‘Survivor Caramoan: Fans vs. Favorites’ review: Is this the worst tribal swap ever?

SurvivorWe love the idea of the tribal swap on “Survivor”: while this may be unfair to people who have a good thing going, it keeps the alliances shifting and helps to prevent a sort of Boston Rob-like domination at the end of the game.

Sadly, there are exceptions to every rule. When there was a swap back in “Survivor: One World,” not only was one tribe clearly dominant over the other, but the unevenness of the swap led to Kim Spradlin’s alliance largely being able to stay together. (Then again, Colton’s medivac also helped with that.) Part of the reason for this was the random “drawing colored eggs” strategy, which is something that the show has prevented in the past by rankings.

After watching the swap tonight on “Caramoan: Fans vs. Favorites,” we really wish there were rankings. Thanks to the random draw, Gota (the orange tribe) had a roster that included Malcolm, Erik, Eddie, Reynold, Sherri, Andrea, and Brenda. In other words, give this to them now! Meanwhile, Bikal had a crew that consisted of Phillip, Cochran, Dawn, Matt, Julia, Michael, and Corinne. Basically if you replaced Sherri with Corinne on Gota, you’d have the most unbalanced tribes in “Survivor” history. Gota is going to ROLL over this team like they are a tumbleweed on the freeway: they’re younger, stronger, and have enough strategists to fare well in any puzzles.

After all the Brandon Hantz drama, we still preferred this episode in that it focused more on gameplay, and the fact that the Fans are once again making idiotic moves as they did in the first “Fans vs. Favorites” season. Reynold and Eddie have already flipped on Sherri, and we didn’t really see any of the Bikal newbies trying to bring anyone into the fold. Instead, we had Phillip try to pull in Julia (even though he didn’t need to), and then refer to her as “the girl” when telling Matt and Michael (a.k.a. Michatt) about his decision. Matt seems to be adopting the “as long as it ain’t” me strategy, which seems to be the Sandra Diaz-Twins strategy.

The one nice thing to hear is that despite all of the Phillip vs. Corinne talk (which was great for the confessional count), both of them were smart enough to stick together. Cochran came up with the plan to try and divide Matt and Michael, which is smart in that they are a pretty obvious alliance. At the same time, they are much more useful in challenges than Julia … and they are already bad enough.

Ultimately, their vote came down to breaking up the pair of the Fans, and you could see from the look on Matt’s face right away that he was going to be the one heading out the door. We loved the friendship he had with Michael, mostly because it was the best odd couple since JT and Stephen in Tocantins. However, this was a pretty smart move orchestrated by Cochran, at least if he wants to make sure that a duo does not challenge him down the road.

What did you think about this episode? If you want to check out the latest “Survivor” rankings for the season, you can do so over at the link here.

Photo: CBS

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