Thursday, May 25, 2017

Game Changers: Finale


I think the jurors were fairly astute in their observations & comments – especially Michaela! If she’s not in law school, she certainly should be. Ozzy & Debbie’s arguments proved to me that they were the dumbest people left in the game. Also par for the course that crazy Debbie would side with Ozzy, who she voted out, and Brad, who she felt like betrayed her. Ozzy’s criticism of Sarah’s her "low" play especially rankled me. How can he judge her & say that she didn’t have to “stoop so low” to win & then claim his massive experience on the show as proof that he’s right? He’s had more opportunities to win this game than anyone, but still couldn’t do it!


Image result for survivor memes

The finale started with an epic moment when Cirie went home without getting a single vote. Holy cow!! Sucks that Cirie had to go out like that, but I love that this moment happened. Do you think if EVERYONE had played an idol that they just would have sent them all back to camp? I feel like that’s the only fair thing to do. I was sorry to see Cirie go, though. She was a canny player who was extremely likable & I think the scheming for the rest of the episode would have been more epic had she still been around.

In a season full of twists and records, the finale did not disappoint! I’m inclined to call this the greatest season of Survivor ever, though I am aware some recency bias may be coming into play here. At the very least it’s a Top 5 season.


Soon to follow is Aubry, and now the Final 4 is all Team Try Harder. This truly was a dominant season for our team. We blew out the previous record-setting score (228: Michal & Ben - 2nd Chance) by 66 points. That’s a nearly 30% increase. I don’t think we'll see a score this high again ever.

Image result for survivor memesAs I’m watching the final 4 compete I realize that Brad is now wearing a sack for a shirt. When did that happen? Was it around the same time that he became a mega-douche again? He reverted back to his first season self in an extremely off-putting way. I do think it had something to do with starvation, but I also think his domination at challenges brought his arrogance to the fore-front.

They kept talking about the “elite” group of castaways who have won 5 immunity challenges. From my research, the only other person who has done this within a single season is Ozzy. (Though before looking it up I’d guessed that Kim & Mike were in that group…) There are others who have done it over multiple seasons, but that seems like kind of a cheat.

I’m glad Sarah didn’t decide to split votes & do a fire challenge. There was no upside there for her, but there was huge upside for her to simply listen to Tai & take what he said seriously. The fact that Troyzan didn’t even consider that a fire challenge might come up in that final vote was just one more indication that he was NOT paying attention to how this game really works. I’m glad he gave that very gracious exit speech at the end of Final Tribal, that salvaged his dignity somewhat.

And speaking of Final Tribal, I really liked the new format! I think it’s great to hear the jurors discuss & argue with each other. You knew they were doing that at Ponderosa anyways, so it was nice to see that happen on camera instead.


In the end Sierra, Debbie & Ozzy voted for Brad – the “bitter Betty”s as Michaela called them. Everyone else voted correctly for Sarah, and we now have another Survivor champion!!

As opposed to Adam from last season who I thought was a very weak winner, I think Sarah may be one of the best. The caliber of player she was up against was off the charts, and she played a very crafty, strategic, yet subtle game. She also was super well-spoken at Final Tribal and argued her case really well.

Then we were on to the reunion where we could see how terrifying Brad could look with that molestache, and see Tai at his best in that spiffy blue sweater. Nothing else very interesting happened throughout the reunion, though I really liked hearing what would have happened in a tie. Do you think Probst dropped that info in here because it might actually happen next season!?


I’m going to hold out hope that this is the case, because I’m none too impressed with the preview of next season. Anything after this season is going to be a letdown of course, but seriously? Heroes, Healers & Hustlers? In Fiji… again? The only way this gets interesting is if the “hustler” tribe is actually full of hustlers a la Ocean’s 11 & Zootopia, and not bell hops & administrative assistants like the preview indicates. And that surgeon!! Good Lord, can they please stop bringing surgeons onto the show?


