Survivor: Cagayan Preview
Brains, Beauty and Brawn
By Jim Van Nest, Survivor Analyst
February 25, 2014
Guess who's back? Back again. Shady's back. Tell a friend! Okay, I'm not Slim Shady, but I am Jim Van Nest and I'm thrilled to be back in the driver's seat for our (by my count) 27th season of Survivor Recaps here at Box Office Prophets! I don't know what's more insane: that Survivor is on its 28th season, or that BOP has recapped 27 of them! At any rate, I'm happy to be back and we're going to kick off this season with a Cagayan Preview and maybe some predictions!
Let's talk about the season first. This season, the old gimmick is that we'll start with three tribes of six people each. The new gimmick is that the tribes are broken up by the skill set they bring to Survivor. They're either strong, challenge beast types (Brawn), smart, mastermind, puzzle master types (Brains) or the flirty, beautiful people (Beauty). After studying the cast, I have to say that it almost seems like the BBB concept was thought of after most of the cast was chosen. Several of these people seem like they could be in multiple tribes, but due to formatting got pigeonholed into just one. But that's me; I could turn out to be dead wrong. Other changes for this season are that the abomination known as Redemption Island is NOT in play. So, once again, fire will represent your life in this game. Once your fire is gone, so are you! Maybe I'm just old and fear change, but I hate the RI addition and am thrilled that it's gone for this season. There are also some rumors floating out there about hidden idols: the number of them, where/when they'll be found and how you can use them. But, I'll let that play out over the course of the season!
I do, in a way, like the idea of labeling the people before the game even begins. I think it adds a layer to the thought process out there. Do I accept my label as a Beauty and revel in it? Or do I go out of my way to prove I can kick ass in the challenges? Do I just accept the role of "dumb jock" as the title Brawn would suggest, or do I try to show that I'm smart and can run the game strategically? Ultimately, the person that can shrug off the label and play their game is likely to be the one to win, but we're all human and it would seem to be our nature to not want to play into the stereotypes. Also, the three-tribe split is interesting from a numbers standpoint. In a two-tribe game, you try to get the numbers going into a merge to pick off the other team. In a three-team game, the numbers aren't there. At some point, you'll have to work with folks from the other tribes, if you're to form a solid alliance that can get you to the end.
So, let's go through each tribe and I'll introduce you to the players. I'm not showing any order of preference here, but I'm going to list them as they are in the show's title. Brains, Beauty and Brawn.
Garrett Adelstein (27, Santa Monica, CA) - A quick look at Garrett's picture and you'd peg him for the Brawn tribe right away. But, you'd be wrong. Garrett is a professional poker player. This means he makes his living by quickly calculating odds and by reading and deceiving people. You'd think a pro poker player would have a huge advantage on a show like Survivor. There has been one other poker player (how can we forget Jean-Robert, right?) and he didn't fare so well. But, he was pretty much a jerk and sealed his own fate. Garrett seems much more likable and he’s in fantastic shape, so challenges should come easy to him. He boasts having spent some 2,000 hours preparing for Survivor. With that kind of prep as well as a poker player's ability to alter strategy on the fly, I think if he can get past the "we have to get rid of the strong guys" portion of the game, Garrett can be a real player this season.
Spencer Bledsoe (21, Chicago, IL) - Wow, right off the bat. We have the "player most likely to get punched in the face." Spencer is a chess champion, a proud American and likes to be "the smartest person in the room." Two of those things are assets, one… not so much. It's one thing to think you're the smartest in the room, another to tell everyone you are. And Spencer is most definitely a "tell everyone you are" kinda guy. He doesn't like stupid people but by reading his profile and seeing his videos, everyone that isn't him is stupid. I give him exactly 127 minutes before his tribe starts to target him as the first vote. He boasts about how his chess training will have him 10 moves ahead of everyone, but I think that will be his downfall. He'll be thinking end game right about the time his tribe mates are writing his name down at Tribal. He was also a cross country runner, so he'll be physically ready for the game, but it will most definitely be the social side that will crush him. I also think, at 21-years-old and having lived a mostly nerdy kind of life, he might end up completely blinded by hot girls in bikinis. Whatever his downfall will be, I expect it to come very early.