Thursday, September 29, 2016

Survivor 33: Millennials v. Gen X - Episode 2 Recap

Previously on Survivor.  Dude, bro, you're hot, I'm hot, let's find some hot chicks and the four of us can make a three person alliance.  Oh you Millennials with your gold stars and your SnapChatting, we had to walk uphill both ways to rent a video at Blockbuster. It's getting a little windy.  Look what I found!  What do you mean I can't use it for 35 days?  Is that six inches, it doesn't look like six inches.  Where's our fire making trophy?  Okay, it's like really windy.  I'm scared of everything, someone hold me.  Being bossy and standing off from the group totally will not make me a target.  Evacuate evacuate, fallen trees, squashed camp.  I'm the puzzle master.  Welp,  Millennials win immunity.  Oh crap, it's me.  I trust you, I trust you, Jeff don't call on me.  Rachel, the tribe has spoken.  19 are left, who will be voted out tonight?  Spoiler...not who you expected!

Last we saw David he was setting new lows for island adaptability.  I've seen a lot of people compare his physicality with one Stephen Fishbach, but I maintain that Fishbach is Gregor Clegane compared to the spindly-armed anemic.  John Cochran could snap him in two.  The only thing going for him as a potential ally, he's so weak I doubt he can break a promise.

Paul is over David.  He tells us that he has a strong, tight six-person alliance and there is no room for CeCe and David.  CeCe's kiss of death was allying with Rachel and since early in the game you look for easy targets, her friendship with the first person out has left her in Paul's crosshairs.  David is simply not Paul's kind of guy and seems so overmatched by the elements, you'd be doing him a favor to send him to the Tokoriki Island Resort.

What David lacks in strength and courage he more than makes up for in self-awareness.  He recognizes that he's playing a miserable Survivor game and wants to do something, anything to prove himself to his tribe.  And so the Survivor gods smile down on him and grace him with the ability to make fire...with just a flint, a knife and kindling.  Basically, what any Survivor should be able to do, but what his tribemates all failed at.  So kudos to Dave. Will this save, Dave?  Probably not.

Chris tell us that they'll keep David busy running errands while waiting to punch his ticket out of the game and David is thrilled to use the excuse of looking for rocks to really look for an idol. And when you are so devoid of musculature that no one expects you to be able to move or carry more than one rock an hour, this give him plenty of time to go idol hunting.  And wouldn't you know it, "oh my god, oh my god, oh my god," he found the hidden immunity idol.   And how does he view the importance of this serendipitous find?  Gamechanging.  "Especially at the nadir I was on, and now I'm at a zenith."  That's pretty accurate. At least for one vote.

You're the cutest, no you're the cutest.
Meanwhile over on the Millennial tribe, Taylor is macking on Figgy big time and Figs is falling for TayTay's blue eyes and they have their own oh my god, oh my god, oh my god moment on their beach one night.  Michaela is having none of this stanky unhygienic smooching and she busts them the next morning.  So of course they are going to be immediately targeted for their budding showmance right? Nah, dude, we're Millennials.  We hook up, no biggie.  Just chill.   Zeke is worried, they're not playing Survivor.  Oh, yeah, Zeke. Let's see who makes a boneheaded move that blows up their game and who gets to make out with someone hot AND dodge a bullet at tribal council.

Zeke tells Mari, Hannah and Jay about his concerns either not realizing that Jay is in an alliance with the showmance or forgetting that the four of them have been tight since day one.  Jay is worried that his closest allies are about to be number one and two in the boot order, so he immediately runs to give them the red alert.  How do you tell two young smitten kids that their love is doomed, that there's about to be a nuclear bomb vote dropped on one of them if they don't stop the after-hours smooching?

So Jay takes his broski Taylor aside and cautions him about the risk of getting too close to Figgy.  Jay asks him how they're each going to win a million dollars if he wrecks their game with a showmance?  Yes, dear reader, along with getting participating trophies, these Millennials apparently think they're each going to get a million dollars at the end of the game.  But if he plays the game right (i.e., ditch Figgy), Jay tells Taylor all good things will come his way.  He will get to snowboard and chill. Now is any girl worth giving that up for?  But wait, Taylor thinks, why can't I have it all?  It's the Millennial way!

