Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Survivor Recap: "The Dreaded Loved Ones Episode"

With only 3 episodes remaining, I knew that the Dreaded Loved Ones extravaganza was just around the corner, so I had my puke bucket nearby for tonight’s episode, while my girlfriend had a box of Kleenex on her lap. Talk about juxtaposition, huh?

Will Boston Rob get to see Amber? What’s the new phone that Jeff will be pimping? And is tonight the night that this horrible Redemption Island twist ends for good?

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously on…Survivor. A reminder that Ometepe has been winning everything, and a stern proclamation from Voice-Over Jeff that they were able to “stick together from the beginning and decimate an entire tribe.” This was described in a way as if it was a totally foreign concept instead of something that Pagong did in the very first season. I’ve been saying for years that this is the way to win the game, and the template was set out in perfect order 22 seasons ago. I’m still amazed that it’s taken this long for another tribe to actually stick with it instead of turning on each other early.

- At Redemption (Non) Island, Ralph joined Mike and Matt and talked about what had been happening at camp. Right after he talked about Steve losing 40 pounds, in a perfect City Slickers “He’s Behind Me Isn’t He?” moment, Steve arrived after last week’s impromptu vote-out, and the Zapatera reunion (with a side of Matt) was complete.
- When Natalie started crying “hormone tears” (???) back at camp after Tribal Council, if you hadn’t already been tipped off by this week’s previews that this was going to be the Loved Ones episode, you better have figured it out at this point when she started talking about how much she missed her family.

- With only Ometepe members left (aside from the Redemption (Non) Island candidates), Rob analyzed the overall picture perfectly when he said “as long as they don’t start talking to each other and realize that I’m the one that should be going…I’ll be all set.” Considering he still has an Idol in his possession, I think it’s a pretty accurate statement.

- Tree Mail! A Sprint Phone! What could this possibly mean??? Yes, of course it was the videos of the loved ones giving all of the same sentiments we've seen for 22 seasons, like "I miss you", "We're proud of you", and “I can’t wait to see you.”

Listen, if you're one of the contestants and you're watching these videos and you don't know that the people you're watching are going to be at the next challenge, I submit that you're missing a chromosome or two. I have to think at this point, it's so obvious, that the CBS editors are essentially just cutting out footage of all of them jumping up and down, yelling "They're here! They're here!" in the interest of keeping up the fake surprise.

A couple of thoughts: 1) Is Grant's "loved one" really his brother-in-law? I can buy that, but the fact that he didn't say "brother-in-law", and instead said "my sister's husband" led me to believe that no one wanted to come to Nicaragua to see Grant. 2) Ralph's loved one was a "buddy", who  gave him the apparently crucial news that "the cows are great. A couple of the chickens got killed, though.” 3) At the point Matt was ready to see his video, my girlfriend turned to me and said "It's going to be God"...and I was laughing so hard I had to pause the show.
- The Redemption (Non) Island Duel guessed it...a tile-breaking challenge. Picture it, Mark Burnett off in a trailer somewhere: "We're leaving Nicaragua in 7 days, use the rest of those damn tiles. I'm not paying to ship them back to the U.S!"

I liked that the prize of winning time with your loved one was only awarded AFTER the challenge, but I hated that this wasn't the end of the Redemption (Non) Island twist. On the 3rd last episode of the season, you're telling me that someone who was voted out can finish THIRD in this challenge and still be in the game? I will once again re-iterate that this is the Worst Twist Ever...even worse than the Castaways.
Mike won the challenge and was given the choice of time with his mom, awarding Matt and Ralph time with their Loved Ones, or giving it up for all 6 Ometepe members. Somewhere, Monty Hall was yelling at his TV, "Take curtain #3!" He made the selfless choice to give it up for Ometepe, which I believed was a genuine decision and not wholly strategic, even if Ralph was later furious not to be able to spend time with his buddy. And if your Loved One is categorized as your "buddy", maybe you should be giving it up for someone else anyways.

I thought that for making the selfless choice, Mike was going to be able to get to spend time with his mother anyways, but I was wrong. And to those of you wondering why AMBUH wasn't there for Boston Rob, I think that this was filmed while she was pregnant with the latest Baby Mariano. I'm pretty sure flying to Nicaragua in your third trimester is frowned upon.

