Thursday, October 27, 2016

Survivor Season 33: Millennials v. Gen X - Episode 6 Recap

Previously on Survivor:  Let me explain about tribal council.  Shut up Dave.  At least the idol is back in play.  Look what I found, again.  Drop your buffs.  Jeff, oh hell no.  Taylor&Figgy4Ever.  2 out of 5, that's the bad news.  You played for Oklahoma, I love Oklahoma! That's the good news.  Gen Xers are useless. Michaela makes fire like a boss.  You didn't vote for me, Ken, but I'm totally giving you my legacy advantage cuz you're hotter than Dave.  CeCe's swimming through molasses, Dave makes CeCe look like a comp beast.  Michaela is a comp beast.  I trust my old Gen X tribe.  Wait, what?

You gotta love Zeke. He's as shocked as the rest of us that the Gen Xers last week actually agreed to vote out one of their own rather than try to even up the numbers before the merge.  With age wisdom does not necessarily come, Zeke.  Dave was so excited that he wasn't the target, and was so wary of being choked out on national TV by someone the size of a refrigerator, he of course eagerly jumped at the idea of sabotaging a former ally.  Chris was so butt hurt about being blindsided repeatedly by his old tribe that he rather ditch them and go with the Millennials who will cut him the first post-merge vote. And he was so happy to have a fanboy in his new tribe, someone who would not just figuratively look up to him, that he had no trouble deciding to lose a number.  It may be hard to play with your head and not your heart, but I think Chris will be showing us shortly why that is a tactical mistake.  But for David, the betrayal was a no brainer.

Whatcha got there?
Over on the green beach, Jay and Will rightly assume that there is an immunity idol hidden somewhere.  They go searching together because Will is too young to be allowed to roam free unaccompanied on the island.  Insurance company rules.  They find the idol, though Jay takes possession of the idol and if Will ever needs it my guess Jay's response would be, roughly, "Idol, what idol?"  And not unlike Hannah coming upon Adam when he found his tribe's immunity idol, Michaela manages to show up right when the two guys are celebrating their find.  They may all be from the same original tribe, but it is noticeable that the two guys were not thrilled with Michaela being in on the secret. For her part, Michaela will sit on her discovery.  For now.  Bwahahah.

"I think the truth works well in this game," said no one in 32 prior seasons of Survivor.  But Michelle tells Jeff just that as the explanation for why it's perfectly fine for Figgy to tell all the other castaways just how close she is with Michelle and how happy she is that she wasn't voted out the night before.  Michelle just escaped elimination but she's not worried that her strong ties to the former Millennial tribe will come back to bite her.  But this strategic mistake is put aside for the moment as the orange team very quickly agrees that they made the right decision in keeping Michelle as she leads her team to victory at the Reward Challenge.  David should be particularly grateful as he basically Davided the competition by failing to follow, or seemingly even hear, her shouted instructions, wandering aimlessly, flailing his arms during most of the challenge.  A move that is also known as the David.

But when you think the orange team may have forgotten what Figgy said, it comes up again courtesy...Michelle.  This girl must feel pretty confident.  As the orange tribe enjoys the fruits of their win (which is so much better than fruit - cookies and brownies!!), they joke about Figgy's reaction to seeing that the two Millennials escaped last night's tribal council.  Michelle is safe!  Thank you lord! Woohoo Yippee, Yahoo, Yay, OMG.  Oh, and Zeke is still there too.  Cool.  So Zeke is reminded that his status among the Millennials is still at the very bottom.  He tells us that he is more than willing to cut Michelle if he has to, so he can be a central cog in a new Millennial/GenX alliance rather than likely first sacrificial lamb of the old Millennial one.

While most of the castaways were running around, competing blindfolded, during the Reward Challenge, Hannah manages to work herself into a mild panic attack.  She's embarrassed how this will look on TV and concerned that it might make her an easy target if her tribe has to vote someone out.  There is some irony that the person needing the medical attention was sitting on the bench during the competition and that the medical intervention needed consisted of telling her to breathe more slowly. But even the snarkiest of us who watch Survivor should never mock someone's emotional (over)reaction until we've walked a mile in their buff.  Hannah's "you're not going to let me die," was pretty funny.  Plus, it seems like a good thing to say to a doctor, just in case they forget what they're there for.

So Figgy decides that she hasn't said enough to damage her status in the game yet, so after going on about just how close she is with Michelle she thinks it's time to tell Jessica and Ken that she and Taylor are a thing.  "We're a power couple and there's no reason to hide it."  Well, she soon learns they hadn't been hiding it and everyone was on to them.  As both Jessica and Ken tell her, she's not very good at keeping secrets. But she is unconcerned.  FigTayls is safe because "Adam is on our side." And somewhere, the music composer wanted to add a "wah, wah, wah" at the end of that sentence.

