Archive | April, 2015

“There’s no Mike in team”: Survivor: Worlds Apart April 29 2015 recap

29 Apr

Dan begins the episode by stating he doesn’t believe he’s at the bottom of his alliance. Why, I don’t know, but he doesn’t.

Dan comforts Shirin who is still trying to get over the tongue-lashing she got from Will (which Dan wasn’t present to witness when it happened). Dan then tells the camera that he feels bad for her having to go through that. However, he notes, “Shirin is a drama queen, she is a two-faced liar, she loooves to play the victim.” So far it certainly sounds like the producers are setting the stage for a Shirin ouster.

Eight people are left in the game. The reward challenge has randomly chosen teams competing to see who can get across a stretch of ground by moving barrels and planks, with neither their feet or the planks ever touching the ground. One team methodically moves forward with the barrels standing up in the normal fashion, but Mike’s idea for his team is to roll the barrels, a plan that can only work with him lying on top of barrels and through insane exertions and flexibility somehow making it work. Now, you’ll recall that Sierra’s profession is barrel racer, but apparently that doesn’t mean standing on rolling barrels but rather riding a horse around barrels. Oh well. Anyway, the team that wins is Tyler, Carolyn, Will, and Dan.

While those four are gone, Sierra tells Rodney that Tyler is going to win this game unless somebody does something. Hmm, has she been reading my rankings? I’m impressed, Sierra is showing that she’s a bit more of a gamer than I thought. Rodney says he’d rather get Shirin out, but Sierra says, who cares if Shirin goes all the way to the end? She won’t get votes.

On the reward, Dan bashes Mike, saying “There’s no Mike in team,” and the other three can’t encourage him enough. The more he focuses on Mike, the less he’ll realize that he’s at the bottom of their alliance. Basically all three are playing him for a sucker.

The immunity challenge is to hold onto a spool attached to a rope that holds up a bag with 25% of the person’s body weight (as of Day One of the season). Probst announces there will be two immunities, for the last man standing and the last woman. This gives Shirin hope, especially since there are only two other women, Carolyn and Sierra. Sierra drops out fairly early but Shirin just can’t hold on, and Carolyn wins for the women. The men’s duel is a real classic, coming down to Mike and Rodney. Rodney goes into a crouch and has Dan shouting encouragement the whole time from right next to him. Mike has a stoical expression but he’s sweating and you can see him talking to himself. The pain becomes excruciating for both men, and Mike takes a few peeks at Rodney. The music stops, and all you here is Rodney’s bag hit the floor. Mike has won, in an awesome performance.

This puts Shirin on the chopping block, but she has a strong case to make, namely that she’s not a threat to win any challenges or to win at the end. She also makes the solid point to Sierra that “by definition” Sierra’s group can’t be with her all the way to the end, because there are six of them. Sierra says she would vote Tyler if she thought two others would join her, but she doesn’t see that happening.

Speaking of Tyler, he has gotten curious about what Dan’s advantage is. So he simply takes Dan’s bag and goes off into the woods and reads what’s inside. It’s not hard to find since of course everyone knows the advantage was in a huge box.

Mike tries again to work on Dan, but without much success. He also ponders giving his idol to Shirin, since he knows the group of six won’t be splitting the vote and every vote will be for her.

Shirin gives a speech at tribal council advocating voting Tyler out.

It’s time to vote, but wait! Mike is speaking up. He shows everyone the idol that he has. Then he announces that Shirin will be voting for Tyler, and Mike will be voting for one of the others who doesn’t have immunity (Rodney, Dan, Sierra, or Will). “And you can take your chances,” he says.

OK, this is going to require some analysis. I believe what he’s saying is: if Mike gives the idol to Shirin, any votes for her would not count, and nobody can vote for Mike or Carolyn since they have immunity. So all votes would have to go toward Rodney, Dan, Carolyn, Sierra, or Tyler. Shirin is voting Tyler, so the other players have the choice to either vote for Tyler themselves and help get him out, or to vote for one of the other four. Since Mike says he’s voting for one of the other four, and Tyler has to with no other choice, anyone who fails to vote Tyler could find themselves voted out. And if Tyler himself plays an idol, one of the other four has to go.

