Here we are, back for what really should be considered the start of the Survivor season: the merge! In a season where not a whole lot has happened, tonight will hopefully be the first big step into a glimpse of how the second half of the season is going to unfold. We don’t have a favorite this season. Everybody on paper, at least, looks like they have a fighting chance, but let’s delve a little deeper and look at each person’s real chances to win this season…obviously skewed by my biases and feelings:
Aubry: Her presentation always looks like she having an allergic reaction to something combined with looking like someone who is trying to understand somebody speaking a foreign language to her that she doesn’t understand. I guess last week, she played the part of destiny and fate as she decided to vote out Peter…Will this move have HUGE ramifications in the game or just tiny ramifications? That will be the million dollar question. I don’t think she has the ability to win. I think she folds…Jury is where her destiny is.
Joe: I like the FBI agent, but he’s not winning. He’s so worried about being “played” that it will probably lead to his downfall. I don’t see Joe winning. He will be a good jury member, though.
Debbie: Seems like Debbie has been the top dog leading up to tonight’s episode. Isn’t it a little strange to picture Debbie waitressing at a Red Lobster? I’ve never been to a Red Lobster…Has anybody? Is it good? Are there a whole bunch of Debbies there who are astrophysicists by day and Red Lobster waitresses by night? Anyways, Debbie at least right now you could make an argument, could be in the best position, but it just feels like at some point someone is going to think: “Wait, this Debbie chick is cray cray and why in the hell are we following her plan?” What do I know, though, maybe she will continue to Jedi mind-trick people into following her wishes and run the table…but I doubt it….
Cydney: The quiet assassin. I don’t know what the deal was with her pre-show video where she discussed having all these elaborate different personalities that she was going to show this season, but she’s been effective as the quiet, perform-well-in-competitions-and-not-cause-drama player this season. I don’t think she has the social leadership skills to navigate herself to the finals, but she certainly isn’t a bad player by any means.
Jason Kyle ..or Kyle Jason…Whatever the hell his name is: Not winning. I don’t see a path for Jason to win this season. He just can’t keep a poker face or manage his emotions. He’s not winning. He has an idol, but he is too cocky and I don’t think has the skills to really make it to the end. I could even see him somehow going home with an idol in his pocket.
Julia: Somehow she survived last week, but let’s be honest, she’s not winning this season. She’s like 14 years old. No 14-year-old is winning Survivor. She looks like she should be at a college bar with some guy probably named “Devan” who plays in a band, and she’d be showing how wild she is to everyone she’s with by making out with other girls or chewing tobacco to impress the guys. My point being…seems nice, maybe not even a bad player, but not winning…
Michele: Tough one to read. Doesn’t have the “look” of someone that is going to win the season. She looks like she has a lot of anger behind her eyes..like a Female Judge Doom..like at some point I feel like she going to flip out on Probst and scream: “Remember me….when I killed your brother?…I talked…just…like..this!”
I feel like she could be our favorite for “over the top, inexplicably hostile” jury person…That seems like it’s more her destiny than actually winning this season.
Neal: He has an idol, but he’s still not winning the game. It seems like he has no chance, not even the force of personality to run the table. Neal’s winning would look like he somehow snuck into the finals through the backdoor. It doesn’t seem likely to happen, though. It seems like he could be a guy that goes home with an idol in his pocket.
Scot: Scot seems like he shouldn’t even bother going back to camp. He should just kick it at Tribal Council 24/7 because he is just going to end up there anyways come 8:45 pm. I don’t think his name has come up at all for vote-out purposes, but he’s basically been playing from behind the whole game and I expect him and Jason to maybe be the swing votes tonight and next week and then they probably will get picked off. He’s not winning.
Nick: Everybody seems to have a natural hatred of Nick, but everybody seems to keep those feelings to themselves and plays along with him. Debbie seems to have taken a liking to Nick, so maybe they can have the destiny of being the creepiest couple/pairing in Survivor history. It just seems like Nick is too disliked by the other players to really have a chance to win. I say he doesn’t make it.
Tai: He has an idol and he told people he has an idol. Tai is very likable and I think that is what everybody playing knows, so why would they let Tai go to the finals? I think he will get picked off soon…
So yeah, I realize that I don’t think one of these people can win the game, but one of them will have to win the game by default. The truth is that I have no clue, you have no clue, nobody has a clue what the hell is going to happen. Is Debbie really the favorite to win this season? Is that where we are at…really? I guess we will see, and hopefully, we will be at a better place after tonight than we are now.
It’s 8 pm, Portland, Oregon time, so let’s get into this.
