“She’s like a crazy lady.” Survivor: Game Changers March 29 2017 recap

6 Apr
J.T. denies to his tribemates that he told Brad that they were going to vote for Sierra (which is of course a lie). J.T. knows he’s in trouble and really needs a hidden immunity idol. He goes looking and finds an identical clue to the one Tai found last episode. With everyone away from the spot, J.T. is soon able to dig it up.
Before the reward challenge, we see the tribes discuss amongst themselves who will be doing which task at the challenge. This stuff is only ever shown when it will come back to haunt someone, either due to someone acting bossy or someone claiming he will be able to do something that he will later fail at …
The red team has a lead but alas, Debbie is not able to do the part that involves balancing a ball on a disc and crossing a balance beam. Or at least she has to try it multiple times, and while she is doing so the challenge ends. So no reward for the team. As the tribe leaves we hear Debbie tell us viewers that Brad is a dictator who gives all the orders and doesn’t listen, but we are shown a rare Survivor flashback that reminds us that before the challenge Debbie told Brad she has a “really good sense of balance.” 
On the green tribe, Sarah proposes an alliance to Troyzan in the most cautious way imaginable. Troy is naturally hoping not to have to play his idol. Sarah, a cop, tells us she is going to lie to the others the way criminals lie to her. 
At the red camp, Debbie grabs a bunch of stuff and leaves camp, she’s upset. Turns out it’s because she thinks Brad doesn’t show her any respect, while Hali gets whatever she wants. Tai tries to calm her down but tells us “she’s like a crazy lady.” Then Debbie, after spending the last few minutes exploding in anger, tells us “I don’t explode in anger.”
On the blue tribe, Michaela is eating too much sugar to suit JT, so Sandra secretly eats all the rest of the sugar hoping JT will blame Michaela. And back at the red camp, Tai finds an idol clue. This is getting a bit ridiculous in terms of these clues and idols being too easy to find (for everyone except Troy).
Time for the immunity challenge which includes a balance beam. Debbie insists on doing that part and refuses to even discuss it. Then during the first phase of the challenge Debbie keeps carping to Brad. When the balance beam part rolls around, Debbie (who was evidently overruled) keeps complaining that Hali is doing it rather than the gymnast (i.e. Debbie). Red actually wins the challenge thanks to Brad’s ace performance on the slingshot. So Ozzy and J.T, vie for the critical second place, and Ozzy barely beats him. This also ensures another episode of almost no camera time for the green tribe (in case you have forgotten about them completely, they are Ozzy, Zeke, Cirie, Andrea, Troyzan, and Sarah).
On the blue tribe, Aubry thinks Michaela has to go. And Jeff Varner says he’s behind the idea 100%. But Sandra sees her alliance as Varner and Michaela. So it’s Varner’s decision: will he side with them to vote J.T. out, or with J.T. and Aubry to vote Michaela out? The tribal council is mostly about Michaela and how hard she is to live with. After the votes are cast, Jeff Probst announces that this would be the time to play an idol … and J.T. does nothing! He is voted out, 3-2, with an idol in his pocket. Two dumb moves in two weeks for J.T. I don’t care if he won a season, this guy sucks at Survivor!
After J.T. is gone, Sandra admits the ate the sugar.
Why this decision for Varner, other than the fact that J.T. makes a lousy ally? Probably it’s because the idea of allying with two villains to take a target off of himself is pretty appealing.
In the previews for next week, there is something about a former Survivor returning. Please let it be Tony and/or Malcolm. That would be bad for the integrity of the game, but great for entertainment value.
contenders: 1. Zeke, 2. Cirie, 3. Aubry, 4. Andrea, 5. Brad, 6. Ozzy, 7. Sierra, 8. Sandra, 9. Hali, 10. Varner
not sure: Sarah, Troyzan
no chance: Tai, Debbie, Michaela

“J.T.’s not getting a Christmas card.” Survivor: Game Changers March 23, 2017 recap

23 Mar

The reward challenge at the beginning of the episode will be played by just two members of each tribe. Green understandably picks all-time great challenge competitor Ozzy, and also Troyzan. The blue tribe sends J.T. and Malcolm, and red goes with Tai and Brad. Blue finishes first, and red overtakes green for second thanks to an incredible display of throwing by Brad Culpepper who throws like he’s Daunte Culpepper!

