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Eric, our Amazing Race recapper will be taking over Survivor duties. Read his precap and then check out his full recap later!
I was going to do power rankings for season thus far but when looking over the remaining characters I found there were four groups. So each week I’m going to post a pre-cap of the previous week with a few thoughts on past events and where I think the season will be going. In the future it may include a power rankings but also it may not since Survivor can be really unpredictable.
There are the three castaways who are really in trouble and would easily bottom out on the rankings. That would be Russell, Denise, and Malcolm in that order. I have a feeling that we are losing the third tribe if they lose another challenge and the last two will be split up and each will go to one of the other tribes. This could work in their favors as it is still early and the game and thus far no one has any set in stone alliances that they have shown.
The top group would be players who have shown intelligence and ability to make a plan but try not to stick out. This group includes Jonathan, Jeff Kent, and Pete. While these three would top my rankings if I had made it once the merger starts the strong can easily be picked off and blindsided. Again while this season has started off entertaining no one has started an alliance that appears like it’ll stick to the end. I think both Jeff and Jonathan are smart enough to finally form an alliance in the coming weeks. For Pete he is doing the smart thing by quietly working both sides with an “alliance” with the stronger players on his tribe but silently making deals with Artis and Lisa.
The next group are people who have had screen time but in no way do I see them winning this game because they are either horrible strategic players thus far (RC, Michael Skupin) or are just bat shit crazy (Abi-Marie). It’s been amazing to see their day one “alliance” implode, especially considering they haven’t really been tested with Tribal Council. Abi-Marie has been given no reason to not trust the others yet she sees deception on every corner that RC stands on. I’m still trying to figure out what their argument last week was about. Sadly I’d rank Artis and Lisa above these three because I think Pete is willing to drag them along on his coattails.
The final group consists of everyone else. They have not shown enough of the other people to really judge whether they are good players or just lucky not to be on Matsing. I think once Matsing is snuffed out some of these players will evolve into more interesting players. It’s hard to fault the producers from spending more time on Matsing since they are approaching legendary status as one of the worst tribes ever.
That’s all for this pre-cap. I’ll be back later with my recap of tonight’s episode when I watch it after the West Coast feed. If you have any ideas or comments on Survivor you can hit me up on Twitter @nericmitch but if you do please don’t spend me a spoiler for tonight’s episode. I look forward to seeing what everyone thinks of the episode.
The episode starts at Matsing. It’s like watching a silent film with the sad ominous music playing while Malcolm, Denise, and Russell are shivering and looking pathetic while trying desperately to get a fire going in the rain. They looked like tributes from the Hunger Games ready to be picked off. Finally the producers allow them to speak and Malcolm says one win can change everything which obviously means they will lose. Denise has the right mindset at this point of the game knowing that she needs to be on the inside of a two person alliance while Russell keeps up his delusional thoughts that he is a great player.
We then move to Tandang were Pete shows he is a genius by getting the hidden immunity idol clue and leaving it out in the open with RC’s bag which forces RC to share the clue. Abi-Marie, who is still bat shit crazy, makes RC look like a bad and untrustworthy player when she was the one who find the idol by herself and hid the fact from RC. I love how these players bend the truth to fit how they see the world.
We then head over to Kalabaw where I still only know Jeff and Jonathan. Jeff realizes he needs to adapt to the game if he wants to survive even though he doesn’t want a veteran to win. While fishing Jeff reintroduces the idea of working with Jonathan and bringing Carter along with all three guys are interested in. Jeff gives Jonathan a manly five fingered handshake. Since last week he said he only keeps alliances that are settled on the many five fingered handshake rather than the four fingered one he used does this mean that this alliance is now ‘til death do us part. This portion of the show also made me realize that Carter always this dumbfounded face that makes him seem like he has no clue what’s going on and never seems to change.
And it you were thinking the girls of Kalabaw were stupid then you would be mistaken as these girls cannot be fooled. They clearly know that the guys have formed an alliance and they won’t be out done as they firm a girl alliance and vow to pull in more woman when they reach the merge. Dana talks about how they don’t need a man because she can do anything that they are doing like building fire and getting food. For now Kalabaw is guys for girls but only a lose at the Immunity Challenge will test how strong these new “alliances’ are. As awesome as seeing Matsing lose so bad is, the game needs another tribe to lose to add some real drama back into it.
At Matsing we are treated to some comedy as Russell searches everywhere for the idol except the top of the rice container where it actually is. I enjoyed his comments of how “people would be calling him an idiot for not finding the idol.” Some people dislike what the Hidden Idol does in in the game but I like how it the drama and suspicion it creates. Like how Malcolm and Denise, fearing that Russel may have found an idol, start checking his clothes leading Malcolm to announce that they might as well blindside him if they lose. My question: Is it really a blind side at this point?
At Tandang we discover that even cooking rice can cause a war between RC and Abi-Marie. Pete seems determined to get RC out of the game and it makes me wonder what was edited out cause I don’t understand why Pete trusts Abi-Marie more than RC. The way it is shown RC not only more trustworthy and a better competitor she actually seems sane when compared to Abi-Marie. Personally I think Pete tried to hit on RC and she turned him down causing a rift between them. It’s only a matter of time until Pete does something small like pick up the wrong coconut and Abi-Marie vows vengeance on him.
