October 25, 2015

Survivor Cambodia - Second Chance: Bayon's First Blindside

10/25/2015 Posted by Mel Got Served , , No comments
Week 5

Comfort is up for grabs in this week's Reward Challenge with lots of comfy chairs, pillows, candles, blankets, hammock, beverages, and most importantly a tarp to stay dry. But to get such finer things, the tribes have got to compete. The challenge is for one survivor to get inside a bucket and get rolled around a course, collecting bags of balls along the way, ending in a big ol' skee ball game. What boggles my mind is that no one hurls inside the buckets but I guess that means the tribes chose wisely. The most intense round of skee ball plays out as all three rollers are pretty much head-to-head. Keith mains his ball-related dominance in challenges and wins the massive comfort prize pack for Ta Kao. Angkor overcomes their tendency to lose everything and comes in second to secure their tribe a tarp. A small victory for their garbage beach.

Ta Keo toasts their success as a tribe, just killing it in all the challenges since the shuffle. Life is plentiful at Ta Keo beach, but there's still a game at play. With Terry out fishing, the remaining five Ta Keo make a "solid five" deal. Joe is relieved to have allies in the first half of the game this time around so maybe he won't get taken out quickly at the merge. Keith is excited to have a real alliance because last season he didn't "hook up with nobody" because I guess he forgot the couple times he sort of in an alliance and accidentally screwed them over. But hey, second chances all around as Jeff Probst reminds us every 11 minutes.

After sending Jeff Varner to "a better place" (Savage, he's at Ponderosa not in a coffin), Angkor is feeling slightly more solid. They've got a challenge win together, a tarp, and they've even begun to bond a bit. However the tribe still has one bomb waiting to implode: Abi-Maria. She still dislikes Woo, now claiming that Woo's story about his mom's heart transplant was used solely for sympathy and to get him further in the game. Remind us again Abi, what would happen if Woo voted for you again? Oh that's right, he's dead to you. Tasha's role as babysitter is wearing on her, but she understands she has to tolerate Abi for her game and not let the personal irritations get in her way... for now.

The ladies of Bayon have taken on the role of food gatherers, searching the ocean for clams. The bountiful harvest of clams leads to a little clam fight between Monica and Kimmi over whether they should take all the clams or save some for down the line. This dumb fight tests Kimmi's patience but she realizes fighting over clams might be a bad use of her resources and tries to chill. Spencer and Jeremy continue to develop their friendship while fishing in the Bayon tribe boat which honestly looks like a contender for World's Largest Basket.

The Immunity Challenge is for members of the tribe to race through obstacles and climb to the top of a platform to launch sandbags on a slingshot at five targets. In a move just like a movie where a lovable kid scores a goal in the wrong net, Stephen shoots his sandbag and hits one of Angkor's targets instead. Oh Stephen! He's got the Charlie Brown edit. Angkor wins immunity first, hugging and celebrating their newfound winning status. Ta Keo is able to outlaunch Bayon and wins immunity as well, which means the Bayon tribe will head to Tribal Council for the first time. "I think there's nothing wrong with going to Tribal Council," Monica tells Probst and immediately I'm like, "Famous last words, girl."

Since Bayon has four original Bayons and two Ta Keo leftovers, the targets easily fall on Spencer and Kelly Wiglesworth. Jeremy, Monica, and Stephen agree on voting out Kelly because while they trust her, Spencer has no other allies and needs them more. Monica, however, does not want to get rid of Kelly and mentions to Kimmi the idea of keeping Kelly to begin a girls alliance. Monica, everyone knows the term "girls alliance" is basically a Survivor curse to get you sent packing. Kimmi is taken aback by their girl's alliance thing and realizes Monica isn't playing for Bayon, but for herself. The conversation is quickly relayed to Jeremy and Stephen, who suddenly worry that their fourth ally is turning on them and would potentially flip the game too soon. Kimmi's suggestion to protect their group: blindside Monica before she turns on them. Stephen warns Jeremy that a move to blindside an original Bayon sends a message to their former tribemates that they are willing to betray their original tribe. It's a game move that could affect the entire game going forward.

