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Powering up the underdogs - Jeff Pitman's SurvivorSA: Immunity Island Episode 2 recap/analysis

Powering up the underdogs

SurvivorSA: Immunity Island Episode 2 recap/analysis

By Jeff Pitman | Published: June 11, 2021

It's still early days for SurvivorSA: Immunity Island's titular twist, but the results so far have breathed new life into the prospects of two players who otherwise might have had their torches snuffed. Through two episodes, being a "weak player" has paradoxically provided strength, while being comfortably in power and trying to direct the vote has been deadly. This may all change, but so far, it's been a fun reversal of Survivor fortunes.

First to the starting line - Jeff Pitman's SurvivorSA: Immunity Island Episode 1 recap/analysis

First to the starting line

SurvivorSA: Immunity Island Episode 1 recap/analysis

By Jeff Pitman | Published: June 5, 2021

Survivor South Africa deserves a medal simply for getting a season filmed, edited, and on the air during COVID. Thankfully, that's not the only plus: SurvivorSA: Immunity Island — at least the premiere episode — is also really good. A strong, dynamic, game-aware cast being put to the test with multiple in-game dilemmas, challenges, and opportunities for strategy. Survivor is back, and it's definitely been worth the wait.

More than just heroes and villains - Jeff Pitman's Survivor: Panama - Exile Island Episodes 5-6 recap/analysis

More than just heroes and villains

Survivor: Panama Episodes 5-6 recap/analysis

By Jeff Pitman | Published: June 2, 2021

As the season-long narrative of Survivor: Panama - Exile Island comes more into focus over Episodes 5-6, it's interesting that while many of the main characters are "heroic," there is nuance: Terry will vote out his closest ally; Aras regrets his alliance; Cirie finds great joy in Casaya's dysfunction. Similarly, most of the alleged villains have extenuating circumstances, and even deeply conflicted Shane finds redemption (via a cigarette).

Everything's coming up Panama - Jeff Pitman's Survivor: Panama - Exile Island Episodes 3-4 recap/analysis

Everything's coming up Panama

Survivor: Panama Episodes 3-4 recap/analysis

By Jeff Pitman | Published: May 27, 2021

Over the Episode 3-4 span, three key events take place that set Survivor: Panama - Exile Island up for success: La Mina crumbles, Casaya wins two immunities that preserve Cirie's position in the game, and Terry finds the idol. One of these may not have been entirely by chance.

Straight to the top - Jeff Pitman's Survivor: Palau rewatch Episodes 13-14 recap

Straight to the top

Survivor: Palau Episodes 13-14 recap/analysis

By Jeff Pitman | 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.

You wanted strategy? We'll make you pay - Jeff Pitman's Survivor: Palau rewatch Episodes 11-12 recap

You wanted strategy? We'll make you pay

Survivor: Palau Episodes 11-12 recap/analysis

By Jeff Pitman | 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.

All fall down - Jeff Pitman's Survivor: Samoa rewatch Episodes 13-14 recap

All fall down

Survivor: Samoa Episodes 13-14 recap/analysis

By Jeff Pitman | Published: March 14, 2021

Natalie White won Survivor: Samoa in a landslide jury victory, but the show's refusal to even attempt to explain why, and instead embrace Russell Hantz's 'this game is flawed' mantra, remains a dark mark on the season. But they did it, and it's done, and at least it's over.

Slipping away - Jeff Pitman's Survivor: Samoa rewatch Episodes 11-12 recap

Slipping away

Survivor: Samoa Episodes 11-12 recap/analysis

By Jeff Pitman | Published: March 2, 2021

As Survivor: Samoa speeds through the Pagonging of Galu in Episodes 11-12, it also locks in the fates of the Foa Foas not at Team Yellow's core: Jaison and Mick. They're aware of the problem, but there's also very little they can do. So as with Galu, nothing happens. But at least the recap episode wasn't terrible.

