Archive | November, 2016

“A small tactical squad”: Survivor Millennials vs. Gen-X November 23 2016 recap

24 Nov

The first half of the double episode begins with Jay telling us he cringed at Taylor’s grandstanding in the prior tribal council: “Tayles, stop talking dude, you’re burying me with you.” To mitigate this, he digs up the buried food for the rest of the tribe. On the bright side, given the fact he didn’t play an immunity idol last time, the other players are surely convinced he doesn’t have one.

Chris is thinking ahead, and tells Bret they need to get rid of Jessica. He tells us 90% of the reason is that she’s strategic, and 10% is because “I owe her one.” Believe it or not he is talking about the ouster of greybearded Paul back in one of the earliest episodes. But Jessica mustn’t suspect it’s coming, so it will have to be “a small tactical squad” that takes her out.

After a brief interlude showing us that Hannah has a crush on Ken, we see Will tell Zeke that he will ally with him even though he’s been working with Jay. The deep-voiced youngster goes on to reveal to Zeke that Jay has an idol, but if that news gets back to Jay Will says he’s “screwed.” Will sees Zeke and Hannah as his alliance.

Well, in no time everyone knows that Jay has an idol. Chris hasn’t changed his Jessica plan, but tells Zeke to keep it between 6-7 people. The dream scenario would be to vote Jessica out while tricking Jay into playing his idol at the same time.

For the reward challenge, Jeff Probst announces that since there is an odd number of players, one person determined by random draw will sit out and not get to go on the reward. David volunteers to sit out — he’s such a bad swimmer nobody will want him on their team. But the other Gen-Xers say he should just draw a rock like everyone else. Jeff Probst calls both aspects of this a first in Survivor history. Jay ends up drawing the rock.

As it turns out, there’s little swimming involved in the challenge anyway, and it’s decided by Zeke and Adam beating Chris and David on the puzzle portion.

David says Chris, Bret, and Sunday are too strong a team, and he, Ken, and Jessica need to break it up. Specifically, Chris is his target. And David thinks it’s in Zeke’s best interest to get rid of Chris.

The immunity challenge involves using a 10-foot bamboo pole to hold a small statue in place while standing on a balance beam. David beats Zeke to win.

Zeke is the swing vote here. He trusts both Chris and David. What will he decide?

No idol is played, and Chris is voted out. The only people who voted against Jessica were Chris, Sunday, Bret, and Jay. Chris new he was being gunned for but his Oklahoman buddy Zeke didn’t stick with him.

To start the second half, Jessica says the next vote should be Jay.

Bret tells Zeke that he loved Chris, but Chris would have won the whole game if he’d stuck around (if you’ve been following my rankings, you know I agree). Zeke wastes no time making a pitch to Bret and Sunday, as he needs them for his coalition to target … David. The next morning David makes the opposite pitch to Bret and Sunday. However, we soon learn that Bret thinks David can’t be trusted (with good reason, as we’ve seen). Zeke tells Bret that David has an idol, and Bret says he figured as much.

Then we have a great little sequence: David tells the camera that he and Zeke are really very similar, but surely everyone will see Zeke is a bigger threat in the game. Then we see Zeke tell the camera … almost the same thing word for word, but with David as the main threat!

As for Hannah, she hasn’t decided between David and Zeke.

The reward challenge involves having to slither through the sand with arms and legs bound, then solving a snake-themed puzzle. The three-person team of Bret, Sunday, and Zeke wins, and David as the odd man out was allowed to join the food-and-drink reward. Bret and Zeke have some alone time and Bret tells the millennial that … he’s not the only gay guy in the game! An unexpected twist … but is it true? After all, Bret has been lying about his profession all along, why not this?

Back at camp, we find out Hannah has decided to side with David against Zeke. She and David confer, and she says “Don’t get neurotic on me,” which is funny coming from her.