The Teams:

Michal & Ben "Try Harder" - 294 points
  1. Tai (84 pts)
  2. Caleb (-3 pts)
  3. Sarah (79 pts)
  4. Troyzan (43 pts)
  5. Brad (91 pts)
MoonBee "Steel Magnolias" -  129 points
  1. Michaela (28 pts)
  2. Cirie (36 pts)
  3. Andrea (52 pts)
  4. Ciera ( -5 pts)
  5. Hali (18 pts)
Doug & Bri "Original Manbun" - 123 points
  1. Malcolm (5 pts)
  2. Zeke (34 pts)
  3. Aubry (42 pts)
  4. Jeff (9 pts)
  5. Sierra (33 pts)
Baggadocious "Legends of the Fall" - 71 points
  1. JT (11 pts)
  2. Tony (-4 pts)
  3. Ozzy (31 pts)
  4. Sandra (6 pts)
  5. Debbie (27 pts)


Prop Bets:

-->
People involvedCastaways InvolvedMethod of measurementStakesAnd the winner is...
Bag v. BenJT + Ozzy v. Tai + SarahLongevity (bonus if 1 whole team elimated before the other loses a player)1 drinkBen + bonus
Michal v. MelissaSierra v. CieraLongevity1 drinkMichal
Moon v. DougMichaela v. 3 of Doug's teamThe bet is that any 3 of Doug's team end up doing better than Michaela???I don't remember how this bet was supposed to play out - I will let commenters determine that!
Moon v. BenVarner wins the whole she-bang100:1 odds2 bitsBen

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Game Changers: Episodes 10 & 11

Two episodes have passed & 3 players have gone home. Tomorrow is the finale and I don't have a lot of time to post now. Which is too bad - this season has been fabulous & I wish I had the time to reflect more on the last couple episodes, especially the last 20 minutes of this last one!!

Quick recap: Sierra got ousted due to Sarah's scheming to get her legacy idol. She raised suspicions among the remaining contestants, but Andrea still got the boot anyway. It's hard to know how much went down there, though, because the show wanted to devote more time to the next tribal council. And rightly so!

I still don't fully understand what happened. Cirie tried to use Sarah's own advantage to save her, but couldn't. Her entire hand was revealed & Sarah was PISSED and yet somehow Michaela is the one who went home. What?? Sarah stole Tai's vote and voted with Brad & Troyzan to oust her. Cirie voted Aubry & Michaela & Aubry voted Tai. How did this go down? I still don't fully understand all the scheming that happened here. I like that somehow Troyzan & Tai didn't end up playing their idols through this madness, though I don't know how they could be so steely.



The Teams:

Michal & Ben "Try Harder" - 124 points
  1. Tai (45 pts)
  2. [Caleb (-3 pts)]
  3. Sarah (21 pts)
  4. Troyzan (27 pts)
  5. Brad (34 pts)
MoonBee "Steel Magnolias" -  112 points
  1. [Michaela (28 pts)]
  2. Cirie (19 pts)
  3. [Andrea (52 pts)]
  4. [Ciera ( -5 pts)]
  5. [Hali (18 pts)]
Doug & Bri "Original Manbun" - 105 points
  1. [Malcolm (5 pts)]
  2. [Zeke (34 pts)]
  3. Aubry (24 pts)
  4. [Jeff (9 pts)]
  5. [Sierra (33 pts)]
Baggadocious "Legends of the Fall" - 71 points
  1. [JT (11 pts)]
  2. [Tony (-4]
  3. [Ozzy (31 pts)]
  4. [Sandra (6 pts)]
  5. [Debbie (27 pts)]

Power Rankings:

1. Try Harder: Are we uncatchable? I think so. The only chance the others would have is if Cirie or Aubry swept the votes at final tribal, and even then it might not be enough if Tai & Troyzan play their idols mostly correctly.

3. Steel MagnoliasCirie played a really solid game until this last episode where she should have read the fine print.

2. Original ManbunAubry is NEVER on the right side of the vote, but she is still miraculously in this game. Will she make it to final tribal on this same crazy yet weirdly effective game plan?

4. Legends of the Fall: Sup.


Douche of the Week:
Andrea, and then maybe Cirie? I can't choose for the 2nd episode!!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Game Changers: Episodes 8 & 9

We are in Los Angeles and got to have a bit of a Survivor reunion with Moon & Melissa this last week. In honor of the occasion, I decided to do a bit of live blogging during the episode, a la Bachelor blog.

