Posts Tagged ‘jeff probst’

“Survivor 44” Episode 3 Recap – Keys to Deception

March 15, 2023
“Survivor 44” (CBS)

Welcome to, my personal blog where I’ll be posting “Survivor” episode recaps all season long. For exit interviews with all of the eliminated players and the RETURN of the “Survivor” Power Rankings with Owen Knight, be sure to check out my YouTube channel!

Last Week: Danny earned an idol and a fake, Carolyn found more than a snake, and Helen lost when her game was at stake.

39 26 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Let’s take a look at the tribes as they currently stand…

The Ratu Tribe (wearing orange)

  • Brandon, 30 – Security Specialist
  • Jaime, 35 – Yogi
  • Lauren, 31 – Elementary School Teacher
  • Kane, 25 – Law Student
  • Matthew, 43 – Barbershop Owner

The Soka Tribe (wearing green)

  • Claire, 25 – Tech Investor
  • Danny 32 – Firefighter
  • Frannie, 23 – Research Coordinator
  • Heidi, 29 – Engineering Manager
  • Josh, 34 – Surgical Podiatrist
  • Matt, 27 – Security Software Engineer

The Tika Tribe (wearing purple)

  • Carolyn, 35 – Drug Counselor
  • Carson, 20 – NASA Engineering Student
  • Sarah, 27 – Management Consultant
  • Yam Yam, 36 – Salon Owner

Post-Tribal Wrap Up

Carson is downright giddy to get his first blindside under his belt, while Sarah is doing her best to distance herself from Helen and pretend that she’s not upset at all. Yam Yam tries to her assure her that this was a “no shots fired” vote, but…c’mon. Outside of a unanimous vote, there’s no such thing.

Sarah and Carson go for a little stroll where he makes the case for them working together again. But, she makes the point that his word carries a little less weight these days…unlike his body.

At Soka Beach

Team Mannie is planning a road trip while everyone else is planning on sending them on the pre-jury trip.

Meanwhile, Danny takes the powerless coin, wraps it in his idol instructions, and places it back in the birdcage. Then he hides the key. Yup, I’m sure this is the exact scenario production was hoping would happen.

Sure enough, Matt finds the key. Aww…hasn’t he been through enough?

He retrieves his prize and buys into it hook, line, and sinker.

Then, because this scenario can actually get funnier; Danny calls out Matt for finding something, which he denies. However, he eventually fesses up to it.

But, this complicates thing. Now Josh is more likely to want to work with Matt and Frannie.

At Ratu Beach

The tribe starts off the morning with Kane singing a rendition of “O’ Canada.” From there, he takes the immunity idol sword and goes all LARPer on us. OK, we see you, Celebrimbor.

Later, Brandon walks us through his laundry list of impressive skills including…magic tricks?! Well, he certainly made that idol disappear quickly.

Speaking of that idol, Jaime and Matthew find the new key while hunting for worms. Jaime retrieves the idol and is super psyched. 

Buuut…she’s holding the fake idol because Matthew found the real idol earlier and lured her into doing the ol’ switcheroo.

At Tika Beach

Carolyn calls out Yam Yam for his snoring, which concerns him because he doesn’t want to get voted out over it. She assures him that she’d never vote him out over snoring. Which is good, because my wife would have voted me out years ago.

Sarah is very worried about the next challenge because her little tribe has very specific skills. Meanwhile, Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer is scrambling to create a snoring competition. 

Immunity Challenge Time: Players will dive into the ocean and swim to a large cube. They’ll roll the cube toward the beach while retrieving keys. Once they arrive at the beach they’ll dig under a log and unlock a puzzle platform. The first two tribes to complete a cube puzzle will win immunity. The first tribe gets a large “Survivor” tool kit and fruit. Second tribe gets less tools and less fruit. The losing tribe get a date with Jeff.

Sitting Out: Lauren, Claire, and Heidi. This is Claire’s third sit-out. Isn’t there a rule against that?

Result: Ratu wins the challenge while Tika claims second place. As Jeff is giving Kane the sword, he asks Jeff to knight him. Jeff obliges and somewhere Coach is super jealous.

Pre-Tribal Politicking 

Danny is throwing around Claire’s name early on with Matt being a decoy. Frannie is against this because she wants to work with Claire. She pitches getting rid of Josh because she thinks he’s “cagey.”

Word gets back to Claire that she’s the actual target, so it looks like we have voteless Matt, Frannie, and Claire against Josh and Danny with Heidi as the swing vote.

Tribal Time

Claire does a fantastic job arguing that tribe strength isn’t always challenge based. Saying that she sat out for the tribe. With Frannie saying they need to focus on the whole game and not just the challenges.

Claire asks Heidi if she’s still in the place they were before Tribal. Heidi responds by saying, “I think so.” I tell ya, as a former copywriter that non-committal response would drive me nuts.

Voting Time: No votes are shown.

JPro tallies and returns. He asks if anyone wants to play an idol or an advantage and…Claire plays her shot in the dark. Claire is…not safe.

Alright, we’ve got two votes for Claire and the fourth person eliminated from “Survivor 44” is…Claire.

Hey! It was unanimous!

Verdict: I think the keys and the cage and the fake idols are all interesting, but I don’t need them taking up 90% of my screen time.

Also, it’s a little weird that these fake idols are provided by production. They should look like a face carved into a stick.

Power Rankings Result: We did much better this week as I had Claire in spot eight while Owen had her in spot fourteen. So, the current score is Team Holmes 11, Team Knight 16. Check out my YouTube channel for the full episodes!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is a.jpgMatthew – He had a plan, he set it in motion, and it worked out perfectly. He now has the real idol and control of the person who has the fake idol. Well done.
Danny – Danny’s in the same boat as Matthew. However, it’s very interesting that he knows where the fake idol is, but he can’t tell anyone how he knows it’s a fake.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is a-.jpgFrannie – There is no doubt that Frannie is the brains of the Mannie Alliance. Claire went home despite her best efforts. But she was able to avoid voting for someone who was sticking around.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is b-1.jpgSarah – Yeah, the Tika tribe isn’t going to blow anyone away challenge-wise. But, that’s OK. I think Sarah has some room to maneuver and Carson probably wants to get back in her good graces.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is b.jpg
Heidi – Your deception needs some work. You said so many non-committal things to Claire, that there’s no wonder why she rolled her die.
Jaime – Matthew got the best of you, but there’s no reason for him to blindside you. You seem like a good person to keep around.
Kane – It seems like the early Tribal shenanigans may have blown over.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is c.jpgJosh – Wow, Josh is rubbing a lot of people the wrong way on his tribe. We would have known that if most of the earlier episodes weren’t spent on keys.
Matt – It’s really rough watching Matthew play you like a fiddle.
Carson – Sarah said it best; his word doesn’t hold as much weight. I think it’s a just matter of time until he’s viewed as a mega threat.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is incomplete.jpgLauren, Brandon, Yam Yam, and Carolyn – I can’t grade you correctly if I don’t see your work.

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

Former WWE Champion, Star of “School of Rock” Join the Cast of “Survivor: David vs. Goliath”

September 5, 2018

“Survivor: David vs. Goliath” (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: 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, exit interviews, and full episode recaps.  So, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

The cast for the 37th season of the legendary reality show “Survivor” was revealed by CBS on Wednesday afternoon. This collection of 20 all-new players will be divided into two teams; the Davids (who have had to overcome some form of adversity) and the Goliaths (who have capitalized on the advantages they were given in life).

