Archive for April, 2013

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings: Double Jeopardy Edition

April 30, 2013

'Survivor: Caramoan' (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

The Rules: Each week Michael and Gordon will create separate Power Rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the two players will earn. For example, if Brenda is voted out this week, Michael will receive 3 points and Gordon will receive 4 points. The person with the most points at the end of the season will be crowned the ‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings champion!

Last Week: Michael and Gordon both called it by having Malcolm in spot nine. So, the current score is Team Skupin 122, Team Lightning Punch 139.

Before we kick off this week’s rankings, let’s check in with our competitors…

Gordon Holmes: So I guess Malcolm isn’t so tough when he doesn’t have forty idols.
Michael Skupin: I’m not an expert at “Survivor” trivia but it seems like it’s raining idols.  On S25, there were only three total idols in play.  There are five now. It almost seems like it’s raining idols.
Holmes: We’re starting to get down to the nitty-gritty. How does the game change from a physical aspect after you’ve been out there for a month?
Skupin: Food is becoming a factor.  Keep an eye on who wins reward challenges as they’ll have a distinct advantage in the immunity challenges both physically and mentally. And speaking of challenges, where are the puzzles?  We saw so many on S25, maybe a record number?  It appears the opposite is true on this season.
Holmes: My understanding is that “Entertainment Weekly’s” Dalton Ross has been pushing for less puzzles for years. I won’t give him grief, though. I’ve been pushing for more “Eat Gross Things” challenges and I finally got my wish a few weeks ago.

Skupin: Were you thinking that Malcolm should have tried to cut a deal with Andrea when she confronted him digging in the sandbox for what she cleverly guessed was an idol?  If he would have tried, they would have shown it and Andrea would have coyly listened.  
Holmes: Absolutely. Anything other than the old fake idol trick.
Skupin: The back-to-back seasons may be too much for even a beast like Malcolm to maneuver.

Holmes: Speaking of your former Tandang buddy, any parting words for Malcolm?
Skupin: Goodbye, Malcolm… Ughhhh, early jury, 9th place… not the spot anyone picked you to finish.  If this were an NCAA Final Four bracket, you’d have wrecked all our chances of placing.  I was thinking there’s no way for you to crawl out of the hole you dug yourself into but “Survivor” often offers a twist. You were handed not only a twist but a familiar twist: THE FOOD AUCTION!!  What an advantage you have, you played this game just a few weeks ago on S25 and watched Abi buy a game-saving clue.  No one else there saw the S25 food auction except you.  This is your time to shine.  All you have to do is save ALL your money and buy the advantage in the next immunity challenge and you’re virtually guaranteed another three days.  You can still win this season!  Whoops, you spent $20 before Probst could say “less filling” on a bottle of beer.  Somehow, as if forgetting the game was afoot, the remaining contestants with $500 still let you by it.  Crud, you guessed wrong and bought the information NOT the advantage. Wrong clue.  The game threw in a twist that we didn’t see on S25, we were both surprised.  After you made the big move at the merge to go against your alliance with the favorites and align with the fans your guessing instincts began to fail you.  You guessed wrong that Corinne had more power than she did, you guessed wrong that Dawn was at the bottom of her alliance, you guessed wrong that Phillip was the head of the snake, and lastly you guessed wrong that you “had Sherri.” Heck, even Eddie ended up voting against you?  One wrong guess can cause a flame to flicker, five wrong guesses cause the flame to be extinguished and we saw Probst do just that.  Regardless of what anyone says, luck is a factor in this game and it was not on your side this time.  The part that confuses me a little is that it appears that you gave up looking for the idol and that goes against everything I learned about you in the 38 days I played with you or there’s another part of me that says you did find that idol and thought your move with Sherri and Erik to overthrow the favorites was going to work and you went home with it.  In either case, you’re leaving as a player we’ll remember for bold gameplay. Now you get to have that drink you said you needed on the way out, as many as you’d like.

Set Your DVR to Record ‘Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs Favorites”

Michael’s Current Score: 122

Any advice for Michael? Drop him a line on Twitter: @mikeskupin

Gordon’s Current Score: 139

Any advice for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

 1. Cochran: Although it may have an asterisk* attached to it, you pulled out another immunity win.  Hats off to the challenge underdog and this was even a physical one! The win came with a bravado that we’ve not seen before. Your coy sarcasm was endearing, let’s hope your boastful bravado stays in the confessionals.  You still are sitting in the front of the bus.
 1. Dawn: The biggest threat to a Cochran win is also his closest ally. If Dawn is doing her Power Ranking exercises out there (I like to imagine her drawing a list in the sand) she knows that Cochran probably has more votes on the jury. The question is, is Dawn 2.0 cutthroat enough to send her bestest buddy home?
 2. Dawn: Now this is a twist that was refreshing; you comforting Brenda when she broke down. If that’s not evidence on how tough this game is.  In their defense, we’ve all felt like that.  Everyone’s out to get you. This new Dawn/Brenda love may have a serious outcome on this game in short order.
  2. Cochran: Strategic thinker, master storyteller, and now challenge terror! Is there anything John Cochran can’t do? He’s like Ozzy Lusth in a sweater vest. He’s like “Boston” Rob Mariano with a law degree. His biggest concern now is to make sure that it isn’t super obvious that he’s going to be the toughest person to beat in front of the jury.
 3. Brenda: This game can take anyone down to such a raw emotional state. Many can hide it but often it bursts.  You were there for Dawn two weeks ago and it looks like she returned the favor.  Bonding over tears, a game few if any men can play. I’m not suggesting it’s strategy, it’s actually beautiful in its sadness.  Although the food auction threw the non-pork eating cheerleader a freshly scooped skull of pig brains, it ended with peanut butter and you even got to keep your suit on.
 3. Andrea: Notice anything awesome about the top three people on my list? All three are former competitors in the XFINITY “Survivor” Power Rankings Challenge. If Andrea, Cochran, and Dawn are our final three, they, along with Coach, will prove that participating in the Power Rankings makes you a lock to get to the end of the game. I should start taking bribes from future players to let them compete.

  4. Sherri: I didn’t think you’d fall for Malcolm’s last attempt and admission of you being his ‘only’ option left.  $500 in round one of the food auction and it wasn’t even up for bid, BRILLIANT!! As a first-time player to call out Probst like that is ballsy! Carbs, protein, taste, volume; the pizza had it all.  You’re recharged nutritionally.  The food auction saved me on S25, it may have saved you too! I think it’s premature to say (in your best Troyzan) that this is “your island” but you’re definitely gaining again.
 4. Brenda: Eddie and Reynold’s days are numbered. Nobody wants to keep those two challenge threats. But then what? Sherri seems like an obvious boot because she was a late add to the alliance. Then we’re down to five…and that probably puts Brenda and Erik on the wrong side of the numbers. (Heh… “Brenda and Erik were the popular steadies and the king and the queen of the prom…”) It’s time for those two to make a move.

  5. Erik: Somehow you still think there’s a “bro” alliance and the “bros” are leaving one-by-one. The floater strategy is working for you but I don’t think it will win the game.  I’d love to know why you voted for Phillip and if that will become a factor as this game gets tighter.  You look as fit as you were your first time out but your challenge performance isn’t likely to offer you the “win out” option to get into the final three. So, if you want to be a millionaire you’re going to have to create it.
 5. Erik: Erik was my day-one pick, but I was basing that on his ability to blend and my belief that people would forget that he was a challenge machine toward the end of Micronesia. Well, the first part has played out well, but where’s the challenge prowess? Is he downplaying it? That’s not a bad strategy, but what about his jury management? Phillip and Malcolm probably don’t think highly of his game and will cast their votes elsewhere.
 6. Andrea: “I love the smell of fresh dirt.”  You’re as adorable as a newborn.  You’re camping adventure on the tree stump, assuring Malcolm’s information to a hidden clue was wasted was priceless.  “Same time tomorrow morning?” was not only the quote of the season but may be the quote of the entire game, all seasons. You get this game like few others.  If you make it to final three you’re a serious threat to win it all.
 6. Sherri:  Is Sherri playing a good game? I dunno. We don’t get to see much of her. But, I do know she’s in some serious trouble this week. Now, let’s assume that the first person going home is going to be either Eddie or Reynold (depending on who wins immunity.) After that, what if Eddie or Reynold wins immunity? Then Stealth R Us Too (or whatever they prefer to be called these days) has to turn on each other a week early. As the last person brought in during Phillip’s recruitment drive, the target will be on Sherri’s back.
 7. Eddie: You either forgot all the previous seasons you watched or need some Ginko. Remember the food auction offers advantages in this game which you so desperately need. This one offered two!!!  You had all $500 left when the advantages presented themselves.  Drooling over Andrea, I mean pizza, may have been your downfall.  I believe you’ll last three more days than Reynold. 
  7. Eddie: OK, pop quiz; you and your bromigos are way down in the numbers. An auction takes place where you can win an advantage in the next immunity challenge. The advantage comes up and you still have all of your money. Every penny of it. There’s no possible way you can be outbid. What do you do? Alright, pop quiz over…everyone who’s playing to win BIDS FOR THE ADVANTAGE!
 8. Reynold: If the head of the snake is Cochran, you weren’t able to eliminate it but you sure offended it.  “I don’t trust you, Cochran” was certainly not an alliance strengthening or value added proposition.  At Tribal, you all but gave away your last stab at staying in the game when you answered Probst and alerted the other players to exactly what your remaining strategy was “Jeff, I don’t believe it’s 6-3 anymore.”  You may get by in life with smooth talk and good looks but “Survivor” is an in-depth, strategic game that only by playing or watching a lot can you truly develop a strategy that will carry you far into this game.  Your athleticism and entertainment were excellent.  Your game play, not as much. Watch all 26 seasons, develop a strategy and you’re a gamer.
 8. Reynold: Cochran gives you advice on a stupid guessing game and you call him out by saying you don’t trust him? Why? What was the point? It’s hard to get through this game without rubbing some people the wrong way, but if you have to do it, make sure it helps your game. What did that do for you except annoy the most powerful dude in the dominant alliance?

