Email Roundtable #35 – Survivor

aras-vytas-survivor-blood-vs-waterWe are currently 8 episodes into Season 27(!!!) of Survivor. This season, called Blood Vs. Water, includes returning players and their loved ones competing for the million bucks. The GAOTV gang thought we’d chat about the most recent episode, “Skin of My Teeth” and the season as a whole. 

Kerri: So, last night was quite the jam-packed episode. We saw the merge, a player get redemption from Redemption Island, the welcome return of the hidden immunity idol and a blind side. What did you think?

Jane: It was very jam-packed. I’m not an avid Survivor watcher but I have been following this Season. I think this episode reminded me of what turns me off about Survivor. I don’t like all of the conniving and backstabbing and strategizing. It just makes me nervous and I find it hard to watch. I’m also finding that I don’t have a player I’m rooting for yet. I do enjoy Tina but I wouldn’t be heartbroken if she were kicked off. What did you ladies think?

Katie: *laugh of glee*

This is the part of Survivor that I loooovvvve. All the confusing alliances and manipulations. I think about how hungry and tired they are and how they are making such poor decisions. However, I must say that kicking Aras off was a great move.

Kerri: That’s interesting, Jane, because this was the first episode where I finally felt like I had a rooting interest in someone and not someone who you might expect. Prior to this episode I couldn’t give two licks about Ciera but she’s really coming into her own in the game-playing department as well as, I think, the growing up department. She’s clearly an underdog and that’s something I always gravitate towards. She’s clearly much, much smarter than I initially gave her credit for and is playing an infinitely more sound social game than her mom.

I have been waiting this whole season for someone to solve the hidden immunity idol problem and I’m happy to see it was found. I’ve always enjoyed the wrench that the hidden idol can throw into the game. I think Tyson is wisely keeping it hidden.

I think I liked the episode overall more than you, Jane, and didn’t mind seeing Aras get the boot. I’m not a huge fan of people dominating the game and I think him and Vytas could have done that (and still could).

Jane: I sure do love-to-hate Tyson. I’ll say that. The guy gives me the creeps! I couldn’t believe that when he was eating and drinking everything in sight nobody kicked his butt. They all just went along with his explanation that this is how they do, because he had played the game before.

Katie: I’m also a big fan of the Survivor underdog, Kerri, and for the last couple episodes Vytas seemed to be that underdog. I was (and still am) cheering for him as a result. Anyone who can do that much smooth talking while “on the chopping block” has my approval.

Kerri: I think this season has had many memorable characters (Tyson and Vytas are both exceptionally entertaining) without having any ONE person that screams “fan favorite”.

What are your thoughts on the “Blood” aspect of this season? Has the family member dynamic worked for you or not?

Katie: There have been times of it working and not. In the first couple episodes, the blood element worked nicely in conjunction with Redemption Island. It adds an interesting dynamic now that  loved ones can swap spots. I wonder if that still holds true for Redemption Island post-merge. I somehow doubt anyone would be willing to swap spots now.

Kerri: I, for one, think the family “twist”, if you can call it that, is fantastic. For a few seasons Survivor has been mostly resting on its laurels. I think that the amount of drama that this brings to the show as well as the levels upon levels of strategy that are now at play is a big boost.

Jane: Sorry to be the negative Nancy but I almost puked when Kat begged Hayden not to break up with her because she sucks at Survivor. That was so painful to watch. Also, painful was her clearly wanting Hayden to swap places with her and it clearly being a horrible idea. Hayden was clearly never going to go through with it.

Katie: Oh dear God. Kat was a train wreck that episode. Poor girl. That was really hard to watch.

Kerri: No, no. I agree, Jane. Kat was ridiculous in that episode. She’s a strange one, that’s for sure.

Katie: This episode was especially crazy as a result of the blood element. There were so many alliances and counter-alliances that it was almost difficult to keep track.

Plus, the scenes with Ciera and Laura were great. I have a feeling Ciera may have to vote out her mom.

Kerri: I would kind of love that. That would be so satisfying as a season long story arc. I love it when Survivor manages those because it so rarely seems to happen in any real, defined way on a show like this.

Jane: I think Laura would be crushed. She seems so happy and proud to be working with her daughter. It would be something if Ciera voted her mom off that’s for sure.

I sometimes find that the editing before tribal council is especially misleading. Last night was a prime example. The eviction seemed to come out of nowhere, unless I’m just not paying close enough attention. I do think it is interesting to watch the reactions on the players faces when they realize that an alliance has formed and they aren’t part of it.

Kerri: I find that the creators are trying to throw us off even more than usual this season. It feels like almost every tribal council is a “blind side”. Maybe I think they just use that word too much. If every vote is a blind side then doesn’t that mean NONE of the votes are blind sides?

Katie: Yes, the editing was troublesome last episode. There was alternatively too much going on, and likely the uncut player interviews probably made it very clear who everyone was actually voting for (Aras) so the editors tried to give us red herrings.

Kerri: Jane, you mentioned that some of the nastiness of the show throws you off a bit. Do you think this is even more pronounced with family members?

Jane: Maybe not the nastiness so much as the strategizing. Like: I’m going to vote this person off because they might switch places with this person who is really good at puzzles.

Kerri: Yeah. I love that.

Any predictions as to what might happen in the latter half of the season?

Katie: Final three: Ciera, Tyson, Gervase

Kerri: My prediction, Ciera goes on a tear where she is calling the shots but it ends up being her demise. Gervase wins.

Jane: Grrrr! I hate Tyson and Gervase! I hope Vytus wins.

Kerri: Any final shout outs before we end things?

Katie: I hope he wins also, but I bet he goes the way off Aras…

Shout out to Jeff Probst, who gets bitchier every season. And to Laura’s oh-so-strong thighs in the Redemption Island challenge this week.

Kerri: I’d like to give a shout out to all of the fallen hidden immunity idol clues and to Monica and Brad Culpepper for their insanity.

Jane: I would like to give a shout out Gervase’s niece getting voted off because Gervase was being a dink! That was funny.

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