“Thinking well beyond the six”: Survivor Caramoan Fans vs. Favorites II May 1 2013 recap

2 May

Near the beginning of this episode, the contestants get a tree mail message that tells them an immunity challenge is coming up rather than a reward challenge. This, in turn, tells the viewer that we’re probably looking at a double-elimination episode. Reynold and Eddie, having lost their bro Malcolm (as brilliantly reenacted by Legos in this Youtube video), are now the obvious choices to be voted out, and they’re fighting for their lives.

The immunity challenge is, I believe, one that hasn’t been used before. The contestants have to balance on floating triangular objects… someone later aptly characterizes it as straddling the roof of a half-submerged doghouse. With each successive round their feet get closer together and it’s harder to balance, and also it’s windy. This means the players end up standing in fairly amusing postures to keep their balance, and have to make crazy hand movements when they start losing balance a bit — they look like they’re about to break out into some dragon-style kung fu.

Survivor loves challenges involving keeping one’s feet on a tiny ledge, but there’s one big problem with them time after time: they favor smaller players. That’s because a small woman might be able to fit 40% of her foot onto the ledge, whereas a big guy might only have 20% of his foot on there. But before this can even start taking its toll, Jeff Probst whips out a plate of food for anyone who wants to leave the challenge now. Erik and Eddie quickly accept and split the food.

No, that last sentence was not a misprint. I did say Eddie was one of them. Yes, the same Eddie who is facing elimination, as noted above. The same Eddie who didn’t try particularly hard to win the clue to an idol or an advantage in a challenge at last week’s food auction. Bro, bro, bro. So far this season I’ve given Eddie the benefit of the doubt and figured he’s just a low-key player. But this seals it: he’s an idiot. I’m talking Survivor: One World type stupidity, which is about the biggest insult I have in my arsenal.

Andrea thinks it’s quite funny that Eddie is dropping out. Did I mention already that Andrea looks ridiculously good for someone who hasn’t showered in weeks? Anyway, soon Jeff Probst reveals he has three hot dogs and a drink to offer, and Cochran looks at his alliance-mates and says something to the effect of, “You guys are OK with me dropping out to eat this, right?” Amusingly, nobody gives him the slightest support, but he goes for the food anyway. Within an hour, it’s down to Reynold, Andrea, and Brenda, but despite some amazing saves, Reynold can’t keep his balance forever and falls in the water, leaving the two people with the smallest feet in the game, unsurprisingly.

Oh, I forgot to mention that Probst had said the winner of immunity also gets a reward in the form of key information. Which means this has the chance to be the biggest immunity win in Survivor history (got that, Eddie, Cochran, and Erik?). Andrea and Brenda realize that. Andrea suggests that if Brenda drops out she’ll share the information with her, but Brenda doesn’t go for the deal, so the two of them stay out there for 2 more hours after everyone else has been eliminated! That leads to what may be a Survivor first: the two come up with a way to add a degree of difficulty to determine a winner. Probst is fascinated by the creativity, and all for it. So they go to balancing on one leg, and Andrea wins.

When they get back to camp, Andrea honors her promise to share the information with Brenda, even though Brenda didn’t actually drop out. It’s an idol clue… though clue is an understatement. It’s really a map to precisely where the idol is, the same idol that Malcolm stopped digging for last episode when Andrea was watching him (we never find out whether someone doubled back to that spot and looked around some more before the challenge). Andrea shares the info with her whole alliance, and the group heads off to dig. Erik announces he’s “from a family of diggers,” and of course he himself is a (former?) scooper, of ice cream. He delves into the ground like Baskin and Robbins looking for that elusive 32nd flavor, and quickly finds the idol… which he immediately hands to Andrea! Cochran for one is shocked, especially given Erik’s history with handing over immunities to others. “Does he learn nothing?” an outraged Cochran tells the camera. As tribal council nears, Cochran notes that “Andrea, like me, is thinking well beyond the six,” meaning their six-person alliance. Andrea talks to Cochran about Brenda being a threat (with Sherri sitting there).

At tribal council, Dawn reveals “the biggest obstacle for me has been my mind” (this episode only shows minor wig-outs by Dawn, for a change). Meanwhile, Probst can’t resist asking Eddie why he quit the challenge so quickly, and the onetime architect of the “good looking alliance” says “I kinda sacrificed some security and self-pride for a few donuts.” Alas, the result is a predictable one as Reynold is voted out. For some reason he and Eddie voted for Erik and Sherri, basically wasting their votes, though they were probably wasted anyway. Reynold is a very good sport about the whole thing. I certainly hope this guy is brought back for another season, he was really a bright spot of this one.

Of course, this episode still has a half hour to go, and once back at camp, Andrea continues talking with Cochran about who from her alliance should be the first to go. As she said previously, “Some blindsides need to happen before it happens to me.” She says that Brenda and Dawn are her top two candidates, something Cochran, realizing Andrea’s the best player left, immediately tells Brenda and Dawn about. A mistake by Andrea.

The immunity challenge is a recycled one that ends with contestants trying to fit pieces to make the rungs to a ladder. Alas, there’s little drama as Erik wins going away. Erik gets further attention back at camp, as Andrea thinks she has his vote in a plan to blindside Brenda, and others think they have his vote in a plan to blindside Andrea. To Erik, this ambiguity is great strategy, though I’m not buying it in his case any more than Eddie’s. Thankfully, we’re spared any claim by Sherri that she’s running the show this week.

At tribal council, as soon as I saw the stressed-out faces of Cochran and Dawn I knew the plan to take out Andrea was on. The players vote, and Probst asks if anyone wants to play a hidden immunity idol. Come on girlfriend, come on! But alas, Andrea leaves it in her pocket… and when she hears her name called for a second vote, she realizes she’s been played.

Like Reynold, Andrea has a sense of humor about the whole thing. After all, she was planning to backstab someone else, so how could she be too offended if another person did it to her? I wish more players thought that way.

What doesn’t bode too well for the rest of the season: the last three vote-outs have been the three best players in the game and the three most entertaining players in the game.

I would have to think the next person voted out will be Cochran, Dawn, or Brenda. Who wouldn’t want to take Sherri, Erik, or Eddie to the finals?

As far as rankings are concerned, Eddie officially moves onto my no-chance list this week, for reasons detailed above.

Contender list: 1) Brenda, 2) Dawn, 3) Sherri

No-chance list: Erik, Cochran, Eddie

Jury and who I think they’ll vote for: Michael (Brenda), Phillip (Dawn), Malcolm (Brenda), Andrea (Cochran), Reynold (Eddie)

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