A review of tonight's "Survivor" coming up just as soon as I come down with a case of crybabyitis...
After the giddy rush I had jumping back into the "Survivor" pool last week, episode two reminded me of some of the reasons I'd become wary of the show before, and also why all-star seasons are often more fun in theory than in practice.
When you watch the show long enough, you begin to get a strong sense of how the editing works. So when the two teams headed to an Immunity Challenge midway through an episode where the only talk of voting someone out came from the Heroes' camp, I knew they were gonna lose and go to Tribal Council - just as I knew that the vote would go against Stephenie and not Amanda, since Amanda had gotten precious little screen time this week. So I had to sit through the Immunity Challenge, the plotting afterwards, and Tribal Council all knowing what the outcomes would be.
And, in the process, I had to sit through a bunch of the "Heroes" - Stephenie and James in particular - being really unpleasant to each other.
With the exception of Boston Rob, no player has returned to the game a second time and become more likable, and often it's less. Colby looked bored and less than invincible in All-Stars (as he does here). Stephenie came back for Guatemala and seemed much more obnoxious in success than she'd been in repeated defeat on Palau. And James somehow managed to be a complete ass about how the Immunity Challenge went, even though he was exactly right. That was one of the uglier Tribal Councils I can remember, capped off by James continuing to be a jerk even in victory when he told Stephenie "Shut your mouth" after she vented when she was voted off.
It certainly doesn't help that the Heroes have lost twice now - either they really stink at puzzles or they simply lack a puzzle savant like Rob - and therefore have had to turn on each other. The only tension on the Villains team at the moment came from Rob's fainting spell(*) and then from Russell's predictable jealousy that Rob has become his team's leader while no one is bowing at his altar. The Heroes, meanwhile, are eating each other alive, and it ain't pretty (and not just because the current dominant alliance features a couple of players I dislike in Rupert and James, where Tom currently looks to be in big trouble).
(*) I believe that Rob did have a moment of exhaustion, but how much of his tearful speech do you reckon was authentic, versus Rob vying for attention? It doesn't seem like him to pull such a move, but he's also such a reality show veteran at this point that he has to know how to create a memorable moment.
So, so far this season, we've had one episode I loved and one that really annoyed me. We've got one more episode to break the tie before the NBC comedies come back, but if it's another one like last night's, I think I may walk away before I start to hate everybody on this season.
What did everybody else think?