As another season of Survivor has officially wrapped up, there's always some great moments to reflect back upon. This week Noah Groves takes us through his top 10 moments from the show's historic 30th season. From the format, unusual and memorable characters, never-before-seen twists, and plenty of other ups and downs, read on to recap the top 10 things about Survivor: World's Apart.
10. Three Tribes
Three tribes are always great for Survivor that it is no surprise they brought it back for a fourth time. The division of White Collar, Blue Collar and No Collar allowed for some interesting viewing in the early portion of the game and for the first time in the history of three tribe seasons, it seemed as if all the tribes were equal. The No Collar tribe went to tribal council twice and the White and Blue just once each, leading to a more even merge. Three tribe seasons make the game much more unpredictable and is strength of the season. It is much easier to get to know the castaways and alliances don’t always stick the way through. Three tribes and the Collar twist were a welcome addition to the season.
9. Vote Doubler
The vote doubler twist made nowhere near the impact I believe production hoped for but was a notable part of the season none the less. I am always open to new twists in Survivor so the vote doubler came with little resistance. Dan receiving the advantage over the bigger players of Carolyn and Mike (who already had idols) made the twist all the more better, with Dan sitting in between two alliances at the time. The twist created paranoia and gave us some fun character moments from Tyler and Carolyn using the knowledge of the twist as gameplay to bring Mike onto her side. The twist came to an epic conclusion where Dan’s interruption to Probst was cancelled out by Carolyn playing her idol and making the extra vote void. The vote doubler could have been handled better and could have had a better result but at the end of the day it was worth the risk and could have potential to return in a future season. It certainly wasn’t a franchise ruining twist.
8. People There to Play
This is the first season since season 24, One World to not have someone quitting amongst the cast. A most of the cast were previous fans of Survivor and few people were treating the game as a holiday. Even people who weren’t fans like Rodney were playing the game. Worlds Apart didn’t have the most brilliant strategy in Survivor history but it also didn’t have many floaters. People were playing hard to get towards the end. That is not to say that everyone was a good player of the game but they were still trying none the less. The lesser focus on strategy is at times also a positive of the season as there is a heavier focus on camp life or the 18 characters playing the game. Finding castaways who are a balance, fitting somewhere between super fan Max and lesser fan Rodney will likely give Survivor a successful cast and players in seasons ahead.7
7. Premiere Episode
While it may not be the greatest opening episode as Jeff Probst stated, this season did start out strong. It kicked off with an epic intro where we were introduced to the theme and capped off with Carolyn’s fitting quote, “its Survivor Warfare.” The idol clue vs extra beans provided entertainment when Joaquin and So made a devil alliance and came up with the neutral box. Almost every player got a moment in the spotlight and we were introduced to some of the main characters in Mike, Dan, Rodney, Carolyn, Jenn, Shirin as well as the first boot So getting a generous amount of airtime with others like Vince, Joe, Will and Max getting their moments. The first immunity challenge was arguably the best of the season with the multiple options reflecting White, Blue and No Collars being a welcome addition that hopefully returns in future seasons. Carolyn found the first hidden immunity idol that lead into an entertaining and fiery first tribal council, all in all a good way to kick off the season.
There were certainly characters that were more prevalent than others in Worlds Apart, the season morphing into the Mike show co-starring Rodney. Despite this, the editing was refreshing during this season and was much more evenly spread than the past five or so years. In San Juan Del Sur we had invisible characters like Wes, Alec and Kelley who were barely a part of the show but this time around there was no one like that. So and Vince both received generous amount of airtime in their short stay, while Nina, Lindsey, Max and Joaquin were all present and had their moments in the spotlight. Kelly and Sierra arguably suffered from the edit the most but still made their mark on the season and were shown when they were particularly relevant to the story. This season without a doubt is not as crafty edited or as even as the good ‘ol days of Survivor but for a modern season, this is without a doubt the most evenly edited season in a long time.
