First, something very rare happened; I got to see the episode live. That hadn’t happened in years (since South Pacific? No, I can’t believe it’s been that long… Blood Vs Water maybe?) Also, it was the first time I saw the show in HD and wow… what a difference that makes.
Apart another great episode, with narratives taking shape, of course the obvious one is about what do you do with the second chance you’ve been given? Can you correct your mistake, or are you bound to repeat them. We saw a bit of this today.
Another thing that’s interesting for an All-Star season (and not a complete surprise) is how the biggest strategist threats are being targeted from the beginning, but in pretty unexpected ways.
Ta Keo Tribe
Abi-Maria Gomes: Oh Abi-Maria, why do you feel compelled to create drama everywhere you go? I mean, the whole “what’s going on Peih-Gee?” was so over the top and ridiculous. What’s the point? I just don’t get it. Can she not control herself? Does she do it on purpose? I’m very confused. And honestly she got very lucky that Jeff and friends decided to go after Shirin and Spencer or she would have just painted a bigger target on her back. Or is she trying to become an over the top goat? I’m confused (I know, I typed it before).
Jeff Varner: Wow… I was hoping to see Jeff play strategically, but that’s just crazy (and effective) strategy that he’s delivering. First of all, I love his rationale for it, the whole “go big or go home” thing. You can tell where he’s coming from: huge fan of the game, could have won it in Australia if not for a series of unfortunate events (Kimmi telling he has votes against him, even before that Skupin falling in the fire – hadn’t he been injured, Kucha goes into the merge with numbers, destroys Ogakor and Jeff can easily take control of the game), missed opportunity after opportunity to return for various reasons, loses hope to ever return and suddenly, he’s there playing again, 15 years later… And not (only) because casting said so, but also because the fans said so.
I think his response to the whole thing is the best possible. In a sense, he’s almost not playing to win, he’s playing to play the game. He has this opportunity, probably his last, let’s not waste a single minute of it.
The way he went back to his original alliance was very interesting. One can say it was a bit crazy to lose a member of your alliance on purpose, but it makes sense. Wiglesworth and Terry are loyal, Jeff isn’t so sure about how loyal Vytas can be. Also, when it’s time to vote, if he votes with his alliance members, there’s a tie. If he “betrays” his alliance, he keeps some control over the game, and can fool the other alliance into making them believe he’s with them (which he did), while still keeping his original alliance. Not only that gives him a momentary control of the game, that also allows him to go where the wind blows if needed, even though, Wiglesworth and Terry are much better and safer allies to have than Spencer and Shirin. Even if I would have loved seeing Jeff working with them, truth is that he had everything to lose staying with them. Even if they remained loyal to him, even if the three of them go to the final three, he’d just become their goat.
Great great great game play from Jeff, and for controlling the game the way he’s doing it now, he receives his second “What just bit my ass?!” award of the season!
Oh and did I mention how an awesome narrator he is? One of the best Survivor’s had in my opinion.
The only problem Jeff is going to face is that I think he started to strong and I don’t see how he can keep up this way and not becoming a huge target soon.
Kelley Wentworth: Not too much about her today, just enough to remind us that she’s playing a great game right now, with a lot of finesse. Right now, all she needs to do is go with the flow and it’s working fine for her. Staying with Shirin and Spencer and trying to find two more votes would have been a great mistake, she didn’t make it.
Kelly Wiglesworth: Not much to say about her really.
Peih-Gee Law: So Peih-Gee had some trouble with he social game in her first season, this season she decided to be more careful with this, and with a stroke of bad luck, Abi-Maria decides to make Peih-Gee her antagonist of the season. Despite being dragged into a silly fight like this (which can rarely be good for you, even if you didn’t start it), she wasn’t too affected as far as her social status in the tribe is concerned, which means that her social game is indeed much better this season. Also, her strategy is the best to have right now, the Sandra-strategy of “as long as it’s not me, I’ll vote with you.” In her current position, it’s the best strategy to have.
Shirin Oskooi voted out: I kinda feel bad for her. Uber-fan, gets to play the game, ends up playing with horrible people. Gets a second chance, can finally actually play the game, gets targeted early for it, and voted out way too early. Now, with that being said, as we mentioned, the narrative this season is whether one can correct past mistakes or repeat them. Shirin totally repeated hers. Even if she played with nicer people, even if she was more integrated to the group, she attached herself to a big strategist and they became a two-some kinda oblivious of their actual position in their tribe. First time it was with Max and he paid the heavy price for it, this time it’s with Spencer and she pays the heavy price for it. I think her biggest problem (which can be Spencer’s too, and definitely was Max’s too) is that she misses one important point in how Survivor is played: sure you need to move to chess pieces, but you also need to stay aware how fluctuating things are, and that people sometimes have other motivations. Oh well…
Spencer Bledsoe: He dodged a big bullet, in a very similar fashion to his second tribal council in Cagayan. Here too, his destiny in the game is linked to this season’s narrative. Can he fix his mistake? Can he stop being a “gamebot” and start having relationships with these people not based on strategy? We’ll see. I’m glad he survived three more days, with the upcoming reshuffling, who knows, he could even find a strong alliance and go far, but he has a very difficult path ahead of him, a little bit like in Cagayan actually. And he has already started being back on his emotional roller coaster, and while it makes me feel bad for him, that also makes him very fun to watch.
