This time I am not late! Praise Jesus, hallelujah!
At the very least, from when I start, I will be on the schedule I’ve decided. Wednesday/Wednesday was not necessarily what I intended for release like last week- Autopsy on Thursday and Hindsight on Tuesday was my ultimate goal, and, tada, I might just meet it!
Last time I talked to you, I felt like I was the one horrified Corinne in a sea of Matty grins (and if God has a modicum of mercy that will be the last time I compare myself to Corinne.) Everyone else saw a kooky lady absolutely decimate her own game, almost visually crucifying herself in front of a crowd from absolute nowhere. All I saw was someone I thought was freaking awesome go home early over a complete and utter shithead tribe that was on its way to the worst boot order and has a one-out-of-four record for tribe members I liked and also one-out-of-four record for tribe members I despised. Oh, and continuing to eat crap at my pre-game predictions. Fun, fun, fun.
Y’all saw me rave almost back to back about Jennifer and Darnell, and seeing them both go first was kind of a buzzkill while Jason and his stupid abysmal anus tattoo stared back at me with that smug neckbeard grin. Where do I stand now? It’s been five days, it’s time for a fresh take.
Jenny was a Friend of Mine
Oh, see, there’s your problem, Jennifer! For all the talk you had about the right hat, you didn’t wear anything more heavy duty than a headband! Surely time as a construction worker would have taught you that hats are important! Especially when it turns out Kaoh Rong freaking hates you.
From post-game interviews I’ve heard, both read and parrotted from The Tribe, I think God might have had a vendetta against Jennifer. Well, more than he apparently does in life where he aimed like thirty lightning strikes at her that didn’t kill her. More than just a bug in the ear, she got centipede bites, got singed from the fire on her eye (excuse me as I go scream in horror for thirty minutes), and drank water that gave her chemical burns (tag Elisabeth Markham). I’m surprised that when she got struck with Tom Cruise syndrome and jumped on her chair an errant wind didn’t knock her off. Still, with all of this in mind it’s not surprising that the curse of Lanzetti was enough to make herself the reason she left the game.
Now that enough time has passed and I’ve weathered what was honestly kind of a tough character loss, what do I think of the Tribal Council? Well… I’m with everyone else. It was legendary and kind of hilarious, but it was also unique in a way. She’s being listed up with the best of the second boots, especially Garrett, who also blew up a solid spot early on and got himself jettisoned out over the undebatably useless J’Tia in one of the best downfalls in Survivor History- possibly the shock to the heart that lifted Survivor from the slums of mediocrity. I think there’s a difference between Jennifer’s boot and the other second boots she’s been compared to. See, people like Garrett had unbelievable downfalls because they became almost inhumanely cocky. Jennifer, on the other hand, came off as unbelievably human in hers.
Rewatching the TC again, it’s not blind cockiness that spells Jennifer’s doom. It’s human error. She says one off thing after showing a little shadiness, and she’s thrown so off guard by the negative reaction that she just digs her hole deeper trying to save herself. Anyone who was ever a teenager caught lying to their parents- and being twenty-one I’m barely if at all out of that- knows all of the traits Jennifer showed. Desperation, anger at the idea that she’s even being accused, fear, bargaining, and last-ditch efforts to stop the punishment. It was insanely clear that Jennifer was caught off guard and her methods of implosion were, to me, very relatable. That honestly explains both of my reactions. The disappointment that after all of that, she was sent home in an exhausting Tribal Council, then realizing that she went home because her defense was that of a seventeen-year-old coming home after curfew.
Basically Jennifer’s final TC.
So godspeed to you, Lanzetti, for being a unique tragic hilarious downfall character. That’s more than Nick will ever accomplish.
I expected big things from Alecia after her miracle rally against Darnell in Episode 1. She cracked me up with an endless stream of incompetence and I expected much worse from her. However, in the episode where her forebearer J’Tia was ruining the fire by drowning it out with their entire food supply, Alecia continued to blow my mind by getting a lot better at things.
