The second episode of Survivor New Zealand is in the books! The show came out firing in the first episode with two boots and the Redemption Island twist reveal. Naturally, the second episode was a little more anticlimactic. As is usual early in the game, this episode consisted of a lot of alliances being created, some of which already seem to be having trouble, but it gave us a peek into how these unknown players are planning on playing the game. It also gave us the classic vote off of the older member of the tribe early in the game for strength in the tribe. Not much of a surprise there.
I think an overarching theme of the season is going to be the moral character of the players. Unlike in the American version, the moral makeup up Kiwis tends to be one of honor and integrity, as demonstrated by Sala. But as we see in only the second episode, the game of Survivor is nearly impossible to play with this type of nobility. I’m sure we will see many players attempt this, similar to Sam in Australian Survivor, but don’t expect any winners from that bunch. I think New Zealand better prepare themselves for a villain to win this game.
I wanted to comment on the first villain of the season in the first episode though. Losing Dee was a tough pill to swallow. She seemed like an electric factory of energy and actually knew the game. I hope losing the superfan in the first episode doesn’t come back to hurt how the rest of the season will go.
From an overall standpoint, the show obviously is not to the high quality as American Survivor, but how well the season does is more dependent on gameplay and characters than the production value. With that said, there are a lot of pros to take from these opening episodes. There are some compelling characters, the challenges seem to be old school Survivor style (though low-budget, they get the job done), and Matt Chisholm passes the test as a host.
But seriously, can they please learn how to fold the parchment while voting? The hot dog style folding combined with Chisholm pulling the votes out with the names facing the tribe needs to change. It’s the little things that make a show great.
On to the events of this episode…
The episode starts with Hannah’s post-duel interview, showing her in what looks like the best shelter on the island. In all seriousness, if you get voted out you are upgrading from a hostel to a hotel. It is Day 3, and the tribes barely have a roof over their heads, while she is sitting pretty in a little villa all by herself.
At Mogoton, we have heaps of regretful players who seem oblivious to the fact that if Hannah reenters the game, she is not going to be friendly with them – the people who backstabbed her. These people are extremely polite and all, but should be more worried about the fact that she may return to the game with a vengeance, not that they made the wrong decision judging a person they had known for one day.
We then get to see a scramble of different groups forming their all important “day one” alliances. Tom and Avi have their bromance session on the beach, spilling their hearts to one another, promising not to write the other’s name down for the entire game. Avi then promptly tells the girls he will vote for Tom at the very next tribal if need be. The alpha male alliance is a common one, but having two people in an alliance is not usually a ticket to Final Tribal, especially when you are willing to turn on them immediately.
Sala, Tony, Lou, and Shay seem like a tight, oddly knit group. This alliance includes the youngest player in the game, Lou (19), and the oldest player in the game, Tony (55). They have the majority within their tribe of seven, but it turns out they may not have been so tight after all.
On Hermosa, Mike aka Captain Sparrow, Lee, Georgia, and Shannon attempt to form a Generation Y coalition that actually looks pretty strong, but young and carefree enough to eat crunchy termites. They are seeking to target Nate and then Barb at their next opportunity. This alliance reminds me of Reynold, Eddie, Allie, and Hope from Survivor: Caramoan, and we all know how that turned out.
Onto the immunity challenge…
What a challenge to start with. Some people love it; some people hate it. Regardless, the challenge never fails to bring some cringeworthy moments when you have players running into obstacles blindfolded.
Some differences from the classic version were that only one team went out at a time making it easier to hear the caller’s directions. This was a fine concept, and probably made it a closer challenge than it would have been sending everyone at once.
I was not a fan of how the challenge ended though. Just by picking up the flag? At least like have them put the flag in a placeholder or release a tribe flag or throw the flag off the tower like a javelin. Having an action to close out the victory would have helped make it a more exciting ending.
Hermosa wins the challenge, sending Mogoton to tribal council. This sets up a Tony or Tom vote out. Tony was a major part of the tribe’s loss at the challenge and is not the strongest competitor due to his age. Tom is a strong physical asset but cannot be trusted by most of his peers.
I think everyone knew it would end up being Tony. It is the smart move this early on in the game as you need to win challenges. The other logical vote out would have been Izzy as she was unable to walk only two days before, but she was not mentioned. The central conundrum of the episode was whether or not Sala would go back on his word and write down Tony’s name, which he did not do.
One interesting note from Tribal. Lou voted for Avi. I’m not sure why she would do this. She most likely had a deal not to write Tony’s name down as well, but did she also have one with Tom that we aren’t seeing? The only other reasoning would be because she did not want to write Tony’s name, and was scared someone could flip and make it 4-3 sending Tom home had she also written his name. Or maybe she just really doesn’t like Avi? He did say earlier in the episode that he’s barely talked to Lou. This is all speculative but is something to look out for.
Mogoton seemed to vote based on tribe strength, and therefore I don’t foresee much fallout from the vote back at camp. With that said, the next challenge is an endurance and strength one, so they sure better be glad to have kept Tom. Winning that challenge is crucial to them as going down 7-5 in numbers is not how you want to start out this game.
Tony vs. Hannah. I think this will be an interesting battle. I am willing to give Hannah the edge in my opinion as she seems to be very smart and strong and I just don’t think Tony will be able to compete up to her level. Hannah is going to be fun to watch as I believe she has a chance to make a run back into the game.