I have watched 32 seasons of Survivor. I have laughed. I have cheered. I have gotten mad and I’ve thrown things at the television. However, I think that tonight’s episode may have been the first time that I’ve ever found myself in tears while watching Survivor.
Have you seen the latest episode yet? If you haven’t watched it yet, stop right now, Stop reading this post and go watch it. Because, unless you’ve seen this episode and experienced it firsthand, you cannot understand the emotions that I and thousands of others are feeling right now.
I mean, we all knew that someone was going to be medically evacuated during tonight’s episode. They told us that much in last week’s preview. As I waited for tonight’s episode to start, I tried to guess who it would be.
I was certain it would be a member of the Brains Tribe because, physically, they are the weakest tribe. I thought maybe it would be Joe because he’s older than the other castaways or maybe Aubry since she already seems to be way too fragile for this game. A part of me really hoped that it would be someone from the Brawn Tribe, hopefully either Jason or Scot. Wouldn’t that have been wonderful, to see one of the two self-styled alpha males collapse under the demands of competition?
Tonight’s episode started with a reward challenge. It was a grueling competition. In fact, I would argue that the reward — coffee and cups — wasn’t really worth the effort. Along with running an obstacle course, the teams had to dig in a huge sand pit until they found three bags of balls. It was a hot morning and, within a few moments of the competition, it was obvious that everyone was suffering.
The Brain Tribe found their bags first and, after throwing each of the 9 balls into a hole, they easily won the challenge. While the other two tribes were still searching for their bags, the Brain Tribe was celebrating their victory. That’s when Debbie collapsed and I thought, “Oh my God, Debbie’s going to be evacuated!” Debbie leaving the game would have definitely been a huge development (for one thing, Joe would have no idea who to take his orders from) but, after the medical team checked her out, Debbie managed to recover.
(As I’ve made clear in the past, I’m not a fan of Debbie’s but I wouldn’t wish any harm on her. Heat stroke is no joke.)
Meanwhile, the Beauty Tribe found their bags and Caleb started tossing the balls. When he was finally down to having only one ball left, the Brawn Tribe finally found their bags and started tossing. And the Brawn Tribe made up a lot of lost ground but finally, Caleb won the competition for the Beauty Tribe…
And then he collapsed.
And, seriously, it was one of the scariest moments that I’ve ever seen on Survivor. The medical team ran over to Caleb and tried to get him to respond. Tai started to cry and Caleb — big, strong Caleb — looked so helpless down on the ground.
And then Cydney collapsed. The medical team checked on Cydney and it quickly became obvious that she would be okay, Caleb, on the other hand, had to be medically evacuated. When Jeff told him he was leaving the game, Caleb shook his head. Caleb wanted to stay. He wanted to play. But for his safety, he was removed from the game.
On twitter, I said this:
As of right now, that tweet has gotten 166 likes and 23 retweets. Obviously, I was not alone in being sad to see Caleb go.
And really, who would have ever expected this? I couldn’t stand Caleb when he was on Big Brother but I loved him on Survivor. He was truly in his element and, I would even say, that it appears he grew up a bit in between doing Big Brother and Survivor. Gone was the stalkerish Caleb from Big Brother and instead, we had the Caleb who became best friends with Tai. I’m not sure if Caleb would have won this season if he hadn’t been medically evacuated. He was obviously such a big threat that he would have become everyone’s target after the merge. But I think he had everything that he needed to succeed in this game. If he had managed to make a few good strong alliances and win a few immunity challenges, I think he could have gone pretty far.
But you know what? As much as it broke my heart to see Caleb go, it also reminded me of why I love Survivor. You can never know for sure what’s going to happen.
After Caleb was evacuated, I was expecting that they would cancel the next Tribal Council (as they’ve done in the past when a survivor has been taken out of the game for medical reasons) and that they would just go ahead and reshuffle the tribes. However, they didn’t. The Brawn Tribe lost immunity (and, if we’re going to be absolutely honest, it didn’t look like Jason, Scot, and Cydney were making too much of an effort to win it). At Tribal, Alecia was voted out.
And as I watched Jason, Scot, and Cydney spend all of their time bullying Alecia and talking about how she wasn’t up to their standards, I was reminded of why I cannot stand the Brawn Tribe. Seriously, what a bunch of bullies. Jason said he would not want his daughters to grow up to be like Alecia. Hey, Jason — Alecia stood up for herself and refused to take your crap so you would be lucky if your daughters were half as independent as she is!
Jason insisted on calling Alecia “Blondie,” as if that was an insult. Was he aware that Blondie was one of the greatest musical groups of all time? In honor of Alecia, here’s Blondie performing Atomic:
Tonight’s episode ended with the suggestion that Caleb may return in a future season of Survivor. Here’s hoping that both he and Alecia get a second chance at this game!