Survivor Worlds Apart - Episode 5 Recap
We're Finally Playing Some Survivor
By Jim Van Nest, Survivor Analyst
March 23, 2015

Worst. Mastermind. Ever.

And we're back with Part 2 of this week's double-decker Survivor Worlds Apart. I'm writing this intro prior to either episode and I'm testing out my prognosticating skills. My thought is that after last week's predictable episode, we might be in for another clunker in Ep 4. I'm expecting Ep 5, however, to be fantastic, which would make great sense. Instead of stretching a dull streak into three weeks, stomp it with an awesome Episode 5. Right? RIGHT?

Anyway, we just watched Blue Collar in their first Tribal Council where there was a three-way tie between Rodney, Sierra and Lindsey. On the re-vote, Lindsey was unanimously voted out of the game. Ultimately, not a great episode of Survivor, so like I predicted, we roll right into Episode 5 in hopes of breaking a two-week mediocre streak.

As you would expect, we go straight from Tribal Council back to the Blue Collar camp for the aftermath of the Lindsey vote. As you would expect, Sierra is not happy with the outcome. Things had become personal with Rodney. So, not only did she lose her bestie, but the tribe sided with a chauvinistic meathead over her girl. Her game is screwed, her friend is gone AND she still has to share space with Rodney and Dan. All in all, a horrible night for Sierra.

She wants to know who voted for her. Mike breaks it down by saying that she only got votes to ensure against a possible idol. That's as simply put as it can be. Dan tells her that the only way they can move on is if they air their grievances. This sounds like the perfect time for Sierra to tell the rest of the tribe everything she's feeling and how upset she is at the way that tribal went. So, naturally, before she can even open her mouth, Dan decides to let her know how shitty her challenge performances have been. She bagged out of the puzzle in Challenge One. She missed a lot of shots in Challenge Two (even though they won that challenge). Yeah, um, Dan? If I can have a word for a second...if the goal is tribe unity and bringing Sierra back into the mix, it's probably not best to launch into a soliloquy wherein you bash everything about her game. Granted, you made it on the show and I never have, but I feel pretty confident on this one. He could very easily have said, "Look, I'm sorry we voted your friend out. Bottom line, you are more valuable to this tribe, both at camp and in challenges. So is Rodney and that's why Lindsey had to go. We're keeping the tribe strong. We really want you to be a part of that tribal strength."

You have to talk this person up, not bash her. Or else, when a tribe swap/merge situation arises, she'll jump ship on you in a heartbeat. To make matters worse, Rodney jumps on the pile. Does it really matter what he said? Um, no. Mike does his best to stop the pile-on and try to bring her back into the fold, but the damage is done. At this point, I'm not sure there is anything that would bring her back in with the group.

And with that, we get another early episode Probst Sighting!!! White Collar and No Collar are getting their first look at the new Blue Collar tribe - and also getting their last look at the Blue Collar tribe. "Drop your buffs!" As we head to break, Sierra tells us how thrilled she is for the swap and how the rest of her tribe is dead to her.

So, we come back as everyone drops their buffs. Jeff lets us know that the yellow tribe is done. There will only be the blue tribe, Escameca and the red tribe, Nagarote. Now I have to learn tribe names, dammit. Everyone draws buffs and the new tribes are like this:

Escameca (Blue): Mike (BC), Dan (BC), Rodney (BC), Sierra (BC), Tyler (WC), Joaquin (WC) and Joe (NC).

Nagarote (Red): Jenn (NC), Hali (NC), Will (NC), Max (WC), Shirin (WC), Carolyn (WC) and Kelly (BC)

And for anyone reading this, if you don't see the problem almost immediately, I'll spell it out. I'm not sure there's any way these tribes could have been split up any more unfairly. I get it. Life's not fair, especially in Survivor. However, by taking the three best challenge performers from the other two tribes and putting them with the Blue Collars, they have created what could be a monster tribe that never loses another challenge. Sure, anything can happen, but these tribes are SO unbalanced, it makes the challenges in this episode rather painful to watch.

When re-dividing tribes, I don't think it's too much to ask to at least try to keep the competitive balance in the game. Maybe have a men's buff plate and a women's buff plate, so each tribe can at least have a matching amount of boys and girls - especially considering that production seems to have escalated the challenges this year and strength seems to be a commodity. Sierra is devastated to be stuck with most of her tribe, whom she considers to be bad people. But she plans to make some alliances with the new guys. Not surprisingly, Kelly is a little freaked out being the lone Blue Collar on her tribe.

But forget all that for now, we have a reward challenge to play. Today we're playing an old Survivor favorite - the same challenge that knocked out JT's tooth in Tocantins. One person for each tribe will launch balls out into a playing field while the others will try to catch them in over-sized lacrosse baskets. First tribe to catch five balls, of either color, wins reward. The reward this time is a full kitchen set, including spices and sausages. Since the White Collar beach will have no tribe, any rewards won by White Collar will also go to the winning tribe.

