Archive for October, 2017

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ Power Rankings Round 5 – Broken Ali-ance Edition

October 31, 2017

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings with Aubry Bracco, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers”

The Rules: Each week our two combatants 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 players will earn. For example, if Mike is voted out this episode, Aubry will receive one point and Gordon will receive three points. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: Aubry Bracco had Roark in spot 8, I had her in spot 14. The current score is Team Bracco 42, Team Holmes 51.

Quick Note: Rankings are not based on who the player thinks is most likely to win. The smart strategy is to rank the contestants based on who is the most likely to be voted out in the next episode.​

Aubry’s Score = 42

Any questions for Aubry? Drop her a line on Twitter: @aubrybracco

Gordon’s Score = 51

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

1. Mike: I don’t care what social or strategic game he may or may not have. If someone pulls idols from the Earth that easily, they’ve got the Tai touch, and that instantly means they’re going deep. 1. Ryan: You were between a rock and a hard place last week. I’m not sure there was a right decision. So, what’s your post Tribal play? How do you get Ali back after you’ve sided with someone she didn’t know you were working with?
2. JP: He’s sweet, great at challenges and follows people’s instructions/blatant attempts to win him over. No, it’s not a golden retriever, it’s JP! I mean that with all the love in the world. Do I think he can win? No. But power rankings are all about safety, and the way things are going, JP is setting himself up as an A+ goat. 2. Chrissy: The female alliance ruse was a stroke of genius. And JP fell for it hook, line, and sinker. You’re gonna have so many options if you make it to the merge.
3. Ben: People relate to Ben or have reverence for the fact they can’t totally relate to what he’s feeling. In short, this guy has empathy coming his way and not in the “you’re a threat” way. Great news for Ben. On a personal note — I really appreciate how he opened up and was able to communicate his emotions so clearly. Keep fighting the good fight, Ben. 3. Mike: Dr. Mike! Your idol discovery last night was yet another example of Cole’s mouth causing him trouble. And, if you can prove to Jessica that you can be trusted over Cole, you could be the new power couple.
4. Chrissy: Chrissy’s got an army behind her. All the better for her as she steamrolls toward the merge. She should beware, however, that getting into courtroom-like debates isn’t going to work every Tribal. This isn’t Redemption Island, and there are no appeals. 4. Jessica: I hope Cole is alright, because I hate to see people leave the game with an unsnuffed torch. But, if he is gone, you’ve got a new bestie who has an idol.
5. Ryan: Ryan’s got Chrissy and JP locked in with him after the Roark vote. The only trouble ahead? Placating Ali after he betrayed her — the good thing for Ryan? Ali doesn’t have any other allies, so the kiss-and-make-up could be easy peasy. 5. Ben: Who doesn’t love Ben? There’s no way he’s the first person voted out of swapped Yawa tribe.
6. Lauren: Lauren’s quiet, but I think that’s a good thing for her. She’s picking up on other social cues (she notices Ben’s reaction during Cole’s Winnie The Poo moment) and she was in tune with Ben’s personal moment after the bamboo pops. Great work by Lauren. 6. Desi: The only thing that’s for sure about the Levu tribe is that Desi is safe. If they go to Tribal, she’ll have a lot of options.
7. Jessica: Good on Jessica — she’s made a concerted effort to distance herself from Cole, and it seems to be working. Now that she and Mike share a secret, she may find some calmer waters in her “Survivor” social circles. 7. JP: Girls alliance?! I’m not a girl!
8. Devon: Devon’s in a potential 2-2 deadlock. The good thing is he’s just the guy in the middle who had his vote stolen the Tribal prior. No blood on his hands = more potential options for Devon down the road. 8. Cole: Oh, buddy…I hope you’re OK. I talk a lot of smack in my coverage, but you seem like a nice guy and I’d hate to see you go home like this.
9. Desi: It’s hard to tell where exactly Desi is, but the good part is she has an original Healer, Hustler AND Hero vying for her vote. It’s good when people want you on “Survivor.” 9. Devon: There is no reason to partner with Ashley. The merge is right around the corner and you’re just inviting trouble. If anything, I boot Ashley, then convince Desi to jump over if there’s a three-person Tribal.
10. Ashley: Ashley, on the other hand, is in the position of having to scrap up from the bottom. It’s good Devon wants to work with her, but she’s hanging on by the skin of her teeth. The good news? If there’s a merge, I think she has the chops to integrate — especially because JP is in so good with Ryan and Chrissy. 10. Joe: Mike and Jessica proved that there’s a uniform idol hiding strategy, so why aren’t you excavating the Levu water well?
11. Joe: Joe seems to be a potential target like Ashley if the tribe goes to tribal next. From what we can see, Joe is status quo, but his inner Tony could rear its head (for better or for worse) at any time. 11. Lauren: You don’t deserve to be this low on my list every week. Your social game is fine and you do your best on challenges. But, you’re always kind of the odd woman out.
12. Ali: Oh, Ali! Be still my heart. Like me, you are the grim reaper of this season (don’t you feel strangely powerful)? 12. Ali: Oof…this hurts. I believe the song goes, “Make new friends, but keep the old.” Here’s hoping you and Ryan can patch things up.
13. Cole: Oh no, Cole. First, he’s dipping into the sugar (way more than Michaela, for the record) and pissing people off…then the preview shows him passing out Russell Swan style. Survivor in love to medevac would not be a good arc for Cole, but it’s looking likely. 13. Ashley: It feels like you’ve been fighting from the bottom the whole season. Nobody needs a merge more than you do.


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

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‘Survivor’ Castaway Roark: ”I Think Ryan Saw That He Was Losing Ali to Me”

October 26, 2017

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings with Aubry Bracco, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

It’s a fact of “Survivor” life that the tribes that win immunity don’t get that much attention. So, if you go home during your first Tribal Council, we really won’t get to see much of you.

Which is a shame, because not only am I Zeke Geek, but I’m also a Roark Dork.

I spoke with the first Healer to fall the morning after she was eliminated. I asked her about her relationship with Ryan, life at Healer beach, and the truth about Joe-ny Vlachos…

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers”

Gordon Holmes: OK, what was the plan heading into last night’s Tribal? You thought you had both Ali and Ryan on your side?
Roark Luskin: Yes. The idea was that we would vote for Chrissy and we were under the impression that Chrissy and JP were voting for Ryan.
Holmes: Where did that impression come from?
Luskin: That was the decoy boot…wait, I think it was the decoy decoy boot? That was the plan that Chrissy told me when we were sitting on the log. Ali and I told Ryan, he didn’t love that his name was coming up. He played us amazing well. He was so forlorn the entire day at camp. He was looking sad about things. I remember saying to Ali, “Is this what he’s always like before Tribal?” And she said, “No, he’s just down that Chrissy and JP don’t think much of him physically.” But, he played it great. We were really comfortable. Then as Tribal started going down and Jeff is only speaking to me and Chrissy, there’s nothing about Ryan going on…I thought, “This doesn’t feel right.” And the moment my name started coming up I was just, “Oh…good…good…good.”
Holmes: Good, great, grand, wonderful.
Luskin: (Laughs) Exactly.

Holmes: So, for that to be the case, Chrissy and Ryan must’ve done a really good job in hiding that they were working together.
Luskin: Absolutely to their credit on that. My final words were, “I refuse to rest on the idea that I was swap screwed,” you know the “Survivor” trope. But, coming back and speaking to everybody, watching the show, I had no idea about that day one idol. It was the most original, non-traditional way to get screwed. We stepped on that mat and there was already a non-traditional relationship forged. And, although the viewer doesn’t see every moment, you do see the whole picture and we do not. Ali and I had no idea about that advantage or relationship. I understand why Ryan chose that bit of trust over the absence of built trust with me.

