‘Survivor: Worlds Apart’ Comes Alive In the Explosive ‘Crazy Is As Crazy Does’ (Episode 3 Review)
Survivor: Worlds Apart – Episode 3 – Recap and Review – Crazy Is As Crazy Does:
This episode was downright explosive for how it depicted the implosion of these tribes at a structural level, as people are becoming unglued over their stock in the game. Nina’s plight gets the most screentime this episode, yet I found the trouble brewing on the Blue Collar tribe to be far more interesting for what it says about the aptitude for some of the players in this game. Mike, for one, seems to have no functional understanding of how to finesse his tribemates. I can’t think of any instance in Survivor history where Mike’s approach has worked. It’s an approach that basically amounts to barking out orders to a tired group, and then accusing them of laziness after failing to appreciate all the work they’ve already done. It’s an utterly baffling approach, and yet Mike persists, even going as far as to invite his tribe to vote him out if they don’t agree with his work ethic. “If me stepping up and saying something means I’m the first go, send me home,” Mike says throughout the early part of the episode, as if he’s somehow compelled to say something about the work ethic at camp. Like it’s something everyone is thinking about but no one has the guts to say but brave old Mike.
But no one thinks the camp is lazy, only Mike. So his words are pretty much useless here, and if he were better at reading the mood of his tribe, he’d recognize that. It seems like he doesn’t understand that just because you can say something doesn’t mean you should. Dan faces a similar problem when he accidentally runs his mouth in a joking manner, and crosses the line by making a crass remark about Rodney’s mother. In essence, Mike and Dan both succeed at offending Rodney and sending him into a fit of rage, but where Mike fails to see his blunder, Dan makes amends by not only admitting in a confessional that his mouth is his biggest weakness, but also by lending an ear to Rodney for all of his complaints about Mike. Say what you will about Dan’s moodiness and his poorly thought-out words, but he has a better grasp of this game than Mike does, and it might be good for him to begin distancing himself from Mike until all the heat dies down, lest he gets grouped in with him. That said, even while Mike is on the bad side of pretty much his entire camp, they all seem to recognize that Lindsey goes a step too far in condemning Mike’s religion, ridiculing him for the Psalm tattoo on his back and shouting that she maintained the fire at camp, not some bearded God in the sky. Dan and Rodney’s closed-eyed, “oh no” reactions to her rant speak volumes for what a massive blunder in gameplay this was for Lindsey, since it’s hard to win back sympathy after insulting someone’s religion like that. It suggests Lindsey is a volatile player who is ruled by emotions way more than is safe in a game like this. So even while Lindsey was right to challenge Mike’s assertion that she and Sierra don’t tend to the fire, she went way too far in bringing religion into it. At this stage of the game, you shouldn’t be showing yourself to be this combustible.
It’s the same problem faced by Nina, who suffers from a serious persecution complex back at the No Collar tribe. On the one hand, I can see how she’s hurt over her tribemates’ failure to make her feel included, and it’s kind of moronic on their part that they don’t try to make her feel more like a part of the group. On the other hand, it’s a two-way street. Nina constantly brings up her deafness when talking about why she thinks the group doesn’t want her around, but all this does is illustrate that Nina wants to be accepted without putting the work in. Yes, everyone deserves respect in a game like Survivor; the same level of respect that would be accorded to any person you’d meet, inside or outside the game. But in Survivor, not everyone deserves acceptance and trust. Those things have to be earned, and they have no reason to accept or trust Nina, considering she voted against them last week. You could probably argue that she wouldn’t have done so had they made her feel more included in the group, but for all of Nina’s accusations toward the group over how they’ve made their mind up about her without giving her a chance, she’s just as guilty of the same pre-judgment against her tribe. Joe even calls Nina out on this at tribal council, saying that she hasn’t even tried to understand where any of them are coming from. Hell, Joe’s mother worked with deaf people, and as a result he was taught sign language from a very young age. But Nina still lumps Joe in with the rest of the group.
Of course, on this latter sore point, Nina might actually have a case. The No Collar tribe loses the immunity/reward challenge because they stupidly decide to sit Nina out, essentially giving them a one-person deficit. The challenge involved filling a hole-filled bucket with water and running it over to a catapult at the end of an obstacle course, plugging the holes with your fingers to keep as little water from falling out as possible. But Joe gets the ridiculous idea that they’ll somehow make their way through the course quicker if Nina stays out of the challenge. So he has her wait at the end of the course, essentially wasting one tribe member for a plan that he should have recognized was a failure after the first round not only failed to increase their speed on the course, but also prevented them from keeping any of the water in their bucket. It’s a plan that was almost elegantly stupid, particularly since Nina was left out in favor of Will, who pretty much lags behind in each leg of the challenge. This is two weeks in a row now where his challenge performance has been downright embarrassing, so it’s no surprise that No Collar loses (for the record, Blue Collar came in first, followed by White Collar, with both tribes winning comfort rewards in the form of blankets and other similar items). If Joe’s decision hadn’t been endorsed by the rest of the tribe, I’d argue it should have been a stupid enough move to get him voted out. At the very least, the decision to keep Will suggests that No Collar is going to keep on losing, since Nina is pretty spot on when she tells them they’re crazy for keeping the guy. And yet, Nina’s fair point is lost in the muddle of her emotions. Because she’s cast herself as an outsider, her words fall on deaf ears (EDIT: Crap, I didn’t realize the horrible pun I made there. But whatever, I’m leaving it in). Hali basically condemns Nina for refusing to meet them halfway, and she’s not far off in her assessment. Nina becomes the third person voted out of the game, and she’s not exactly surprised. In her exit interview, she recognizes that she may have messed up by not trying harder to fit in, and you know what? That’s far more self-awareness than most people show after getting voted out of this game.
As for the rest of the White Collar tribe, I’m not sure where the power really is. Tyler seems to be in control since he not only has Carolyn admitting to him that she has the idol, he also has Joaquin showing him the clue, unaware that the idol has already been found. In this sense, Max using nudity as a way to keep people from bugging him when he wants alone time appears to be a mistake, since it’s alienated him a bit from the group. He doesn’t come across like he’s anyone’s confidante, and for someone as well-versed in the game of Survivor as Max, that’s a pretty huge blunder to make. The last thing you should want to be is alone, lest people think you’re off searching for an idol. If there’s one saving grace in all this for Max, it’s that Shirin is taking the brunt of the negativity at camp. Although only Joaquin expressed it out loud, everyone seems to think Shirin is crazy, and slightly annoying as well. That sort of attention-grabbing presence at camp could allow Max to continue flying under the radar, assuming that’s what he’d prefer to do, rather than looking for idols and planning blindsides. Winning Survivor is often far less about big moves than it is about a series of smaller, successive, well-timed moves. Hopefully, more people understand this and adjust their games accordingly. But even if they don’t, we’re still likely to get plenty more explosive episodes like “Crazy Is As Crazy Does” before this season is over. And that has me pretty excited about where Survivor: Worlds Apart is headed.