18 new castaways were divided into three tribes.
The Brain tribe had a ton of knowledge and no one’s résumé was longer than Debbie’s but it didn’t impress her tribe.
Liz in confessional says that Debbie could annoy everyone to death.
At the Beauty tribe, the women thought they could use Tai, but Tai got caught looking for a hidden immunity idol making himself the odd man out.
The Brawn tribe was flexing their muscles out, but Alecia couldn’t keep up with the heavy lifting.
Early in the game, the harsh conditions were already taking a toll but Aubry wasn’t the only one losing her mind.
We see Jenny in pain with the bug in her ear.
In the first immunity challenge, Darnell and Alecia were a mess. exposing Brawn’s weakness.
At Tribal Council, Alecia fought to stay in the game and her tribe gave her another chance sending Darnell home.
Jeff was once more heard saying: “If you are going to talk the talk, you better be able to walk the walk.
The biggest manipulation of this recap concerns Alecia’s actions at Tribal Council. This week, Jeff says that she fought to stay in the game but last week we clearly saw that it was Darnell that made the biggest effort to stay. Once I heard this, it seemed obvious that Alecia wasn’t going right away and maybe not anytime soon.Poor Guy![/caption]
We also saw that Cydney did vote for Darnell so it seemed obvious that this was their plan all along, that the three votes on Alecia had been protection against an idol.
The other players mentioned were Debbie, Tai, Aubry, and Jenny so we have to wonder if Jeff is more interested in the odd characters or the players. The women’s alliance in the Beauty tribe was only mentioned in passing as a way to get to Tai’s story and we heard nothing of the young people’s alliance in the Brains tribe. Despite Jenny’s exit, some of those odd characters could have longevity. We’ll just have to figure which.
Brawn Night 3
Alecia thanked everyone and promised to step up. Jenny said that she was glad that Alecia was still there. Scot asked if she finally trusted them. She said yes and added that they could trust her.
Alecia’s confessional: “I thought they were going to vote me out tonight. Fortunately, Darnell ended up going home. But what threw me off was if you guys want me here, why are you talking so much crap to me in tribal? I almost wonder, I could be wrong, but I saw Jenny and Jason whispering a lot during Tribal and there was one point where I thought I heard someone say: ‘I change my mind.’ So, maybe they were going to vote me out. I’m just really confused at this point.”
The music was playing the familiar kooky theme, underlining Alecia’s confusion.
Still, the episode would show that there is a lot more to her.
Jason in confessional: “The truth is Blondie was this close to going home tonight. She should be thanking her lucky stars that she got to spend three more days here or whatever long because I will be honest, she is driving me nuts.”
Jason said: “…or whatever long…” when referring to Alecia’s length of stay in the game. I think she could irritate him for longer than he expects.
Jennifer’s confessional: “To be honest, we started to reconsider our vote. Jason, Scot and I are like: Are we doing the right thing?”
We saw Jason, Alecia and Jenny all trying to make fire with their newly acquired flint but all they got, according to Alecia, was an embryo (sic!). That remark was followed by Jason’s comment: “She’s so dumb.”
Beauty Day 4
The music was quite relaxing, befitting a tribe that has had very little worries up to now. It makes me wonder if the Beauty beach could have a much better location than the other two. No one in this tribe has talked about how hot it is so maybe their beach is angled favorably for the predominant winds. It could also mean that we are simply meant to see a worry-free group so all talks about the conditions are being edited out.
The rhythm of the music changed when the five young players walked to the ocean, leaving Tai alone.
As Tai observed from the shore, Michele found a big clam.
Tai’s interview: “I have no idea what my standing is with the tribe. So I want desperately to go out and look for idol but I got caught the first day and I don’t want them talking behind my back.” Tai decided to go really fast. “I want to go back to where I was the first time because that’s the most obvious thing.” Tai found red ants first but then he spotted a yellow clue sticking out of a tree. It was telling him to dig at the bottom of the tree and there, he found a box and a clue telling him where the key to open the box would be. “It’s a twist that they’ve given me. I thought it was the idol… but actually, it’s a clue so I thought I don’t have time for anything. I don’t know how much time I spent already. Hopefully, they are still at the beach.” Despite his fears, Tai looked around even more until he spotted something tied high up on a palm tree. He attempted to climb it but couldn’t quite reach it. “The palm tree is like sand paper, sanding both my thighs. My whole chest is burning. The bottom of my foot is bleeding. I cannot get the idol. I have to get back because I’ve been gone too long now. I’ll have to get back another day.”
