Survivor 40.14 “It All Boils Down To This”

Well, that’s that.

Last night, the 40th season of Survivor came to an end.  Natalie won the right to reenter the game.  Denise and Ben were voted out in the next two tribal councils.  Natalie won the final immunity challenge and selected Michele to come with her.  Sarah and Tony made fire and Tony’s fire burned through the string first.  Tony made it to the final three and he won the title of sole survivor.

There were 16 jurors, basically the entire cast with the exception of the final three and Sandra.  Tony received 12 votes.  Jeremy, Tyson, Parvati, and Ethan all voted for Natalie.  No one voted for Michele, which I think was unfair.  Michele played a good game but I don’t think the jury ever saw that and she didn’t make her case loudly enough during the final tribal council.

In the end, though, Tony deserved the win.  Of the final three players, he played the best game.  Really, from the merge onward, Tony pretty much controlled the game.  There were some angry people on the jury but most of them were able to set aside their hurt feelings and base their vote on gameplay instead of emotions.  I think that’s the advantage of having a jury made up of returning players instead of newbies.

It’s going to be a while until we have a new season of Survivor.  Because of the COVID-19 lockdown, the show’s production has been temporarily suspended but, last night, Jeff Probst promised us that Survivor would return and I’m looking forward to it.  Winners at War was a good season and it was one that reminded us of why we love Survivor.  Don’t get me wrong.  I hated the Edge of Extinction twist and I would have thrown a fit if Natalie had managed to win the game.  And I still think they need to do a season without idols.  But, with all that in mind, Survivor 40 was still a blast, featuring all of the twists and blindsides that you could hope for from a season of Survivor.

Well, that concludes this round of Survivor coverage.  Thanks for reading and commenting!  Next week, our coverage begins of The Amazing Race.

As for Big Brother, I don’t know when it’s coming back.  Whenever I hear something, I’ll post it.

Thanks for reading!

Lisa Marie

 

Survivor 40.13 “”The Penultimate Step of the War”

We had two hours of Survivor last night.  Usually, I love the big, 2-hour shows because something unexpected usually happens.  Last night, though, it was pretty much two hours of the expected.  “Expect the unexpected?” as Julie Moonves might say, “Not last night.”

We had two tribal councils and there really was never any suspense as to who would be voted out.  Tony and Sarah are united and they’re both running the show right now.  They were more comfortable working with Ben than with Jeremy or Nick and, as a result, both Jeremy and Nick were voted out last night.  That leaves poor Michele without an ally in the game.  Unfortunately, Michele also wasted her only advantage last night.  She flipped her 50/50 coin and was ruled safe but it turned out that she really didn’t need to do it.

For those keeping track, Nick won the first immunity challenge and then Michele won the second. At the first tribal council, Denise and Sarah voted for Michele, Jeremy and Michele voted for Ben, and Nick made the fateful decision to team up with Ben and Tony and voted for Jeremy.  Jeremy was exiled with a 3-2 vote.   At the 2nd tribal council, Nick and Michele voted for Denise.  Everyone else voted for Nick and Nick was exiled on a 4-2 vote.

I was hoping that we would at least see someone return from Edge of Extinction last night but we didn’t.  That bothered me, to be honest.  The show ended on a cliffhanger and it didn’t feel right to me.  Of course, I have to admit that I don’t really like the whole idea of Edge of Extinction.  I don’t mind someone reentering the game at the merge because the entire game changes when the tribes merge into one.  But letting someone reenter the game at the very last minute feels unfair to me.  We all remember what happened the last time with Edge of Extinction.  Some guy who wasn’t even in the game for the majority of the season won and the totally awesome Rick Devens was cheated out of the final three sport that he deserved.

The finale is next week and here’s who we have left:

Tony and Sarah.  It’s pointless to think of these two as being separate player.  They are Cops Are Us and they’ve pretty much got control of the game right now.  Tony is talkative and funny.  Sarah is boring.  I think Sarah probably has the better chance of winning because she’s allowed Tony to do all of her dirty work for her.

