An “Insider” Look at Survivor: One World, Episode 8, Part 1 – “We’ve Got a Plan”by Andy Baker -- 04/06/2011
Michael the Day After
Overall, Michael feels his Survivor experience was “awesome.” Pre-game, in-game, after-game – everything was great. He believes that 22 days are enough to show you what you’re made of and what your body can do.
One thing he learned: Not eating a lot of food is the easy part. He was sure he’d be really hungry, but he really didn’t think about it while he was out there.
The game also makes you appreciate your friends and family. Michael thinks his loved ones will be impressed with how he did, particularly in challenges. He came out, did his best, and he wasn’t the first person voted off (which was his biggest fear).
If he were to do it all over again, Michael wouldn’t team up with Matt at the beginning. Mike feels he dug himself a small grave by doing so, and was backtracking every day because of that move. Instead, he would have joined up with players who weren’t as strong, guys like Jonas, and built up some trust with them. But instead, he looked at the strong guys and said, “I need them on my side.” When they were gone, he was the last man standing.
In the game, Michael explains, you have to provide and you have to strategize – and find a happy medium between the two. He’s a “clean guy,” so he spent time cleaning up camp, but this just ended up frustrating him and wasn’t good for his game. He did too much cleaning and fire gathering when he should have been strategizing. Some people can do nothing and strategize all day, but others, like him, have to provide. Given a chance to do it over again, he’d provide less and strategize more.
The biggest challenge for Mike was the absence of truth, honesty, and genuine connection. Players come from all over and you have to work with them. It’s hard, because most of them are lying to your face every day, even going so far as to tell you fake stories. It gets to you after a while; even if they tell you the truth, you think they’re lying. After a while, you don’t want to talk to anyone, because it’s just “game, game, game” all the time.
Sadly, as an end result, Michael feels that there wasn’t a single part of the game where he was himself. He played Survivor as it’s meant to be played, but he still wanted to be himself a little bit. He feels he was trusting, wore his heart on his sleeve, and was open and honest the entire game, which Mike thinks is “pretty cool.”
Michael wanted to win in an honest way, and that strategy got him pretty far – and yet, he wouldn’t play that way next time (he’d be more deceiving instead). In the end, he tried hard in challenges, he didn’t back down, and he was open and honest – which is exactly how he wanted to play.
Looking back on his final moments in the game, Michael says that he “blacked out” at the moment his torch was snuffed. Everything happened so quickly, was so surreal, because he didn’t expect it. He was in complete disbelief as he walked away. And yet, Michael thinks his blindside was “so Survivor… it was beautiful.”
Michael explains that he would rather exit not knowing he was going than how Jonas did; he wouldn’t want to fight for his life at the end, being aware that he was going to go. In his real life, he feels he’s pretty smart about other people’s intentions, but he actually likes how he went out – he would rather not know. Offering a tip of the cap, Michael says that the blindside was “well-crafted… You have to like that about the game.”
Michael then insists that the game is much harder than you think it is when you’re watching at home. On challenge day, you have to get ready, but you’re tired, hungry, nobody sleeps well, and you don’t drink much water or eat much food. When the challenges come, though, you have to be ready to go. When viewers see them that tired in the challenge, they really are that tired.
On a personal level, Michael explains that he will now appreciate life’s small luxuries: a shower, a bed, a bathroom… friends, family, food. He can buy a bottle of water for a dollar at the store instead of grabbing a pan-full of water, boiling it, and pouring it into his canteen.
The most important takeaway for Michael, however, is the importance of friends and family. When friends invite you to come hang out, they truly want to spend time with you, they sincerely want to hang out. In the game, on the other hand, you don’t get that at all – nobody truly wants to hang out with you. There’s always a motive for every interaction; they want to talk strategy, get something out of you, or pull you away so somebody else can talk strategy. As frustrating as that was for Mike, he still thinks that this level of persistent strategizing is “why the game is beautiful.”
