Survivor Insights 82: Survivor Nicaragua – Just a Recap (Episode 11)

This was probably the best SURVIVOR recap episode in ten years.  They stay away from the traditional narration and give more airtime to a number of intriguing and never-before scenes such as:

1) The “respect” argument between Tyrone and Marty.

2) Personal moment between Holly and Na’Onka (after Nay stole and bury the flour).

3) Fabio being careless and just having much fun.

4) The sneaky side of Jane, who needed to return in their camp to get fire and cook her own fish somewhere.

5) An annoyed Benry wanted to get rid of Purple Kelly.

Jeff Probst blogs and he promises everybody an all-new and a top-notch episode next week. I am looking forward to that, Jeff, and just like the old days, I expect for the very unexpected.

Here’s a clue: I think a lot of you are going to be really thrilled by the episode.

That’s it. That’s all you get.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Survivor Insights 81: Survivor Nicaragua – Libertad’s Wake-up Call (Episode 10)

1) Libertad’s On Fire: After a predictable episode last week, SURVIVOR NICARAGUA is back with an explosion any fan-addict would always remember. We saw how the fire devoured the Libertad camp and the whole accident was literally a hell, it’s hot, but you know what’s even hotter, the planning and all the scheming that went upside down.

Who could imagine Brenda would be the target after her reign in La Flor?

Brenda had the entire game in her fingers and she even called herself the King and Sash was her Queen (quite hilarious here). Strategy-wise, that’s a good thing, however, Brenda’s biggest downfall came when she lost the ability to control the unexpected. She probably miscalculated the ratio of uncertainty and in an instant, every little thing she owns collapsed right in front of her. Looking back, this was also the case with Yve. Things only get rough for Yve after the switch. Everyone was all over her and it was just too late to find an opening and escape.

2) Holly, back on board: Just one move for Holly and whoosh, she transformed herself from a quitter into a power player. No one could think Holly could rotate the entire course of the game. She was completely aware ousting Brenda was a risk and she needed to cross bridges to make it happen. She simply act what her plans are and inform the right people (Jane, Benry, Na’Onka) the details they exactly need to hear.

3) Na’Onka-Fabio Combination (???): The Na’Onka-Fabio conversation at Cerro Negro was what this game was all about. Na’Onka left her irrational emotions behind and of everyone, who would imagine she’s sharing a master plan with Fabio. (Sweet!) The plan was just in the right fit and Na’Onka made the right call by pulling Fabio away from Chase and Purple Kelly.

She and Fabio were playing an entertaining game (think of all the drama they went through) while the two remaining ex-La Flor were lost in a puzzlement world. Like I said in my previous post, Purple Kelly is simply a floater (existing but not deserving the title) while Chase was busy with himself and he was chasing nothingness. His paranoia (if he continues to use it against him) could eat him.

4) Physical Guns vs Mental Guns: Let’s go back with the facts first. Jane is 56-years-old while Benry and Chase are 24. Jane worked as a dog trainer while the two younger men are club promoter and professional athlete in car racing, respectively. The Splash Back Immunity Challenge, in which they need to hold a rope in order not to fall into the water, was ideally made for Benry and Chase who regularly enhance their guns inside the fitness gym. However, who would expect something 100% unexpected would happen?

Jane destroyed the egos of these two men and convincingly outplayed them even with cramp fingers. Call it luck, call it mental power, a win is a win no matter what angle you’ll view it and Jane won this challenge. It was an extraordinary win for her and no one could change that fact.

Episode Overall Rating: Just the episode I am waiting and for that, I am giving it 10 of 10 stars

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Survivor Insights 80: Vote for the ‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame

Gordon Holmes is an editor in and he wanted you to help him choose the five best SURVIVORS of All-time to become a new member of the “Survivor” Hall of Fame Class of 2010. You got until December 3, 2010 at 5 p.m. ET to vote.

What ya’ waiting for? VOTE NOW!

I have already voted and this is what I said:

1) Richard Hatch: You might consider him the most arrogant player in season one and who could imagine Rich would win the title over Kelly, who won the immunity challenges four in a row? That’s Rich and he made us realize that SURVIVOR is not all about winning immunities. You need to be the KING OF ALLIANCE who’s willing to take big risks to advance in the next level.