Ozzy thinks losing was OK — with no food reward, his tribe needs his fishing skills. We see some incredible underwater shots of him fishing, and he soon brings back a huge ray for the tribe to eat.

On the blue tribe, Sandra tells us she’s running the show, blah blah blah, and J.T. suggests to Malcolm that they get rid of Sandra.

The challenge is the one we see some form of every season, with blindfolded players being led by a caller who tells them what to do. Before the start, Jeff Probst drops the bombshell that two tribes will be going to tribal council.

In the final phase following the blindfolded part, Jeff Varner’s blue team has a huge lead but he still has to navigate a ball through one of those very tricky mazes. Andrea from the green tribe is gaining on him. Jeff is inches away, but then the ball drops through a hole in the maze, and Andrea soon hits paydirt.

Afterwards Probst has yet another bombshell: the blue and red tribes will be going to Tribal Council together, with a joint vote to send home one person!

The blue team feels pretty good about this twist since they have six people and red only has five. But will J.T. vote with the other tribe? He says no. Sandra says they should target Sierra, the strongest woman. And J.T. and Malcolm think Brad will get the troops on the red team to target Sandra.

The red team has the same questions about Hali that blue has about J.T. It seems J.T. will be the deciding factor.

Tai goes looking for an idol and finds a clue, but unlike Troyzan who really had to sweat last episode, Tai simply needs to find a certain spot (that’s not all that close to camp) and dig there. Once he has the idol, he tells his tribemates (except for Hali) about it.

Time for Tribal Council. Hali is talking, and Sandra whispers to her group that it sounds like Hali wants Brad out. Both groups then do a lot of whispering amongst themselves, but both resolve to stick with their original plans. Sierra hears something that makes her fret that she’s the target.

J.T. asks Malcolm if he should talk to Brad. Then J.T. gets up and walks over to whisper in Brad’s ear! J.T. says “I love you brother, but they’re voting Sierra out.” Then Hali walks all the way over to Sandra and whispers,”You have to do Brad. It’s better for us, I promise.” Now J.T. and Brad are meeting a couple of steps back from the rest of the group. “You swear?” Brad asks? J.T. says yes. Then suddenly there are too many whispered conversations to keep track of, and Probst is loving every second of it.

Finally Probst, as always, says it’s time to vote, and he tells Hali she’s up. She replies, “I didn’t consent.” So there’s still more discussion as Probst wears a huge smile.

The votes are read and Probst says it’s time to play an idol. Tai does play his, on Sierra. Probst reads the votes, and the first six votes are all for Sierra. Then comes the next vote … Malcolm! And before you know it, Malcolm is out of the game!

As exciting as the tribal council was, this is a disastrous turn of events, as now the two most entertaining characters, Tony and Malcolm, are out of the game after just four votes. The producers must be aghast.

As the blue team walks out, Michaela whispers that J.T. must have set them up. And in Malcolm’s final confessional he tells us “J.T.’s not getting a Christmas card.” So it’s fair to assume everyone else on the blue tribe is mad at J.T. But I doubt the orange tribe loves the guy either. What the heck was he doing? I didn’t see the Tocantins season when J.T. played a “perfect game,” so all I can judge him on is the disastrous moves he made both in Heroes vs. Villains and in this season so far.

