Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Survivor: One World Episode 3 Thoughts

I don't have a heck of a lot to say about this episode. It basically solidified what we already knew in terms of alliances and who was going to be going first. It also confirmed that every person in the world knows that Colton has a hidden immunity idol.

One thing that was interesting is the realization that Jay might be smarter than he looks. He was given a lifeline by the majority misfit alliance, and he snapped it up, knowing that he would be in trouble otherwise. I wasn't entirely sure that he would have the self-awareness for Survivor; like many, I equated him with Fabio from Nicaragua. I think he showed more today and he might be the men's player to watch for at the end.

A final thought for discussion: The women had so much success this episode due to the men. Seriously, they warmed up at the men's fire, got a source of fire from the men, and even used the men's puzzle as a guide at the immunity challenge to help to catch up quickly. This isn't to excuse the men for Bill's failure to finish the puzzle first, but just to point out an interesting subplot of this episode.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

From the category of "Things that caught me off guard"

Gerry Dee with a serious discussion on boutique schools.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Survivor: One World Episode 2 Thoughts

One of the many questions that gets asked during the game of Survivor is "When is it safe to take out one of your own alliance members for the greater good?" After the merge, it's normally "When we can safely lose a member of our voting alliance and still have the numbers edge." But in the early game, it's not so clear.

The women alliance faced this very decision this episode. They had a clear target to be voted out going into the immunity challenge - Nina. She had a nasty fall in the first immunity challenge, and she is the oldest of her tribe remaining. It would be pretty easy to get rid of her next, if only to try to win a challenge. But as the challenge unfolded, the women were undone in part by Kat's inability to listen to Jeff Probst and the instructions.

This left the women alliance with a choice - keep Nina, who might have been the oldest, but was at least competent, or keep Kat, who was more youthful and was a part of their alliance, but seems to get confused rather easily and is probably more of a liability in a challenge situation. It truly is a tough call, as there are many factors in play.

If they voted Kat out, their alliance still had a majority within the tribe, so that wasn't a fear. But there's no guarantee that the majority will remain; there is a chance that there is a merge or some other situation that splits them. Having 5 strong in that case is better than having 4. As well, voting Kat out opens up the possibility of their alliance splintering, with one or two picking up the remaining players and then voting out a player they perceive to be a liability (such as Alicia, who's mouth can cause problems.) Of course, if they keep Kat, the point might be moot, as they could continue to lose immunity and be forced to keep voting their own out.

It's certainly a conundrum wrapped in an enigma, and there is no good answer. The key for the women's alliance is to follow through now that they've decided to keep Kat. Barring extreme incompetence, they need to keep their alliance strong. We'll see if they follow through.
Colton had one heck of an episode. He managed to go from being alienated from the men's tribe, to being alienated from both tribes, to starting a new alliance of the outcasts from the men's tribe.

It was interesting to watch because he is obviously smart enough to come up with the plan he did to get the outcasts behind him. But he isn't socially adept enough to work much of anything else. Take what happened with the women. He was over there so much, the women created a meeting just to be rid of him. This is the sort of thing that he brings with him, and is what will end up being his downfall.

The alliance he created was one of convenience. Those in it (presuming it exists; we actually only have Jonas giving Colton credit for being smart to assume that this has caused an alliance) were brough together by Colton's idol, and a common desire to not have the frat boy alliance run roughshod over everybody else. It's an alliance that is begging to be broken up at some point, likely when Colton burns one bridge too many, and it will likely fall with Colton being the one blindsided. But until he is blindsided, it will be entertaining to watch.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Survivor One World Episode 1 Thoughts

It's as though the Survivor production team realized that there was backlash among the Survivor fans, and said "You think we lost our fastball? How about this high heat?"

Survivor: One World started up tonight, and we got a fantastic episode. There were three keys to the episode.

The big twist

The set up for the twist was great, with the tribes being divided into men and women initially. Watching the reaction of everybody as they realised any plan they had of teaming up with the opposite sex was out the window was somewhat priceless.

