Survivor S26E02 "Honey Badger"
While Survivor is one of the most gruelling games there is, the theory behind winning it is quite simple: form a majority alliance. Make sure you have the numbers.
The second episode began less than an hour after where the last one left off: the favorites arriving back at camp after voting out Francesca. Dawn immediately targeted Brandon to apologise, and explain why she and Cochran voted with the Phillip-Andrea-Corinne-Malcolm alliance, rather than the Brandon-Erik-Brenda-
Francesca one. Brandon, however, wanted none of it, telling her that it was cruel to vote Francesca out first. We're not sure why Dawn would even open herself up to verbal abuse from Brandon (she has no excuse for not knowing how crazy he was on South Pacific -- she was even there to see it!), but she certainly got an earful. She wound up sobbing in the bushes (big surprise), while Brandon stated proudly that he is the honey badger (ie, he doesn't give a s***). He then told Erik gleefully that he could feel his uncle's blood running through his veins and wanted to burn the camp down.
(Screenshot by TV.com)
Cut to the next day (as in, cold light of), and Brandon had completely calmed down. He told Cochran, in a frighteningly friendly manner, that he had been considering burning down the camp and sabotaging everyone to get back at them, but had decided against it because it would not make him a good person. In a later confessional, Cochran, ever the Harvard scholar, compared Brandon's characteristics with those of a sociopath. He was not wrong.
Phillip stumbled across them in the forest and attempted to sidle away from crazy town (if even Phillip Sheppard thinks you're crazy, you've got problems), but Brandon called out for him to join them. Brandon asked Phillip where he stood within their tribe, and Phillip told him that it's like a corporation: Phillip is the CEO and Brandon is merely a member of middle management, who does not get to discuss strategy with the higher-ups. Brandon stalked back to the beach and denounced Phillip to Corinne, Erik, Brenda and Dawn. "Phillip is probably the biggest bully I've ever met in my life," he fumed. "He's starting to Boston-Rob us a little bit, and I don't like that." We're not sure when Rob Mariano became a verb, but we love it. "Don't you Boston-Rob me!" is we're going to say to our mothers the next time they tell us to do something.
(Screenshot by TV.com)
Meanwhile, over at the fans' camp, Shamar was making life hell for everyone. He apparently lies around in the shelter all day while everyone else gathers wood, keeps the fire going, cooks food and collects water -- and if anyone dares to question him, he bellows at them to "shut up". The young foursome (the "cool kids") despaired at his horridness, called him a "cancer" within their tribe and said they couldn't wait to vote him out. ("I finally see why people would throw a challenge to get rid of someone," Allie said.) But their other five tribemates (who have the numbers) pulled Shamar into their alliance and encouraged him to continue irritating everyone -- because, as Sherri pointed out, as long as he's antagonising everyone, the target is not on her or her closest allies' backs. It was good to see someone strategising over there.
More of the same went on in the immunity/reward challenge: Shamar refused to cooperate, and the fans performed dreadfully until the very last stage, when they managed to catch up with the favorites. While we're on the topic, why is Survivor suddenly combining immunity and reward challenges? We miss the good old days, when there were two challenges in each episode and less time spent on artistic shots of monkeys picking bugs off each other.
No matter; the challenge (singular) was on! This time, it involved three tribe members sitting on a raft that was pulled out to a platform at sea, where they had to swim underwater and release a set of rings; another three people pulling said raft via a rope and pulley system from the beach; and the remaining three then throwing the rings onto three poles.
Thanks to the strength of Cochran pulling the raft (ha), the favorites managed to totally decimate the physical aspect of the challenge, with Brenda, Erik and Andrea all working extremely well together to release the rings fairly quickly while the fans literally treaded water, unable to form a cohesive whole. Shamar bellowed at them from the beach, while Sherri, Julia and Hope eventually picked up the pace.
After being pulled back to the sand by Corinne, Cochran and Brandon, Malcolm then took over the ring-tossing segment of the challenge. After the way the last one went, with Malcolm not tossing the sandbags into their holes in time, thus costing the favorites the win, we're surprised they let him do it again. As it was, he couldn't get the last ring onto its pole and Phillip had to take over. By this stage, the fans had finally arrived back at the beach and champion thrower Reynold (we're pretty certain that's his only skill set) took over the show. He immediately tossed two onto his poles, but had trouble with the last one. Michael took over, but was surprisingly no match for Phillip's aim (or luck), and the favorites took out the challenge.