Time for my first rankings of the year, and they won’t include Malcolm who was my early favorite to win it all. Right now I don’t know that I can rule anyone out, except for J.T. (see above) and Tai. I think Tai is just too wishy-washy to win this season or any other. And while Brad and Sandra have been probably the most prominent characters so far, I am betting for now on some who are staying under the radar a bit more.

contenders: 1. Zeke, 2. Cirie, 3. Aubry, 4. Andrea, 5. Brad, 6. Ozzy, 7. Sierra, 8. Sandra

not sure: Hali, Sarah, Troyzan, Varner, Debbie, Michaela

no chance: Tai, J.T.

“It will require you to be daring” Survivor: Game Changers March 15, 2017 recap

23 Mar

The episode begins with an unusual kind of tribe swap, changing from two tribes to three! Among the new combinations, we see Tai reunited with his old Kaoh Rong tribemate Caleb. Tai says he is “still looking for that kiss.” Meanwhile, the third tribe, wearing green buffs, has to start a new camp and build a new shelter.

On the blue tribe, J.T. looks to be in trouble as the other five people are all from a different original tribe. He has an idea: he suggests that everyone go snorkeling, half a mile out at sea at that. Then when Malcolm breaks a spear, J.T. says he can swim back to get a pair of pliers. He does, and starts looking for the idol. The only problem is, he spends way too much time doing so, and the other players figure out that something’s up. By the way, J.T. is way more “country” than I remembered — to the point that he’s sometimes a bit hard to understand.

On the orange tribe, we get the revelation that Brad Culpepper, former NFL defensive lineman, loves … antiquing and decorating? I wasn’t expecting that. On the chopping block are Hali and Caleb. Tai wants Caleb to stick around but the others are wary of having the two of them plus Kaoh Rong castmate Debbie all together as a potential strong trio.

On the new green tribe, Troyzan is in much the same situation as J.T. as an obvious first boot. It’s him against the world, which is more or less the way it was on his prior season too! So Troy goes looking for a hidden immunity idol, and at least finds a clue. It says “it will require you to be daring,” and that’s because the idol can only be picked up during the next challenge! There’s a diagram of exactly where it will be.

Back at the blue tribe, J.T. says he could catch a goat, and he does, bare-handed. Malcolm grabs one too. But they realize it’s a mother and her kid, and debate whether they should kill them. Sandra is all for doing so, leading Malcolm to note “She was a villain [on Heroes vs. Villains] for a reason.” The group ultimately lets the goats go.

It’s time for the challenge. By the way, the team immunity idol is in the shape of an old diving helmet. Troyzan realizes he will have no chance to grab the hidden idol until the challenge is over, since his task is to untie knots at the same table where it’s hidden, during which time all eyes will be on him.

As with the only previous idol ever hidden at a challenge (and successfully grabbed by  Kelley Wentworth in Survivor: Second Chance) it’s incredibly dramatic. Troyzan is understandably extremely anxious, as are we viewers along with him. The challenge comes down to the next step after the knot-untying part, and whichever team comes in third has to go to Tribal Council. Green narrowly avoids third place, and a “relieved” Troyzan pretends to collapse across the table. He feels around in the approximate spot but can’t get his hands on the idol! But then he drops to his knees “with exhaustion,” spots the idol and quickly stuffs it down his pants before standing up.

The orange team came in last, so will Hali or Caleb be voted out? Tai and Brad have a talk once Tai has covered himself with sand (I don’t recall anyone ever doing this on Survivor before). It’s unclear how the conversation turns out. By the way, the three Kaoh Rong alums aren’t the only former castmates on the tribe, but Sierra avows that she and Hali didn’t have any relationship on Worlds Apart, and everyone seems to accept that.

All in all this is a pretty boring episode, and it ends with Caleb being voted out. Like his prior season with the medical evacuation, this one ends on Day 9.


