Yay! Survivor is back!
Boo! It’s Blood vs. Water.
Don’t get me wrong, the idea of Blood vs. Water is a very intriguing concept. What would a castaway do if they had to choose between a loved one or an alliance with a stranger? It’s compelling stuff and would make great TV. However, I wasn’t sold on the first time Survivor introduced this theme mainly because the loved ones were separated right when they landed on the beach.
The point of Blood vs. Water is for that choice to be made. Situations will present themselves throughout the season that would force people to choice between two sides to further their game. I know splitting them up is supposed to make a castaway yearn for their loved one and wonder how they are doing, but that becomes a tertiary function once you landed on the beach with your new tribe. Now you have to put your loved one on the back-burner, make an alliance and avoid getting kicked off.
If I were a producer of Survivor, I would’ve kept the loved ones in tact. I think it would interesting to see the push and pull on these relationships unfold. Sure, as a duo you have a game plan, but when you introduce a unknown variable into the mix that you mid connect with and want to align with, this is when things get tricky, alliances get dicey and bad decisions (aka good TV) happen.
Here’s how I would’ve paired them:
Tribe 1: Drew & Alec (siblings), Dale & Kelley (father/daughter), John & Julie (dating), Josh & Reed (dating), [insert mother/daughter team]
Tribe 2: Natalie & Nadiya (siblings), Missy & Baylor (mother/daughter), Val & Jeremy (married), Jon & Jaclyn (dating), Keith & Wes (father/son)
It would’ve been interesting to see which how these pairs would choose their alliances. Would they relate based on their relationship status? It would be cool to see how each pair would try to play for their loved ones against playing for themselves.
But alas, Survivor stuck with the original format and split up the loves ones. And instead of returning players, there were some famous faces. Former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker (who was recognized by Keith & Wes) and The Amazing Race contestants Natalie & Nadiya, who were recognized by no one because when Jeff went around the castaways for some small talk before the tribal split, the first words out of their mouths were “When we were on The Amazing Race...”
Come on ladies, rookie mistake. NEVER let people know your background. If you’ve been on another reality competition series or were an athlete at the collegiate or professional level, you keep that intel under wraps because that’s all the excuse anyone needs to vote you out.
Exile Island return this season and Val found herself being its first visitor. She was sent there after losing the reward challenge to her husband Jeremy, who turned around and sent tribe mate Keith with her. They would reunite with their tribes at the Immunity Challenge and lose those precious first days of getting to know people and forming an alliance.
At the immunity challenge, I will say that both teams worked well together. We always see one tribe that just seems to click while the other just can’t seem to get it together. But both teams wanted that first win to set the tone for the rest of the season. It came down to a puzzle and Hunahpu came back from a slow start and won.
With the first tribal council of the season looming, these people looked a little too stressed out. The first vote is always the easiest one. Alliances haven’t really been tried and tested and you’re just starting to place your chess pieces. As far as I see it, you only have three voting options. First, you have Dale. Being at least 20 years older than the rest of his tribe, you can make a case that he’s the weak link. Plus, he broke his glasses so that he could make fire. Dude. Can’t. See.
Secondly, you have Val. She was at Exile Island for two days, doesn’t have an alliance and for anyone’s who watched this show (I’m looking at you super fan Josh), you know there a chance that she’ll receive a clue to the hidden immunity idol back at your camp. Get rid of her now before she finds it. Lastly, you have John or Nadiya. Both are famous and both pose a huge threat in the long run. John proved that he’s a beast when it comes to the physical portion of the game. He’s literally half the size of every other castaway. Sure he can help you tribe win, but when the tribes merge, there’s not stopping him and you’ll look back at this experience, kicking yourself for not voting him out earlier in the game. As for Nadiya, we’ve seen that backstabbing comes naturally to her and Natalie. It would only be a matter of time before she turned on you.
Both Val and Dale figured that their names were on the chopping block and went to work. Dale rallied the boys to vote out Nadiya, while Val attempted to scrap together an all-girl alliance to trounce Dale. Poor Val. Girls alliance don’t work. You’ve clearly never seen Survivor, Big Brother, Are You the One?, Ink Master and Celebrity Apprentice. Women NEVER stick together. It only worked that one time on Survivor:Micronesia because Parvarti, Cirie, Amanda and Natalie were surrounded by dumb boys.
It will never work again and it didn’t.
In the end, the boys alliance proved almighty when Nadiya was the first person sent packing with a 5-3-1 vote. Poor blindsided Nadiya. She now has the distinction of being the first person to be eliminated in first episode of two CBS reality competition shows. It seems the girls alliance splinted when Baylor voted with the guys and Josh voted with neither, opting to cast a throwaway vote on Baylor.