The three on the jury (Hali, Joe, and Jenn) love every second of this. And the group of six doesn’t appear to confer before the vote. At least it’s not shown.

The votes are cast, Probst asks about an immunity idol, Mike stands up and … doesn’t play it! The votes are read: Shirin gets four votes, Tyler and Dan two each, and Shirin is out. Mike tells everyone “Dan’s still got two votes,” so evidently everyone now knows about Dan’s advantage.

And Probst ends the episode by saying even he is confused.

Now then: was Mike’s not playing the idol idiotic or genius? He neither played it, nor did he vote the way he said: he voted Tyler, as did Shirin. Tyler and Will voted Dan and everyone else, sensing a bluff evidently, voted Shirin.

So if Mike had just used the idol it would have been a 2-2 tie for Tyler and Dan. I would guess that on the re-vote (with Tyler and Dan not allowed to vote again) Mike, Shirin, Sierra, and Rodney would have voted Tyler; and Will and Carolyn would have voted Dan. So Tyler would’ve been out, with Shirin still in the game! So it seems like Mike made a mistake.

At least Mike has one thing going for him: now Dan knows he really is on the bottom of his alliance after all.

Favorites to win: 1) Tyler, 2) Mike, 3) Will

No chance: Carolyn, Dan, Rodney, Sierra

Jury and who I think they’ll vote for: Hali (Mike), Joe (Mike), Jenn (Mike), Shirin (Mike)


“This camp has turned into a circus.” Survivor Worlds Apart April 22 2015 recaphe

22 Apr

This episode, unlike most, starts the morning after Tribal Council. Seeing that, one might assume that there was so much going on that the producers had to cut out the usual nighttime scenes of everyone talking over the prior vote. And that assumption would be right!

So the very first thing we see is Rodney telling Carolyn, Tyler, and Will that the four of them should band together to vote Mike out. Everyone seems in favor of that, but Tyler tells Rodney to “pause it” until the time is right in the game. Well, guess what, Mike eavesdropped and overheard the whole thing.

Food auction time! And there is no lead-up to it, another sign that we have a lot of content to get to. The first item is a mystery item, won by Will. It’s a note that says “You just bought yourself out of this auction. Pick up your personal items and head to camp.” He does. At some point Probst cuts to the chase and asks who is holding out to try and win the advantage in the game that’s always one of the auction lots. Dan, Carolyn, and Mike raise their hands. Mike explains his thinking to the viewer: “Some, if not all of my alliance have flipped on me.”

The food rewards are shown very briefly, then Probst announces it’s time for the advantage. But first he has letters from home to auction off. Shirin quickly announces that in past seasons, Probst let everyone buy letters for whatever the high bid was on the first letter. The others take note, of this and the only bid is $20. Sure enough, Probst says anyone can have one for $20. Carolyn proposes that everyone pay the $20, that way the three who all had their $500 will all still have $480 and still be tied in vying for the advantage.

Everyone walks up to pay. Dan wants to go last, but Mike insists he go ahead, and assures him he wouldn’t pull any sort of trick. So Dan pays his $20 … and Mike just walks back to his seat. He’s welching on the deal! Everyone is in shock, even Probst. Finally Mike says he just can’t do it and hands over the $20. But the damage is done. To resolve the tie for the advantage, rocks are drawn from a bag. Dan wins.

Will gets back to camp only to find a clue waiting for him … well not so much a clue as a map to an exact spot. He heads over there and the spot is even marked with a flag in the ground! He digs down and finds a chest full of goodies, including something that looks like Tang powder. He immediately decides to take the rations back to the main camp and share them with everyone, despite the fact that some of them just won food in the auction!

