Entertainment, Survivor

Survivor: Worlds Apart – Thoughts After Episode 12

I’ve been so caught up in the wonderful news about Season 31 of Survivor that I almost forgot to do a blog about this week’s episode! Whoops, my bad, but then again this week’s episode was not one I’ll remember fondly. My pick to win was ousted after an idol play, meaning that once again, I’ve called the season wrong! It’s such a difficult game to predict, so I don’t worry too much about getting it right or wrong, but I am curious about this week’s big moves and how they will affect the players going forward. After Tribal Council, it’s apparent that things have changed for the Final Six, and that alliances and strategies will have to be redrawn. I’ll try to sort out the actions, the scenarios, and my opinions on all that went down this week, and I’ll also touch on the big announcement from Jeff at the end of the blog. Here are my thoughts on this week’s episode:

  • It surprisingly wasn’t too difficult for Tyler and Will to appease Dan after writing his name down at Tribal Council. I was sure that Dan was going to be hurt and blow up after this, especially considering the way he turned on Mike for what seemed to be a far less egregious crime. Tyler was able to deflect the attention back to Mike, saying that he voted for Dan because Mike had been gunning for him all around camp for days, which may or may not have been true, but was at least entirely plausible. Dan’s game keeps leaving something to be desired for me, not only does he say the most ridiculous things, but he doesn’t really strategize or make reasoned decisions. I think he could make the final three, but if he does, I guarantee you he will be given a wake-up call by the jury. Right now this game is boiling down to one simple fact: who can sit next to Will and Dan at the end. It almost makes the possibility of a final two or four come into play, considering how many jury goats are still around.
  • Rodney didn’t have a good birthday in Nicaragua apparently. When it came time for a reward challenge, Rodney was confident that someone would take him on reward if he didn’t win, since it was his birthday and he hadn’t gone on a single one yet. Unfortunately, the reward challenge was of the team variety, and Tyler, Dan, and Rodney lost the challenge to the team of Mike, Sierra, and Carolyn. The reward was the standard Survivor ambassador reward where the Survivors get to deliver toys and supplies to underprivileged children in the host country. This is always a great reward, one that no contestant wants to miss, and it was no surprise that no one wanted to back out of the reward to appease Rodney. As expected, Rodney did not take this very well, and had a bit of a meltdown back at camp. It was kind of funny to see a grown man throw a fit over something so unreasonable as people giving up their own rewards, but I do think it’s just another example of how the elements really get to people on the island. Rodney was exhausted, tired, and fed up with the game, and attempted to spin his aggression into something positive, by claiming he wanted to be voted out next to lull Mike into a false sense of security so he might not play his idol when they vote him out. It was seen through pretty immediately though, and watching it on TV, the whole ordeal made Rodney look like even more of an ass than he already has been. But, Rodney doesn’t have time for the haters, he’s just doing him right now (as he said on Twitter), and he was just doing him out on Survivor too. God bless ya Rodney, just keep doing you, at least you make the show kind of interesting every week.
  • We saw another familiar immunity challenge this week, with the contestants only vying for one necklace this time. In the challenge the contestants were partially suspended over water as they held on to a rope that would gradually have more slack in time. The last one left standing would be declared the winner. Even before they got to move down a rung on the rope, the field was already narrowed down to three contestants; Mike, Carolyn, and Tyler. While it was a great effort by all three, the bigger guys Mike and Tyler couldn’t hold on in the challenge against the lighter Carolyn, who took her second straight immunity. Carolyn is slowly becoming a power player in this season, with a hidden immunity idol in pocket, and multiple immunity wins. She needs to be careful going forward because it really seems somewhat likely that she will be targeted be the rest of them for being a major game threat. Now the only question remaining was how would Carolyn play the vote now that she’s safe and in charge. Her closest ally Tyler got votes last week, and had a lot of suspicion thrown his way. She had an idol and a chance to save him, but instead she decided to play things a bit differently.
  • With the threat of Mike’s idol in the back of their minds, there was a fair bit of scrambling going on at camp after the challenge. The Blue Collars were initially given the plan of men vote Mike to flush the idol, women vote Tyler to eliminate the strategic threat. Tyler had his plans, and pushed for the same scenario except with the women voting for Dan in order to eliminate the threat of the double vote. It was basically up to Carolyn what she wanted to do, even though I have a feeling that Sierra played a role in the vote as well (even though I wonder why we haven’t seen that). In the end, with Mike being safe, Carolyn and Sierra both found it much more prudent to get rid of contender like Tyler than Dan, and Tyler was voted out 3-0 after Mike played his idol. I look at this vote in a couple ways; it was a smart move by Sierra, a dangerous move by Carolyn, and the only move for Mike. Sierra really made a solid move here, Tyler was the only one who could see her as a sentimental pick should the season boil down to the unlikeable like Will, Dan, and Rodney, and getting him out gave her the options to play both sides, working with Mike and Carolyn, but also keeping the door open with Dan and Rodney. For Carolyn, I think the move is so dangerous because Tyler was an ally for her, and voting him out is akin to voting out her human shield. Now she is clearly the biggest threat after Mike, and her ability to slide through to the end undetected has diminished considerably. If she had stuck to that four person alliance, she could have had the chance to beat Tyler at final four for immunity, and she would have had probably a 90% chance of winning the game then. Now I think she might have her work cut out for her, and as an unashamed Tyler fan, I hope they get her for that. Mike of course played everything right this vote, he used his reward pairing to his advantage by getting Sierra and Carolyn to work with him for the vote. After showing his idol last week, there simply wasn’t any way he could not play it this week, and it proved to be a good call since he would have gone home without the idol play. Now Mike has cracked the alliance, and if he can find a way to widen those cracks, he could slip through to a point where he could reasonably win out. Mike has life in this game, and it’s going to be fun to see if he can holding on. In any event, I am very sad to see Tyler voted out, I really loved his quiet, under-the-radar game. I truly thought that his subtle game lay could see him through to the end, but enough people saw through his game, and he got outed and then ousted. That’s Survivor for you though, different strategies don’t always produce different results, and in a season of 18, only 3 get to Day 39.

