Archive | May, 2014

“One of his options for a goat”: Survivor Cagayan May 14 2014 recap

14 May

You’ll recall that last episode, Woo came back from the reward trip to tell Tony that Spencer and Kass had pressed him to help them vote Tasha out. Of course what really happened is that they wanted Woo to join them against Tony. At the start of this episode, Woo tells Tony what really happened. As soon as Tony’s alone, we hear that his plan is to blindside Woo. Why would he want to take Woo to the finals over Trish, who would have a much better chance of getting votes?

The reward challenge involves rolling in mud and transporting the mud on one’s body over to a bucket. Two things that are supposed to be dramatic did not happen. There is supposed to be a climactic weighing of the buckets to see who wins, but Tony’s bucket is not just full, but overflowing (!) while nobody else’s seems much more than half full. So even Probst just declares it a Tony victory. Then, the winner of the reward (having pizza delivered to camp) gets to choose one person to join him, which is supposed to drive a wedge between that person and his friends. But Tony chooses Trish, who is emaciated, and it’s just not that controversial.

Probst puts such a weird emphasis on the pizza as something extra-special that I expected a loved one from home to be the one delivering it, as a “surprise” twist. But thankfully that did not happen.

As Tony and Trish eat pizza, he tells her that he has two idols. And he also says that the special idol he has can be used a round later, in the cutdown from four to three (which isn’t true). Saying this is a genius idea — Tony’s the only one who knows what the rules are regarding the special idol, so why not take advantage of that?

Tony is a busy guy this episode. He takes Kass aside and tells her that he wants to go to the end with her and Trish. He swears on his wife and his child. He also says that Woo spilled the beans about the conversation at the prior reward trip. Kass heads back to camp and immediately asks Woo if he spilled the beans to Tony. Woo says no way. Then as soon as Tony arrives, Kass says in a loud voice that Woo says he didn’t tell Tony about their reward discussion. Annoying, and Tony certainly is annoyed. “You just sealed your fate, congratulations,” he tells her. This seems awfully soon after swearing on his family to go to the end with Kass, something Kass is quick to point out. She harps on the point because she wants Woo to have as many doubts as possible about Tony.

Kass then proposes to Spencer that they vote Trish out, to “take out one of his options for a goat” (and by goat they means someone who is easy to beat at the finals). Trish overhears this and is clearly seething.

The immunity challenge involves building a ladder, then building a staircase, then solving one of those sliding puzzles where there’s only a single open space in a grid and you have to do a lot of maneuvering to get the pieces into place. Tony gets a big lead in the early part of the challenge, but when it comes to the puzzle he just frenetically pushes pieces around hoping for something good to happen. Spencer catches up to him and solves the puzzle pretty quickly. (If there’s an established trick to solving such puzzles, I don’t know it either).

Back at camp, Trish congratulates Spencer, then says “I just have a quick question for Kass, do you think I’m stupid? Or do you think I’m deaf?” She then proceeds to absolutely unload on Kass, and she makes some good points along the way. For one, she points out that Kass is quick to portray herself as the victim in most any situation. Trish does look a bit scary while delivering this rant, particularly in her thin state. Kass comments, “She looked like friggin’ Skeletor.”

Tony, Woo, and Trish go off to talk. Tony admits that he swore to Kass on his life and child (turns out he never made any final three promise to Woo). Tony swears on the same family members to Woo, and also swears on his dead father. Woo is mistrustful now and he tells Kass he wants to get rid of Trish. Tony eavesdrops on this, or tries to. Woo asks Spencer: will he promise Woo the final three if he votes out Trish? Spencer immediately says yes. Well of course! There are only five people left, so the only promise Spencer is making is that he’ll vote off Tony if he can. Duh!

At tribal council, the jury files in. We see Jeremiah clean-shaven for the first time, and now he does have that male-model look about him. This also quintuples his camera time. There is more talk about Kass and Trish, and Tony notes that Kass always has the same little smile on her face, no matter what her mood: “happy, sad, cryin’, whatever.” Also, Tony announces he has the special idol and hangs it around his neck. Jeff collects the urn of votes and says now is the time to play an idol. I thought for sure Tony would give his regular idol to Trish, then use the special idol on himself if need be, since this is the last time he can use either. That way he and Trish are both safe, right? But no! He hands the regular idol to Probst… to use on himself! And Trish is voted out by the other four players, including Tony!

This was a big surprise when it happened, but when I think it through it makes sense. Trish had a chance to win the game, much more so than Kass whom nobody likes. Plus, Trish as a juror would probably vote for Tony, while Kass definitely wouldn’t. So this was really a good move.

One episode left. The last two years at this time I broke down every possible combination of final three to plot out every permutation on who should take whom to the finals. But this season it’s far simpler. Tony, Kass, and Woo all should want to take each other to the final three, and eliminate Spencer. And Spencer obviously would want to eliminate Tony and go to the end with Kass and Woo.

Favorites to win, in order: Spencer, Tony

No chance: Kass, Woo

Jury and who I think they’ll vote for: Sarah (Tony), Morgan (Spencer), L.J. (Tony), Jeremiah (Spencer), Jefra (Spencer), Tasha (Spencer), Trish (Tony)

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Counting crabs: Survivor Cagayan May 7 2014 recap

7 May

Just six players are left in the game to begin this episode!