Over at the jubilant favorites camp, Phillip gave nicknames to the members of his corporation, Stealth R Us Inc (a call-back to the Stealth R Us group of Boston Rob, Grant Mattos and Phillip on RI): Phillip is the specialist; Cochran is the intelligence attaché; Malcolm is the enforcer; Andrea is the eliminator; Corinne is the dominatrix (?!); and Dawn is "true grit". As wacky as this throwaway scene was, at least it reinforced where the majority alliance still stood among the favorites, with Brenda, Brandon and Erik nowhere to be seen. It also gave us an insight into the game that Phillip is playing; he had 39 days in Redemption Island to watch a master player at work, so technically, he should be the best one out there -- but unfortunately, instead of simply implementing a Boston Rob strategy, he seems to be going around telling people that he is implementing that strategy and only then putting it into practice. My God, Phillip. This is Survivor. You tell no one your strategy. Perhaps he just wants everyone to know how clever he is being?
This wouldn't be an episode of Survivor without some good old-fashioned pre-tribal council squabbling, however, and Reynold accordingly had a shouting match with Shamar over whose fault the loss of the challenge was (apparently Shamar's for not helping the group work as a team?). Shamar simply told him, loudly and repeatedly, to shut up, and Reynold marched off into the jungle with his majority alliance of four (chortle) and stated that they were all definitely voting for Shamar. Sherri, meanwhile, rounded up her alliance of six, and she and Laura told them that they would be voting for Reynold's closest ally, Allie. However, Matt expressed doubt over keeping Shamar the Annoying. Ladies and gentlemen, our swing vote this evening will be Matt.
Off in the jungle, Reynold decided to search for the hidden immunity idol, and found it extremely quickly underneath the roots of a tree. Are they even trying to hide those things anymore? He walked back to camp with the idol in the pocket of his very tight pants, and Laura immediately noticed the (second) bulge, deducing that he had the idol.
After the expected Reynold vs. Shamar showdown at tribal council, Jeff Probst fortuitously asked Laura one more question before going to the vote -- and she used the opportunity to reveal that Reynold held the idol. Reynold reluctantly pulled it out, claimed it was "kryptonite" and said he would therefore be playing it that night so that he could go back to being deemed trustworthy. He didn't end up playing it, of course, showing some surprising foresight (as at this stage, he still thought they would all be voting for Shamar).
Matt, however, decided to stick with the intelligent alliance, and voted for Allie, who was "humiliated to be voted out second".
If you're going to form an alliance with only three others in a tribe of 10, and then make no overtures toward any of your other tribemates, you're going to have a bad time. Like we pointed out at the very beginning of this recap, Survivor is all about the numbers, and in that sense, Allie dug her own grave.
Unlike the seasoned Survivor players, the fans had nothing all that interesting to say about their tribal council experience on Twitter, more's the pity.
The best bits were Matt kindly telling us how long he's been growing his beard for; Julia mourning the fact that she was not shown speaking once in this episode; and Allie admitting her continued mortification.
Over on the more interesting side of Twitter, Brandon apologised for going off at Dawn (we think? His tweets are pretty hard to read), Dawn's family made fun of her for crying and Brandon took offence to Cochran calling him a possible murderer.
Meanwhile, Cochran was just wrapped up in how great his confessional seat was this week.
(Credit: John M Cochran/Twitter)
1. Do you agree that Allie dug her own grave, or should Shamar have gone home this week?
2. Which fan do you think is strategising the most effectively: Sherri or Laura?
3. What do you think the non-present Brenda spends her days doing out there?
4. Are you enthused for the next episode, in which Brandon says he will "pee in the rice, pee in the beans and burn the shelter to the ground"? Oh, those crazy Hantzes. (By the way, did you know that Russell Hantz and Shawn Hantz -- Brandon's father/Russell's brother -- actually have their own reality TV show? Just stop it, America.)
5. Did you giggle a little when Phillip put the tribe flag in the sand, but it fell over and hit Corinne?