The Immunity Challenge is another opportunity for Michaela to show Ozzy, Malcolm and Mike there's a new superplayer in town.  The girl may bark orders, and may not be too concerned about her teammates feelings, but she knows what she's doing.  Her team started from behind, thanks, shockingly, to David, but she flew through the maze with a successful strategy.  Get Hannah to do and say as little as possible and take over the bulk of the task.  In fact, Michaela is so good at this comp that she was able to help the orange tribe win and avoid back-to-back tribal councils.  As Brett said of Michaela "There's nothing you can't do." And the legend grows.

This leaves the purple tribe having to vote someone off.  When Jeff pointed out to Michaela that it was curious why she would help one tribe and not the other she said, of the purple tribe, "There's three of you (Millennials).  If you can't figure out how to work it out, you deserve to go home."  #foreshadowing #famouslastwords #she'sright

So you're cool with us voting you out, right?
Taylor and Figgy are not too concerned with tonight's vote.  Obviously, you target Ken as he's a physical threat going forward.  Adam will vote with them because...numbers.  Who wants to be on the bad side of the Millennials going to a merge?  They're sure of his vote.  Even when prodded by the producers to consider that maybe, just maybe, Adam might go a different way, Taylor gives a small obligatory soundbite.  "Maybe Adam is double-crossing us and is way smarter than we think."  But then he laughs at the very thought.  How could that Stanford-educated guy who's watched every episode of Survivor since before Richard Hatch stripped down to his birthday suit be smart about the game?

But they failed to look at the facts from Adam's perspective.  Adam was on the outs at the Millennial tribe.  He and Zeke were the bottom two of nine.  They had tried and failed to break up the romance and that sealed their fate with their old tribe.  Now FigTayls want to be his friend because they need him for the numbers, but he knows where he stands with them.  And a romance, showmance, or any kind of mance (as he calls it) is too risky to have in the game, even if they were on his side.  Which, Adam knew, they were not and would never really be.

Plus, when Adam had to consider voting out Ken, one look into Ken's soulful blue eyes told him that would be impossible.  No one is immune!

At tribal council, Figgy and Taylor try to play off the importance of their relationship.  They're just two votes, like Jessica and Ken are two votes.  There's nothing unique about their relationship.  So she looks at you Adam just like she looks at Taylor, asks Jeff.  Adam quickly rejects that notion.  At no time has Figgy looked at Adam like he was a a double cheeseburger and she was just coming off a meatless Lent.  Adam knows that among two person alliances, one is closer than the other.  Way, way, who packed the condoms, closer.  Plus, Figgy did herself no service reminding Adam that she hasn't forgotten that he voted against her twelve days ago.  The "we're all good now" story she tried to sell was belied by the fact that with all that was going on, she was still bringing up his vote from day six.   And the hand clamp on his head solidified that Figgy still may be just a wee bit pissed about that vote.  She's not going to like Adam's next vote any better.

When Adam tells us that one person is going to go home mad and someone else is going back to tribal mad, we know then what his decision is.  And mad will not due justice to Taylor's emotions after losing his favorite plaything on the island.   Figgy burned bright but for too short a time, a victim of island fever.  Will her boo get his revenge?  Adam should sleep with one eye open.

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Survivor Season 33: Millennials v. Gen X - Episode 5 Recap

Previously on Survivor:  Boom chick a wow wow.  Figs, I'm so glad you and I came on Bachelor in Paradise.  I'm a tiger mom and everyone hates when I boss them around so I'm totally going to boss everyone around.  They'll love it.  I found the hidden immunity idol...clue.  No wait, take two.  I found the hidden immunity idol.  For real.  As soon as I can open it.  Do you have a pick ax or a screw driver you can lend me?  Oh hey Adam, whatcha doin' buddy?  Where's the beef?  Jessica, you're in trouble.  Says who?  Um, the tribe?  Oh what a cool and totally unnecessary obstacle course before the puzzle.  Stop staring at me, Ken, I'm totally safe.  Despite what Lucy just said.  Jeff, before you count those votes.

The night after David's bold (stupid) move to save tribe pariah Jessica and blindside tribe tyrant Lucy, David is ready for everyone to yell at him.  Except of course for Jessica who will vow her undying gratitude to him for playing his idol on her and being one of only two votes to save her.  Right?  Not exactly.  Jessica takes Ken aside and thanks him (despite the fact that he just voted against her), apologizes for not believing his soulful blue eyes when they tried to tell her the truth, and offers him her first born, a kidney, and anything else he wants.  Oh, and the legacy advantage should she get voted off.

The next morning, the hunt is on for the hidden immunity idol that is back in play.  David has the advantage of knowing what he's looking for and it pays off when he sees the tribe logo on a tree branch.  After summoning all the strength he can muster (which is usually not enough to open an envelope without help), he revels in having found his second idol.  Hopefully, he'll play this one more wisely.  Last week, Adam's idol-discovering confessional was about a young man in a time of great personal crisis finding happiness in fulfilling dreams. This time, it was about an older man who has waited 42 years to feel a real sense of victory.  And that was sad in its own way.

