Survivor 39.8 “We Made It To The Merge”

Hi, everyone!

Last night’s two-hour episode was a frustrating one.  Yes, we’ve made it to the merge.  It’s now an individual game and this is the time when, traditionally, we start to really get to know the players.  It’s after the merge that we usually pick our favorites and decide who we want to see win the game.  Traditionally, the shows right after the merge are some of the best.

This year, however….

It was frustrating to watch and, to be honest, it’s frustrating to write about.  It’s not just that we lost two of the strongest players in the game last night.  I love Kellee and I hate the way she got voted out but, to be honest, it’s hard for me to sympathize too much with anyone who gets voted out with two immunity idols in her pocket.  By that same token, I’m even more uspet about what happened at Jamal’s tribal council but again, Jamal didn’t have to try to fool Dean with the fake Legacy advantage and, for that matter, Jamal didn’t have to waste his idol on Noura last week,  What’s frustrating is what went on while those two were being voted out.

Did I say frustrating?  Maybe I should say enraging, instead.  I nearly threw a shoe at the TV last night and it wasn’t just because my favorite players were getting voted out.

Last night’s episode was dominated by Dan.  Dan’s creepiness has been evident since the season began.  During the first episode, all of the women on the original Vokai Tribe talked about how uncomfortable Dan made them.  In fact, if Vokai hadn’t won that first immunity challenge, Dan probably would have been voted out because he made everyone so uncomfortable.  At the time, I think Dan was told that he was being too “touchy-feely” and he apologized, saying that he didn’t mean to upset anyone.

Dan didn’t change his behavior.  As we saw last night, he was still the same creepster that he’s been since the season started.  Despite what Elizabeth and Missy claimed during the second hour of last night’s show, both of them did state that Dan made them feel uncomfortable.  He made me uncomfortable while I was watching the show and reading that “producers continued to monitor the situation” didn’t make me feel any better about it.  When you’re not feeling safe, being told that people will continue to watch you feeling unsafe doesn’t do much to help.

After the merge, Kellee tried to target Dan.  She was able to get Janet, Karishma, Noura, and Jamal to vote with her.  Unfortunately, everyone else voted for Kellee.  Even Missy, who started this game talking about how she was all about girl power, voted for Kellee.  (Of course, that could be because Lauren lied and said that Kellee was targeting Missy.)  If Kellee had played one of her two immunity idols, Dan would have been voted out.  Instead, she held onto both of her idols and she was sent to the jury.  And, as much as I love Kellee, that was foolish on her part.  She should have realized that she was viewed as being the biggest threat on the beach and she should have played at least one of her idols.

After Kellee was voted out, Janet was angry.  Janet voted for Dan specifically because she was told that Missy, Elizabeth, Elaine, and Lauren would all be voting for Dan.  Janet saw the vote as being a “moral vote,” one that was being cast not for strategic reasons but because of Dan’s behavior.  Instead, back at camp, Missy, Elizabeth, and Lauren all lied and claimed that they had never approached Janet about how uncomfortable Dan was making them feel.

“It’s the most absurd accusation in the history of mankind!” Dan exclaimed, even though people have been telling him that they made him feel uncomfortable since the game began.

Ostracized by the rest of the tribe, Janet went off on her own and …. found an idol!  Good for Janet!

Meanwhile, the Island of the Idols came back into play and basically totally screwed Jamal over.  Jamal found the invite to the Island.  Upon arrival, he was informed by Boston Rob and Sandra that he had lost his vote in the tribal council.  However, Boston Rob handed Jamal a pencil and a parchment and told him to do something with it.  Jamal created a fake legacy advantage, which he handed to Dean in front of the entire tribe.  Jamal claimed that he was doing it to “make peace” with Dean but he didn’t do a very good job selling his story and, as a result, Jamal just put a bigger target on his back.

At Tribal that night, Jamal was the obvious target but most of the discussion centered around Dan.  Perhaps realizing that “monitoring the situation” was not enough, Jeff Probst called out Dan’s behavior and, at certain points, seemed to almost be begging the tribe to vote Dan out.  Dan argued that he can’t be a creepster because he’s married and has a daughter.  He also said he was a part of the film industry and that “#MeToo started in my industry!”  Meanwhile, Elizabeth and Missy continued to lie about what they had said about Dan making them feel uncomfortable.  Jamal said that times have changed and that men have to take responsibility for how their behavior makes other people feel.  Janet, at one point, seemed like she was on the verge of quitting but she didn’t.

