Survivor Insights 87: What’s The Best Survivor Season in History?

It is a tough and demanding task for me to rank the best season of SURVIVOR. I am bias (in terms of preferences) and I could give you all my good reasons why Survivor Panama Exile Island is my best season in history. Let’s say you have studied this show for ten years and if you’ll based your judgments on outwit, outplay and outlast, perhaps Season 12 is only average or below average and Aras-Danielle is a very forgettable final two. That’s your opinion folks and I completely understand that. This TV Show is just a game after all and if you and I have similar views, this world is a boring place. Freedom is a choice and it’s your right to say or write whatever you want. However, only one thing is for sure, I am still keeping my stand and I won’t be swayed.

Dalton Ross and Tom Santilli have written their own versions of “Most Memorable Survivor Season Ever” and it pretty frustrates to see Survivor Panama Exile Island is not on their top ten list. Although Jeff Probst declared it as one of the colorful seasons during the reunion, Santilli and Ross still rank the season at #15 and #14 respectively. That’s fine though. I seem to think having ranked outside the top ten is better than to be last, right?

Here are the links in which you can read their entire article:

Updated Survivor Season Rankings by Dalton Ross

Ranking the Most Memorable Seasons of Survivor by Tom Santilli

Happy New Year Everyone & Keep watching SURVIVOR!

Survivor Insights 86: Survivor Nicaragua – The Underdog Wins (Season Finale)

1) The Sole Survivor: He was labeled as the dumb blonde and was clearly the season’s underdog. He was not perceived as a threat until he made the Final Seven (When Benry was voted out). He also has no alliance to turn to but he saved his own skin by winning immunity three in a row. Man, is there anything I miss? Oh yeah! I have forgotten to tell you his name. He is Juddson Birza a.k.a. Fabio and he is the sole survivor. His goofy but competitive personality has certainly helped him get far without backstabbing or making broken promises with anyone in the game.

Rewinding back, Fabio was not the type of power player who would talk with somebody to seal an agreement. He’s just a happy-go-lucky young man who wanted to be cool. Look  up the meaning of cool in the dictionary and its slang definition says “great; fine; excellent.” These are the exact words that could describe the ‘coolness’ in Fabio. His strategy reminded me of Brett in SURVIVOR SAMOA. These two men dominated in immunity challenges. The only big difference is Fabio has used his ability to stay cool and give his 101% to beat Sash, Chase and Holly during the final challenge.

The Final Tribal Council was kinda a giveaway. I knew Fabio was well-liked by the jury. I am pretty satisfied with his not-so-serious responses but it was absolutely surprising the wishy-washy Chase made a big comeback.

2) Chasing Miracles: Chase got four votes, which would mean there is only one vote that separated him and Fabio. You know what, this is quite not-believable to say but Chase made his big last step closer to the million at the very last minute of the game. He completely delivered his side with confidence and was taking full responsibility for his weaknesses. However, Chase only had the women on his side (Alina, Brenda, Holly and Jane). None of the men (Benry, Dan, Marty) bought his answers, not even Na’Onka who gave her the hidden idol in Episode 12.

3) No Votes for Sash: Sash was labeled as this season’s strategist. Some people would agree with it and some don’t. In the end, this label does not matter anymore for he still got zero votes for the title. Where do you think he went wrong?

Back with the facts first: Sash is a real estate agent and he is expected to have this oozing charisma to convince people. However, there’s too much tightness in Sash during the Q & A (He reminded me of Stephen sitting next to JT in SURVIVOR TOCANTINS). He was mentally ready to reveal himself and tried to say things that the jury wanted to hear but the Jury of Nine felt none of his answers are from the heart.

4) Finale Rating: SURVIVOR NICARAGUA is certainly the best season to date after an All-Stars Season. Predictable things happen here and there but the overall thrill was far superior to SURVIVOR VANUATU and SURVIVOR GABON. This is a season that could stand on its own even though I have no pre-shows bets in the Final Four. I wanted Fabio to win and yes, I am pretty bias about that. Fabio was one of my season’s dark horses and it was beyond the word ‘brilliant’ seeing him outlasted the rest. For that, I’ll gave the Finale Episode a 9 of 10 stars and my Season’s Overall Rating objectively received a  8.07 of 10 stars.

Weekly TV Ratings are released

Merry Christmas Everyone and keep watching SURVIVOR. The Redemption Island begins on February 16, 2011 (February 17, my time).

Photos courtesy of: CBS, Wikipedia


Survivor Insights 85: Who’ll Win Survivor Nicaragua (Episode 14)

What’s My Take On This?

