Survivor: Worlds Apart

Ruffled Feathers

The recap presented the following:

At the No Collar tribe, it was all about harmony and open arms (We see the tribe, led by Will, supporting Nina after she told them she was deaf) but Joe’s popularity began to rub Vince the wrong way.

For the Blue Collar tribe, it was all about hard work.  They made fire and even found food.  The only thing that didn’t work was Dan’s personality.

The White Collar tribe was all business but a bunch of bosses without employees just didn’t work.

At the challenge, the White Collars’ struggles continued.

At the first Tribal Council Joaquin’s ally, So, was the first person voted out.

Jeff is then heard stating: “There is no doubt you guys are players” (Shirin, Carolyn and Max shown) and then asking: “Are you good players?  Did you make the right move tonight?”

While Jeff found a negative for all three tribes, he countered that with solid positive comments for the No Collars (harmony) and the Blue Collars (hard work).  He didn’t make any positive comments about the White Collars.  It would have been so easy to include Shirin’s alliance with Max and Carolyn but it seemed that it didn’t matter all that much. He didn’t even mention Carolyn’s immunity idol.  The White Collar Tribe doesn’t appear to be the tribe of interest, the one that will get more airtime so that we can connect to their players more than the others.

For the No Collar tribe, the conflict between Joe and Vince had to be included to set the table for this episode. 

Our Hero! Our Hero![/caption]

We only had a quick glimpse of Joe being congratulated after making fire, not enough to remind everyone that he is a good survivalist, but at least it wasn’t ignored.  None of Jenn’s actions were deemed important enough to be mentioned.

In the Blue Tribe, Jeff’s words pretty much told us that Dan can’t win: Saying that his personality doesn’t work is a harsher comment than saying he had trouble fitting in.  On the other hand, isn’t it remarkable that Mike’s stupid decision to eat the scorpion was presented as a big positive moment, part of the reason why the tribe kicked ass?  Even his fire making scene was shown even if it wasn’t underlined.

Ruffled Feathers

Day 4 – Blue Collars

The recap wasn’t kind to Masaya, but skipping the scene where they returned to camp at night to discuss their vote is very a bad omen.

Mike was telling everyone how to eat the crabs that filled the pot. He called out to Dan so that he could come get his share.

Dan came back without his underpants after a wave “stole” them.   His replacement attire was another reason to make Sierra and Lindsey laugh.

Mike in confessional: “Dan lost his underwear and made these make-shift shirt-pants.  He’s got his belt wrapped around his… waist with his shirt folded in such a way where he doesn’t show his rear or his junk.

Lindsey in confessional: “Socially, I think Dan’s game is downright dumb.  I think what happened was Dan was plotting how he could become funny or entertaining because he’s starting to lose the novelty of being annoying and the “fat guy” or whatever.  So he decided he would be the guy who would lose his “manties”.  I think it was Dan’s next ploy.  The thing is the joke is on him because I want him to leave me alone long enough for us to get to Tribal Council so that I can see your sweet ass go home.”

ROFL!

ROFL!

Sierra was literally rolling on the ground laughing.

Lindsey is right, Dan is acting and the long term fans must remember that Dan’s idol, Rupert, also decided to ditch the jeans because of chaffing and paraded around in a dress that looked a lot like Dan’s getup.  Still, Dan is shown as a fun loving guy so Lindsey could be in for a surprise and it could be her sweet ass going home.  Her relentless criticism could be a sign that the fat guy outlasts her.

White Collar – Day 4

Using flint, Tyler finally made fire for the tribe.

Max was interviewed: “It’s day four; we just got fire and barely at that.  We have struggled around camp to get the basic necessities to sustain life and the fact that we don’t work with our hands sets us apart from Blue Collar.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the Blue Collar tribe has been making fires, hooting and hollering and causing havoc but the one thing we haven’t struggled for is that we have a beautiful beach right out there that we can go swimming in.  As a fan, student and teacher of this game, I feel like it’s only right for me to tip my cap to some of the greats that have come before me.”

Tipping the cap would have been enough but Max had more than his cap in mind! We saw “the new and improved Richard Hatch.”  It’s interesting that Max figured the Blue Collars would have fire but didn’t even consider that the No Collars could have done the same.  Indirectly, he was underestimating Joe. 