‘Survivor’ Castaway Malcolm: ‘My Feelings Are Very Fragile This Morning’

April 25, 2013

Malcolm Freberg (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

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Five months ago, Malcolm Freberg was sent packing because of his inability to recognize an ‘80s sitcom star. Last night he was done in by Andrea’s annoying little sister impersonation.

“Survivor” is a funny game.

Adios, Amigo.

I spoke with Malcolm the morning after his elimination and had a chance to ask about playing back-to-back seasons, where Erik really stands, and his role in one of the most memorable Tribal Councils in the show’s history…

Malcolm Freberg: What would happen if we didn’t talk about “Survivor”?
Gordon Holmes: So, if we talked about “Bioshock: Infinite”?
Freberg: Scariest thing ever! That one guy…
Holmes: Right? I’m a grown man sitting in my own house, and screaming like a little girl.
Freberg: I am not a grown man, I was drinking cheap beer and sitting in my dirty apartment and I jumped off of the couch.
Holmes: And you’re a man who lived on a crappy island for 60-some days.
Freberg: Yeah, and little video game monsters do the trick.
Holmes: I think CBS is going to be annoyed if we don’t talk about “Survivor.”
Freberg: I’m trying to get you fired.
Holmes: You’re ruining my gig.
Freberg: (Laughs) OK, shoot.

Holmes: So, “Survivor” sucks and I don’t enjoy it anymore.
Freberg: (Laughs) I feel the same way now.
Holmes: Let’s start there. Cochran gets credit for being the hardcore “Survivor” fan, but you’re no slouch yourself. Having been this close to it, two times in a row, do you still have a passion for the show?
Freberg: I think so. I haven’t seen “Survivor” in a year now without me on it. I don’t know how I’m going to react next week. I’ve seen every season and I’ve been so passionate for so long. I’m not sure how I’m going to feel about it now.
Holmes: I just assume it’s going to be a disaster.
Freberg: (Laughs) Keep saying nice things, it makes me a little more numb.
Holmes: I remember last time I made you feel way worse.
Freberg: You did! I forgot about that. Be conscious of everything you say because my feelings are very fragile this morning.
Holmes: My natural instinct is to be a (expletive deleted) but I’m going to try to steer away from that this time.
Freberg: (Laughs) Appreciate that.

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Holmes: What was the deciding factor in making the decision to branch off from Stealth R Us?
Freberg: It goes back to the first couple days. I managed to weasel my way into Stealth Is Nonsense, I refuse to say that name, but I was always on the bottom. I wasn’t a part of the decision making. And I’d gotten to the end of the game, so I know I’m not an immunity challenge monster. I’m good, but I’m not great. And nobody’s going to drag me to the end, so if I’m going to make this thing, I’m going to have to take control of my own fate and mix it up. I couldn’t see it working out sticking with the favorites.

Holmes: Cochran mocked you a bit during the vote last night. That shocked me a bit because it never seemed like there was any animosity between you two.
Freberg: We were surprised how well we got along. On the interior we’re very similar. Maybe we don’t look the same. Apparently we’re different on the outside, but we got along very well. I think…he’s going to kill me for saying this…but maybe there was a touch of jealousy there. Not on a superficial level, but because I was the one who got to make crazy moves and he was playing the sit-back, less flashy game. He will hate me for saying that.

Holmes: Eddie and Reynold are both really nice guys. And you know I’m about to insult someone when I preface something by saying they’re “really nice guys.”
Freberg: Yeah, way to tee it up.
Holmes: Do they get the game? You know the auction is going to feature an advantage and Reynold’s like, “Oh, a mystery item? Take my money.” And then the advantage does come up and Eddie has all of his money and he sits on it. Do they know what’s going on? Have they seen the show?
Freberg: I’ve been watching on TV for the past couple of months and I have no idea what they’re thinking. To this day I still don’t know what’s going on between their ears. I love them both to death. They’re both really good guys.
Holmes: That’s what I said!
Freberg: I don’t know if all the “Survivor” neurons are firing out there. Eddie could not get it through his head why you would ever vote off an attractive girl. It doesn’t make sense to him. One of my proudest “Survivor” accomplishments was convincing him to vote for Andrea. That was the hardest conversation I ever had. You could see smoke coming out of the kid’s ears. And Reynold, part of the reason you can’t help but like Reynold is because he’s such a reckless optimist. You come to him with an idea and he’s 110% behind it. Not everyone would give you an idol and I was toying with it, but Reynold absolutely would.
Holmes: Nice guys.
Freberg: Sweethearts. Maybe not cut out for the strategy portion of “Survivor.”

Holmes: After the merge, you thought you had Erik. Clearly you didn’t. What happened there, I ‘m having a tough time getting a read on him.
Freberg: Clearly I was having a tough time getting a read on Erik as well.
Holmes: Touche.
Freberg: I never was that sure about Erik. I said I did so my potential allies thought we had the numbers. But the words I’d use to describe dealing with Erik are “kid gloves.” Nobody knew what he was thinking. He’d hang out all day, then go swimming, then do a challenge, then go paint something. I don’t know. I couldn’t read him, but I thought he was going along with the Sherri vote until it got turned on its head. Then he randomly votes for Phillip. He was up for doing things, but there was no rhyme or reason.

Holmes: Russell Hantz played back-to-back seasons and he said it really took a toll on him physically. And then going from playing with civilians to facing all-stars was really tough as well. What was your experience like?
Freberg: Physically, I’m still not recovered. I was a pretty in-shape guy, but my muscle mass has not come back at all. It’s come back to some extent, and I’ve been working out, but my body is still wrecked from doing it in quick succession. Mentally, the exhaustion started to sink in when things weren’t going my way. Do you play poker?
Holmes: I do, badly.
Freberg: It’s like if you get all the way to the end and lose at the final hand, you’re like, “Let’s play again immediately.” And then you play and things start going wrong right off the bat and you start playing aggressive and more reckless than you need to. That’s kind of what happened to me. I stand by the things I was trying, but some of it was because I was so tired I started swinging for the fences.
Holmes: Are we going to see back-to-back-to-back?
Freberg: No. I need time to eat carbs and drink beer and sit on a beach without having to worry about people talking behind my back. Give me some time. I need a cuddle before this idea of coming back comes up again.

Holmes: I was going through the CBS press site looking for a picture to use with this interview and there’s one of you chugging a beer…
Freberg: That one.
Holmes: Normally I go with the picture of Probst snuffing…
Freberg: That one! That one!
Holmes: Fine, it’s how I prefer to remember you anyways.
Freberg: Imagine if you were going to tape a picture to my gravestone.

Holmes: Again, you’re a monster “Survivor” fan and you pulled off a monster “Survivor” move last week with the two idols at Tribal. I haven’t done the math yet, but I’m thinking that’s one of the top five Tribal shockers of all time.
Freberg: I wouldn’t put it that high because it didn’t go any way the way I saw it going in my head. It was a double down version of when I bluffed in the Philippines and Jeff Kent went home. All I wanted to happen was for us to pull them out, scare them, and get them to vote for each other. And then I was going to tackle Eddie to keep him from getting up and giving the idol to Probst. It was supposed to be a bluff. As far as entertainment value, it’d have to crack the top five, maybe top three. But as far as pulling off a great move, it wasn’t supposed to go that way.
Holmes: People have said you should’ve played them after the vote, but I liked how it was done. It forced them to turn on each other and gave you some ammunition to work with once you got back to camp. It’s a shame you had to lose two idols, but as for breaking up an alliance, it was pretty genius.
Freberg:  Well, thank you, first of all. Everyone’s got a different opinion on how we should have done that. There was no loss or risk, worst case scenario is what happened. Pulling them out afterwards wouldn’t have been any better. But, Erik of all people has to have his first lucid thought and we had to play them.

Holmes: I know I’m going to regret this, but we do a word association here…
Freberg: What’s word association?
Holmes: I’ll give you the name of someone on your tribe. You give me the first words or couple of words that pop into your head. It’s an exercise to get your true thoughts on someone.
Freberg: So, make it up right on the spot?
Holmes: Yes, having something prepared defeats the purpose.
Freberg: I see…that’d be really interesting if someone had something prepared beforehand.
Holmes: Not really. Only a horrible jerk would do such a thing.
Freberg: How disappointed would you be if I hadn’t prepared something?
Holmes: My heart would be broken.
Freberg: (Laughs)
Holmes: You’re the only one who gets this special dispensation.
Freberg: (Laughs)
Holmes: Alright, Phillip?
Freberg: I juggled with this one, because it’s not fair to the real El Guapo to call him El Guapo. So we’re going with Son of a Motherless Goat.
Holmes: Eddie?
Freberg: Ned Nederlander.
Holmes: Dawn?
Freberg: Dawn is Allison Reynolds.
Holmes: Reynold?
Freberg: Dusty Bottoms.
Holmes: Sherri?
Freberg: Sherri is Principal Vernon.
Holmes: Erik?
Freberg: John Bender.
Holmes: Andrea?
Freberg: Claire Standish.
Holmes: Brenda?
Freberg: Andrew Clark.
Holmes: Brandon?
Freberg: Brandon? You can’t have people from before the merge!
Holmes: Oh! I can’t?! You make up the rules here?
Freberg: Brandon is the Invisible Swordsman.
Holmes: (Laughs) Cochran?
Freberg: Cochran is Brian Johnson.
Holmes: Corinne?
Freberg: I wanted to say Carmen, but like if the girl from “Deadwood” was in “The Three Amigos” and was Carmen. That would be Corinne.

Holmes: Alright, we’re running out of time. Just, quickly, tell me the sun will shine again. Tell me I’m not always going to feel this bad.
Freberg: (Laughs) Nope, the world’s over. Sorry.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Episode Recap: The Dirt Locker

April 24, 2013

'Survivor: Caramoan' (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

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Last Week: Some stuff happened, there were some challenges, some other stuff happened, then Malcolm took Tribal Council and shook it like a damn Etch-A-Sketch.

