Well, Colton. That was tremendously disappointing.
Last season, Francesca Hogi became the first-ever contestant to be voted out first twice. This season, Colton Cumbie emerged with an even more embarrassing record: the first-ever player to quit twice. I could not be more disappointed. I was very excited to see Colton play this season, almost in spite of myself. I wanted to see if he changed. I at least wanted to see him flame out in a spectacular Tribal Council. We were robbed.Play the game![/caption]
I’m also miffed because Colton is (or was) a huge Survivor fan. As Survivor Jeopardy made clear, few people know Survivor better than Colton. But Colton, even with his back against the wall, didn’t want the full Survivor experience. He didn’t want to wait around to get his torch snuffed, something he wrote off as inevitable. He probably viewed his move as falling on the sword for Caleb, since he has an actual chance at winning this game. (Though I don’t really think he does anymore; more on that below.) (Also, if Colton contributed one thing of value this season, it’s that he brought Caleb into the Survivor world. That guy is the man.) But that’s not what happened. Colton straight-up chickened out. So few people get the chance to play Survivor, and even fewer are die-hard fans of the game. I’m sure I speak for many of you when I say that getting voted out of Survivor, while not an ideal outcome by any stretch, is a natural part of the Survivor experience; I would relish the chance to have my torch snuffed by Probst, if only I could get to that beach. Colton, you don’t only lose points as a Survivor player, but as a Survivor fan.
I’ve never seen Jeff angrier than he was last night. He ripped into Colton on a personal-level, essentially calling him out as an Anti-Cirie. “Some people shouldn’t ever get up off the couch,” he barked. It was unusually harsh for someone who has become less even-handed as the seasons have worn on, a development that many of us back at home aren’t psyched about. But you know what? Good on Jeff for saying what so many were thinking. I get his disappointment: Colton has tons of potential as a Survivor player, but no genuine interest in really playing the game. It’s beyond frustrating.
Anyway. In light of Colton’s exit, I thought I’d dial back a bit and do something I did last season, when Brandon Hantz flamed out of Caramoan, by suggesting five players who should have played this season over Colton the Quitter. (Ironically, I had Colton on my list last time. Just another reason why I’m so disappointed with his decision.) Since Colton and Caleb came as a pair, getting rid of one means getting rid of the other. To keep the season’s male-female ratio intact, I’m only picking men here. All that said, let’s get into it.
Colby and Reid Donaldson: If any Survivor deserves a place alongside Boston Rob and Rupert Boneham as a four-time player, Colby Donaldson gets my vote. His Heroes Vs. Villains performance was uninspired, sure, but anything — anything — to get him yelling at his brother again (“REID!!!”) is good in my book. And I’ll take any opportunity to see the Tina-Colby dream-team together again.
Jeff Kent and Barry Bonds: Okay, this is a weird one, and I admit that I know approximately zilch about MLB history, but the innernet tells me that these former teammateshave had it out, and that would be tremendously fun to see on a Survivor season. Not exactly “loved ones,” but it’s a different relationship than anything else out on there on the beach right now. Plus, Barry Bonds on Survivor. Speaks for itself. Plus, more Jeff Kent on Survivor. Also speaks for itself.Jamie and Ramie Newton: Apparently, Jamie of Guatemala fame has a twin brother? Really? That’s a thing? That’s amazing! Survivor Wiki claims the Newton twins were almost cast on Blood Vs. Water. Damn shame that didn’t work out. We still haven’t seen a returning player from Guatemala (unless you count Stephanie on Heroes Vs. Villains, which passes the smell-test with an asterisk), one of the most underrated seasons in Survivor history. This would have been a great opportunity to correct that mistake. (Let’s pour one out for Cindy and Mindy Hall while we’re at it.)