And Steve got sent to the Jury. I know you don't care. Just sayin'...

- God took a break from giving Matt guidance and telling Mike the right decision to make, and took a side trip to visit Natalie's mom, who asked him to look over Natalie. Someone get the Big Guy a Survivor T-Shirt or something, he has been busy this season! Natalie responded by showing her mom how firm her ass was. Did you see that, while Rob was talking to his sister, we saw Natalie grab a handful of her own ass? Why was that?
Boston Rob waxed poetic about how he was working so hard to win so that he could make a better life for his wife and children. He was emotional, but let's call a spade a spade here. I love Boston Rob, and I'm 100% rooting for him to win this season, but he and Amber already have 1.1 Million Dollars from this show, along with the 37 other Reality shows he's been on (and he's hosting a new show on the Travel Channel!)...just be honest. You want to win Survivor. Don't quote the money.

- The Loved Ones got off easy in this episode: they didn't have to compete in a challenge, they didn't have to do any work around camp, they didn't have to endure a sleepover. Just a quick little afternoon visit.
- The Immunity Challenge was imposing and impressive...and as much as I hate the rainbows and unicorns of the Loved Ones episode, I thought it was great that they did the visit from home right before what was clearly the most difficult challenge. I can't imagine how that could have been any more exhausting, especially considering how many times you had to go up and down the stairs (18 times, if you didn't make any mistakes!). Jeff made the comment of the night, referring to Rob's new T-shirt, "he is literally carrying his family on his back."

Watching Rob struggle up those stairs at the end, and summon enough energy and strength to win Immunity...well, to me, that was more emotional than watching the Loved Ones arrive. Especially after watching him nearly pass out after winning (remember that similar moment in Heroes vs. Villains when he passed out?)

With the Immunity win, Rob guarantees that you'll see him in the Finale on Sunday night, May 15th. He can use the Idol at the next Tribal Council and be sitting in the Final Five (which is where the Finale will start).

- The Giant Hairy Spider is back, and now it's crawling into a SHOE??? I'll have to turn all of my shoes upside down and shake them for the next month.
- Phillip had a mini-meltdown over tangled nets and wasps, and then tried to tell us that he had to ramp up the crazy, because his whole persona has been an act so far? Do you think he's telling the truth? I don't...but I can't rule it out. It sure would make a fantastic Final Tribal Council though. Is Rob really suspicious of this, or was it just a good sound bite? Also, if you're going to kill a wasp at camp, why are you using one of your only pillows?

- Tribal Council was relatively uneventful with no one for Phillip to argue with now that they are all over on the Jury Bench...or as I'm not calling it, Zapatera Row (why don't they just paint it purple?)  Natalie finally talked enough for me to know what her voice sounds like, Phillip argued with Jeff while Jeff was trying to make a case for him to stay longer, and then we got another nugget of wisdom from the Former Special Agent's grandfather, which boiled down to 'Hold The Faith'. Wasn't that in Field of Dreams?

Jeff gave the speech about the Hidden Immunity Idol, and Rob obviously didn't use it since he had won the Immunity necklace, but I have to think that the rest of Ometepe knows that Rob has the Idol. Think about it...they know that there was one, and it hasn't been used, so it's still in someone's pocket. It only makes sense that once it was down to the 6 of them, it would be used at the next Tribal Council since it probably is only good for one more TC, and who knows what could happen in this one? Since it wasn't used by any of the other 5...then Rob must have it.

After Andrea got voted out, Dave told Steve and Julie "she got blindsided", proving once again, that aside from being the greatest puzzle solver EVER, he is also a master of reporting the blatantly obvious.

- OK, here's what's pissing me off the most about Redemption Island. There are now 5 players left in the game, and 4 on Redemption Island. They have to insert the Final player back into the game in the next episode, I would think. What that means, is that on the second last episode, 4 out of the remaining 9 players will be eliminated in one episode. How can you tell me that this is anything but a horrible twist? Man, I hope that Redemption Island never returns.

