Greetings, fellow fans and analysis aficionados. Today, I bring you a rundown of one of the more minor teams of the season. Orange Team has been fairly well written off by most major commentators. While, on the surface, this seems more than fair, I will endeavor to show you all why Orange Team actually has potential, if not to carry the game, at least to make it far and make a major impact upon the game.
The Mentor: Dr. Millard Smith
At first glance, one would have to question the logic behind putting a teacher from Silver Dragon Academy in charge of a team containing only a single student from that school. The answer, though, is fairly simple: It is a deliberate slight against Dr. Smith on the part of the producers. Most of the mentors seem to be fairly useless, and Dr. Smith is no exception at the surface level, but a closer look reveals one notable trait lacked by most of the others: motivation. Dr. Smith has been dealt a terrible hand, all claims of randomness aside. His team is specifically contrary to his goals. Unless this man is a genuine saint, he is going to be furious, and what better way to turn his luck around than to cruise through to a surprise win?
Of course, he is undeniably lacking in skill. He is a smart man, though, so I suspect he will be able to learn as he goes. As long as his team lasts a day or two without serious losses, he has great potential as a late bloomer. That aside, the effects of mentors are likely to be fairly negligible, since they are a gimmick, and not the main attraction.
ORA1: Vincent Sullivan
Weapon: Digital Camera
Mr. Sullivan is an interesting case because, like his team’s mentor, he shows signs of being a late bloomer. He is likely to have extreme difficulties in the early stages of the game, especially with a non-offensive weapon draw, but if he can overcome this and make clever use of what he has been dealt (hint: pictures can be used as evidence. Even a novice manipulator can make something of that), he stands a good chance of really coming into his own.
His anger issues will likely cause problems for his entire team, but they should not be insurmountable. Having a set group of allies will in large part mitigate his disadvantages, and provide him with a set of lackeys he can easily bully into submission, if need be. If a pecking order can be established, and Mr. Sullivan can learn his place, he make take Orange Team somewhere.
ORA2: Brennan O’Brian
Weapon: Bottle of LSD labeled "Water Purification Tablets"
In Mr. O’Brian we have the weak link of the Orange Team, not due to any innate uselessness, but rather to a spectacularly poor weapon pull. In fact, the very intelligence that could have worked well for his team may be turned around on them, as he helpfully persuades his allies of the dangers of drinking contaminated water and hands out his tablets to insure that they do not contract intestinal parasites or something equally inane. There is always the chance of a particularly amusing meltdown, or a hallucination-induced blood rage, but it strikes me as less likely than the team wandering around, staring at their hands before being picked off by a competent player.
However, should Mr. O’Brian somehow avoid this trap, he could be the brains of the operation. He is unlikely to reach for the tablets until the initial water supply runs out, by which point he may have been killed and his possessions stolen by another team. Ideally, this would occur after he imparted some form of strategy and game plan to his allies. A fear of water will be unfortunate given the playing field, but not insurmountable, and it may even keep him from using those tablets.
ORA3: Ferric Tam
Weapon: KA-BAR Combat Knife
Mr. Tam is a good contestant through and through, but the obvious favoritism he is receiving from the mentor of his team may turn his other allies against him in remarkably short order. I believe he will function best as a scout or independent operator for the group, but should not serve as a leader. He will certainly have to kick his air of superiority if he hopes to live long, but that is a given.
There is a chance that an early death for him would actually spur Dr. Smith into greater competence and activity, now that I think about it. Mr. Tam may be the first out on his team, and, if it pushes the right button for their mentor, this may actually be a good thing.
ORA4: Tiffany Dexter
Weapon: Colt Anaconda .45 Magnum
Ms. Dexter is interesting, as she occupies much the same social niche as Mr. Tam does. If there is anyone in this group he will be able to tolerate, it will be her. She will have to overcome his distrustful nature with regards to her teammates, but, if she succeeds at that, she may well lead them to victory. She has incredible potential, especially when compared to the other contestants this season, and she has a good weapon draw to back it up. Barring a terrible mishap or poor early-game judgment, I suspect she will be around for quite some time.
She may not click particularly well with her teammates, aside from Mr. Tam, but, really, she does not have to. She can function as an independent operator until it comes down to the wire, and the team will do just fine.
ORA5: Katherine Clements
Creativity is one of the greatest assets a contestant can have, and, combined with a deceptive weapon, Ms. Clements has the potential to be a force to be reckoned with. Optimism is only a problem when it cannot be backed up, and it can be quite a boon in tough times. Ms. Clements may end up the heart and soul of her team, serving as the glue to hold it together.
Her physical weakness and her lack of experience with violence will either sink her right at the start or quickly be overcome. These are not weaknesses that will have too negative an impact in the long term, once more showing the late-game potential of this team. Her issues with rest might have been crippling in past seasons, but, with the team dynamic, can be easily overcome.
In short, I believe that Orange Team, should it survive the early stages of the game, will become a force to be reckoned with. While there may not be much compatibility when it comes to personality, there does not have to be; survival is an amazing motivator. The team has only a few serious liabilities, and if they are neutralized, the team will be able to shine.