It was still a fun show for the most part, with a fun reward and some great character impersonations by Boston Rod, but the overall feeling of the episode was that the game was in stall mode, with a large number of players waiting and biding their times before trying a big move. There’s a couple of players on this season who constantly make it fun to watch the show, but there are a few players who have become irksome with their actions (or inactions) and it’s becoming a bit of a sore spot in an otherwise enjoyable viewing experience. I’ll explain it all in detail below though, so without any further ado, here are my thoughts on the episode that was:

  • After seeing her closest ally get voted out of the game, Jenn was none too interested in playing the game anymore. In her confessionals, she spoke candidly about her disinterest in playing with the people that were left and the game, and showed a complete disinterest in whether or not she would get voted out next. It was such a bad look for her to be that apathetic, and it really must have turned off viewers who like to see people playing hard and playing active. I understand that her circumstances weren’t the best, and that her closest ally had been eliminated from the game, but for her to go as far as to say she would play the immunity challenge to win only so she could give the necklace to Joe was one of the more cringeworthy things I’ve seen on the show in a while. Jeff said it best at Tribal Council, if she really had no interest in playing, why doesn’t she just do the true “No Collar” move and quit. If she didn’t want to play the game after the Hali vote, that’s fine, she should have left, but to actually tank the game in favor of someone else is just horrible. I’ve struggled with Jenn for a while now, one week I’ll like her and the next I’ll think she’s brash and rude, but now I think I’m officially off her bandwagon. Her comments and actions totally turned me off of her game this week.
  • The reward challenge and the ensuing reward were really fun this week. The contestants got split into two teams of five and had to navigate some water obstacles to get to a platform where they would then reel in rings with a grappling hook. The course was of course designed to create a decent amount of blooper-reel moments, and Dan, Will, Rodney, Shirin and Tyler all at some point or another obliged with a massive flop, fall, or awkward slide. In the end, Mike lead his team to victory, and he, alongside Sierra, Dan, Tyler, and Shirin, won a chocolate bar reward, where they got to feast on some delicious sweets like Snickers, M&M’s, and Twix. Not only was this a nice way for Survivor to drop in a couple of their patented sponsor product placements, but it gave us some really amazing confessionals about chocolate from Mike on screen most notably, and Sierra online in a secret scene. Mike description of the Snickers and level of enthusiasm and enjoyment in discussing his reward was probably one of his better moments on the show, from a pure comedic perspective. The reward also gave us some very interesting scenes from the losing team, as we got to see Rodney perform his incredible impressions of Dan and Mike. Both of his impressions were hilarious, and ridiculously close to the real thing, and provided excellent comedic relief for the losing team, who were all pretty down and out. All of the scenes during and after the reward were amazing, and I’m sure they had many great scenes that didn’t make the air too. It’s nice to have some light hearted stuff in the midst of a competitive, strategic season like this one has tended to be so far.
  • The immunity challenge was billed as the last chance for Joe to stay invincible, and stay in the game, and it didn’t disappoint. The Survivors had to all stand on a beam apparatus and balance a small block between the top beam of the apparatus and their head. It was a pretty difficult challenge for them, as one simple moment of lost concentration would be all it took for anyone to fall off. From the get-go Joe struggled to find balance and comfort on the beam, and Jeff was very keen to narrate the struggles of the anointed Challenge King. After giving it his all and outlasting half the contestants, Joe did fall off, breaking his three challenge individual winning streak, and putting him within grasp of the “Blue Collar” alliance, which had been gunning for him for two straight votes. Jenn, however, fared much better as Joe’s immunity proxy, outlasting ‘til the final two, but falling short of winning, as Tyler took the individual immunity win. It was a fantastic win for Tyler, who is most certainly trying to build a case for himself come final three times, but it was also a somber moment for Joe as he knew without a win, all eyes would be on him to exit next. Joe had one hell of a run in challenges, but he wasn’t about to give up after losing, and what he tried to pull later was really quite interesting.
  • Joe decided the only way to stay in this game long enough to see the Blue Collar alliance fracture would be to invent an idol, so that’s exactly what he did. With a strict watch on him, Joe was able to lure Dan out, who cluelessly left him alone long enough for him to make a fairly good fake idol. Joe, a jewelry maker by trade, knew his only chance to sneak through the cracks again was to worm his way into Mike’s plans by offering up an idol for safety. Mike did entertain the idea of the idol trade, but was untrusting of it from the get-go. From Mike’s perspective, it didn’t make much sense for Joe to not use his idol if he truly had it at his disposal, but for Joe it was simply a play for trust and good faith. In the end, Mike asked Jeff if he could confirm the validity of the idol before the vote, which Jeff wouldn’t do, and Mike continued on with the plan they concocted to split their votes 4-3 for Joe and Jenn. While Joe obliged Jenn’s fascinations to quit the game, Shirin became the decisive vote, and decided to throw her cards in with Mike and vote out Joe like the majority alliance wanted. The fake idol business was fascinating though, as Joe gave Mike the idol aside as everyone was gathered coming into Tribal, and Mike pulling it out and asking about the validity of the pendant threw everyone for a loop, since no one knew where Mike was going with any of that. Both Tyler and Rodney seemed confused at their voting confessionals, and I have to wonder if Mike may regret his one man show at Tribal Council later down the line when people are seeing him as the real threat in the game without Joe around. Joe did try his best with Mike, but trying wasn’t good enough as Joe was sent to Ponderosa as the second member of the jury. They don’t call him Joe Cool for nothing, Joe played an amazing, all-out game, and he was always great to watch, whether it be in challenges, around camp, or when strategizing. It’s sad to see him go, but his departure sort of blows the season wide open, as the “No Collar” alliance has been even further wiped out, and the only moves left to make will be for Mike’s mega alliance to turn on each other. The minute Joe’s torch got snuffed, the game was truly on!