So last recap I mildly mocked Ken and his "live off the grid" story, positing that roughing it on Maui was not exactly Robinson Crusoe-esque.  There's a Duke's Beach House for crying out loud.  If you can get to nachos and mai tais within an hour how radical is your life choice?  But the guy catches an octopus spear fishing and feeds his tribe and I have to admit that was pretty impressive.  And my change of heart has nothing to do with his increasing hotness as he slowly develops the inevitable Survivor scruff.  Nor am I all swoony because he has found a soulmate in the awkward, nebbishy David whom he has now introduced to the joys of walking sticks and newly-caught cephalopods.

David and Ken strategizing gives me life.  The two recognize that Paul is running things on their beach and they better get a move on if they want to topple the power on the Gen X tribe before it's too late.  It's refreshing to see the cool, chill, physical guy go full game mode with the neurotic super fan.  So Dave fortifies their bond by showing Ken his idol and they make a tight twosome that I can totally get behind. Maybe I was premature up above.  Maybe the Dave as Fishbach comparison is not that far-fetched, especially if Ken is his JT.

Back on Millennial beach, Hannah is hacking away at a very resistance coconut and Mari gives us the eye roll inspiring quote of the episode,  'We didn't realize playing this game would be so hard.'  When you're used to playing video games all day in an ergonomic rocker, being outdoors must be a shocker.  Less of a shocker if you'd ever seen the show before.  Ask Russell Swann or Caleb Reynolds, they'll tell you.  But, whatever you do, don't contact Michael Skupin. And if you do, don't take Will with you.

Did Michaela have Jeremy Collins write her first confessional?   "This girl is so dumb," she says of Figgy and she's partially right.  Everything I've ever seen on Survivor tells me that a tight twosome is an easy target and an obvious showmance is going to get you in some serious early boot trouble.  But may I stop to ask, why is it Figgy who  is getting all the negative attention?  Last time I checked it took two to tango, or whatever dances those youngsters do these days.  Why is Michaela not calling Taylor dumb (other than her desire not to state the obvious)?  Why isn't the target on him for flirting with Figgy instead of the other way around?

Obviously, something went down during the first six days because Michaela is having none of Figgy. The tension at camp is thick and the other tribemates smile and look nervously as the two girls go at it.  And you know that everyone is feeling great right now knowing that it's the ones stirring things up that have the biggest targets, so they can all just relax at the next vote.  Isn't that right, Mari?

Adam confirms the basic laws of Survivor that all of us superfans know.  Since I didn't go to Stanford, I'll sum it up UCLA style.  Don't stir shit up.  But since Adam got so little screen time this episode I guess I shouldn't yadda yadda his sage advice.  So, if you ever intend to play the game, just follow these rules: don't come blazing out of the gate, don't get into catfight and, for the love of Probst, don't get into a showmance.

I'm king of the...wait, I can't feel my arm.

Paul tells us that he's in control at Gex X beach.  100%.  He breathes control.  He should have tried oxygen because not long after he tells us how in control he is of everything, his body tells him something different and he goes down like the proverbial ton of cocksure bricks.  Since he's fine, I'll forget that while he was lying there, shaking, not feeling his hands, having his vitals checked for a possible heart attack, David (and we, let's fess up) were thinking, this would sure help the minority's game.  We're awful people.

But Paul was just another in a long line of heat exhaustion/dehydration victims who just needed a little rest and water to get back on their feet.  So Jeff, Dr. Joe and the chopper left along with Dave's chances of turning things around should they head to tribal council.

The immunity challenge was a nail biter and very surprisingly the Gen Xers came out on top, which had me cheering.  Ken and Dave were safe and I'd get to see one of the beautiful people sent home by my beloved freaks and geeks alliance.  Zeke shared my excitement.  As a fan, this is what he was looking forward to.  Voting people out, after all, is an integral part of the game.  Only, Zeke should have learned from the very long line of soundbite providers that when you tell the cameras you're jazzed to go to tribal, things will go very badly for you.