But first the previous episode: it might as well have been could have been named ‘an homage to Sarah.’ She got all the attention & seemed to make a lot of smart moves. This was one of those episodes where it felt like they were gearing us up for her ultimate victory. I say this based on my personal opinions around the way Survivor producers give air time. For example, she was seen to read how long the advantage she got was valid for (down to 5 players) which leads me to believe that she will be around when it gets down to final 5. Additionally, her comment about being the first player in Survivor history to correctly play the stolen vote advantage was telling. If she’d misplayed it within that episode it could have been the producers showing a little egg in her face. But she didn’t, which leads me to believe that she is actually calling that one correctly.

Getting rid of Debbie was a pleasure. That cuckoo cougar may have been less annoying to the other castaways than Michaela, but she was definitely more annoying to me. I will not miss her. She stole too much air time from more deserving players.

Now, on to the most recent episode!

Moon & Melissa joined us at our VRBO for the event. Between bites of unexpectedly tiny pizza we caught up on life in LA and poured one out in memory of Baggadocious’ team. “We couldn’t have drafted a worse team if we tried,” concluded Moon gleefully.

The episode began with Sarah coming clean about breaking up the “line in the concrete” alliance of 6, and for us it began with a discussion of how Zeke has been playing the game too hard this season. He seems to think he needs to make moves just to make moves sometimes, which will likely be his downfall…. Dum dum duuumm….

The reward challenge seems to push the castaways to their limits of coming up with 11-letter words. After 50 minutes of puzzling, Probst starts giving them massive clues, but it’s unclear if anyone realizes it. Eventually Andrea figures it out, thus confirming her as the strongest puzzle solver in the game.

Zeke makes a reference to the game being like climbing Mt. Everest, which is funny because I’d referred to voting Sandra out as being akin to climbing Mt. Everest earlier in the night.

“It gets harder and harder every day,” says Zeke. “How would you know, Zeke?” asks Moon.

Moon claims Michaela is the smartest player left in the game. Ben questions this. Moon says she’s clever, sharp & picks things up quickly. Everyone agrees she needs Cirie as a mentor, and interested in seeing where that goes. Ben argues that these qualities do not give her the appropriate toolkit to win Survivor, and now there’s a discussion of whether Aubry is the best social player left in the game. She continues to remain safe despite rarely being in the majority alliance. “But if you don’t have the intel,” asks Ben, “how much can you really do?”

“Oh, hydrogen!” interjects Melissa. A commercial for a hydrogen-run car has just come on, which is something that apparently has been long-anticipated by the Jones tribe.

Zeke wants to make a final 5 with him, Sarah, Troyzan, Brad & Michaela. Team Try Harder is doing a happy dance, though this ends up being a short-lived alliance.

Moon compares Culpepper to Jaime Lannister. I didn’t get more details on this, but am super intrigued. Moon, perhaps you can share more in the comments about this?

At tribal council we all marvel at Tai’s decision to not play an immunity idol. “Who is his leak? Who is his informant?” Moon demands. A good question, and I seriously have no idea. No one trusts him & it looks like his closest allies all voted for him. So was that just amazing gut instinct?

In the end, Zeke goes home, and Michaela cries. I didn’t realize that Michaela cared so much about him. Between her & Sarah, Andrea bullied two people into voting out someone they really didn’t want to. What’s interesting about that is that it will likely embitter them against her and ultimately be the reason that she goes home. Also, she’s clearly one of the biggest challenge threats, so it’d probably be inevitable that she be targeted anyway. But I still think this was a moment when Andrea made decisions based on personal feelings rather than sound strategy. And I think it was a mistake.