This was a great effort but Tai came a little short. On one hand, I like the idea of putting it up a tree because it seems the best way to retrieve it would be to work with someone, but I don’t like the fact that there’s a big risk of injury. How bad are those cuts? Tai seemed to be bleeding quite a bit so there’s a risk of infection. I also couldn’t help but smile when Tai said he decided to go back to the same area. It made me wonder if the clue was relocated once production realized where he’d be searching.
Brains Day 4
With kerosene, matches and Neal who admitted that he was a bit of a pyromaniac as a kid, it didn’t take long for the Brains tribe to make fire. In fact, it caught so quickly that Neal almost burned himself.
Liz in confessional: “It feels so amazing that the Brains tribe won the very first challenge of this game. We’ve been feeling really cohesive and tight and this victory has really solidified us even better.”
Feeling dehydrated, Liz wanted to put another pot of water on the fire.
Some scenes from a different part of the day or even from different days must have been spliced together because we had just seen Liz drinking from a big cup while Neal was lighting the fire. She couldn’t be dehydrated just then.
Debbie in confessional: “Elisabeth is a very smart girl. However, the chances of there being organic chemicals here that we have to boil and filter the water are virtually slim to none. It is absolutely in my realm of experience to be able to judge water just by looking at it. I mean keep in mind I have 20 years experience analyzing water! Ha! Ha! Ha!”
If my source of water was being examined by just looking at it, I’d worry! But a few years ago, we had inside information from a staff member saying that the water in the well had always been drinkable so Debbie is right even if she goes against Survivor lore. Remember Bruce’s t-shirt water filtration system and what happened to his system!
Part of this confessional was heard in voiceover while we saw Debbie and Aubry walking together to the water well and commenting jokingly on Liz’s need to boil water.
The scene suggests that Debbie and Aubry get along well enough to talk behind Liz’s back.
Peter said that Debbie and Joe didn’t look sick even if they hadn’t been drinking treated water, but Liz wasn’t sure they hadn’t caught any parasites.
Peter’s confessional: “Debbie marches to the beat of her own drum and when I first saw her, my first question was: Does she have 30 cats or 40 cats? The answer is that she probably has 40 cats at her house, right now.”
Peter and Liz started counting Debbie’s jobs.
Liz’s interview: “I think Debbie wants to prove to everybody how strong she is and how competent and capable she is but she doesn’t realize is that all talk, if it’s not backed up by anything, isn’t going to get her anywhere.”
Peter’s confessional: “Debbie is not exhibiting much gameplay whatsoever so she is the person you want on your team” (Liz was shown at that moment). “That’s exactly what you want is a Brain that has no game. I’m keeping Debbie for as long as I can.”
Seeing Liz, the perfect contrast to Debbie, during Peter’s confessional, made me think that he would not want the Quantitative Strategist on his team because she would have plenty of game. There are some interesting dynamics in this tribe and it will be very interesting to see how things develop once they got to their first Council. I don’t think Debbie will be the one voted out.
Beauty Day 4
Once more, we heard calypso music as we paid a visit to the Beauty tribe.
They were enjoying sugar cane for breakfast. One woman commented that Caleb had the appetite of a child. Tai agreed.
Tai had another confessional: “If I want to get the idol, I have a huge amount of work to do but I don’t know how to go about doing it. So, right now, I think I’m going to lay low. I think my charm, my personality, will help me connect with people on my tribe.”
Tai told Caleb that he was “cuddlelicious”. That comment made everyone laugh.
Caleb’s confessional: “Where I’m from, you don’t see Tai’s. He’s not your average country guy. First night I was here, Tai was: “Hey man! I’m cold. Can I cuddle you to warm up?” Yeah, man! You can hold me to warm up. There is no such thing as homophobe in this guy right here. I like hanging out with him because he is one of a kind for sure.”