“Gonna push us out of Zen mode.” Survivor: Game Changers Season Premiere recap

12 Mar

The location for this 34th season is once again Fiji, and we begin by seeing the cast on board ship, with glimpses of all-time greats like Tony (Cagayan), Sandra (Pearl Islands and Heroes vs. Villains), and Ozzy (three prior seasons). The “game changers” credentials of others are a bit more questionable, like Troyzan (Survivor: One World) and Brad Culpepper (the 15th-place finisher in Survivor: Blood vs. Water). Then there are a blonde and two brunettes who I’ve never seen before in my life. Check that: when the blonde’s caption appears, it’s Sierra from Survivor: Worlds Apart who I very vaguely remember as being a rodeo cowgirl … until I see that she actually finished 5th, and that was just four seasons ago! One of the brunettes is revealed to be Hali from Worlds Apart, who I do recall was on the “no collar” tribe. Having finished 11th, she was hardly a “game changer,” though you could perhaps argue that she was game-changingly good-looking. The other brunette is one Sarah Lacina, who it turns out finished 11th on Survivor: Cagayan. Even after looking that up, I still do not remember anything about her whatsoever.

As in several prior seasons, once Jeff Probst is done with his preamble he tells the players that they have a short time to grab as many supplies as they can off this ship and take them to shore. He also announces that tied up underneath the water a fair distance from the boat is a box of tools. Someone immediately says “Ozzy’s gotta go,” and the ace swimmer does immediately head towards the tools. The other tribe doesn’t even bother to send someone initially … who could ever out-swim Ozzy?

In all the chaos someone picks up some supplies without noticing that an envelope with “secret advantage” printed on it falls to the deck. The aforementioned Sierra sees it presently and tucks it into her shorts. At the end. Ozzy’s tribe has the chickens and the most supplies. in addition to the toolkit.

Yet it’s the other tribe, wearing orange buffs, that hits the beach first. We see Michaela from the prior Millennials vs. Gen-X season, who vows to keep her facial expressions under control (she did anything but when she played before). In no time, Tony playfully announces “I’m out, I’m looking for the idol,” and races off. He expects someone to chase after him, but when no one does he figures he might as well start looking, for real. I missed Tony — he is so entertaining and even his voice is hilarious.

On the blue tribe, Sierra opens her secret advantage to find it’s the Legacy Advantage that debuted last season. But there’s a twist: this one can only be used when there are 13 people left in the game or 6 people left in the game.

Ozzy surveys the other players and tells us the only one he’s scared of is Cirie (three prior seasons),  since she had a hand in voting him out of Fans vs. Favorites. He says something to that effect to Tai (Kaoh Rong), but when he and Cirie talk, he tells her it’s water under the bridge and everything’s fine. By the way, interspersed with these conversations are shots of some shark fins all too close to shore! Soon, Tai tells Cirie she needs to work things out with Ozzy. Wait, did Ozzy just say something today about us not being OK?, Cirie asks Tai. An extremely long silence ensues, with Tai obviously trying to think of some kind of plausible lie, and failing miserably!

At the orange tribe, Tony goes to “get water” and ends up sprinting toward the well. The inventor of the “spy shack” has decided he is going to build a “spy bunker” near the well this time. Not that his plan makes much sense: it’s one thing to pile up enough branches to hide behind, and a much bigger job to basically dig a ditch, plus he’s doing it just a few feet from the well!

I haven’t yet mentioned Ciera (Blood vs. Water and Second Chance) who tells us she has played with three winners in Tyson, Aras, and Tina and learned something from all of them. In a group discussion she observes that Tony has befriended Caleb (the guy who was medically evacuated from Kaoh Rong) and proposes splitting the vote between two of them. Not a fan of this is our old friend Malcolm (Philippines and Fans vs. Favorites II) who definitely wants to keep these bigger threats around to distract from him, and similarly inclined is Aubry (Kaoh Rong). Malcolm bemoans that Ciera looks to be “the one that’s gonna push us out of Zen mode on this tribe.”

