Everything went wrong last night on "Survivor: Kaoh Rong."
Even host Jeff Probst said he was "the most frightened I've been in all my time on 'Survivor,'" and this is Season 32. Three people collapsed. One was evacuated. And the episode ended with an infuriating round of bullying, hypocrisy, and the elimination of the most likable person on the Brawn tribe.
The drama started right away at the Reward Challenge. Everyone has talked about the particularly difficult conditions this season, and the heat took its toll when the players had to dig in the hot sun, with no hydration or protection. Debbie Wanner of the Brains tribe was the first to drop. Probst checked on her, and made sure she was fine. Then Cydney Gillon of the Brawn tribe and Caleb Reynolds of the Beauty tribe (and also "Big Brother 16") both dropped, and it was clear they were really in trouble.
Cydney recovered, with help from Kyle Jason, who showed he can be a good person, just apparently not to Alecia Holden, whom he repeatedly insulted and called "Blondie" instead of her actual name. The Brawn tribe later lost still another Immunity Challenge, and they wanted to pin all the blame on Alecia, dumping her right at the challenge itself. But Alecia was a fighter and refused, making them go to Tribal Council. She didn't whine or sob, or fall apart. She apparently annoyed her tribe, but no one deserves to be treated how she was treated. Yeah, she should've been placed on Beauty, not Brawn, but that's not her call. And her tribemates did not show any strength at all in how they treated her. That was weakness at its worst.
Poor Caleb, though. Anyone who watched "Beast Mode Cowboy" on BB16 probably thought he was a crazy stalker, at best, but he had a good showing on "Survivor." His bromance with Tai was just beginning to blossom... And he wanted to be there. He talked about wanting to do "Survivor" back on BB16. He was a real fan and gave his all, maybe too much. It was incredibly disturbing to see him rushed away by the medical team. That was more than the usual hurry, and it looked like he might be in serious danger. Thankfully, he's OK now, and this season was filmed almost a full year ago, so he's had more than enough time to recover.
Here's what Jeff Probst told Entertainment Weekly about that particular moment:
You've had a bunch of really scary scenarios over the years with contestants losing consciousness. How does the Caleb situation compare to other ones like Russell Swan?
This is at the top of the list. This was the most frightened I've been in all my time on Survivor. Three people down at once and one of them in very serious condition. There was no color in Caleb's face and very little response from him for quite a while. Even for the first few moments after they put the oxygen mask on, Caleb didn't respond. Then, out of nowhere, he took a breath and suddenly the color returned, his face filled out again and in a matter of seconds he was back. It was very powerful to witness. I don't imagine Caleb has any idea what he went through and watching the episode was probably very emotional for him and his family.
If they do a second season of "Survivor: Second Chances," Caleb should be cast to return. And maybe Alecia, too? That horrible group would've broken a lot of people, but she showed her Brawn colors by staying strong and fighting till the end.
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