Only six Survivors are remaining in the game, and while I’m a little underwhelmed with the seasons ending now that Tyler is gone, I’m still holding out hope for some really odd scenarios coming as it gets down to the wire. I’m really looking for Mike to pull some Natalie style late game play and completely work over the remaining players on his way to a convincing win. I’m also looking forward to a crazy scenario I have in my head where they oust Dan, Carolyn, and Mike in that order, and Sierra, Rodney, and Will end up being the final three. I sincerely want to see that Final Tribal council, I think the jury will really make those guys work for it at the end, and it should make for some exciting television. Any way it goes down, it should be entertaining television, because there will be yelling there will be complaining, and someone is going to get destroyed by the jury. But, enough about the current season, let’s talk about next season! At the end of the episode it was finally revealed that next season’s cast will be an all-star cast, picked solely by fan voting. Fans will be able to select the 10 men and 10 women who will be given a “Second Chance” at playing the game of Survivor. It’s such an exciting concept for a season, and it’s been exciting to follow along on social media as the 36 handpicked contestants have gotten to vie for votes to get back on the show. Instead of closing thoughts, I’m going to end this blog post with my personal endorsements for Season 31 of Survivor:

  • My ideal women’s cast:
    • Ciera Eastin – She played a really strong game, she was great to watch, and seems like a really genuine woman. I’d love to see her play again
    • Kelley Wentworth – She’s clearly a super-fan, and simply ran into some bad luck when she played (by bad luck read: she had to align with her dad). Having her back would be wonderful; I’m a big fan of her game play.
    • Peih-Gee Law – Another really fun, extra motivated player. I appreciate the heart she played the game with; I think she’ll bring the same passion and intensity back to the show. She’s a must have on the cast.
    • Natalie Tennerelli – She was very young the last time she played, and she was accidentally instrumental in Boston Rob finally getting that win that had eluded him. I think she knows the game better now that she played it once, and I think her social game will be strong and on point.
    • Stephanie Valencia – Her leaving the show early was mostly due to her throwing her cards in with Russell Hantz. I think it was an honest mistake; she clearly was trying to play hard, was noticed, and was voted off. Personally, I’d like to give her a second chance, I think she’s got a good spirit about her and it could make for interesting TV again.
    • Kelly Wiglesworth – I’ve never actually watched Borneo (shocking I know!) but I am all about supporting the early seasons, so she gets my vote. As Probst says, if this is truly about second chances, she is the definition of that, she was the inaugural runner-up, and didn’t have any strategy to fall back on in terms of winning jury votes. I think having her back is a great testament to the lasting cultural impact of Survivor
    • Kimmi Kappenberg – Again, I’m all about supporting the old seasons, and I really, really want t see her play against Jeff Varner, given the history between those two. She was nothing if not interesting on the show, and I’d like to see if she would adapt better to the game this time.
    • Teresa ‘T-Bird’ Cooper – I believe she would be the oldest contestant in the show, but she played with a lot of heart in Africa, a season so dominated by the concepts of survival and iron clad alliances. I think her social game would suit her much better on a second go around.
