Brad shares the best bonus scenes from the previous episode of Survivor: Eagle vs. Shark.
This Week In Secret Scenes
“It Hit Angelina Like A Frickin’ Truck”
Almost all of this Secret Scene was included in the episode proper, so there’s not much to say about the extra bit of Carl and Alec that we got here except that I enjoyed seeing the more expansive cut that included almost everyone’s reactions to Dan’s boot. While the Secret Scenes from some weeks don’t seem to support this, I think there’s an argument to be made that Survivor benefits from longer episodes (wherein only one Tribal occurs) outside of the premiere. This is often the trend for American cable and British network programs, but of course, CBS won’t be deviating from hour-long blocks any time soon.
“I Don’t Think People See Me As A Threat”
I am officially recanting the nice things I said about Mike White. People don’t see you as a threat or a potential threat later, and you want to keep it that way?. That’s a fine approach maybe in the pre-merge, but this is the time to start making moves and taking credit. There aren’t many boots left to stamp your name on, and as much as some people overrate Big Movez™ for the sake of “building a resumé,” you do actually need to make some moves that the jury can recognize while the game is still going on. We’ve seen people try to claim moves for the very first time at FTC before, and it usually doesn’t go over well. It would really only work if Mike was sitting next to two extremely unlikeable competitors, and I don’t believe two of those are still left in the game if Mike can’t sit next to himself.
This Week In Confessionals
“The Confidence To Go Forward In This Game Boldly”
Look, Gabby doesn’t say much here that we haven’t heard from anyone before. But Loved Ones are coming next week, so get prepped by watching this video about letters from home. Also, are letters from home usually this close to the Loved Ones Visit? Anyway, the end of this video is not just about how the letters from home give Gabby a boost; these confessionals usually stop and end there. Gabby says that her biggest hurdle is being able to have confidence in herself the way that her family has in her. So while seeing family usually helps players find their balance, could a Loved Ones Visit be the thing that helps Gabby make a very big move in turning on Christian?
I want to give mad props to Angelina for articulating so well why it can be worthwhile to take food over Immunity. Angelina caught flack as the episode was airing with her critics saying, “You came to Survivor to compete! So you should be competing in every challenge!” Even at the Tribal after, Dan says to John about Carl’s lack of reward success, “Cry me a river. It’s the game.” But I think it’s more than fair to take into account Angelina’s sustenance strictly on a scant serving of rice. Let’s also not forget some critics’ personal histories on tribes that won frequently won Reward Challenges. “Well, if you step down from a challenge, you don’t deserve to win.” Did you know that (perfect-gamer) Cochran stepped down from a challenge for three hot dogs and a soda in Caramoan? I digress.
If Angelina had stopped at “I’m fucking hungry, and I haven’t had a reward,” I’d be on her side. But then she throws on top that Carl was almost assuredly eating nachos, and Carl was the person she was trying to ally herself most with at the time. So she would get to spend the length of the challenge (probably longer than she anticipated) bonding and sharing nachos and margaritas with Carl. Angelina got the maximal marginal benefit in her decision; sounds like someone who got her MBA at Yale to me.
If I were to give two small critiques here, however; it may certainly be possible that Angelina rationalized this decision after the fact with her justifications regarding Carl and that this didn’t factor into her calculus in the moment. In addition, I enjoy Angelina saying that all of her decisions are strategic, but I don’t know that it helps her shake her competitors’ perceptions that everything with Angelina is … uh, strategic. She’s seen as overly calculated, and if Angelina is touting that as a plus, then I am excited to see how it shapes her game moving forward.
“I Wanted It More”
I like this confessional because Christian, despite playing the best game and likely being fan favorite, still has more to prove and that he strives to prove it. He’s nerdy and he’s goofy and sometimes he’ll make you laugh, but he can win immunities too, goddammit. Just because Alec says he wants it more doesn’t mean he does; if that’s true, win immunity, Christian claims. And for all the talk about how this challenge made sure everyone’s eyes were open to how much of a challenge threat Alec was, what does it mean for Christian, since he’s the one who actually won the challenge? Not much, according to Christian; everyone on the island, including Christian, knows that Christian is the biggest threat. So what difference does it make to boost his profile even more? Christian actually sees this as a feather to put in his cap as he can reference this Immunity at Final Tribal and give evidence for his multifaceted game.
