Monday, October 27, 2014

Recapping Survivor San Juan Del Sur Blood v. Water 2 Episode 5: A learning experience

Coming back from their first tribal council, one of Hunahpu called it a learning experience.  The lesson that should have been learned years ago is don't go to tribal if you don't have to.  Drew decided last week that there was some dead weight to jettison and throwing the immunity challenge, and going to tribal, was the way to do it.  What he learned too late was that going to tribal council is dangerous and if you can avoid it, you should.  Instead, he basically orchestrated his own defeat, going from "badass" to "don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out."

Jon is worried about his place on the tribe now that Drew is gone, but he needn't have worried because Jeff Probst has a surprise for everyone.  It's "drop your buffs" time, which on Survivor Don Juan Del Sexo means something completely different, but here means it's time for a team swap.  We should not have been surprised because right after one contestant, here Jeremy, tells the camera, I'm in a great position, nothing could possibly go wrong, as long as nothing changes I'm guaranteed an easy path to the final two, you know something will happen to make him eat those words.

Kelley Wentworth voices what many of the pairs must be feeling at the prospect of a new tribal alliance - those with loved ones might become a bigger target than those who are playing solo.  And she will only have to wait a day for her to be able to say, "I told you so" on her way out.  Immediately upon the new alignment, Kelley might have felt she was in a good spot after all.  She and her father, Dale, were on the new Coyopa, along with two other pairs - Missy and Baylor, Jon and Jaclyn - and one solo, Keith.  The new Hunahpu had one pair, Josh and Reed, and the rest singles - Julie, Natalie, Jeremy, Wes and Alec. 

When the tribes got back to their new camps, the Hunahpu tribe was shocked to find there was barely enough rice left to feed them for a day.  Apparently, one of the reasons Hunahpu had been so dominating in challenges was that they weren't rationing food at all.  Josh and Reed are happily reunited, but still saving themselves for marriage so no hanky or panky now that they're back together.  Less happy with the new tribe is Jeremy who realizes how quickly his luck has changed and he's no longer sitting pretty, but has a real good chance of joining his wife Val at the loser train.

Over at Coyopa, there was an abundance of rice - and Dale wanted to keep it that way.  When Missy decided to prepare what on her old tribe would be a normal portion (i.e., enough to feed the lazy but ravenous Drew) Dale became apoplectic.  Forgetting one of the basic rules of Survivor (don't sweat the small things, and everything is a small thing if it can cause you to get on someone's radar) he had a fight with Missy about her portioning.  Now we had Mama Bear reeling back on her hind legs and ready to attack Drew for everything- telling her how to cook, writing Baylor's name down in previous tribals, her three failed marriages,  you name it.

Jon is thrilled to be switched to a tribe that still has plenty of rice, but he's more ravenous for his girlfriend.  Despite having the bare minimum of toiletries and personal cleaning products, newly reunited Jon and Jaclyn were all over each other, making out in the camp and making everyone else on their tribe a little uncomfortable.  Baylor is particular admitted to being a bit jealous of them, considering she's out there with her mom - not exactly a romantic fantasy.  The tribe swap gave Jon new life, new food, new human contact and took him from the bottom of the totem poll, to a good position carrying the decisive votes.

I'm loving Jeremy and Natalie and pulling for them as final two.  Jeremy is playing Alec beautifully, playing to his younger sibling insecurities.  And Natalie is allying with a strong, good player, in Jeremy and helping him create a strategy. Contrast that to the squabbling between Missy and Dale over rice and you can see who has watched the show and who is clueless about the dynamics of the game.  Dale is self-aware enough for this quote: "My weakness would be the social game. I didn’t come here to make friends." But still doesn't realize that without that part of the game, he won't make it to the second part of his quote: "I came here to make money.”

The immunity challenge doubled as a mud pack and everyone left exfoliated, but in the end it was Hunahpu showing that nothing really changes - regardless of who is on that team, unless they throw the challenge, they'll come out on top.  The most pathetic part of Coyopa's pathetic performance, was their weak swaying of the tree they were supposed to shake the bags loose from.  I've seen kittens swat at fuzzballs with more ferocity.  So Hunahpu won their fourth immunity challenge and Jeremy did not have to face the recent change in his fortune because of the swap.  Instead, the focus is on Coyopa with its three sets of loved ones and lone wolf, the idol-holding Keith. 

But before that, Reed has a proposition for Jeff.  They're pretty much out of food, and it's day 12.  That leave 27 days with no food and, none of them being supermodels, that isn't feasible.  What can they trade/barter/offer Jeff to get an eensy bit of rice out of craft services?  Jeff says he'll ponder their request and get back to them, which means he'll reach into his bag of humiliating/disappointing responses to request and present them with something that's going to hurt.  If he doesn't, future survivors will gorge on rice to their stomach's content knowing that Jeff will just refill them whenever they need it.  That's a dangerous precedent.

The scrambling on Coyopa does not involve "odd man out" Keith at all, and instead Jon and Jaclyn find them in the middle of a daddy/daughter v. mommy/daughter duel.  Despite fist bumping Dale, Jon goes off to talk to Missy and Baylor and seems pulled over to their side (his bond with Missy being stronger than his bond with Kelley - who his former ally Drew had identified as a threat). 

There are two overriding issues when deciding which team to ally with.  First, whoever's loved one is voted out, they are an enemy for life and will never forgive you, trolling you on Twitter for the rest of your natural life.  If they get any power while still on the island, they will target you with the fury of a thousand fire ants.  So you don't want someone whose Liam Neeson in every Taken-like vengeance can hurt you.  Second, whoever you team up with, you hope they will stay loyal and stay in the game (be physically and mentally fit for the long haul) long enough to be an asset.  Basically, you don't want to back the wrong horse.  As between Dale/Kelley and Missy/Baylor, it's a close call and I'm not sure there was a better choice for Jon and Jaclyn than the one they ultimately made.

They took out the most formidable of the four - the most physically and mentally strong player, Kelley.  Dale is left behind and while he will be gunning for Jon and Jaclyn, it's unlikely that he has much in the way of ammunition.  If they go to tribal again, it would take some work to get Missy and Baylor not to finish what they started and take out Dale.  Jon and Jaclyn probably made the right choice, but if I were Dale, I'd try to pull Keith over, and get him to work on Missy and Baylor to blindside the younger, fitter J/J.

Check out Kelley's exit interview here.  Then check out the next episode where we find out exactly just how hard a bargain Jeff will drive, also known as "what will you do for some rice?" 

Jeremy:  "Jon is on his apology tour"

Kelley:  “We all came out here wanting to play with our loved ones, but I think the people that don’t have loved ones now almost feel a little bit free, and the people with loved ones are almost looked at as targets”

Jaclyn: "Thank god, I can sleep with you."

Alec: "For the first time in my life I can say I beat Drew."

Jeremy:  "Surround it and drown it."

Wes: "The juice isn't worth the squeeze."

Jon (3)
Jeremy (3)
Josh (3)
Alec (2)
Jaclyn (2)
Dale (2)
Kelley (2)
Reed (2)


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