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But last night I was poking around various Survivor things and I remembered the super sad thing I forgot to mention this summer, about hearing that Caleb (Colton's too-good-for-him half) had died in a train accident in June. Or more specifically, I remembered after finding a new article, and now my heart hurts a lot.

Reality Blurred: Someone who worked in Survivor casting forwarded Colton a letter that was written in 2011, during filming of One World, for the post-merge point where you get to open mail from your loved ones.

LIGHTS OUT IN THE SADNESS CAVE! Well, after you read one more sad one, from the Blood vs. Water (original flavor) season, which gets to me even taken into consideration how much I generally wished ill will and pain on Colton at any given moment:








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So with that heartbreak in place, and because my mom and I rewatched the finale a couple of days ago -- I told you, this is the season that can't be let go -- I'm finally ready to turn my attention to

Blood vs. Water II: San Juan Del Sur finale

I really liked that complicated challenge that Keith won (I would have enjoyed it more if anyone else had been able to get farther than the first obstacle) -- why isn't THAT up for auction on eBay? I totally want to buy that game!  I also really liked the challenge they had to do to get that immunity. I can't believe how close Natalie was the whole time without Keith ever faltering. It sucked that a girl had to go before the last guy, but...

I was SHOCKED when Natalie voted out Baylor. It just seemed like the dumbest and riskiest move not to take Baylor to the end, because everyone could beat Baylor. If you're going to guarantee giving up a jury vote by splitting the pair, at least take the one who has no allies and didn't make any moves on her own (at best, she could argue pushing her mom to vote out Jon). And, simultaneously, to make a big move in a way that makes it publicly obvious you're a big threat? She must have been banking an awful lot on either Jaclyn's loyalty or her own immunity challenge prowess. I still don't get how Jaclyn didn't feel ultra worried, unless she just thought Keith was a bigger threat.

(Though I will allow that actually seeing her ask Jaclyn that question and then play the idol was AWESOME to watch.)

I was also super relieved that Baylor seemed to admire her move and didn't feel betrayed by her best island friend blindsiding her.

The last reward challenge was by far the best of the evening. I LOVE multi-stage, multi-story events, so a challenge where you have to go down fireman's pole/slide to get down and then run up four flights of steps multiple times was great fun. Jaclyn's come-from-behind story was REALLY great to watch, as was how close Natalie was behind her -- if she'd only solved that puzzle just a little bit faster! I also definitely didn't mind Jeff's controlled "OH CRAP" voice when Jaclyn went down hard and didn't immediately answer the question of whether she was all right. Girl, learn to hug the pole! I thought she'd done something to a shin bone or ankle with how far she basically dropped and landed hard on her feet.

I also liked Natalie's controlled nervousness while trying very hard to remain casual and reasonably discuss whether Keither or Missy would be a better person to vote out without painting herself as a threat. I think she pulled it off, though.  And by the time we got to the Day 39 Breakfast of ALL LADIES, I was literally cheering for joy. THAT'S what I always want out of Survivor. It's been two and a half years since it was all girls, and I swear, you can actually feel a lighter vibe around camp. I know part of it's just that it's almost over, but it feels suddenly more like a tropical vacation without dudes around. The mimosas always look extra delicious.

Aaaand then tribal. I think Missy shot herself in the foot as soon as she talked about playing with loyalty and integrity, because honestly the only people who can usually really say that are people who simultaneously get dragged for just hiding behind other votes rather than making moves. Reed may have had something there with his reference to not socializing with people outside her alliance (side note: the Broadway Boyfriends have also alluded to her making negative remarks about them being simultaneously gay and Christian, which I would have to hear to make a true judgment call on, but I guess I can kind of see where the anger came from. Again, I think it's still a Reed/Baylor argument sort of case where I personally could find fault and support for both sides simultaneously, and it's not going to make me instantly condemn Missy).

Jaclyn, I think, did very well as far as holding her own and taking credit for influencing Jon and being a truly equal partner in the votes; she wasn't just a consultant. If anything, I think she could have played up using him as a shield a little more -- not sure how to do it without looking like you coasted, but I think making decisions for two people behind the scenes without being an equally visible target is a good skill. I think she probably could have out-talked Keith if it came down to it. But there is nobody who played the game harder than Natalie. Jeremy might have, if he'd gone on longer -- I know there is a lot of support for Josh's game, but I still cannot quite shake that negative too-smart-for-his-own-good vibe I got in the first couple of weeks, so I think Jeremy's better -- but Natalie just played SO hard after he was gone that nobody could have come close.

And she was good at articulating it, too, that's the other thing. Keith's only real claim to fame would have been winning challenges and not making any enemies (besides maybe Missy). Natalie had all that and more (in fact, she had zero enemies). And I'm always really happy when dudes recognize strong women.