Burning down the house - Jeff Pitman's Survivor: Gabon rewatch Episodes 12-13 recap

Burning down the house

Survivor: Gabon Episodes 12-13 recap/analysis

By Jeff Pitman | Published: January 5, 2021

Rather than a celebration of strategic gameplay, the final two episodes of Survivor: Gabon are a full-voiced repudiation of it, with both vote-receiving finalists strangely touting their lack of a résumé, and jurors attacking the third for making moves (which she paradoxically also does as she targets others). It's weird, it's loud, it's confusing. But at least it's over.

Arts and crafts time with Bob Crowley - Jeff Pitman's Survivor: Gabon rewatch Episodes 9-11 recap

Arts and crafts time with Bob Crowley

Survivor: Gabon Episodes 9-11 recap/analysis

By Jeff Pitman | Published: December 24, 2020

Episodes 9-11 of Survivor: Gabon contain the death throes of the Onion alliance, but they're also finally a showcase for Bob Crowley. Which is good, since he does end up winning this thing. He's far from a master strategist, but he's an idol-making (faking) machine, and that saves this stretch.

The king of Fiji receives his crown - Jeff Pitman's Survivor: Fiji rewatch Episodes 13-14 recap

The king of Fiji receives his crown

Survivor: Fiji Episodes 13-14 recap/analysis

By Jeff Pitman | Published: November 11, 2020

There's a lot going on in the final two episodes of Survivor: Fiji, but they contain the complete story of the Yau-Man/ Dreamz truck deal, and put some finishing flourishes on Earl's unanimous victory. It's the hero story of Earl Cole, king of Fiji. It's also the tragedy of Dreamz, consumed by the game.

Here's where the Pagonging comes in - Jeff Pitman's Survivor: Fiji rewatch Episodes 11-12 recap

Here's where the Pagonging comes in

Survivor: Fiji Episodes 11-12 recap/analysis

By Jeff Pitman | Published: November 1, 2020

As we wind our way to the final pair of Fiji episodes, it's understandable that every episode pair can't be a home run. Here in Episodes 11 and 12, the remnants of the Horsemen are slowly being dispatched, and there's not much they can do about it. Sadly, an idol sits there, waiting to be found, but it isn't. Oh well.

Twists on twists - Jeff Pitman's Survivor: Fiji rewatch Episodes 9-10 recap

Twists on twists, and Horsemen dismissed

Survivor: Fiji Episodes 9-10 recap/analysis

By Jeff Pitman | Published: October 26, 2020

Back-to-back viewing of Fiji's merge episode with the Edgardo boot in Episode 10 cushions the over-produced merge's production meddling with the satisfying, player-driven season highlight of the fall of the Horsemen, one of the show's best episodes.

Survivor's season of self-loathing - Jeff Pitman's Survivor: Marquesas rewatch Episode 13 recap

Survivor's season of self-loathing

Survivor: Marquesas Episode 13 recap/analysis

By Jeff Pitman | Published: September 23, 2020

Survivor: Marquesas's final episode has a lot of big reveals: A purple rock, the season's victor, and the fact that this winner — Vecepia — had a season-long strategy that was almost entirely edited out, in favor of 'honesty and integrity' or something. Luckily, the jury (narrowly) pulled the correct rock.

Starvation inaction - Jeff Pitman's Survivor: Marquesas rewatch Episode 12 recap

Starvation inaction

Survivor: Marquesas Episode 12 recap/analysis

By Jeff Pitman | Published: September 19, 2020

The penultimate episode of Marquesas is a bit of a cautionary tale: against intentionally starving the contestants, against winning a car (with no food), and apparently against playing Survivor, which alleged hero Paschal views as diabolical.

Cutting the rope - Jeff Pitman's Survivor: Marquesas rewatch Episode 8 recap

Cutting the rope

Survivor: Marquesas Episode 8 recap/analysis

By Jeff Pitman | Published: September 12, 2020

This is it, one of the most important episodes in Survivor history, in which a ragtag group of underdogs assembles across original tribal lines to finally topple a dominant majority alliance. And the person the show gives the bulk of the credit to is, of course, the actual villain of the season, who almost blocked it. Also, despite being a key part of the plan, the ultimate winner was for some reason excised by the editors.

