Survivor: Caramoan, aka Fans vs. Favorites 2.0 premiered on Wednesday night, and it couldn’t have been a better early Valentine’s Day gift for me. I’ve missed all this strategy and backstabbing in my life.
If you want to know what I thought of the returning “favorites” (who would be better described as people in need of a second chance, if you’re being generous), check out this post from a while back. And click on through for a review of the premiere!
Well, let’s cut right to the chase: Poor, poor Francesca. I feel for her, I really do. She went on Survivor, she’s a smart and funny gal, and luck didn’t go her way. She was voted out first. But she was charming enough to be asked back a second time! And boom – out first again. That is rough. I feel like it’s what would happen to me, if I were ever given the chance to play.
Once again, it felt like Francesca played her heart out and got the short end of the stick. I guess her downfall is that she plays too hard right out of the gate. But she also has some seriously bad luck. Phillip had it out with her, and her outside-the-game friendship with Andrea was a disadvantage rather than an advantage. Instead of aligning, Andrea and Francesca couldn’t trust one another. It’s like each woman knew just how smart the other one is. But I’ll write more about Tribal Council and the vote later – let’s take it from the top.
A Lot Of Hoop-la
I like seeing the fans’ reactions as the favorites arrive. There was a lot of cheering for Dawn, almost none for Corinne – is that because she played too long ago, or because she was mean? We went straight for the excitement, and things kicked off with a very physical reward challenge. Players had to wrestle, two on two, for a hoop. Shamar, from the fans, got off to an… aggressive start by yelling “Break her wrist!” during the challenge. He meant “break her hold”, but still. Dial it back a notch or two, bud.
Malcolm scored the winning point for the favorites, which was great. I like Malcolm and want to see him go far here, and it was great to see him prove himself right off the bat. He’s quite obviously the biggest physical asset on the favorites team, so that should help him make it to the merge.
Things got off to a rocky start for the fans. First, Shamar and Mark had a pretty heated disagreement over whether building shelter or making fire was a bigger priority. Like, guys? You have TEN PEOPLE on your tribe. There should have been a way to accomplish both. But instead of actually doing something, Shamar sat around criticizing and complaining. To give credit where credit is due, he did a fantastic job making the fire once he got started. But his first impression hasn’t been the best.
The first impressions are even worse for the Hot Alliance, which literally formed overnight. First, Reynold recruited Allie to be in his alliance. He thought no one would suspect they were aligned because she’s “not the cutest” girl. Well, maybe not – but they sure as hell suspected something once they were practically making out in the shelter all night. Cuddles equals trouble, people! When will you learn?
Eddie and Hope also aligned, because apparently it’s a written requirement of the two most attractive people on the tribe. (Does this mean Andrea and Brenda will have to fight to the death over Malcolm?) Never trust an alliance that’s based entirely on physical appearance.
Obviously, those couples have aligned and, bizarrely, think they have it made as a foursome. They actually called themselves the cool kids, and proclaimed that they wouldn’t let anyone else at the cool kid table. First of all, I hate these people. Second of all, oh, you poor, pretty morons. You are an alliance of four in a tribe of ten. Your votes do not count for double just because you’re beautiful. This means you have no control! The rest of the tribe was already feeling uneasy about the cuddling and the coupling up. They need the men for strength in challenges, so their boos should get ready to say sayonara.
Over at the favorites’ camp, things were more hectic than simply using mating as a way to form alliances. First, Francesca, Dawn and Andrea decided to team up. This was a smart, sassy lady alliance that I could get on board with. But it didn’t last long.
Phillip. It always comes back to Phillip. He’s already “annoying me greatly”. Phillip – I’m serious now – compared being on Survivor to Iwo Jima. HE COMPARED A REALITY TELEVISION SHOW TO WAR YOU GUYS. I mean, check with Clint Eastwood, but I’m pretty sure none of those soldiers were wearing hot pink Underoos.
