Well, we're back to Palau for the second week of Survivor: Micronesia - Fans vs. Favorites. What's that, you say? You watched the debut last week but didn't see a post about it on here? Well, technical difficulties prevented the recap from being posted. (And by technical difficulties, I mean that I wrote the review directly in the browser, and when my browser crashed before posting, away went the recap!)
So as I said, we're back. No sense doing all the introductions now that we're into week #2 (if you still don't know who's on the show, head on over to the Survivor: Micronesia website). The show kicked off with the Favorites tribe coming back from tribal council, where they voted off the ever-frustrating Jonny Fairplay. Somehow, on the way back, Ozzy managed to catch a fish with his bare hands. So first he dominates pretty much all the challenges on Cook Islands and now he's catching fish at night without a spear. Oh yeah, and the former beauty pageant contestant / hiking guide Amanda (from last fall's China) also likes making out with him in caves. Just so we're clear, Ozzy's the kind of guy that makes every other man on the planet hate themselves.
Of course, that late-night make-out session between Amanda and Ozzy was noticed by both Jonathan and Cirie, who were awake at the time tending the fire. Combined with the flirting between James and Parvati, it was enough for Cirie to get worried and make a quasi-alliance with Jonathan, in essence also joining him in the alliance with Ami, Yau-Man, and Eliza. I'm not entirely fond of Eliza and Ami, as both of them kind of rubbed me the wrong way on Vanuatu, but as long as Yau-Man is in a majority alliance, I'm happy!
With all the romance going on at the Favorites camp, there was just as much turmoil at the Fans camp. Having just acquired flint after winning the Immunity Challenge last week, the group was having trouble getting a fire going, using up half the flint in the process. Meanwhile, the trio of Kathy, Chet, and Tracy just wanted to get their horrible shelter re-built so they could finally get a good night's sleep. Unfortunately, both projects required the machete, and the group of 3 were left out (and to top it off, "called out" for not doing any work, when as it appeared, all they wanted to do was work).
After they finally got access to the machete, Kathy and Tracy decided they'd clear out a nearby cave and lay some palms down for everyone to sleep out of the rain for one night, but Jason was there telling them that it was his spot and they weren't going to be sleeping near him that night. Feeling like outsiders only 4 days into the game, they went off and built a kick-ass shelter for just the 3 of them (Tracy's a commercial and residential builder, after all). When the other 7 saw how good it was, they tried to mend fences and get some help building their own shelter, and at around the same time (at least in TV time) they finally got fire and could get some food and water in them.
The tribes headed to the challenge, which once again this week was a two-in-one: immunity and reward (fishing gear) were both up for grabs. The three-part challenge (5 tribe members swimming out to smash and then retrieve a key, 1 tribe member using the keys to open a chest, and then 3 tribe members grabbing puzzle pieces from the chest to make a puzzle) was one of the better challenges of the last few years. I always like multi-part challenges where one person's mistake can screw up the game -- it creates more drama -- and this one definitely had one of those situations. Ozzy dominated his portion of the swimming challenge to start off, but the Fans and Favorites were still pretty close together until Chet knocked off his key but then couldn't find it on the ocean floor. And instead of coming back in right away, he kept looking, eventually sauntering in (which got big Joel pretty mad). The Fans couldn't come back from this set-back, and the Favorites got their first challenge victory.
The 2 twists with this challenge involved the return of Exile Island and a hidden immunity idol (though most viewers knew Exile Island was coming) and the fact that not only would the winning tribe pick a member of the losing tribe to go to Exile, but they'd also pick a member of their own tribe to head to Exile. 2 castaways, 1 hidden immunity idol. Unfortunately for Kathy and Cirie, who were sent to and volunteered to go to Exile Island respectively, there wasn't a lot of searching, and more a lot of walking and swimming from island to island following clue after clue. And in the end, it got them back to their own beach and unable to find an idol there.
Meanwhile, back at the Fans camp, Mikey B was trying to organize a vote that would save the 7 in the majority from any shenanigans, should Kathy come back with the immunity idol and give it to Chet (who was on the hot seat after single-handedly costing them the challenge). Of course, all his vote-splitting scenarios were becoming confusing, and pissing off Joel (that guy gets angry a lot!), so despite Joel not liking the 3 outsiders, he decided it'd be best to knock Mikey B down a little bit. Since they'll need the guy for challenges, Joel thought voting out Mary -- Mikey B's closest ally and flirt partner out on the island -- would be the best option. This new plan shocked Kathy, Chet, and Tracy, but it seemed like they were down with it. Meanwhile, Mikey B thought the vote splitting thing between Chet and Tracy was still going down, and Joel wasn't sure if people would be on to him for secretly talking to people all around camp and that he'd be sent home. It's episode 2, and I'm already annoyed with a pile of these new players! But it's definitely entertaining.
At Tribal Council, Jeff went after Chet for his bad showing at the challenge, and then seemed a bit surprised when told that the tribe actually had 2 shelters (is this the first time a tribe has split up so early and obviously?). Erik said that Chet definitely should be worried, seeing as how he's outside of the majority and not as physically fit as the rest of the group, while Joel said he doesn't know anybody that well yet and wouldn't really care who gets sent home at this point (and also wouldn't be surprised if it was him). The vote, however, didn't end up surprising him, as his plan worked. With Chet and Tracy each taking 2 "split" votes from Mikey B's original plan, and Mary getting everyone else's, Mary was the second person voted out of Survivor: Micronesia.
I'm always entertained by blindsides on Survivor (unless it's a personal favourite of mine, which wasn't a problem with Mary) because that to me is what makes the game so fun and unpredictable, which in turn makes for good television. I'm also kind of disappointed with the negative reactions Kathy has been getting from the rest of her tribe. Sure, she's outspoken and has stuck her foot in her mouth a couple times so far, but she seems genuinely nice and funny, doesn't seem to take herself too seriously, and is one of my early favourites (obviously not a favourite to win the thing -- I'm still predicting Erik goes far for the Fans and Jonathan has some legs on the Favorites side -- but certainly a favourite character to watch out there). I hope she manages to stick around a few more weeks, even though so far she's still in the minority group, because the show gets so melodramatic at times that it's a welcome break to get some much-needed humour on the show.
Note: There may not be a recap next week because I'll be down in Los Angeles covering the 80th Annual Academy Awards, but I'll certainly try to catch the show on time (using my trusty new Slingbox) and post a review for all you Survivor fans out there.
Paul Little is the founder and Managing Editor of ShowbizMonkeys.com. When not interviewing his favourite musicians and comedians, he can also be found at The Purple Room in Winnipeg, where he is Artistic Director. (@comedygeek)