Ben.  Ben has a reputation for being a great player but he’s really not.  The last time he was on, the producers had to introduce the fire-making challenge just to get him into the final three.  He has a terrible social game and it’s hard to think of anything decisive that he’s done this season.

Denise.  Denise was a lot more likable when she was allied with Malcolm.  She’s gotten a bit self-righteous this season and I’m a little tired of listening to her brag about blindsiding Sandra.  (Sandra was one of the most overrated players in the history of the game and she came into Winners at War with a cocky attitude and not much else.  If Denise hadn’t taken her out, someone else would have.)

Michele.  I hope Michele wins just because she’s so underestimated and has never gotten the credit that she deserved for her previous win.  Unfortunately, Michele doesn’t have any allies left in the game but she will have a lot of allies on the jury so she’s going to be a natural target over the next few immunity challenges.  She’s going to have to win next week’s immunity challenges to make it to the final three and, despite her victory last night, challenges have never been what Michele is strongest at.

And then, we’ll have whoever comes back from Exile.  If the castaways are smart, they’ll vote out whoever returns as soon as they return.  Whoever returns from Exile has spent weeks bonding with the members of the jury.  There’s no way anyone should want to sit next to the player during the Final Three.

We’ll see what happens!  Overall, this has been a good season so I hope we have a good finale to go with it!

Lisa Marie

 

Survivor 40.12 “Friendly Fire”

Last night, Survivor gave us another chaotic tribal council.

In fact, it was so chaotic — with everyone jumping up and whispering to one another — that it actually made it seem like more was happening than actually did happen.  When I rewatched the tribal council this morning, I discovered that — for all of the scheming and the paranoia — nothing really changed.  Everyone who said that they were going to vote for Jeremy voted for Jeremy.  Everyone who Tony approached about voting for Kim voted for Kim.  By a vote of 5-3, Kim was voted out of Survivor.

And really, that’s the way it almost always goes.  The Survivor editors are very good at making things looks more suspenseful than they actually are.  Usually, people show up at tribal council with a plan and they stick to that plan, regardless of what is said during the council.

When last night’s episode started, Kim was all fired up to take out Tony.  However, Kim made sure that everyone knew that she wanted to take out Tony so it’s not surprising that Tony decided to come after her instead.  Kim has a reputation for being one of the stronger “recent” winners, though I think she clearly benefited from not having a lot of strong competition during her previous season.  She’s spent most of Winners at War struggling and that continued last night.

The big news from last night is that Kim, Michele, and Nick all voluntarily dropped out of the immunity challenge so that they could eat.  (Nick at lest managed to negotiate getting a fire token from Tony before doing so.)  By dropping out, the three of them essentially handed immunity to Denise and (for the third week in a row), Tony.  Meanwhile, over on Edge of Extinction, the exiled players spent the day exhausting themselves by carrying coconuts from one side of the island to the other.  Even when it was apparent that he wasn’t going to win, Rob kept going “as a matter of pride.”  That was quite a contrast to the people still in the game.

With Tony safe, Kim and Ben wanted to target Jeremy.  Tony wanted to target Kim and eventually, he and Jeremy were able to get Ben to come over to their side.  Tribal was messy, largely because Tony got paranoid about whether or not everyone was going to vote the way that they said they were going to vote.  Tony got it into his head that Sarah was going to be targeted.  Tony started to play his idol for Sarah but then Sarah told him not to.  Jeremy then started to play the 50/50 idol that Michele gave him but, at the last minute, decided not to.  So now, everyone knows that Tony and Jeremy have idols.

For all that drama, though, the vote went the way it was expected to.

Michele, Denise, and Kim voted for Jeremy.  (Though Michele voted for Jeremy, she still gave him her idol so that he could potentially be safe.)

Tony, Sarah, Nick, Jeremy, and Ben all voted for Kim.

FInal vote, 5 for Kim and 3 for Jeremy.  Kim was sent to the Edge of Extinction.

Next week, we have a two-hour episode and then the finale is the week after that!

