Episode 2 of Survivor: Kaoh Rong is in the books, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Brawn officially became the trainwreck tribe, things got just a little weird at the Beauty camp, and some cracks began to show in the Brains tribe. Basically it was a solid episode that got even better once Tribal Council went around. Insanity ensued late in the episode, and for the second straight week I was left asking myself “What did I miss here?” I’ll get into all of that and more in this week’s blog. Here are my thoughts on Episode 2:
- After voting out Darnell, the Brawn tribe appeared to be working towards a more stable union. The only real outlier left was Alecia, who still felt on the outs of the tribe. To her credit though, Alecia didn’t just roll over and die, she decided to try a little harder at camp. One of the most interesting moments of the episode was the point where she decided she was going to try to make fire while Jason and Scot slept in the shelter. Hours elapsed, and the edit made sure to note that fact, but Alecia kept on trying her hardest with her severely limited fire-making skills. Eventually she did get a spark going and Jason was able to help it go from there. I feel like that probably helped her get in the good graces of her tribe again, simply because she showed a little dedication. That’s all it takes some times on Survivor, just a little extra effort and care and people will open up to keeping you around. And while the Brawn tribe was gelling, and the Beauty tribe was getting very comfortable around each other (seriously, who would’ve expected Tai and Caleb to be getting along as well as they have), the Brains tribe was starting to show some cracks. While we got a bit of foreshadowing last week about the young vs. old divide, it really seemed to become a real thing at their camp. Debbie went on and on about how the tribe didn’t need to boil their water, Joe began to quarrel with Liz about the fire and water as well, which got under her skin pretty badly. Liz has kind of built up a game-bot persona, I liken her to the female version of Spencer, but she showed some atypical emotion after her spat with Joe. It seems like the issues with this tribe have nothing to do with bad blood, but more to do with differences in thinking and ideas, and that does make sense from a ‘Brains’ tribe. Everyone thinks they have the smarts and the qualifications to lead, and that’s probably the biggest challenge with this particular faction under this format. I do hope they keep these tribe divisions going for a few more weeks; it’ll be fascinating to see how these tribes self-police their issues if left alone a bit longer.
- The reward/immunity challenge for this episode was another multi-step, grueling test of the whole tribes’ abilities, which seems like a good direction to go when there’s only one challenge per voting cycle. In this test the tribes had to carry a 300 lb log through a water test, having to go up and under many blocks along the way. Once they finished they had to hoist the log ashore and continue on to a target station where they would have to knock over two shields with a slingshot. The first tribe to finish was set to receive a pretty nice fishing package, one that would make it very easy for them to catch food, while the losing tribe was set for Tribal Council. The contest seemed fairly back and forth through the log carrying portion, making the slingshot finish imperative, since all 3 tribes got a shot at winning if they were quick with the final part. The Beauty tribe pulled out the victory this go-around thanks to some good team work and the sharp sling-shotting skills of Beast Mode Cowboy. Then it came down to Peter vs. Scot for the win, and Scot missed just a few too many times, as brains finally connected to stave off elimination, sending Brains back to Tribal Council. It was a gutting loss for the Brawn tribe, who was right in it and desperately needed some stability going forward. Still, for the sake of drama is quite a great thing they lost, because the tribal council that was to come was an absolute gem.
- The end of this episode was such a whirlwind, and it really left me scratching my head trying to figure out what on Earth happened. It was setting up all along for Alecia to go home, she was out of the loop and completely unable to hang with the rest of the tribe so to speak, but then we get this bombshell after the challenge that Jenny is aggravated by Jason and wants him out. It was a curveball, and I do appreciate the show keeping me on my toes, but it definitely seemed like a bad idea. Sure, an All-girls alliance seems easy and efficient, but at this early stage in the game it’s sort of impractical, especially when it means keeping someone physically weaker like Alecia. Still, Jenny went ahead and tried to bring Cydney and Alecia on board, and both of them seemed to listen to it through. Alecia had to listen to it, because it was the first idea floated around that didn’t involve voting her out, and Cydney was somewhat in the middle of all the action, and capable of going many different ways without an air-tight alliance. So, once tribal council came around, it seemed like it was setting up to be this shakedown between who’s ideas would stick, Jason and Scot’s or Jenny’s new ideas. But, that’s not even close to what really started happening. At Tribal, Jenny started revealing the talks she had with Alecia, openly and bluntly, and just as she started to be honest about her flirtations with an All-Girls alliance, the entire tribe turned against her in dramatic fashion. We had Scot and Jason going back and forth talking with Jenny about what happened to their alliance, Alecia talking over Jenny trying to throw her under the bus, Cydney keeping all of her cards as close to her chest as humanly possible, and last but not least, we had Jennifer standing up on the bench in front of Jeff and all the cameras pleading to keep the alliance intact. It was bizarre and unexpected, but it was also pretty awesome too. In the end, all of the histrionics in the world couldn’t save Jennifer from a tribe that found out she was playing duplicitous, as she was voted out in a 3-2 decision. The whole thing was such a turnaround from last week when it seemed like Jennifer was in a great spot tactically, ear bug or not, but it just goes to show how quickly trust comes and goes in the game. Now Brawn is down two members to the other tribes, and they’re officially the trainwreck tribe of the show!
That was a solid episode, and I know it was a solid episode because I was confused after it ended. I went in thinking Alecia was a goner, and by the end I was trying to remember if anyone has sabotaged their game as quickly as Jennifer did. No one really comes to mind as going down in flames at Tribal Council the way she did, not for something that was 100% their own fault. That was a special performance, and it was indicative of just how badly that entire tribe is playing this game. I look forward to them continuing their game of shame; it’s driving this season so far. Before I sign off this week, I’ll leave you all with my final thoughts after episode 2:
- My player of the week honors are going to go to the Beast Mode Cowboy himself, Caleb! The guy is really outperforming my expectations, but he’s adapting to the show and his tribe well. Plus, the slingshot performance won his tribe reward this week, and there were no other real stars of the week other than those who played bad. I like Caleb so far, I think he may do better than I expected him to…My favorite moment of the episode is probably the moment when Tai found the clue to the immunity idol. It was such a strange thing because of the clue, and having to find a key to get a lock, but it was fun to watch the diminutive guy try to climb a tree to get what he needs. I hope he finds the time and the patience to find the key, because it will be very cool if he gets himself that idol. I think it would work out in a fascinating way…The editors of this show have been very misleading over the first couple episodes of the last few seasons and I wonder what that’s all about. It’s as if they are creating narratives that only cover half of the truth, and that would be OK if it wasn’t for the fact that there’s a lot of social media chatter about the shows. Thanks to the cast being able to talk about the events online, we know that Jennifer was a goner well before her meltdown, which isn’t precisely how the show portrayed it. The show is making a nice narrative for the casual viewer, I get that, but super-fans like me are left wondering what’s up with the misdirects? I’d prefer if the show would tell a more factual account, but I guess there’s no real harm in it…What happened to Anna this week, she basically got no air time? Survivor, please give my dark horse candidate some air time to make me feel like I’m on the right path here!