Survivor recap: Reshuffling the Deck

The contestants are forced to adapt to new surroundings as the tribes swap members
Ep. 06 | Aired Mar 20, 2013

GET YOUR HANDS IN (AND HANTZ OUT) The Favorites celebrated being rid of Brandon.

Monty Brinton/CBS

With all that now settled, it is time for Phillip to unleash Operation Thunderball. While I was pretty sure Operation Thunderball involved the stealing of two atomic bombs by a dude in an eye patch, it turns out it is also code for “vote out Corinne.” (UPDATE: Apparently I misheard and it is actually Operation Thunderdome, although unless Tina Turner is involved I'm not sure how that makes sense either.) See, this confused me because I thought Corinne was still kind of in the main Favorites alliance. I know Andrea made some jealous noise about replacing her in the core five with Brandon, but we all saw how that worked out. This gets back to my main complaint with the season so far — that we have no real sense of who is aligned with whom on this tribe. The show has doubled down on crazy and obnoxious at the expense of intelligent and intriguing. Obviously the show chooses what to show us, and because of that I feel like I am flying blind a good amount of the time when it comes to actual gameplay. Not a good way to fly.

Over at the Fans tribe, things seem to be turning around. The rain has stopped, and the challenge forfeit has allowed them to keep from having to vote out yet another member. As for Reynold, he tells us that he is just trying to survive long enough until something shifts in the game, because nothing has shifted yet. And that, my friends, is called a cue! The players show up at what one might assume to be a challenge. But all one needs to do is look to the ground to see all the bags everyone brought with them to know what is really going on here — tribe reshuffle.

Ah, the tribe reshuffle. I remember the first one, back in Survivor: Africa. But what I remember even more than the actual realignment was my violent reaction to it. ‘That is so unfair!” I yelled to no one in particular. “They just killed the integrity of the game just so they could create some drama for their TV show!” I raged. Probst likes to make fun of me for being such a Survivor purist, but even I can realize my reaction was a little overblown on this one. Of course they were creating drama for their TV show. And how many times has a tribe shuffle saved us from weeks upon weeks of boredom and inevitable vote-offs? (Alas, it doesn’t always work: Fiji, Nicaragua, and One World — generally considered three of the worst seasons — all had tribe shifts and they didn’t help much, if any.).

The tribe reshuffling does not bother me at all anymore. (In fact, the only downside here is that it means I now have to remember the actual names of the tribes and can no longer just call them Fans and Favorites.) The tribe shuffling is also now considered the mildest of twists when compared to things like the Outcasts, Exile Island, hidden immunity idols, and Redemption Island. However, for us long time fans, it was the very first twist the show ever had. So it was truly shocking back then. Such a simpler time, that was. Anyhoo, let’s go crack some eggs!

I don’t know if I’m a huge fan of the new egg-cracking method of choosing new tribes. It’s hard to control that paint splatter. Poor Ozzy ruined a perfectly fine camouflage t-shirt with that huge streak of orange we had to stare at every week on Survivor: South Pacific. If you are going to burst that thing, definitely don’t do it on your body or you are placing your entire self in the blast radius zone. Why doesn’t anyone just step on it? That what I would do. A little orange or purple on the shoes? A small price to pay.

NEXT: The Fans turn on themselves

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