Survivor is sure bringing out the better side of Caleb. Of course, we don’t have live feeds to show the unedited version.
A bee entered camp. Caleb wanted to kill it but Tai wanted to protect it.
Julia’s confessional: “Caleb and Tai are the most different people I have ever met in my life. Caleb is a country boy; he’s a hunter. Tai is a gardener who is so concerned about animals and the environment.”
Michele’s opinion: “They’re just two totally different personalities that you wouldn’t think connect and somehow they just get each other. The bromance is real out here. They bicker like a married couple and then they kiss and make up.”
Tai then tried to steal a kiss from Caleb making everyone laugh once more.
Tai’s comment: “I was totally going for the kiss. Just to tease him. I know he can take it. I think he liked it a little bit.”
Is the Beauty tribe having too much fun? I’m worried about their chances down the road. I’m sure someone must have commented about the danger of a pair even if it is as odd as the Caleb-Tai duo. Nick, for one, knows the game so well to figure it could marginalize him and he must have had a confessional during this cycle, but we were not meant to hear it. If all is fun and games for this bunch, they will not be able to resist to the more focused players from the other tribes.
Brains Day 5
Once more the eagle soared over the Brains’ camp and we saw a colony of ants carrying a lot of provisions. The music was mostly soft chords and sticks, quiet enough to underline the importance of the upcoming scene.
Noticing that everything they had to make fire was damp and that they had lost most of their kerosene, Neal showed his frustration in confessional: “The kerosene is frustrating because we started with this little very valuable jar and Joe put about a third of it on the fire and then let it tip on its side and we lost most of it. What is going to happen if we don’t have our fire is we are going to drink from the well and people could get sick.”
Joe’s confessional: “There’s a lot of practicality in being here and I would say the two most practical people are Debbie and me. I have a lot of survival skills having a military background. The rest, I think, have book knowledge (Peter and Aubry shown on screen), but it’s not the same thing.”
We saw that Joe couldn’t start a fire with the matches.
Talk about survival skills! Joe’s assurances aren’t being confirmed by the cameras.
Liz’s interview: “I was pretty upset about the fire because I was dying for some freshly boiled water and Joe wasted a lot of kerosene and destroyed most of the matches.”
She gave advice about the ember, but Joe was quick to interrupt: “I’m taking care of it, Liz.”
Joe’s confessional: “Liz is becoming kind of a pain in the butt. She knows everything about everything and it’s like come on already, please.”
When Liz talked about the possible pathogens in the water, Joe replied: “Pathogens, my butt.”
Joe’s confessional continued: “As far as I’m concerned, everything Liz knows is book knowledge from stringing together a rod to get coconut to sprinkling ant dust against ant attacks to making a charcoal water filter thing that don’t work. It’s like, you know, I’m in a kindergarten camp and it’s just irritating”
Looking at Liz’s filtration system, Neal seemed to agree with Joe!
While Liz’s contraptions looked interesting, we have to say that it would be better if we actually saw that they could deliver results.
Peter didn’t look convinced and there haven’t been too many coconuts seen in the Brains camp. Even her charcoal filters haven’t kept up with her need for water. As for sprinkling dust, I’m not sure of its effectiveness against ants. (It certainly didn’t work with the Man in Black!)
We saw Liz walking out of camp and we joined her at the beach where she gave a confessional: “I’m feeling emotional because I’m physically very weak right now and Joe doesn’t seem to care or appreciate that I need a fire going. I hate being emotional, I hate allowing myself to not do the logical thing at every given point. I know that I am capable of being patient and calm until I can get some water in me so I just need to hide myself for a little bit until the fire is going.”
After Aubry in the first episode, it’s now Liz’s turn to have a moment of weakness. It’s interesting in light of what Liz said of Aubry last week. Will Liz be the one to crack? Maybe, but it’s also possible that we are being presented with another young woman who will prove herself to her rival. Compared to Jason, Joe is more curmudgeon than bully but there is a parallel to draw from this situation and the one that Alecia faces in the Brawn tribe.
We followed the eagle to the Brawn Tribe on Day 5
You could see the effects of the heat over the water.
