One World: Episode Three Recap

survivor-one-world-logoThings are getting very interesting indeed! Thank Probst the girls finally won immunity. It came at just the right time too; eliminations were about to get predictable on the girls’ tribe and now we get to see if the misfits alliance will take control of the boys’ tribe.

Hilarious immunity challenge. Any challenge where contestants are blindfolded and forced to navigate obstacles is always a winner. We get great shots of Kim falling over, Monica banging her head and trying to wander off into the forest but the best moment comes from darling little Kat as she does this wonderful waddle walk while blindfolded. The girls fall far behind in the first part of the challenge but come storming back in the puzzle section. Sabrina completes the puzzle, wins the immunity challenge and my continuing affection. Now the guys are left to decide who to vote off. Muscle Matt is still in denial about controlling this game. He tells us he’s been amassing power and is itching to put it to use. Try putting your brain to use first, your ‘roosters’ are about to get plucked!

The misfits want Matt out, and so do I, but Colton wants Bill gone because he finds him annoying. Brilliant strategy. I seriously don’t understand Colton. He’s managing to play a horrible game and a brilliant one at the same time. He’s nasty yet everyone follows his every order. I can’t see Colton making it much further so he might as well enjoy his reign of evil while it lasts. Boy, does he make the most of it. He rips into Bill, telling him to kill himself and calling him ghetto trash. Hmm… that’s an interesting way to garner jury votes.

At tribal, Bill and Matt are positive they’re not going home, which is strange because by now they must realise they don’t have the numbers. Even Jay, a former muscle man member, has defected to the misfits in order to save himself. Despite Colton gunning for Bill, Matt is sent home to nobody’s dismay.

The misfits are now in total control of their tribe but they need to consider the bigger picture. It’s five versus two with Jay as a swing vote. They have the numbers but they also need to win immunity. I would keep the three remaining muscle men and consider voting out Tarzan, who isn’t going to be much help in challenges. I think Tarzan’s great though so for my viewing entertainment I hope they don’t go down this path.

With their reprieve from tribal, I hope Christina and Monica take the opportunity to work on the girls and try to get them to vote out Kat. They seem like fighters and I hate it when a minority accept their fate and give up. Always fight to the end!

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One World: Episode Two Recap

survivor-one-world-logoEpisode Two sees things get interesting on the boys’ side. Sabrina found the men’s hidden immunity idol in the first episode and gave it to Colton. Colton has proven himself to be a smart player and uses this to his advantage. It’s likely that if the men’s tribe loses, it will be Colton going home. He doesn’t help around camp and hasn’t made any attempts to befriend his tribe mates. The short-sighted move would be to use the idol at the first tribal to save himself but he’s thinking long-term. He shows the idol to the four other outsiders (Lief, Tarzan, Troyzan and Jonas) and they form a misfits alliance. See muscle men! That’s how you form a dominant alliance. Notice the actual numbers majority. I love this move. The four muscle men genuinely think they’re running the show, and I love it when arrogant people are taken down. The only problem is that this misfits alliance really is a bunch of misfits. If they take out the other four guys, they’ll have a hard time winning physical challenges.

Poor girls can’t catch a break! They’ve lost all three challenges so far and are totally dysfunctional. The second episode doesn’t change things much from where they stood at the end of the premiere. The five-girl alliance is still in power though after losing the immunity challenge there is a chance to shake things up a little. Things don’t look good for the three outsiders (Nina, Christina and Monica) but Kat is getting on people’s nerves. She performs poorly in challenges, doesn’t listen to instructions and is quite immature. Nina exploits this and campaigns for the girls to send Kat home. Her attempt is valiant but unsuccessful and she is eliminated. In situations like this, it comes down to whether you do what’s best for your tribe or alliance. Nina provides more for the tribe and would probably be better in challenges but Kat is a loyal member or the majority alliance. Kim says it’s too early to turn against the alliance and I agree with her. She’s thinking long-term. Nina knows she’s on the outs and is more likely to swap sides in the event of a merge or tribe shuffle. Keeping Kat for numbers was probably the right thing to do.

Sabrina continues to be awesome with this wonderful confessional, “We lost the damn challenge and that hurt my soul. We needed a tarp like a fat kid needs cake”. Bless your hurt soul, Sabrina, you are an angel.

I hope the girls can win an immunity challenge soon. I like Christina and Monica, and I think they are good assets to the tribe and want to play the game, but their heads are on the chopping block. Will they survive? Only time will tell!