It starts well.  Hannah, Zeke and Adam set out the plan to target Figgy.  They then tell Mari and she's a little concerned that Figgy might get wind of the plan, but they tell her not to worry.  Hannah confirms with Michaela and Will that they are down with the plan.  And the six of them agree on the vote, keep their mouths quiet, go to tribal council, compliment Jeff on how great it looks, and vote out their biggest threat.  Easy peasy.

But then Zeke and Adam pull Taylor's brochacho Jay aside and TELL HIM THE PLAN.  Now, let's take a step back for a moment.  Zeke went to Harvard.  Adam went to the Harvard of where the weather doesn't suck.  And these two geniuses take Taylor's best friend, tightest ally, his bro for life, Jay, and tell him that they're going to target someone in his alliance.  His best friend's girl.  Zeke and Adam, two huge superfans, not two guys who were recruited from a WeHo nightclub, but actual Survivor fans who live and breathe the show and could not wait to play the game, took one member of a tight four-person alliance and told him they were going to vote out one of the other four.   If I wasn't an arthritic Baby Boomer I'd probably write another page or two on how watching this conversation was like watching an unwary pedestrian who is standing in the middle of the railroad tracks, head phones on, back turned to the rapidly approaching train.  I tried shouting at them, abort mission!  Say JK.  Suck the words back into your mouths.  But to no avail.  It's too late.  The damage is done.

Now it is possible that they saw the wavy haired surfer as too much of a stoner to process the words that were coming out of their mouths or they thought he was too laid back to actually react to the information he was hearing in time to do anything.  And in some ways they were right.  Jay took in the information and was bummed that he was about to lose one of his closest allies.   He was resigned to this fate.  But what Zeke and Adam did not count on was that Jay would tell someone with a brain in her head.

Michelle hears that they are about to lose a number and she says no.  It doesn't make sense to get rid of Figgy.  We have to switch the vote.  And it's that simple.  Michelle looks around to find another option that she can sell and it's Mari.  Mari is smart, Mari is a gamer, and Mari is not part of her alliance.  So Mari has to go.  Now, the obvious emotional target would have been Michaela.  She and Figgy have been at each other's throats, but Michelle doesn't name her.  Instead, she tells Jay we have to bring her back into the fold.  She must have picked up something around camp that made Mari more of a potential threat, someone she was more likely able to convince people to vote out.

Last week, we were all so impressed with Hannah making friends with Michelle and trying to bridge the gap between the Kappa Kappas and the nerds.  But we were wrong. It was Michelle who was brilliantly making friends with Hannah.  That will come into play shortly.  But before that, she and Jay go to work.  They tell Figgy and Michaela about Zeke's plan - Figgy first, Michaela second.  And they get them to bury their mutual hatchets for now (while remembering to bring them to tribal council so they can plunge them into the unsuspecting Mari).

Last week, I also made fun of the three amigos and their four-person alliance in a ten-member tribe.  But sometime between then and now they did some more math and realized that they needed to be six strong.  So if they have Michaela, thanks to Zeke's loose lips, they only need one more.  So they go to Will.  Will is worried about Figgy and doesn't like the idea of changing his vote, but he's an 18 year old high school student and Michelle is probably the most beautiful girl he's ever seen this close up and so he agrees with her to switch the target to Mari with the promise that somewhere down the line they'll revisit Figgy lest she become the next Parvati.  Somehow, he ignores the fact that he could be talking to the next Parvati.

So with the new plan in motion, they head to their first tribal council.   But Michelle is not convinced things will go her way, so she has a plan to make sure she can squeeze every last vote out of her tribe.

OMG is that really Jeff Probst standing before me?

Many of the Millennials are awestruck at their first visit to tribal council.  Adam looks like a toddler at Disneyland about to be handed a giant cotton candy.  It's pretty darn cute how he doesn't hide just how excited he is, no feigning apathy for Adam.  Being there, while sucky for obvious reasons, is the ultimate Survivor fan dream come true.  Hannah, Zeke and most of the others geek out that they're really there sitting around the fire pit, about to fill out their first piece of parchment.  Mari talks about how real it is to have to vote out someone in person rather than playing a simulated game (you have no idea, girl).  Zeke the firestarter talks about becoming his best version of himself out here.  Michaela for her part is not having the warm fuzzies and tells Jeff that she feels that Survivor is bringing out the worst things.