Name: Christian Hubicki

Age: 32

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Current Residence: Tallahassee, FL

Occupation: Robotics Scientist

Name: Nick Wilson

Age: 27

Hometown: Williamsburg, KY

Current Residence: London, KY

Occupation: Public Defender

Name: Davie Rickenbacker

Age: 30

Hometown: Orangeburg, SC

Current Residence: Atlanta, GA

Occupation: Social Media Manager

Name: Jessica Peet

Age: 19

Hometown: Lakeland, FL

Current Residence: Lakeland, FL

Occupation: Waitress

Name: Gabby Pascuzzi

Age: 25

Hometown: St. Augustine, FL

Current Residence: Denver, CO

Occupation: Technical Writer

Name: Lyrsa Torres

Age: 36

Hometown: Puerto Rico

Current Residence: Boston, MA

Occupation: Airline Agent

Name: Bi Nguyen

Age: 28

Hometown: Houston, TX

Current Residence: Houston, TX

Occupation: MMA Fighter

Name: Carl Boudreaux

Age: 41

Hometown: Beaumont, TX

Current Residence: Houston, TX

Occupation: Truck Driver

Name: Elizabeth Olsen

Age: 31

Hometown: Dallas, Ft. Worth, TX

Current Residence: Longview, TX

Occupation: Kitchen Staff

Name: Pat Cusack

Age: 40

Hometown: Cohoes, NY

Current Residence: Watervliet, NY

Occupation: Maintenance Manager

Name: John Hennigan

Age: 38

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Current Residence: Los Angeles, CA

Occupation: Pro Wrestler (Former WWE Intercontinental Champion)

Previous Reality TV Experience: Won the third season of WWE’s “Tough Enough”

Name: Natalia Azoqa

Age: 25

Hometown: Irvine, CA

Current Residence: Irvine, CA

Occupation: Industrial Engineer

Name: Alec Merlino

Age: 24

Hometown: San Clemente, CA

Current Residence: San Clemente, CA

Occupation: Bartender

Name: Angelina Keeley

Age: 28

Hometown: Sparks, NV

Current Residence: San Clemente, CA

Occupation: Financial Consultant

Name: Jeremy Crawford

Age: 40

Hometown: Clover, SC

Current Residence: New York

Occupation: Attorney

Name: Kara Kay

Age: 30

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Current Residence: San Diego, CA

Occupation: Realtor

Name: Dan Rengering

Age: 27

Hometown: Lake Butler, FL

Current Residence: Gainesville, FL

Occupation: S.W.A.T. Officer

Name: Alison Raybould

Age: 28

Hometown: Leawood, KS

Current Residence: Chapel Hill, NC

Occupation: Physician

Name: Mike White

Age: 47

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Current Residence: Los Angeles, CA

Occupation: Filmmaker/Actor (“School of Rock”)

Previous Reality TV Experience: Twice competed on “The Amazing Race”

Name: Natalie Cole

Age: 56

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Current Residence: Los Angeles, CA

Occupation: Publishing CEO

Don’t miss the 90-minute season premiere of “Survivor: David vs. Goliath,” Wednesday September 26, 2018 at 8 p.m. ET.

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

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ Episode 2 Recap: The Dawn of the Ali-Ance?

October 4, 2017

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

QUICK NOTE: 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: Ryan made a firm base, Alan made a creepy face, and what’s the medal for 18th place?

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
Simone, 25 – Diversity Advocate

Post-Tribal Shenanigans

We learn that Chrissy is allowed to hang onto her idol even though it is powerless. Like an infant at an “Entourage” trivia night.

Yikes, that is a terrible analogy.

Ben thinks the tribe is like old paint because it’s cracked and fractured. Also, Ben is better at analogies than I am.

Ben also lets us know that the core four is dead. Yeah, like a fish vacationing on the sun.


At Hustlers Beach…

Ryan and Devon are very comfortable in their adorable alliance. However, Devon does point out to Ryan that he doesn’t smile when he talks strategy with other people. Probably not a great idea to reveal your tell on “Survivor,” buddy.

Simone seems to be on the outs with her entire tribe. Ryan even calls her “weird.”

CUT TO: Simone bragging because she was able to pee in the ocean. She says it made her feel like a superhero.

10-Second Brainstorm for Simone’s Superhero Name: The Urine-ator…The Tinkler…Sim(Number)One…

She also says she hates the outside. C’mon, that’s like Probst hating blue button-down shirts.

(That’s better.)

Finally, Simone shows her worth to the tribe by being able to gut a fish. Go Simone!

Ali decides she wants to bring Simone onto her side because of Simone’s outcast status.

In other news, Patrick is really rubbing people the wrong way. We’re treated to an edit of Patrick screaming at crabs, doing weird accents, and breaking wind. Basically he’s driving Lauren crazy.

At Healers Beach…

Jessica and Cole continue to flirt, but Cole thinks Jessica isn’t interested because she sees him as a little kid. This makes me wonder if Cole has ever seen a little kid.

Joe and Mike are getting along, but Mike is still Joe’s biggest target. Joe finds himself in a bind because he wants to hunt for the idol, but he’s already told the tribe that Mike has it.

This doesn’t completely deter Joe. In fact, he finds the first idol clue stamped on a tree. He can’t quite figure out where it is, so he gets Cole to help him. Cole figures out that it’s by the water well. They dig around the well and Joe finds the idol.

Of course, Joe is now nervous that Cole knows his secret.

I found this whole exchange to be really interesting. My first instinct would have been to destroy the clue after I found it. Maybe you could scratch it off of the tree? But, the way Joe ended up going about it, he now shares a secret with someone who seems like he’ll be loyal.

Actually, I wonder if there was an opportunity for Cole to keep his well revelation quiet and find the idol for himself later. But, it was in the heat of the moment, so I don’t blame him for not thinking of it.

At Heroes Beach…

Chrissy breaks down the entire tribe “Terminator” style. It was truly inspiring. She thinks JP isn’t very bright, Ashley is a player, Alan is a risky person to partner with, and Ben is the best alliance for her.

Ben and Chrissy agree to work together and keep their options open for Ashley or Alan. They decide against working with JP because he doesn’t talk to anyone. Huh…

Immunity Challenge Time: Three players from each tribe will dive into the water and retrieve bags of puzzle pieces. Once they’ve all been collected, the remaining teammates will use the pieces to complete a signpost puzzle. The first tribe to finish will win immunity and a giant fishing kit, the second tribe gets immunity and a more modest fishing kit.

Sitting Out: Joe and Lauren

Challenge Result: Despite falling behind early, the Healers were able to claim first place. The Heroes took second. Ali and Simone were the losing puzzle team.

Post Challenge Politicking

It looks like it’s going to come down to Simone vs. Patrick.

Simone tries to “shape the narrative” by pointing out that Patrick and Lauren are always butting heads.

Patrick does his own narrative shaping by claiming that Simone doesn’t do much for the tribe.

Ali, Ryan, and Devon seem to be the ones making the call. They feel like Pat is unpredictable, but good at challenges and Simone is a challenge liability, but she’ll be loyal.

And as for Ali, Ryan, and Devon working together…


Tribal Time

Not much to report on here, other than everybody acting shocked when Patrick said he didn’t trust everyone in the tribe. That was odd to me because who trusts everyone on their tribe?

Also, Lauren said she hopes they don’t see Probst again anytime soon. That’s hurtful. And, he’s gonna be at the challenges, this isn’t Samoa.

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

Verdict: This seems like a solid decision from the Healers. When you break down the pros and cons of Patrick vs. Simone, you have someone who’s wild, but good in challenges against someone who has the potential to be strategically dangerous and is bad at challenges.

Actually, compared to last week, I think we’re going to have a lot more high grades…

  • Ali and Ryan – They’ve got a solid majority, they’ve got some potential fodder in Patrick, and they’ve got that hustle.
  • Chrissy – From potentially on the bottom to a comfortable alliance with Ben in one day? Well done.
  • Ben – Sometimes you can just sit back and everyone comes to you.
  • Devon – Sooper minor nitpick…but did your smiling comment tip Ryan off to when you’re lying?
  • Joe – I like that you’re forward-thinking with your concern for Cole, but targeting him now is going to be a mess.
  • Ashley – People are always afraid of power couples. You did the best job of becoming the power couple partner they’re most likely to keep around.
  • Cole – Someone like Joe is going to want to do all of the thinking. Let him. Otherwise he’ll turn on you quickly.
  • Patrick – “Survivor” 101…don’t be annoying early in the game. People are looking for any reason to target someone. Don’t give them a reason.
  • JP – If people think you’re in a power couple, open lines of communication with everyone, not just with your power couple partner. All the lobsters in the world can’t protect you if you’re keeping to yourself. Well, giant lobsters could protect you.
  • Lauren, Desiree, Roark, Jessica, Mike, and Alan – I can’t give you full credit if you don’t show your work.

