Saturday, September 22, 2012

Survivor: Philippines - Episode One: The Good, The Bad and The Plain Stupid

Survivor Season 25 is under way!
Survivor: Philippines has begun and I for one am very excited at having a new location this season. The opening shots were so beautiful and like I said in my last post, I'm really looking forward to seeing what some of the rewards will bring. [And this is where I appreciate again that Redemption Island is no more, and that reward challenges are actually back.]

I'm pretty optimistic about this season! It seems that the returning players aren't totally stealing the spotlight and there are some standout contestants already. For this first blog post of the season, I'm going to break my thoughts down by tribe.

1. The Blue Tribe: Matsing

This tribe is both potentially my favorite and also my least favorite.

Least favorite because it has the most annoying returning player ever: Russell Swan. Seriously, the guy is either a total idiot or just irrevocably annoying. He starts by saying that being a leader is like shooting yourself in the foot and laughs at the "dummy" who could put himself in such a position -- presumably learning from his previous mistakes -- and then promptly proceeds to do just that, and more. He acts entitled, obnoxious, pretentious and just bossy. I'm very impressed at how well the rest of the tribe is managing the situation and turning it to their advantage.

That is what makes it my favorite tribe: Malcolm and Denise's alliance is very exciting. I like them both and they both seem to have good intuition and good wits. Though Malcolm is very obviously production's attempt at getting a new Ozzy, I actually don't mind. He seems to have a better social game than Ozzy and so what if he's also an attractive and skilled jungle boy? I'm not complaining. :) I'm also impressed with Angie. I don't know how I would have taken being told what to do in that challenge when I clearly had a strength that was being ignored, and she did what she could but then still spoke up afterwards and at Tribal Council, putting pressure on Russell.

Regarding the loss and the vote, I'm also happy this tribe was the first to lose someone. Zane was a wild card and though I can't fault him for trying to make a move, I think his move was very premature and risky, and obviously didn't pay off. You can't ask people to vote you off and claim to be weak so early in the game hoping they'll still stick up for you without you asking them to just because they may find someone else annoying. That's just dumb. In the end, and at this point in the game, the tribe should still vote to remain strong, and I would have voted him out as well over Russell regardless of how nuts the guy drives me. That said... Russell may have only bought himself a few days and a tentative second chance because strength is useless if stubborness takes over strategy -- you end up losing anyway, as was demonstrated by their poor performance at the challenge.

2. The Yellow Tribe: Tandang

Let me begin by saying how impressed I am with Michael Skupin! The guy hasn't played for over 12 years and the game has changed SO MUCH since he was on the show, yet he's making some good decisions. Yes, I am constantly nervous he's going to accidentally kill himself, but I'm also in awe at how well he fits in the game after all this time. His first good decision was going along with RC's strategy. He clearly wasn't a fan of it, but he also understood that his best chance of staying in the game right now is to play dice. That said, he's also not alienating Lisa and made some sweet and helpful suggestions to her at the same time. That's what I call smartly making alliances with everyone (Zane, you taking notes?).

Lisa is obviously adorable, but she also clearly is a fan who doesn't know how to play the game. She seems to be just floating while RC is mobilizing everyone against her. I don't understand why or how people are buying into RC's BS that Lisa is not trustworthy (clearly RC's the mischievous one not-to-be trusted), but Lisa needs to get up and play the game because otherwise she'll be out before she knows it and Skupin doesn't have enough power yet to help her stay. That said, I'd be thrilled to see Lisa and Skupin band together and somehow manage to rope in a couple more to get RC out. I really don't like her.

3. The Red Tribe: Kalabaw

Jonathan Penner is definitely my favorite returning player and I really hope he won't get voted out too soon just because Baseball Jeff said so. That said, it was a really stupid move to begin looking for the Immunity Idol so soon -- and so obviously. [Note: I think the Idol IS the lid of rice. Kind of like the one in China.] He's making it too easy for his tribe to pit against him.

Also, I think it's naive of Jeff to think no one on the whole season is going to recognize him (same goes for Lisa). Sure, you have to either be of a certain generation or into a certain sport, but there's bound to be one person who's likely to recognize you -- if only because producers probably make sure of that to keep things interesting! So I'm excited that Dawson knows and is keeping it under wraps for now until she can use it. It's a card to her advantage and I hope she uses it well!

We really haven't seen much of Kalabaw yet, but it looks like that will change next episode, so I look forward to seeing what happens there.


I think that overall this season is looking good and has some standout contestants, both good and bad. My early favorites are: Malcolm (yes, I'm definitely falling for the Ozzy-vibe), Denise, Penner (definitely pre-game favoritism right now because I do think he needs to turn things around) and Skupin.

What are your thoughts? Do you think the returning players stand a chance this season? Where do you think the Idol is? Who are your early favorites? Let me know in the comments!

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