November 17, 2012

Survivor: Philippines, "Little Miss Perfect"

After two crazy episodes, Survivor pulls back this week and delivers a more slow-paced affair. The final outcome is surprising, but it lacks the dramatic chaos of past weeks. This episode is all about Lisa Whelchel and her moral dilemma about back-stabbing her tribe. She clearly has a stronger bond with Penner but worries about being disloyal. This is a common theme on this show, but it’s rarely been diagnosed to this degree. The stunning part of all this attention is the fact that Lisa doesn’t flip and still casts her vote for Penner. It’s a serious example of misdirection from the editors that induces more confusion than thrills. Why spend so much time on someone who’s staying put? Thankfully, it’s still intriguing because it reveals plenty about Lisa’s character and Penner’s understanding of it. His framing of the decision as a “good versus evil” situation is brilliant yet isn’t enough to change her mind. Probst claims the next installment is even better, which means it will have to be incredible to top this season. For more details, check out my review for Sound on Sight.

Here are some other interesting points that I didn't address in my review:

  • Although she doesn't seem to be in serious danger, Lisa's waffling could backfire and cause everyone to turn around and vote her out. There are examples in the past where a well-meaning player couldn't decide on a group and was sent packing because of it. I think the more likely scenario is the others realizing she's too likable to make the end. 
  • It's weird that the editors didn't show the schoolyard pick, which would have been interesting to see. I'm sure there was some extra time to cut in the long conversations between Lisa and Penner. 
  • Pete calls himself a mastermind, but he has done very little in recent weeks to affect the game. He survived last week mostly because Penner made a mistake. This time, he loses a key ally without doing much of anything. All the early bluster seems destined to lead to very few results when it matters.
  • If you're a big Survivor fan, you should definitely listen to this interview with Jeff Probst on Rob Has a Podcast. It's really interesting to hear the host dig into the criticisms that he's faced this season. Probst seems very concerned with the thoughts of the super fans and is surprisingly candid. 

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