CRUSOE: Challenge - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

CRUSOE: Challenge

December 22, 2008 by  


Okay. I have to be honest here. There’s something about this week’s episode that just absolutely missed the mark with me.

It begins with Friday trying to construct some type of defense mechanism out of a skeleton. When he tries to launch it like a catapult, it fails. But Crusoe is able to fix it for him and when it does launch, it lands in a lake where a crocodile swallows it whole. When Friday was a boy, he watched another child his age swim into crocodile infested waters and get killed during a rite of passage into manhood. Seeing the crocodile swallow the catapult causes Friday to become upset and to start flashing back to his childhood where he remembers a series of tests and challenges he had to go through in order to enter into manhood.

When Crusoe tells Friday that he had to pass tests in school as well growing up, Friday decides to show Crusoe the tests he had to take are different from the ones Crusoe had to take. For me, this is where the episode started to go wrong. Friday and Crusoe reenact a coal walking challenge, a jousting challenge, and a tree diving challenge. Instead of the scenes coming across as a way for Crusoe to connect to the world Friday experienced as a child, the scenes came across as overly comical (and I mean overly comical in a bad way). I felt like I was watching an episode of American Gladiator. Couldn’t the challenges have been more creative? (For what it’s worth by the way, Jenna Fischer’s coal walking scene in “Beach Games” totally blew theirs out of the water).

During each challenge, Friday becomes increasingly frustrated with Crusoe and Crusoe can’t figure out why. As the guys have their own therapy session on the beach to sort things out, Friday tells Crusoe he’s upset because he failed the final challenge as a boy, which disappointed his father. Crusoe wants to reenact the final challenge together, but Friday refuses. (Friday’s final challenge had been to swim into crocodile infested waters, but after watching the other child die, he refused to swim into the water). Later on, Crusoe even goes so far as to steal Friday’s machete, cut him with it, and taunt him to fight so he can try to regain his manhood. Friday falls for it briefly, but then gives up.

As it just so happens, Friday is given a chance to reenact the original final challenge when Crusoe trips off the wire to the catapult when he’s walking alone in the woods. The catapult sends him flying in the air where he lands in a tree hanging over the crocodile infested water. He’s bleeding and injured and hanging onto the tree for dear life, and when Friday realizes he has been gone for a while, he begins looking for him. Friday finds Crusoe just as he loses consciousness and falls into the water. Of course, the crocodile heads straight for Crusoe. Friday, our original crocodile hunter, jumps in to save him by wresting with the croc and then killing him.

I know that the whole point of this story is to show how Friday is attempting to make peace with his past and with himself, but it just didn’t play out right. When Friday is trying to explain the challenges and the reasoning behind them to Crusoe, he comes off as whiny and defensive. When Crusoe explains to Friday the type tests he took in school and when he questions the reasoning behind Friday’s challenges, he comes off as arrogant. These two are definitely at their best when they are fending off invaders to the island.

There was a little more revealed this week about how Crusoe ended up on the ill-fated shipwreck. Apparently after he left England, he ended up in Brazil where he was a fairly successful plantation owner. He had been sending home considerable amounts of money to his wife and children, which had been intercepted by his brother-in-law and Blackthorn, who are trying to convince Crusoe’s wife that he is dead. When he sits down to read the paper from England one morning, he sees a message telling him to beware and that his wife and kids are in danger. He then convinces a sea captain to take him back to England by signing over the deed to his plantation.

But here’s what’s most interesting to me about this week’s England flashbacks – Crusoe had slaves. I know that given the time period, he would have had slaves to help with the work, but for someone who is so defensive of Friday anytime someone makes a slavery remark about him, it seems ironic. Does Crusoe really care for Friday or by befriending him, is he trying to make amends with himself for the fact that he had slaves?

So there’s no new episode until January 10. I know that it’s standard for new episodes to not air over the holiday season, but for a show that is essentially in the can and has so few episodes remaining, I really wish NBC would just go ahead and air the remaining episodes continuously. With such a sporadic schedule, why risk losing the viewers the show already has?

Everyone have a happy and safe holiday season and I’ll see you in 2009.


Meredith lives in a small South Carolina town where there is nothing to do but watch TV! She loves The Office, Chuck, Scrubs and Arrested Development, and her guilty pleasure is anything Gordon Ramsay related.

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3 Responses to “CRUSOE: Challenge”

  1. Susan on December 30th, 2008 6:53 pm

    I love this show!

  2. Chief Plonker on January 10th, 2009 11:39 pm

    Hey Susan I hope that you will be blogging about The New F-Word series, the second best Gordon Ramsay TV show (Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares Uk is easily the best) starts in a few days on BBC America. All Gordon Ramsay fans should check it out, learn some great recipes, be entertained – wonder if the trademarked Gordon ramsay language with be bleeped out??

  3. susan on June 1st, 2009 8:37 am

    i think it is so stupid that this shoe was taken off th e air