Lisa Marie

Survivor 40.11 “This is Extortion”

Well, having rewatched last night’s episode of Survivor, I really only have two thoughts:

First off, Tony is obviously back to being a force of chaos.  Ever since the merge, he had actually been playing a rather lowkey game, sticking with his alliance and not disappearing into the woods.  Last night, the old Tony emerged and it actually paid off for him.

Tony went into the woods and managed to find an idol.  Tony decided to do his undercover detective thing and tried to convince the minority alliance of Jeremy, Michele, Kim, Denise, and Nick that he was with him.  This, however, led to Tony deciding that he actually would be with them.  Then Parvati and Natalie sent Tony a disadvantage from Edge of Extinction, which required Tony to pay 6 fire tokens if he wanted to compete for immunity and vote at tribal council.  Tony managed to get some tokens from Jeremy, Nick, and Ben in order to pay off the debt.  That required a lot of old school hustling on Tony’s part.  (It also showed how unpopular Tony is with two potential members of the jury, which should concern him.)

Then, at the immunity challenge, Tony won his second immunity in a row!  Going into tribal with safety around his neck, Tony decided it was time to pull off a blindside and, in the process, prevent a different blindside from happening.  When he discovered that Kim and Denise were planning on turning on Jeremy, he went to Jeremy, Michele, and Nick and came up with a plan to blindside Sophie instead.

The other big lesson from last night’s episode is that you can’t allow yourself to get complacent on Survivor.  Sophie left with an idol in her pocket because she allowed herself to get complacent with her place in the game.  Even with all the sign that she was about to get blindsided, Sophie still didn’t play the idol and, as a result, she was voted out.  It was kind of a shame because, up until the past few episodes, Sophie had been playing a pretty strong game.

For the record, here’s how the vote broke down:

Ben, Denise, and Sophie all voted for Jeremy.

In case Jeremy had an idol, Kim and Sarah voted for Michele.

Tony, Nick, Jeremy, and Michele, however, all stuck together and voted for Sophie.

The end vote was: Sophie – 4, Jeremy — 3, and Michele — 2.  As a result, Sophie was sent to Edge of Extinction.

We’ve got 3 episodes left and then the Amazing Race will be taking over the time slot!

See you next week,

Lisa Marie

 

Survivor 40.10 “The Full Circle”

Last night was the dreaded family visit episode.  This is the episode where the loved ones emerge from the jungle and everyone stands on the beach crying as if they’ve been away at war for a year as opposed to filming a reality show for a little less than a month.  Some people like these episodes.  I always find them be a bit mawkish and sometimes even a little smarmy.  Some of the contestants on Winners at War are making their fourth and fifth appearances on Survivor so, by this point, they should be used to abandoning their families for a month.

This season was unique in that the families didn’t have to compete in anything and the Edge of Extinction crew got to see their families as well.  The entire first half of the show was just people hugging and crying,  Again, I know some people probably loved it but for me, it was just filler.

The second half of the show was a bit better.  First off, Tony V. won immunity.  I’m not even a Tony fan but I was still impressed by his victory because it was a challenge that required patience and even Tony admitted that it wasn’t the type of challenge that you would normally expect him to win.  The fact that Tony did win it shows that, perhaps, he’s grown up a little bit.  If nothing else, he finally modified his style enough to win something.  Apparently, this is the first individual immunity that he’s ever won.

Tribal was fun, with all of the usual whispering and scheming.  Kim nearly pulled off a huge blindside but she made one mistake.  Basically, going into tribal, it was Denise, Jeremy, Tyson, and Kim vs. everyone else.  Three advantages were played:

  1. Jeremy played his “leave tribal early” advantage.  He was allowed to head back to camp before the vote.  Therefore, he could not be voted out but he lost his vote, which meant his alliance was even more outnumbered than before.
  2. Sarah played her steal a vote advantage and took away Denise’s vote.
  3. After the vote, Kim played her immunity idol for Denise.

