This episode of Survivor featured two of Jeff Probst's all-time favorite things: a showmance (with kissing!), and a contestant getting an in-camp visit from one Jeffrey Lee Probst. (Which was also a visit from the Survivor medical team, which meant someone needed help, so he most likely didn't love that part, except that everything ended up okay, so maybe he's allowed to like it? Please say yes.) In the hierarchy of things Probst loves, those two come in right below 1. Boston Rob, 2. former pro athletes (male, obviously), and 3. surprise twists that make Survivor contestants gasp audibly. Okay, maybe they're both above #3. But only barely.
Neither of these things really ended up having anything to do with the show. The Tay-Fig showmance did make Figgy a target, but if the editing of Ep.1 is to be believed, Mari and Hannah had already been planning to vote out Figgy even before the first challenge. And when it did make them a target, it wasn't TayFigs saving themselves, it was Michelle and Jay leaping into action (!) and flipping votes left and right. Similarly, while the combination of Paul's weakness and David's idol might have given the David-Ken-CeCe alliance leverage in toppling Paul's reign of hair band terror, it was rendered moot by their tribe winning immunity. And besides, Paul looked hale and hearty (sorry) by the time that rolled around. And he even gave Jeff Probst #4 on his biggest thrill list: A hefty, bearded guy saying the word "pirate."
And that also leaves out Jeff Probst exciting event #5, the underdog on a tribe finding a not-really-hidden immunity idol! Seriously, this may be Probst's all-time favorite episode, ever. For us? We liked it. No major complaints. Except...
The overselling of the new idol-"hiding" system
You remember this, right? During the cast-release hoopla, Probst gave Dalton Ross an EW-exclusive peek into the new system, wherein the host promised: "you’re going to get a clue and it’s gonna say, yes, there’s an idol somewhere down here amongst these shells. Good luck. And you’re gonna look out on a beach full of shells and you will not be able to figure out which one has it. How could a shell possibly have an idol? You just gotta work. You gotta think."
That sounded frustratingly cool and complicated. Clues! Thousands of possible locations, all of which look the same! You'd be forgiven if you thought wow, they might make idols so difficult to find that they'd actually need those clues! Possibly even have to think about them!
So... instead, we had... no clues, no shells, and in reality it was just one solitary coconut with a giant purple emblem painted on it.
We were expecting something on the order of the map room scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indy uses the staff of Ra and a beam of light at a specific time to pinpoint the Ark's location on an ancient map.
Instead, we had the equivalent of an "Easter egg hunt" where the eggs are fluorescent colored plastic eggs and they're just scattered on a green lawn.
The lesson is: Never hope.
Still, if there was anyone on the Gen X tribe we were hoping would find an idol, it was David, so we're glad about that. Maybe the boost in safety/confidence the idol provides will be just the stimulus his game needed.
Still, speaking of never hoping...
Superfans in freefall: From Adam to Zeke
Argh, you guys! You should absolutely know better. In what universe is it okay to say in confessional: "We lost... but I'm a little bit tickled to be going to Tribal Council. I came to vote people out, and I came to win a million dollars! And I want to get started"?
Or, for that matter, slack-jawedly grinning at Tribal itself: "First of all, this place is unbelievable" (as Mari helpfully interjects, "Beautiful")?
Surely you've heard of a guy named Max Dawson. He was recent enough that even the casuals on your tribe probably know who he is (unless they forgot already). He, like you guys, committed the cardinal sin of Survivor: expressing anything other than concern about Tribal Council. He was voted out at his second appearance, after seeming positively giddy about attending.
Come on, Zeke! Did you have an 80-year-old moment, and just forget? Sigh.
On the other hand, we feel the need to offer some...
Praise for strategic mastery from unexpected places
We were as shocked as you that the dragon whisperer from the pre-game interviews turned out to be a rock-solid Survivor player, but we're always delighted to see someone playing well, and it's even more fun when we didn't see it coming.
Michelle, and to a lesser extent Jay, turned an easy boot of one of their alliancemates into a surprise blindside of someone who looked like an all-around good player. Michelle confronted Jay with the problem, suggested Jay reconcile the Figgy-Michaela feud (which he did, flawlessly), then secured Will as the swing vote. Then Michelle took a last-minute mid-Tribal swing at pulling in Hannah as an insurance vote, and succeeded at that, too! All that despite everyone else on their tribe already being sick of Taylor and Figgy's days-long Jon-and-Jaclyn impersonations. (Really, who wouldn't be?)
So praise where it's due. Even though we fully expect the next episode's "Previously on..." segment to somehow misattribute this victory to Figgy and/or Taylor through some bizarre, tortured logic, but hey, at least you'll have this review to fall back on when you're voted out at the merge, just as the Hunter-toppling Boston Rob was, back in Marquesas. But you already knew that, right?