Some may laugh at her spending more time on the fire than Jon Misch did getting talkblocked by his future wife, but hey, five hours is quicker than anyone else did, so screw ‘em. Alecia still hasn’t given me indications of secret genius, but the good traits she’s shown, I believe them. She doesn’t quit even when things get stupid, she scrambles for plans, she makes good points, and she doesn’t say die even as her tribe does their best to exile and humiliate her. When Jennifer makes the plans to potentially flip on the dudes because Jason is an anus cavity, she points out it’s a solid plan because come merge Jason and Scot will get targeted and she’ll be anchored to them in any potential Pagonging. Whether or not it’s the best reasoning it’s impressive long term thinking, certainly unexpected from Alecia.
Her highlight, however, was from Tribal Council. It’s kind of strangely masterful how she handled it. As Jennifer protests and shouts and defends herself, Alecia doesn’t match her. She doesn’t get as desperate. She knows the truth, but she can also lie about her involvement. She just laughs at the idea that Jennifer was involved, as if her lies aren’t worth her time because the truth is so evident. That’s a lot of self-control and a lot of smart social play from the woman whose worst enemy was prior a pen cap.
What does this mean for Blondie’s future? If I may address a preview, the next episode is a massive idol hunt. It’s already been foreshadowed by our good friend captioning that Jason thinks the idea of Alecia finding the idol is just the most ridiculous thing. However, Jason is also awful. The next episode preview shows Jason shoving Alecia out of the way to try and get an idol. There’s a strong chance, however, that Alecia wins the race to the idol, and if she has an idol, that whole tribe is bonezoned. Alecia knows she’s bottom tier, she’s super-screwed, and there’s no bottom on that alliance so she’ll likely play it. It’ll be a third miracle round from possibly the most unlikely underdog in Survivor history.
It’ll also be freaking hilarious.
Fun fact: Alecia has been voted for by every member of her tribe, which might be a Survivor record for someone who hasn’t gone home or deflected votes yet. This also means that she is the only one to vote correctly at both Tribal Councils, even if a vote split may have dictated the first one. This means Alecia is dictating what happens at To Tang.
Be afraid. Be very happily, delightfully, giddily afraid.
My expression whenever Sarg talks
No witty titles here, because I don’t have the patience. The fact of the matter is that Kyle “Sarg” Jason may take up three spots in my bottom ten of all time at the rate he’s going. The first episode was painful but even as my least favorite of the moment he didn’t come off as nearly as obnoxious as he did here. The crap he pulled this episode, especially in his perpetual ego stroking and his continued dehumanization of Blondie made me physically tense up in absolute disgust. If I see his smug smirk in one more new incarnation I will be redeeming the warranty on my computer and blaming the shattered screen on, I dunno, a really accurate rock breaking through the third story window. I hope the sunburn burns off his stupid air freshener tattoo before he has to actually explain to his daughter what it is- that is, if his daughter didn’t suggest it out of a six year old’s sense of humor, which is the only excusable reason for it to exist. (Which, okay, would be kind of cute, even I can admit that).
There’s no question about it, and if you don’t see it then I’m not sure what color the sky is to you to be quite honest. Kyle is a posturing jock, a schoolyard bully who sees himself as Russell and comes off somehow even worse. He sleeps while Alecia works on the fire then immediately runs out to take credit. He goes on a shalingua about what a stupid broad Blondie is in what is nothing but a stream of childish, borderline misogynistic condescension. As he laughs about feeding Blondie his own toe skin- (expletive deleted) (expletive deleted) disgusting, for the record- Blondie is potentially scrambling to take his life, but of course that small mercy can’t even be granted. We’re stuck with the same Jason crap for a third week in a row and it makes me miserable.
Let me be clear- I don’t want him to be a long term villain. I don’t want him to be a Dan Foley who gets his downfall to the point where we suffer through him in every episode. I want him to go away. If he was randomly gone next episode and it were never explained I wouldn’t give the slightest damn because his loss would make my blood pressure a lot healthier. I don’t see why people defend him besides the obvious male-says-strategy-sometimes-so-it’s-forgivable mentality that gave a man who bragged about lying about losing everything in Hurricane Katrina a fan-sponsored hundred thousand dollars. I think he’s a shit strategist with a shit attitude on a shit tribe and the sooner he goes the sooner Survivor is a better place.
