Survivor Insights 156: Blood vs Water – My First Impression Bets

SEPTEMBER 18, 2013 (September 19th in the Philippines) – Survivor will start a new season with more unexpected twists and turns.

For the first time since 2000, ten returnees will play a cut-throat social game against their loved ones. Yes, you heard it right – their loved ones. That someone close to their hearts, either their husband, wife, niece, daughter, brother or lifetime partner.

Thank God, CBS gave us a room to breath by not including Russel Hantz and his nephew in the cast, lol. In fact, this is totally a unique cast. One, two of the ten returnees didn’t made the merge before and two, I don’t understand why three of the ten were invited to return. It’s EITHER CBS couldn’t think of better characters (which is impossible), OR probably, they were the official replacements for RC (Philippines) and Rob Cesternino (Amazon).

survivor blood vs water cast photo

Who’ll play a ruthless game for the money? Will they betray, backstab and blindside their loved one for a million dollars?

Those are the things I really look forward to see. You see, from seasons 1 to 26, Survivor was an individual social game. The main strategy was to create smooth relationships with strangers until Day 39. Now that involves loved ones and they’ll play against them, it seems like it’s a whole new game – a game filled with roller coaster of raw emotions.

Not only that, redemption Island returns too – but it’s with crazier twists that I never ever expected. These ideas seem too much – these are like ideas that are overcook and it simply goes everywhere. The twists might work, who knows, but frankly it breaks the show’s ratings if it won’t. History says without redemption island, seasons 22 & 23 could have been better.

I have, however, no right to judge or complain. I’m only a fan for twelve years and it’s best for me to simply wait, watch, enjoy as the drama unfolds. (NO Spoilers please!)

Returning players – Who I am rooting for?

aras returns in blood vs water

Aras Baskauskas – Aras was 24 years old when he won the game in 2006. Back then, the original format was already sprinkled with new storylines. It started as four tribes divided into young men, young women, older men and older women. Even with twists like tribe reshuffle and trips to exile island, Aras made the final four to represent the young men tribe. The season ended in a final two and Aras won by 5 votes  against 2 for Danielle.

Now in its 27th season, Aras returned in a seemingly similar game but various things changed. Aras needs to play with other nine returnees and I don’t have one good idea how will he do it.  Will his I’m-second-best-in-everything-until-I-reach-the-top strategy still work? If not, will he be flexible enough to change his board game?

I know it’s too early to tell but will history allow Aras to become the first male returnee to win twice?

candice returns on blood vs water

Candice Cody – It’s her third time and seriously, Candice looks hotter and smarter in her CBS photo. It’s close to perfection and to some extent, it also tells me she came back with a serious purpose – that she prepared herself for more betrayal and more lies.

This time around, though, Candice is married and it’s clear she loves him. It confuses me though why Candice said, “I can’t think of anybody I would trust more to be on my side as a teammate,” when they will compete against each other. What went wrong?

tyson returns on blood vs water

Tyson Apostol – Of the five returning men this season, I expect Tyson (the one from Tocantins) to at least make the merge.

The Tyson in Tocantins was pretty memorable as a bully. I neither like nor dislike his game that time. In Heroes vs. Villains, he faded. He was completely devoured by nine other strong personalities in his tribe. In fact, should he wasn’t eliminated in one of the most memorable Tribal Councils in history, I wouldn’t remember him.

Loved Ones – Who I am rooting for?

vytas on survivor blood vs water

Vytas Baskauskas – Vytas can play this game in two ways.  He might either play a similar game like his younger brother or surpass him in various levels.

Considering he claims to have the wit and intellect of Jonathan Penner + likeability of Aras, Vytas may meet no problems reaching the top. Though he still needs to be extra careful. Being smart and cunning aren’t everything. For no matter how good a people-person he is, things go unruly should he gets hungry and bored.

rachel on survivor blood vs water

Rachel Foulger – Tyson’s girlfriend caught my attention after I read her CBS profile. At 33, Rachel seems to be a matured person with lots of social and business experiences. She completely knew she’ll play Survivor not to make friends but to win – to win challenges and to win the money. To achieve this goal isn’t, however, easy. Rachel knew she needs to magnet people to her side without them knowing it.

Photos courtesy of: CBS & Survivor Seasons

Survivor Insights 155: Cochran Wins Survivor Caramoan (Episode 14)

There are five random reasons why this finale is interestingly good:

cochran wins survivor caramoan

Reason #1: A favorite won again and I’m all pumped that it’s Cochran. I am genuinely rooting for this 25-year-old returnee the moment the ten fans and favorites were revealed four months ago. Truth is; watching Cochran’s overall game was never a disappointment. He learned from his past mistakes. He managed to win the most important immunity challenges (He won 3, the first and the last in which the second one was against Eddie) even if he’s not the fittest guy of the season who could win every challenge that requires strength and agility.