One World: Episode One Recap

survivor-one-world-logoI missed One World when it originally aired and to fill the void until the new season airs I’ve decided to go back and watch some of the seasons I’ve missed, starting with One World. So what did I make of the premiere?

Straight up, I think the concept is great. Two tribes living together at the same beach is sure to create interesting dynamics. I applaud the decision but feel it wasn’t executed as well as it could have. It’s called One World, make it literally one world! I think they should have started with no tribes. 18 people trying to negotiate and compete individually could have been really interesting. Obviously, the drawback is that it would be hard to keep track of all the interactions it would produce.

Oh well, two tribes co-existing is still exciting but I don’t think the tribes should have been divided by gender. Gender divisions enforces tribe loyalty and the first episode shows the players are definitely thinking in terms of boys vs. girls. If the tribes had been mixed, I think we would have seen more interaction and possible deals made between the two tribes.

They’re living on the same beach, yet they have separate camps! Boo! I thought they would be living together with just one camp. That would have been interesting!

I don’t think they took the idea far enough. The point of One World is that the tribes can interact pre-merge. The most exciting part of that is that people could make alliances with the other tribe for when they reach the merge or influence the other tribe’s voting decisions. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’re going to see much of that because the players are still very much thinking in terms of tribe vs. tribe. If I were playing, I’d be going to the other tribe and saying “here’s my alliance, we’ll team up with yours at the merge and run the show”.

Colton is the only player who’s embracing the idea of getting in with the other tribe, telling the girls he will swap over to them the second he has the chance. That’s a smart thing to say regardless of whether he plans on going through with it; always keep your options open. Before watching, the consensus I got was that Colton was universally hated and despicable to watch. I like him at the moment. He’s bitchy but he brings entertainment, though I don’t see him lasting if he refuses to mingle with his own tribe.

Actually, I quite like the whole cast. People said it was one of the worst Survivor casts ever but I think it’s diverse and has some interesting players. Alicia is bitchy but so far tolerable, though she seems like a loose cannon. Sabrina is already my favourite; she’s got some sass and looks like a clever player. Tarzan and Troyzan in the one season: what are the odds?! I think they’re secretly related. Tarzan especially looks like he could be humorous.

I commend the five girls (Kat, Kim, Chelsea, Sabrina and Alicia) for making a majority alliance straight off the bat. Smart move to secure your position but it might be a little hasty. I’d want to think about who I want in my alliance: bring people who are loyal but also who you can beat.

The guys don’t have the same luck. The four ‘muscle men’ (Matt, Jay, Bill and Michael) quickly form a dominant alliance but are oblivious to the fact that they only have four out of nine; not a dominant alliance. Matt especially comes off as arrogant, I don’t like him and I hope the other guys are smart enough to band together and get rid of him.

And in the end, Kourtney is medically evacuated after breaking her wrist in the immunity challenge. Should have listened to Jeff’s instructions! Not the most exciting way to end the premier but she was probably going home either way.

All in all, things are shaping up to be an interesting season!

Blood vs. Water: Format Speculation

So we know a little about Blood vs. Water, but how will it actually work?

It’s unclear as to how the tribes will be split, though there are two likely options. First is to simply have the favourites on one tribe against their family on the other. This seems to limit the family/favourite interaction though until the merge. It does present interesting opportunities for contestants to try to throw immunity challenges if their loved one on the other tribe is in danger of being sent home. Come merge, it would be interesting for pairs to meet up and try to negotiate their existing alliances. Do they go with the favourite’s alliance or the loved one’s?

Or they could mix things up. Put five favourites on a tribe with the loved ones of the other five favourites, and vice versa. I like this idea better. Both Fans vs. Favorites seasons primarily focused on the Favorites tribe, but mixing it up allows more screen time for the new contestants and creates more interesting dynamics. For instance, Tina may make an alliance with RC’s father but that might turn pear-shaped if RC votes out Tina’s daughter.

I think they’ll probably combine the two: start as favourites vs. family and then have a tribe mix-up after a couple of episodes.

What I hope they don’t do is put five favourites with their five loved ones on a tribe. Pairing couples up from day one is a disaster waiting to happen because you can be certain that three pairs will get together and vote off the other two pairs. There goes the suspense.

So that’s how the format may work but I don’t see how it will work well.

Favourites and their loved ones will naturally seek to pair up. That’s obvious to everyone. No one’s going to blindside or backstab their mother or husband. If the returnees and their loved ones are split into two separate tribes then I don’t see the concept coming into play much.

