Everyone Needs to Chill the Hell Out on ‘Survivor: Worlds Apart’ (Episode 2 Review)
Recap and review of Survivor: Worlds Apart – Episode 2 – It Will Be My Revenge:
If tonight’s episode of Survivor: Worlds Apart taught me anything, it’s that far too many of the people in this game are high-strung at all times, and nearly as many seem to have no working understanding of how this game operates. But the positive in all this is that at least one of those people is gone from the game.
Yes, Vince found himself talking the long walk out of this game, after his alliance with Nina and Will imploded after the latter flipped and joined Joe, Jenn and Hali. It was a result that, even after a week, was a long time in coming, primarily because Vince comes across as aggressively creepy and entitled in such a way that I worried what he’d end up doing as the game progressed. Maybe he’s a lovely person outside of the game, but man, did that edit do him no favors. And yet, he was far from the only person suffering the consequences for having a limited view for how the social aspect of the game would play out. On the one hand, it was a good thing for him to solidify an alliance with Will and Nina, particularly after Nina expressed the feeling that she was being shunned by Jenn and Hali. On the other hand, it was stupid of him to take for granted that Will’s vote was assured. Vince doesn’t do anything to really reassure Will that it isn’t his name on the chopping block, and since Will was arguably one of the lead causes as to why the No Collar tribe lost the immunity/reward challenge — due to having gotten his buoy tangled in the watery obstacle course (which I swear isn’t as dirty as it sounds) — I could see why he’d be worried even while having a solid plan in place with Vince and Nina.
I mean, sure, it turns out Will was never in any real danger of going home, but a lot of this game is about reading signals. And that was what torpedoed the Vince/Will/Nina alliance, the failure to read those signals. For example, Will is on-board with the plan to vote out Jenn, until Nina stupidly tells him Vince’s concerns about his health, and whether or not he’ll be a challenge liability in the future. Telling Will at all seems to suggest to me that Nina doesn’t really have a mind for this game, and this is without even getting into her inexplicable outburst at camp over Jenn and Hali not inviting her to go skinny dipping. I get that Survivor is an inherently personal game, since you’re voting out people you’ve been living with in an isolated area for days on end. Obviously, there’s going to be bitterness there, and paranoia, to boot. But why act this erratically this early? A smart player leaves personal feelings out of their decision-making, so in much the same way Nina forms an alliance with Vince out of a desire not to work with Jenn or Hali (who gets the cold shoulder from Nina when she tries to address her hurt feelings), Will decides to flip to Joe’s alliance to vote out Vince for the comments he made. It wasn’t a pragmatic vote on Will’s part, it was all personal. And, honestly, while I think it’s horrible gameplay to let your emotions dictate how you vote, I don’t really blame Will for what he did. Because, really, what else was Will supposed to do after hearing something like that? Stick with voting Jenn, and then run the risk that Vince would blame him again the next time they lost a challenge? Nina and Vince both pay the price for assuming Will would stick with an alliance that’s not even one voting cycle old yet, and after learning that they see him as a liability, to boot.
Although we never see a scene that confirms it, it appears that Joe/Hali/Jenn’s plan at tribal was to use Will to split the votes between Nina and Vince. Joe and Will would vote for Nina, Hali and Jenn would vote for Vince, and Vince and Nina would vote for whomever they ended up voting for (in this case, Jenn). This would result in a three-way tie, but it would also flush out any hidden immunity idol Vince or Nina might have, so that they could simply eliminate Nina on the revote if, say, Vince played an idol. Or vice-versa. And if neither Vince nor Nina had an idol, they could send home whomever they wanted on the revote. It was a decent plan, although far more complicated than it probably needed to be, if only because I can’t imagine Vince or Nina being savvy enough to find an idol and keep it a secret from Will. Regardless, Will’s vengeful vote for Vince (I promise I wasn’t going for alliteration there) suggests he’s a potentially volatile player. So while I’m sure he’s useful to Joe, Hali and Jenn at the moment, I’d be leery about sticking with him all the way through the game if he can’t keep his emotions out of the vote. Then again, the pragmatic vote for Joe, Hali and Jenn would have been Nina, yet they targeted Vince out of sheer dislike. Basically, this game is teeming with people who need to take a serious chill pill and rethink their decisions.
Case in point, Mike is getting awfully bent out of shape about the rest of the Blue Collar tribe failing to satisfy his desire to gather seemingly endless amounts of firewood. Mike goes from a fairly lovable contestant last week, to being the hard-nosed militant around camp, trying to get everybody to work when there isn’t even any real work to be done. In an ironic twist, Mike gets on the tribe’s case for playing a game of makeshift basketball, saying there’s no use for it. When the immunity/reward challenge comes around, what does the final leg of the challenge involve? Sinking five balls into a net from a distance. While the blue collar tribe doesn’t come in first, they do finish in second, which is enough for immunity and some bait and a spear for fishing. The white collar tribe finishes first with an amazing come-from-behind victory, thanks to the efforts of Shirin and, particularly, Joaquin, who tears through the water obstacle course and sinks all five shots in no time. It’s surprising that, after last week’s episode, all the people who appear to know how to play are all on the white collar tribe, particularly considering that the only real time we spend with them this week is centered on how Max and Shirin are naked all the time (making married man Tyler uncomfortable in the process). That said, these episodes without separate immunity/reward challenges have been a huge boon in helping us have more time to get to know each of these respective tribes. Hell, I didn’t have to look up a name once while writing this, which almost never happens at this early stage of the season.
“It Will Be My Revenge” is a compelling episode, and a worthy follow-up to the premiere of Survivor: Worlds Apart last week. But the title of the episode says all you really need to know about some of the impulsive actions and decisions made this episode. If it’s a pattern that continues, we could be in for a season of spectacularly wild gameplay, which should be fun to watch, even while it might not be riveting to people who watch for the strategic aspect of the game. But really, it’s too early in the season to tell who’ll take this, so I’m looking forward to seeing whose games evolve as the season advances, and how.