Wednesday, March 28, 2012

SSAC Report: One World E06 Miraculous Miracle

Assembled deep in bowels of the interwebs is a group of Survivor fans, a gathering of bright and clever minds. Their mission is to analyze the story of Survivor better than ever before in the history of the universe. What follows is their most recent report. It represents that combination of their work. This project was commissioned by The Midside.

In regards to the sixth episode “Bunch of Idiots" in the 24th season of Survivor "One World," The Midside's Survivor Story Analysis Commission has reached the following conclusions:
× An alternate thematic title for the episode would be “Miraculous Miracle”
× The theme of this episode was "How unpredictable events affect the numbers game.”
× In order to demonstrate how random events affect the numbers game, Christina was edited as the hero of the episode, Colton and Alicia as the villains, and Jonas as a interested middle ground.

After a summary of nu-Salani, the Previously On segment culminated with the plot question of the episode “With her only ally gone, can Christina hold on?” The new footage continued as the villains, Colton and Alicia, told us the answer was no. Colton even made an even bolder claim “There's nothing that can save [Christina]...I still have my idol so I'm going to run this game until I'm all the way at the Final 3.” Since everything he’s said so far has come true, we have no reason to disagree with him here. Every Tribal Council he’s been too, the head of the snake has been cut off, the person he targeted. In fact, it’s such a sure thing that what Colton says goes, it’s not really shocking that he and Alicia berate Christina…though that’s when Colton’s word start to foreshadow his own end: “Honestly Christina, you've been the season cockroach. You've survived things because of different things that have happened.” Different things like a medevac.

The Reward Challenge continued the good vs. evil storyline as Colton critiqued Christina for not really trying despite the rest of the tribe giving the same amount of effort and his princess being awful at the challenge. Except his words are prophetic in this scene too. As Probst says that the winning tribe can eat ice cream until his stomach hurts, Colton replies, "Please please please please please." It’s as if he’s asking for his impending stomach ache. Likewise, at the end of the scene, he gave another Christina confessional, “You can quit or wait and go home in two days, or you can jump in the fire and be medevaced, whichever is more convenient for you.” This is material that had to have the editors salivating when they found it in their log.

While nu-Salani celebrates their dominance, nu-Manono finally gets down to strategy. Colton repeats his fire-jumping comment to Christina’s face and as Jonas notes how personal it’s getting, Christina is finally spurred to action. She pulls Jonas and Leif aside and tells them, “Here's the thing. Alicia already has an alliance with the four girls over there. And if you guys want to win the game, if you vote Alicia out, I'm not part of that alliance obviously, so I know I'm gonna go regardless, so I'm just telling you strategies if you want to keep the guys strong, because if there's a merge Alicia will go with Kim, Chelsea, Sabrina, and Kat. You know, it's a numbers game.” Jonas is now stuck in the middle of the Alicia and Christina war and finds the information interesting because he knows nothing about Alicia. Well, he then learns a little more as Alicia shows up and tries the same routine on Christina she did at the first Tribal Council, berating her until she snaps. Christina doesn’t snap this time though, she keeps responding strategically, repeating the phrase “the numbers game” two more times. That is the most interesting detail in this scene. The phrase that this chapter of the story is about is repeated three times in one of the most heated scenes of the season so far. Alicia even admits that what Christina’s saying is true “Christina is for once telling a partial truth. I do have an alliance with the girls, which Jonas doesn't need to know. So yeah, I'm gonna give her a hard time. It's just too much paranoia for me, and I can't handle that. I need to be in control. So that's why she's going.” It’s a good thing the princess is aligned with her prince and his idol.

Here the episode starts to turn. The villain is felled with the stomach pains he asked for. And who is by his side, mothering him at night? Christina and she tells us why: “If someone is sick and needs help, I'm going to be there for him. I think this is also coming to my advantage as well, as far as strategy goes because Colton will realize that I actually am a good person and that I'm not this bad person that Alicia portrays me to be.” To translate, she thinks about doing the right thing first and strategy second. The villain, of course, sees things purely strategically, “Christina just stepped in and took on this motherly role...and of course Christina's going to do that because she's trying to save herself. She will literally do whatever she has to to stay in the game.” It’s echoes of Russell Hantz, a comparison Jonas made earlier in the season. Colton can only see the game as chess, just like Albert, and as we’ve learned since Samoa (however, Survivor historians like Mario Lanza have learned it since Borneo), you can’t take benevolence out of the game.

Christina doesn’t, and her emotional to strategic transition frames the responses to Colton’s medevac. The next day when she finds Colton in the middle of the jungle in pain, she immediately gets the medical team. Colton’s ally Alicia, however, does. When the medical team discusses Colton leaving the game, she says, “Colton and I always talk strategy. That's all we ever talked about, 24/7. We planned and we planned and we planned. If Colton is out of the game, I don't know about everybody else but, that puts me in a really bad spot. I mean, call me a bad person, but all I kept thinking about was strategy the whole time.” So much for the warm and sympathetic women Colton was telling the men about at their first Tribal Council. In reality, it’s Jonas who is benevolent and expresses the most sympathy for Colton, “It just kills me. I'm putting myself in his position and if I was him, I'd be heartbroken, you know?” Since Christina is the good guy in this story, benevolence is the proper response here, and this only reflects Jonas well. He can see all sides, even the villain’s. It’s especially interesting when Alicia’s strategy turns to anger when Colton keeps the Hidden Immunity Idol for himself, “You know what, Colton is a spoiled brat. He's going to keep the idol as a souvenir even though he knows he screwed me like the biggest. I voted off Monica. If Monica was here, the girls would have the numbers, and I wouldn't be in this position. So you know what? Screw him.” It’s the inverse of the transition Christina made in the previous scene and the inverse of the transition Jonas makes to close the scene, “The original plan when Colton was here was to vote off Christina first, but now that I have a little more power in the game I feel like it would be wiser to vote Alicia first. Alicia's got more ties with girls. Having Alicia in the game is more dangerous. I do believe that if there is a karma, Colton got some karma right back at him.” Sure, it was sad to see such a huge Survivor fan leave, but there are moral and strategic benefits to it.

