This show, after three episodes, has really become “Survivor” without the extreme deprivation dynamics and “Big Brother” minus the addictive stupidity. What’s left? Some reasonably nice families in a Kennesaw suburb minus A/C and electricity fighting for $250,000 with a few tears but not much drama.
The dynamics of four “insider” families and two “outsiders” meant the two “outsiders” were put up for elimination. The one that did not have an alliance with an insider was cut: the Bussieres.
Early on, the Bussieres, who came from Massachusetts, explained their distance from the others by their New England background. People up north just didn’t just hang out with neighbors as much. This doesn’t bode well for their future.
The Upshaws’ oldest son Christopher convinces the family to plays it tough. They decide to make a pact with one of the outsiders, the Schindlers. (Ahh.. the ever familiar secret alliance is in order.)
The reward challenge was disentangling Christmas lights. Yawn. The Mullenixes won a minor advantage in the next challenge.
The Upshaws ended up winning that elimination challenge, which features putting together an entertainment system. Again, this was not exactly a gripping challenge though there are a lot of boxing peanuts flying around. The Upshaws not only get guaranteed safety but they also get to keep said entertainment system (plus a laptop and camera and a few other toys.) Oddly, I don’t see a lot of product placement here.
The no brainer decision at this point is to target the Bussieres. And the Upshaws tell them ahead of time. But given their alliance with the other outsiders the Schindlers, they had a dilemma. It’s a secret, supposedly, so the Upshaws felt like they had to place the Schindlers up for elimination, too, else the other families would become suspicious. Problem: if they do so and use the Schindlers as a shill, how do they ensure their safety?
When the Upshaws told the Schindlers, David Schindler suggested they eliminate one of the stronger teams, the Nelsons, instead. But the problem is the Upshaws and Nelsons are best friends. That wasn’t going to happen at this stage.
At the actual elmination meeting, the Upshaws in fact put up the two “outsiders,” the Bussieres and the Schindlers and keep the Nelsons safe. The Bussieres tried to defend themselves and Susan threw out the sickness card, that she almost died a year and a half earlier from a stroke. But as we know from the Southeys last week, tears don’t equal safety.
In fact, the Upshaws get teary, too. Alexis Upshaw, the daughter, really pulls out the emotions, noting, “I understand that this is a game but people also have to realize emotions run deep and I still love my neighbors. And it’s hard to see the closest ones go… you grow up with some of these people.”
The mom Therese is more hardboiled: “I don’t like it but you know we made our deicison and we have to stick to it.”
Fortunately for the Upshaws, the Schindlers survive and the Bussieres go. Five families remain for the cash. It’s only going to get tougher from here on in.