Archive | October, 2014

“I’m a meat collector.” Survivor San Juan Del Sur October 29 2014 recap

29 Oct

Missy is Baylor’s mother. Missy is Baylor’s mother. Missy is Baylor’s mother. Is it annoying that I keep repeating that? Well, I’m just trying to simulate what watching the episode was like. Not only is this mentioned at every opportunity, Baylor can’t even scratch her nose without the producers cutting to Missy for a reaction shot.

Last episode I thought Missy was overly dramatic talking about people who want to hurt her daughter, but actually Dale goes just as far, saying that on Survivor “You see complete strangers slaughter your daughter.” That doesn’t mean Dale is giving up though. Back in the first or second episode, he had gone to the well near camp and found an interesting symbol on the lid which he broke off and held onto. Lo and behold, that seemingly extraneous moment comes into play — Dale shows that piece to Jon and says it’s an immunity idol, and Jon believes it!

Now it’s time for Jeff Probst to arrive at the blue team’s camp with a big sack of rice. You’ll recall that they had signaled their willingness to trade something for the food. He notes with some disdain that this is only the second time this has happened and the first was Survivor: The Australian Outback (the second season, we’re now on season 29), and he’s quick to add that the Australian group had other additional hardships they were dealing with.

After much buildup, Probst reveals his demands: he wants to take back every comfort item the tribe has won to date. All they get to keep are a machete, a pot, and a flint. After he says this, there is no deliberation, the tribe simply gets up and starts breaking their shelter down. Probst stuffs everything in the hammock and drags it away. Roll the credits.

When both tribes have filed into the arena, Probst announces that since there are no new possible “blood” matchups (the only ones on opposite tribes are Keith and Wes, who have dueled already), each tribe can just pick its strongest competitor for the duel. So Reed from the blue team will face Baylor for Orange. The challenge involves navigating an obstacle course blindfolded, then examining a tribal mask by feel, and then assembling an identical mask from a selection of pieces, only some of which fit.

Reed wins, but note that the reward they were playing for was food. So whoever Reed picks to go to Exile Island with Baylor won’t get any of that food.  He picks Julie, but Natalie raises her hand to volunteer and Reed doesn’t stand in her way. This is the moment where I realized Natalie is a contender to win this game! She saw the chance to exchange information with Baylor (her presumed ally, since Natalie allied with Missy) as more valuable than some food. Bravo! Of course a look at Natalie tells you she is not exactly wasting away.

As Blue digs into their reward of shish kebabs (“I’m a meat collector,” Alec exclaims), Jeremy, who didn’t like the rice-for-a-tarp deal when the tribe made it, is now even madder. If they’d only held out for one more day they would have food and their tarp and other gear. Jeremy’s other problem is that Julie acts like she’s about to quit during a night of hard rain. She makes it through the night and pats herself on the back for doing so. But as Alec notes, “This is Survivor. You sign up for this s**t.”

In the challenge Orange gets out to a decent lead, but Jon has trouble putting the pieces of a flag together and Josh and Reed catch up to him and pass him, winning yet another challenge for Blue. I find myself cheering for Blue, who do seem to be a more likable bunch overall.

Everyone just wants to make it to the merge. Dale offers Jon a deal: if I’m not voted out tonight, as soon as the person’s torch is snuffed I will give you my idol. A smart move, since he’s not giving anything up, as noted above, the idol is fake (though Jon doesn’t know that). Dale wants to team with Jon and Jaclyn to vote Missy out. Alas, Jon immediately tells this to Missy and Baylor, and they point out that they could just send three votes Dale’s way (Keith being the other vote) and have two people vote Keith, then Keith is gone if Dale does play an idol.

Alas, that’s exactly what they end up doing, and Dale is out of the game.

Of course, what Jon and friends didn’t consider is that Keith might have an idol, but he does — a real one at that. He gets to save it for another day.

Contenders: 1) Wes, 2) Josh, 3) Jon, 4) Natalie, 5) Reed, 6) Jeremy, 7) Baylor, 8) Jaclyn, 9) Julie, 10) Keith

No chance: Missy, Alec

“She can be a bit of a diva.” Survivor San Juan Del Sur October 22 2014 recap

24 Oct

At the last tribal council Jon was the only one to cast his vote for Keith, and he realizes as everyone heads back to camp that he’s somewhat isolated. Jeremy jokes to the camera about Jon’s “apology tour.” As for himself, Jeremy says “I’m in a beautiful spot right now.”