Tyler’s interview: “Max is an interesting character. He’s got this little bit of No Collar streak in him and kind of does whatever he wants, will strip down, walk out and cruise around.  He brings a little bit of levity but I don’t know how much of it is a show and how much of it is trying to distract us from how smart and how well he knows this game.”

Max’s interview continued: “I absolutely have no qualms with dropping “trou” and being in my birthday suit. It’s freeing, it’s comfortable and it gets you out of your wet survivor garb for a little while.  It’s also a great way to get some time alone because, surprisingly enough, when you tell people you are going for a swim and they know you are going to be naked there; there’s pretty good odds that you are going to be taking that swim alone. So, I’m using it a little bit strategically in order to get a little bit of alone time, a little bit of private time away from the fray, time for me to think.”

First Ever Helicopter Blur

First Ever Helicopter Blur

When Max was naked, the words “a little bit” were heard quite frequently!   It isn’t a big deal but it was a little bit funny or should I say a funny little bit.

 

Shirin’s confessional: “Max loves this game as much as I love this game.  It’s an adventure for him and it makes me love him; it makes me relate to him more.  He’s kind of a trend setter.  It’s actually super-convenient to be naked a lot of the time. ”

Shirin got half-naked also.

Joaquin’s interview:  “Max and Shirin, they walk around naked half of the time.  Poor Tyler!  Tyler is married and he’s like: “Oh! no! I can’t even look that way.”

When Shirin returned from washing dishes ass-naked, we could see Tyler’s discomfort.

When Max was talking about going for a swim, Joaquin was seen working.   Seeing that Blue Collar ethic from him could be telling us that Joaquin has a future in this game. Not much of a future, however, because we didn’t hear anything from him about So’s elimination.  The combination of these two factors tells me that Joaquin is probably not the next one to go from this tribe but he won’t come close to play an important role in the final outcome.

Max asked permission before going off on his own but he should know that he is leaving the door open for the others to talk behind his back. Isolating himself isn’t good.  Judging by Joaquin’s question to Carolyn, it seems that it’s a frequent occurrence and that could get on the others’ nerves. Shirin, the super fan, is being used as the voice of the fansShe likes Max more and that’s supposed to be the general feeling.  However, this was going to be their only scene of the evening which would be a strange editing choice if they were going to dominate the end game.  Maybe Max or Tyler can maneuver to the end game, but as a tribe, it seems that their story is only used to bring a bit of levity. A little bit that is.

No Collar – Day 4

Hali and Nina were out collecting firewood when Hali told her tribe mate that she had a blister on her ankle.

Hali’s interview: “I’ve been trying to get to know Nina better, to reach out to her because she is a nice woman and with her disability, she’s incredible just being out here. Unfortunately, because she is deaf, it’s really hard having a conversation with her.”

Jenn and Will experienced the same difficulty.  Jenn told Hali that she didn’t know how to have a conversation with Nina.

Vince’s interview: “A No Collar person is a kind, heart-centered, compassionate human being but there are a lot of snarky remarks coming from the girls. Nina, she really wants to be part of the tribe; she wants to be there and have conversations and share things.  However, it is really difficult for her and I think the girls are having a hard time going with it.”

Hali and Jenn decided to have a skinny dip so they raced off, taking their bathing suits off.

Nina’s confessional: “Ever since I lost my hearing, people have been pushing me aside because they don’t know how to deal with it.  I was hoping that out here it might be different, but the girls in the tribe, they have excluded me on everything since day one and the straw that broke the camel’s back is that they went swimming and they didn’t ask me to go.  They never ask me to do anything with them.  I mean, I knew coming out here was going to be hard but I thought the people on my tribe would at least make me feel like I belonged.”

When the girls returned, Nina commented: “It was really nice of you guys to invite me.  You never asked me to go.  You guys have ignored me since day one.”

While Joe, Vince and Will observed, Nina walked off after telling Hali not to touch her.  Jenn’s confessional started here while we saw the continuation of the scene where Hali and Jenn realized they had made a grown woman cry. Jenn added that she didn’t think Nina would have wanted to go skinny dipping.

