Thoughts on episode four:
- Angkor was still a mess this week, but that honestly wasn’t a surprise. It would’ve been more surprising if they had stabilized given their conditions and the tribe dynamics. After they got back from the Peih-Gee vote, Tasha was quick to let Woo know that she planned on working with him before she works with Jeff because she still trusts him more than Varner in the long run. It was a great strategic call for Tasha to side with Woo, someone she knows, played with, and voted to give a million dollars to, but it did draw some ire from Abi. Abi was really quite upset that Woo voted for her for a second time, which was both in character for her and extremely annoying at the same time. Tasha and Savage started to see the early drawbacks to throwing all their eggs in the Abi basket, so to speak. She’s going to be boisterous and opinionated regardless of the circumstances, and now those two are kind of stuck playing her game. As long as it gets them to the end its ok, but it’s going to be quite an obnoxious experience for them all I do believe.
- We got to see a little bit of what’s going on anywhere but Angkor this week, which was great. A little parity never hurt anybody, and last week’s one sided coverage was a bit over the top, even though I must say this episode was very much the same. We got a little bit of a sneak peek into the dynamics of the Bayon tribe, and it was interesting to see how they’re all getting along. The original Bayon alliance is still very much intact there with Jeremy, Stephen, Monica, and Kimmi controlling the game. It would be between Kelly and Spencer as to who would be first out if they lose. Spencer did all that he could to ingratiate himself to the tribe, seemingly forming good bonds with both Jeremy and Stephen, but Monica was quite skeptical. We saw a very telling confessional for her indicating that she doesn’t buy Spencer’s act, insisting he must be first to go from their tribe. It will be very interesting to watch this going forward; could Monica make enemies of her tribe mates by pushing hard against someone who people are befriending? I think Spencer is one of the craftiest players in this game, we saw him dodge a bullet already and I have to think he’s going to find a way to dodge another one when his name comes up again. Of course, one of the most interesting things we saw from Bayon was the immunity idol search. Jeremy, with the idol in his possession, kept up the rouse of looking for the idol, and put on an Oscar-worthy performance doing so. He’s playing an unbelievably perceptive game so far, not only protecting his alliances, but protecting himself in case anyone should turn on him. It’s wonderful watching Jeremy play Survivor, he’s got a knack for the game, and I think he might just be a front runner at this point. Bayon as a whole look strong, and considering no original Bayon has been voted out of the game at this point, it will be interesting to see how those guys end up turning on each other in time. Those dynamics should be fun to see play out in the upcoming weeks.
- The immunity challenge they held on this week’s episode was just brutal. In searing heat, they blindfolded the teams and had them gather very heavy puzzle pieces that would make a cube puzzle. The results were quite astounding, and comical at times, with players tripping, falling, getting moderately injured, and even losing their hearing! While it was hilarious to watch as Keith kept shouting “I can’t hear you” to his caller Kass, the challenge looked painful and draining for just about everybody (except Joe, who just always cool, calm, and collected somehow). Angkor suffered the most in the challenge, still very much depleted even after Savage won a feast for them in a hero-style reward challenge just a few days before, and their weakness showed after the gathering portion of the contest. The tribe could barely even try to complete their puzzle, and they lost by a mile to the second place tribe, Ta Keo. Angkor was heading for another Tribal Council, just as I expected last week. Their living conditions were putting them at a significant deficit, and it was clearly going to be hard for them to compete against the others in a full tribe challenge regardless of how physical it was. The deck is stacked against Angkor and it’s a real shame, it seems like this is the one thing Survivor has got wrong on this so-far stellar season. After losing, it was just a matter of who to vote out next; Woo or Varner. The two of them made their pitches to Savage, Tasha, and Abi, and it was a very heated deliberation at tribal Council, as the two of them fought back and forth about who was a bigger asset to the tribe and who would be more loyal going forward. In the end, the hobbled, limping Jeff Varner was voted out unanimously, after his tribe decided they needed to stay strong for challenges. It was really a difficult Tribal Council for me as a fan since Varner and Woo are two of my favorites on this season, but in the end, I think this tribe made the right call. Varner was a very erratic player, and his social skills posed a real threat going forward in the game. Despite Abi’s protestations, Savage and Tasha knew they couldn’t really work with Varner going forward, and the decision was much more obvious than the show made it out to be. I will miss Varner on this season though, he brought so much enthusiasm and life to the contest, and his four episode performance will be remembered about as much as any fourth boot in this show’s history, for what that’s worth. Varner, being the consummate showman he is, had to leave with the last word, turning to Abi before getting his torch and saying “You little bitch.” It was a wonderful final bow from a wonderful contestant. Here’s hoping he gets a third chance someday!
Final thoughts and musings:
- My player of the week honors would probably have to go Jeremy. No one really made any huge moves this week, but seeing Jeremy really take control of his alliance and his own personal game was great. I think he’s getting the winner’s edit right now, and everyone knows that’s a real thing…The scene where we saw Kass make Kelley a bracelet for her birthday was one of my favorite scenes of the episode, it was such a fun moment. This is such a dramatically different version of Kass we’re seeing; it’s as if her Jekyll side is coming out in Cambodia whereas all we saw in Cagayan was Hyde. Even Kelley was really questioning what crazy ol’ Kass was doing, but she was very happy that Kass was actually trying to be sweet. I don’t know what to think of Kass, I think this is an elaborate ruse to keep people from being threatened by her, but maybe, just maybe, she’s actually trying to be nicer and improve her image. Who knows…I think we may see a shake-up next week on the show. After two votes, the numbers are back even, and it may be time for a second tribe swap. The Angkor tribe has been such a disaster that I think a course correction is needed again, not only to level the playing field, but to keep all of these all-stars on their toes. We may be going back to two tribes of eight, which would be a great nod to the original format of the game, seen for the first seven seasons of the show. That might be wishful thinking on my part, but again, I guess we’ll just have to wait ‘til Wednesday to see what happens!