Editor's note: Almost anyone can write a recap about what actually happened on a reality show. Lots of people do it well, whether it be accurate, factual summations of the happenings, humorous takes on contestant behavior, or awards for strategic brilliance. That's not what we plan to do this season.
Instead, we'll be repeating the format we adopted for the pre-season cast assessment: stories told from the (imagined, obviously) perspective of a show participant, stories that touch on the events presented on the episode of Survivor: Caramoan that aired, but not necessarily bound by the constraints of what really transpired. Or at least by what editing claimed happened. And yet... stories that get at the heart of what actually did. Alternatively: this could just be the most pointless fanfic ever written. One of the two.
This week's guest voice: Contestant P.
The first thing you need to know about me is: I won. I won this battle, I will win this war. I always win. You may remember I walked away from my last adventure without the million dollars I deserved, but still: I won. Have you seen my former mentor and sometimes competitor, a Mr. BR, back here again, having this opportunity to bask in the adoration of fans and favorites alike? You have not. But I am here, I am a special Agent, and I have already won.
From the second the chopper started swooping towards the beach, I knew what my first mission was going to be: Neutralize my arch-nemesis, The Raven. There she was, seated across the chopper in her purple dress, staring at me. A beauty to be sure, but one with a sharp, repeating call. It still rung in my ears after all this time. "Francesca. Francesca. Francesca." Taunting, scolding, correcting. "Francesca." The Raven's call would not affect me this time. Once again, I would silence it.
As I stepped off the chopper and my feet touched the sand, I drank in the applause and smiles. This was my fuel, my last good meal before the next six weeks of struggle, deprivation, and ultimate triumph. I didn't let on that the agent they were expecting was more powerful than ever before. That I had new training, new psychological warfare techniques to make my victories even more powerful, even more dazzling than in my last adventure. That I had shiny blue Shoes of Power, which would guarantee this agent would kick their posteriors harder and stronger than ever before. I just flashed my smile, immediately disarming all opposition, and soaked up the warm welcome. It tasted like a million dollars.
We were greated by another sometimes friend, sometimes adversary. A guy I like to call the Prober. He specializes in asking deep, penetrating questions, and in sometimes yelling things. His goal? To needle my companions, to get under their skin. But not me. Thanks to my years of training, I can resist not only enemy blows, but even the most dangerous and insidious enemy words. I can twist them, mold them, make them work to my advantage. I am that good.
The Prober introduced my team. I will follow his lead, and refer to them as the Heroes, even though we had already been infiltrated by people of suspect loyalty, like the Raven. Pleasantries followed. Then, out of nowhere, a battle erupted. But I was cool. I knew what to do. I had a secret weapon. I stripped down to my underwear: Magenta, the color of magnificence. Also a dog on Blue's Clues. Who is probably also a special agent.
Suddenly I found myself paired with a companion I will call the Scrambler. With dark, flowing locks, flawless olive skin, and an exquisite, exotic face, I knew she was trouble. Luckily, she was on my side. For now. After a show of allegiance, we were beset by enemies, trying to snatch our ring, our passport to food and comfort. In our desperate surroundings, that food and comfort came in the form of firemaking tools and beans. But I would not be denied. Using my superhuman strength, I threw foes to the ground. Or to the knee-deep water, at least. Tossed them aside, like so many obsolete orders. One was, like me, a man with a shaved head. But male, female, it didn't matter. What mattered was our food. I summoned my Herculean might and dragged, gloriously, a throng of opponents to the pole and salvation. That food was ours. Only a few minor skirmishes remained. Some took a while, but that was because they lacked my participation.
As the Heroes celebrated my triumph and set about to improving our residence, the Raven approached me. She offered words of conciliation, probably brought on by gratitude at my food-acquiring efforts. But I could tell her entreaties were a ruse. The Raven was always playing some angle, and this seemed no different. I offered stone silence in return. Then, slowly, I let her off the hook. Better to keep your enemies close. But I had my eye on her.