Jenn’s confessional: “I’m on this amazing high:  Going skinny dipping with my friend.  We get back and Nina is crying and angry and calling us mean girls for not including her. I was like: Are you serious?  Like get it together, Nina.  You are crying on Day 4.  I guess she is used to people coddling her a little more but you don’t do that in this game.  You got to have a little thicker skin than that you know. So, I guess Nina is someone we are going to have to baby a little bit until we don’t have to anymore.”

This is the kind of touchy scene that is hard to interpret.  On the one hand, it’s pretty obvious that her hearing difficulty wasn’t the reason why the girls didn’t invite Nina.  They didn’t push her aside because she lost her hearing but because she is not in their peer group.   She is probably older than their mothers and 20-year-olds don’t usually play with their mothers.  Anyway, why did Nina think she needed an invitation in the first place?  It’s a free beach so she should have joined them if she wanted to go.  I know I wouldn’t have hesitated to go skinny dipping with the girls, but that’s just me.  Personally, I took that scene to mean that Nina was being unreasonable, but the other interpretation is just as valid:  While we could say that Hali’s remark about the difficulty of talking to Nina isn’t very smart, at least she told us she liked Nina and was trying to get to know her.  Jenn wasn’t as diplomatic.   The overall scene and Vince’s comments didn’t paint a good picture for the girls.

It's Better to Stay Quiet Sometimes

It’s Better to Stay Quiet Sometimes

Of the three players that weren’t on Nina’s side, the only one that escaped that scene unscathed was Joe who observed but didn’t make any insensitive remarks.

 

Nina told Will that they didn’t show any human compassion at all.  Will told her that they weren’t mature.

We were shown Jenn strolling along while Nina said that and Hali was right behind.

Will in confessional: “Nina is a sweet person, but you can see it in her face that she is just lost.  I’m very sympathetic to her problem, so I just hope she can keep it together, but at this point, I’m pretty sure she already put a target on her back.”

I think Will just gave us the proper way to interpret this scene: Nina is lost and she put a target on her back.  So, while it didn’t endear Jenn and Hali to the audience, I don’t think they are fatally wounded by this segment.  We will have to see if she can gain sympathy in other ways, both from the audience and the people that could be judging them in the end.

Blue Collar – Day 5

Mike got up at sunrise, telling everyone that they had to get water.

Rodney commented on that during his confessional:  “Where I grew up, it’s all about working hard and it’s what I have been doing all game, but Mike keeps on busting my balls in camp because he is the type of guy that needs to be doing something.  He can’t relax.  At the end of the day, we are working hard; we need to play hard.  We got to have some fun over here.”

Nice Form

Nice Form

The tribe decided to play some basketball, throwing coconuts in a basket.  That seemed to irritate Mike.

That turned out to be quite a good idea considering the challenge.  Did they get tree mail that told them about the challenge, are they clairvoyant, or do they simply love basketball?  I suspect that they had a clue in tree mail.  By not showing, it put more weight on Mike’s comments: They were simply playing so he could criticize them.  He would have looked worse if we knew that they were actually practicing for the challenge.

Mike’s interview: “Coming from a background where I pretty much had to work hard for everything my whole life, it is in my nature to be a hard worker, so it is very frustrating, with me being a true blue collar, looking around and the other people just aren’t.  Yes, I wanted to play basketball with everybody, but there’s stuff to be done out here where we have to survive.  You shouldn’t have to tell adults: Hey, there is stuff to be done; get it done.”

While Mike has a point, I think it must be noted that, right when he said there was stuff to be done, we saw Sierra making a free throw, the thing that would soon prove to be more important than anything else.  The shot was even underlined with a clear musical note. Was that inserted to tell us that Mike was wrong?

After returning to camp with firewood, Mike showed his frustration by ordering Rodney: “Go get wood.”

Rodney’s interview continued; “Mike is just pushing people’s buttons.  We already got five feet high of firewood just sitting there, so why are you so mad?  I may not bring back the most firewood, but guess what? I don’t start fighting with nobody.  You start fighting with somebody you 100 percent got a target on your back.”

