Ah… It has to happen. Last week, as feared, I could write: my parents are visiting so we travelled a little. Add to that the fact that my newborn doesn’t understand yet the concept of being awake during the day and sleeping at night. And the result was that, when I was home, I was too exhausted to blog about Survivor (or anything else). And it had to be the week when Jeff Varner gets voted out.
So before getting into this week’s episode, I’d like to say a few words about Jeff (even if he’s still alive and well, despite what Savage may think).
I said it before, and I’m saying it again, 15 years ago, back during season two, Jeff Varner’s charm, wits, storytelling skills and more made him my favorite player of all time back then (sure there were only two seasons back then), and his early exit always frustrated me as his amazing potential never was really fulfilled.
I was so excited when he was on the ballot for Second Chance. He’s obviously one of the players I voted for every single day during the voting period and I was ecstatic he got selected to return. 15 years later… I seemed to unreal. Would he be the same? Would he disappoint?
Well, we all know the answer now, and I don’t think there is one true Survivor fan today who doesn’t love him. He still has his charm, his wits, his storytelling skills. But he brought more this time. he also brought this enthusiasm, this energy, this pure happiness to simply be there, to be given this second chance. The rest of the season can take any direction now, he epitomized the whole idea of “Second Chance.” He was a pure joy to watch week after week. And even after his early exit, all of his interviews everywhere showed what a great human being he is. Yes, he is very intelligent, very funny, very insightful, he also has a great heart.
The only criticism that one can make about him is that the way he played kinda guaranteed an early exit (well, even that is debatable, had he ended up in Ta Keo or Bayon after the division in three tribes, he’d still be around and probably in control of the game), but I fully understand why he played that way. After 15 years and many missed opportunities to return (I understand that he was on the shortlist for All-Stars – where he belonged – but could go for some reason), he couldn’t not play every day, every tribal council as if it was the last. And after such a memorable showing, we can only hope that we will see him again one day…
Let’s keep our fingers crossed, and in the meantime, thank you Jeff… for everything…
OK, now a few words about this week:
Let’s start with the title. Two weeks ago it was about rats… this week about snakes… Just saying…
Finally Angkor gets some rest and wins a few challenges. They needed that (and we did too, as another Angkor loss would have been annoying for us too).
Abi-Maria Gomes: Sometimes, I find Abi-Maria funny, but some other times, I find her so self-centered that she gets on my nerves. Yes, comparing a tendon transplant and a heart transplant the way she did is kinda funny (in a laughing at her not with her kinda way) but part of me also think she’s embarrassing.
Andrew Savage: I’m not sure I have anything to say about him this week.
Tasha Fox: We gotta appreciate all the efforts and patience that she needs to put in that alliance / babysitting with Abi-Maria. However, I gotta admit that Varner’s exit interviews showed me Tasha under a very different light, and now I see that nastiness that lies within her a bit better. Why is the editing showing her under such a positive light though?
Woo Hwang: Woo gained a lot of points in likability this week. He even showed that he’s slowly learning about the game. Way to go Woo!
Ta Keo Tribe
Interesting love fest (minus Terry who is happily and cluelessly fishing) at Ta Keo. It happens a lot with tribes who don’t go to tribal council. Then, they tend to implode. We’ll see… Yet, this five person alliance and the way it formed was interesting, especially providing that many players in that alliance had previous alliances pre-swap. Curious to see what will happen there.
Ciera Eastin: I kinda vaguely remember a confessionnal from her today, where she said something… What? I forgot…
Joe Anglim: Super Joe is super… He’s already preparing the merge (with making alliances) because he remembers all too well that he’ll become a target then. This season is has formed more bonds with better players than Jenn and that other girl whose name I’ve already forgotten. There will also likely be more physical players when merge comes. Yet, sooner or later, he will be targeted and when it happens, he will have no other chance but winning every challenge.
Kass McQuillen: Not much about her this week, but she seems to be well-liked by her tribesmate. Has she succeeded in changing the perception people have of her? She hasn’t gone to tribal yet though. Not that I think she’ll be targeted, but that’s when her real self will come out. However, something very few of us thought possible is very likely to happen: Kass and Spencer may actually be reunited at the merge. I can’t wait for this.
