Survivor: Second Chance Week Five – Choose Your Pawn Wisely

Survivor

So, “most surprising blindside in the history of Survivor”, eh Savage? It’s pretty obvious from this episode that Andrew really needs someone to tell him what to do from a strategy standpoint. You would think that after going to two Tribals with Angkor would have him prepared to play the “new-school” game. You’d think wrong.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. We need to talk about the tribe swap. When the swap happened, it was pretty obvious that Ta Keo were the odds-on favorite to go to Tribal Council. The males on Bayon are just too strong. So, it was no surprise when Ta Keo got set up for a meeting with Probst.

That said, Savage was set up better than almost anyone in new Ta Keo. He has Ciera and Kass from original Bayon on one side, and Abi and Woo from Angkor on the other. He’s right in the middle of an alliance with the numbers to easily go after either Spencer or Wiglesworth.

As much as it hurts to say, Spencer is probably the right choice here. Unfortunately, Savage plays it incredibly poorly. He decides to get his five together and dictate that they should go after Spencer. That’s a bad move in its own right, but it gets worse. Andrew then tells Ciera that she’s the fake target to keep Spencer in the dark.

Let’s break that down. First, Savage comes to his five and immediately begins telling them what to do. He doesn’t put it a vote or even ask for opinions. He just says, “ I’m Andrew Savage and you will do what I say”. That’s a terrible way to start off with a new tribe, especially one full of returning players who all think they have what it takes to call the shots. Almost no one else even talks during this meeting. This is like Abi-Maria level strategy, Savage. It was painful to watch.

Then it got worse. Savage tells Ciera that she’s the fake target. Ciera, who everyone knows can do some amazing work when her back is against the wall. This situation is so easily avoided! You have Kelly Wiglesworth, who is not in your alliance, sitting right there as a pawn! Is it as flashy as saying you’re getting someone out from your alliance? No, but it’s safe and would probably work because Kelly is not going to kick up dirt if you tell her she’s the pawn.

Even if you don’t go with Kelly, isn’t it so much safer to go with Woo over Ciera? I mean, there’s a chance Woo tries to turn on you, but where is he going? To Spencer? Let’s say Woo gets Spencer on his side because otherwise, Spencer is going home. Who’s their third and fourth? Wiglesworth won’t want to rock the boat. Kass doesn’t want to play with Spencer. Ditto for Abi with Woo. Ciera would maybe come over, but that still leaves them in the minority. Savage had two great options for pawns and decided to go with option three and screw himself over.

It sucks that Woo has to go home because of someone else’s mistake; however, I suppose that’s pretty par for the course. Woo never appears to be in control in this game and, for how much he’s grown as a player, he just never put it all together in his second chance. Sorry that Savage couldn’t be your Tony, Mr. Hwang. Love that blindside face though.

Other Highlights:

Gotta feel terrible for Terry Deitz having to go home for his son, but I think everyone makes that same choice. I hope everything’s going well. #DannyStrong.

Stephen’s need to get out the Golden Boy to avenge his mistake from his first season is pretty compelling. I don’t think Fishbach will win this game, but I sure hope he makes it longer than Joe. That kind of emotion over your second chance has to be exactly what the producers were looking for when they thought up this season.

Has Jeremy become Stephen’s dad? When he told Stephen that he had to believe in himself at the Immunity Challenge I had flashbacks to little league. I’m sure Jeremy was being mostly genuine, but it’s moments like that one that demonstrate the incredible game he’s playing.

Speaking of Jeremy’s great gameplay. I think he’s smart to keep Joe around for a few more weeks, but he can’t get too cute. Joe is a threat to string out three or four immunity wins. If he’s not out before the Final Seven, then that’s a problem.

If there is any challenge I would dominate at, it’s the food eating challenge. I was born without the ability to smell, so I can eat almost anything. If I ever make it on Survivor, this better be one of the challenges.

I love when Survivor just includes moments that don’t matter for comedy. This week we had Keith randomly yelling at Kimmi for dropping something in the fire. Keith gets about one moment a week and he kills it every time. #WinnersEdit.

Finally, how great was Spencer’s quote when he was writing down his vote? “I am putting my game in the hands of Chaos Kass, God help me.” Even typing it out, I laughed. Spencer is killing it with the vote quotes this year and I hope he lasts a lot longer so I can keep eating them up.

Check back this weekend for, yet another, quick-hitter power rankings. Work slows down quite a bit next week, so I’m hoping to get back on a better schedule. Thanks for reading.

Survivor Second Chance: Week Five Power Rankings

Survivor

Another quickie post this week because work has been so crazy. Hoping to come back strong next week, but for now, enjoy a sentence or two about each competitor.

16) Monica Padilla (-8)

Strategy: 3   Challenge: 3   Entertainment: 6   Total: 12

Was probably smart to try and start an all-women alliance. Just wasn’t smart in who she talked to about it. Also, didn’t do herself any favors in her challenge performance.

15) Kass McQuillen (-6)

Strategy: 6   Challenge: 3   Entertainment: 5   Total: 14 

Really had a solid week that was marred by a poor challenge performance. Of course, her team stayed away from Tribal Council, so you can’t be too hard on her. Looks well placed in the Ta Keo Five.

14) Kelly Wiglesworth (-2)

Strategy: 4 Challenge: 6   Entertainment: 5   Total: 15

Wigs played well in the Immunity Challenge, but I can’t get behind her social game. She is playing a completely different game from anyone else and that makes her, at best, a goat. Such a waste of potential.

13) Terry Deitz (-2)

Strategy: 4   Challenge: 5   Entertainment: 6   Total: 15 

Deitz had a decent week challenge wise, but has to lose points for being the only person on the wrong side of a five-person alliance on Ta Keo (as seen above). Loved his “better to be the Hammer than the Nale” quote during the challenge.

12) Abi-Maria Gomes (+3)

Strategy: 3  Challenge: 4   Entertainment: 8   Total: 15  

Abi probably gets off easy this week because the spotlight was off of Angkor (finally). That said, even in her single confessional, she came off as completely insane. If I’m playing with someone like Abi, I’m getting rid of her ASAP just so I don’t have to deal with the constant mood swings and general craziness.

11) Ciera Eastin (+1)

Strategy: 6 Challenge: 5   Entertainment: 5   Total: 16  

Ciera continues to do nothing and continues to not see Tribal Council. She’s set up well for a relatively deep run post-merge, but I can’t see her winning the game off of this edit. That said, we know she’s not afraid to make waves, so I’m sure she’ll have signature moment or two in the coming weeks.