While she and Adam debate whether it's better to be forthright about the negatives or better to paint a rosy picture, Michelle starts whispering to Hannah that she's voting out Mari.  Jeff and his shirt of many buttons tries focusing the conversation on the optimist/pessimist dichotomy at the tribe, while on the far right Hannah is having a meltdown as she is getting an unexpected message at an unexpected time.  Back and forth they go.  Vote out Mari.  Why?  I can't tell you.  Vote out Mari.  Why?  Because.  Vote out Mari?   Why?  Ask me tomorrow.

Hannah is lost and confused and trapped on the outskirts of her alliance, stuck between a rock that is Michelle and a hard place of the very amused Jay.  She gets a brief respite when Jeff asks her about alliances and she proceeds to tell Jeff about the romance between Figgy and Taylor and everyone laughs nervously about it.  Jeff points out the obvious, two people together, two votes together, it's pretty strong, pretty dangerous.  They're not hiding it, everyone sees it, so what are they going to do about it?

 Figgy says it's not a problem.  Taylor says it's not a problem.  It's too early to be worried about this already inseparable couple who can't keep their hands off each other and finish each other's sandwiches and will be having startlingly beautiful children together 8.75 months from now.  Michaela can't believe the load of horse crap that they are trying to pass off as caviar.  Of course they're a dynamic duo.  Of course they need to be broken up.

Eventually, Jeff can't ignore the side conversation.  Hannah starts getting lightheaded and giddy and loses whatever chill she ever had.  Hannah, Michelle and Jay try to play if off like they're not having this huge discussion about Hannah changing her vote at the eleventh hour.  And Mari, in what was a case of very bad timing, says all that chatter was probably just "Hannah being Hannah."  Having no idea she was on the chopping block, thinking it was obviously Figgy's last few minutes in the game, Mari made a throwaway joke at Hannah's expense.  She did not wonder why that end of the tribe was locked in a heated conversation moments before the "obvious" vote and she did not try to corral Hannah away from the power of Michelle and make sure they were on the same page.  Whoops and double whoops.

Hannah was faced with a real dilemma.  Stick with the plan (heh heh heh) or switch her vote because the popular girl wanted her to?  I'd love to hear what was going on in Hannah's mind other than, I want to be with the in crowd.  She did seem troubled by the decision and she stayed at the voting urn so long Jeff was about to call in the chopper to rescue her, but eventually she decided to put her faith in Michelle and turn her back on her allies Zeke and Adam.  As it turned out, all that grandstanding was for naught as Will and Michaela inexplicably decided to keep Figgy and vote out someone who posed no immediate threat to them at all, Mari.

Where's the reset button?
Mari is blindsided, as are Zeke and Adam.  So much for the anti-cool kids alliance.  How long before they realize it was their decision to tell Jay the plan that caused this stunning vote?  How long before Adam changes his Survivor laws to include, don't tell someone that you're voting out a member of their alliance?  How long before they revoke Hannah's membership in the nerdy kids club?

Want more Mari?
Entertainment Weekly
Josh Wigler/Parade
Rob Has a Podcast

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Survivor Season 33 - Millennials v. Gen X - Episode One Recap

Usually when Survivor comes up with a tribe division based on some overriding quality, I can easily plug myself in.  I'm a white collar brain, I'm a nerdy superfan.  Not this year.  As a Baby Boomer, I get to sit back and watch those young whippersnappers, those MTV-watching, latchkey, slacker Gen Xers who separated themselves along the eyeliner/flannel divide have to deal with the reality that they're not young anymore.  Their time has passed.  They're yesterday's news.  And now a whole new group of Vine-obsessed, Snap Chatting, quinoa-eating, entitled Millennials are here to stake their claim.  In this culture war, I take no sides.  I'm just here to observe.

Season 33's conceit of the great generational divide gets a lot of support early on from the castaways.  Proud Millennial Taylor Stocker tells us that despite his young age, he's had much life experience.  He's been to North Dakota!  Scratch that off his bucket list.  If the Survivor producers wanted to give him the Debbie Wanner edit, they could change his chyron every appearance.  Bee Keeper.  Beer Brewer.  Snowboard instructor.  Midwest traveler!  He calls himself a Peter Pan who will never grow up and if he can get away with it, good for him.  He should be allowed to rock that silly hairstyle as long as he wants.