I will say that, after being forced to hear Reed's closing speech again, it wasn't quite as bad I remembered. Mostly because I didn't realize it upset Baylor way more than Missy (especially after later comments that Reed was actually the sixth person to attack Missy -- thanks again, editors), and that Missy stayed pretty cool and collected through it, and even basically told her daughter to buck up. Which really just makes me like Missy that much more.

I did not love the live audience cutaways during airing, though. I always think I will, because it feels very exciting when he first comes out and you're reminded that the cast is watching this final episode live now too, and all together, but they're always infinitely embarrassing, especially when he insists upon talking to children. If your child isn't a trained actor, they have no business having a microphone given to them before age 13. They will sound too awkward and unprepared for me to live. And that couple who said they rewatch the whole series every year?? CUCKOO! Your favorite season, sure -- over the past month I've basically rewatched this whole season, minus tribal council, looking for forgotten/overlooked glimpses of Josh and Reed and other favorites -- but not the whole freaking thing. Good lord.

LIVE FINALE
Standout appearances (mostly if not entirely good):
-Natalie's hair looks even more beautiful now that it's all healthy and washed with fresh water and salon styled, but mostly I loved that the neckline of her dress looked like an immunity necklace. In any other context, it would have been gaudy and ruined an otherwise great color and cut of dress, but for the newly crowned Survivor champ? Hell yeah.

-Jaclyn still looks pretty with eye makeup, but she looks like a totally different person. Which is weird, because she has the sort of fair features that are usually super enhanced and made impressive-looking with eye makeup, more than most women, but somehow I prefer less contrast to more on her.

-Jon looks good clean-shaven, but I think I still just want...more from his face. I can't figure out what. It's like it needs more definition, or dimension.

-Missy is another person who looks equally good with or without eye makeup, though it seemed more noticeable on her. (you know how sometimes eye makeup just blends in to where you don't even realize it, even though you would notice if it came off?)

-REED. You'd think I would have talked about this enough already, but I'm sorry, between his mop of curls and neatly trimmed beard and that particularly complimentary flattering color of shirt, I am (not at) all over that.  As opposed to, say...

-Josh, whose open blazer over a T-shirt has a very clashing/homeless shelter look

-JEREMY, FOOL, WHY ARE YOU WEARING A BOWTIE. You just ruined two years of Blaine Anderson's hard work in making them cool again.

Standout statements:
-Jon & Jaclyn are engaged -- which I knew, thanks to my new Twitter PI job, but I loved Jon's fake "Oh, Jeff, we never got over it..." response when asked if they were still together after that fight. I have never wanted two people to start a family more than I want to see them do it. They truly do seem like the All American Golden Couple, right down to their solid middle class white collar jobs (marketing and financial something).

-I hope Reed and Josh's young fans are less crazed than the force Chris Colfer's fanbase throws at him, that's all I can say. I don't want them to have to rethink their Twitter policies.

-I'm still sad that Reed got to talk more than almost anyone else on the live show, but I'm still too busy reeling from the pain of the "nope not apologizing in the slighest" smirk. You can stand by the intent of what you said and still acknowledge that you used some particularly barbed words intended to cut deep. Particularly after Missy told you she'd been a stepmother.

-I am howling with laughter at the mention that Keith can't do anything at work without people throwing "ok. stick to the plan!" at him. I would totally do that too. [side note: he just joined Twitter. "Ole Wesley made me one of these things." I expect hilarity.]

-I enjoyed the super-80s-ness of Keith's wedding photo. Guy actually looks better now, though, oddly enough.

-Non-standout: I'm kind of mad Dale and Kelley didn't get to say anything. Kelley may never have had a chance to have a personality, but Dale seemed like an interesting guy. Certainly more so than Rocker.

-Also, I really appreciate that Reed was so highly visible in the background during all the group hugging moments. I didn't have to take my eye off him for a second.

Post-Show
-I read Jeff's ER recap, and I roll my eyes at hime saying "I don't think this was one of our strongest seasons" (LOL, SHUT IT. BEST SEASON EVER.), but next season...might?...be fun? I've been waiting for them to divide people by job for years. Running back through this season, I think Jon, Jaclyn and Kelley are the only white collar people there would have been. I'm trying to guess which tribe I'll like best and least. I imagine in practice it will end up looking a lot like Brains/Brawns/Beauty, which makes me think I will actually like white collar least despite my innate attraction to smart people, but the real question is, will the blue collars be more like respectable hard workers, or more like unskilled labor? And will the no-collars be genuinely enchanting creative people, or will they be tattoo-covered, eyeroll-inducing Tumblrites?

I'm actually so loath to give up the San Juan del Sur crew (I even know the location name!!), and so further loath to meet new people who obviously don't belong on Survivor, that right now I think the only thing that's going to get me to watch it is the knowledge that Josh and Reed will be too.

-Oh thank god, finally, some feminist outrage on Missy's behalf. The feminist-minded don't spill much ink on Survivor, even though there are always latent complaints about men being favored and considered better players, especially when it comes to picking off the weak women first every year, but not the really bitey stuff.

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