Power Rankings Results: Aubry Bracco had Simone in spot 14, I had her in spot 11. The current score is Team Bracco 14, Team Holmes 11.

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

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ Power Rankings – Round 1: Super Idle Edition

October 2, 2017

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

QUICK NOTE: 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 two 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.

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.​

Before we head into this week’s fun, Aubry has a special message for this season’s cast…

Aubry Bracco: Congrats, “Survivor” 35 cast! Your journey has begun. My best advice? Don’t listen to the armchair quarterbacks (I guess that includes me). Remember what the experience meant to you and enjoy the ride for all its ups and downs.

Aubry’s Score = 0

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

Gordon’s Score = 0

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

1. Ben: I love everything about the way this guy is playing. He’s in the dominant four, but he’s not ruling out working with Chrissy. If there’s a surprise swap, this guy, who’s a proclaimed “Teddy and Grizzly Bear,” seems like he’ll be able to use both his fire and awareness of emotion to find the space in the cracks. 1. Ben: Wow…what a mess. Probst tosses your tribe six buffs, so you know you’ve got to get a majority quickly. You make it happen and then Alan…Alans. Pulls a total Alan. But, you played it the best you could and are now the person in the tribe will all of the options.
2. Ryan: This guy has already found (1.) A super idol (2.) A BFF to downplay his nerd archetype (Devon) (3.) a way to get a jump on making allies on the other tribe (Chrissy by way of gifting her the idol). Ryan’s creating a solid foundation quickly AND quietly. 2. Devon: You’re the most athletically gifted member of your tribe and you’re partnered with the dude who doesn’t have mystery crabs in his pants. Well played.
3. Devon: He’s mild-mannered in a very Woo-like way. I’d love to have him around camp — it seems like his presence would have an anti-anxiety effect on any tribe of deranged lunatics. 3. Ryan: I can’t think of a better way to play the super idol. You got the benefit of using it to make a partnership with a meat shield, it has the potential to help you after the merge, and it didn’t put any heat on you.
4. Ali: I love Ali’s mentality — she’s got the Julia Sokolowski blend of smarts and super social skills. I see her being a chess master or a sorority president depending on the day. Time will tell, but from the little I’ve seen, this girl seems to have a deep toolkit of life experience to pull from even though she’s a youngster. 4. Cole: Ugh…why did I crop these photos so high? A waste of perfectly good abs.
5. Desiree: She’s working hard to be even keeled. It’s always good to see someone who has that control early in the game. Desi seemingly has a spot with the younger members of her tribe but doesn’t seem like she’ll easily get tied up in promises she can’t keep off the bat. 5. Ali: Alright, Ali…you’re my winner pick. That means there’s no possible way you’re going to walk away with the million-dollar check. But, maybe…just maybe your considerable tools can overcome the classic Holmes curse.
6. Roark: Like Desi, Roark is in a good spot — between a budding showmance and the craziness brewing between Joe and Mike. Stay like a rock, Roark, and I think you might cruise for a bit. Easy does it. 6. Desiree: You’ve got a showmance on one side and Joe and Mike having awkward jungle throwdowns on the other. You’re going to have plenty of room to maneuver.
7. Cole: Jessica tells us Cole is working hard not to seem like the “tough guy.” It’s clear people see this guy’s heart — they see his abs too. Right now, if he’s able to keep playing down his threatening persona, which it seems he’s taking actions to diminish, he’s in a decent spot so long as a showmance doesn’t knock him down. 7. Roark: See Desiree
8. Jessica: Jessica is a “Survivor” powerhouse — she’s got the brains, brawn and the beauty. Her future could be bright. I’m worried, though, that she might be spotted as the second coming of Andrea Boehlke. Finding a Romeo to her Juliet on Day 1 won’t help either. 8. JP: A right-hand lady that you click with? Awesome! A four-person alliance full of challenge threats? Awesome! Alan freaking out over non-existent idols? Less awesome. The good news is, they’ll come for Ashley before they come for you. The bad news is, you can trust one person on your five-person tribe.
9. Ashley: Ashley has seen a lot of drama 3 days in. The good news is the dysfunction is prepping her for the harder stages of the game. In Ashley, I see Cydney — she used her crazy days of Scot and Jason vs. Alecia to silently plot out her long game. 9. Alan: Oh Alan, based on the game you played you should be so, soooooo much lower on this list. But, you’re still a former professional athlete and it seems like Ben is going to stay loyal to you.
10. JP: JP is on the wrong show. This isn’t “Naked And Afraid.” With so much chaos, I’m afraid he and Ashley could become victims of a Ben, Chrissy and Alan team-up. 10. Jessica: Yes, the pull of Cole’s dashing looks and endearing life choices are hard to resist. But, as JP and Ashley taught us, you don’t want anyone to think a showmance is going on.
11. Patrick: I’m not sure about Patrick. It’s great he has an ally lined up in Ali, but there’s something kind of big about his personality that makes him bouncy and very noticeable. It may be wise to turn it down, though that feels somewhat unfair to say considering Ryan told the lion share of the Hustlers story. 11. Simone: Hey there, buddy. Hope you had a good premiere. Were you up to anything? Starting alliances? Finding idols? Crafting a Swiss Family Robinson treehouse?
12. Chrissy: Chrissy and I are kindred spirits. Our karmic path: let’s see how many highs and lows we can experience in a premiere episode. I’m concerned Chrissy is on the outs of her tribe, but it gives me big hope someone on another tribe (Ryan) has already identified her as a potential ally. 12. Joe: Oh…Joe. I love me my Russell-esque…Vlachos-esque game manipulators. Are you one of them? Because that little get together in the woods with Mike did not go well. If you were trying to bring him under your wing, you failed. Hoping for more from you in episode two.
13. Mike: I love you Mike, but you need to chill a little bit on the wooded excursions. Between the yellow attire and the scurrying about, I’m getting major Tai vibes! Will you start kissing Cole next too? We can only hope! 13. Chrissy: I think some editing trickery made us think you were closer to Katrina than you were. That’s fine. There’s no way editing can hide the cracks in the dominant alliance. Find them and exploit them!
14. Simone: I want to hear from Simone! What concerns me is, like Lauren, the rest of her tribe is already locking in. That said, she could be playing silent but deadly, waiting for the perfect time to sneak out of the grass and attack. 14. Patrick: Hey, eating bugs worked out for Mike in “Worlds Apart.” But, be careful that you don’t come off as too-weird-to-predict. It’ll make people like Ali second guess working with you.
15. Lauren: We didn’t hear a thing from her, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing for Lauren. With the other members of her tribe hustling for numbers, Lauren better start fishing for a connection or she’ll be cast out to sea. 15. Ashley: Yeah, you and JP probably aren’t a showmance, but at this point it doesn’t matter. More often than not, breaking up a power couple involves sending the woman packing. You’re in real danger.
16. Joe: That beach must reserve some kind of ancient curse for men in law enforcement from the New York/Jersey metro area. I love you Joe, but don’t start the interrogations on Day 2! 16. Lauren: You’re the oldest person on your tribe by over ten years. That’s going to be tough to overcome, especially with everybody else making friends and influencing people.
17. Alan: In “Game Changers,” I had a paranoia so badly on Day 2, I thought I woke up in the middle of the night and people saw me idol-hunting. In reality, I hadn’t even moved from my sleeping spot on the ground. Alan has the paranoia I had times 100. If he can get himself in check, he could have a Mike Holloway level recovery, and I’m here for it. 17. Mike: Oh boy…getting caught on an idol hunt by the guy who has Hantzian or Vlachosian ambitions? Bad news. And turning him down when it looked like he was trying to bring you on board? Extra bad news. Hopefully the others aren’t fond of Joe’s aggressive gameplay.