2) Parvati Shallow: As Dave Burris said, Parvati “holds the record for most days played” in SURVIVOR. For three reasons she’s in, she used different strategies to get far. In Cook Islands, I saw a Parvati who flirts; in Micronesia, I saw a vulnerable Parvati but she used this vulnerability to protect herself by way of cementing an all girls’ alliance with Amanda and Cirie; In HvH, I saw a very competitive Parvati who tried to use the strategy she used in Cook Islands and in Micronesia. If only Russel Hantz followed her advice to not take Sandra in the final three, Parvati could have won HvH.

3) Aras Baskauskas: The unique thing about Aras’ strategy was his ability to stay on track as always the number two best. Among Cirie, Terry, Danielle and him, Aras was not the strongest (it’s Terry) and he was not also the most social player in camp (it’s Cirie). Aras also stayed patient to win the most important immunity challenge to secure a spot in the final three. Against Terry and Danielle, Aras did not waste his time. He used his power of persuasion to get in the final two and get the jury numbers on his side.

4) Russel Hantz: The only survivor who managed to find the hidden immunity three in a row (correct me if I’m wrong) without any clue. He might not be the most likeable person in camp but Russel outplayed the rest by winning the last individual immunity challenge in Samoa and in HvH to get in the finals. The only weakness with Russel, he could not use his aggressive style to get jury votes.

5) Boston Rob: Like Parvati, Boston Rob was the most deserving runner-up to win an All-Stars title. He was the Immunity King in Season 8 and he knew he needed to play a cut-throat game to get far. The jury in eighth season was simply too emotional and some of them could not swallow their egos to award Rob the title.

– Let’s read what Jeff Probst said: Vote!

Survivor Insights 79: Survivor Nicaragua- Predictable Things Happen… (Episode 9)

1) The Predictable Ending: There was a bit disappointment when you’re watching a Tribal Council and in the end, another strategic player was ousted (Marty) by two of the strongest members of Libertad (Sash & Brenda). This was already a solid proof that Sash & Brenda were completely running the show and their bond seems unbreakable.

This was another intelligent move for them but for those who were watching it (like me), this was a very predictable vote. Three reasons why I consider it intelligent:

  • They knew they were allowing Marty to take control if they agreed on his plan of flushing-out Na’Onka’s hidden idol.
  • They also knew Marty would continue to lurk around (Marty had already got Benry, Flavio and Dan on his side in an attempt to eliminate Jane) if they would give him three more days to stay.
  • They knew they would keep Jane because they can easily control her.

Two reasons why I consider it very predictable:

  • Marty was all over the editing. He was like the highest paid Hollywood actor during this episode because he got the biggest scenes from start to finish.
  • The editing also revealed Sash was a bit hesitant in bringing Marty in the finals. Therefore, he ended Marty’s campaign instead of wasting his time voting against Jane.

2) Na’Onka’s Explosion: What you saw in TV is the real Na’Onka. If she loved the F*** word and the dirty finger, let her be. She’s hungry. She’s stressed. She’s emotional and being real, to her own words, is the real thing even you’re embarrassing yourself in front of camera.

Jeff Probst did talk about her in his blog and this is what he said:

“She stole Fabio’s socks, she stole flour, she stole food, she tackled a woman with one leg, she yells at everybody whenever she’s in a bad mood and is one of the most despised contestants to ever play Survivor…but she is still in the game.”

3) Men vs. Women: This week’s reward challenge was all physical and five men had to play against five women. Chase has to sit-out but has given a chance to select which group would win. I got no doubts that the men would win this challenge and it’s a big disbelief that Chase chose the women over men.

I was not sure what Chase was thinking that moment. Perhaps, he already found it hard to understand where he’s going, now there were only ten in the camp.

“What were you thinking bro! C’monn.” – Benry

His strategy was to go with the numbers, that’s good and (strategic-wise) he seems in better position than Benry, but he was confusing himself too much, that even Brenda was disappointed with his wishy-washy behavior.

“Chase is too paranoid.  You can be tall and you can be muscular, but really where’s all that alpha male, power and control?  It’s an illusion.”

Episode Overall Rating: 7 of 10 stars

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Survivor Insights 78: Survivor Nicaragua-The Curious Case of the Dirt Squirrel (Episode 8)

“You are a 100 percent Grade-A dirt squirrel.” – Benry

Dirt Squirrel – Urban Dictionary: a female of questionable character

1) Everybody Hates Alina: It’s not fair anymore if you’ll just say Alina was eliminated because everyone around the camp hated her. The word “hate” is just too offensive and plain wrong. Change hate to fear and that sounds better.

