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Survivor 4: Marquesas

15 March, 2002

Week 3 Wrapup

Okay, let's get a show of hands. How many of you predicted that Hunter would get the boot this week? Anybody? That's about what I thought. The voting out of Hunter has to rank among the great shocks of this series. He was clearly the strongest member of his tribe and also the hardest working. He seemed the anointed leader as well. And yet he spends the remainder of the competition on the outside. Amazing.

So what happened that led to this strange turn of events? Well, for one thing the Maraamu tribe seems totatlly incapable of winning a challenge. Are they weak or just dumb? Not necessarily. What they do have is a failure to come together as a team. There are a few strong bonds but the whole group is pulling in too many directions at once. They clearly aren't playing for each other but for themselves and that leads to failure.

Sean takes a breakThe first challenge was for the reward of either pillows and blankets or rice. The object was to build a raft, pilot it through a course while picking up crates and reach the finish line first. Two factors contribute to Rotu's win. One is the fact that several Maraamu tribe members had no skill with a paddle. Sean in particular was just splashing about with his. Second was bad teamwork on Maraamu's part. They were disorganized at times picking up the crates and at the end simply gave up. Take a look at this shot of Sean where he just puts down his paddle and stops trying before the race was over.

The second challenge was for immunity and that was just a bit of bad luck on Maraamu's part that they lost. Some bad bounces cost them. But that left them in the same awkward spot of voting someone out and at this point the tribe seems to have simply imploded. Rob has emerged as the leader, acting as some sort of evil genius, pulling people's strings from behind the curtain. He clearly wanted to take control of the tribe in a sneaky underhanded manner and he appears to have succeeded. He's clearly much brighter than I gave him credit for initially. But as a strategist for winning the big prize, he's going in the wrong direction. Yes he has carved out a strong position for himself but unless something drastic happens, his tribe will go into the merge badly outnumbered which is a guaranteed way to lose. In other words, he won a battle but is losing the war.

Hunter looks pissedOf course you have to wonder about the intelligence level of a group that in the midst of a horrific losing streak, votes off their strongest member. Hunter had survival skills and was a good athlete to boot. Now they're left with weaker members with almost no work ethic. If they ever create a Survivor hall of fame, I want Hunter inducted just on the strength of his exit speech. "I really don't understand the logic behind it right now. But hey, you got me. I was camping with a bunch of knuckleheads and I'll tell you that to your face when I see ya again. And I will phone the Red Cross and let them know where you are so that you can be airlifted out of there after you die of starvation and dehydration after the next couple days," said Hunter. Classic.

Now on the other side of the game is Rotu, who is becoming something of a mystery. Their success means we see much more of Maraamu onscreen so we don't get the chance to know the Rotu members as well. So far the only thing we've learned is that Kathy can be a pain in the ass, although that seems to have subsided; Paschal is a big hugger; Robert has a lot of tattoos and Neleh is a sweet kid. Oh yeah, and John has a way of attracting blood. Can you wipe for me too?First he gets stabbed by a sea urchin. Those are poisonous little critters so he has to have someone pee on his hand. Wow. Network TV at its best. They couldn't get a shot of someone vomiting so instead they bring us footage of Kathy squatting on John's hand. Thank you so much CBS. Anyway, Robert then cuts his foot pretty badly so John, being a registered nurse, gets the call to fix him up. Watch closely as he carves big chunks of shredded flesh from Robert's toe. Finally, John gets bitten by an eel while searching for food. The guy is a menace I tell ya.

This is an episode that will go down in the Survivor history books for its combination of gore, knuckleheads and stunning events. The promo for the next episode hints at another big shocker. Perhaps it will be something on the order of last season's tribe swap. They probably have to because Maraamu probably can't survive without some help from the producers. Oh yeah, thanks to the NCAA basketball tournament, the show will again air on Wednesday.

Episode Rating: 9 out of 10

- John Shea

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