Secret Scene (Michael)
Kim invites Michael into the water for a quick strategy session. As Kim washes clothes, she tells Michael that the two of them can do really well together. They’re both in the middle – people aren’t gunning for either one of them right now.
In a confessional, Kim explains that she’s been assuring Michael that she trusts him as part of their alliance – but that’s not necessarily true. She then reveals why Michael has become a target: She doesn’t feel that she has any sort of connection with him and feels he would turn on her in a heartbeat.
Back in the water, Michael worries that people will in fact be gunning for him. Kim reassures him, though, that people aren’t worried about them. She even goes so far as to say she’s more interested in getting Jay and Troy out of the game before Mike! Mike then explains why he’s paranoid: The old Manono tribe had been targeting him. But now, thankfully, they’re not, because they think he’s going along with “their guy thing.”
The scene ends with a “famous last words” confessional from Mike. He explains that he trusts Kim because she’s level-headed. “Things will be fine; we’ve got a plan,” Michael proclaims. “I’m not on the radar at all right now – they’re not going to vote me out.”
It Was Exhausting (Michael)
Michael describes the reward challenge: They were split into two gender-mixed teams while Tarzan sat out. You slid down a huge waterslide, ran into the water, pulled back giant blocks, and then constructed the puzzle. The challenge, Mike explains, was exhausting. He went first, so he had to pull out a lot of big puzzle pieces.
The puzzle was very difficult in part because they were so tired. Christina was on top calling the shots, while Michael would spin blocks if she needed a different view. It worked out, but it was exhausting.
For Michael, walking into the reward was amazing. It was good to simply get away from the beach life for a while. There was 7UP everywhere, hamburgers, hot dogs, a giant grill, steak, potato salad, potato chips, coleslaw, condiments, pies – this is what he’s been dreaming of for a challenge, and he got it.
If you win a challenge, Michael tells us, it’s smart to stock up on calories. After the ice cream reward, he was strong the whole next day; hopefully, this reward will keep him going for a day or two.
At first, Michael didn’t think winning rewards would be a huge advantage, but as the game progresses, you feel energy just having food in your stomach. Getting away from rice and eating something normal is “huge” in game terms. If they have an immunity challenge tomorrow, winning this reward today could help him win.
I’m Suffering (Tarzan)
Tarzan tells us that he hasn’t won any of the reward challenges, so he hasn’t had any extra food. It’s not all bad: He’s losing the weight he wanted to lose. He hasn’t had any protein at all, just carbohydrates and a little bit of fat over the last 21 days. That, for a self-described “fat 64-year-old,” is really hard from a metabolic standpoint. He’s suffering more than anybody because he’s fat and old.
Hungry and a bit jealous, Tarzan explains he hasn’t gotten to eat anything other than rice – no ice cream, no peanut butter, no jelly, no pizza, nothing! He’s sick of coconut, so he can hardly eat it anymore. He imagines if he lasts a lot longer in the game, he might even exceed the amount of weight he wanted to lose.
I Do Care About My Tribe (Tarzan)
Attempting to rehabilitate his image, Tarzan insists that he cares about the people in his tribe. He feels that his fellow castaways are some of the most decent people he’s run into – he likes them all, and wishes them well.
There’s only one person Tarzan feels didn’t like him – Jonas – but he’s gone now. Tarzan doesn’t disrespect the person who “maligned” him, however; he thinks Jonas is brilliant and may still achieve his dreams. That said, Tarzan doesn’t want to play with someone who is hateful to him all the time, so he’s glad Jonas is gone.
Until he retired, Tarzan explains, he worked 90 hours a week. The only people he met were surgeons and nurses – there was no time to meet anybody else. He would wake up at 5 a.m., get home at 9 or 10 at night, and he might get called at 3 a.m. for an emergency – and he kept this schedule for 30 years. As a result, he never had the choice to be out with people.