The merge is where things may get interesting as pairs are reunited. There could be an interesting revenge element where players seek vengeance when their partner is voted off. If Rupert finds out his wife was voted off surely his natural response would be to discover who voted her off and then reciprocate by voting off their partner?

What I’m most afraid of is obvious boot orders. The strategy seems to be to pick off one member of each pair, in order to prevent their natural alliance. Once one member is picked off, it’s likely the attention will turn to another pair to eliminate one of their members. If a few pairs make it to the merge, their best bet is to team up and pick off the single players, dominating the post-merge.

It’s possible that the concept will create some very interesting dynamics. But it’s also possible that it will create very predictable outcomes. I’m hoping for the former. We really need a good season of Survivor. I think the most interesting element of Blood vs. Water will be players trying to balance their strategy with their emotions. Obviously they will want to protect their partner but what if doing so isn’t the best move for their own strategy? What if a favourite and their partner end up on competing alliances come merge-time? Will a player seek revenge after their partner is voted out or will they stick to their strategy? Will anyone actually throw their partner under the bus? (Probably not but they’d earn instant villain status for doing so).

If pulled off correctly, Blood vs. Water could be very entertaining. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Blood vs. Water: Speculated Cast

Below is the speculated cast list for Survivor season 27, Blood vs. Water.

Gervase (Borneo) – w nephew

Tina (Australian Outback) – w daughter

Rupert (Pearl Islands) – w wife

Aras (Panama) – w brother

Tyson (Tocantins) – w girlfriend

Laura (Samoa) – w daughter

RC (Philippines) – w father

Kat (One World) – w brother

Monica (One World) – w husband

Colton (One World) – w fiancé

 

This is an odd list.

Firstly, it contains two winners: a huge no-no in my books. Bring back winners for an all-stars round, that’s fine. But to pit them against new players is totally unfair. They’ll either be targeted immediately as threats or get far because no one will want to give them another million dollars.

One thing I like is the addition of older-season players. 4 of these are pre-Micronesia. This mixture sits much better with me than the Caramoan cast, where only 2 returnees were pre-Season 20. What I don’t like is the over-representation of players from One World. Caramoan had three players each from Redemption Island and South Pacific; those two seasons made up over half the favourites tribe. I think it’s only fair to have one contestant return at a time from any one season. Having played with each other before creates existing relationships between players that biases the game. Dawn and Cochran were allies in South Pacific. They were able to reform that alliance on day one of Caramoan. How is that fair to the other players? Contrastingly, Phillip and Francesca had a big bust-up in Redemption Island and they targeted each other on day one. This existing animosity saw Francesca be the first player eliminated. Now that certainly isn’t fair.

This will be Rupert’s fourth time playing. Sure, he’s a well-known player but they could have found some great players that hadn’t had a chance to return. Production seems scared of taking risks. They keep coming back to the same players because they know they’re safe bets. But they’re potentially ignoring players that could become the next Boston Rob or Rupert if only there were given a chance.

I have no memory of Gervase at all and I think that will be the same except for absolute die-hard fans. I only remember Tina as being ‘nice’. Aras brings some physical challenge domination.

Rupert, Colton and Tyson seem to be there purely for the audience: Rupert to be loved, Colton to be hated, and Tyson as a bit of both.

I like the inclusion of RC. She showed a lot of potential in Philippines to be an interesting player. Laura could also be interesting. She didn’t have much of a storyline in Samoa (no one did thanks to Russell) but she performed well in challenges and had that amusing feud with Shambo.

Caramoan’s returnees were current and well-known, if not exactly ‘favourites’. I imagine the speculated Blood vs. Water returnees will be a lot less-known to viewers but they have the advantage of a more diverse cast. There are differing personalities and I think a lot of the returnees will have different ways to play the game. Hopefully they’ll make for an interesting season.

Looking to the Future: Blood vs. Water

Blood vs Water

Filming for the next season of Survivor, Blood vs. Water, starts in just a few short days. I would be excited if it weren’t for how negatively I feel about the concept. Production is keeping fairly tight-lipped about what to expect although dedicated fans have managed to squirrel out some tantalising information.

It’s confirmed that the season will see past contestants returning to play with their family members. Yep, more returnees. I was a huge fan of Heroes vs. Villains. It was such an epic event to see 20 survivor all-stars (minus one or two odd inclusions) return to duke it out against one another. I like returnees but please keep it to specifically returnee-only seasons. Since season 22, One World is the only season to not feature any returning contestants. That’s right. Out of the last five seasons, only one has featured an all new cast. Probst must love the existing contestants – or maybe production can’t be bothered sorting through new applicants – because Blood vs. Water continues this returnee-mad trend.