The Brawn tribe was also having problems making fire. Even Scot said that he was spent. “I have no energy because I have no fuel.”
Jennifer in confessional: “Everything is going wrong for the Brawn tribe. We can’t make a fire so we don’t have any fresh water. We can’t cook the chickens so we don’t have anything to eat. We might look brawny but we are weaklings at this point, weaklings.”
Jason was shown on screen when Jennifer said the word weakling.
Scot noticed the severity of Jason’s sunburns.
Jason’s confessional: “My shoulders are fried, my shins are fried, my thighs are fired but I was in Iraq and Afghanistan so I can live with it. I can embrace the suck of this. I’m used to the suck. I just keep chalking it up to another horrible day and move on. I need to stay in the shade.”
While the rest of the Brawn tribe went to sleep in the shelter, Alecia decided to try her luck with the fire.
Alecia in confessional: “At this point, I have to feel like I’m at the bottom but I don’t believe in quitting. I don’t believe in giving up so I need to show them why they should keep me in the game and I’m going to keep on trying until I see flames.”
At first, the tribe dismissed her effort as just a way to save face since she knew she was at the bottom. Two hours later and Scot was laughing at their own misery while Alicia was still striking the flint. She certainly could hear them laughing so it probably reinforced her resolve. Five hours had elapsed and even the monkeys were yawning! The tribe was fast asleep but Alecia was still at work.
Jason was shown once more when Alecia talked about not giving up. The image made it look like Jason had given up despite his claim of moving on. As for Alecia, I think she was about to change the opinion of many viewers, first by saying she hates quitting and next by making fire after five hours of effort. Showing us just how long she worked on that flint turned her into a very strong person, one that could endure and prevail even when the mountain man Scot had failed.
Alecia in confessional: “I’ve been over there by myself trying to make fire and I look over and the hit man (so Jason did reveal his job) and the NBA player are having nap time and it’s just frustrating.”
Suddenly she announced: “I got fire. I got fire.” Jason rushed over but she added: “It’s going out. We’re losing it”
While Alecia blew on the embers, trying to get the flame to catch, you could judge her effort just by looking at her dirty hands.
The strain on her face when she looked up and asked for baby sticks was another indication of her valiant effort.
Jason took over on the flint and soon there was fire!
I wonder what Jason’s intentions were when he stood behind Alecia and said: “Y’all ___ are welcome.”
Was he trying to get the group to thank Alecia for saving them or was he trying to get part of the credit himself? For my part, he was like the reliever who takes over for the starting pitcher who had been throwing a gem for 8 and 2/3 innings but is taken out of the game at the last moment. Sure, Jason earned the save but who made all the work?
Jennifer’s confessional: “One thing I love about Alecia is that she is not a quitter. She’s tough and that grew her self-esteem so much; she so badly wanted to contribute in such a huge way and we need people like that. I mean, this fire, it has saved us.”
Scot in confessional: “Now we have fire, water and food and that is huge. We definitely needed that if we want to start winning challenges.”
The scene ended at night after a good chicken dinner with a group hug.
32 seasons of Survivor and I’d say very few hugs were as deserved as the one Alecia received…and they were still going to vote her out. Incredible!
When Jeff announced that Darnell had been voted out of the Brains tribe we saw Nick and Anna sharing a smile.
The reward was the ultimate fishing kit and a boat waiting at camp.
Jeff said that they should be able to catch fish and feed themselves with this kit so let’s keep an eye on Beauty’s performance in the next episode.
Debbie and Julia sat out of the challenge.
Once more, Debbie failed to seize the opportunity to back her words with some action. People compared Debbie to Coach but after that cheerleading display, I can’t really agree. She’s just loud and irritating. It can be funny for a while but hopefully not for 14 episodes.
Caleb showed that he was the fastest runner, arriving ahead of everyone at the log.
Brawn and Beauty were the first out with their logs.
Brains was falling behind.
Going through the obstacle, it seemed like Neal took leadership of the Brains tribe because he was the one telling them to “heave”.
We heard Jeff say: “Caleb takes a big fall. Tai takes a fall” but despite that “Beauty is first out.”