Holmes: If you were in Ryan’s shoes at that point in the game, why do you choose Chrissy over Ali? Did you notice anything about Ali and Ryan’s relationship that you could point to?
Luskin: We landed on swapped Soko and Ali and I started talking. One of the things she said was, “I’ve been dying for another young female to relate to.” It’s like she was starving and I was a sandwich. She and I were super close on a friendship level. I believe luck had a large component in my outcome, but I do have a lot of regrets. One of them is every night I’d sleep with Ali and Ryan would sleep with Chrissy and JP. I thought that was the weirdest things. “Aren’t you guys so close?” Ryan and Ali tell me that they’re so close, why is he over there? This is really weird. My brain clicked that information and then kind of stopped. I should’ve said, “Ali, I think we’ve lost Ryan.” I didn’t get there. That’s my fault. And Ali, Chrissy, and I were never going to be a working relationship. I understand why Ryan did what he did.
Holmes: Do you think it was a situation where Ali has Roark and if I get rid of Chrissy, I have nobody.
Luskin: Yes. I think Ryan saw that he was losing Ali to me. Why do they have to include me in this Healer/Hustler plan if we all make the merge? I don’t think he saw that going his way.
Holmes: It’s interesting that you brought up the “Who’s Sleeping Together” angle. I think Boston Rob has always been a big proponent of that alliance theory.
Luskin: Exactly. And I’d heard that before. There was that, and before we went to that immunity challenge, Chrissy came up to Ali and I and said, “I know you’re voting for me.” How did she know that? I’ve played this out and let’s say Ryan votes out Ali at this one, then I’m next. I genuinely felt like I wouldn’t get out of swapped Soko alive.

Holmes: You said there was no working with Chrissy. Last night Ryan said there was no way Chrissy would work with Ali. Why is that?
Luskin: After that reward with the peanut butter and jelly, we hit the beach, she grabbed Ali and said, “So obviously we get rid of Roark, right?” And Ali said, “I’d like to get to know Roark first.” And I don’t want to speak for Ali, but I don’t think she liked being told what to do in that moment. That set their relationship on a bad path. Once I knew that Chrissy was pretty rigidly coming for me, then I don’t have a use for her if she doesn’t have a use for me. The heat at Tribal was very real.

Holmes: What was life like at the Healers camp? Who was working together? What were your plans for the future?
Luskin: Healers beach was like a giant adult summer camp. Every night we gave each other massages and backrubs. We would all go out on the raft together and do backflips into the ocean. We’d giggle and talk. There’s a Desi secret scene where she says, “I didn’t think ‘Survivor’ would be easy, but we’re on vacation here.” My ride-or-die was Desi. That story never came to fruition. Cole did not tell Desi about the idol, I did. Cole said, “Let’s not loop Desi in yet.” And I said, “No, no, no.” And I’m glad I did because when she swapped with Joe she said to him, “I know you have this. We need to use it.” I’m glad I did that. I wish we could’ve reunited. I tried to make it clear at swapped Soko that because we hadn’t been to Tribal there are no guarantees. They’re great people, but here are some people I’d want to get rid of. I really did my best to sell a bill of goods on my position both in positive and negative terms.

Holmes: Word association time. Let’s start with Desi.
Luskin: Poise, fun, funny, unfiltered.
Holmes: Ali?
Luskin: I adore Ali. She is thoughtful, loyal, uplifting, spiritual, sweet.
Holmes: Joe?
Luskin: Straight shooter, loyal, you know where you stand with Joe. He owns it all.
Holmes: Mike?
Luskin: What a dear. Fish out of water, he always had these insane ideas around camp and we’d resist it. But, you don’t want to put up a fight, so we’d do it, and they’d turn out amazing.
Holmes: Jessica?
Luskin: Total doll. I am bummed for her that the showmance is what is playing out. I think she’s one of the most charismatic…she’s like a human upper. She’s the best.
Holmes: Ryan?
Luskin: We have a lot in common, he lied so much about his background in the game that we have trouble finding common ground. But, we have a lot in common. He’s so smart and so quick. But, introverted and bizarre.
Holmes: Cole?
Luskin: Cole is a young, good-looking boy who is really enjoying that ride.
Holmes: JP?
Luskin: Things like that.
Holmes: Gotcha. Let’s finish with Chrissy.
Luskin: Probably the best puzzle person “Survivor” has ever seen.

Holmes: Let’s jump back into your Joe answer. We’ve seen Joe as this crazy, impulsive, schemer, and yet you said he was loyal. He kind of has this Tony Vlachos vibe. What aren’t we seeing?
Luskin: What Joe says is what Joe is doing, what Joe feels, is true for Joe. And there’s no artifice. He was really Healer loyal. I believe he would’ve played that idol for Desi. Once the swap hit, I believe he would’ve used that as a Healer idol to save anyone of us. Well, Doctor Mike gets an asterisk. Joe was the type of person, that if he’s loyal to you, you really want to work with him because you can believe in what he’s saying. He’s not creating a storm of lies and chaos like Tony, he creates a storm by being really frank. And that’s so jarring out there that it puts people on tilt. But it benefits the people he’s working with.

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

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ Episode 5 Recap: Snakes and Worms

October 25, 2017

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings with Aubry Bracco, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Last Week: The Power Couple Alan should’ve been worrying about was Joe and his idol.

39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Alright, let’s take a closer look at these tribes…

The Levu Tribe – Wearing Blue
Ashley, 26 – Lifeguard
Desiree, 27 – Physical Therapist
Devon, 23 – Surf Instructor
Joe, 34 – Probation Officer

The Soko Tribe – Wearing Yellow
Ali, 24 – Celebrity Assistant
Chrissy, 46 – Financial Analyst
JP, 28 – Firefighter
Roark, 27 – Social Worker
Ryan, 23 – Bellhop

The Yawa Tribe – Wearing Red
Ben, 34 – Marine
Cole, 24 – Wilderness Survival Guide
Jessica, 29 – Nurse Practitioner
Lauren, 35 – Fisherman
Mike, 43 – Urologist

Post-Tribal Shenanigans

Ashley tells Joe that she knew he was crazy, but she didn’t know he was crazy and smart. He admits to being both. Well, they’re at least half right.

Reward Challenge Time: Players will have to slither through the sand, while pushing a ball with their head. From there, one player will have to shoot the balls into a basket. The first tribe to score five shots will win iced coffee and pastries. The second-place tribe just gets iced coffee.

Fun Fact: “Survivor” production iced coffee is my favorite thing.

Another Fun Fact: During this challenge, Jeff Probst made five references to the song I wrote called, “Come On In, Guys.” Did you catch them all?

Sitting Out: Chrissy and Lauren.

Result: Levu takes first place because Desi is amazing at pretending to be a snake. Soko takes third place because Ryan is terrible at pretending to be a snake. He’d push the ball up a hill and then he’d lose it and it’d roll back down. He was like an adorable little Sisyphus.

At Yawa Beach

There’s a really unfortunate incident where Ben’s PTSD is triggered off by the popping sounds made by bamboo in the fire. He takes some time for himself and it seems like his tribe is very supportive.

Lauren is not a fan of Cole’s eating habits, which helps continue her streak of being annoyed by young guys. At least her bias isn’t completely ginger-based.

Also, it’s good for my ego that Cole isn’t friggin’ perfect.

In other news, Mike manages to find the Yawa idol based on what Cole had told him about the Soko clue. He shares this info with Jessica…and hopefully just her.

At Levu Beach

Devon pledges his allegiance to Ashley. He also wants to target Joe because he’s the “strongest player I’ve met here.” Wait, he was on a tribe with Ali and Ryan and never met them? Weird.

At Soko Beach

Roark and Ali are already planning for the post-merge with a potential alliance that includes Desi, Cole, Mike, Jessica, and Ryan. They set a boot list that involves voting out Chrissy first, and JP next. THE ALI-ANCE!

Ryan tells Ali that he’s into this plan, but he tells us that he’d like to keep Chrissy around.

Immunity Challenge Time: The teams will swim out to a boat and retrieve three bags of rice. They’ll return the bags to the shore and open them to find three balls. The first two tribes to get all three balls through a vertical pulley puzzle will win immunity

Sitting Out: Ryan and Mike

Result: Yawa wins first place, Levu takes second, and Chrissy is not great at vertical pulley puzzles.