The Teams:

Michal & Ben "Try Harder" - 108 points
  1. Tai (45 pts)
  2. [Caleb (-3 pts)]
  3. Sarah (19 pts)
  4. Troyzan (27 pts)
  5. Brad (20 pts)
Doug & Bri "Original Manbun" - 84 points
  1. [Malcolm (5 pts)]
  2. [Zeke (34 pts)]
  3. Aubry (17 pts)
  4. [Jeff (9 pts)]
  5. Sierra (19 pts)
MoonBee "Steel Magnolias" -  78 points
  1. Michaela (12 pts)
  2. Cirie (18 pts)
  3. Andrea (35 pts)
  4. [Ciera ( -5 pts)]
  5. [Hali (18 pts)]
Baggadocious "Legends of the Fall" - 71 points
  1. [JT (11 pts)]
  2. [Tony (-4]
  3. [Ozzy (31 pts)]
  4. [Sandra (6 pts)]
  5. [Debbie (27 pts)]

Power Rankings:

1. Try Harder: Try Harder just reached one-derland. We are undeniably in a strong position with 4 players still in the game and Sarah being my front-runner to win it all. Culpepper still seems solid too, despite recent set-backs. And Troyzan & Tai have 3 hidden idols between them. So it’s a pretty good spot all around..

3. Steel Magnoliasafter Sarah I think Andrea is the strongest candidate to win it all, though I also think her strengths are too obvious & she’ll be marked as a threat. All the same, with Michaela’s earning potential & Cirie’s sound strategy this is still a solid 3. They have a lot of points to make up, though, so it’ll be an uphill battle..

2. Original ManbunAubry & Sierra don’t have enough combined oomph to challenge either Harder or Magnolias. Both are capable of making big moves, but I don’t think enough people like Sierra for her to win, and I don’t think Aubry’s accomplished enough to win either. Either could be a good person for a stronger player to take to the finals, though.

4. Legends of the Falland fall they did. Thinking about Moon’s comment, though, about how bad this team was…. Maybe we should do a season where we try for the lowest score? I.e. we draft for the worst players? I’d only want to do it on a season where it’s all n00b castaways, but it might be a fun twist for a season...


Douche of the Week:
Debbie for episode 8

Andrea for episode 9… she just got too obsessed & obnoxious about targeting Zeke imo

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Game Changers: Episodes 6 & 7

Episode 6 was notable for obvious reasons. Varner solidified his WOAT status and also locked up a DOW vote that we don't need to take since it's so obvious. (Bag suggested cleverer wording than this, but I can no longer remember it.) Good riddance! Zeke handled the situation better than I could have imagined possible, and I like how the whole tribe seemed to unite behind him and just going through that tribal together.

What I don't like is that he suddenly became a target the next episode. He was named as the red herring vote because "his story couldn't be beaten at final tribal" which is so obnoxious. Even if they didn't mean it (which they always actually do when they name a red herring vote), it's still super shitty to use his unwilling outing against him just a couple days later.

It wasn't the most exciting merge ever, but it felt like a good set-up for intrigue later on. There's definitely a flow and dynamism to the group that will be hard to keep up with. Debbie & Sierra thinking they are calling the shots was easily the most laughable part of the episode. But good on them for getting rid of Ozzy!


The Teams:

Michal & Ben "Try Harder" - 96 points
  1. Tai (45 pts)
  2. [Caleb (-3 pts)]
  3. Sarah (17 pts)
  4. Troyzan (21 pts)
  5. Brad (16 pts)
MoonBee "Steel Magnolias" - 69 points
  1. Michaela (13 pts)
  2. Cirie (18 pts)
  3. Andrea (25 pts)
  4. [Ciera ( -5 pts)]
  5. Hali (18 pts)
Doug & Bri "Original Manbun" - 63 points
  1. [Malcolm (5 pts)]
  2. Zeke (19 pts)
  3. Aubry (13 pts)
  4. [Jeff (9 pts)]
  5. Sierra (17 pts)
Baggadocious "Legends of the Fall" - 57 points
  1. [JT (11 pts)]
  2. [Tony (-4]
  3. [Ozzy (31 pts)]
  4. [Sandra (6 pts)]
  5. Debbie (13 pts)

Power Rankings:

1. Try Harder: Tai continues to rake in the points, and the rest of our players are in a strong position. I like that Sarah seems to be keeping her options open. Brad's leadership was pooh-poohed a little this last episode, but Sierra really seemed to draw all the attention, so even he should still be safe for a little longer. He might lose his leadership position, but I don't think that'll be a bad thing.

