Twist-fucked; (verb) – to be playing a reality competition show and be eliminated because of a twist brought in by the production team of said show
If we went through Survivor history, we would see many a face to be listed under this term. Andrew Savage in Survivor: Pearl Islands and Michelle Yi in Survivor: Cook Islands are a couple that come to mind. And now our dear friend, Malcolm Freberg (technically in Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands… something about those island titles) is unlucky enough to join that group. The path to victory must have been too clear for the Survivor Gods and they decided he needed to go.
It’s a shame too, because I (probably like many of you) absolutely love Malcolm. The guy was a solid narrator, played a good game, and loved being out there. That’s probably what hits the hardcore fans the most – his love for the game! With tears in his eyes, he had to admit defeat and say goodbye on Day-Freaking-12; his worst showing ever. We wanted the best for good ‘ol Malcolm and instead we were handed a beaten and bruised body, struck down by twist-lightning! THE WRATH!
Damn. Well, before I get too into that, let’s recap this thing…
We come back to a built up Mana tribe after successfully voting out Caleb (arguably their strongest challenge asset). Tai gets congratulations from his fellow tribe mates and tells them he made the move for himself – which is honestly just laughable at this point. He tells us he needs to think not with his heart, but with his head.
Let me just take a second to point out that “Tai thinking with his head” would’ve known that by keeping Caleb, the three Kaôh Rōng members would be top dogs on the Mana camp against Sierra and Brad. Not only would they have a very strong tribe in challenges, but the majority should they lose an immunity challenge. THAT, dear Tai, would be thinking with your head. YOU were thinking with your other head… no, not that one. The one named Brad Culpepper.
Anyway, we get to the first challenge (a reward challenge, which is becoming something of the past for the tribal stage of the game) and it’s a bit of a doozy. Only two members can compete – one carrying a ball on a stick and the other throwing bags at poles… you know, when you write these out in their simplified form, they sound super lame. Like, really? Carrying a ball on a stick? PFFFT, what an easy challenge. Of course, when Ozzy is out there competing, EVERYTHING looks like an easy challenge am I right? Also, while first place gets coffee and sugary treats, second place has to settle for a measly thermos of coffee. I mean, the difference between first and second place is gigantic. I almost would rather lose and have no coffee, because why temp my poor taste buds just to make them suffer after the coffee is gone? Just me? Hm..
Nuku pulls out a win and surprises nobody. The real Cinderella story is Mana winning over Tavua! Mana had a huge deficit thanks to Tai, but our new good friend BRAD FUCKING CULPEPPER brought back the victory. He was literally like a terminator machine throwing sand bags and hitting pole after pole after pole (kudos to Hali for the simile) with his accuracy. Honestly, big applause for you BFC!
We head over to the Tavua camp and everyone’s pretty beat down after losing that challenge. Especially Troyzan because, you know, he was already on the outs and his ineptitude to hit poles lost them the challenge putting him even further on the outs. The guy can’t catch a break, I’ll tell you what. But you know who isn’t sad about losing? You know who is actually thrilled to be needed at camp? Resident fish-monkey-cheetah, Ozzy. He’s stoked! With the loss, he can bring back all the fish his little heart can handle and be the provider for his tribe mates (something he knows very well and is comfortable doing). It’s interesting hearing Ozzy say he’s excited to be the provider because if history does repeat itself, it won’t bring him the win. But I guess if history repeats itself, it will bring him to the merge. Pros and cons.
Back on Nuku beach, Sandra is running her tribe like the queen she is and will not stop. She knows she’s the queen and knows nobody else is even thinking of taking down the power player. EXCEPT THAT’S LITERALLY NOT WHAT’S HAPPENING, SANDRA. I have to give major kudos to the editors because just as Sandra finishes her queen confessional, we get JT and Malcolm conspiring to get rid of her. It’s perfect television.
JT knows he’s on the bottom and knows Malcolm would want to get rid of Sandra. All they have to do is get the troops together and vote her ass outta here! It’s an easy plan. It’s a plan that’ll work. It’s a… oh… wait sorry, Probst is coming in to fuck everything up.
As we head to the next challenge, we learn that TWO tribes will be going to tribal council. Okay, not so bad. I’m in for a double dose of tribal.