Meanwhile on the smart side of things
For someone with so many distinct looks pre-Survivor, it’s strange how Scot only seems to have one facial expression at any time.
If I were giving out gameplay “Fishy”s, as in if I cared, I’d give it again to Scot Pollard. He’s still got a solid sense of control but more of a people sense and demeanor of rationality than Jason, and less cloudy bias than Cydney. I can’t tell if I like him yet or lot- he plays good cop well and seems like a nice team leader but he also enables a lot of crap behavior from people which is never fun. Still, I can’t deny that I think he’s playing a solid game, the best position on an awful tribe which is something I never expected to say about the filthy rich and brazenly open NBA player. I actually see him lasting long term and potentially playing the best “athlete game” of any of the past athletes with any notoriety.
As for Cydney, I have to say, I’m impressed with her game so far as well. It’s less Storm and more Rebecca, and I think that’s solid. Jennifer says in post-game interviews that Cydney had her hand in the women’s alliance despite a past stated distaste for Alecia and her overt weak femininity that Cydney had obnoxiously stated distaste for. It goes against what we know, and the “oh no I mean oh yes” facial reaction she had when Jennifer stated the idea, but at the same time if it is true then it’s a breath of fresh air that makes me relieved for what she’ll bring, and also impressed she avoided any fire at TC while also moving up to third in command in a tribal situation where any ground you can make is a Godsend. If it’s what is to be expected- that being, she was never in on it and went with the flow and ousted Jenny to improve her own position, then it mimicks one of my favorite underrated smart moves- Jerri ousting Danielle in HvV despite knowing Russell was irrational to make herself three out of six rather than what was pretty clearly a four out of seven situation going in. Cydney I’m not totally cool with yet, but gameplay-wise I’m impressed and I think she has potential to break my low expectations. Because, as we all know, clearly my expectations are the priority here.
(no image because that justifies his existence)
You have no clue how much of a laugh I got out of the editors absolutely erasing every trace of involvement from the exceptionally terrible tryhard attempt at a villain known as Nick or some shit. Usually the tryhards of Survivor get a lot of airtime because they’ll think we’ll laugh at them or root for their downfall rather than pleading for them to cease existing and ruining anything natural about Survivor. This time, they found a tryhard even worse than they can handle and instead of dealing with his irrelevant ass, they absolutely make him invisible. I hope they do this every episode until weirdly one day he doesn’t show up. I don’t think Nick Maiorano is a bad guy at all and I don’t think he means anything he says, but that’s the problem, and that’s what makes him an absolute crap character. Sorry, Nick, you reap what you sow.
The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same
Gondol won’t be getting nearly as many words from me as for the most part the dynamics have stayed stagnant in exchange for character moments and a reaffirming of the status quo. As it stands, the girls alliance still holds majority. Honestly, Michele seems like the only viable winner candidate to me, which is ballsy, stupid, strange, but also really right to say, even in Episode 2. Gondol is becoming the sweetheart tribe, Michele is getting airtime pointing out the dynamics but never too much (whereas Anna went from too much to absolute jack crap, basically dooming her). Julia’s also a decent dark horse, but doesn’t get quite the strategic content the others do and is just the really nice one, but thankfully for a teenage contestant is treated pretty equally and consistently. I think both could stand to be more entertaining contestants rather than just kind of pleasant, but there’s a long ways to go. I certainly prefer this beauty tribe to the absolute vat of nothing that was Solana.
