But here’s where I’m gonna crank it up a notch and propose something even more fitting for Survivor. How about rather than waiting ‘til the Reunion show to vote, what if Final Tribal goes down just like it always does, and then when players return for the Reunion Show, the jury is asked IF THEY’D LIKE TO CHANGE THEIR VOTE based on what they viewed on TV? That way, Survivor can do its FT as always, appeasing its hardcore Survivor base who like the show as is. But it also offers a twist, which is what the show seems to want to continue offering each season. I don’t know, hit me up, Jeff Probst, and let me know what you think. I’m still open to speaking with you about any producer gigs on the show, and I won’t drink on set…
Let me know if you agree, disagree, or could care less and just want to get to the Season 34 recap. I know I do, because it’s a 2-hour episode, and I got me a good job now, so Fish needs his slumber too. Let’s crack open S34, and see what CBS has given us. I’m already starting to get sleepy. And yes, I did check out the first 7 minutes posted on EW, and can I say I was underwhelmed? I know things’ll pick up, but do these players know what a soundbite is? Let’s just get to it. Here we go. Season 34! 20 players! 39 days! Game Changers! cough, seriously?
Ladies and gentlemen, start your boners…
Show opens and Jeff walks us through a series of logos and tells us how the game has evolved over the years. He introduces us to the players who (supposedly) changed the game… Of course, they must start with Tony, the only real game changer in this cast, and let’s pray this means he’ll go deep. Regardless of whether he should have won Cagayan, he is entertaining as s**t. The others getting early love include:
Malcolm recalling his big moves in Philippines and Caramoan, who then rides a Sybian…
Sandra reminds us she won twice, and didn’t shave while doing so…
Cirie gives us a good audition video… “I am a former couch potato…”
And Debbie’s fashion sense makes me wonder if she was a roadie for the Scorpions in the mid-80s…
It’s the 500th episode, and “you gotta go big or go home,” and gosh darn it, that theme music still does it to me after all these years. I can’t even type I got the chills so bad… I better not cry! Oh, no, here we go…the tears. Stupid fatty liver, stupid vodka, stupid audition tapes I always sent in. I need a refresher. Let’s just roll the credits and start clean in a couple minutes…
Ok, I’m good now. And I really hope a 2-hour episode means 2 people are going home. Can’t say who that might be, but I know who I’d like to see voted out first. Who are your picks to go home/win it all? Hit me up, fishlings…
As a yacht sails in and drops anchor, Jeff introduces the cast officially to the theme of the season. Everyone’s super pumped, of course, and super pepped to get on with it. Jeff does his best to convince everyone THEY ARE game changers, and reminisces with a few players about their past success and failures. Gee, Ozzy put on some weight, hasn’t he…?
Tribes are established as follows:
Tribes seem relatively even from a physical perspective, but I’ll give a slight edge to Mana. Jeff drops the hint that this season will require players to “do anything, anytime, to anyone,” so let’s hope there are misdemeanors committed in the coming weeks. Jeff informs the players to scrounge anything they can off the yacht and, in a twist, attempt to unleash a crate of tools submerged nearby. It’s game time! Go!
Players scramble to retrieve food, chickens, and other supplies while Ozzy quickly dives over the edge and swims to untie the tool kit. No one from Mana even wants to compete against him, which is confirmed when Malcolm says they gotta throw in the towel against His Royal Highness, who quickly reaches the tool kit and starts untying it.
Andrea is lucky enough to pick up a basket that hides a Secret Advantage underneath it, but she’s unlucky enough to not notice it. Nice boots, though, Boehlke…
Caleb finally dives over the port side to compete with Ozzy for the toolkit, but he could be too late. Tai takes a spill over the side, but mercifully allows a crate of chickens to land on top of his head, saving them from drowning. Oh crap, is Tai going to lose it eight minutes in when he causes the deaths of all the chickens? In the meantime, Sierra finds Andrea’s Secret Advantage, and I don’t wanna know where she hides it in her jeans… Or do I?