When everyone else returns, Will shows them the food. Mike, meanwhile, decides to announce that Rodney and the other three have formed an alliance. A shouting match with Rodney ensues, partly because the Bostonian just wants to read his letter from home and not get into the topic. Everyone else is similarly eager.

When Dan opens his advantage, he founds he has not gotten a challenge advantage, but an extra Tribal Council vote! The rules say he has to announce he’s using it in advance, and must do so at the time Probst says he’s tallying the votes.

Well, congratulations to the Survivor producers. The annual food auction had grown very predictable over the last couple of seasons, and these twists have freshened it up again!

We see Mike speculate that maybe Will didn’t share all of the food he got. If he didn’t keep some, what happened to the box it was in? But Jenn immediately takes this as fact and repeats it, with Shirin looking on and grinning. Tyler soon tells Will about the talk, and Will takes Rodney to go get the box and lug it to camp. Will is incensed that after being so generous he is called into question. When he gets back to camp he immediately yells at Shirin. “Miss greedy ass, all you been doing is runnin’ your damn mouth.” It seems Mike and Jenn weren’t there at that moment so it is all focused on her, though actually what was shown was Jenn talking about it and Shirin just grinning.

Will segues from that to a general tirade against Shirin that gets very personal. Mike tries to calm him down, and finally just escorts Shirin away. “Go on with your little bitch,” Will shouts, referring to Mike as the bitch.

Shirin has a good cry with Mike and Jenn comforting her. Jenn says she wants to stay in the game just to ruin it for someone else (we already knew that). And Mike says “Me, Shirin, and Jenn, we only have each other.” Gosh, what happened to Sierra and Dan?

Time for the immunity challenge. But first, Will asks Probst, if he voluntarily passes up participating in the challenge, can he have a letter from home? Now, I don’t believe Will has come anywhere close to winning any challenge yet, so this isn’t really that big a deal. But Probst says he would go for that, but for the integrity of the tribe, every single other person would have to agree to it. If one objects, no go. Does anyone do so? Shirin raises her hand. As annoying as Shirin is, I still say: good for her.

The immunity challenge involves picking up one ball after another with some long tongs and walking over some seesaws with them. It’s much harder than it sounds… or looks. And Mike is the winner. Only Jenn and Shirin are shown to congratulate him.

And those two are also the ones on the chopping block. Carolyn tells her group that they have the vote in the bag. The six of them (Carolyn, Tyler, Will, Rodney, Sierra, and Dan) want to split the votes between Jenn and Shirin.

Mike says Sierra won’t even look him in the eye anymore, so his only chance is Dan. Jenn tells the camera, “It’s up to Dan who is dumb as a box of rocks.” Mike makes a strong case to Dan, and says his “final three” promise (for those two and Sierra) is still in effect. Carolyn is nervous and considers using her idol.

When Dan gets back from his chat with Mike, Tyler tells him everyone has been questioning if Dan is really with them. Dan has had it: “That’s enough. I’ve had enough of the playing the games (sic). If I go with them that’s my choice. I make my own destiny. Nobody dictates my future but me. My choice. My choice, not yours, not yours, and not theirs.” It’s a great speech.

Of course, Tyler, Carolyn and company could avoid being nervous about Dan by simply not splitting the vote, and they would be guaranteed to win at least 5-4. But that doesn’t come up.

The tribal council has a rehash/repeat of the Will-Shirin argument, and a repeat of Mike’s announcement that Rodney has flipped to form his own alliance.

Meanwhile, Dan says that an important part of the vote is who gets put “over there,” meaning on the jury.

The result: Jenn is voted out and Shirin gets the second-most votes. Oddly enough there is only one vote for Carolyn! We later see that Mike and Shirin both voted for Jenn, which I don’t quite understand.

So Mike is definitely in trouble, but it is mostly his own fault. His move at the auction was just a horrible blunder, and it made him look untrustworthy.

