Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers Bonus Content Roundup – Week 5

Taako From Teevhii shares the best bonus scenes from the previous episode of Survivor: Heroes vs. Honchos vs. Henchmen.

This Week In Secret Scenes

“I Wanna Find A Clue To The Idol”

So this clip raises a very important and pressing question that I just want to jump right into: Did Mike not know to pull up his pants? I mean, sometimes your pants can shift when you’re in one place for two long, but once you’re in motion, air currents build, and it becomes almost impossible to not notice. And he definitely knew there was a camera behind him, so like, wouldn’t you make sure you’re presentable from all angles? Anyway, if you ever get cast on Survivor, make sure you bring clothes that are a few sizes smaller than you normally wear because your waist is guaranteed to shrink.

The other question that I guess we should also discuss is why Mike needs a clue for the idol in the first place. Knowing that he was there when Joe found the idol at Soko beach, we expected that Cole would find Yawa’s idol without much trouble. As we saw in the last two episodes, that didn’t happen. So what’s the story there? Cole shares some extratextual information over at r/Survivor (and none of this is technically a spoiler because we’re narratively past the point where this happens, but avert your eyes if you really want):

Im not sure if I’m supposed to be saying this I had dug a ton at the well for the idol but couldn’t find it. When me and joe found that first idol we had dug for nearly twenty minutes and we knew the actual distance to dig for that idol. The one at yawa ended up being buried on a different side and a different distance. So I told Jess and mike where to look so they could dig too and insure that Lauren and ben didn’t find it. It was also my way to offer an olive branch after breaking their trust. They didn’t tell me but I saw the ground was disturbed at the well so I asked Jess and mike about it and mike said no but Jess hesitated for a second and had this awkward smile so I knew they had it. Jess can’t lie but I love her for it haha but I didn’t press the issue because I knew it was safe with them

The new pieces of information we learn are that apparently Cole told everyone that Joe found the idol but not where or how; that Cole dug for the idol by himself at first but couldn’t find it; that Cole later told Jessica and Mike to look by the well as a way of rebuilding trust between them, even though sharing information to build trust was literally the mistake that caused this rift; and that Jessica now knows better than to share more than she needs to with Cole.

With all that said, it makes sense why this Secret Scene was cut from the final edit as it builds on a lot of prior knowledge that the general audience simply didn’t have.

This Week In Confessionals

“This Is Perfect”

This clip also helps to explain why Jessica was content to fill water bottles while Mike dug, as opposed to digging together where she has an equal chance of finding the idol. Cole had dug around the well to no avail, and Jessica and Mike had dug the previous day and come up short. After all that, digging around the well might feel like buying a scratch-off: you could win big, or it could be a waste of time.

It should also be noted that Jessica sees this as something that solidifies the trust between her and Mike. She claims that this gives her leverage to essentially blackmail Mike, though she doesn’t plan on doing that. My question here is, what makes her think Mike won’t try to bury any witnesses? Sure, he might need you now (though does he really? He could pull in Ben and Lauren), but if he thinks you’ll blab and if he has options? What’s stopping him from getting you before he gets got?

“I’m Trusting Her”

Alright, asked and answered. To me, it seems less like Mike is the third wheel to the Jole power couple and more like both Cole and Mike are aligned with Jessica and are therefore aligned with each other. Yet it is also telling that Mike considered hiding the idol from Jessica and that his decision to share it with her was the first demonstration of trust. This could be a result of Cole, Jessica, and Mike being the three players left who have not yet gone to Tribal Council; as has been repeated by many this past week, you really don’t know if you trust someone until you vote with them.

And for those of you who dabble in reading the edit tea leaves, what does it mean (if anything at all) that Mike’s “I’m going to win Survivor, dammit” portion of this confessional was left on the cutting room floor?

“I Wanna Keep Everybody Around”

Let’s round things out at Soko with the third Healer, Mr. Peanutbutter himself. There are a few things peppered throughout this short confessional that I think could show up again down the road.

First, Cole mentions that he’s always hungry. Not that everyone else is full and merry, but if you’ve seen the NToS or the preview for next week, stick a flag in this one.