10) Kelley Wentworth (+2)

Strategy: 6   Challenge: 6   Entertainment: 5   Total: 17 

Kelley’s game was very similar to Ciera’s this week except that she performed well in the Reward Challenge. Granted, that just means she was able to quickly make a circle with her arm to get a string off of a hook, but Monica struggled mightily at that same challenge. Maybe it’s not as easy as it looks.

8 (tie) Andrew Savage (-4) and Tasha Fox(-5)

Strategy: 5 Challenge: 6   Entertainment: 6   Total: 17  

Tasha and Savage drop a few spots this week because Angkor didn’t really need to do anything. They both did well enough in the challenges and continue to manage Hurricane Abi well. That’s enough for eighth on this list.

7) Woo Hwang (-1)

Strategy: 5   Challenge: 9   Entertainment: 5   Total: 19  

Woo demonstrated why he is going home very quickly when the merge happens. He’s just too good in challenges and hasn’t built enough relationships. Woo dominated for Angkor this week and, unfortunately, that’s not helping his case, at this point.

6) Keith Nale (+10)

Strategy: 6 Challenge: 8   Entertainment: 6   Total: 20  

Keith gets the biggest boost of this week largely due to his performance in the challenges. He was a stud ski-ball player in the Reward Challenge and hit his fair share of targets in the Immunity Challenge. Plus, he copped a feel on Wentworth, which made me laugh hard enough that I forced to pause the challenge while I got it out.

5) Spencer Bledsoe (0)

Strategy: 6   Challenge: 9   Entertainment: 5   Total: 20  

The Young Lad did everything in his power to win the two challenges and you can tell how much it hurts him to have to play a team game. Spencer, the challenge beast will truly erupt when we go to the merge. For now, he’s just biding his time to unleash everything that makes him a prototypical Survivor player.

4) Joe Anglim (-3)

Strategy: 6   Challenge: 9   Entertainment: 5   Total: 20

Joe drops a few spots because of the excellent strategic play going on at Bayon. That said, Joe is still a massive force in this game. He looks placed well to get to at least Final 7 with the bonds he’s made and his challenge ability might be enough to get him over the top.

3) Stephen Fishbach (+4)

Strategy: 9   Challenge: 3 Entertainment: 8   Total: 20

Fishbach is steadily climbing the rankings and it shows in his gameplay. Stephen is never going to a challenge threat, but his mind is always working and he was able to help spearhead the vote against Monica this week. I think it was a smart move that sets Stephen up well for a few more weeks at least.

2) Kimmi Kappenberg (+8)

Strategy: 9   Challenge: 4   Entertainment: 8   Total: 21

Kimmi was the one who first pushed for Monica to be the next boot, and she should get credit for that move. That said, I can’t help but feel that the decision wasn’t really up to her. The edit makes it appear that Stephen and Jeremy are controlling that alliance and, while Kimmi set it up, those two are who ultimately pulled the trigger.

1) Jeremy Collins(+1)

Strategy: 8   Challenge: 6   Entertainment: 8   Total: 22

It’s good to be the king!

Next Boot: POTENTIALLY MASSIVE SPOILERS

Well, it seems like I should’ve typed this out yesterday. I was checking Wikipedia to make sure I had some tribe numbers correct and was greeted by some big spoilers for this week. So, if you want to go in fresh, don’t read further than this.

It would seem that the person Probst was going to talk to in last week’s “Next Time on Survivor” was Terry. I’m not completely sure about what happened (though I have a very good idea), but it looks like Deitz goes home for a family illness. That stinks and makes Terry the next out.

However, there’s more. Wikipedia and a video on Survivor’s Youtube feed, says we’re getting a tribe swap, with Angkor going away. If Wikipedia’s info holds, the new tribes are as follows:

Bayon: Joe, Jeremy, Stephen, Tasha, Kimmi, Keith, and Kelley

Ta Keo: Spencer, Ciera, Abi-Maria, Woo, Kass, Andrew, and Kelly

Man, what Gods did Joe, Stephen, and Kimmi sacrifice Monica to? This has to be near best case scenario right? Spencer, not so much, but I think he’ll make it…maybe.

Bayon: Tasha. Everyone except for Kelley Wentworth is original Bayon, which would make it seem like she’s going to be first boot if Bayon goes to Tribal Council. That said, we all know she still has an idol, which makes this more of a crapshoot. I feel like Jeremy, Stephen, and Kimmi would control this tribe from the start and I believe that Jeremy wants to keep Joe as meat shield and Keith as a potential goat. That leaves Tasha who is the strongest female left as the only option.

Ta Keo: Woo. This tribe seems way more wide open. Abi is the obvious wildcard in any scenario and it’s really hard to try and predict alliances outside of her. And, because this tribe is lacking physically as compared to Bayon, I have to assume they’ll be the first of these new tribes to go to Tribal Council.

I think that Kass, Savage, and Ciera are going to be a strong voting bloc and I could see Wiglesworth and Spencer working together even though they’re so different. That leaves Abi and Woo without an alliance and they certainly won’t be getting on each other’s team. Thus, I’m predicting that this tribe realizes that they are, at worst, two weeks from the merge and goes after the biggest physical threat on the tribe. Woo would be one of the first boots after the merge and I think that logic is what gets him voted out.

Survivor: Second Chance Week Five – The First Bayon

Survivor

Angkor didn’t go to Tribal, you guys! We finally got away from Hurricane Abi! And it was pretty great. In fact, this might’ve been the most satisfying boot yet, at least for me. But before we get into that, let’s break down how we got there.

As mentioned, Angkor actually did something right this week. They began the episode by grabbing second place behind Ta Keo in the Reward Challenge. Then, unlike last week, they followed up that performance with a first place win. Amazingly, that meant this was the first week of the season that we wouldn’t be seeing Abi-Maria and Woo at Tribal Council.

Instead, Bayon flubbed the challenge and their first Tribal Council, which Monica was excited about, for some reason. There have been a few rumors on the Internet that Bayon potentially threw that challenge, but I haven’t seen it completely confirmed yet. However, if it was thrown, that certainly makes the rest of the episode less compelling in hindsight.

You see, immediately after winning immunity, the original Bayon four got together and seemed like a strong voting bloc. That sent Spencer scrambling to strategize and Wiglesworth scrambling to build a better shelter. But, in the end, neither of their plans mattered because it was Monica who would decide how the vote would go this week.

Monica decided that Monica wanted to have a girl’s alliance and get out Spencer. Kimmi decided that, even though she’s a woman and would, assumedly, be including in an all-girl’s alliance, she didn’t like that plan. Instead, she wanted to stay Bayon strong and get out the entirety of old Ta Keo before turning on the people she entered the game with.