Now, was Dan’s choice not to go with Mike the right one? I’m not sure. It definitely made sense for him not to go to the Finals with Mike, as everyone would just say the two made all the same moves but Mike made them better. But this might have been too early to make that move.

My updated rankings are below. You might be surprised to see Will among the favorites. That’s not so much because I think he has anything going for him. More because he hasn’t ruled himself out as others have. Or did his very personal rant this week rule him out? I actually think not, since he went off on Shirin, and most of the others probably wished they could have gone off on Shirin themselves!
On the no-chance list: Dan, Rodney and Shirin are obvious because all of them are hated by multiple people in the game. Sierra isn’t, but she has not done a darn thing all season except be offended by things. How could she win? The one I might regret putting on this list is Carolyn, especially because she still has an idol. The reason I put her on the list is that I thought she was too abrasive. I actually still do think that.

Favorites to win: 1) Tyler, 2) Mike, 3) Will

No chance: Carolyn, Dan, Rodney, Shirin, Sierra

Jury and who I think they’ll vote for: Hali (Mike), Joe (Mike), Jenn (Shirin)

“Can you verify something for me?”: Survivor Worlds Apart April 15 2015 recap

15 Apr

With Hali out, Joe, Jenn, and Shirin need to regroup. Shirin proposes a semi-secret alliance to Mike. Interestingly, she says the person she would want to get out is Carolyn, since Carolyn has Will and Tyler as allies.

The reward challenge is won by a team of Mike, Sierra, Shirin, Dan, and Tyler, who get to eat lots of Snickers and M&Ms.  Not too much happens there, but back at camp Rodney turns out to be a skilled impressionist who can do a dead-on Mike imitation. Jenn, meanwhile, has been hinting that she wants to quit … how very no-collar! She tells Joe that if she wins immunity she will give it to him at Tribal Council.

The immunity challenge is a familiar one: stand on tiptoes and use the top of one’s head to press a block against a horizontal bar. Jenn almost wins, but to Joe’s dismay she can’t quite do it, and Tyler is the winner.

After this, Shirin (who has gotten tons of camera time the last two weeks) is crunching numbers. The split is 7-3 and she figures the seven will split their votes 4-3 between Joe and Jenn. So at least the group of three can determine which of the two goes home by who they throw their votes to, and Jenn would rather sacrifice herself to let Joe stay.

However, Shirin can’t get too tricky or that would kill her new alliance with Mike, and Mike is spelling it out: “I have to [be able to] trust you.” He tells her to vote for Joe. Mike also says that he will shadow Joe wherever he goes to make sure Joe doesn’t look for an idol.

But Joe has not thrown in the towel, and he has a brilliant way to shake loose. He asks Dan if he wants to go away from camp to talk for a while. They head uphill. Dan basically says he can’t help Joe, and is glad to get out of the awkward conversation and troop away. As soon as Dan is out of sight, Joe hightails it into the woods. Turns out he had stashed away a sort of “fake idol kit” for just such an eventuality, and he proceeds to put one together that actually looks great.

When Mike sees Dan stroll back into camp, he asks what happened to Joe, and Dan knows he has been duped. They split up to search the woods, and Mike does find Joe, who offers to give Mike his idol at tribal council in return for Joe not voting for him. Mike says it would have to be before tribal for him to do that deal (remember, it was Mike who actually has the idol that Joe had a clue for).

Just as everyone sits down at tribal council Joe murmurs “Here you go” and hands it over. Buy the way we also find out that we haven’t seen the last of Hali, she’s the first member of the jury!

Just before it’s time to vote, Mike asks, “Can you verify something for me? Is this a hidden immunity idol?” Jeff Probst said he can do no such verifying, someone has to play it. After the votes Probst asks if anyone wants to play one, and Mike stands up and says he wants to play the idol “for Will.” Probst says what he just got is not a hidden immunity idol. The votes are read, and Joe is voted out over Jenn, and later we see that Shrin did indeed vote for Joe as instructed.