Shane and Boston Powers: Just to see a father-son dynamic and get a little bit more variety in the Blood Vs. Water relationships, if for no other reason. But there are other reasons: Shane himself being numero uno, and numero dos being a partial resurrection of the Casaya alliance in Shane-Aras. Shane fills out the villain void left by Colton better than almost anybody. Emphasis on “almost,” because you can’t forget about …
Johnny Fairplay and Thunder D: Okay, maybe we’ve learned our lesson about giving quitters another shot. That said, the Pearl Islands villain is one of the series’ very best, and his Grandma-Gate accomplice ranks right up there as well. Do these bastards still have Heisenbergian hijinks up their sleeve? Guess we’ll never find out.
We could be here all day throwing names around if we wanted, so just think of the names above as a conversation-starter; head to the comments section below with more suggestions, and read on for some more thoughts from last night’s ep.
** This is the first time in Survivor history that the first two people to go home did not receive a single vote against them. Somehow, despite that, Blood Vs. Water is still kicking ass. I’m as surprised as anyone.
** So, about why Caleb can’t win: it’s the same reason Brenda Lowe wasn’t going to win last season. The edit is Michel’s territory, but I can’t help noticing that Caleb barely got any reaction-time after Colton’s exit. Sure, Caleb is a cool customer with his emotions in check, but not even a confessional about how his fiance just got humiliated on national television? That’s what they call “a warning sign.” Caleb is a good guy with a good head on his shoulders, but I’m afraid he’s going to wind up with a Brett Clouser edit: nice dude, strong dude, no shot at the title.
** On the flip-side, it’s a rising tide for Tyson stock this morning. Was that the first time we’ve ever seen a genuine, heartfelt Tyson confessional in his three times of playing this game? I’d have to go back and look, but I believe so. But even through tears, Tyson’s signature Survivor philosophy was firmly intact: “When [Rachel] lost, I got to ask her if she had fun. She said that she did, and for me, that was enough. Because it is a game, you know? People take it too seriously and it shouldn’t be. It ruins their lives and it makes them angry.” That’s why I love this man. With apologies to Rob and Nicole for losing their winner-pick so early, I have to say, I’m very excited to see what Tyson can do now that he’s unbound from his loved one — assuming he can get over that bum shoulder.
** Not a peep from Laura Boneham this week. How did she go from obvious first-boot to under-the-radar gamer? Is she safer than I gave her credit for? Against all odds, the surviving half of Raura could make it to the merge, if not the whole distance.
** With Colton gone, who is the obvious first-boot on Galang now? If Boneham gets extended air-time next week, I’ll be worried for her. If not, it’s the other Laura or Kat, both of whom have seemingly misplaced their voices in recent weeks. But that’s assuming Galang ever gets sent to tribal. After an abysmal first immunity challenge, these returnees are kicking ass and taking names. Are they going to Koror their way into the merge? I hope not, because there are plenty of people on Tadhana who are more than worthy of making it deep into the game.
** Speaking of Tadhana, here’s something I meant to say in last week’s column (which sadly never happened, due to a crippling case of the scratchy-throat-nausea-stuffs; sorry about that!): I love Katie and Ciera, and I love them even more this week. They are savvy, savvy, savvy players. Getting rid of John was a smart move for the tribe, but a risky move as well. Kudos to Katie and Ciera for managing to move their fellow players away from an obvious vote. With Kiera alive for another week, will they be able to stay in their tribe’s good graces? I have a good feeling about this. These are shrewd players, and they’re not going without a fight.
** Bad news bears for the Woodcocks. Best case scenario, only one of them makes it to the merge. For late-game additions, John and Candice are responsible for some of the season’s best developments to date. It’s going to get increasingly emotional to watch one of them win the duels while the other flames out of the game. My money is on Candice sticking it to the merge, but you never know what Doctor John might bring to the table. Either way, it’s a poetic development that should make for some great TV in the weeks to come.
That’s all for this week. Are you as frustrated by Colton’s quit as I am? Which Survivors would you have wanted to see over Colton this season? Weigh in on all of that in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter: @roundhoward, like Ron Howard but rounder.