Someone is not happy
After 33 seasons, it was about time for Jeff to admit that luck plays a factor in Survivor and things happen that will change the game that you have zero control over.  That a fourth word should be added to the motto - outluck.  And with that said, it's time to "drop your buffs."  Two tribes will become three and the Figgy/TayTay romance may be in jeopardy.  But have no fear, fans of Figtails, they remain together, now on the purple tribe.  They may be happy, but one person who is not happy is Michaela.  I assume Michaela is not a poker player because she has zero filter and the most expressive face on the planet.  She is #pissed, #overthis.  She ends up on the new green tribe which will have to start from scratch, building a shelter, getting fire, finding food.  Plus they have the longest, most difficult to pronounce tribe name.  It's a raw deal and she's not going to pretend it's anything other than a raw deal.  She tells Jeff that he did them wrong and he really can't argue.

But she's not the only one who's upset about the reshuffling.  Zeke is complaining that he went from being in the majority, almost-never-lose Millennials tribe to being in the minority in a five person tribe.  But if Zeke were being honest with himself, he went from being in the bottom two of nine, to the bottom two of five. So really not much has changed for him.  Taylor on the other hand is facing some real hardship.  Now that they're on a new tribe, Figgy tells him they have to be on the down low about their romance.  No cuddling, no kissing, no canoodling.  It's torture.   Poor guy.

Adam is frustrated that of all the Millennials he could be joined up with, it had to be Figgy and Taylor.  He is not in their alliance, he is one of only two remaining players to have voted against Figgy, and he knows they have less than no loyalty to him, numbers notwithstanding.  But there is hope.  He talks to Ken who tells us later that Adam is the nicest kid ever.  Adam admits to Ken that he was at the bottom of the Millennials totem pole and Ken sees in Adam a ray of hope for him and Jessica.  Adam sees it a little differently.  He went from being expendable to being a key fulcrum between two pairs.  So post switch, Adam is as happy as Michaela is pissed.

But we're not done.  Now Debbie Downer comes out of the shelter the next morning, looking like her pet rat just died.  Michelle was sitting on top of the world over at the Millennials tribe and now she is one of only two at her new tribe and, to make matters even worse, she's there with Zeke who she is not aligned with.  But certainly she can use her looks and charm to work her way back into the majority.  She starts by having everyone introduce themselves.  As soon as she finds the Christians, she'll drop in about her missionary work and she'll be good to go.  Only...Chris mentions he's from Oklahoma and guess where her arch nemesis Zeke just happens to hail from?  Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plains.  And where young boys grow up idolizing the local college stars - like Chris.  Zeke can't wait to work with the big ginger-haired football player.  And as it turns out, Chris wants to work with the Sooners fanboy as well.

So the two Okies bond over Chris' awesomeness and Michelle starts making plans for the pre-jury trip and wonders what she could possibly talk about with Mari, Rachel, Paul, and Lucy.

Back over at the green tribe, Jay and Bret have had no luck making fire.  They're over it.  So Michaela steps in.  In her confessional, while we watch her work on the flint, she tells us that every time she has wanted to give up in life she just pushes herself a little harder and we know that there is a hundred percent chance that we will be seeing a spark that illustrates how her hard work and determination will pay off. #winnersedit  We then get Bret saying Michaela saved us today (spoiler alert, she'll be saving them again shortly) and how happy he is for her.

Michaela was overcome with emotion and went off to process what she was feeling - pride, relief, happiness.  This gave us another glimpse of how Survivor is so much more than just a game show.  It reveals things about people that they may not have known about themselves.  We've already had Zeke talk about how Survivor has shown him a better version of himself.  Today Michaela was moved by reminding herself that she really could overcome and dig deep, surprising herself with her own strength and determination.  Put to the test, she aced it.

The Immunity Challenge also revealed things the survivors may or may not have known about themselves.  David sucks at challenges.  CeCe does more harm to her tribe than good.  Cross walking along a balance beam carrying a 40 pound bag and swimming with a buoy as things CeCe is capable of doing.   But she is Simone Biles/Michael Phelps compared to David.  Jeff's play-by-play tells the tale.  David cannot get out of the water with the buoy.  David loses the buoy.  Disaster.  Zeke asks what we all were thinking, "is he throwing this?"  It looks like David may never get on the platform.  And he's lost the buoy again.

Michaela saves us, part deux
As lame as David is, and lame does not do his pitiful performance justice, that is how adept Michaela is.  She's Steve Nash/Stephen Curry/Rick Barry all rolled up into one amazingly beautiful and athletic goddess.  My favorite part of watching her in this challenge was noting how she would toss or spin the balls before shooting them.  Totally bad ass.

The orange team ultimately loses to the purple team, even though Ken had trouble sinking the shots.  David and CeCe had put their tribe at too much of a disadvantage for Chris to make up and eventually Ken was able to get all his balls in.  #obligatoryinnuendo  Despite their horrendous performances, David and CeCe are unfazed as they return to camp.  They have the numbers so they feel they have nothing to worry about.  But Chris is not so sure.  He has no allegiance to David or CeCe, who have consistently voted against him, and he has this new bond with Zeke.  He'd like to see them get rid of some of the dead weight.  And by dead weight he means CeCe.