Pre-Tribal Politicking

Chrissy knows she’s in big trouble, so she approaches Roark about working together. This rubs Roark the wrong way because they had never spoken about strategy before.

Chrissy pitches an all-girl alliance as a way to get Roark in trouble. Interesting… It’s Chrissy’s hope that JP will do whatever she wants if he thinks he’s on the chopping block.

Wait, who’s JP?

Sure enough, a single mention of an all-female alliance is all it takes to get JP on Chrissy’s side.

Meanwhile, Ali wants to work with Roark because she’s much better at challenges.

This leaves us with Ryan as the swing vote.

Tribal Time

The debate starts off with a look at Chrissy’s challenge performance. Roark is upset that Chrissy wouldn’t tag out. Chrissy claims that she tried to.

Roark is also annoyed that Chrissy only started talking strategy with her on the day that she needed her vote.

And in a weird moment, Probst asks Roark if she feels more comfortable or less comfortable since the start of Tribal. She asks if she can be the same level of comfort. Probst allows it.

Voting Time: We’ve got one vote for Chrissy, one vote for Roark, one vote for Chrissy, one vote for Roark, and the fifth person voted out of “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers” is…Roark.

Verdict: Wow…What is Ryan thinking taking Chrissy’s side over Ali? Does he think Ali is too likable to take to the end? There’s got to be more to that.

Also, I hate to see Roark go so quickly. She seemed to have a ton of potential. But “Survivor” casting is like popcorn, some pop…some don’t.

  • Mike – Urine a great position with an idol in your pocket and Jessica on your side. And for that, I’m ranking you number one!
  • Chrissy – Your back was against the wall and you orchestrated something to get JP’s vote. Well done.
  • Jessica – This is like you’re third “Survivor” secret and it seems like you’re learning from your mistakes, no matter how hunky they are.
  • Ryan – I think you were in a no-win position this week. Losing JP would have been a disaster challenge-wise and there was no way to get Chrissy and Ali to work together.
  • Devon – Wanting to get rid of Joe is a good thing, but a two-two tie is not. Your goal now should be getting to the merge, and if Ashley has to go to make that happen, so be it.
  • Lauren – It seems like you’re easily annoyed. I hope you’re not sharing that info with the wrong people.
  • JP – Man, you bought Chrissy’s story hook, line, and sinker.
  • Ali – Oh…oh Ali. I have to think Ryan is somehow threatened by you to take Chrissy’s side.
  • Cole – You’ve got to be more aware of how people perceive you, dude.
  • Desi, Joe, Ben, Ashley – I can’t give you full credit if you don’t show your work.

Power Rankings Results: Aubry Bracco had Roark in spot 8, I had her in spot 14. The current score is Team Bracco 42, Team Holmes 51.

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

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ Round 4 – Tony or Faux-ny? Edition

October 23, 2017

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings with Aubry Bracco, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers”

The Rules: Each week our two combatants 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 players will earn. For example, if Mike is voted out this episode, Aubry will receive two points and Gordon will receive four points. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: Aubry Bracco had Alan in spot 6, Gordon Holmes had him in spot 13. The current score is Team Bracco 34, Team Holmes 37.

Quick Note: Rankings are not based on who the player thinks is most likely to win. The smart strategy is to rank the contestants based on who is the most likely to be voted out in the next episode.​

Some Quick Aubry Thoughts: Whoever composed the score and shot the whale footage: The music this season couldn’t be better. The good news is it’s never at risk of getting voted out, and that’s A-okay in my book. Oh, and the insanely incredible whale footage? Same goes for that. It’s here to stay, and I’m not complaining.

Aubry’s Score = 34

Any questions for Aubry? Drop her a line on Twitter: @aubrybracco

Gordon’s Score = 37

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

1. Ryan: Ryan’s got his spiffy glasses out, and he’s found his Chrissy. Things are seemingly going swimmingly for Ryan and his momager. 1. Ryan: Wow, that super idol could not have possibly been played better by someone on a tribe that didn’t go to that first Tribal. You used it to make strong alliances with Devon and Chrissy. Well done.
2. Mike: Mike in the middle is the name of the game. With a showmance on one side and the outsiders pulling on the other (plus an idol in the mix), Dr. Mike’s pulse is healthy. 2. Chrissy: Ending up on a tribe with JP wasn’t your best-case scenario, but you did end up with your secret admirer. And, being in debt to someone is a strong card to play. “I’d never turn on you after what you did for me,” has a nice ring to it.
3. Chrissy:  Chrissy’s in the same boat as Ryan. She might be far from her bestie, Ben, but she’s already on to her “Survivor Soulmates, The Sequel” in Ryan. 3. Ali: Don’t mind me, I’m just soaking in the sun…while sneakily being on top of every tribe I end up on. Ali is money and I’m feeling great about my winner pick…for once in my life.
4. Ali: We didn’t get too much from Ali this week, and after taming the dragon that was Patrick, I’d say that’s a good thing. Sometimes, being the quiet one is the most powerful you can be. 4. Mike: I’m not a fan of CBS revealing Mike’s idol find in a trailer, but it’s fair game for Power Rankings. Anywho, Jessica is probably in the market for a new best buddy, and that can easily be you. Just promise me you won’t tell Cole.
5. Lauren: I may be putting her a little high in some people’s eyes, but I’m loving everything about Lauren. Her instincts about who’s full of crap and isn’t; how to appropriately rock the apple cart; and intuition about who is and isn’t naturally pairing up is on point. 5. Jessica: Ya just can’t trust Funky Cole Medders with any information. Hopefully that’s crystal clear at this point. I’d still work with him, but I’d keep him on a short leash.
6. Devon: Sure, his starting position on this new tribe was scary. Yes, he was blocked from a vote, but now that he survived that one, it should be smooth sailing for awhile.  6. Cole: You are on a tribe of five, someone has to be on the bottom. HAS TO BE! And that person will use the secret you shared with them to make you look bad. AND THEY DID! You probably ruined your prospects in the game to get closer to someone who is going home if you lose a single immunity challenge. Urgh! You should be so much lower on this list, but I still think you’re safe for a while.
7. Ben: Ben seems to be holding steady even when in the minority — he’s assertive but not overdoing it. Is there stormy weather ahead though? It looks like the mental aspect of “Survivor” could creep up on him next week. 7. Devon: It’s a good thing I’m not in charge of “Survivor” audio, because when Devon pulled out the no-vote, the crickets SFX would have been deafening. That or the sad “Wah wah wah” trumpet. Now you’re on an odd-numbered tribe with a definite two/two split. Maybe it’s time to get to know Desi better and see which way she wants to go.
8. Roark: Roark’s literally alone on her own island, but she seems to have the level-head she needs to navigate this. From the looks of it, though, people may start to see her strategic gears moving. Do your work as you have so far, Roark, bold but quiet, and you should be ok. 8. JP: Hey, JP!
9. Desi: I’m not sure what to think about Desi’s position at the moment. All I know is that with all that chaos, I’d start to lose my cookies too. I’m sending you all my good energy! 9. Desi: I really felt for you last week when you thought Joe had punched your ticket out of the game. Fortunately, you get a chance to get him back if you want to. I think you’re the most powerful person on your tribe right now.
10. Jessica: I think Jessica has a lot of great game in her. I’m concerned, however, that from the moment you even remotely associate yourself with a showmance on, it’s an uphill battle to recover. The showmancee is Sysiphos and the Game is the rock. 10. Ben: Ben does not seem like an obvious target to me as long as Lauren is still around. But, the trailer has me nervous…
11. JP: I’m not quite sure where JP’s head is or who he’s strategizing with. He could either be the non-strategic threat everyone wants to work with or the threat who’s about to be cut in anticipation of the merge. We’ll have to wait a week and see on this one. 11. Joe: Joe seems to be missing one key element from the Tony Vlachos formula, and that’s Tony’s good nature. At the end of the day, people were frustrated by Tony, but they liked him. After speaking with Alan, I’m not sure that Joe has that gift.
12. Ashley: Ashley may have a friend in Devon, but it’s never a good feeling to be pinned as a threat and have your name thrown around so early in the game. Ashley has the chops, it’s just a matter of whether or not she’ll be chopped first. 12. Ashley: I’m shocked you made it to this week. And if you want to be back here again next week, you either need to win immunity or get Desi to play ball.
13. Cole: Oh my goodness heavens, Cole. You’re beautiful, but you’re killing me, Smalls. You’re like that guy that’s so excited about the surprise party he spoils the secret before it happens. Cole’s inability to keep anything tight to the vest seriously  concerns me for his future in this game. 13. Lauren: I thought you did a really good job splintering the Love Bug Alliance last week, but I wonder if you pulled the trigger a little too early. Maybe you should’ve waited until your tribe lost immunity. At any rate, I still feel like you’re on the bottom.
14. Joe: He. Is. Crazy. I don’t think Tony 2.0 will make it to the end like my Dear Favorite Spy Bunker Fiend, but I’m here for all the drama and llamas in between. 14. Roark: Starting a lady alliance when old tribe alliances are probably very strong? Probably not your best move. As Devon taught us, the odd person out can make an excellent swing vote.