Okay, that's enough of that. On to the vidcaps!
Hi. I'm Paul. I'm in control of this tribe, even though you didn't see me in the first episode.
Thanks, Chris. My mom is worried about me using a machete without surpervision.
Step 1: Make fire. Step 2: Find an idol. Step 3: ??? Step 4: Profit!
Ol' Dave is our puppy, but he's a cool fire-making one, like a Growlithe or whatnot.
This here is my alibi. If the rock doesn't fit, you must acquit!
Whoa, that coconut husk had paper in it! This will be great for starting the next fire!
I'm your peer, Ralph Kiser! As was Steve Wright. No relation.
In a heartwarming scene, the mactors dream of moving to Los Angeles. *sniff*
I got the episode title! Me! And a hashtag!
The love goggles really accentuate his eyes.
Survey says: They're making Figlets. Good job, internet.
Oh, you want me to be the Millennial Cirie? Done and done.
If the love goggles don't fit, you must acquit! Dammit, they fit.
I'm sitting by a throne-like rock, commenting privately, and yet I'll come out of this episode in a worse position than those two. That's democracy for you.
Seriously, previous Survivor knowledge has *zero* impact on the outcome. Ha, ha!
Speaking of knowledge, welcome back, Ozzy!
We have a Cook Islands Parvati, why not a Cook Islands octopus? Sure, go nuts.
Yul-Ozzy, Stephen-JT. One of those.
Meanwhile, the Millennials try to kill the two days before the next challenge by re-enacting film scenes only Gen Xers know. "Come on, guys! You don't know Alien?"
Michaela opts for a more Survivor-friendly Matt von Ertfelda impression
Come on, I got that one!
Von what, now? Is he an athlete or something?
Sure he is, Figgy. Sure he is.
I've been in this pose since the first confessional of the episode. Sure is hard work being in control.
Did you hear? Paul's in control of our tribe! Let's plot malevolently against him while the editors make it look like he's dying.
That's a relief. I've already made a dirt angel, including a halo, just in case.
You're cool and all, Dr. Joe, but I'm worried this won't make the cut if you don't bring Probst in, too.
Yeah, remember when Aubry and Jennifer got medical camp visits last season, and it was only in the season preview?
You can relax now, Paul. Probst coming to camp guarantees this will make the edit. Also there's pretty much nothing else to fill the episode with, since we're not showing the intro.
This is going to sound bad, but if I say something that sounds a bit selfish, can I get edited into this segment, too?
Only if you agree to glower from the background, David. We have artistic standards.
Okay, guys, we still have half an hour to fill, so please, take your time on the swimming and jumping. Especially you, David.
Also, no diving allowed. Only hilarious belly flops.
Hannah serves as the special interpreter for the audience members that do not speak Probst Alphamalese.
First in a seemingly endless series of shots of flying contestants, who were not given their swimsuits for the water challenge because... typhoons or something.
Michelle leaps into action, before leaping into action after the challenge as well
I am at the zenith of my leap! The nadir will come when I have to swim! Please include this scene!
Adam, still stuck on movie re-enactments, tackles one of the Spider-Mans. Eh, let's say Tobey Maguire.
OMG! They drowned Mari! You bastards!
Ken/Ozzy decides to also be Reynold
Hooray, old people!
Um, dude? Please don't say the P word around Probst
Intro shot confirmed
Time to crush somebody's dreams!
I'm sitting by a different throne and gloating about Tribal. There's no way I'll ever regret this!
So it's Figgy, right?
Oh yeah, totally Figgy. 100%
It's so Figgy, there's no way they could possibly fill the next 10 minutes making it someone else
Good news, Jay! It's 100% Figgy tonight, and there's no way you can possibly change it, so please don't try.
So long, dental plan!... (Lisa needs braces)... Dental plan!
There was this odd echo, but I think eventually he was on the same page
We're the Triforce. That means we can totally take in two or three more people. Why are you making that face?
I Tri to be nice, but I can only take so much
Okay, so with you and Michaela, we're up to the Sexforce. As a high school boy, you're cool with that, right?
It's so weird playing without a status bar! My HP is still good, right?
The best version of me makes fire then doesn't vote people out. Can I downgrade to the previous version?
How is it we've gotten almost to the voting and you haven't even asked about idols? Did you guys forget to plant some for us?
Hannah, we need you for the Septforce! Believe in the Seven!
I knew she liked dragons, but this Westeros talk is getting a bit much
Also, there's no Westerosi equivalent of Judaism. What do I do?
We're totally safe, and all we had to do was smooch! Just like Jon and Jaclyn!
I can go back to my last saved position, right?
Millennials vs. Gen X Episode 2 recaps and commentary
Exit interviews: Mari Takahashi
Episode 2 Podcasts