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

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ Premiere Recap – False Start

September 27, 2017

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

QUICK NOTE: 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.

Quick Note: In the past, my recaps have kind of been a quick look at the episode’s events with limited commentary. I wanted it to seem as if we were watching the episode together. Going forward, I’m going to experiment with some new format and style choices. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Alright, let’s take a closer look at the brand-spankin’ new 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
Katrina, 46 – Olympian

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
Simone, 25 – Diversity Advocate

First Impressions: How is a financial analyst a hero? Or a probation officer a healer? And man, I’m going to be so disappointed if I see a member of the Hustlers tribe dogging it during an immunity challenge.

The Marooning

We meet up with JPro and the eighteen newbies on a boat. He tells them that they’ve been divided based on the trait that people use to describe them. Mmm…kay.  During the course of the chat…

  • Probst speaks to Ben, Cole, Ali, and Mike.
  • In a confessional, Chrissy tells us that she feels comfortable being a hero because she left her career, raised her family, then returned to her career. Awesome and admirable…but heroic?
  • Mike introduces himself as a “Sex Doctor,” which totally sounds like a Showtime series.

From there, Probst sends them on their merry way to gather supplies and compete in the first challenge. This quickie contest involves rowing to shore and lifting a tribemate so they can light a torch. The first tribe to light their torch will receive fire and a firemaking kit. The second tribe will receive flint. The third tribe has to live with their failure.

They start off and it’s madness as usual. During the course of the fun, Ryan manages to find a secret advantage.

The challenge portion is a complete joke as the Healers claim first, the Heroes take second, and the Hustlers can’t even get their boat pointed in the right direction. However in their defense, they never stopped trying. Probst wasn’t even subtle about it, saying the Hustlers were still “trying to figure out which show they’re on.”

At Healers Beach

Jessica is immediately crushing on Cole because she’s a human being who has functioning eyes.

Mike goes on an unsuccessful idol hunt, but is confronted by Joe. Joe tries to use his lie-detecting sixth sense to figure out if Mike has an idol and it just…goes…so…badly for all parties involved. It was just poor form on both sides in what could have been an alliance-building moment. Instead, Mike feels threatened and Joe didn’t gain anything out of the situation.

At Heroes Beach

Everyone pairs off really quickly. It looks live we’ve got Ashley and JP,  Ben and Alan, and Chrissy and Katrina. In fact Chrissy and Katrina are lovingly referred to as the “Mom Squad.”

Alan is very wary of Ashley and JP becoming a power couple and he tells us that he wants to play at a full sprint out of the gate. Cause that never backfires…

Cooler heads seem to prevail though, as Alan and Ben decide to team up with Ashley and JP. This is hilarious because Ben refers to himself as a younger player as if 34 was young on “Survivor.”

In the evening, Alan accuses JP of having an idol. JP does everything in his power to prove that he doesn’t, including stripping and jumping up and down. But Alan is not convinced. Can this be a thing now? If you think someone has an idol they have to strip and jump?

Oh, and later Alan admits to us that he didn’t think JP had an idol, he just wanted to shake things up. WHY?! It’s day two, dude.

At Hustlers Beach

Patrick asks the tribe if he should eat a walking stick bug and I immediately have flashbacks to Mike in Worlds Apart. But, that did work out well for him.

Patrick decides against it and freaks out as he’s throwing the bug away. He tells everyone, “I forgot I had a crab in my pants.”

Sounds like he could use a sex doctor.

Despite all of that tomfoolery, Ali still wants to work with Patrick.

Next up, Ryan tells us that he hasn’t had a chance to look at his advantage. He says, “It’s in my pants, I’m dying to know what it is.”

Sounds like he could use a sex doctor.

Ryan learns that his advantage is a super idol.

This idol can be played after the vote, but it can only be used at the first Tribal Council. If the Hustlers don’t go to the first Tribal, he must send it to a member of the losing tribe anonymously.

Ryan leverages this advantage to get in good with Devon. So smart. And it looks like they’re a solid twosome.

Immunity Challenge Time: The tribes will climb a net, then pull a cart to the top of a tower. They’ll hop in and ride it to the bottom. From there, they’ll have to choose a table maze. The first tribe chooses from three mazes, the second tribe picks between the remaining two, and the final tribe gets what’s left. They’ll carry the table maze to the top of another tower. The first two tribes to complete the puzzle will win immunity.

Note: Before the challenge, Jeff told the tribes that tie votes are back in play this season.

Challenge Result: The Healers took first place and the Hustlers were just barely able to edge out the Heroes.

Chrissy is in bad shape after the challenge. She vomited, but she didn’t want medical to be called it. Sooo…it’s pretty safe to assume that Ryan’s going to send that idol her way.

Post-Challenge Politicking

It looks like we’re starting off with Ben, Alan, JP, and Ashley against the “Mom Squad,” but Alan immediately blows it up. He tells Katrina and Chrissy that nobody has been talking strategy with him and that they should work together.

Ben drops the classic “stick to the plan” bomb, but it looks like he’s going to stay tight with Alan.

Before they head off to Tribal, Chrissy receives a little gift from Ryan. Called it.

Tribal Time

Well, this was a mess. Ashley, JP, and Alan immediately get into it over whether or not they have an idol and whether or not JP and Ashley are a power couple.

Alan even says that he could’ve sat back and let things slide, but he wanted to let everyone know that they were a couple. Yes, you could’ve and you also probably should’ve.

Voting: Katrina was voted out five votes to one. The super idol was not played.

Verdict: Early “Survivor” is so easy, Alan. Work hard, be cool, make an alliance, vote off the weirdo. Yikes.

Anywho, there’s a lot of potential this season. People to root for, people to root against. I can’t wait. I just hope there aren’t more super idols waiting to be found.

My Winner Pick: Boy, I hate to curse her because she seems awesome, but I’m going with Ali. I think she has a good head on her shoulders.

  • Ryan – The future Cochran Award winner for best self-depreciating humor killed it this week. He found the super idol, he used it to earn the trust of his tribe’s most prominent meat shield, and he made a potential future ally out of Chrissy.
  • Ben – Sometimes the best thing you can do when your alliance is falling apart is to just let it happen and then pick up the pieces afterwards. A five-person tribe is a dangerous place to be, but he should be fine.
  • Devon – Opportunity knocked and you answered it.
  • Chrissy – I’ve got to think you had a really good reason for not saving Katrina. Hopefully it put you in a good spot with the rest of Levu.
  • JP – “Survivor” 101 states that you never make it look like you’re part of a power couple. You’re really lucky it didn’t cost you.
  • Ashley – I thought you were going to be the victim of the super idol. Regroup and regroup quickly.
  • Joe and Mike – The moment where Joe accused Mike of idol hunting was just…cringey. (Probably not a word.) What could have been an alliance-building moment seemed to have the opposite effect.
  • Alan – Wow…just wow. You can’t win the game on day one, but you can sure lose it.
  • Cole, Desiree, Jessica, Roark, Ali, Lauren, Patrick, and Simone – I can’t give you full credit if you don’t show your work.

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

Aubry Bracco Accepts the ‘Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers’ Power Rankings Challenge

September 25, 2017

Aubry Bracco (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: 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, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

The XFINITY “Survivor” Power Rankings committee is thrilled to announce that “Survivor: Kaoh Rong” and “Survivor: Game Changers” star Aubry Bracco has agreed to accept the Power Rankings challenge. When asked how she felt about this undertaking, she said, “I’m ready to take on the Power Rankings for Season 35 with Gordon. It’s nice to be back as a fan (FINALLY) and not a player. I promise I won’t be too much like the armchair quarterbacks I couldn’t stand during my seasons, but don’t worry, I’ll still play it straight.”

