Purple Rock Watch-Along: Survivor Nicaragua Episodes 8-10

Welcome to the next three episodes of Purple Rock Podcast’s (well, Matt’s) watch of Survivor: Nicaragua. Read my live blog below.

A reminder before I dive back into my running thoughts of Survivor: Nicaragua- I am spoiled on the following things: I know who wins, I am pretty sure I know who is second and third (but not the order), and I know who quits. Aside from that, I believe I know a few other people who make the merge (which is fine, because we are at the merge now). And that is it. With that out of the way, to the liveblog!

Episode 8 – “Company Will Be Arriving Soon”

Previously on Survivor: Events centered on three people:

  1. NaOnka, who is vindicative and outspoken but has an idol
  2. Marty, who is…Marty, and
  3. Sash, who is apparently suddenly the puppet master? Really? The show can’t even give credit to Brenda here?

Marty is left alone with no friends or idol. (Editor’s note: Who could have seen that shit coming? If we’d been podcasting then, that move would have made us explode and this season would have made us quit podcasting.) So he starts off talking about who deserves to be in the game. I hate that “deserves” bullshit more than anything else.

“Uncle” Fabio found some treemail. Fabio is a weird guy because he apparently also refers to himself as “uncle”- oh, and the nickname that he was given at the beginning of the season. Do you think he went back to Jud when he got home, or was he so used to Fabio after a month-plus that he just started asking his real life friends to call him that?

At the merge announcement the camera briefly shows Purple Kelly, she laughs. That is it for Purple Kelly. (Marty thinks this saves him. Betting he is wrong, or maybe right for one vote).

Kelly

Espada is not happy to be staying at their beach. Or maybe just surprised?

Alina is trying to convince everyone to stick together, and I don’t think anyone wants this at all. Why? I have no fucking clue why no one wants to stick with this alliance. Instead they just want to scramble things up again.

I bet Alina goes home, then Marty, then … I don’t know, someone unexpected.

The merge tribe name of Libertad might be the only thing about this season that isn’t historically awful.

Libertard

NaOnka puts nuts in her bra. John, finish this thought. (Editor’s note: BOFA them? – Andy)

(Editor John’s note)

Brenda is happy to see NaOnka. Because remember, Brenda fans, Brenda actually likes NaOnka and isn’t just allied to her. Brenda regards NaOnka as her best friend/ally on this season. This is the power couple this season, NaOnka and Brenda.

Jane is telling Chase about her shotgun and dogs. Chase is eating it up. He needs that southern accent like a mule needs a spinning wheel.

NaOnka is complaining about not having a lot of food left when they literally just had a merge and a feast. So she is stealing and hiding food, and Holly notices. NaOnka steals the flour which is the worst food to steal, are you going to sneak out to the jungle, start a discrete fire and cook the flour? That is so stupid. Oh, she has a secret plan! You see, she wants to make tortillas.

Editor’s note

Now NaOnka is hiding and stealing fruit and talking shit about Alina.

Such delightful “characters”

Alina and NaOnka are talking despite Purple Kelly being right next to them. They don’t notice her at all. Just like the producers.

NaOnka trying to pretend that everyone else is gunning for her. Also NaOnka thinks she can get Alina’s jury vote? HAHAHAHAHA! Alternative facts!

Now everyone notices that not only food is missing, but the bowl and the frying pan. And Holly confronts her. Fabio loses it.

Alina apparently knew NaOnka stole the food, and didn’t say anything.

NaOnka cannot confess that she did it, because she told them she didn’t. Chase and Alina convince her to tell everyone, and she again offers some alternative facts about taking the flour to measure it. Oh, and she throws Alina under the bus.

Marty thinks this should be simple to get her out, only he can use her. Marty is terrible at this game. Really fucking terrible.

For example

Brenda’s reaction is basically, “lol sucks to be Alina.” Because yeah NaOnka stole food, but Alina knew about it! Sash wants to drag NaOnka to the end as a goat.

Marty, Benry and Fabio are making fun of Jane. Marty thinks she is a threat. He tells Brenda this. Brenda’s response: Hey, maybe Marty has a strategy and is a threat. People on this season are stupid.

Oh, it’s the challenge we just saw in Millennials vs Gen X. (Editor’s note: They’re holding the clamps to keep the metal thing from falling. I paint pictures with words.)

Purple Kelly and Dan go out in literally 2 seconds. (Editor’s note: literally)

Jane wins the immunity for the women. Jane keeps going to try and prove a point. That is really stupid. For a lot of reasons. I would expect nothing less from this cast.

Fabio wins immunity for the men.

Jane wanted to beat Marty because again she hates Marty. We get it.

PURPLE KELLY TALKS! She wants a women’s alliance and Sash to vote out Marty! Alina is trying to use that and Jane to get out Marty.

Jane would write down Marty even if everyone else says Alina. Sash says wait one more vote because of his idol deal. Brenda says no rush, Jane asks, “What if he wins the next three times?” Brenda reminds her there are 8 more times.

Editor’s note

Dan tells Marty that Chase is gonna try and blindside him. Marty talks to Sash and Brenda, both of them play dumb.

Sash says Marty is only on the chopping block because he is talking so much, but would otherwise not be on the chopping block despite literally all episode being that the vote is Alina or Marty (Editor’s note: literally). Holly, Jane, and Alina are trying to arrange a Marty vote and realize it relies on Fabio.

Fabio wants to vote NaOnka. Because Fabio. Alina is all, “Don’t do that! Wait, no. Do do that!” because throwing his vote away is great. Fabio is like, “This is why people want you out,” because she is actually trying to not go home.

Hahaha, Fabio says, “I like Marty, I get along with Marty.” And Alina says, “I thought we got along too,” and walks away as Fabio is just sputtering. It was actually really sad.

 

Probst asks if big moves will start happening.

Marty tries to explain the Jane thing and just attacks Jane. And then promises to vote for her if she gets to the end. Jane says it is a personal vendetta against her.

Alina talks in complete sentences and everyone looks at her as a threat.

Dan blames NaOnka and Alina equally for stealing the food. NaOnka actually takes full credit! Fabio hates NaOnka so much, it is the reason to root for Fabio.

Fabio is us.

NaOnka thinks the punishment she suffered for it was enough, her punishment was that no one talked to her. Fabio and Benry react in disbelief.

Awww, that is cute, Alina. She thinks the vote will come down to the best argument. Honey, no.

And Benry calls Alina a…dirt squirrel? What? Dude is fucking weird.

Alina goes home, everyone voted for her except Jane. Jane is disappointed. Probst notes that they are still making group decisions.

Episode 9 – “Running the Camp”

Previously on Survivor: Brenda and Sash calling the shots, Marty on top of the hit list (behind Alina, I guess), though they blame the Alina boot on the food thing. Marty threw Jane under the bus.

NaOnka thinks the tribal shook things up, despite this being a near-unanimous vote.

Jane is now calling Marty, “Farty.” That is the kind of wit you get on Survivor: Nicaragua folks!

Marty is wondering who put his name down. It was Jane, dummy. Someone else says it was Holly. Marty believes that person because he is a dummy. Gonna give you a hint Marty: it was Jane, dummy.

Marty has a really complicated plan he is pitching to Benry and Dan. Meanwhile, he is saying that already Jane has a winning number at final 3 on the jury. The thing is that Marty, besides being bad at the game, doesn’t get along with anyone here except maybe Dan, Benry, and Fabio.

They drew for teams randomly and ended up men vs women. Chase doesn’t get picked and bets on the girls winning. (His allies are mostly on the girls side).

