Parvati Shallow Breaks Down 'Survivor: Worlds Apart': Two Tribal Councils, One Blindside and a Major Shake-Up

18 Castaways

Survivor: Worlds Apart splits the competitors into three tribes around the new theme of white collar vs. blue collar vs. no collar. The white collar tribe (Masaya) is "known for making the rules" and includes a corporate executive, a retail buyer and a marketing director. The blue collar tribe (Escameca) is "known to follow the rules" and includes a postal worker, an oil driller and a contractor. The no collar tribe (Nargarote), is "the most unpredictable group" and includes "free spirits who are known to break the rules," including a coconut salesman, a sailing instructor and a YouTube sensation. 

Parvati Shallow is a Survivor champ and three-time competitor on the show. The OG Miss Survivor and Survivor Hall of Famer now covers health and wellness for CBS News in New York City. Find her on Twitter @parvatishallow.

Two episodes of Survivor: Worlds Apart aired Wednesday night on CBS. Here are Shallow's two recaps:

All it takes is a snake on a spit to bring a couple of starving, misbehaving boys back together again. As the blue collar boys bond over barbecue snake, they laugh off the previous day’s arguments, saying, “That’s just men being men.”

The strongly opinionated, proud blue collar tribe has been blazing through challenges and expertly avoiding tribal council each week. While the boys appear tight, and Lindsay and Sierra are inseparable— enigmatic Kelly doesn't speak much and seamlessly navigates between both the ‘man’s world’ and the younger girls. Kelly tells us she’s an undercover cop who’s adept at going into drug dealers houses posing as a buyer. This skill makes her really good at observing situations and reading people. 

Kelly is the star of this episode— in an undercover way. She busts her head open in the blindfold challenge and keeps going. With blood streaming down her face, she continues to race through the obstacle course, showing her fierce determination to play. If I’m anyone else in the game, I’m watching this woman like a hawk. This is the type of person that you either really want on your side, because she will let nothing stand in her way. Or, you want to vote this person out immediately, because you cannot let someone who is so cool, so undeterred, so focused, get anywhere near the end. 

From what we’ve seen so far with the show, no one on the blue collar tribe appears to be thinking about Kelly as a threat. Maybe it’s because all of the loud mouths over there are taking all the heat— but, as I see it, Kelly, not Mike is the one who is stoically holding the tribe together. 

She’s wicked smaaaht that one.

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Jenn is another undercover smarty — or maybe just insanely lucky— girl in the game. After the no collar tribe finally wins a reward and brings home a coop of chickens, Jenn takes off. The vegetarian cannot handle watching the slaughter. So, what does she do with her free time, while the others are plucking and gutting? She hunts for the idol of course!

And, she actually finds it! I’m loving Jenn more and more each week. She’s so relaxed about life and really enjoying the island. It doesn’t appear that Jenn has an agenda to win the game, she just wants to have a good time. The “Survivor gods” love this attitude, and she’s rewarded with an immunity idol for her positive attitude and love of exploration. 

Jenn’s opposite appears in the form of Rodney on the blue collar tribe. Rodney’s strategy hinges on him embodying the “three C’s — cool, calm, collective.” Don’t even get me started about that last ‘C.’ Clearly, Rodney is a spark plug, and when you put him a tribe full of hot-headed people, the fireworks fly. 

After losing the immunity challenge, Rodney and Lindsay get into again. She’s mad because he doesn’t respect women and he’s mad at her because she’s telling him this - over and over again, in a loud, obnoxious tone. Well, at least she didn’t call his mother a whore, like Dumdum Dan did last week. 

As the blue collar tribe unravels, they also have to figure out who they’re voting out tonight. Dan wants us to think he has some sort of life experience with women (doubtful) and has a brief conversation with Lindsay in which he succeeds at smiling and nodding in a condescending way. This guy grates on my nerves like a postal working Penner. He thinks he’s a total genius, when in reality, he’s just caught up in web of narcissism and is oblivious to the true nature of women. I would have had a tough time locking it up around Dan if I was on this tribe.

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As we arrive at tribal council and the blue collars take their seats, the vote looks like it’s undecided. It may be Rodney or it may be Lindsay with Kelly and Mike as the deciding factors. 

Say what you will about the bizzarro personalities of this tribe, they make for a fun tribal council. Rodney is full of ridiculous one liners. And, before Lindsay gets her torch snuffed, she fires up the tribe with one last pep talk, saying she knows that the winner of Survivor is one of these people.

