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Survivor: Vanuatu Premiere - By Hook or By Crook, But Bye-Bye Brook?by Ken Kellam III -- 09/22/2004
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Well, another Survivor season is upon us, and as always, it's time for a few questions. First of all, what was up with the tribesman coming at all the Survivors with spears, except Rory? My first thought was that any minute, we would hear Jeff Probst say, "Here's your first twist, you're all going to die… except Rory," and it would just be a one-shot series, like a couple of other shows I've covered. But alas, they all lived through it.
Did anyone else find it ironic that the lucky charm was a pig tied upside down to a pole? For one thing, obviously the pig hasn't got a lot of luck if that's his predicament. Of course, maybe it was appropriate, since many (most?) women claim men are pigs anyway. In any case, you can stick a fork in both the pig and Brook, because they are both done.
When Jeff Probst described the volcano on Vanuatu, did anyone else think that the twist would be that each bootee was thrown in and burned alive? If such were the case, Probst could say, "This time around, fire means death."
Now let's ask the most obvious question of all: Why Brook? He didn't have trouble on the balance beam, and he's obviously strong and useful to his tribe, if a bit cocky, as pointed out by Lea, aka "Sarge." What, exactly, isn't Mark Burnett showing us? Maybe this is really Survivor: CSI, and we'll find out Brook really had an evil twin (Okay, Survivor meets CSI meets Big Brother), and the evil twin hurled racial slurs at Rory, sang anti-war songs to Sarge, and stole a can of beans… oops, wrong Survivor.
Anyway, like CSI, I'm trying to piece together the clues with what little Mark Burnett gave us, and there's not a lot to go on. In fact, this would be a perfect time for CSI's theme song, "Who Are You?" as we STILL don't know much about Brook and how he played the game. Here's my best guess as to what happened: Lea saw which way the wind was blowing, and thought the younger players would band together against the older ones, and while Chris lost immunity, he was one of the older ones, and Lea knew he needed Chris vote to assure his (Lea's) chances on staying in the game down the road.
Meanwhile, back at loser lodge, Brook is probably singing from another Who song. To paraphrase a bit, "No one knows what it's like, to be the banned man, to be the ousted man, behind blue eyes." Or maybe, years from now, on an episode of Cold Case, someone will present detective Lilly Rush (who won't be nearly as hot as she is now) with never-seen footage that gives clues as to Brook's fate.
Other than Brook's ouster, who or what was the biggest surprise of the night? I'd have to say Lea. When I saw that he was a drill sergeant, and he was shown on the CBS website with his arms crossed and a drill sergeant-type expression on his face, I figured he'd be gone before you could say "about-face," due to control issues. After all, remember Frank in Africa? Right away, the former military man was barking out orders to his tribemates, many of whom wanted to give him a dishonorable discharge.
But to his credit, Lea seemed to keep that side of him under wraps. In fact, he came across as rather likable, and seemed to try to stay low-key and fit in. The ironic thing is, he ended up being a leader anyway, as several tribemates sought his input in deciding whom to vote off. Since his plot to oust a younger guy succeeded, he may be in control of the tribe for now. But unlike a drill sergeant, no one realizes Lea's the one in control. After all, it's not like he barked orders to the men on how to vote. Not only that, but his Carolina accent and "aw shucks" demeanor seem to endear him to the tribe, at least for now.
Now for a question regarding J.P.: What was he thinking with his comments at tribal council? Specifically, he couldn't believe they lost to a bunch of women, because they're nine strong guys. Earth to J.P: It's not always about strength, dude. That's why you HAVE challenges like the balance beam. And if you don't understand that, maybe you're the one a little "unbalanced." If you can't balance, it doesn't matter if you have nine professional bodybuilders on your team, it just ain't happenin' for ya.
Did Chris deserve a reprieve, or should he have been make to walk the proverbial plank? It's a good thing he didn't, because judging by his performance tonight, he wouldn't have made it all the way to the end before falling in. As for brainpower, he may come up short a little there too, and here's why: He mentioned that they should get rid of J.P, whom he claimed was "too strong." Uh, Chris, you don't get rid of your strongest members first!
Okay, maybe if your name is Rob, and your strongest member is named Hunter, but even that didn't work too well in the end… I've seen this happen in online versions of Survivor: Someone wants to get rid of the strong first, because he's seen other strong people voted out on the TV version of the game. However, he doesn't realize there's a time and place to eliminate the strong, and first tribal council isn't it.
While we're on the subject of Chris, did anyone else find his cockiness rather strange and off-putting? He claimed he didn't feel vulnerable at all, and even went so far as to call out Rory during tribal council. Not a smart move. Of course, for now, the tribe needs his strength, so he may be around awhile. But what was with his comment that it's "Outwit, Outplay, Outlast," not "Outbalance?" Uh, that's part of "outplay," Chris. This guy dodged a major bullet, and the sooner he realizes that, the better.1 2 Next-->
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