5. Mike vs Carolyn
No one heading into the finale of Worlds Apart predicted seeing both Mike and Carolyn in the finals. Most people had concluded that one of these two would be the winner and that there is no way they both make it past the final four. This sure made for an exciting final half hour knowing that it would be a head to head battle between Mike and Carolyn. In the end Mike dominated the final vote and it wasn’t near as close as the edit made out but in a season that was predictable 90 percent (one hundred and fifty thousand?) of the time, it was refreshing knowing that for the first time since Nicaragua we could have a close vote. The fire making challenge between Rodney and Carolyn was also a good precursor to this strong final three. Mike and Carolyn were definitely the best two players of this season so it is great to look back retrospectively on the season and see that one of them was the eventual winner and another was the runner up.
4. Auction Episode
The auction episode ‘Bring the Popcorn’ really was the defining episode of the season that shaped nearly everything that would follow it. Rodney’s secret four alliance was revealed, Dan received his controversial advantage, Mike became the low man on the totem pole and the line between Shirin and Will was drawn. The entire auction segment was an exciting start to the show. While I will forever miss old style auctions, the drama that presented itself was worth it. Mike literally and figuratively turning his back on the alliance for the advantage was a shocking moment that lead to a heated argument between him and Rodney and damaged Mikes play for the remainder of the game. The Will vs Shirin argument was uncomfortable to watch but had much of the online fan community discussing topics that aren’t normally talked about from Survivor. It also shaped the remainder of Will’s story arc and explained well his loss against Mike. Every episode after this one linked back closely to ‘Bring the Popcorn’ which was the most controversial and defining episode of the season.
3. Vince Sly
Vince is easily one of the most memorable players of this season. He is one of the oddest, most unique yet most genuine players in Survivors 30 seasons. Right off the bat of the season he claimed that “as a coconut vendor, I seek truth” as he sat on the beach, feather in hair. Vince was consistently entertaining and was the star of the two episodes he appeared in. As week as being a character he was also attempting to play the game, at first aligning with Jenn with an extra strong hug before shifting to try for an underdog alliance with Nina and Will. Vince could have brought much needed light heartedness had he stayed around for longer and will probably be remembered fondly in years to come. Bring Back Vince!
2. Rodney’s impressions and other funny moments
For a season that was shrouded in negativity and controversy, Worlds Apart was for sure one of the funniest seasons of all time. While there were few major moments that will be remembered for comedy, every episode had amusing moments. The most notable funny moment was Rodney’s spot on impressions of Mike and Dan (check out Rodney’s twitter for more hilarious impressions) along with other funny Rodney moments, not all intentional. Dan had amusing moments from losing his manties to “I love cheeseburgers” and amusing confessionals like “smell you later.” Mike ate a scorpion, Shirin had hilarious conversations with Probst, Will wanted to make sandwiches, Jenn was insanely dry, wanting a jetski and giving us quotes like “winner, winner chicken dinner,” Vince was…Vince, Hali loved the name “Merica,” Joaquin gave us a psychological evaluation of Shirin killing bunnies while Carolyn mocks So’s knot untying. These are just some of the many funny moments in Worlds Apart.
1. Carolyn and her Game
Mike Holloway was a very worthy winner of Survivor who played a strong game. In my eyes however Carolyn’s game was the most interesting to watch. Pre-season I completely underestimated her and she went on to be the best player of Survivor, equal with Mike. In the first episode Carolyn solidified an alliance with Max and Shirin, found an idol and created a close bond with Tyler. That was all in one episode. At the tribe swap she ensured her safety by siding with the No Collars and eliminating those who she thought would turn against her at the merge. This solidified her spot to the merge where she realigned with Tyler and kept their alliance secret. She joined a secret four alliance with Rodney, Will and Tyler as well as being in the majority Blue alliance. It was here that she stayed in the majority for most of the merge, dominating in challenges along the way, third to Mike and Joe as the most dominant challenge player of the season. At the final seven she ensured her safety yet again by turning on her closest ally and her biggest threat to win by voting out Tyler. It was now that no one knew about her hidden immunity idol. She created an alliance with Mike by revealing Dan’s advantage to him and then successfully playing her idol, placing her in the final five. She then went on to win the fire tire breaker challenge and provided a strong final tribal performance. Carolyn played a great game and should have at least been second place to Mike rather than tying with Will at the end. Carolyn was robbed in Second Chance and hopefully she returns in the future.
What do you think of the top 10? Do you agree? Disagree? Is it in the wrong order or are there ones that didn’t make the top 10 that you feel should’ve? Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts!
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