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‘Survivor: Cagayan’, Episode 4: Great expectations

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Written by : published Thursday 13th March 2014

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J’Tia simply had to go.  Dumping your tribe’s rice into the fire never seems to go over too well, but J’Tia’s crap-tastic performances during the Immunity Challenges are really what did her in.  So instead of spending time analyzing the Brains no-brainer decision to oust her, let’s instead take a look at expectations, and how they affect or don’t affect the overall game.

In case you missed the episode, be sure to get caught up by watching Survivor: Cagayan Episode 4 , and then be sure to read my weekly Episode Recap before continuing on to this “Bonus Analysis” coverage.

When someone – anyone – has a label put on them, they either try to live up to it, or they fight against it.  That’s why this season’s “Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty” twist added an extra layer of intrigue to the game.  We saw David targeted right off the bat for wearing a suit jacket, but not before targeting Garrett as a major threat, because he had been labeled a Brain, even though he seemed to be better suited in either of the other categories.

When someone is called a “brain,” their every thought, their every motivation, is analyzed to see if it’s deemed intelligent or not.  When someone is placed on a “Brawn” tribe, their physicality is going to be called into questioned and scrutinized.  And don’t tell me that you didn’t sift through the Beauty tribe when it was announced, checking them all out to see if you agreed with the given label.

In tonight’s episode, we saw members of each tribe fight against expectation of their label, or in the case of the Beauty tribe, work towards it.  Aren’t the Brawns supposed to be the tough ones, the tribe up for any challenge?  We instead saw Sarah organizing the others to intentionally throw a challenge.  Cliff on the other hand, unbeknownst to him, was out of the game – done – had he not sunk those baskets.  It’s a situation he is more than familiar with, needing to sink game-winning shots, or being sent home a loser.  He rose to the challenge, while Sara and the others defied expectation.

At the Beauty camp, the whole “chicken and eggs” conversation confirmed many of our stereotypes with beautiful people…namely, that most beautiful people seem to lack brains.  But would this issue or conversation have been highlighted had it taken place on one of the other tribes?  It only becomes relevant because it goes to further the “dumb and beautiful” stereotype.

And oh, the Brains.  We all sat and waited to see just how deep their stupidity would run.  Luckily, Tasha and Kass earned their categorization tonight when they smartly decided to keep Spencer over J’Tia.  All of the facts are right there:  J’Tia dumped her tribe’s rice, creating a hardship that wasn’t there prior.  She also has been awful in nearly every challenge.  The only silver-lining Tasha could find was that J’Tia was loyal.  But what she didn’t consider at that moment is that although loyal, if J’Tia were to move to a different tribe in a tribe shake-up, she would have absolutely no chance of making it on her own, rendering her loyalty useless.  So kudos to the Brains, who finally showed that they had some in voting J’Tia off of their tribe.

Although it’s been an interesting experiment, the whole “Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty” twist ends next week when we will indeed see a tribe shake-up.  There are 14 left in the game, meaning we will likely see two tribes of seven formed.  I’m definitely looking forward to how the players settle into their new tribes and how they continue to prove – or fight against – their initial categorization in the game.

We know for a fact that a person from one of these tribes will win the game, but the truth is that they will most definitely have had to fight against expectation in order to get there.

Follow me on Twitter!  @tomsantilli, and check out my website at tomsantilli.com for more Survivor coverage and my full database of current and archived movie reviews.

About the author SurvivorTom


Tom Santilli is a respected journalist and member of the Detroit Film Critics Society.  He writes several on-line columns, most notably as the Detroit Movie Examiner and the Survivor Examiner for Examiner.com.  He also is a contributor as a Survivor-Insider to TVGeekArmy.com and writes exclusive Survivor in-depth episode analysis for TheTVKing.com. He has been featured on Rob Cesternino's "Rob Has a Podcast" and most recently landed the only exclusive Richard Hatch interview given since his latest legal trouble has surfaced. All of Tom's Survivor coverage as well as movie reviews can be found on his blog the "FilmSurvivor", at FilmSurvivor.com

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