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

‘Survivor’ Castaway Alan – ‘I Don’t Care What Happens, I Want Joe Gone’

October 19, 2017

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings with Aubry Bracco, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Some people would say, “Hey, I have a four person majority on a tribe of six people, time to sit back and let the game happen.”

Others would say, “Hey, this angry guy is targeting my alliance member, but it’s cool because we have the numbers. I’ll just let him run his mouth.”

Alan Ball is not one of those people.

I spoke to the former NFL player the morning after his elimination to get his take on Joe’s big move, his alliance with Ashley, and JP’s…idol…transparency…methods…

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers”

Gordon Holmes: Joe is trying to shake things up and he’s not being subtle about the fact that he might have an idol. How do you plan for that if you can’t split the vote?
Alan Ball: I don’t think we gave him enough credit to be that cunning that he could stir things up and have an idol. We discussed it, in terms of putting the votes on Desi, but he had run the camp so hot. He had to go. I got to the point where I was like, I don’t care what happens, I want Joe gone. I knew that that tribe wasn’t going to last with the both of us in it. He had to go. Everybody agreed on that.

Holmes: How confident were you that Devon was on your side?
Ball: I was pretty confident. I knew for sure. Especially because Joe was running around camp lying. Devon saw straight through it. And Devon was pretty genuine. I knew he’d help us with our mission of getting rid of Joe.

Holmes: Did Joe or Desi ever make a move to work with you?
Ball: Desi was subtle. She wanted to get out of the position that she was in. I don’t think she wanted to be tied down under Joe. But, she was a Healer so she had to stick with him, especially with him having an idol. So for her, she was in a tough situation. I may be wrong, but that was the feeling I got from her.

Holmes: It seems like you and Ashley agreed to work together pretty quickly. Did you have thoughts of jumping, or were you more comfortable with the devil you knew?
Ball: (Laughs) When your back is against the wall, you’ll work with anybody. And both of our backs were against the wall. When we pulled buffs and we both had blue, both of our hearts dropped. But, we got better. We began to communicate. Would I work with Ashley if we’d gotten out of that predicament? I couldn’t say that.
Holmes: So, you’re home…you’re comfy on your couch watching last week’s episode…JP comes out of the water…and Ashley tells us she has the hots for him. Did you say, “I knew it!”
Ball: (Laughs) I wanted everyone else to see! I’ve been knowing. Nothing changed in my mind at all. It’s weird because there’s so much that the cameras don’t see. For me, I was picking up on a lot that people at home weren’t. So, when they started to let it out a little more I was pleased. Everybody thinks I’m crazy, but it’s coming out slowly but surely.

Holmes: It’s early in the game, you’ve got this core four of you, Ashley, Ben, and JP. You and JP are impressive physical specimens. If things go wrong you can kick our Katrina or Chrissy. Why shake things up over a power couple?
Ball: At the time, I saw Chrissy as good for my game. And at the end of the day, we were supposed to be a core four, but Ashley and JP were working to get the power between them and then make me disposable. And before they can do that, I’ve got to put a wedge in everything. I need to let people know that the strength is right there.

Holmes: When you accuse someone of having an idol and they drop their shorts right there on the beach…what’s the next move? It’s not like you can give it a real thorough examination.
Ball: (Laughs)
Holmes: What was going through your mind during JP’s impromptu strip search?
Ball: (Laughs) I was shocked. Inside I was laughing, but I’ve come this far, I need to keep this going. But to me, if someone goes to that extent to prove something, there’s something behind it. I’ve got you jumping through hoops to prove me wrong, that made me feel like I had the power in that situation. Maybe you are guilty, maybe you’re not, but you’re going to go that extra mile to prove me wrong. Was I destroying a relationship with JP and Ashley? Absolutely. But, I wasn’t too concerned with that.
Holmes: Is JP still on this show?
Ball: (Laughs) Good question. He might be a hell of the guy, but when it comes to the game, it might by his strategy to lay completely, dumbfoundingly low. His game is a mystery.

Holmes: It seems like Ben and Chrissy have gotten really close. Did you pick up on that during your time out there?
Ball: A little bit. But, I didn’t see that as a problem. I put myself out there as the wild card. So, I know that had issues in terms of trusting me. But I felt like I was solid with Ben and Chrissy. I’m rooting for those two.

Holmes: In hindsight, we know that Joe was able to find his idol by locating a clue on a tree, then digging around the water well. Did you notice any suspicious holes around your water well?
Ball: No, not really. My suspicion with Ashley was that she found a clue, but I don’t recall anything around the well. Unless someone covered it up, they did a good job.

Holmes: Alright word association time. Let’s start with Ashley.
Ball: Confused.
Holmes: Ben?
Ball: Loyal.
Holmes: Devon?
Ball: Different.
Holmes: Katrina?
Ball: Ooo…a wild card.
Holmes: Chrissy?
Ball: Mom.
Holmes: JP?
Ball: Ugh…(Laughs) He’s just JP.
Holmes: Desi?
Ball: Shy.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Joe.
Ball: Rat.

Holmes: You got the crazy edit in that first episode. When your friends and family are watching it, were they surprised or were they like, “Yup, that’s Alan”?
Ball: I got a couple of friends that said, “That’s you.” I’ll let you know exactly what I’m thinking. I’m not biting my tongue. I got the crazy edit. I wish they’d shown more of why I snapped. I’ve got some fire in me.
Holmes: Yeah, that coconut learned that the hard way.
Ball: (Laughs) I can open a coconut now.
Holmes: That’s good. Life is growing, Alan. Life is learning.
Ball: (Laughs) Yes it is.

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

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ Episode 4 Recap: Secret Shopper

October 18, 2017

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings with Aubry Bracco, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Last Week: Cole’s big mouth made Jessica Howell, Lauren was in trouble, but her tribe decided to Skipper, and the Hustlers got rid of their Ginger.

39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Alright, let’s take a closer look at these tribes…

The Levu Tribe (AKA: The Heroes – Wearing Blue)
Alan, 31 – NFL Player
Ashley, 26 – Lifeguard
Ben, 34 – Marine
Chrissy, 46 – Financial Analyst
JP, 28 – Firefighter

The Soko Tribe (AKA: The Healers – Wearing Yellow)
Cole, 24 – Wilderness Survival Guide
Desiree, 27 – Physical Therapist
Jessica, 29 – Nurse Practitioner
Joe, 34 – Probation Officer*
Mike, 43 – Urologist
Roark, 27 – Social Worker

The Yawa Tribe (AKA: The Hustlers – Wearing Red)
Ali, 24 – Celebrity Assistant
Devon, 23 – Surf Instructor
Lauren, 35 – Fisherman
Ryan, 23 – Bellhop

*Has an immunity idol

Post-Tribal Shenanigans

No post-Tribal shenanigans again?! Why’d I even make subheads?!

Buff Droppin’ Time

JPro brings them in and gives them brand new stretchy, brightly colored fabric.

