Sunday, May 12, 2013

Survivor Caramoan: Brenda vs. Dawn - Which one went too far?

As most of you likely know, I'm a big fan of Brenda from Survivor.  I was massively disappointed by how invisible she was the first half of the season after being such a powerhouse in Nicaragua.  And then she finally got some attention and started making some big, important plays.  And she became the dominant female in several challenges.  But just as I was enjoying her reign, she got blindsided by her closest ally -- the woman she had looked out for in many different ways -- in a highly emotional moment.  While Brenda was the "Black Widow" of Nicaragua, she suddenly became the sympathetic victim of Caramoan.

And beyond that, Dawn became the biggest villain on all of television.  I hated the fact that she voted off Brenda because I have a mini-crush on her, but it WAS a smart move.  From Brenda's perspective, I understood why she was hurt and why she would hold it against Dawn.  After all, Dawn did promise her devotion to Brenda (not just to her face, but also in a confessional) and Brenda did stop her from dropping out of the game.  Nonetheless, fans viewed Dawn's move VERY negatively.

And then came the final tribal council, where Brenda would finally face Dawn.  And what did she do?  She made, in my view, a very strong point.  Dawn told Brenda that she would not have actually dropped out of the game if Brenda was unable to retrieve her teeth.  So Brenda asked her to put her money where her mouth is (so to speak).  If you were really willing to stay in the game and suffer that humiliation, then take out your retainer now.  Dawn resisted, but ultimately did it.  And it was pretty uncomfortable.  Overall, viewers seemed to think that Brenda went way too far and had needlessly humiliated Dawn.  Don't get me wrong, the point was a good one.  If Dawn really was willing to stay in the game, this shouldn't be a big deal.  But it was still a highly personal maneuver, whereas Dawn's move was a strategic one.  I understood what Brenda was going for, but at the very least I think she owed Dawn her vote after doing that.

But anyway, the thing that caught my attention was that at the reunion, all of the attention was on Dawn's actions and whether she would apologize to Brenda, and whether Brenda would accept.  I'm most certainly Team Brenda -- no doubt about that -- but she wasn't blameless.  I think Dawn deserved an apology as well.  Or, at the very least, somebody should have mentioned what she had done in retaliation.

Some additional Survivor finale thoughts:  I can't remember the last time we had a final three where one person wasn't a lame duck.  Honestly, it feels like the last several seasons have had one person who didn't even receive a single vote.  From what I understand, the reluctance of doing a final two is that the winner will be completely obvious.  I get that, but the last few seasons HAS had a winner that most people predicted from the final three.  So can we just go back to the far more interesting and prestigious final two?

Also, while the reunion episode drifted away from talking to everybody a while ago, it was somewhat disrespectful to put all of the pre-jury people in the audience.  I understand why they did it -- to not bring attention to the fact that Brandon isn't there -- but still.

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