To start off, Nagarote scores the first point. After that; Joe, Mike and Joaquin pretty well take over and win the challenge 5-2 - only because Will caught a second ball as Mike caught the game winner. Seriously, the outcome of this challenge was never in question. As we head to break, Carolyn tells us how excited SHE was for the swap, and then she sees that she ended up staying on a tribe with Max and Shirin. "What is this, are the Survivor Gods trying to kill me?"

We come back from break to check in on the Red tribe (that's right, screw the names!). Hali breaks down the split and notices Kelly as a potential swing. She does say she plans to sit back and watch a little rather than making a hard press on her. Shirin tells us the same thing, but she chooses to go after Kelly hardcore. Kelly tells us she's an undercover cop and she realizes that she can't sit back and wait. She needs to get out there and start making relationships.

Shirin basically offers her a deal and, noting the first rule of Survivor...Shirin asked Kelly if she was a God and Kelly says, "Yes." Shirin is stoked and tells us all about how she just threw out the bait and reeled Kelly in to her alliance. Yeah, I'm not so sure about that. You can't just assume that after one conversation, five minutes after hitting the beach, you're golden.

Now it's time to check in with Blue. The white collars are blown away by how nice this camp is. Mike is loving the new breakdown of his tribe. He has a 4-2-1 advantage with the numbers. But he's really concerned with how Rodney and Dan ripped into Sierra the previous night and he's concerned that she'll become a swing vote here and could tip the balance in favor of Joaquin, Tyler and Joe. So his plan is to try to pull her back in with the Blue Collars to keep their number advantage strong.

As part of the get-to-know-yous, Rodney tells the story of his sister again. Joaquin seems to really like Rodney. And that's not a surprise, they're pretty much the same guy, just with different jobs. His plan is to get to know Rod tonight and start to decide how he wants to play this. At this point, Mike heads off to get water and Dan and Rodney go with him. Knowing that Sierra is a wild card at this point, this trio of chucklenuts actually left her alone with the three new people in camp. It takes like three seconds before Sierra spills everything about what's been going on over there. She tells them how bummed she was to see she's still got these three on her tribe. She's very happy to have the new blood, though, and practically throws herself at them in an attempt to align.

Tyler loves this turn of events. He sees her as broken and he wants all of the broken people to come to him. Mike sees them talking and is instantly concerned. He tells us that he really needs her as a number right now and that if you don't have numbers in this game, you go home. It's at this point that I start thinking that an idol can help counter the numbers, which makes me realize that both active idols in the game right now are over at the red tribe camp.

Speaking of the red tribe, we get an awesome shot of a massive stingray as we check in with Red. Everyone please rise. Men, remove your caps and everyone place your hands over your heart. Shirin is, for no reason I can detect, singing the third worst rendition of the National Anthem I've ever heard. (Roseanne and Carl Lewis are #1 and #2, by the way... says the guy still waiting to find out Hali's #1 and #2 favorite things).

Jenn tells us, "The chick with the long hair, I don't know her name. But I don't like her. I don't know. I just don't like her. Maybe it's her voice." Or her whistle, because Shirin's a "professional whistler." Jenn tells us that in 12 hours she feels like she knows Shirin's entire life. She hasn't shut up since she got there, man. I have to say, I never would have predicted this, but Jenn is going to be the gold standard for confessionals this season. Hopefully she sticks around for a long time to narrate the whole season.

Who knew that the stingray footage would be foreshadowing, am I right? After the montage of annoying Shirin, Max is shown walking back to camp (wearing underwear, so that's a good thing) but limping heavily on both feet. Turns out he was stung by a stingray on both of his feet. Both are cut decently and bleeding. Right away, Jenn gets him the pot of water that had been boiling to drink and directs him to put his feet in the hot water. Max reminds us that Jenn was a beach lifeguard, so she knows what she's talking about. He does as instructed and seems to feel better. This kinda grosses out Hali, as this is their drinking water pot and not only are Max's nasty feet in it, bleeding, but he has a plantar wart on the bottom of his foot the size of one of the Hantzes. She is absolutely put out by this mentioning that not only are plantar warts contagious, but that anyone that would put their warty feet in the drinking water pot only cares about one person, himself.

We join a conversation between Will and Carolyn where he says that Max is already getting on their nerves. This gives Carolyn the chance to tell us that just because Max and Shirin think that the tribe is a 3-3-1 split and that Kelly is the swing vote here, that doesn't make it so. Carolyn's thinking that being the swing vote right now and helping to #blindside them would be "so sweet."