To kick things off, we’ve asked Aubry to rank the players based on how likely they are to win the game.

1. Alan: I don’t know what it is, but he had me at “Hello.” Sure, he might get hangry, but he’s aware of it. When you know your weaknesses and are vocally aware of them, that’s a “Survivor” superpower I call vulnerability, and it can nab you the win. 2. JP: Be still my heart — this man loves animals, understands the power of being yourself and has his ego in check? Ladies and gentleman, we may have met our Tom Westman Jr. I’m concerned the rest of his tribe will notice it before he gets to the end, but there’s something about this guy I believe in.
3. Roark: Someone call Beverly Cleary (yeah, she is alive and kicking at 101) — I want Roark to be a female heroine in a young adult novel. I love her pride in her intelligence and assertiveness, but I’m just not sure how that’s going to play out in the context of the game. The good news? She’s aware of how she’ll be perceived. 4. Ryan: Stop the presses, everyone. I have a new “Survivor” boyfriend, and his name is Ryan Ulrich. Physically, he reminds of an unstretched Stretch Armstrong version of Neal. But, most importantly, his personality is that perfect mix of vulnerable, self-deprecating and genuine that I love about John Cochran. His awareness that he needs to play under-the-radar for awhile will serve him well, but he has the risk of going out in David Wright style.
5. Desiree: I really like Desi. She’s authentic. She’s smart. She’s vulnerable. I hope they don’t see her as a threat too soon, because she’s got something triple-threat special about her — Brains, Brawn and Beauty. It’s almost Spradlin-like. 6. Cole: Cole is going to need to make some strong relationships and fast, because he’s going to be on the run like Harrison Ford in “The Fugitive” if he makes the merge. He’s very visibly a threat, but his flexibility and personality will help him go far, especially if he pulls a Jeremy Collins and goes for the meat-shield strategy — there are certainly plenty to choose from.
7. Jessica: Jessica definitely has a fierceness and emotionality to her that smacks of a certain player who fell in love with me on “Survivor: Game Changers” (Ahem, Andrea). I think she’ll do well, but she’ll get pinned as a threat. 8. Ali: If Ali doesn’t get swap-screwed, I see a bit of Julia Sokolowski in her. That’s good, but “sometimes the guy in the middle of the road gets run over.”
9. Mike: Mike, you’re a gem. I love how you own your oddness, and I think you’ll be able to parlay that into something for a bit. But please, for the love of all things, keep that super-fan status and those pee jokes under wraps or “urine trouble.” (I couldn’t help myself). 10. ChrissyAwww, Chrissy — you remind me of me. I see a fellow hardworking achiever there, eyes alight with an earnestness and desire to play. I’m concerned, though, that you might be forcing it too much. Remember, “Survivor” is just as much about being easygoing as it is working hard.
11. Simone: At first glance, I’m concerned Simone is coming in a little too calculating and hot like my fellow Brains tribemate Liz Markham. Thankfully, she seems like she could be self-aware enough to adjust on the fly. But no matter what she does, this girl has “threat” written all over her. 12. Devon: I think Devon’s super-chill Ozzy-like personality and good looks will keep him safe…for a little while. When this guy gets to the merge they’ll be caring less about his looks and solid personality and more about his physical prowess. You seem like a cool dude, Devon, but I fear you’re a classic merge boot.
13. Patrick: Everytime I see Patrick, I think I’m looking at a Kennedy. Then, he talks, and I couldn’t be more off-base. He seems like a hard-working, down-to-earth dude, but he says he’s a talker. Hopefully, his personality isn’t too strong off the bat. 14. Ashley: When people meet this surfer chick I think they’ll expect the sweetness of Hali Ford or Woo and get the feistiness of Kaoh Rong Alecia. I want to see her go deep, but I’m afraid an intoxicating laid-back personality that makes people comfortable paired with fierceness will make people perceive her as a threat.
15. Ben: This guy’s got me intrigued in a Jason the Kaoh Rong bounty hunter meets Cody from “Big Brother 19” sort of way. It looks like we don’t know if he’ll be as docile as Paddington Bear or the second coming of ‘The Revenant’ grizzly. “Life is like a box of chocolates,” Forrest Gump once said, and this seems to be the case with Ben — “you never know what you’re going to get.” 16. Joe: Oh Joe, I love you, but I’m afraid your vibe is screaming “Tony.” King Spyshack The Great can only happen once, and based on the reception my lovely Mana tribe gave him, I’m not sure it’s going to go well. I hope I’m wrong.
17. Katrina: I’m concerned this Olympian will swim off into the sunset very early. A very intense personality + need for a daily time-out = imminent drowning. 18. Lauren: Lauren, I respect your hard work and unwillingness to bend to others. That said, do you know what game you signed up for?

Don’t miss the season premiere of “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers” this Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

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

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Host Jeff Probst Breaks Down the First Tribal Council of the Season

March 8, 2017

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: 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, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Gordon Holmes: You haven’t seen the testimonials from the vote yet, but one of the themes was that Ciera was playing too hard, too fast.
Jeff Probst: Interesting…
Holmes: Right? In a season of Game Changers, the first person voted out was hindered by her desire to play too quickly.
Probst: Well, the players decide how the game is going to be played. I think the most interesting comment to come out of Tribal was when Ciera said, “Maybe the new school players can learn something from the old school players.” Because the game has been on a trajectory for quite some time of going up in terms of the game being amped up and alliances being even less and less clear. And what I felt like what she was saying is that they need to slow down a bit. Unfortunately, it sounds like she didn’t take her own advice. Or, she wasn’t aware early enough.

Holmes: It reminded me a lot of “Second Chance” where Shirin was accused of the same thing where someone is playing hard, but they don’t have the challenge prowess to give them that must-keep status in the tribe.
Probst: Yeah, absolutely. I like Ciera. I think she could win the whole thing. I even predicted that. And I like that she embodies game changers. And she got caught. She made a move at camp, she was talking about who she wanted to vote out when nobody else was talking about it yet. So, the fact that she talked, was enough. Sounds like there isn’t much wiggle room this season. If you make one mistake it could cost you. And that’s where a player like Sandra is so lethal. She doesn’t make many mistakes.

Holmes: How good is Sandra?
Probst: Sandra is great. I think you watch the first Tribal and you think, “She could win again.”
Holmes: She shushed you in the challenge. I’ve never seen that before.
Probst: She and Varner. I like that. My job really is to give the audience a play by play. But, I like it when the players are a part of it and talk back. It tells me they’re there and their head is in it.

Holmes: Michaela was the name used to throw Ciera off. She didn’t like that one bit. Her and Caleb were the most nervous up there.
Probst: Yeah.
Holmes: Michaela mentioned that her and Caleb are both challenge threats whose games are still unknown. She said something about Caleb getting a wider birth because he’s a guy. Was there anywhere to go to follow up on that?
Probst: I thought it was interesting. I think she felt like she was getting into deep water and wanted to get back out. I think what she was saying is that Caleb and I are both unknowns. You don’t know how Caleb plays this game, so why am I the one getting heat? Michaela’s in a tough spot, because if she isn’t gifted enough to turn the uncertainty into an asset, then it is scary. It’s scary to play with someone you don’t know. Everyone has a past or a question around them. Hers is, “Who are you?”

Holmes: As a journalist I’m supposed to stay impartial. As a fan I want Tony to find 37 idols and stay to the end.
Probst: (Laughs)
Holmes: Seems like we saw a kinder, more reserved Tony tonight.
Probst: I got a sense tonight that he is able to play another game and it’s a more understated game. He knows he’s in a season of true all-star players. He’s not going to get as many looks. He’s not going to get his hands on the balls as often. So, I’ve got to be quiet and go with the flow. He’ll have an opportunity. But, I think he has to change, because I don’t think that Cagayan personality can win. I think Tony wins by saying, “Look, I was playing with people I thought I could school. Now I’m playing with people I respect.”