Then we have Cole saying that he could see Ben as “one of [his] closer allies.” I wonder what “closer” is in relation to. Would they be closer than Jessica? Closer than Mike? Or would Ben just be an actual ally, since Cole tries to align with anyone and everyone on his tribe? This might also be an indicator of Ben’s personality and social game if Cole’s already considering bridging the Hero-Healer gap and going deep into the game with Ben after just a few days together. Or maybe this means nothing, and it’s just Cole being Cole.

And speaking of Cole being big, sexy, stupid Cole: do you want to keep Mike so you can win all the immunities, or do you want to keep Ben so you don’t win all the immunities? Pick one.

“Right Now I Need Him”

Is Chrissy right to trust Ryan the most on her tribe, even over JP? She says that his gift of the super immunity idol and his approaching her to play together says everything she needs to hear. But, she knows that he had to give it to someone, right? It wasn’t just out of the goodness of his heart? And since he did that, he might as well follow up to see what kind of residuals it brings him. I’m not saying it’s wrong of Chrissy to trust Ryan; as the vote showed, clearly that’s the right call. But to say you trust him the most? I mean, for better or for worse, JP is in her pocket.

It should also be noted that Chrissy tells us twice that she is unsure if Ryan is a long-term partner for her. Ben is still her ride-or-die, and Ryan, well, at least he’s here on this beach with her. What will it look like if/when Chrissy turns on Ryan? How will he look to retaliate? And will he regret not keeping Roark instead?

This Week In Gifable Moments

When you have a gif and you know there’s a sex joke in there somewhere, but you just can’t get it done.

When you hear that Jeff isn’t concerned about putting all the idols in the same spot on each beach.

Taako From Teevhii

Taako From Teevhii

Taako first learned of Survivor when his buddy Merle said he’d vote their friend Ango off the island. After a google search and one episode, he became a fan and never looked back.

Favorite Seasons: China, Heroes vs Villains, Philippines, Cagayan, Cambodia

Favorite Players: Kelley Wentworth, Sandra Diaz-Twine, Kim Spradlin, Denise Stapley, Todd Herzog, Courtney Yates, Yul Kwon
Taako From Teevhii

99 thoughts on “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers Bonus Content Roundup – Week 5

  1. “Ryan showed me his loyalty by not only assuming I was the weak link, but also by telling me that he pity-idoled me.”

  2. I finished Stranger Things this weekend, and I probably should have not spent nine hours doing that. It was super good (Noah Schnapp needs an Emmy nom like Millie last year), but I have a question for those of you that finished S2: What was the point of Billy’s character aside from showing up to punch out Steve and give the kids a way out of the Byers’s house? And why could that not have been done with Max sticking Steve with the tranquilizer? Billy better play a big role in S3.

      1. Be careful Michael! The web is dark and full of spoilers. But I am wondering are you finding that you hate Dustin and Mike this season? Mike is just being a straight up dick to Max, and I get it, Eleven was the girl in your group and you miss her, but you should also realize that Max isn’t replacing her. And Dustin, YOU OUGHTA KNOW BETTER THAN TO THINK DART IS SOME UNDISCOVERED TOAD. YOU LIVE BY HAWKINS LAB. YOU KNOW WHAT GOES ON THERE. THE DEMOGORGON WAS AN UNDISCOVERED ANIMAL, DIDN’T STOP IT FROM BEING AN EVIL ASSHOLE.

        1. 100% agreed. Just struck me as plot-necessary stupidity. At least Will is getting to be this season’s MVP after being absent all of the last one.

        2. Mike was never my favorite, but I’m definitely team Lucas over Dustin this season. Even giving Dustin the benefit of the doubt with Dart, the first time he molted Dustin should have realized something was up. Although him trying to make Demo-dogs happen amused me.

        3. I can’t spoil tag on my phone I don’t think, but I am irritated on point 1, but am totally on board with point 2.

        4. I spent so much of this season calling Dustin an idiot. He’s not that stupid. That was just lazy writing

        5. If Dustin hadn’t done that, they all would have died instead of Dart letting them go. So it worked out in the end.

          As for the childish behaviour of Mike and Dustin, allow me to posit a theory: they are children.

          1. For once, we are in total agreement! One of my favorite things about this series is how well it captures that age group.

            I taught 7th grade English for 12 years and if anything, these kids are far more astute than most.

        1. Ugh. I’ve only seen episode 1. My kid is at peak SAT-prep (test is this Saturday) and insists that we don’t watch without him, and also baseball games are now five hours long minimum. Thanks for being conscientious with the spoiler tags, folks.