The Levu Tribe – Wearing Blue
Alan, 31 – NFL Player
Ashley, 26 – Lifeguard
Desiree, 27 – Physical Therapist
Devon, 23 – Surf Instructor
Joe, 34 – Probation Officer*

The Soko Tribe – Wearing Yellow
Ali, 24 – Celebrity Assistant
Chrissy, 46 – Financial Analyst
JP, 28 – Firefighter
Roark, 27 – Social Worker
Ryan, 23 – Bellhop

The Yawa Tribe – Wearing Red
Ben, 34 – Marine
Cole, 24 – Wilderness Survival Guide
Jessica, 29 – Nurse Practitioner
Lauren, 35 – Fisherman
Mike, 43 – Urologist

*Still has an immunity idol

My Initial Thoughts

  • Ugh…those are the tribe names? They sound like trendy NYC neighborhoods.
  • Cole and Jessica must’ve tripped over a horseshoe embedded in patch of four-leaf clovers.
  • Ooo…will Ryan get to let Chrissy know that he’s her secret admirer?
  • Do we know if the idol clues are different? Should Joe and Cole be digging around their new water wells?
  • Bad news for Ben and Lauren. The only tribe where duos don’t need a swing vote.
  • There’s no way Lauren wears a red buff on her head.

Reward Challenge Time: Three members from each tribe will be tethered together. They’ll need to untangle their ropes, go through an obstacle course, then use the ropes to lasso a sled of puzzle pieces. Then the other two members will do the puzzle. The first tribe to complete the puzzle wins peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Result: Yawa (er…the red tribe) wins reward, while Alan pulls a Patrick and doesn’t let anyone tag in while he was failing miserably at the lassoing portion.

At Yawa Beach

Jessica finds a secret advantage in her bag of chips. It will allow her to cancel someone’s ability to vote at the next Tribal. If she doesn’t go to Tribal, she’ll have to assign it to someone on the losing tribe.

All that in a bag of chips? (I’m not proud of that.)

Anywho, she shares this info with her Healer buddies. Cole, knowing that sharing secrets can result in kisses and alliances,  proceeds to share that information with EVERYBODY.

Seriously, he immediately tells Ben and Lauren. Lauren promptly takes that information and uses it to try to get Mike to break away from the lovebirds.

CUT TO: Mike telling Jessica and Cole that the others know about the advantage. Cole tries to downplay it for a bit, but he eventually admits that he shared it with Ben.

Jessica plays it cool, but she’s really hurt by Cole. It’s like that kiss on the cheek meant nothing.

At Soko Beach

Sure enough, Ryan lets Chrissy know about his idol maneuver. She takes this to mean that he cares about her. Really? You don’t think his true intention was…you know…trying to save the weakest member of that tribe. She wonders if she reminds him of his mother. Yikes, if my mother played “Survivor” the way she plays Facebook, she’d be the first one out.

At any rate, they’re besties now.

At Levu Beach

Ashley and Alan agree to put their past behind them and work together. Like a power couple?

Everybody immediately sizes up Devon as the swing vote. The Healers approach him first, with Joe telling him that the Heroes are already targeting him. This concerns Devon, but his Spidey senses are telling him not to trust Joe.

Immunity Challenge Time: The teams will move a platter of puzzle pieces across an obstacle course. From there, they’ll unlock a second box of puzzle pieces. The first two tribes to complete the weird, Lincoln log-esque puzzle will win immunity.

Fun Fact: Probst referenced six Foo Fighters songs during this challenge. I’m thinking “Monkey Wrench,” “My Poor Brain,” “The Colour and the Shape,” “In Times Like These,” “Everlong,” and “Long Road to Ruin.”

Another Fun Fact: The table maze they used is a wonderful way to smash a finger. Trust me.

Result: The Yawa tribe took first place, the Soko tribe claimed second.

Pre-Tribal Politicking

Ashley takes Devon aside and lets him know that the former Heroes want him on their side. Devon tells her about his previous conversation with Joe, and she assures him that our favorite probation officer was lying.

Desi witnesses this moment and tips Joe off.

So…Joe decides to blow everything up. He tells everyone that he’s going to target Ashley and then he and Alan get into it.

Maybe Alan and Joe on the same tribe is the spark this season has been waiting for?

They battle it out and Desi’s name gets thrown out in the process. As you’d imagine, she is not pleased with this revelation. When the dust has settled, Joe tells Desi that he’ll play the idol for her if it looks like the vote is headed in that direction.

Also, Devon receives a secret advantage before they head off to Tribal. He’s very excited by this. Oh Devon…it’s an advantage…but it’s not to your advantage…

Tribal Time

The names being tossed around are very vague due to Joe’s idol.

It doesn’t seem like Devon has committed to either side.

Advantage Time

Oh man, I was right…Devon doesn’t get to vote. He hilariously says, “That is not an advantage.”

Idol Time

Joe plays his idol for himself.

Voting Time: Alright, we’ve got two votes for Joe, one vote for Alan, and the fourth person voted out of “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers” is…Alan.

Verdict: What a better nickname for Joe; Faux-ny or Vlach-clone? One reads better but the other sounds better.

I thought Ashley’s number was up. Part of me thinks Alan dueling with Joe at camp was due to overconfidence that they had the numbers, but it’s also possible it was just Alan being Alan.

Like I said above, I hope the Alan vs. Joe spark was enough to get this season going, because it still feels like we’re in the middle of a light jog.

 

  • Ryan – You’ve really made the most of that super idol. Chrissy, Devon, and Ali are all great people to have on your side.
  • Chrissy – You needed friends on your new tribe and found them quickly. Well played.
  • Ben – I don’t know if you did this on purpose, but letting Lauren be the one to blow up Cole’s spot was smart. You get all of the benefit with none of the possible repercussions.
  • Ashley – Sometimes you can do everything right and still lose.
  • Desi – Solid job letting Joe know that his strategy put you in very real danger.
  • Devon – Did Desi and Joe know which way you were leaning? For your sake, I hope not.
  • Lauren – You had to have known you were in danger on a tribe of five. Way to shake things up.
  • Mike – I don’t know if you did this on purpose, but not accusing Cole was smart. The truth was going to come out, you didn’t need to point fingers.
  • Joe – I hate giving you a bad grade considering how you just saved yourself and Desi, but man did you dig yourself a hole for the rest of the game. Too big, buddy.
  • Jessica – How’s that saying go? “Fool me once, shame on you…”
  • Cole – You seem like a good guy. But, you’re bad at this.
  • Roark, JP, Ali, – I can’t give you full credit if you don’t show your work.

Power Rankings Results: Aubry Bracco had Alan in spot 6, I had him in spot 13. The current score is Team Bracco 34, Team Holmes 37.

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

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ Power Rankings – Round 3: Buff Droppin’ Edition

October 16, 2017

“Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers” (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings with Aubry Bracco, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers”

The Rules: Each week our two combatants 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 players will earn. For example, if Ryan is voted out this episode, Aubry will receive four points and Gordon will receive seven points. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: Aubry had Patrick in spot 14. Gordon had him in spot 13. The current score is Team Aubry 28, Team Gordon 24.