As I watched that tribal, I found myself probably getting more ticked off than I’ve ever gotten while watching a Survivor tribal council.  Dan’s rambling and defensive monologue was bad enough.  (Instead of apologizing, he argued that everyone else was wrong for feeling uncomfortable around him.)  But then Elizabeth, Missy, and Lauren flat out lied about what they had said about Dan.  It was upsetting to watch.  Oddly enough, all of the discussion had very little to do with how the actual vote went.

Janet did play her idol.  She received two votes, from Missy and Karishma.  Missy, I’m going to assume, was angry at Janet for calling her out.  I’m not sure why Karishma voted the way that she did.

Lauren, Elaine, and Elizabeth all voted for Karishma.  The rest of the tribe voted for Jamal and, by a vote of 6-3, Jamal joined Jack and Kellee on the jury.

So, two of the strongest players are now on the jury and some of the least likable people to ever appear on the show remain in the game.  I guess I’m rooting for Janet now, though I don’t think she’s a strong enough player to make it to the end.

We’ll see what happens!

Lisa Marie

P.S. For the record, Aaron won two immunities last night and Missy won one.  (The 2nd immunity challenge featured two winners.)  Both the of the immunity challenges were intense but, in the end, neither one of them played a huge role in who went home.  That said, I can’t help but think that Aaron will be targeted the minute that he no longer has immunity.

The newest members of the Jury, Kellee and Jamal

Survivor 39.7 “I Was Born At Night But I Wasn’t Born Last Night”

Jack, the first member of the jury

I have to admit that I found myself getting really annoyed with Survivor last night.  It took me a while to figure out just why exactly I was so annoyed and finally, I narrowed it down to two things:

First off, I don’t feel like I know any of these people.  I’m still not sure who is who or how they all feel about each other.  Trying to keep track of who has an idol and who doesn’t has become nearly impossible.  So far, the show has been dominated by Boston Rob and Sandra, hanging out on their island and being snarky at tribal council.  Seven episodes in and I still don’t have any sort of emotional attachment to anyone on the show.  (I had totally forgotten Janet was even on the show until she got sent to the Island of Idols tonight.)  I don’t care about these people and, as such, I really don’t care who wins or who goes home.

Secondly, this episode featured one of those moments where Jeff Probst tried to make the argument that Survivor is a microcosm of the world at large.  This happened during tribal council, when Kellee said it was sexist for Jamal to fear an all-women’s alliance and then Noura said that there was definitely an all-women’s alliance.  Instead of asking Kellee how she felt about Noura directly contradicting her claim that there was no all-women’s alliance, Jeff went on a tangent about how Survivor really is a social experiment and how everything in the game reflect society as a whole and blah blah blah.  No offense to Jeff, who I normally adore as host, but Survivor‘s worst moments are always when it pretend to be about anything more than a group of people competing for a million dollars.  Survivor has not been a social experiment for a very long time.  It’s a reality competition show.

As for tribal, it was weird.  Kellee didn’t want her idol to go to waste so she can gave it to Dean.  (I had totally forgotten that Kellee even had an idol and I’m probably not alone in that.)  Dean was the target but, since he played his idol, none of the votes against him counted.  As a part of the deal with Kellee made with Dean, Dean then proceeded to join with Kellee in voting out Jack.  Kellee felt that Jack had too many friends and that he was a threat to make it to the end.  Kellee was probably right but it was still a shame to see him go.  Of course, Jack really isn’t gone.  He’s the first member of the jury so he’ll be around for the rest of the season.

For reasons that I still don’t get, Jamal used his idol to keep Noura safe.  No one voted for Noura.  No one was planning on voting for Noura.  Noura said she wanted an all-women’s alliance.  Jamal’s main fear is that an all-women’s alliance with take him out.  I’m not sure what was going through Jamal’s head.  Maybe he thinks Noura and the all-women’s alliance will want to work with him now.  Who knows?

Anyway, next week — it’s time for the merge!  Hopefully, after the merge, we’ll get to know these people.  Because, so far, I’m still fairly indifferent to the majority of them.

We’ll see what happens next week!

Lisa Marie

Survivor 39.6 “Suck it Up, Buttercup”

Last night’s episode of Survivor was odd.