The challenge itself is a Survivor classic – have blindfolded people run around collecting stuff – added onto another Survivor staple – balance balls through a labyrinth. The blindfolded part of the challenge will forever be a favorite of mine. Just the juxtaposition of the caller, who is usually not heard well, with the runners, who are always asking “what did they say?” or “I can’t hear you!” And, of course, someone always runs into something. Only this time, it’s after they take off their blindfolds… which is even more hilarious honestly. People like Malcolm make the show fun even if just for being a goofball.
Alright so Tavua comes in with the closer, sending both Nuku and Mana to tribal council. Once Tavua has left (because letting them know the next part of the twist will totally detract from their reactions at the next challenge when they see the tribes for the first time), Probst fills us in on part two of the twist. Both tribes will be at the same tribal council and they will ALL vote for one person to send home. This is a Survivor first (and at this point in the show, I’m hoping a Survivor last), so I figured we’d do a SurvivorBuff first and give you a new mini piece in our recaps called, ‘The Break Down’. Let’s get to it.
The Break Down
THE TWIST: Two tribes will enter tribal council and collectively vote for one player.
Let me start by saying, I’m all for new twists being introduced into the Survivor realm. But I need them to be realistic twists, not just gimmicky ploys to make the audience feel excited, and that’s what this feels like. People on either tribe have to try to guess where the other tribe is going to throw votes (especially if an idol is out there). There’s not a lot of time to make deals and there’s not a lot of cross-tribal strategizing that can go on (I mean could you imagine if the tribes went back to one beach together to then strategize who would go home? I would 100% vote for that twist). It’s a Hail Mary “I hope we chose right” vote and that’s not what Survivor is about.
PROBABLE STRATEGIES: Take out the other tribe’s biggest physical threat. You’ll eliminate an asset to their tribe and get rid of a “late game” threat. Seemingly cannot be flawed. Others strategies include target the only two-time winner ever, target the only other winner at tribal, or target Tai because he’s clearly a flip-floppy mess. I think the former is probably the better of these ideas.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Allow the tribes to go back to their camps to strategize and give them time to find an idol if they want. Have them all meet at a neutral zone before tribal to strategize between the two tribes. Then bring everyone to tribal together and continue on. This gives all players to talk to their current tribes, old/new players, search for idols, and form a game plan.
I really do think with a few tweaks, it could be a staple twist that is randomly thrown into the game. I think that would work well. But as it stands, no. My vote is cast… this twist gets the boot.
We get to tribal council and it’s kind of a shit show. People are literally getting out of their spots to talk to members of the other tribe. People are whispering to each other, yelling at one another, and form half-baked plans. There’s a scene where both tribes huddle together next to one another… it’s nutty. I’m pretty certain they all just stuck with their original plans anyway, but it was a fun tribal from a viewer standpoint. Never have I seen a more chaotic scene in Survivor history.
JT tells Brad they’re voting for Sierra. Nuku talks about voting out Brad. Mana throws out Sandra’s name. Tai debates whether he should use the idol he found. And even when we go to vote, Hali isn’t sure what she’s supposed to do! She pulls out her best lawyer speak and says, “I didn’t consent.” I mean… it’s glorious television. The perfect storm that the producers were undoubtedly looking for.
When all is said and done, Tai uses his idol on Sierra (actually, our boy BRAD FUCKING CULPEPPER tells Tai to use it on Sierra which, of course, Tai obliges to his every whim) and Malcolm is sent home. It’s crazy and wild and exciting, but overly sad. Tears brim in Malcolm’s eyes as he gives his parting words, now out of the game he truly loves.
We’ll miss you Malcolm and we’ll never forget the big twist-fuck of 2017.
That’s it for this recap (check out our recap from Episode 2)! Be sure to catch the new content this week (Bad news- I scored low in my power ranking. Good news- we ALL scored low in our power rankings) and definitely check out What Went Wrong, where I’ll have a hard time pinpointing exactly where Malcolm fumbled.
But now it’s your turn. What’re your thoughts on the twist? Are you sad to see Malcom leave so early? And is there a scenario that Tai wins? Let us know in the comments below!