The morning after everyone gets back from Tribal Council, Tony, Spencer and Woo are up before the other three. Tony is answering questions about being a cop, so obviously he has finally dropped his “construction worker” cover story as far as Spencer and Tasha are concerned. He wonders aloud why Kass, usually an early riser, is in bed, and voices the thought that perhaps she’s not feeling well.

Kass, though lying down some distance away, is not asleep, and hears her name. And she thinks she hears Tony calling her “a bitch.” And confronts him about it when he comes over. Now, Tony said no such thing, and Spencer and Woo know it (perhaps others too). But they are not about to speak up, since Tony being a target of criticism means everyone else can stay low-key, which they are very happy to do. We see much more bickering between Kass and Tony, and finally Tony blurts out that he has the immunity idol that has with special powers. However, he won’t show it around.

Tony’s need for attention has hurt him throughout this game, and it’s never good to blurt things out, but announcing that he has the special idol is perhaps not a bad move in itself, since that knowledge would tend to prevent people from voting for you! By the way, I assume that nobody but Tony and us viewers knows just what the special powers are, namely that the idol can be used after the votes have been revealed.

By the way: the opening credits for this show simply call it Survivor: Cagayan now, with no mention of the “Brawns vs. Brains vs. Beauty” subtitle.

The reward challenge is won by Spencer, Kass, and Woo, who get to take presents to Filipino school kids. Woo entertains them with a little martial arts show as well. Afterward, the three have time to strategize. Kass and Spencer want to flush Tony’s idol (they know he has a regular idol, and didn’t believe him when he said he had a special idol). Spencer goes so far as to promise the other two that he’ll take them to the final three. But then, why wouldn’t he? As my rankings below would indicate, everyone probably wants to take Kass and Woo with them to the final three. Kass has a few double-crosses on her record, she’s not the warmest individual in the world, and she would seem to be financially well off, too. As for Woo, anyone up against him could say Woo was just Tony’s stooge and didn’t make any moves of his own. As for Spencer’s plan, Kass immediately says she’s fine with it, then just before they get back to camp, Woo says he’s in too.

While those three are gone, Tony frets about Spencer and Kass trying to recruit Woo, which is exactly what happened. But when Woo returns to camp and Tony grills him about this, Woo says the strategy talk was all about how to take out Tasha. And he says Spencer never even mentioned the concept that Tony might have an idol. However, all of this is too implausible for Tony, who starts wondering how much he can really trust Woo.

Time for the immunity challenge. Jeff Probst begins by taking the immunity necklace back from Tasha, and notes that her three immunity wins in a row put her just one short of the record held by … Kelly Wigglesworth! That’s right, it was set by a player in Season 1, and we are on Season 28!

The challenge is one that’s been done before. The players need to solve a combination lock, and each number in the combination is the number of a certain item that they have to count. The items are anything from pieces of bamboo to a bunch of crabs — living crabs that move around while you try to count them, mind you. Each time the players run back to the locks, they can only try one new combination before racing back out again. None of the players get their counts right on any of their early attempts, but finally Spencer ends up winning.

So back at camp, the three who were on the reward reaffirm their earlier plan: Spencer and Woo will vote for Tony, and Kass and Tasha will vote for Trish, ensuring either Trish or Tony will go home (not really, since Tony has two idols, but the others don’t believe that to be the case). So to allay suspicion, Tasha puts on a fake “resigned herself to her fate” persona. However, when Tony sees that Tasha isn’t scrambling, he gets suspicious that something is up.

Then Tasha and Kass vent to each other when they’re alone on the beach about what a jerk Tony is and how unlikable he is. But that gets Kass to thinking. Nobody likes Tony, right? So that being the case, people won’t vote for him to win, just as they didn’t vote for Russell Hantz in Survivor: Samoa. If that’s correct, Kass muses, Tony would be the ideal person to take to the end. So Kass soon heads over to Woo and suggests that instead of voting for Trish and Tony respectively, they both vote for Tasha. Woo’s eyes bulge out.

At Tribal Council, when the players are almost ready to vote, Kass announces that she expects a blindside. Tasha says she is hoping for a blindside (by which she means a blindside of Tony). When Jeff gets the votes, he asks about idols, and though Tony fingers his bag, he does not play his “regular” idol. The votes are read, and Tasha is sent home by a vote of 4-1-1, with only Tasha voting Trish and only Spencer voting Tony.

And really, all four of the people who voted for Tasha have improved their chances to win by doing so. Even Spencer probably hasn’t hurt his chance to win in front of the jury, but of course this did hurt his chance to get to the finals. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Spencer will definitely win if he makes the finals. He would be well served to win immunity next week though!

In my rankings, I finally moved Woo onto my “no chance list,” which I probably should have done a few weeks ago. I’ve had Tasha as my favorite to win all season, and of course that’s no longer possible.

Favorites to win, in order: Spencer, Trish, Tony

No chance: Kass, Woo

Jury and who I think they’ll vote for: Sarah (Trish), Morgan (Spencer), L.J. (Tony), Jeremiah (Spencer), Jefra (Trish), Tasha (Spencer)