At first, it looked like Kim’s plan was going to work.  Denise did get two votes and it looked like Sophie might get blindsided.  However, all of the rest of the votes that were read were for Tyson.  The majority alliance split their vote between Denise and Tyson and Kim made the mistake of thinking that, because Sarah stole Denise’s vote, Denise would be the primary target.  Instead, by a vote of 5-2, it was Tyson who was sent back to the Edge of Extinction.

Again, Kim came really close to pulling something off.  If Jeremy hadn’t left and had stayed to vote for Sophie and if Kim had played her idol for Tyson, then Sophie would have been blind-sided.  But that didn’t happen and Tyson did not look very happy about the results.

Only two more episodes left!

Lisa Marie

P.S. I may not have cared much about the family visits but the big group hug that the jury gave to Jeff Probst at the end of tribal council was sweet.

Survivor 40.9 “War Is Not Pretty”

Well, we all know it was going to happen at some point, didn’t we?

Adam won his first season by being a weasel.  He tried the same strategy in Survivor 40 but this time, he was playing against experienced players who knew better than to underestimate him.  I can’t say that I was shocked to see Adam voted out last night.  Stabbing everyone in the back and then having a meltdown during tribal council is never a good strategy.  Even though Adam was right about the way that Ben’s playing the game, Adam betrayed too many people for him to not be the target.  Adam did make a heroic attempt to play a part of the voting podium as an immunity idol but it did not work (largely because it was just a part of the podium and not an idol) and Adam was sent out of the game by a vote of 8-2-1.  (Adam voted for Sarah.  Sarah and Denise voted for Nick, who was the original target before Adam freaked out.  Everyone else voted for Adam.)

It wasn’t an unexpected result but it was still an entertaining tribal council.  It’s always fun when everyone starts whispering among themselves before the vote.  As I mentioned, Nick was the original target but Adam dug his own grave.  Nick may or may not make to the end but, right now, he’s having a streak of good luck.  Every time that he’s a target, someone else self-destructs.

I honestly thought that Sarah would be the target last night.  Though she was on the team that won the reward challenge, she gave her prize of Chinese takeout to Nick.  She said that she did it out of the kindness of her heart, because Nick is on the outside and had just celebrated a birthday.  Her actions made everyone suspicious of her.  Nick repaid her by voting for her.  That’s Survivor, for you.

Meanwhile, on Edge of Extinction, Parvatti and Denise found a 50/50 advantage — a big coin that you flip at tribal council to determine whether or not you’re safe that night.  They sold it to Michele for 4 fire tokens.  Michele probably wouldn’t have purchased it except that, during the Chinese Takeout reward, her fortune cookie told her to take a risk.  Basing your strategy on a fortune cookie is definitely a good idea that will not backfire.

So, Adam is now out of the game.  We’ll see who joins him next week!

Lisa Marie

Survivor 40.8 “This Is Where The Battle Begins”

Well, the merge is here.

All three tribes are now one big tribe and, joining them last night, was Tyson.  The folks at Edge of Extinction finally got their chance to compete to reenter the game.  It was one of those competitions where you had to go through an obstacle course and then navigate a ball through a hole.  I like Amber but I knew that there was no way she was going to be a factor in this competition and she wasn’t.  I don’t like Natalie and I cringed when it looked like she was on the verge of winning but then Natalie dropped her ball and had to start all over again.

At first, I wanted Rob to win because he’s Boston Rob.  Then I wanted Yul to win, just because Yul is likable and he’s an underdog.  In the end, Tyson won and I guess that’s okay.  I’ve never really been as big a fan of Tyson as some people are.  Jeff Probst always insists that Tyson is one of the best players ever but I really don’t see it.  Still, Tyson was smart enough to lay low and not draw attention to himself after reentering the game.  That was a good move on his part.

So, here are the members of the new Koru Tribe:

Wendell

Tyson

Sophie

Jeremy

Ben

Michele

Adam

Sarah

Kim

Denise

Tony

Nick

During the traditional post-merge feast, Denise made the mistake of bragging about how she got rid of Sandra, which automatically put a target on her back.  Meanwhile, Jeremy and Wendell bonded and Jeremy came up with a plan to form an alliance of “big targets” — himself, Tyson, Ben, Tony — that would then target the smaller targets.  Meanwhile, Sophie got annoyed with Jeremy trying to control everything and started thinking about targeting him.

