Survivor: Philippines — First Impressions Last a Lifetime … Or at Least 39 Days.
Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS© 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc.
I’ll admit, there is so much on my mind, that I was a little unsure how to begin my first post about Survivor: Philippines.
Sure, I’ve been discussing Survivor for years with family, friends, and co-workers, but this is the first time I have allowed my thoughts and feelings about the game to be open to interpretation, to be scrutinized. To be judged. Then it hit me, doesn’t that sound like the first three days of our latest season?
You’ve got to start somewhere.
I'm saying it now, and I'll say it forever. Day One of any season of Survivor ultimately becomes the most important of them all, yet we hardly ever remember what happened. Think of the first episode kind of like the first day of school. In Survivor, it’s all about the first impressions around camp: who clicks with who, who looks strong, who seems weak, who can rub sticks together like a champ, who wears hardly any clothes the best, and perhaps most importantly who involves themselves just enough to be noticed, and not excluded. Now in a traditional two tribe setting, this is a tense time. But when you split the group into three, you can pretty much guarantee extra tension. I was really interested to see how our returning players would work in such small isolated groups. So let’s break it down.
I have to say, I'm really not that surprised by how things turned out. Russell wanted nothing to do with being leader, yet thrived at being the pushy annoying leader he once was. Penner was his usual shady self playing the game from the minute the raft hit the beach, and doing just enough work to get by. And Skupin, whose body is already turning on him for being back in a tropical setting, has decided to sit back and “go with the game” instead of trying to play it. I can't say I am really surprised at any of these strategies. It's like they never even left the game at all, they just picked up where they left off. In fact, Skupin said it best, "It's like the first time all over again". But how long can these strategies last when you already have an instant target on your back? Who will last the longest out of the three?
My prediction: Jonathan makes it the furthest. He is already playing the game on all levels, not to mention he has the one trait I believe the others lack. Look for some first class Penner backstabbing in the coming weeks.
Dear Zane, you messed up. Am I referring to your, "I'm playing chess the way I know how. Hopefully it kings me," comment? Sure, but there's more.
It was obvious when the show began that our new friend Zane would be providing no shortage of entertainment value. I'm not going to lie; there was something about him that was endearing, charming perhaps, and his fellow tribe mates seemed to pick up on that as well. As the episode progressed, it was obvious that he had put a lot of thought into his social game, reminiscent of one, Russell Hantz. Yet this concentration would ultimately cause his early exit.
In his defense, I'm sure he went into the game believing he would be placed in one of two tribes. It takes much longer for people to get to know each other in a two tribe system as opposed to three. If I could sit down and have an honest chat with Zane about his demise, this is what I would tell him:
1. You are not Russell Hantz, nor can you duplicate that style of game play. It literally cannot be done. Strike one.
2. You attracted the attention of everyone from minute one. You can't just weasel your way through your entire tribe, making alliances with everyone in a three tribe format, and expect people to sit back and let you get away with it. Chances are, you probably would have heard Jeff say "Drop your buffs" around week 3 or 4, as the format goes to two tribes. Yes, that’s two.
3. You admitted defeat. I'm sure you realized you made a mistake after you asked everyone to vote you off since you quickly went back on your speech, claiming it was your "strategy". The only problem was you essentially brought nothing more to the table, and this caused everyone to realize that. Weakness is a character trait that usually accompanies the first few people voted out of any Survivor, and this time it was no exception. As much as I wanted to enjoy your classic one liners week in and week out Zane, you just played a dumb game. You’re out!
Also - I don't play that much chess, but I would love to check out your version sometime.
We certainly learned a lot about many of our new castaways, including more about why our celebrity contestants decided to come on board. There is so much more I could mention in this response to the season premiere of Survivor: Philippines, but I really want to hear back from you guys and find out what you thought. Do you have an early front runner in mind? Who do you think doesn't stand a chance?
Check in with me next Wednesday as I tell you who I predict will run away with the victory this season, and who I believe is next to go.
Follow me on Twitter: @JoshWhino
Catch Survivor: Philippines every Wednesday on CBS, 8pm ET.