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Cagayan – Episode 1: “Hot girl with a grudge”


And here we go for a brand new season of Survivor.

First a disclaimer: while I’m sure I’ll watch this season religiously as every season, I’m pretty busy these days, and I’m not exactly sure if I’ll be able to blog weekly about the show, or at least if I’m going to be able to do it in a timely manner (it’s already Friday early afternoon here and I’m just starting to type this and it won’t be published until Friday night).
However, if you like me so much that you really want to hear about me rambling on about Survivor, you can follow me on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. If I can’t blog on any given week, I’ll post stuff there for sure.

With that being said, it was a great first episode, but not in the usual way some first episodes are great. It wasn’t great because of amazing gameplay, but quite the opposite, it was so full of terrible strategies that it became as entertaining (if not more?) as a traditionally amazing episode.

OK, let’s see what I have to say about these tribes and players.

First things first, I’m not too sure what to think of the division of the tribes. I mean, I like the concept, but most players could fit in any tribe really, some are even miscast in a sense (Garrett should have been in Brawns, not Brains – unless his muscles are as efficient as his brain – most of the Brawn tribe members could definitely be in the Beauty tribe too, and so on). On the one hand I understand; for challenges to be fair, you need muscular people in every tribe for example (can you imagine a tribe of Cochran 1.0 doppelgangers? They wouldn’t win a single challenge), but on the other hand, it kinda turns the concept into just another publicity stunt (and we all know there is going to be a reshuffling before the merge anyway).

Also, unsurprisingly the Brawns tribe has been dominating challenges and won’t be strategizing much until late in the game, if ever. Of course the Beauties tribe has mostly been getting a tan for its first few days on the island. And while a lot of things has been said about how dysfunctional and overall terrible the Brains tribe has been, I’m not really surprised that much. Overstrategizing on day one can do that to you, especially when you can’t win challenges.


Aparri (Brawns)

Cliff Robinson: I’m not a basketball fan, so I basically just know his face and his name. In other words, I don’t have any preconception about him. And so far I like him and his quite positive attitude. He seems to be a fun guy to be around, so he should be kept around for quite a while. I’m not sure if he can have a strategy that would allow him to win though. We’ll see.

Lindsey Ogle: Not much about her. She doesn’t like Trish, we know that. That’s pretty much all we know.

Sarah Lacina: A pretty interesting character so far. She seems quite well-rounded: athletic, smart and beautiful (the perfect example of what I said earlier, she could be a member of any tribe really). She especially seems to be the savviest of what’s going on around here so far. She also handled the being nominated “tribe leader” the best. I’m pretty sure she’ll go very far and could be one of the major players this season.

Tony Vlachos: If Sarah maybe a major player this season, Tony may become a major character. He instantly reminded of a less evil (and less smart?) Russell Hantz, with a strong Brad Culpepper vibe. I think he’ll be a similar character to the latter. Not a bad guy, but a jerk who doesn’t realize he’s being a jerk. A guy that many people won’t like in his tribe, but that many people will enjoy watching on TV. So far, he’s been strategizing the most in his tribe, but he’s been pretty silly about it (why lie about your job for no reason? No admitting you’re a cop won’t make people see you as a cunning mastermind, believe me) and his “spy shack” is hilarious. That being said, he’s found an idol… Although that didn’t help Garrett staying very long.

Trish Hegarty: I see how she can be annoying, but she also can be a very good ally, the loyal kind that won’t betray you and who also could be a very good goat if she annoyed enough people along the way.

Yung “Woo” Hwang: He seems to be a cool dude who’s fun to be around. I like the relationship he has with Cliff right now, but just like Cliff, I’m not convinced he can be strategic enough to stand any chance. However, as it seems that his tribe won’t lose many challenges, he could easily make the merge and the jury.


Luzon (Brains)


The Brains tribe is smiling... probably for the last time of the season...
The Brains tribe is smiling… probably for the last time of the season…


There isn’t much to say about the tribe as a whole that hasn’t already been said on the web somewhere. So, I’ll rehash just a couple of things: being smart doesn’t necessarily make you “Survivor smart” (although to be honest very few winners are dumb, if any). I think the problem with them is that they’re actually thinking too much, playing too hard too soon and end up making stupid choices.

David Samson voted out first: Not sure if David was an actual fan of Survivor. I believe he is, but I also believe that he confused Survivor with his job. The way he acted, every single minute he was on the island, from the moment he ruthlessly designated Garrett as the weakest one in his tribe to the moment he was blindsided, he forgot that when dealing with the people he deals with on a daily basis in his job, he can offend them all he wants, he can be as ruthless as needed, they can’t vote him out in the end. Also, I’m sure that his employees don’t question him much when he makes a decision. Your tribemates are not your employees. Also, his ouster is the perfect example and lesson for future Survivor contestants: while you should always keep the endgame in the back of your mind while you’re playing, that doesn’t mean that you should play from the beginning as if you were in the final five. And if you do it, don’t say it, ever… When he designated Garrett, he made two huge mistakes. First, he thought that Garrett would be eliminated on the spot, so he didn’t have to be diplomatic with him. I know there are new twists every season, but I hope it never happens that a player is eliminated right at the beginning not from a vote, but from one other player saying so. He should have figured that out, and even if he designated Garrett, he should have been a bit more careful with the way he does it. Second mistake was to play like it’s the end already. Sure, you don’t want a guy like that looks like Garrett anywhere near the end, but you also want to go to the end, and a guy like him is needed in the tribe to win challenges and such (and also to be a bigger target than you when merge approaches or comes).

