Thursday, September 27, 2012

Survivor Philippines: Quick Rundown of Episode 2

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The second episode of Survivor: Philippines was down a notch from the premiere episode, but it was still a good one overall. In this post, I will provide a quick rundown on the highlights of the episode and will later post an extensive analysis and how my favorites fair so far... shall we get started?

Jonathan Finds the Hidden Immunity Idol

Last week, the rest of the Kalabaw tribe made it clear that Jonathan was on the outs. And so, the veteran invested his time on finding the immunity idol. The clue held the key to his salvation in this game and it was important that he held on to that if he wanted to buy more time on the island. Lo and behold, he found it! This is when his experienced served him well.. he didn't panic and read through the clue over and over again. Good thing, the rest of his tribe were nonchalant about all these. It's interesting to see how he went from the bottom of the totem pole to the most powerful member of their tribe.

Lisa's Breakdown

Here's the thing... Survivor is a tough game! The elements are going to get to you and make island living real hard. Your tribemates are the only ones that got your back. Plus, it helps to bond with them to stave off loneliness for when you are away from your family and friends. But for Lisa to just run away from any opportunity of bonding with her tribe is beyond me. Doesn't she understand the social aspect of this game? Why can't she suck it up? Or, maybe, as she says, she's just not able to play this game. 

Roxanne - Breadown #2 for the Night

I got to applaud Roxanne for hugging the spotlight at tonight's episode in Survivor: Philippines. From limited confessionals and air time last week, she went guns ablazing this week. It started off with her comments on the developing showmance between Angie and Malcolm, then she goes on to have a breakdown... then that challenge thing. Well, she was doomed, basically. I felt like she was alright and had a fighting chance to stay, especially with Angie's cookie comments that had my jaw almost dropping to the ground, but the girl can't seem to shut up! She went on and on in her soliloquy (that seemingly is targeted towards Angie) like there's no tomorrow. Eventually, she spelled her own doom and I think Matsing made the right call this time.

Do you think Matsing can finally pull of a win next week? Or will this tribe be dissolved soon? Did they make the right decision to vote off Roxy over Angie? Lots of questions to be answered... don't forget to share your thoughts below.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Understated Performances in Survivor Philippines Episode One

In a previous post, I’ve talked about which players are my favorites based on their performance in Episode 1. This time out, I’d like to talk about castaways from Survivor: Philippines that had shown great potential in the game, albeit in an understated manner. Sometimes, the “under the radar” technique really serves you well in the game of Survivor, so it is interesting to see the chances of players that are utilizing them right now.

Carter, Dawson and Jonathan

The superfan! For years now, quite a few Survivor superfans have been cast into the season and most of them had been a failure. It’s easy to see why – watching and playing Survivor are two completely different spots to be in.

But Dawson is different. She plays a subtle yet smart game. Proof? When she found out about Jeff Kent’s identity, she didn’t pull him aside right away to confront about his identity. She doesn’t go out to her other tribe mates badmouthing Kent, either, for lying to them. Instead, she decides to keep the information to herself until it becomes valuable for her. Nice thinking right there. This alone is something that makes it worth watching the next few episodes for. Jeff Kent might be in for some trouble if he doesn’t take care of Dawson.

Carter Williams

Okay, we might not have heard more than a line or two from Carter but I do think he’s shown great potential on the premiere episode. Clearly, he’d be an asset to this team seeing how well they made up valuable time during the boat leg of the first immunity challenge. That iconic scene at the start of marooning (wherein he caught the chicken and handed it off to Dawson before diving into the water) makes him stand out. But it’ll be interesting to see how his strategic game plays out…

Malcolm Freberg

I’ve been reading a lot of positive feedback on Malcolm and it is clear to see why. I’ve also listed him as one of my favorite castaways this season. Malcolm seems to be the perfect Survivor player with his outdoors skills, sharp wit, and amazing humor with a hint of sarcasm at times. Don’t you just enjoy his confessionals? Plus, he’s easy on the eyes.

But I like what I’m seeing that Malcolm is doing right now – he knows when to take it low and let others take the target. Take for instance that scene wherein they are building fire. He has the knowledge on how to build fire but simply instructed and allowed Russell to do it (and take the credit!). Simple details such as this help to eliminate the target off of his back and not make him a threat. Also, he seems very loud and opinionated on his confessionals but he never says these things in front of his tribe mates. He knows that anything he says can be used against him. His subtle ways will help him sneak his way to the top (hopefully!).

Abi Maria and Pete
Abi-Maria Gomes

Okay, she isn’t really my top choice for a female castaway but Abi-Maria is in a good position right now – at least within her tribe. She is part of the core alliance at Tandang, which she co-orchestrated. However, it was RC who was aggressive in building this alliance, thus taking the target off of her. Abi-Maria therefore acts behind the shadow of RC and this is a good strategy while also keeping the numbers on your side. I’m just not sure yet as to how she will be able to handle the game individually, which is why I am kind of in a toss-up with her game. 

What about you? Which are your favorite castaways based on what transpired on Episode One of Survivor Philippines? 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Survivor: Philippines Favorite Castaways

It’s only been episode one in for Survivor Philippines and I am already high in anticipation as to how the rest of the season will go. I know, it’s too early to predict winners, but I already have my sights on who I want to win the title of Sole Survivor. Take note, though, that my list of favorite castaways are only based on impressions from the pre-show interviews and cast assessments, as well as what transpired on episode one.

