It's Kind of a Funny Story - Dan Otsuki's Survivor: Game Changers recapss

Foolish innocence


I don’t want to say it too much, too early to jinx myself, but Chrissy, Ryan, and Ali are all looking pretty solid right now for Survivor Fantasy, am I right? Hope they do better than my Rockies who broke my heart in the NL Wildcard game… but enough about that. Best not to dwell on my baseball-related sorrow and instead get down to a small case of “I told you so,” starring the one and only…



Sorry Ben


First overall pick, huh? To be completely fair, I didn’t think Simone would be out this early, even after her lack of screen time in the premiere. Combine this with the fact that I thought Desi’s pregame set her up as more of the diva as far as weather is concerned this season, and I thought Simone had at least a few solid episodes before her dismissal. Alas, she became nothing more than an object of entertainment as she announced to her tribe that she’d successfully relieved herself in the ocean or as she spoke of her distain for all things outdoors… and given this is Survivor, Simone is nearly the first fool archetype of the season (and I promise she wouldn’t be the last), but her naivety makes her an innocent instead. She was ill-suited for this game, and while she tried to rewrite the game’s narrative, she was still unable to overcome her survival short-comings, both literally and socially (because if Ryan is calling you weird… dude, not looking good). Hate to say I called her being overrated, but. Yeah…




Of Varying Degrees of Aptitude


If I thought pairs and partners were a big plot point last episode, fools surely took the cake this week. While there were hints of them on all three tribes (such as Chrissy noting JP is just not super smart as JP himself was shown foolishly isolating himself from his tribe as he fished), there are three who seem like important plot points in the game’s current stages. Let’s start from weakest to strongest, shall we?



As Dumb as a Sunscreen-less Ginger


Patrick, I have to admit, I had you pegged wrong. I thought you were this boring, mostly reserved guy from pregame stuff. Yes, I saw humor, but nothing to indicate you’d be… well, you. You survived the guillotine this week because you’re a massive person, and therefore stronger than teeny-tiny Simone, but wow, you didn’t look great doing it. I am forgiving, on some level, of the most versus all thing at Tribal, simply because the elements and lack of sustenance can do that, but annoying everyone on your tribe? My friend, you’re not looking long for this game because you’re the worst kind of fool there is: a dumb one.




Both Reaffirming and Exceeding My Initial Reaction


Good news (for me): Joe is still around. Better news: he has an Idol. Less good news: Cole helped him find it and knows he has it. Worst news: Joe’s entire aura of savvy game play—at least, what aura there was—was, to me, built on the fact that he seemed like a prototypical intelligent villain. Although he has an idol and is sitting in a much better position than he was coming into this episode, he remains a fool archetype still because of his lack of attention to detail. Put aside the fact that his antics remind me of a wannabe-Tony (which is surprisingly pretty funny for me to watch), he went from basically accusatory towards Cole to caving and asking for his help the next minute. It paid off for now, but the preview set him up for an easy blindside—one many could easily see coming, even before the preview. Unlike Patrick, Joe at least seems to know what he’s doing (kinda), he’s just too foolish to take his time and think it through, missing the subtle details in a mad dash for power. A mad fool is only a little better than a stupid one.




The Best Fool of All


A Shakespearean Fool is normally out of the direct spotlight—a charming, amusing narrator who provides true, insightful commentary. Although Ryan had taken a more center-stage role than this archetype nominally fills, he has thus far provided this necessary piece to the narrative. His comments about how he views his tribemates, including weird-Simone, were spot on, and he delivers them in such a comical, endearing fashion. He is, in these early stages, what people like Jeff Varner and Rob Cesternino were in their original seasons in the early goings. Let’s just hope, for my prediction’s sake, he turns out to be more the latter than the former, evolving into a mastermind, not just a court jester.


The Ruler and the Magician


Both Poised for Deep Runs, Me Thinks


Along with Ryan, I’d argue both Ali and Chrissy had the strongest overall edits this week, though I think there was foreshadowing that one can likely win while the other may fall short. Firstly, we have the ruler archetype: Ali. All of her talking about how she can manipulate Simone and Patrick, debating which one of them she would cut, created a certain level of arrogance, I think. While this aura was a little more understated than, say, a Debbie Wanner or Queen Sandra last season, I think it’s there all the same, already viewing people as readily disposal for the sake of her long-term power. Ruthless isn’t quite the word, but her mind was not set on the needs of the tribe as much as it was the needs of herself (contrasting to Devon Zoolander and Ryan, for instance, who were worried losing Patrick would cause them to lose challenges). Unfortunately, there are frightfully few people who can assume this role and succeed, so while I like to think my fellow TDT writers will agree Ali was better than their initial thoughts, I don’t think she wins.