Interestingly, Chris goes to David and tells him the plan.  In his own words, he's trusting in someone who has blinded him twice.  This would not seem the wisest course of action.  Especially, as we know, since David again has an immunity idol that he could use to mess up Chris' plans.  David has a lot to think about.  Does he make two boneheaded moves in back to back episodes, playing his idol for someone else too early in the game, or does he vote with the majority knowing that at worst he's safe if they go to tribal council three days hence?

Michelle is told the plan, told she's safe, but she doesn't know who to trust.  She goes to CeCe and tries to sell her on David being the weakest link but CeCe immediately goes and tells David what Michelle was planning   This could have blown up in her pretty face, but David ultimately had to weigh the risk of backstabbing Chris a third time versus keeping someone in the game who is a potential vote against him.  Add to that the threat of being the first person choked at tribal council as Jeff looked on, David had a lot to think about.

At tribal a lot was said, but the decision was in stone.  As David said before they got there, no matter what is said, let's stick to the plan.  So while Zeke sounded desperate and worried, Chris talked about repairing past fractures and Michelle explicitly named David as the most logical target.

Oh, so this is what it feels like to be blindsided
CeCe was so sure the majority Gen X alliance would keep her safe, that when the third vote against her was called she could only muster a stunned "wow."  She walked up to Jeff, put her torch in the hole and walked away before her flame was snuffed out.  Since I've been doing recaps, I can't remember not being able to screen grab someone standing behind their extinguished torch.

Did David do the right thing? Last week I thought it was a huge mistake to waste an idol on someone who had no loyalty to you, especially so early in the game.  This week he had to decide whether to play the idol on the only person who has consistently voted with him and would be loyal to the end.  If he played his idol to save CeCe and vote out Michelle, and they went to tribal next week (and unless the immunity challenge was for one player to hold the rest of their tribe on their shoulders, they're due for another trip there) would Chris really risk a tie and vote to save Zeke?  I think David made a mistake.  Now he's in the minority and will probably have to play his idol at the next tribal council.

CeCe was a dead woman walking from the beginning.  She and Rachel were on the outs from the main alliance on Day One.  After Rachel left, Cece was in the bottom still, this time with the tight duo of Ken and David.  She was spared last week only because Jessica had put a huge target on her back and Lucy managed to make herself a bigger threat.  She finally had the numbers but was such a challenge liability that her lack of a bond was more than she could overcome.

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Survivor Season 33: Millennials v. Gen X - Episode 4 Recap

Previously on Survivor.  Let me explain.  Not right now.  But I want to talk now.  Later.  But later isn't now and I want to talk now and make sure you're not mad even though you were blindsided and I voted against you and you thought we were friends.  I feel great, top of the world, brand new life, I'm in total control.  There's no guys alliance, right?  You have nothing to worry about - what's your name again?  My name is ... blindside.

So in a slightly older version of last week's Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, a blindsided man tells the blindsiding female that he really doesn't want to talk about what happen.  So she walks away.  That was an option??  Jessica goes talk to the more receptive Bret and eventually Chris comes into the discussion and she tells him how Paul's one ill-advised sentence heightened her paranoia and led to her orchestrating the overthrow.  Chris wants to go all J-Tia and dump out some rice, but instead decides to hold on to his anger and redirect it at the Millennials in the upcoming Reward Challenge.  Meanwhile, Jessica gives us the confessional of impending doom as she realizes that she may have made an epic blunder.

The next morning Sunday asks Lucy if they made a mistake the night before and the answer of course is yes, they shouldn't have turned on their solid alliance so early in the game and made two enemies out of prior allies when they had an easy vote that would have solidified their numbers.  It's Survivor 101.  Lucy abandons the sinking USS Jessica and goes over to Bret and Chris, tells them she has Ken and Dave in her back pocket, and they all can get their revenge next tribal council.  No reason to watch the rest of this episode!  #zapherass

What is that up on the hill near Millennials camp?  Is that Tony Vlachos?  No, it's a different goat!  And while the tribe goes off to see if they can rustle up some vittles, Adam turns his sights on even more elusive prey.  The hidden immunity idol.  As he's followed closely by a camera man, Adam wisely figures he's on the right track and he does indeed find the...clue to the idol.  Well, still better than nothing!

Recreating Season One GoT, Hodor and Bran
But before he can continue his search, it's time for the Reward Challenge where we learned that Chris on the Gen X tribe and Michaela on the Millennials tribe are potential comp beast threats.  If they make it to the merge, they could be hard to beat.  In fact, after Michaela single-handedly kept the Millennials alive through sheer will, Jeff dropped perhaps a little hint?  "That's what it takes to win Survivor."