Quick Note: Rankings are not based on who the player thinks is most likely to win. The smart strategy is to rank the contestants based on who is the most likely to be voted out in the next episode.​

Aubry’s Score = 28

Any questions for Aubry? Drop her a line on Twitter: @aubrybracco

Gordon’s Score = 24

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

1. Devon: Woo, woo — heir to Cagayan number two coming through! Devon’s not being noticed as a strategic threat, but he’s the man behind the curtain — that’s the sweet spot one week in. Keep it up, Devon! 1. Ben: OK, my general rule for tribe swaps is this; anyone who is a challenge threat who is now in danger of being down in the numbers on their new tribes is in danger. I’m talking about your Devons, your Alans, and your JPs. Not your Bens.
2. Ben: Ben’s cruising along, and people like Ashley are approaching him to talk game. He’s a natural leader in the group, and people seem comfortable with him there — all signs point to a deep run. 2. Chrissy: I’m putting you in the same boat as Ben. You’ll be fine even if you don’t end up on the same tribe. Nobody really has a reason to target you.
3. Chrissy: Chrissy’s metaphorically found her camo garb of choice, and his name is Ben. Anyone with an ability to turn their game around from “too visible in a bad way” to undercover in mere days has the chops to go deep. 3. Ali: You had a tough call to make last week between Lauren and Patrick. In the end, I feel like Lauren is more goaty (not a word) and Patrick was more annoy-future-alliance-membersy (also not a word). Good call.
4. Ryan: From wearing Simone’s boots to having everyone in stitches at Tribal — Ryan has this tribe jester thing down to a “T.” Keep them laughing, and they won’t see when you morph from lovable jokester to Pennywise in a half second flat. 4. Desi: Cole clearly trusted you enough to bring you on board. That speaks well of your social game. Hopefully we’ll get to see more of it after the swap.
5. Roark: I’m loving what Roark’s doing. She might be lying low, but she’s proving to be reliable and mentally stable. On “Survivor,” sanity is a trait that, like cold water, you don’t realize how much it means to you until you’re trapped with a bunch of lunatics on a hot beach. 5. Roark: See Desi. But, so you don’t think I’m totally slacking, here are two reasons why ranking swaps totally sucks; I have to redo the colored text in the images, we have NOTHING to go on, and we actually have to learn the tribe names.
6. Alan: Alan’s beginning to be predictably chaotic, also a valuable commodity on “Survivor” when the players around you are good enough to spot its potential uses. This guy is locked in place for awhile until he stirs trouble with the wrong person or completely loses it trying to open a coconut. 6. Joe: I’m thinking the swap will delay your tribe’s plans of sending you home. In fact, if I’m Roark and we’re on a tribe alone, I probably let you know what I know and use it to form a bond.
7. Ali: Ali’s in the middle of the pack at the center of all the strategy. My only concern is with only four left on her tribe, there’s nowhere to hide. Sometimes, the guy in middle of the road gets run over! 7. Ryan: The two people who should’ve been concerned that you were running the show are now enjoying some cold Vonus at Ponderosa. Either way, you should hang back a bit after the swap.
8. Desi: Like Roark, Desi has her head down on her shoulders and isn’t making waves yet. That’s the place to to be. 8. Lauren: Nobody needs the swap more than Lauren. She would be going home if the Hustlers had lost a third immunity challenge. Hopefully for her, there will be bigger fish to fry on her new tribe.
9. Jessica: Jessica’s flying high with her love goggles, and she has a direct line to some key information on the whereabouts of the idol. The issue? Her informant can’t quite keep it zipped. Proceed with caution! 9. Mike: Mike is the perfect example of someone who kept his cool and let the game work itself out. He got himself in trouble early, but by hanging back, the whole Cole vs. Joe thing exploded. Something always happens, you just need time.
10. Cole: He’s a physical threat, attractive as all get-out, about to be in a showmance and giving away information too soon. Cole’s perfect on paper, but he may be too much of a Survivor to last much longer on it, especially if tribes are already gunning at physical threats like Patrick. 10. Devon: Maybe you’ll end up with your Hustlers buddies…maybe you’ll be on a tribe with bigger challenge threats…maybe how well you played the first three episodes won’t matter…
11. Mike: Dr. Mike isn’t making too much noise, which is a good thing. With the Young Bucks alliance brewing on the Healers tribe, though, he’s got to make sure he’s full stream, oops, I mean full STEAM ahead on making those imperative social connections. 11. Cole: You told three people about Joe’s idol. The odds are the word is going to get back to him. Now, he might not be able to do anything about it if you’re on different tribes. But, look out if you two draw similar buffs.
12. Lauren: When you’re on the outs, but you’re different than the other person on the bottom, you’ve got the opportunity to show people why you’re different. Now that she’s had the opportunity to show she’s a more viable option than Patrick, Lauren has an opportunity — now she just needs to find a way to work her way in. 12. Jessica: Word spreads quickly after a swap, and if someone wants to target you, you haven’t been subtle about your feelings for Cole.
13. JP: JP’s passivity could prove to help him if he’s not seen as a threat. Unfortunately, with a guy who’s built like the Culpepper challenge beast 2.0 it will be hard to downplay that athletic body that Ashley is drooling over. 13. Alan: I sound like a broken record, “Challenge threats are never safe after a swap!” Annnd…if JP and Ashley can get a foothold somewhere, they can point out how you freaked out at them.
14. Joe: Nothing’s going well for Joe with the Curse of Tony still in full-throttle. In addition to giving away information on the idol too soon, now he’s irritating people while they eat. If there’s one tip I would give any future player — NEVER mess with a Survivor’s food, or your butt will be out the door. 14. JP: You’re on the outs with the majority of your current tribe and your new tribe is not going to have trouble targeting you if they lose immunity. Better start catching those lobsters.
15. Ashley: Ashley is blinded by unrequited love, in Alan’s sight at all times and already has Ben calling her a threat all in the first week? That’s a recipe for disaster. 15. Ashley: If I’m Ben, Alan, or Chrissy and I need to throw the target on somebody’s back, I’m going to point out how Ashley is in a Power Couple with JP. Even if it isn’t true.


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

‘Survivor’ Castaway Patrick – ‘Maybe I Could’ve Toned Myself Down’

October 12, 2017

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings with Aubry Bracco, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Oh, Patrick…

Knocking-things-over, making-weird-jokes, screaming-your-head-off, getting-attacked-by-crabs, but-still-good-natured Patrick…

I had a chance to speak to the latest person to Hustle their way out of the game the morning after his elimination. During our chat I asked about his….big…personality, who’s really running the show, and his pre-game relationship with Ali…

Gordon Holmes: War Eagle, buddy.
Patrick Bolton: War Eagle!
Holmes: I’ve got a niece that’s a freshman at Auburn right now. My dad went there, my sister met my brother-in-law there…
Bolton: Really? That’s awesome. My entire family, my dad and my mom’s side of family went to Auburn.

Holmes: Let’s talk about that little TV show you were on.
Bolton: That little TV show…”Survivor!”
Holmes: You’ve heard of it. When you’re watching the show and they’re showing you causing all kinds of trouble, annoying Lauren, being loud, are your friends saying, “Wow, they edited you badly.” Or, are they saying, “Yep, that’s Patrick.”
Bolton: Unfortunately, everyone messaged me and said, “Yeah, I kinda predicted everything you did out there. This is just like Patrick.” And even in the past episode I said, “I don’t think I can make friends if I’m not myself.” Maybe I could’ve toned myself down and still made friends.

Holmes: Heading into Tribal, did you think you had a solid four-way alliance between you, Ryan, Devon, and Ali?
Bolton: I thought I had a super strong alliance. First landing on the beach we made a boys’ alliance. Hey, we’re not going to let the girls vote us out. I was tight with Ryan and Devon, more Ryan than Devon. I know Ali. There’s no chance she’s going to vote against me. I should’ve thought other than that. I thought I wasn’t going home. They didn’t show a conversation between Ryan and I where Ryan spilled out to me, “Hey, there are no worries, don’t look for the idol anymore.” He really spelled out for me a comfort zone, so I relaxed. I had no idea I was leaving. That’s why you can see how mad I was.

Holmes: You mentioned your pre-game relationship with Ali. Could you clear up exactly what that entailed?
Bolton: We were neighbors in college. She lived three or four houses down from me. We’d see each other occasionally. We weren’t best buds. But we had times where we hung out. Showing up for “Survivor,” a show that thousands of people sign up for? And somehow we both get cast for the same season and the same tribe?! And I haven’t said anything to anyone about Ali. And then she tells me, “Oh, I was telling people I knew you for precautionary reasons as soon as I saw your face.”
Holmes: Whenever I meet somebody, I say, “Hey, if we’re ever on ‘Survivor,’ let’s work together.”
Bolton: (Laughs) I definitely regret not working with Ali. I should have made it a point to make connections with her. I really blew it, honestly. As you’ve seen, she came up to me and said, “You need to calm down, I’ve heard your name thrown around.” But, if I thought if my name was on the chopping block, she’d give me that last warning.
Holmes: Well, since I have you here, if we’re ever on “Survivor,” let’s work together.
Bolton: Me and you! We’re going to the end.
Holmes: That Auburn alliance.