The obstacle is literally breaking through sticks. (Editor’s note: literally) The men’s greater mass helps them a lot there. The men are slowed down by Dan. Shocker. And then they have to break through a brick wall. Jane is struggling hard.

“The women hit the brick wall!” This is literal, they don’t even move it at first. (Editor’s note: literally!)

Purple Kelly is crying because she is hungry.

Marty criticizes Chase for sticking with the girls. It is called a social game, Marty. It’s that thing you don’t have.

Dan tells us there aren’t ziplines in Brooklyn except if you are a burglar.

Also ziplining was “okay” for Dan. I would think Dan would love ziplining because he can move without actually doing anything.

Marty wants to convince the guys he is good at the game and has a plan. (The plan is target NaOnka to flush her idol, then vote for Chase).

Dan calls Chase “a bad horse to run.” Sash is also obviously not interested in the plan.

Brenda thinks Chase made a dumb move, and doesn’t think he makes smart moves. Brenda, your master game player, everyone!

Chase also says that if he doubts Brenda it will drive her away, so he decides to not push her. Again, this is a smart decision.

Of course he doesn’t follow his own advice and immediately talks to her. Brenda doesn’t respect Chase at all. She compares him to a baby, then makes some comments about men’s roles and blah blah blah. Guys, Brenda sucks. Stop defending Brenda, she is bad at the game and she also seems like a fucking terrible person. (Editor’s note: If citation is needed, see Caramoan final tribal council.)

Jane starts invoking religion to call Marty evil.

The first round of a memory challenge claims everyone but Benry, Chase, Fabio, Marty and Brenda (it was only 6 long). Benry is knocked out and says, “Come on, Brenda.” This is an easy Marty vote coming up right?

Yeah, Brenda wins.

Benry then talks to Fabio and Fabio says, “I hate playing stupid so much, but it is the smartest thing to do right now.” (Editor’s note: It also probably requires the least effort.)

Fabio talks about laying low and not ticking people off being a good strategy, and honestly he is not wrong.

Did NaOnka say that she is straight from South Detroit, L.A.? I could not have heard that right.

Haha, Chase sees right through their plan and lays out exactly what master strategist Marty is trying to do.

Sash and Brenda are worried that Chase and his clique of women are calling shots. THAT IS WHY CHASE IS BETTER AT THE GAME THAN YOU ARE, BRENDA.

Brenda: “I like to be in charge and I kinda am in charge, so it comes down to what Sash and I want.” So you and Sash are in charge? But you were just talking about Chase calling shots.

Brain trust.

Also, Fabio can count numbers. Fabio is a dummy, but he gets the game better than a lot of people on this season (like Jane, NaOnka, Dan, Kelly at least). (Editor’s note: Counting numbers is the bar for getting the game better than a lot of people on this season. Great season, though. Can’t believe we ranked it dead last.)

Jane is now trying to walk back some Marty stuff, weirdly.

NaOnka doesn’t want to talk about the food any more. NaOnka calls herself a humanitarian. She was going for human. Probst nails it, she doesn’t like Marty because he strategizes.

NaOnka Mixon is one the best humanitarians in the history of this game. Period.

Also Fabio tries to talk and NaOnka just yells at him the moment he opens his mouth.

NaOnka is all “I’m not intimidated” and Fabio rightly points out that something is under her skin. Which only irritates her more.

Probst doesn’t get why NaOnka is still here, and can only surmise she is around as a goat. Also she is all “this is who I am, if you don’t like it, you don’t like it.” I’ve got to go back to my Justified quote: if you meet an asshole, you met one asshole. If all you meet are assholes, you are the asshole.

Marty’s master plan doubly fails- not only does he not flush the idol, he goes home. However, he did get a lot of people to vote with him, so we actually have minority alliance for once! (It was Fabio, Benry, and Dan).

Mastermind

Episode 10 – “Stuck in the Middle”

Previously on Survivor: Sash and Brenda are king and queen, and everyone else a peasant. Brenda says “they need to remember their place.” Sash betrayed Marty’s plan, Chase is close to Brenda and Jane. Brenda and Sash squash his plan and have a lot power.

Brenda: “Tribal council shows where allegiance really is.” She targets Benry, Fabio, and Dan. And then she says Sash is more of a “queen and herself a king.” (Editor’s note: Cool Shannon callback, bro.)

Guys, Brenda fucking sucks. This isn’t female empowerment, this is just Brenda conforming to gender stereotypes and running down people who don’t fit in them. Chase has feelings? He is stupid and a baby and not a man. Sash is a queen.

Wassup?!?

Also Holly goes to Jane and tries to convince her that her real alliance is with Chase and NaOnka. Why is everyone with NaOnka dammit?

Holly is trying to get a vote against Brenda, and goes to Benry. HOLY SHIT PEOPLE, SOMEONE IS PLAYING THE GAME!

Also, apparently Purple Kelly crawls up Brenda’s “bleep”. I would like to see that…

Even NaOnka is calling Brenda “Marty Jr.”

Jane: “I don’t befriend myself with villains, that is why I’m with you NaOnka.” I hate so many people!

Chase thinks Benry should go first, but is again stuck in the middle. He doesn’t trust Benry. And that makes Holly nervous.

The reward challenge is the barrel challenge that we saw again in Worlds Apart, where Fan Favorite Game Changer Sierra Dawn Thomas rode that barrel to a loss.

Change. The. Fucking. Game.

NaOnka gave a confessional where she didn’t insult or demean someone! It’s a miracle! (The confessional was basically “I’ve never been in a helicopter.” Still, though.)

Probst called it volcano surfing, but it seems more like volcano sledding.

Fabio asks what is happening at camp, the response: “I don’t care.” Smash cut to…

the camp burning down. Good work, editors. Also, who is the Butch?

Not this guy. Right, Brenda?

They sheltered the fire from the rain with wooden chests? Yeah no shit it caught fire! (Editor’s note: The people on this cast aren’t aware of how fire works.)

Chase asks who is running the show. Fabio has no idea who is running the show. And then NaOnka pulls him aside. Like in front of everyone and mid-sentence.

Chase to Purple Kelly: “You never talk, do you?” “I know, it’s kinda funny really.” “Weird.” This was the best moment the entire season.

Kelly

NaOnka tells Chase everyone wants Brenda gone, and that she wants Brenda gone. They don’t trust Chase because “he is scatter-brained.” The perception of Chase is more powerful to these people than the reality of Chase.

Chase tells Brenda that Holly is trying to change the game up and vote out Brenda.

Now Brenda is thankful for Chase. She isn’t impressed with the plan against her. I think she goes home.

NaOnka is flipping to Holly and Jane because Chase is running around telling everyone. Benry says Chase is being played by Brenda.

Jane: “Chase is sucking up to Brenda like he wants to get in her pants.” I mean… probably, yeah.

Now everyone is wondering what is wrong with Chase. Indecision fucking kills games, people. If there is any lesson, it is that. Do not betray outward indecision.

Jane wins immunity, moments after saying she was going to give up.

Now Sash and NaOnka are talking about Chase pissing them off. And NaOnka goes from saying she will keep this quiet, to telling Sash that is the plan. Way to keep it a secret, NaOnka.

Chase tries to talk to Fabio and Holly comes running over and just tells them Brenda, Brenda, Brenda. Meanwhile, the editors keep showing a snake before going to Chase. Juxtaposition!

Brenda is all “NaOnka won’t vote for me, you are terrible.” You trusted someone who steals and lies and now you are surprised?

