Survivor I, Episode 6 in Retrospectby David Bloomberg -- 07/10/2002
The episode itself began with the information that the tribes would soon be merging. This is of great importance to both tribes, but especially for Tagi because they were already one person down and needed to avoid voting off another so their alliance strategy would work.
Susan and Kelly both seemed to recognize that Pagong members just wanted to play all day (though we are forced to wonder how they knew this, since they are supposed to be separated and only see each other during challenges). All of Tagi – even the anti-alliance Sean – was plotting who from Pagong should go. Mostly, they were doing it in fun, though, as we would see their strategy change before the first actual vote. Rudy also realized that he had to join the alliance if he hoped to survive – a wise move on his part, as we now know.
Also at Tagi, Richard began walking around naked with some frequency, which didn't bother his Tagi teammates too much, but would later really bug some of the Pagong after the tribes merge. We not only saw more of him, we also saw more of his confidence and, some would say, arrogance in statements like, "I'm in control of who's being voted off."
Meanwhile, at Pagong, Gervase and Joel were digging themselves into a deep hole of male chauvinism as Gervase uttered (or should that be "uddered") his infamous line: "Girls are the stupidest things on the planet, next to cows." Joel got dragged into it by laughing and back-slapping, and also by the way he treated his female teammates. That would spell the end of his stay here by the time Tribal Council rolls around.
The true, lazy, side of Gervase also came out in force in this episode, with his statements like: "I haven't done a thing out here since I've been here" and "it's all about charming personality; that would get me through." Remember, this was the same guy who was saying earlier, in response to B.B.'s complaining, that everybody was working hard. But while his laziness annoyed some of his teammates and would also bother the Tagi members after the merger, it actually helped him to stick around longer because the Tagi alliance didn't see him as a threat.
This episode almost saw the formation of a Pagong alliance to rival Tagi's. Almost. Gervase, Joel, Jenna, Colleen, and Greg all discussed how they should stick together after the merger and vote against specific Tagi members. Gretchen refused to go along. If she had, it would have been quite interesting, but without her to help lead them, the plan seemed to fall apart and they became the targets instead of the shooters.
The reward challenge saw Richard's biggest screw-up on the island, as he brought back a duplicate pocket knife and his team was forced to forfeit. But even if they had been forced to a Tribal Council this episode, he was safe because of the alliance. Nobody was even shown complaining about his error.
The immunity challenge really was a key turning point in the entire Survivor game. Tagi won it by mere seconds, and thus didn't go into the merger with only four people to Pagong's six. The whole direction of the show depended on those few seconds. Had they lost, Sean would have been voted off. And while he was not an official alliance member, they used his alphabetical scheme to help them later on. Instead of Pagong being picked off one-by-one, it likely would have been the other way around.
Joel, of course, was booted because of his condescending ways towards the women in Pagong. The rerun ended with a mini-interview with him again claiming that he is not a chauvinist. He looked back at what others had said and compared himself, for example, to Sue saying that she couldn't wait to dog a guy on national television. He said that if he had said something like that about a woman, he'd have been in big trouble! Of course, it's easy for him to say that now, but at the time he wasn't sharing a tribe with her and it was his own teammates that voted him off, so it's really not a logical comparison to make.
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