3. Steel Magnolias: The Magnolias are one big alliance, and while it doesn't look great for them now, a lot can change in a few days. This could end up being a powerful alliance, so long as Andrea doesn't lose her cool over Zeke's betrayal. I like that Michaela has found a new mother bird to cling to. First Sandra, now Cirie. She certainly has good taste. Let's see if it's enough to keep her around for a while longer. She seems to be doing a good job of heeding.

2. Original Manbun: Aubry continues to disappoint and Zeke made a pretty massive mistake this last episode. Sierra's strong but she's outmatched by the beasts this season. Hopefully she'll get a little more humble soon or she could be in trouble. I'm not sure how Zeke will regroup from that blunder, though. I think he could be the next to go.

4. Legends of the Fall: As predicted, Baggadocious' last remaining player is Debbie. Bagdrea made a risky draft that absolutely didn't pay off. Now they're stuck with a woman who thinks that pretending to be drunk and foolish is a strong strategic move.


Douche of the Week:
Ozzy for threatening to not fish if he didn't win the pole-clinging challenge. Honestly him saying that may have lit a fire under Tai's ass and gave him the victory, so I should be thankful. All the same, what a douche.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Game Changers: Episode 5

Tai continues to deliver idol after idol after idol. And the producers are delivering twist after twist after twist. Though I greatly enjoyed seeing Cochran again, it really was too bad that Debbie is the one "game changer" he interacted with. Lucky for Debbie that Cochran persisted until she gave him some actual information so he could give her sage advice. Unlucky for Cochran that Debbie seemed intent on invading his private space and smooching all over his face.

I hope this is the last tribe shake-up before the merge. At this point I think they've done that enough that they need to move on to some other scheme to change the game on these players. Bringing Exile Island back was cool. Will they do that for a couple more episodes? What other past twists might they bring back? Maybe the "hero's stadium" or whatever it was called where there was just one player v. another in that initial challenge? Or maybe the Survivor version of Last Chance Kitchen?

I was sad to see Sandra go. She's been mixing it up this whole season and really kicking ass. I think she went to every tribal council this season so it's amazing she even made it as long as she did. And despite vastly outnumbering her, I think the alliance that brought her down treated the situation with the appropriate level of seriousness, respect, and cautiousness that it deserved. Like they said, they were attempting something that had never been achieved before


The Teams:

Michal & Ben "Try Harder" - 76 points
  1. Tai (35 pts)
  2. [Caleb (-3 pts)]
  3. Sarah (15 pts)
  4. Troyzan (16 pts)
  5. Brad (13 pts)
Doug & Bri "Original Manbun" - 51 points
  1. [Malcolm (5 pts)]
  2. Zeke (15 pts)
  3. Aubry (10 pts)
  4. Jeff (7 pts)
  5. Sierra (14 pts)
MoonBee "Steel Magnolias" - 42 points
  1. Michaela (10 pts)
  2. Cirie (16 pts)
  3. Andrea (15 pts)
  4. [Ciera ( -5 pts)]
  5. Hali (6 pts)
Baggadocious "Legends of the Fall" - 38 points
  1. [JT (11 pts)]
  2. [Tony (-4]
  3. Ozzy (16 pts)
  4. [Sandra (6 pts)]
  5. Debbie (9 pts)

Power Rankings:

1. Try Harder: We have 4 players, 3 idols, and a 25 point lead on the next closest team. We're in about as good a position as we could possibly be. I am feeling cautiously optimistic, especially as Brad, Troyzan, and Sarah seem primed for some kind of post-merge alliance. It seems unlikely that Tai will make it to the end considering how much people distrust him. But he's amassing major points in the meantime & for all we know he'll get a stockpile of idols that will get him all the way to final 5!

2. Original Manbun: I disagree with Moon & don't think Aubry is a threat in this game at all. She's gained no traction with her tribes and will probably be a bottom dweller in any alliance she's in. Maybe this latest tribal swap will be in her favor, but somehow I doubt it. Varner is in real danger too, but Sierra & Zeke are both strong contenders, and I think both of them (but especially Sierra) could bring in decent challenge points over the course of their deep run.

