Thursday, September 22, 2011

Survivor: South Pacific Episode 2 Thoughts

One of the most underrated characteristics for a Survivor player to have is awareness. Being aware of where you stand in your tribe is incredibly important obviously, but having the self-awareness to know what your weaknesses are and how to minimize them is. This episode we saw players struggle with awareness to the point of it hurting their games.

Brandon wants to play the game with integrity and honesty. His problem is that he had to come into the game by playing with deception, to not reveal that he is Russell Hantz's nephew. His inability to acknowledge that there are times when you have to be deceptive has severely hindered his game - he could easily be sacrificed should it become necessary, especially if the tribe goes on a long losing streak. As well, he still seems unhealthily obsessed with voting out Mikayla. We haven't gotten a good reason for this yet, but the implication seems to be that Brandon does not trust himself to stay faithful to his wife. He seems perfectly unaware that the rest of the tribe is looking at him oddly. If he's unable to come to grips with these major issues, he will end up with a short time on Survivor.

John had a better episode this week, but he's still in the same boat as last week. He talks too much, and seems incapable of stopping it. Unlike the others, John seems to understand that this is a definite weakness and something that he needs to control, but he has not changed yet. If he follows with his change in his work ethic around camp, he should be in a better spot. Then again, he seems to be unknowingly on the outs with the dominant alliance on his tribe, so any demonstrated self-control might not matter.

Christine wasn't lacking self-awareness this episode, but she seemed to be blindsided by the fact that she was the target to be voted out. She lacked the awareness right off the bat to know that calling out another player before even meeting them was a mistake, and that searching for an immunity idol instead of trying to form bonds with her tribe would only serve to further isolate her from the rest of the tribe.

To go even further, she lacked the awareness to know that when there is a group of 5 or 6 people talking at once, and they stop talking once you appear, THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT YOU! And that goes double when somebody involved in the conversation comes over to you and can't even look you in the eye, let alone give you a straight answer. Heck, she and Stacey seemed to lack the awareness of where each other was thinking of voting, with Stacey inexplicably voting for Edna (whose name had never come up in voting discussion) instead of Mikayla (who they at least knew somebody was targetting.)

Awareness does work the other way as well - Ozzy's observation that there was a rock way up high in a tree led him to the hidden immunity idol. As well, his and Keith's instincts were correct to attempt to work with Jim; they didn't even need to propose it, as Jim was kick to ask them to work with him. This also lets them lead Jim to believe that he is actually running the show, while they can work behind the scenes to actually control everything.

Knowing where everybody stands in the game of Survivor is a key to being able to win the game. At a minimum, you must know where you stand. But not only that, you must know yourself - your strengths and weaknesses, what might help you to advance your game, and what might hurt your game. Today was just another example of why awareness is so important in Survivor.

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