39 Days, 20 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Let’s take a look at the tribe as it currently stands…

The Enil Edam Tribe (wearing green)
Andrea – Entertainment Host and Writer, 23
Brenda – Paddleboard Company Owner, 30
Cochran – Harvard Law Student, 25
Dawn – English Professor/Power Rankings Champ, 42
Eddie – Firefighter/EMT, 23
Erik – Comic Book Artist, 27
Malcolm – Bartender, 25
Reynold – Sales, 30
Sherri – Fast Food Franchisee, 41

The fun kicks off after Tribal with the Stealth R Us Tooers congratulating the Amigos on their major league move. In fact, with Phillip gone, Stealth R Us Too decides to shed their name. We’ll have to wait to redub them, but I like the ‘80s movie theme that the Amigos kicked off. I’m trying to think of a way to make “The Breakfast Club” work. Maybe “The Goonies”?

Malcolm knows his work is far from done and he needs to bring some more people over to his side. Why bother? Just find two more idols.

The next morning, some girl named Brenda has a bit of a breakdown because of the chaotic Tribal Council. I’d give it a .2 on the Meehan Scale.

Later, tree mail arrives in the form of $500 for each contestant. That can only mean…

Reward Challenge Time: It’s the “Survivor” auction, baby!

Malcolm is determined to save his money for the immunity challenge clue that is always offered. Meanwhile, Eddie might bid on some magic beans.

Probst offers up a beer and some nuts and Malcolm immediately wins it for $20. What? Did you not just hear yourself?!

Reynold wins a secret item for $180. He’s offered the chance to trade it for a second or third secret item. He sticks with the original one and gets a slice of pizza. The other items were the rest of the pizza and a coconut.

Sherri then gives up $500 for the rest of the pizza.

Dawn buys a roasted chicken for $500.

Malcolm bids $480 for “information about the game.” It turns out to be a clue for a buried immunity idol. OK, now I feel better.

Note: Nowhere in my “Survivor” coverage contract does it say I have to be impartial.

Andrea wins a secret item for $280. It ends up being spaghetti and meatballs. However, if she gives it up she can win rice and beans for the tribe. She gives up the spaghetti. Good girl.

The immunity challenge advantage is up next and Cochran wins it for $340. Wow, the one guy who doesn’t need it. Couldn’t Eddie have gone all in?

Brenda wins a secret item for $300. It ends up being pig brains. Her day isn’t getting better.

Letters from home are offered for $20, everyone is in except for Dawn, Malcolm, and Sherri because they are broke.

Eddie wins the last secret item for $200. It’s a giant jar of peanut butter that the entire tribe has 60 seconds to eat. Too bad Jenna Morasca and Heidi Hamels weren’t favorites this season.

Things get emotional back at camp when everyone sits down to read their letters from home. Even cold-blooded Cochran sheds a tear or two.

Meanwhile, Reynold and Malcolm start making moves toward Sherri. She thinks the Amigos might be too powerful for the former Stealthers to defeat.

That night, Malcolm sneaks out to dig for the immunity idol. Andrea swings by and ribs him by saying, “I love the smell of fresh dirt.” Love her.

Then, Andrea sets up camp to keep an eye on him. He doesn’t want to dig in front of her, so the both of them just stand there.

CUT TO: Later in the day, both of them still standing there. Hilarious.

Immunity Challenge Time: Players will hold onto a rope that is connected to a heavy log. As time goes on, they’ll move further down the rope. Last person holding their rope wins immunity.

Cochran’s Auction Advantage: At any point in the challenge, Cochran will be allowed to move his hand back up two places on the rope.

This advantage doesn’t worry Eddie because Cochran is…well…Cochran.

Cochran smartly uses his advantage immediately after they’ve slid down two knots. No reason to wait past that.

Brenda is the first one out. She’s followed by Erik. Is it my imagination, or was Erik good at challenges five years ago?

Sherri’s quickly out after they move to the last place on the rope. She’s followed by Malcolm and Andrea.

Dawn’s next out after yelling, “Mother!” I know she knows the word that follows. I’ve heard her say it.

Reynold’s the next casualty, and we’re down to Cochran and Eddie.

Eddie holds it as best he can, but he eventually succumbs to the impressive challenge prowess of “Stone Cold” John Cochran.

Back at camp, Malcolm is frustrated because the girls won’t let him hunt for the idol. His backup plan is to convince Sherri that he already has it. He promises to take her to the end, and it seems like she’s into it.

Meanwhile, Reynold starts working on Erik. Erik plays along, but he lets us know that he’s undecided.

The former Stealthers are going to split their votes between Malcolm and Reynold, however Cochran is worried because Erik voted for Phillip last time.

Andrea thinks Erik would be dumb to flip on them. Good thing Erik doesn’t have a history of making dumb moves. Ahem…

That night at Tribal Council, Michael and Phillip make up the first-ever all-bald jury.

Andrea is nervous about people flipping, but thinks it would ruin the flipper’s game.

Sherri isn’t sure where she sits with the favorites.

Dawn hopes Sherri doesn’t think she’s on the bottom. Oh, but Dawn didn’t say she wasn’t on the bottom…

Andrea is 80% sure that Malcolm found the idol and is nervous that she’s a target.

Voting Time: Reynold votes for Andrea, Dawn votes for Reynold, Cochran votes for Malcolm and mocks Malcolm’s hand kissing gesture, and the rest of the votes are secret.

Probst asks if anyone would like to play an idol…and nobody does.

We’ve got one vote for Reynold, one vote for Malcolm, one vote for Andrea, one vote for Reynold, one vote for Malcolm, one vote for Andrea, one vote for Reynold, one vote for Andrea and…one vote for Malcolm. Three-way tie.

Voting Time Again: None of the revotes are shown.

We’ve got three votes for Malcolm and the twelfth person to be eliminated from “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites” and the third member of the jury is…Malcolm.

Verdict: “Mother!”

Who’s Going to Win? I don’t like to write anyone off unless they’re playing a disastrous social game, but what is up with Reynold and Eddie? How could they let Cochran win the challenge advantage? Have they seen this show?

Anywho, I’ve been picking Erik, but he hasn’t been showing the same challenge fire he showed in Micronesia. I’m thinking Cochran’s my fave now unless someone else realizes how dangerous he is at this point.

Power Rankings Results: Michael Skupin and I both called it by having Malcolm in spot nine. So, the current score is Team Skupin 122, Team Lightning Punch 139.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings: Amigos or Amigone? Edition

April 23, 2013

'Survivor: Caramoan' (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

The Rules: Each week Michael and Gordon will create separate Power Rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the two players will earn. For example, if Dawn is voted out this week, Michael will receive 2 points and Gordon will receive 5 points. The person with the most points at the end of the season will be crowned the ‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings champion!

Last Week: Michael Skupin had Phillip in spot eight, Gordon had him in spot five. So, the current score is Team Skupin 113, Team Lightning Punch 130.

Before we kick off this week’s rankings, let’s check in with our competitors…

Michael Skupin: Let’s take a deep look at Malcolm’s big move at tribal last week.  Brilliant TV!
Gordon Holmes: Agreed!
Skupin: Maybe not-so-brilliant “Survivor” strategy.
Holmes: Also agreed.
Skupin: At first glance it seemed like the perfect move but let’s consider all possibilities.  It’s obvious Malcolm had guessed wrong the last two Tribal Councils and is sitting in a very precarious position…much different than the last game he played where he only scrambled once. The big question is; should he have played the hidden immunity idol when he did at the beginning of Tribal Council and grandstanded it like he did or would it have been better strategy to wait until after the votes were cast and used the shock or blindside moment to his advantage?  This strategy may have also enabled him to keep one of the idols which he’ll desperately need in the future.
Holmes: I liked the mid-Tribal play because I can’t imagine Andrea loved hearing her name tossed around by her buddies. However, I agree that keeping one of those idols would’ve been ideal.
Skupin: Lastly, consider that he outwardly took credit for both hidden immunity idols.  This tells the remaining contestants that he’s had one all along and hid it from everyone and also draws a very deep line in the sand that he’s no longer willing to play ball with the favorites.  A thought occurred to me that he could have let Eddie bring it to Tribal Council as if he’s had it all along, putting the bull’s-eye on Eddie thus leaving a crack that Malcolm could still possibly edge his way back in the favorites alliance until numbers thin out a bit.  He may also have planted the other idol and literally steered Eddie into finding it, then he could never have been accused of hiding it all along.
Holmes: Oh, I like that. It also keeps Reynold from knowing that Malcolm was keeping an idol a secret two weeks ago.
Skupin: Understand, there is never a right or a wrong way to play this game…these are thoughts from my Barco lounger as I watch.

Holmes: Words of farewell for the Specialist?
Skupin: Goodbye, Phillip…you had a very unique way of playing this game, a way we won’t soon forget.  I have a suspicion we’ll be making up nicknames and referring back to Stealth-R (or aren’t)-Us for many seasons to come at least in jest if nothing else.  By choice, you sat out your final immunity challenge as if to throw the towel in.  I’m not here to judge you but final three and winning were within your grasp. You’ve overcome a lot bigger hurdles than that in your storied career on and off “Survivor.”  There is no doubt that you understand this game and know there is no right or wrong way to play.  I commend you for playing (so many never do).  I commend you on having a plan and going with it.  I commend you on being in the “over 50 club” and kicking butt in challenges…at least until the merge.  Lastly, I won’t swim in your toilet so please don’t pee in my pool!

