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    Survivor 27.9, “My Brother’s Keeper”: Predictable votes leave the game wide open

    Considering the tremendous amount of footage that’s shot on each day of Survivor, it’s remarkable that the stories flow so smoothly. The combination of camp life, challenges, and Tribal Council works swiftly to keep the audience engaged throughout the hour. When the producers choose to cram two eliminations into one episode, it cranks up the pace to a ridiculous level. The story becomes a frenetic ride through challenge/Tribal Council/challenge/Tribal Council, with a bit of strategy thrown in the middle. The downside is the lack of much context to the votes and alliances set in place for the future. On the other hand, it avoids the drag of predictable exits. Vytas and Tina are the obvious choices to go next, and the cracks are just a set up for the battles to come. They join Aras at Redemption Island for an epic battle that will remove either a former winner or one of the season’s most intriguing players. More

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    Survivor 27.8, “Skin of My Teeth”: Time to overthrow the king!

    In one of the most telegraphed blindsides in Survivor history, this week’s vote flips the game on its head and pushes the once-confident leaders to the brink. Rarely have the editors spent this much time setting up a pivotal blindside. Unlike nervous players like Monica and Laura Morett, Aras doesn’t have a past failure to make him worry. He’s confident that the game will work out and doesn’t recognize the danger of standing in front. The key mistake is trusting that Gervase and Tyson will let the couples run the show. And that’s hardly the only miscalculation. Tina makes a ridiculous gaffe and tells Monica she’s fifth on the totem pole. The amazing part is that she sells it like a benefit. It takes some convincing from Tyson, but Tina’s comment sends Monica scurrying for the exits from a sinking ship. This foolish reveal from such a normally wise player shows that complacency can ruin anyone in this game. More

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    Survivor 27.6, “One-Man Wrecking Ball” showcases an old-school player’s greatness

    In the pre-merge game of Survivor, it’s easy to think too far ahead and step into the muck. During her first appearance in One World, Kat believed in her alliance and felt betrayed when they kicked her out. She was a fun character who talked constantly and didn’t really understand the game. Kat’s goofy personality drew a return invitation, and she has spent this season under the radar. Of course, this week reminds us that changing your limited game isn’t so easy. More

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    Survivor 27.1, “Blood is Thicker than Anything”: Family twists pay off in weirdly satisfying premiere

    When the many twists was announced for the new Survivor season, it felt like the producers were over compensating for a flimsy premise. Besides having a silly name, the Blood vs. Water concept introduced elements that didn’t mesh with the formula. How could family members vote each other out and truly compete for a million dollars? The challenge is selling that concept without making it feel cheap. When it’s added to Redemption Island and its related twists, the danger grows larger. More