Sunday, September 25, 2011

Survivor: South Pacific - Episode Two: Immunity Idols and Idiotic Insights

Cocky or just excited? Good move or cursed find? 

Yesterday was an incredible day. Not only was I in Washington D.C. visiting two of my favorite people, but I also a) bumped into Adechike from So You Think You Can Dance in a Chinatown Starbucks [figures I’d have to leave NY to bump into someone (semi-) famous!] and b) an old friend from college texted me saying that he was hanging out with Survivor: South Pacific’s very own Sophie, and they were READING THIS BLOG!!!!! To make things even more awesome, I’m going to watch Survivor with them a week from this Wednesday. Needless to say, I’m super pumped.

So pumped even that I rewatched the second episode of the season last night with my boyfriend, his Dad, whose interest I had piqued with my unfaltering ebullience, and a good friend of ours.

So without further ado, here are my thoughts from the episode:

1. Ozzy finding the immunity idol is both really exciting and dangerous.

Impressive monkey-skills and initial excitement due to favorite contestants finding Immunity Idols aside, Ozzy getting his hands on this Immunity leaves me with mixed feelings. Not only do I find it kind of strange that the idol was placed in almost the exact same way as it was in Fans vs. Favorites when he found it on Exile Island, but I also think it wasn’t his best move overall. Ozzy’s main issue is his social game and he needs to work extra hard to make sure his fellow tribe mates want to keep him around, without him having to use the idol to stay in the game. In Cook Islands, Yul demonstrated very effectively how the Immunity Idol was most useful: to get power in the game. Keeping it for the purpose of saving yourself on one occasion, provided you play it correctly, is not very helpful on the long run. And my main concern with Ozzy is that his natural confidence – which sometimes borders on cockiness and over-confidence – will return and he’ll pay less attention to his social game, thus shooting himself in the foot once again, and failing at the whole redemption thing.

2. The whole Keith/Jim/Ozzy alliance leaves me largely underwhelmed.

Ok, so if Ozzy might border on cocky in some instances, Jim is full on obnoxious. “I’m the mastermind and the architect of this plan”? Yeah, think again. That said, Keith handled the situation very smoothly and is turning out to be a physically strong but also socially apt player – always exciting qualities to see develop – easing my initial skepticism around this season’s mighty male players along the way. I will say Jim is entertaining to watch and is coming up with some memorable quotes along the way. But his “cool kid” attitude is going to get him into trouble – and I won’t mind one bit. (I mean really Jim: “I don’t see any of us 5 flipping.” Do you even know how this game works? And do you really expect to be certain of that 4-5 days in?)

3. I miss separate reward and immunity challenges.

This week’s challenge was exciting to watch, not least because I love a good comeback (especially when Ozzy’s at the helm!) but I can’t help but be disappointed it was a join reward/immunity challenge once again. If they can’t even give us two separate challenges before the Redemption Island duels begin, then it’s not looking good for later in the season. And that makes me sad… Come on! Survivor is also about the physical aspect of the challenges, ­­and beyond that, the way people react to reward challenges and the decisions they make around them can have a large impact on the game. It’s a shame to reduce that component. I’d much rather see more of those strategic moves than searching for hidden Immunity Idols.

4. Christine dug her grave, and deserves to lie in it.

Speaking of hidden Immunity Idols, Christine made a big mistake searching for it as openly as she did. It was obvious she was going to follow in Kristina’s – her namesake from last season – footsteps. She made a handful of other important mistakes too, like shunning Coach right off the bat and making no effort to mend that relationship, and being so aggressive both at camp (though her confrontation with Edna was really entertaining and I will look forward to seeing how Edna attempts to compensate for and/or improve her social awkwardness) and at Tribal Council.

5. Brandon is train wreck waiting to happen, and I’m eating it all up.

It looks like we’ll be seeing a lot more of his downward spiral into good vs. evil in the next episode, but we got a good look at how shortsighted, na├»ve and impulsive Brandon is this week, unflattering editing aside. While I think that divulging his identity to Coach turned out well for him because of Coach’s honorable game playing philosophy, I also suspect it had absolutely nothing to do with strategy. He just couldn’t keep his mouth shut. His performance at Tribal Council confirms this suspicion… You can’t just declare that you were behind sabotaging someone at camp – and a completely faultless and honorable someone at that – and not explain why or at least extend an apology. I’m sure if Brandon told Mikayla he’d feel more comfortable if she wore shorts around camp, she’s be happy to oblige (which would be a good strategic move for her too). Trying to get her kicked off for entirely selfish reasons is not the right way to go about it. Everyone likes a good train wreck, but this is taking it a bit far.

6. A Tribal Council like I like them! But why must the women always be first to suffer the initial elimination?

Tribal Council was a treat this episode! At first, I thought Coach was being reckless and stupid, but somehow he managed to come out on top of his “gloves off” policy. Albert impressed me in his eloquence and strong argumentation skills. (I love smart players on Survivor!) Mikayla needs to work on more than just her physical skills if she wants a chance to get deeper into the game. And why the hell did Stacey and Christine not vote together? Throwing away a vote is no way to either protect yourself or get yourself in any solid alliance. Neither one of them is going to last long. And though I know that weakness is the main criteria of elimination in the first Tribal Councils, I find it offensive and honestly narrow-minded to so obviously target the old and the female in the tribe. Look at Palau’s season: the ‘older’ and arguably less fit tribe of Koror killed the younger and stronger Ulong tribe with their strategy and brains. It’s time to open your minds a little more kiddos!

I’m looking forward to the Redemption Island duel! Who’s your money on for the win? (I’m going to bet on Christine, though I wouldn’t be opposed to Semhar getting herself some appropriate redemption by kicking butt.) What do you think of the Immunity Idol situation? Who’s shaping up to be your favorite player this season? Leave comments below! 

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