We come back from break to the blue tribe, and Dan is sharing with Mike that he's worried about Sierra as a swing vote. And good for Mike. He tells Dan that if he and Rodney had just backed off her the other night, she might not be the swing vote. Mike just wants Dan to shut up and apologize to Sierra, so they can move forward as a group and run this tribe. Then we have a great conversation where these two guys discuss the best way to apologize to a woman. Dan wants to explain himself. Mike says she just wants the apology, not the explanation. Dan, who I'd wager finds himself in MANY more instances where he needs to apologize to woman, tells Mike, "I got this. I got Sierra." I can't WAIT to see/hear this.

Oooh, lucky for me, I don't have to because we cut to Dan taking Sierra on a walk for his well-rehearsed, well thought-out apology. Sierra tells Dan that after the vote, for them to blast her right after was picking the wrong time. Dan totally agrees with her on this and owns it. Nice, starting out well. Then, "But what hurt me was you attacked me." Mayday, mayday - we're going down in flames here. A little help! And Sierra actually gives him a little help by trying once again to suggest that it was just a really bad time for Dan to go off like that. Now, the wise, happily married man should recognize this as his queue to say, "Ya know what? You're right. It was the wrong time and I'm really sorry for that." The guy that's getting ready to lose a million dollars completely missed the sign and only digs in his heels and tries to convince Sierra that she's just as much of an asshole as he is. Yeah, great apology. Good to see that all those conversations with women, over the years, have paid off. *Eye roll*

Sierra tells us it's the crappiest apology she's ever gotten and that she has two alliances coming after her. Right now, she doesn't see how she could possibly stick with the Blue Collars. Of course, given the ridiculousness of the tribe swap, I don't think she'll have to make any kind of alliance decision for a while.

For the fourth time tonight, we have a Probst sighting!! Today's immunity challenge is another pretty large obstacle course with a carnival game at the end. Two people from each tribe will pull a sled with two baskets on it. In each basket will be a big clay pot full of, I don't know, corn pops, I think. Anyway, they'll have to pull this sled through this obstacle course, under some bamboo and through some thick mud. Once at the end, they'll put the pots in some pre-set stands. As soon as all eight pots are in their stands, one person will take a wrecking ball and essentially Skittle Bowl the pots down. First tribe to break all eight pots wins immunity and will be safe from the vote tonight.

I could recap the entire challenge and do my best to make this challenge intriguing, but wasn't interesting. It wasn't close. It wasn't even a competition. You just can't put Jenn and Hali up against Joaquin and Tyler in a straight up physical strength challenge. Then it's Rodney and Joe for Blue and Carolyn and Kelly for Red. I mean, c'mon. The red tribe was never in this. Blue easily gets all their pots set up and Dan knocks them all down before Red even gets their pots all set up. And the Blue tribe wins immunity! As we head to break, Max tells us that the hardest part of the challenge was not smiling too big. He can't wait to go to Tribal and change the dynamic of the game. Be careful what you wish for, big boy.

We don't even bother with the Blue tribe and just go back to Red to play, "It's anyone but Shirin." Jenn tells the group that there wasn't anything they could do to win that challenge. Max is thrilled to be able to actually play the game of Survivor. They show clips of him spewing Survivor facts to Jenn and she really doesn't care. She tells us that she's a pretty hard core fan of the show, but she would never remember all the stuff that Max does. Further, she doesn't find his exhaustive knowledge of the show cool or interesting. She finds it annoying. She hits the beach with Hali and they discuss that now is the time to see if Kelly's willing to play with the No Collars. They also decide that Shirin has to go and Max will be next.

Now we join Shirin and Max talking to Kelly about who to vote for. Shirin says they'll never win any challenges with Will in the game and Jenn is a beast, so Will is the vote. Max tells us that they pursued Kelly pretty hard and he's confident she'll be voting with them tonight. Shirin tells us that they have everything they need and if they could just get rid of Will, they have a real good shot at winning some challenges. Um... no, you don't.

But anyway... Click to Max offering his congratulations to Shirin for how brilliantly she brought Kelly into the fold. They are so sure things are going their way right now. Max is basically starting to high step into the end zone from the 40 yard line. How well does that EVER work out? Actually, Shirin might be high stepping a bit early as well as she lets us know that she's in the power position tonight and that everything that's going to happen, she pretty much put in place.

Switch to the conversation with Shirin telling Carolyn what the plan is. And Carolyn also follows the first rule of Survivor. She tells Shirin she's in. She tells us, on the other hand, that they all think Kelly is the swing vote and has all the power, but Carolyn plans to give herself all the power and take that right away from Kelly. All it takes is for her to join the No Collars and it doesn't matter what Kelly does.

Okay, so did you know that if you’re a centipede looking wormy creature, you are perfectly okay to just crawl around on the face of an iguana? Me either. Weird.