You know what else it takes to win Survivor?  Safety.  And so Adam goes back to search for the immunity idol with so many clues - tribe insignia, on a shell, on the beach, over here where the lighting and camera guys are set up  - that you wonder if the producers were concerned the Millennials were too lazy to find it on their own.  Just because they have an app to get them a ride, an app to bring them food, an app to find them a date and an app to find their phone with all their apps doesn't mean they need things spelled out for them that obviously.

So "super duper" Survivor fan Adam - who has been watching the show since he was nine and has probably been dreaming of this very moment since then - has one of the key Survivor moments as he at last finds the hidden immunity idol.  This should be the biggest high he has ever experienced (and he lives in the Bay Area, so, you know) but instead this moment of all moments is immediately put into somber context.  And calling Adam's post-discovery break down hard to watch is an understatement.

I can't possibly imagine the range of emotions this experience brought forth for Adam.  Living out his Survivor dream on a month-long respite from the biggest nightmare in his life.  Looking forward, probably for the first time in a long time, to have something happy to share with his mom.   From some interviews, I know that Adam and his mom had been considered for Blood versus Water and being on Survivor had been both of their dreams.  When he got the call to go out on his own for Season 33, it must have been an agonizing decision whether to leave for six weeks to go on the show but I'm sure that the experience was something he was hoping to buoy her, something to share with her while they lived through the darkest time in their lives.

With all that real emotion hitting me in the face, I almost forgot how Hannah just happened to pop up at the exact wrong time.  Hey, there, buddy.  Whatcha doin'?  How's the ol' idol hunt goin'?  Put a pin in that.  Since, spoiler alert, Millennials are not going to tribal council tonight, that issue - did she see him find the idol or didn't she - will wait for another day.

All is great on Gen X beach.  There are plenty of leftovers for breakfast so everyone should be in a great mood, right?  Not so much.  Self-described tiger mom Lucy is not in the mood for any funny business from Dave (if she's seen any of the shows he's written for, she'd realize she had nothing to worry about).  Dave asks, as one does when one is on a tribe and in an alliance, what the plan is.  She bites his head off and feeds it to the cloud of bats hanging in the trees.  He'll not make that mistake again.  She then tells him and Ken, just be quiet, do what you're told.  She points at Ken and gives him the stern mom voice and makes sure he heard her and understands and will not mess this up.  She does realize this is a social game, right?

The Immunity Challenge was visually fun, as the tribes lofted a member up to gather puzzle pieces and was, at least for Jeff, a contrast in styles.  Because he is contractually obligated to work in a Millennials do it this way, Gen Xers do it that way comparison at least twice an episode.  What I saw was the Gen Xers locking into the first random words they saw way too early and then not giving themselves the flexibility to see anything else.  Meanwhile, the Millennials found a few key words like "tonight" and "flame" and then built around it.  In the end, it was the tribe that stood back, kept their cool, and analyzed the situation before they took action, who won.

With that, Gen X was on its way to another visit with Jeff and his shirt of many buttons.  The plan was for the remaining Gen Xer's to get their revenge on Jessica and make her pay for trying to take control of the tribe.  Lucy and Sunday had buyer's remorse and decided voting out Paul was a terrible idea and all part of Jessica's evil plan.   With Paul gone, Lucy came out of nowhere, invisible in the first three episodes, to fill the power vacuum Paul's departure created.  You can't have two alpha females, so Jessica had to go.  Now, after the loss, the tribe could have blamed Dave as he contributes absolutely nothing to their tribe except for his promised puzzle solving skills which have thus far proved worse than his stick breaking skills. But Lucy has her sights set on Jessica the turncoat, so the rest of the tribe needed to get on board.

One of many Survivor mistakes is to assume what works in the outside world will work on the island.  What's even a greater mistake is assuming what irritates people in the outside world won't irritate people on Survivor.  Lucy feels comfortable that everyone will be happy with her ordering them around and making all their decisions for them. Even though she admits that this very behavior actually makes her family hate her at times.  But for some reason, complete strangers who are competing against you for a million dollars should be happy to be told what to do and what not to do.

But hers is not the only mistake on the Gen X tribe.  Jessica is told by Ken that Lucy has thrown her name out there and the plan is to blindside her at tribal council.  Now Ken is not a savvy Survivor player.  He is a heart on the sleeve, Kumbaya singing, Namaste kind of guy who has show zero signs of being a strategist.  He seems honest to a fault, an open book of sappy poems about dolphins and puffy clouds.  As a deputy district attorney, one of Jessica's jobs is to assess the veracity of statements, to determine whether someone is more likely than not to be telling the truth.  She should be thinking of a career change.  She is convinced that Ken is lying to her.

You had this guy on your side and you turn on him?
So she of course runs directly to the person he names as targeting her and asks, are you targeting me.  Because of course if someone is planning on blindsiding you the way to find out is to ask them.  Lucy of course denies the plan she has worked so hard to keep the lid on and then marches off to find out who didn't listen to her.  Someone is getting a time out.