When everyone assembles for the first challenge, Probst announces a rules change: when there is a tie vote at tribal council there will not, as in prior seasons, be a re-vote in which only the two people who tied can be voted for and those two people do not participate. Instead, it is on to the next step (an open discussion in an effort to make the vote unanimous) and if that doesn’t work, it’s time for the drawing of rocks to send one person home. One ramification of this is immediately clear to Andrea (Redemption Island and Fans vs. Favorites II)— splitting the votes can now be a dangerous strategy. By the way, I loooove Andrea. But readers of this blog know that.

With 20 players in the game, there are some big personalities who have scarcely gotten any camera time, a case in point being Debbie (Kaoh Rong)!

The orange team loses, and the consensus seems to be that everyone is voting for Ciera. But they tell Ciera the vote is for Michaela. Michaela is certainly fine with the Ciera choice, but when she finds out she herself is the cover story she quickly freaks out. Plenty of pouting and making faces ensues, in true Michaela fashion. “Wow, she’s scary, bro,” Tony says.

The Tribal Council set is a very cool-looking shipwreck scene including a lighthouse that’s the voting booth! I neglected to mention that there is also a  rusted shipwreck just offshore from one of the gameplay sites. The vote is straightforward, with Ciera getting every vote but her own.

Before we continue to the second half of this double-elimination episode, I should note there are three other players I hadn’t yet mentioned: Zeke (Millennials vs. Gen-X), J. T. (Tocantins and Heroes vs. Villains), and Jeff Varner (The Australian Outback and Second Chance).

The next day, Tony says he wants to make some moves. He envisions an alliance of himself, Aubry, Malcolm, Caleb, and Sandra. He wants to keep big threats around to take attention off of himself, and Aubry says she feels the same (we already know Malcolm does). The following night there is a great shot of everyone sleeping … except Tony who is standing around nervously. He wants to finish his “spy bunker,” which is odd because everyone has noticed the dug-up earth. He tries to lie down in the small ditch and cover himself up, Rambo-style, but then when he hears Sandra and Troyzan coming, he crawls away. He catches some snatches of their conversation (which sounds quite harmless based on what we viewers are shown) but then he decides to burst in and ask them what they are talking about. Their answers make no sense, making Tony suspicious, and with that, the Tony/Sandra alliance is over before it started.

On the blue tribe, Cirie notices that Ozzy and J.T. have hit it off, which she thinks is bad for her.Where are her allies going to come from? She tries to bond with Sarah and also Zeke, who tells us his gut tells him it’s too early to align with someone that everyone is gunning for. Cirie chats up Debbie too, but Debbie tells us, “I assessed it, I don’t buy it.”

Back to the orange tribe. Sandra is now recruiting an anti-Tony alliance, and seemingly signing on are Varner, Hali, Troyzan, and Michaela. Tony observes this and tells Aubry that the two of them, Malcolm, and Caleb need to find one more person.

The challenge is to get a long, heavy fake snake out of a high cage that’s partially underwater. Probst says the snake weighs over 400 pounds. The orange tribe struggles more, and Probst mentions several times how little Varner is contributing. The blue tribe’s lead is huge, but somehow Malcolm solves a puzzle in no time and also puts on an incredible display of ring-tossing to almost tie it, but his tribe just barely falls short.

So Tony’s tribe is going to tribal council needing a fifth person to vote out Sandra. What about Michaela? She’s disgusted at her team’s challenge performances, so Caleb argues to her that they shouldn’t keep the unathletic Sandra.

To cut to the chase, Tony is voted out almost unanimously, though Sandra votes Aubry for reasons that are unclear. As he walks out Sandra can’t help talking trash to send him on his way.

Tony is arguably the most entertaining Survivor player ever, so it’s sad to see him go in the first episode. I don’t think he would have had a chance to win the game, though.

Early favorite: Malcolm.


Survivor Millennials vs. Gen-X Final Thoughts

31 Jan

This may have been billed as a battle between the generations, but the vast majority of the entertainment came from the Millennials. Even the ones who weren’t very good (like Hannah and Taylor) made for great TV.