Garrett Adelstein voted out second: While I understand that you don’t want a guy that looks like Garrett near the end of the game, Garrett could actually have been a good goat. He lasted only 6 days, but I think he can be nominated to be one of the worst players ever. Is there one mistake he hasn’t made? And that second tribal council? It’s been said before, despite what we see through editing, usually contestants know who they’re voting for before the beginning of tribal and almost never change their vote during the council. This time, I’m pretty convinced that Kass wasn’t planning on voting Garrett, and Tasha probably wasn’t either. He must have screwed up even more badly than we saw to be voted out over someone who throws the rice into the fire. Yes, he deserves a special mention in the worst player pantheon…

J’Tia Taylor: I don’t know what to say about her. I see the “being bossy” mistake, I see the sucking at challenges, I understand most of her reactions, and I believe that she doesn’t know the game that well, and everything took her by surprise, and that game can reveal the worst in you at times. However, there is no excuse, no excuse at all, for throwing the rice into the fire. Denise Stapley posted something about it on Facebook I advise you to read it. And the worst part is that I’m sure that it wasn’t a spontaneous thing, but she was just being a copycat of Brandon Hantz… Yes, this sorry excuse of a human being has now left a legacy and set a precedent. That’s why I wonder how bad Garrett really was to be voted out instead of her. Had I been in the tribe, there was no chance on earth that I vote for someone else during that tribal. Now, the true big mistake the Brains tribe made in terms of voting was to not vote J’Tia first.

Kass McQuillen: I kinda like Kass so far, but I’m afraid that she’s a terrible player. The main reason why J’Tia didn’t go home first was because Kass told her she was being voted out. Never tell someone they’re next, there’s nothing to gain from it and a lot to lose.

– Latasha “Tasha” Fox: I like Tasha. Except for the part where when Garrett was being stupid with refusing to have private conversations, she just complained about it and did nothing. Why give him that power? Why not just say “Screw you Garrett, Spencer, let’s go over there, we need to talk”? Garrett had no power over anyone there. On the opposite, threatening to target him in front of everyone was a good way to make him stop his non-sense. Still, I have hopes that Tasha could go far. And not just because I feel that she had the only winner quote of this first episode. Well, David is the only other one who mentioned winning the game during this first episode, and we saw how this turned out for him.

Spencer Bledsoe: From what I heard about him, I had a bad feeling. I was afraid that he was going to be an insufferable overconfident brat. Well, I thought he was going to be what David ended up being. Good, because I really want to root for him, and so far, he seems to be the only one in the tribe, with Tasha, to keep his hear on his shoulders. I was actually a bit disappointed that he didn’t take a more proactive role into what happened, but when the crazies come knocking, it’s not always a bad idea to stay out of the way. I also had somewhat Malcolm vibe from him. Not in terms of personality, but in terms of gameplay. We’ll see… In any case, he’s now the only man in his tribe and he should be safe long enough to put himself in a good position if he can play as well as I hope he can.


Solana (Beauties)

I was expecting a battle of egos… Maybe not… But we’ll see… In any case, they are the tribe that impressed me the most right now (maybe because I had very low expectation). However, when they’re going to lose a challenge, it may be a messy tribal council. For the moment though, we haven’t seen enough of them for me to have very strong impressions.

Alexis Maxwell: Not much about her. She’s cute, that’s for sure. That’s pretty much all I have to say about her right now.

Brice Johnston: I need to see more of him, but he seems sneaky enough to be a good player. Not sure of his personality though, will he be likable enough to make enough friends? We’ll see.

Jefra Bland: She kinda has the perfect last name right now.

Jeremiah Wood: Meh…

LJ McKanas: I do want to see more of him. He too, like Sarah in the Brawns tribe, seems like he could belong to any of the tribe. He kinda got screwed when he was nominated as tribe leader. Designating Morgan was the right choice I think, but he may pay a heavy price for it, as now Morgan, Brice and Jeremiah are kinda gunning for him.

Morgan McLeod: I’m not a big fan, but I have to give her credit for one of the best move of this first episode: the way she lied about the choice she had to make was very smart. Comfort Vs Usefulness is a choice contestants often have to make with rewards, and seeing what objects were there at camp, nobody had any reason to question her explanation. Well, played… Now gunning for LJ as a vengeance of some sort is silly.


Next time on Survivor:

Rain is going to break the morale of a few people I’m afraid. Not Tony who’s scheming as much as he can.


Next to go:
Hard to tell this early in the game.
If Brains goes back to tribal, I’ll lose faith in humankind if they don’t vote J’Tia out.
If Brawns go, Cliff could be in trouble.
If Beauties go, LJ seems in trouble too, but I don’t believe he would be voted out so early.


Winner prediction:
It’s too early to pick a winner, but right now I see two possible ones: Sarah, because of her edit, possibly the best this episode, and Tasha because of that “winner quote.”





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