Carolyn is now talking to Jenn and she breaks it to Jenn that she is NOT part of a three with Max and Shirin. Jenn is floored. Carolyn assures her that she has no plans to vote with them tonight. Jenn is thoroughly relieved. She tells us that it seems that no one really likes Max or Shirin and now that they have Carolyn, they're good to go to take control of the game. Cut to Max asking Shirin how her talk with Carolyn went. Shirin told him that yes, in fact, Carolyn IS a god and therefore, their plan is set in motion and there's no real need to talk about it with Carolyn anymore.

As Shirin and Max continue their marathon strategy session, the other five sit in the shelter and talk about them. Everyone is annoyed by the fact that neither Max nor Shirin will stop talking. Kelly tells us that the No Collars are tight and that Carolyn is with them, so it makes no sense for her to go down with the sinking ship. So, she's with the majority and the only decision to be made now is whether it's Max or Shirin. Right about this time, we cut to Max, who says, "I honestly am not worried."

Will and Jenn both tell us that it's really a race between the two as to which is most annoying. Neither of them ever stop talking and to punctuate it, Jenn gives a sweet play-by-play as if it's a horse race between Max and Shirin for who gets to go home first.

The tribe comes into Tribal and Jeff starts with pointing out the obvious. Kelly is all alone in the middle of two three-person groups. He asks Shirin about it. She is in the middle of some kind of "we're a happy family new tribe" story and stops to ask Jeff why he's looking at her that way. He's making a face. For the record, no he wasn't. He does have the line of the episode, though, when he says, "Let me check myself, cause maybe the Botox isn't working." Love it!!

Also, I love that as soon as she starts down this road, the producers have queued up the do-do music. You know the music. They only play it when a player is doing or saying something stupid. Shirin is definitely getting the do-do music. They finally get past that and Probst asks Kelly if it feels like the tribe is a happy family. She says there are some things and she starts to laugh a little. Jeff wants to know why, and Max decides to help out by pointing out that, on paper, this new tribe is a disaster and it's just like the tribe swap from One World.

Now, I've spent a lot of time covering Survivor (I did sit out of the One World recaps) but I consider myself to be pretty knowledgeable about the game and all of the seasons. But I couldn't tell you the first thing about the One World tribe swap. That's just nuts. Jenn can't help but laugh and says that she has trouble remembering everyone's name on her own tribe, much less on a season several years ago. Max admits to being obsessed with the show and it's just part of who he is. Shirin also admits to being a bit obsessive about the game, as it's been a life dream to play it.

Will mentions that the constant back and forth between Max and Shirin is a bit annoying. They're constantly off by themselves either talking strategy or whatever. Jeff asks Hali about being severely over-matched against the other tribe and wonders how she'll be voting tonight. She says that sometimes there are loyalty or strategy votes, and sometimes they have quality of life votes. She feels that after tonight's vote, things will be much better in camp. Will and Shirin both get the feeling that tonight's vote will be a #blindside.

And with that, it's time to vote. The only vote we see is Shirin's vote for Will saying they need to win challenges and need more space in the bed. Really? Did she go there with the fat guy joke? We hear Jenn's comment, but don't see her vote. "Please. Stop. Talking." Jeff will tally the votes. He asks if anyone wants to play a hidden immunity idol and Max says, "Hey Jeff, hold up, bro... I just always wanted to say that." The look of frustration on Jeff's face says it all. If he was wondering why Max might be a target of this vote, he need not wonder any longer.

He goes on to read the votes. First vote: Will. Will. And then a flurry of Max votes, and Max is the fifth person voted out of Survivor: Worlds Apart. Shirin is in absolute shock. Carolyn couldn't be happier. As two people who live and breathe Survivor, Max and Shirin completely forgot about Survivor Rule #2. You have to settle up your own alliance before you start branching out. The last season these people saw before leaving to film was Cagayan. That season, the swap left three Brains, three Beauties and one person from Brawn - an almost identical situation. The Brains went so hard pursuing Sarah that they completely ignored Kass and Kass blew shit up. Sarah went home and Kass became a thorn in everyone's side for the rest of the game. This is the exact same circumstance. and Shirin and Max learned nothing from the most recent of seasons. They ignored Carolyn in pursuit of Kelly, to the point that Carolyn just took the power right out of Kelly's hands. We are smart, but we are not so smart.

Next time on Survivor: Rodney and Joaquin start to have a little bromance of their own... and the rest of the Blue Collars don't like it. Dan and Mike both suggest "he" has to go. They don't say which one, but you have to think Joaquin's in trouble.

Like the columns, hate them? I'd love to hear from you...hit me up on the Twitter: @vannestjc! 'Til next week, take care!