Survivor I, Episode 1 in Retrospectby David Bloomberg -- 07/10/2002
As CBS is reran all of the original Survivor episodes up against the Olympics, it gave fans the opportunity to watch shows they might have missed (especially for those who got on the bandwagon late) or to look at the way their favorite players changed over time. Each episode also included a few post-show comments by various contestants, which could add to our Survivor knowledge. In this spirit, let's take a look at the first episode, which aired again on September 15.
The rerun begins with a few new comments from Richard, looking back. He explains that his original strategy was to get everybody working together towards a common goal. But then, he said, "within seconds, Susan kicked my butt" with her comments about the corporate world not being the same as the island. His strategy went out the window, and he had to come up with a new one – fast!
Of course, we all know that he did just this, and a damned good strategy it turned out to be. In the episode, we see his confidence already when he says he's already got the million-dollar check written out.
In this episode, we see the beginnings of plot lines that will come to fruition later. For example, Richard does eventually get off his tree branch and gets the Tagi tribe working as a team, though they seemed fairly inclined to do so anyway. That teamwork would eventually spell the end of Pagong, who we see doing just the opposite: avoiding teamwork and getting mad at B.B., who is trying to get them to do some work.
Meanwhile, we see how easily Ramona gets tired and sick even as they just arrive at the island. That lack of fortitude would shortly spell an end to her stay there.
Back at Tagi, we see Richard complimenting Rudy and vice versa, which lays the groundwork for their later alliance until the bitter end. Rudy is happy to see how Richard is trying to take a leadership role. Meanwhile, Richard makes the comment that some people think Rudy is arrogant and, knowing himself as the country would soon come to know him, admits to his own great arrogance in an amusing fashion.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the first episode was the irony in who made the first alliance. It wasn't Richard; it wasn't Susan. It was Kelly and Stacy, who allied themselves to get rid of Rudy (Kelly wouldn't succeed in voting him off until they were down to the final three). They tried to bring Susan in, but she played sneaky and decided not to vote their way.
Kelly would be the one who later decried the Tagi alliance led by Richard, the one who felt it was immoral, the one who tried to break from it. Yet Kelly was playing the alliance game before anybody else. To me, it only made her later protestations that much more dishonest than I already had believed them to be.
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