On the one hand, Lairo finally got a night off from tribal council as the Vokai Tribe lost immunity for only the second time this season.  Elaine went from being annoying to apparently being a potentially strong player and Jason was finally voted out of the game.  People have been targeting sneaky Jason since day one so it’s not a huge surprise to see him go, though he certainly seemed shocked.

At the same time, we also spent what seemed like an eternity discussing whether or not “du-rag” is a racist term.  Over on the Lairo Tribe, Jack referred to Jamal’s buff as being a “du-rag.”  Jamal was upset because he considered “du-rag” to be a stereotypical term.  “That even a sweet kid like Jack would say ‘du-rag’ shows how racist America is,” Jamal said.

There was a lot of debate online about whether or not Jamal had a point.  I’m not going to get into it, beyond saying that Jamal certainly did seem to be upset.  Jack later apologized to Jamal and they had a conversation about why Jamal found the term to be offensive and it actually turned into quite a bonding moment between the two.  Jack and Jamal now seem to be very strong allies.

As always, the main attraction of tonight’s episode was tribal council.  The Vokai Tribe went into tribal evenly split, 4-4.  There were 4 former Lairo player and 4 former Vokai players.  Aaron, however, had told Tommy and Jason that he was open to betraying his former tribemates and joining them in voting out Elaine.

At tribal, Elaine revealed that — as a result of her earlier visit to the Island of the Idols — she had an advantage!  She could block one person’s vote and she used her power on Jason.  This led to Jason whining about how unfair it was.  Tommy started running back and forth to the original members of the Vokai Tribe and whispering to them that they needed to all vote for Elaine.  Aaron kinda nodded and then indicated to Jason that everything was going to be okay.

Well, it turns out that Aaron is a liar.  Aaron went ahead and joined the former members of Lairo in voting for Jason.  With Jason being unable to vote, the end result was a 4-3 vote to send Jason off the island.  So, the 4-4 split has been broken and the former members of the Lairo Tribe are now in charge on the Vokai Tribe.

It was a good tribal though I hate that the end result was due to a twist and an advantage.  I was really hoping to see some serious strategizing.  Instead, it was just, “Oh, we’ll just take away someone’s vote.  We win!”

Oh well.  Such is Survivor.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Lisa Marie

Survivor 39.5 “Don’t Bite The Hand That Feeds”

Tom Ladlow, the 5th to be voted out

I was really looking forward to the big tribal swap that took place last night on Survivor but I have to admit that the majority of the episode got on my nerves.

First off, there’s the fact that Survivor is now apparently sponsored by Applebee’s.  The reward challenge was a big Applebees meal and as soon as the Survivors heard the name Applebees, they started jumping up and down and screaming and I was just like, “They’re kind of overdoing it.”  Then Jeff Probst said that this was one of the biggest rewards in Survivor history: “Applebees in Fiji!”  Really, Jeff?  It reminded of Big Brother, when the houseguests have to pretend to be excited whenever Julie Chen say anything.

Secondly, there’s the fact that Karishma once again survived, even though she’s the weakest player out there.  I can understand that logic.  Karishma said that she would permanently ally herself with the members of her new tribe while Tom was still seen as being loyal to the old Lairo Tribe.  But still, Karishma is such a weak player and doesn’t even seem to be trying to be anything other than a drag in challenges and I have this fear that she’s going to get carried to the final, just because everyone will fell that she’ll be easy to beat.

Finally, nobody went the Island of the Idols last night.  I don’t think Island of the Idols is a great twist, to be honest.  But if you’re going to go through all the trouble of building statues of Boston Rob and Sandra, you should at least use them.

As for the tribal shakeup, here’s where everyone ended up.

The New Lairo Tribe

Tom (Former Lairo)

Karishma (Former Lairo)

Dean (Former Lairo)

Janet (Former Vokai)

Kellee (Former Vokai)

Jack (Former Vokai)

Noura (Former Vokai)

Jamal (Former Vokai)

The New Vokai Tribe

Lauren (Former Vokai)

Jason (Former Vokai)

Tommy (Former Vokai)

Dan (Former Vokai)

Aaron (Former Lairo)

Elisabeth (Former Lairo)

Missy (Former Lairo)

Elaine (Former Lairo)

Since the new Vokai tribe has four from the Lairo Tribe and 4 from the old Vokai tribe, it would have been interesting to see them go to tribal.  Instead, the new Lairo Tribe lost immunity (largely due to Karishma) and they went to tribal where the members of the original Lairo Tribe where outnumbered by the old Vokai members.  Despite Tom and Dean trying to get everyone on board with getting rid of Karisma, the original Vokai members all voted for Tom.