The immunity challenge appears quite interesting: players have to reach through a sort of barred window to move a stick through a maze on the other side of the door. They can feel the maze with their hands but can’t see it. And for the only time I can think of, Probst can’t say who’s ahead or behind! This looked like a recipe for drama, but Jay solves his much earlier than everyone else, and also completes the sliding puzzle in the next step before anyone can join him. After that blowout win, we probably won’t see this challenge again. Perhaps there’s too much luck involved.

So, who will triumph, David or Zeke? Jessica feels she has to side with David since he played an idol for her earlier in the game. Ken is in as well.

Zeke gets some alone time with Hannah to basically get confirmation from her that David is a threat and needs to be taken out. Now, any Survivor knows that in this situation, the only correct response is to agree, even if you really think Zeke needs to be taken out post-haste. Hannah’s response is so incredibly wishy-washy that it doesn’t take the intelligence of Zeke to smell a rat. An incredulous Zeke asks: you’re not telling David I’m coming after him are you? She can’t muster any reassurance whatsoever. So predictably, right after that Zeke resolves that Hannah needs to go! Zeke can trust Bret, Sunday, Jay, and Will to vote with him, so that would be five votes out of the ten. Hannah talks to Adam about voting out Zeke, but Adam is nervous. Hannah asks David if he’ll use his idol on her, but he’s noncommittal.

During tribal council, Hannah and Adam exchange whispers. As there’s much talk about how everything is up in the air, Hannah asks Sunday what the plan is, and if you believe the subtitle, Sunday whispers “Ken.”

Finally it’s time to vote, and that idiot Taylor, who laughs at just about everything, laughs as the vote begins. Then shortly thereafter an absolutely HUGE bug lands on Taylor, and Tayles has a problem getting it off.

Time for Probst to ask if anyone wants to play an idol. David says “Sorry, Jeff …: and hands his over. Right then Adam shouts to David that the others were whispering that they are voting out Ken. So David says the idol is for Ken!

The votes are revealed … and it’s a tie. 5 votes for Hannah, 5 for Zeke (none for Ken). Adam has a what-have-I-done look on his face. So it’s time for a re-vote between Hannah and Zeke, and they themselves cannot vote. Zeke asks Jessica if she really wants to go to the drawing-rocks tiebreaker. So now there has to be a unanimous decision for one of the two, otherwise it is time to draw rocks. Despite some grandstanding by Will, it’s soon obvious there will be no unanimous decision. But four people do not have to draw a rock: Hannah and Zeke, Jay (who won the immunity challenge), and Ken (thanks to David’s idol). Probst has Will, Bret, David, Sunday, Adam, and Jessica each draw a rock. Whoever has the black rock is out of the game. They open their hands, and it’s Jessica, who is in tears as she leaves. Adam’s on the verge of tears too. Jessica tells the camera than she is willing her legacy advantage to Ken.

So a recap is in order of how this affects everyone:

Zeke: On the right side of the numbers, but he knows he’s considered the biggest threat.

Jay: He has lots of options and he still has his immunity idol.

Will, Bret, and Sunday: Also on the right side of the numbers.

Hannah: Has to cast her lot with David permanently now.

David: No longer has an idol and considered one of the top threats.

Ken: Might be working his way back onto the list of contenders to win.

Adam: Oh, Adam. He had managed to finally go a stretch when he was under the radar, but getting David to switch his idol to Ken basically changed the whole game, since if he hadn’t said that Zeke would be out!

contenders: 1. Zeke, 2. Jay, 3. Will, 4.  Bret

no chance: Hannah, David, Ken, Sunday, Adam

jury and who I think they’ll vote for: Michelle (Jay), Taylor (Jay), Chris (Bret), Jessica (Ken)


“I’m not just a regular dumb surfer.” Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X November 16, 2016 recap

16 Nov

Taylor, worried that Adam will spill the beans about the jars of food Taylor buried, tries to engage Adam in conversation. Adam tells the camera that being on the bottom of the Gen-X alliance is better than being out of the game, which is where Taylor tried to put him.

I thought last episode’s tribal council had already revealed to all of the players how much food Taylor ate, but apparently no one was aware of the full extent (other than Adam, who saw him).

