Blurry Denzel and Barbara Anderson shares the best bonus scenes from the previous episode of Survivor: Unicorn Enclave in liveblog-ish form.
This Week In Secret Scenes
”Loved Ones Reward”
Blurry Denzel: The thing I’m most struck by when watching this clip is the conversation Dom has with his wife, Kristin. Maybe it’s my fandom but I mostly think of Survivor as this dreamlike once in the lifetime opportunity. It’s a crazy adventure to be on an island, play a game and win a lot of money. I never really contemplated the lives these people leave behind, the responsibilities put on hold, how big of a change this is, not just for them but the people at home. I can’t imagine the added stress this puts on the situation. Kristin really explains all the emotions she is feeling and it’s kind of refreshing to hear that it is way more complex than just being ecstatic. It adds a sense of importance to the decision to play Survivor. It’s not just a game.
Barbara Anderson: I think it is also interesting to see Dom not only interact with his wife but also use the emotional circumstances as a bit of leverage. Sure, we did see the end of this scene in the actual episode, but we did not get Dom’s reasoning behind it and it makes sense. There are so many seasons where being picked for or being left behind on the loved ones visit becomes a massive game changer. Just off the top of my head, I can think of Nicaragua, Cambodia, and MvGX as seasons fitting these criteria. So, Dom is not reinventing the wheel here, but it is nice that he recognizes this as a prime opportunity to tighten already existing alliances while potentially create new ones in case his current ones fall apart.
BD: Dom has impressed me a lot lately and trying to forge ahead with players and not just be complacent, which is a great way to play when you currently in the lead spot.
BA: Also, it should be noted that the secret scene still did not include anything from Sebastian, the person who won the reward.
This Week In Confessionals
”I’m A Big Family Guy”
BA: Speaking of the loved ones visit, Donathan discusses his relationship to Aunt Patty and why she was his Loved One. Some of this made it to the Secret (Extended) Scene, but there is a lot of good things here. In case you don’t follow any other Survivor media, this is only the second/third/fourth (the numbers change from person to person) time he has ever seen her because they have only known of each other since 2010 and a lot of that contact happened through Facebook. Also, he mentions that she is the only reason why he knows anything about his dad’s side of the family. Despite not having seen each other that much, you can clearly feel the love he has for her throughout his confessional.
BD: Donathan has this open, explorative attitude that has led to much success in Survivor. We saw it earlier this season when he formed a bond with Laurel that has sustained to the current part of the game. To hear more of his life story just adds to who he is in the game. He was open to meet and connect a part of his family that he had no idea existed for a majority of his life is wonderful to hear. For him to be appreciative of having Aunt Patty in his life that he wants to share his dream with her brings a tear to my eye. It’s awesome to discover the person behind the player.
”The Worst and the Best”
BD: There are some audio syncing issues with this video, especially in the beginning, but I think it is important to include because it gives a lot of insight into Sebastian. He explains why he chose who did for the loved ones reward in his typical chill demeanor. There has been a personal connection between him and Dom and Wendell where they share stories about their loved ones and it has stuck with Sebastian. He mentions the negatives of winning this reward and not getting to pick everyone but he doesn’t seem at all bothered with putting his cards on table and having people know who he is close to. Also, I like that he put aside game differences to pick Donathan.
BA: Even Sebastian cannot resist the charm of Aunt Patty. I do have to dock Sebastian on a few things. First of all, he doesn’t even mention why none of the women crossed his mind. Secondly, even though he promised Wendell, he still picked him second after Domenick. What would have happened if Sebastian was only allowed one pick a la Brenda? Wendell and Domenick could have easily used this as evidence to boot him, even if he didn’t mean it in malice. Next, Sebastian needs to look up what “twin” means in the dictionary. Father and son does not equate “twins”. Finally, Sebastian, the word you are looking for is “grudge”, not “grunge”.
BD: That’s a good point about not hearing why Sebastian didn’t consider any of the women. I don’t think Sebastian was thinking of all the strategic ramifications of his decision. It’s a common mistake of the winner of these reward challenges to leave the wrong combination of people back at camp. It’s not the best look to pick only the men. That’s an easy thing to point out when people want to go after you. I think Sebastian not being the target after those choices is partly because he comes across as someone who just goes with the flow and picks who he is close to instead of a player that has the ability to make solid plays in tricky situations.