1) Fabio: Fabio won the Immunity Challenge for the second time. This was a special victory for him for two reasons. He did not only saved himself from the boot but he also forced the four-person-alliance (Chase, Sash, Holly & Jane) to eat one of their own. However, it’s still hard to deny the truth. I want Fabio to win. He’s clearly a big favorite but his fate to win this season remains uncertain, especially if he will not win the last two challenges. Unless, of course, if he has the competitive edge like what JT did in Tocantins, everything will be in order.

Chances of Winning: 70%

2) Chase: Chase was playing an ugly game since the merge. It was not strategic at all, it’s purely ugly. Chase even deserves to be called as this season’s “wishy-washy backstabber” and the situation got three-times worse by voting against Brenda, Benry and  Jane. You might also want to consider him lucky to some extent. This ugly style of playing has helped him get into the Final Five without any vote cast against him since the premiere. Perhaps, the situation can go in two different ways. Chase either make the finals and be like Stephen & Mick (Season 18 & 19) or he makes to the finals, the jury will buy his excuses and win the title. What do you think?

Chances of Winning: 40%

3) Holly: Holly’s boldest move in the game was getting rid of Brenda in Episode 10. From that moment on, she continued to move forward. Although there’s a little warning on the wall that Fabio, Dan and Jane could openly voted her out, Holly still secured a spot in the Final Five. Her alliance with Chase and Sash looks solid but these two guys can instantly break it. Should she make a good run in the finals, but that’s a difficult road to take, she can win.

Chances of Winning: 60%

4) Sash: The one good thing about Sash is his ability to get the numbers on his side ASAP. He might have chose the wrong alliance by voting out Benry but it’s one big step closer to million dollars by getting rid of Jane. Sash is a good negotiator, he’s going in the right direction and should he be in the finals, expect him to put the jury under his spell. His only biggest downfall is – if he remains overconfident and does not try to win immunity.

Chances of Winning: 50%

5) Dan: Based on the editing, Dan did not do anything strategic. He’s clearly the weakest in the group and no one has attempted to vote him out since the merge. Chase wanted to vote Dan out when Fabio won the immunity but Dan got 100%  lucky once again the moment Fabio disagreed with the plan.

Chances of winning: 35%

Episode Rating: Jane was the reason why this episode became a nutcracker. It’s a scene not to forget when she grabbed the bucket of water to put out the fire before the Tribal Council. 9 of 10 stars

Finale on Sunday (Monday my time), never miss it!!

Survivor Insights 84: Survivor Nicaragua – The Swing Vote (Episode 13)

1) Blindside Benry: Blindsides are fun to watch. It adds a different twist in reality-competition shows. However, the blindside can be frustrating once the most deserving player to win is sitting in the jury’s box and not in the finale. Benry was voted out (sixth jury member) and SURVIVOR NICARAGUA has officially become the second time in which I got no pre-show bets in the final four.

If only Benry aced this week’s Immunity Challenge, every little thing would have turned in his way. Who knows? Another blindside could have happened and Sash or Jane went to Ponderosa. This never happened anyway. It’s only my imagination. The competition is called Survivor and having the numbers is important. This is the game’s first commandment and Benry has failed to accomplish that part, right?

Even Sandra’s “As-Long-As-It-Ain’t-Me” strategy did not work for him. Back in Pearl Islands and Heroes vs Villains, Sandra has thoroughly maneuvered that strategy in the right direction. Benry did not. The timing was kinda late and he’s going downhill instead of having little steps upward.

2) Just Right in the Middle: You might now realize how powerful a swing vote is. A swing vote is always valuable even if you own the hidden immunity idol. In the case of Sash, I don’t get it why he chose to be with Chase, Holly and Jane. Strategic-wise, it’s clear to me Sash had a plan for choosing to get rid of Benry even Chase looks more threatening in challenges. Sash knew he’ll easily beat the wishy-washy Chase in jury votes.

What confuses me though is there will be third person and this spot either goes to Holly or Jane. These two oldest members in camp are power players and sitting next to one of them means handing them the prize money.

3) The Wrong Choice: Emotions are always a part of Chase. I thought it could backfire him after choosing the wrong person (Jane over Sash) for the reward but it seems all things were put in the right order. The story goes on and Sash did not vote against him.

4) Fabio Deserves the Title: Six are left and it’s kinda unbelievable the numbers are even. Three ex-La Flor members (Chase, Fabio and Sash) while Holly, Jane and Dan are the ex-Espada. I am aware that the game has evolved into new heights and the young vs old was completely forgotten. Dan looks solid with Fabio and Holly-Jane is probably tied with Chase and Sash. The situation looks very predictable and at one glance, you can already pin-point who’s the seventh jury member.