I think that’s an interesting strategy for Kimmi and probably not a winning one. I mean, that original Bayon tribe had some challenge beasts on it, as well as a strategic mastermind in Stephen. So, if Kimmi were to go to the final ten with her original tribe, she’d be doing so as a potential pawn. I can’t envision a scenario where Kimmi, Monica, Ciera, and maybe Kass could get out every single male in their tribe and all make the end. And, unless we have a bitter jury (which seems unlikely on a returnee season), I don’t see Kimmi beating anyone outside of Monica on original Bayon. Looking at that way, I can’t help but feel that working toward a post-merge women’s alliance would be a better game move for Kimmi.

That said, Kimmi felt differently. And maybe she made the right move. After all, getting into a potential power trio with Jeremy and Stephen might have been her best-case scenario and that could easily be the fallout from this move. To that end, Kimmi decided to take the information Monica had just presented her straight to Jeremy and Stephen.

And even at this point, it didn’t seem like Monica was for sure out of the game. Fishbach made the astute point that, getting out Monica over old Ta Keo members could send the wrong message to their old tribe. This move might set a dangerous precedent and get this trio on the outs with old Bayon.

In the end, the trio decided that Monica’s willingness to “flip all over the beach” was more dangerous to their games than the other options on the table. It will be very interesting to see how this move plays out if we have another tribe swap in the next week or two. If those three don’t stay together, it could spell doom for one or both of them.

Other Highlights:

How much of a part did Monica arguing with Kimmi about clams play in her eventual boot? I mean, the girl was just trying to keep the fridge full for the future. Is that so terrible? Probably not, but every little thing matters in Survivor and telling people to stop eating was likely a mistake. You maybe mention your point and then, if that person fights back much, you just back down and don’t say anything. Complete control of your emotions, people. It’s important.

Speaking of Monica (which happened a lot this episode for the first time ever), would she have performed better in the Reward Challenge if she had eaten more clams? Also, why did Bayon put their shortest person in that spot? And what is up with Survivor’s infatuation with Ski-Ball? Should I go hit up the arcades to start training in case I ever make a season? I’m 6’2, so I usually just cheat and stand on the side to drop the balls in. I feel like Probst wouldn’t allow that.

I love that Abi equates watching your mother go through a serious heart attack with having a problem with the tendon in your knee. She’s coming off as just a terrible person in her edit, along with being a disaster of a Survivor player. She must be going toward a big-time downfall later in the season with how hard they’re building her as a villain.

How great was it that Fishbach hit Angkor’s target in the Immunity Challenge? The guy just can’t catch a break with this edit. He always looks like bumbling idiot and, for anyone that reads his stuff or listens to his podcasts; we know that is so far from the case. I can’t see him winning based on the edit he’s getting; however, I’m hopeful that he’ll pull off a game-changing move to make up for how inept he’s been painted thus far.

Survivor Second Chance – Week 4 Power Rankings

Survivor

Is there ever going to be a week of this show that isn’t completely insane? As a viewer, I’m not complaining, but it sure is making my power rankings look bad when the game is constantly flipping every two seconds. Oh well, at least I had the boot down for Angkor. Can I do it two weeks in a row? Doubt it.

17) Jeff Varner (-11)

Strategy: 3   Challenge: 3   Entertainment: 8   Total: 14  

We armchair Survivor players are going to break apart Varner’s game and say that he played too hard and too fast and, while that’s probably a correct assumption, it takes away from how great it was to watch Varner play.

He was screwed by the tribe expansion and couldn’t dig himself out of the hole got in when he tried to talk to Wiglesworth following an immunity challenge. And even with his back against the wall and a tribe with zero reason to keep him, he almost talked himself out of elimination. That’s insane. Varner is an incredible player and if anyone deserves a Third Chance, it’s this guy.

16) Keith Nale (-6)

Strategy: 5   Challenge: 4   Entertainment: 5   Total: 14

Keith didn’t do anything this wrong except for be hard of hearing. And, to be fair, he’s 55 years old, so maybe he’s just an early candidate for hearing aids. Other than that lackluster performance by Grandpa Nale, Keith was barely seen in episode four.

15) Abi-Maria Gomes (-12)

Strategy: 2   Challenge: 3   Entertainment: 10   Total: 15  

I don’t know how much longer I can survive Hurricane Abi. She is everything I can’t stand in a Survivor player. Completely ruled by her emotions and barely a blip on the challenge radar. Surely, she is not long for this island. I don’t care how high her #GOATstatus is, she is just too big of a liability for anyone.

12 (tie) Ciera Eastin (0), Kelly Wiglesworth (0), & Kelley Wentworth (+4)

Strategy: 5 Challenge: 5   Entertainment: 5   Total: 15

Ciera sat out a challenge. Wiglesworth got thrown under the bus by Spencer. Wentworth was unfairly mean to Kass in her only confessional of the season. Moving on.

11) Terry Deitz (-2)

Strategy: 5   Challenge: 5   Entertainment: 5   Total: 15  

Deitz’s score is a little misleading. It was an impressive feat to see a 50-year-old man out hustle a 30-something-year-old firefighter. Deitz just outworked Jeremy in the Hero Challenge to win a reward for Ta Keo and solidify his status as a challenge beast. But then he was ignored by Kass during the immunity challenge and spent most of wandering around like a lost puppy that is also blind. It was not a good look for Terry. Thus, I’ve evening out the two scores and giving Terry and even-keeled 15.

10) Kimmi Kappenberg (+2)

Strategy: 5  Challenge: 6   Entertainment: 5   Total: 16  

Kimmi didn’t do much this episode (which seems to be her M.O.); however, she was much more calm than Kass and Varner as the caller in the immunity challenge. That has to count for something.

9) Kass McQuillen (-1)

Strategy: 7 Challenge: 3   Entertainment: 6   Total: 16  

Kass gets bonus points for actually trying to be nice to people and mostly succeeding. However, I can’t watch how poorly she handled the pressure as her team’s caller in the immunity challenge and not dock her points. She got flustered early and screamed at her team until she was blue in the face. It didn’t seem like anyone except Joe responded and that’s not a great sign for her future.

8) Monica Padilla (+4)

Strategy: 6   Challenge: 5   Entertainment: 6   Total: 17  

Monica got a confessional this week, which clearly makes her the breakout star of the #NothingGirls thus far. Plus, she’s smart to not trust Spencer and, though a girl’s alliance is cliché and boring, it’s probably her only real move if Bayon ends up at Tribal Council.