The stage is set: The Blue Collar showdown will be between Mike and Rodney, not Dan and Lindsey, but somehow I feel she will be the first casualty!

No Collar – Day 5

Joe came back to camp with some good news: He had a bagful of crabs.  A smiling Jenn said: “That is awesome.”

Of course, that irritated Vince.

His creepy, needy nature resurfaced when, accompanied by a kooky melody on the flute, he decided to get some crab of his own. 

When Nina joined him he explained his frustrations, saying that his hard work doesn’t get recognized because everyone is looking at Joe.

Vince’s interview: “I probably work harder than anybody on the No Collar Tribe, but around camp, it’s all about Joe.  He’s got that young man bravado and he wants to prove himself.  I completely understand that. I was young once too.  I’m 32 now and I feel like my hormones have chilled to the point where I can let a lot of that stuff slide.  Joe’s the center-of-attention kind of guy and it’s pissing me off.”

Vince confronted Joe. He told Joe that he needed acknowledgement and recognition. An uncomfortable conversation followed.

Showing that he hasn’t quite found the truth about himself yet, Vince showed everyone that he couldn’t let that stuff slide.

Will commented in his confessional: “Ever since we got here, Joe and Vince are just fighting for power.  They are both trying to be the alpha dog and it’s getting to where it’s making everybody uncomfortable.”

Joe also had a confessional: “Vince pulled me aside this morning and pretty much said: “Look man, I need you to admit that you do this and this and this and this.  I didn’t know what to say to be honest.  I think that he has a lot of issues that he needs to deal with himself.  I think that he wants to be the provider and he wants to be the guy who is calling the shots because that’s his personality but he’s a loose cannon and I don’t like it.”

The two guys shook hands but that wasn’t enough for Vince as we heard in his confessional:  “Joe said all the right things and I want to believe him, but here’s the thing:  In my everyday life, I am surrounded by people who I can have a comfortable and loving embrace with them. Ten seconds of beauty, bliss, peace, but with Joe? I just don’t feel that; I just don’t.  I don’t trust those three at all.”

I Can Smell Him From Here

I Can Smell Him From Here

When Vince made that comment about the 10 second hug, the camera showed him with both arms in the air, as if he was about to embrace the camera and all of us at once.  I could almost smell his underarms!  I hope I never run into him!

Vince told Nina he didn’t trust Joe, Jenn and Hali.  She agreed, saying she was totally with him and Will because they prejudged her because of her deafness.  Her loyalty was with Vince, so they hugged.

Out on the beach, Hali asked: “So are you and Vince like, legitimately on better terms?”  Joe said that Vince didn’t trust him. He added: “His eyes are penetrating and they look into your soul to see if you are lying.  That’s how I feel when he’s talking to me.”  Jenn explained: “It’s because he is talking to you this close.”

Jenn’s confessional: “Vince scares me a little bit with his crazy, in your face talk.  There’s no doubt in my mind that he is going to do something just off-the-wall nuts that’s going to screw up everything for this tribe.  I just feel like Vince is dangerous.  The guy is on another planet and I just feel that he is a little too No Collar for his own good.”

Cweepy

Cweepy

 

The editors wanted to underline Jenn’s comment, showing us that, indeed Vince could become dangerous.  It reminded me of another creepy (or should I write “cweepy”?!) guy, Matt in the Amazon.  Vince’s run wouldn’t be as deep.

Day 6 : The Challenge

When Masaya made their approach, we saw that Dan and Mike were surprised to see that So had been voted out.

Wow! So?

Wow! So?

 

That was telling us that those two guys didn’t think that So would be the one voted out.  It could also be another indication that the White Collars made a bad decision even if they won this challenge.  Just the fact that it told the other tribes that they were playing hard and fast is dangerous.

Dan didn’t want to give the idol back to Jeff, and when Jeff asked who was going to sit out, Dan was adamant: “I want to do it,” he told his tribe.  Jeff expressed our mutual surprise to hear that Kelly would sit out.  By her hand gesture, Kelly told Jeff that it wasn’t her choice to sit.  The postal worker was very confident: “I am going to surprise you for a fat guy. Don’t worry about that.”

Nina, as expected, sat out for Nagarote.