Tribal Council time! Stephen and Monica come dressed to impress in business casual, because sometimes you just want to look fancy for Jeff Probst. While no one wants to be at Tribal Council, it's agreed that this is the one place in the game where you truly learn who you can trust. The old school vs. new school gameplay is discussed, while old school being based on trust, while the new school is very erratic and making moves constantly. Spencer really plays up the strength and bond of Bayon as a tribe, instead of individuals, to play up his closeness with the group. He's a smooth Tribal talker. There's agreement that it sucks to build relationships and then stomp then out, but that's also the nature of the game. And then Bayon votes! Spencer and Kelly both vote for each other and Monica sticks to the original agreement to vote out Kelly. But sorry Monica, it's a blindside as the three Bayons members betray their agreement and vote her out.

[All images credited to CBS]

October 18, 2015

Survivor Cambodia - Second Chance: Angkors Away

10/18/2015 Posted by Mel Got Served , , No comments
Week 4

The Reward Challenge this week is a change of pace and dubbed the "Hero Challenge" where only one representative for each tribe competes. Either there was an agreement between the oldies or Joe just decided to take a day off, the participants are Terry Dietz, Andrew Savage, and Jeremy. The survivors have to race into the ocean to retrieve sandbags, then launch them off a plank high up onto a net. The sun is setting as the three guys wearily run in and out of the ocean to win some grub for their tribe. Jeff Probst's ultimate mancrush Savage wins reward for the starving and deteriorating Angkor tribe, who then get a barbecue set to feast on sausage and veggies. It seems like the second wind the tribe needs. Dietz comes in second to win a smaller barbeque set for Ta Kao. And Bayon leaves with nothing but frowns.

Angkor's brief respite from hunger is helpful and inspiring, but the tribe is still a mess. While Tasha is definitely riding high on flipping her spot on the tribe to become top dog, she quickly learns the consequences of becoming Abi-Maria's island babysitter. Abi's latest drama to complain about is that Woo has now voted for her twice which she believes is personal. In hindsight, Tasha wishes they voted out Varner for his actions at the last immunity challenge because he's not to be trusted.

Over at Bayon, Jeremy bonds with Stephen by pretending they're still searching for idols together, that way they can be allies and Jeremy will be tipped off one day when he's the target. Oh how I love when an idol actually remains a secret for a good future surprise. Spencer begins to make in-roads with the guys on the tribe and explains that while Spencer is a free agent, Kelly Wigglesworth is completely controlled by Jeff Varner, Woo, and Terry and therefore a better target. Monica, who suddenly gets air time, thinks Spencer is making this all up to save himself and instead wants to target Spencer should Bayon have to go to Tribal Council. The girl alliance dream is alive in Monica.

A pre-Survivor reading of "How to Win Friends and Influence People" has helped Kass improve her social game and be less of a Kasshole this time around. As Ta Keo sleeps under their shelter, Kass is wide awake crafting away. She's got string and some beads which she cut off torches and bags and sits alone stringing together what has to be a fake immunity idol. Kelley Wentworth goes to check in on Kass and is shoo-ed away, which doesn't help suspicion. Kass places her Krafts by Kass creation into one of the little tribe swap boxes and brings it over to Kelley. "Happy Belated Birthday!" Kass exclaims and gifts Kelley with a good luck charm for her birthday. Everyone admits they totally thought Kass was up to her old tricks. Nice Kass... what is happening?!