Set Your DVR to Record ‘Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs Favorites”

Michael’s Current Score: 113

Any advice for Michael? Drop him a line on Twitter: @mikeskupin

Gordon’s Current Score: 130

Any advice for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

 1. Cochran: Close call!  Even the best laid plans can change with the twists the game and the island bring.  You’re rolling well. 
 1. Cochran: It’s tough to know exactly whose names were bounced about after Malcolm’s Tribal Council bombshell, but I don’t remember hearing anyone say, “Cochran.” They probably should’ve, because he’s in a fantastic position to take the rest of this game. Especially if all of the immunity challenges going forward involve Beatles trivia.
 2. Dawn: You gotta really sink your teeth into these challenges to win…oops, bad joke.  How can you sink your teeth into a challenge when they’re at the bottom of the lagoon?  Lisa…I mean Dawn…I mean Lisa…I mean Dawn…you cried, you recovered…didn’t I say that last week?  Teeth or no teeth, you’re in this to win.
 2. Sherri: First you lost your fake Phillip, then you lost your real Phillip! It’s cool though, nobody sees you as a threat. You’re not going anywhere anytime soon. The Amigos will probably try to bring you on board, but that’d be a mistake. By making a jump, you’ll have stabbed a majority of the jury in the back. It’s best to let this play out.
 3. Brenda: You made a friend in Dawn last week and she’s likely to honor that favor as close to the end game as she possibly can. Chick bonds can be very tight (One World). I’m still wondering if you’re playing to win or not and I’m enjoying trying to figure you out.
 3. Brenda: Nice Brenda selflessly dives in the water to retrieve Dawn’s missing retainer. Evil Brenda would’ve retrieved the retainer and held it for ransom. I kid, Brenda’s less aggressive tactics have worked wonderfully in this hyper-aggressive season. And unless the Amigos pull off a miracle, she’s set for the final six. The question now is, how does he go further than that? Can she call out that Dawn and Cochran are the only power couple remaining and try to break them up?

  4. Sherri: You were quiet again, but I feel a storm is brewing.  You’ve successfully removed yourself from the crossfire and now all you have to do is earn it to get the votes at the end.
 4. Erik: I assume the greatest in-game joy is winning an individual immunity challenge when you know your head is on the chopping block. A close second has to be seeing someone who drives you crazy make that long, lonely walk away from Tribal Council. So for that, congrats Erik. The question now is, do you stay with the remnants of Stealth R Us, or do you become the fourth Amigo? I’m leaning toward staying put. Erik can dominate challenges once they’re down to a final six without Malcolm and Co.

  5. Erik: In spite of Phillip losing all his pool etiquette, you kept yours and then some.  “Forgive us, we’re starving” were Erik’s humble words before he consumed food like a POW. Wouldn’t you want to take him home to your mom? Erik actually had a brilliant add to his alliance during Tribal Council.  He reminded his forgetful tribe that just because Malcolm flashed three idols in his alliance at the start of Tribal Council, didn’t mean he had to play them that night thus assuring if Malcolm had any intention of keeping one of the idols in his pocket he’d definitely not now. And he even politely asked Probst for permission first!
 5. Dawn: Last week was tough to watch. It was heartbreaking to see one of the most positive people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing have a complete meltdown. I get it, too. I’m not sure I’d be much better with weeks and weeks of non-stop deception and paranoia.  Hopefully the worst is behind her and she can appreciate that she is in a prime position to get to the end of this game. Even better, with Phillip gone it’ll be easy to pull Andrea over as your third person.
 6. Andrea: I’m afraid show-mances may be your Achilles heel out here.  Is Eddie or Malcolm your new Matt?  Listen, I certainly can’t blame a girl for falling for bearded coconut choppers but you’re soooo close to the end here.  You can still win this game.
 6. Andrea:  Because of last week’s preview, everyone seems to think Sherri is the obvious choice to make the jump to the Amigos, but what about Andrea? Sherri has a bad past with Reynold and Eddie. Andrea seems to get along with them quite well. The important point for Andrea is; she needs to make her choice clearly and quickly. If she’s staying Stealth, she needs to cut off all communications with the Bro-Squad to keep her alliance from whispering.
 7. Eddie: Remember the movie ‘No Way Out’? You may be there.  You’re quickly running out of options.
  7. Eddie: Eddie had quite a Tribal last week. He went from being the obvious boot to being third most threatening on the Amigos depth chart. Reynold wins the challenges, Malcolm pulls idols out of thin air, but you’re just a harmless bro going about his business.
 8. Reynold: Denise went to every single Tribal Council.  Your record, while not as impressive, is you’ve been surprised at every Tribal Council.  Not once has the name you’ve written been the person that left the game, yet you still stand.  You’re definitely one of the best challenge beasts this game has ever seen but man cannot live on that alone. 
 8. Reynold: I just finished up a rewatch of “Survivor: Exile Island” and it got me thinking that Reynold could totally Dietz his way to the end. He’s got that kind of challenge prowess. That, and the fact that Malcolm seems like a much bigger threat to win right now could buy him some wiggle room.
 9. Malcolm: You did that reward challenge in Season 25.  On Carter’s idea, Penner neatly laid out all the bags for the rest of your team.  You were on that team.  You creamed us.  You ran out of gas this time. I watched you licking your chops as you could almost taste that reward and the nutrition would have definitely helped come immunity challenge time.  As the newest returning player with your game a big question mark, you got close to the wrong people and they stayed tight.
 9. Malcolm: Legendary, buddy. I haven’t had a chance to do the math yet, but that might be on my list of the Top 5 Best Tribal Councils of All Time. Would it have been a better move to save yourself and keep a secret idol? Maybe, probably, who knows? I’m reminded of when Russell Hantz was able to use a three-person alliance to turn the Villains alliance on its head. The question is, can you find your Coach and Jerri? If not, I’m afraid you and your gorgeous hair will be sent packing.

‘Survivor’ Castaway Phillip: ‘Malcolm Hated That I Was Running (The Game)’

April 18, 2013

'Survivor: Caramoan' (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

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Between the pink undies, the weird blue shoes, the nicknames, and the imaginary corporation of Stealth R Us, it’s easy to write Phillip Sheppard off as “the crazy guy.” But, that was all by design. His plan was to get to the end, confess that it had all been a ruse, and come out as a nice, intelligent man.

Would that have won him jury votes? We’ll never know.

But the truth is; Phillip is a nice guy. He is an intelligent man. Unfortunately for him, even the most intelligent person wouldn’t have seen last night’s amazing blindside coming.

I spoke to the Specialist the morning after Malcolm’s double-idol shocker and had a chance to ask about his end-game, Brandon’s meltdown, and the Tribal Council people will be talking about for years…

Gordon Holmes: I’ve been doing “Survivor” pre-game interviews since Gabon, and one of the things I’ve learned is that there’s no point in asking “How are you going to play the game?” Because at that point, nobody knows. You knew. The shoes, the underwear, Andrea, Cochran, you called it all. And, if it hadn’t been for two idols, it could’ve gotten you to the end.
Phillip Sheppard: I did go into this game with that strategy.  I tried to get myself in a position to hopefully win, I tried to establish my own presence in the game. I want to be remembered as one of the guys who did something uniquely.
Holmes: Stealth R Us is certainly unique.
Sheppard: Stealth R Us gives me a way of not only interacting with the players, but with the fans at home. People Tweet to me and say, “I want a name on Stealth R Us, can you give me a name?” I get stopped on the street, “Specialist! Can you give me a name!” And this season I took it to another level, never believing that it was something that was going to control the game, but when I gave people names they’d get a big smile. They might talk about it in their interviews, but I loved the image of how they’d beam. The only person who didn’t was Malcolm.

[iframe—Fans-vs.-Favorites/6680657917899399112/26483779771/Survivor%3A-Caramoan—Zipping-Over-the-Cuckoo-s-Nest/embed 580 476]

Holmes: Your strategy was influenced by “Survivor” Hall of Famer “Boston” Rob Mariano. Have you had a chance to get his thoughts on your game?
Sheppard: He texted me last night and said it was a great season and him and Amber have enjoyed watching it, and I’ve played very well.
Holmes: Surely he appreciated your implementation of the “BR Rules.”
Sheppard: This season I wanted to show that I actually learned and observed Boston Rob. We never had a conversation about the “BR Rules.” But if you went to the gym and you had to play with Kobe Bryant and LeBron James and they schooled you, the next time you played with the fellas you’d try to do a couple of their moves. There’s no way you can do it exactly because you’re not them. I set up an alliance, I had an alliance in the alliance. When I observed a threat in my alliance I got rid of that person.

Holmes: Tribal was nuts last night. The one thing that stuck with me was when they targeted you. It’s one thing to say, “We’re voting for Phillip,” it’s another to say “We’re voting for Phillip because we’re not fond of him.” I’m referring to the “Fun sponge” talk. Were you surprised that they’d go with a personal attack on someone who was probably headed to the jury?
Sheppard: I’m never surprised by anything on “Survivor.” I’m borrowing that from Rupert. I used to love it when he’d say, (in a solid Rupert impersonation) “Anything can happen on ‘Survivor.’” I think if you analyze what he said, you’d say, “Poppycrap.” Because Phillip hasn’t had one vote against him except for Brandon. If Phillip is such a horrible person in the game, then why don’t I have any votes? So, what Malcolm is not able to say is, there’s this guy who’s 50+, who’s a threat in challenges, and I’m going to disparage him. It’s because he viewed me as a threat. Anyone I targeted in the game went home. Our alliance was in control of that game and Malcolm hated that I was running it very effectively.
Holmes: Did you know at that time that Erik was holding a grudge against you?
Sheppard: Yes, on the very first day he walked up to me and his first words weren’t, “Hi, Phillip. I want to play with you.” They were, “Hi, Phillip. My entire family told me I shouldn’t trust you.”
Holmes: (Laughs)
Sheppard: Those were the first words out of his mouth. Who walks up to a guy and says that? Those are words you keep to yourself. I’m not surprised he voted the way that he did. I don’t begrudge him.

Holmes: When the Brandon fiasco went down, there was a lot of talk of “When does it go to far?” My take was, if someone genuinely feels physically threatened, it has gone too far. Did you feel physically threatened?
Sheppard: Absolutely. At one point, I woke up in the morning, Brenda was next to me, you can ask her. It was 3 o’clock in the morning and he was crouched over both of us.
Holmes: Yikes.
Sheppard: It was so bizarre. I felt physically threatened. When you see me walk off and he’s yelling expletives at me…it’s weird. Was he going to grab the hatchet? It was right next to the rice. Everyone thought he was going to grab something. I feared for my life. I didn’t enjoy “Survivor” at that moment. And if you think about it, Brandon outted my game.
Holmes: To the fans.
Sheppard: He basically did what Russell did. Talk about two peas from the same pod. In Redemption Island when Russell was voted out he outted everything about the tribe that had just voted him out. Then you see Brandon doing what he did. I find them both kind of bizarre in terms of their strategy. But yes, I felt very threatened for my physical safety.

