Woo hoo! Survivor is back and so is Michael Skupin! He is one of my all-time favorite players. Add in the always strategic Jonathan Penner, Bible-thumping Lisa Welchel (Blair from "Facts of Life"), and former MLB All-star Jeff Kent and you have a formula for a solid edition of Survivor in season #25.
I am again recapping/blogging about the show on the WSJournal's Entertainment site, so you can read my recap there. Here is the most important part--
As an aside, do me a favor and click over to the article so it gets a lot of hits. The editors are not sure they want me to do recaps for the entire season. Also, comment there, even if it is just "So glad Survivor is back! Can't wait for another season of recaps and chats about it." I am hoping lots of hits and comments will help convince them to let me do itBack at camp, Zane says he is cramping and is just not in shape to play the game. He asks them to vote him out. He secretly admits that this is all strategy to see how much everyone likes him. He is pretending to be weak because he thinks they all like him so much that they will take Russell out anyway. Ummm, this seems really, really stupid to me. Like monumentally stupid.
Other members of Matsing practically beg Zane to stick around, but he is still waffling about it and pretending to be weak. I don’t even begin to understand this strategy. It is clear that his tribe likes him and wants to keep him in the game, but he is making it easy for them to take him out instead. He seems to think he is making some brilliant move. I don’t see it. I don’t get it. Playing the “I am weak and not a threat” card at the start of the game is dumb. That is a card you play after 10+ players have been taken out, not at the start. This makes no sense. I think they are going to vote Zane out.
There is a funny moment when Zane calls himself a master at chess and says, “King me!” Uhh, Zane, you “King” someone in checkers, not chess. So, not only does he not know how to play Survivor, but he does not know how to play board games either. I am laughing at his so-called “strategy.”
Of course, we can have the larger discussion of the show here, like we always do! I like Skupin's position. I think Russell and Lisa are in hot water and Penner needs help too. Jeff Kent may make the merge, but he won't win it. He's too rich and folks will know about it soon.
-Jason "sorry to be here asking for hits for somewhere else... bad form, I know... but hopefully ya'll won't hate me for it" Evans
I can't believe Kent hurt himself jumping off the boat. And Lisa's desire to keep things quiet is a ridiculous strategy. Sure, there's a chance you won't win, but it's not like they didn't know Russell Hand was rich - and he made it to the finals his first season. And Rob wasn't exactly poor when he finally won. Amber already had the million from the all-star season - and they were essentially reality stars at that point. The "money" thing isn't necessarily that big a deal anymore.
As far as Zane's play of saying "vote me off" I first have to wonder how stupid you have to be to show up to Survivor OUT OF SHAPE!!!! He stopped smoking the day before they got on the boat? Are you kidding me? Russell was GONE! GONE!!!!!! The tribe hated him, he DEFINITELY cost them a chance at the win. Oh, btw, how much trouble are they in if 3 of their 5 remaining players are "bad at puzzles" - they're up the creek without a BOAT. It may very well be 2 tribes in about 3 episodes. That's Lisa's only chance of staying long enough to get into the game. I see lots of trouble and amusement at the cost of the blue team.
As of right now, I don't really have a feel for any of the players, although it's always hard to gauge people in that first episode.
They explained the game to us, and I couldn't believe the scope of what CBS was investing. They wanted a Regis / Millionaire killer - and this was their play.
13 years later, all I can say is - genius. Not only did they kill millionaire, they built a franchise that lasted 10x longer than millionaire, has made hundreds/thousands times more money - and spawned a genre of television that now dominates cable.
The reality shows also kept the industry afloat during the writers' strike.
Like Jason, I never miss an episode, though there are 2 or 3 a season (when the pecking order is established) from 10 down to 7, where there really isn't much drama. But from 7 players down to the end, nothing is better than that last month of Survivor.
Good first episode! I watched it this weekend on the DVR. Jason, I was in one of your favorite places, Las Vegas, on Wednesday and had other things to do that evening (Cirque du Soleil - O show).
I hope Jeff Kemp's knee isn't seriously injured. I'd hate to see him "put down" because of it. Ymm, Lisa!
Who will be the first to find a hidden immunity idol?
Ozzie, your paradigm of optimism!
Go To Hell carolina, Go To Hell!
9F 9F 9F
Now really... who doesn't like cookies?
Entertaining tribal to see who could shoot themselves in the foot more...
I think Denise made a poor choice of who to vote out. Clearly, one of Angie or Roxy had to go. Denise was the decider as Russell wanted to keep Roxy around and Malcolm wants Angie's ample bosom as close as possible. Both Angie and Roxy are weak and contribute little in challenges. But, I think Denise needed to look one more vote down the line in deciding who to take out.
If they lose another challenge, they would need to eliminate the whichever of Angie or Roxy they did not take out here. So, the question for Denise needed to be "will Russell turn on Roxy if we lose again or will Malcolm turn on Angie if we lose again?" I do not know if Denise discussed this with Russell or Malcolm to feel them out, but I suspect that Russell would have been more likely to cut Roxy free than Malcolm would be to get rid of his snuggle buddy. That is why I think Denise should have taken out Angie this week and saved Roxy to throw under a bus at a later time.
I also think that Roxy had shown herself to be abrasive and not very friendly or strategic. If I am Denise, I would rather keep her around than Angie because if there is a tribal shuffle or merge at some point, it will be easier to keep Roxy in line and on your side than it will be to keep the likeable Angie from flipping on you.
But, I could be over-thinking this. Roxy was really annoying and I could see Denise not wanting to be around her any more. In any event, that tribe seems to really be struggling.
