Archive | April, 2016

“You’re not doing it?” Survivor Kaoh Rong April 20 2016 recap

21 Apr

Most shocking blindside in Survivor history? I can’t think of what has ever topped this. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The episode begins with Tai giving Jason his idol back after Tribal Council, and suggesting that maybe the three men can reconcile with the rest of the tribe. Scot says he didn’t want to be a Russell Hantz type throwing water on the fire (that behavior sounds more like Brandon Hantz,  but let’s not go down that road).

Scot takes Aubry aside and in friendly fashion says that he, Jason, and Tai want Cydney gone since she betrayed them. Aubry tells the camera there is “not a shot in hell” she will ally with them.

The reward challenge has an interesting twist in that each player can choose the reward he or she is going for, and then will only be competing against the others who choose that same reward. The rewards are: 1) letters from home, chosen by Joe and Julia and won by Julia; 2) a big meal, chosen by Scot, Jason, and Michele and won by Michele; 3) an advantage in the game, chosen by Cydney, Tai, and Aubry. It comes down to the latter two, and finally Tai wins.

Tai doesn’t unwrap his advantage until later, but when he does he finds it’s an extra vote at Tribal Council! Could this guy and his alliance have it any better?

Julia presents an idea to Michele and Aubry: if they all vote Tai and an idol isn’t played, Tai is gone. If an idol is played, the guys will have voted for Cydney so the other women are still OK. Aubry later comments on Julia: “She’s super-shady and people like Michele don’t see through it.”

Then Aubry has a talk with Tai and says “certain girls want to push the votes to try and get idols out.” Uh-oh. Aubry strongly hints that she wants to work with Tai, but Tai interprets this as her wanting to work with him and Scot and Jason. He briefs Scot and Jason on the conversation and Scot immediately says they need to take Aubry out! Tai feels like he has no say in the group. Aubry having that talk seems like a big mistake, this is the second week in a row that she’s made some questionable strategic choices.

The immunity challenge involves pressing outward on two discs to hold up some fragile ceramic pots. The discs are just far enough that one can’t put one’s palms on them, only the fingertips that quickly go numb. Two players hang in there much longer than anyone else: Jason and Aubry. They both seem to be in incredible pain and both seem on the brink. Finally Aubry drops.

So Jason has immunity, his group has two idols that can be combined to make a super-idol, and Tai also has a vote advantage on top of that! As Jason notes, “From here on out we’re unstoppable.”

Back at camp Julia tells Scot and Jason that everyone’s going to be voting Tai. Why is she revealing her own plan? The boys tell Julia that she should stick with them, because eventually they’re going to blindside Tai. Julia loves the idea of going to the end with these two since they have ruined so many relationships.

Cydney tells Aubry they should vote Scott out of the game, “And Julia’s traitor ass can go over there with Jason.” Aubry is still banking on Tai wanting to be “true to himself” and breaking with the two bullies. Good luck with that. He even expresses the same sentiments to the camera that Julia did: Scot and Jason have P.O.’ed a lot of people.

At tribal council Jason and Scot announce that anyone who doesn’t get on their bandwagon is sealing his own fate. Jeff Probst says “Tai, you seem less talkative.” Tai just says he has to do anything to advance his game.

The votes are cast. Probst says if you have an immunity idol, this would be the time to play it. “Play it!” Julia whispers to Tai. Scot whispers not to. Julia repeats her comment.

Since no idol is played, Probst reads out the votes. There are two votes for Tai, two for Aubry, and three for Scot, with one vote left. The last vote is also for Scot, making four.

But of course it’s meaningless for the possessor of the super-idol that can be played after the votes. Scot just grins. He looks at Tai so Tai can hand him the second idol. Tai looks the other way, at Jason. Jason makes a “go ahead” motion. Scot raises his eyebrow. Tai shakes his head!

“You’re not doing it?” Scot asks.

“No. Sorry.” says Tai.

“Wow,” Scot says, as does all of America! Aubry looks about to cry she’s so happy. Scot shakes hands with Jason, then has his torch snuffed.

Wow indeed! I can’t think of a bigger blindside ever than the one just pulled off by Aubry, Cydney, Joe, and Tai. There almost couldn’t be a bigger one because nobody has ever felt as safe as Scot just felt. Boy, does this change the game!

