Archive for May 16th, 2010

Survivor Survival Guide: Previewing the Finale

The night the first Survivor finale aired in the summer of 2000 is oddly salient in my memory. My parents were on vacation, so my cousin was staying with us, and I remember having to go with her to drive my brother to a friend’s house quickly before the finale started–except that I was kind of ashamed of falling prey to this reality TV thing, so I never mentioned it, and we had trouble finding the house on a secluded street, and I was panicking in the back seat because I wanted Rudy to win so badly, and we ended up getting home about two minutes after the episode started. Even today, when I pass that secluded street, I think immediately of that night.

Like I said, oddly salient.

Although the Survivor finale that night didn’t give me the result I wanted, it certainly did deliver. It gave us arguably the landmark moment in reality television and a winner who, while unpopular with many, was probably the best the show could have had for its long-term health.*

*The polarity of opinions on Richard Hatch and how he played the game remains an issue 20 seasons into the game. Does controlling the game and risking the alienation of others constitute playing it the best? Or is it better to lay low, ride coattails, and hope your opponent is voted against? It’s a subjective stance, and it’s what makes the finale so interesting time after time.

Continue reading

Getting Lost (Redux): Lockdown

“Getting Lost (Redux)” has jumped way ahead, to the 17th episode of the second season, “Lockdown.” Why the big jump? To combine the two most compelling threads of Season Two: the mystery of the hatch and the identity of Henry Gale. Along with the introduction of the tail-section survivors, these two threads represented the crux of Season Two.

As I said yesterday, the hatch was the main cliffhanger at the end of Season One, and the first few episodes of Season Two deal directly with it: We meet Desmond, find out one use of The Numbers, and learn why the button must be pushed every 108 minutes. Jack and Locke have an intense confrontation over whether or not to push the button, but then Desmond disappears and the button becomes a kind of white noise for most of the season. It’s always there to be pushed, but most of the middle of the season deals with the integration of the tail survivors.

“Lockdown,” though, brings the mysteries of the hatch back into focus, with a little help from “Henry Gale.” Continue reading