This week's Immunity Challenge is a Survivor classic, or at least now famous for giving a woman a bloody head wound. There's no air-lifting piece this season, instead one caller stands from high-above as they direct tribemates to retrieve giant Tetris pieces. Once all the pieces have been collected, the tribe will assemble a big cube puzzle. No surprise, this challenge is a mess. Ta Keo look like lost children with Terry flailing his arms and Keith constantly yelling that he can't hear caller Kass. They eventually employ the let-Joey-Amazing-do-nearly-everything strategy. And then everyone else is dropping and bumping into the heavy pieces. To the groin, to the stomach, to the leg. It's shocking there wasn't a legit broken bone at this challenge because it's obvious these heavy pieces were causing a lot of damage. Angkor has absolutely no strength or energy left in them and can't even complete the puzzle. The challenge ends with Bayon winning first place and Ta Keo finishing second.

It's another downer day for a bruised and exhausted Angkor. Varner dropped a puzzle piece on his foot and really injured his pinky toe. With a vote near, Tasha worries about losing grasp of Abi since relying on Abi has screwed over multiple people this season. Tasha and Savage agree Varner is cunning and a good schemer so he needs to go. Only problem: Abi won't shut up about Woo. She doesn't trust Woo since he's voted for her twice and she wants him gone. Woo tries to appeal to Abi, but she shuts him down. Tasha tries to talk sense into Abi, whose response is, "But Woo..." blah blah. Tasha rolls her eyes at Abi's stubbornness and realizes she could lose Abi to Varner quickly. Everyone bowing down to Abi's whims just to keep her as a number on their side. I wish another tribe would lose so we could see a different story play out on this show.

Tribal Council time! Varner hobbles in with a cane, so of course Probst asks about the injury and the brutal physical challenge that slaughtered the tribe. But he's interrupted by a big ass bug flying in, who is the season's second wildlife scene stealer besides the adorable baby monkey. Abi confirms at Tribal that the vote is between Woo and Varner, but she's torn between loyalty and winning challenges. When Savage brings up that in a merge situation having challenge winners around isn't a good thing, Woo defends himself and reminds them the merge is a long way off. Woo insists he's "ride or die" with his loyalty to this alliance, and Varner points out that Woo voted against that alliance last week. Varner pitches himself to the tribe so they'll see his value and loyalty, which of course includes sweet talking Abi about how he's so loyal to her and he'd never vote for her. Abi replies with a mix between a groan and a sigh. Woo doesn't bow down though and defends himself by throwing Varner's alliances with other old schoolers into the mix and that he could flip once they team up again. Probst is just stirring from excitement at the drive and fight the two players have to stay. Before voting, Woo gives one last plea to Abi that he promises loyalty to her and she responds, "Make sure you don't write Abi!" He doesn't. The Angkor tribe votes off scene-stealer Jeff Varner and his battered toe.

[All images credited to CBS]

October 11, 2015

Survivor Cambodia - Second Chance: We Got a Rat

10/11/2015 Posted by Mel Got Served , , No comments
Week 3

As everyone voiceovers how super comfy (or terrified) they and that they're running ish, a twist has gotta happen. The two tribes meet up with Probst to discover they're shuffling tribes. Oh wait, twist again because you returnees don't know everything: it's three tribes! Two to three tribes, it's never been done before. Given he was pretty much screwed since day one, this reveal is like Christmas morning to Stephen who is so elated to change his doomed fate. Savage has the exact opposite reaction and pouts like a spoiled child, which is annoying but not surprising. Each survivor grabs a little wooden box and opens to find their new tribes. The third tribe added to the game is Angkor, rocking the cursed yellow buffs. Each tribe coincidentally has a 4-2 advantage so obvious strategy is for each majority to pick off the two. But nothing is that easy on Survivor.

