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

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