Next week’s episode could be quite dramatic, if the previews are to be trusted, and it seems likely that the game as we’ve seen it will fall to pieces from here. With Jenn and Shirin as the only outsiders left around, the seven have to turn on each other at the final nine I imagine, and this next episode is probably going to be exciting because of that. Let’s all hope that the Rodney and Mike intensity becomes a real issue, because we the viewers need to see somebody take out Mike before he can run away with the game. Right now, Mike is being set up for a win, but I truly think these players are far too good to let him run away with it. Let’s hope for some drama next week, this game needs a little spicing up without Joe around anymore to be the foil. Either way, I’m still loving Worlds Apart, and until next time, I’ll leave you guys with my final thoughts on this last week’s happenings:

  • I’m still sticking with my Tyler win prediction, even if most of the pundits think it’s Mike or Shirin winning. I truly don’t think the editors would set up the win as predictably as they have if it ends up being one of those two. You can tell this group of players is smart, and my bet is on Tyler because he’s keeping his game so low key that he’ll be able to slide in at Final 3 with a solid argument against anyone. There’s no way this game ends as predictably as most seem to think it will, just y’all wait and see…Also, to add to that, if Shirin wins this season somehow, it will be one of the worst things ever. I don’t see her appeal, and nothing about her winning would be epic or exciting at all. Luckily, I can’t imagine her getting lots of jury votes, so I’m thinking her redemption edit is just a clever red herring…Mike playing the fake idol for Will was really smart. I think he knows he has to take Will’s support from Rodney because those they will inevitably be going head to head. Mike knew that was fake, but Will may just be clueless enough to not see through that charade. If Will helps Mike get rid of Rodney that will be one hell of a play…According to Probst, the Survivor Auction will make a return next week, and something big will go down there. Could that be the big twist that Jeff has promised us since before the season? I hope so, I’m really getting quite impatient for something epic to happen!

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