Keith Nale: Keith is in a real alliance… One with a plan that can be stuck with… Good for him, and honestly he’s in a very good position: unlikely to be a target anytime soon, well liked, good at challenges without really appearing to be. He really could go far. Can he win? I still don’t think so, but you never know, in San Juan del Sur we were closer to a Keith win than many people realize.
Kelley Wentworth: We haven’t see Kelley a lot lately, but just enough to show us that she’s in a very good position. Still nowhere near being a target, lots of friends, allies and people that seem to like her… oh and that idol that nobody suspects.
Terry Deitz: I almost felt bad for Terry this week. That’s really the first time (and last?) it happens. He’s so happy to be in that tribe where everyone is friends, that tribe that wins every challenge, that tribe that has so much food that he compares the ocean to a grocery store… that tribe that will vote him off at the first occasion and he will see nothing coming.
OK, here is the thing: did Bayon through that challenge? Nothing was shown in the show hinting at it, even if I found Jeremy sitting it out very strange, but since the show aired a lot of Bayon players have kinda implied it on social media… Up to the point that Stephen doesn’t seem to embarrassed by his own performance (and we all know how embarrassed he’s been by a lot of things about the way he’s being portrayed this season). I guess we’ll never know.
Jeremy Collins: He is playing a very strong game at the moment, but maybe a bit too strong. I don’t know. It just reminds me of his edit in San Juan del Sur. He seemed to totally be in control of the game and we all know what happened next.
Kelly Wiglesworth: What a disappointment. She seemed to almost be the reason why this season exist, and she hasn’t delivered anything. According to pretty much anybody in the know, if her edit is so invisible it’s simply because she’s that boring. She’s barely playing the game, her confessionals are boring to death and she only gives dull non-answers at tribal. It came to the point that this week, while edit was pretending she’d be voted out, she still didn’t get a single confessional between immunity challenge and tribal council.
Kimmi Kappenberg: Finally she’s not invisible anymore. Yet, edit kinda showed us that she engineered Monica’s elimination. Is it really the fact? As I mentioned, Bayon may have thrown the challenge and Stephen and Jeremy were very quick to jump onboard the idea of voting Monica out. So, why is it implied it’s a Kimmi move?
Monica Padilla voted out: Interesting edit. I guess she just didn’t belong in any interesting storyline. Rumor has it that she was playing and playing hard… Maybe too hard, as apparently she was spending a little too much time strategizing and not enough time bonding with people. I’m going to paraphrase Stephen here, but great alliances come from great relationships. In other words, you can align yourself with whoever you want, if you want that alliance to stick, you have to work hard on the human side of the relationship. Apparently that’s the part she missed and it cost the game.
However, she wins this week’s “what bit my ass” award for managing to get herself voted out when she could have been totally fine if she hadn’t unnecessarily rocked the Bayon boat.
Spencer Bledsoe: Is that just me, or is Spencer getting a Cochran 2.0 edit? I like Spencer, I wouldn’t mind him winning, but please, don’t edit the thing as the Spencer Show.
Stephen Fishbach: Finally we saw and heard Stephen doing what he does best in Survivor context: strategizing. It’s good to see that Stephen is safe for the moment. He’s also in the right conversations, so it seems that people trust him. Good.
Next time on Survivor:
Oh, oh… Medivac? Who is it going to be? I’m afraid it’ll be Ciera, she’s been so invisible this season, I wonder why… And she mentioned not feeling one when she sat out a challenge.
Next person voted out:
If Angkor goes to tribal, I think Abi-Maris can’t survive that one.
If Ta Keo goes to tribal, Terry is gone.
If Bayon goes, Kelly is gone… or is she?
And the winner is:
I’m still keeping Kelley Wentworth as my winner.
Spencer and Jeremy are the only two ones getting winner edit at the moment.
Do you want to know more?
In that case, may I suggest that you read those sites, blogs and posts:
- Dalton Ross at EW
- Rob Has a Podcast, a website and much more.
- Stephen Fishbach is doing something unique this season: blogging about his own experience in his People Survivor Blog (but as he’s traveling this week, I don’t know if he’ll post).
- Of course, I hope that my blog becomes the best Survivor blog, but I know it will never happen… And I also think I’ve found the best blog around, with Redmond’s Inside Survivor
- Jeff Pitman’s True Dork Times is a must read each week.
- Andy Denhart’s Reality Blurred is too.
- I’m sure I’m forgetting a few…