It is worth noting that, for the second time, Jeff said that Beauty had lost a big lead. Will it happen in the game also?
Caleb, Scot, and Peter took the shots for their respective team.
Caleb was the first to hit his targets, offering immunity and reward to the beauty tribe.
Brawn and Brains were tied, one shot short of immunity.
Scot showed that he was one of those players that are better without the ball. Being a career 70% free-throw shooter, you’d expect him to have better aim but I guess he didn’t adjust as fast as the others. We have to note that this was another challenge that should have favored the Brawn tribe yet they are 0 for 2.
Jason’s Confessional: “You don’t want to go down as the worst tribe in history and let me tell you our ship is sinking and we’re on our way to that record.”
Brawn’s Scrambling Scene
Jennifer tried to revive the fire while Scot and Jason went back to the shelter. Scot admitted his failure: “They connected and we didn’t.”
Scot’s confessional: “We’re going to Tribal Council again. Fortunately, Jason, Cydney, Jenny and myself, we’re strong. We genuinely like each other. I would be shocked if one of us turned. That leaves Alecia.”
Jason’s confessional: “Blondie? She’s a ditz and a half. A ditz! I’m sure she’s got a good heart and good intentions; she’s just dumb. She’s always confused. She’s like an ostrich: She’s a bird but she can’t fly so she’s useless. We got to get rid of her.”
Useless? Who made fire?
Alecia decided to take a walk but they all figured she was going to look for the idol. Jason was convinced she’d never find it.
Out in the jungle, Alecia commented: “It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack.”
Alecia’s confessional: “I’m getting a little worried about Tribal tonight because not once did any of them ask me to be in an alliance with them. I guess that is telling me something. There’s still an immunity idol out there, but where it is, the Lord only knows.”
After hearing Jason say once more that Alecia was dumb. Jennifer had a confessional: “I had an alliance in the beginning but it’s funny what six days out here does to you. You really get to know people for who they are and what they are. To be honest, Jason is starting to piss me off.” (The hit man let out a loud burp just then, adding to his “charm”.) “I don’t like his attitude. He just sits around talking about Alecia and I’m tired of it.”
To show his bad attitude even more we saw him accidently throwing some of the skin that he had peeled from his shoulder into the pot of water. When Scot made him realize what he had done, Jason simply said: “We’ll feed it to Blondie.”
Jennifer joined Alecia and asked her what the best thing was that she could do in the game. Alecia first said: “Be honest” and then “Win challenges”. Both times, Jennifer said no before finally answering: “Getting out the strongest players now while you still can.”
It’s rare that I transcribe the confessionals of the player that is booted because most are pointless. Being a member of the main alliance gave Jennifer a good look inside the Brawn tribe so her confessionals reveal a lot.
Alecia quickly followed up: “We get rid of one of the big guys. Us girls stay strong then we make the merge. When we make the merge, they go after big guys like them… and we have a better chance of not being picked off.”
If Alecia makes the merge, we’ll have to expect to see her go much farther. She may only need one or two challenge wins to become a late gamer.
The two brought Cyd into the plot.
Alecia in confessional: “It’s funny how quick things change because I thought I was going home and then Jenn’s like: “Let’s do an all-girls alliance.” If this works and Jason goes home tonight instead of me, I will be really excited. I might even do a little happy dance. Like, I’m going to be stoked.”
The two explained their position to Cydney adding that the game was about big moves.
The two guys were convinced that Jennifer and Alecia couldn’t be together. Scot went to talk to Jennifer in order to confirm her position.
Jennifer’s confessional: “I have this thing they call low-impulse control. I chase shiny objects or sometimes when I hear ideas I think: Ho! That’s a good idea. Let’s do that. But then I realize that blindsiding Jason is also me blindsiding Scot and I actually like Scot and I trust him so I don’t know what to do.”
Jennifer went to Cydney for advice, saying she could go either way right now.
Cydney’s confessional: “Jenny was like: “I got a little ahead of myself. We can do this later and I’m like: What is going on? When did this tide turn? The girl is just all over the place. She got the balls going back and forth like that. Every time I turn around, something is going on but I know it’s really up in the air at this point and that’s a very dangerous way to go to Tribal.”