Taing the Knot
“Tai and Caleb are like an old married couple” is not a quote I ever expected to be uttered in Kaoh Rong. I still have a lot, a lot, a loooooot of reservations about Caleb, whose choice to open his segment with “gaiz I am so not a homophobe” when a lot of his pre and post BB actions beg to differ is not the greatest of signs. Still, even if he’s got some harbored tension towards gay people (despite numerous BB photos that seem to the contrary) he’s put it aside and handled his interactions with Tai with a considerable amount of class, especially when it came to Tai teasing him with the stolen kiss. I’m all sorts of pansexual and even I would have probably leapt so far back I’d land in the next country if anyone pulled that on me but Caleb laughs it off with humorous shock and even gets a good one liner on it. “It’s okay, just ask next time. ;)” “May I?” “Nope.”
There’s been some comparisons to the Rudy/Richard scenes with the Tai/Caleb scenes, which is interesting considering the age reversal in the two subjects. I don’t think the Tai/Caleb scenes have the same social commentary and dynamic that the Rudy/Richard scenes did. For one, Caleb is not nearly as old for me to be as impressed that he could fight past bigotry, though if he actually is I am still happy to see it. It’s also not nearly as 2000 as it was with Borneo, where gay rights were just now starting to gain some traction and Rudy openly saying “I don’t really like queer people, but this Richard guy, he deserves respect for being great at things”, which sounds like hollow praise now in 2016 but back then was ballsy as hell for any reality TV show.
The fact of the matter is that too much time and progress has gone by for the “possibly bigoted guy becomes friends with gay people” to be such a big social statement, so instead I choose to take this at surface value. Cute scenes between two juxtaposed people having a good time together, where potential change can come from it in an individual level. Even if Caleb the actual human still comes off as a jackass, I’ve had to learn to separate real life presence from on-TV character before (hello, Mike Holloway) and with Kyle being around I don’t have the energy to complain if Caleb isn’t being portrayed accurately. I’m just glad he’s not making me vomit.
Mad Treasure Hunt
thanks to SB Nation for the image
Has there ever been anything more useless than the idol clue in a tree telling someone to dig below the tree? There was no reason for that to exist. It just seems like a waste of paper. Speaking of Tai’s wonderful idol hunt, it brought up a standard idol debate that always interested me. Is it more fair to have idols in obvious spots anyone can reach, removing difficulty for sense of equality, or is it more fair to make them work for it? I usually lean towards the latter with the former mixed in. It should be hard to obtain, but still possible for everyone. Frustratingly, this idol location seems to have a sign next to it saying “You Must Be This Alpha Male To Obtain”, which always seems to happen with idols from the day they were hidden on Exile Island.
Tai’s a good tree climber, but there’s only so much you can do. There’s no way Julia, Michelle, Anna, or even Nick could climb that tree if Tai couldn’t do it. Caleb seems to be absolutely necessary for anyone to have that idol, which seems borderline blatantly rigged. You saw how much Tai was bleeding climbing a tree that must have been at least thirty feet. I endorse the clue hunts of olden times rather than people stumbling into idols Ralph-Kiser style, but there’s a limit that keeps it from being unfair. If all idols are this unobtainable, then why waste our time? Just do what you clearly want to do and give it to Caleb, Scot, and Peter.
Error: Freshly Boiled Water Intake Low. Emotional Operations Shortcircuiting
There’s a conflict being set up between Liz and Joe that, to me, has been hard to decipher. On one hand, Joe seemed to lose his temper and also didn’t fare well with the kerosene to start a fire. On the other hand, Joe losing his temper is a very very light example of the idea. He gets a little grumpy and calmly talks about Liz’s disagreeable attributes. I think that might be an example of Joe enraged with the behavior he’s shown before. What I’m saying is, Joe’s kind of stubborn and hard to please but he’s not exactly a raging monster. Liz, on the other hand, overreacted a decent bit, which is Survivor for you, but it came off as making something from nothing. Seeing how harsh she was on Aubry for having mental strain, it’s rather fitting that she faces the same problem to the sympathy of few.