Doctors do have social settings where they have to mix. Tarzan hasn’t been shy about admitting that he’s awkward outside of the medical setting, however, and he doesn’t even really like the rich people he would be around. He prefers a man who has worked his way up and isn’t impressed with money.
Maybe if he stays retired, Tarzan muses, he’ll meet people like his fellow castaways more often. He believes they’re a stellar group of people who have been picked for their qualities – he’s really impressed with them.
Don’t Want a Jerk to Win (Sabrina)
Sabrina isn’t sure if she’s making a dumb move teaming up with Kim. They both agree that three women should be sitting together at the final Tribal Council. While they don’t want to dwell on the end game yet, it’s going to come up sooner than they know.
Sabrina has never wanted to sit beside Kim at the finals, because Kim is “America’s sweetheart on this island.” Sabrina looked around at who her jury votes would be, however, and now she thinks she has more votes than she originally believed. If she did sit next to Kim at the end, Sabrina feels that it would be close.
Sabrina is certain that she and Kim share one belief about the endgame: They don’t want a jerk to win a million dollars. Instead, they’d rather have nice, cool people who played the game and were competitive together at the end.
Sabrina knows that it would be a big risk if she orchestrated to get Kim out. People would hate her then – Kim is just that likable. For the first time, though, she saw herself maybe sitting next to Kim at the end. She doesn’t know if that’s a dumb move, but it’s a possibility.
Another Tarzan Moment (Jay)
As high winds whip the trees behind him, Jay laments that it’s been raining non-stop since the previous night, when the tarp started leaking and blowing in from the sides. They’ve even had some of shelter go flying – it’s been miserable.
Jay was lying on ground when Tarzan and everyone “started yelping back and forth” after Tarzan jerked a piece of bamboo off the wall. Jay feels that the bamboo might not have been doing too much, but it was part of the wall “for sure.” Tarzan pissed everybody off by pulling the shelter apart, trying to make firewood when they have plenty on the ground to chop up. But Jay just chalks this up to “another Tarzan moment.”
Jay doesn’t think that Tarzan screwed up the shelter (as some other castaways did), but he does think Tarzan is wrong that the bamboo wasn’t part of the shelter. It might not have been a vital part of the wall, but it was still a part of it.
“Tarzan does his own thing around here,” Jay explains, and when Tarzan’s actions clash with what someone else thinks Tarzan should have done, then it always causes a “ruckus.”
A Little Strategic (Kim)
Kim wasn’t sure how excited everyone would react when the reward challenge winners returned with the cooler of the sponsor beverage. It created a really positive moment back at camp, though, when they might otherwise be wondering if they should tell the rest of the tribe how great the reward challenge was.
Empathizing with the castaways who didn’t win the reward challenge, Kim explains that she knows how she feels when people come back to camp coming off a reward. You’re a little envious, and so the winners downplay how good the challenge was when they come into camp. Thankfully, right now everyone’s having a great time, so that’s not going on so much.
Kim is happy to share the sponsor beverage with everybody – she got a lot of protein while they get a lot of sugar (implying that the former is far more important than the latter). Being able to share with her alliance members – most of whom were back at camp – is a good thing, though: She’d rather them win immunity than the people she went on the reward with. So it’s “a little strategic” to want her alliance to have energy.
Also, Kim hates being one of only two people from her alliance hanging out with a random group of castaways for hours. You end up feeling funny coming back into camp, wondering how everyone else is feeling and what conversations have gone one while she’s been gone. So she’s glad they’re happy.
Kim thinks they can make the cooler of soda last for three days. There are 30 sponsor drinks in there, so when somebody else goes home, Kim tells us with a smile, there will be “three for everyone!”
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Andy Baker is an avowed Superfan who enjoys nothing more than debating the psychology and sociology of Survivor. Adulation and condemnation both warmly welcomed at Andrew.Brooks.Baker@gmail.com.
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