Holmes: Let’s do some word association. We’ll start with Cochran.
Sheppard: Intelligent.
Holmes: Dawn?
Sheppard: Cry baby.
Holmes: Brenda?
Sheppard: Underrated.
Holmes: Sherri?
Sheppard: Funny.
Holmes: Reynold?
Sheppard: Egotistical.
Holmes: Eddie?
Sheppard: Vanity. Wait a minute, that’s not quite Eddie. I’m trying to think of a word that means focused on yourself…
Holmes: Narcissism?
Sheppard: Yeah. Narcissism.
Holmes: Andrea?
Sheppard: Strategic.
Holmes: Erik?
Sheppard: Silly.
Holmes: Brandon?
Sheppard: Delusional.
Holmes: Corinne?
Sheppard: Pitiful.
Holmes: Malcolm?
Sheppard: He’s a tough one. He’s so focused on himself…he’s self-centered.

Holmes: If you had continued until the final three, who would have been your dream two to take to the end?
Sheppard: I would’ve had Sherri and probably Andrea. I would’ve wanted someone who I could’ve beaten and someone who can’t articulate what they did to win.
Holmes: Andrea couldn’t articulate it?
Sheppard: Up to that point in the game. There was a great deal of irritation in terms of her siding up with Eddie. We were looking at her and saying, “She’s talking to Eddie a lot.” I think you saw Dawn speaking about it. There was concern. So, for me, I would have tried to leverage that.

Holmes: Specialist, I want to thank you for your time.
Sheppard: I definitely want you to mention that “The Specialist: The Costa Rica Job” (Phillip’s book) is doing very well, and I’m also going to be doing a project with Diane Burnett.
Holmes: Will do. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for that.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Episode Recap: The Craziest Tribal Council Ever!

April 17, 2013

'Survivor: Caramoan' (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

[xfinity-record-button id=”6680657917899399112″ program_type=”series”]

Last Week: Hanging with the bros was easy for Cochran to resist, Malcolm was gifted an idol despite having one on his wrist, Michael became the first name on the jury member list, and Dawn made a move that left many people…annoyed.

39 Days, 20 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Let’s take a look at the tribe as it currently stands…

The Enil Edam Tribe (wearing green)
Andrea – Entertainment Host and Writer, 23
Brenda – Paddleboard Company Owner, 30
Cochran – Harvard Law Student, 25
Dawn – English Professor/Power Rankings Champ, 42
Eddie – Firefighter/EMT, 23
Erik – Comic Book Artist, 27
Malcolm – Bartender, 25
Phillip – Chief Executive Officer of Enter Software Sales, 54
Reynold – Sales, 30
Sherri – Fast Food Franchisee, 41

Another Quick Aside: Other potential headlines included; “Major Meltdawn,” “The Break of Dawn,” “Woe Is Meehan,” and “Cry, Cry Again.”

The post-Tribal fallout starts back at camp where Stealth R Us Too is holding a quick meeting sans Malcolm. Andrea is encouraged because they have the numbers and Eddie, Reynold, and Malcolm don’t have an idol. Dun dun dun…

Oh…and Stealth R Us Too does a chant where they say, “S-R-Us.” This immediately makes me think of “The Princess Bride’s,” “Rodents of unusual size? I don’t think they exist.”

Great, now I want a peanut.

The next morning, a chat between Cochran and Phillip is interrupted by some kind of emergency. Apparently Dawn lost a retainer that had her bottom teeth in the weird lagoon. She’s in terrible shape emotionally, and says she’ll pull herself from the game if they can’t find it.

Fortunately, some girl named Brenda does some diving and manages to retrieve the lost dental appliance. The two bond over Brenda’s act of heroism.

Reward Challenge Time: The players will be divided into two teams of five. One by one, the players will race through a series of obstacles. They’ll then enter a muddy pit where they’ll dig for a bag of balls. Once all of the bags have been retrieved, they’ll shoot them into a hoop. First team to get all of their balls into the hoop wins a trip to a resort for a delightful lunch.

This challenge seems familiar. Wanna bet Malcolm pulls all of the bags out of the mud pit for his team?

The purple team is Reynold, Erik, Dawn, Cochran, and Phillip against the orange team of Andrea, Brenda, Eddie, Malcolm, and Sherri.

The challenge starts and Malcolm does indeed pull a page from the Penner playbook and uncovers all of the bags. However, Reynold sees what he’s up to and copies him. This move, along with Sherri’s trouble with a balance beam helps purple get off to a major lead.

Purple begins shooting while orange is still two people behind and easily wins the reward.

At the resort, Phillip craps up the pool by jumping into it while still covered in mud. Erik turns this into a clever metaphor for how Phillip plays the game.

Later, Dawn lets Phillip and Cochran know that she’s worried about Andrea pairing up with Reynold’s bro-liance. Phillip doesn’t buy it because Andrea’s already been a target. He then says that Dawn is “totally a lunatic.” Man, you’re having a rough day when Phillip thinks you’re crazy.

Cochran tries to talk Dawn down, but she needs some alone time. Cochran’s worried she might be the second person to lose their mind this season. Someone better hide the rice.

The next morning, Dawn feels better because she was finally able to get some sleep. Stealth R Us Too holds another pow-wow and it’s unanimous that Reynold’s time is up. So…he’s going to win immunity, right?

Immunity Challenge Time: Players will race across a platform and into the ocean. They’ll swim under the platform, emerge on the other side, climb back up, grab a ring, then put it on a post. There will be two heats, the first two finishers from each heat will face off for immunity.

Round One: Reynold and Andrea beat Cochran, Dawn, and Sherri.

Before round two kicks off, Phillip pulls himself from the challenge because he’s uncomfortable being underwater for so long. Apparently this is because of something that happened when he was a boy.

Round Two: Malcolm and Brenda defeated Eddie and Erik. Poor Eddie, he had the challenge won, but he screwed up putting his ring on the post.

Final Round: There are five rings for this round. Malcolm and Reynold are neck and neck the whole time, but Reynold picks up the win. It’s like I’m psychic…

Afterwards, both sides go on an idol hunt. Well, except for Phillip. Maybe he was traumatized by an idol as a kid.

Eddie, Malcolm, Dawn, and Andrea are searching…and Malcolm finds an idol! What?! Why would there be a second idol out there? Or did Malcolm hide his own so he could find it in front of Eddie or Reynold?

Stealth R Us is cool with it though. They’ll just split the vote between Eddie and Malcolm, then boot Eddie. Unless Malcolm plays both idols…which would be awesome, but probably shortsighted.

That night at Tribal Council, Eddie knows he’s doomed, but he has enjoyed the ride.

Andrea lets everyone know that Malcolm found the idol. Malcolm smiles and puts it on.

Cochran admits that Reynold was the first choice to go home because he’s so charming.

Probst then tells Phillip that he made “Survivor” history by sitting out of a challenge without the promise of a sandwich or Lunchables or something. Phillip explains that when he was a kid he got trapped underwater and it’s always been a fear of his.

Andrea thinks people are paranoid because she’s close with Eddie, Reynold, and Malcolm.

Then…Malcolm pulls out his second idol.

Wha-what?! I think I’d be mad if I was Reynold. Well, not too mad.

All of the sudden, all of the Stealth R Us Tooers start whispering about who to vote for. Brenda says, “Andrea.” Andrea says, “Phillip.” Oh man…

Eddie laughs and dubs their alliance “The Three Amigos.” Somewhere in the distance a mail plane crosses the sky.

Malcolm then tosses some gasoline on the fire by saying that the Amigos are voting for Phillip because he’s a fun sponge who sucks the fun out of the group.

Erik then raises the possibility that they might not play the idols. Phillip agrees and he thinks they should vote the way they had intended to.

Voting Time: Cochran’s vote isn’t shown, but he says this Tribal is why he still loves “Survivor.” You and me both, buddy. Erik votes for “Fillup!,” and the rest of the votes are secret.

Probst asks if anyone wants to play an idol. Eddie and Malcolm both do. We’ve got two votes for Malcolm, four votes for Eddie, two votes for Phillip and the eleventh person to be eliminated from “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites” and the second member of the jury is…Phillip.

You see, Phillip…that’s what you get for messing up the pool.

Verdict: Wow…just wow. They said this was the craziest Tribal ever, and they certainly delivered. That was awesome.

However, I think Malcolm could’ve done much better with a public idol and a secret idol than he’ll do with Eddie by his side. But, we shall see.

Who’s Going to Win? Can the Amigos get back into it? Can Stealth R Us Too get along without a Specialist? Erik’s looking better and better as a fringe guy. Still my day-one pick.

Power Rankings Results: Michael Skupin had Phillip in spot eight, I had him in spot five. So, the current score is Team Skupin 113, Team Lightning Punch 130.

Any questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings: A Tale of Two Dawns Edition

April 17, 2013

'Survivor: Caramoan' (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

The Rules: Each week Michael and Gordon will create separate Power Rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the two players will earn. For example, if Dawn is voted out this week, Michael will receive 1 point and Gordon will receive 8 points. The person with the most points at the end of the season will be crowned the ‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings champion!

Last Week: Skupin and Gordon both had Michael in spot ten. So, the current score is Team Skupin 105, Team Lightning Punch 125.

Before we kick off this week’s rankings, let’s check in with our competitors…

Gordon Holmes: Well, last week’s episode was certainly eventful.
Michael Skupin: In what I think is a “Survivor” first; Malcolm, on-the-fly, convinced Reynold to give up the idol as Reynold  “feeling ultra-threatened” walked towards Probst.  I still can’t tell if it was predetermined based on the Probst inquisition at Tribal or if Malcolm was strategically trying to flush an idol so many people knew about.  I wonder if Reynold will stay in the dark or realize that the same guy who asked him for his idol was the same person who voted for him and had an idol of his own.  Malcolm’s going to have to trust someone out there and the pickings are as slim as toothpaste at this point.