Actually it changes the game more than we realize as we go to commercial, because as the credits roll, Scot reveals that he still has Jason’s idol in his pocket! So Jason now has nothing, while Tai has both an idol and an advantage.

Favorites: 1. Tai, 2. Aubry, 3. Cydney, 4. Michele, 5. Julia

No chance: Jason, Joe

Jury and who I think they’ll vote for: Neal (Aubry), Nick (Aubry), Debbie (Joe), Scot (Jason)


“She’s lost to the dark side.” Survivor Kaoh Rong April 13 2016 recap

13 Apr

Tai tells Jason he voted for Debbie when of course he really voted for Jason, and we don’t get any explanation of why that vote for Jason was made.

Scot suggests causing trouble by hiding the tribe’s machete and  ax. Tai tells the camera this makes him uncomfortable, but he goes along with it.

Not only do Scot and Jason hide the tools, but later the next day Scot pours water on the campfire. I had put both of them on my “no chance to win the game” list weeks ago, and they have certainly solidified that status.

At the reward challenge Jeff said two teams of four have to be drafted, with one person sitting out. But he says they’ll dispense with the draft if the players can agree on their own teams. Who would join Scot, Jason, and Tai? Julia immediately volunteers, making everyone else raise an eyebrow. Julia tells the camera she is making a big move here.

The challenge ends with the teams having to throw bean bags to knock blocks off a ledge. Scot’s team has a big lead and they do win, but Debbie proves to have a wicked throwing arm and makes it close.

Julia’s philosophy is similar to what Nick was trying earlier: if you can get to the end with two people who nobody likes, they will get no votes and you will win. She enjoys the reward (Chinese food delivery, believe it or not) with the three men and says she’s keeping her options open. Joe sees the conversation and says “I think she’s lost to the dark side.” Cydney certainly doesn’t trust Julia and neither does Aubry. In fact Aubry is convinced Julia should be the one they vote for at the next Tribal Council. If men play idols for themselves when that happens, the girls flush the idols out of the game. But Debbie is against the Julia vote.

That night, Tai decides to take a turn at pouring water on the fire. Oh, brother!

The immunity challenge is one I don’t recall seeing before. The players have to stack a row of blocks while constantly stepping over a big grate. Touching the grate tips over all of the blocks. And even if they set all of the blocks, they have to space them exactly right so they can knock them down domino-style. And who should win but Julia of all people, foiling Aubry’s plan.

The second everyone gets back to camp Scot, Jason and Tai go off by themselves, so Debbie immediately tells everyone the plan is to split the vote between Scot and Tai, and then vote Scot on the re-vote since it would be 3-3-3. The other players are horrified because Julia is one of the people she tells! They think she will go right to Scot and Jason and tell them the plan, which is precisely what happens. And Scot tells her right away that he and his buddies will vote Cydney.

Debbie’s insane actions are the last straw for Aubry: “This far into Survivor I need someone who is logical and who I know is not going to change course.” Cydney qualifies, and the two of them decide that they need to vote Debbie out. Cydney says she can get Michele on board, Aubry says she can get Joe, The former is true, but Joe refuses to consider a Debbie vote. So they don’t have the four votes they need, which means they need to pull in … Julia? This makes no sense.

At Tribal Council, Scot and Jason announce that Tai has an idol and Jason does as well. They claim that after the votes are cast they’ll decide randomly by rock-paper-scissors which of the two of them get the idols. Lots of whispering ensues on both sides.

After votes are cast, Jason hands his idol to Tai, and Tai just sits down. The votes are read: three for Cydney, two for Scot, and four for Debbie who is voted out. They are shocked and so are the guys!

The upshot is that now Julia can continue to play both sides. She can assure Cydney, Aubry, and Michele that she is with them, and also tell the guys that while she didn’t vote for who they did, she still helped their cause.

As for Debbie, when she could control herself a bit she was doing very well in this game, but then she started playing too hard and seeing herself as a mastermind. That was her downfall.

Favorites: 1. Cydney, 2. Michele, 3. Tai, 4. Julia, 5. Aubry

No chance: Jason, Scot, Joe

Jury and who I think they’ll vote for: Neal (Aubry), Nick (Aubry), Debbie (Joe)

“I’m calling Buddha”: Survivor Kaoh Rong April 6 2016 recap

6 Apr

Since there was no Tribal Council last episode, we begin this one with everyone still sitting at camp where we left them. Debbie, Aubry, and Joe are worried, understandably.

