Notwithstanding the lackluster season premiere, I think this current edition of Survivor is going to be a very good one. Somebody speculated that the reason for the downer of a premiere was because the editors edited that episode's storyline under a 2-hour timeframe and found out a little too late that the season would only have a 1-hour launch. (It seemed Burnett didn't want his shows to clash in the same timeslot. He's also the executive producer of The Apprentice shown an hour later in CBS rival network.) The result of the sloppy editing hence was a premiere with no main storyline arch, two bodies of a welcome ritual that didn't say anything about the game, and 18 players whom you know nothing much about after the first hour (well, save for talkative Eliza and legless Chad).
The succeeding episodes however were edited better, and I say far better. This time they use a no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point editing style that they haven't implied in ages for unpredictability reasons perhaps. Of course editing can only do so much. What's even better is that the castaways this season are really cutthroat. Nobody's sitting their asses off waiting to be voted out. (Hello, Survivor All Stars?!) In Episode 3, catty Mia fought till the very end. Lisa had no trouble jumping ship to save her ass. Eliza flip flopped right away knowing she's the 5th wheel in her alliance with the "old crowd" (It was a risky decision that didn't pay off unfortunately). John Keeney strategically didn't favor one female alliance over the other (although I think he should have knowing he's part of the minority alliance in his own tribe, so as his favored female alliance will repay his kindness in case there's a merge or swap). But enough about Episode 3. After all, I don't want to write a Survivor recap. Reality News Online can do that for me. Instead, I'm going to give my prediction as to who will win the SOLE SURVIVOR.
It was definitely difficult for me to trim my picks to just 4 (like what I did in Pearl Islands) considering there are 18 castaways this season and for all we know, there might still be an Outcast Twist. So I just decided to pick 3 who I strongly think will win, and 3 more who I think are very strong dark horses.
STRONG PICKS TO WIN:
I love her to death so me picking her to win has sentimental value to it. Aside from that, her EPISODE 1 quote, wherein she said "I'm second to no man" is very telling. In EPISODE 2, she was instrumental in making the older woman's alliance win by bringing Leann and Eliza together to tell them their heads are on the chopping block, and thereby causing the two to ally together and vote off swinger Dolly. In the tribal council of EPISODE 3, she played the diplomatic tribe mate role with finesse (shades of Thailand winner Brian when he made that "Don't judge a book by its cover" quote) when she tried to bridge the gap between the old and young tribe mates. The fact that John Keeney seemed to be endeared to her by giving her the immunity necklace are plus points on her side.
He is a PRE-EPISODE 1 pick to win and still is after 3 episodes. In EPISODE 1, he was the only castaway whose quotes are purely strategic. He survived the episode unscathed even if he caused the men's tribe to lose in the balance beam Immunity Challenge. As he said later on, the game is about "outwitting, outplaying and outlasting" NOT "outbalancing." In EPISODE 2, he was under the radar which was commendable considering he had a huge target on his back in the previous episode. In EPISODE 3, whether that really happened for real or not, it was edited in such a way that he was the one who influenced Sarge to stay put with the alliance and vote off the player eventually voted out. When he cast his votes for that person, he said something like “you may be stronger PHYSICALLY, but I am stronger MENTALLY". Again, another strategic quote.
She's got the Mateo edit (the Final 2 player in the Amazon who started out as anti-social and non-strategic but learned along the way). Her storyline is also in for the long haul. After what happened in EPISODE 3's tribal council, we are made to anticipate her transformation from being a tomboy and anti-social to being a girly girl and more sociable. The fact that the editor inserted the voted off player's farewell speech wherein she said that TWILA will NOT win reminds me so much of Johnny Fairplay saying Sandra will NOT win the million dollars in Pearl Islands. (The ending, Sandrrraa won!)
He's got the Rupert edit - loveable character, tribe leader with a heart, good in challenges. But the question is will a player with a Rupert edit eventually win this thing or will that be too predictable?! But again, it's interesting to note that they're employing a no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point editing style this season, so could be.
He is a PRE-EPISODE 1 pick but man, he's been an annoying character since the first episode. My gut feel is that he might have the Kathy edit (Survivor Marquesas)- the character who also started annoying but had a character turnaround for the better upon realizing she's way off with her tribe mates. However, we don't see that YET for Rory. However also, we cannot disregard his interesting EPISODE 1 edit wherein he's the only castaway being most welcomed by the tribesmen into their islands. And we all know there's got to be one annoying character in the Final 4 (Hello Johnny Fairplay! :D)
She is another PRE-EPISODE 1 pick. She just talks way too much which could be detrimental to her winning the game but that didn't prevent Sandra from winning Pearl Islands! Editing wise, she has the most number of confessionals out of all the castaways in the first 3 episodes. Characters edited such as this are definitely in for the long haul. Case in point, confessionals-wise, EPISODE 1 was the Eliza Orlins Show same as EPISODE 1 of The Amazon was the Rob Cesternino show (He reached final 3).
I hope I'm right on the dot again with my picks.