I wonder. 

It really does matter what you believe — and if Lindsey’s speech touched any of these people’s hearts — then maybe it’s enough to weave the reality into the fabric of fate. If one of the blue collars is going to win, who do you think it will be?

My money’s on Kelly. 


Episode two:

Life sometimes throws out curve balls that we cannot plan for. What matters in times like these is how prepared we are in body, mind and spirit for change. How flexible are you? How well can you adapt?

I love Survivor for producing moments that showcase this ultimate truth. The tribe switch was always going to happen. Change on Survivor, as in life, is inevitable, but that doesn’t stop us from wanting control. Once we realize that the only thing we can control in life is ourselves, life becomes a lot easier. But, on Survivor, control over external circumstances or people is seen as a badge of honor. You’re the perceived puppet-master. Yes, Survivor rewards those who excel at manipulation, but it also lavishes gifts on those who can take life as it comes and stay present within the moment. Holding the ultimate goal of winning the game in the back of your mind, you must stay focused on the moment before you.

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And, now, finally— we’ve made it to a tribal swap. Here’s where we will see the strong separated from the weak. Literally. 

After drawing new buffs at random, the tribes are separated into two— Escameca gets all the big physical players and Nagarote gets, well, none. 

It’s wild to see the tribes shake down like this. Nagarote is visibly at a physical disadvantage in any challenge, and it’s kind of like we can just skip to the end without watching the challenge because we know how it’s going to end— with Nagarote at tribal council. 

So, let’s just focus on intra-tribe dynamics then, rather than competitiveness, shall we? 

Sierra is ready for this swap. After losing her partner in crime in last week’s episode and getting ragged on by Dan about her efforts in challenges, she wants nothing to do with her old blue collar boys. And, I don’t blame her. After winning the challenge (obviously) her new tribe gets to know each other back at the beach. Once her former blue collar boys, Mike, Dan and Rodney head out to get some water, Sierra leaps upon the new additions. She comes straight out and basically begs Tyler, Joaquin and Joe to be her new besties. Tyler is thrilled that there’s a “broken puppy” for him to take in, and the blue collar boys may have some real trouble on their hands if they lose the immunity challenge. 

Of course, they don’t lose the challenge— it’s a blowout. Nagarote now has the exciting task of deciding who to send home tonight. Max and Shirin, both self-proclaimed Survivor super fans, are absolutely giddy. Finally, they say, they have a chance to actually play Survivor

This blows my mind. What do you think you’ve been doing for the past 11 days?! These two are clueless. Not only are they walking around naked and alienating their tribe, but they scamper off alone to strategize without including anyone else. It doesn’t take a super fan to see that an alliance of two won’t get you very far at this point in the game

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Not to mention, the rest of their tribe is working out the vote tonight based on who’s the most annoying. This tribe is physically weak, and they really should be focused on who’s the worst athlete— but, Max and Shirin are so irritating that the tribe is throwing out the chance to make the group stronger in order to make camp life more pleasant. 

With three former no collars on the tribe, it makes sense that they are going to vote out the person who doesn't mesh with the chill vibe they’ve established on their beach. 

While Shirin runs around and takes credit for convincing Carolyn and Kelly to vote out Will, Carolyn sees the opportunity for a blindside and jumps on it. 

It doesn't take much for Carolyn to talk Jenn and the gang into voting out one of her old white collar posse. Kelly quickly gets on board, realizing that if she were to stick with Shirin, she’d be going down on a rapidly sinking ship. 

Kelly jumps in with the numbers. And, we head to tribal council expecting a blindside. 

Once Max is deemed the most annoying and voted off the island, we see Shirin’s mouth drop. The girl is completely shocked. As a viewer, it’s obvious to us when players have blindspots, but when they happen in real time, as a player— we’re left wondering. 

How did that just happen? How did I not see that coming?

Many of us only see the world as we want to see it. And, in Shirin and Max’s case, their love for Survivor is clouding their ability to read the signs of reality. They say that love is blind, and now Shirin has a choice: rip off the blindfold and get with it, or keep the blinders on and join Max as the next pre-merge boot. 

Do you think Shirin can adapt or will she be the next victim of Survivor: Worlds Apart?

Tweet me @parvatishallow with questions or comments.