Holmes: What did you think of Hali taking the swimming portion today?
Probst: Damn, I should’ve asked about that. I was shocked. In fact, my vantage point was so bad that I first thought it was Malcolm, then I thought it was Troyzan.
Holmes: They look a lot alike.
Probst: (Laughs) And when she got out of the water I realized it was her.
Holmes: We can fix that in post.
Probst: Thank you. I believe that when Hali played the first time, she came into the game as a smart lawyer type but was labeled a no-collar and tried to fit in. She hooked up with Jenn and it was a disastrous move. She’s a sharp woman and that’s the game she’s going to play now.

Holmes: How are you feeling about this season so far?
Probst: So good, I couldn’t believe I was talking to Tony, Varner, Sandra, Malcolm…it was great. Usually, that many people in one show is good and this is one tribe!

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

‘Survivor’ Host Jeff Probst Plays Align/Malign/Take to the End

March 8, 2017

‘Survivor’ Host Jeff Probst (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: 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, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Gordon Holmes: Alright, I hold in my hand a deck of cards that features all twenty of this season’s players. I’m going to hand you three random cards at a time. You tell me who you’re going to vote out first, who you’re going to work with and eventually eliminate, and who you are going to take to the end.
Jeff Probst: Oh, so it’s like (expletive deleted), marry, kill?
Holmes: Exactly.
Probst: Cool.
Holmes: If we have time we can play that too.
Probst: Oh man, I should not play that game with a cast.
Holmes: Yeah, cause I’m sure you’d (expletive deleted) all twenty.
Probst: (Laughs) Holmes…
Holmes: Alright, focus.

Round One: Aubry, Troyzan, and Hali
Probst: I’d vote out Troyzan, I’d work with Aubry, and I’d take Hali to the end. Aubry is a really good player and I believe that I could convince Aubry that we could work together. But, I know she’s going to come for me at a certain point. I’m going to trust that it won’t be early. I’m thinking that we’re going to keep looking at each other and when you stop looking at me, I’m in trouble…and vice versa. I’d love to sit next to Hali at the end.
Holmes: Sitting with a lawyer?
Probst: I just think she’d be fun to go against. I think she’s super well-spoken and I love the way she can turn an argument like she did with flippers. And Troyzan is out because he offers me the least and he’s a threat to me physically.

Round Two: Malcolm, Ciera, and Debbie
Probst: I hate to do this, but I’m voting out Malcolm. I can’t beat him in anything. And I’m going to need to at some point. I’m going to work with Ciera and then try to blindside her and hope she doesn’t get me first. Which…is a big question. She could probably beat me to the punch. I’m going to take Debbie to the end and I’d make her look like the most crazy, whacked-out nutjob by the time I’m done with her.

Round Three: Tai, Sierra, and Sandra
Probst: I hate to do this, because I love her, but Sandra is going home. She is a lethal weapon. I’m going to work with Sierra because her biggest asset is that she has shown loyalty. I’m taking Tai to the end because I don’t think he can pull it off in the end.

Round Four: Michaela, Caleb, and Brad
Probst: This is a tough one. I’m actually getting rid of Michaela first because I think she could win. I’m going to work with Brad, but I don’t trust him at all. And, I’m going to take Caleb to the end because I think I can outtalk him in the end.

Round Five: Andrea, Zeke, and Ozzy
Probst: I’m going to roll the dice and get rid of Andrea, she’s trouble. I’m going to work with Zeke knowing full well that he will probably take me out. It’d be hard for me to take Zeke out because I like him so much. I’d take Ozzy to the end because I can beat Ozzy. I can outtalk him easy.

Round Six: Jeff, JT, and Tony
Probst: Holy moly.
Holmes: These are the best games because I just sit here and you do all the work.
Probst: (Laughs) I’m in trouble on this one because I don’t want to go to the end with any of them. I think I lose against all of them.
Holmes: You’ve gotta play the cards you’re dealt, Jeff. That’s how life works.
Probst: OK, then I’m saying up front that I lose to all three of them. My best shot…is against Tony. I’m going to take him to the end. But, he’s a winner. I’m going to work with Varner and get rid of JT. That’ll allow me to get rid of one big threat early. He’s likable, he’s physical, he has a massive chip on his shoulder. Varner, I think I can find an alliance with the catty side of him. I think I can play that catty side as well. And I think he might trust me a little bit.

Holmes: Alright, we’ve got two left, so align one and malign the other.

Round Seven: Cirie and Sarah
Probst: Well, just because I love her so much, I’m working with Cirie. And if I lose to her I’m OK. That’s a great story. And I’m voting out Sarah because she’s up against Cirie. Nothing against Sarah.

Don’t miss the two-hour season premiere of “Survivor: Game Changers,” Wednesday March 8, 2017 at 8 p.m. ET.

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

‘Survivor’ Host Jeff Probst on the ‘Game Changers’ Theme, Idols, Twists, and More

February 8, 2017

‘Survivor’ Host Jeff Probst (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: The good folks at XFINITY sent me deep into the Fijian wilderness to bring you an exclusive look at “Survivor: Game Changers.” While I was there I conducted interviews with “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and the entire 20-person cast. I also captured exclusive photos and other behind-the-scenes tidbits. So, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Gordon Holmes: Alright, “Game Changers.”
Jeff Probst: (Laughs)
Holmes: I can already feel the Internet getting pissed off.
Probst: Why?
Holmes: It took me a while to figure this out. And what I came up with is…Major League Baseball has 30 All-Stars a year. They only have a handful of Game Changers. I’m thinking Babe Ruth, I’m thinking Jackie Robinson.
Probst: Interesting.
Holmes: I love me some Tai and Hali, but that term seems very grandiose for how their initial runs went.
Probst: I hear your point. When you hear “Game Changers” you think these are people who changed the game dramatically. My feeling about “Survivor” has always been, most moves aren’t going to work, but you have to have the courage to make a move. That’s who these people are. We could have called this season “Move Makers” or whatever, but it seemed like “Game Changers” because the game changes as a result of moves. You have to be willing to make those moves. And there are definitely people here whose moves have not worked. They’re still game changers to me. I guess you’re going to have to look at it through my filter which is having the courage to try something without any certainty that it will work. Some of them make big moves, some of them make quiet moves, some of them make moves that work, some of them make moves that don’t. But, they were all willing to make a move. And I think if you look back historically at the majority of players, it’s not even close the amount that didn’t make any moves. They just hoped that something happened to someone else.
Holmes: Is a way to look at this…hold on… OK, Kelley Wentworth didn’t have much of a chance to do anything her first time around, but you knew she had that potential in her?
Probst: A hundred percent. I think you’re on to something good here, Gordon. We have the insight into having spent not just 39 days, but hundreds of hours with these people. I always bring this up; there were two people that wanted Amber Brkich back; it was me and Lynne (Spillman). People say, “I don’t see it.” Well, I see it. There’s a subtle gameplay in Amber that was overlooked by a lot of people. I see that in Ciera Eastin. Her biggest thing people remember is her yelling for people to play the game, she voted out her mom, she forced a rock draw. That’s a girl that willing to make a move. She hasn’t made a great move yet, but she’s making moves.

Holmes: What’ve we got as far as twists this season?
Probst: Well, we’re splitting into three tribes after the second episode. That will really mess up the game. And it’s one of the things that the audience counts on because players come in with these pre-conceived ideas, “I’m going to lock in an alliance on day two and I’m going to take it to the end.” Until we split up the tribes and you don’t know if you’re ever going to see that person again. It forces you to reevaluate. And it rarely fails. I know I promised my loyalty to someone else, but they’re not here anymore. “Survivor” is not that complicated in terms of the twists we do. It’s just the impact of those twists that is devastating. You get the odd colored buff and you’re sent to Exile Island. “Oh man, I didn’t do anything wrong.” Nope, it’s the luck of the draw. You might be done.