Still, it’s clear that aside from “who the hell is this Debbie lady” Joe vs Liz is the central conflict to the Brains Tribe. To me, it’s one of these two going next. Either it turns around on Liz because she isn’t seen as agreeable enough or relatable enough by camp Joe, or it’s Joe for being both old and worse at starting fires than Alecia. I still think the battle leans in favor of Team Joe, but it’s murkier now. Aubry and Peter seem to be in the middle and both seem to lean in favor of Debbie and Joe, whether as a goat or a confidant. Gondol’s edit seems to escape the clutches of TC altogether, but if another non-To Tang tribe goes to TC, it’s likely going to be this tribe, with this conflict.
Aubry Bracco and the Invisibility Cloak
Not okay, editors.
We Have The Biggest… Fraudulent Charges!
It’s very rare when editors throw in meta jokes that rely on knowing out-of-game things to be able to fully appreciate, but this episode we got two. The second one, during Tribal Council, was more obvious. Scot calmed down Jennifer by saying he knows what it’s like getting caught saying stupid things- a clear reference to his “Kids, do drugs” joke at an operating camera that got him into such notable hot water even Jeff laughed knowingly. The second, however, takes more history, because Debbie is not a celebrity, but a normal person.
Wrong term. A non-celebrity? A civilian? Everyday people?
Okay, she’s completely indefinable, so much so that not even the editors can clarify what her own career is. Still, during the Joe v Liz water argument, Debbie brags that she can tell what clean and what dirty water is simply by looking at it. This is a rather strange boast to make, because very likely the reason she’s taking care of nuns and waiting tables at Red Lobster was because in 2010, she was convicted of fraudulent charges with the laboratory she worked at, charges she pled guilty to. Why? Because they lied to a city about whether or not their water was clean to make more money.
Yeah, in the wake of Flint, Michigan, this is not a super laughing matter. However, it’s horrifyingly ballsy to the point of shocked laughter that not only does she brag about knowing clean water from tainted water, but that the editors showed it if only to get a rise out of the three fans who knew or cared about this (and yes, for better or worse I was one of them).
It’s the kind of editing that blends into a hilariously amazing streak of obnoxious, unrealistic bragging that puts even Coach to shame, where Debbie lists all the things she’s amazing at so casually it’s almost by accident, while Peter and the others actually get in some great, Brendan-esque snarking lines in the background as she parades around. It’s honestly a hilarious segment that boosts almost every character involved who’s not Becky 2.0. It certainly made me like Peter more than I did, with his less-than-innovative but still humorous line about her thirty or forty cats. Everything Debbie did this episode was hilarious, even if her novelty might wear off in the future. I honestly don’t think it will, and the rumors about her being the female Coach might ring true. It feels like a way more natural brand of crazy than the people we’re told to believe are Coach’s offspring.
Episode 3- The Circle of Life. Airs tomorrow! Here’s what to expect!
Sorry, Nick- still can’t find your relevance.
What can we expect from this episode? Little has changed, so I don’t see much reason to break it down tribe by tribe. For one, Gondol presumably stays the same as the preview is again Tai-character-centric. He’s tasked with helping kill a chicken for supper, which goes against his beliefs, but he still has to find it in him to do it anyways. On To Tang, it’s an idol hunt, because the show presumes you don’t like the characters enough to care anyways. On Chan Loh, however, the fun starts. Peter believes he and Liz are in control, and Debbie counters this by rallying Joe, who seems the most in trouble if Peter also believes he has Liz. Will millions of Republicans get to live their dream of Obama being voted out of power? Time will only tell.
The first two episodes have thus far been solid despite To Tang’s tragic boot order. Lots of shock and horror, almost exclusive focus on character, and two dynamic Tribal Councils that keep us on our toes. Meanwhile, one tribe exclusively brings cute character moments, and the other has a war brewing beneath the surface that will be explosive no matter how it goes, possibly really, truly kickstarting the game- for better or worse.
See you in two days for the Autopsy. And if, during the time between the Autopsy and Hindsight Bias, you have anything neat you want to share that might change the episode perception or teach us new things, by all means feel free to share- I’d love to hear and include it!
*laughs wickedly as I disappear into a cloud of smoke*