1. While I like injured players getting another chance in the game, I don’t know how I feel about the choices on this season. While I have always wanted to see Mike Skupin get another chance and I can see the choice of Russell Swan getting another chance, I believe that Jonathan Penner already had another turn. While I know it didn’t go the way that he wanted it to in Micronesia, I believe that was his second chance. I would have definitely preferred to see Colton Cumbie from One World.
2. I am already a big fan of Roberta “R.C.” Saint-Amour. I thought that she had standout first episode and I like her deadly combination of brains and beauty. She did a good job at picking the members of her alliance. The key for her will be whether she can see the value of bringing along one of the older members of her tribe simply to appease Skupin. I think that will be a turning point, if she decides to do it. Bringing Lisa or Artemis might not be a bad idea.
3. Russell Swan got one of the worst opening episode edits I have ever seen. I am actually still in shock about how they made him look. I don’t think you will find any Survivor around who has a bad thing to say about “the other Russell,” and as a result, I feel that the way he was portrayed is proof positive that he will be gone early.
4. In that respect, it’s clear that Malcolm will be the star of this season. Receiving an unusual amount of facetime in the opening episode of the season is called the “Russell Hantz” treatment (remember the opening episode of Samoa) and I believe that the first episode showed all of the different hands that Freberg can play. He has a strong older ally in Denise (which has always been one of tenets in playing the game effectively). He has a loyal soldier in Angie who doesn’t seem like she will turn on him. And it’s clear that he is ready to burn Russell and assume control. I normally don’t make this comparison, but I had visions of the Maraamu in Marquesas, when a certain guy plotted the demise of his leader (Hunter Ellis). Remember who that was?
5. Speaking of Angie, she seems to be the contestant that surprised the most people after the first episode. While you automatically have certain misconceptions about the blonde who was Miss Teen Utah and almost became Miss Teen USA, she is clearly much sharper than everyone initially gave her credit for. I was very impressed with her street smarts about the game and how she didn’t rally buy into Zane’s BS. I wish she was on the same tribe as R.C. because they would make the ultimate dream alliance.
6. While I know that Skupin was recruited into his alliance, he deserves a lot of credit. It has been over 10 years since he last played and he clearly has learned a lot about how the game has changed. Not only did he lead effectively, he was approached to join an alliance (despite being a returning player compared to the other two who immediately isolated themselves) and still kept his options with Lisa open. I also think it was smart of him not to blow Lisa’s cover as this will automatically buy her loyalty.
7. I don’t really have too much to say about Zane. Overplayed. Made for an entertaining first episode.
8. I was completely obsessed with how little we saw of Carter. Was he hidden intentionally a la Brett Clouser? Or was he just a casting dud. I am not sure, but I was completely fascinated by how little we saw of him in a 90-minute premiere episode. Purple Kelly much?
9. For all the attention that Jeff Kent garnered, I don’t think he will do well in the game. Injured on the first day and I feel like it is just a matter of time before he slips up and mentions the millions that he has.
10. Every Survivor episode should be 90 minutes.
Tags: murtz, Survivor Philippines