”Sebastian’s Selection Was Surprising”
BA: Speaking of the women who weren’t selected, let’s hear from Angela about Sebastian’s thought process. First of all, Angela mostly gets why Sebastian went with Donathan, but she assumes that it is more strategy-based, which, come on. It’s Sebastian, not Boston Rob. Angela is also shocked that Chelsea wasn’t selected in the third slot because Angela thought they were close. We kinda assumed that they were from the times of Malolo 2.0, but like almost all things Chelsea, that footage didn’t make it to air.
BD: Angela is giving Sebastian way too much credit here. It’s interesting to hear two different perspectives on the move though. One thing that struck me is the disappointment that Angela has with Wendell’s decision to go to Ghost Island. Wendell has shown to make shrewd social moves in the past but this could be a misstep that can cost him down the road. Wendell got votes this week and it’s not like his target will diminish after this week.
BA: That’s interesting because I think she ultimately ends the confessional being slightly impressed with the move because she recognizes that Wendell will see Wendell Sr. in ten days. What’s the big deal in not seeing him now? Also, she doesn’t even know if she would stay on the Loved Ones visit with her daughter if she was in that position. This makes me wonder if Production should have just offered Ghost Island up while all of the Loved Ones were still there. Also, this confessional is clearly done before the Immunity Challenge because Angela is still under the impression that the advantage will hurt everyone else in the game. Not so much, Ang.
”My Sweetest Survivor Victory”
BD: I think this is the best Kellyn confessional we have gotten all season. We get more than just the “Navati strong” and “trust your gut” sound bites. I think Kellyn was rocked by the previous vote and she is playing catch up now. She has a plan to disrupt the power and is aware of the potential pitfalls that could disrupt everything. She sounds like someone who knows she is not in control and delivers her message with cautious optimism, which I haven’t heard from her too much earlier this season. Also, get my puzzle queen a puzzle to do.
BA: As someone who has been public with my dislike of Kellyn, this is a confessional that could have changed my opinion on her had this happened earlier in the season. She just seems like the likable, down-to-earth woman that I thought she would be. She also brings up how she wanted her brother there so she could strategize with him, which is definitely something I have thought about when I think about potential loved ones if I ever went on the show. I am also a big fan of any Cirie Fields shout-outs, intentional or not. However, it is weird that she is worried about Donathan being the snitch, not Laurel. Also, it is weird to note that she is worried about Dom playing his idol for Wendell, not Wendell playing his idol for Wendell. I think this means that the women don’t know about Wendell’s idol, which is a good thing for him.
BD: I wonder if it’s more that Kellyn is thinking that it’s in Laurel’s best interest to flip on Dom and Wendell. She sees Laurel as someone to keep things quiet better than Donathan can. Kellyn is now the underdog in this game that is in opposition of the inevitably of a Dom or Wendell victory. That may make her more rootable. She comes off as someone that feels intensely. In a spot of vulnerability, Kellyn can be a sympathetic figure. While she may not have the pulse of the game down pat, I’m more interested now to see what moves she will try to pull off from here.
”Big Power Showdown”
BA: I think I may have figured out the riddle to Chelsea. She is just way too low-key to be an interesting television persona. I’m sure she can be super engaging in person, but it doesn’t translate to the screen. That being said, I wish we could have seen just a little bit more of her because the confessional is pretty interesting. She recognizes that she is the biggest threat in her alliance, even though Kellyn may have the “stronger” resume. She also notes that Survivor is all about you being an active participant in your own game, which is correct. Once you become passive, the game is almost always over for you. She also does a strong case in presenting the Wendell plan as her idea, not her alliance’s idea. That is definitely not what the show was presenting, but I guess we will never really know the truth.
