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

Survivor Insights 151: Caramoan – As Long As It Ain’t Me (Episode 6)

THE STANDOUT: Whoa, Matt was eliminated. Was this unexpected? Yes. Was I surprised? A bit no and yes. This elimination was totally not 99% surprise but it’s a good blindside, right? The other truth is, strategy-wise, Matt did nothing wrong. He decided to play a social “As long as it ain’t me” game, which was similar to Sandra in HvV and in Pearl Islands. The strategy could have worked. He’s in the right situation in which he simply have to convince and make Phillip believe he’s one of his Stealth R Us.

Matt allowed himself to dive into a complicated situation in which he remains uncertain – that’s the biggest problem. Considering the edit was 100% true, Matt appeared confident with his position. Somehow, he failed to remember he’s playing a game with Cochran – who’s a true blue student of the game.

John Cochran Survivor Caramoan

Cochran was responsible for Matt’s elimination. His strategy was to give himself enough time to analyze the situation with logic – before convincing the other three favorites to vote against Matt before he and Michael go against them.

THE UNLUCKIEST: When Cochran turned himself into a smart beast, there’s no way out. He turned opportunities into gold. Try to remember what type a player Cochran and you realize he was a fan too, like Matt, before becoming a favorite. But given the situation in which he has the freedom to choose between two strong alliances, it appeared Cochran wanted to prove something better for himself – that if he remains loyal, he showed Matt he’s a better fan. That’s why, he gave Matt his moment to say his last farewell.

THE GOOD: It’s a given fact after a switch, one tribe went south while the other became Greek gods. The New GOTA (Eddie, Reynold, Malcolm, Erik, Sherri, Andrea and Brenda) got all the love, luck and respect. This tribe got the looks, the muscles, the brains, the charms and the game. Three of my six pre-show bets were in there too – so what more can you and I ask for?

In food, the New GOTA was the appetizer, the main course and the dessert. In basketball, it’s the dream team for Olympics. In tennis, each was an all-court aggressive player who could upset the World Seed #1 at any surface.

The Immunity Challenge was the proof. The New GOTA moved fast. Each pair rolled six crates like it just weighed 10 lbs. Most importantly, they think like straight A+ students when it comes to puzzles.

Just one complain and it has nothing to do with the New Gota or Bikal. It’s just that the act of smashing eggs becomes lame for a tribal switch. Time for a change, perhaps.

New Gota Survivor Caramoan

EPISODE RATING: 9 of 10 stars

Photos courtesy: CBS

Survivor Insights 150: Caramoan – The Specialist vs. The Conqueror (Episode 5)

Brandon's meltdown

THE STANDOUT: The whole drama in Bikal Camp is a confirmation that SURVIVOR mirrors the reality of life. Yes, it’s a game of outwit, outplay and outlast but if you’re a fan for more than ten years, who has watched every season like it’s your healthy dose of obsession, you tend to realize the various aspects of the game is what you exactly experience in everyday life too.

While I find it hard to comment on Brandon’s emotional meltdown during this episode, I have series of random questions for him – whether he’s reading this blog or not:

1. Given the fact this show is only a game, why get personal with Phillip?

2. Is it necessary to scream and humiliate him by saying he made the Final 3 in Redemption Island just because of Boston Rob?

3. It’s already a given situation for which Phillip is acting like a narcissistic man. He enjoys talking about himself but why you can’t swallow what he’s saying and hear him out?

4. If you’re angry with Phillip, why cause a big chaos in the camp and spill the rice – which is the source of nutrition for nine people, yourself included?

5. Can’t you just be angry with Phillip without creating a scene?

6. Strategy-wise, you have a choice to get rid of him by having an alliance outside the Stealth R Us, why not do it?

7.  Have you considered seeing a professional? From what the world saw (if the editing is 100% genuine), you might need some help?

I’m not in the right position to diagnose Brandon’s bizarre behavior. SURVIVOR is a reality competition show in TV, which means I still need to explore various angles before making any judgment. The conflict between him and Phillip looked seriously entertaining to a point that I seem to realize this type of scenes occur in real life. I also had emotional meltdowns in the past, just as similar as Brandon, but with no cameras around.

THE GOOD: Almost 60% of the episode was about Brandon and Phillip. They stole the airtime from other favorites but if there’s one person who deserved all these good credits, that would be Phillip. This was a different Phillip! He exploded a bit but still controlled his emotions well, especially when he said “You need to grow up!”

