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Survivor: Exile Island, Episode 1 MVPs: Air and Spaceby Betsy Wasser -- 02/03/2006
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Welcome to another season of Survivor! This is a season of firsts. For the first time, the players are divided into not two, not three, but four tribes. And for the first time, those tribes are divided not only by sex, but also by age. Also for the first time, some of the castaways will be forced to spend the night on Exile Island. They’ll face the wilderness alone with meager supplies, but even more frightening, they’ll be away from the rest of their tribes, thus giving everyone else open season to plot against them. Exile Island’s one advantage, though, is pretty great. There is an immunity idol hidden on the island, and if a player is voted out, he can use the idol to save himself – and to fantastic dramatic effect.
Every week, I will be giving the Survivor Most Valuable Player award to the player on each tribe who is performing the best. Players might win the MVP award for a strong performance in a challenge, for impressive survival skills, or for showing smart strategy. I have a lot of awards to give out this week, so let’s get started!
Let’s start with the MVP player for the younger women. The award this week goes to Misty. Misty was dealt a real blow when she lost the rock-paper-scissors tournament and got stuck on Exile Island. As a result, she immediately missed out on that important early game team bonding. Really, all the other women knew about her was her name. No one had any attachment to her at all, so if their tribe had lost the immunity challenge, Misty would have been an easy first boot.
But Misty was smart and gave herself a bit of an insurance policy. She spent much of her time on Exile Island looking for the immunity idol. Did she find it? I don’t know, but she let her team believe that she might have. I thought the way she answered Jeff’s questions about the idol was smart. She said that there was an idol on the island and that he told her where it was, then when Jeff asked if she spent some time looking for it, she just answered, “Enough.” Note that Misty never said that she found the idol. If she didn’t find it, she’s not lying. But she implied that she found it strongly enough such that maybe the other women on her tribe would pause before voting her out. For making the best out of a bad situation, Misty’s MVP award is well earned.
Now let’s look at the younger men. To be honest, none of them really impressed me this week. It’s cool that they started things off by having some fun with a game of baseball, but that blew a lot of time that would have been much better spent building a shelter or figuring out how to start a fire. There was also nothing impressive about anyone’s performance in the immunity challenge. It took them far too long to unhook the raft – and far too long to get a different guy to unhook it. Pretty much by default, I’m giving the MVP award for the younger men to Austin. He went out on a limb by volunteering to do the first reward challenge. Had he failed, his head would have been on the chopping block. His risk paid off just fine and he did well enough to get a flint for his tribe. I can’t really get excited about his performance, since it was mostly luck (and since he tripped and fell early on), but it’s more than the other guys did. Let’s hope the younger men turn in a better performance next week.
My favorite tribe at the moment is the older men. I was really impressed by how well they worked as a team from the very beginning. They built a roaring fire, a totally adequate shelter, and started getting food with little to no fanfare. The men knew what had to be done, and they simply did it. In fact, I’m so impressed with the older men that I’m giving the MVP award for their tribe to Everyone But Shane. Let’s talk about Bruce first. Bruce was quickly nicknamed Mr. Miyagi at my house. The guy is an absolute workhorse. He’s building a shelter, gathering wood, and chopping fruit like a samurai. The other players have absolutely no reason to complain about Bruce – he’s great.
Dan and Terry are also playing very well. The two of them know that to win Survivor, you need to make alliances. The two of them cemented a friendship early on by promising to never lie to each other. Dan then sealed the deal further, but telling Terry a secret – that he used to be an astronaut. Terry had a secret of his own. Alas, it was not that he was a former NFL quarterback, but rather that he used to be a fighter pilot. If that’s not an immediate bond, I don’t know what is. I think the two of them will stick together for a long time, and with only four people on their tribe, an alliance of two is a big deal.
And, as an aside, my husband and I were about blinded by how incredibly pale Dan is. My husband’s explanation was, “Well, he’s been in space.” Although that means he’s spent more time closer to the sun than the rest of us, I guess he hasn’t gotten a chance to catch many rays.
Then there was Shane. This guy just does not fit in with the rest of his tribe at all. The other three are hard workers and want to work together as a team and to get to know each other. Shane doesn’t see any reason why they have to spend so much time together gathering wood and such. Oh, I don’t know, Shane. For team building? Or to make sure that when you’re by yourself, the other three aren’t talking about the fact that you’re not pulling your weight? Shane’s worst move, though, was to have his appearance on Survivor coincide with his decision to quit his three-pack-a day smoking habit. Oh, Shane. Wouldn’t it have been smarter to quit smoking, say, a few months before when you found out you were going to be on the show? Instead, you are now going through withdrawal in a situation that would be stressful enough on its own. And you are being an absolute grouch in front of people you just met. Not smart. That’s why this week’s MVP award for the older men becomes three MVP awards- one for Everybody But Shane.
Finally, let’s look at the older women. Tina really impressed me. Yes, she’s a little grating, and yes, her going off by herself was probably not a very smart move. But she did enough things right that it should have more than made up for that. She easily built the fire. Then she worked hard at putting together the shelter. She followed that by finding the water. And finally, she found a huge fish to feed the rest of the tribe. On top of all of that, s he is probably the most athletic member of her tribe. If all of that doesn’t add up to make her the Most Valuable Player, I don’t know what would. I really think that the older women’s tribe will suffer without Tina next week.
Then, as Tina’s polar opposite, stands Cirie. After she talked about being nervous not only about clearing space with the machete (never know what critters could be lurking there), she said she was afraid of the leaves. What if there’s a bug under one of them? And while Tina is the most athletic player on the game, Cirie is probably the least athletic. Her suggestion to Ruth-Marie and Melinda that they eliminate Tina because she is strong and would be hard to beat in individual challenges was absolutely ludicrous. It makes no sense at all to eliminate strong players when the game is still a physical one. The tribe’s objective right now is a simple one: Don’t go to tribal council. Having Tina on the team is the best way to achieve that objective. Really, Cirie’s motives were transparent. She was the weak link and desperately needed to deflect attention from herself and onto someone else. The amazing thing was that it worked. For whatever reason, Melinda and Ruth-Marie listened to her. Cirie saved herself and is still in the game. For that reason, the crazy lady who is afraid of leaves scored herself an MVP award.
That’s it for this week’s MVPs – the most winners ever. Congratulations to Misty, Austin, Mr. Miyagi, Dan, Terry, Tina, and Cirie. I can’t wait for next week to see what’s next.
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. She can be reached with feedback and MVP nominations at Betsywasser@Gmail.com
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