Dave, wisely, disavows any knowledge of Ken spilling the beans and then immediately goes to tell his pal that he's in deep trouble.  Mom is mad.  Ken confronts Lucy and she does not get him at all.  He's so emotional, like a girl.  Ew.  Girls are the worst (insert eye roll).  Lucy does have a point, there shouldn't be any emotions in Survivor, especially not about voting people off.  But she is wrong that there isn't a diplomatic way to get people to do what you want; barking orders is not the right way.  Not for women or for men.

So Dave has a lot to think about.  Do the easy thing, and vote out Jessica?  If he does, he's worried that he and Ken will be back to the bottom.  But he just swore to Lucy he wouldn't vote her out, can he break that promise?  Are you allowed to do that on Survivor?  He meant to read the rule book, but it was so heavy, he couldn't hold it.  But he does have an immunity idol.  And it's pocket sized, so he's going to bring it with him just in case.

At tribal, it's like the whole tribe took truth serum before they sat down.  Everyone is spilling everything.  Ken wanted to vote out Lucy because she was acting like a dictator.  Lucy thought Ken was man enough to handle her bluntness.  Lucy basically admits in front of Jessica that Ken was telling her the truth, but that perceptive Jessica still cannot grasp that Lucy had turned against her.  This is an astounding lack of awareness and I wonder if whatever has infected her eyes has spread to the left side of her brain because she seems incapable of logical thinking at this moment.  Or, as Lucy would say, she's such a girl.

Jessica is dumbfounded.  She turns to Ken, "Am I supposed to believe you when you tell me my ally is turning on me?"  "Yeah."   For a split second, Jessica senses she's made a huge mistake.  But it's too late for her to change her mind so, to paraphrase Chris, she's about to go all in with the losing hand.  Until Dave springs up to save her ungrateful, undeserving ass.  He shocks everyone by playing his hidden immunity idol this early in the game, on someone who has shown him no loyalty, to vote out someone who was not an immediate threat to him.

And with that Jessica sees that Ken was telling her the truth and she was the target as one after another, the Jessica votes are revealed and then discarded.  Her worthless vote for CeCe shows just how out of the loop she was.  And with only two votes, Dave's and CeCe's, tiger mom slinks out of this jungle and back home to run the lives of those who can't vote her out of the family.

Lucy gets the football pulled out from her #charliebrownsrevenge

Jessica, when she recovers the power of speech, manages to tell Dave, thanks.  Will this form a bond that will carry both of them further in the game, will Ken be impressed by his little buddy's maneuver, and will Chris and Bret ever not be on the wrong side of a vote?  Stay tuned.

Check out Lucy's post eviction interview:

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Survivor Season 33: Millennials v. Gen X - Episode 3 Recap

Previously on Survivor: The showmance has got to go.  This showmance is ruining my bromance.  Who will I go bowling with?  They don't even have toothbrushes.  Bye Figgy.  Dave you're next.  I'm so totally screwed, oh my god is that an idol?  Let me show it to my new best friend, the octopus-catching Adonis.  Paul breathes control, Paul can't breathe, Paul is struck by heat exhaustion and a bit of irony.  Jay tells Michelle Figgy has to go, Michelle says not so fast bro.  Whispers at tribal, did Hannah get lost on her way to vote?  Blindside #1.

Just tell me I'm not the worst person in the world
Coming back from the unexpected, uncomfortable tribal council, Zeke and Adam try to play it cool.  Good game, nicely played. Zeke manages not to blurt out "I'd like to stab you all in your sleep."  He and Adam go off to count their numbers, which is easy now that it's just those two.  Hannah comes over to apologize and explain/justify what just happened.  Zeke does not want to talk about it at this particular moment when his head is still reeling from the fact that his game has just been turned upside down.  The show is only 44 minutes long, but we still get a full two minutes of Zeke and Adam alternately telling Hannah that  Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week, maybe in an Reddit AMA, maybe in couple's therapy, but not now. But Hannah wants absolution, wants to be told she's not a horrible person, and wants them to make her feel better right now.

Hannah has good arguments.  The numbers were there, her vote meant nothing, she did what was in her best interest, it doesn't mean that she's not still with them in spirit, it hurt her more than it hurt them.  But as in most interpersonal relationships, Zeke is upset and disappointed and so all the logic in the world is not going to work at that precise moment.  She could fly in Justin Bieber to serenade Zeke with a live version of Sorry and it wouldn't make up for what he feels is a huge betrayal of the quirky kids club.  But Hannah wants back in and wants Zeke and Adam to know that they're still tight and she's still here for them.  "Use me," she wants to tell them.  She doesn't even like everyone in the damn majority alliance that she just sided with, she tells us.  Is a reality TV show really the place to work out your high school insecurities?

Adam gets a great confessional where he talks about it being his dream since he was nine to play this game, which means he's either getting the ironic soundbite before his torch is snuffed or his hero arc is still solid.  He tells Zeke that it's "You and me on dumb ass island" and he's right.  Had they not told Jay their plan last week, Figgy would be gone, they'd still be in the majority, and they wouldn't have had to deal with Hannah's neurosis and the Triforce's smugness.  But they're now firmly at the bottom and there's no where to hide.  Still, Adam tells us, "I wouldn't count me out" and so we won't.

Over on Gen X beach it's a beautiful sunrise with a deep scarlet horizon.  Paul the old salt quotes the old adage, "Red sky at night, sailors' delight.  Red sky at morning, sailors take warning."  If that isn't the most over the top piece of foreshadowing, I don't know what is.  Paul, you're in trouble; the skies don't lie.  He may think that Cece will be the next voted off, but she's seen telling Dave, "I trust god. I think we're going to be all right."  And CBS is not going to let her go out after saying that.  For good measure, Dave tells her that you should never give up so the underdogs battling back is as sure as Jeff making a dumb Millennial/Gen X comparison sometime during the show.

Paul tells us that he's back from the dead, which of course means he's about to take a stake to the head to make sure he's gone and not coming back.  Ken is tired of Paul's boasting about being the leader and the provider and all his experience.  Put up or shut up.  Ken can't believe that he's on the bottom of the tribe and I can appreciate his confusion.  Any other season, any other tribe he'd be the alpha male.  Instead, his position is taken by an overweight, bombastic, clueless, David Lee Roth wannabe.
Both tribes are given the chance to send some members to a summit where they can meet and get to know some members of the opposing tribe.  The Triforce and Will go to for the Millennials, CeCe, Dave, Paul and Chris for the Gen Xers. Figgy pronounces respite like it's despite and so I momentarily cannot pay attention to what anyone is saying.  Later, watching Big Brother Over the Top, a twenty-something there pronounces heir like here and I die a little inside.

Taylor's thought bubble: She's the jelly to my peanut butter
Back to the summit, Chris the lawyer is, not surprisingly, smart about keeping quiet and hoping to hear more than he speaks.  The Millennials are also smart about what they share, keeping quiet about showmances and somehow convincing Figgy and Taylor to keep their hands off each other while in front of the parents.  Paul, of course, talks.  A lot.  Way too much.  I'm a little embarrassed for him until he goes after Dave.  He tells the Millennials that Dave is incredible, and Dave is touched to find out that the big guy actually likes him.  That is until Paul goes on to say, he's incredible because he screams any time he sees a bug.  Paul's last few fans jump ship.

The Millennials are curious about Ken and CeCe is nice enough not to objectify him which I would never do just because of his chiseled body, angular face and surprisingly good singing voice.  Dave takes Taylor aside and goes all Jonathan Penner on him offering to jump ship, abandon his teammates, and vote their asses out of the game the first opportunity he has.  Taylor was probably thinking about licking some of the peanut butter off of Figgy and missed everything that Dave said, but Dave felt better and saw Taylor as his ray of hope if he ever wanted to get rid of Paul.  Oh Dave, hope is closer than you think!

Ken starts working on Jessica. He flatters her, "you and Sunday are humble."  But Paul acts like he's the king of the camp.  And why?  Because he's the biggest, the loudest?  What does he really contribute to the group?  Jessica hears what he's saying, but she's committed herself to Paul and the rest of their six person alliance and she doesn't want to betray them.  But Ken planted a seed and sometimes that's all it takes.  Which is why having people question their alliance, think about their place in the game is a good strategy.  Kudos to Ken.

Taylor is so happy with life on Millennial camp he's doing backflips.  His girl is safe, they don't have to worry, Zeke is out next.  "Ain't nothing to it."  Adam still can't believe how his fortunes have turned.  This is particularly galling to superfan Adam as "Figgy sucks at Survivor."  But even with her showmantic misstep, she was smart enough to ally with the cagey Michelle while Adam allied with "loose lips" Zeke.  He is also probably frustrated that the four person Triforce (I will never tire of their name) is so obviously tight that their temporary allies should reconsider sticking with them much longer, but will he be able to get Michaela and Will to see the light?

We don't hear from Will at all and Michaela is not making any decisions yet.  She doesn't like or trust Figgy (shocker), but she's going to wait, watching and thinking, before deciding what to do next. That is a thoughtful approach and Michaela is showing herself to be a strategic, rather than emotional, player.  Hopefully all her watching and thinking will get her to see that those four are planning on moving in together when the show is over and go into business selling Triforce friendship bracelets (with four strands!) and so should be broken up sooner than never.

How'd this picture get here?
There's an immunity challenge that requires carrying heavy bags, walking across a balance beam, knocking down a puzzle and putting together a puzzle.  The Millennials do a better job at figuring out who can best get the bags across the beam, while the GenXers do not strategize enough ahead of time, leaving us with a long stretch of CeCe struggling to make it across in the time it takes three Millennials to cross.  Of course, that means that her tribe loses and Chris gives us the premature and, thus, obvious misdirecting statement that after that poor performance, "I'm not sure how CeCe doesn't go home tonight."

Paul has watched Survivor before so even though he gives us the "CeCe is going next" quote, he's quick to add that it's dangerous to get too complacent on Survivor.  He fails to add that it's also dangerous to say something to alert someone in your alliance that they are at the bottom.

Sunday confirms with Bret and Chris that to keep the tribe strong they have to vote out CeCe.  She performed the worst at the challenge (in truth, only because Dave was waiting over at the puzzle and didn't have to prove himself on the beam) and so she has to go.  Bret, the police sargeant, says it sucks that they have to vote her off, Chris, the lawyer, says it doesn't suck.  And we wonder why lawyers get a bad rap.

CeCe asks the girls if they know what the plan is and Jessica says she thinks the boys are working it out.  Hopefully as the words are coming out of her mouth, Jessica the Assistant District Attorney realizes that she doesn't want a bunch of boys making decisions about her future in the game.  While she and the other females lie to CeCe and pretend that they don't know she's going home, Ken and Dave wonder if there's a chance of switching the target to Paul.  Nothing to lose.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.  A whole lot of nothing, can they turn it into something?

Yes, with a heaping serving of help from Paul himself.  Jessica already had Ken plant some seeds of doubt in her head about Paul.  So when she and Paul talk about the vote, she reluctantly agrees to stick with the six person alliance.  But then she asks Paul if there's a boys' alliance.  And he tells her not to worry.  "If they decided to do that I would say, ladies, you're on your own."  And the Survivor music composer brings out the strings of doom to signify that Paul just said the worst possible thing at the worst possible time.

So Jessica pulls together Sunday and someone who just landed on the beach to give them a solid three girl alliance.  Jessica tells Sunday and this mystery woman (Survivor Wikia says her name is Lucy but I've been unable to verify that) that the three of them are at the bottom of the six person alliance.  I say, they're also at the top of the six person alliance.  But definitely not in the middle.  Regardless, this concerns her.  So she thinks she may have to flip on Paul.  But could she possible convince Cece, Dave, and Ken, the next three on the chopping block and Paul's targets, to turn on him.  Good thing she's a DA and is used to making persuasive pleas because this is going to be really hard to sell.

One more moment of hubris before trial council as Bret, Chris and Paul see all the women talking and immediately Paul dismisses the conversation as nothing for them to worry about.  Bret is concerned. This is the second positive editorial choice for Bret this episode.  Keep your eye on that one.

Dave talks too much at Tribal Council, mentioning that meeting with the Millennials helped humanize them and build bonds between them.  That's not what your tribe wants to hear.  He did mention that this experience is helping him cope with his anxieties and make him more calm, which is something we all can be grateful for because he makes me nervous just sitting still.

Jeff throws CeCe under the bus, making sure everyone noticed that she cost them the game.  But then he tries one of his many sets of questions designed to hammer the Millennials vs. Gen X narrative over our heads.  The young people worked together, you all did your own thing.  They were an efficient team, you were a bunch of unconnected individuals.  And then, in an exchange that Jeff will be regretting for some time, he asked the Gen Xers if they text.  This isn't the dawn of the texting generation, where only a few have one of those new-fangled, hand held devices for communicating with words instead of sounds.  EVERYONE texts.  But you know what everyone does not do in 2016, abbreviate "you" with "u."  Jeff has dated himself worse than if he were wearing a Milli Vanilli t-shirt and raving about his new flip phone.

Begin rant.
There is nothing sadder than someone Jeff's age trying to pretend he understands what it's like to be in your twenties.  The division is not about how we text, but how we see the world and ourselves in it.  And that is not something that can be discussed in a two minute tribal council setting.  I have nothing against this season's theme of a generational divide and everything against forcing certain "we do this, they do that" simplifications.  Let us the viewer observe the differences - and the similarities - don't try to create some facile, stereotypical contradistinctions between the groups.
End rant.

Before it's time to vote, Jeff asks about paranoia.  And this is always a good question.  Who feels vulnerable and who feels safe speaks volumes at tribal council.  Last week, Mari was sure that Figgy was going home.  This week Paul is just as sure that he is safe.  But he goes a step farther.  He blames those at the bottom for where they are and says that the top six are where they are because of hard work.  He then, faux humbly, said that he was sure he'd be sitting where the bottom three are now and he won't feel good about it either.  All the time he was speaking, he was speaking the truth.  There was a six and a three.  The top six did work hard to get there.  The bottom three were responsible for where they are.  Had Paul not put doubt into Jessica's mind, they would not be in trouble.  And had the top six not worked hard to come together, they wouldn't have the numbers to blindside him.

Paul had the numbers absolutely correct.  He just didn't know the three and six had rearranged themselves.

Paul told us earlier this episode that he was given a new life in this game after his medical scare last week.  Unfortunately for him, that life was short-lived as he was ultimately hoisted on his own petard of poor alliance management.  But, Paul did have a very classy exit with a nice farewell to his tribemates.  Bret and Chris exchange, "what the hell just happened" looks and have the night to figure out how they went from the top of the totem pole to the part that's buried in the dirt.

Check out his "The Day After" video interview here.

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