Thursday, March 19, 2015

Survivor: Worlds Apart Episode 2 Thoughts

(03/18 Note: Somehow this did not get published when I first wrote it 2 weeks ago. So here it is now, unchanged from then.)

When I watch an episode of Survivor, I have a tendency to write little notes on things that I think might be interesting for a blog post. Normally I'll take them and combine them into bigger points and go from there. Today, I'm not going to to that though, mostly for expediency's sake.

Nina and Fitting In

This episode wa No Collar heavy for obvious reasons. And we got to know Nina a lot more as she inadverantly drove the boot this week. It all started with her inability to fit in with the rest of the group. The biggest takeaway from this? If somebody isn't fitting in, there is blame to spread around.

The other women in the tribe seemingly made an effort to include Nina, but I don't think they were fully aware of how they were excluding her as well. Nina's deaf. Speaking fast to her is not going to help anything, as she is concentrating on hearing you, so it will be more difficult for her to comprehend what you are saying. So while it is nice that you are trying to include her, you aren't going far enough.

With that said, Nina wasn't doing a great job of including herself with the group. If she wasn't understanding what they were saying, she needed to speak up. If you want to be included in a group, you have to do your part as well. If they choose to exclude you after that, then it's not on you and you can act accordingly. Nina skipped this step.

Max Has Glasses

I don't know how I missed this last episode, but Max is wearing glasses. And in an episode where he talked about paying homage to his Survivor predecessors, how could he have not tried to use his glasses to start a fire?

Next Generation Survivor Strategy

The paying homage to the previous Survivor players was interesting. Max made a point of going naked to swim in part as a tribute to Richard Hatch (I presume, unless he was also paying homage to the hot tub scene in Survivor: Cook Islands.) But he also made an interesting point that going naked keeps people away and gives you time to strategize without looking like you are strategizing. It's actually a smart idea, especially if you can make it your thing without setting off alarm bells. The problem for Max is that it is setting off alarm bells, if the confessional from Tyler can be believed.

The other interesting part is that Shirin picked up on this idea, and started doing it herself. She figured out that Max was using it as a ploy to get alone time and did her own version of it. Maybe this is going to be a power couple of some kind, or maybe it's only going to put a bigger target on both of their backs. But it is right now the main pair to watch.

(Except for maybe Joe and Jenn, because Jenn is my favourite player to watch right now.)

(And kudos to everybody involved in the Joaquin/Tyler/Shirin conversation for giving us the best view of the absolute absurdity of Shirin without any bottoms on chatting casually with Tyler and Joaquin, who are both fully cloathed. I really appreciated it.)

Worse Player: Vince or Nina

Vince's undoing wasn't necessarily his own. He played to his own instincts of self-survival and had it backfire in a way that I know he did not imagine could happen. And he had Nina to blame for it.

When Vince floated the idea of voting Will out, I think he did it with 2 intentions. The first was because he truly did want his tribe to stay as strong as possible, while not losing his main ally in Nina. But I also think that he floated Will's name to Nina, he was feeling her out to see if he could come up with an acceptable name that would keep both sides happy and just as importantly, keep him safe for now and just hope to get to a tribe swap. He had to know that Will was playing both sides, and even though he would end up at a disadvantage, he would also have Nina as a bit of a shield since she wasn't getting along with anybody.

Nina herself acted out of self-preservation as well, just in a different way. Her closest bond in the tribe is with Will. So her telling Will that Vince had mentioned voting out Will wasn't some sort of plan to get rid of Vince, it was an attempt to further strengthen her bond with Will. All Will heard though was "Vince wants me out."

Luckily for Will, he had all of the power in his hands. He knew that the plan was to have a split vote and on the revote Nina would be voted out. He also knew that his vote was going to be for Nina in this plan. By changing his vote, he would decide who would go home, and he had options. Hearing that Vince thought about voting Will out was all Will needed to chose to go with Joe et al. It's better to be at the bottom of the majority than to be a part of the majority but know that the majority thinks of you as a liability.

Will isn't out the clear though. By changing his vote, he broke trust with Nina, who was almost as blindsided as Vince was. But he also broke trust with the Joe group, as they were expecting him to vote Nina so they could vote her out. Now he might be able to explain that away, but he's in a tenuous situation. His being at the bottom of the majority could easily switch to being a part of the majority but not having their trust. And since the majority doesn't need his vote to decide who goes home, he could end up on the chopping block, or at a minimum he might have to turn completely against Nina.

Which is ultimately why Nina is a worse player than Vince. There was no reason for her to tell Will about Vince's musings of voting Will out. They had a plan that was going to work and was going to put her in a much better position. Telling Will about Vince's idea could only cause distrust between Vince and Will, and since Will has already told you that there is another plan out there which involves you getting voted out, you do not want to do anything that would rock the boat and might end up causing you to go home. At a minimum, if voting Jenn out doesn't happen, you are going to be in a much worse position and holding on for your life in this game. You can't just consider how other people's actions are going to affect you, you need to consider how your actions are going to affect others. I'm not sure that Nina understands that concept fully.

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