-Jason "I hate that the new players plot against the returnees so much... especially these returnees who left for medical reasons. The notion that Michael Skupin does not deserve a second chance at Survivor is absurd" Evans
Anyway, I imagine Russell voted out Roxy because Denise told him she would be casting the deciding vote against Roxy. Russell knew stocking with Roxy was a fool's errand and he would gain no points going against the majority opinion of the tribe so he voted her out too.
That, by the way, leads us to the biggest fake part of Survivor -- tribal council. I am of the belief that no one ever changes their mind about their vote at tribal council. We have seen people do incredibly stupid stuff at tribal and it not affect a single vote. With alliances being such a dominant part of the game, no one can afford to make up their mind at the last minute.
-Jason "how much longer will they remain 3 tribes? I would bet they will shuffle in 2 - 3 episodes" Evans
That and I was soooooooooooooooooo grateful that they voted off Roxy. One of the more unlikable players I can remember - ever.
-Jason "amazing how it only took one episode of knowing her to decide that we hated Roxy, huh? Can't imagine spending 6 days with her!" Evans
Odd question - if you looked carefully during the immunity challenge you could see that Jeff Kent had a brace on his injured knee. They never showed medical coming in, but clearly they must have. Also, there has been no talk among the group of "we gotta get out the guy with the bum knee." Why? Now maybe it's because the brace is working....but I didn't know that you could get something like that from medical to continue competing.
Anyone else still watching this?
At the post-merge stage where there is typically little drama as the tribe with numbers takes out the other, this season is wide open, and there are a number of pretty interesting players.
There are also lot of potential moves to be made. Right now the only real alliances are Pete-Artis-Abi (although will be interesting to see what happens to Abi after her insane admission that she has an idol) and Malcom-Denise, with Carter, Skupin, Penner, and Lisa seemingly free agents. Most people seem to be thinking end game right now, and with Abi as the most likely person who people will want to sit next to at the end, I think she is safe for a while. I would think that Skupin, Penner, and maybe Pete are most at risk but next week should be a good episode.
Overall, I think Malcom is the favorite to win right now. Just when it looked like he might get blindsided and go home with an idol in his pocket, he plays a huge bluff and ensures he gets to use the idol for at least 2 tribals (something no one other than Yul has successfully pulled off). Will see how he mends fences with the factions remaining, but great play by him. He also seems to be well liked by most people and a decent threat in challenges, so if he can align himself the right way this week he will be in as good a position as anyone.
I was impressed a lot by Lisa this week. She hasn't done much all season, but had a few great moves lined up for this vote, but hasn't built up credibility with her tribe so no one would go along with her. Can't believe no one has outed her (or Jeff Kent) as celebrities so far. I think Kent should come in a full Giants uniform to the jury next week.
Anyway, think it has been a decent season that is starting to get good.
So funny that you posted this because I was about to bring the Survivor thread back up to the top after this week's stunning tribal council. That was one of the great tribal faceoffs in history! I had no idea what was going to go down. Lisa was talking in code, "Plan B?!?!" and Abi's idol reveal was one of the stupid moves in history. And it sure looked to me like Lisa just came out and announced that she cannot be trusted because she threw Malcolm and his idol under the bus. She was a darling of the show and an audience favorite 15 minutes earlier... now she is one of the bad guys. Shocking turn!
I was shocked that Skupin did not vote to get rid of Pete. He has to see that going all the way with Abi, Pete, and Artis is not going to work. They don't like him. They will keep Lisa and Malcolm around before they keep him. He has to see that he and Penner have huge "returning player" targets on their backs and their best plan is to stick together! Instead, he continues to go against his own best interests and refuses to take out Pete. I just don't get it. I suspect he is 100% in Lisa's pocket. Whatever she wants him to do, he is going to do it.
It is clear to me that Denise and Malcolm remain very close. Heck, Jeff Kent says in his exit interview with EW that the biggest roadblock he had to making moves was that Denise was committed to doing whatever Malcolm wanted. I am not sure I understand that, as I think Jeff should have been able to get Malcolm on his side too, but that is Jeff's story.
I think a lot, right now, depends upon how much people will still trust Lisa. I am not sure, but I think her plan is to be a part of the Abi, Pete, and Aris alliance until it becomes the right time to pick some of them off. Because there are only 3 of them in their core alliance, it is easy for her to pick them off in a few episodes once there are 7 players left... so long as she is able to convince everyone to keep Skupin around (as he is certain to stick with her). The best scenario for Lisa is probably to let them take out Carter (no friends left, with Jeff gone) or Penner next couple episodes and then form an alliance of 4 with Skupin, Malcolm, and Denise and ride it to the end. And, yes, I do think Lisa is the pivotal player in the game right now as I think she has the skills to engineer things just as she wants it.
With all the animosity toward returning players, sitting next to Skupin or Penner at the end makes a ton of sense if you can pull it off. Abi or maybe Artis would also be good to sit next to as no one likes them. I would not want to be sitting there with Malcolm or Denise by my side though, as they both seem to be really hard workers who are well-liked.
--Jason "Shaping up as a great season so far!!" Evans
Last edited by JasonEvans; 11-09-2012 at 04:02 PM.
Penner's comments at tribal of "this is awesome" and "fantastic" are two of my favorite lines in Survivor history. It was like he was watching at home with the rest of us and just loving the absurdity of it all.
As an aside, I really really dislke Abi, and would like to see her either get completely caught off guard with a blindside, or make it to the finals and get savaged in the final tribal council and shut out in the vote.
Demented and sad, but social, right?
Of course, maybe he wanted Jeff gone. Jeff has been the leader of the "returning players need to go!" camp. Heck, if Jeff had not been so dead set on getting rid of returnees, I think he could have pulled off something last week to Skupin, RC, and Malcolm to join Denise, Penner, Carter, and himself and control the game.
-Jason "Jeff deserved what he got" Evans