They’ve weathered the storm (quite literally), but for the second straight week, the victim on Survivor: David vs. Goliath never saw it coming.
As I do at the beginning of every Recap, please heed the following: Remember that this recap assumes that you have already seen this week’s Episode 2 of Survivor: David vs. Goliath, so if you have not and don’t want to be spoiled, please come back later! It’s important to add too that while we WILL hit on all of the important developments of the episode, this is not a linear “blow-by-blow” recap, and is more of a discussion and reaction of what we just witnessed together.
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When we last saw the David Tribe, they were reeling. Pat had just been medically evacuated from the game after a freak accident on the boat ride back from an Immunity Challenge, and we watched as the remaining tribe members huddled close to each other, shivering and shaken, with the rain pouring down on them. Jeff Probst reminded them that the game must go on, but it looks like even production relented a little bit, even if the weather didn’t, because both tribes were given a tarp and a fire-making kit on Day 4.
The overall feeling of Episode 2, was for me, a bit of an exhale after an exhilarating Premiere. Just like the David Tribe, a bit of wind seemed to get let out of the sails. We heard that the weather was going to play a big factor this season, and so far that prediction is living up to the hype. But nobody really knows what it’s like to sit on a deserted island in Fiji for three days, with little water and food, unable to build a fire. “Fire represents life,” as Probst tells us each season, so it was safe to say that both tribes had become lifeless after surviving for days without it. Now, old-school Survivor players and fans were probably screaming at the TV when they saw production “gift” each tribe a tarp and fire-making kit, waxing about how easy these “newbies” have it, and how hard it used to be back in the days of, say, Survivor: Africa (still known as one of the most grueling seasons ever). But until you try living through a cyclone, I say give these guys a break…because I’m certain that the “gift” wasn’t just about the player’s well-being (although I’m sure that was a big part of it), no, production knew that they weren’t going to get anything good out of a bunch of lifeless players. Giving them shelter and fire not only provides them with hope and lifted spirits, but it fills them also with the desire to actually play the game again.
It’s not that this episode was bad, it just didn’t quite match my excitement of the first episode. But I’m giving it a pass, due to the conditions these players are currently suffering through. That, and there’s nothing more demoralizing than watching a fellow contestant get helicoptered out of the game. This cast is solid, no doubt. The show will get better, I trust. And if tonight’s Tribal Council is any indication, these people are here to play the game…once they’re given the confidence that they’re not going to die out there.
So although it was sort of a subdued ep, we did see the inklings of some strategic story-lines take place. Seeds are being planted. Take the budding show-mance between Dan and Kara, a relationship that seems maybe a bit one-sided at this point, with Kara much more aware of the damage such a pairing could create. We saw the girls – Kara, Natalia, and Angelina – form a subtle female alliance, all with an unsuspecting man in tow. We saw the formation of the “Mason-Dixon” alliance between Nick and Christian…hey Nick, what the heck is the deal with you needing to name alliances? This isn’t Big Brother, bro. I’m sure a few “named” alliances have existed on Survivor before, but it’s not usually the norm like it is on other reality shows. It makes me think that Nick does not know much about this game, which I think is a fair assessment of him after two episodes.
Speaking of not knowing much about the game, let’s circle back to Dan. Him leaving his Idol in a sock out in the middle of plain sight is only stupid if it gets found, so because Jeremy found it, it’s officially stupid. I loved Mike White‘s “Information is the advantage” quote because it’s true. And who knows who else the girls have told about Dan’s Idol? After seemingly being in a position of strength after last week’s episode, Dan now looks like a fool just waiting to be played.
And his Idol is no longer the only one in play. How about Davie, Octopus Hunter, finding an Idol of his own? It might have come in handy for his alliance at the first Tribal Council of the season, but it is sure to become more valuable as the week’s roll by, especially if Davie remains in the minority alliance on his tribe.
Elsewhere, if there was any doubt remaining after the Premiere episode, then let it now be clear: Natalie Cole is not long for this game. I talked last week on the Podcast and in this recap how I think that Natalie was given the rawest of deals this season out of everybody out there, being a 57-year-old woman being placed in a game where there are simply no other players even close to her age bracket. Ageism has always been a factor on Survivor, especially pre-merge, but it appears that it’s more than just an age gap when it comes to Natalie’s short-comings in the game. Tonight we saw both John and Jeremy try to help her out, and she discarded them both, first by blurting out the info that John shared with her, and then by refusing to accept the help and advice of Jeremy. If Natalie’s strategy is to tell others that she doesn’t have a “snowball’s chance in Hell” to win the game, then that’s just ridiculous. She already clearly isn’t someone who can win Survivor, even if she is someone who could go all the way to the end. But if her Goliath tribe keeps winning, she may find herself post-merge as the perfect Goat-candidate.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my favorite story-line so far through two episodes: The budding nerd-mance between Gabby and Christian. “You want to play with me?” “Oh, in the sand?” “No, in the game!” Was my favorite awkwardly-lovable exchange of the night. How great that these two have found each other. Is it too early to be shipping them?
Episode Take-Away: The second episode seemed a bit lethargic, reflective of its cast that has been getting brutally beat-down by the tough weather they’ve been dealing with. But there was strategy and some game-play buried beneath, that still gives me hopes about this cast and this season. Lyrsa seems to be in the majority alliance for now, but the real power seems to be in the hands of Christian and Nick – “Mason-Dixon” as they call themselves – or in Christian and Gabby, if you’re like me and think that they’re a power couple and hope that they get married and have little scientist babies in time for the Reunion Show. The major question of the show though is quickly becoming: Can the Davids win against the Goliaths? Nothing ruins a good season of Survivor like one tribe dominating the game pre-merge, so here’s hoping the Davids can sling-shot a well-placed rock in-betwixt the eyes of the Goliath tribe come next Wednesday.
Voted out this week: Jessica Peet
Won Immunity: Goliath Tribe
Vote: No Idols or advantages played. 5 – Jessica (Gabby, Lyrsa, Nick, Christian, Elizabeth), 4 – Lyrsa (Carl, Bi, Davie, Jessica)
Next Week’s Episode: Gabby and Christian continue to bond, while Natalie continues to do whatever the opposite of bond is.
Quick Note! I appreciate that you are reading this Recap! But all season long, remember to return right here to Reality Tea for my FilmSurvivor Podcast on Thursday, where you can listen to my full exit interview with the eliminated contestant. This week I will have my exclusive interview with Jessica Peet. Those that have followed me also know that I am a RottenTomatoes-approved film critic, and I encourage you to check out my weekly movie reviews (like “A Star is Born,” and “Venom” this week) as I am also the national film critic for AXS.com and am a movie critic/TV personality in the Detroit area. As always, the easiest way to get all of my Survivor coverage and movie reviews is to follow me on Twitter – @tomsantilli – or on Facebook.
TELL US – WHAT DID YOU THINK OF TONIGHT’S EPISODE? DID CHRISTIAN/NICK MAKE THE RIGHT MOVE IN VOTING OUT JESSICA? AND IS NATALIE’S GAME OVER OR CAN SHE TURN THINGS AROUND?
Photo Credit: CBS/Monty Brinton/Robert Voets/Timothy Kuratek/Jeffrey Neira/Michele Crowe/David M. Russell