Jason reveals that he has an autistic daughter and that most of the money he makes goes toward taking care of her. Maybe this will help with people who thinks he’s just a big jerk (including me). Cydney sees this and knows this would make him tougher to beat at the finals.

The reward challenge is interesting, though not new: each team has to cross a stretch of water by having one member walk across long poles with little platforms on top, and these poles are held up only by the strength of their teammates. Then at the end, the whole team has to balance on a small platform. The teams are chosen by schoolyard pick. Aubry, team captain, tries to do the balancing herself. After she falls in the water at least four times, Michele and Cydney also try and also fall in. Then Aubry tries again and takes the plunge again. The problem is: the other team has Scot and Nick, who are big and strong enough to hold these poles steady. Aubry’s team isn’t. When she’s alone with the camera, she cries because she’s on a streak of decisions that didn’t turn out well.

After the ice cream reward is over, a bunch of the women go on a boat trip along with Tai. Scot, Jason, and Nick are worried about a women’s alliance so they want to target Aubry or Debbie in the vote, not Joe. When the gals come back, Nick goes on a walk with his old tribemate Julia, who says there was no strategy talk on the boat ride. When they come back, Nick tells Scot and Jason out loud that everything’s fine, and this sets Cydney off. Do the guys feel they need to collect intelligence on her? Jason goes on a walk with her to calm her down, to which she says “don’t check me, boo.”

The immunity challenge looks quite simple: stand on a perch holding some handles behind one’s head. But it quickly turns painful. Jeff Probst decides to try his old trick of offering delicious food to anyone who feels so secure that he or she would quit the challenge to eat it. But they will only have a short time window, then the offer ends. Sadly for Julia, she can’t even hold out until Probst has the food ready! When Probst makes the official offer, the ones who accept are Jason, Scot, Michele, and Joe. What, Joe? That makes no sense, except maybe it does: he’s over 70 and probably had no chance to outlast everyone, so he might as well eat.

It comes down to Cydney and Tai. She isn’t even budging, while he’s writhing around all over the place but staying on his perch. He says “I’m calling Buddha” and chants to himself, but every single second looks like an ordeal. Then suddenly Cydney has to quit, to the great shock of Probst, and Tai has won.

Back at camp, Nick tells the camera that the plan of himself, Scot, Jason, Tai, Michele, Julia, and Cydney is to cast four votes for Debbie and three for Aubry, so even if an idol is played, one of them goes home. Since Aubry will likely be the survivor, Nick wants to be the first to try and get her as a possible future ally. His sales pitch to her leaves a lot to be desired, though.

Soon Cydney has a chat with Aubry and Debbie: “Do you realize our numbers [meaning women vs. men] are equal right now? We need to kinda strike now” and take out Nick. The two Brains are all for it, so Cydney goes on to pitch Michele and Julia. They say yes, but once they’re alone it sounds like they have their doubts, especially Michele who has been comfortable with Nick as an ally.

We go to Tribal Council, amazingly the first for both Nick and Michele on day 22! And when Probst announces the first jury member everyone looks up in anticipation. Neal strolls in looking none the worse for wear, though of course he has a bandage on his leg.

Tribal Council is pretty standard stuff until Probst asks the question he must pose almost every week: has there been any talk of idols around camp? Yes, Tai says, and he’s even heard about a super-idol! Scot and Jason absolutely cannot believe what they’re hearing (because Tai is spilling the beans), nor can Aubry or Julia (because they had no idea about any such thing). Debbie and others are very quick to point out to Julia that she must be on the bottom of her alliance if she had no idea about this.

The votes are cast, and Nick is amused when he sees his name on the first card. The smile fades when his name comes up for the fourth time. His first Tribal Council is also his last, he’s voted out!

And why did Jason get a vote? As the credits roll, we see who that vote was from: Tai! Very confusing. Given that and the super-idol comment, I can only imagine that he and Jason must have had some kind of major falling-out that wasn’t shown. And if those two have had a falling-out, their idols can’t be combined to make a super-idol. So suddenly Jason and Scot have gone from feeling invincible to being in trouble.

Favorites: 1. Cydney, 2. Tai, 3.  Michele, 4. Aubry, 5. Julia, 6. Debbie

No chance: Jason, Scot, Joe

Jury and who I think they’ll vote for: Neal (Aubry), Nick (Aubry)