7) Stephen Fishbach (+4)

Strategy: 5 Challenge: 6   Entertainment: 6   Total: 17  

I go back-and-forth on whether I love or hate Fishbach consistently downplaying any ability he has in a challenge. However, after being somewhat frustrated last week, I think I’ve come around on his strategy. Last week, he wasn’t putting together the puzzle himself, but he was being helpful by stealing strategy from Ta Keo. And this week he looked much helpful than he has in the past without being threatening.

That said, the Fishbach highlight of this episode was the confirmation that he and Jeremy are working together. Of course, Jeremy wants to be the JT to Fishbach’s Fishbach, so it’s not all roses for Stephen. However, he’s in a much better slot than when Savage was still on this tribe.

6) Woo Hwang (+11)

Strategy: 5   Challenge: 6   Entertainment: 7   Total: 18 

Woo will never be the strategic mastermind, especially not among this crew of Survivor vets. That said, he’s quietly shown that he’s grown a lot since Cagayan and is playing this game hard. His duel of pitches against Varner at Tribal Council was some of the best television of this season and I don’t think Cagayan Woo could’ve pulled that off. Woo appears to be in a good spot in the short-term. Of course, who knows how long that will last in a game this crazy.

5) Spencer Bledsoe (+2)

Strategy: 6   Challenge: 8   Entertainment: 5   Total: 19  

For the most part, Spencer stayed under the radar in this episode. Sure, he’s throwing Wiglesworth under the bus at every chance he gets, but even that seems subdued for the Young Lad. In fact, his only real moment was his “win when it counts” exclamation at the end of the immunity challenge. It was a super cocky move, but Spencer was the key cog in that win, so he’s free to shout whatever he wants.

4) Andrew Savage (0)

Strategy: 6   Challenge: 7   Entertainment: 7   Total: 20  

Savage was very impressive in the Hero Challenge; putting the team on his back to get Angkor a much-needed reward win. But then, much like Deitz, he gassed out in the immunity challenge, failing to impress when it actually mattered. Is this a sign of things to come for Probst’s best friend? Or just a blip on the radar for the sexiest 50-year-old in Cambodia? I’m thinking closer to the latter, but only time will tell.

3) Tasha Fox (+2)

Strategy: 8   Challenge: 4   Entertainment: 8   Total: 20

Tasha deserves quite a bit of credit for trying to appease Hurricane Abi when she didn’t have to. Abi-Maria could’ve voted for anyone and it would not have changed the fact that Varner was going home this week. Tasha did not have to spend her entire day talking Abi down from the ledge, but she did and that should serve her in the long term. Abi is so volatile that anyone who pisses her off is begging to be sent home. Therefore, keeping her happy (when, again, she didn’t need to) was Tasha’s priority number one. She pulled it off and her alliance is sitting pretty heading into week five.

2) Jeremy Collins (-1)

Strategy: 7   Challenge: 6   Entertainment: 7   Total: 20

Jeremy drops from the top spot mostly due to a very subpar Hero Challenge performance. Just looking at the three candidates, you’d assume this was Jeremy’s challenge to win. He’s going up against two 50-year-olds in a contest that calls for you to run through the water. Jeremy looks like he’s in incredible shape, but he was gassed early and failed to beat two guys that have more than 10 years on him.

That said, Jeremy redeemed himself by continuing to improve his position in Bayon by solidifying his spot with Stephen and turning in a solid performance at the immunity challenge. Because of that, he might just be in the best place out of anyone this point and I could easily see a Jeremy-Stephen-Spencer trio getting deep into this game.

1) Joe Anglim (+1)

Strategy: 6   Challenge: 10   Entertainment: 5   Total: 21

Joe beasted yet another challenge by sprinting through the blindfolded immunity challenge while Deitz and the rest of his tribe were lost in the corner. That was an impressive display of Joe’s immense talent. He has all the skills it takes to win in this game and, unfortunately, everyone knows it.

Joe will get to around the Final 7 on pure talent alone. I just can’t see him getting much further. So, make sure to enjoy God’s gift to Survivor for now, because we’re probably four or five weeks from seeing his torch get snuffed.

Next Boot:

Angkor: Abi. Woo might seem like the easy out here and, if they think the merge is coming soon, they might go that way. That said, I think Tasha feels like she can control Woo more easily than Abi and is beginning to see that keeping Abi around is just asking for her name to be written down.

Bayon: Monica. Given what we’ve seen in the “Next Time on Survivor” clip, it looks like someone on Bayon has pissed Kimmi off, and that person happens to be a woman. I don’t see Wiglesworth as someone who’s going to try and shake things up at this point, so Monica would be her target. It looks like Monica’s girl-alliance won’t be lasting very long.

Ta Keo: Deitz. As I said last week, even if people want to get Kelley out, she’ll play her idol and send Deitz home. His only chance is to split the majority alliance and try to get them to gun for Keith or Ciera. If the tribe things the merge is a few more weeks away, I could see them trying to keep the tribe strong and get Ciera out, but that seems like a long-shot.

Survivor Second Chance Week 4 – Hurricane Abi Takes No Prisoners

Survivor

After how utterly demoralized the Angkor tribe was after the tribe expansion last week, it was tough to envision a scenario that saw them make any progress toward being a competitive tribe. Enter the Hero Challenge.

Savage stepped up to the plate to try and win some meat for Angkor in a contest against Jeremy from Bayon and Deitz from Ta Keo. It didn’t look great early, but Savage made a late game comeback and got a victory for his tribe.

It all seemed to be turning around for Angkor. God Savage had given his tribe almost as much meat as I eat on a good Saturday night and it looked like there might be some tribe loyalty being cultivated.

Well, not so fast. Angkor again struggled in the Immunity Challenge because, when Savage doesn’t get to do the challenge on his own, it means the tribe has to rely on Jeff Varner. That’s never a good thing.

As you can probably guess, Angkor lost, yet again, sending them right back to tribal council. But before we got there, we needed to see some scrambling.

The duo of Savage and Tasha quickly made it clear that they would play this vote logically and get out the one person who is a huge liability and challenges and has proven to be a schemer. Woo knew that it was between him and Varner, so he was voting for Jeff, meaning that, no matter how Abi voted, it was going to be, at worst, a 3-2 split with Varner going home.

But that’s logical and Abi-Maria doesn’t know what that word means. She was insistent that Woo needed to go home because Jeff was loyal to her and Woo had written her name down twice.

Now, both of these things are true, but Abi had to know she was behind the numbers and that, regardless of how she voted, Jeff was going home. What’s the point of fighting with your tribemates over a vote that can be decided without you? The only thing you’re doing is putting a target on your back as someone who isn’t willing to work with people.