Holmes: Any parting words for the other Michael?
Skupin: Goodbye, Michael…all the baskets you put your eggs in seemed to disappear.  First Matt, then Corinne.  Your friendliness and clingy personality, while attractive in life, are the kiss of death on “Survivor.” Strategically, you understood a lot about the game, but you stayed loyal to the wrong people.  A big move may have saved you but most people are afraid to make them. Welcome to that club.  We all enjoyed you out there.

Set Your DVR to Record ‘Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs Favorites”

Michael’s Current Score: 105

Any advice for Michael? Drop him a line on Twitter: @mikeskupin

Gordon’s Current Score: 125

Any advice for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

 1. Dawn: Her gameplay is so ultra impressive that as a viewer I’m beginning to wonder if the crying and emotion is part of her strategy. Ha! Not likely, but it’s fun to speculate.  Viewers have no idea how hard this game is ethically to play.  You are forced to make decisions daily, often hourly that you’d never consider “off the island” and it wears on your psyche in ways you’ve never been tested before.  The past three contestants credited you for their departure and that streak is likely to continue.
 1. Cochran: Right now Cochran is the least hated person in the dominant alliance. That’s a great position to be in…as long as everyone else isn’t paying attention. So, right now is not the time for my dawg, Cochran the Man, to just kick back, pop a brew, and chillax. (Turning off the bro speak…) Now might be a good time for Cochran to pick a fight with someone who likely won’t sway many votes once they’re on the jury. Sherri might be a good candidate, but that depends on how well her and Phillip are getting along.
 2. Cochran: The wizard of wit should be thanking the stars that Dawn is in his alliance.  Everyone trusts Dawn and she trusts you.  Sticking like glue to her and out-stealthing the Stealth is your best weapon.  Your “man-ing up with Da Boys” has us highly entertained.
 2. Sherri: I’m expecting major fallout after last week’s Tribal Council shocker. Malcolm knows that Dawn can’t be trusted, Stealth R Us Too knows that Malcolm is close enough to Reynold to get an idol, and Andrea now knows definitively that she’s a major target. Now’s the perfect time for Tenacity to sit back and let the sparks fly.
 3. Andrea: AMAZING that it was your idea not to vote off Malcolm. You stood your ground and single-handedly saved the game for your alliance.  People are really beginning to trust you.  The only mistake I see is at Tribal Council your letting Probst take you out of your game.  Since your name came up several times at the first vote, you’ve played an impeccable game.  Remember what personalities are leading the charge. Play that game and make your break when it works to your benefit. And don’t fall for a man in a uniform.
 3. Brenda: Congrats on winning immunity last week. Maybe not the smartest move for someone who’s playing such a solid under-the-radar game, but with your knee injury it’s probably not the end of the world. What I’d like to know right now is; what is your end game? Surely you and Erik aren’t just sitting around waiting for Andrea, Phillip, Dawn, and Cochran to put this game in lockdown, are you?

  4. Brenda: Your under-the-radar (UTR) game in a Carter-like fashion became over-the-radar (OTR) last week when you bested some pretty incredibly burly guys to win that immunity challenge. As I see it, an UTR game needs to stay UTR in ALL areas.  You’ve now become an outright challenge threat and that will surely be a factor in votes. Pick one game, you can’t play both.
 4. Erik: Ahem…are you?

  5. Sherri: In the beginning brilliant strategically, Shamar was your “Phillip” and since Shamar was medi-vacced you’ve had no Phillip. Since the merge, you’ve quietly become Phillip’s Julia and he’s become your Phillip.  So what I’m trying to say is Phillip is now your Phillip and he’s being played as Phillip for the second season in a row and you’re the only fan to see that open door.  I mistakenly thought your “quiet” was a confidence issue but instead it’s appearing to be the best fan strategy out there.
 5. Phillip: Phillip has a grand plan for winning “Survivor.” He wants to be the goofy leader of Stealth R Us Too with the pink panties and the deep blue shoes. He wants to ride those gimmicks to the final Tribal Council, where he’ll reveal that all of that silliness is by design and that he’s really a nice guy. Well, Phillip really is a nice guy. But, the jury won’t care. They’re going to award the million to one of the two people he’s sitting with.
 6. Erik: I’m pretty sure he’s still there. If you keep asking, they’ll keep pointing.  Thank goodness for flags.
 6. Malcolm: Wow…just wow. Your little stratagem at last week’s Tribal might be the Best/Worst move in “Survivor” history. Best, because you voted for Reynold so you could have plausible deniability if Andrea went home. Worst, because you outted yourself as being in an alliance with Reynold when you asked for the idol. And best again because you got a dude to give you an idol when you already had one. Again…wow.
 7. Eddie: Now that Reynold’s idol is flushed you appear way less of a threat than your bearded twin.  Buddying up to Andrea was great strategy, but pushing her for info at the end wrecked your showmance.  You can try all you want but you can’t outplay a crafty fox like Andrea.
  7. Andrea: Everybody thought Dre was being paranoid when she made them target Michael instead of splitting the vote. Who’s paranoid now? Not only that, but now she appreciates that nobody is afraid of Phillip. Of the ten people left in the game, Phillip is probably the only one who can’t win. That makes him everyone’s dream final three buddy. Andrea’s best bet now is to stick tight to Phillip and try to get to the end with the other unpopular member of her alliance…
 8. Phillip: Sherri will not be your new Julia. She’s way more crafty. Plus, she prefers something more exotic than vanilla.  You’ve never wavered from your game which concerns me a little. Predictability and lit torches don’t stay partners very long.
 8. Dawn: It looks like Dawn’s in for a rough week. But, that’s to be expected. When a group of people put their trust in you and you defy them, you’re going to have to take some heat. Dawn’s deception puts a huge target on her back and probably turned one definite and three potential jury members against her. She needs to do some serious damage control if she’s going to win at a final Tribal.
 9. Reynold: You kept your impeccable record intact, and another Tribal Council where the votes were a big shocker for you.  You came to this episode with a fresh new attitude, formed a bro-down alliance, however adding your biggest threat (Cochran) to a man-up alliance was not the best strategy…but it was strategy nonetheless.  Your “muscle” alliance sold to a non-muscle guy may have been your biggest blunder yet which is why you’re down here this week.  I think you are going to be joining the “new kids on the block” soon but that block is named Ponderosa Lane.
 9. Eddie: My first instinct when last week’s drama happened was, “Eddie blew it. He let Andrea know she was in trouble and she put an end to the vote splitting.” However, that’s probably not accurate. Andrea would’ve heard about Malcolm’s plan from Dawn. So, the good news for Eddie is that him helping Andrea may have bought him some time. The bad news is Andrea can’t save him forever.
 10. Malcolm: That may have been the first post-merge reward that you were not a part of in your storied “Survivor” career.  It appears you’re making the same mistake Corinne did and assumed that Dawn was on the bottom of the alliance and I don’t blame you. I imagine Dawn pretty convincingly is playing that trump card. Who wouldn’t believe that Cochran would betray her again?  Who woulda thought that Dawn would be this new amazing strategic brilliance?  She claims you’re not “dialed in,” but you’ll have to wait all 39 days because they won’t have phones at Ponderosa either where I think you are headed next.
  10. Reynold: I think Reynold is 2/3rds of a great “Survivor” player. He’s a charismatic guy and he’s a challenge machine, but he doesn’t have the strategy down just yet. Don’t get me wrong, as I’m rewatching “Exile Island” and screaming at the TV every time Terry doesn’t use the idol to save one of his alliance mates, I can appreciate Reynold trying to rescue Malcolm. But intimidation is the wrong way to play someone like Dawn. She has forty kids, you can’t intimidate her.

‘Survivor’ Castaway Michael: ‘We Didn’t Think (Dawn) Was So Ruthless’

April 11, 2013

Michael Snow (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

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So…Stealth R Us Too was going to split the vote between Reynold and Eddie in case one of them had an idol. Then after the tie they were going to vote for Reynold. BUT, Malcolm was trying to get Sherri and Dawn to vote for Andrea. HOWEVER, Dawn is a strategy machine who is crushing dreams left and right so she told Andrea and they decided to target Malcolm instead. WHEN SUDDENLY, Eddie tells his giiiiirlfriend Andrea that she’s in trouble, so she decides to focus all of the votes on the one person they know is idol-less.

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Michael becoming the first member of the jury.

I never promised you rhymes.

I spoke with Michael the morning after his elimination and had a chance to get the scoop on last night’s craziness, his former alliance with Sherri, and spying on the Caramoan lovebirds…

Gordon Holmes: OK, what the hell happened last night?
Michael Snow: (Laughs) It’s so convoluted, even that day. I think what happened was Eddie, Reynold, and I were working with Malcolm and we were trying to get a foothold and not get voted out. Dawn had come to me, she and Malcolm had talked, so we thought we may have a chance to flip things. We were hoping that they’d split the vote and we’d have five and take Andrea out. I didn’t know if it was going to work, I didn’t think it was going to work. But, if someone was going to get voted out, I thought it’d be Eddie or Reynold.
Holmes: Did you know that Reynold had an idol?
Snow: I did. He told me. I didn’t know he had it on the other beach, we were still searching. But, he told me when he came over for the merge.
Holmes: And did you know that he and Malcolm had a relationship that was close enough that he’d hand over the idol?
Snow: Not really. I didn’t know if Reynold would really give it. But, Reynold had offered his idol to me that day as well. But, it didn’t surprise me that he gave him the idol. I think he would have given the idol to anyone he was working with. He’s kind of like that. I knew they were close, but I didn’t know they were “bro-type” like that.