This being Survivor, anytime we see someone talking about how pretty they’re sitting and how they have the game in the palm of their hand, we know that person is about to experience a setback. And Jeremy does, when everyone goes to the arena to find out that the tribes are being shaken up. The new tribes are as follows:

ORANGE: Kelly/Dale, Jon/Jaclyn, Missy/Baylor, Keith

BLUE: Alec, Jeremy, Wes, Julie, Natalie, Josh/Reed

Of course, Jeff Probst immediately seizes upon the fact that one tribe is almost all couples while the other is almost all solo players (and never stops mentioning it for the rest of the episode). The reactions are predictable: couples are glad to be reunited, Jeremy has his nice situation shaken up, and Jon has gotten himself out of trouble.

There is no duel and no Exile Island trip … are we done with this for the season after just four times?

When the new blue tribe gets back to camp, the newcomers are shocked to find out how little rice is left. Orange was rationing appropriately while blue wasn’t rationing at all (which certainly could be a big reason why blue won every challenge except the one thrown by Drew). Who is to blame for this carelessness? Well, we see Missy cooking huge portions of rice, so she’d have to be a prime suspect. And she gets huffy when Dale points out her wastefulness. Dale’s daughter Kelly observes, “Missy plays that sweet mom role but she can be a bit of a diva, and my dad is a small-town, hard-working farm man, and he doesn’t deal with that kind of stuff.”

There’s a challenge which is pretty standard stuff involving tossing bean bags, but it gets added entertainment value from being in the mud. It’s pretty funny to be able to recognize all of the players by their silhouettes since that’s basically all you see. The blue team wins the challenge, so orange is sent back to camp. But before Probst can dismiss the blue team, Reed speaks up: “Jeff, when you get a sec we’d like to talk to you please.” When he gets a sec? Hosting Survivor is his job, where else would he have to be? Anyway, Reed asks if they can trade something to get more rice, they only have a scoop left. Jeff says since they have enough to make it to the next day, he’ll think about it and look them up.

On the orange tribe, things are pretty clear-cut: there are seven players, so if two of the couples team up, they will have a majority. Since Missy and Baylor have it in for Dale, that means Jon and Jaclyn are the swing votes. They talk to everyone and consider all options. Baylor has gone against Jaclyn once before, on the other hand they think Kelly and Dale are “sneaky.” So they end up teaming with Missy and Baylor, and Kelly is voted out.

Time to start figuring out who has a chance to win.

Contenders: 1) Wes, 2) Josh, 3) Jon, 4) Julie

Not sure yet: Jacyln, Baylor, Keith, Jeremy, Natalie, Reed

No chance: Dale, Missy, Alec

Recapping the first four episodes of Survivor San Juan Del Sur: Blood vs. Water

20 Oct

Here is a quick recap of the first four episodes of the show.

Episode 1

A different intro than any previous season I can recall, with each pair of players being introduced before any of them meet. It was pretty boring.

We find out one pair of sisters was on The Amazing Race previously, and one player is a former baseball pro, John Rocker. A huge, athletic-looking guy.

Exile island is back.

As soon as the tribes come together there’s a challenge pitting husband Jeremy against wife Val. Jeremy is in tears, however we, the viewers can’t get emotional, as we have just met them.

Dale the oldest guy breaks his glasses in two to try and start a fire with the combined lenses. He is in danger of being voted out and gets a few votes, and Baylor gets one vote, but the other votes go to Nadiya, whom other players had seen play on The Amazing Race. Apparently she did her share of “backstabbing” there.

I noted down Josh as an early favorite.

Episode 2

Now the rules changes become apparent. On the previous Blood vs. Water there was a duel at the start of each episode to see who went to Redemption island and who was out of the game for good. That seems to be gone, as is Nadiya. Instead it looks like each episode will have a loved-ones challenge like the one Jeremy and Val participated in.