Next week: The Penultimate episode before the May 15th Finale.

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Thanks for reading.


HoH8 said...

I just wanted to say bout the Loved Ones...i was sorry to see that Mike couldnt even give his mom a quick hug before she left, that was cold from CBS....

I see ur frustration with RI,Sean but i liked it this season just for the fact that it changed the game some what....

Can i tell you that in the Probst blog bout a month ago, he confirmed that the survivor of RI would return as the 3rd member of the think bout it....

Loved ur g/f comment on having God as the loved one for matt, lol....

Sean said...

If that's true, then I hate it even more. Ridiculous that the winner of a competetion after being voted out would waltz right into the Final 3.

I read his blog every week and I never saw that...

Choirchick22 said...

Was it just me or was Rob limping before the stair climb ever started? I imagine someone from southern AZ would be perfect for that challenge by the way! Every year there is a race called the Bisbee Stair climb that is esentially running upstairs all day.

I gotta say, I really like Mike for what he did. He seemed genuine. What a great thing to do.

I hate RI too. It's not even fair that someone like Matt can not even play the game and then win (Because you know he will if he gets to the final vote).

I died laughing at what your gf said. :)

I'm calling it. As long as Matt doesn't return, Grant will win the whole thing.

TARtarus said...

Since I DVR this show, I never have to endure the "family moments". MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Anonymous said...

Love the loved one comment ,Seen a spoiler before I watched but I still was not sure who it was ,these girls have NO survivor personality .How can it be that a player who was voted out early and again later be still in the running? THIS RI SEASON SUCKS. GOD told me I should post this.

Rob said...

Coming into the finale there are going to be 4 in the game and 4 on Redemption Island. The winner off the duel will rejoin the game and the other 3 will become jury members. In the two finale there will be 2 Immunities eliminating two of the five. That's the only scenario I see happening.

R.P. McMurphy said...

This week on, "God & Tiles & a non-island Island..."

I'd love your opinion on this, while the immunity challenge was grueling, I had the thought that Rob may have been overplaying his exhaustion as if to say, "Even though I just won immunity, look how bad a shape I'm in so I'm not really a threat to win a challenge like this again in the future." No doubt he was feeling it but I wouldn't put it past him to exaggerate his condition for his benefit.

Chiefman said...

Totally agree that Redemption Island is a horrible, lousy concept. It is so wrong to collect and hold all these people who were already voted off. Never again, please. If you are voted out, you should be gone, gone, gone and never seen again until the reunion show (jury is the only exception).

I am also very sick of Matt and his ridiculous take on God's role in this game. I am a Christian and strong believer in God....but it is absurd and insulting to God himself for people to think that the Almighty actually gives a damn who wins Survivor or some dumb-ass Redemption Island challenge.

Anonymous said...

Great read Sean! Laughed at your girlfriends comment about "God" being on the phone for Matt.

I too really doubt Phil is that good of an actor. His meltdowns seem a little too real to have been an act in my opinion.

Anyway, keep up the great posts, looking forward to Amazing Race finale too!

Emily said...

Rob and Amber actually won 1.25 million from Survivor All-Stars, they bumped up the pay scale to attract more prima donnas.

It was clear to me that it was supposed to be Grant's sister coming to visit but since she got knocked up she couldn't be medically cleared to make the trip.

Eudaemon said...

Sean, HoH8 is wrong and what the poster Rob above said is right. Jeff only confirmed in Dalton's column that there will be 8 contestants still in the running at the start of the finale episode. So Ometepe still has two immunity challenges to knock out the RI returnee.

I agree the RI twist is broken, as it would be easier for a contestant to avoid getting kicked (vs voted) out of the game from RI. Dalton has pointed it out too, a contestant just needs to avoid being last out of the 4 in a duel, so you do not need to be the best at the duel element (eg. puzzle, strength, endurance). In a standard game, once a threat/immunity hog does not win an Immunity Challenge against the WHOLE tribe, he will usually be voted out. The chance of winning all the immunities in a standard game is next to nil, as you cannot hope to beat everyone else in all the different challenge elements. So RI needs to be removed at the merge at least.