Thoughts on the Episode:
- Last week I expressed a good amount of pessimism about this season, and I had a point in doing so. This cast overall didn’t really show much in the premiere episode, and the tribe dynamics left some things to be desired. But, immediately as this episode started, I could see these little silver linings in the edit that got me excited about what’s to come. And by the time the episode was over, I loved what I was watching. This show always brings me back in somehow, even when I think it’s going to be boring or uninteresting, the game proves me wrong. Survivor’s unpredictability makes it the greatest game show on television, and episode two of this season was a great example of this. I would’ve never expected that clumsy Dave, after the edit he got in the premiere, would actual find an idol and gain a good ally in Ken. I also wouldn’t have predicted that there would be any saving Taylor and Figgy from the ramifications of their budding showmance, but the Millennials made things interesting and are heading in a much more exciting direction as a team than I thought they would be. This season has some promise, and if things get shaken up in episode 3 like was teased, it could be getting even better!
- I don’t think David is keyed in enough to put on a crazy persona in order to get people lulled into a false sense of security. But, it sure seems like he’s done just that on Gen X tribe, and he may be reaping the benefits of that down the line. David’s early antics made him kind of an outcast and joke amongst his tribe, so much so that his tribe didn’t see any threat in keeping him around even though they thought he might have an idol. But, to his credit, David is perfectly aware of his pitfalls, and by day 4 or 5 he started using them to his advantage. He played in brilliantly to the “Keep Dave busy” game his tribe pulling on him by going on an inane errand to find big rocks to use as seats at the camp fire, and used that time to search for an idol without much suspicion. Fantastically enough, Dave happened to find one of the “hidden in plain sight” idols, encased in a coconut by a tree. Even though he had trouble breaking large sticks, Dave managed to muster some extra strength to get the idol out of the coconut, and just like that the game at Gen X camp got 10 times more interesting. One of the fun things about this situation for me, as a Survivor nerd, was seeing David pull a Yul move by hanging the idol out in front of Ken to solidify their alliance going forward. David turned a bad situation into a pretty good one going forward now that he has an idol and a secret alliance that aims to topple the pecking order in his tribe. As much as I hope that he’ll be able to keep that idol until late in the game, I hope he has to use it just for the shock value of him flipping the game on its head. Would be great!
- The Figgy/Taylor showmance is annoying, but I’m glad it’s a storyline because it really is carrying the drama and pace of the Millennials tribe. Originally, I thought the “Triforce” was going to make me despise this tribe, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the social and game savvy displayed by Jay and Michelle in the wake of their alliance partners’ lack thereof. Both of them have been able to gel with the whole tribe and make friends while Taylor and Figgy have managed to just piss people off, like Michaela, who had a very vocal spat with Figgy in front of the whole tribe. The interpersonal problems on the tribe haven’t been as eye roll worthy as I thought they would be, instead the Millennials have become compelling television. I think Jay deserves a lot of credit for that, as do Michelle and Hannah for being game ready when others around them have been less so.
- The challenge was OK, nothing much to write about other than Gen X winning despite the fact that David really lacks physical capability. The drama shifted back to the Millennials and their interpersonal squabbling. Mari seemed very keen to target Figgy after her fight with Michaela, and the misfit alliance of Mari, Hannah, Zeke, Adam, and Will seemed to have the numbers to do so. But, mistakes were made, and the cool kids struck back in a big way. Zeke made a huge blunder by cluing Jay in on the voting plan, a move that was completely unnecessary, and Jay ran to Michelle with the plan. The episode began to ramp up intensity during the Jay/Michelle conversation because you could just see the switch flip in her head after hearing that someone she was aligned with is getting voted out. Michelle was working all of her connections, getting Will and Michaela to see the light of day, and Jay did the best he could to try to bridge the gap between Figgy and Michaela and get everyone on board for getting rid of Mari, who everyone considered a more strategic threat than Figgy would be later on in the game. The greatest part of Michelle’s maneuvering actually happened at Tribal council when she turned to Hannah and boldly whispered to her that they were voting Mari and that they were set with that. What followed after that was a very long whisper conversation in front of Jeff and everybody, leaving Hannah with an agonizing decision to change her vote at the last minute, or stay course with the losing numbers. It wasn’t a dull Tribal council by any means, and Mari left the game shocked and blindsided. Michelle and Jay truly pulled a rabbit out of a hat in just a few hours time, and they deserve a round of applause for being astute game players so early on in the game.
Final Thoughts After the Episode:
- My player of the week honors go to both Michelle and Jay this week. Yeah, I know a tie is kind of lame, but I think they both deserve alot of props for saving their alliance and grabbing the numbers on their tribe. I especially loved Michelle’s grit and determination the day of tribal council, working every relationship she had to save the alliance she gave her word to. It was a really fantastic effort…My favorite moment of the episode has to be Hannah’s antics at the voting station. I’ve never in all my years watching this show seen somebody make such a show of casting a vote, so this was really a pretty special 30 seconds of the show; one that’ll probably be well remembered…It’s two episodes in and I really only know half of the Gen X tribe. They really must not being doing anything interesting, but nonetheless, they’re invisibility is making them very hard to root for…I’m very interested to see what they do next week, in terms of shaking up the tribes. I’m expecting they’ll be going from 2 tribes to 3, but the most interesting thing they could do is take 3 people out of both tribes and make a third combined tribe without messing with the existing tribes’ overall structure. I think this would be a cool wrinkle in the generational battle to see what would happen if you put a mixed generation tribe into the battle. Also, this would be a really nice throwback to the first tribe swap back in season 3, Africa where 3 people got taken from each tribe and brought to the other. Maybe the producers won’t even see the significance in the homage, but I certainly would! Anyways, I really want to see this mixed swap situation go down, I think it will help pick up the pace of the game significantly.