Holmes: Were you worried that people would be trying on your clothes the day after you were eliminated?
Bolton: I made sure to not leave my clothes behind. I packed up my shoes, my socks… I was not going to be embarrassed watching them try on my stuff. It was a free-for-all! You saw me try on her jacket. It didn’t look too good.
Holmes: I thought you pulled it off.
Bolton: (Laughs)

Holmes: Simone thought that Ryan had charmed the entire tribe and was running the show.
Bolton: He was. Ryan has played, while I was there, a great game. Thinking back, Ryan offered us nothing except some charm and jokes. He told jokes all the time. I thought he was hilarious. Going back, I’m wondering what did Ryan offer this tribe? He didn’t bring in firewood, he can’t crack open a coconut. I just thought I’d rather be hanging out with Ryan. Ryan definitely was doing a good job there.

Holmes: It seemed like Lauren was really annoyed with you. Put me in your head; were you trying to win her over? Were you having fun at her expense?
Bolton: I wasn’t trying to have fun at her expense or win her over. I was trying to work with Lauren at one point. And I realized I was getting on her nerves. I tried to not be overbearing, but I didn’t succeed. The target was on her back, so she had to throw it on my back. That’s good for her, congratulations. And she should’ve gone home, not me. I should’ve worked with Lauren and Ryan could have gone home. Every small thing you change, changes the entire outcome. I closed that door. I thought of her as a buffer, if she’s around, it won’t be me.

Holmes: Word association time, let’s start with Ali.
Bolton: Charming, nice, backstabbing.
Holmes: Ryan?
Bolton: Hilarious, small, like a wet rat.
Holmes: Devon?
Bolton: Quiet, Buddha.
Holmes: Simone?
Bolton: Crazy, loud…Simone. Simone is a good word to describe Simone.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Lauren.
Bolton: Closed-minded. It’s got to be her way or the highway.
Holmes: And prejudiced against redheads.
Bolton: Maybe in kindergarten a redhead took her lunch money every day and she still hasn’t let go.

Holmes: Again, your edit showed you being loud and clumsy, was there anything that happened out there that you wish they had shown?
Bolton: There was one time where I was snorkeling and I see this shark below me. And I had my spear, but I missed him. It was like a three-foot shark and I was going after it. That would’ve been really cool.

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

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ Episode 3 Recap: Cole’s Squad Goals

October 11, 2017

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings with Aubry Bracco, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Last Week: Joe discovered an idol and was pumped, Ben found a potential new alliance and jumped, and Simone spent time in the water and was voted out.

39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Alright, let’s take a closer look at these tribes…

The Levu Tribe (AKA: The Heroes – Wearing Blue)
Alan, 31 – NFL Player
Ashley, 26 – Lifeguard
Ben, 34 – Marine
Chrissy, 46 – Financial Analyst
JP, 28 – Firefighter

The Soko Tribe (AKA: The Healers – Wearing Yellow)
Cole, 24 – Wilderness Survival Guide
Desiree, 27 – Physical Therapist
Jessica, 29 – Nurse Practitioner
Joe, 34 – Probation Officer*
Mike, 43 – Urologist
Roark, 27 – Social Worker

The Yawa Tribe (AKA: The Hustlers – Wearing Red)
Ali, 24 – Celebrity Assistant
Devon, 23 – Surf Instructor
Lauren, 35 – Fisherman
Patrick, 24 – Small Business Owner
Ryan, 23 – Bellhop

*Has an immunity idol

Post-Tribal Shenanigans

Hmm…no post-Tribal shenanigans at all. I guess it was just a smooth unanimous vote.

At Hustlers Beach

Ryan and Patrick are psyched that Simone left her clothing behind. They even put on an odd little fashion show. When they’re done sashaying, they both agree that they’d rather keep Ali over Lauren.

Lauren knows she’s on the outs and works to turn Ali and Devon against Patrick.

Ali is worried because Patrick is not subtle about his idol hunts and his screaming outbursts could come back to haunt her.

CUT TO: Patrick asking everyone if they’re stupid.

Ali tells him to cool it, but he’s worried that if he can’t be himself, he can’t make friends. Maybe go…like…35% Patrick.

At Heroes Beach

Chrissy and Ben appreciate that they’re in a prime position. Ben even says they’re driving the train…which seems easier than driving a car or something. A train just speeds up and slows down, right? I mean, no offense meant to the train drivers that read this.

Meanwhile, Alan is really frustrated with his inability to open coconuts. Oh, maybe the coconuts are in a power couple with the machete!

Pro-Tip for Future “Survivor” Players: When you go on the show, you’re going to have to know how to start fires, open coconuts, and whatnot. It’s actually really easy. You see, there’s this site called YouTube…

Also, Ashley admits that she’s falling for JP a little bit. Between them, Cole and Jessica, and Ryan and Devon, this season might become an unofficial “Blood vs. Water.”

At Healers Beach

Joe is very worried that Cole knows about his idol and is close to Jessica. He even says that Cole has “Love Bird Disease.” Love Bird Disease? That sounds like a case for…

(Yes, I’ve used that before. But it’s good to recycle.)

Sure enough, Jessica and Cole are getting really close. Cole even admits to Jessica that Joe has the idol. Jessica is so moved by him trusting her that she gives him a smooch on the cheek, which is a big deal because Jessica is a virgin.

The duo decides that blindsiding Joe might be a good idea. However, Cole takes this plan to Roark and Desi without checking with Jessica first.

Quick Aside: I’m with Jessica on this one. Cole should take her advice and not rush to give up things you can’t get back.

In other news, Desi is really annoyed with how Joe will chuck food into the woods if he doesn’t like how it is prepared. This show always comes down to food, always.

Immunity Challenge Time: The teams will run through an obstacle course. At one point, they’ll have to use sandbags to knock blocks off a beam. The first two tribes to stack all of their blocks will win immunity. The first tribe will win chickens. The second tribe will receive some eggs.

Sitting Out: Mike

Challenge Results: The Heroes took first place, while the Healers finished second. It looked like the Healers would claim first, but they forgot one of their blocks. Another important thing to call out is Patrick’s failure to deliver during the sandbag throwing portion. What’s worse is Lauren, who has 25 years of softball experience, begged to take his place and he wouldn’t let her.

Post Challenge Politicking

I don’t think anyone is surprised that it’s looking like a Patrick vs. Lauren showdown.

Patrick feels bad about the loss, but he says if you look at Lauren, he doesn’t think that her subbing in would have changed much. That’s why we talk to people, dude.

Patrick then tells us that he wants to make sure that Lauren feel good for her remaining time in the game. So…he goes to talk to her? Has he been paying attention to what Lauren likes?

She immediately figures out who he’s voting for by pointing out that redheads aren’t good liars. Is that a thing? I’m way behind on my stereotypes.

It all comes down to the same thing as last week; they think Patrick is a hot head who’s good at challenges and the other person is loyal.

Tribal Time

Lauren called out Patrick for not being a team player in the challenge and spending his time idol hunting. She also continued her redhead bashing. Who hurt you, Lauren?

In his defense, Patrick thinks he’ll be useful later in the game because he’s good at making friends. Ali points out that he hasn’t been successful with Lauren.

Also, Ryan claims that he’s never been in a relationship. Don’t worry, buddy. Former “Survivor” guys tend to get hot “Survivor” girlfriends when it’s all over.

Voting: We’ve got one vote for Patrick, one vote for Lauren, one vote for Patrick, and the third person voted out of “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers” is…Patrick

Note: As Patrick left he said, “You guys are awful.”

Verdict: Wow…I thought Lauren was a goner. It just seemed like Patrick had strong ties to both Ali and the other guys.

This season started slow, but I’m liking a lot of these players. I kinda wish we didn’t have a swap coming up, cause I’d love to see the Healers try to continue their run.

