Survivor: Wherever You Go, There You Are (S31:E2 RECAP)
This week on Survivor: A downtrodden alliance struggles to get its crap together, a so-so romance makes grown men cry, and Jeff Probst reminds everyone that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
As the season’s second episode opens, Tribe Ta Keo is still reeling from the tribal council where they voted out Vytas. Perhaps it was not super-clear from my recap of episode 1, so I’ll just tell you now: Ta Keo is more or less split into two alliances. The first alliance is the so-called “old school” alliance. These are mostly the folks who played early seasons of Survivor before things got so cutthroat. They like to hang out at camp, and they believe in doing stuff like building a freaking shelter to keep the rain off already.
By contrast, the new schoolers like hanging out on the beach, talking behind each other’s backs, and doing as little work as possible. They seem to believe that they are on a game show with a one million dollar prize.
Old School is made up of Terry, Woo, and Kelly Wiglesworth. New School has Spencer, Abi, Peih-Gee, Shirin, Jeff Varner, and Kelley Wentworth – a sizeable majority. The old-timers are clearly on the bottom. As K-Wigles nicely puts it early in the episode, “My alliance needs to get our crap together.”
Maybe they can. First of all, Jeff is throwing flirtatious glances their way, as if they had a whole lean-to full of peanut butter. In his semi-incomprehensible way, he says he only voted out their boy Vytas to give them a wake-up call and show them that they need to attend to strategy. He’d rather be a shelter person than a beach person, as long as they can still talk smack in the shelter.
So, maybe things aren’t so bleak. With Jeff switching sides, the split is 4-5 rather than 3-6 – highly bridgeable.
Meanwhile, over at the Bayon camp, Joe continues to impress. He makes everyone some hammocks out of God knows what and catches everyone a fish. He should probably tone it down before some haters vote him out.
While the group is gathered around the campfire (which, as you may remember, was also provided by Joe), the subject of Andrew’s wife comes up. People want to know how they got together, so he tells the epic tale. It goes like this:
- She was a friend of his roommate
- She came into town to visit the roommate
- He thought she was hot
- Later, when she came back to visit, they went on some dates
- Then, they got married
Seriously. That is basically all he said.
I know the players are suffering because they don’t have access to the internet or anything out there, but people act like this is the most romantic thing they have ever heard. Jeremy actually has to leave the circle to go cry.
It turns out that he really misses his wife, especially since she is pregnant right now. “I just want to see her stomach,” he says, which actually is the most romantic thing I have ever heard. (He does know that babies don’t exactly grow inside women’s stomachs per se, right?)
Seeing that Jeremy has strayed from the group, Fishbach, simultaneously scanning the horizon for idols himself, cynically asks if Jeremy might be out looking for the hidden immunity idol.
Let’s check back in with Ta Keo. They are still in heavy processing mode. Abi in particular, is looking at the camera, emoting, and basically going all Blair Witch Project.
People ask Abi what her deal is, and it turns out, remember how she didn’t get voted out at tribal council for being a lunatic? Well, she’s pissed that anyone voted against her at all! She really feels like she needs to be mad about that for the rest of time, if that’s okay with everybody.
It’s not. The rest of the Ta Keons advise her to get over it. Later, Peih-Gee is talking to Shirin about Abi behind her back, as is the New School way. Peih-Gee is just basically rehashing that she thinks Abi is a nut, and Abi totally walks up on the conversation and confronts her. Peih-Gee doesn’t deny what she said, and Shirin doesn’t pretend that she doesn’t agree. Abi storms off to sit on the beach and cry while the rest of the New Schoolers hang out amiably without her. There is a lot of crying in this episode.
Terry from the Old School alliance sees poor little Abi sitting all alone and goes over to offer his sympathy. Things get chummy and eventually talk turns to the subject of Abi switching her allegiances, which she totally agrees to do. That’s right. She’s mad that her group, which didn’t cast any votes against her, is insufficiently sympathetic to the fact that she received some votes, so she retaliates by aligning with the very people who voted against her in the first place. That oughta show ‘em!
On to the immunity challenge. In this week’s challenge, the two tribes have to scramble across a series of A-Frame structures, pulling along a rope attached to a heavy crate full of heavy wooden puzzle pieces, and then race to assemble an intricate puzzle first.
This is one of those races where you’re only as strong as your weakest link because everyone on the team has to get over the A-frames. Jeff is still carrying that peanut-butter weight, and he’s really struggling. Bayon gets to the puzzle assembly stage first. Eventually, Ta Keo gets there, and the contest is on! It actually looks like Ta Keo might have finished first, but the puzzle isn’t put together correctly. Bayon does it right and wins. Ta Keo will be going to tribal council for the second time in a row.
But not before heading back to camp for more drama. Now that Old School has a five person majority, they need to figure out who to vote out. They’re thinking either Shirin or Spencer, because those are New School’s two main strategists. So, all they have to do is just pick someone and then relax and wait for the vote, right?
Nope. Jeff goes ahead and recruits Peih-Gee and Kelley Wentworth to the Old School cause. This puts Abi and her nemesis Peih-Gee on the same side, but no one seems to care. And surely, now that they’ve established a super-majority, they’ll just relax.
But no. Abi can’t not tell Shirin that the tribe is going to vote out either her or Spencer. With that cat out of the bag, Shirin and Spencer have to go around trying to get their votes back. They approach Woo and try to convince him that he’s on the bottom of the Old School alliance. Woo isn’t going for it. He notes that this is literally the first time either of them have spoken to him.
It soon becomes apparent that Shirin and Spencer aren’t getting their votes (or their mojo) back. Realizing that he will have to vote against Shirin (“the only person I wanted to play this game with”) at tribal council, Spencer weeps.
Tribal council time. This council feels a lot like a Big Brother elimination. Two people are obviously on the block, and each of them pleads their case. Shirin apologizes for not being more sympathetic to Abi, and host Jeff Probst says yeah, she should have been because she herself was on the losing side of an argument last year on Survivor: Worlds Apart and complained that no one stood up for her. Spencer apologizes for treating the other players like human chess pieces (pawns, one assumes), and Probst says he should be sorry because that’s also what he did two years ago on Survivor: Cagayan.
Predictably, the votes go back and forth between Shirin and Spencer. Shirin gets more votes and a trip home.
No idea why the vote was split at all or why more people voted for Shirin. There are some things the producers just choose not to show us.
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