Mari Takahashi echoes Taylor's forever young sentiment.  A professional video gamer, she plans to never grow up - which certainly seems like an early candidate for words that will come back to bite her, not in the game but probably in her forties. She tells us that she wants to spend her entire life playing and I'm thinking maybe she took that board game too seriously when she was younger.  But she gives us the first "I'm going to win" confessional which means she is another Richard Hatch, accurately predicting the outcome, or another delusional player giving a soon to be ironic soundbite.

Immediate fan favorite, Zeke Smith, is dressed like he was blindfolded, dropped in a dumpster outside a Hawaiian-themed restaurant, and grabbed whatever he could find to wear.  He is 28 but does not go full metal Millennial.  He tells us he's a middle aged man trapped in a doughy twenty-something body and is not quite sure where he belongs.  On my TV, Zeke, for the next thirteen weeks.

Chris Hammons has two strikes against him. He's an attorney, and no attorney has won Survivor.  And he's a ginger whose lack of melanin means he'll probably burst into flames early on.  But at least his tribe will have fire!  He talks about being in the "older" group but as he's young enough to be my son, I don't hear anything he says after the word "older."  I was in law school when you were born, Chris.  Don't tell me about old.

Sandy Burquest is auditioning for Fargo Season 3 dontcha know with that cute Minnesota accent of hers (okay, unlike Taylor I don't travel the middle of America so I don't know that much about its geography, but I'm pretty sure N. Dakota and Minnesota are right next door).  She is the mom of four and as a mom of two I salute her and hope she wins and then is invited back so she can spend another 39 days away from having to feed and clean up after that brood.

David Wright is a pale, nebbishy, frail guy with zero survival skills, crippling anxiety and a fear of just about everything.  On his People blog, Stephen Fishbach called him his Dopplenerder and I don't think I can outdo that description.  Cirie Field would call him a wuss.  His idea of a nature walk is the Organic aisle at Pavillions.   He hasn't had a backpack since high school. He says it took him 14 years as an assistant to finally get a writing job and it's probably because he spent all that time curled up in the corner trying to keep all the bad things away.  David, whoever signed you up for Survivor has a sick sense of humor.

18-year-old high school senior (that is not a typo) Will Wahl is excited about the generational war and says may the best generation win.  He's 18, so he doesn't yet know that the best doesn't always win.  Didn't he watch Season 32? (I kid, Michele. But really, Michele??).  The castaways are shocked to have a high school student on the show but not as shocked as the teacher who gave him the hall pass two months ago.

Where's the oldest Gen Xer?
On the other end of the spectrum we have Paul Wachter the elder statesman at 52.  He drags out all the stereotypes about Millennials in his comparison of the two groups.  We never got a trophy just for playing, we didn't have iPods, there weren't apps for everything, and no drones were delivering milk.  I have yet to see a milk-delivering drone, so I am clearly missing out on one of the coolest dairy product delivery systems created since the teat.

CeCe Taylor makes a lot of friends over at the other tribe by insulting them with how they don't work for what they have and that everything is handed to them and the looks on the faces of the younger tribe can be summed up with a simple, "oh no she did not just say that."  Each Millennial was thinking of the perfect eye rolling GIF they would tweet her if only they were in the real world right now.  If CeCe wants to make it post-merge she is going to now have to work doubly hard because she is on the Millennial's radar.  Did someone forget to tell her that the tribe divisions weren't for the full game?

Adam Klein gets off to a great start with Jeff.  Jeff points to him and says "Adam," and he replies with a Cochran-esque "Probst" and we all fall just a little in love.  Jeff, already on the hunt for this season's bromance, might have found his soulmate.  Adam throws it down by promising that the Millennials will win the first challenge and show those old fogeys who knows how to work hard.  It's a risky prediction that could come back to bite him, but just from sizing up the two tribes unless it's a program a VCR task, the Gen Xers are probably not going to win.