 

  • Ali – Keeping Lauren over Patrick was probably a good call. If anything, you might’ve bought Lauren’s loyalty for the rest of the game.
  • Chrissy and Ben – You two are ruling the roost. And, you won’t be obvious targets after the swap.
  • Devon – You’re doing great. But, I’m worried because challenge threats on tribes with lower numbers are always in trouble after a swap.
  • Ryan – I’m starting to see what Simone was saying about you being too likable. Might want to tone it down a bit.
  • Desi and Roark – Much like Ben and Chrissy, sometimes you just have to stay drama-free and let the others make mistakes.
  • Lauren – You did exactly what you needed to do to stay alive. But, you need to put yourself out there more, or you’re going to be someone’s goat.
  • Jessica – You’ve got yourself a meat shield who trusts you enough to share big info. Now you have to rein him in a bit.
  • Ashley – Saving JP is way less important than selling yourself. By working to keep him around, you’re lending weight to the Power Couple debate.
  • Cole – Using your idol info to cement your alliance with Jessica? Good. Using your idol info to target someone before you know you’re going to Tribal? Bad.
  • Joe – The food thing? Really? “Survivor” 101, buddy.
  • JP, Mike, Alan – I can’t give you full credit if you don’t show your work.

Power Rankings Results: Aubry Bracco had Patrick in spot 14, I had him in spot 13. The current score is Team Bracco 28, Team Holmes 24.

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

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ Power Rankings – Round 2: Sexual Healing Edition

October 9, 2017

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings with Aubry Bracco, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers”

The Rules: Each week our two combatants 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 players will earn. For example, if Ryan is voted out this episode, Aubry will receive five points and Gordon will receive three points. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: Aubry had Simone in spot 14. Gordon had her in spot 11. The current score is Team Aubry 14, Team Gordon 11.

Quick Note: Rankings are not based on who the player thinks is most likely to win. The smart strategy is to rank the contestants based on who is the most likely to be voted out in the next episode.​

Aubry Says: The game is on, folks, and the beaches ripe with power couples. Here’s where our fair castaways stand after Week 2…

Aubry’s Score = 14

Any questions for Aubry? Drop her a line on Twitter: @aubrybracco

Gordon’s Score = 11

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

1. Ali: Ali is the total “Survivor” package. She: A) understands and sees the value of people on the bottom? Check. B) is aware of emotional vampires who require attention and will sap her energy in The Game down the line? Check. C) gives a little bit of side-eye when warranted? Checkmate. 1. Ben: Thankfully, things calmed down a bit on Hero beach. And after Chrissy crunched the numbers, and had everyone complete the 250-question personality test, she decided that Ben is her perfect eHarmony partner.
2. Ben: He’s smart, savvy and a king of chaos management. Plus, he’s got the even keel charm of Tom Westman blended with the charm of Tocantins’ JT. This guy isn’t going anywhere any time soon. 2. Devon: I only smile when I’m talking strategy with you…or thinking about killer waves…or literally doing anything. It’s fine though, everybody likes Devon and he’s the strongest member of his tribe. He ain’t goin’ nowhere.
3. Devon: Devon is a Brains in Woo clothing. There’s more to this surfer dude than meets the eye. This guy could ride this wave to the end. 3. Ryan: A little bad news for Ryan as Simone was well aware that he was running the show. That shouldn’t cause any problems in the near future, but he should keep an eye on that.
4. Chrissy: She’s making a list, she’s checking it twice — Chrissy’s got her head on straight and is wisely taking stock of her observations. This kind of decision-making ability will only help down the line. 4. Ali: Well, the Gordon-picked-me-to-win curse hasn’t taken you out yet! And, you proved you’re a cool, calming operator. Question is; is Patrick too abrasive to keep around?
5. Ryan: Why is everyone so surprised when nerds are likable and have social game? Ryan, like many before him, is proving that some of “Survivor’s” brainiest brainiacs have the ability to use their less-than-threatening image as a weapon. 5. Chrissy: Scanning…scanning…scanning… Truthfully, I loved Chrissy’s breakdown of her Hero tribemates. And being Ben’s right hand seems like a great place to be.
6. Cole: We know his looks, smile and personality have Jessica swooning, but now the Second Coming Of Tony is giving him an idol clue too? Cole’s got that special “Survivor” magnetism that just draws people into his orbit. 6. Desiree: Miss Virginia, huh? That’s pretty cool. I’d love to watch you play “Survivor” sometime.
7. Jessica: She’s getting into a power couple which could spell danger. The good news? Jessica has the kind of upbeat personality that will neutralize that, and nobody seems to care. If anything, she and Cole have some hangers on. 7. Roark: Social worker, huh? That’s pretty cool. I’d love to watch you play “Survivor” sometime.
8. Mike: Mike already has his archenemy Joe admitting he’s likable. This guy will be safe if the Healers go to Tribal, and he has the chops to integrate in the event of a swap. 8. Alan: You needed a nice, calm episode after the premiere’s flaming dumpster fire that crashed into a trainwreck. And, you got it. Now, how do you build a new foundation?
9. Desi: Desi is opening up to people about her Miss Virginia past, which is good! She’s making personal connections. I’m positive we just haven’t seen what Desi has brewing yet. 9. Ashley: From “core four” to “potential power couple without benefits” is not what you want from your first few of days in the game. I think you’re smart enough to steer out of it though, even if that means cutting JP loose.
10. Roark: Roark is quiet, but she got some blur in for a sassy mouth at the challenge. What that tells me? She’s comfortable enough on her tribe to run her mouth a little bit but, smartly, lying low. 10. Joe: Did you really think the idol was buried underneath a moving item? It’s OK, we all make mistakes. Now, you have to lock Cole down. I think cutting him loose would be way too mysterious at this point.
11. Alan: Alan is a little more low-key. However, he still believes spreading suspicion is the best way to keep out of trouble. If he can spread a little chaos and paranoia without letting it get to his head, he may have a point. If Alan makes it past next week, his sins of the first 3 days may be absolved. 11. Cole: “Gee, Joe…I have no idea what that water well-shaped icon is supposed to represent. See ya later.” Rookie mistake. Hope it doesn’t cost you.
12. Ashley: Chrissy already sees Ashley as a threat, and she’s already been doomed with the title of one half of a power couple that’s been in the middle of some shenanigans. Not the greatest place to be in the “Survivor” universe. 12. JP: Are you really only talking to Ashley? Even after Alan called you two out as a couple? Poor form.
13. JP: JP doesn’t like drama and pulls lobster dinners out of the ocean. That’s great and all, but he needs to spend these early days connecting with his tribe too. The early feedback from others on JP confirms he isn’t making those lynchpin relationships. Not. Good. 13. Patrick: Everyday can’t be “The Patrick Show starring Patrick and featuring the Patrick Dancers.” Hopefully Tribal was a wakeup call for you to tone it down.
14. Patrick: Oh, Patrick, you wild banshee you! He’s got so much energy, I’m afraid he’ll start generating heat and burst into the flames. At least the tribe won’t need to trouble themselves with the flint anymore. 14. Mike: I’m not convinced you’re safe. It’s very possible that this Joe/Cole dust up is much ado about nothing. But, if you’re see signs of it, you need to stoke that fire.
15. Lauren: Lauren’s steadiness makes her an attractive ally for someone willing to put in the work. That said, she needs to be building relationships and quickly. That doesn’t seem to be her forte. 15. Lauren: I think your tribe likes you and wants to keep you around, but if they lose again they’re going to want to keep Patrick’s strength. Unless he starts with Pauly Shore impressions. Then he’s gone, buuuuuuddy.
16. Joe: Joe has an idol, which is a seemingly good thing, but there’s a whole lot here to worry about. He’s running around in the woods — never a good thing. Worse, he says he likes Dr. Mike despite wanting him out. Mike and Joe are the power couple we actually need. 16. Jessica: You don’t want to be half of a flirting power couple if Joe is worried about Cole knowing about his idol. If Joe sends a message, it’s going to be through you.


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


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