Episodes 13-14: Straight to the top
Published: April 23, 2021
The final two episodes of Survivor: Palau play out in precisely the way you would have expected: Tom wins three immunities, the people who aren't Ian and Katie are voted out, and then Tom wins the jury vote vs. Katie. There are a few bumps along the way, but it's as expected. Here's a look back at his win and the season.
Episodes 11-12: You wanted strategy? We'll make you pay
Published: April 19, 2021
The thing to remember about Survivor: Palau is, despite the social-strategic game the show has belatedly embraced, it always wanted to be this type of season: One in which an alpha-male leader is good in challenges, and people just let him stick around and win because he's so awesome. That appears to be the only explanation for the unforced errors by people not named Tom in Episodes 11-12.
Episodes 9-10: The case for Coby
Published: April 13, 2021
As the (non-) merge comes and goes on Survivor: Palau, things are changing: Stephenie is now on Koror! Everything else, though, is pretty much the same. Tom's group stays in charge, the people on the bottom of Koror are voted out or are encouraged to quit. There are probably other plans going on, but you really have to dig to find or remember them.
Episodes 7-8: So long, Ulong (at long last)
Published: April 7, 2021
It's over. It's finally over. The long, slow decimation of Ulong comes to its inevitable conclusion in Episodes 7-8 of Survivor: Palau. Sadly, this drawn-out execution comes across on TV as, well, long and slow. Koror scores a clean sweep of tribal immunity. Yay. But at least the actual game can start now, right?
Episodes 5-6: The roads not taken
Published: April 5, 2021
Ulong continues its downward trajectory in Episodes 5-6 of Survivor: Palau, and as time wears on, it becomes clear there's little chance of production stepping in with a swap (or even a merge) to bail them out. What were the costs of these production decisions? And what did production hope to gain?
Published: March 28, 2021
By the end of Episode 4 of Survivor: Palau, the Ulong tribe is down, but not yet completely out. In fact, they matched up really well against Koror over the second pair of episodes, it's just everything that could break against them did. And when their thrilling comeback in the Ep4 IC fell just short, that may have been the actual end for Ulong.
Episodes 1-2: Jumping right in
Published: March 24, 2021
Survivor: Palau is known for a lot of things — picturesque islands, colorful characters, a hapless tribe of youngsters, a heroic FDNY firefighter four years after 9/11 — but most of all, Palau is a season where production's choices, actions and inactions, visibly shape the outcome of the season. That all begins in the premiere.
Jeff Pitman is the founder of the True Dork Times, and probably should find better things to write about than Survivor. So far he hasn't, though. He's also responsible for the Survivometer, calendar, boxscores, and contestant pages, so if you want to complain about those, do so in the comments, or on twitter: @truedorktimes