Survivor Insights 23: The Dragon Slayer of FORZA

The unexpected-in-some-cases-expected pulled out of Joe Dowdle from the game due to staph infection didn’t make a big impact on the game’s overall dynamics. The first reason was, he didn’t cemented any strategic decisions to stay in the game. It had been said he made some politic connections with Sydney and Spencer but nothing happened, the connection was loose. Second, if things gone the other way and he brought back in the game after the medical treatment, Joe could still have a hard time entering the circulation. He’s into the game but his level of competitiveness to be in the game was not widely recognized.

As the two tribes merged while listening to their left and right schemes, plots and talks, this episode was truly one of those nerve-cracking moments in SURVIVOR History. I didn’t know who exactly to believe and what to believe.

There’s Coach who I want to congratulate for coming up an awesome name for the merge tribe. FORZA sounded firm and tough. He said FORZA was a Portuguese term for “strength.” Yes, for once he was right and he seemed to believe he’s sitting in a brilliant position, miles better than the four-trans-alliance.

The truth is; Coach was just a victim. The leader of his pack was Tyson, nothing more. I don’t know how successful Tyson was in siding with Stephen and JT. You see, Stephen had also 60-40 solid connections with Taj, Sierra and Brendan, and now he’s with Tyson-Coach and Deborah. Confusing, really!

The disappointing part of this was why Stephen allowed Tyson’s gameplan to roll in his fingers when Stephen got a better call when he’s with his trans-alliance with JT as the backup (2 + 1 backup for Jalapao to 2 for Timbira compared to Tyson’s 3 Timbira to 2 Jalapao) . When Stephen sided with Tyson, his stay in the game could be in a mess. His chances of staying in the circulation went from 95% to 30%.

Stephen played the role of a “Thinker” this season. I salute the way he pushed his plans on board but in this episode, some of his emotions swallowed him. If he pulled the wrong fiber at any moment, all could possibly go wrong.

Winning the first individual immunity necklace made Tyson a powerful dark horse to bank on. I might not a big supporter of him and Coach together but heck, Tyson’s strategy can stir this season with a loud bang. Whether a depressing bang, a sweet bang, a devilish plan, you might hate him or not… that’s still Tyson.

Let’s watch his awesome display in hanging-pole immunity challenge as narrated by Joe.

There’s hundreds of questions in our minds and most of us can’t wait to see whose side wins next episode, is it Brendan’s trans-alliance? Or the Coach-Tyson Dragon Slayer’s Gameplan? Whatever plan reigns, where’s Erinn to all these plans? She’s moving forward in the game without a clear-cut alliance.

Take a look at the picture below. Erinn used her “devilish grin” as what Coach called it and surely, this smile left you in fence.

Erinn and Brendan again :)
Erinn and Brendan again 🙂

I’m now looking forward to watching the next episode and before I forget, it was confirmed in Joe’s RNO interview he was not part of the jury. This might mean, seven of them will make the jury and looks like, a Final-Two-Showdown rocks the boat once again.


where are they going?
where are they going?

Survivor Insights 20: S For Sydney

Belonging to Jalapao since the premiere, Sydney Wheeler was like under- the-radar and attractive blond who couldn’t be in the center stage. This week was entirely different for I saw her vulnerable side and what’s probably the nicest thing in her strategy was using her charms to survive the cut.

This sex-appeal game was already an old testament in SURVIVOR. Good for Sydney and it still works by flirting with the boys and geez, by even wearing the boxers of JT.

This is the reason why I picked Sydney as one of my earlier favorites. Just by reading her profile in CBS, I smell something so sweet in her and wow, it’s true, she successfully rolled her cards on board just like what Parvati Shallow, Jenna Morasca, Heidi Strobel and Amber Brkich did in previous seasons.

In Timbira, Tyson got in touch with his nudity madness once again, wearing only a loincloth with a buff in the private area. Was this his strategy to make his tribe laugh at him and let them forget the conniving side of Tyson? If this is one of his strategies, it looks like he’s in a good or bad shape leading to complete frustration or potentially have the numbers on his side when twist occurs.

I wonder what happen to Erinn. She was in no energy to socialize with the group as Tyson did his nude comedy. Is she feeling bad? Or was she just uncomfortable? Nevermind. Erinn was still a stand-out to me even she’s not with people. There was even a scene that she looks like Parvati!