Meanwhile, they are blaming Chase for telling Brenda, when NaOnka told Sash who has the fucking idol! These goddamn people.

Brenda: “I didn’t want to vote Marty.” BULLSHIT.

Alina is super happy that NaOnka is turning on Brenda.

Purple Kelly: “I think that, well I think that I am out of the loop.” (Only she says it with like seven more likes. Like, you know?)

Probst: “Are you too proud to scramble, is that beneath you?” Brenda: “Yep, scrambling means you have already lost.” Alina and Marty hate her. See, I knew I liked Alina for a reason.

Holly: “You should have scrambled.” Wait, do I like Holly? Is that a thing now?

Brenda looks at Sash expecting the idol, so does Chase, and he doesn’t give her the idol. She is giving him the looks too, big grin and everything.

Womp womp.

Closing thoughts:

If you couldn’t tell from my live thoughts, these are the episodes where I found myself turning from contempt to outright hatred of this season.  And the thing is that episode 10 has all the hallmarks of a good episode of the show! But in everything it does right it leads to ends that are just terrible.  So what we see in these three episodes is a San Juan Del Sur-esque targeting of anyone who has a strategic bone in their body.

Editor’s note

But that is not why these episodes are bad. It is because the first two we watched are dreadfully boring, and then in the Brenda boot we finally see some people making a move and no one tries to make a move in response. In fact, most of the response to Brenda being targeted is people talking shit about Chase. Everyone in this season is happy to go along as long as they are not the target.

The other thing that became clear to me during these episodes is how much I hate Brenda. Besides the toxic friendship with NaOnka (which amusingly bites her in the ass), there is the obvious high school cheerleader worldview she subscribes to, with the popular on top, where men must be strong and silent. She mocks Chase for displaying emotion, she calls Sash a queen to emphasize how he isn’t manly enough, and she basically looks down on everyone this season as being lower class than her. If anything, I think the show hid how distasteful she really is. I’m kinda amazed that people defend her, but then I guess she is pretty, so…

The math checks out.

Meanwhile, we have Holly finally trying to actually play the game in episode 10, and displaying a feisty personality in doing so. Fabio basically gives his strategy on how he could win (lay low and win challenges). And as I keep pointing out, Chase (especially before the Brenda boot) continually displays good instincts and then poor execution. He knows what he should do, but he rarely follows through. And his continual displays of indecision make it seem like he is being led around by everyone else (in reality he has managed to maintain alliances with everyone despite looking like an obvious challenge threat).

One potentially interesting thing is how the show refuses to draw lines. With nine people left there should be a clear majority alliance or at least the core of one, but I’m not sure I see it. To the extent there is one, I’d say that Jane and Holly and Chase are in it, with maybe NaOnka and whoever they can get as their fifth. Benry and Dan and Fabio are probably together, with Sash and Purple Kelly the swing voters. But the show rarely actually shows this. This could be an interesting time in the game, only I know what comes next, so even this potentially pivotal next vote will be fatally undermined.

Matt
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Matt

Matt has an irrational dislike for all contestants named Michel(l)e. Also if he ever takes a strong stance about why everyone else is wrong, it is he that is inevitably wrong.

Favorite seasons: Micronesia, Heroes vs. Villains, Palau, Philippines, Pearl Islands, Cagayan
Matt
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  • Black Dynamite

    I feel like “Stuck in the Middle” is a legit good episode of Survivor. Brenda’s downfall was pretty satisfying. The emergence of Holly is good to see. Also I find Chase to be the most interesting character of the season. He’s someone that has a good head for the game and has seemingly blended in nicely despite being the “alpha male” threat that would usually get targeted. Even after others say they can’t trust him, they still go to him in strategic discussions. I think that’s a sigh of the relationships he’s built. His downfall though is the perception he keeps on building. Though I think he makes the right moves most of the time, it never comes with confidence. I think it’s similar to what happened to my fav Hannah this past season. If you don’t appear to have a good handle of the game, people will start to write you off. Bravo to this episode (and this one only) though for being enjoyable Survivor. Too bad it’s all about to go to shit because Survivor: Nicaragua is shit.

    Purple Kelly Confessional Count through 10 episodes: 1
    To be fair though, it’s hard to talk when you’re up Brenda’s…

    • I was going to make a Hannah/Chase comparison after reading Matt’s summation, but you beat me to it. Weirdly enough Chase has both Hannah’s biggest flaw (poor execution) and Aubry’s biggest flaw (indeciveness). Who would have thought that coming into this?

      • Purplerockmatt

        Chase is the combination of Hannah and Aubry that we never knew we wanted

        • EmAndScoutInBK

          Omgggggggggggggggggg PERFECT

          • Purplerockmatt

            Also I was wondering when you guys would catch on to what I was laying down there with regards to Hannah and Aubry as I’ve been specifically using the language that was used to destroy them at the end to talk about Chase all season

          • Yeah, I picked up on other things first. Sorry boo.

          • Purplerockmatt

            It’s cool, I was being subtle since I know what happens to Chase and wanted to save that big reveal for the end

          • Fair enough.

          • Alycia Swift

            Yep. Saw that.

    • Purplerockmatt

      I was thinking 75% of the way through Stuck in the middle that it was actually a good episode, only Brenda’s whole “i don’t scramble” bullshit really pissed me off. still its probably the best one this season

      • Black Dynamite

        It also annoyed me but I found it to be such a fitting end to Brenda’s arc.

        • Purplerockmatt

          right its fitting, but i can’t help but find it super annoying

      • Diego Armando

        I think this is one of the 2 “good” episodes of the season. Still 2 more than Thailand.

      • tocantins

        I think Brenda’s comment is what makes the episode particularly satisfying. (Especially with Holly’s mocking vote.)

  • Hornacek

    “NaOnka steals the flour which is the worst food to steal, are you going to sneak out to the jungle, start a discrete fire and cook the flour?” Is this a worse plan than catching a fish, sneaking out to the jungle, starting a discrete fire and cooking the fish?

    NaOnka’s entire rationale for stealing the flour makes no sense. She’s making the tortillas and because she’s cooking she’s the last one to eat and she’s upset that she ends up with the smallest tortilla. Why not cook a big (or at least average-sized) tortilla, set it aside and say “This one is mine”? Who would fault that, since she’s the one making them? Hell, she could even cough on it or lick it (which wouldn’t surprise me for NaOnka).

    When this first aired and NaOnka invited Alina to come eat the stolen food, I expected NaOnka to not eat anything during that conversation and maybe have witnesses hiding in the trees that would see Alina eating and NaOnka not eating, and then NaOnka would say “I didn’t steal anything, Alina did! I just stood there while she ate all the food she stole!” and others could say “Yeah, that’s what we saw.”

    “Oh, and she throws Alina under the bus.” I expected Alina to do a dramatic head-turn and say “Excuse me?” But I guess at this point she had hitched her wagon to the NaOnka train.

    “Fabio hates NaOnka so much, it is the reason to root for Fabio.” I can’t remember – did he ever get his socks back that NaOnka stole from him?

    The “Next time on Survivor” clips shows the tribal council from next week. I didn’t see anyone with the immunity necklace but it showed about half of the tribe not wearing it. What were the editors thinking? They don’t usually give away this much about who does/doesn’t win immunity in these previews.

    “Jane is now calling Marty, ‘Farty.'” She says that’s what she’ll be calling him for the rest of the game. I don’t think “Farty” is said again (at least until Marty is voted out).

