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Survivor 'Redemption Island' Premier
 by the Liberal Bastard

“They are sizing us up like we are prey”: Francesca, shooting herself in the foot.

And So It Begins! Welcome to the new season of Survivor: Redemption Island!
A new group of victims..Err..Castaways including two returnees are divided into two tribes,
the purple Zapatera and the yellow Ometepe.

What I want to do here is explore the strategies (such as they are), mistakes, and alliances
that occur during the course of the season. If you need a recap of the current episode,
there are a number of other places to read it. A good place to start is:

When the castaways arrive in a Nicaraguan helicopter, they are already divided into tribes,
which I have discussed before. Apparently, they are not aware that Boston Rob and Russell
are arriving in a separate copter. When the two alight from the copter, there is a noticeable
difference in the reception – Rob (YEAHH!), Russell (oh, yeah?). When the two select buffs,
the Ometepe tribe is measurably happier (Rob) than Zapatera (Russell) as well.

Looking at the tribes, I wonder why there is always some idiot in a full dress suit, and a couple
of women in short skirts and dresses. I know that the producers never tell the contestants when
the game starts, but I’d NEVER wear a suit, unless they forced me to. (Ironically, the guy in
the suit is the one who has the highest IQ in Survivor history. Heh!)

Comment: What is with the toolkit? There have been seasons where tribes started with a
couple of sticks! Yeah, you give me a toolkit with nails, rope and tools, and I’ll build you
a pretty nice shelter. Damn, make ‘em WORK for it! 

Another comment: Strategy is what makes this game interesting to me – I love to see the
various players interact. I have seen a number of different strategies, some of which I have
mentioned in prior articles, and whether that particular strategy works. In this first episode
I have already seen a wide range of strategies both good and VERY bad.

What I want to do is to illustrate the ways the contestants play the game; where they succeed
and where they fail. In the early game, this is rather difficult, since not everybody is highlighted
during the show. For instance, Steve (who?) was almost totally missing – he said some things
in the background, but he was MIA AFA the episode goes. Same goes for Grant (who?), and a
number of the women. (Of course, beautiful women running around in their underwear always
gets my attention..) Usually, each of these people comes to the front as the game progresses,
so we should be able to get some idea about them later on. For now, we’ll take a look at the
people that played a primary role in this episode.

RUSSELL: Russell started the game being Russell (And you are surprised?). His strategy?
Same as before: promise to be a good boy to the tribe, but make alliances with the ‘clueless’
for cannon fodder and to advance his game. The problem with this? People know his scam,
and they are already plotting his demise. Mike the Marine remarked that keeping Russell
had no pros; David the suit noted that he knew Russell’s history and that they needed to
get rid of him ASAP. Russell could be in big trouble if he doesn’t recognize his peril and
take preventative steps, or else find a HII.

STEPHANIE: Stephanie quickly made an alliance with Russell. This may not have been a
good idea; somehow I think she will pay a heavy price for this, and fairly soon. I think she
knows her peril, but associating with Russell is deadly, especially since the others are on to him.
Indeed, Stephanie’s new alliance with Russell was noticed, and discussed, but not favorably.

The Rest of the Zapatera Tribe didn’t really participate in the episode significantly.

ROB: Rob started the game with the Ometepe tribe, to their loud approval. Rob’s early
strategy is to create a quick alliance with all of the younger women, including Matt as well.
This gives him a strong power base. (We are also blessed with the first blur of the season;
apparently one of the blonde girls has a problem with her underwear.) Rob also shows that
he is paying attention; he lets Kristina know that he is aware of what she is doing (looking for
the HII). Rob has what looks to be a strong early alliance, and he does not seem to have a
viable opposition; Kristina and Phillip quickly cut their own throats at the TC.   Rob should
be around for a while, unless things continue to go to hell. At that point, he will become the
target. His biggest problem is his tribe; they just are not as strong as Zapatera, and this does
not bode well for Rob’s long term game health.

