SECOND IMPRESSIONS: Sandy Spared, Carolina Condemned
“Let’s Get Rid of the Weak Players Before We Even Start” The importance of first impressions is stressed by an impromptu Tribal Council, and when Sandy and Sierra get voted onto helicopters on a fast track to camp, each does what she can to get back in her tribe’s good graces – and both succeed.
Sandy’s redemption was probably the biggest story of the episode – it’s not often that the token old woman left for dead gets a chance to prove herself, and while her redemption wasn’t as strong as it could have been, it was good enough to shift focus to the next most annoying tribemate – Carolina. Kudos to Jeff Probst for asking the question everyone was asking as she twitched and bore those crazy eyes into him at Tribal Council – yes, she is crazy, and yes, probably too much so for viewers (or tribemates) to find her endearing enough to stick around much longer, but at least she was able to do what needed to be done to stave off elimination for now.
Ugh – Carolina. Even her name is annoying. To her credit she didn’t try to argue when confronted with her bossiness, but she almost seemed to wear it as a badge of honor. Newsflash, Carolina: people coming off a tough challenge loss in extreme weather conditions historically haven’t taken well to tribemates pestering them with the petty nuances of the game.
Sierra takes control
Sandy’s (brief?) reprieve might have been the bigger story, but Sierra’s redemption was more noteworthy. Whereas Sandy didn’t really do much more than be less useless than Carolina (and really, what did she do other than perform surprisingly decently in a losing effort at the Immunity Challenge?), Sierra – who, notably, did not break into tears every 30 seconds – immediately pulled herself together, did something to improve her standing within the tribe, and – most importantly – confronted them with an explanation about her condition, showing confidence and eschewing bitterness.
Just out of curiosity, though – why didn’t any of Sierra’s tribemates express concern about sharing camp, sleeping quarters, dishes, and eating utensils with a tribemate suffering from strep throat, in a game where even the slightest hint of physical weakness can be detrimental?
The anxious New York Jew starts worrying
Stephen’s admitting that he is basically afraid of JT casts him in a poor light. The implication was not that he recognized he would have to work hard to make a connection with JT, or that he looked forward to working with someone from a different culture, but rather it was that he was rolling over and waiting to die. It might be different if JT had tripped Stephen and gien him a wedgie on the hike to camp, but we don’t have any indication thus far that JT is any kind of bully or is difficult to get along with, or that he comes into the tribe with preconceived notions of Jews or city folk. His neurosis will probably be his ending in this game.
It seems like it’s a new tradition in Survivor to have a castaway who goes by a ridiculous nickname. And while “Coach” isn’t as ridiculous as, say “Chicken,” it’s a dangerous idea that basically shouts, “I’m so bossy and overbearing that the name you address me with should reflect that.” And it has already backfired somewhat – even an innocuous gesture like suggesting an alliance seems to have already blown up in his face (or at the very least put Brendan on high alert).
The token nudist
Tyson looks to be the quirky naked guy of the season, and he’s playing the class clown card wisely – not by laying around cracking jokes and getting on people’s nerves, but by being funny as he’s working. The women, particularly Sierra, seem to like him, so if he can continue to walk that line and know when to reel it in, it could serve him well.
This was one of the better premieres in recent memory, and the “twist” (read: forced misunderstanding) was a good one because it upset the status quo without seeming like it was being done solely for the purpose of turning a predictable game upside down. And because it happened early, it made people reevaluate and rethink their actions without putting too much emphasis on individual games. The importance of first impressions has to be questioned somewhat thanks to the MSNBC report that players weren’t strictly sequestered and may have had some limited contact before the game, but at least they didn’t seem to know each other’s names – which provided an interesting commentary on first impressions, by the way, and proved that agism is rampant in this game even if people don’t realize it, and shows what an uphill battle Sandy has to fight to stick around.