Survivor and the problem with the first vote - Jeff Pitman's Survivor multi-season analysis

Survivor and the problem with the first vote

Survivor multi-season analysis

By Jeff Pitman | Published: July 31, 2020

Jeff Pitman's analysis of the challenges facing Survivor's Black, Indigenous, and People of Color contestants when their tribe makes its first vote. Running the numbers, it's clear they receive a higher percentage of those first votes, and this problem has grown over the past decade. With suggestions for fixing this, and broadening Survivor's story-telling resources.

Thoughts from the Edge - The Baker's Dozen

Thoughts from the Edge

Survivor: Winners at War Episode 14 analysis

By Andy Baker | Published: May 20, 2020

Now that the king of Survivor has been crowned, Andy looks ahead to what shape the future of Survivor will take, if or when it continues. Which parts of the game need retooling, what twists should stay, and, wait ... teenagers?

All hail the king - It's Kind of a Funny Story

All hail the king

Survivor: Winners at War Episode 14 analysis

By Dan Otsuki | Published: May 20, 2020

Dan is back with his end-of-season assessment of Winners at War, praise for the winner of winners and the runners-up, and hopes that the show can fix some its current flaws during its downtime.

The friends they made along the way - Jeff Pitman's Survivor: Winners at War analysis

The friends they made along the way

Survivor: Winners at War Episode 14 recap/analysis

By Jeff Pitman | Published: May 19, 2020

The Winners are finally no longer at War, and the season finished on a high note, and one surprisingly steeped in emotion. A solid finale that reaffirmed the core Survivor game, with a well-earned win from an entertaining winner who somehow played an even better game this time around.

Top One, Baby! - Brent Sullivan's Survivor: Winners at War Episode 14 analysis

Top One, Baby!

Survivor: Winners at War Episode 14 analysis

By Brent Sullivan | Published: May 17, 2020

With a salute to the new two-time champion, Brent wraps up his Winners at War watch with a look back at five previously flagged key items from earlier in the season that ended up indeed being a big part of the story (plus a miss).

Take it all in - Kaiser Island

Take it all in

Survivor: Winners at War Episode 14 recap/analysis

By Ryan Kaiser | Published: May 15, 2020

The War of Winners ends on a high note, in what could be the last Survivor finale for a while. Ryan celebrates the season's emotional end and its embrace of its past champions, with hopefully more to come. A finale that was grand, even if it's not the grand finale.

Perception is everything - The Baker's Dozen

Perception is everything

Survivor: Winners at War Episode 13 analysis

By Andy Baker | Published: May 12, 2020

As the dawn of the Winners at War finale approaches, Andy casts his gaze on perceptions: How these contestants are viewed by themselves, their competitors, the jury, and the audience, and what that means for their respective chances at a $2 million victory.

Ending Edge of Extinction - Jeff Pitman's Survivor: Winners at War Episode 13 analysis

Ending Edge of Extinction

Survivor: Winners at War Episode 13 recap/analysis

By Jeff Pitman | Published: May 11, 2020

With Edge of Extinction and fire tokens both (mostly) ending this episode, Jeff takes this pre-finale opportunity to assess their impact, what should be kept (hint: only one), and potential improvements in their execution. Hopefully leading to a bright, distraction-free conclusion to Winners at War.

Top Five! (Maybe ... one more as well) - Brent Sullivan's Survivor: Winners at War Episode 13 analysis

Top Five! (Maybe ... one more as well)

Survivor: Winners at War Episode 13 analysis

By Brent Sullivan | Published: May 10, 2020

Now that Winners at War has reached its (initial) final five, Brent assesses each of their games and chances of becoming the re-winning Winner. Plus a bonus look at some other contenders.

Funeral march - Kaiser Island

Funeral march

Survivor: Winners at War Episode 13 recap

By Ryan Kaiser | Published: May 8, 2020

The end of Winners at War is nigh, and this week, Ryan is turning the episode's penultimate steps into a pathway to that end for the remaining five players, plus the two thousand jury members/people on the Edge.

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