Francesca tried to make amends with Phillip, but he just ignored her. The guy is a lunatic, I’m not even sure why she tried. Phillip quickly assembled his own alliance, as he’s now playing with the “BR Rules” (Boston Rob Rules) to Survivor. This should be interesting. Is Rule #1 “Keep Phillip on a very short leash because he’s crazy”? Phillip pulled in Corinne first, and then Andrea, Malcolm and Cochran. He tried for Erik and immediately got on Erik’s wrong side with his aggressive “my way or the highway” pitch. Erik is not a man to be trifled with anymore! He actually called Phillip a “combative idiot loser who makes everyone crazy”, which is just the best.
I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge Cochran’s sunburn. That poor little ginger just can’t catch a break, can he?
Immunity Challenge: Beanbag Toss
I expected the Immunity Challenge to be more exciting than it was. Teams had to race, two at a time, up a large structure and drop crates to the ground. Sure, the climbing was physical, but how hard is it to drop a crate? Not hard. Then, when all the crates had been broken, someone would collect the beanbags that had been inside of them and one player would try to land them in six targets. So… it basically came down to a carnival game where, usually, one person wins a large stuffed Tiger.
The favorites had a pretty big lead, and Malcolm was doing a decent job of tossing. But Reynold made up major ground and ended up winning for the fans – I mean, the guy barely missed! I have several reasons to dislike Reynold, but near the top of that list is the fact that his name is Reynold.
Friends or Foes?
The Favorites camp, post-loss, was nuts. There are so many overlapping alliances, betrayals and backup plans.
Andrea and Francesca’s alliance fell apart faster than it began, which left Dawn as a swing vote – once again tied to Cochran, because who wants to learn from their mistakes? Francesca wanted Phillip gone, which seemed like a non-controversial idea. Phillip is annoying, wears inappropriate underwear, is not physically beneficial and is a strategic loose cannon. I would absolutely not want him on my tribe or in my alliance. But Andrea did, and she began campaigning to get Francesca voted out.
At first, it looked like Francesca solidly had Erik and Brandon on her side, and possibly also had Brenda, Malcolm, Cochran and Dawn as well – and she thought she still had Andrea. A plan to split votes between Phillip and Corinne was tossed around (dumb – there was no evidence that anyone had a Hidden Immunity Idol) but pretty soon everyone became suspicious of Andrea. Next thing you knew, people were talking about voting her out instead. It’s so interesting to me how quickly two women who are friends outside the game became pitted against one another. I really think it’s because each knows how smart the other is, and therefore couldn’t trust her.
It all came down to Cochran and Dawn – a pair that finds themselves in this swing vote position more than most seem to. I really thought they’d opt to go with Francesca. She’s smart, funny, a lawyer and an underdog. How could Cochran not want to align with her? And why would anyone want to align with Phillip?
But surprisingly, when it came time to vote, it was poor Francesca who was booted off first – again. Francesca, Brandon, Erik and Brenda had voted for Andrea. The rest voted for Francesca. (I’m surprised Brenda ended up on the wrong side of the alliance. She’s a savvy player, and seemed to be flying a little under the radar this time. Considering her reputation that could be for the best, but hopefully she can recover and make her way into a stronger alliance.)
Like I said, poor Francesca. This would statistically make her the worst Survivor player ever, but she absolutely is not. Survivor‘s an art, not a science. Stats don’t tell you much. But still, how awful to be the first person eliminated both times you play.
I’m interested to hear what you guys think of this episode and how the alliances are playing out so far. I really am surprised that so many of the favorites are willing to work with Phillip. Sure, he went all the way to the end last time and was often useful to Boston Rob. But Rob kept him on a very short leash and worked hard to maintain a relationship that would ensure Phillip’s compliance. There’s no guarantee that someone could make that happen again. Phillip’s behavior last season revealed him to be paranoid, easily offended and unpredictable. Even if you take his awful personality out of the equation, he’s still a far from ideal partner in the game. I wouldn’t want to work with him for the same reasons I wouldn’t want to work with Brandon. It’s always better to align with people who won’t freak out over nothing and either jump ship or stupidly screw up a vote. What do you think?