Well… let me start off by saying that I could not be happier at the outcome of this episode of Survivor. The episode started where last weeks’ left off with Julie leaving and the tribe being able to avoid tribal council for a night. Josh seemed to have a bit of extra confidence claiming that Jeremy was residing off of “borrowed time,” cool analogy… too bad it was false. Jeremy and his group of randomly selected teammates were teamed up to compete in a reward challenge against other tribe members… what was funny was that members of each alliance were distributed among each team requiring people who weren’t all that friendly with one another to have to work together in order to win the reward of a taco fiesta. Jeremy’s team won by use of great teamwork.. there wasn’t just one clear cut leader. But when it came down to the immunity challenge Jeremy demonstrated great leadership for his alliance by staying focused and winning individual immunity for himself, causing the other alliance to have no idea who to vote for. This is where Josh demonstrated the worst type of leadership possible. By putting Baylor on the chopping block and still trying to “lead” her in the direction of voting off someone he wanted by attempting to make her feel like she owed him something, really left a bad taste in her mouth. Since Baylor is the youngest, outspoken, and a girl, she is able to get sympathy a little easier than the guys are and luckily had John’s girlfriend on her side. By John’s girlfriend being able to influence his decision, the tribe was successfully able to get Josh out of the game.
Well as the title states… during this episode, the long awaited merge of tribes happened. With Jeremy being my favorite contestant on the show, Reid and Josh being mentally the strongest with their ability to solve puzzles easily and efficiently, and Julie being… well Julie… it was a Survivor episode that was full of disappointment for Jeremy fans. With the next Chapter in our text being Problem Solving… Julie gives the class and the world a great look at what NOT to do. First and foremost, did I say how utterly disappointed I am in such a despicable survivor performance? Not only does she let herself down, she let’s her alliance down as well as her “AMAAAAZING” boyfriend John Rocker. The real kicker is the fact that she let her alliance down. Coming onto a show called Survivor… for the 27th season, and to quit because you just can’t handle it… excuse my bluntness.. but that is pathetic. If she would have stayed and helped the people she swore allegiance to, Josh or Reid would have been going home, splitting up what is undoubtedly a power couple. Instead, without telling anybody, Julie decides to solve her life or death problem of being singled out for hoarding the tribes trail mix, by removing herself from the game and the people whom were counting on her. Way to go Julie!!! If you’re not brought back for Survivor, Reunion of the Worst Survivors in the History of Survivor… it’s probably because you are in jail for stealing trail mix. On a lighter note, Drew’s brother (Jeremy calls him little Drew) also displays terrible group problem solving by antagonizing everyone in the tribe to be angry at Julie. By repeatedly bringing up a negative issue, you are contributing to the problem, not helping it be solved. Darren Pecora… Over and Out.
In episode 5 of Survivor Blood vs. Water we see the hidden agendas behind all of the tribe members. Because Hunahpu was careless with their food, they decided to barter with Jeff to get another bag of rice. This greatly angered Jeremy, in the sense that he felt his tribe was strong enough to go without food for a day and was capable of continuing their domination in the challenges, and would hopefully win food at the next reward. But because group work is not a dictatorship, he is forced to go with the democracy. Hunahpu had to give up every piece of reward they had won over their 2 week stay in Nicaragua in exchange for a bag rice. This consisted of: their tarp that kept them dry, pillows and blankets for warmth and comfort, hammocks for leisure time, their hatchet, their extra bowl, and their flint, leaving them with only one flint, a machete, a bowl, and their rice; taking them back to the very beginning. Because of their lack of a tarp, they were unfortunate enough to fall victim to a torrential down pore causing one of their tribe members to break.
Due to cold rainy weather, Julie, girlfriend of everyone favorite survivor, John Rocker, was succumbing to the elements. This is where we see a great deal of nonverbal communication. Julie is seen with her sweatshirt over face curled up in a fetal position like a baby whining and groaning in agony. This was quite amusing because I have no idea what she expected signing up for the show if she couldn’t handle one night in the rain. To my surprise, she stuck it out and cheered her team on as they won immunity.
Episode 4 of Survivor Blood Vs. Water was highly amusing and a prime example of conflict in groups. During this episode, a member of the constantly winning tribe of Hunahpu named Drew, makes it known to the viewers that he is not the biggest fan of Kelly. When the original flint is found near their tribes fire, Drew gets the idea to trade back their unused flint for the fishing gear they had to forfeit. Kelly thinks this is a ridiculous idea, and at the reward challenge makes it known that she does not agree with Drew’s actions of bartering what so ever. Further angering Drew, when the tribe wins reward, he is chosen to go to Exile Island. While on Exile Island he wants to continue to stroke his own ego and boast to Jacquelin that he is the leader of his tribe and to help out her tribe he is going to throw the immunity challenge to help cleanse his tribe. In the book Working In Groups, conflict is defined as, “the disagreement and disharmony that occurs in groups when members express differences in regards to group goals; member ideas, behavior, and roles; or group procedures and norms.” With Drew’s obnoxious attitude and want to barter at the reward challenge for the fishing gear he wont shut up about, he is initiating conflict between his tribe that will prove to be detrimental to his existence in the game.
Substantive Conflict, as described in Working in Groups, “occurs when members disagree about issues, ideas, decisions, actions, or goals.” After throwing the immunity challenge and forcing his tribe into tribal council, Drew initiates substantive conflict when discussing the goals and decision of his alliance. Drew’s alliance doesn’t agree with voting off Kelly, and feels Drew is a little bit weird for being so passionate and paranoid about voting her off. To Drew’s surprise, he is blindsided at tribal council and his plan of cleansing his tribe of untrustworthy members resulted in himself going home early.