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Holmes: Before the swap, your alliance was taking out Reynold and Eddie’s cool kids’ alliance. Did they have trouble trusting you after merge?
Snow: After the merge it was fine. We never had a contentious relationship. When they arrived on the beach we knew we were down in the numbers. We knew we were screwed. They weren’t immediately like, “What do we do?” But we were checking in with each other. And when we went to the first vote and voted for Sherri, we were all on board. But, we never had a problem. We hung out at the other beach, so it wasn’t a surprise to be hanging out with them and laughing on the new beach.
Holmes: You and Sherri used to be in an alliance. Then, last week you voted for her and she wasn’t thrilled with that…understandably. But, it seems like she’s not doing a great job of staying on the good side of people who could potentially end up on the jury.
Snow: Well, right when the merge happened, I felt like she was a little nervous in trying to figure out where she was going to fall in. So, I think she was just kind of scrambling, but not too hard. But after Corinne was voted out, she was in with those guys totally. They knew they had her vote. Phillip and her were spending a lot of time talking. I don’t think they saw her as a threat.

Holmes: Now that you’re at home watching this and you see that Dawn had a key role in taking out Julia, Corinne, and yourself, are you a little shocked that she’s turned into the Grim Reaper?
Snow: (Laughs) Shocking? No. I knew she was playing hard and I knew she was having a tough time. She was really a Nervous Nelly. I was starting to notice it before Corinne was voted out. We didn’t think she was so ruthless, because she was so upset so often. So, it’s not shocking, but “Wow, good job, Dawn.”

Holmes: Last night we saw Eddie and Andrea scoot off for a little rendezvous…
Snow: (Laughs) I watched that happening, Gordon. At that point in the afternoon, I knew they were off together. I started watching them. I thought, if he’s going to flip, I need to keep an eye out for that. So, I’m scooting up over the hill and I’m popping my head up spying on them. It was so fun, I was laughing. It was exactly what I wanted to be doing. I was watching them canoodling because I was worried about Eddie.
Holmes: You could make the argument that him letting Andrea know she was a target led her to target you instead of Malcolm.
Snow: Absolutely. I think that was part of it. That probably got Andrea to be a little more ruthless and getting away from splitting the vote. But, I really attribute it to Dawn and Andrea. I think it was a combination of all of those things. Dawn had come to me earlier that day and asked if I was voting with the guys. I said, “Dawn, what do you want me to do? I’ve been telling you I’ll work with you, but you’re not pulling me in.” And she said, “I’ll come back to you. I think it’s time for me to make a move.” So, she was the one leading us down the path and making us think she was going to make a move. So, I really give Dawn a lot of credit.

Holmes: Alright, let’s do some word association. We’ll start with Malcolm.
Snow: Gamer.
Holmes: Reynold?
Snow: Generous.
Holmes: Eddie?
Snow: Jersey (Pronounced “Joy-zee”).
Holmes: Sherri?
Snow: Cinnabon.
Holmes: Corinne?
Snow: Awesome.
Holmes: Andrea?
Snow: Conniving.
Holmes: Cochran?
Snow: Great player.
Holmes: Phillip?
Snow: A douche-alist.
Holmes: Dawn?
Snow: Ruthless.
Holmes: Brenda?
Snow: The most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen, inside and out.
Holmes: She is gorgeous.
Snow: Gorrrrgeous.
Holmes: Erik?
Snow: I want to say surprising. He was doing all these things that were kind of outside the box. I never knew he had it in him. He’s kind of a rebel. He sees things in different ways.
Holmes: What’s an example?
Snow: He was always looking for something or push the boundaries of what he could do and get away with. I try to play within the rules, and how can I bend them. He plays outside of the rules. I thought that was really admirable.

Holmes: When you play “Survivor” you assume you’re going to starve. You assume you’re going to lie and be lied to. But you never assume that you’re going to become best friends with a bearded, bike riding, front man from Ohio.
Snow: (Laughs) Everyone says, “You’re so different.” But, I think we’re very similar in a lot of ways, and that’s why we got along. We both have very broad senses of humor. We’re both very open to people and respond to different kinds of people. It’s really been fun to get to know someone who is like that. I intend on keeping Matt in my life for a long time. He’s good people.
Holmes: Always good to hear about the long-term alliances.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Episode Recap: Love, Caramoan Style

April 10, 2013

'Survivor: Caramoan' (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

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Last Week: Gota and Bikal were thrown together in the mix, Cochran ate things that made us all kinds of sicks, and Stealth R Us Too downsized the Dominatrix…

39 Days, 20 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Let’s take a look at the tribe as it currently stands…

The Enil Edam Tribe (wearing green)
Andrea – Entertainment Host and Writer, 23
Brenda – Paddleboard Company Owner, 30
Cochran – Harvard Law Student, 25
Dawn – English Professor/Power Rankings Champ, 42
Eddie – Firefighter/EMT, 23
Erik – Comic Book Artist, 27
Malcolm – Bartender, 25
Michael – Event Planner, 44
Phillip – Chief Executive Officer of Enter Software Sales, 54
Reynold – Sales, 30
Sherri – Fast Food Franchisee, 41

The fun kicks off the day after Tribal Council and Stealth R Us Too is psyched that they have the numbers. Reynold doesn’t seem to mind though because a favorite went home and it wasn’t him. Well, that’s one way to look at it. Another way to look at it is; someone who was loyal to you who the jury would’ve hated went home.

He also points out that every woman that associates with him and Eddie gets voted out. That’s hilarious.

Malcolm isn’t thrilled that Corinne went home, but now that she’s gone he’s the only one that knows about his immunity idol.

Later, Phillip seems to be putting the moves on Sherri. Telling her she’s “hot” and calling her “Mama.” Everyone uncomfortable? Good, let’s move on.

Phillip says it’s bad news for everyone who’s against Sherri and dubs her “Tenacity.” Aww…she went from having a fake Phillip to having a real Phillip. Thus the circle of life is complete.

And that’s how a bill becomes a law.

Reward Challenge Time: Players will be divided into two teams of five. One player will be a defender on a platform while players from the other team will try to throw balls past them and into a goal. Each ball into the goal is a point. First team to score four points wins a trip to a waterfall where they’ll enjoy repelling and a picnic lunch.

The purple team’s shooters are Erik, Eddie, Reynold, and Cochran. Shooting for the orange team is Dawn, Brenda, Phillip, and Andrea. Malcolm will defend the orange goal while Michael will defend the purple goal.

Note: The teams were decided by a school-yard pick. Sherri was not chosen, so she loses no matter what.

Round One: Brenda scores, Eddie does not.

Round Two: Erik and Andrea both score.

Round Three: Reynold comes up short, as does Dawn.

Round Four: Cochran gets the best of Malcolm in back-to-back challenges, Phillip scores as well.

Round Five: Eddie scores, while Brenda just misses.

We’re tied three to three.

Round Six: Erik scores to win it for the purple tribe. Dawn shows she’s a good sport by not wishing diarrhea on them.

Quick Aside: Did the orange team not get fair ups?

At the reward, Cochran has some trouble repelling down the waterfall, but he eventually figures it out. He lets us know that he used to rarely leave his apartment, but now he embraces adventure. He’s like the new Cirie.

Later, Michael points out that the last season (he’s referring to “One World,” the last season they saw) was dominated by women, and how funny would it be if the guys dominated this season. (EDIT: Michael was actually referring to the last “Fans vs. Favorites” season.)

Reynold thinks they should “Bro down” and Cochran should help them get rid of all the gross, icky girls. I’m thinking Reynold didn’t see Cochran’s season.

Back at camp, Malcolm tries to get Sherri and Dawn on his side. Will this be the third week in a row that Dawn rips someone’s heart out, kneads it into a fine dough, and bakes it into a loaf of despair?!

Sure enough, Sherri and Dawn immediately tell Andrea and Phillip. Now the target is solely on Mr. Freberg’s back. Boo…

Next, we meet up with Andrea and Eddie at some kind of mysterious lagoon. Apparently the two snuck away after curfew. Eddie says he’ll do anything for Andrea’s love, but he won’t do that. And by “that” he means “vote for Reynold.” She says she’ll try to keep him around, but he needs to give her information. She asks if anyone has an idol, and he says he doesn’t know.  Lies…

Immunity Challenge Time: Ah…an oldie but a goodie. The players will be held underwater by a metal grate. The player who can hold their breath the longest wins immunity.

Phillip is the first one out after an hour. He’s followed by Sherri and Erik.

Dawn’s the next to go, then we lose Malcolm and Michael.

Eddie goes, then Cochran and Reynold.

We’re down to Brenda and Andrea. Andrea’s having a tough time, she drops out, but goes back up. However, she eventually taps out, giving Brenda immunity.

Back at camp, Andrea tells Malcolm and Dawn that they’re splitting the votes between Eddie and Reynold. Then they’ll all vote for Reynold. Of course, this is all part of their plan to get rid of Malcolm.

As soon as Andrea leaves Malcolm tells Dawn that he wants to get rid of Andrea because she’s the real decision maker at Stealth R Us Too. Either way, Dawn’s ripping hearts out. This should be fun.

Dawn tells Malcolm that she’ll be in as long as Reynold shows her his idol. Reynold shows her the goods, but warns her not to stab him in the back. That doesn’t go over well.

Eddie confronts Andrea about who she’s voting for, but she doesn’t tell him what’s going on. She eventually finds out that she’s a target and her opponents have 100 idols. She freaks and tells her crew to vote for Michael because they know he doesn’t have an idol.

Dawn tries to talk her out of it, because of all the hard work she did to make this plan happen. She even busts out a few tears just to show that she means business.

That night at Tribal Council, Michael says he was happy that a favorite went home at the last vote. Really? Even though it was your BFF Corinne?

Then Phillip talks about Stealth R Us Too for half an hour.

When I wake up, Sherri says she doesn’t regret voting for Eddie, Michael, or Reynold because they voted for her.

Eddie would rather go home than be a puppet like Sherri.

Phillip says he’ll vote for anyone who he thinks has an idol. Um…

Andrea thinks you have to make a big move if you’re on the bottom of your alliance.

Phillip doesn’t think anyone should rock the boat this early in the game.

Voting Time: Malcolm votes for Reynold and admits that he’s confused about what’s going on. The other votes are secret.

JPro tallies and returns. Then it gets crazy.

