Survivor Season 26 Recap: Fans Vs. Favorites 2.0

Survivor Caramoan Recap

Be aware there are Survivor Spoilers ahead.
When I first heard that survivor is doing fans vs. favorites 2.0 I was very excited, the first fans vs. favorites was very fun with many memorable events. When the first episode aired I had goose bumps like I always have before every new season of survivor but ... Yes there is a but .When the favorites are high caliber players the viewers get the first glimpse to their returning players with the fans that play against them, or they get few glimpses at their faces as they being brought to the location by a chopper / boat.  in this case it was different Jeff introduced the favorites in mid flight but what worried me even more was that he took he's time and went to detail regarding most of the favorites. If that isn't a red flag I don't know what is. When you hear Jeff declare for the first challenge of the game "Cochran and Francesca for the favorites" you know that this statement can't sound more absurd than it is. It felt like the favorites for this Survivor season lacked substantial star power. I got the feeling that some of them were picked for various reasons none of those reasons made them worthy for the honor of being a favorites.

Why the current favorites are not top edge players ... here is why:
Andrea and Dawn didn’t do anything worth remembering from their seasons.
Erik was obviously returned to redeem himself for doing one of the biggest mistakes in survivor history. 
Cochran, Philip and Brandon tend to mumble about nonsense nonstop and it is always entertaining to watch characters like that go at it against the world, the fact that the last two are out of their minds does help enjoying the show even more. 
Malcolm and Brenda are probably the only ones that can be called real stars from this star lacked bunch of favorites. If you try real hard you can add Corinne to this pair she showed potential in her season but didn’t have the chance to really shine and have a substantial impact on the game. 

What leaves us with Francesca, this girl was sent home as the first person in her season. Can somebody please explain to me how was she chosen to be brought back? The only thing that does come up in my head is the conflict she had with Philip in her season but that is not enough for a person to be brought back. Initially when I saw how the events develop in the first survivor episode from season 26 and I got the feeling she will be voted first at this season as well, i thought to myself production screwed up with her but when Jeff goes and says something like "history been made and a Francesca been sent home first twice", that was a nice recovery by Jeff Probst and made me think like it was planned all along.

As for the fans they tend to show potential and it looks like most of them know what they are doing, they were swift at breaking the two pairs and sending Alie and Hope home just to get the two boys in line.
The fact that the two hidden idols were found in the first few days of the game and one of its holders was discovered immediately says a lot about the sharp players we got this season.

Loosing Shamar due to an eye injury for the fans tribe didn’t make everything good again because they loosed another challenge but the 5 people alliance decided to make a change and sent home Laura. 

Meantime at the favorites camp Brandon had a full mode meltdown after Andrea shared with Brandon that Philip doesn’t really trust Brandon, that small remark made Brandon spill the rise and the beans (lucky we didn’t see Brandon piss in the rise like he promised to). Brandon was ready to go physico on Philip, until Erik caught Brandon and let Philip gain distance between Brandon and himself. It didn’t end here, at the immunity challenge Brandon went apshit crazy on Philip again after the favorites decided to through the challenge to get rid of Brandon. All this going on while members of the Fans tribe stand shocked from the sudden events and don’t necessarily know how to take it. It amazed me that something like that didn’t happened before (26 seasons, 13 years) but when you put two nut jobs like Philip and Brandon together you will get an outburst. I knew Brandon was unstable from the previous season he attended but this time he surprised me even more. Who would believe that the legendary Russell Hanse is related to the most unstable player that ever played survivor - Brandon?

We didn’t have a chance to completely get what happened with Brandon and Jeff declares that it’s time to mix stuff up and switch tribes. The obvious victims of the switch are the Fans in particularly Matt who gets voted out in suspicion of having an idol and later on Julia.

When the tribes merged that’s where the game got really interesting. On one hand we had Malcolm who gathered an all man alliance and on the other hand you had Corinne who brought her gay Michael to the table. Everything looked good until Corinne started repeating the same mistakes she made the first time she played survivor. She was too aggressive and shared "top secret" information to people from the stealth alliance's inner circle (Dawn). 
In a beautiful blindside Corrine was voted out but this move proved to everyone what a great player Malcolm really is. Malcolm was the one that constructed the move but let Corrine take the fall with her aggressive strategy that berried her, although the coup attempt didn’t work (because Erik was still in shock from his first time around) Malcolm wasn’t in bad spirits because the only person that knew that he has the hidden immunity idol is gone and the rest of the players feel good about themselves because they think that they got rid of the head of the snake, how horribly wrong they are. Like Malcolm said himself.

Michael was sent next only because he was a safe vote of not having the idol. but something strange happened just before Reynold was about to play his hidden idol Malcolm jumped and asked Reynold for the idol because he was sure he was going next (I thought so too) but the Stealth Are Us alliance targeted Michael and Malcolm was saved. This group of players (Stealth Are Us alliance) is playing it safe they are petrified from the hidden immunity idols and I understand why when Malcolm and Reynold are in the mix.

