Two great things about this season’s “second chance” theme. First, we get to see people taking advantage of their “second chance.” Like Super Terry who basically survived his season by winning every single Immunity Challenge while the entire time being the guy everyone wanted to vote out. Had he lost any challenges, he would’ve been gone. Which is what eventually happened. He’s legendary. This time? He’s much older, he knows he can’t be Joe (or beat Joe), and Survivor and CBS don’t make Immunity Challenges that favor the strong, anymore. CBS has gotten smarter and, actually, the physical challenges almost always favor the athletic, lightweight women. Or they involve puzzles or trivia. That’s a good thing, really. Otherwise it would always be big, strong, physically fit men advancing and the social game (the “outwit” part) wouldn’t be a factor. Which brings me back to Terry, who’s starting with the social game and making friends and connections, sorta using his celebrity/legend status, but he’s not all brawn and bully which, let’s face it, would make him a target.
The second great thing is, given a second chance, some people are proving we weren’t wrong about them the first time. Abi (The Angry Latino) is still a flip-flopping, always-angry idiot. Spencer (The Nerd) is still socially awkward and was almost voted out last week. Woo (The Asian) is still clueless and is always taking a step back and over-thinking things and has no idea what’s going on around him. Jeremy (The Black Guy) and Keith (The Old Hillbilly) are nice and likeable and easy going and you can’t help but root for them. And the list goes on.
Then, the third great thing is that some people are actually much better than we thought. Like Kass. She was mean and nasty, last time. Tasha (The Black Girl) was on, as she said, “the worst tribe in the history of Survivor” …remember she was in the “Brains” tribe in the Brains, Beauty, and Brawn season … and she never had a chance amidst the crazies she was playing with. And last night, she was throw into another impossible situation and she completely turned the tables and saved herself. More on that in a minute. And Ciera. She played a good game previously (Blood v. Water with her mother) but she was fighting every step of the way. Now, she’s just going with the flow, but not being lazy, and doesn’t have the baggage of her mother (whom she voted out, by the way).
Second chances are first rate. That was clever.
So let’s talk about the actual episode.
Last week, Shirin was voted out because she was a bully and her begging at Tribal Council wasn’t as good as Spencer’s, who promised to change and be a better person and teammate, and he’s obviously more valuable, physically, in challenges, so he got to stay. and we figured this week would be focused on Spencer (The Nerd) redeeming himself and trying not to be the next person voted off, but Jeff Probst changed all that in the first 10-minutes of show (before the opening credits even rolled).
Two tribes were split into three tribes and organized by random draw. Three tribes is so much better than two tribes. This should happen each season. If the producers are reading, I hope they made a note. Why is it better? Because with two tribes, one tribe is, usually, obviously weaker and dysfunctional and they slowly dwindle and then the merge happens and the majority rules. Don’t start talking about all the cast members who arrived at the merge in the minority and managed to survive because of Immunity Challenges and finding Hidden Immunity Idols. I know it happens. But it’s better when a merge happens and it’s fairly evenly split and there’s more social game going on. Too many times it’s 6 v. 4 and the 6 just start picking people off. Until they turn and flip on each other. But it makes for boring weeks when, no matter what some people do, they’re as good as gone.
And we don’t have to talk about all three tribes, truth be told. We only have to talk about the messed up tribe. The tribe with Peih-Gee and Abi had old-man Andrew who immediately acted like his dog died and he was “feelin’ all the love” from his former tribe, so he immediately put himself on the outs (because he sounded like he was quitting). And even enemies Peih-Gee and Abi were able to bond and say, hey, let’s stick with the four and oust the other two (The Black Girl and Old Man Andrew). But almost immediately, because of Abi, things changed and she decided, no, Peih-Gee has never been a friend to her, and Woo wasn’t an ally worth keeping around, so when Old-Man Andrew and Tasha (The Black Girl) approached her about aligning, Abi was like, “OK” because she hates Peih-Gee that much. A very good move because Peih-Gee would never stick with Abi in any sort of merge situation.
My question is …is Abi playing a good game. Or accidentally doing things right based on her knee-jerk instincts?
Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice (I hope EJ’s reading this) … Joe’s tribe was being awesome with hammocks and smiles and Terry and …well, there’s hardly any reason to talk about them, because that tribe is pretty much invincible. The funniest part was Kass and Ciera sitting inside a shelter talking with each other and disbelieving the fact they happened onto the most amazing tribe, ever.
The third tribe, had they lost the Immunity Challenge, could’ve been interesting to watch implode. Fishbach (The Clumsy Nerd) immediately showed everyone, hey, I can’t cut a coconut (why would he even do that to expose himself?!?!?!) but he also felt really happy to be away from all the macho, macho men. Spencer (The Plain-Old Nerd) started his “social game” asking for dating advice from Jeremy (The Black Guy) and it went pretty well. So funny. And Jeremy found the clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol and then, during the challenge, found the Hidden Immunity Idol.
The Challenge and The Ending
It was odd that barely a half-hour into the show, we were already to the, I guess we’ll call it the “immunity challenge.” It’s interesting, only because there wasn’t a “reward challenge.” In the challenge, the tribes had to move treasure chests and take things apart and put things together and then, of course, do an impossibly hard puzzle, I mean unless you’re the Superfriends and the Wonder Twins (Kass and Joe …is there anything Joe can’t do?). For the other two tribes, it came down to the wire, and the Abi Tribe lost. Not a big deal, right …except that, as soon as they lost, Varner went rogue and mouthed something to Wiglesworth, and I think he was trying to whisper something he and Wiglesworth being in the final-four with someone else and Tasha saw this and called him a “rat”. So, ya know, you’d think Varner was a dead-man walking, or maybe it wouldn’t even matter because Tasha ans Square-Jaw-Andrew were still 2 against 4, but how about none-of-the-above? Instead, and I almost feel like I fell asleep and dreamed this, the next half-hour was spent watching Tasha and Square-Jaw avoid the slings and arrows and Varner, well hell …he didn’t have any issues either. Instead, Abi took the opportunity exact revenge on Peih-Gee.
The targets were Tasha, Square-Jaw, and Varner and somehow, Peih-Gee was voted out.
And does this mean Abi is in control? Is Woo next? Woo was, as usual, completely blindsided and didn’t realize he wasn’t in-the-know. And Abi is actually in a good spot (Varner is still the big idiot who can’t be trusted, but he’ll hang with Abi and Woo and they can still, 3 v. 2, vote out Tasha and Square-Jaw. Then again, let’s be real …Abi is one episode away from alienating everyone and the four other members of her tribe could send her home.
I’d like to know more about the other tribes, but I feel like next week we’re still going to be focused on Abi’s tribe.
Hopefully I didn’t miss a key point. What’d you think? Crazy episode. Split tribes. New tribes. Odd pairings. Story lines galore. Fun.
Thanks for reading. See you next week.