    • Kass McQuillen – Voting for her solely because we need a bona fide wild card out there. She brings something different to the table, a typecast they couldn’t find in anyone else. Love her or hate her, she’s a must have for this season.
    • Abi-Maria Gomes – I’d just like to see her redeem herself. I genuinely think she didn’t know how to play a good social game the first time, and it might’ve just been honest cultural differences. I’m voting to give her a second chance, in the spirit of the season.
  • My ideal men’s cast:
    • Jeff Varner – One of my favorite pre-jury players of all-time. He got a really raw deal on his season, being voted out by a ‘previous votes’ tiebreaker. I’m very happy he’s finally getting another chance to play, and I hope he makes the cast!
    • Spencer Bledsoe – The young lad played a pretty stellar game, and he seems like a good guy outside the game. He’s a true fan of the game, someone who’s watched, and studied, and will go out there and adapt to whatever situation he’s put in. I’m excited about his potential.
    • Joe Anglim – I really like ‘Joe Cool’ on the last season, he’s a Down-to-Earth player there who’s half about the win and half about the experience. I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want him to play again, he should be a shoe-in.
    • Stephen Fishbach – A great ambassador for Survivor as a co-host on RHAP, Stephen is a player I look forward to seeing play again. He knows the game well, he’s personable and funny, and he really needs a second chance after getting no votes in the Tocantins Final Tribal Council.
    • Troy ‘Troyzan’ Robertson – My favorite from the One World season that I really didn’t care for. He played with intensity but got outmaneuvered by the women. I hope he can do better playing with a more aware cast.
    • Vytas Bauskauskas – My earl pick to win this season, Vytas is cool, calm, and collected, and able to play a more understated game than a lot of the others in this cast will be able to. I want to see him on this season because I think he’s capable of winning the game if he gets to play on his own.
    • Terry Deitz – He had a heck of a solo run on Panama, winning a whole bunch of immunities to successfully outlast his depleted alliance. He’s a player I’ve always liked, I think having him back would be great
    • Andrew Savage – Another player from one of the earlier seasons of the show, Savage had a nice run on his season, and proved to be a formidable competitor. I’d like to see him return to the competition after all this time.
    • Yung ‘Woo’ Hwang – I loved Woo on Cagayan, he was so relaxed and chill, maybe not the most strategic guy ever, but someone I couldn’t help but root for. I hope to be able to root for him a second time (and I hope he makes better decisions as well).
    • Mike Holloway – He’s put on a fun show this season, and I’m really curious how he would stack up against returning players. I wonder if he’d be a target, or if he would be along for the ride with an alliance. He’s a big personality, and I’m not certain if he could do well again. But, I’m voting for him to see if he can prove me wrong.

4 thoughts on “Survivor: Worlds Apart – Thoughts After Episode 12

  1. I almost forgot to do my recap of this episode too! The Second Chance vote is super distracting (and fun).

    And hey at least your pick to win the season made it this far! In all my analysis and intelligence I backed So…that did not go well.

    And I like your ballot for season 31. Except no Shane Powers? He is a fascinating character. He is kinda crazy but he believes in honesty in the game. Other than that, I love your list.

    Really, no matter who gets voted in I think we are in for an awesome season. Keep it up!


      1. Good call! I like Mike but I’m still not convinced he will be eligible for the season so it’s hard for me to vote for him knowing the votes might not even count.


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