It did lead us to see the impressiveness of Colton early on. His plan to buddy up to the women was thrown completely off. Rather than panic early on, he managed to keep his wits and was rewarded immediately by the bigger twist.

You could see who was on the ball when Jeff told people that they had 60 seconds to take as much off of the truck that they can to bring along with you. None of the women thought of the possibility that they could have items stolen, but Michael channeled his inner Rupert to steal the women's ax.

Each tribe receiving a map which lead them initially in different directions was a nice touch. But once they got to the same beach, the show picked up immensely. You had Chelsea catching chickens then not sharing with the men that she might have agreed to share. Then the men refused to help the women build a fire. This was our first theme that would be built upon later in the show.

Alicia decided that a better idea to get fire would be to try to steal it. She was thwarted during the day, but at night sheMonica and Christina successfully got a flame. Granted the fire only lasted the rest of the night, but small victories, etc.

Christina shone brightly when she came up with a plan to get fire for quilted somethings. (I don't entirely understand what they were building beyond it being quilted leaves.) She got bargained down to 20 of these things, and managed to piss off Alicia who wasn't happy that somebody else fixed the fire issue. And we had another issue to be built upon.

The men play the short-term game

At the immunity challenge, Kourtney went down to an injured wrist. She had to leave the challenge, so the men had technically won. But Jeff Probst is smarter than the average bear, so he gave the men the option of getting the immunity win, or playing things through to the end, where the men already held a significant advantage. The men conferred and decided to just take the win, much to the shagrin of the women.

A tip for all future Survivor players: if Jeff Probst specifically says that a choice you make could curry favour with your competitors, AND it is something that you already have an advantage in, make the choice that Jeff suggests you make.

It was a common theme for the men. Only Colton seemed to figure out that hey, currying favour with the women might not be a bad idea. And how was he rewarded? Sabrina gave him a hidden immunity idol, giving him a great advantage. (Of course, he's seemingly in that great advantage position already, being the swing vote between two groups of four.)

I understand the men's position. The women are their competition; eliminate them and you get further in the game. But at least 1 of those women are going to make the jury. Those votes exist. And realistically, if it is "One World", a tribal switch has to be on table. Why alienate what could be half of your theoretical new tribe? It just ends up causing you issues in the long term. But at the same time, the only person to win Survivor twice played a very short term game so who knows how much harm this will cause.

The women have one large rivalry that will last for another episode or two

Alicia set her five person alliance quick. It did not include Christina. Then Alicia and Christina butted heads over the negotiation to get fire. And once we got to tribal council, these two were willing to say whatever they felt like to each other at Tribal Council. They left Jeff shaking his head for crying out loud! When was the last time he did that?

Two things are pretty obvious after that tribal council:

1) Christina is going to be voted out the first opportunity possible. She's in the minority, and she was not nice towards Alicia. While Alicia was rude in trying to interrupt Christina, Christina was 100% in the wrong in yelling at Alicia to "SHUT UP" when Christina was trying to talk. It's one thing to stand up for yourself; it's another to come off as even more confrontational than the person who is continually interrupting you.

2) Alicia is going to get blindsided at some point, and it will be glorious. Though Alicia refused to step up at Tribal Council to be the leader of the tribe, she was certainly setting herself up to be the leader. Her arguments with Christina came from her disapproval of Christina not consulting with the tribe. She stood up for the tribe over Christina's lone wolf actions. Soon she will emerge as the leader of the tribe, and will think that she is in control of the game. And then somebody in her alliance will turn on her to further their own game, and we will get an epic meltdown. I can not wait for it.

Commenting on an invisible Survivor

Kourtney was the first person to leave the game. She wasn't voted out; instead she had to be removed for medical reasons. That's really all I can say about Kourtney and her game, because she got virtually no air time, being sacrificed for the overreaching story arches. So, I send my apologies to Kourtney for not having more to say about her; she'll have to blame the editors though.

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