The sun sets and rises over the island. With Colton gone, it is a new day. Still, the game moves on as Tribal Council treemail arrives, and Nu-Salani responds to it in exactly the same way they responded to the reward challenge treemail—with speculation. Mike is the worst culprit, spinning a one vote per person for anyone in the game theory based on the title “One World.” Kim, in contrast, is the most level-headed, continuing her wait-and-see edit, “I have no idea and I guess I'm just gonna go and take my idol in my back pocket just in case.” Nu-Manono is not so calm. With the head of the snake having cut itself off, the body thrashes around erratically as it prepares for Tribal Council. First, Tarzan declares that he is friends with everyone except Christina. Then, Christina tells Jonas and Leif, “I already committed to you guys so I'm letting you know that I'm giving 100%. The vote's going all to the guys.” Funny how quickly the seven strong broke under a little stress at nu-Manono and ran to the men—the men who are currently leaderless. Jonas is trying to change that though as he tells us “I'm ready to take the bull by the horns and make myself the ring leader.” His first act is to tell Leif to vote for Alicia. Except Tarzan has always fancied himself as the leader of Manono, nu or old, and tells Leif differently, “Christina is very, I call it, sycophantic, she likes to suck up...if we have to vote, please vote Christina.” Leif, the mental midget (err) that he is, channels his handicapable predecessor Heidi Strobel, “I'm stuck in between two hard places.” Yes, nu-Manono is now a clusterfuck full of easy gay and short jokes and in the middle of it Alicia has transitioned into full blow anger, “I'm kind of pissed about the whole idol thing. Colton should've given it to somebody. I was hoping that he was going to give it to me being that now I'm stuck with Christina and the guys. Lord knows I need it.” That’s not exactly the way you want to approach Tribal Council.

In regards to the overall themes of the 24th season of Survivor “One World,” The Midside's Survivor Story Analysis Commission has reached the following conclusions:
× A thematic subtitle for the season would be “Beyond the Charm.”
× The men continued to prove they were “Beyond the Charm” by moving beyond their emotional reactions to the episode
× The most notable of the men was Troyzan, whose performance at Tribal Council demonstrated his charm avoiding skills.

Tribal Council is more than a reaction to Colton’s medevac as all the responses fit on the established spectrum to further develop the themes of the season. Probst asks Troyzan how it affects the game and he responds emotionally, “Geez, I don't even know where to start. You know, I feel sad for Colton cause I know how much he loves this game. I mean, that's my reaction. I'm sad.” Kim, conversely, responds to the situation strategically, “Yeah, absolutely. Another person gone is another person gone.” Except she’s not coldhearted, her reaction, like Alicia’s before, transitions, “Yeah, I've had my appendix out too and it hurts like hell, so I do feel sad for Colton. He was so excited to be here.” The strategy comes first but then the emotion emerges.

Consistent with his edit all season, Troyzan’s Tribal Council experience transitions into strategy. After the merge reveal he says, “I'm actually counting numbers now, numbers of people, and where they're going, and who's with who, and who's not...I mean, everyone has their own agenda.” Yes, there is no more emotion. And to be fair to Kim, she does have something strategic to say about the merge, “I think everybody's trying to feel out the people they were previously on a tribe with going, 'Are the women together? Are the men together? Is Salani together? Is Manono together? It's gonna be really interesting.” Except she still ends with something emotional, “I'm excited. I'm nervous too, but in an excited way.” With the way good and evil was portrayed responding to Colton’s medevac on nu-Manono, is the editing revealing the beginnings of the post-merge edits for our two major winner candidates?

The question becomes even more interesting when you consider Troyzan’s response to nu-Manono attempting to bullshit about the idol. Alicia, and Jonas with the skills he learned from Colton, attempted to charm nu-Salani into confusion concerning their Hidden Immunity Idol. Though it’s unclear exactly what Troyzan wasn’t buying, it was clear that he confidently knew how to see through it as he has from episode one: “She is so full of it. I mean, look at her laugh and look at the smile on her face. I don't buy that at all. Not even close.” No other character has made these type of statements consistently throughout the season in such key moments and that’s why Troyzan remains ahead of Kim as our winner pick.


lunch break said...

sigh. i was hoping for complete season analysis. i would rather see seperate short writeups for 7,8 then one combined but thats just me. and in paragraph two is ep 5 title. anyway, i know real life interferes with hobbies. troyzan still your winner pick?

Jayemel said...

Yes, Troyzan is still the pick. We should have a podcast about all our recent thoughts coming out soon.

Lunch break said...

I lost a bit of interest in the blog when it seemed troyzan was the clear winner. But now that he's in trouble it's more exciting!