Swimming the opening leg against much finer looking athletes such as Tyler and Vince, Dan did indeed surprise us all, finishing in first place. (Well…Hippos do well in water!)

Vince beat out Tyler.  Jeff commented on the result: “Nice job from Dan, catching Vince at the end.”

Sierra, Hali and Carolyn ran the second leg. Jeff said: “Hali ripping through this… Sierra remaining very calm… Carolyn trying to pick up some time.”

Hali gave the lead back to the No Collars where Jenn took the 3rd relay.  Mike and Max gave chase to Jenn who was “flying through this.”

Still in the lead, Will hit the water…and it hit him back!  Lindsey and Shirin, caught up to him at the last obstacle and left him there.  (She ran a fine leg but got very little credit from Jeff).

Now in the lead, Rodney swam the anchor for the Blue Collars, closely followed by Joaquin, White Collars’ anchorman.  Joe was left to cool his heels on the No Collar platform.

Will was “having an absolute disaster” while Joaquin overtook Rodney to finish first overall just when Joe hit the water.

Joaquin and Sierra were the shooters for their tribes. It may have surprised some people to see Sierra handling all the shots for the Blue Collars, but at 6’1”, she must have played some basketball in school.

Jeff commented that, despite being last, Joe wasn’t giving up.  When he started shooting, apparently Joaquin had only made two shots and Sierra one.  Being a state champion in basketball, Joe still had a chance, but he never found his range.  Vince took over but was way short.

Joaquin showed he was good at making free throws, winning reward for his tribe.  Joe was still hanging back, letting Vince take throws even if he wasn’t making any.

I wonder if, after last week where he excelled, Joe wanted a little less recognition?!

The editors once more spoiled the outcome by letting us hear Vince’s confidence in confessional: “Tonight, somebody is going to go home, and where Joe and I stand as of right now, it really is Cold War with missiles pointed.  I mean, we are ready to start firing away and it’s going to get crazy.”

No Collars – Day 6

To the tribe, Hali said: “It was a group effort of failure however you want to call it.”

Hali in interview: “So the challenge blew up, major. Now we are going to Tribal and this is going to be really interesting because this is the part where we have to make a decision and being the No Collar tribe that’s really not one of our strengths.”

It seems that Hali has listened to many coaches talk during post-game interviews because she acted as if she didn’t want to give anything to the interviewer. 

When Will told Joe that he was exhausted, Vince noticed and quietly told Nina “Will is deteriorating”.

Vince in confessional: “We are all feeling the lack of sleep and nutrition, but Will’s exhaustion showed itself in this challenge and it worries me.  Still, this is an opportunity to blindside a power player which is Joe.”

Vince told Nina it was their one chance to take Joe out.  He added: “However, if we do that, I’m not sure if we can win challenges.”

Nina had a confessional: “Me, Vince and Will, we have to stay true to each other otherwise we are all going home and I can get voted out first because, after my blow up, I know they want me out so I’m very nervous.”

Vince wondered if Will could come around to help them win challenges, so when Nina said she’d talk to him, he simply said: “Please do.”

That was a major blunder because, if Vince was questioning his ally, he should have talked to him himself.  If the two had openly talked about Vince’s worries, it’s possible that Will would have understood and kept trusting Vince.

Before Nina could talk to Will, Joe and Jenn were sharing thoughts with him.  Will said he didn’t know what he wanted, so Jenn suggested voting for Vince. “We get him ___ out of this game.  I don’t trust him as far as I can throw him.”

Joe said he was worried about Nina who should be looking hard for the immunity idol.  He told Will that they should keep the tribe strong and vote against Nina before Vince.

Joe’s interview: “At this point, it sucks, but Nina is the weakest link.  She is 54 years old and her hearing also doesn’t help.  She’s on the bottom and she knows it, so she’s probably looking for the idol, so we got to be careful.” That’s when Joe almost made the fatal error of splitting the votes, telling Jenn that she and Hali should vote against Vince while he and Will write Nina’s name.  The plan was to vote for Nina the second time if she didn’t have an idol.  Joe’s confessional continued: “I’ve aligned myself with the girls and Will as a four.  I am hoping that he is being honest with me.  I have my doubts just because of how much time he has been spending with Nina but, you have to trust people in this game, so hopefully Will is on board with me because, if he’s not, he’s going to muddle up a lot of plans.”

