Friday, April 19, 2013

Thoughts on Survivor Caramoan Episode 10

Not since Parvati handed out immunity idols to Jerri and Sandra on Survivor: Heroes vs Villains had I witnessed a more game-shifting, rippling move on Survivor! The most recent tribal council on Survivor Caramoan has totally brought a new dynamic into the game, pushing alliance mates to hysteria. Pardon my bias, but I think I speak for several others when I say that that tribal council was even more celebrated not just for its double immunity idol play, thanks to the three amigos, but also for the opportunity to see Phillip, the mastermind of the joke that is Stealth R' Us alliance, is finally cut off loose.

The theme of this episode has been scathed with double play innuendos. And the producers did an excellent job of not preparing us for what's to come at the latter part of the episode. The preview from last week showed us Dawn crying hysterically and breaking down (hey, what's new?)... I expected it to arise after a confrontation between Malcolm and Reynold to which she gave her word to after they showed her the idol. But apparently, it was only because of a lost retainer. How anticlimactic, right? Brenda ended up saving the day, or else she would've pulled herself from the game. Don't think the latter would be a very bad idea, even Dawn admits she cries more than a baby does. But then again, we get to hear Brenda give out a confessional (albeit a brief one) after a long time. And in her words, she proclaimed that she will never turn her back on Dawn. Hmmm, foreshadowing? That one might have significance in the coming episode, so it'll be a puzzle how that will come into play.

The editing trick here has practically made viewers suspicious if this is setting up to be a Dawn boot, especially as the episode opens with Cochran and Phillip talking about her volatility in terms of the emotional state, with Cochran going as far as comparing it to the instability of Brandon. The paranoia is clearly starting to set into Dawn and it is only a matter of time until that erupts (or will it?). In my case, the significant amount of confessionals sure did make me wonder. But for someone like Phillip calling Dawn crazy, that's got to be serious!

This week's reward challenge is reminiscent of the Episode 9 reward challenge from Survivor Philippines dubbed Muddy Waters. With slight modifications to the obstacle course that castaways had to overcome, it was the same concept wherein they had to dig through a bag in a mud pit and then shoot the balls into a narrow basket. The castaways were split into two teams of five with Malcolm's team looking to have an upper hand. However, even when Malcolm used Penner's strategy of pulling out all of the bags, it didn't produce the results like last time. The winning team went on a resort getaway with a fabulous view and lots of food! As they gorge on the feast, Phillip manages to spoil it with his lack of etiquette as he jumps straight into the pool without taking a shower. How old is he again?

The pivotal point in the game was during the immunity challenge, which by the way is a favorite of mine because it is a re-do of the classic immunity challenge from Pearl Islands. But Phillip decides to sit this one out pointing to an incident during his childhood years that made him uncomfortable about the whole challenge setup. It boiled down to a competition between Malcolm and Reynold, but the latter ended up winning as Malcolm eventually got worn out after five rounds of swimming. This spoiled the plans of the Stealth R' Us alliance because Reynold's idol was played last time, putting him as their number one choice to vote off. With this win, it screws up the plan although their fall back choice was clearly Malcolm.

The three amigos went looking for an idol in the jungle as soon as they got back to camp. Malcolm still has his immunity idol from the former Bikal camp, of which only Corinne knew about. However, he points out that he wanted to preserve that idol for as long as possible, so if he can get through this vote without having to use it, then it's to his advantage. Soon enough, Andrea and Dawn decided to go looking for the idol, too. But it clearly wasn't that easy without clue that Dawn points out it's like looking for a needle in a haystack. Dawn joked around with Malcolm about yelling out should he find the idol but there is no need for that as they were right there in front of him as he took it out from one of the rocks. Andrea and Dawn couldn't believe what they just saw so they went rushing to their allies to confide this new information, then quickly concoct a plan for the upcoming tribal council.

I thought for sure that was the crazy part of the episode, but suspense continued to build up as Jeff was probing the Stealth R' Us alliance about the status of their alliance and that of the three guys clearly on the outs, namely Malcolm, Eddie, and Reynold. Eddie was certain that it could be him going home in that tribal council noting how Malcolm found the hidden immunity idol and that Reynold was wearing the immunity necklace. However, Malcolm pulled out another trick off of his bag citing that there was some tension at camp as the other seven were clearly trying to distance themselves in fear of being associated with the minority. But to everyone's surprise, he pulled out his original immunity idol that he found with Corinne and handed it to Eddie. Eddie's face was golden as he registered a goofy yet clearly elated look. On the flip side, most of the people in the front row could only burrow their faces into their palms in disbelief. Of everyone, Andrea seemed to show the surest look of concern. Jeff also pitched the idea that Malcolm declaring their vote for Phillip could be an attempt to double play them as they could blindside any one of the remaining six.