Here’s my take on this: Alina was the type of person who could see the deeper side of this game. The girl who even Russel Hantz wanted to get rid of because of her ability to create a clear-cut plan which could benefit her. The next problem was the number was against her.

Chase and Benry were threatened by her. Na’Onka did not trust her. Holly punished her for having a secret agreement with Na’Onka for stealing the fruits and Dan was completely back in Marty’s arms.

Strategic-wise, it was difficult to be in Alina’s position. It was not as complicated as what Parvati did in Micronesia. Alina had also no luck as Amber in Season 8’s All-Stars. She was clearly feared by everyone around the camp for a reason she herself could not understand.

2) Stolen Food: Na’Onka was playing a very aggressive game. There’s much aggression in her style and all things lead in the wrong (will it be correct if I say wrongest?) direction.

The situation was her tribemates pissed her off for she only ate a little of the tortilla which she cooked. So as her revenge she decided to bury the flour.

“I woke up this morning very irritable because I woke up and made the tortillas.  It was my idea.  And the fact that I’m the last to get everything and I get the smallest tortilla, it’s like okay you guys want to play … okay, I can play too.”

I don’t hate Na’Onka that much but this type of behavior was marked by immaturity. She was playing a game of SURVIVOR, not simply a game for toddlers. If you’re pissed off, keep that to yourself. Never show your anger by stealing the food, which is prepared for the group.

To be fair with Nay, she was perhaps controlled by her frustration that time and she could no longer think straight. That’s quite understandable! Just a thought though: if this simple case already angered her, how much more was left for Nay if the group will vote her out before the finals?

3) Marty Talks It All Out: Marty is a big fan of this show. He knew how it’s played and even if he’s only left with a twig to hang on, he still had the confidence to talk it all out by letting the tribe know that Jane could be a potential winner.

Marty was 100% correct! He got nothing to lose by talking that loud. The tribe was against him. He no longer have the immunity idol in his pocket and the only ally he had is Dan. So, why waste the time and be quiet at one corner?

4) The Dark Horses in Libertad: I almost forgot the new tribe name, which means liberty. Marty made this one and that would mean one thing:

Marty was never contented to just sit around. He’s still trying to gain some control but sad to say, the power which is not made for long-term. You and I know luck was the reason why Marty was not voted out for two episodes now. In fact, the tribe would not also lose anything if Marty stays longer (as long as he will not be in the finals).

The main question now is: who’ll be the dark horses of this season (the one who can risk to jump over the fences without falling down)?

a) Sash

Seemingly the bestest choice to win this season due to his power of persuasion. However, being powerful is not everything in SURVIVOR even the great manipulator Russel Hantz has failed for two seasons in a row. Right now, Sash may have enjoyed the position as the leader of his alliance but for how long? Is that enough to take him in the finals?

b) Fabio

There’s a spiky edge beneath Fabio’s carefree personality. I also have a hard time reading his direction. He seems he’s going left, right, middle or just be at the center where he’s completely safe. Who knows, this new strategy can help him win this season.

c) Kelly Purple

The editing have ignored her for a number of episodes now but she still outlasted the likes of Yve, Jill and Alina, who clearly played an aggressive game than her. Kelly Purple is this season’s floater. You just can’t feel her but she’s still existing and I am not sure if she deserves the title for that.

Back in SURVIVOR SAMOA, Natalie had this similar game; Who do you think will act as Kelly’s Russel Hantz?

d) Chase & Brenda

Right before the switch, these two made a pact to be loyal with each other, not sure though if that means for “no matter what.” Is this a long-term pact or completely forgotten now that they are merged?

5) Jane & Fabio: This week’s immunity was kinda a blast. It looked very easy but when you started to see Alina, Benry, Marty and Chase broke down, you’ll realize this game was no joke at all. I was not expecting Jane and Flavio to win. Before this challenge started, I completely thought this was made for Alina or Brenda and Chase or Benry.

Episode Overall Rating: 8 of 10 stars – Alina is officially a jury member and Probst confirmed it. It’s hard to expect if Marty or Benry will bag the title so I will prepare myself for the unpredictable and more blindsides.

Who goes first? Benry or Marty? Don’t tell me 🙂 I hate spoilers!

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