What happened in episode 10 in this Fans vs. Favorites survivor season is something you wait 10 episodes to see. Reynold wins the immunity challenge and is safe for the tribal council, Malcolm being such a great clutch player as he is finds the second immunity idol just before the tribal. Malcolm pulls the Idol he just found and he is safe, everybody was ready for that because Dawn and Andrea saw Malcolm find the Idol. Malcolm is safe what happens next can be described as chaotic when Malcolm pulls the second idol and gives it to Eddie. Stealth Are Us alliance is in pure shock, they don’t even listen to Jeff scrambling between them selves figuring out what to do next. And then suddenly Erik wakes up from his long sleep and states something I didn’t think about "maybe Eddie and Malcolm don’t even intend to play the Idols". When Phillip is voted out from the game Malcolm's reaction says it all, he didn’t intend to play his idol he just wanted to create chaos. 

In episode 11 my fears came true and Malcolm is sent home after he put his trust at the wrong people again Erik and Sherri and that's a shame he made this season so crazy and interesting. This season solidified Malcolm as a top notch player at the same level with the top dogs. He wasn't afraid making big moves. Unfortunately they didn't work for him this time

The next few days were not really eventful, that probably explains the double tribal council in episode 12. Everything started with an immunity challenge where Andrea and Brenda went head to head for four hours. Andrea eventually won the immunity and a clue for the hidden immunity idol which she shared with her alliance of six. From here on it was déjà woo once again with Erik's stupidity. 
The dude finds the hidden immunity Idol and passes it over to Andrea. To his defense everybody saw him find it and if it would be a different player making that move I would say that he is avoiding the major danger that the hidden immunity idol brings to the table especially when everyone knows that the idol is in Erik's possession but with Erik it's different I bet the guy didn't even thought about the scenario that I just described. Erik tends to make stupid moves on instinct. 

Meanwhile Andrea marks Brenda as her next target, or that's what we are made to think in the tribal where Reynold is voted out. Another guy that I was rooting for is gone. Reynold played a good game with the tools he had but in the long run it wasn’t enough.

The Brenda vs. Andrea battle is postponed for the next tribal where Andrea was blindsided in a perfect Cochran maneuver. Coming to this season I didn't think Andrea won the right to be called a favorite. This season she proved me wrong and Andrea was one of the strongest players this season. Andrea's biggest mistake was probably timing like most players mentioned in this season. Andrea tried to take out people from her alliance too soon and most importantly shared too much of her thoughts with the wrong people (Cochran). 

Next one to go in the most painful blindside so far was Brenda after giving up the loved ones reward to the people who sent her home. Maybe this is the time to say that giving away stuff for the tribe never works out for the giver like Brenda learned in episode 13. Overall Brenda had a strange game. She was one of my favorites from the beginning but she didn’t do nothing important, she started to shine a little as the game progressed when there were fewer people around. Still that wasn’t enough and I expected a lot more from Brenda this season. 

Immediately after the tribal with Brenda ended the weirdest thing happens, Erik is evacuated from the game due to exhaustion. This was so weird as if it was fate that this looser will be taken out just before the end. Overall Erik didn’t do nothing in this game. Last time he played I remembered him for something (not something good but still i remembered him), this time he was afraid of his own shadow. He didn’t make any moves when there where plenty of opportunities, there were people that wanted to work with him but he was ... I don’t even know what was he doing this entire season. The funny thing is that in the reunion show he sat there ignored by everyone and wasn't even addressed during the show. 

if we are talking about the reunion show, I noticed something different this time. Only the final 3 and the jury participated in this reunion show. The rest of the players that were voted out in the early stages of the game were practically ignored, sure production showed them sitting in the first rows but they were not addressed. Most likely because of the Brandon fiasco that everyone in survivor will want to forget as soon as possible.

The next morning Cochran started to work on Eddie securing his vote to send Dawn home in case Eddie wins immunity. When the challenge monster Cochran won the advantage and later on the last immunity challenge he had a clear path to his goal and at this point it was his game to lose. 

I think that Sherri was underestimated in this Survivor Caramoan season, she controlled her fans tribe from the beginning but when stuff flipped on everybody’s head Sherri still managed to get to the final 3. I think that Sherri lacked some luck in her game because she showed a lot of potential and she could really impact the game if events where a little different.

Dawn and Cochran played the same game but as it was mentioned during this Survivor Caramoan season Dawn had a lot of mental breakdowns, paranoia attacks and constant crying. With all that said Dawn played a very good game, the problem was that Cochran played better. Cochran dominated at the last immunity challenges (when it mattered the most), had a great strategic game taking out his opponents in the perfect timing when they didn’t expect it and most of all did it with class. Cochran didn’t show any weaknesses, this season he was always calm and calculated. Survivor Caramoan final tribal proved how prepared he was for every question that the jury through at him. What I loved the most in this Survivor finale about Cochrane was that he wasn’t apologetic about his game. no doubt this season's survivor winner deserved to win the game. 

I had my doubts regarding the favorite picks for this Survivor season 26 but despite my initial thoughts this Survivor Caramoan Season turned up to be one of the most enjoyable and coolest season so far.

About Sasha Shapiro

Sasha is the founder and editor of Cool Reviews Rule. He is very passionate about Movies, TV Shows and some Books. His favorite genres are: Action, Fantasy, History, Horror, Sci-fi and Adventure.
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