Mike Skupin (Tandang)

It’s easy to root for Mike because he is one of the old-timers. If you’re a long time fan of the show, like me, you’d even be starstruck to see him again! But he is a legend. And Survivor will not be what it is if not for him. The opportunity to see him play again is a Survivor dream for ultimate fans and I am rooting for him to go far, if not win it all (yeah, I still want a new player to win this season). But he is tremendously athletic for his age and he has shown great approach at the game by playing along with it, instead of being too abrasive and impose his own strategy, so I think if he can keep that alliance intact, he’d be in a good position at least until the merge.

Jeff Kent (Kalabaw)

It is always easy to support competitive players and Jeff Kent is undeniably one. It’s no surprise given his background as an athlete – he likes to win at every game! He sorta reminds me of Gary from Guatemala, which again is not a surprise as they both had athletic background. 

The only thing working against him right now is his active campaigning to vote off Jonathan. If Penner does find the idol, that could easily switch up the power position in the tribe. And given his physical strength, he could be easily perceived as a threat and an obvious choice for a vote.

Denise Stapley (Matsing)

Denise is a sex therapist. That alone makes her an interesting pick. But she is not your stereotypical “old woman” in Survivor. She is a strong competitor at challenges (as proven in the first immunity challenge for this season) and she can play a good strategic game, too. 

I love how upfront she is on her pre-game cast video that she is here to play the game. And her alliance with Malcolm is a very promising one, indeed. I am keeping my fingers crossed that they can ride it all the way to the end.

Malcolm Freberg (Matsing)

Malcolm is the complete package. On Rob Cesternino’s podcast, wherein he interviewed Yul Kwon, the winner of Survivor: Cook Islands and one of the best players the show has seen, he had some positive feedback about Malcolm’s gameplay so far. He sort of resonated what I thought and had seen of Malcolm’s game, which is why I am putting my money on him to win.

First off, he is a strong physical competitor. He is, after all, an athlete wherein he played college football while attending Dartmouth University. Second, he has survival skills and knows how to survive the jungle and island living. The third major weapon he has under his helm is his charisma and intelligence. He seems to have a good grasp of the game and very easily reads the situation. Even though he’s been described by many as arrogant (even he would describe himself as ‘cocky’), he has done a great job of keeping it low and not trying to step up yet. One clear example of this was during the building of fire. He allowed Russell to take care of it so that the latter can take credit while also taking some of the target off his back.

I am still expecting to add more women into the list as we go along, but aside from Denise there isn’t any other that had stood out for me (and whom I would like to root for). RC seems to be a smart and aggressive player, but I do think she’s coming on too fast that she’s at risk of exposing herself, and putting a target on her back, too soon.

Be sure to come back soon to read more updates, predictions, and insights from this season of Survivor. What about you? Which castaway are you rooting to go all the way to the end?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Survivor: Philippines Premiere Episode Insights

I miss blogging about Survivor, my favorite reality TV show of all time, and so it was fitting to resurrect this hobby of mine with the show heading to my own country, the Philippines. I felt like the show going to our nation was a long time coming, but as they always say, “better late than never”. And I believe this was the perfect timing because the show has some excellent twists that would make for a great season – 25 seasons in!

The big twist for Survivor: Philippines is that there are going to be 3 competing tribes (last time it happened was way back in Survivor: All-Stars). Also, there will be three returning players this season featuring previous castaways that were medically evacuated from the game. Personally, I think this is the ultimate second chance and these players deserve another shot (well, except maybe Penner, but I’d rather have him than Colton). I got goosebumps seeing Michael Skupin being introduced to the new set of castaways – I mean, this is season 25 and he last played in Season 2, back in the day when people barely knew Survivor!

I witnessed this crazy moment of him falling into the fire and skin falling off his hands, so I can personally sense that nostalgia in the air, and I would probably have the same reaction as Dawson did if I were one of the 15 on the boat.
the 3 medevac returnees

Again, not trying to be biased here but I would claim that was one of the best premiere episodes that Survivor had seen in a long while. One of my qualms with editing as of late is that we don’t get to see much of the camp life – much of the focus had been on strategizing and scheming. But, we got a fair amount of that on episode 1 of Survivor: Philippines, which is surprising given that there are 3 tribes. Almost everyone got a shot at having their confessional featured on the show, too.

To be honest, I wasn’t quite impressed when I saw some of the cast photos and bios that went out pre-show. Only a few stood out for me, of which I will be discussing more on in a separate blog post, but I was blown away. I appreciate the fact that this season consist of castaways that seem to have really studied the game. It should be exciting how things play up later on, especially with two “celebrity” castaways whose identities they are trying to keep under wraps.

The immunity challenge is another breath of fresh air. Any loyal and long-time Survivor fan knows that water challenges are what has drawn us to the game. And I appreciate the challenge production team, and a bit of push from Mark Burnett himself, that they are going back to doing some water challenges. Clearly, it resulted in some intense competition with three tribes competing for immunity, and one going to tribal council. The come-from-behind win by Kalabaw was impressive and the two guys who did the rowing and swimming leg (Carter and Jeff) helped to give their team a push. On the flip side, Russell has executed probably the worst strategy in a challenge I’ve seen in 12 or 13 years of the show. I could not even remotely imagine what his strategy was going in – he just cost his entire team the challenge! I’m interested to hear what fans thought about this strategy. (Make sure to comment below so we can discuss your thoughts).

Overall, I am very pleased with the first episode of Survivor Philippines. I do believe that Matsing will be able to get back into the game because they have a pretty solid team. Hopefully, Russell would not mess it up again with his poor decision making! Also, it’ll be interesting to see how Jonathan makes peace with his tribemates who are, obviously, not happy that he’s looking for the immunity idol way too early. It’s not helping that he’s got that shady rep to begin with. And watch out for next episode if Mike continues with his injury-prone ways.

What are your bold predictions for episode 2 of Survivor Philippines? Who will get the boot this time? I’m dying to hear your thoughts.