At the immunity challenge, the castaways had to hang onto a pole for as long as they could.  The last man and the last woman to still be hanging on the pole won immunity.  The challenge was won by Jeremy and Denise, which meant that the two biggest targets in the tribe were both safe at tribal council.

Jeremy wanted to vote out Nick but he soon discovered that the rest of the tribe had decided to vote out Wendell.  Though Jeremy tried to change their minds, he ultimately went along with the majority.  It did briefly appear that Wendell might be saved by the fact that no one trusts Adam but, in the end, Wendell was the one who was blindsided at tribal.  The final vote 9 votes for Wendell and 3 votes for Adam.  (Those 3 votes came from Wendell, Nick, and Michele.)  Wendell split his two fire tokens between Nick and Michele and then headed to the Edge of Extinction where he — and the other players — will wait for their chance to reenter the game.

I don’t know that Wendell being voted out is going to have a huge impact on the game but Adam is probably going to freak out over getting those three votes.  It’ll be interesting to see how he handles it next week.

Lisa Marie

Survivor 40.7 “We’re in the majors”

Congratulations, Yul.  You played yourself.

Last night’s episode of Survivor felt a bit disjointed.  Following around four tribes — Sele, Dakal, Yara, and the Edge of Extinction folks — means that there’s a lot to try to cram into just 45 minutes.  The first half of the show was dominated by the Edge of Extinction people looking for fire tokens and Sandra deciding to raise the flag and leave the show.  (Sandra is the first person to actually leave the game this season.)

“I’m still the queen,” Sandra said.  Yeah, Sandra.  The queen doesn’t quit.

As for last night’s Edge of Extinction fire token search, Tyson found one.  Rob found three.  Ethan’s looking really ill and I’m kind of worried about him.  The show is either setting him up for a big comeback or else he’s going to voluntarily leave next week.

Meanwhile, back in the main game, the Yara Tribe may be doing well in immunity challenges but they’re still the most consistently annoying tribe.  Ben, who really only won his season because the producers added that last minute fire-making twist, is acting like a jerk.  Adam is a whiny little brat.  Sophie and Sarah both think that they’re more clever than they are.  Bleh.  Let’s move on.

On the Dakal Tribe, Tony is trying to be everyone’s friend.  No one trusts Tony.  Sorry, Tony.

And on the Sele Tribe, it’s more Michele/Wendell relationship drama!  I will say right now that I cringe for everyone on that tribe.  If it’s awkward watching Michele/Wendell for a few minutes every week, I can only imagine what it must have been like to live with them.  The problem is that Wendell is overly emotional and takes everything personally while Michele is essentially the exact same way.  They’re like the couple who you invite to your party because you feel obligated but you dread the idea of them actually showing up.

The Sele Tribe again went to tribal council and there was never really any doubt that Yul would be voted out.  He probably could have gotten everyone to vote out Wendell if he hadn’t revealed his own deeply manipulative streak with his plan to trick Wendell into giving Michele and Yul his fire tokens.  Seeing that side of Yul obviously freaked out Nick and Nick sided with Michele and Wendell in the vote.  By a vote of 3-1, Yul was sent to Edge of Extinction.

Next week — it’s the merge!  And I’m going to assume that someone will soon be returning from the Edge of Extinction.

We’ll see what happens!

Lisa Marie

P.S. Is everyone taking care of themselves?  I hope so!  I look forward to watching many more seasons of Survivor with all of you!

Survivor 40.6 “Quick on the Draw”

Is everyone happy now?  I know I am.

Seriously, since this season started, we’ve all been wondering, “Why are they not targeting Sandra?”  Sandra does not help out around camp.  She does not compete in any of the challenges.  She spends all of her time bragging about how she’s going to betray everyone.  She’s already won the game twice.  Why was no one targeting her?