The reward challenge has two teams determined by schoolyard pick, with Chris and Hannah as captains. However, when you look at the teams you wonder if Chris had the first five picks, as all of the athletic guys are on his team! Meanwhile Hannah’s team looks as if she had set out to draft a chess club. This leads to the expected result in the challenge. Even Jeff Probst has to remark “What a blowout!” On the reward, a big meal at the resort, Bret the putative funeral director, orders the bartender to serve him drinks till he drops, while Sunday tells us it’s time for her to take control of the game. Up to now it seems like she was barely playing the game!

Back at camp, Jay and Adam chat in the water. When Adam states the obvious, namely that Jay, Will, and Taylor are now on the bottom, Jay is both shocked and insulted.

Commercial break: a Subaru ad features a woman daydreaming about a carefree day riding a freight train through the countryside, while a disclaimer appears on the screen :”Do not ride a freight train.”

Back to Survivor: Sunday thinks Jessica has been giving her the evil eye and is “after” her because Sunday voted for Jessica previously. Sunday  wants to pull in Jay to make a move against Jessica.

The challenge involves balancing a ball on the rounded part of a bow while standing on a balance beam. Jeff Probst announces that anyone who feels safe can forgo the shot at immunity to have sandwiches and drink beer (as with the reward challenge, he stresses that soft drinks are also on hand for the underage Will). Zeke and Will both opt to eat, Will telling us that he wouldn’t have a chance against the surfers who are competing. And by golly, the last two standing are indeed surfers: Taylor and Ken. Ken pulls out the victory.

Soon after everyone gets back to camp, a plan is forged to split the votes between Jay and Taylor. Sunday decides to back off her Jessica plan for now. Taylor tells Jay about his food stash, and they go enjoy some. Taylor also tells Jay about Adam’s advantage, but Jay doesn’t reciprocate by saying he has an immunity idol.

Tribal Council has just gotten started when Taylor tells the world about both his food theft and Adam’s advantage. The show tries to make a big deal of how now the jury is supposedly suddenly undecided, but I don’t buy it for a second. Also, Jay tries to join in attacking Adam, but it’s quickly pointed out that Jay ate some of the food, unlike Adam who simply knew about it. But Jay does tell us “I’m not just a regular dumb surfer,” drawing a distinction between himself and Taylor. Finally the fake controversy can’t be drawn out any longer and the players vote.

Adam doesn’t pull out his idol and surprisingly neither does Jay. Taylor is voted out. Amusingly, one person drew a picture of a chomped-on drumstick next to Taylor’s name.

The vote was somewhat curious, however. Jay voted for Taylor as you would expect, while the ever-dense Taylor cast the only vote for Adam. But Will voted for Jay rather than Taylor. Also, among the others, there were 6 votes for Taylor and only 3 for Jay. So it’s possible that someone really did switch a Jay vote to Taylor upon hearing about the food theft.

contenders: 1. Chris, 2. Zeke, 3. Jay, 4. Will, 5. Jessica, 6. Bret

no chance: Hannah, David, Ken, Sunday, Adam

jury and who I think they’ll vote for: Michelle (Jay), Taylor (Jay)

“He couldn’t just play with the weirdos.” Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X November 9, 2016 recap

9 Nov

Surprisingly, Hannah is not freaking out too much about not being in the loop about Michaela’s ouster. She’s actually calm, though she is mad.

Two of the tribes are picked up by boat and join the third to make a merge! I believe this is the first time three tribes have been merged together into one.

So Jay is reunited with Taylor and Michelle, and he also “has” Will, Hannah, Bret, and Sunday from his last tribe, plus an immunity idol. “I’m the kingpin but no one knows, and I want to keep it that way,” he tells us. But Bret sees Jay interact with the other Millennials and wonders how much he can trust him.

Meanwhile, Chris feels good about his alliances with David and Zeke, but naturally wants to regroup with Bret and Sunday.

As for Zeke, he says he’s “delighted to see my old nerdy pals Hannah and Adam.” He notes that Jay is the “locus of power” and has used his charm to draw others in. Is Ken falling for it as well?