BD: Chelsea coming in guns blazing here. I also think this confessional is pretty interesting. We should’ve gotten more of this in her boot episode but apparently, we needed 15 plus minutes of the family segment and of course the fabulous Ghost Island appearance. There has been questions about why all the criticism about Chelsea’s purple edit now and not with previous players. I think it’s getting worse as the seasons go on. I don’t even need a Chelsea confessional or scenes where she is speaking every episode because I do understand that this is a TV show that needs to be entertaining to an audience that isn’t married to Survivor the same way I am. I understand that Chelsea doesn’t factor into the endgame the same way other do but she has value to this story.
BA: I also think that we just need a bit more from the other alliance. Why is Sebastian a somewhat free agent? Why is Angela closer to Chelsea than Kellyn when Kellyn gave her much needed support on Malolo 3.0? This is where the inclusion of Ghost Island is hurting the show from a character development perspective.
”Together We Can Go Far”
BD: I think the biggest remaining question left in the season is how the Dom and Wendell relationship will end. This is an illuminating confessional. As a Wendell fan, I am terrified that he sounds like he has no plans of ever cutting Dom. I think Dom is willing to cut Wendell before four, especially in Survivor’s fire making twist era. Wendell is too comfortable here while Dom comes off as someone with a sense of urgency. Wendell has done well so far so I get why he is confident. Almost every interaction he has with someone else has me feeling good about his relationships with others but he also has had some bad reads in the past. Dom could outhustle him to the end and get two goats while Wendell watches from the jury. I wouldn’t want it to end that way for him.
BA: This sounds like Wendell’s trying to pull a half Murphy here, but the thing is he doesn’t have to do it. Dom has the evidence to support his argument. The problem is I don’t think Wendell does. Yes, he is strong socially and he has drawn more votes than he probably comfortable with, but his moves aren’t really there. He hasn’t had to cut a really close ally yet (Chris Noble, unfortunately, does not count here, folks), but Dom cut Bradley when he needed to shore up some allies down the lines, which worked wonders for him. I also don’t think that Dom is going to be pulling a half Murphy on Wendell (phrasing).
This Week In Ponderosa
”I’m A Big Bath-Taker”
BA: First of all, milk is now the official beverage of 18-year-old Survivor contestants. Next, if someone was to do a drinking game on the amount of times Chelsea says the word “weird” during her Ponderosa video, then they would be drunk because she uses it a lot. Those observations out of the way, it is a very laid-back Ponderosa for the Purple Queen (who maintained a perfect pedicure, Tally). The big thing to note is that the Noble One is the highlight of Ponderosa, which does not surprise anyone who has watched the Ponderosa videos this season.
BD: I really enjoyed the conversation between Chelsea and Chris Noble. I think the discussion about how much the game stays with you is a good one. Getting back to normal after spending days and weeks thinking about nothing but the game, who you are aligned with, if anyone is out to get you, why are those two talking over by the well, the whole thing takes such a toll. I’m impressed by the people who can find a balance in the game without having the paranoia take over. Reason number 107 why I can never do Survivor. Hearing Chelsea talk about that was interesting, game night not as much.
BA: Game Night was such a nothingburger in this Ponderosa. I am pissed to even have to write about it because this has lead me to my new theory: Production does not know what makes Ponderosa work. Sure, they have been giving us many meaningful conversations about the impact of the game on the people, but we are not getting any genuine development between these characters as well as any sense of what these people are thinking about the game in progress. Instead, it seems like Production has decided to ask the contestants to “do something to produce content”, which has lead us to the rap video, the cooking segment, the choreography, the perfume ad, and now Game Night. That is why, I think, a lot of these segments have been separated from the initial Ponderosa videos on YouTube. Think back to memorable Ponderosa segments like the Dragonz, Stephen and Kelly baking cookies, Kass and Savage drinking, and even Joe and Lauren fishing. Those are felt real and meaningful, not some sort of gimmick to entice viewers to watch Ponderosa. Focus on these people and how they are viewing and processing the game as outsiders, instead of doing dumb things to drive YouTube views. Also, cut it out with the obvious product placement. I see you Bed Bath & Beyond and Kellogg’s.
This Week In Gifable Moments
When Taako and the PRP crew gives you responsibility over an article.
When your favorite show gets canceled then uncancelled in a span of a few days
When someone says that Cambodia is their favorite season
The Purple Rock Survivor Podcast is among the top 500 Survivor podcasts on iTunes.