Episode 13: Survivor's season of self-loathing
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.
Episode 12: Starvation inaction
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.
Episodes 9-11: Who are these people?
Published: September 18, 2020
After the fall of the Rotu Four, Marquesas lags a bit as the remainders of that alliance are slowly dispatched. There are still some bright spots, but the lack of character development for the departing contestants removes any real sense of connection.
Episode 8: Cutting the rope
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.
Episodes 6-7: I'm not here to play the game
Published: September 8, 2020
The last pre-merge and merge episodes of Marquesas show an interesting juxtaposition, with consecutive boots of someone loudly not playing the game, and someone aggressively overplaying. The latter clearly establishes the model for future Survivor gameplay, but in retrospect, did his later win really change anything? Or was it just a more successful version of what stopped him here?
Episodes 3-5: The rise and fall and rise of Maraamu
Published: September 5, 2020
In these three episodes, we see Boston Rob's first Big Move (blindsiding Hunter), a big move by production (a swap that Probst swears was already planned), and the beginning of the implosion of the previously unbreakable Rotus. There are some bright spots, some questionable choices, and one really ugly confessional by the guy CBS promptly annointed as the face of the franchise.
Episodes 1-2: Back to the beach once more
Published: August 30, 2020
Marquesas was a major transitional season for Survivor, as a plucky band of underdogs showed that you don't have to stick with original-tribe alliances, and if they stuck together, they could seize power for themselves. It also featured the show's first Black winner, and the first two episodes both explore race and exploit it for cheap narrative shortcuts. It's a mixed bag, but still an important edition, even with 2020 hindsight.
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