    I have to admit I found Jane’s performance during this reward challenge humorous since she has said more than once that she will perform better physically than Marty Farty in every challenge.

    When Caramoan aired I remembered very little about Brenda during this season but the general concensus was that she was the best player of that season and deserved to be brought back. Have to agree with Matt, I’m not seeing it. And knowing what happens with Dawn’s teeth and the forced apology at the reunion (which was mostly Jeff’s fault, but still), not a Brenda fan.

    Hey, let’s put wooden chests around the fire. What could go wrong?

    “20 years of experience” Why the show didn’t use this as justification for never bringing back someone this young again is beyond me.

    I knew there was some player during the 20s seasons that said at tribal that scrambling was beneath them, didn’t remember that it was Brenda. Now I want to change my opinion of her playing a worse game in Caramoan. By being invisible and doing nothing, she played much better than this season.

    Purple Kelly votes for Benry. For someone that is so far up Brenda’s , Brenda didn’t tell her to vote for NaOnka. She had no idea what was going on.

    • I wonder if the producers showed a bunch of people without immunity in the preview because they’d already given up on the season. Like “Eh, no sense in putting lipstick on this pig.”

      • Hornacek

        I wonder how much they had decided to give up on Purple Kelly by this point, if when Chase said “You never talk, do you?” one of the editors said “Let’s bookmark that, I’ve got a feeling we’re gonna want to come back to it.”

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          It’s pretty clear they were punishing Purple Kelly, giving her only one irrelevant confessional and a handful of humiliating moments. If Nay hadn’t been confessional gold they would have done the same to her. I guess they did punish her, too, but in a different way, by making her as villainous as possible.

          • purplerockandy

            I’m sure they won’t motivated to feature her, but her not talking much was an observation by people in the game. So it’s a real thing.

            One of those people was her.

          • Purplerockmatt

            the fact that she confirmed that she doesnt talk is why that scene is so damn funny, if it is just Chase observing it it is a mild chuckle, but because she is like yeah i know right? it is high art

          • Alycia Swift

            Nay’s own actions spoke for themselves as far as villiany. If the editors dropped the, she’d be Purple NaOnka.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            True, but I think they turned the villainy up to 11, in part by not showing anything good or sympathetic about her. I doubt that she made friends on Day 1 only because people saw her as a goat. Despite everything, she had a good read on the game most of the time (including her surprise that Brenda and Marty didn’t start working together after the swap). If she put some of the food-stealing stink on Alina on purpose, that’s a good move, but it’s not clear if it was deliberate.

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      “By being invisible and doing nothing, she played much better than this season.”

      The classic returnee’s mistake–overcorrecting.

      • Hornacek

        Might make for better gameplay, but it doesn’t make for good TV. In the RHAP episodes for Caramoan they started calling her Purple Brenda, and most exit interviews included the question “What is Brenda doing?”

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          And IIRC, at the start of Caramoan, when Brenda steps off the helicopter the newbie females all mutter to themselves about how dangerous she is.

          • Hornacek

            When they really should have been muttering “That Brandon guy is liable to become sexually obsessed over me.”

  • Mike Hirsch

    I don’t really get the Brenda love, she has a lot of real shitty moments. But her boot episode is about the closest this season comes to having a decent episode.
    I think you’re right about the show’s treatment of Fabio. They’re making him sympathetic strictly by having him be opposed to NaOnka. And that kind of works? To a point, at least.

  • I think Brenda’s strategic game play reminds me a lot of Tasha’s. Even though they knew their heads were on the chopping block, they both relied on their allies to save them and didn’t scramble. I also think that there is another similarity between them: they both think that their way of playing is the “right way” and if you are not playing that way, you are doing it wrong.

    • Purplerockmatt

      I like that comparison. I get really annoyed by people who are so inflexible they cannot see other ways of playing as legitimate

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      I’ll defend the lack of scramble in this specific instance (surprise!). Scrambling is a desperation play when you are completely out of options. But Brenda does have an option–appeal to Sash to preserve the alliance and play the idol on her. It obviously doesn’t work, but to the extent that it had a chance of working at all, overtly scrambling would have undermined them.

      • Alycia Swift

        Wouldn’t appealing to Sash (I’m assuming you meant at tribal) be scrambling?

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          I’m assuming that she leaned on him after the immunity challenge, and that they had previously discussed scenarios for using the idol, but that may be my fanfic since they don’t show that.

          Scrambling in my book is saying anything to anybody to stay in the game. I think she chose not to do that to make herself look as trustworthy as possible to Sash.

          • Purplerockmatt

            that is semantics and you should never rely on one out. sash is more likely to play the idol if you can organize an actual block of people to potentially counter the vote or control the game after the idol is played. here sash would be playing the idol when all brenda has is sash and chase

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Don’t get me wrong, it’s completely Brenda’s fault for getting into a position where she had only one escape, but I don’t think not scrambling equates to just lying down on the tracks and waiting. I doubt Brenda just said “play the idol for me, big boy” and batted her eyes at Sash. She probably said that their four will be back in control if they idol out one of Holly’s four, or something like that. What I think she chose not to do was to undermine Sash’s trust in her by running around desperately.

          • Purplerockmatt

            see and I think that Brenda’s trust would be undermined by seeing someone run around, while I think Sash thinks that Brenda not running around is a problem

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            That’s certainly possible. Clearly one of Brenda’s faults is that she can’t see the game from another player’s perspective.

          • Purplerockmatt

            because here is the thing, I think a good player could get out NaOnka here easily, you know how? Brenda, Chase, Sash, Purple Kelly and Fabio. you think Fabio doesn’t jump at the chance to get out NaOnka?

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            That’s pretty good, but a) that still only gets you to 5-5, and b) that’s a tough sell since Nay still has the idol.

            The forensic evidence that @hornacek:disqus and @disqus_GpYJ355BVM:disqus have put together suggests that Brenda’s pitch was to idol out Benry.

          • Purplerockmatt

            Oh right I thought we were at 9 at that vote not 10

          • Purplerockmatt

            so again if I’m Sash i’m not doing that because you need 5 after this vote and they had at most 4, so Sash is just exposing himself even more to keep a losing alliance together for one more vote

          • Please do not give me credit. I think I got my idea from @hornacek:disqus ‘s post.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Always take the credit. Adam flipped Ken, remember?

          • But I am not that person. I already have enough bad things to my name in this community with my B- ranking of Cambodia and fantasy league witchness.

          • Diego Armando

            That’s why you don’t wait for Day 38 to make your play, all the witnesses might be gone.

          • Hornacek

            Next season on CBS look for me and @disqus_GpYJ355BVM:disqus starring on “Survivor Forensic Investigators”.

            (I’m obviously the sidekick)

          • No, dude. You are the star!

          • Can I just take this and add it to my Tasha comparison?

      • sharculese

        Counterpoint: These are reality show contestants. They’re dignity evaporated the moment they signed the contract. If you’re too proud to play the game when it’s hard, stay home. You can’t get all pious when you’ve already collected your 30 pieces.

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          I agree. I’m saying that the “scrambling is beneath my dignity” stuff was just bullshit she threw out there because saying the truth out loud (“I’m counting on Sash to play the idol for me”) is a guarantee that he doesn’t do it.

          Scrambling is an extremely low-probability play that raises your chances of surviving the vote from zero to almost zero. When you have no other option–sure, why not? But in this case I think Brenda’s calculation was that it wasn’t worth undermining the case she was making to Sash.

        • Hornacek

          Counterpoint: “Shanna, they bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into. I say, let ’em crash.”