During the reward challenge which requires stamina to lift weights and conquering mental soreness, I expected Coach might volunteered to stand on the box and carry the load as he’s more in great mass than Tyson is. Yet, what was new with Coach… the skinny Tyson did his part and even without proper amount of food for days, he did awesome carrying 140 pounds in his back before giving out. That’s not it, this challenge was for another great record, two woman were in showdown. Taj in Jalapao and Debb in Timbira.

Standing on that box with 100 pounds, Taj was like Serena Williams. She’s already too exhausted but still giving a solid stand to win the game.

Rolling to immunity challenge, it was a rewind of season’s twelve: Panama Exile Island. Again, Jalapao and Timbira were neck-in-neck, squeezing their brains to solve the mystery message in rolling blocks.

Jalapao couldn’t outplay Timbira this time and decided to send their tribe’s mother, SandyBurgin, home. Watch this never before seen video as how Sandy acted like a mom to injured Spencer.

Survivor Insights 19: What Gone Wrong With Timbira?

What was once perceived as an “undefeatable” tribe during the premiere is now a crack. Watching Jalapao outplayed Timbira in back-to-back challenges made me realize there’s like an iceberg in Timbira camp that separates them with each other— and one probable reason for this crack is Ben “The Coach” Wade.

Instead of contributing something for his tribe, Coach was like the god of destroyer who’s just too busy campaigning for his own good. In episode two, he was intimidated with Candace and wanted her out and now, he was gunning for Erinn. Geez, seeing him imitating what he perceived as the Devil’s Erinn’s smile was foolishly funny.

Remember the “forming a staircase” immunity challenge,” where was he?

If Coach believed he should be the leader of his tribe, why not he helped Brendan in pushing the last crate to the top? Somehow, somewhere— it might be too late for blaming. Coach’s strategy was like a cockroach and nothing could be done. He just talked like what expected from a coach but no productive results to support the talk. If anyone has the right to lead Timbira, that should be Brendan or Tyson. Let’s watch the following videos to know what Erinn, Brendan and Sierra think of Coach.

For Jalapao, it might be a good call for them to win another immunity. Their teamwork had been great. If Jalapao did lose, Taj was now a threat and might be going home instead of Sandy. Taj was slowly unveiling the dark horse version of her and if she successfully convinces Stephen to join her secret bond with Brendan and Sierra, that might be a big leap for them in the final four.

It’s somehow clear to me why Brendan chose Sierra over Erinn from the start. He regularly labeled himself as the entrepreneur and he could comfortably use his marketing skills with Sierra over the other. Truth is, Erinn was playing with a big strategy on board, Sierra is more like of a going only into the flow. But if I were Brendan, considering he already got the hidden immunity necklace, I assure that these two girls were on my side. If I still need another member, that could be Tyson.

Trusting Taj and Stephen when merge comes is in question. Jalapao was in their best form with JT as their leader. Stephen was in sync with JT and Taj may find it hard to break this bond. And Taj must not forget Sydney, she will play the sex-goddess next week (oh yeah!).

It may not be the the time for him to go and thank God, it was not Erinn who went home. Jerry Sims, the US Army blew his chances to fight back and completely submitted to another blindside.

Survivor Insights 18: 3-2 Win for Jalapao

The editing was getting better each week and this week’s episode started with some castaways knock themselves on the chopping board.

First on the list is Candace Smith. She’s competitive in challenges, she’s a talker and she’s charismatic but why she was not fighting to avoid elimination? She and Erinn were talking about ousting Coach but why she didn’t make it happen? If only Candace used her persuasion expertise and get along with Tyson, Jerry, Erinn and Sierra, she would have probably sent Coach home. But even Erinn voted against her during the Tribal Council- an indication Candace’s strategy was a no show.

I read Candace’s interview in RNO and this was she said why she not voted against Coach.

“Because I thought people on my tribe were so brainwashed by him. I felt like I was in the twilight zone. I was like, “Is he really having this effect on you?” I was the only one being protected by the evil rays. I could take him down with one arm. It was like a cult, like the whole “I’m your coach” thing – it worked with everybody! But with some people, it was horrifying.”

Another mark of disappointment was Coach. Coach was trying to portray the “Mr. Invincible” in pilot episode but it turned out he’s behaving like a cockcroach during the immunity/reward challenge. Candace, Brendan, Tyson and even Sierra were pulling their legs to attain victory but where was Coach? Perhaps, it’s his strategy not to be in the front seat during challenges or was he a no-good coach at all?