Tasha said it perfectly when she commented that Abi is a classic “contrarian” and that “if you say something is blue, Abi will say it’s yellow”. That’s not playing Survivor well. That’s taking what the majority alliance is telling you, seeing that they’re willing to protect you because you’re #GOATstatus, and then spitting in their face.

Abi is terrible at Survivor, but she’s great at being compelling television. I’m very interested to see what is revealed in Varner’s exit interviews because he seemed to have some excellent arguments for the tribe to keep him. It appeared that he almost turned Savage and I wonder if Abi’s constant arguing with Tasha hurt his case.

Either way, Varner gets the unlucky boot. He might have been hurt the most by the tribe swap, even though his old Ta Keo tribemates had the numbers advantage in Angkor. In the end, Varner just played too hard, too fast. That said, I think he also played himself into a third season, if he wants it. He’s just too fun to watch for Probst and the casting crew to not do everything it takes to bring him back for one more rodeo.

Other Highlights:

#KuddlesKass is taking the most advantage of her second chance. She’s actually changing how people view her and giving herself a real opportunity to go far in this game. Like many, I assumed Kass would be out in the first three or four episodes at best. She’s proving me wrong by building friendship bracelets, of all things. It is confirmed, she in no longer “a little turd”.

In the edit, Jeremy looks incredibly well positioned right now. He’s bonding with Spencer over the women in their lives, he’s talking strategy with Stephen and trying to become the “new JT”, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he and Monica or Kimmi have a solid relationship given how well he worked with the women of his tribe in his original season. Of course, that means Jeremy is probably in for a downfall soon. The #WinnersEdit is too strong, too early for me to have hope in my personal favorite. So, enjoy it now Jeremy fans. He might not be long for this island.

Monica Padilla is in this game people! Was this her first confessional? It’s certainly the first I remember. Of course, it was just the typical “girl power”-esque confessional that every girl ever gives, but it was a moment! Is this the start of her ascension to the top of the Cambodia mountain? Does Cambodia have mountains? Probably not to the latter and Google says yes, Cambodia does have mountains.

What a great immunity challenge. It had hilarity, it had heart, it even had a tribe completely gassed and giving out. The best moments were Deitz constantly being lost, Joey Amazing just dominating the blindfolded portion of the challenge, the countless number of people getting hurt (Abi screaming, “AYYYE” was probably the best of these moments), and Kass screaming at people like an overcaffeinated drill sergeant.

That’s all for this week. Will next week finally bring the downfall of #AbiTime? Or will Angkor finally get their act together? Only time will tell, but here’s hoping that the lens gets shifted someone else, just this once.

Survivor Second Chance – Week Three Power Rankings

Survivor

This past week has been absolutely insane at my workplace, so, instead of posting my usual two articles, I’m just posting a very truncated version of my power rankings. Hopefully next week will be a return to my more in-depth analysis.

18) Peih-Gee Law

Strategy: 2   Challenge: 4   Entertainment: 6   Total: 12

Peih-Geesus shoulda stuck with Varner as the out. Going after Hurricane Gomes was just too much for the fragile Angokor alliance to handle. Sucks to have a top tier player out so early.

17) Woo Hwang

Strategy: 3   Challenge: 6   Entertainment: 5   Total: 14

Can Woo buy a break? He sure can’t find one on his own. At least the #WooFace continues to be hilarious. Better luck next time, buddy.

16) Kelley Wentworth

Strategy: 4   Challenge: 5   Entertainment: 6   Total: 15

Kelley takes a tumble this week because I think she’s misplaying her new tribe. She and Deitz are on the wrong side of the numbers and she’s overplaying it right now. She’s trying way too hard to get the target on Deitz and it might cost her the hidden idol. Hopefully Ta Keo continues to dominate challenges.

12 (tie) Ciera Eastin, Kelly Wiglesworth, Monica Padilla, & Kimmi Kappenberg

Strategy: 5 Challenge: 5   Entertainment: 5   Total: 15

In a shining moment of the #NothingGirls, Monica actually had a confessional this week. Of course, she did nothing in it, which seems appropriate.

11) Stephen Fishbach

Strategy: 5   Challenge: 4   Entertainment: 6   Total: 15

Fishbach should probably participate in a challenge at some point. I get the idea behind trying not to look like a threat, but, at this point, you’re just hurting your tribe and putting yourself in a position to go to Tribal Council.

10) Keith Nale

Strategy: 5  Challenge: 6   Entertainment: 5   Total: 16

Keith can pull a wagon pretty hard. Good job Keith.

9) Terry Deitz

Strategy: 6 Challenge: 6   Entertainment: 5   Total: 17

Deitz, unlike Wentworth, is slow-playing his new tribe. This is the smarter move on the surface, but Wentworth has the idol and that could screw Deitz over.

8) Kass McQuillen

Strategy: 5   Challenge: 7   Entertainment: 5   Total: 17

Kass did a great job in the challenge. Helping Joey Amazing dominate the puzzle and get Ta Keo the first of what could be a string of victories.

7) Spencer Bledsoe

Strategy: 6   Challenge: 6   Entertainment: 7   Total: 19

Spencer proves he has feelings by talking about a story where he shows no feelings. #Logic. But seriously, it’s a good move to open up to Jeremy who is the power player on that tribe. The Young Lad looks to be in a good spot right now.

6) Jeff Varner

Strategy: 8   Challenge: 3   Entertainment: 9   Total: 20

Does Varner even show up to challenges? Also, how much longer can his gameplay keep him in the game? He’s overplaying everything, but somehow staying in, so you have to give him props. That said, I can’t see him lasting too much longer.

5) Tasha Fox

Strategy: 7   Challenge: 5   Entertainment: 8   Total: 20

Tasha did an excellent job of flipping the numbers away from her and Savage. It was her gameplay that ultimately saved them, but I thought she performed relatively poorly in the challenge. That said, her “we got a rat” moment was the highlight of the episode.

4) Andrew Savage

Strategy: 7   Challenge: 7   Entertainment: 7   Total: 21

Savage mostly just sat around and let Tasha make moves. Because of that, he’s now in a pretty good place and shouldn’t be the first out the next time Angkor goes to Tribal Council.

3) Abi-Maria Gomes

Strategy: 6   Challenge: 5   Entertainment: 10   Total: 21

Abi sucks at everything that’s not making good TV. That said, she somehow got the numbers to go after Peih-Gee, who is a rational human being. As opposed to Abi, whom is a grenade waiting to explode. At this point, she has to be the most likely goat of the season and might just be the safest person on the Angkor tribe. Survivor, everyone.