        • My counter theory that Brenda just came on the show to look for love is starting to hold some water. In fact, her gameplay would be perfect for The Bachelor. The perception is that you are desperate enough to be in love to get on the show, but you don’t want to display how desperate you are to the dude in question.

          • Purplerockmatt

            This is my favorite pet theory about Brenda, that she was trying to get cast on the Bachelor instead

          • What worse: doing Survivor after you supposedly got rejected from being on The Bachelor or potentially begging to be on The Bachelor after you were on Survivor?

          • Purplerockmatt

            truly a zen koan

          • I wasn’t trying to be zen. The rumor was that one of your favorite players did that this last summer after playing Survivor. However, this person has come out and said that this is not the case.

          • Purplerockmatt

            yeah i know the rumor, i was just joking that it is an unanswerable question

          • Oh, my bad. It really is an unanswerable question because The Bachelor is a major step down.

      • Hornacek

        What does Brenda think is going to happen if Sash does give her the idol? They vote out NaOnka, and next time it’s still just Brenda, Sash and Chase* against the majority. So wouldn’t Sash be wasting his idol by giving it to Brenda?

        * I left out Purple Kelly because (a) why not, and (b) they obviously left her out of the loop on this vote.

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          I’m working on a long-ass post that’s partly about this, but you can’t leave out P. Kelly, and I think even at this point Fabio and Teflon Dan are still basically free agents.

          • Hornacek

            I was going to comment about what Brenda’s plan must have been – her, Chase and Sash vote out NaOnka and Sash uses her idol, so she wouldn’t have needed PK’s vote, which explains why PK doesn’t know what’s going on and votes for Benry. But what if the other 6 had split the votes? Either Sash or Chase is voted out on the revote, and while it’s not Brenda, she’d still be without one of her main alliance members and in the minority.

            But I just checked the Survivor Wiki (thanks, Savage!) and according to her voting confessional, Brenda originally planned to vote for Benry! (“I was going to vote for Benry, but why if you are my real, true enemy? I thought you were my friend.”) So was PK in on Brenda’s plan all along, but Brenda decided to vote for NaOnka at the last minute, realizing that Sash wasn’t gonna give her the idol?

          • That would make sense…maybe too much snse.

          • Hornacek

            That’s why this season is so awful! Bad editing!

          • If we are going by that barometer, you know what other season would be considered awful? …..

          • Hornacek

            (closes eyes, crosses fingers) Don’t say Cambodia, don’t say Cambodia, don’t say Cambodia …

          • ……….

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Nah, the show yada-yadas plans that don’t come to fruition all the time.

          • And Benry?

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            I haven’t rewatched episode 10 yet (only tribal), so I’m basing this on very old memory, but IIRC at this point Benry’s pretty solidly with Holly, more so than the other two at least.

          • That would make sense, seeing as Brenda was wanting him out next anyway.

          • John Kenney

            I think the problem with this season is that all the relationships are one-sided – the bottom stubbornly *refuses* to acknowledge that they’re the bottom, to an almost comical degree.

      • tocantins

        I think it shows Brenda’s gigantic arrogance that she didn’t even seem to consider the possibility that Sash wouldn’t play the idol for her. To be fair to her, that maybe had something to do with how she helped him find the idol, and, if I remember correctly, he promising to “share” it with her. But beyond that, she seemed to think that everyone in her alliance were on her lap. (Well, Chase indeed was.) That also explains why she was so incredulous that NaOnka would flip on her.

  • EmAndScoutInBK

    Sash really bothers me. It has nothing to do with his not giving Brenda the idol. But he does. Brenda plays poorly – it’s true. I see it more and more now. As for Holly, are you starting to like her? Probably. I did. She really turned it around for me.

    And Jane is terrible. (But so is Marty. To a lesser degree.)

    • Purplerockmatt

      i didnt even think about Holly until the Brenda boot episode and yeah i started to like her. Sash is weird, i find it hard to get a good read on him and i feel the show is underserving him consider the role he is playing

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        It’s true that the show is probably underserving him. They’re too busy dealing with NaOnka.

        • Purplerockmatt

          but i agree he bothers me, I just can’t really nail why right now

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            Right?? I can’t really nail it down either.

          • Purplerockmatt

            honestly he kinda reminds me of a really bad roommate i had 1L year. that is probably why

          • Alkanarra

            It’s almost as though Sash is viewed as schemy and duplicitous like some kind of New York City real estate agent.

            Oh wait…

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            NAILED IT. IT’S LAW SCHOOL. THAT’S WHAT IT IS. He’s not a gunner, but he’s that other guy. You know the guy.

          • Purplerockmatt

            oh i know the guy, I was stuck living with him for a year (i bet Sash is very passive aggressive)

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            That fucking guy. The most passive aggressive. Never shares an outline.

          • Purplerockmatt

            and then when he gets that first B, he whines about how he has never gotten a B in his life

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            When he made journal, but not law review, he complains about it… to people who didn’t make any journals.

          • Purplerockmatt

            this entire conversation has made me unreasonably happy

          • EmAndScoutInBK

            Me too! It feels good to be so understood.

          • Alycia Swift

            Boy you guys had a different experience than I did. But then I went at night.

          • sharculese

            I’m not sure what you mean but it just makes me glad that I started law school by making it aggressively clear that every flavor of competitive asshole wasn’t allowed to talk to me.

          • sharculese

            Rob C. nailed it in TEoS: the problem with Sash is that he’s a genuinely nice guy but isn’t capable of doing it in a way that comes off as a sincere. It’s not that he’s actually faking it, you just can’t shake the suspicion that he is.

        • I think there is a great comparison to a then-future castaway, but I want to save it until the time is right.

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        You should make a note to yourself about this for future discussion.

  • Alkanarra

    It’s my favorite time of the season: PONDEROSA TIME!

    And if you haven’t yet, go watch at least Marty Part 1. He takes his boot exactly as you’d expect, and the shade Alina throws him is priceless.

    • Pretty sure he took Alina’s wine. Like she wasn’t bringing that to him. She held it at first like she wasn’t looking to let it go.

      He’s also convinced he could have just gotten the idol back from Sash by asking for it.

      • Alkanarra

        While Marty *is* a buffoon (especially for the Sash thing), Alina mentions in the previous Ponderosa what certain people would want if they got voted out and mentions wine for Marty, so she was on game as Ponderosa host.

        • Besides Alina and Kass, who else is in the running for best Ponderosa hosts? Michelle from MvGx?

          • Alkanarra

            The only one that came to mind is Kass, frankly, because she was delightful and best understood the honor of the position.

            I can tell you that RC was 100% the worst host though. Good grief.

          • Well, yeah.

          • Those last two sentences work with or without context.

          • purplerockandy

            Michelle and Hali. Hali gave them all headdresses.

            Courtney in HvV was solid.

          • Yeah, that is true, especially about Hali. I guess her headdresses were game changers.

          • sharculese

            And then makes it better by giving Dan his headdress and doing a perfect block when he goes in for the hug.

  • Oh my God, I just realized something. In Caramoan, does anyone remember who Brenda aligned herself with first? That’s right: Brandon Hantz. Now, while she may think that she is playing this Natalie White style game, it doesn’t work because she is a way bigger threat than Natalie White ever was.

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      So that’s Brenda’s strategy–find a goat and drag it for 39 days? That’s a bad strategy.

      • Yeah, it’s an awful strategy, but do you remember who else tried to do that recently and failed miserably? Varner.

        • purplerockandy

          tbf, he was not the only person there who thought Abi was a risk worth taking. It seemed to be a theme.