Good things about this season:

  • A deserving winner in Adam. While he wasn’t the best player, he surely played the hardest of anyone.
  • The Adam/Jay rivalry was very entertaining, especially since they talked so openly about it with each other.

Bad things about this season:

  • There was no one great player and no one great character. Though certainly enough good ones in both categories to keep things interesting.
  • The idol plays were all pretty inept.
  • The first couple of episodes were fairly uneventful.

Sorry, nobody cracked my best players of all time list, or my best alliances of all time list. On the positive side, even Taylor’s ham-handed game wasn’t enough for anyone in this season to make my list of the the worst of all time.

You can check out my full rankings of the seasons here.

“Those two fools didn’t look down.” Survivor Millennials vs. Gen-X Finale Recap

18 Jan

Bret can’t fathom why Sunday was voted out instead of David or Jay. He compares it to Navy SEALs deciding at the last minute not to take out Bin Laden! Hannah says she disagrees.

As for David, it turns out he has been setting aside beads and such throughout the entire game with the thought of making a fake immunity idol at some point. Now he steals away and makes one ,by firelight. Now, making a fake idol is nothing new, but it’s usually done so the person making it can brandish it and scare people into thinking it’s real. It’s been a while since a player has made a fake one just to fool someone else! This idol is very well-done, too — David even has some paint to apply to it, so it sort of looks like other idols on this season that had something painted on them. David “hides” it near a trail, and before long Jay spots it with Ken and David walking right behind him. Jay acts nonchalant and it’s all David can do not to burst out laughing at seeing Jay pretend not to notice it. Of course, Jay soon doubles back to grab it, and amusingly, he talks lots of trash to the camera in the vein of “Luckily those two fools didn’t look down.” He even kisses the fake idol.When the person being fooled is the one who thinks he’s fooling everyone else, that’s truly hilarious.

This is also the day that the Legacy advantage, which debuted near the beginning of the game, can finally be opened by Ken. Turns out it is guaranteed immunity at the next tribal council! Like a hidden immunity idol, it is to be played after votes are cast but before they are read. Ken sticks it in his cowboy boot.

The challenge is for immunity plus the reward of a steak dinner. Jay solves a number combination before everyone else, but his station has a cover that is meant to be to put on top of the numbers. However he forgets to use it. So everyone else can simply walk over and look at his numbers, meaning he has a small lead instead of a huge lead. Jeff Probst cannot harp on this blunder enough throughout the rest of the challenge. David ends up winning over Jay. Probst tells David he can choose two people to have the steak dinner with him, but quickly Jay announces he wants to use the “reward-steal” power that he was given by Adam. However, Jay says David is one of the people he wants to join him since David won the challenge fair and square. His other selection is Adam for giving him the reward-stealer. On the reward, Jay offers Adam and David a final-three deal and wants to sway them to vote Bret.

Back at camp, Bret says that Jay must go (despite the reward-stealer, the actual immunity itself stays with David). But privately he worries about the flakier people in the game. It’s safe to say Hannah is one of them. Her all-too-typical quote is “I’m a consistent maybe right now.”

After the vote at tribal council, Jay smugly hands his “idol” to Jeff Probst, who has some misleading intonation ready to go. Probst says, “This is ….. [Jay celebrates] … not … a hidden immunity idol. It is a work of art but it has no value in this game.” Jay realizes what happened and says, “You freaking got me, you bastards.” But we’re not done: Ken pulls his advantage out of his boot and plays it, while Jessica freaks out upon finding out what it is. There is one vote for Ken that doesn’t count and all the rest are for Jay (well, Ken actually votes “Justin,” but apparently that is Jay’s real name). Jay is a good sport and tells us viewers, “That was a million-dollar lock combination.” I think he’s probably right.

Without any further ado we go right to the next immunity challenge. David knows he’s now the biggest target left. The challenge ends with a puzzle, and the answer is “Participation Trophy!” Ken is the winner.

