Survivor: One World Review, Season 24, Episode 15, Reunion
Airs Wednesdays at 8pm (ET) on CBS
Although they tend to focus on a few contestants, Survivor reunions always include standout moments that make them worth the extra hour. This year’s has more than its share of highlights, with many coming from Jeff Probst himself. He asks questions to the wrong people, interviews random audience members, and seems more flustered than usual. That said, he’s also having a great time and keeps the mood light. The kinder tone of the final Tribal Council sticks around for the reunion, with even Colton and Alicia not coming off terribly. She gives a heartfelt apology that feels genuine and shows that at least she realizes her conduct was troublesome. The one exception to the love fest is Troyzan, who compares himself to Richard Hatch and still won’t admit he got played. Sporting ridiculous dyed black hair, he lacks self-awareness but doesn’t seem to bother anyone too much at least.
Kim looks gorgeous and comes off really well because she’s so humble. It’s clear why everyone likes her, and Sabrina and Chelsea don’t seem angry about losing. This is one of the most likable trios at the end, so it doesn’t lead to any silly drama. Kim also wins another $100,000 as the fan favorite, which completes her utter domination. She’s certain to return for an All-Star season, and it will be interesting to see how she does. Although her performance places a huge target on her back, it’s possible the more arrogant winners would get more attention. If she can survive the early going, Kim would have a strong chance to go far once again.
It’s no surprise that Jeff spends an entire segment focusing on Colton and his hateful comments toward Bill and many others. He heads into the audience and talks to Colton’s mom, who’s obviously uncomfortable but does her best. Then it gets weird. The next speaker is Mayim Bialik from Blossom, who thinks Colton is great TV. Jeff may claim this isn’t a plug for her role on The Big Bang Theory, but that seems pretty unlikely. Even stranger is the next guy, who’s a random fan who likes Colton. Several actual contestants don’t even get a chance to speak, including the injured Kortney. Why is Jeff talking to that guy? Colton basically apologizes and says he’s learned a lesson, but it doesn’t seem entirely sincere. He can’t help but continue to play a character in front of the cameras. After watching this segment, it’s clear that Colton will be back soon to play again. It feels like a set-up for next spring’s season, which is rumored to contain a bunch of returning players.
Matt just can’t get a break. Jeff calls on him early, but the question asks about the guys choosing to go to Tribal Council and giving up immunity. Matt had already been voted out at that time, and this is his only chance to talk. Tarzan receives more time and manages to slide in as many big words as he can. He was very cranky on the island at times, but he did make for great television. In other news, Leif gives a sweet shout-out to his wife, and everyone really likes Jonas. He might have a shot to return despite a 12th-place finish. Sabrina and Chelsea also come off well, though they don’t get much of a chance to speak. Unfortunately, all the focus on Colton cramps the available time for the others.
Next season will finally get away from Samoa and have three tribes competing in the Philippines. This is the first time Survivor has visited that country, so it’s a welcome change. The new twist is bringing back three returning players that were all medically evacuated from the game. Although some fans may want to see gravedigger James, Bruce, or even Colton, the rumored picks are intriguing. There’s been no official confirmation, but it sounds like Jonathan Penner, Mike Skupin, and Russell Swan are the choices. Penner is a smart, fun guy who provided great television during his first two appearances. It will be intriguing to see how Skupin adjusts to a game that has changed dramatically since his appearance way back in season two. Swan is a question mark because he left pretty early from the first Samoa season. His exit was one of the more harrowing evacuations in the show’s history, so the doctors will likely be extra careful.
Considering Survivor: One World on the whole, it falls somewhere in the lower middle of the 24 seasons. The entertainment value was pretty high because of strange moves and over-the-top characters. However, the game play from individuals not named Kim fell short of providing much excitement. The finale was pretty dull even though it crowned one of the show’s most deserving winners. Too many players are still following the Christina route and just lie low to avoid elimination. Jonas puts it well at the reunion when he talks about his regret at not playing harder. The producers need to focus more on choosing intelligent players who both understand the game and are fun characters. Kim sets the bar high for game play, and a season filled with players on her level would offer the intriguing strategy that’s been missing from recent years.