Blood vs. Water Episode 11: Gloves Come Off

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Airdate: November 27, 2013
Boot: 
Vytas Baskauskas (eliminated from Redemption Island); Caleb Bankston
Quote:
“Teenage mom. Hellraiser. She can look you in the eye and lie better than anybody.” – Tyson Apostle, on Ciera
Rating: 7 + Tier C (3) = 10

Moms are supposed to be the most trustworthy people in our lives. They know us better than anyone else. They’re the first people we turn to when we need comfort. And they lead the family band with a bassist who’s a couple decades away from leaving Jonny Fairplay in such unbearable pain that he will ask to be voted out three days into Survivor: Micronesia.

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I like “Come on Get Happy” as much as the next guy, but I’d rather have had a second full season of Fairplay, thank you very much.

 

But moms can be ruthless. And when they team up, you’d better be on high alert. That’s the takeaway from this solid but unremarkable episode of Blood vs. Water. Despite my unwavering belief that structures like Redemption Island and Edge of Extinction have no place in Survivor and automatically worsen a season, I have to say my favorite part of this episode is when Laura joins Tina and Vytas on the loser beach. As Tina nervously worries that her daughter Katie had just gotten voted out, Laura coos, “Mom?” It’s not until they’re about to hug that Tina realizes it’s actually her fellow mother using the secret code word that moms use to suss out one another. It’s cute. And yet when I Continue reading “Blood vs. Water Episode 11: Gloves Come Off”

All-Stars Episode 15: The Instigator

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Airdate: May 6, 2004
Boot:
Tom Buchanan
Quote:
“Pony ride’s over. You’re welcome for carrying you this far.” – “Boston Rob” Mariano’s unrevealed vote at Tribal Council
Rating: 7 + Tier C (3) = 10

What’s with all the penultimate episodes from early seasons now? This is the third of the last four entries featuring one, and the second consecutive episode I’m reviewing in which Big Tom’s trustworthiness is questioned and he loses both of the exact same challenges (a ‘second chance’ competition with elements of past challenges and a word search). Man, say what you will about the guy being hard to understand and perhaps a bit backwards in his attitude towards women and minorities, but he is remarkably consistent in Final 5 episodes.

On paper, this is the last round of the game in which Rob and Amber’s love affair/empire/reign of terror (pick one or all three) is in danger of ending, because they’re at a 3-2 numbers disadvantage. However, maybe it’s just because I know the outcome, but at no point does it really feel like Jenna, Rupert, and Tom will do the math and team up. Sure, they’re aware that they could do it, but the idea seems more of a passing fancy. Any doubt that Rob and Amber are safe is gone when Continue reading “All-Stars Episode 15: The Instigator”

Panama Episode 3: Crazy Fights, Snake Dinners

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Airdate: February 16, 2006
Boot:
Misty Giles
Quote:
“Bruce is incredibly neurotic.” / “Courtney is a lunatic.” – Shane Powers
Rating: 6 + Tier B (4) = 10

In recent years, the Survivor producers have displayed a love for pointless alliterative labels, whether it’s Brains vs. Beauty vs. Brawn or Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers. Had Survivor: Panama – Exile Island been filmed in the modern era, it probably would have been called Trainwrecks vs. Traditionalists, because that’s pretty much the way the tribes were divided after a swap in episode two. Casaya was clearly the more entertaining group, which led to a bit of a Sophie’s choice for the pre-merge run. A Casaya victory meant that more of these delightful oddballs would live to see another episode. That’s good. But it also meant Continue reading “Panama Episode 3: Crazy Fights, Snake Dinners”

Worlds Apart Episode 11: Survivor Russian Roulette

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Airdate: April 29, 2015
Boot:
Shirin Oskool
Quote:
“I don’t want to take anything away from Shirin, but I’m an adopted child.” – Dan Foley
Rating: 8 + Tier D (2) = 10

We kick things off with an episode of Worlds Apart, which is strongly making me rethink this whole project. Do I really want to sit through an episode of this horrid season again, especially one from after Continue reading “Worlds Apart Episode 11: Survivor Russian Roulette”