Will’s interview:   “Joe wants me, him and the girls to vote Nina out and I don’t want to do that.  We have a lot in common.  She thinks she’s the odd man out because she can’t hear and I know how she’s doing because I’m the only brother in the whole game.  The thing is; since we know that they are going to split the votes, then if me, Vince and Nina vote out one of them three, we control the tribe.”

Will was happy to bring that information to Vince. They could vote out Joe or one of the girls.

Vince in interview: “Will told me that those three are going to split the vote which is huge because this is a perfect time to make a big move.  In my heart and my gut, I want to get rid of Joe.  He’s a huge threat, huge threat.  However, Joe is so strong in challenges; I feel like that asset value is tremendous.  I don’t know if I am willing to let go of that.”

With that in mind, Vince told Will that he had zero trust with Jenn.  When Will told him that she wanted him gone, Vince’s mind was set: “If we get Jenn out…” “We still control the vote,” said Will. “Exactly,” said Vince. “And we have a power player who will not want to go home.”

Will told Vince that he would not get blindsided because they had the votes.

When Will told Nina that they were voting against Jenn, she was thrilled: “It will be my revenge,” she said.   Then she asked him about his health adding: “Vince is concerned that your health is getting in the way of winning challenges.”

Will in confessional: “Apparently, Vince has been going around telling people that I am not feeling well because of my performance today in the challenge and that’s bull.  Me getting tangled up in the buoy cost us the challenge?  Us not making a shot cost us the challenge.  It just pissed me off.”  Nina reassured Will that Vince wasn’t trying to blindside him, but Will wasn’t reassured: “At this point, there is so much scheming and conniving going on, I don’t know who to believe.  Those three are pretty tigh,t so I am sure that Joe came to me just because they need my vote, but at the same time, I don’t know if I can really trust Vince.”  We heard Jenn saying: “I’m terrified but excited at the same time.” Will’s confessional ended the scene: “I’m the swing vote, and I get to decide who goes. So, God knows what’s going to happen, but I know one thing: This one’s going to be a doozy.”

Tribal Council

Asking about the group dynamics, Jeff knew to go to the outsider for her take on the alliances.

Nina told Jeff directly that Hali and Jenn were together a lot from the start and that Joe joined that twosome while she and Will hung out because they had a lot in common.  She told Jeff about her breakdown after feeling alone.

Jenn said she had compassion for Nina, but that it was a game.

Vince told Jeff that he was right in the middle of those two groups.  He added that he was trying to be the glue that holds the tribe together.

(He may have sniffed that glue a little bit, too)

Joe alluded to his battle with Vince when he told Jeff: “The person who needs to go home will go home.”

Turning again to Jenn, Jeff asked if she was with Hali and Joe.

Jenn didn’t try to hide it but added that they had to keep the numbers, that they couldn’t keep losing.  She wanted to keep the tribe strong.

That comment made Jeff turn to Will and talk about his challenge performance.

Will took it in stride saying; “Water has always been the black man’s kryptonite, so it got me today.”

Jenn, Nina and the others burst out laughing at that.

Will told Jeff that he talked to Nina and Vince but that he didn’t know who to trust.

Asked about the difficulty of the game, Vince said he was trying to go with his gut.

Jenn then told Jeff that she wanted to see their original plan set in motion.  She added: “I could be on the chopping block tonight; I don’t know.  The worst thing you could be in this game is comfortable. But it’s fun being here. It’s Tribal Council!  I’ve been watching this since I was eight! I’m still feeling like I’m watching you on television right now! I can’t believe I’m here!   I’m losing my mind. You have no idea.”

Asked what he wanted to see happen, Will said: “I want to go back to my tribe, drink some lukewarm water, let the bugs eat more of this chocolate and see less of you.  I don’t want to see you till the end.”

Jeff said it was time to vote for what he figured would be a very big vote even if it was early in the game.