Ozzy successfully acquires the toolkit and both tribes start heading to shore. Andrea says it best,
“This is going to be an epic season…” And right now, does anyone even remember Millennials vs. Gen X? That’s how short your shelf life is as a reality show “celebrity.” You’re hot for a minute and then you’re flame is extinguished. Get used to those “regular jobs” again, folks…
Mana arrives at their camp first and makes the necessary introductions. Everyone knows each other except for Michaela, which (hopefully) means there’s a target on her back already. She confesses it’s not easy for her to lie, so let’s see how that works out for you, toots, on Survivor…
Tony, in a move I’d call, epic(ly stupid) screams he’s “going to look for the idol,” and takes off for the jungle, leaving everyone back at camp thinking, “Well, I guess we’re voting out Tony first.” Perhaps not the best play by Mr. SpyShack, but hell, I’ve seen crazier things attempted on Day 1. Eventually, Caleb and Sandra volunteer to go look after him, in case, I don’t know, he actually FINDS AN IDOL!
When they catch up to him, he admits he was just trying to rile everyone, but that’s not a great plan 12 minutes into the episode. At least Sandra has the brains (did I just type that?) to say they need Tony, based on his strength. So, the three of them make nice and go collect some bamboo…
Over at Nuku, the tribe marches in to their camp and Zeke is already going on about how in love with his tribe he is. But, he’s balancing that with the desire to fit in, make his mark, and play as an equal. We all know how keenly he played M vs. GX, so fingers crossed he can make a splash this season. I like Zeke…
Sarah gives us the blueprint for her season when she refers to herself as the “silent assassin,” which I hope doesn’t refer to some gastrointestinal distress. Meanwhile, Sierra steals away to open the Secret Advantage – which is a Legacy Advantage – which reads she’s earned Immunity, but it can only be played when there are 13 or 6 players left in the game. So, much like Jessica last season… Oh, wait, you don’t remember Jessica? No? Ok, I guess she’s gone back to being an Asst. District Attorney… Damn regular jobs…
Sierra decides that playing the flirt card is her best option, so he sidles up to Culpepper for a little, “I wanna pway wif big stwong men wike you… He’s all too happy to play along, as long as he throws a bone (behave) to his wife, Monica, with even a hashtag from the show to back him. #survivordivorce Nevertheless, he’s gonna play it cool this season, and let players come to him this time around…
Sierra then heads over to Ozzy, because she saw the porn he did, and wants to see if Little Ozzy is on the table… She just wants to make an alliance with Big Ozzy, and he’s dtf, if Cirie is their first target, considering what she did to him in the past.
Cirie confesses about her history with Ozzy on Fans vs. Favorites, and wonders if he’s still harboring a grudge from 8 years ago. Seems kinda dumb if he is, but it’s reality TV. You gotta create drama, right…?
A bit later, the two of them appear to hash it out when Ozzy says he’s cool with her, but when Cirie and Tai go for a little stroll down by the water, things take a turn. Tai’s inability to say that Ozzy is fine with her gives Cirie the notion that all is not good between her an Ozzy, and I’m already hating Tai. You do know lying was a prerequisite for playing, right?
“There will be blood, either way,” is how Cirie summarizes the situation… Let’s hope it’s Tai’s, or the chickens.
On Day 2, Mana awakens to a shark swimming offshore, signifying that something’s about to go down. When Tony volunteers to go refill water bottles, no one offers to go with him, leaving Tony to get busy getting down to his old tricks. This time, it’s a SpyBunker next to the water station, which could be ingenious, or really stupid. Last I checked, not a lot of good things happen in bunkers, and I’m German…
Troyzan happens upon Tony and Eva, I mean, Tony, rolling around in his bunker like he’s a fat pig trying to grease himself, and takes a cautious approach to confronting him. As in, he doesn’t. He’d rather let Tony defend himself than start targeting players like him, who just happened to see him rolling around in the dirt.
But this rolling around is making people think Tony has found a clue, so now half the tribe is wondering if they should target Tony or his right-hand man, Caleb, but as Ciera confesses, those are two strong players who they may need for challenges. Meaning, they need to decide on which one needs to go.
Malcolm, meanwhile, doesn’t want either of these two strong players to leave just yet, and wonders if Ciera is starting to call attention to herself with these discussions of who to target already. Other players are stating the same thing, including Varner and Aubry, who thinks Ciera is already starting to get very “gamey.”