Holmes: Any tricks planned for the idols this season?
Probst: What we’re doing with idols this season is something we’ve never done before which is; every idol that is placed is inconsistent. Usually there’s a theme to how you find idols. This season is, the theme is there is no theme. You might find one idol in a very traditional way, you might find another idol at Tribal.
Holmes: Interesting, this sounds like it’ll curb the problem of someone figuring out the drop style and then having that advantage when an idol is replaced.
Probst: Exactly. And if we go deep enough, we have a long list of where they might show up. It just matters how often they get played. Because as you know, if they hold on to the idols or they don’t find them, then sometimes they aren’t reintroduced. So, we have a cool, long list, but there’s no consistency. That’s going to throw people off.

Holmes: “Kaoh Rong” just ended, and there’s been a lot of talk about a juror’s responsibility. You don’t say vote for the person who made the biggest moves or vote for the person who’s the best at challenges or vote for the person you like the most. You just say, “Vote.”
Probst: If there’s one flaw in our game, it’s that the jury all lives together as the game continues and they can influence each other. They can influence each other by spreading lies that aren’t even true. Someone gets voted out and they can decide to sabotage the remaining players. They can tell a lie to the jury and taint the vote. And it drives me nuts. But, I also have to remind myself that the jury has experienced the game in their own way. I’m experiencing it my way. And I don’t have a vote, and the audience doesn’t have a vote. But what can you do with the jury? The only thing we can do is try to find ways to hold the jury more accountable. It’s something that I’m working on, but I haven’t figured it out yet.
Holmes: The players are in lockdown before the game. They occupy the same space, but they’re not allowed to talk. Is it just too long to have someone on lockdown for two-and-a-half weeks?
Probst: Yeah. It’s just too long.
Holmes: If you and I are playing the game and you vote me out. Right now there is nothing stopping me from telling the other jurors that you were making racist comments, sexist comments, anything.
Probst: “Survivor” is a microcosm of life. Some people say, “No, it’s not. It’s a gameshow. It’s contrived, you put people on an island, there are always cameras around.” But human nature is the same no matter where you are. And when you’re stripped to your core, you’re left only with yourself. You get desperate. Your truth comes out. But, the one thing that doesn’t change, in the game, in the office, is the politics of being a human are always at play. And if there is someone who is jealous of you because you got a promotion they think they should have had, there’s every chance that they start dropping little social bombs to the boss. I just heard he was partying too much, I hear he’s mean to his children. That’s the way it goes. That’s the part of me that says you can’t control the vote because it’s a social game. But, I have to say, with the exceptions of “Kaoh Rong,” we’ve had a string of juries who have done a wonderful job of rewarding the winner even if the winner is the one who betrayed them. So, I’m optimistic that the people who are voted out of the game respect it enough to give it to the person who played the best.

Holmes: A lot of my friends have kids who watch “Survivor.” Now, it isn’t necessarily children’s programming, but there’s adventure and fun games and you can see the appeal. There have been quite a few instances of bullying on the show recently. If I’m writing a fiction story, my bully is getting some comeuppance. “Survivor” does not always work like that.
Probst: Nothing has excited me as much in the last six or seven years than the amount of kids who are watching “Survivor.” Nothing comes close. And we make this show for families. That is a known fact out here. I’m constantly saying, “Imagine a ten year old.” The challenge has to be exciting, underwater shots, dramatic facial expressions, and it has to be easy enough to understand for a kid watching. So, when it comes to something like bullying, I actually am glad that these things happen because I think they’re teaching moments. The way the world works, sometimes the bully does win. In Kaoh Rong when we had Jason and Scot and Alecia, what parents said to me was, “We sat with our kids and asked them ‘What would you do?’ What would you do if your friend was a bully? What would you do if it was your friend that was getting picked on?’” I love it. I love that “Survivor” shows the way the world works. I love that “Survivor” shows that a nerd like Cochran can rise above and claim the prize and a guy like Ozzy can dive down 20 feet and catch a fish with a spear. All of these things are possible. You can be a girl who comes from the city and loves computers like Aubry and make it to the end. You can be Cirie who gets up off the couch in her forties and says, “I want to give it a try.” I get so excited by “Survivor.” I feel like somehow my life ended up exactly as it should be and I’m so proud of the stories we tell because they’re honest. The good guy doesn’t always win.

Holmes: Who’s gonna win this whole thing?
Probst: Well, I have a few thoughts. Cirie is a favorite for me. I think the audience would love to see her win. If Cirie makes it deep, it probably means that Sandra is somewhere behind. Varner might be in there with them. I think those old-school type of players might get together and say, “Look, we have no kind of chance against the younger kids unless we take over.” And they have to trust that no matter what happens, no matter what tribe they find themselves in, they need to stay true to each other. If not, I’m putting my money on Ciera. I really want to be like Ciera. I want to be courageous enough to be someone who says, “I’m going for broke.” And not just talk it, but actually show my kids this is how you win. You look for the fastball and you swing. And if it’s a curveball, you’re out. But if it’s down the middle and you keep your eye on the ball and you connect. But, don’t play for a single. Don’t hope for a walk. That’s (expletive deleted). I’d play hard on “Survivor” every (expletive deleted) day.

Holmes: Who’s going to go home early?
Probst: You’ve got to believe Tony is in trouble because he’s so strong in his bravado. But, I don’t know what the gameplay is going to be. I’d hope the game players would get rid of who they think are the weakest players. But honestly Gordon, I really don’t have any idea. I think you could make six or seven pitches for how this season could go. Troyzan could be at the end or he could be the first one off. Tai would seem to be in trouble, or is that a guy that you drag to the end.
Holmes: I always say; “‘Survivor’ is Jeff Probst dumping out a bowl of marbles. They’re never all going to go the same place twice.”
Probst: That’s great. I love that.

Holmes: I don’t just come out here to interview twenty contestants. I come out here to get those twenty contestants ready for the game.
Probst: (Laughs) Love it. I can’t wait.
Holmes: One of the ways we did it this time is called, “The Best Defense.”
Probst: (Laughs)
Holmes: You and I arrive on the beach on day one and I want you gone. I’ll give you some of the ways I’m going to try to accomplish that and you have to defend against them.
Probst: Got it.
Holmes: Probst is a likable guy, this crew seems to dig him. I don’t want to sit next to him in front of a jury. Let’s get rid of him now while we still can.
Probst: Guys, I just overheard Holmes talking about me. And I’ll say this; I own everything he said. I like to think that the crew likes me. I like to think that people enjoy me on this show. But if you’re going to let that guy come in and sully my reputation? That’s a guy I don’t want around. I’m owning my stuff. I’m willing to play with you, and if you’re going to vote me out because I’m a nice guy, that’s (expletive deleted). I say we take Holmes out right now. Because he’s going to do it to all of you. He’s got his little traps for everyone.

Holmes: Probst is the producer for a popular TV show that has been on the air for 40 years.
Probst: (Laughs)
Holmes: I’m sure this guy is loaded. He doesn’t need the million. Let’s send him packing.
Probst: Again, I heard Gordon talking about money being a factor. I definitely have plenty of money. I’ve done well from “Survivor” and I’m not embarrassed about it. I’m out here to win. But I want to ask you, do you want to beat the best? Because one thing I am good at is social politics. I’m as good as anyone out here. And the game has advanced to a point where a schlub like Holmes ends up here and he’s got nothing. He’s a used car salesman. He’s trying to sell you a Ford when you know I’ll get you a Tesla. And I don’t want to defend anything else. You should come hard at me. But, let’s get rid of the drab first and then let’s play.