In a very interesting 3-2-1 vote, Vince was voted out.  Nina turned to Will: “”Did you vote for Vince?” but we didn’t need to hear his answer to know he got exactly what he wanted: He used the trio’s split vote to save Nina, but he didn’t want to give power to the guy that doubted him.

Jeff sent them back to camp after saying: “First vote, first blindside. Not bad and this game is just getting started.”

A smiling Joe was on screen when Jeff said “not bad” and I noted that Jeff didn’t question these players the way he had questioned the people in Masaya.

The Story

Maybe the three tribes agreed with Jenn that the worst thing in this game is to feel comfortable because they each had duos that made it a little less comfortable for the others.  Some players stood out, ruffled feathers and isolated themselves from their groups.  The weirdest one of all was the one wearing feathers, so it wasn’t surprising to see him wind up on the chopping block.  Now we have to wonder if Vince’s departure will bring back harmony to the No Collars or send them in a tailspin.  Did they cut out the cancer in time or has Vince, by forcing the outcome, already done something “off-the-wall nuts that’s going to screw up everything for this tribe”?

Despite the fact that a source of discomfort left, it doesn’t mean that all the outsiders are doomed.   Some of them have a chance to make deep runs.

The Characters

The Silent Minority – They hardly seem to matter:

Kelly: Should we start calling her “Blue Kelly”?   Like many of her namesakes, this Kelly isn’t given a big role.  While we have heard practically nothing from her, I’d be surprised to see her stay with Rodney, Lindsey and Sierra.  Not only are they much younger than her, but they already form a tight trio. If Mike and Dan can count on her then they could force the hand of one member of Rodney’s alliance.

Joaquin:  We saw that he is a hard worker and he won the challenge for his team so he could survive the tribe’s next vote and even make it to the swap.  Even if he gave us a confessional, we have heard nothing about his plans for the game.  This guy wanted to take control of the tribe but the vote tore that power right out of his hands so how does he plan to navigate the next few cycles?  He must have said something, but it didn’t matter.  His only comment that mattered was to tell us that Tyler felt uncomfortable with all that nudity.

Carolyn:  While we saw that nudity didn’t bother her, we didn’t hear her take on her allies’ display.  More importantly, we didn’t hear what she plans to do moving forward.  Maybe she should have been a little more uncomfortable.

The Sources of Discomfort:

Nina:  It must be very difficult to adapt to life without hearing, but I think Nina is dwelling on it too much.  It wasn’t the reason that Hali and Jenn went swimming without inviting her and we saw that everyone tried to reach out to her, so her breakdown was exaggeratedly emotional.  It was quite melodramatic to hear her talk about revenge.  Maybe she would have had that revenge if she hadn’t told Will about Vince’s concerns.

Shirin:  She did a very good job in her leg of the challenge but considering she was going up against Lindsey and Will, we don’t know if the tribe will change their opinion about her capabilities.  Like Will said, the challenge was won during the free throws and she played no role in that part while the guy that she has to outlast was the challenge MVP.   Still, she is an entertaining character and her No Collar (or rather No Pants) approach to the game could have been shown to tell us that she will connect with some of the members of that tribe.  The two nude scenes could have been put in juxtaposition only because they were amusing, but they could be telling us that the three women will join later on.

Max:  Tyler’s confessional about Max using nudity to distract his tribe mates from his game skills told us that, like Joe, the others see Max as a huge threat in this game.  Unlike his No Collar counterpart, Max doesn’t seem aware that he is seen as dangerous so he happily isolates himself from the others.  That can easily lead to being blindsided. It won’t happen in his present tribe but I think he will continue to show this carefree behavior even after a swap and it would cost him then.

Dan:  It seems that Lindsey pegged him right: He is playing for show, not for dough.  His getup reminded me too much of Rupert not to have been part of his plan to be memorable.  Still, Dan followed up on his promise to surprise us in the challenge, so we had been underestimating him.  How far can that lead him? Right now, while he could still be the next one voted out, Dan could be a rare kind of a Journey Player, one that is on a “Journey to Have Fun”.