All in all, Cochran proved to himself that “Impossible is nothing” in the game of Survivor should one knows the proper timing to attack and when to get defensive. He also showed the world how an experienced fan of thirteen years could smoothly win a game full of backstabbers, narcissists and physical threats.

Reason #2: What went wrong with Sherri? She made the final three, made a great opening speech in front of the jury but when Erik asked her a question that seems important for her to answer, she seemingly acted like a know-it-all.

With all seriousness, Watching this scene felt like a dwarf collided with a banshee. It was seriously an awkward moment and until now, as I am writing this post, I find it hard to believe a successful businesswoman who owned multiple franchises in real life would have the nerve to behave like she didn’t want the money.

Reason #3: Eddie stepped up and out of nowhere, for the first time in 14 episodes, this firefighter/EMT convincingly knew he can win the game. I just don’t understand why he didn’t use all what he has to win the South-Pacific-rewind reward challenge. He was close, so close and should he win the challenge – it would be interesting to see if Cochran would still win the final immunity challenge.

Reason #4: I adored Dawn’s courage. Even if Brenda ruthlessly ordered her to remove her retainers, Dawn still gave in. Dawn didn’t allow her insecurities to embrace her and bravely followed Brenda’s order even if it means humiliating herself in front of million viewers around the world. Somehow, on the deeper side of things, Dawn didn’t humiliate herself. She proved to everyone that a forty-two woman with six adopted kids must be fearless.

Another realization is: All of us has physical insecurities and we regularly think the world will start criticizing us once they see our imperfection. But, once we learn how to face these insecurities and just forgetting what these fault-finder people will say, there are still people who will appreciate the imperfection in us.

With that saying, I can’t understand why Brenda didn’t vote for Dawn. Was Brenda not emotionally connected with what Dawn showed her?

Reason #5: It’s kinda predictable when Cochran voted against Eddie. It means he really feared Eddie for the title. Yet, it’s still the right decision in which Cochran has to do. Cochran voted against Eddie not because he’s a physical threat but he’s a likable person to win.

Should Cochran kept Eddie over Dawn or Sherri, it might be a more interesting final Tribal Council for which I could listen to three people talk, not just a Dawn-Cochran show. This finale is a 9 of 10 stars!

Photo courtesy: CBS

Survivor Insights 154: Caramoan – Malcolm NOT in the Middle

Malcolm Freberg EliminatedEpisode 10: Truth – Malcolm’s decision to give his idol to Eddie and saved one for himself was a smart and one of the greatest moves in history. It’s a less risky strategy compared to that double-idol play made by Parvati in Heroes vs. Villains but it still works.

Though I’m not even convinced Malcolm was thinking long-term. Yes, he played the idols at the right time but it’s a type of move that’s good for one Tribal Council.

The second thing I don’t completely understand was Malcolm and his two amigos (Reynold and Eddie) voted against Phillip. To me, it’s not making sense at all.

Reason #1: Phillip may clearly be viewed as the leader of Stealth R’ Us but edit-wise and on a deeper side of things, whether it’s the truth or not, Phillip was only a follower.

Reason #2: The three amigos could have used Phillip to survive another Tribal Council, right?

Cochran and Andrea were S-R-U’s ring leaders who ran the entire show flawlessly. Their social game was simply to agree with everything he said as long as he’s not switching sides – outplaying Phillip into thinking he’s in control.

For this, if Malcolm wants to win the title, he should have eliminated either one of them as soon as he can. Watching him play the previous season, I highly doubt it that Malcolm didn’t knew Cochran and Andrea were his biggest threats.

It’s also an impossibility to know that Malcolm wasn’t aware he couldn’t play with them and them playing with him.

Episode 11: Malcolm paid the price. He allowed Cochran and Andrea to stay; that’s why, new opportunities were created. Cochran and Andrea grabbed the opportunity, acted on it and even without Plan B, C or D – they voted him off when they needed to.

It’s not entirely a surprise to Malcolm go. He has his chances but wasted them all. First, he failed to stay longer and win the Immunity Challenge that I expected him to win.

Second, he couldn’t find a hidden idol even with a clue, which he bought for $480. This hidden idol was his life in the game.

Overall, this episode is a let down for Malcolm. Total let down. For eliminating the wrong person when he’s in power, Malcolm’s game immediately went south, deeper south and couldn’t recover – that even his closest amigo (Eddie) voted against him during the revote.

EPISODES RATING: 10 of 10

Photo courtesy: CBS

Survivor Insights 153: Caramoan – Blindside After Blindside

3 Reasons Why I Love Episode 8

cochran wins immunity for the first time

1) It’s merge time! The game shifted from group to individual and for this, things were getting better. The story of the episode reached its climax when Cochran won the first individual immunity challenge of the season. It’s his first win since he joined the show and this win was even made more memorable as he outplayed two alpha males (Eddie and Malcolm) in back to back rounds.