Hopefully, things will change. Fabio deserves to win. His strategy coming into this game was kinda naive yet he still understands what the game in a nutshell. I know and he also knew it he’s only way out is to win two Immunity Challenges in a row to secure a seat in the Final Tribal Council on Day 39.

Episode Rating: You’ll love this episode if you’re rooting for Sash and you’ll get frustrated/disappointed if Benry was in your list of favorites to win this season. For that, I’ll give this episode 8 of 10 stars.

Photos courtesy of: CBS.com

Survivor Insights 83: Survivor Nicaragua – Quitters Never Win (Episode 12)

1) The Quitters: Just eleven more days in the game and two castaways decided to quit. I could not rule out if this is the ideal decision for Na’Onka and Purple Kelly. I was kinda sure they have their rational or irrational excuse to leave the game and it’s certainly unfair to judge them based on what we saw in TV. We only saw an hour of an episode which is filled with numerous editing and these two quitters, as what many people want to believe, had experience 28 days and nights without living in a comfortable shelter, with little food to eat and without warm clothes to wear.

According to Abraham Maslow, physiological needs (food, air, shelter, health, sex) are the basic needs of human survival. It is indeed true and no one can deny that.  Just imagine yourself living in a land and 50% of these physiological needs are removed from you. That’s SURVIVOR, right? It is 60% mental game and the remaining 40% is all physical. Every little thing is a tough and complicated test. If you are cold, bored, tired, thirsty and hungry, so are your tribemates.

This is a situation where you are not only playing a cut-throat game but you are also put in a place where you need to deal with people you do not know what their real personalities are and you also need to survive the inevitable elements Mother Nature can strike at you.

2) The Good vs The Right: The question is, did Na’Onka and Purple Kelly made the best decision for themselves? The real answer depends on what point of view you’re looking at. Life is not a one-way road and as what I’ve learned listening to Usher’s Raymond vs Raymond, there are ALWAYS three sides to every story you tell. There’s one side, the other and the truth.

Good – Dictionary.com defines the term as morally excellent; virtuous, sound or valid

Right – Dictionary.com defines the term as in conformity with fact, reason, truth, or some standard or principle; correct; most convenient, desirable, or favorable

Therefore, the decision to quit in SURVIVOR can either be good (for yourself) or it is absolutely not right (in the eyes of others).

A) On one side, I could say Na’Onka and Purple Kelly chose the wrong decision just because many people would label them as quitters. It’s also a two-times wrong decision for Na’Onka for not giving up the reward over the new tarp and rice for her tribemates after her announcement.

B) On the other side, it might be good to say Na’Onka and Purple Kelly stick on their word and made the right decision to leave the game for health reasons.

C) Where the truth lies? Ask them.

Good versus right and right versus good – The final decision is up to you and whichever road you take, there are still consequences.

3) Lucky Dan: Of the nine remaining castaways in Nicaragua Rainforest, Dan was the luckiest for doing nothing so special and no one wanted to vote him out. Dan was not selected to participate in this week’s reward challenge but he has chosen the right team to cheer on and ended up in a Survivor Cinema watching the premiere of Gulliver’s Travel with Benry, Chase and Na’Onka. Power and fitter players (Alina, Marty and Brenda) were voted out before him for three straight episodes in a row. His luck continues to roll and Dan was in instantly in the final six due to Na’Onka and Purple Kelly’s unexpected decision to quit.

4) Chasing power: Chase made an easier route to the million-dollar prize money the moment Na’Onka  gave her the hidden immunity idol, not by any strategic-means but by pure hood love. Her simple way of saying Chase deserves to win.

Question: Will Chase use the idol to his full advantage? Reading spoilers is not part of my routine therefore the right answer is: Let’s see and wait.

5) The Mother in Holly: Holly did the most heroic act in SURVIVOR Nicaragua in Day 28. Just imagine the anxiety and hunger she went through yet, she still chose to give up the reward over a tarp and rice. This decision instantly made her the most deserving person to win the title even if she’ll not win any immunity challenges, right? However, and I assume Holly knew it, the game is not about charity. SURVIVOR is all about outwit, outplay, outlast and what Holly did was only a part of the circle.

Episode Rating: Due to the learning resurface during this episode especially to what Jane (“There’s people out there that are a whole lot worse off than we are, and they are not playing Survivor”) and Benry (“Winners never quit and quitters never win”) said during the Tribal Council, I give it 9 of 10 stars.

Photos courtesy of: Survivor.com