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

CBS

17. Survivor: Panama — Exile Island (Winner: Aras Baskauskas)
Ah, just writing the word Panama gets me daydreaming about Survivor Sally and her intoxicating knee socks. Terry was robbed on a final challenge that may or may not have been completely fair. Another unmemorable final two. Shane Powers should have been brought back for Heroes vs. Villains. Or any other time, for that matter.

18. Survivor: Gabon (Winner: Bob Crowley)
It got better near the end, but it was still a case of too little, too late. The fact that so many unworthy players went so far is simply too damning.

19. Survivor: Redemption Island (Winner: Boston Rob Mariano)
The first three episodes were dynamite, but then the fuse blew out. It certainly was entertaining at times watching Rob strategize (the most dominant showing ever) and Phillip philosophize (the craziest showing ever), just not very dramatic. Most of the vote-offs were clearly telegraphed and the Redemption Island twist sucked the life out of Survivor’s signature moment — the vote-off.

20. Survivor: Africa (Winner: Ethan Zohn)
Some great challenges. Not that much else was great.

21. Survivor: Guatemala (Winner: Danni Boatwright)
One of the more unlikable casts so far. (Remember Judd? Jamie? Stephenie's evil twin?) Rafe was good for a few laughs, though. Especially on rope obstacles.

22. Survivor: Vanuatu (Winner: Chris Daugherty)
I don't blame producers: The battle of the sexes worked well the first time around.

23. Survivor: One World (Winner: Kim Spradlin)
Look, I have total respect for Kim’s game. Like Tom in Palau and Rob in Redemption Island, she excelled strategically, socially, and physically. Unfortunately, that is really the only good thing I can say about this season. And that’s too bad, because I do think the “One World” concept was a solid one. But, man, what a thoroughly uninspiring cast. Colton was more a horrible human being than a classic villain, and the rest of the players were mostly either completely forgettable or people you wish you could forget. I worry I am being generous by putting it even this high, but out of respect for Kim, it will go here for now.

24. Survivor: Thailand (Winner: Brian Heidik)
The fake merge and brutal last challenge — where the final three had to hold coins between their fingers in a crazy painful pose — keep this dud out of the bottom spot. Barely.

25. Survivor: Fiji (Winner: Earl Cole)
With the exception of Yau-Man and Earl, a true bummer of a cast, and the ''Haves Vs. Have-Nots'' twist was one of the worst creative decisions in Survivor history. Speaking of awful creative decisions…

26. Survivor: Nicaragua (Winner: Jud "Fabio" Birza)
It’s at the bottom for a few reasons. 1) Splitting the tribes up by age and the Medallion of Power were both enormous flops. 2.) Like One World, Thailand and Fiji, just too many unlikable players. 3) Two people quitting with only 11 days left. 4) No big memorable moments. Even Thailand had the fake merge and Fiji had the big Yau-Man/Dreamz free car deal gone bad, but what was Nicaragua's signature moment? Unfortunately, it was people quitting, and that was memorable for all the wrong reasons.

So there you have it. But we’re still not done! Get Jeff Probst’s thoughts on the Brenda blindside as well as his insight heading into the finale in our weekly Q&A. Plus, check out an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode in the video player below. And for more Survivor scoop delivered right to you, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

Now it’s your turn. Did Dawn do the right or wrong thing by turning on Brenda? Does anyone stand a chance in the finals against Cochran? And where would you rank this season against all the others? Hit the message boards to let us know and I’ll be back Sunday with a super finale-sized scoop of the crispy!

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