Mike:  Ordering everyone around could spell Mike’s demise but there are still hints that his edit is being carefully manipulated.  The recap about his decision to eat the scorpion was surprising to say the least then he followed that up by serving tasty crabs to everyone.  It would have been quite a coincidence for the Blue Tribe to start playing basketball without any knowledge that it would play a big part of the challenge, so it’s likely that Tree Mail told them what was about to happen.  If that was indeed the case then Mike’s reaction to the tribe’s practice would have made him look dumb.  Since it looked like they were simply playing around then his talk about needing to get work done in order to survive is more acceptable.  Still, like Rodney said, they did have a big pile of wood, so maybe Mike has issues that I am neglecting.  While I still see him as a contender, I’d like to hear his thoughts on the game before putting any more stock on his chances.

The Uncomfortable Ones:

Lindsey:  Her story is reduced to her distaste of the post office man.  Yes, Dan’s desire to be memorable can become tiring but I’d expect to hear more from her if she was to outlast him and make an impact in the end game.  Since the players are intent on making big moves, eliminating Lindsey would change the dynamics of the tribe a lot more than eliminating Dan or even Mike.  Kelly’s silence could be telling us that Lindsey should feel uncomfortable about her position in the game, not of Dan’s getup.

Sierra:  She did a good job in the challenge and she is much less vociferous about Dan, so I don’t think Sierra would be in immediate danger, but her social game seems atrocious.  She is comfortable in her clique but cannot find a way to talk to those outside of it.

Tyler: The “Big Guy” is in a good position on his tribe even if he probably wished he was somewhere else when Shirin adopted the nudist lifestyle.  His performance in the challenge was very ordinary, but he should still be seen as a valuable player.  His strategy remains an unknown quantity though.  We have to wonder where he stands with Carolyn and her secret about the idol.

Rodney: If he is truly a hard worker then he shouldn’t mind seeing Mike working hard also but Rodney could be turning into another Vince, someone who won’t be able to let Mike get the credit. It could lead to a confrontation where Mike could very well prevail.  If the Blue tribe goes to TC, that would be quite a confrontation but it may well have to wait for the post-merge.

Hali: While she showed some compassion, Hali wasn’t too comfortable with Nina’s outbreak.  It is evident that Hali followed Joe and Jenn’s lead.  She wasn’t part of the decision, and editing-wise, it was troubling that she agreed with Jeff’s premise that, as a No Collar, she isn’t good at making decisions.

Will:  He told us that Vince and Joe’s fight for power was making everyone uncomfortable and he certainly was uncomfortable with the two options they presented.  He didn’t want to eliminate Nina like Joe wanted, but he didn’t want to give power to Vince whom he distrusted.  He found a smart alternative to get his way, using the trios’ plan to split the vote to get rid of the player he questioned.  Will is the true No Collar man, a “kind, heart-centered, compassionate human being” but that’s not exactly a recipe for winning this game.

Back in the Comfort Zone – They were in danger but these two players are back in control:

Jenn:  For someone who had such a strong premiere, there were two question marks regarding Jenn’s presentation in the second episode.  First, her lack of compassion towards Nina makes us question her ability to make the connections she would need to win a jury vote.  Secondly, she didn’t have a single confessional during the voting discussion even if her name was on the block.  That being said, Jenn still had great presence during the decision making process:  She was the one that said Vince had to go and then she had a wonderful exchange with Jeff during Tribal Council.  In the same way we related to Max and Shirin when they talked about their love of this show, Jenn’s reaction at seeing Jeff in Tribal Council connected her to the audience.

 Joe:  It was interesting that Joe wasn’t heard during Nina’s uncomfortable meltdown, taking on the role of interested observer. By saying he was smarter than they thought, he gave a lot of credit to Vince even if he didn’t trust him.  Joe showed that he was aware of what was going on around him when he said that he didn’t trust Vince and Will, the first because of the way he talked to him and the other because of the time Will spent with Nina.  Joe got rid of his big rival, but he can’t be accused by fans of destroying his team because his plan was to get rid of Nina, the weakest link.  It seems that Joe decided to take a step back in this week’s challenge after last week’s outstanding performance, but he still remains a force and a huge threat to win the whole game.  Vince said this was their one chance to get rid of Joe.  Now that they missed and that he controls the vote we can wonder if the outcome of this season is already decided.

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