Well, last night, someone finally did target her.  Someone finally took out that Queen and the fact that it was the always underestimated Denise who did it made it all the more enjoyable.  When the Dakal Tribe went to tribal council, Sandra knew that Denise would be using an idol to protect herself.  When Sandra cast her vote for Denise, she even told the camera that it was just for show and that she knew Denise would be safe.

Denise proceeded to play an idol for herself.  And then she played another idol for Jeremy.  How was she able to play not one but two idols?  Denise bought an idol from Sandra.  She paid Sandra two fire tokens for it and allowed Sandra to believe that she would be casting her vote for either Tony or Jeremy.  In fact, during Tribal, Tony buried his head in his hands, convinced that Denise had probably voted for him and that he was about to get exiled as a result.  Instead, Denise voted for Sandra and a very shocked-looking Sandra headed off to Exile.  Sandra sent her two fire token to Yul before she left.

Seriously, I never expected that sort of ruthlessness from Denise.  But Denise can now claim to have taken out a “big threat.”  That’ll be good for her game if she makes it to the final three.  It’ll be bad for her game if any of Sandra’s former allies at the Edge of Extinction makes it back into the competition.

Last night, we got two tribal councils.  The other tribe to go to Tribal was the Sele Tribe.  On that tribe, there was never much doubt that the men — Wendell, Nick, and Yul — would stick together and vote out Parvati.  Parvati did try to convince the men that Wendell couldn’t be trusted but it didn’t work.  By a vote of 3-2, Parvati was sent to Edge of Extinction.

The most interesting thing about the Sele Tribe was seeing just how much Michele and Wendell hate each other.  They used to date and obviously, they had a very bad breakup.  I’m expecting we’ll see a lot more pettiness next episode.

And that’s it for now!  Sandra and Parvati are out of the game.

Lisa Marie

Survivor 40.5 “The Buddy System on Steroids”

Hey y’all!

I’m back!  After my two-week vacation (and thank you, Erin, for filling in! — didn’t she do a wonderful job?), I have returned to discover that all of my favorites keep getting voted out of Survivor.  First Ethan.  Then …. well, I’m not really a huge Tyson fan but still, he could be entertaining.  And now, Boston Rob.

To be honest, I kind of knew Rob was going to be voted out last night.  From the start of the episode, there were way too many scenes of Rob talking about how he was in control of the game for him to be safe.  Whenever you start getting the “cocky edit,” your days on the beach are numbered.  It’s interesting.  Rob has played this game several times.  Once, he came in second.  The other time, he won.  Every other time, he’s been blindsided.  It’s never taken an immunity idol or any other twist to get rid of Rob.  Instead, he just gets too cocky and people end up taking advantage of it.

At least Rob gets to join Amber in exile now.  I’ll be interesting to see how the two of them being together changes the group dynamic over there.

The other big news from last night’s episode is that we now have three tribes instead of two.  New buffs were drawn and new tribes were created.  Here’s how it all breaks down right now:

Yara:

Boston Rob — Voted out last night

Sophie — Has half of an immunity idol

Sarah — Has a steal a vote advantage and half of an immunity idol

Ben

Adam

Dakal:

Jeremy

Sandra

Kim

Denise

Tony

Sele:

Nick

Parvati

Yul

Wendell

Michele

Michele is now on a tribe with her ex-boyfriend, Wendell.  We had to hear a lot about that last night and I’m sure we’ll hear even more about it as the game progresses and it’s going to probably get kind of annoying, truth be told.  Along with the Michele-Wendell relationship drama, we got to watch as everyone on the Sele Tribe tried to get on Parvati’s good side.  Nick announced that he had a crush on Parvati which was maybe one of the most awkward things I’ve ever seen on Survivor.

Meanwhile, on the Dakal Tribe, Kim is thinking about changing sides and working with Denise and Jeremy to take out Sandra and Tony.

This week, only one tribe went to tribal council.  Next week, two tribes will go and we’ll have two more people joining the Rob and the gang in exile.

We’ll see what happens!

I’m happy to be back.

Lisa Marie