Survivor recap: No Love Lost

A decision at the loved ones challenge puts a plan in motion to send the winner packing — complete with plenty of emotional baggage. Plus: Where does this season rank when compared to all the others?
Ep. 13 | Aired May 8, 2013

HUGGING IT OUT Brenda’s fatal flaw was winning the loved ones challenge in the first place


Brenda’s final words to camera are the most distraught ones I’ve seen since deaf contestant Christy Smith was backstabbed by her “evil stepsisters” Jenna and Heidi in the Amazon. It’s simply brutal. “It just hurts so much right now what I’m feeling,” she says in between uncontrollable sobs. Make no mistake to whom that sadness and anger is directed.

The path for Cochran has now never looked clearer. Can anyone beat him in the finals? Maybe Eddie if he gets votes from people who decide to reward him just because they like him more, but that guy hasn’t made one legitimate game move all season. No way Sherri gets the votes. I’ve already established that I think Dawn’s game is probably done now. Erik is a possibility because he’s a likable guy who performed well in some challenges, but he also never made a big move and just voted all season the way the majority told him to. If Cochran makes the finals, I don’t see any possible scenario in which he loses, unless the jury surprises me and decides to respect Dawn’s gameplay. (But even if they do, I can’t see them overlooking the seemingly daily emotional meltdowns.)

We’ll find out how it all goes down on Sunday. But first we need to find out where Survivor: Caramoan will place in my updated season-by-season rankings. Will the Shamar and Brandon heavy first half weigh it down, or will the spectacular run of post-merge episodes thrust it near to the top of the pack? Read on and find out!


1. (Tie) Survivor: Borneo (Winner: Richard Hatch) and Survivor: Micronesia — Fans Vs. Favorites (Winner: Parvati Shallow)
I’ve gone back and forth with these two over the years. After Micronesia aired, I named it the best Survivor season ever. Upon reflection, while I still considered it the most enjoyable, I also worried I was understating the impact of the first season, which became a national phenomenon. (Yes, Borneo now seems dated and tame by comparison, but it’s the biggest game changer in the past 20 years of television.) So then I returned that to the #1 spot. If I wanted to watch one season again, it would be Micronesia. If you ask me which is the most important season, well, obviously it’s Borneo. So instead of constantly flipping them, they can simply share the top spot…until I change my mind again.

3. Survivor: Heroes vs Villains (Winner: Sandra Diaz-Twine)
The Russell vs. Boston Rob feud made for the best pre-merge run of episodes ever. And the greatness just kept on coming. Filled with huge memorable moments like Tyson voting himself off, J.T. giving Russell his immunity idol, and Parvati handing out two immunity idols at one Tribal Council. Loses a few points for having so many three-timers, though, including a few (Amanda, James) that we simply didn't need to see again. I know many people would consider this #1, but it’s all returnees. For me, the fresh blood of Micronesia keeps that season higher.

4. Survivor: Amazon (Winner: Jenna Morasca)
Probably the most unpredictable season ever from week to week. Some people hate on Morasca as a winner, but she won challenges and played an effective social game.

5. Survivor: Pearl Islands (Winner: Sandra Diaz-Twine)
Rupert stealing shoes. Fairplay getting drunk at Tribal Council. Osten sucking at everything. It was all delicious. Loses points, though, for the awful Outcasts twist, which also led to a disappointing final two (Lil? Seriously?).

NEXT: Seasons 6-16 (where will Caramoan land?)

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