Archive | June, 2015

Final Thoughts About Survivor: Worlds Apart

2 Jun

Good things about this season:

– There were at least three absolutely great episodes.

– Mike was a deserving winner (in fact I added him to my list of the ten best players of all time).

– There were two great characters in Rodney and Dan. Rodney was extremely quotable, and Dan’s habit of doing dumb things while saying how smart they were was a riot. Jenn and the voted-out-early Vince were pretty entertaining too.

Bad things about this season:

– There were some ugly rants and shouting matches.

– There were at least three “goats” with no chance to win in the final 12 in Dan, Will, and Shirin. Plus a player who I give dishonorable mention in my list of the worst of all time.

So where does it rank all-time? For now I am going to put this at #17, ahead of Gabon but behind Jonny Fairplay and Rupert in Pearl Islands. You can check out my full rankings here.


Survivor Worlds Apart May 13 and May 20 (Finale) recap

1 Jun

As the May 13 episode begins, there are only six players left!

Dan says he has “zero interest” in working with Mike.

The reward challenge ends in a puzzle, an anagram which the players are told is a common Survivor phrase. Both teams work on it for 45 minutes and can’t get the answer, so Jeff Probst starts dropping hints. Turns out the answer is “A Reward With All the Fixin’s.” That’s a common Survivor phrase? Since when?

The team of Carolyn, Mike, and Will wins. Carolyn says she can’t decide whether or not to give up her reward for Rodney. Then she says she’ll keep it. Back at camp Rodney tells the camera “Mama C, once Mike’s outta heah yer outta heah.” Dan, who’s not on the reward either,  finds some watermelons for the two of them and Rodney is psyched: “Once I get feelin’ like this and I’m back on my hustle game, it’s a wrap out here.”

Later at camp, Mike tells Sierra that the only people Dan can beat are Will and Rodney, so he wants to take them to the end.

Now it’s time for the immunity challenge, which ends in a table maze. A table maze doesn’t sound like much, but every time this show uses it, it’s exciting. And this time is no different. Mike has a slight lead but he’s losing it to Sierra, and on the final hole his ball rims out, twice. Then the ball finally stays in and he wins. This is huge! By the way the ever-present toothpick never leaves Mike’s mouth during the whole challenge.

At tribal council, Dan uses the extra vote advantage. Carolyn is worried and plays her immunity idol, which nobody still in the game knows she has. All votes except Mike’s and Carolyn’s were for Carolyn, but none of them count, and Dan is out of the game. Perhaps Dan spooked Carolyn into using her idol, and would have been better off holding onto the advantage? We’ll never know.

The final May 20 episode begins with the loved ones of the players being brought in. Mike wins the reward, which is not only that he gets to spend time with his mother, but also that he gets to practice going through the maze that will be the immunity challenge. He’s still blindfolded, bit his mother is allowed to guide him. It doesn’t look like this helps him much at all.

When that immunity challenge comes, Mike soon finds that the other players are trying to help each other to make sure Mike doesn’t win. But he does win, by a fairly wide margin.

So now one of the other four has to go. Mike tells Carolyn he will not write her name down “1,000%.” Wait, what? Shouldn’t getting her out be his top priority? Mike basically has two final-three deals: one to vote out Rodney and one to vote out Sierra.

(By the way, if Mike’s “1,000%” is too much for you, you don’t want to know that Will says that something else is “150,000%.”)

Sierra is voted out, 4-1.

Time for the final immunity challenge. As most of these have been in recent seasons, it’s grueling and involves going up a huge staircase again and again. The final step is to put together pieces of a puzzle that looks like a lighthouse. Mike wins! And in what I think is an unprecedented gesture, Will asks Jeff Probst if he can have the honor of putting the necklace around Mike’s neck.

Afterwards Mike tells Carolyn that he is going to vote for Rodney, forcing a tie which would mean a fire-making challenge. He tells Carolyn she needs to secretly practice making a fire.

There is indeed a tie, and the challenge begins. Carolyn’s flint breaks! And Jeff Probst simply gives her a new one! Then Rodney has the same thing happen. 20 minutes pass. 45 minutes pass. Rodney gets the first sparks going but doesn’t do a good job sustaining the fire. Carolyn does better, and Rodney is out.

So we have a final three of Mike, Carolyn, and Will, one from each of the three original tribes. Alas, at final tribal council not that many questions are asked, or at least not many good ones. Joe just has exhortations for all three candidates. Jenn, surprisingly enough, probably has the most entertaining bit. She addresses the jury and says “Half of you are the most bitter people I’ve ever met in my life” (about being outplayed by the final three). Jenn says Mike is the obvious winner. “Get over it, prove that you’re a fan.”

The votes we are shown are Jenn voting for Mike “150,000%,: Rodney voting for Will because the two of them had become buddies, and Sierra voting for Carolyn who “kept it real.”

At the finale the winner is revealed as … Mike! Meaning Hali, Joe, Shirin, Tyler, and Dan also voted for Mike.

At one point in the reunion show Probst asks for a show of hands to see who would have voted for Rodney to win. It looks like three people raise their hands. In other words, Mike was right to take Carolyn to the finals over Rodney, though it seemed crazy to me at the time.

Anyway, how satisfying it is to see the best player of the season also be the winner!

I’ll be back to wrap up the season with some final thoughts soon.