A magician, on the other hand, is skilled in turning something bad into something good, lead into gold, as it were. Here we have my lovely winner’s pick, Chrissy. Despite seemingly on the outs in her tribe initially, there scenes where it appeared she was approached by her four other tribemates to ensure everything was kosher. Yes, that is just the “duh” move one should make post-Tribal in the early stages, but the fact editors chose to show it meant one thing: Chrissy is good at making social bonds. As such, Chrissy seemingly had her pick of the proverbial litter when it came to selecting a new right-hand person, taking her time in her confessional to weigh the pros and (mostly) cons of the various choices. Not only did she successfully become the story-teller of her tribe’s narrative, she did so while looking very, very smart. Also, speaking of turning nothing into something… Chrissy is smart enough to know a useless idol is not inherently useless. I believe it was Bob Crowley who said: “When you’re holding up a bank, you don’t need to have a gun. You just need to make the teller believe you do.” *golf claps*




Dude, I Hope You’re Around for a While


This blurb is going to be short, but I had to give a little credit to Alan and his confessional, because, quite simply, his plan did work. He admitted he has no idea if JP and Ashley had an idol, but the paranoia he set in people’s brains about it forced JP and Ashley to put their bonding on something of a backburner. Although his method was perhaps less than intelligent (foolish, one could even argue), his conviction paid off. Now, was it worth bringing about stability questions with Ben and Chrissy? If he can sneak past another hypothetical Heroes vote, then absolutely!




Better Than I Thought


Another quick blurb, but Lauren’s name not coming up once despite her age and potential easy-targeting. Could this also mean Simone and Patrick are just that bad? Yes, of course. Still, she had enough sense to go with the majority (which she was importantly included in), and kick out Simone despite wanting Patrick. What’s more, with the brewing feud between her and just another redhead she apparently never trusted (just like the rest of them, somehow… is that racist for her to say?), I think the Hustlers might keep her should they find themselves at Tribal again. I think she’ll be seen as more trustworthy than Patrick, and as a swap/Tribal absorb would be right on the horizon, why to keep her? Besides, if they lose again, she’s an easy boot for the remaining three.


A Closing Thought, Dearest Reader

Because Who Doesn’t Love Some Fan-Fiction Fantasies?


This little tidbit of hope builds on my last (i.e. Ben, Chrissy, Mike, Cole, Ali, and Ryan being the season’s first focal points). Thus far, four of these people have already gotten together. For the Heroes, Ben and Chrissy obviously made their pact to *not* be a #PowerCouple, and for the Hustlers, Ali and Ryan (and Mister Zoolander) seem to have found a comfortable positioning in their own tribe. Now, editors importantly included Ryan hoping Chrissy stays around long enough for them to get together, thanks to him giving her the idol that potentially saved her. This, it would appear, is the first cross-tribal connection. If editors are giving it even before they’ve formally met, something tells me it’s important. From here Chrissy brings Ben and Ryan brings his two buddies, and there ya go. A strong five that has challenge prowess (Ben and Devon) along with strategic chops (Chrissy, Ryan, and Ali). If this became the big, bad alliance of this season, well… hopefully they bring Mike in, because I’d be stoked.


Please take that little fan-fic with a grain of salt, however. Though, to be fair, I think it’s more likely that this happens than the Rockies win the World Series next year (yeah, still bitter). Oh well, I can dream, yeah?


Thank you, dearest readers, for once more slogging through his messily written piece. Hope you at least agree with a little of it! As for a prediction… I still can’t believe the Healers have won every challenge. They just don’t seem like the strongest tribe, but I guess looks can be deceiving. I’m going to double-down on my predictions for last week: Healers lose and my boy Joe goes home, foolishly, with an idol in his pocket.






Dan Otsuki - It's Kind of a Funny StoryDan Otsuki has been watching Survivor religiously since season two, and is a recent graduate of the University of Puget Sound, where he double majored in English and Religious Studies. He's also applied to play on the show every time he's been able to do so.

Follow him on twitter: @DanOtsuki