Afterwards, Adam goes looking for a hidden immunity idol, assuming one must be back in the game after Jay played one (the real one that is). We see the camera focus in on the idol as Adam walks right by it. While he searches, David proposes voting Adam out. And then Adam does find the idol. Bret is thrilled that all of the talk is about Adam or David. He does tell Adam he’s a target, and Adam shows him the idol. However, Adam tells the news to Hannah too, oh no! By the way, it’s interesting that Adam and Hannah are the last two Millennials in the game, I certainly would not have bet on either one!

When it’s time to vote at Tribal Council, Bret and Adam vote for David, but David, Ken, and Hannah all vote Bret, and the Bostonian is voted out. His immediate reaction is “the flippah flips again” (meaning Hannah). Bret congratulates David on being handed a million dollars. Hannah’s strategy puzzles me, she is just not playing to win.

Adam says David must not win the last challenge. That challenge is to stack bowls on top of a structure that’s on a spring. The first to stack all of them, or the person with the highest stack after 30 minutes, wins. Adam has almost as many as Ken, and makes the surprising decision to just step aside and not stack anymore, hoping Ken’s stack will fall. It works … but then Adam’s stack falls too. After 30 minutes Ken and Hannah are tied, and they do a 5-minute runoff. Ken wins by one bowl.

Now Hannah tells Adam she is 100% voting David. But they need to convince Ken to vote for David to avoid a tie and therefore a fire-making challenge! But Ken says he’s been with David from day one. Adam and David talk, and Adam says he only has a chance to win if David goes home. Adam practices fire-making in case it comes to that. David talks to Ken while the latter is chopping up a stingray, and Ken says “we’re good.” But at tribal council, Ken actually votes against David! David says “Vinaka” as he leaves … I have no idea what that means until I realize it’s the name of the merged tribe. So is there any way Ken doesn’t win the game now?

At final tribal council, Taylor asks the final three to make their pitches. Hannah says she helped vote out every single person who’s on the jury. Ken’s pitch is loyalty. Adam says he played the best game. A surprising questioner is Jessica, Ken’s number one fan … or so I thought. She says she is shocked that Ken voted out David. Get real, Jessica! Ken says “Dave, you were my #2 alliance. #1 is my daughter.” Based on the early questions you get the feeling Adam might actually have a chance to win.

When Jay asks his question, Adam alludes to something the two of them have in common … but doesn’t reveal that it’s a sick mother, and Jay doesn’t reveal it either. Chris tells everyone that he’s not a football coach as per his cover story (a story that wasn’t revealed to us viewers up to now). Rather, he’s a trial lawyer. But this is the first time he has ever served on a jury! Chris says he thinks the biggest move of the game was convincing Ken to vote David out. Therefore, he encourages the rest of the jury to vote for Adam. Ken is outraged by this and says nobody convinced him, it was his choice! At the very end of the questioning, Adam reveals that he and his mother applied to be on the Blood vs. Water season, and that his mother is now dying.

At the reunion show Jeff Probst reveals that the winner is … Adam! And not only that, the vote was unanimous!

I’ll be back with final thoughts on the season.





“I get it, you’re blowing up my game.” Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X: Nov. 30 and Dec. 7 Recap

30 Dec

The November 30 episode begins with Hannah feeling guilty that Jessica went home. David is angry that he wasted the idol and thinks he’s next to go. Meanwhile, Zeke thanks everyone who voted with him. As for Ken, when he opens his bag he is surprised to find he has the Legacy Advantage that Jessica willed to him, and that of course he knew nothing about.

This is the more or less annual “loved ones” episode. Adam’s brother tells Adam that their sick mother is OK. Adam tells him about his reward-stealing advantage but says he couldn’t possibly use it for this challenge.