Like all good Agents, I have informers, confidantes. I like to call them my Producers, because when I need information, they always produce it. I consulted with them about the opposing force. Naturally, to a seasoned agent such as myself, the foes didn't seem overly threatening, but there were a few who stood out. This time, however, my Producers were strangely silent. Had their loyalty been compromised? I asked about the foe that stood out to me. Not the many ladies, who clearly offered no threat. Not the Veteran, who had shown he had strength to spare, but also had a mouth that seemed destined to sink him. Not the Beard. I asked about the Face. He seemed familiar to me somehow, but I couldn't place it. But the Producers offered no intel on him. All I received was a knowing nod when I asked about the Cueball, the man with the shaved head I had grappled with earlier. He was the one I had identified as my strongest competitor. He had tried to hide his expertise beneath farmer clothes, but he'd forgotten to take off his glasses, and with a glance, I could tell he was a force that presented a threat. Probably also a special agent. I took this information and filed it away.
With no immediate help forthcoming from my Producers, I knew I was on my own. I needed to build an army within my own group, a force larger than the Raven could muster. Right away, I knew where to start. The Dominatrix, the Eliminator, the Intelligency Attaché. They all immediately saw the brilliance of my plans, just as I expected. I also approached one I didn't recognize, a guy I called the Runner, who was also clearly impressed, even if he expressed a bit of hesitation about our superior numbers. No matter. Everything was working perfectly.
Then word came of another impending battle. As we arrived at the appointed site, a towering structure loomed over us. We would be expected to race up it. Right away, I knew it would be dangerous to overwhelm my competitiors with my blazing speed, even if my shoes had already alerted them. Especially after my display of strength in our previous encounter. So I decided to take one of the earlier slots, which in truth, was better suited to my role as the quiet, behind-the-scenes director of the proceedings.
As I said, something about the Face on the other team struck me as familiar, and as he raced to the platform with basket of bags, it struck me. Instantly, I pictured the trading card a mysterious stranger had handed me during my adventures Down Under, a card from the Australian Professional Sandbag League. At the time, I didn't understand why the bearded gentleman was handing me a card from one of the many strange sports those Aussies follow. All he said was, "You will find him soon."
And now, here he was in front of me. Bag after bag were flying from his hands, landing perfectly in awaiting holes. The Face was a ringer. A pro. I could see it, the fix was in. At that moment, the calculations started spinning through my brain, like a slot machine about to come up lemon, lemon, lemon. I knew there was only one outcome to this battle, and one course of action I needed to take. Even before the last bag fell, I knew what I must do. It was the mission I'd been preparing for since I stepped foot on this beach: Neutralize the Raven.
Sure enough, the Face's well-honed sandbag tossing skills had sent our group to face interrogation by the Prober. In theory, my safety was in jeopardy. But instead of screaming explicatives, I calmly signaled to my minions that the plan was at hand. This was not a time for panic, this was time to set an example. The Raven was repeating my name, as if to threaten me, but soon she would talk nevermore. Future opponents would not dare to cross me, because I would disembowel her in front of the entire group, entrails spilling out as I watched, satisfied. Not literally, of course. I am no monster. Plus I neglected to select one of my heroes for the role of the Disemboweler.
I had another secret rendevous with my Producers. They asked me if I would be worried if the Mother and the Intelligency Attaché mentioned my name, but I settled their fears. I am the ringleader, the mastermind, the Brain. Those two need me to move forward. I am their protector and their director. I had nothing to worry about. The plan was set.
That night, as we approached the Prober, and went through the usual rituals before the Sacrifice, I was confident. The Prober tried to ruffle my feathers, but he was unaware that I have my feathers safely stowed away in an undisclosed location. There was no ruffling. Only victory. The Raven was dispatched, and I escaped without even a scratch. Mission accomplished.
Like I said before, I have this thing in the bag. Not in the sandbag the Face was tossing, in some other bag. But I have it. In it.
Recaps and commentary
Exit interviews - Francesca Hogi