But before they compete, each team runs to grab supplies for their camp and they have some decisions to make (fishing gear v. chickens, a hammer v. pots and pans).  Amid the chaos, Jessica Lewis, a 37-year-old district attorney, finds a note.  She wisely pockets it and goes on gathering items.  Jeff makes a big deal about the Gen Xers picking fishing gear versus the Millennials taking the chickens.  Paul says the decision was about the long haul, planning for 39 days.  Taylor had a better reason for choosing the chickens.  "They lay eggs, Jeff."  I bet he learned that in his travels to North Dakota.

Jeff gives both tribes some sobering news about an upcoming storm before he sends them on their way to fend for themselves in the elements while he goes back to his comfy climate controlled haven.

Mari has about a dozen confessionals about how awesome the Millennials are and it seems unfair that she gets to do here on the island what she does on the outside - talk to the camera about a game.  Why don't they bring in some criminals for Jessica to prosecute while they're there?  How about letting Michelle pour someone a coffee?

Taylor has found his brochacho.  Jay Starrett, a real estate agent from Florida.  They have a brotastic bromance the two broennials.  They talk about which of them is the hottest and which of the two girls - Figgy Figueroa and Michelle Schubert - is the cutest and how totally rad it would be if the four of them were like you know a thing which would be for real so awesome.  And so three of the four come up with a cute name for themselves, the three bromigos or something, and ignore that three or even four out of 10 is not what you should be looking for.  Great for batting averages, not great for making past a jury vote.

Meanwhile, Zeke, my spirit animal, the light of my life, the cream in my coffee, the salt in my stew (yes, the last two are actual song lyrics.  That Silent Generation sure knew how to write!) is telling us how he really doesn't fit in on his tribe and feels like the crotchety old guy yelling at those youngsters to get off his lawn.

Paul takes his role as the real crotchety old guy by bringing the tribe together to give a speech, which is going great until Ken McNickle decides to grab the mic away and give his old speech.  For a chill, off the grid, go with the flow guy that was a little cold.  Ken goes on to discuss his alternative living arrangements in the jungles of....Maui.  He's picked up survival skills by braving the harsh unforgiving and wildly popular vacation destination.  But he has pretty eyes, so we'll give him a pass.

Jessica wisely gives herself time to go off and read the clue she picked up earlier when everyone was scrambling to grab supplies and it's a Survivor first.  The Legacy Advantage (sounds like something my financial planner might suggest).  Whoever holds the advantage on day 36 will have an advantage in the game.  If she is voted off before day 36, she can hand it over to someone else.  Now we (and she) don't know any more specifics, all we can hope is that it won't be this year's Medallion of Power.  It's great that they're shaking things up, but an advantage with three days to go in the game seems pretty lopsided.

I'm getting mixed messages from Figgy.  Do you want me to think that you're a pretty face?  If so, stop making ugly faces with the cameraman two feet from you.  But I don't think that's what you want since in every preseason interview you dropped in that you didn't want to be another pretty face.  Beauty fades, but being annoying is forever, so you have that to look forward to.  Figgy is hoping to go the Amber route and find a husband and a million dollars, but just as Brett the Boston cop is no Rob Mariano, you are no Amber Brkich.

Now, I would give Jay credit for mentioning that if he, Figgy and Jay are a tight three they still need three more (giving them what we like to call a majority), but I would then have to take the points right back from him for never actually going to any of the others outside his core beautiful people alliance to have them join up.  They bring in Michelle but that's it, leaving six normal looking humans on the outside of the people who would have chosen ANTM instead had it not been canceled.  We could be in for some old fashioned Survivor showmances as Figgy likes Taylor's dreamy blue eyes and Jay thinks Michelle is super hot and suddenly this has the makings of a new CW show, The Triforce Diaries.

Hannah Shapiro is already writing her next blog while she's on the island, pointing out the emergency of the Kappa Kappa Survivor gang of gorgeousness.  Now, Hannah is a cute if bookish nerdy girl but the beauty sub-tribe would make anyone feel insecure.  But rather than let any insecurity get the best of her she's taken a page out of her former professor Max Dawson's Survivor rule book (subtitled: Do as I say, not as I did!) and is trying her best to bond with the group she doesn't feel part of.   Keep an eye on that one!