          • I guess he was the one who specifically said, “I want to take her with me for as long as possible”. The others were like “She’s good…for now”.

        • Alycia Swift

          Sherri.

          • That’s a good pull. Her strategy has what may be the funniest backfire in Survivor history. She goes from looking for a goat to becoming a FTC goat in three episodes flat.

          • Alycia Swift

            That is the problem is with trying to pick a goat so early. Trying to drag someone for 39 days is too time-consuming and stressful on the person who is doing the dragging. If a person can be identified as a goat so early, 9 out of 10 times, that person is either too annoying to others and they will get rid of him or, like Shamar, will quit. Other than Boston Rob, a person probably should not pick a goat pre-merge or if you do, have more than one in mind. There will be others. The difference with Boston Rob is that Philip was a compliant goat – he may not consider himself one but he knew he was not going to win so he went along for the ride.

            But also, if you look at the goats that actually made the end, most are not initially the most annoying, unlikable or draining players premerge, Philip being one of the exceptions.

          • That is definitely true. They are natural goats, but rather evolved goats or situational goats.

  • Assistant Dragon Slayer

    (note: I’ve watched 8 and 9, but only tribal council from 10)

    The screen grabs at the top of these recaps are ON POINT.

    Brenda (merge confessional): “Such a relief. I don’t have to second-guess her (NaOnka) at all.”—UUUUGGHHH!

    NaOnka (to Brenda): “The sooner we get Alina and Marty out, the smoother the game will go. We’ll be able to knock them out one by one by one.”—UUUUGGHHH!

    Brenda (to Sash) “I just don’t like how all of a sudden Jane, Holly, and Chase’s clique are…. demanding things.”—UUUUGGHHH!

    It’s kind of fortunate that these three episodes are grouped together, as they contain the full arc of the fall of Brenda (although the next episode is an important coda). I’m not as down on her as Matt is (editor’s note: You don’t say?!), but absolutely, the high school cheerleader mentality is her undoing. You say there’s no clear majority alliance after episode 10, but that’s precisely why Brenda is gone. She assembled and headed a majority alliance immediately after the merge (herself, Sash, Nay, Chase, Jane, Purple Kelly, and Holly in roughly that pecking order). But then she turned into the queen bee, sitting back and expecting her drones to be drones. She did absolutely nothing to hold her alliance together. Say what you will about the seasons to come, but Boston Rob, Kim, and even to a certain extent Coach v3.0 all knew how to care for and feed an alliance.

    First, Brenda didn’t lift a finger to keep the bottom of the alliance (Holly) from straying. Then she treated Chase (who she should easily have had on lock for obvious reasons) like dirt, allowing him to bond with Jane. Then she alienated Jane by dictating the Alina vote (she was going to piss off either Jane or Sash, so the move here was to say “You guys figure it out; I’m down for whatever you two decide”, but Queen Bee don’t play that). Then, at the Marty vote-out, in trying to take the heat off Jane she all but declares (on Day 24!) that NaOnka is her goat. Then once Marty was gone, she either didn’t realize or didn’t care that Fabio, Benry, and Teflon Dan were free agents, and were going to be a tempting voting bloc/trust cluster for somebody. Last but not least, she cut Purple Kelly out of the loop so severely that even Purple Kelly noticed she was out of the loop.

    Look, I think it’s going way too far to say that Brenda is bad at the game and a terrible person, but, but…. I got nothing. Last sentence of the third paragraph from the end—you guys get me, you really do.

    ———-

    The Purple Kelly sighting in the episode 10 tribal council deserves a play-by-play.

    Probst (chin on fist like Rodin’s The Thinker, voice dripping with condescension): “Purple Kelly, weigh in on this. Give us 20 years of wisdom.”

    Purple Kelly: “Well, lemme tell ya. 20 years of wisdom. I think that…well, I think that this is the first tribal council I’ve felt completely out of the loop on what’s going on, to be completely honest.”

    Probst: “Have you been learning stuff tonight?”

    Purple Kelly: “Yes! Completely! Like my whole, my, the wheels are turning in my head. My game plan is, I’m, like…just…. It’s enlightening.”

    Meanwhile, people are giggling, NaOnka turns away in disgust, and Dan (Dan!) is rolling his eyes so much they’re about to get stuck like that.

    • Purplerockmatt

      Here is the thing: would I have turned this hard on Brenda if she hadn’t been built up by some (and i’m not even saying you here, this was a common sentiment) as the good player on this season? hell no. it is the fact that she is billed as being the queen bee and a worthy player stuck on an unworthy season that causes the very harsh reaction. Because no Brenda is not too good for this season, she is exactly as good as this season deserves (she is very pretty though)

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        “Brenda is the good player on this season” vs. “Brenda is the best player on this season”. Those sentences look so similar but they’re not. English is wacky sometimes.

        I had a feeling that rewatching this season would be like looking at an old high school yearbook and thinking “why in the world was I so into this person?”, but I also forgot what a classic mean girl she could be. In my recollection, she was a potentially good (not great) player who got cut down for being full of herself and playing too hard on a season of numbskulls, not unlike Ace in Gabon.

        • Purplerockmatt

          except i dont think she did get cut down for playing too hard, i think she got cut down for not playing hard enough (i.e. letting relationships deteriorate and her bottom alliance mates slip away)

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Yeah, I’m saying that my recollection was wrong.

          • Purplerockmatt

            oh got it. sorry to pile on there then

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        I’m going to push back slightly on this. It’s easy to oversell Brenda (a good player relative to a dismal cast is not the same thing as unqualified good player), and the too-proud-to-scramble thing, while I think I get what she was thinking, was for sure a bad look (and the high school mean girl moments, also a very bad look). But she really did have all the tools, and did pull the majority alliance together and ruled it. “Too visibly calling the shots” is not uncommon among early post-merge boots, and it’s not a crime for a first-time player to be unable to respond when the game flips on them. I’ll grant you that “conventionally beautiful woman who can actually play the game” is a character type the show is extremely eager to bring back, but nevertheless Brenda is a no-brainer to be a returnee (she makes more sense than, e.g., Parvati 1.0 or even Andrea 1.0).

    • I feel like the Nicaragua watch along was not so much Matt’s slow descent to madness and your slow epiphany that Brenda may not be as good as you remember. Honestly, I don’t know which one was sadder to watch.

      • Purplerockmatt

        I feel like next week is the week I just start incoherently cursing at the tv

        • Did you tape it?

          • Purplerockmatt

            haven’t watched yet, just a prediction

          • That is a weird prediction for something you haven’t seen (it’s worse than what you can imagine). What episodes are you watching?

          • Purplerockmatt

            right up to the finale, and remember i know the quits are coming (and i am pretty sure they are happening next)

          • Okay. My one request is to pay attention to the third episode’s TC for me.

          • Purplerockmatt

            you got it

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            What are you doing??!! Matt’s psyche is fragile enough as it is!

          • What do you mean? I am trying to set up the only legitimate gossip that I can talk about this season. I gotta stay on brand.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Ah, that’s right. Yeah, it’s hard to keep quiet about why Sash is being underedited. I thought you just wanted Matt to be watching closely when Probst spells out exactly how Dan and Fabio have to vote to save themselves and THEY DON’T LISTEN.

          • I had forgotten about that. However, I also hadn’t pegged why Sash gets underedited, but that is a big reason why. Sash definitely has a lot of negative SPV though, especially from his ally Brenda. Finally, is this the only time in Survivor history that a POC alliance is the most evil alliance in the game?