It seems impossible to believe how things happened but for Cochran, he did the unthinkable. He’s an underdog who managed to swallow all those nasty food like a pill just to win the necklace. It appeared there’s no strategy involved in winning that challenge – it’s pure pride and honor for himself.

But he’s not yet done. Cochran also stirred the camp drama before Tribal Council. He chose to stick with his Stealth R’ Us alliance to oust one of their own (Corinne). He completely understood it’s braver to let the Dominatrix go than allowing her to stay and spread her seed until it grows.

2) Dawn did it again! She stayed fearless when she back stabbed Corinne. She made Corinne believe she was at her side when the truth is, Dawn has other things in her mind. She remained loyal to Cochran by telling him everything she knew. Cochran who also remained loyal to Dawn shared the details with Andrea, who circulated the news to Phillip, Brenda and Erik.

erik - the swing vote

3) It’s not really a good thing to see Malcolm’s social game went south. First, he lost a challenge to an underdog who probably weighed eight times lighter than him. Second, he failed to have the right numbers on his side. The fact he got Eddie, Reynold, Corinne and Michael in his pocket, he could have swallowed his pride and recruited Sherri, instead of voting against her.

Another wrong move made by Malcolm was he felt too confident and allowed Erik to explore other opportunities.

Episode Rating: 9 of 10 stars!

3 Reasons Why I Love Episode 9

andrea played smart to save herself

1) This was another unpredictable episode with various twists and turns. I got no idea how Andrea turned herself into a seductive strategist who clearly understood how to make an excellent plan when it mattered most. Blindsiding Michael instead of Malcolm or Eddie was certainly one of the smartest moves I saw in history. Andrea went for a safe blindside instead of taking too much risks.

2) A part of Andrea’s plan was a success because of Eddie’s involvement. Eddie was blinded by his lust and it’s a miracle how this lust turned into loyalty that he started to share important information to Andrea. The way the edit went, it appeared Eddie talked to Andrea not because it’s necessary but because he wanted to protect her somehow. Truth is, if not for Eddie’s I-don’t-know-how-to-describe-it strategy, Andrea became the first jury member.

Brenda won immunity

3) Brenda won immunity and it’s really funny she still has no confessionals. She simply won the challenge without her knowing and edit-wise, it’s not a big deal. LMAO

4) Sherri started to rebuild her game by siding with The Specialist. She knew she could handle Phillip just like she handled Shamar. Was this a good long-term strategy? Yes and I’m guessing she’ll be the only fan in the Final Four.

Episode Rating: 10 of 10 stars!

Photos courtesy: CBS

Survivor Insights 152: End of the Line for Julia (Episode 7)

Julia Eliminated

THE BAD: There were no major shake ups for this episode. Like last week, Corinne and Phillip continued their war of nerves. Bikal lost back-to-back challenges and a fan was eliminated as expected. What’s also quite interesting about the Julia’s elimination was the vote reading. Corinne voted with the fans before the re-vote. Does this mean Corinne was ready to flip once the merge comes just to oust Phillip?

THE GOOD: Malcolm began to realize he’ll be a threat in the merge. From the way he talks in his confessionals, he’s kinda visualizing the series of events that may happen should he remains passive. So to end his problems – he quickly made an alliance with the three alpha males (Reynold, Eddie and Erik) before others start destroying them.

Was this a good move? Yes. Malcolm made sure he’s two-steps ahead of the game. What this for long-term? No sure yet. Considering the two tribes will merge next week, Malcolm still needs to recruit two members to have the majority. Corinne perhaps? How about Cochran?

THE STANDOUT: I expected Gota to win the reward challenge right before it started. Yet, the way it’s edited, things became three-times fun. Brenda was in seventh heaven cheering for her tribe – she knew her tribe is invincible.

Gota Wins

 

In the Immunity Challenge, I adored how Gota planned for the whole challenge. The tribe sent their best swimmers (Brenda, Erik and Eddie) in the water, which was three best decision. These three didn’t disappoint and exceeded expectations.

I wondered why Malcolm didn’t have a standout role in the challenge and it was Reynold who did the grappling hook. Malcolm could have aced this part, I guess.

Dawn was also a standout in Bikal. She played Julia straight in her face. Julia bought the lie while Dawn was on her way, stabbing Julia’s back by sharing everything to Phillip. Good drama.

EPISODE RATING: 7 of 10 stars. Twelve remaining, it’s merge and I still have four pre-show bets (3 favorites and 1 fan). Also, I’m all pump up for the return of food challenge.

Photos courtesy: CBS