Survivor SA: Season 5
Episode 1 and 2
20 Contestants, 29 days, 1 Survivor………………oh, and 2 Coaches?
I wanted to blog about this season of Survivor through the eyes of someone who has experienced it all up close and personal. The hunger, the treacherous weather conditions, the emotional rollercoaster and the fight to live to see another day.
As the 2nd runner up of my own season Survivor SA: Malaysia, I am so excited about this 5th installment of the SA version, but quite frankly, I am not sold on the idea of having a tribe coach ... yet. In fact, there are a few things that have me perplexed and questioning whether or not this format will live up to the essence of the Survivor franchise.
In the first episode, the number of supplies each tribe was able to win on DAY ONE truly shocked me: Construction equipment (including a hammer, nails, wood and tarp - WHAT?), Food (including rice and fruit), rope…….I mean what kind of picnic is this!?
Not only was there this plethora of supplies available but for the first few rounds of competing to win these items, the actual Survivor contestants didn’t even have to break a sweat!
Two ex-professional athletes in the form of Coaches Mark Fish and Corne Krige competed against each other to win the various items of survival on behalf of their tribes, Utara and Selatan respectively. Sorry guys, but if you want to win the title of Survivor, competing for that title every step of the way should be a pre-requisite.
Not only did my tribe and I build our shelter from scratch using bamboo and our hands, (I mean, they had nails and a hammer? Can’t get over that one!), we also didn’t eat literally for the first 5 days with the exception of coconut. So, I found myself screaming profanities at the TV during both episodes with my poor boyfriend sitting next to me, probably tired to death of hearing me relive the agony of playing this game that I love so much. I’m over it though, so let’s move on and talk strategy.
Usually, I don't dare predict the outcome of this crazy game because I know first-hand that it can turn on its head 6 times in one day, however, I have one predication that I am comfortable to make at this early stage: Ready? Mark my words ... Zavion will not
win Survivor. He actually has me wondering whether he's ever watched the show before.
Displaying too much strength in the challenges this early on, thinking that you are “running the show”, making alliances with everyone who lives in Asia, helping to make fire and now the added dimension of being “teacher’s pet” are probably the Top 5 ways to guarantee that you will never
see 2 cents of that million rand grand prize. Dude, only Boston Rob can get away with that strategy!
Zavion had himself, Corne and two dedicated alliance members, Ashleigh and Marsha, convinced that “THE TRIBE” had decided that Shona was going home. Wrong. Ashleigh was voted out instead and Zavion’s expression of shock and horror was priceless. Who doesn’t love a classic Survivor blindside?
I know how hard this game is so I do not wish failure upon any of these daring brave contestants. As a veteran, my advice to Zavion would be to use the blindside as a lesson and change his strategy ... immediately.
On another note, I was very impressed with Graham! One of the many questions I am often asked when people learn that I was on Survivor is, “What was your strategy”? To be honest, my strategy was to follow the way the game was designed.
When Mark Burnett pitched this show to CBS in the US, the tagline for the pitch was “A social experiment to see how people behave when they have to survive the elements”. Ultimately, when someone is voted out, there is always a social reason for it.
I played the game with a heightened sense of awareness of my social position in the tribe at all times and it got me pretty far. Graham seems to understand that aspect of this game. Graham did such a good job of reading his tribe mates and he responded to the drama that Zavion and his minions created by being calm, logical, collaborative and not dictatorial. He used his social skills to the max.
He now has the numbers in the form of a 7-strong alliance (which is code for having 7 people trust you), he was able to read Zavion and Marsha’s behaviour extremely well and he managed to use that to his advantage.
In a nutshell, he's as close to a perfect Survivor strategy as one can get at this stage of the game. If Graham can keep a level head throughout the game and maintain the trust that he has garnered so far, he will surely secure a spot in the merge.
Then we have Shona and David, David and Shona - a union truly made in Survivor hell. I am actually mortified for Shona being in this forced partnership with David who I definitely think of as a crazy unpredictable character.
The fact that he has been charged with safekeeping the hidden immunity idol that they both earned is of grave concern to me. In my view, this could go horribly wrong! Hopefully Shona finds a way to get the idol away from David for I fear that he will not use it wisely.
So there you have it folks! I stress that this is my take on the game having played it before and also having been a loyal fan since Survivor Season 1 kicked off in the US. It’s going to get interesting so stay tuned!!