“Where Did They End Up? The Winners’ Circle”
*clicks play* Oh … oh. I didn’t know that Alec and Alison were that close. I mean, I knew they were allies, but I didn’t know they were close enough that Alison would take it this hard. Hmm. Oh, that’s nice that she’s commending Christian. I guess it makes sense that she’s jumping in with him and Gabby. And this is funny because she was the target after Alec left, though not for the reason she gave of being Alec’s ally. Definitely a free agent, that’s for sure, and let’s finish up this clip as I take a comically large drink of water … *simultaneously spit-takes and snorts water out the nose* BLOOD VERSUS WATER?!? YOU’RE COMPARING YOU AND ALEC TO A BLOOD VERSUS WATER PAIR?!?!? Well, um …
“It’s Looking Pretty”
Nick makes three big claims here: (1) that his connections give him a clear path to FTC; (2) that his connections will loop him in if he’s the target and that he can subsequently play his idol correctly; and (3) that he’ll be the victor in a Final Four of himself, Mike White, Angelina, and Davie. Let’s not forget the kicker in point 2: Nick is ready to boot Carl, Gabby, and Christian because he wants to be the only David at the end (and this, paired with point 3, implies that Davie is now a closer ally for Nick than Christian).
But one thing can unravel all three of Nick’s predictions: a women’s alliance. And should he initially join them in targeting Christian, which Nick admits is necessary, could he end up on the wrong side of the numbers? Even if he doesn’t, should Nick be so sure (a) that Davie will lose the IC at F4? (b) that Davie would lose the fire making challenge? (c) that he could beat Davie at FTC if he needs to?
Kara sees Dan’s exit from as a boon for her game.
Christian shares his Immunity Challenge strategy of exercising all of his muscles and how much he enjoyed talking
to at Jeff for hours.
Gabby was happy that Carl got to go on reward but wasn’t happy for Carl in particular (it was more the “going” that Gabby was excited by).
Christian thinks that fresh coconuts are calorie-neutral meals and is grateful for Angelina’s rice negotiations.
Kara is also thankful for Angelina getting rice for the tribe but definitely sees the whole thing as, well, strategic.
This Week At Ponderosa
“You Influence People In A Very Positive Way”
I miss the rough Alec, bearded and buff Alec; the Island Hot Alec, always non-stop Alec.
I guess it’s unfair to compare Alec to Kanye, even tangentially, because this Ponderosa seemed to confirm what had only been hinted at outside of the broadcast but never displayed canonically: Alec’s, like, a really good dude. Watching his interactions with the other jurors and how they all spoke of him, four words kept running through my mind: “bright and beautiful light.” And maybe it’s fairer to compare Alec to Devon; both were disregarded at the start of the season before growing their fanbase near the end, and they’re above-average players who we want back but probably won’t be back. The reasons for each not returning are different and subject to change as always, but the only thing that will get all our faves to return is more returnee seasons. And we don’t want more returnee seasons. The Devon comparisons continue when the jury tells him that they would have voted for him had he made it to the Final Tribal. Could Alec have won the game? We may never know.
Alec as a winner seems unthinkable, but Alec contains multitudes. I wonder if/how the edit influenced our perceptions of Alec alongside some preconceptions about what a white SoCal bartender cast on Survivor would be like. The common extra-textual knowledge of some social media goings-on also doesn’t help our perceptions of him (and to eliminate any doubt, Alec is not the “castaway people like but has views that people don’t” and this not what “social media goings-on” is referencing. Since everyone is being coy about it). Anyway, back to the multitudes. Alec plays guitar and sings, which can easily become a tiring trait from some people in some scenarios. I enjoy it here mostly because having Alec’s music play over the shots of him at Ponderosa is another fresh editing style for a repetitive format, so Alec’s Ponderosa “thing” didn’t come across as overly gimmicky.