As for the challenge itself, Adam gets stuck under a log in the sand, costing him any chance to win it. Jay is the winner, and he gets to choose two people to go along. He chooses his ally Will and his mother figure if you will, Sunday. But then he gets to pick one more person. He notes, “Me and Adam been brawlin’ this whole damn time, man,” but he says he is rewarding Adam for not using his reward-stealing advantage. Oddly, Jeff Probst, who seemingly never fails to pass up a chance for tear-jerking, tells the remaining players that they do not get one last hug with their loved ones before heading back to camp.

On the reward, Adam tells Jay he wants to thank him, and does so by handing him the reward-stealing advantage! Upon reflection, this is a very smart move. He gets credit for a nice gesture yet gets rid of an “advantage” that was really more of a hindrance (though that wouldn’t have been the case had it remained a secret instead of Adam telling Taylor that he had it).

Later, Will tells David that Zeke would beat any of them at the end, they both say they’ll vote Zeke, as does Adam who is present as well.

The immunity challenge involves using interlocking handles to hold up a steel bar. It only lasts a few minutes, and comes down to Jay and Adam. Adam wins.

Afterward, Jay sees how calm David is and knows something must be up. Jay and allies think it must be because David has an idol. So they resolve to vote Ken, not realizing that Will is not with them.

Youngster Will, wanting to make a mark in this game, reveals the news to Ken, but Ken stresses that he doesn’t make alliances after five minutes, indicating that his evaluation process is much more in-depth. Ken then gets Jay and tells him that he heard from Will that he, Ken, was on the block! An incredulous Will tells Ken “I get it, you’re blowing up my game at this point.” Ken then tells his allies David, Adam, and Hannah what happened, and they are also incredulous. Adam tells the camera, “That’s not a test, that’s a betrayal!”

At tribal council, Adam whips the idol out of his pants and says he’s playing it for Hannah (guarding against the possibility that Will votes for her). As it turns out he didn’t need to play the idol. Bret, Jay, Sunday, and Zeke did indeed vote Hannah, but Adam, Ken, Hannah, David, and, crucially, Will all voted Zeke.

In the December 7 episode, we find out that Will wants to bounce back and forth between alliances and thus make it to the end and win the game. Longtime viewers will know that this almost never works, and usually doesn’t even get you to the finals! And in fact, it doesn’t even get him past the next Tribal Council as he is eliminated. Will was always proclaiming that he’s not your average teenager and deserves respect, not realizing that constantly whining that nobody respects you is very much a characteristic of the average teenager!

The next immunity challenge is quite interesting: contestants must drop a ball into a machine that it takes a while to go through, and try to solve a puzzle at the same time. Anytime a ball goes all the way through without their catching it, they have to sit out a penalty period in which they can’t work on their puzzle. At one point Adam stops working on his puzzle entirely in order to watch Ken’s descending ball and alert him when it’s about to fall, i.e. so that Ken can focus completely on his puzzle. Adam is cheering for Ken over the bigger threats David and Jay. Ken does indeed win.

Adam is trying everything he can to get Jay out, or at the very least, get him to play his immunity idol. And understandably so: the jury seems packed with Jay’s friends. This leads to a great scene between the two of them — they each admit that they’re trying to get the other person out, but there are no hard feelings. But then Adam, who hasn’t told anyone about his mother’s illness, reveals it to Jay. As soon as he hears it, Jay pulls his own buff down over his face to hide that he’s crying right along with Adam. He tells Adam that he lost his own mother as well.


Just as Adam is maneuvering to oust Jay, Hannah is energetically trying to oust … Sunday? You would think that Sunday would be the one person Hannah would be able to beat in the finals, so she’d want to keep her around at all costs! But to Hannah’s way of thinking, if Sunday has a guaranteed finals slot, that means only two slots are open instead of three, reducing her own odds.


At Tribal Council, Jay, who had been urged by Adam to play his idol, does so. But he only gets one vote. Bret and Jay vote David, and incredibly, the other four vote Sunday.

contenders: 1. Jay, 2.  Bret

no chance: Hannah, David, Ken, Adam

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