So my number one favorite to win is gone. Mike has eliminated his biggest rival, but now everyone will probably be targeting him. And as much as Jenn has been hinting she doesn’t want to keep playing, she could stlll change her mind and still be a threat to win it all.

Favorites to win: 1) Mike, 2) Tyler, 3) Jenn, 4) Will

No chance: Carolyn, Dan, Rodney, Shirin, Sierra

Jury and who I think they’ll vote for: Hali (Jenn), Joe (Jenn)

“These are a bunch of gamers sittin’ right here”: Survivor Worlds Apart April 8 2015 recap

8 Apr

The episode begins with Rodney telling Will that he wants to get rid of Mike (dramatic!) … that is, sometime after everyone else from the other alliance has been voted out (OK, that is much less dramatic).

There is a reward challenge, won by Joe, and he can take two people with him for a zipline tour and a pizza party. He picks Tyler and Will, who are great choices. Even though they voted against him in the prior vote, both could conceivably switch allegiances if a better deal came along. Given two additional choices, he picks Carolyn and Shirin, obviously continuing with the same criteria. Joe doesn’t make the mistake so many make by taking Jenn and Hali — he is already very tight with them, and their trio needs to recruit more members.

At the reward, Carolyn somehow manages to drink from a bottle of soda that has a tightly rolled-up immunity idol clue in it without noticing the clue! But Joe, sitting across from her, does see it, so he quickly asks if he can drink the rest of her soda. He pours it into his mouth and then unobtrusively grabs the clue from his mouth … but Tyler sees him do it. He mock-complains about Joe drinking all of the soda, and shoots Joe a look as he says “We’ll have to talk about that.”

Early the next morning when everyone’s back at the main camp, Joe decides to take Tyler aside to read him the clue. Mike is only feigning sleep, and shadows them.

Tyler is in a bit of a pickle because he doesn’t want to alienate his new alliance by suddenly being tight with Joe. So he tells Mike about the clue. Mike immediately mobilizes everyone to search for Joe. Mike finds him, but doesn’t see Joe find an idol. So when Joe is back at camp, Mike simply yells out congratulations to Joe for finding an idol, even though Joe doesn’t have it!

I’m pretty sure this strategy has never been done before. Will this go down in history as the Mike Move, to be used in many Survivors to come? Well, I should describe part two of the move: look for the idol yourself after you’ve basically told everyone there’s no need to look for one anymore! Mike does, and seems to look for a long time. He finds it, and cries with joy when he does. By the way, in the midst of his search he comes across a termite’s nest … and snacks on some of the termites!

Meanwhile, Shirin tries to make her usual awkward conversation with Dan, and Dan has some things to get off his chest. “You’re a fan … why is it that fans can’t do basic math?… Your game is done.” And those were just the highlights. It was more like a speech by a juror at final tribal council than something people usually say in the middle of the game! Well, I can certainly see why all the other players are annoyed by Shirin, because I as a viewer certainly am.

The immunity challenge involves moving a puzzle piece through several sliding puzzles, then solving a final sliding puzzle. Dan twice announces that he has it right, prompting Jeff to hold everything while he comes over to check it. Both times Dan is wrong … they show the board and it isn’t even close! The actual winner is Joe … yes, the same Joe who won the reward challenge and also the last immunity challenge.

At camp, Mike’s alliance can’t vote for Joe, so who will it be? Someone suggests Shirin, whom nobody likes. But Mike throws out the name Hali. It would seem to make sense to break up Joe’s alliance, and he is much tighter with Hali than with Shirin. However Shirin has been featured quite prominently this episode, as have Dan and Mike. So surely one of those three will be the one booted.

This is bad for Mike: Sierra is sitting with Shirin, Jenn, and Hali and tells them she wants an all-girl alliance, and she still hates Dan and wants to vote him out. But there are 11 people in the game, so those four plus Joe are not enough, they need one more person. So Shirin tries to recruit her former white collar tribemate Tyler, and he seems very much on board with the idea. By the way, why are the women not recruiting Will, who would seem to have the least allegiance to Mike and Dan of anyone?