Shelter building is often the first place where a survivor can make a bad game move.   Being too bossy, too demanding is bad.   Not helping, not showing your value is also bad.  You have to find that sweet spot of working hard (or appearing to be working hard) and not barking orders.   Paul and Rachel Ako immediately butt heads over how deep to build a hole.  If you're playing a game for a million dollars, you shouldn't fight over the depth of a hole.  And you shouldn't tell a grown man that he doesn't like to work, especially when he's made a point of how he's on the old hard working people tribe.  You don't tell the old guy that you have to keep him focused. Basically, if you're playing a game for a million dollars do the exact opposite of everything Rachel does this episode.   Too late to say spoiler alert??

David also has his own problem with oversharing.  But in his case, it's not to tear down someone else but to bring self-deprecation to a new height.  He goes way out of his way to tell his tribemates just how bad he is at any and all things that would help them as a tribe.  Not since Prissy famously cried, "I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies" in Gone With the Wind has any character so loudly proclaimed just how useless they are for the job at hand.  This is 2016, nor 1816, most people don't have any experience building a shelter, Dave.  The standing and nodding part was good, the volunteering that piece of useless information, not so much.  David then doubles down on putting an "easy target, first boot" sign on his ass by wincing and covering his ears when the men folk get down to the actual shelter building.  But he'll redeem himself later, we all assumed, as he flies through the inevitable puzzle during the immunity challenge.  Let's put a pin in that.

With his game on shaky ground, David then goes full paranoia mode by claiming that part of his team has already found the hidden immunity idol.  He's driving his teammates crazy, but Chris hints at David's secret weapon.  He's funny and he's charming.  This is why there aren't a lot of buff, ridiculously handsome comedians.  David has to hope that on the scale, the funny charming is outweighing the paranoid and unhelpful.

Back over with the young uns, Adam is the sober voice of reason, noting the impending storm and wanting to make sure they're prepared.  Building a shelter should be a priority he thinks, but Millennials just want to have fun, so his tribemates all go off to frolic in the ocean while she stands on shore with Mari, the old married couple who can't control their rambunctious kids.  Adam sounds like a Gen Xer and seems pretty concerned that he's with the Veruca Salt "I want it now" group.

Just a little rain.

So that little wind and cloudy sky turns into a rain, which turns into thunder and lightning, which turns into a monsoon with turns into a long night of regret over not having build a shelter and instead playing in the ocean like a bunch of Millennials.  But guess what, the next morning we find out that the Gen Xers didn't do any better and they too had a long freezing cold and very wet night.  CeCe is in pretty good spirits all things considered and if she can go through a night like that with such a positive attitude, I may have to move her up my standings.

The new day brings news of two things that have never happened - Jeff shows pity of the tribes and sends them each a tarp and whoever wrote the note that accompanied the tarp eschewed the usual poetry format.  This must have been serious if they didn't take the time to find a rhyme for thunder.

Our first confessional with Michaela Bradshaw shows her to be a Survivor fan as she recognizes that if Jeff just hands you a tarp and doesn't make you run through a rope course, jump over a wall, dig through thirty feet of sand and put together a 3D puzzle first, something is seriously wrong.  Despite both team's greatest efforts, the meager stick and palm frond shelters, even with the emergency tarp, are not going to protect them from what Mother Nature has in store.  And so in comes "Jeff Probst" (as Zeke calls him as if there were another Jeff around) to tell the tribes that the weather has been upgraded to a cyclone and so they are getting the hell out of Dodge.

It's a Survivor first!  Obviously, either the weather is the worst they've ever faced or they have a new insurance adjuster/legal team who is wary of getting sued when a falling tree impales one of the castaways.  Anyone who is a fan of the show knows that they are now part of Survivor history in a good way, not in an Erik Reichenbach hand your immunity idol over and then get voted out way.

Using footage from The Perfect Storm lest we lose any camera operator (seriously, why did they leave some behind to film, who drew that short straw??) we see the castaways evacuate before the torrential downpour comes to wreak havoc on their modest shelters.  The sky opens and dumps down on them with enough water to solve the California drought and it is not surprising the next day when they find out they would have been flattened like a baking soda-less pancake has they not been evacuated.