What stood out in this scene was that Cydney got the last confessional before Tribal Council for the second week. It must mean something but maybe not more than a way to confuse the viewers. For one thing, Cydney’s connections have been the most hidden on this tribe. We know that Jason and Scot are extremely close and that Jennifer appeared to be their third but we didn’t know exactly where Cydney fit in that foursome. We only saw a brief moment between her and Jason when they agreed to work together but Cydney had never been shown talking to Scot or even to Jennifer before this last segment. It makes it easy to create suspense when we don’t know where everyone stands.
Jeff first turned to Alecia, wondering if she was still on the bottom.
Alecia said she had done well and pulled her weight around camp. She added: “Hopefully, it’s not going to be me tonight.”
Jason showed he was not convinced.
Jeff turned to Jennifer saying that things could go in many different directions, that the three women could take over.
And Jeff expects us to believe he doesn’t know exactly what went down in camp!
Jennifer walked right into the trap: “Things are all up in the air.”
That got the attention of Jason, Scot and the guy holding the cymbals. Cydney threw her arms up showing that she couldn’t believe the plan was going to be exposed.
Scot told Jeff that Jennifer’s words made him question things.
Jason agreed that the game can turn on a dime.
Jennifer tried to cover her tracks: “Ideas get thrown around but you guys assume that the plan was changed.”
Scot said that things changed only when Jennifer said things were up in the air.
Despite her effort to throw it all on Alecia, Jennifer never recovered. Strangely, she stood on her stool at one point to plead her case.
Cydney said it was about being in the wrong place at the wrong time and saying the wrong things to the wrong people. “Since there is no place to hide, you have to know who is loyal and who is not.”
Jason had a funny way of putting it: “It’s never happened in this game that someone went to their alliance and said: “Guys, just to let you know, I’m considering a flip. I’ll get back to you depending how things work out. If it doesn’t, we’re still good, right?”
It was time to vote.
Jennifer and Scot voted for Alecia.
Alecia, Jason, and Cydney voted for Jennifer.
Alecia didn’t quite do a happy dance but she liked that very much.
Jennifer’s last words: “See you guys. Hope you win lots more challenges.”
Scot didn’t appreciate that dig.
Jeff’s last words: “Tonight’s Tribal Council is a dramatic example of how quickly the game can change. One wrong word and it goes from good to bad, which means it could also go from bad to good.”
Like many second episodes, this one wasn’t able to build on the momentum of the first. The problem is simple: With the recap, the challenge, the losing team’s scramble and their Tribal Council, there’s barely enough time to spend in the other two camps. Ninety minutes gave us that time but not the regular format. After seeing everyone getting confessionals, we now had many players that didn’t give us a confessional. I expect it was only a pause in their stories because they had good premieres.
That being said, it’s still remarkable how the fortunes of some players changed. The Brawn tribe can almost be eliminated from consideration, especially its two big guys. While Jeff said things could go from good to bad or from bad to good, we have to consider another possibility: Things could go from bad to worse.
The Bad Tribe – It’s highly doubtful that the winner will come from this tribe.
Jason: Jennifer used the same words to describe the bounty hunter that we saw in comments about him after the premiere. Hearing him talk of his experience in Iraq and Afghanistan gives him some important personal moments but there’s no way to ignore his comments about Alecia. Instead of being perceived as the scheming villain, we were shown a street bully. Personally, I think Hantz was much worse but, to my amazement, the viewers accepted Hantz’s awful treatment of the women of Samoa. I understood that it was largely due to the power of editing. The fact that we were always hearing his thoughts and that no one was playing as hard as he was made him a fan favorite. We don’t follow Jason as closely and we see that he isn’t playing the game a mile a minute, so we have enough distance to judge him more objectively. Also, the camera never showed Hantz when someone talked about being miserable or being weak because he was the one working while others huddled in the shelter. Twice, the camera showed Jason when Alecia talked about weaklings and quitters. It also helped that Foa Foa was completely blind to Hantz’s dirty tricks so we never heard one of them complaining about him like Jenny did with Jason. All this to say that, after a promising premiere, it looks like Jason won’t make it to the end.