KRISTINA: She immediately started looking for the HII, as soon as she could without
drawing suspicion from other players. (They still noticed.) However, Rob figured it out fast
 – remember, he’s played with HII loving Russell before. I’d bet he’s seen all the moves,
and realized what she was doing. You have to give Kristina her props, however, since she
found the darn thing, using a bit of good logical thinking. One thing I noticed: her top
changed in the middle of the search. I’d bet it took her a couple of days to find the HII,
but the producers edited it down. However, she screwed up badly by letting her allies know,
especially Phillip(!). She still has the HII, but since everybody knows now due to Phillip’s
big mouth, it is relatively worthless, and actually makes her poison, since anybody who is
allied with her becomes a target. Rule: Don’t challenge one of the best players in history.
EVER. Kristina’s outlook does not look good. Two episodes, Max.

PHILLIP: Textbook case on how NOT to play the game: Come in and make a Pain in the Ass
of yourself by annoying your fellow players. Call people together to tell them something
about yourself, over and over again. It’s even better when what you tell them sounds boastful.
Piss off people by dismissing their ideas out of hand, or refusing to consider alternatives.
Wander around wearing a pair of droopy jockey briefs (pink, yet! Yeesh!). Act like a maniac
during TC. Finally, let everybody know something that was told to you in confidence.
I thought Phillip had a possibility to make the finals – NAAA! He sorta reminds me of
a slightly demented Coach (Is that possible?). I think he is first in line when Ometepe loses
a challenge again. Rob will split the vote so that Kristina has to use her HII, and Phillip
goes to RI, to duel with Francesca. Now THAT would be fun.

FRANCESCA: I had a bad feeling about Francesca when I read her Bio. She didn’t help
matters when she dissed both Rob and Russell when they arrived. It pissed Rob off, and put
her in a bad light. People don’t realize that the game starts when you get off the copter,
and she immediately alienated a major power player. What’s worse, Rob will REMEMBER.
For a LONG time. When somebody gets the attention Francesca got during the first episode,
it does not bode well for that person, gamewise. What is sad is that she didn’t really do
anything wrong; she just fell in with the wrong crowd: a wackjob (Phillip) and a poor
strategic planner (Kristina). Unfortunately, the axe dropped on her, mainly because of
what she said at the beginning (unless there is something else we didn’t see). How will she
do at RI? She seems to be fairly levelheaded, so I think she’ll be able to hold on, make fire
and shelter, but her game life now rests in the hands of her former tribe and the other tribe.
If a strong person is booted next (Phillip?), she’s in trouble.

THE TRIBES: Now that I’ve seen both tribes perform, I think I can start handicapping how
this may go. Zapatera has much more physical strength, and should dominate all of the
push/pull/shift/smash challenges. Most of the men on that tribe are really strong, and Julie
is on a level by herself as well (Her neck is as big as my thigh!). Let’s not annoy the lady,
huh guys? Keep in mind, however, that Ometepe almost caught up with Zapatera during
the challenge. Ometepe is already in trouble; the men are not especially strong, except for
Matt (who?) and Rob. Phillip didn’t show any particular strength. The women are all fairly
small, except for Kristina, and she’s not Julia. Losing Francesca probably didn’t make that
big a difference. Look for Ometepe to lose a few more physical challenges before the producers
change things up (and I bet they will.) If there are non-physical challenges, then Ometepe
may have a chance; Rob is death on puzzles.

On the other hand, they could get their butts handed to them. In pieces. Slowly. Painfully.

(Look up Ulong)

Each week I’ll also award the Stupid Move of the Week to the player who makes the worst blunder.
This week, it is easy: Francesca, for insulting both Rob and Russell about five minutes into the game.
I can’t think of a time where somebody committed game suicide so quickly.

Applause also to Kristina for immediately planning a ‘Big Move’ with the HII she just found.
“Strategy? We don’t need no stinkin’ strategy!”

That’s it for now – I’ll have the another commentary next week!


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