A merge feast is served, but Adam is more interested in looking for the “merge idol” he thinks there must be. He doesn’t find that, but does find an advantage that lets him steal another player’s reward at some future time in the game. The theft must be announced to Jeff Probst before the players leave the challenge area. Adam, a big fan of the show, points out that this is a first, and he vows to save it for something that really matters.

The leftovers from the feast are stored in a bunch of Mason jars. In the middle of the night Taylor gets up and fills up a jar for himself that he sneaks off with. Bret sees him, as does Adam. The latter sees a potential trust-building opportunity and goes off to join Taylor. Adam tells Taylor that Jay is “building an army” and has Will as his right-hand man. So Adam proposes voting out Will, then Taylor would advance to being the right-hand man. Adam tells the camera that Taylor is an “incredibly unlikely ally.”

The only problem is, Taylor tells us viewers that he doesn’t want to work with Adam. But Adam is convinced that Taylor is looking favorably upon him, so much so that he proceeds to tell Taylor about the advantage he just found. This is so painful to watch!

Come morning, Ken notices that there were a lot of mangoes in the jars when everyone went to bed, and now they’re almost all gone. Chris is more concerned by his observation that the Millennials are obviously a much tighter group that Gen-X thought. So Gen-X, plus Zeke, talks about voting out Taylor. David worries that all of this is happening too early.

Taylor pulls Jay aside and asks “How tight-lipped can you be?” He reveals that Adam is gunning for Will. They both decide that means Adam has to go. Problem is, Zeke is nearby and overhears them. Adam being voted out would mess up Zeke’s plans! And Will hears about Adam’s plans shortly. Will’s conclusion is that he had better make sure to win immunity at the upcoming challenge.

The challenge is a familiar one: hold your hands in the air as they’re attached to a chain attached to a bucket of water. Drop your hands, or move much at all, and you are out. This challenge has been run multiple times before, including the unforgettable win by Shii Ann in Survivor: All-Stars. But previously it was done one-handed, which Probst now says was not difficult enough.

The 13 players left in the game take their positions. It doesn’t take too long before it’s down to two people: Jessica and Will. The one-hour mark comes. Then the 90-minute mark. Finally Will wins, to Adam’s chagrin.

Back at camp, Jay proposes that Adam be voted out, and for obvious reasons Will agrees. Michelle worries about the move, it seems more personal than strategic to her.

Zeke tells Adam about overhearing Taylor and Jay earlier. Aha, now Adam understands why Will thought he had to win the challenge. But perhaps they have the votes to get out Taylor? In other news, Adam now realizes his earlier approach to Taylor was a terrible move: “I had the feeling I might be playing too hard. I was playing too hard.”

The Gen-Xers get together and agree the Jay-Michelle-Taylor trio must be broken up. But he advocates voting Michelle because she “definitely” doesn’t have an idol. But Ken says the vote has to be for Taylor. No decision is made, so Adam freaks out and goes with his plan B which is … getting Taylor to target someone else? Oh no, I don’t know if I can watch something so pathetic again. Taylor doesn’t offer much hope or consolation. “Information leaks,” says the person who was solely responsible for leaking it.

David and Hannah, the two most neurotic people in the game, are finally on the same tribe, and they saw Adam pull Taylor aside. Can they even trust Adam? Should they just vote Adam out? Hannah tells Adam: “If you freak out too much and keep pulling people aside, the vote will get screwed up.” She bemoans to the camera: “Adam decided he couldn’t just play with the weirdos, he has to sit at the cool kids’ table.” (Hannah is the woman who was convinced by “cool kid” Michelle to change her vote during tribal council with no justification beyond “I’ll tell you later.”) Hannah and Zeke are very frustrated with Adam and say he needs to be voted out soon.

Of course, Adam does have a hidden immunity idol. But he notes, “If I use [the idol] and I have the numbers, I look like a chump.”

