The latest episode of Survivor Caramoan: Fans vs Favorites 2 was everything it was made to be.. and then some. Unlike last episode, this one was unpredictable, had more exciting challenges, and the same amount of drama. Shall we get started?
For the second straight time, both Eddie and Reynold return from tribal council feeling shocked and betrayed. Eddie was more vocal about it and chose to confront Sherri about where the tribe plans to go from there. When the talk of strength came into the picture once again, he pointed to Laura saying, "why is she still sitting there?", as if she wasn't even there. He reverts back to his douche self saying that Hope was voted off because she was the "prettiest" out there and that they felt "threatened". I had to do a double take just to make sure he really said that. Then, the two pretty boys went on a speech about the team being crippled in challenges without them because they, obviously, are the two strongest! Mike retorted with what I believe is one of the best things he ever said in the game to date: "We are not winning even with you guys!" Gawd, I love Mike.
Stealth R' Us New Recruits
During the second episode, Phillip had solidified his alliance of Stealth R' Us by naming the members of his alliance: Malcolm the Enforcer, Andrea the Eliminator, Corinne the Dominatrix, Dawn the True Grit, and Cochran the Inteligencia Atache. And of course, he is the self-proclaimed the Specialist. But he has pulled Brandon in to that claiming that he honors how he has excelled in recent challenges. And with that, he welcomes Brandon into the Stealth R' Us alliance as The Conqueror. Then, he goes on to dub Erik as The Silent One and Brenda as Serenity. Andrea isn't too happy about how liberal Phillip is in terms of assigning the others names. But this has temporarily sealed the unity within the tribe. However, this does not flatter Brandon the least bit. In fact, he is laughing behind Phillip's back about what a sucky special agent he might be for not seeing through the fact that he is merely playing along.
Reward Challenge and Tata The Bushman
This is another reinvented Survivor challenge that played out really well. I think the reason that the producers decided to bring it back is because this one requires true teamwork. The fans and favorites were forced to work together in order to win the reward. More than anything, it highlighted what a weak player Laura is in challenges. She is marked with tentativeness, timidity, and can't even balance for her life's sake! On the opposite end, Brenda and Andrea are attacking this challenge like they're known for. They had no trouble manuevering the platform, giving the favorites a slight edge heading into the final stage of the challenge, which is to get all of the tribe members up on the final platform.
Shamar had a pretty dumb strategy going into the last leg of the reward challenge. He crouched on top of the platform asking the girls to "get on top" of him. Uhm, you have approximately 2x2m platform that all 8 tribe members need to get on top of, and then you take up the whole floor space? Wow! Smart thinking Shamar! That left the others with barely any spot to place their foothold on! And to make matters worse, he screamed like a mad man when Jeff proclaimed the winner. Apparently, he thought he was on the favorites tribe. And when he realized that the other team won, he characteristically said, "I didn't win?". Yes, you're the only one who competed in this freaking challenge, Shamar!
Over at the Bikal camp, Tata the Bushman stole the show. He was as animated as can be - even Cochran pointed out that they not only received a great meal for a reward, but also a great show! The Filipino Gollum is how Malcolm described him, which is definitely quite fitting with how he spoke enigmatically with his Gollum-esque voice. Man, that was a great reward! As Corinne pointed out in her confessional, it was a good reward because it is something that they can use and benefit from down the road, rather than sitting down to a meal that will last for only a few hours.
Shamar goes back to his old ways when they returned to camp from the reward challenge - lying around at the shelter. When we thought we've seen the toll of his annoyance factor, he declared that his tribe mates should serve him rice once a day so he wouldn't quit. This was met with glares and confused stares from the others who listened to him as he walked off the shelter. Poor fans. They couldn't believe what they just heard!
If that's not enough, he also complained of a bamboo or sand (or whatever!) getting into his eyes causing him to itch and rub it. The following day, Shamar's eyes got really sore and he claimed that he cannot even open it without feeling pain. This prompted Probst to bring in medical team to check on him. After initial examination, the doctors decided to pull him from the game so he could go and see a specialist. Even when Shamar was annoying me, I felt for him as he teared up while Jeff was asking him about the doctor's decision to get him out of the game. Reynold and Eddie might've been relieved to see him go out that way because that means one less worry for them in terms of the numbers. But these two had a lot of work to do before they can whizzle their way back in because at this point the numbers are still lopsided at 5 and 2.
This week's immunity challenge is another Survivor classic. Love the fact that there are more water challenges nowadays than we had at the same point during Survivor: Philippines and even in recent seasons. This same challenge was also ran at the original Fans vs Favorites edition. Right off the bat, the Favorites took advantage as they had five really good swimmers perform at this leg of the challenge. Meanwhile, Sherri screwed up at the beginning when she did not release the key on her first jump. By the time the favorites got all of their keys, they are one leg ahead of the fans. Laura once again proved to be a liability in the challenge as she had trouble doing the easiest part of the challenge - undoing the locks. I love Laura but it is hard to hide her weakness in the competition with so much blunders.
Once again, the final leg involved some kind of tossing. Again, I won't stop my petition for a puzzle or a change-up at the final leg of these challenges. It is quickly getting redundant! Reynold was once again the Fans' go-to guy - he must be a throwing champion, or what? He quickly caught up to the lead that the Favorites established. But the Favorites ended up winning their third immunity challenge in a row with the fans getting beatdown as they had to vote one more person despite having already lost one due to a medical evacuation.
Loyalty vs Strength
Mike made a very important point as he contemplate the vote. He was leaning more towards keeping Laura because he trusts her - she is part of their core alliance. Meanwhile, Reynold is way too dangerous and there is too much bad blood brewing between the two guys versus the rest of the tribe that it is hard to tell if they can be trusted to work with them in the future. Also, one must not dismiss the fact that he still has the hidden immunity idol so that is a very powerful tool that can work against them. It is a tricky dilemma that they are dealing with here. Even Sherri is not on board with the plan.
During tribal council, Laura made a strong case for herself. And this is why I love Laura - you can tell that she knows a lot about the game. She pointed out the possibility of a switch pre-merge and even though both Eddie and Reynold might help them out in the challenges, there is always a black cloud rising above these two guys in terms of their loyalty to the fans. Meanwhile, she guarantees that loyalty to her alliance and questions if the other two can make the same reassurance. Once again, Reynold and Eddie makes their only argument - keeping the strength to win challenges or else they are going to be back at tribal council anyway.
Strategically, the decision to get rid off Laura made little sense to me. She made a strong argument earlier that I think the rest should've paid more attention to. In a game that is clouded with uncertainty, a switch could happen right after the bend and these two are sure to flip sides if they had the chance (if they're smart). Laura is a sure vote for Sherri and co.'s alliance. But Matt strongly campaigned to keep the tribe strong and that meant sacrificing Laura. And that officially means I have one bet off of my list. Insert sobs here.
Wow, I've never been so intrigued by the "Next time on Survivor" preview like I did for this episode. Brandon has officially gone mad! Completely out of control! Some fans had pointed out that we haven't seen much of the Favorites tribe in the last two episodes and this might be a case of getting what you asked for! I sure am not going to miss that as it goes down...
What are your thoughts on this episode? Feel free to discuss below.
All images credit to CBS.com