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Wow, good catch. Fiji, but that’s almost by definition. Gabon maybe (did G-Sizzle actually “lead” an alliance)?

          • Isn’t Boo the only white person to make the merge in Fiji?

            I think Ken and Crystal are supposed to be the underdogs in Gabon, but it’s Gabon where the strategy is made up and the alliances don’t really matter because in the end, it’s a random winner.

          • Diego Armando

            It’s because Probst hates him. I think Probst told him before the game that he was openly looking forward to snuffing him out.

          • Oh yeah, I remember that now.

          • Just a heads up: I’m going to push back against this gossip once you put it out there.

          • That’s a-okay with me, but there is some evidence that would support the rumor

          • Oh good! Because I’ve tried to find any evidence and come up empty. Assuming you’re referring to the same rumor. But we’ll confirm next week.

          • Sounds good!

          • Although, now that I am thinking of it, some of what I am going to say involves the first episode. So, it just works really nicely.

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        I’m so not looking forward to the Caramoan watch along.

        • No one said that there would be a Caramoan watch along.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            If we go back to two watch alongs per off-season there will be eventually.

          • I think the Caramoan watch along will just be Emma free-styling about her love for Cochran for 500 words.

        • I’ll do a Caramoan watch along this summer if I can convince Cochran to add color commentary for us.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            All kidding aside, that would be awesome.

            I finished The Genius Season 2 a couple days ago. I definitely understand the love/hate fan reaction. It has the One World problem. It’s simultaneously exciting and tedious to watch someone dominate the competition so thoroughly. As predicted, my opinion of Hongchul turned completely around. The big moment in episode 6 made my head explode (and seems transferable to Survivor).

          • I’ll hide all of this behind a spoiler tag, in case anyone else wants to avoid Genius season 2 spoilers.

            I hated Hongchul for about 2-3 episodes. I thought he was obnoxious and awful. Within a few more episodes, he was one of my favorites. He was entertainingly obnoxious.

            And I also understand the love/hate reaction, because this is the season of The Genius that is least like The Genius. The immunity idol thing felt very much like Survivor, but as someone who loves Survivor I had no problem with that.

            I don’t know remember viewing it as One World-esque, because I didn’t necessarily thing Sangmin was a definite winner. He’s much more creative-minded than intellectual, so he’s less effective in one-on-one logic-based games. He succeeds in season 2 partly because he’s always looking for- and finding- the exploits.

            If you found it too much of a departure from The Genius as a game, seasons 3 and 4 return to form. But I loved season 2.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            It’s not a 1:1 comparison with Kim. Sangmin’s genius is in finding the exploits (like the dice) and his social game: somehow everybody wants to work with him or help him even though he constantly betrays his allies. He’s really just OK at the actual games. That said, once Jinho left I didn’t think anybody was much of a threat to him.

            I felt like the boot order was not ideal, and that the S1 returnees really put their thumb on the scale for Sangmin.

            But I still loved it, and if this is the least-loved season then I’m really looking forward to S3 and S4. I’ll probably finish Society Game first. Bumdidlyumptious has been sick so we’ve been waiting on the last two episodes for nearly a month. I actually tried watching the Chinese subtitled version but after 20 minutes I was exhausted and just missing too much. Imagine watching a Russian TV show subtitled in Italian (assuming you don’t speak Italian).

          • I’m glad I didn’t start Society Game, then. Because I prefer to binge those shows.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            She says she’ll have Ep 11 up this weekend, so I’d say you can start whenever you have time.

          • I believe Bumdidlyumptious is a he, by the way. Ignore the Twitter avatar.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            I think so too, but if he wants to muddy the waters I’ll play along.

          • Was it you who had told me about an interview Troy gave where he suggested the process was rigged in the Cambodia fan vote?

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            I don’t think so, but it’s certainly possible that I did and then forgot about it.

  • Saturday Night Palsy

    Did NaOnka fart in a confessional? Did that actually happen?

    • I think they amped up the sound of it a little bit, but it did happen.

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      I’m surprised Matt didn’t mention it, but I sure wasn’t going to bring it up.

  • tocantins

    I’ll try to be careful here so i don’t get banned from here because of my views on the season, but after the comments last week I watched these episodes like the guy who goes to watch a horror movie, but enters the wrong room, and stays the entire movie waiting for the blood to start pouring.

    But I think the reason I don’t hate this season is because I’m so much more positive on Naonka than the rest here. (On the other hand, I disliked Brenda as much or more than most. She is so arrogant, but in the end that makes for a fun and satisfying downfall.)

    The point I wanted to discuss though is Fabio. I just feel that so far he is playing much better than most people give him credit for. His talk with Alina I understood as a real survivor lesson: he said, “you only talk to me to ask for my vote, why would I save you by voting out someone I actually like and talk to?” I saw people saying that Alina was playing a good game, but from day one no one liked her! She had absolutely no allies. Benry even goes as far as mock her when voting her out.

    Fábio, on the other hand, is so well liked that even Naonka, arguably his worst “enemy” in the game, trusts him and wants to work with him. He has voted with basically every single person in the game so far, and no one seems to target him for it, or avoid working with him. And he seems to be very aware of his strategy. He just waits for people to tell him to do what is already in his best interest to do, and don’t get the heat from the decision. So far I think he is playing very well.

    • Purplerockmatt

      This is a good point about Fabio and I should be giving him more credit, except while I think he has bonds and people generally like him, I do not think he is in tight with really anyone. I guess Benry is his tightest ally, but he is kinda floating along, keeping his head down while people target other people. And the thing is that is a perfectly fine strategy! We have seen it win before! And combined with the fact that Fabio can obviously win a few challenges it might be his best strategy. But I contrast that with say Chase, who also has lots of bonds, and has those bonds extend into actual majority alliances. But with Chase he overextends himself and that opens him up to major criticism. I am not sure which is better or worse, and I imagine that that might actually depend on the season and jury. Because they are both playing better games than say Brenda nad Sash who are perceived to be pulling the strings and have everybody ready to cut them loose at a moments notice.

      I will say that the voted with every single person in the game so far argument holds no water with me, because basically every vote on this season has been unanimous.

      As to Alina playing a good game, I agree she had no bonds, she clearly failed the social aspect, but she had the right idea and just the complete wrong mix of people. I think in another cast she could have done well. BUt then maybe she just has Penner face and no one will ever trust her even when she is telling the truth

      • I think part of Alina’s problem is that she sided with Shannon early and then went with Kelly B, both people who were clearly targeted by that majority alliance. Brenda couldn’t trust her after the Shannon vote (since Alina wrote her name down) and Na’Onka couldn’t trust her after she went with Kelly B

    • Hang on, googling “How to ban a commenter”…

      These are decent arguments about Fabio, but I also think you’re giving Fabio credit for intending to do those things. I read it more as Fabio stumbling into success. He even does the “I have no idea what is happening” thing as he casts his vote.

  • Other Scott

    I think the Brenda episode is just the culmination of all the things wrong with Nicaragua and for me it is the nadir of the season.

    First off, the premise of the episode – let’s get rid of Brenda – has absolutely no lead-up in the episodes previous
    Secondly, the edit just buries Chase, as the edit does continually
    Thirdly, it’s all gameplay confessionals and air time when no one knows how to strategize or play the game. If you end up with a cast like Nicaragua, you don’t go all in on strategy to center your show around. You’re better off trying to present us with entertaining non-strategic stuff and just dumb the strategy down for us.

