Friday, December 16, 2016

Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X

originally aired September 21, 2016 to December 14, 2016

The order players left the game and the impact they left behind:
  • Rachel (Takali/Gen X) Apparently hadn't watched thirty-two previous seasons to know bossiness at camp is a game killer.
  • Mari (Vanua/Millennials) A victim of the Triforce's early dominance.
  • Paul (Takali/Gen X) The fatal blow to the patriarchs of Gen X, leading to the eventual downfalls of Chris and Bret, who never again had a secure base.
  • Lucy (Takali/Gen X) Her elimination was David's first big play of the season, using a hidden immunity idol to save Jessica.
  • CeCe (Takali/Gen X) A classic challenge albatross and overall mostly pointless competitor.
  • Figgy (Vanua/Millennials) Her romance with Taylor solidified the Triforce and also guaranteed a big fat target on her back, and she never really figured out how to disentangle herself from either of them.
  • Michaela (Vanua/Millennials) Decided to start playing way too late; her elimination was probably the point the season turned from not really having a direction to becoming one of the all-time greats.  Her second shot in Survivor: Game Changers will determine if Michaela really is better than she first seemed.
  • Michelle (Vanua/Millennials) The "Triforce" consisted of four people, and Michelle was the fourth wheel, and easily one of the worst victims of tribe-swapping in Survivor history.  This girl would've been a force to be reckoned with had the Triforce stayed intact.  She would've outlasted it, as she was really the only member to be able to adapt.  But she was basically forced into a late-game situation early in the game, and that's an impossible riddle for even the best players to solve.
  • Taylor (Vanua/Millennials) His love-hate relationship with Adam propelled Adam to victory, but left himself running in circles.
  • Chris (Takali/Gen X) A far better juror than he was player, adequately making the case for Adam's victory without the need for that slam-dunk emotional appeal. 
  • Jessica (Takali/Gen X) A necessary ally for advancing forward, but also a necessary victim, which makes her elimination by rock all the more ironic.
  • Zeke (Vanua/Millennials) His epic showdown with David painted a hugely false impression of where this season was headed, but it was undeniably a highlight not just of the season but Survivor in general.
  • Will (Vanua/Millennials) Somehow this guy's the youngest player to ever play the game, but that deep voice of his is great camouflage.  His gameplay, however, betrays him.  Like Michaela chose way too late to begin taking the game seriously, and like her was quickly and easily eliminated because of it.
  • Sunday (Takali/Gen X) A classic coattail rider just filling space.
  • Jay (Vanua/Millennials) The Triforce (excluding Michelle) was redeemed by this guy, who learned from Taylor's mistakes and made a game run to the end of the season.  Became very easy to root for.
  • Bret (Takali/Gen X) The last of the patriarchs somewhat ironically turned out to be gay, in a moment made him relevant, because his gameplay otherwise relegated him to the last of the extraneous players in the game.
  • David (Takali/Gen X) One of the most remarkable transformations in Survivor history, a would-be Tai who became a true mastermind and legitimate force, who bested all the obvious threats to his game, until finally everyone left realized he would win if he made it to the finals.  Because he really would have.
  • Ken (Takali/Gen X) One of the best allies anyone could find in this game, whose reliability made David possible, who ultimately did what most players never do, which is turn on that ally at the very last minute.  And they didn't end up hating each other!
  • Hannah (Vanua/Millennials) The David of the Millennials had a nearly comparable experience, except she had to scramble the whole time.  I would've been happy with any of the finalists winning, which happens, basically, never in this game.
  • Adam (Vanua/Millennials) A feel-good winner all-around (and got all the votes, which has happened, what, three other times?), Adam's epic showdown with the Triforce defined the season that wasn't dominated by Zeke and David, and like the best players found and used cleverly all available advantages.  But when everyone found out why he was so driven, his mom's battle with cancer (which she lost an hour after he got home), is the kind of narrative the longevity of Survivor is geared around (they'd applied together to compete on Blood vs. Water, six seasons back).  Some will argue he manipulated jurors with that revelation, but I think it was beyond clear at that point he'd done plenty with his gameplay alone to justify a victory this season. 

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