contestants stand out to me as I mentally
review Episode 2 of Survivor Thailand. They
are Jed Hildebrand, Jan Gentry and Brian
Heidik. Jed is darker than I imagined; Jan
is dimmer; and Brian is just downplayed.
Whether it's part of their strategies, part
of Mark Burnett's editing or a combination
of both, it's clear to me these are three
to keep an eye
seems to be an almost certain deliberate
irony in showing Jed at first to be alienated
from his team only to have him come back
later as team savior. In week one, he took
flak because he was trying to catch fish
(something, by the way, that should have
been applauded), while everybody else was
working on shelter. He came back, however,
the hero when his puzzle-solving abilities
won his team a come-from-behind right to
hold the immunity idol. In week two, he
took more abuse for sleeping outside the
passing on dinner, but nobody was complaining
when he bailed out Penny and his team by
completing an extra leg in the swimming
competition that once again earned Sook
Jai immunity. It's clear that Jed is fiercely
competitive, but what's not clear is what
Burnett wants us to believe about him. I'm
guessing we haven't seen the full picture
of who Jed is.
His bio tells us he's a dental student who
has done missionary work in Cambodia and
other places. We may have seen a hint of
compassion from him in week one when he
offered comfort to Shii Ann after her run-in
with Robb. I suspect more of that will come
out as the show unfolds. I'm also waiting
to see his fun side. After all, he brought
a Frisbee as his luxury item. Though I still
don't think Jed will win, I believe he'll
be around at least until the merge.
there's Jan. Sweet, quivering lips Jan.
She shows us (and Burnett happily capitalizes
on it) all the traits that make for a contestant's
early exit. She comes off as weak, inept
and lazy. But I'm not buying it. In week
one, she wept as she told us she's not a
leader and was afraid. She seemingly picked
a team that as a whole lacks youth and physical
strength, and her selections raised eyebrows.
At the first tribal council, she cried again
at John's departure (even though she voted
for him). In week two, she seemed content
to let Helen do all the work when they went
for water. The camera shot of an exhausted,
water-lugging Helen returning to the boat
to find Jan outstretched in a dead man's
float was priceless. And it further planted
the seed that Jan's not much of a contributor.
In the immunity challenge, Jan had trouble
getting her flower unhooked, and Burnett
made a point of showing us a later scene
where she is asked to explain what happened.
Her tribe is already down two players, making
it seem like Jan picked a weak team. Like
Jed, there's much about Jan we haven't seen,
and I stand by my prediction that she makes
the final four and could win it all.
what about Brian? If anybody is playing
under the radar, it's him. Of all the contestants,
he drew the most pre-show publicity, most
of which will not be revealed
during the show. His job as a used-car salesman
almost certainly will come into play in
his strategy.Though his "it's all about
love" speech at the first tribal council
was a bit over the top in the ?ag us? department,
he generally come across as just a nice
guy (big brother to Tanya, song leader for
Helen's anniversary gala). While he might
be that nice guy, I'm guessing there's much
about him we haven't seen. He's already
told us he's there on a "business trip."
I think he means it. He's still my pick
for final four and likely the runner-up.
else can I say about last week's episode?
Ghandia apparently has a short-term memory
problem. She voted this week for Helen to
leave because she felt that Helen couldn't
handle the pressure. How hysterical is that,
from the one who just a few days earlier
(during week one) single-handedly lost immunity
for her tribe when she panicked
under pressure? More irony, I suppose, but
in her I believe we're getting a very real
picture of who she is: an overbearing loudmouth
trying to overcompensate for ineptitude.
She should have been gone after week one.
She will be gone the next time Chuay Gahn
The departure of Tanya Vance (which, by
the way, I stood alone in predicting in
our pool at work last week) was clearly
an act of mercy.
In her interview Friday on "The Early
Show," she said he would have voted
for herself if that were permitted. What
amazed me most about that interview, though,
was that nobody on
the CBS morning show mentioned the death
of Tanya's father, which reportedly occurred
during the final days of taping of "Survivor
Thailand." There was much pre-show
publicity about his death and what it might
mean for her chances on the show. The on-air
personalities were either completely uninformed
of this fact or just content to talk repeatedly
about how sick she got.
tension between Robb and Shii Ann seemed
to have cooled last week, although neither
got much air time. That should change this
week, and one of them will likely get the
boot if the Sook Jais lose immunity.
free to send comments or thoughts to me