This is the point where Lisa becomes the player who slowly starts to fly under the radar and before you know it she’s in the final 4-6 castaways. People often fault these types of players but I say whatever gets you to the end is good by me. It’s just a different style of play and it doesn’t make it any less worthy of winning the game.
After the commercial break we are ready for the challenge and the establishing shot of it makes it look like an amazing challenge. One thing I miss is having two challenges per episode so I am looking forward to the show dropping to two tribes soon.
Based on the shots I expected a different type of challenge but it still looks cool. The tribes must carry two pots through a course and place them on holders and then crawl through mud to get back to the starting point. There are six pots and once all six are placed the tribes crawl through the mad again and then one member throws a wrecking ball trying to break all six pots.
The first two tribes get Immunity as well as reward: First price is Steak and fixings, while second is just veggies and both winning tribes have the option to trade for a tarp. If this was Master Chef we’d hear comments on how it can all be purchased for low, low prices at your local Wal-Mart.
It’s crazy that three people need to sit out, but that is what happens when one tribe sucks so bad. I remember Survivor: Palau when the final challenge before the merge was two vs two because the Ulong tribe never won a challenge. All the girls on Kalabaw and Tandang end up sitting out which goes against everything Dana said earlier about woman being able to compete. Being married to a strong female this made me anger that known of them stepped up to try to compete. Also they should have been forced to sit a guy to counteract Denise’s involvement but I guess Matsing is to blame for losing so much so it’s all fair.
During the challenge I kept waiting for Russell to drop a pot but it never happened. Instead it was Carter having trouble while Malcolm actually got Matsing out to an early lead. Overall it seemed like a close challenge and reality returned to normal as Russell slowly dragged himself to the mat so Malcolm can start throwing the wrecking ball. The amazing thing in this challenge was Artis coming out of nowhere to blow out the competition even taking out two pots on one throw and easily getting Tandang Immunity and Steak.
Just when it looked like Matsing might actually win one the show gave us some great editing with both Malcolm and Jeff having near misses on their last pots before Jeff skimmed the pot and then broke it as it returned to him and thus sending Matsing back to Tribal Council. Kalabaw makes the right decision and gives up the veggies for the tarp considering all the rain they have been experiencing.
It’s at this point that Russell totally loses it, screaming at God and calling Jeff Lord. He proceeds to call himself God’s perfect specimen which I am sure doesn’t please God. Bringing God into reality shows always gets to me. People need to realize that God doesn’t care about Survivor or any other reality competition. Would he really support a show that bases itself on people having to lie and cheat each other? Also there is so much more in the world that needs God’s attention. Sorry for this small rant. I won’t mention this again.
I’ll just take a another short moment to mention that I’m in Canada so I get Canadian commercials. With that said watching the commercial for a new episode of “Made in Jersey” is funny since it was cancelled earlier today. Now back to the recap.
When the show returns Denise serves as Russell’s therapist listening to Russell tell his story about not living in fear. I’m kinda of surprised the producers didn’t try to include some product placement for a couch so Russell could lay down and let it all out. The stuff about not living in fear was actually kinda inspirational but it’s not enough to change the fact that he’s played a horrible game on all levels. Also all the time he is spending letting it out should have been spent looking for the hidden idol. I don’t understand how he could have ever felt comfortable enough to not really look for it. I do credit the show for trying to add drama but I’ll be shocked if it’s not Russell going home.
Jeff shows why he kept winning Reality Host Emmy by hitting the key points of the issues with Matsing. Their lack of leadership or conhesiveness. It also left me wondering if Jeff would steal Russell’s idea of “expecting excellence” for The Jeff Probst Show.
It came down to Jeff having each explain why they should be kept and then having them explain why someone else should go home. Malcolm thinks he should stay cause they need his atheletism, Russell is not as strong as Malcolm but he has experience, and Denise has a good social game and can help ingrain the two remaining Matsing into a bigger alliance.
Next Russell argued that Malcolm is too good at challenges and they can lose him and still be ok since Russell is almost as good at challenges as Malcolm. Russell and Malcolm argue that Denise would win in the end because everyone will love her. Malcolm says the two remaining will have the best chance of going far together in the game.
It is now time to vote and they choose to show that Russell votes Malcolm and Malcolm votes Russell leaving Denise as the swing vote. Jeff asks if anyone wants to play the hidden immunity idol and God makes it thunder showing that he may actually like to at least watch Survivor. In what is likely the least suspenseful vote of the season Russell goes home and amazing he actually seems blindsided but on the bright side at least he can walk out this time.
I can’t say I’m sad to see to see Russell go. I expected more from him but looking back on his first season he was never really challenged socially before he was removed from the game. Being on Matsing really showed how poor of a player he really was and being older removed his physical style of play as he couldn’t keep up with the demands of the challenged this time. Socially he played one of the worst games ever and if it wasn’t for Zane asking to be voted out I think he would have been sent home first.
Next Time on Survivor: Matsing desperately searches for the Hidden Idol and at Kalabaw it looks like someone may be medically evacuated from the game which is kind of ironic considering the first twist this season was that returning players were ones who were medically evacuated. Again if you want to talk Survivor or Amazing Race feel free to hit me up on twitter @nericmitch or in the comments and I’ll reply. Hopefully you enjoyed my recap and the episode and I’ll see you all next Wednesday or Sunday if you also watch Amazing Race.
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