Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Survivor: One World, Ep. 5

Re-mixing tribes is such an accepted part of the game, you can forget how unfair it often is.  A strong player can be in a good position with a winning tribe, and then be completely undercut 48 hours later due to a random draw.  Monica deserved better than that, but this is also a game about adaptation, and no one said you shouldn't target the strong.  There is little sportsmanship in Survivor.

I have a feeling once Salani (the stronger tribe of "Greek gods") sees Monica gone, they will seriously consider throwing a challenge or two down the road to knock out some of the guys pre-merge.  That leaves Mike, Jay and Troy in a very precarious spot.  Either one of them could get squashed at any time.  I usually frown upon throwing challenges, but if I were the girls, I'd consider doing it two immunities from now (however, things could happen that would get me to change my mind on this).

So, fifteen minutes after the re-mix, the guys' camp is now open to the Salani tribe, and Kim finds the guys' hidden immunity idol in nothing flat!  Why is it that Kim could find something in one afternoon what the guys couldn't find in 12 days?  Is it because the only bright person among the men (Colton) couldn't even be bothered to look for it - he'd prefer to have one of the women hand an idol to him?

That doesn't mean Colton is lazy or isn't working - it's just that all his work involves talking.  Building shelter, digging for idols - that's for other people.  He has to come up with multiple plans - one for his primary allies, one for his secondary allies and one for his enemies.  He has to constantly remind Tarzan what's going on ("Just remember: 'Monica' Lewinsky"), he has to find time to praise his own ideas ("I think its pretty brilliant"), and, most importantly, he has to figure out new insults to hurl at his tribemates in confessional and at tribal council.   When it comes to Survivor, Colton's work is never done.  Jonas might ask, "How does he get away with it?"  Jonas, he gets away with it because if you complain - your next.  If you cross Tarzan, he won't even remember your name to tell the others to vote you out (btw, I get the feeling Tarzan took that nickname because he can't remember his own name?).

Other observations:

-  When speaking about the guys giving up immunity last episode, one of the girls said: "they handed us a million dollars."  Uh, no... they didn't.  They might have handed one of you a million dollars, but not all of you.   
-  Sabrina thinks her #1 ally is Kim.  Kim thinks her #1 ally is Chelsea, and also thinks she and Chelsea have to keep it quiet and not be seen as a pair.  Clearly it's working if even Sabrina doesn't know about it.  This could be the source of a lot of conflict late in the game.
-  If someone figures out that Chelsea and Kim are working together, it could turn the whole season.  Otherwise, Kim & Chelsea could dominate the rest of this game.  So, who can sniff out that Chelsea and Kim are working together?  Answer: Colton. 
-  Why is Christina dropping her jaw at tribal?  Is it really that shocking to be betrayed by a woman you told to "shut up"? Moreover, Alicia comes across as one of the most disingeuous persons ever to play the game - can't Christina see this?
-  Losing a chicken because their is a hole in the side of your trap is pretty friggin' pathetic.  Colton was right to give that exhibition a double eyeroll. Geez.
-  I shouldn't say Colton is the only one who can sniff out that Kim and Chelsea are working together.  Others could do it.  But, I think Colton has the best chance.  Within 30 seconds of the re-mix, he already knew Christina was detested. (P.S. I still don't completely understand it, but hatred for Christina seems universal).

Till next week...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Survivor: One World, Eps. 3 & 4

First, I've been scolded from several quarters because there was no update after the third episode. For this, I apologize. I had a hectic week, and a lot of my leisure time is devoted to fantasy baseball this time of year. In any case, there is much to discuss.

I love Survivor. I love Survivor because there are moments of truth that you can't get in fiction.  Novels give you the author's view of the world.  It's occasionally revealing, but often limited. Scripted TV is worse - it's Hollywood's vision of the way the world works. Worthless.  Survivor is not a perfect reflection of reality, but it gets closer to the truth.

Power tests people. J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a 1100 page treatise on the subject.  He showed how the power of the ring destroyed one character, yet the hero was able to resist it. But, who wants to read 1100 pretentious pages on the topic when we can just watch Colton?

The power of the immunity idol is testing Colton, and he's failing.  Why did Colton go off on Lief? Because he could. Why did he give up immunity and go to tribal council? Because he could. Why did he insult Bill? Because he could. Why could he do all these things? Because he has the idol - and it's almost impossible to move against a person with the idol before the merge. You simply don't have the numbers.  I can't think of a single player caught with an idol in his pocket before the merge, which means Colton's Reign of Terror can continue unimpeded for several more episodes.

Does this mean Colton is consigned to the same fate as Robespierre? No. I think Colton can still win the game. The damage he has done to his cause is significant, but he can overcome it. He got a confession from Lief, and Bill wasn't particularly popular with the group, so Colton's attacks can still be rationalized as acceptable game play. Even the push to go to tribal council can be defended. I know it's the first time it has happened (an entire tribe giving up immunity), but it's not completely dissimilar from an individual giving up immunity or a tribe throwing a challenge (though, you don't need everyone on board to throw a challenge - here you did).  In any case, they are going to remix the tribes next week, and Colton's decision to get rid of someone he sees as dangerous makes sense if you are counting on a remix.  In any reformed tribe, Colton is going to dominate it because everyone knows he has the idol. You need 8 people to make a move against somebody with the idol, and Colton is not going to be on an 8-person tribe again until the merge.  In the vast majority of cases, throwing a challenge is a needless risk.  I don't think it's crazy here. Colton had the power.  It's arguably in his interest.  And, I understand why no one stood against him.

So, the danger for Colton isn't what has already happened.  It's what could happen as his ego grows. If he does any more bullying, he could cross the line and alienate the jury.

I had an unsettled feeling after the third episode that the guys really weren't that upset to go to tribal.  They seemed eager to start voting people off.  Obviously, the fourth episode confirmed this suspicion.  I don't think the guys like each other, and the main alliance is as reliable as the Munich Agreement.  When they re-mix the tribes, Colton is going to be calling all the shots.  His alliance will be anyone he likes on that tribe.  I can see him abusing that position, and targeting people for transient reasons.  He hasn't turned into a tyrant yet, but I think it's coming.  And, that's when he'll hang himself.  Only self-discipline (which he has in short supply) can stop it.  We'll see if he has the character to control this. Is he Gollum or Frodo?  My guess is he's more of the former than the latter.  Colton is a very smart kid, but I think he would be better off playing this game when he was 31, not 21.  Sometimes I question if he is even there to win the game.  I get the feeling he's there to be the center of attention, not the victor.  I'll give him this, though - he is entertaining.

Obviously, all of this was a huge gift for the women.  The guys don't like each other.  The alliance is fragile.  Colton has the power and is a free agent.  The women should do very well after the re-mix.  One vulnerability for them might be their intense dislike of Christina.  Frankly, I don't understand it, but she is detested.  In a remix, she could side with the guys, making the other women on the tribe very vulnerable.  However, as I said, I don't think the guys will stick together, so we'll see.  The one other game where they did this (Amazon) saw absolutely no gender loyalty after the re-mix.     

Tarzan's medical practice is collapsing by the hour.  This guy's a friggin' surgeon?  I would never go under that lunatic's knife.      
This has been a very good season with a lot of potential down the road.