Debbie Beebe, the school principal, was all in praise for Coach and as expected, Coach liked it. They created alliance and during the Tribal Council, Debbi sounded like she wanted to get rid of Erinn. Geez, hoping Jerri, Tyson and Brendan won’t buy in this agreement. Timbira was stronger in challenges with Erinn on board than Debbi.

Talking a lot is a crime in SURVIVOR. I knew Taj was hesitant when she told her tribemates about her married to an ex-NFL pro and this can spell d-a-n-g-e-r on her feet. But Taj was a former member of SWV (the RnB group behind the hit single “Weak”) and she may still have lots of magic COOL tricks going inside her mind and hopes it works on her and not against her.

In Timbira, Sierra and Brendan joined forces in searching for hidden immunity necklace but like Sandy, they came out empty-handed and revealing to their tribemates that they were digging for a bonfire sounded like a messy non-impressive joke. What were they thinking? Also, it might not a good idea for Sierra asking Brendan for help. Brendan was an entrepreneur and he could tell lies as easy as eating peanut. What he did after his return from Exile Island, that’s how Candace should have played the game. Survivor is a mind game and one should know how to use your skills to your BIG advantage.

The water-basketball immunity/reward challenge was again like a grand slam finale between Nadal and Federer. Timbira was in an impressive lead 2-0 but Jalapao went ahead to equal the scoreboard, 2-2. Sierra continued to display a no-joke competitiveness but came short when Stephen armed her down and shoot the ball for Jalapao’s victory 3-2.

Just hoping that after this Jalapao’s victory, Stephen and JT cemented friendship blooms forward and help them get into the jury. Seeing best friends win this game will be nice, eh?

Survivor Insights 17: The Bus Driver is Pissed!

One hour was a too short premiere for Survivor Tocantins and didn’t cover more interesting slices of events in both tribes. I expected a more incredible opening theme but my apologies, Garbon’s Intro (watch SURVIVOR Season 1-16 Intro) was better. That’s ok, the new set of castaways are noticeably splashing some dives.

Jalapao in red and Timbira in black, these are the names of the tribe and the first moment I saw them in the truck, I knew each one of them had something interesting to say with each other. And whoa! I was in bliss when the editing chose Erinn Lobdell, the 26-year-old hairstylist from Wisconsin, to first speak up in front of the confessional airtime and was perceiving Tyson Apostol, the 29-year-old professional cyclist from Utah, as probably the most strategic player in her tribe.

But hell to Tyson, his eye was on Erinn and says she was a bitch. Does this spell danger for Erinn Lobdell? Hope it’s not and another bite of confusion, I didn’t get the logic behind why Brendan Synnott, the 30-year-old entrepreneur, voted for Erinn instead of Sierra. Did he know that the real purpose of the twist and didn’t want Erinn to hike? Or he will probably join forces with Tyson to oust Erinn?

Geez, this season will not be incomplete without Erinn. There’s Sydney Wheeler, another eyecandy from Jalapao but Erinn was kind of different and even David Bloomberg of RealityNewsOnline had some nice and juicy first impressions on Erinn,

“She says she gets a lot of comparisons to Parvati. But she doesn’t think Parvati’s “genius” plan of letting everybody else do the dirty work for her will work again. She says if the others want to think she’s a “little princessy” at the beginning, she’s okay with that. She doesn’t want to give away too much, too fast. I’m thinking if the others think that and she doesn’t counter it, she might not have long to show them who she really is!”

In Jalapao Tribe, Sandy Burgin was immediately perceived as the weakness and picked her as the castoff but all went well for this 53-year-old bus driver and a grandmother, she was not eliminated in the game as what everybody expected. But beware, she’s still pissed and willing to play hard just to find the hidden immunity necklace buried within the perimeter to avoid the chopping block.

But it was a different story for Jalapao Tribe during the immunity challenge. Taj and Sandy finished to build the ladder planks first but on Timbira, the sexy gals (Erinn and Sierra) fought back and tried to equal the pace. Thanks to Sierra’s competitive spirits:)

Up aboard, Jalapao and Timbira were neck-in-neck to solve the fishing-net-like table maze. Spencer, the youngest castaway in history at 19, and Sydney were struggling but Erinn and Brendan were in smooth sailing and got their tribe flag up and wins!

Yes, that’s a rock-solid competition!

Back at their camp, it was a 50/50 toss between Sandy and Carolina, the 26-year-old bartender. Carolina’s boisterous personality annoyed her tribemates and for this, she bid goodbye from the game.

Read her RNO interview