At tribal council, Mike notes “These are a bunch of gamers sittin’ right here.” Everyone is playing pretty hard, and not shy about lying.

It certainly looks like Dan is in trouble. The votes are read… and it is a 6-4 vote for Hali! Wow, I did not see that coming. (By the way, there must have been a 7th vote for Hali not shown). This means Sierra decided not to go with the girls, nor did Tyler change alliances. Perhaps they heeded Dan’s comment during tribal council that flippers never win the game. Or more likely, Joe’s three wins in a row made everyone realize that they have to take out his alliance because he is now the overwhelming favorite to win the game.

Favorites to win: 1) Joe, 2) Mike, 3) Tyler, 4) Jenn, 5) Will

No chance: Carolyn, Dan, Rodney, Shirin, Sierra

“I feel like I’m Luc Longley, bro.” Survivor Worlds Apart April 1 2015 recap

1 Apr

The episode begins with Mike having to do damage control. He knew Rodney was going to be mad. Mike points out that everyone thought Joaquin was “reeling in” Rodney. But Rodney insists the bromance was a faux-mance, and he was just pretending to be Joaquin’s friend to spy on him.

Rodney tells Mike “I expected me and you would be Scottie Pippen / Michael Jordan, now I feel like I’m Luc Longley, bro.” Translation for those who don’t know that these people are all 1990s Chicago Bulls basketball players: Rodney thought he and Mike were the two stars, but he feels like an irrelevant, replaceable member of the team now. Hey, Luc Longley is Australian so he probably doesn’t watch Survivor anyway.

It’s time for the two tribes to merge, with Jeff Probst nowhere in sight. They get a big meal and a note telling them which tribe’s beach they’ll be living on, but when they get there they find the shelter was taken down and they’ll have to build a new one.

Jenn and Hali wonder who they can trust. Certainly not Kelly, who insisted she had no more allegiance to the blue-collar group but dropped that pretense the second the tribes merged. So the two gals decide to ally with the white-collar group. Meanwhile, Rodney swears revenge against Dan, Mike, and Sierra. Still, Mike, no fool he, is working hard to shore up his alliance with Rodney.

The immunity challenge is an old favorite: everyone wraps their legs around a pole and tries to stay on it as long as they can.

It comes down to Joe, Carolyn, and Jenn, despite the latter getting stung by a bee in her nether regions while she’s up there! Finally Joe wins, foiling the plans of Mike who wanted to vote Joe out next. Mike’s second priority is to break up the “power couple” of Jenn and Hali. And Carolyn also wants to break up those two.

For reasons that aren’t explained, the blue collars think they can rope in Will to vote with them against Jenn and Hali. But since they’re not sure they can trust him, they tell him they’re voting Hali when it’s actually Jenn. They figure that if they see Hali’s name written down at tribal council they will know Will can be trusted.

Shirin is worried about the vote. She notes that the blue collars have shown that even though they hate each other they will still vote together. By the way, it’s somewhat surprising that Shirin is still around, but now that she has made it this far she could go all the way to the end. Since everyone thinks she’s annoying, who wouldn’t want to take her to the finals?

As tribal council gets close, Jenn reveals to Hali that she has an idol.

At tribal council, Jeff Probst notes that no idol has been played in the game so far. Well, Jenn does play hers after the vote, and it’s a good thing she did because there were seven votes for her! There was one for Hali and four for Kelly, so Kelly is voted out. Well, at least the blue collars know they can trust Will now! Also, Jenn’s work is not done, as she has three allies (Joe, Hali, and Shirin) and, at least for now, seven enemies.

Favorites to win: 1) Joe, 2) Mike, 3) Jenn, 4) Tyler, 5) Will

No chance: Carolyn, Dan, Hali, Rodney, Shirin, Sierra