Well hello everyone! It has been a while and I am sorry I have not been keeping up with Survivor, movie reviews or movie news. It has been a busy past month and a half with preparing for graduation, moving to my new apartment, and looking for jobs. I hope to get back on the horse here and have a more regular schedule. To start that off I thought I would give my thoughts on the end of the current Survivor season and what its legacy might be while also looking ahead to the next season.
Alright first let’s start with how the season wrapped up over the last couple of episodes. I think the Zeke move was beginning of the end for people like Andrea, Aubry and Cirie. They were still able to get rid of Sierra next, but they never were able to gain full control and allowed Sarah to dictate the action by flipping back and forth. Sierra was drawing dead so she landed right about in the spot you would expect. Like I said, Andrea was doomed from the moment she started her hate streak for Zeke. She is just too good at all facets of the game and nobody would let here get too much further. Michaela was voted out on a fluke basically and she did really well considering her circumstances (nobody seemed to like her, nobody knew her). I think she could do really well on a round three.
Cirie was screwed from the moment that she tried to use Sarah’s vote steal. Not that she was not already screwed by being a legend, but once again she was removed by unusual circumstances. Cirie has never been voted out by conventional means and that is huge considering she has lost 4 times. Like Sandra, I think she was one of the few whose legacy was not hurt by their return this time around. She only further cemented how amazing she is at this game. Unfortunately for Aubry this season did not play anything like she might have planned. She seemed to be buried by the edit and could not get her footing. Still she made it all of the way to day 37 which is incredible. So good for her.
Tai once again proved an entertaining character and might actually be stealthily good at this game. His thinking is obscured by a lot of emotional wishy washiness, but he always ends up on top and now owns the highest average days played among any returnee. He actually had a decent chance at winning this too, so maybe we should reexamine his potential goat status. That could be an interesting deep dive further down the road. Like Aubry, Troyzan was another one who was buried by the edit and it seemed like he was supremely invisible. He had his moments and his final speech at final tribal was very graceful. Overall I think Troy improved his reputation here and I think he got the adventure he wanted even if the show did not show it to us.
For about 90% of the season Brad Culpepper was super impressive to me. Until the final six or so he played a very good social game and obviously he had a dominant physical game towards the end. He did join the five timers club for immunity wins, but in some ways its not as impressive as past members. He did it in 10 immunity challenges while people like Colby and Tom did it in 7 or so. They had higher percentages, so Brad had more chances. Overall a great season for Brad and he should be proud how he played.
Now let’s take a look at Sarah. From the merge forward this was Sarah’s game. She was invisible in the pre-merge, but she was the central character all throughout the merge. The story was told all through her perspective and it seems like she was the one dictating how the game went for all, but one vote. She was aggressive when she needed to be and passive other times. She was able to flip and put out her own fires afterwards. This was all super impressive and showed the potential I saw in Cagayan from her. Her legacy will be interesting to track as time goes on, but for now I see her slotting in at number 11 right after Todd Herzog and before Yul Kwon in my winner rankings. I feel like people are down on Sarah right now because she does not give entertaining confessionals and comes across as boring, but if you look under that her win is great.
The post mortem on this season is interesting. This season had a lot of great moments, but in some ways that feels like that is it. There is no through line or story to the show and the editing was supremely uneven. I think this is a product of the casting and the fact that all of the huge stars went early. They felt like they had to give the legends their due and could not skirt around them like a normal season. Therefore the back half of the season suffered. Another problem is that there is such thing as too many twists. One of them did not even come into play (the straight to rock draw tiebreaker). I was pleased that the Legacy Advantage did actually have an impact on the season as Sarah would have been voted out at the final six if she had not had it. So in some ways, convincing Sierra to give it to her was her biggest move of the game. The Joint Tribal Council was a fun moment, but I do not think its a good thing for new player seasons moving forward. The vote steal did kind of work out, but again there is such thing as too much.
One twist that I really liked this season was the new final tribal format. With a few tweaks this could be a really cool addition moving forward. I like that all jurors can speak their minds and there can be a dialogue about what happened in the game. I think the structure of outwit, outplay, outlast is a little cumbersome and a format based around social, strategic, physical might be better. Overall I hope we keep this going forward.
So for the season as a whole, where does it rank for me? I have not put up my season rankings on this blog yet, but I will do my best to describe the position the season is in. I have it smack dab in the middle at number 17. There are some great moments and some bland ones. Overall like I said before it felt like a string of moments that really had a hollowness to it. Placing right around Game Changers on my list are San Juan del Sur and Guatemala. This is the perfect place for it because these two seasons also had something missing. San Juan del Sur had a great cast and some good stories, but not much strategy to be seen. It was kind of a mess at times. Guatemala also had some great characters and good gameplay, but lacked a soul and also felt hollow like Game Changers. So I feel like its a great spot.
Now looking ahead to Season 35 which will be known as Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers. Its a clunky name and I have no idea how they came up with this theme. It really is just a variation of Worlds Apart, but I think with a good cast any season can be interesting. The name really means nothing except for marketing. The preview already showed me some promising cast members who I cannot wait to meet. Standouts from the preview were Dr. Mike Zahalksy and Bellhop Ryan Ulrich who both look like they will be really fun. Hopefully it will be a fun season and I cannot wait until September!
This summer I hope to put up some more Survivor features looking at different aspects of the game. I also hope to get to some movies and put up reviews. As for TV I want to review Game of Thrones when it comes back in July and I might check in with Big Brother every once in a while to see what is up with that. Keep your eyes out as I promise to put out more content than the past month! Until next time!