Previously on Survivor, Jeff gives us the recap of the season so far, setting the stage for the pending merge tonight. We relive Aubry’s changing her vote at the last second and what that is going to mean. Will she get waterboarded by Joe tonight?
We originally catch up with Scot and Joe post-Peter’s vote-out. Scot confronts Joe and Aubry…When did Scot become the head honcho here?
It’s an interesting scene as the bird at camp attacks Tai for the food he is holding. Everybody else looks on like they’re ready to break the chicken’s neck at any second and throw it on the fire for brunch.
Back at camp with the Chan Lohs, Cydney notices a bulge in Neal’s shorts and it’s not because he is happy to see her…She notices the idol. She tells Jason. They plan on maybe flushing that bad boy out at some point.
A boat comes to the beach bringing mail, telling them of the merge and the boat captain pulls out a gun and tells everybody: “Look at me! Look at me!…Now I’m the host of Survivor!”
Everybody packs their things and hops in. Merge here we come!
I just saw Jennifer Aniston, and so I forget, have we officially decided who has won out of the Friends cast?
Jennifer Aniston: She probably wins for being the most famous from like 2000-2009, but most of that was due to Brad Pitt…
Matthew Perry: No, he’s had a few movies here and there and a few failed shows. I’m sure the Odd Couple will join the list soon…not to be a dick…but sitcoms that formulaic just don’t work anymore.
Matt LeBlanc: Well, he had one of the worst spin-offs in TV history in Joey. He also starred in a baseball movie with an ape, so, no not Joey.
Lisa Kudro: Well., I mean, no…just no…not her.
David Schwimmer: He was funny in a supporting role on Curb your Enthusiasm like eight years ago. Other than that, what the hell has he been doing?….Oh, wait:
To anybody from generation X, it has to be jarring to you to see Ross gunning for an Emmy on the O.J. miniseries thing. I really hope he is like Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln and demands to stay in character 24/7, only responding to “Robert” and calling Cuba Gooding, Jr. “Juice” off-camera.
Courtney Cox: Let’s look at her career since Friends: Scream movie, shitty show, Scream sequel, shitty show, Scream sequel, shitty show, Scream sequel. She’s probably still more famous than everybody else now…..just like how it started back in 1996.
Back from commercial and the Gondols see the boat coming and everybody realizes it’s time to merge. Everybody does a fake group hug all the while everybody’s secretly praying they aren’t the first one to have their throat slit.
They continue the fakeness with the merge picnic.
Tai tells us that Scot is the only one he trusts. Maybe we will get Tai and Jason combining idols and we will get to see this gimmick that the producers were probably sweating about all season actually happening.
Nick breaks down the dynamics of the merge. He thinks the Brawns are a little too full of themselves and thinks the Brains are going to withdraw, and he sees himself in a great position shockingly.
Nick palavers with Neal and Aubry. Nick points out (correctly) that Tai is going to defect to the Brawns with Julia. Nick is actually showing really good instincts with the dynamics…maybe a little douchey, but I’ve got to give credit where credit is due.
Scot and Jason talk about Neal having an idol. They explain to Scot the concept of “splitting votes” because apparently he has never seen the show before because he was acting like they were speaking Latin when they were talking to him about it.
Nick is just falling into a good place tonight if he doesn’t blow it by acting like a complete douche, which is on the table. You never know when that will rear its ugly head.
So I work with teens, and at the high school I work with, there was a problem recently with cliques and gangs and one of the teachers suggested that they show this class “Westside Story”. So look, I’m not against theater, in fact, I like it a lot, but stop for a second and pretend you’re a teenager in a gang and you go to class with the teacher trying to teach you a life lesson through a movie that they think is going to hit home with you and then this happens:
I’m saying the minute the gang of “street toughs” starts dancing around like ballerinas the message is not going to be received. Call me cold-hearted if you will…
Back at camp in the morning, we get Debbie approaching Tai to join in her alliance as Joe looks on confused.
Tai does not exactly look like he is joining #TeamDebbie.
Next, Debbie looks to close the deal with Nick. Nick plays it a little more smoothly than Tai.
Jason next shares that like the circle of life the Brawns and Beauties naturally are going to form up and “shove the geeks into lockers”. He wants to get Aubry out with a surprise attack. The only problem is that Michele, the “Beauty”, isn’t ruling out working with the Brains.
Aubry and Nick go off to talk about how cray cray Debbie is acting. Nick shares that basically it might be time to ditch Debbie.
Aubry and Neal huddle up to discuss the aftermath of Debbie’s recruitment strategy with the rest of the players. Neal shares with Aubry that he has an idol. They discuss the best way to use that to their advantage.