Reynold gets up to play his idol, but Malcolm tells him not to. Malcolm says that everybody voted for him and Reynold should give him the idol. Reynold does and Malcolm plays it. Meanwhile, my head explodes.

We’ve got three votes for Andrea, one for Reynold, five for Michael, and the tenth person to be eliminated from “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites” and the first member of the jury is…Michael.

Probst says there are ten savvy players left in the game. He may have over counted.

Verdict: What the what?!

OK, Malcolm is kinda screwed. The faves now know that he’s close enough with Reynold for him to cough up an idol.

But, Malcolm isn’t totally screwed. He has an idol that nobody knows about.

Also, Malcolm is bad-ass.

And, maybe people were annoyed at Andrea for changing the vote from Malcolm to Michael, but her alliance won because of that move.

Who’s Going to Win? Erik’s been my pick since day one, but Cochran is playing the game of his dreams right now.

Power Rankings Results: We have another tie between Mike Skupin and I as we both had Michael in spot ten. So, the current score is Team Skupin 105, Team Lightning Punch 125.

Any questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings: Malcolm Cardboard Cutout Edition

April 10, 2013

'Survivor: Caramoan' (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

The Rules: Each week Michael and Gordon will create separate Power Rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the two players will earn. For example, if Dawn is voted out this week, Michael will receive 2 points and Gordon will receive 3 points. The person with the most points at the end of the season will be crowned the ‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings champion!

Last Week: Michael and Gordon both called it. They both had Corinne in spot twelve. So, the current score is Team Skupin 95, Team Lightning Punch 115.

Before we kick off this week’s rankings, let’s check in with our competitors…

Gordon Holmes: We had a wild one last week. What was your take on the post-merge fiasco?
Michael Skupin: I’ve said this before but understand on “Survivor” every vote is a blindside.  Regardless of what you may read or hear in post-game interviews; the ultra-protective quote “I knew I was going home.” If that was the case, we’d see many, many, many more big moves. Even Franny thought it was going to be Phillip or Andrea at the first Tribal Council.  Good advice is; it’s never safe to feel safe.

Holmes: I’ve been harassing Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer to bring back gross eating challenges for years. And, last week did not disappoint.
Skupin: I’m soooooooooooooooo happy to see the “local tucker” eating challenge.  It’s about time.  What fans fail to realize is that at this point in the game, the contestants are so hungry that we’d eat anything and then ask for seconds. My favorite eating challenge was when they made the family members do it on Season 5 in Thailand.

Holmes: Any parting words for my beloved Corinne?
Skupin: Goodbye, Corinne…impressed you played so hard, you trusted one person too many.  You had six, but needed one more and you opened the wrong door.  A door with baggage and haunting memories of her (Dawn) last season when she didn’t make that big move. I can sit her at my computer and tell you that a more obvious choice would have been someone else (Sherri) because Dawn may be more loyal at times than strategic, but hindsight makes every armchair “Survivor” fan a winner. You played too hard to keep the fans against a highly stacked favorite’s team. That made you an easy choice.  The crabs will have to find different curls to frolic in tonight.

Set Your DVR to Record ‘Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs Favorites”

Michael’s Current Score: 95

Any advice for Michael? Drop him a line on Twitter: @mikeskupin

Gordon’s Current Score: 115

Any advice for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

 1. Cochran: As the newly crowned “King of the Confessional” keeps us highly entertained, Cochran skyrockets all the way to #1 in my rankings this week. I hope he’s thanking the night rats that invade their shelter every night that Dawn trusts him.  His game could have been one conversation short of a very predictable boot but instead he helped orchestrate a big move that needed to be made.
 1. Brenda: All of the favorites were afraid of Brenda going into this mess, and with good reason. She was one of the stronger strategists in her previous season. Now, you only see her when she’s dancing or goofing off. But, this Purple Brenda act is just a facade. She’s capable of turning this game on its head if she needs to.
 2. Dawn: I’m so impressed that she had the ability in between the rain from the skies and the rain from her eyes to learn a lesson from her first time out there and make a BIG move. Down the road she might seem like a threat and if Corinne had made the jury, she certainly would not have gotten her vote but at this stage Dawn is playing the best strategic game out there by far. She single-handedly altered the game this week for almost everyone out there.
 2. Cochran: You know why everyone was so happy for Cochran when he won immunity? Because they’re not afraid of him. “Survivor” pushed the “lovable dork” narrative and everyone bought into it. But, Cochran is running the show at this point, just like he dreamt of doing when he was wearing buffs around his high school.
 3. Brenda: It looks like you’ll be a challenge threat no more with your twisted knee.  I’ve loved your game thus far, but it’s time to start tightening up an alliance or two with key people out there if you’re playing to win. A jury will not give you the million bucks if you don’t earn it.
 3. Dawn: Dawn’s playing a tough game right now. People don’t get upset when they’re stabbed in the back by people who are just playing the game. They get upset when they’re stabbed in the back by people they have a deeper connection with. Dawn is a ridiculously likable person, and the future jury members are likely to feel more betrayed by her than by someone like Phillip or Andrea.

  4. Andrea: Looks like you’re settling into your alliance nicely. Ride that wave and you can make a break when you need to.  How can you possibly resist a man in a uniform? Looks like you get to sleep with the rats another three days.
 4. Erik: So, Malcolm thought you were in the bag. Obviously, you weren’t. Where do your loyalties lie? You’d better solidify yourself somewhere and quick, because while picking off Malcolm’s buddies is going to be the order of the day, they won’t last forever. You’ll find yourself the challenge threat on a seven-person alliance.

  5. Erik: You’ve been tagged as the “float.” A newly coined “Survivor” strategy that’s a bit different than ‘under-the-radar” strategy. Unlike under-the-radar, floaters are visible, don’t say much…never engage in battles or strategy and no one ever knows how you’re going to vote. You never have a good alliance, yet your name never seems to come up when discussions are involving torch-snuffing. It’s a strategy that can work or backfire depending on who’s actually making decisions out there. Fortunately you guessed right this time and I believe you get to keep floating. You’re quote “I just wish I knew what I was doing” was very telling. PS: The “just tell me who to vote for” strategy will likely never get you a seven-figure check.  And, technically you weren’t the swing vote, there has to be an odd number of voters for that to happen.
 5. Andrea: Two things went in Andrea’s favor last week. She got rid of Corinne and Corinne didn’t make the jury. Now she’s got to start figuring out how she’s going to get to the end with Phillip and Sherri by her side. She also has to know better than to fall for Eddie’s flirtatious ways.
 6. Sherri: You got quiet since the tribe swap and even quieter since the merge.  Where did all your fire go?  You went from the strategist to, in Malcolm’s words, the weird one. Your fire didn’t go out, you just need to get it started again.  Don’t play the “as long as it’s not me” game. We love big moves!
 6. Sherri: What happened to Sherri? She went from strategic genius in the early days to Debbie Downer. The game isn’t even close to being over for her. She has a ton of wiggle room. Here’s hoping she’s able to get her groove back.
 7. Eddie: Eating gross foods may affect your love life, not eating them may affect your bank account. Weight it out, buddy. I’ll never forget my favorite quote from this season from you at the food challenge… “I bit the beak.” Eddie, Eddie, Eddie…beak is a delicacy in many countries ;).   I wouldn’t blame you for the “hit” on Andrea if it was strategy but sadly, it’s likely for another notch on the fireman’s pole. She’s way too crafty, bro. Be careful.
  7. Malcolm: “You lost today, kid. But it doesn’t mean you have to like it.” – “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” 

It breaks my heart to have my boy so low on the list, but the game is far from over for him. He still has an alliance with two idols and a roster of guys capable of winning some challenges.

 8. Phillip: I like that you’re really playing this game hard. You’ve actually created fear among the favorites and fear on “Survivor” is often the root of where decisions are made (Russell Hantz did that better than anyone). Reel it in just a bit and you may even have a shot.  PS: Your challenge throwing ability is becoming legendary. Maybe next time think about including your tribe in that decision.
 8. Reynold: Reynold and Eddie just can’t catch a break. Have they been on the right side of a single Tribal Council? It’s time for him to play his idol at a time that matters. If they get lucky they can start to chip away at Stealth R Us Too.
 9. Reynold: I continue to be highly entertained by your naivety in this game.  You definitely are no stranger to competition or “games people play” but “Survivor” is very different and you are getting an education on the fly. Right before the food-eating challenge you said you’re not used to eating gross things. Hmmmm, that describes about all seven billion people that walk this planet.   I loved your confessional, “I don’t think tonight’s going to be a big shocker” …hasn’t every Tribal Council you’ve attended so far been a big shocker for you?  It hasn’t gone your way once yet.  A lesson I hope you learn before it’s too late. All Tribal Councils are shockers for someone.
 9. Phillip: The good news is that your crew pulled off the win last week. The bad news is that your opponents have a pair of idols and you don’t have the numbers to properly split the vote.
 10. Michael: You didn’t have much of a choice but to go with Corinne. In “Survivor”-like fashion, they’ll forever hold you accountable for that choice.  I think you will last a few more votes because of your likeability but no one will ever trust you. A really big move is your only chance and that’s as slim as a day-39 contestant.
  10. Michael: Your BFF was sent packing, and the remnants of your alliance aren’t that close to you. Maybe there’s some magic to be worked with your old buddy Sherri? But that ship may have already sailed.
 11. Malcolm: After a failed Rooster Alliance and a failed rebellion against the favorites it looks like the Golden Boy put all his eggs in one basket.  Ironically, for a guy who two weeks ago thought he was in control of the entire game.  We haven’t seen anyone go home in a while with the hidden immunity idol in their pocket in James-like fashion, could it be this week?  It looks like Madeline may get a tribe named after her and maybe another immunity idol for her mantle. (When Malcolm had two idols on S25, instead of giving one to Denise and protecting his alliance at final five, he chose to take it home as a gift to Madeline, his mother.)
  11. Eddie: You know what will make a girl forget that you ate bugs on national TV? A million dollars. I think Andrea’s too smart to fall for your last-minute move and I think Reynold and Malcolm are going to be ready to play their idols. Nobody needs an immunity win more than you do.

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