Terry Deitz: At first, it was interesting to see Terry’s reaction to Jeff explaining him what’s going on. He looked so lost and confused, not cut for the strategy game at all. And then he did something that completely took me off-guard, definitely the most surprising thing of the episode: he showed that he was capable of compassion and empathy (a social game!!!), as well as he was able to play strategically. Of course, I’m talking about him comforting Abi-Maria while dragging her into his alliance at the same time. That was a great move, and you know much I dislike the guy. Was he feeling bad because he had been rude, borderline xenophobic with her a few days before? No idea, and kinda irrelevant. He did great.
Woo Hwang: Of course he was not going to go with Shirin. Woo is not a good player, but he’s known for one thing: he’s loyal…
Andrew Savage: Yesterday, on Twitter, Eliza Orlins started a new hashtag: #fuckandrewsavage I hope it catches up and becomes a thing, because it’s well deserved. His story with his wife wasn’t sweet or endearing or anything… Borderline creepy and sleazy maybe. Why mentioning PlayBoy, what does it have to do with the story? Oh, yes, he reads PlayBoy for the great journalism, right? And basically, he told everyone that he fell in love with his wife because she was a model. And after that how dare he say that Stephen has no “morals, values, dignity, courage.” How dare he say that? On what grounds? He’s not attacking him on a game level, but on a personal level here. What has Stephen done to deserve that?
Usually, people who say that someone else has “no value” say it when you don’t share their “values” and in their eyes those are the only values that are deemed to exist. I call these people bigots and/or assholes. Savage is probably both.
Oh and how dare Stephen think about idols? I mean, what else is he going to do next? Play Survivor?
Ciera Eastin: Is that me or the only thing we saw of Ciera was her sitting out the challenge because she was not feeling well? Mmmm… Not a good omen…
Jeremy Collins: Not much about Jeremy except that he misses Val and she’s pregnant… and he’s not looking for idols, because he has morals, values, dignity and courage.
Joe Anglim: This over-the-top edit is kinda strange. Even when we barely see him, he’s still depicted as some sort of superhero, single handedly turning the camp into an awesome place. Even the title of the episode is about him, when he’s not even really playing any big role in the episode.
Kass McQuillen: Wow… Kass is a human being after all, with emotions, a heart and all that?!? Could the fact that they showed her softer side be the beginning of a redemption arc?
Keith Nale: Nothing about Keith this week.
Kimmi Kappenberg: Nothing about Kimmi this week.
Monica Padilla: Monica has been invisible two weeks in a row… Well, I guess that with the tribe reshuffling coming and Bayon winning two immunities in a row, some early stories were just irrelevant to the bigger picture.
Stephen Fishbach: Poor Stephen, he can’t catch a break. Yes, when someone is leaving camp alone, wondering if they’re looking for an idol is a legit question. Let’s hope this reshuffling of the tribes saves him, but I’m afraid it won’t. I’m a bit confused by his edit. I assume we see a lot of him because he’s very popular and he’ll be gone soon. But why is he depicted in a negative way? He’s not being a villain, he’s not doing anything bad or anything wrong. Is it because he’s going to have a big showdown with Savage and Probst wants to picture his friend as the hero? Something else? It kinda baffles me. Or will Stephen really be the villain of the season? I doubt it.
Tasha Fox: She was invisible this week, wasn’t she?
Next time on Survivor:
A new twist: two tribes don’t become one, but become three!!! That may completely change the dynamics of the game, will save some players and will screw some other ones.
Next person voted out:
I was very wrong last week…. and this week, with the tribe swap, it’s simply impossible to make a prediction.
And the winner is:
Kelley Wentworth is still my winner at the moment. And my only possible second option is Spencer, but by a long shot.
Do you want to know more?
In that case, may I suggest that you read those sites, blogs and posts:
- Dalton Ross at EW
- Rob Has a Podcast, a website and much more.
- Stephen Fishbach is doing something unique this season: blogging about his own experience in his People Survivor Blog.
- Redmond’s Inside Survivor
- Jeff Pitman’s True Dork Times is a must read each week.
- Andy Denhart’s Reality Blurred is too.
- I’m sure I’m forgetting a few…