Off to the first Immunity Challenge we go and already we can tell it’s going to be an awesome season of challenges. Props to John Kirhoffer for all he’s done for the franchise. Jeff calls everyone in and describes the challenge. Players will race to a raft and paddle to a platform. One player will swim to retrieve a set of keys, and then all players must then race over a series of obstacles back to the beach where 2 bags of puzzle pieces need to be dug out. The keys will then unlock a chest, revealing a 3rd bag of puzzle pieces. All pieces will then be used to build a ship’s wheel puzzle.
Jeff reveals the first big twist of the season when he tells the players about the new procedure at Tribal Council. If there’s a tie, there’s no revote. Safe players will immediately have to decide who to send home, and if that can’t happen unanimously, then the tied players are safe and we’re drawing rocks…just like that. Boom. Drop that f**king mic, JP!
Andrea is the smart one who reveals that this means splitting the vote is a stupid move now. And I gotta say I was never a fan of that play… Let’s get to the challenge.
Nuku takes an early lead, and extends it when Ozzy is the swimmer/1st key retriever. Hali does her best to keep up, but Nuku starts climbing the obstacles first. They extend their lead when they dig out their two bags of puzzle pieces rather quickly. After Debbie has some trouble with the locks, Varner catches her and takes the lead for a moment. She recovers and unlocks the chest, revealing the last bag of puzzle pieces.
Cirie and Zeke work the puzzle as Ciera and Sandra eventually start assembling their puzzle. They’re neck and neck as they complete the first section, but Nuku retakes the lead as they complete section 2 ahead of Ciera and Sandra. With the last section being the easiest, Nuku completes the puzzle and wins immunity! They get the idol, and flint, and Mana gets a date with Jeff tonight.
And as Ciera confesses that she’s lost this same challenge twice now, I’m reminded that her mom was known as some kind of puzzle master. But I don’t ever recall Laura being that great at anything. And certainly, the only thing Ciera is known for is voting out her mom, and willing to make a big move. That’s it…
Back at Mana, Tony, Malcolm, Aubry, Varner, and Caleb head off to the water station to discuss whose names are being thrown out. And it’s Caleb and Tony. But they’re being thrown out by Ciera, so that puts a target on her back. When Sandra approaches, the discussion is repeated, but things get interesting when Ciera suddenly approaches. The players quickly scramble and agree they’ll tell Ciera that Michaela is on the block (yes, please!) but that could just be a ploy. Ciera doesn’t feel threatened because she knows she’s a playa, and making big moves is in her pedigree, but she also knows early strategies include keeping the tribe strong. And for the first time in 7 seasons, I feel like somebody “gets it.”
When everyone returns to camp, Michaela finally hears that Ciera will be targeting her – and no one else will – but that doesn’t sit well with this game changer. She’s gonna do what she can to fix things, even if that means screwing up everything for everyone else. And in what I can only describe as a heartbeat, Michaela manages to move the target from Ciera to herself, just by being a dumbass. And right now, I wanna relish the fact that I’ve been so critical of Michaela, for “all the right reasons,” (thank, Reality Steve!) and hope she goes home so I don’t have to type her name again…ever.
To Tribal Council we go and players grab their torches. Jeff tells them…oh, nevermind, you know the drill. Jeff culls from the group:
-Malcolm pays homage to Tony’s llama call, and says they’re having fun.
-Aubry says impressions are either valid…or not
-Caleb puts his foot in his mouth and says, “I may be a threat.” Dumb…
-Michaela says she’s all in favor of not making a “punkish” vote. Sorry, I don’t speak jive…
-Sandra talks about how much of a pleasure Michaela’s been, but she’s speaking in the past tense. Is that a tell? She then admits she’s the perfect goat, because no one’s gonna give her another million…
-Varner says camp life is “unsettling”
-Hali says “loose lips sink ships” and who might she be talking about?
-Ciera thinks it might be her, but I’m not sure of that…
-Michaela is totally unsure what’s about to happen but knows she could be f**ked
-Sandra refers to this first 3 days as “The Unknown”
And, I guess, Troyzan is out of his element because he ain’t got s**t to say. It’s time to vote.
Aside from a vote for Michaela and a “bye, Felicia,” we’re kept in the dark. Jeff reads the votes.