Scot: Hearing Jennifer say that she still liked Scot and didn’t want to blindside him gave the NBA player some needed distance from the tribe’s bully but he was laughing along at Jason’s comment about Alecia. We saw him sleeping while Alecia was hard at work on the fire. That is a big indication that Scot won’t win. Like Alecia said, he will most likely be the first player eliminated after the merge or maybe even a swap.
Cydney: She was expected to be the crazy one on this tribe, the one that would let her multiple personalities take over. Instead, she has become the voice of reason. We saw that she considered making the big move against Jason but quickly realized that Jennifer was too wishy-washy. Part of having a good social game is showing calm resolve in order to reassure your allies and Jennifer certainly fell short in front of Cydney. It’s interesting to note that Cydney got the last confessional before Tribal Council once more and that she had one of the last interventions at Tribal Council also. Was it simply because she was the biggest variable or is it to portray her as the one making the final decisions? We’ll have to keep our eyes on her.
Alecia: From a certain early boot, I think that Alecia has the edit of the last person standing from her original tribe. There was no need to show that 5 hours had elapsed before she finally got the fire going. The montage could have made it look like it took her 15 or 20 minutes at most but they turned her into quite the valiant player. Five hours, that’s like two marathons and getting close to the time needed for the Iron Man* triathlons. She may be confused but she was smart enough to realize that all she has to do is make it to the merger. Then, it becomes a new game and she won’t be seen as an immediate threat. I don’t think she’ll be able to use her opportunity to the fullest because she still had a terrible presentation in the premiere but she’ll have a chance to rejoice at a few more Tribal Councils.
The Fun Tribe – Things would have to go from “Good to Great” but that rarely happens on Survivor so they probably won’t be ready when the game get serious
Nick: He appears to be isolated in this group but we don’t even hear him talking about it. From what is shown, Nick has no alliances and he isn’t even trying to form one. That’s when we realize that we don’t see everyone’s story. Hopefully, it’s because there is plenty of time for his later.
Anna: Like Nick, she was ignored during this episode. Anna had a small presence on camera during the tribal scenes but nothing to compare with her strong premiere. She wanted to use Tai but seeing him getting so close to Caleb had to make her think. We didn’t hear those thoughts but then again things are going well for this tribe so it doesn’t end her story.
Julia: The tribe’s cheerleader gave us a comment about the “Rudy meets Hatch” odd couple of the Gondol tribe but that comment was simply descriptive. It didn’t give us any information on what she thought of the pair from a game perspective. Like Nick, Anna, and Michele, her story was on pause and we will have to see how it picks up before we can say if she is a long term player or not.
Michele: She gave us a little more insight into the tribe’s couple but her comment wasn’t much more informative. Considering that both confessionals were simply about the present situation, it made me think that we should enjoy the funny pair while they last. I doubt that Caleb and Tai will wind up on the same tribe after the swap and then rejoin at the merger. Being picked over Julia for the challenge could be a good point for Michele but then again it may have come from drawing straws. She wasn’t highlighted in the challenge at all; Jeff only talked about the Beauty tribe as a whole during the race portion of the challenge.
Caleb: Talk about reversal: The guy that desperately wanted a showmance with the beautiful Amber on Big Brother winds up in a bromance with the odd Tai. Caleb’s stay in Big Brother had given him the reputation of being homophobic and we saw him bullying Nicole, so it is surprising to see that Survivor is giving him the chance to redeem himself. The thing I took away from his stay on Big Brother was that he had no game and we still have no evidence that he can outwit anyone. Still, he was the challenge’s MVP and we see that he can be friendly so he’s a dangerous player to keep around.
Tai: Like I noted above, I like the fact that there is a challenge associated with getting the idol but I don’t appreciate the danger involved. Cuts easily get infected in those unsanitary conditions and Tai will certainly try once more. I think he should seek help from someone to get up the tree but he is being a little paranoid* about his standing in the tribe so he is unlikely to tell anyone about the idol. When we saw that Tai was on the cast, I was immediately reminded of Yau Man and it’s funny that both their stories center on the idol. Like Yau Man, Tai has connected with a guy on his tribe but Earl was definitely more game savvy than Caleb and the Fiji duo was mostly concerned about making it to the end game, not cuddling to stay warm at night or stealing kisses! Seeing them together was not as funny but it did get one to the million. I doubt we will see the same game from this pair.