The new Ta Keo includes Kass, Ciera, Keith, Joe, Kelley Wentworth, and Terry. Thank god Kelley's back at her home beach where she hid her immunity idol last week. Knowing that she's clearly screwed in the numbers, she quickly throws Terry under the bus as we all would.  While Terry is confident that they'll always win the challenges, Kelley plays her social game and plants the seeds of Terry possibly having an idol. Bayon remains dominated by former Bayons with Jeremy, Stephen, Monica, and Kimmi but adding on Spencer and Kelly Wigglesworth. Stephen is quickly like, "Oh awesome, our four can pick them off!" but soon Spencer is making in-roads by actually getting to know people on a human level and share emotions. We get it with the heavy-handed second chances, Spencer. This is your time to become a better man. The original Bayon decides to stay dominant they need the hidden immunity idol so everyone scrambles. Jeremy finds the clue to the idol and discovers he'll have to be sneaky at the next challenge if he wants to snag that little token.

And then there's Angkor. The cursed yellow buff is only the first sign of the disaster this tribe could be. First, the group has to build shelter from scratch again. Second, Peih-Gee and Abi-Maria are still on a tribe together and while they should stay four-strong, they can't. Woo and Jeff Varner hope for their four to stick together to vote off Tasha and Savage, and man would that be sweet because I'm not a Savage fan. Tasha and Savage agree that they need to flip someone to their side, and well lookie there a bitter and cranky Abi-Maria is a great candidate given her scathing hatred of Peih-Gee. Tasha gets to work making Abi feel like a million bucks, but once Varner is approached he realizes the pair are playing hard and could take away one of his allies and ruin the Ta Keo strong movement.

This week's immunity challenge is a throwback to a Cagayan challenge, which Probst has to ram down viewers' throats by reminding us Spencer, Kass, and Tasha blew this challenge previously. Two will have a second chance to win this challenge, one person's second chance will be a second failure. Oh dear god we get it Jeff. Ugh, please stop. I know you won't, but please. Anyways, the challenge is to push a cart through an obstacle course while collecting keys from tall poles and adding big heavy chests onto the cart. They keys unlock the chests full of puzzle pieces, which is a big round puzzle of dragons. Of course we're all watching wondering if Jeremy can sneak away to grab the idol from beneath a chest's platform. He easily gets his immunity idol with none the wiser and with a slight bulge added to his cargo shorts. Ta Keo gets a massive lead on everyone and finishes first. It's a close call between Bayon and Angkor, but Bayon is able to pull out second place for their safety. In the last seconds of the puzzle, Tasha suddenly shouts, "WE'VE GOT A RAT!" Turns out Varner mouthed something to Kelly over on Bayon and got caught, quickly trying to cover his guilty butt. Varner outs that he made deals with Savage and Tasha, who also made deals with others. Poor Woo is like, "Are we still in an alliance? Why didn't you make a deal with me?" Oh bless you're game ignorant heart, Woo. Angkor is going down fast.

Now you're think Angkor would be going after "the rat" but somehow Varner is able to evade this whole debacle. Abi initially plans to vote off Varner for being unpredictable and still having his former alliance on the brain, but Peih-Gee is wish-washy on the issue which bugs Abi. Abi is aware that she is on the bottom of the four and wouldn't be on the bottom with the two (um, yes you are). Tasha and Savage really hustle to save their butts, campaigning about the strength they bring to challenges, and telling every person what they need to hear. Suddenly it's Peih-Gee or Abi-Maria that are vulnerable and the Bayon twosome are calling all the shots.

Tribal Council time! Discussion begins about there being a four person majority and the likelihood of picking off the Bayon twosome. Varner claims he doesn't even remember what he did at the challenge due to lack of food, sleep, etc. Is this like when a drunk person does a lot of stupid stuff and then claims they were blacked out? Abi believes there is a good chance she is going home because plenty of conversations happened without her. Peih-Gee assures the group that she is trustworthy and her word is solid. Savage and Tasha control this first Angkor vote and along with Abi and Varner, they eliminate Peih-Gee from the game. Cue a classic Woo blindside face. Man, three tribes brings great drama!

[All images credited to CBS]

October 3, 2015

Survivor Cambodia - Second Chance: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Abi-Maria?

