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Survivor: Kaoh Rong recap: Signed, Sealed and Delivered

A challenge takes down three contestants in an unprecedented Survivor massacre

Posted on

Monty Brinton /CBS


TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Jeff Probst
Current Status:
In Season

So, wait, I’m confused. Scot Pollard does or does not like cheerleaders? On one hand, he’s complimenting Alecia for being a good cheerleader, so I suppose that is nice of him to notice. On the other hand, he’s being wildly dismissive about her ability to do anything beyond cheerleading and, by extension, wildly dismissive to the entire cheerleading community, it would seem.

How do you think the cheerleaders that used to celebrate Scot’s exploits in the NBA — which, to be fair, were minimum — feel about all of this? Are the Cleveland Cavalier Girls planning a boycott? Is the Detroit Pistons Cheer Team all up in arms, and not, it should be pointed out, as some sort of hyper-sexual dance move? Are the Indiana Pacers Pacemates considering a strongly worded statement? And while Scot Pollard never played for the Washington Bullets (and the Bullets have not even been called the Bullets for almost 20 years) one can’t help but wonder what the Washington Bullettes make of all this, mostly because that is the best cheerleading name of all time.

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Isn’t Pollard’s treatment of Alecia akin to kicking the team waterboy in the nuts while he’s busy cleaning your sweaty towel? It’s as if Scot magically transformed into one of the Alpha Betas and was all of a sudden hanging out with Stan Gable and Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds with the sole purpose of torturing not only any Tri-Lambs, but any being deemed inferior on any level.

Oh, but you know what’s happening here, right? I’VE BURIED THE LEDE! Get it? Buried? Because it was indeed the burying of objects that needed to be dug up in a challenge that ultimately dropped not one, not two, but three different contestants in an unprecedented Survivor massacre of epic proportions. It was dramatic television that actually had me gasping “Oh my God!” intermittently at my television. 

Of course, it would have been even more dramatic had CBS not prematurely ruined the fact that three people were going down with a super-spoilery promo that aired in advance of the episode. Think about it: The network easily could have run a promo teasing that there would be a medical situation, yet not show the people involved and not let it be known that multiple folks would require medical attention. Had we all assumed it was just one person that had collapsed, imagine how much more powerful and surprising it would have been than seeing a record amount of people drop after the challenge. We would not have believed our eyes! We would have not believed what we were seeing! Instead, most of us knew it was coming, which is a major bummer.

I get it that the job of a network’s promotions/marketing department is to get people to tune in to the episode, but if you want to truly deliver a watercooler moment that will have more people talking about that episode on the virtual watercooler that is social media that night and at the actual watercooler that is in the office the next day, then you can’t show us pretty much exactly what happens before it actually happens! Unfortunately, an overzealous CBS negatively impacted and seriously diminished the shock viewers would have felt had they not known exactly what was coming. And that’s a shame. Okay, so much to get to with this, so let’s break it down from a few angles. (And you will definitely want to make sure to read my weekly Q&A with Jeff Probst as he tells us what it was like on the scene of the most ass-kicking challenge in Survivor history.)

The Incident 

First, a quick recap in case you missed it (since this is ostensibly, you know, a recap).  All three teams showed up at the first reward challenge of the season to try and win some spices and other various kitchen-based items. The contest itself had the tribes racing through a series of obstacles, then digging under a log to pull themselves through to the other side, then digging up three bags of balls in a large circle of sand, and finally rolling six balls skee-ball style into six holes.

The Brains tribe won easily, followed by Beauty, with Brawn in last. But that was almost irrelevant. It is what happened after the challenge that matters. First Debbie collapsed due to heat stroke, causing the medical team to jump in. Just as she started to recover, Caleb and Cydney also dropped.

This was no momentary setback that was drawn out through clever editing and drummed up for dramatic effect into more than it actually was. This was some scary stuff. Cydney collapsed and appeared to be in uncontrollable tears while Caleb was alternating between hyperventilating and being unresponsive. Doctor Joe finally told CBS Jeff (as dubbed by FBI Joe), “We need a helicopter for evac.” Words you never want to hear. Caleb was indeed pulled from the game while Debbie and Cydney were fortunate enough to be able to continue.

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NEXT: The dangers of digging