John Rocker loses and his girlfriend chooses Jeremy to go with him to Exile Island (alas it means the two most entertaining characters are away from the action). As in the last show, each gets a clue and one of the two clues is blank. Val didn’t share her clue last week, but Jeremy does share his. Also they each promise to do their best to protect the other’s woman.

After the two left, the remaining blue tribe members ask Jeff Probst if they can swap their newly won beans for a flint (Jon having lost theirs). He ridicules the offer, to the point of being a jerk, but finally lets them swap the whole reward (fishing gear and beans) for flint.

The challenge involves duels on a floating platform (this has been done before and always seems to entertain). Among other things, we find out that Wes is what you might call country strong. Maybe he’s a contender.

Back at camp, Rocker tells Val he wants to protect her, and she makes up a lie. Now, it’s nothing new for a player to bluff about having an idol, but she tells John that she found two of them! Meanwhile Rocker uses his clue and finds an idol for real.

There’s talk of splitting the vote 3-3 between Val or Baylor, so Rocker, continuing his protector role, tells Val about it and that she should play her idol (sound advice, if you believe her story that she has two). Val figures if that’s the plan she just needs to vote for Baylor and have one other additional person do so, and Baylor will be out. It becomes apparent that Val does not have a good social game, she is just too pugnacious.

The vote (intended by the others to flush out Val’s idol) is a 4-4 tie, but of course she has no idol to play. So on the revote everyone votes Val (except she herself of course). Rocker already realizes that though Val lied (about having idols) Jeremy will think Rocker is the one who lied about protecting her!

Episode 3

John Rocker is definitely the focus of the episode. At the start when both tribes enter the arena he tries to explain to Jeremy that he did all he could to save Val. However, Rocker’s own tribe is understandably shocked to find out the two men had a deal.

For the rest of the episode the blue tribe yells at the orange tribe at every opportunity, telling them they should vote John out. You would think if your enemy wants you to do something you should probably do the opposite, right? Josh leads a secret plan to vote John out, mainly to make sure his closer ally Baylor isn’t the one. Why others go along with it really isn’t so clear. But voted out he is. “Well played,” he compliments the group.

Episode 4

We hadn’t seen much of Drew and his younger brother Alec before this episode, but they are pretty good characters. Drew gets sent to Exile Island along with Jaclyn from the orange tribe, and he tells her he’s thinking of throwing the next immunity challenge. Blue has not lost a challenge yet, but “There’s snakes on our team that have to go.” He does indeed manage to throw the challenge single-handedly.

When Blur gets back to camp, there are many ideas on whom to vote out. Jon sees Julie, who is somewhat ostracized anyway, as an easy choice. Jeremy wants to vote out Keith for the sin of speculating that Jeremy has an idol. Drew, however, wants Kelly out … he considers her to be a schemer since she has seen every Survivor episode. I’m not sure if she really has seen ‘em all, but if so she would know that throwing a challenge never pays off and always, without exception, comes back to haunt whoever does it… are you reading this, Drew? Meanwhile Drew is becoming so annoying that he becomes a candidate to be voted out also. He doesn’t help his cause by talking about voting out certain people with the respective person standing within earshot! So Drew is indeed the one sent home, though three others get votes, as follows:

voted for Julie: Reed, Keith

voted for Drew: Kelly, Natalie, Jeremy, Julie, Missy

voted for Kelly: Drew

voted for Keith: Jon

Interesting here is the fact that neither Jeremy nor Jon voted for the person they were campaigning against!

Final thoughts about Survivor: Cagayan Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty

15 Oct

Obviously a new season has since begun, and we will join that one in progress, but first for bookkeeping purposes it’s time to wrap up the prior season.

Good things about this season:

– A very likable cast.

– All-new players.

– Everyone was playing hard.

– The best player won.

– There was much excitement revolving around immunity idols, starting with Garrett and Morgan in the very first episode.

– Camera time was much more evenly distributed than in other seasons.

Bad things about this season:

– What sealed the win for Tony was a foolish blunder by Woo. While Tony was the best player, he made his share of mistakes.

– The “Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty” gimmick was dissolved early on in the season. Though you’d have to say the victory went to Brawn, with Tony and Woo as the final two.

Does anyone from this season make my all-time top ten players list? No, because Tony made too many mistakes (as did Spencer).

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