And so, Karishma survives again, despite bringing nothing to the game.


Lisa Marie



Survivor 39.4 “Plan Z”

Well, Survivor really teased us last night by making us think that we were going to get a huge, dramatic, legendary tribal council.

Unfortunately, we were let down.  It’s not really the show’s fault.  It’s not their fault that Lairo lost yet another immunity challenge, their third of the season.  As Sandra put it, Lairo “really likes tribal council.”  Unfortunately, since we spent the majority of the episode with the Vokai Tribe and watching Noura play her unique version of the game, the Lairo Tribal felt  bit anti-climatic.  In the end, they just voted out Chelsea because no one but Dean was attached to her.  Which …. eh.  That’s interesting logic, I guess.

As I said, all the interesting stuff happened over at Vokai.  When the boat arrived to take a member of the tribe to the Island of the Idols, it was announced that the tribe could either unanimously chose someone or they could draw a name from the bag.  It turned out that no one wanted to go to the island because of the target it would put on their back.  Finally, Noura announced that she’d love to go!  Perhaps looking forward to the prospect of not having to deal with Noura for a day, the tribe agreed.

Noura went to the island.  She met Boston Rob and Sandra.  Boston Rob and Sandra spent a lot of time trying to explain to Noura why it’s important to maintain your focus while playing the game.  It appeared that Noura spent the entire meeting talking over Rob and Sandra.  Finally, Noura was told that the next immunity challenge would be the one where almost the entire tribe was blindfolded, with the exception of the caller.  The caller, of course, would be the one directing the group through a maze and then instructing them how to put a puzzle together.

The challenge was this: Noura had to convince the tribe to make her the caller.  If she became the caller, she would gain the power to block someone else’s vote at her next tribal council.  If she didn’t become the caller, she would lose her vote at her next tribal.

Well, Noura quickly agreed to the challenge, even though there’s no way anyone would ever assign such an important role to someone like Noura.  Noura then rushed back to her tribe and told them that she could tell them about the next immunity challenge but only if they agreed to make her the caller.  The tribe was a bit skeptical but they said, “sure.’  Noura then told them that it was a blind-folded challenge.  They practiced for a bit with Noura as caller.  It was a disaster.

At the immunity challenge, Jeff asked Vokai who would be sitting out.  “Noura,” they all said, showing that they didn’t believe Noura’s lie that, because she had told them about the challenge, they were required to make her the caller.  Instead, Jason served as the caller and he did such a good job that there was never any danger of Vokai not winning the challenge.

And so, Lairo went to tribal again.  Karishma was the obvious target.  Aaron wanted to get out Dean for reasons that were never really clear.  Since they couldn’t agree on whether to vote out Karishma or Dean, the majority of the tribe just voted for Chelsea instead.

In the end, it was a 6-2 vote.  Dean and Chelsea voted for Karishma.  Everyone else voted for Chelsea.

In other news, Jamal of the Vokai Tribe found an immunity idol.  With the island of the idols and then the regular idols, I’m having a hard time keeping track of who has what.  But, for now, Jamal has an idol.

Next week, the tribes are reshuffled!  It’s about time.

Lisa Marie

Survivor 39.3 “Honesty Would Be Chill”

How, in this day and age, do you still leave Survivor with an idol in your pocket?

Seriously, I thought Vince was going to be one of the major players this season but last night proved me wrong.  Boston Rob and Sandra were as impressed with him as well but it turns out that they were wrong too.

At first, I had a hard time following all of the twists and turns that led to Vince getting voted out but, rewatching the show, I saw that it was all pretty simple.  The women’s alliance on the Vokai Tribe is still going strong and the men are apparently either too dumb or too arrogant to understand that, for the time being, they’re going to get voted off one-by-one.  Tonight was Vince’s turn because, by going to the Island of the Idols, he aroused everyone’s suspicions.  Vince didn’t play his idol because he was foolishly confident that Tom was the target.  What’s silly is that Vince’s idol was only good for two tribals, anyway.  He might as well have just gone ahead and used it to be safe.

