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 Reem Daly and Aubry Bracco, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news.
Last Week: Kellee did that thing where you take an idol that’s about to expire and you give it to someone to use for themself, but you’re worried that person might use it against you, so you convince someone else to vote against the majority for funsies. Then Jamal uses his idol on the wrong person. You know, the usual. Anywho, it caused Jack to go home.
39 Days, 20 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog Alright, let’s check out the tribes as they currently stand.
The Lairo Tribe (wearing orange)
- Dean, 28 – Tech Sales
- Jamal, 33 – College Administrator
- Janet, 59 – Chief Lifeguard
- Karishma, 37 – Personal Injury Lawyer
- Kellee, 29 – MBA Student
- Noura, 36 – Entrepreneur
The Vokai Tribe (wearing purple)
- Aaron, 36 – Gym Owner
- Dan, 48 – Talent Manager
- Elaine, 41 – Factory Worker
- Elizabeth, 26 – Olympic Medalist
- Lauren, 28 – Nanny
- Missy, 24 – Air Force Veteran
- Tommy, 26 – 4th-Grade Teacher
The text you see written above is completed well before I watch the new episode of “Survivor.” It’s meant to be fun and frilly and get you ready for what I hope will be an enjoyable read.
However, after watching tonight’s two-hour episode, I just don’t have it in me to joke around. So, there will be no pun-filled headline, no grades, no verdicts, no Power Rankings…
If you’re here for the stats; Kellee found an idol, Aaron won immunity, Kellee found a second idol, and then Kellee was voted out by classic Lairo, Dan, Tommy, and Lauren.
Then, Janet found an idol, Jamal lost his vote at the Island of the Idols, Missy and Aaron won immunity, Janet played her idol, and Jamal was voted out by a three-way split vote.
OK, now let’s talk about why tonight’s show is so hard to recap. And honestly, I’d encourage you to watch the episode yourself, please don’t rely on my interpretation of it.
It started off with Missy and Kellee sharing their uncomfortable experiences with Dan. And to watch Kellee’s reaction in testimonials, it seemed very real and distressing to her. In fact, there was a point where a “Survivor” beach producer told her they were willing to step in if she wanted them to.
A very emotional Kellee also shared her concerns with Janet.
From there, we saw Missy telling Elizabeth to tell Janet about how uncomfortable she is around Dan.
This is where it gets murky.
It is unclear to me if Missy and Elizabeth’s concerns are genuine, or if it’s an in-game move to get Janet on their side. Things that come to light later in the episode make it seem like a game move, but frankly I’m not comfortable making an estimate either way.
We’re then told that the producers held a meeting to caution the players about personal boundaries and that Dan was issued a warning.
This raises the question; what is a warning? If Brandon Hantz had punched one of his Bikal teammates during his blow-up during “Survivor: Caramoan,” he would have been removed from the game immediately. Is a violent strike different from an unwanted, inappropriate touch? Shouldn’t Kellee’s previous concerns have constituted a warning? She brought them to Dan’s attention before the merge.
Before the first Tribal, Elizabeth tells us that she would have told Dan to stop if she felt uncomfortable, which apparently, she did not.
After Tribal, Janet tells us that she voted for Dan because the women were “in such a panic” and that Dan wasn’t her original target.
Janet takes Dan aside and tells him that Missy, Elizabeth, and Lauren had all come to her crying because of his touching.
Dan wonders if that was game talk because he’s comfortable with his relationships with these women. Janet says that if that’s the case, then she got played and they crossed the line.
Later, Dan sits down with Missy and Elizabeth to get their side of the story. Missy says that if they felt that way they could have voted him out. Elizabeth and Missy both claim that they want to sleep next to Dan and never cried to Janet. Elizabeth says that when she talks about Dan’s touching that it’s in a joking manner.
Dan takes this information to Janet, and she insists that they hash it all out immediately. She wakes Elizabeth and Missy and Elizabeth admits that she said that she was uncomfortable. But, that her and Dan are fine. When Janet leaves, Elizabeth tells Dan she said it to get Janet off of her back.
At the second Tribal, Aaron tells Janet that she got stuck in the middle of what was a game move.
A game move?
So…where’s the truth in this?
Based on what we’ve seen, it seems like Missy and Elizabeth weren’t that concerned with Dan’s touching, but they knew that it was a real problem for Kellee. They played it up in front of her and Janet to get them to vote for Dan.
Ultimately, this brings me back to Janet’s statement that Missy and Elizabeth had crossed the line. But where’s the line?
When is a lie too big for the game?
The accusations Kellee made seem very sincere, and Dan should have to deal with the repercussions of his actions. And for what it’s worth, whenever these accusations were brought to his attention he did seem very sincere in his apologies.
But, if Elizabeth told Janet she was uncomfortable with Dan, when in reality she wasn’t (as she said in the episode), then that seems like a little too much for me.
At the end of the day, this episode raises many more questions than it answers. I feel terrible for Kellee, having to sit there silently while the tribe worked things out. I feel terrible for Janet who threw her game into turmoil in the hopes of making her friends feel safe.
I just feel terrible.