          1. Oh snap, if there’s a Game 7 the East Coast feed of Survivor is up against the start of the game and the West Coast feed is up against the end of the game (assuming a normal length game and not an Australian Survivor version like last night).

          2. Calling this World Series the “Australian Survivor version” is very appropriate.

            I’m going to feel irresponsible enough doing Survivor things bc I’ll be up well past the time I need to go to sleep. I sure as hell won’t be able to stay up for another two hours of baseball. So of course, I’ll go to bed and there will be six homers, three lead changes, and four innings of extras after I do. The only two games where I went to sleep in the 7th were Game 2 and Game 5. Fuck me, right?

          3. We totally missed one of the greatest world series games ever because when it was 3-0 in the 1st inning we said, hey let’s do another Stranger Things…and five hours later finished the series. *D’oh!*

          4. It’s way down the list of crazy things about that game, but Kershaw faced the minimum 9 through the first 3 innings.

          5. Yeah, we saw the 1st two innings and sigh, thought Kershaw’s record with a 3-0 lead would be enough….we were wrong.

    1. I only just finished episode 7 but holy shit why did they stick Eleven in the biggest most pointless B plot possible? Were there scheduling conflicts or something, ’cause she honest to goodness hasn’t done a damn thing plotwise and it’s getting infuriating.

      1. I feel like this was their way of closing off the “orphan tries to find their biological family” thread and to give Eleven motivation to stay in Hawkins with the gang. Also, she needs to brush with the Dark Side before staying firmly with the Light.

        1. They had to sideline Eleven because she was the answer to all the problems. It’s like the Justice League holding Superman off until the end so that the others get to do stuff.

        2. Exactly! I had no problems with this, but I get so caught up in nostalgia watching this that my bias towards it is fairly overwhelming.

      2. That episode was annoying. I wanted the main plot. They could have gone 8 episodes like last season and left that one out entirely

        1. Yes, that episode was indeed stupid, but I’ve frankly been unhappy with her entire arch this season. It’s not even an exaggeration to say that she’s sat in a cabin and twiddled her thumbs; you could frankly annex her entire character from the first seven episodes of this season and it wouldn’t have affected any other story, even Hopper’s. They’ve allowed her to screen time with one other main cast member when the best part of the first season was her interactions with the boys. Just wasted potential.

    2. Yeah, that’s the only purpose I could figure out for him, besides some fun subtextual racism towards Lucas. I’m guessing the reason they didn’t want Max to tranq Steve is because Steve is actually a good guy (or am I out on a limb for liking Steve?) and they want to show Max standing up for herself or something.

      1. Emma! Take the last “s” out of your spoiler tag.

        Also, I like Steve and don’t like that he was characterized as a blanket for Nancy and not an actual love interest. That might be a product of my not liking the “Nerd goes through a journey of transformation and wins the cool girl” trope that Jonathan seems to be on though. It is cool that Steve is cool with Nancy’s decision and not trying to tear Jonathan down to get her back.

        1. Steve is the best character on the show and his teamup with (redacted) is the best part of season 2

        2. I made edits really quickly, I don’t know if Disqus takes a long time to update or if it’s a refresh issue.

    3. I think mostly to help flesh out Max’s character and provide a bit of a reason to follow her/the other kids plot in the early episodes when there wasn’t much going on? It was kind of weird.

      My other thought was Bob – I knew he was dying within seconds of his first appearance. He was one of the most obviously dead characters I’ve ever seen on a TV show. Kind of ruined some of the suspense of the lab escape

      (Also, I literally watched the whole season Friday because priorities)

    4. I have to start watching Season 2. But I have two episodes of Dirk Gently on the Tivo. Season 2 is even better and funnier than 1, so far.

    5. Yeah I’ve never seen an episode of Stranger Things either.

      If you’re wondering how I DO fill my time since I don’t consume any content, I don’t know. I guess I work a lot? Sort of?

  3. TAZ Talk: Get into it y’all. I’ll say that we’re about to start my favorite arc in the Balance campaign. MotRL is so, so good.

    And @Sharculese:disqus& @disqus_uZu6brM5ff:disqus, I didn’t realize the first mention of the Red Robes came so early. Exactly how much of the overall story do you think Griffin had planned out at this point?

    1. I forget what episodes we’re discussing because I cannot be constrained by your schedules. But I loved the discussion of the seven different schools of magic: alteration, necromancy, accounting, Hufflepuff, HVAC repair, and court reporting.

      1. I count six here. But I love the last one. True magic. And I don’t watch or listen to what you guys are discussing.

    2. Would you kindly point me to the first batch of DL-Links and the week-one discussion again?
      I might want to start soon(and try to catch up, if I like it), although it’s going to be difficult with all the podcasts that I’m listening to already and I’m also catching up on TWD right now. But I know that I’m never going to start if I don’t download a couple of episodes and have them waiting for me first.

      Once, back when you also tried to convince people to give it a shot and had weekly discussion threads around here, I visited that site to see what all the fuss is about and get a sample, but I couldn’t get a grip on what exactly it is that they are podcasting about and gave up immediately, before ever starting an episode or even listening to a sound bite. It probably doesn’t help that I never played D&D or similiar games myself.

      1. Here are the links from iTunes ( and MaxFun ( Both are in reverse chronological order (the newest is at the top/front). I recommend the condensed Episode 1.5 to start.

        The first week’s discussion is in the comments of the Week 4 Prediction page (

        And because Super duper fan asked about how much they need to know about D&D, here’s what I wrote:

        I think the main principle you need to know is that everything that requires any effort is checked by dice. Roll a D20, and your level of success is dependent on how high your roll is.

        In a fight, you roll initiative to determine the fighting order. Highest goes first, second goes next, …

        When you attack, roll your dice. If you roll higher than what your opponent rolls, your attack is successful. Roll the appropriate dice to determine damage (distinct to each type of attack and weapon).

        You can say pretty much whatever you want. Whatever you do requires a check (via dice).

        There are other stuff like AC (armor class) and modifiers (which raise and lower roll results), but that’s in addition to the main principle to roll to check.

        To sum it up in a sentence, they roll dice to see if the thing they wanted to do works. The intricacies of gameplay really aren’t important (especially because they play fast and loose with the rules anyways later on).

        1. Thanks! I even saw your exchange with super duper fan a few days ago.

          And from film and TV I’m somewhat familiar with the always-roll-dice-for-any decision method, even though I never played something similiar myself.

          IIRC I was more confused about what they are filling all these episodes with and even if it’s a game like that or if it’s just some video game I never saw or heard about in the end. When was that, during S34? Or maybe even S33?
          It sounded like a lot of fun when you were writing about it on here, but I just didn’t feel like figuring everthing out on my own when I saw that website.

          So you’re in week 3 of the re-watch now? Week 2 discussion is also in the PRP???PRP-post, I guess, but where can I find this episode 1.5? I downloaded the first two instead, for now. (not using itunes)

          1. If I’m understanding your question correctly, I would say that only a handful of episodes are based on D&D-licensed materials and guidebooks; the remaining 60+ episodes are original narratives (with some literary/cinematic inspirations) played with D&D rules.

            It looks like it only went up on iTunes, but I think this link ( should allow you to listen to E1.5.

            And W2 discussion moved over to these video posts. We’ll keep doing it here until such time that there’s no bonus content to roundup.

          2. Got it (and saved that rss-link as well).

            Of course, my bad, that’s where I saw you explaining rpg games to SDF.

            My ramblings were not supposed to appear like a question, sorry if I made you spend time trying to figure out what I’m getting at. Letting you know that you managed to pique my interest even before this concerted re-/first watch is really all it was.
            But not knowing anything about D&D lore, or RPGs in general, made me skeptical that I would get easlily into it and I guess I had also trouble imagining how it would work as a podcast format (since then I should have absorbed enough from a few glimpses at the discussion in the comment sections here to get a slightly better idea on how that works – and if not, at least now I know that I’m starting with the right episode and can follow PRP talk about it). Together with a colourful website and zany epdisode descriptions, it made me feel like a young Sarah Lynn, so I headed right back out and decided to wait for you to come up with a starter program (unprompted), which you did a few weeks ago. Only then I was not excited to commit to listening to even more podcasts, but now I want to at least give it a try before you guys dash ahead further and further.

          3. For what it’s worth, the only thing I knew about D&D before starting TAZ was that it was a role-playing game with dice. So if you like good narratives and fun goofs, I think you’ll be able to follow along just fine.

          4. If it helps the upcoming arc is one of the most D&D light of the series. There’s some rudimentary dice rolling, but it’s mostly a locked room murder mystery on a moving train. But with wizards.

          5. Sounds good. I take it you mean “upcoming” as in week 4 or 5 of the rewatch and not the current episodes? I’m through the first two now and they were pretty fun. The actual gameplay can be a little distracting, but overall I could follow along just fine. Ep.3 might have to wait a few days though, but I think I will keep listening and catch up with you guys eventually.

    3. Griffin addresses this in TTAZZ 2. At this point he knew the general direction the campaign was going, but hadn’t figured out all the specifics yet. I don’t think he commented on what he had or hadn’t decided about the Red Robes at that point, but he did say that when they found Lup’s body he hadn’t come up with why it was important yet.

      According to him it was during Crystal Kingdom that he knew basically where things where going, which makes sense, since Kravitz introduces the first real hint that something weird happened to THB. But I suspect he hadn’t come up with that stuff at this point, since if he had it makes no sense for Lucretia to make them do the initiation.

      1. I mean really, it already makes no sense if they’ve already drank the Voidfish’s icor. Logically it should be recruit, test, then get the secrets of the universe.

    4. Who won Fantasy Costco: an ongoing series where I evaluate who got the most out of Fantasy Costco this arc, based on what ends up happening with their purchases.

      Before I get to the spoilered part, for anyone who isn’t up on their McElroy lore, the Olive Garden Unlimited Pasta Pass is a real thing that Justin spent an actual hundred dollars on. It works exactly the way they describe – it was a limited edition promotion where for six weeks you could go to the Olive Garden once a week and you got unlimited pasta for yourself plus free soft drinks for your table.

      He made this incredibly dumb purchase just as his wife was about to give birth to their daughter because it sounded funny to him at the time.

      Here’s the unboxing video:

      Loser: Taako

      I know Justin couldn’t not buy the Pasta Pass, but the laser pointer ring is a dumb thing he didn’t ever use that I can remember, not even as a joke.

      Runner up: Magnus

      Phantom fist is a solid addition to Magnus’s armory that he gets a lot of use of, probably one of the most practical items they ever get from Fantasy Costco. The stones of farspeech are great as a plot device and allow for some limited goofing. A solid buy.

      Winner: Merle

      The scuttlebuddy isn’t long for this world, but they get good mileage out of it. The real winner here though is the extreme teen bible, which not only is critical to who Merle ends up being as a cleric but is just generally never stops being a fun thing to say. Plus it’s practical. I forgot he almost did buy it and I’m so glad they forced him to.

      1. I had forgotten that the Stones of Farspeech were Fantasy Costco items and not official BoB gear bc they’re used so frequently by BoB members. But I guess that can be explained by the “no giving magical items rule.” Though the hole there is that you can have a magical gashapon with SoFS of many different colors, luck providing you with your specific stone.

      1. The only thing that really stuck is how he was mispronouncing “dais” because I was like, “oh, no, that’s wrong.” And then they gave him shit for it, and I felt successful.

  4. Uh oh, looks like someone slipped in the Rappin’ Ronnie Mixtape over the audio of Mike’s confessional.

  5. “sometimes your pants can shift when you’re in one place for two long” I literally copy and pasted that. Grammar much.

    1. The irony is that you used “Grammar much.” as a full sentence, which is in fact, not grammar.

    2. English is not my first language. I try hard to get it right, but sorry that one slipped by me.

      1. I always enjoy your articles/posts and this is a fun web community not a grammar textbook, IMO 🙂

      2. I would have formatted it like this:

        “sometimes your pants can shift when you’re in: (1) [a] place, (2) [U]long”.

  6. Interesting find on the idol-backstory!

    And for those of you who dabble in reading the edit tea leaves, what
    does it mean (if anything at all) that Mike’s “I’m going to win
    Survivor, dammit” portion of this confessional was left on the cutting
    room floor?

    I really dabble in it just a little bit, but I know he was telling us that he will play the best game evah and win in amazing fashion right in the first actual episode. It felt too on the nose to be 1:1 foreshadowing even then, so I’m feeling pretty confident in saying that not much can be deduced from him not getting yet another opportunity to proclaim he’ll come out victorious in the end, that we didn’t learn already from his episode 1 confessional.

    Crimson Knight of reddit fame is slow this week, so this time I haven’t seen anything other than what was on the yt cahnnels. Good selection, I think the only other video that would qualify as at least mildly interesting would be the Roark confessional with her thoughts pre-tribal (and maayybe Devon feeling good about his new tribe, but that’s stretching it), but it wouldn’t feel right to acknowledge her presence on the season now. At this point that would just be salt in the wounds of the Roark contingent.

    On Cole’s fall in the previews: should we consider that he could just be faking to faint, so that Lauren and others won’t complain as much when he insists on eating more than everone else?

    1. I agree about the mike confessional. Had we not had an “I WILL WIN THIS” confessional from Mike already, it might say more, but given the scope of the episode and where things are at for Mike & Tribe at this point, I don’t think cutting that out means Mike can’t win.

      What i’m interested to ponder is what it says if more Mike “i’m winning this” confessionals show up in the extra content. Surely, if he’s going to win, they would pepper a few in, but you would also assume they will show one of those during his boot episode as an overconfident downfall narrative. If these continue to show up but edited out of the episodes themselves, I’d guess that points more to Mike as a late boot or FTC loser.

      1. Good point, if anything it’s an indication that he’s safe for now.

        This conversation about extra scene edgic is a painful reminder that it ultimately was the Ep.1 Secret Scene that made me think that I had to sub in Roark into my pick-4 team, even though I really didn’t want her on any of my teams initially and was even somewhat vocal about it. It seemed to make so much sense that they decided for the final cut that we hear way too much from female winner Roark in episode 1 if they want to keep people guessing, “so let’s bury almost all of her content in an extra scene”.
        I also didn’t want the bad luck that comes with having the pick-4-favourite on the team, but I would have felt oh-so-smart had she actually won, that I couldn’t resist. *Sniff*

        1. I mean, I had Roark as well. I had her in 3 of my 4 leagues, mostly because I got a good vibe and liked her pre-season media. As sad as I was to watch her boot, I felt better watching her go then I will when I lose Joe, lol

          1. Now you’re deliberately trying to hurt me! I had Joe on two teams before episode 1, but let go of him in pick-4 and now I only have him in the Palsy League (where nothing can stop me now that you lost Roark!!). But I can’t fret too much about it, as I ended up subbing out 3/4 of my initial team and Joe was far from being the last cut. And I still like what’s left of my team, it just sucks that I gave in to the Roark hype and picked her over Ben, Ryan, Desi or Ali.

    2. In a true reflection of Roark’s presence on the show, I watched her clip once and thought, “hmm. Could be something there,” then watched it again and thought, “nope, nvm.”

      1. I’m just glad that I’m not the only one whose mind constantly wanders off when watching these.

        You’re right that Roark’s wasn’t interesting enough to justify its lengthy runtime. And I was mostly faking an educated opinion on the ommitted rest – Devon made me go “Hmmm” once, but not enough to watch it again and I only remember the first few seconds of Joe’s confessional, but no idea what the other 2 minutes were about. Maybe there was someting interesting there and I just discarded it for no good reason. I only know that Chrissy’s second video was all about her feeling bad for Ryan in the RC, so nobody watch that!

        PS: Did you watch Ashley’s PB&J confessional last week? I hate her now for being so boring, ever since I did.

        1. I definitely watched it, but I don’t remember anything about it. So sounds about right for Ashley.

          1. She used PB&J as an abbreviation about 25 times in 90 seconds. And it was not about stripping down in front of Probst and everyone, so suffice to say, there were no hidden insights and Ashley is not interesting enough to watch her talk 2 minutes about nothing. So I’m even more mad at production, really, who put a clip like that on the web.

          2. It really needs to be so aggravating bland that it loops around and becomes funny. I planned to have a JP confessional every week for that purpose, but with clips being so scarce around here, that isn’t always possible.

  7. Jessica is looking better all the time.

    More importantly though is I finished my first viewing of Panama and I need to talk about that season somewhere…

    1. I recently watched Panama for the first time too. What did you think? I was a bit bored, but I think I came in with too high expectations knowing Cirie and Shane were there

      1. Despite it being the first season with the idol (which I’ll get to later) it was very much an old school season of Survivor. Being an old school fan (having watched seasons 2 – 10 when they originally aired) I was cool with that. It was dull in some stretches but always got interesting enough when it was in danger of completely falling into boring territory IMO. Of course this was the first time I haven’t watched a season live so not having to wait to see the next episode helped immensely. My major thoughts:

        The Four Tribe Format: This was an interesting way to start the game and I wish it had lasted longer than one episode. The fact that at ep. 2 they redrafted the tribes made the original 4 tribes largely unimportant. That’s too bad because just one more cycle with the 4 tribes might have impacted gameplay later on.

        Casaya – Going into this season I knew Casaya was a legendary tribe and I can understand why now. What a group of misfits. I couldn’t believe their record, they had no business being as successful or entertaining as they were. Definitely better than the sum of their parts. They actually made what was nearly a straight up Pagonging interesting because the potential to self-implode was so high and having Terry as an opponent with the Idol in his pocket ratcheted up the tension as well.

        Terry – Speaking of Terry at first I was looking at him thinking he was the answer to “What if Tom Westman was on a tribe that lost?” but as the season went on I realized that was insulting to Tom Westman. Unlike Tom, Terry was a one trick pony, though that one dimension was pretty impressive. In the old school days where Pagonging was prevalent this was the ideal TV plotline, with the last man standing winning the challenges and forcing the other tribe to eat itself. But ugh, what terrible strategic play. With the idol in his pocket Terry could have turned the 6-4 disadvantage for La Mina into something more. He knew all game long Aras was a threat and had the means to take him out at any time but just couldn’t seem to see that. With Aras gone I could see Casaya completely crumbling and Terry could have turned that into a win for himself if his social and strategic play was better. But all he could see was one road and he was too selfish to give the idol to somebody. It says something that Shane saw Terry’s wife was more strategic than he was. Even when he forced Casaya to turn on itself Terry was on the wrong side of the vote EVERY TIME but the 2-2 tie at the Final 4. That’s just terrible.

        Cirie – I went to Panama first to see the origin of Cirie because I’ve seen all her other seasons and she’s one of my favorites of all time. Panama alone was worth it to see her develop. It was a slow burn for sure but by the end I could see why everyone fell in love with her both as a personality and a player. Her early game had shades of Sandra and Tina in it but she became her own player. The 3-2-1 at Final 6 was brilliant, I knew it was coming but I didn’t know the hows and the whys of it, so that episode in particular was fantastic to watch. And not enough credit is given for taking Shane out next. Seeing that Terry was a viable threat to win his way to a Final she and Aras effectively neutralized him by eliminating the only other Casaya members he could beat in a final tribal (we later learned he could beat Danielle too but I don’t think anybody could have seen that at the time). Well done.

        Aras – I found him to be pretty likeable and he played a good game. Panama wasn’t heavy on strategy but he correctly picked the right person to partner with in Cirie (finding someone who could complement his game well) and kept a difficult to manage tribe in line. He was constantly a physical threat as well and his rivalry with Terry actually made me like him more. Aras clearly benefited from Terry’s winning streak because if Terry had lost an early challenge he would have gone home. In fact I don’t see Aras winning without Terry, in any other season of Survivor he’s an easy vote out for being too strong and too threatening socially. Just another example of no win happening in a vacuum. But credit where it’s due when he was most vulnerable he was able to work with Cirie to turn the tables and vote out Courtney and Shane instead, and then win at Final 4 when he really needed it.

        Shane – I knew going in he was the “villain” of the season but I almost find that laughable. He was a mess, he was a goofball. I don’t know what kind of person he is outside of the game but I enjoyed every second of the Shane Powers experience during the show. He personified Casaya’s chaos. The season was able to entertain me during some rough stretches due to Shane. As an old school fan I’m looking for more than just good strategy in a season I want good characters too and Shane gave me that here.

        Overall I see why Panama has it’s place as kind of the median season of Survivor. It’s hard to get too excited about it but it had some big moments, some interesting situations, some missed opportunities (the Idol REALLY never got used? Ridiculous), and an interesting path to victory for the winner.

        1. I pretty much agree.

          I’m more down on Aras as a winner because he made so many fatal game moves, and at the final four vote was bailed out by Danielle’s fire making skills. He planned on going to the end with Cirie (though that wouldn’t have happened either, because Terry wins final immunity if he’s up against Cirie) which was a terrible plan. I also don’t think Aras held Casaya together, I credit Cirie with that. She was the bridge between Aras, Shane, and Danielle.