While I’m saying super nice things about Alec’s Ponderosa, I’ll add that I am happy to finally see someone who knows how to order food when they leave the game. Alec gets a lobster tail and steamed veggies, accompanied by what looked like a BLT. An order that’s equal parts indulgent and healthy (in a “won’t clog your colon” sort of way). I just get worried every time I see a dish that’s covered in cheese come out.
I’m only left with one question: will Carl wake John up at 7AM?
“Everyone Deserves To Have Someone Like Gina”
I wince when I hear the sentence “I like beer.” Anyone else?
I do the opposite of wincing when Alec is being Alec. Picking up Carl’s hat and popping it on top of his already be-hatted head? Wonderful. What was Carl doing/saying the foreground while all that was happening? Couldn’t tell you. Whenever Alec’s not on screen, everyone should be asking, “Where’s Alec?”
But around the table, most people were asking Carl what had happened in the game. We know that it’s standard Survivor social practice for the most recently booted player to debrief with the jury upon arrival at Ponderosa, but we often don’t get the level of exposure to such conversations that we did here. It’s still interesting to see that Carl can’t break the game from the interpersonal dynamics when Elizabeth asks why she was voted off. Carl tells her that she was a threat (she wasn’t) instead of the truth (he didn’t like her).
As the meal wraps up, Carl heads off to his room, and we see Crying Carl again for the first time in a long time. Not to dismiss his emotions or label what he was saying as wrong; but Carl is a crier, he’s been a crier since the beginning of the season, and it was weird that it hasn’t ever really been addressed in the way that Gabby’s crying was made integral to her persona on the show. And as I watched the scene in real time, I couldn’t wait to see what happens when Carl’s wife shows up at Ponderosa.
As I write this now, having watched the entire clip, I’m still wondering how it went. We got a shot of Carl running down the pier, Carl and Alec retrospectively talking about the family visit, and Elizabeth’s voice over taking the place of almost all the audio from said visit (to the point that we never actually hear Alec’s mom speak). Well, the editors can’t always be perfect, I guess.
This Week In Bonus Bonus Content
There a reason this column isn’t officially titled the “Video Post,” and that’s because by the strictest definitions of “bonus” and “content,” I am able to share this heartfelt tweet that ends with a pretty bold reference to masturbation.
3-times today I was asked why I’m single. I didn’t realize this was such a topic of wonder but I’ll tell you. I’m not on the prowl. I don’t feel single. I have the best friends I could ask for. I have a family to love. I feel loved in return & nobody can get me off better than me pic.twitter.com/C0rwfOFJKS
— Daniel Rengering (@DanielRengering) November 29, 2018
This Week In Gifable Moments
When you’re utilizing the good ole “Harried Mom Talking On The Phone While Cooking Dinner” method.
When you finished your workout but you’re trying to make it look like you haven’t collapsed in front of everyone else at the gym.
When someone says something needlessly superfluous.
When your dog is chilling at home but hears you pull into the driveway.
When your boss’s daughter is a Girl Scout but Tagalongs are your weakness and you swore them off last spring.
When the pregame turns into the postgame before you even get to the party.
When the bar trivia category is “’80s Sports Techniques.”
When you are fond of alcoholic beverages.
When you’re planning a clown-themed bank heist and part of the plan is shooting one of the crew to increase your share but you need a cover so he doesn’t see it coming.
When someone claims to be a leader for the progressive coalition but says that civil rights are up for debate.
When you’re trying to get real work done, but Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat notifications are on.
When you hear that those students ran across the field with what’s between their where’s?
When an official show account tweets some for real not cool shit about you but you’re above it all.
When you’re proud of your microwave and toaster oven for working in unison to cook your Hot Pockets in half the time but your juicer sits on the counter unused and unamused.
Brad (formerly known as Taako from Teevhii) has watched every season live but was too young to remember the first ten seasons (and is only saying that to make you all feel bad). He treats Wednesday nights like a religious observance and wonders if he can finagle that into a tax benefit.
Favorite Seasons: Winners At War, Heroes vs. Villains, Cagayan, Cambodia, Micronesia
Favorite Players: Kelley Wentworth, Sandra Diaz-Twine, Kim Spradlin, Denise Stapley, Todd Herzog, Courtney Yates, Yul Kwon, Charlie Herschel