10/03/2015 Posted by Mel Got Served , , No comments
Week 2

Kelley Wentworth finally gets a chance to read her idol and cherish their time together before hiding in for safe keeping. Jeff Varner might have voted week one with the new school, but he's ready to turn the tables again. Varner explains his vote was to get Terry, etc. to wake up and set up Shirin and Spencer, the two biggest players on the tribe. Varner is on fire this season and we're loving every second of it. Abi-Maria is trying to be a new woman, but is quickly digressing back to the selfish and erratic player she was in the Philippines. Her alliance worries she's a liability, though Varner knows she's a wonderful person to drag along to help win him a million. It all falls perfectly into place for Varner, when Abi catches Shirin and Peih-Gee whispering about Abi. As the tribe laughs at the shelter, Abi cries on the beach until she's comforted by Terry of all people. Because Shirin didn't defend her and Terry did is all the reason Abi needs to flip sides.

Bayon is in no way the mess that Ta Keo is. The savior Joe constructed hammocks and is catching fish for everyone. He's the Survivor MacGyver according to Stephen, and while it's good to have in the beginning he'll be sacrified later. Andrew Savage shares the story of how he met his wife and with the amount of crying in this saga I thought she was dead. Good news she's alive and well and Savage just really loves his wife. The whole tribe is weeping, including Kass who realizes if you're around nice people in the game you don't have to be a dick. Jeremy has to leave camp for a moment alone, really missing his wife Val who is home and pregnant, a secret Jeremy is keeping so he isn't seen as a threat. Wondering where Jeremy went, Stephen out loud says maybe Jeremy is looking for an idol. Stephen, you had one job and that's to lay low! Savage shakes his head that Stephen is all about game at all times and plans to eliminate the gamer. Um Savage, you are playing a game though.

Entering the immunity challenge, Bayon is totally shocked to see Vytas was the first boot of the season. The game is real, people! The challenge is to run, climb, and fall down a series of A-frames, pull some puzzle pieces, and then assemble a puzzle. While the run up the A-frames isn't too bad, the come down seems to defeat man of them with a butt full of splinters or just face plants into the sand. The puzzle is complete chaos with people starting and tagging out. Ta Keo does an amazing catch-up and thinks they have the puzzle right... but no! The puzzle is backwards which gives Bayon the additional seconds to check their own and shout, "Done!" Bayon narrowly beats Ta Keo and wins immunity along with a tool kit to help craft an amazing shelter, or at the very least allow for very large pieces for a version of Survivor Clue.

The tide has rapidly turned at Ta Keo as Shirin and Spencer come to the realization they are no longer in the numbers. Varner's plan has been to take out the threats and with Abi on his side, the numbers are coming together to vote off Shirin or Spencer. Peih-Gee and Kelley agree to vote where the numbers are to save themselves because friendship is cool, but it's a game. After Abi straight-up tells Shirin that it's too little too late, Shirin realizes she's screwed. Desperate to save themselves, Spencer and Shirin try to convince Woo to flip to their side and despite the classic Woo confused face, he's not flipping since he's in an alliance and also they didn't speak to him until they were desperate. Shirin and Spencer both find themselves on the outside of the numbers and are heartbroken to turn on each other to stay.

Tribal Council time! It's a night full of heavy-handed Second Chance narrative from Jeff Probst, AKA his dream come true. The tribe rehashes the Abi/Peih-Gee fight, which allows Probst to remind Shirin that this story is "verbatim" what happened to her in Second Chance. Ehhh you're pushing it Probst. Spencer pleads if not begs to save him in the game, offering to work with whoever and to actually get to know people on a personal level and not simply as game pieces. This gives Probst another chance to remind us that even in a second chance situation, Spencer is encountering the same weaknesses as last time. The votes are cast and in a 5-4 vote, Shirin is the second survivor eliminated.

[All images credited to CBS]