I realize that I am really behind on the Survivor train. The show has been on air since 2000, but I only began watching it last season, and I am hooked. I love competition shows, especially ones that involve both physical and mental challenges, so it was expected that I would find Survivor eventually. As far as I can tell (from only having seen 1.5 seasons of the show) the people behind the show have been trying to spice things up in the most recent seasons.
For those of you who do not watch the show the format of survivor begins with two tribes with about eight or more people each. The tribes each have their own camps and they compete in challenges where the prizes are reward (fire, food, pillows and blankets) and immunity, which means that everyone on the tribe is safe for another week. The tribe that loses the immunity challenge must vote someone off that week. When about half of the people who arrived on the island are left, there is a merge and one new tribe is formed. Once the merge happens all challenges are individual challenges, meaning that only one person can win immunity for that week.
There are other ways to ensure immunity though. Hidden around the island are immunity idols. If you have the hidden immunity idol when your tribe goes to vote someone off, you can play the idol and any votes for you will not be counted. Once you use the hidden immunity idol you do not get it back.
This season of survivor started off different from the rest because instead of two tribes there were three, and they were divided into beauty, brains, and brawn.
The challenges are designed where there is both a physical component and a puzzle, so none of the tribes necessarily had an advantage. However, the brains tribe seemed to struggle a lot more than any of the other tribes, losing almost every challenge, and even struggling with the puzzles. The brains lost half of its original members fairly quickly, and only three remained.
When this happened, there was a “pre-merge” and everyone drew different colored scarves (or buffs as they call them on the show) from a basket and formed two new tribes. As a viewer you would assume that the competitors who had a majority of their old tribe in their new tribe would form some sort of alliance with those members, but that did not happen. Instead, in the past few episodes, it appears as though people are taking the opportunity to vote off the people from their old tribe whom they consider a threat for the final merge, or whom they simply do not trust. This was made very clear when although the majority of the old brawn tribe found themselves in the same new tribe, they eliminated Cliff, a former NBA player whom they felt would defeat them in individual challenges once the final merge happened. Lindsey, whose only friend on the island was Cliff, felt betrayed and chose to eliminate herself.
With two people gone this week, we are even closer to the final merge. Two people currently have hidden immunity idols, so anything can happen from this point on. That’s what makes this show so interesting.