Philippines is fast becoming the go-to locale for Survivor and Blood vs. Water is confirmed to reuse the location for the past two seasons. It will be filmed on Palui Island in the Philippines. It’s not set to air until September of this year but hopefully we’ll receive a bit more official info before then to keep us interested.

So how will the format work? The finer details aren’t confirmed but it’s believed there will be ten returning contestants bringing along one family member (or loved one). A speculated cast list is doing the rounds on Survivor forum ‘survivor sucks’. Nothing is set in concrete but it’s the only list we have so far with any credibility.

SPOILERS

Tomorrow I will post on the possible cast list as well as discuss elements of the cast’s original seasons. Winners of past seasons may be revealed.  If you don’t want the cast of Blood vs. Water spoiled or past seasons spoiled you may want to avoid my post tomorrow. The day after I will be posting my thoughts for how the format may work, and how it might bomb! That will be spoiler free.

Stay tuned!

Spotlight On: Dawn

Dawn was runner-up alongside Sherri in Caramoan: Fans vs. Favorites. Cochran swept the final tribal council, receiving all jury votes. All Dawn (and Sherri) managed to receive from the jury was a lot of flack.

Did Dawn deserve her dressing-down at FTC? Was she a worthy runner-up? How did she play the game? Let’s take a look-see, shall we?

Returning from her stint in South Pacific, Dawn seemed to have pulled her shit together. She didn’t want to play the same game. She was done with being passive and appeasing. Last time around she let Cochran blindside their tribe. This time she was going to be doing the blindsiding. And boy did she. But in the meantime, Dawn also had a lot of crying to do. She cried all the time, over the littlest of things. If she was hungry she cried. If she had to vote someone out she cried. If she thought someone was going to vote her out she cried. Dawn’s paranoia got the best of her. Cochran was able to shed his insecurities and nervousness from last time but Dawn wasn’t.

The Favorites didn’t have a lot to do pre-merge except put up with Brandon and Phillip’s childish antics. But Dawn was thinking ahead; she started off in an alliance with Cochran (possibly a huge mistake given he betrayed her last time they played together) and was pleasant to everyone. Dawn said she didn’t want to appease everyone but in the end she fell back on old habits and it ended up costing her the game.

Dawn’s flaw was that she tried too hard to be everyone’s friend. Whether it was an attempt to garner jury favour or she just wants everyone to like her, Dawn was always trying to pal up with everyone. This ended up backfiring hugely. At the final tribal council, she was called out by several people as being disingenuous, none more so than Brenda. Dawn and Brenda established a ‘real’ friendship that apparently exceeded the game. Dawn then blindsided Brenda.  Sherri and Cochran did too but Dawn bore the brunt of Brenda’s fury because she was the one to connect with her. Making friends can be a gift and a curse in Survivor. Natalie White’s nice girl attitude payed off for her in Samoa but that seemed to be more genuine. Blindsides and betrayals are part of the game but whereas Andrea could forgive her alliance members for blindsiding her, Brenda could not forgive her friend Dawn for betraying not only their alliance but their friendship.

But was the jury too hard on Dawn? Cochran admitted to lying. Weren’t Dawn’s false attempts at friendship just lying? Wherever Cochran was praised for his game play, Dawn seemed to be criticised. They had worked together since the start, making decisions and voting together. Yet Cochran was hailed for all these moves and Dawn’s involvement was mostly ignored. In the end, when there seemed little to split Dawn and Cochran in terms of how they played the game, it came down to personality.

They both lied and backstabbed. But Dawn wanted to lie and backstab AND be friends. You can’t have it both ways my dear. Maybe the jury was a little bitter but like Malcolm said, Dawn needed to own these moves. She wanted to make these ‘nasty’ moves but  disassociate them from her.

I think Dawn played a good game. She controlled the votes and managed to deceive Malcolm and Corinne into thinking she was allied with them, eliminating the two defectors that could have taken out her alliance.

In the end, Dawn annoyed too many people with her perceived falseness. If you’re going to be a bitch then be a bitch. Corinne owns it; Dawn needed to own it too. Dawn deserved her final three spot but offered too many false promises. She showed herself to be a good strategist and didn’t let the game and its pressure get the best of her. Cochran had the better story. He was the underdog that had come so far. Dawn was the crazy crying chick with false teeth.

Oh well, Dawn, you tried.