THE BAD: Brandon’s meltdown is either a bad or good entertainment, depending on how you’ll see it. As I was watching his outburst, I heard a lot of disrespectful words and I got to say it’s too much for Phillip. He doesn’t deserve it. The words are even two much compared to Abi Maria who called Michael an idiot and stupid. Given, if Phillip is annoying as hell then there’s still a way to disagree with his thoughts and with respect and class, right?


THE UNLUCKIEST: For three episodes in a row, the Gota tribe was always in misery. Apart from Shamar, there were also rats everywhere, eating them alive while they’re sleeping. The six of them also experienced 48 hours of endless storms. But for Reynold, he went from becoming unluckiest to being luckiest again for finding the hidden idol. Hopefully, he’s using it for the right reason this time.

EPISODE RATING: This episode began slowly but it ended with a bomb. Brandon’s outburst was quite predictable considering what I saw in last week’s preview. But man, his emotional breakdown went beyond my comfort zones. 10 of 10 stars!


Survivor Insights 149: Caramoan – Make or Break (Episode 4)

Goodbye LauraTHE STANDOUT: With Shamar gone due to severe eye injury, Sherri’s alliance of six was left with no option but to cut one of their own – Laura. Laura was a good social strategist who was responsible for Allie’s demise in episode two. In Episode three, she also tricked Reynold into thinking she’ll go with them in ousting Shamar. Laura’s social game was overall flawless.

Physical challenges as her weakness is Laura’s biggest problem. She’s in it not to win it. In the Immunity Challenge, even Matt observed that she easily became exhausted by simply helping Reynold in unlocking the chest full of sandbags.

THE GOOD: Was it a good or bad decision to eliminate Laura? For now, the answer is yes. I saw similar episodes of strength vs. loyalty in the past and usually, the majority alliance would keep the strength in an aim to win future challenges.

This decision wasn’t a guarantee considering in Survivor Philippines – Matsing still lost the next challenge after getting rid of Angie. I could only remember an episode in South Pacific in which loyalty was given more priority than strength.

Survivor Caramoan is a different season and as of the writing, Gota needs to win. Each member needs to realize reality is the truth. When it’s the truth, it’s a fact and it’s hard denying it. The truth is; Gota needs Eddie’s strength. Whatever angles you’ll look at, he’s still an MVP of the tribe next to Reynold (even if he wasted his idol solely due to paranoia). Another truth is; it’s not fair blaming these two for losing three immunity challenges in a row.

Bias as it also seems, I still root for Eddie (the only fan left in my list of first impression bets) and I’m expecting he’ll improve his gameplay in the coming episodes. Hopefully.

Eddie survives

THE UNLUCKIEST: Due to Shamar’s  evacuation, this brought the game into another level. It’s also a wake up call for Sherri to not feel too confident about her game. And, it’s interesting to see how will she convince Eddie to stick with them in case there’s a tribal switch.

THE BAD: Phillip was playing this game too much. His Stealth R Us alliance of six became nine, with the inclusion of Brandon (The Conqueror), Erik (The Silent One) and Brenda (Serenity).

Stealth R Us

“Too many cooks spoil the broth” and with eight people under his watch, it’s doubtful to say Phillip was going in the right direction. He might have put himself in a vulnerable position – primarily because he gave himself a harder time pointing out the loyal people against the fake.

Episode Rating: 9 of 10 stars! I adored the episode’s unpredictability.

Photo Courtesy: CBS Survivor Insider

Survivor Insights 148: Caramoan – Hopeless Hope (Episode 3)

3 Reasons why I dislike this episode:

1) With Hope eliminated for good, I’m down to only one bet and that’s Eddie. So, it means, as early as now, considering Eddie has no strategy inside his blood – I can declare I won’t have any fan favorite in the merge.

2) The after water-challenge events were all predictable. Eliminating Hope wasn’t a surprise. I predicted it even before the episode started. It also looked like Sherri’s alliance was too powerful – they’re now making the show so predictable to watch.

3) The combined reward-immunity challenge was arguably one of the bests in history and Eddie was a huge part of it – in this case, for being a failure. What was he doing? Did he really think he can win this game by simply flexing his muscles?

Fans vs Favorites

3 Reasons why I like this episode:

1) Malcolm found the hidden immunity idol. It means he’s ready to take his game one step higher than simply be a shadow to Phillip.

2) Andrea wanted Corrine out. This spells trouble, right?

3) I don’t know if it’s really special to say Shamar didn’t quit. It looks like he’ll have to meet his equal first (Phillip) before quitting.

Photo courtesy: CBS