3. Steel Magnolias: Most of this team is on what appears to be the dominant team in challenges. They need to have a strong run over the next couple episodes for them to get back in this game. Once we hit the merge it's going to be harder for this team to earn big points. So this is probably their best chance to earn major points. If they don't, I don't think they can win, even if a couple of their players go deep.

4. Legends of the Fall: The legend has fallen, and now this team is stuck with a nut-job stick insect and Old Ozzy. Old Ozzy is not enough. And based on the pattern of eliminating major threats, Baggadocious should be a little worried that their last remaining player may well be Debbie.


Douche of the Week:
Debbie. This crazy cougar is so delusional that she thought everything was going peachy keen just because she got some food in her belly. Though as a professional competitive eater who could challenge even the Black Widow herself, I can see why she'd be confident.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Game Changers: Episode 4

Well, most people called this one correctly, with JT being the next to go. There was still the added suspense of him having found an immunity idol at the beginning of the episode... but I think JT may have locked up being one of the dumbest winners in Survivor history when he admitted he left the idol back at camp the night he was sent home.

The Teams:

Michal & Ben "Try Harder" - 60 points
  1. Tai (25 pts)
  2. [Caleb (-3 pts)]
  3. Sarah (15 pts)
  4. Troyzan (13 pts)
  5. Brad (10 pts)
Doug & Bri "Original Manbun" - 45 points
  1. [Malcolm (5 pts)]
  2. Zeke (15 pts)
  3. Aubry (7 pts)
  4. Jeff (7 pts)
  5. Sierra (11 pts)
Baggadocious "Legends of the Fall" - 38 points
  1. [JT (11 pts)]
  2. [Tony (-4]
  3. Ozzy (16 pts)
  4. Sandra (6 pts)
  5. Debbie (9 pts)

MoonBee "Steel Magnolias" - 33 points
  1. Michaela (7 pts)
  2. Cirie (13 pts)
  3. Andrea (15 pts)
  4. [Ciera ( -5 pts)]
  5. Hali (3 pts)
Power Rankings:

1. Try Harder: I don't think Brad could have handled the Debbie explosion any better than he did. He is definitely a tribe leader for them, but the question will be how will he do with the upcoming tribal mix-up? Fingers crossed he doesn't end up in a minority with Debbie on the new tribe! The tribal swap could also be rough for Tai who is a perennial target. Hopefully he finds his next immunity idol soon before he might have to leave that camp. Sarah & Troyzan will probably be okay no matter the results of the swap.

2. Original Manbun: Sierra is proving to be quite a challenge beast, and seems like a crafty strategist as well. Zeke & Varner seem to be doing just fine right now as well, though Varner is playing the role of beta male pretty convincingly & I'm not sure if he'll ever be prepared to make moves on his own. Aubry on the other hand is constantly on the wrong side of the votes. I don't know what's going on but it seems like a) no one trusts her, and/or b) she's just straight-up playing a bad game this go-round.


3. Steel Magnolias: Hali is on the board! She finally seems to be gaining some traction, both within her alliance & on the scoreboard. We'll see how she fares in a new tribe. Andrea was unsurprisingly devastated by the early departure of Malcolm, her love interest from the last time they were on Survivor together. Michaela is the big story though. She did nothing to impress and really just made herself seem like a giant brat in tribal council. But she does now find herself under the wing of The Queen, which is a pretty good spot to be.

Image result for queen gif middle finger

4. Legends of the Fall: This team has trimmed its fat, now it needs to trim its gristle. Maybe it's just me, but I forgot how completely psychotic Debbie is! It was simultaneously uncomfortable, chilling, and scary watching her reject reality so completely. It's too bad that Sandra ended up on this team. She very well could win this whole game again, but it won't help Baggadocious win this season with how bad the rest of this team is doing.


Douche of the Week:
Debbie. Her strong flavor of batshit crazy had some not-so-subtle hints of douchery as well. 

Saudade

Today I feel like something is missing from my life. After much reflection, I have narrowed the sense of saudade down to either: 1) Game of Thrones, or 2) a bag of chips.

Blog-worthy? Perhaps not. But I still felt like sharing.