Okay, David, I'm sorry I said you blew your chance at the game with your obvious weakness, your unbridled paranoia and your unrelenting fear of absolutely everything.  You see the words coming out of your mouth and you can't stop them from flowing.  I get it.  I also get the existential angst.  But you have to pull yourself together.  This is your shot to play the game you love.  I'll give you one weepy confessional but then get back out there and play the game!  But, wait, don't play it so hard and so openly.  David goes out waving a flag that says follow me to find an idol and starts very obviously searching around camp for salvation which only increases the target on his back three fold. If he isn't gone next, this will be one hell of a redemption arc.  Because right now he's a candidate for the suckiest survivor ever.

While David is wallowing in his insecurities, Zeke instead is overcoming his.  He is by his own words rising to his potential and my love for him grows exponentially.  He made fire without flint, dude.  This is what you hope to see on the show, someone who tests their limits, who puts themselves in an awkward, unfamiliar position and surprises themselves with what they can do.  We have the "no participation trophy for us" Gen Xer who can't get his act together, and the "que sera, sera" Millennial who pushes himself to do something outside his comfort zone.  And you start to think, maybe these generational constructs are pretty arbitrary.

Hannah pulls in Mari and starts to create a Freaks and Geeks narrative with the awkward turtles banding together to overtake the beautiful swans.  She's lucky that the gorgeous Mari considers herself a geek gamer.  She works on Adam and Michaela - also both very attractive but still feeling on the outs of the four person alliance - and convinces them to let their freak and geek flags fly and take down Regina George (Figgy) and her minions.

The immunity challenge has a nice twist where you have a choice to make at two places along the course.  If you choose a shortcut then the puzzle at the end becomes harder.  It does not go unnoticed that the "work hard" Gen Xers take two of the shortcuts, the Millennials only one.  The puzzle at the end, as it usually does, allows someone to shine while others become the goats.  In this case, it's Figgy and Michelle who bask in glory while it is Rachel who takes the brunt of the loss even though she was not the only one on the puzzle and rather than insisting she do it (as she is later blamed for) she volunteered only after no one else wanted to.

So Millennials beat the "old people" (including someone two years older than their older member) and it's the Gen Xers who are first at tribal council.  David of course looks like the obvious one.  He was there at the puzzle, in fact he was the first to volunteer.  He swapped out when it was clear that he hadn't a clue where to put any piece.  He's as paranoid as a tin foil hat wearing 9/11 truther.  He's as useless as Jeff Probt's white shirts.  Plus his tribemates think he found the hidden immunity idol.  The one smart thing David does is tell them that he absolutely does not have the idol and that if they spare him he will forever be in their debt and will be the most loyal person in the history of Survivor.

As questionable as David's game is, it's the Tony Vlachos of games when compared to Rachel.  She sees a bunch of people talking, knows that an alliance "is forming," yet does nothing to confront them, infiltrate them, work with them or even just talk to them.   She and CeCe build a solid two person alliance which she somehow thinks will protect her in a tribe of ten people.  But other than that, Rachel stays far away from the discussion about who is tonight's target, doesn't strategize with anyone besides CeCe and does not capitalize on the fact that David has done a lot wrong these first four days.

At tribal, Jeff says David's name and he jumps out of his skin.  The whole tribe jokes about how he's afraid of his own shadow and Jeff gets the vibe that maybe he'd be happier out of the game and into a nice warm (but not too hot) bath.  But David fights back.  He wants to stay in the game, he tells everyone.  And in the biggest understatement of the episode, he admits that "my biggest enemy is myself."  David is a friendly, funny, trustworthy guy.  The only thing that will ruin things for him is his own insecurities.  And so he makes a plea to stay and have the chance to stop the self-sabotage.

Who is not going home tonight?
Everyone is worried they could be on the chopping block.  Rachel realizes that she can be a bit confrontational and promises that she'll reel in back in if she stays.  Probably something she should have discussed with the tribe before sitting around the fire minutes from the vote.  To no one's surprise, Rachel is the first person evicted from Survivor 33.  The recruiting director from LA was probably recruited to be on the show and was not prepared for how quickly you need to get your bearing.  Before she knew it, her game was already over.

Want more from Rachel?
Interview with Josh Wigler/Parade.
Interview with Entertainment Weekly.
Interview with RealityTV World.
Interview with Gordon Holmes/Xfinity
Interview with GoldDerby.