In the third episode of Survivor Blood vs. Water, we see the apparent divide among the opposing sexes in the Coyopa tribe. After a tribal council of voting off Val, which retired Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker swore to her husband Jeremy on Exile Island that he would not do, the tribe returns to camp one less female. John Rocker is a prime example of both the need for control and the need for inclusion in William Schutz’ theory of Fundamental Interpersonal Relationships. Rocker portrays his need for control by actively staying engaged with both sides of the fence. He talks to the girls when the guys alliance isn’t around and gives them false hope of the next person the tribe is going to vote out. For example, at the end of episode 3, while the girls are laying down on their make-shift hut, Rocker sits down and tells them that the group is wanting to vote out Dale because of his old age. Without invitation, John completely interrupts the ladies because of his feeling that what he says is most important. By Rocker feeding them this lie, he believes that he is controlling which way the opposing votes will go, and is making sure no votes will be cast his way. To Rocker’s dismay, his need for inclusion with the group has become so annoying, and negative, that they conspire within themselves to pull a blindside and get rid of the nuisance… John Rocker.
When it comes to the third aspect of Schutz’ Theory, the need for affection; another member of the Coyopa tribe comes to mind, Josh. Josh is a homosexual man that feels that he has a “connection with both sexes” and is the link between the two alliances. His need for affection becomes increasingly obvious when after each tribal council, he goes up to whoever he feels he wronged and tells them his side and reasoning to why he did it. He then follows his statement with “please don’t be mad at me.” Josh really can’t stand the feeling of not being liked by his tribe members and will do whatever it takes to make sure he is on everyone’s good side, and so far, he’s doing well.
A tremendous amount of drama unfolded during this episode between the two tribes. With John Rockers past history and arrogant demeanor, he made it quite easy for people to paint a target on his back. His being a physical threat would seem to be most important for a tribe plagued by loss’s in all challenges, but what the camera chooses to hide is the outspokenness of John Rockers’ character traits both back at camp, and during competition.
Get ready, as fireworks are about to fly as we delve into the current season of Survivor. The game of outwitting and outperforming a group of complete strangers uses a vast amount of communication skills that correlate to Chapter 2 and about Group Development.
As we all know, developing a relationship with complete strangers may be a bit difficult with differences in personality traits, but in the game of Survivor it is extremely necessary to step out of your comfort zone and find similarities among your peers.
When beginning the game, the contestants are paired with a loved family member sent onto a deserted beach in the country Nicaragua. The game is thrown a complete curve ball when the host, Jeff Probst, announces that loved ones are going to be paired against each other on opposite tribes for “Survivor: Blood is thicker than Water”.
When the contestants for the show first meet each other is a prime example of the early stages of Tuckman’s Group Development Stages. In the forming of stage of Tuckman’s model, “members are socially cautious and polite”. This is the stage, as stated in Working in Groups: Communication Principles and Strategies, Sixth Edition, where members explore both their personal goals’ as well as their groups’ goals. First impressions are extremely important when creating strong relationships and, if you want someone to like you, and in this sense, not vote you off the island, you want to start off on a good foot. In this case, the contestants briefly chatted and politely introduced themselves when they opened up their bags showing them the tribe they were in.
After the first challenge, a member of the Hunahpu tribe named Jeremy, wins the challenge for his team and is forced to send the loser, his wife, to Exile Island with one of his own teammates. One of the first concepts of Chapter 2 and group development, and second stage of Tuckman’s Model, is the storming stage. This can be defined by Tuckman, as the time when “members compete for status and openly disagree.”
On Exile Island, Jeremy’s wife Val, and her opposing tribe member Keith, are sent to a camp by themselves. Since Group Communication means three or more people forming a group, this initial contact would not count. However, back at the tribe camps of Hunahpu and Coyopa, members of these tribes are forced into close quarters with each other and must form bonds to promote a solid work ethic as well as the goals of trust and comfort. In a physical game, older members are deemed to be the weakest link. For Dale, a 55 year old farmer, he feels the heat of being the easy target. He pairs up with a few of the other tribe members to try and create the number one resource of survival, fire. While the young guys attempt to rub bamboo together to create fire, Dale uses his creativity and the magnifying ability of his glasses, to create enough heat to ignite some branches.
Primary tension as described by Engleberg and Wynn, is “the social unease and stiffness that accompanies the getting-aquainted stage in a new group”. An example of this in episode 1 of Survivor is when Wes approaches John Rocker about John being an ex-professional baseball player for the Atlanta Braves. The awkward tension between the two is completely visible because John doesn’t want to reveal his real identity, and Wes just wants to make a friend/connection/ally. Unfortunately for him, John now regrets telling Wes his real name and now may scheme to vote him out for knowing too much.
During the debate over replacing the lost flint or receiving the fishing equipment in episode 2, we see how group communication works in a time crunch. Forced with the decision to chose between having fire during cold rainy nights, or to have a sufficient way to get much needed food and protein, we see a bit of constructive nonconformity during the decision making. Constructive nonconformity is defined as, “when a member resists a norm while still working to achieve a group goal. Two members of the tribe greatly want the fishing equipment so they can eat more than just beans to be stronger for competition, so they rattle off a series of ideas for what they could do without the fire, keeping the groups main goal of succeeding in mind.
Stay tuned for what seems to be a very interesting season.