    I really don’t understand what people like about this season. I’m not always in line with PRP on season opinions but this season sucks.

    (Though I think it does improve a lot over the last stretch, to at least get to baseline reasonable Survivor. I kind of like the quit episode for instance.)

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      Admittedly, a lot of what I remember about Nicaragua is turning out to be wrong on a rewatch, but I distinctly remember it getting worse from this point forward and never really rebounding.

      On your enumerated points:
      1. I think the problem is that getting rid of Brenda just isn’t a viable option until the Marty boot makes Benry, Fabio, and Teflon Dan free agents. They do set up her boot in the sense that they show her failing to maintain her alliance.
      2. I dunno, do you have examples? I think they’re depicting him accurately–Hannah in Ken’s body.
      3. I mentioned this in a previous recap thread, but I think there was an unusually high number of combined reward/immunity challenges in the pre-merge (I haven’t checked against other seasons or anything), which I attribute to production wanting to make using the Medallion of Power more enticing. So that means maybe 6 more minutes of airtime to fill than a two-challenge episode.

      • Black Dynamite

        Damn, Hannah in Ken’s body is an awesome way to describe Chase.

        • That is like my dream guy.

          • Black Dynamite

            If I had a dream guy, that would be mine too. So I cosign this statement.

      • I think you really start seeing the shift into dual reward and immunity in Samoa where almost all of the pre-merge challenges were both. I wonder if it is a cost-saving measure.

        • Other Scott

          As someone who would rather see more of the characters and character beats, especially in the early going, rather than reward challenges, I was not disappointed by this development.

          • I hope the character editing in Kaoh Rong (especially) and MvGx (after the swap) is a positive indicator for the future.

          • Other Scott

            I mean Cambodia had good character editing as well in my opinion. I have a couple issues with that season, but the editing wasn’t one of them.

          • Can I ask what your issues were with Cambodia?

          • Other Scott

            First off Cambodia is in my top 10, so these issues didn’t derail the season or anything, but I think the game was almost too complex for them to fit into 60 minute episodes. The events from the merge to when Stephen went home came across as completely random on the screen. I don’t think that was because of editing either, I think that is just they had like 60 minutes worth of strategy to try and pack into a 44 minute episode as well as challenges and trying to keep up the longer term stories and it just didn’t really work that well in terms of maintaining my interest through that early merge.

          • I think that is completely fair. As of my recently finished Cambodia rewatch (as in Saturday), it dropped a little bit in my ranking because the overall editing just can’t keep up (Don’t worry, it’s 10….for now). However, I think the really sucky part of the merge is the back half. The Joe and Abi boots don’t have enough drama and the Keith and Kelley boots seem like foregone conclusions.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            I also don’t like how modern Survivor mostly yada-yadas camp life, although I wouldn’t want to take out anything that they do choose to show. I actually kind of enjoyed the recap episode in that regard, except for a seemingly endless scene post-merge of the youngsters playing with Dan’s hair. You might want to watch Australian Survivor, it has all the character beats you could possibly want (more than you want, actually, TBH). Spoiler in case you actually want to watch it And it has possibly the most extreme example of the underdog story winning in Survivor history (although the winner was in the majority alliance).

      • Other Scott

        If you look at who voted for Chase and who didn’t in the end, all his allies voted for him and all Fabio’s allies plus the two quitters voted for Fabio. Fabio won because you never ever can let someone not in the majority alliance get to the end because a jury loves an underdog. But that’s not satisfying as a reason Chase lost from a show perspective, so they really highlight his indecision, when in reality the guy knew what was going on and always made the decisions that would benefit himself. They don’t show that.

        • Well, I hope there wasn’t anyone reading that was unaware of how final tribal council turns out…

          • Other Scott

            Ack good point. I’ll put that in spoilers now

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          That’s a good point, and I’m coming around on your outsider underdog theory, but you’re eliding something when you just say “the two quitters voted for Fabio”. Nay was Chase’s ally and she fucking hated Fabio. I want to know what happened there. We should discuss this more when we get there.

          • Other Scott

            Oh me as well, I think that’s one of the biggest question marks that went completely unexplained by the show.

    • One of us! One of us!

      • Other Scott

        Wait in terms of what?

        • This season sucks.

    • So, I guessed they learned from Nicaragua because that is sorta what they did with SJDS.

      • Other Scott

        Yeah, I like what they did with San Juan Del Sur. I think presenting the “fall on the sword” strategy in episodes would have just confused things.

        • But, I actually really love how they hid Natalie until you realize that she is the real powerhouse of the season. I think she would have taken out Jeremy when she needed to while I don’t think Jeremy has that capacity in him.

          • Other Scott

            Would Jeremy have needed to take Nat out though? I guess if she was going to take him out he’d have to. It’s hard to say how that season plays out without the Jeremy blindside.

          • That’s a fair point. I think Jeremy’s biggest flaw as a player is that he tends to put the blinders about his allies being threat. He was taken out by Jon and Missy and almost taken out by Kimmi.

  • Assistant Dragon Slayer

    So I took one for the team and watched the recap episode. Dare I say it was…. not a total waste of time? The editors clowned super-hard on pretty much the entire cast, especially Fabio and Marty. Shelter-building among the older men (Jimmy J, Jimmy T, Marty, Tyrone, and Dan) goes as smoothly and harmoniously as you’d expect. Holly’s head is in the game earlier than it appears on the show (although her ideas are terrible/paranoid–she expected a swap into city people/country people tribes). Sash is even more weaselly than on the show. Marty even more of a blowhard. Jane comes across super-well, although more as a provider/camp life asset than someone playing the social game. NaOnka is awful, of course, but I’m more convinced than ever that she actually had her finger on the pulse of the game more than almost anybody else.

    Best lol moment: When they realize somebody is stealing food, Teflon Dan says “Whoever did it, something should happen to them. Either to them or their family.” Someone find Shane Powers’s Blackberry and give it to Dan, ’cause he knows a guy who knows a guy.

    Biggest shocker: Purple Kelly had a confessional.

    The only bit of relevant new information is that the food theft is what fractured the majority alliance and ironically, bonded NaOnka and Holly. Holly did in fact confront Nay about stealing the food and “guided” her into deciding to confess to everybody. She gave Nay a TV-mom loving but stern lecture about how honesty will take you farther in life, and far from going off on Holly, Nay went all doe-eyed and contrite, going as far as telling Holly she loved her like a mom. It seemed incredibly insincere to me, but in a confessional Nay had nothing but praise for Holly and reiterated that she reminds her of her mom. Weird.

    The very end of the episode shows a bunch of B-roll with Probst in voice-over saying “Who will be the sole… SURVIVOR?” Cut to a shot of: Fabio. Roll credits. EDGIC!!!

    • Thanks for taking one for the team ADS!

    • Purplerockmatt

      Huh… that almost sounds interesting. I wonder why they didn’t show the food theft fracturing the alliance more and even blamed the fallout on Alina when doing a recap?

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        it probably would’ve taken too much air time and anyway it soon won’t matter (spoiler). The way Holly handled the situation really does shed new light on her though.

        I was genuinely floored by the ending. Truly a DGAF editing decision.

        • Purplerockmatt

          Having just watched the episodes for this coming week, I think we see some of that Holly peeking out during the double quit episode. blink once if i am right

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            I just watched Ep 12 (barf). Yes that’s the Coach Holly from the recap episode, although she was less stern and more empathetic with NaOnka. It occurs to me now that NaOnka is also a coach of sports, so that Youth League Coaching 101 stuff should not have worked on her.