10 Thoughts On… Survivor Caramoan: Fans vs Favorites 2 – Episode 7 & 8 Review

1. It has taken a long time for me to get excited about this season of Survivor. After promising over and over again that this would not only be the best season of all-time, but also the best reality show ever… I have definitely not looked like the world’s foremost reality television expert. With that being said, the past two episodes have delivered in spades and I honestly feel like the season has only just now started.

2. The Survivor: Caramoan merge episode was bar none the best episode of Survivor that I have ever seen. For the first time, I felt like the editors did not give away the boot in the first few minutes of the scene and that made Corinne’s blindside even more satisfying as a viewer because you simply didn’t think it would happen or that the favorites would ever turn on one of their own so quickly.

3. Strategically, there is no question that the favorites made the right move. With a solid numbers advantage, the time to eliminate the threat of Corinne was turning right now and before she had the numbers to gain the advantage with the fans. In addition, the favorites avoided a visceral jury speech from her by eliminating her just before the jury. I still can’t believe they had the guts to make such a powerful strike.

4. While I have been heaping praise upon the play of Cochran this season, I have also been quite impressed with how much Dawn has learned from her first go-around. While I liked Corinne’s play to try and assume control of the game, her fatal flaw was confiding in Dawn and instead of being forced to make a move in someone else’s game, Dawn took total control by sticking with her gut. In addition, let’s not forget that by telling the favorites about the Kaplan betrayal, Dawn now has even more of their trust.

5. The most interesting question going into tonight’s episode is how Malcolm will recover from the departure of his closest ally. Remember, that for all intents and purposes, he controls two idols (his and basically Reynold’s as well). I have been chewing on what Cochran’s best move is from this point and I definitely feel like eliminating either Reynold or Eddie is. While Malcolm is his most dangerous adversary, removing one of his knights would diffuse any power he has left. As a result, to thwart this, I believe that Malcolm should play his idol tonight and have Reynold play his as well. What’s even more tantalizing is what will happen if either win the immunity competition tonight as that will allow Eddie to be safe as well. I don’t think I have ever been more excited to see an episode!

6. It was interesting that they didn’t show how Reynold/Eddie/Michael resolved their differences to vote together. That would have been quite fascinating to see and it was the only thing I was disappointed about from last week’s episode.

7. When players return to play again, it’s very disappointing when they make the same mistakes again and I am very much enjoying Phillip’s gameplay. While no one appreciates his Boston Rob references more than I do, I do appreciate that he is at least trying to stick to Mariano’s tenets of gameplay. On Redemption Island, one of Rob’s best moves was how he completely kept his tribe separated from the remnants of the other ensuring no one would be tempted to flip. While Phillip is trying to use the same gameplan, the problem is that he lacks the charm and finesse that Rob used to make the others think that it was their idea. If he could only work to improve this, I would be quite happy with the game that he is playing. The problem is that if he did that, he wouldn’t be the Phillip that we tune in to watch every week.

8. I am absolutely loving everything Cochran is doing this season. While everyone knows how much I hated him when he was on South Pacific and was perhaps his harshest critic, he has completely changed my opinion this time around. My issue with him last time was that he flipped with nothing to gain and cost his team the game (especially after Ozzy’s Redemption Island sacrifice). I also didn’t appreciate how he did not want to take ownership of his move. This time around, he wields the unbelievable power that he has over his team but manages to do it in a charming way. His celebration after annihilating Malcolm in the immunity challenge was one of the best scenes in Survivor history. Instead of accosting him for his ungodly display after the challenge, his team only seem to applaud his efforts once again displaying the completely and total control he has over them. While Phillip thinks he is playing Boston Rob’s game, Cochran actually is.

9. Another compelling thought from the last pair of episodes is the play of Erik Reichenbach. I actually think that his vote was the one that made all the difference. After considering it from all angles, I am now convinced that he made the wrong decision for his own game. While I love that he helped the favorites get farther, I think the pitch that Malcolm and Corinne gave him would have seen him go farther. With that being said, we have to remember that he probably wasn’t told about the idols that Malcolm and Reynold possess so we can’t really blame him for his decision to stand pat since the favorites have a clear numbers advantage. I definitely think his vote last week will remain one of the major talking points about this season, long after it is over.

10. Where’s Brenda?

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