          It sucked to watch Cirie come so close, because IMO that was her only real shot to win the game. In Micronesia she never had the jury votes and now will always be too large a threat. If only Terry didn’t have the super idol I think she wins that season.

          I totally agree with you on Terry. His legacy as the challenge beast really helps him, because his strategic/social game was just spectacularly poor. He had a lot of opportunities and squandered all of them.

          Panama really does have an old school feel because the characters carried it. (How boring would it have been if Terry’s group had numbers and pagonged Casaya?). There never really was a chance for the unexpected, except for Cirie’s masterful play at the Bobdog and 3-2-1 vote. But Shane, Cirie, Courtney, and Aras were crazy entertaining at a character level.

          1. I kept thinking Cirie had the jury in the bag but the problem was she had no path to victory by the end. Everyone knew she was a threat. Her only hope was Aras winning and taking her to the Final, and I question if he would have done that (we’ll never know). I agree though that Terry killed Cirie’s chances the same way he made Aras’ game possible. If he uses the idol to take out Aras then I actually think Cirie has a path to victory (if not several). By tying herself to Aras she makes it far but can’t win. Maybe she thought Aras was her only shot at taking out Terry in the challenges? Or maybe Aras was just the only level headed enough person to work with at that point. In retrospect I think she could have gone far with Danielle as her primary ally. If Aras hadn’t won the Final 4 IC it would have been very interesting to see if Cirie was tempted to vote him out that night.

          2. Rob has had Aras on the podcast a lot and Aras always says he 100% was going to the end with Cirie, and I’m inclined to believe that because he’s admitting to something that was a terrible game move so has no reason to lie. She must have had one hell of a social game to get Aras so loyal.

            Once it got down to final 5 or 6, Cirie really didn’t have a path to victory but I honestly don’t think there is anything she could have done to prevent that. In her other games I think there’s some clear moments when she should’ve zigged instead of zagged, but in Panama I don’t see a real clear moment where she could’ve gone to the end. Shane and Courtney were too crazy to work with, when she really needed Danielle as an ally it was never going to happen because one of them had to go home that night. I guess the only possible thing would’ve been to try and get Terry to give Danielle the idol at final 4, and then vote him out (this really might of worked considering how confidant the super idol makes people on the last night they can use it).

          3. Ha as soon as I posted that I started wondering if there was an Aras RHAP where he confirmed it. I am going to have to dig through the RHAP archives and find some of his interviews with Panama people now that I’m done with it.

            I guess it makes sense she stuck with Aras then because she would have smoked him in a Final TC.

          4. It would have been a really interesting FTC. Each of the final 3 would’ve had two votes (Cirie getting Eliza and Erik, Amanda getting James and Ozzy, and Parvati getting Alexis and Natalie), so Jason Siska’s vote was the only one up for grabs. From what ive heard of him, he sounds like a douchecanoe who was going to vote for the younger more attractive person so I think Parvati squeaks out a 3:2:2 vote. I think it’s one of the most overlooked massive screwups that Amanda chose to take Parvati instead of Cirie, because Amanda wins against Cirie in a 5:3 or 6:2 vote.

            I think Cirie’s Panama game is her best because I really can’t point to a mistake (other than she should’ve made fire faster). In Micronesia there is 2 votes where I think she makes a mistake that could’ve gotten her a victory in the end if she had chosen differently.

          5. I haven’t seen Micronesia since it aired so my memory is super fuzzy. I’m going to trust you on that vote breakdown but with Cirie at Final TC I wouldn’t put it past her to be able to swing a vote her way over one of the other two. I also wouldn’t be at all surprised if it still went Parvati’s way. Honestly it’s better for the overall franchise that Parvati won Micronesia. If she hadn’t Heroes vs. Villains may have gone in a different direction, Parvati’s reputation was the basis for a lot of important moves that people made that season.

            Cirie tried so hard during Game Changers at the end but I knew from her lowkey edit she wasn’t winning that one. Honestly I was just happy to have her back on my TV for a little while. First ever five time player please?

          6. I would love to see Cirie again. Game Changers to me seems like such a wasted season, knowing that if they do an all-stars season 40 (if they get there) they might want to avoid casting people who just played in GC’s. But a season 40 celebration without Cirie just wouldn’t be right.

Comments are closed.