2) Joe Anglim

Strategy: 5   Challenge: 10   Entertainment: 6   Total: 21

Don’t stop being you, Joe.

1) Jeremy Collins

Strategy: 7   Challenge: 10   Entertainment: 7   Total: 24

That idol grab though.

Next Boot:

Angkor: Varner. Woo seems like the easy boot, but I think Savage and Tasha will flip to get out the schemer and keep the Woo. I don’t think Savage or Tasha will go because I can’t see Abi and Woo working together after her comments at the end of tribal last week. And Abi won’t go because #GOATstatus.

Ta Keo: Deitz. People will want to vote for Kelley Wentworth, but she’ll play her idol and force out Deitz. That’s too bad because Deitz is a much more interesting player than Keith.

Bayon: One of the girls. Wiglesworth is the obvious option and probably the most likely. However, my mind would not be blown if Monica or Kimmi went home. All three are basically dead weight (though Wiglesworth does sort of contribute in challenges) and, outside of challenging Abi for the goat throne, none have anything to offer viewers.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt “Review”

Reviews, Video Games

Summer is really tough time for my video game habit. I spend 10-12 weeks as a camp counselor in the woods of Arkansas where good Internet access is nothing more than a pipedream and free time is funny joke. Thus, when someone like CD Projekt Red drops a mega-release like the Witcher 3 in early May, it really grinds my gears.

I just don’t have the time to beat a 200-hour game (let alone a 20-hour game) during the summer. Does that make this review pointless? Maybe, but I like writing and (spoiler alert) I like this game. So, I’m going to write a thousand or so words detailing what I like and don’t like about the Witcher 3 and I hope you read it. You probably know if this is a game for you or not, but maybe I’ll say something super profound that you never released and it will flip your opinion one way or the other (unlikely).

The Witcher 3 is an interesting game to review because, while I personally love it, I don’t know if I can fully recommend it to everyone. It’s an amazing example of good, Triple A story-telling in video gaming, but it’s also ridiculously bloated with content and your average person might not have the time needed to see it to the end. Let’s be honest, there are countless experiences out there for you to have and you could easily play through 10-15 great indie games before someone else finishes the Witcher. I wish I could just say, “play this game and play it now”, but there’s a certain value judgment that you’ll have to make for yourself.

That said, this game does some things really well. I love how the game builds characters, first and foremost. Everyone has a story to tell in this world. You never know exactly where the narrative is going to tell you because CD Projekt Red has made every person you talk to interesting. They all have interesting things to say and by building up the supporting characters into lifelike people, they’ve succeeded in making their world feel real. To often in major RPGs you’re interacting with countless characters that don’t really matter. That isn’t the case in the Witcher 3. Everyone has something to say and every quest is worth your time.

It really is incredible how much CD Projekt Red has fit into this game. What would past for major story quests in other games are simply side quest fodder in this game. The main story is huge and is going to take a concentrated from even the most dedicated players to complete. Some might see that as a negative, but I loved the feeling that I was embroiled in a Game of Thrones-like quest of political intrigue (sadly, the presence of dragons is pretty minimal). You feel like you’re shaping a kingdom (or four) through your actions. It is unquestionably epic in scale and CD Projekt Red should be commended for building something so grandiose in its scope and narrative. Not many games can pull it off, but the Witcher 3 does it admirably.

Graphically, the Witcher 3 holds up to any other game released on modern consoles (personally, I played through it on the PS4). It should be noted that I was most impressed by how well the game conveys its epic scope through truly incredible backdrops. It’s not often that modern games take my breath when stopping to look at the backgrounds, but that’s exactly what happened multiple times over my playthrough. The character models look excellent, but it’s the background scenery that really did it for me, personally.

Combat is standard, third-person action game fare. You have some magic options at your disposal in the form of signs, which can combo with your other attacks in pretty interesting ways. I can see others getting really into making sure you’re using the correct oils on your weapon for every encounter, but at lower difficult levels it never felt necessary. The same could be said for bombs, which were an option I dabbled, but never felt required for combat. All in all, the action serves as merely something to do between watching the game’s story unfold around you.

The game does have some negatives; none of them are game-breaking, however. Controlling your horse, Roach, was probably the source of my biggest frustration. He seems to have a mind of his own at times, often veering off course, forcing me to constantly rein him in. It’s realistic, in a way, but doesn’t seem necessary.

And unfortunately, with such a huge map, you’re going to be forced into riding Roach quite a bit. The developers could have offset this with a competent fast-travel system; instead, we have a system where you can only fast-travel between signposts for reasons? If you’re going to bother putting in a system to allow players to quickly move about your world, don’t make them needlessly go to various types of warp gates. That’s essentially what the signposts are and I truly can’t see a reason besides “it’s thematic”. That makes them an annoyance and wastes my time.

My last big gripe is more reasonable. As you would expect from game so huge, there is quite a bit of slow-down in any area with more than 20 NPCs. Now, is it annoying to have your game stop for 10 seconds and load 25 times while you walk through the city? Absolutely. That said, it’s something I can live with when CD Projekt Red has put together a world that is so rich and full of life.

And really, that’s how I feel about any problems I have with the game. Looking back, there’s nothing here that could have stopped me from wanting to see the conclusion of the arc. The world and character building is just so good, that average gameplay and a few technical problems aren’t near enough to keep me from loving this game. Will you love it? That’s a little harder to say. This is a dense chunk of content that’s going to take you weeks to chew on. That’s a hard sell for some players, but if you have the time, you should absolutely pick this one up.

Should You Play It? YES (with some reservations).

Survivor Second Chance – Week Two Power Rankings

Survivor

The second week of my power rankings brings quite a bit of shakeup, following Shirin’s boot. That obviously hurt her quite a bit, but also dropped Spencer down quite a few spots. On the positive side, Deitz and Abi both saw big gains and would be positioned solidly if not for the upcoming split that takes us from two tribes to three.

Because of that, it’s hard to see how well these rankings hold up after next week. It seems likely that we’re going to see some massive shakeups. Therefore, I’m going to include a “most-likely” eliminated category at the end of this post. Anyways, on to the rankings!

19) Shrin Oskooi

Strategy: 2   Challenge: 4   Entertainment: 6   Total: 12

Shirin found herself on the outs this week after failing to come to Abi-Maria’s side after Peih-Gee and Abi had a fight. Shirin came into the season wanting to play with “logical”, “strategic” players and assumed that, on a season of second chances, everyone else would play the same as she did. Unfortunately, that’s not Survivor and Shirin’s failings in building relationships was her downfall. Plus, she didn’t help herself by screwing up the puzzle during the immunity challenge.