The chaos that ensued was a pure joy to watch. CBS was right - after 400+ tribal councils, nothing crazier like this had transpired. Subdued whispers were going on as everyone scrambled for a spontaneous second plan. The chaos worsened with Malcolm declaring, "clearly, not one of us is going home!". We hear a couple of names being tossed around - Andrea and Phillip. At this point, I thought Andrea was done. Then, Phillip delivered a speech addressing his allies that they should stick with their initial plan. The success of this plan hinged on the fact that neither Eddie nor Malcolm are going to play their idol. This is a critical point that Erik also raised earlier that this could be a mere ploy on their part and they do not really intend to play it. This showed us the game-savvy Erik who we haven't seen in two seasons up to this point.

When Cochran cast his vote, he confessed this is the reason why he still loves Survivor after 13 years. I couldn't agree more! I held my breathe as Jeff asked if anyone wanted to play their idol. Eddie stood up first and everybody else was looking at Malcolm to see if he would follow Eddie's lead. Eventually, he gave up his idol, too, and we saw Phillip go home. The Specialist, as he self-proclaimed, is gone - thankfully and finally!

To see just how crazy this tribal was, re-live it here:

I've heard a lot of opinions from fans about the success of this move, with some claiming that Malcolm was unable to maximize the moves to his advantage. Personally, I thought revealing the second idol at tribal council was a brilliant move because he kept the Stealth R' Us alliance from devising a fall back plan. I think Malcolm has learned his lesson in the past two tribal councils that they could sneak back to their alliance mates and reveal their plans. By not letting that happen, the majority alliance was caught off-guard, even to a point on insisting on their original plan which got Phillip voted off. The key change here that might've benefited Malcolm's alliance was the fact that Phillip is gone. He was the one commanding the other six and lining them up like ducks. Without him, it would be easier to infiltrate into that alliance, especially with one or two people on the perimeters of that alliance. In fact, we saw Erik vote for Phillip at this tribal council!

The preview for the next episode wasn't as intriguing but things are going to shift soon. For weeks, I was hoping for things to change and with Phillip gone, I think one or two people are going to feel threatened about their security within the majority alliance. What did you think of this episode? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comment section!

Image credit: CBS and Survivor Seasons

1 comment:

  1. I hate being analytical of survivor because it has me thinking outside everyone else's view and then people are like "Are you watching the same show I am?" Here's what I thought about the episode...

    Malcolm, isn't playing to win the game. I only say that because he is putting himself on an alliance with two fans. Lets just imagine, that he handles everything perfectly, they win a bunch and its up to him eddie and reynold in the final 3. First off, lets hope there isn't another stability test, and they drop down to a final 2, because in that case, eddie and reynold are going to stay true to each other. But if he gets Erik and Sherri on board, then he’s on an alliance with 3 fans. And I don’t know why anyone would take Malcolm to the final. The only reason, I’d take him, as Reynold or Eddie, it because HE was the one who flipped on the Favorites. But even so, if they can make an all fan final 3, they’d cut malcom and erik out, whenever they can.
    At the same time. Malcolm already said in one of his confessionals that Andrea was running the game, which is why they targetted her. No one will EVER vote for Phillip. Boston Rob knew that, and kept Phillip safe. With Phillip sitting out of immunity challenges, and driving everyone crazy, like at the reward challenge.. No one can stand him. Which makes him an instant person I want in my final 3. If any favorite makes it to the final 3, outside of Malcolm, they will win, because the favorites will vote for them.
    On the otherside, they could just go idol hunting again. I think only 1 idol is getting placed back at camp. But still, they have a chance to save one of them. (two if they win immunity)
    Realistically, I give Malcolm credit for disrupting the game. But the favorites played this vote wrong. If they knew that Malcolm was trying to shift things, they should have thrown their votes at Sherri. At least that way a fan still went home. I don’t know why tribes can’t just stick together. Granted they had to flush the idol out and what not, but had they switched to voting for sherri.. things would be going a lot better for them.
    I think overall that episode was a let down. It wasn’t a shocker. It was predictable. After we saw that Dawn wasn’t in the shocker part of the episode I guessed it. To me, it was no different than when Parvati used her idols for Sandra/Jerri. Until they have a puzzle challenge, Malcolm and Reynold are going to keep dominating challenges. Im still a fan of Malcolm. But at this point, I want Brenda or Andrea to win. I don’t think they will. If I had to make a real prediction, I think some how Eddie or Reynold will win, provided there aren’t any favorites left


Thanks for your comment. Looking forward to hearing what you have to say! :)