Survivor: Borneo Season 1 Episode 3 ("Quest for Food") Rewind

Updated: May 15

In the early days of Survivor, camp life played a pivotal role in drawing tribal lines, usually boiling down to a few key aspects - gathering wood, tending to the fire, fetching water from the well, and finding food. The third episode of Survivor: Borneo, "Quest for Food," emphasized the importance of hunting and gathering as both tribes continued in their fight against starvation.

On Pagong, tribal unity is at an all-time high. While voting out B.B. certainly calmed the turbulent waters of division, I really believe the naivety of this journey brought this particular group of individuals closer together throughout the season. None of these people knew what to expect when dropped off in the South China Sea. Yes, they wanted their share of the grand prize, but it feels like Pagong viewed Survivor as an adventure and not a game of strategy.

Pagong's quest for food made this abundantly clear. Early on in "Quest for Food," Gretchen, Colleen, and Greg came across a mud volcano while looking for food. Instead of continuing their hunt, they brought their tribe back to the volcano to enjoy tribal bonding, an intimate moment for Pagong that helps unite them.

Tagi, on the other hand, is completely fractured. Differences in age, religion, and sexual orientation all play a role in group dissension. It seems like everyone hates someone. Stacey and Kelly are tired of Rudy's bossy attitude. The feeling is mutual for Rudy, who is tired of the laziness around camp. Dirk's preaching is irritating Sue, while Richard's arrogant attitude is rubbing others the wrong way. And Sean wants to be the fun tribe member that everyone relies on, but his spectacular failures week in and week out irritates his tribe. There is no cohesion.

The divide inspires Kelly and Stacey to approach Sue about allying to vote out Rudy. Even though Sue doesn't want to make that move, it is clear that Tagi is more focused on strategy than adventure.

The reward challenge only further highlights these distinct differences. As Pagong literally conga lined their way into the reward challenge, Tagi could not look more unhappy as they march into the challenge in a staggered line. Tagi goes on to win the reward, but they could not be further from a unified front.

Then again, perhaps the lack of joy from Tagi is directly correlated to the lack of that trademark Jeff Probst commentary throughout the challenge. I know he took some time to find his voice, but the intense rock music playing over the challenge doesn't hold a candle to the narration Jeff provides. It's a small thing, but there was an eerie feeling permeated throughout both challenges without Jeff giving his best Al Michael's impression.

Anyways, the reward challenge tasked the two tribes to retrieve a chest from the middle of the ocean and bring it back to the beach. The challenge was a close race throughout. Tagi manages to squeak out a victory, earning a set of fishing gear.

Back on Tagi's beach, Richard immediately takes to the ocean with the fishing spear to prove his worth as a fisherman. For several days, Richard had claimed he grew up fishing and would be able to provide for the tribe if he had a spear. Of course, not everyone was a believer in Richard, particularly Dr. Sean, who thought Richard was full of himself. Then again, Sean had no reason to believe there was anyone better suited for fishing than himself, the creator of the Superpole 2000.

Well, it turns out the spear is a more efficient fishing tool than Sean's poorly constructed "Superpole" as Richard brings back five rays, despite Sean's insistence he catch something that resembles a fish. Even as they find success, Sean cannot help but let his jealousy rear its ugly head. "My position with the tribe is increasing after," said Richard after returning to the beach with his hull.

For Richard, this moment cemented his place as the tribe's provider. With Tagi struggling to catch food, even with Sean's self-constructed gear, this guarantees him safety. Though I don't believe he was at the bottom of the tribe, Richard was able to garner favor with his tribemates, paving the way to form key strategic relationships that would impact the end game.

Interestingly, Pagong somehow heard that Tagi caught fish. I am honestly not sure how they would have gotten this information. The only logical explanation is that producers told them, but I was just really caught off guard by this. Either way, this motivated Pagong to continue their hunt for food. In one of the more iconic moments on the show, Pagong managed to catch and devour several rats. Even Gervase and Ramona, who were hesitant to try the rodents, were pleasantly surprised that it tasted good. Hunger is real, folks.

As the immunity challenge approached, tree mail instructed both tribes to construct a stretcher. And my goodness, the challenge included a full backstory and costumes. The tribes will race through the jungle to find one of their members "stranded" after a plane crash. The tribe then have to ferry their stranded member through the jungle on a stretcher. The first tribe to return wins the challenge. Pagong ends up winning, though there seems to be a lack of jubilation at the victory. Is this due to a lack of Jeff screaming who wins while throwing his hands in the air? Lack of tribal music playing in the background? Still full from the rat feast? Who knows, but excitement is missing in the victory.

Back at Tagi, individuals began jockeying for position. The real debate comes down to the age-old survivor debate: strength vs. personality. "I kind of prioritize people based on who's contributing I think and can contribute most to competition," said Richard about his decision.

Before detailing who went home, we have to talk about the conch shell business Jeff pulled out at tribal. An obvious homage to Lord of the Flies, the conch shell did not add much to tribal. The fluid conversation between Jeff and the castaways feels more natural. I am glad this was not an idea they continued.

Unfortunately for Stacey, no amount of conch shell talking time was going to save her. She was viewed as a weaker member of the tribe in challenges and didn't provide around camp. Stacey spent so much of her game focused on voting out Rudy, and it is fair to wonder if her tunnel vision blinded her to the tribe's perception of her. In the end, she didn't contribute enough in challenges or at camp to warrant keeping.

"I already know who I'd vote for," says Sue to the camera, "the person that's least contributing to the group." This week, that person was Stacey.

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