17(tie) Kimmi Kappenberg and Kass McQuillen

Strategy: 5   Challenge: 4   Entertainment: 5   Total: 14

Neither Kappenberg nor Kass did much this week besides listen to Savage talk about his spread of Playboy magazines. Oh, and how much he misses his wife, but I couldn’t focus on his story after he began by basically saying, “so my supermodel wife came in and my office was covered in Playboys”. What woman comes into a grown man’s office and decides, “This is something I want” in that moment? Very strange. Anyways, I’m docking Kapp and Kass a point because they had a lead heading into the immunity puzzle and gave it away, only for Joey Amazing to steal the show and win it for Bayon anyways.

16) Stephen Fishbach

Strategy: 3   Challenge: 5   Entertainment: 6   Total: 14

Fishbach continues to be solid confessional; however, I’m starting to seriously question his “Know-It-All” status. Your tribe has already branded you an Idol hunter and a schemer and instead of laying low and praying to the island gods, you keep bringing up the Idol. I get Fishbach, I do. You’re thinking that if more people are seen as looking for clues then the target slides off your back a little. However, you’re failing massively to read the social clues and actually assess the situation. It was obvious Jeremy was torn up because he misses his wife and trying to throw shade in front of Savage (someone who already wants you out, by the way) was the last thing you should be doing. Fishbach is playing pretty sloppily so far, but I think the split will help him quite a bit.

12 (tie) Ciera Eastin, Kelly Wiglesworth, Monica Padilla, & Tasha Fox

Strategy: 5 Challenge: 5   Entertainment: 5   Total: 15

Wiglesworth and Tasha join Ciera and Monica in the ranks of women who aren’t doing anything of note this week. Ciera, at the very least, had the moment where it was decided that she brings so little to her tribe athletically that she should sit out of the challenge. These people are barely playing right now, which means they’ll be super important post-merge…probably.

11) Keith Nale

Strategy: 5   Challenge: 6   Entertainment: 5   Total: 16

Much like the logjam of ladies at the twelve spot, Keith was almost invisible this week. I’m giving him a point in the “Challenge” category because he was deemed stronger than Fishbach in the Immunity challenge, so there’s that.

10) Spencer Bledsoe

Strategy: 4  Challenge: 6   Entertainment: 7 Total: 17

Spencer took an eight-point plunge this week, but, unlike Shirin, he’s still in the game, so he’ll take it. I actually think, regardless of the tribe split, Spencer’s in a good spot. He lost his biggest ally, which forces him to take a much more subdued approach to pre-merge game and play humbly. I think that helps the young lad in the short-term and sets him up for a solid run after the merge. That said, I think the split is going to take this a different way and allow Spencer to continue to try and dominate this season’s strategy. We’ll see if he’s successful or not.

9) Peih-Gee Law

Strategy: 6 Challenge: 5   Entertainment: 6   Total: 17

Peih-Gee gets some points here for continuing to be around, which continues to set off Abi and make for good TV. Plus, PG has found herself on the right side of the numbers twice in a row after the tribe has flipped. I think she and Jeff Varner have a shot at being a power couple that might just dominate the game.

8) Woo Hwang

Strategy: 6   Challenge: 4   Entertainment: 7  Total: 17

Woo impressed this week when he shut down Spencer and Shirin’s deal. I think Cagayan Woo takes that deal and gets burned. Woo’s shown some growth and him being straight up in his refusal to Spencer and Shirin was one of the best moments of the night.

7) Terry Deitz

Strategy: 7   Challenge: 4   Entertainment: 6   Total: 17

Terry the Challenge Beast has feelings? What? Deitz played counselor for Abi-Maria and that’s basically the reason Shirin went home. It wasn’t the biggest move in Survivor, but it’s small moves like this that win Survivor. Deitz is growing as a player before our eyes and it’s been a great experience so far.

6) Abi-Maria Gomes

Strategy: 4   Challenge: 5   Entertainment: 9   Total: 18

I don’t think Abi has a strategy outside of “piss people off”. Even before she flipped, her single move was to be annoying. Thus, I can’t give her any points for strategy, because she doesn’t have one. That said, only one person on this season has been more entertaining and he seems to plan on bringing Abi to the end, so, in spite of everything she does, Abi is in a great spot.

5) Andrew Savage

Strategy: 6   Challenge: 6   Entertainment: 7   Total: 19

Savage’s love of Playboy aside, I was impressed by his determination and will in the Immunity challenge this week. Savage struggled a bit getting over the A-frames, even falling off at one point. But then he dug deep and ripped his hands to shreds to get his team a lead in the box-pulling portion of the challenge. That showed me how bad he wants this. I don’t know if he’s strategic enough to get it, but, even at his advanced age, he’s a massive physical threat.

4) Kelley Wentworth

Strategy: 8   Challenge: 5   Entertainment: 6   Total: 19

Kelley did not actually do much this week and that’s what gets her so high on the list. It would’ve been easy to see her trying to keep her alliance with Shirin and Spencer strong and hurt her own game in the process. However, she immediately flipped with the numbers and voted out her alliance. Staying with the numbers this early is key and, while it would’ve been great TV to see her use the Idol on Shirin and blindside someone like Varner, this move puts in her in a great long-term position.

3) Jeremy Collins

Strategy: 7   Challenge: 9   Entertainment: 6   Total: 22

Jeremy and the Alpha Males stayed strong this week and they continued to successfully put the target squarely on Fishbach’s shoulders. Jeremy also played a big part in Bayon winning immunity for the second straight week. He and Joe were constantly shown helping weaker teammates over the A frames and the Alpha Males absolutely destroyed the box pulling portion of the challenge. A solid week for Jeremy, all around.

2) Jeff Varner

Strategy: 9   Challenge: 3   Entertainment: 10   Total: 22

Varner is the best character on your television sets right now. Like Spencer said last week, “Jeff Varner is a crazy man”. Last week, he flipped on his pre-show alliance to vote out one of the few strong males on his tribe. This week, he somehow convinced them he would come back over and vote out one of the two major threats who had already successfully put together a majority alliance. Okay, good luck with that one Varner. No way it happens, but props for trying. Wait, what? Abi-Maria is another a fight? That’s not that surprising, but hold on. Is that Deitz comforting her instead of Shirin. That’s weird. Oh, now Abi’s flipped and Varner has her locked down? Okay, but I don’t think Peih-Gee would vote with Abi and Kelley seems locked with….wait. PG doesn’t care and will flip and Kelley is just going to follow the numbers? Jeff Varner you are insane, but it sure does work for you. Godspeed, you crazy animal.