It’s weird seeing Jeff Goldblum doing commercials. There was a time in our history that we have all chosen to forget when he could headline a blockbuster movie. Jurassic Park was really the movie that did it. Getting to play a smartass, quick-witted, maybe a dark, but with a heart of gold character in the 80’s and 90’s usually would turn you into a huge star. Harrison Ford owes his whole career to Han Solo. I’ve tried this:
over the years to different varying degrees of success. Anyways, I just can’t remember the last Jeff Goldblum since his peak 18 years ago. I don’t think we’re too far away from him playing a dark-humored clever card player that helps cops solve murders on NBC. Can’t you see him playing with a deck of cards, looking over a dead body at a police crime scene as the detective assigned to work with him looks on annoyed, but knows that eventually Goldblum is going to use his card playing skills to solve this crime?
Back from commercial, we join Jeff at the immunity challenge. Jeff comments on everybody having rashes and infections. Every player gets a chance to showcase the infection on their bodies, each looking more hideous than the next. Is everybody going to need to be quarantined before they are allowed to step onto a plane home?
The comp this week is a balancing one, where they have to balance a ball on a round tray-thingy while standing on a beam.
It comes down to Nick, Tai, and Julia now having to juggle two balls. Jeff: “Balls banging together is never a good thing.” No, Jeff…No, it isn’t.
All three of them are still alive and now have to juggle 3 balls.
Julia drops first.
Nick wins the first individual immunity…It’s been a pretty good night for Nick. Nick has separated himself more so than any other player tonight.
I think, just for the hell of it, Survivor, for one season, should bring a group or community of people and station them near the game like The Others in Lost and just not tell the Survivor players anything or explain why they’re there.
Randomly, the Survivor players will be playing the game, strategizing off in the woods and one of these Others can randomly come up to them and tell them to “leave the island”, maybe kidnap one of the players randomly just for the hell of it to see how the other players react. I don’t know. I’m just trying to kill time until the show comes back on.
We’re back from commercial and Nick breaks down that tonight sets the tone for Brawns vs Brains. He knows he may be the swing vote. He talks with Scot and Jason, who are very confident in the plan to blindside Aubry.
Next, Nick joins Neal and Joe as they go over the numbers, knowing they need to get Michele over to their side.
Debbie, Aubry, and Michele talk in the water about needing to get Jason or Scot out. Michele is still undecided on which way she should go.
This leads to Nick and Michele doing the thing where each thinks they are playing the other and both thinking the other is buying what the other is selling. They make it sound like they are going to lean with the Brawns and vote out Aubry. It’s like these two are Mr. and Mrs. Smith:
The game comes to a halt as everybody sees Probst rolling in on a speedboat with the medical team.
Jeff looks like he is trying to remember by heart the legal waiver document that CBS just made him memorize to recite to everybody who looks like they are going to die from infections. CBS is trying to get out in front of the issue now as Neal has a twenty-pound infection on his knee.
One by one, each player is getting inspected. We are getting pretty close to 9 pm and so it’s looking like we might get someone pulled from this game with no Tribal, or we are going to have the fastest tribal council in the history of Survivor.
And Neal is gone. Neal gets pulled from the game due to his infection. Is he allowed to give his idol to someone on the way out???
Aubry asks my question about getting Neal’s idol, so I guess he could have given it to her, but he didn’t. He should have hidden it randomly on his way out and let fate decide who stumbles upon it first….
So yeah…I guess that ends the show. Kind of anti-climactic, wasn’t it?
R.I.P. Survivor Neal. You ended up doing better than I originally thought you would have, and who knows what would have happened?
…..So yeah, like I have been saying all season long, Nick is clearly the player to beat this season. 😉 I mean, he clearly seems like the smartest player in the game, with the ability to do more than the other “smart players”, Aubry and Michele, are able to do. Scot and Jason are in a good spot, but you can already tell that their hubris is going to do them in.
The infections tonight robbed us of being able to see how things would have played out at Tribal, so we can only speculate that Aubry most likely would have gone home. From there, maybe the rest of the Brains get picked off one by one, but we will never know for sure. Right now, we are left with two idols, and it looks as if they will be combined at some point, so that should be something cool to look out for. Tonight was also the first crumbling of the very shaky Debbie Empire. Will she be able to adapt her game now that she isn’t playing from the front of the food chain? I guess she will have the opportunity to prove her haters wrong.
Right now Nick is the #1 spot. Who is right there with him, though, if anybody?????
Thanks for reading. Let me know if you agree that Nick is the player to beat. See you next week.