Final thoughts about Survivor: Blood vs. Water

21 Dec

Time for some quick hits to wrap up the season.

Tyson and his idols: While Tyson ended up not needing either of his idols to decide a vote, they definitely helped him in the game, and he got both because of the stupidity of other players. In the first case, chatty Caleb and Hayden blabbed too much information after the tribe swap. In the second, Ciera foolishly shared her clue with her whole alliance.

Ciera: I think she’s getting a bit too much credit for her gameplay this season. Yes, she played hard, but she failed to ally with Hayden and Caleb against Tyson at the juncture where it would have changed the game. Instead, she was so indiscreet about being chummy with Tyson that the guys got suspicious of her. So while drawing rocks at Tribal Council in a later episode was dramatic, she could have avoided all of that. Plus the fact that she shared her immunity idol clue with Tyson, Gervase, and Monica further hurt her, and helped the others.

Good things about this season:

– The “loved ones” gimmick was a hit, as it made the game even more complicated by adding an extra layer of strategy, especially with the twist that anyone could swap with his or her loved one at the Redemption Island duel. It was tough enough to ponder all of the ramifications of every move as a viewer, just think how tough it was for the people on the island! In particular, the episode with the tribe merge was a great one, with so many different factions, and factions within factions.

(By the way, a nice side effect of a whole “loved ones” season was that it eliminated the annual “loved ones” single episode. I have always hated that episode because a) it is just a cheap way to get all of the players to cry and b) it devotes half the episode to people who usually aren’t interesting (and if they are, they’re gone again anyway). When the loved ones are around the whole time and characters in their own right, it’s much more engaging.)

– Probst telling off Colton in the Oct. 2 episode, revealing that Colton had basically faked his illness the last time he was on the show. Loved it! In general, the casting was strong: while they whiffed on Colton and Katie, they succeeded with Vytas and Ciera. And even an obscure player like Laura, who I didn’t even remember, provided entertainment.

– Lots of smart players, and almost everyone was playing hard from the get-go.

– The best player won, and all of the better players at least made it to the jury.

Bad things about this season:

– There was no real villain.

– None of the challenges were memorable, most being recycled from previous years.

– Not that many “classic” moments in general, which isn’t to say the season wasn’t quite entertaining.

Does anyone from this season make my all-time top ten players list? No. Not that Tyson didn’t play an excellent game, but he made some blunders along the way. For instance he insulted Katie such that he almost lost her vote, and he sat out a challenge when he got overconfident and then had to waste his immunity idol.

Where does this Survivor Blood vs. Water rank all-time? I guess you’ll have to look at my updated rankings.


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