1) Joe Anglim

Strategy: 6   Challenge: 10   Entertainment: 8   Total: 24

Is there anything Joe can’t do? He turns fishing nets into hammocks. He willed his do-nothing girls over the A-frames at the Immunity challenges. He beat Shirin and Spencer at puzzle solving. He builds his own fishery, for goodness sake! He is just better than you or I at everything in Survivor. And for all that work, he’s gone the second the merge ends. Thanks for playing Joe! Maybe you’ll get your Redemption Island season later on as a thank you victory from CBS.

Next Boot:

Before I get into who I think is on the chopping block next week, let’s take a look at the spoiled split tribes. I’m not sure if these are completely confirmed, but potential spoilers for the rest of this post.

Angkor : Abi, Varner, PG, Savage, Woo, Tasha

Bayon : Jeremy, Kelly, Spencer, Stephen, Kimmi, Monica

Ta Keo : Ciera, Joe, Kass, Keith, Kelley, Terry

So, looking at these tribes there are some pretty obvious first boots among the new tribes. For Angkor, I think Savage is in a super bad position. Varner and PG are a mighty dynamic duo and they’ve secured Abi and Woo’s votes this past week. Varner is going to view Savage as a mega-threat to his immediate game and this tribe looks to be the weakest physically, so I would not be surprised to see them at Tribal this next week.

The new Bayon is very interesting. On one hand, I can see Spencer and Stephen forming a duo and going after Jeremy. On the other, I get the feeling that Jeremy will continue forward with his “surround and drown” strategy by teaming up with the women to come after Fishbach. While I’d love to see Spencer and Fishbach make a power couple, I think one of those two is the likely first boots from new Bayon.

New Ta Keo looks the most wide-open of the three new tribes. Joe and Kass seem to be in a somewhat stable alliance and I think they could easily bring in Ciera for numbers. Terry and Keith may bond over their age and old-school approach. Which makes Kelley the wildcard. My gut says the first out here will either be Terry or Kass, but who knows with this group.

Thus, in no particular order, I’m guessing Savage, Fishbach or Terry will be the next person out of the game. Will I be correct? We’ll find out next week.

Survivor Second Chance Week 2 – From the Driver’s Seat to Roadkill

Survivor

Following last week’s premiere, I had Shirin placed pretty high in my Power Rankings and felt that she had a great opportunity to make it through the merge with her core alliance of Spencer, Abi, and Kelley. Boy, was I wrong.

Shirin and Spencer, for all their skills at strategizing, overlooked the importance of making real, emotional connections with people. For Spencer, that’s not surprising, but Shirin seemed like someone who could forge relationships if given the chance.

And it looked good at the start. Shirin had brought Abi-Maria in and seemed to have her locked down after helping save her last week. She also looked strong with Kelley, who has the hidden immunity idol and looks like a major player in this game. She even convinced Jeff Varner to jump to her side to get out Vytas!

But from the start of Week two’s episode, it was clear that Varner was only with Shirin and Spencer’s side for one week. He correctly identified them as two major threats to his game and immediately started working on Terry and Wiglesworth to get S&S out (one week after seemingly turning on the Old Schoolers, by the way).

Even without Varner, Shirin and Spencer seemed to be in a decent spot because they had Abi and Shirin looked to be making in-roads with Peih-Gee. Then it all quickly went down the toilet.

If you’ve seen the episode, you know that Peih-Gee and Shirin were talking smack about Abi, who just happened to overhear. From there, Abi was mostly restrained, but still obviously angry with the two women who were, ostensibly, in her alliance. That was bad enough, but then, with Abi sitting in the dark on her own, Shirin, Spencer, and the gang started making fun of her even more. Interestingly, Terry was the only person willing to go out and comfort Abi.

That right there was your episode. Abi is so emotional, that the second Shirin literally left her in the dark, she was going to latch on to whoever came to her aid. With Abi now on the side of the “Old-Schoolers”, it was very easy and smart for Kelley and Peih-Gee to follow the numbers and vote off either Spencer or Shirin.

Shirin was the right choice out of the two. She doesn’t help at all in challenges and she’s proven to be better at cultivating personal relationships. The tribe needs Spencer for challenges (though, it looks like we’re getting a tribe split next week) and, while he’s an outstanding strategic player, he still struggles to connect with people. Shirin is more dangerous in the short-term and Varner had to get her out ASAP.

Other Highlights:

Jeff Varner is just dominating this game (and the confessionals) thus far. He might be playing the game just a little too hard, but for now, he’s running his tribe. Personally, I wouldn’t love having to play with someone who flips alliances so easily. That said, he’s great TV. Can he keep up the maniac pace or will the constant gameplay come back to bite him? I can’t wait to find out.

Can I get Joey Amazing to come decorate my house? Did HGTV just get their next big show? Joey Amazing, Survivor Decorator. My girlfriend makes me watch enough HGTV that I know for a fact that show would sell.

Abi is going to be someone’s goat this year. She just cannot stop being annoying and catty. If she doesn’t make the merge, I’ll be very surprised. She’s a great shield and a valuable vote for a smart player like Varner. Shirin really crapped the bed by letting her get away from her alliance.

How hilarious is it that, when Jeremy has to take a moment after hearing Savage’s heartfelt story about his wife, Fishbach immediately tries to throw shade by saying Jeremy is looking for the Idol? He thinks has to do it because so many people have accused him of doing that exact same thing. On the surface that maybe seems like a smart move; however, he needs to consider who his tribe is. Savage (the de facto leader of Bayon) values personal connections and challenge strength and wants to get out schemers. Why would you not downplay your strategically mind to try and slip under the radar? Fishbach needs a tribe swap, and he needs it now.

Woo is certainly not a great strategic mind; however, I feel that last season, he’s much more likely to take Shirin and Spencer’s transparent deal. He seems to have grown a lot in his knowledge of the game from his time on Cagayan. Of course, others might see him continuing to play up the “honorable” strategy he had with Tony. That said, I think it shows some real Woo growth that he shut down Shirin and Spencer almost immediately.

A lot of people are drawing parallels between Abi in this season and Shirin in her original season. I just don’t see it past the surface level. Abi instigated a fight and was actively arguing with Peih-Gee. Shirin mostly sat there and took the verbal abuse Will was giving her. Not only that, but Shirin owned up to her mistakes while Will felt that he was completely justified. That seems like the big difference between the two situations. Shirin actually treated Abi like a person, Will did not.