At Tribal Council, Taylor’s midnight snacking is revealed, but he’s obviously not worried he’ll be voted out. Meanwhile, Adam could not look any more stressed. Time to vote. We see very few votes, but as Zeke lifts his card up (the front of the card is not shown) we hear him say something to the effect of “I’ve never been able to trust you.” Is he referring to Taylor … or Adam?

Jeff Probst announces this would be the time to play an idol … and Adam looks at everyone else’s facial expressions but then stands pat.

The person voted out is: Michelle! Very tricky on the part of the producers — usually the person voted out gets a lot of screen time during the episode, not so with Michelle.

It turns out the only people who voted for Adam were Michelle, Will, Taylor, and Jay, i.e. the vote was 9-4 with Hannah, Adam, and Zeke all siding with Gen-X.

So my selection as the player most likely to win the game is now out. Michelle was very strategic and smart, and seemed like the next Parvati at first, but her social game was not in the same league with Parvati’s.

contenders: 1. Chris, 2. Zeke, 3. Jay, 4. Will, 5. Jessica, 6. Bret, 7. Adam

no chance: Taylor, Hannah, David, Ken, Sunday

jury and who I think they’ll vote for: Michelle (Jay)

“I lied to you and I screwed you, 100%.” Survivor Millennials vs. Gen-X November 2, 2016 recap

2 Nov

The quotation above is what Adam tells Taylor as our episode begins. It is true, after all. Taylor vows to keep cool and get revenge against Adam later.

Switching camps, David tells Zeke that he has an idol. Is there anyone who David hasn’t tried to make an alliance with? Zeke says all the right things but you get the feeling he is still keeping his options open.

As the tribes come together and see that Figgy has been voted out, Michaela has a huge smile on her face. Probst comments on it and Michaela says “It’s been time for Figgy to go out for a while.” The reward challenge involves first shooting balls through a hoop then having to gently lay them up so they balance on a sort of gutter. Thanks to Michaela, Green makes a comeback to edge Purple for second place. Michaela wonders if anyone sees her as a threat now.

Back at camp, Taylor swears to Ken and Jessica that he will never write either of their names down. This doesn’t seem like it would have much effect — what else is he going to say? — but Ken and Jessica wonder if the more straightforward Taylor might be easier to deal with than more strategic Adam.

Then we come to an almost obligatory part of most any Survivor season: the player who’s a police officer claims to be in another line of work but others suspect he’s a cop anyway. In this case it’s Bret, whose cover story had not been shown up to now, but it is that of a funeral director. “He’s too funny and lively to be a funeral director,” Jay tells his fellow Millennials.

Time for the Immunity challenge, which ends with a slingshot competition. Purple comes in first, and Orange beats out Green for second place. It seems this was the one challenge Michaela couldn’t master.

So Green has to vote someone out, and Bret seems the obvious choice. Still, the whole tribe just sits on a log in total silence for half an hour when they get back to camp. Bret and Sunday don’t seem to be doing much on their own behalf. The Millennials soon confer, and Michaela reviews the numbers of all of the tribes with them, drawing a diagram in the dirt and using rocks and shells to represent people. For now, they plan to split the vote between Bret and Sunday.

But as Jay ponders Michaela’s master plan, he gets to thinking: Michaela is very athletic and very smart too, maybe she needs to go before the merge. He talks about it with Will. Should they tell Hannah? Will says if they tell her she’ll freak out, if not she’ll freak out later. Also, Michaela is their strongest ally, do they want to lose that? By the way: Jay is really proving to be a great character.

After a pretty boring tribal council, the votes are read: Bret, Bret, Michaela, Michaela, Michaela … and before Probst is even done Michaela shrieks and leans over to Jay: “Did you do that?” she shouts. Coolly he answers: “Yeah, I did it.” She proceeds to cuss him out a couple different ways as she gets her torch snuffed, then as she’s walking out she punches something. Nobody likes a sore loser Michaela, and you may be the sorest one in Survivor history.

contenders: 1. Michelle, 2. Chris, 3. Jay, 4. Zeke, 5. Will, 6. Adam, 7. Jessica, 8. Bret

no chance: Taylor, Hannah, David, Ken, Sunday