Vince worked pretty hard to get that idol, too.  Boston Rob and Sandra assigned him to go to the Lairo Tribe and steal their fire.  If Vince managed to do it without getting caught, he’d get an idol.  If he didn’t, he’d lose his vote.  Of course, when Vince got to the camp, it was raining and the fire had gone out.  So, he collected some ashes instead.  Boston Rob and Sandra accepted the ashes in place of fire, which took me by surprise.  Personally, I would have said, “The rain put the fire out?  Tough.  Your lesson tonight: Survivor, like life, is unfair.”

But no.  They give Vince his idol and talked about what a strong player he was.  And then Vince promptly got voted out, with all the women voting for Vince, all of the other men voting for Karishma, and Vince voting for Tom.  Survivor is a numbers game and right now, the women have got the numbers.  Bye, Vince!

The other big development last night is that, if the women’s alliance is going to break apart, it’s probably going to be due to Karishma, who now dislikes everyone on the tribe.  I don’t really blame her.  She cut her finger open with a machete (!) and everyone just kind of stared at her while she was on the ground bleeding.  That would have upset me as well.  For her part, Karishma said that she is now looking forward to voting out everyone on the tribe.

So, the Vokai Tribe is now down by one but the Lairo Tribe is still fairly dysfunctional so that could always change.  As well, during tribal council, there was a lot of discussion about a possible tribal shuffle and how that would effect everyone’s game.  So, no one should be feeling too confident right now or they might be the next person to get totally blindsided.

Lisa Marie

Survivor 39.2 “YOLO, Let’s Play”

Molly Byman, the 2nd person voted out of Survivor: Island of the Idols

If last week’s premiere was all about what a terrible tribe Lairo was, last night’s episode of Survivor was all about how Vokai isn’t much better.

As was quickly revealed last night, the Vokai Tribe wasn’t as unified as they initially appeared to be.  Noura was getting on everyone’s nerves with her annoying personality.  (The montage of her complaining was amusing but can you imagine being stuck with someone like that 24 hours a day?)  Everyone was still suspicious of Jason and concerned that he might have found an idol.  I assume Dan was still creepy, even though the show seems to have abandoned that plot point for now.  Molly, Jamal, and Jack formed a three-person alliance and Noura was upset about it, primarily because Molly was prettier than her.

Seriously, there’s a lot of possible reasons for why the Vokai Tribe voted out Molly at their first tribal council.  Noura claimed it was because the alliance of three had to be broken up and that Molly was so charismatic that she was a dangerous player.  And Noura and Jason did have every right to be concerned because Jamal, Molly, and Jack were targeting Jason for elimination.  But, in the end, it seems like the main reason Molly was voted out was because Molly was prettier than the rest of the tribe.  It was all very high schoolish.

For the record, the vote broke down as follows.  Jason, Jamal, and Molly all voted for Jason.  The rest of the tribe — Janet, Jason, Creeptser Dan, Kellee, Lauren, Noura, and Tommy — all voted for Molly.  Tommy seemed a bit uncertain about who we would vote for but, in the end, he voted for Molly.  Noura clearly outhustled Jason, Jamal, and Molly when it came to soliciting votes.  That’s why you don’t allow yourself to take anything for granted in Survivor.

In other developments, Kellee was the 2nd player to go to the Island of the Idols and, unlike what happened with Elizabeth last week, she actually won the competition!  Now, it should be pointed out that Kellee’s challenge was a lot easier than what Elizabeth was expected to do.  Elizabeth had to beat Rob in a firemaking contest.  Kellee just had to answer some Sandra trivia questions, the answers to which should have been known to anyone who watched any of Sandra’s previous three seasons.  Still, what’s important is that Kellee won an idol that will be good for the next three tribal councils.  When Kellee returned to the beach, she told everyone about Rob and Sandra but she didn’t tell anyone about the idol.

Meanwhile, over in Lairo, Aaron was upset that he wasn’t clued in on previous tribal council’s blindside.  And Chelsea found an immunity idol, which I guess is good for the entire game.  (I was really kind of hoping that the game would limit the idols to just the Island of the Idols.)  We didn’t spend much time with the Lairo Tribe but the show’s editors really seem to be emphasizing the confidence of the all-girl’s alliance.  I can only assume that means the alliance is heading for a dramatic collapse in a future episode.

We’ll see what happens next week!

Lisa Marie