The Complex Tribe – Even if they haven’t gone to Tribal Council, we get the sense that some of these players are prepared to play the game
Joe: The tribe’s curmudgeon hasn’t really used his survival skills for the good of the tribe. Instead, he seems to have hurt the tribe by wasting the kerosene and letting the matches get damp. He’s shown as a complainer instead of a worker. He should be looking to be the tribe’s father figure and the way to do that would be by being the provider and the calming presence around camp. The fun grandfather would be a better role for him than the grumpy old man. Rodger Bingham had a better time on Survivor than BB.
Debbie: Even if she didn’t contribute to any of the two tribal immunities, she is the one that is profiting the most from them. Having two more members than To Tang, the Chan Loh tribe has some latitude if they ever go to Tribal Council. In a three-tribe format, it isn’t so much a numbers game anymore because no tribe can enter a twelve-person merger with the clear advantage. Therefore, keeping a weaker player like Debbie isn’t as detrimental as in a season with only two tribes and no swaps. Before anyone objects that Debbie could be stronger than either Aubry or Liz, I’m only going by what the players around them have said: Peter and Neal both commented that the pair of older players would slow them down and Debbie was the one that sat out at the first opportunity. The Brains without a game could certainly be an asset down the road, but is Debbie really without game? Her tight alliance with Joe will certainly encourage her to try something that Peter may not like.
Aubry: Like Nick and Anna, Aubry mostly disappeared from our screen this week after a nice role in the premiere. We did see her walking with Debbie to the well and smiling at Debbie’s comment about Liz. We never heard Aubry’s thoughts on the four-person alliance or even if she formally agreed to it so she could have a surprise in store for us. If Peter sees that a Brain with no game can be an asset then maybe someone like Aubry will think that a Brain with game is too dangerous and she will turn on Liz.
Liz: Her moment of weakness could be an indication that Liz is the one that will be pulled from the game instead of Joe and Aubry, the two she mentioned as likely medical evacuation cases. I’m hoping that won’t happen because I want to see Liz, the game theorist, show us her game. I loved seeing her contraptions even if I have no idea if they will bring results or if they will turn out to be the 2016 version of “Superpole 2000”!! Liz shouldn’t have hesitated between dehydration and drinking questionable water. Even if she didn’t hear from a staff member that the well water is always drinkable, she should still want to avoid the immediate effects of dehydration. A day or so of untreated water shouldn’t worry her too much, certainly not to the point of having to step away from the tribe to recover. Will Liz take control of the vote or will she be blindsided? That is the main question in the Chan Loh camp.
Neal: He took over for the tribe while they were carrying Jeff’s big log but he let Peter take the shots at the targets. It seems that the two are working together but only the vote will confirm that. Will the two talk about keeping Debbie or will Peter keep that as his secret plan? Neal could also beat Peter to the punch because he seems more likely to connect with Debbie. The guy that wore a bow tie to the marooning should be more in tune with the tribe’s oddball than its resident physician. Despite an acceptable showing so far, the only confessional we had from Neal in this episode centered on the tribe’s immediate need, not his gameplans.
Peter: It was crunch time: The Brains tribe reached the sling shot in third place and the Brawn tribe had a professional player holding the ball. Peter stepped up and he saved his tribe from a date with Probst. I would have preferred to see the tribes forced to switch shooter after every attempt but Survivor likes to put players in “do or die” situations because it creates Heroes and Goats. Peter was the tribe’s hero so he should have some influence in the next vote. From their interactions, it seems that Peter and Neal get along nicely but I’m not sure if Neal would agree with Peter on the idea of keeping Debbie. I’m thinking Peter would be smart not to mention Debbie and simply steer the voting decision towards Joe instead. Neal would probably agree with that and not even realize that he’d be giving Peter a chance to take over control of the game.
*Can you tell that I went to see Black Sabbath this week?!