Holmes: You ever see “Two and a Half Men?” Probst was on it in his birthday suit and he looked like a million bucks. You want to go toe-to-toe with that guy for individual immunity? I don’t.
Probst: OK, on this one I’ll be honest. I am 54 years old. I know you’re surprised to hear that, but it’s true. I’m the oldest person out here. And I have run a lot of these challenges when we rehearse them, and I’m not going to lie…I rarely win. I want to win and I will work hard to win, but I give you my word right now, if I win more than two challenges, I will stop competing in them. I will give up and not compete. You can all vote me out. I will literally say to Probst, the other Probst…whoever will be hosting.
Holmes: (Laughs)
Probst: (Laughs) I will to say to Rove McManus who is now hosting, I will literally say to “Boston” Rob who is now hosting, that I will not compete anymore. Because if I can win two, I’ll go home a happy man.
Holmes: That’s the strategy? Quit after you win two?
Probst: No, if you want to vote me out, vote me out. Because honestly I never thought I’d win two. Whether or not I’d really sit out at the point depends on where I am in the game. If I’m strong with my alliance and you want me to stick around? Are you sure? Alright, I’ll stick around for you.
Holmes: Outside-of-the-box thinking, that’s a Tony move.
Probst: It’s Tony Robbins. Change your state. I just went from “I can kick your ass” to “I trust you.” And here’s the real truth. The humanitarian in me knows what it’s like to win. I didn’t think I would. I am honestly shocked. That necklace felt great, I’d like to feel it again. But Hali, I’d rather you have a shot at winning. And I think you’re going to love how it feels. I still want to beat you, but I want you to have the experience. Just don’t vote me out for that. If you vote me out for something else, that’s fine. We should all do it. Once we win we should step down so we can all have that feeling and control this game.
Holmes: Interesting. And that jerk Holmes has won eight immunity challenges in a row. He’s a victory hog.
Probst: (Laughs) That number is impressive. But Holmes…you know what it is…this is the tricky part. Holmes is the guy who never got laid. And he’s trying to take out someone who’s more popular than him. Which is not true if he knew my life. Holmes is an easy guy to get out. He’s married, he’s got his hot chick, so he’s good to go. Little does he know she’s going to leave him in six-to-seven years because he’s been hunched over the computer for too long.
Holmes: My impending divorce might earn me some sympathy votes.
Probst: (Laughs) Exactly! Get rid of him!

Holmes: A little bird told me the first challenge involves digging. How much do you want Caleb to give that a second shot?
Probst: (Laughs) I didn’t even think of that.
Holmes: Liar.
Probst: (Laughs) I didn’t! But he’ll do it. That’s the kind of guy he is.

Don’t miss the two-hour season premiere of “Survivor: Game Changers,” Wednesday March 8, 2017 at 8 p.m. ET.

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

‘Survivor’ Castaway Lucy: ‘I Wasn’t Voted Off. Two votes? That’s Not Voting Off’

October 13, 2016

'Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X' (CBS)

‘Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X’ (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: 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, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X” 

Gordon Holmes: You don’t speak for so long and then you’re awesome!
Lucy Huang: (Laughs)
Holmes: You’re finally given your chance to shine and it turns out that you’ve been making moves and think you have Ken and David in your pocket. Can you talk me through what we missed during the first three episodes?
Huang: I was really aligned with the six; Bret, Paul, Jessica, Sunday, and Chris. We were in a good place. With the other two, David and Ken, I knew that they felt like they were underdogs with CeCe. So, I tried to be friendly with them. I would take care of David, when he was watching the fire I would feed him. I was the one that was actually cooking a lot of the food. I was a care giver, which they didn’t show. So, I was able to establish that relationship with them, a motherly one. So, I felt like I was playing the part where I knew I was intimidating because I came in looking muscular. I was trying to play it down with sweetness in the beginning.

Holmes: People in leadership roles often have the biggest target on their back. Were you concerned about that when you stepped up?
Huang: Yeah, but the thing was I wasn’t trying to be a dictator. I was trying to be a messenger. I did like them, it wasn’t just strategy. I wanted Dave and Ken to stay at that point, so I told them who the majority wanted to vote out. I wasn’t try to change people’s vote, I was just giving a message. When I said, “Don’t talk to other people,” it was because I didn’t want chaos and confusion to start because once you go to Tribal you can’t discuss it anymore. I gave them the information they needed to know. That’s how I work in my business, a lot of my directors want to complain about this and that and get into all of this emotion. But really, what are the facts? Those are the things we need to know and what we need to work with.
Holmes: You said the majority wanted Jessica gone, but you were the main driver behind that, right?
Huang: I wanted her gone, and I think Sunday wanted her gone. But, she didn’t really express it. We felt that she wanted to take over the power after Paul left. She was the main driver behind voting him out. I wanted Paul out at some point, but he didn’t seem like a threat to me. She started planting seeds in people’s heads and it made you think, “Are you number five in this alliance?”
Holmes: Sunday wanted Jessica gone? It seemed like David and Ken thought they were tight.
Huang: I think Sunday was just playing along. I questioned if Sunday would vote for Jessica or not, I wasn’t the one that spoke to Sunday. I was afraid to bring that up. I didn’t think Ken would go back to Jessica, I thought Sunday would. I think Sunday was playing Jessica’s game and getting rid of Jessica would give her a chance to play her own game. Females hide what they truly want to do, and I had that feeling with Sunday and Jessica.
Holmes: When Jessica told you that Ken was targeting you, did that sway you at all to keep her around?
Huang: That didn’t sway my vote, she still needed to go.

Holmes: The inciting incident with Ken was when you told him what to do. He didn’t like that. I was thinking about “Redemption Island” where you had Boston Rob telling his alliance not to talk to people. “Survivor” is very much a reflection of society where if a man is blunt, he’s often viewed as a strong leader and if a woman is blunt, she’s often seen as a bitch.
Huang: Oh, absolutely. After watching last night I concluded that if a male had told him that, it wouldn’t have happened that way. And the thing with Ken, and I should have paid more attention because it happened with Rachel, he’s just really one of those more sensitive men. He needs the “please” and the “thank you” and the “I need you for this.” I’m more of a I can do everything kind of person. It’s not to say that it’s bad. I just needed to go deeper and learn more about this person and how to talk to people. You continue to grow in life anyway. I can’t talk to everyone the same way. Not all men will take the information the same way. There are going to be more sensitive men. Chris and Bret appreciated how I was. They didn’t want the foo-foo or the emotion.

Holmes: I felt like David’s idol play was very short-sighted. The game changes so much, the vote was so unsure. You’ve had a lot of time to think about it. Where are you with that move right now?
Huang: I’m thinking he was trying to keep the underdogs together. Even though CeCe was an easy vote for him, he kept her. He and Ken are pretty close and I think Ken and Jessica are pretty close. So, he wanted to keep that alive. But he wanted to go with what Ken wanted, which before Tribal was vote for Lucy. And then, suddenly after all of that talking, Ken realized, “Dude, I just want to take care of you. I’m just giving you the info.” So, Ken changed his vote and it didn’t get to Dave early enough. But, I wasn’t voted off. Two votes? That’s not voting off. The other thing is, I’m proud of the fact that you thought that I was so much of a threat that you had to use your idol.

Holmes: Word association time. Let’s start with Jessica.
Huang: Sneaky.
Holmes: Bret?
Huang: Happy-go-jolly guy.
Holmes: Chris?
Huang: A stud.
Holmes: Paul?
Huang: Poseidon.
Holmes: Rachel?
Huang: Paranoid.
Holmes: CeCe?
Huang: Paranoid as well.
Holmes: Sunday?
Huang: She’s like the mom, she’s my mom on the show.
Holmes: Ken?
Huang: Sensitive.
Holmes: David?
Huang: A weasel.

Holmes: When we did the pre-game interviews, it was cool because the cast seemed more diverse than usual. But, here we are four votes in and three Asian-American women have been eliminated.
Huang: Honestly, that sucks. But at least I wasn’t one of the first Asian women that were voted out. (Laughs) I was the one that lasted the longest. I just think that there’s this whole stereotype, Asian women are supposed to be submissive. But, we’re pretty hardcore. And the way we’re brought up we have to fight for things. I think the three of us can be really honest and say what we feel. We get things done and I don’t think males are used to that. If it was another man yesterday that delivered that information to Ken, that wouldn’t have happened.

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

%d bloggers like this: