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:

Want more Lucy?
Josh Wigler/Parade
Entertainment Weekly
TV Guide
Rob Has a Podcast

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