Survivor: Heroes v Healers v Hustlers

The Characters and Their Stories: Special Edition

Michel Trudeau has retired but he still wants to weigh in on this season in The Characters and Their Stories. Get ready to read, it’s a long one!

The Characters and Their Stories: Special Edition

Retirement feels good and it gave me a lot of time to do other things but since we’ve reached the merger, I thought it was a good occasion to make an appearance!

What have the players been telling us?  I’ve transcribed their interviews here.  I’ve grouped them into 3 types of confessionals and each is associated with specific roles:

  1. A) The Narrators: These players give mostly interviews that describe the people and the events going on around.
  2. B) The Characters: Their most notable interviews present their personal story.
  3. C) The Gamers: Their main interventions are about their tactics. Here, it is important to distinguish between the momentary and the long term. A player confronted with an important decision will give a tactical interview but is it part of a long-term plan or not?

hhh-barThe Narrators

john

JP

Episode 1 – “Alan is a crazy guy. He just all of a sudden gets this crazy look in his eyes just his drama and everything that he causes is, I think, not worth his strength. Just a loose cannon like that kinda rocks the ship.” 

Episode 2 – “In the firehouse it’s all about getting things done, taking care of business, so I am out fishing, trying to get some food on the table, or, go one step at a time and go from there…you know I’ve never been super into drama, I’m not the confrontational type or anything like that so If I can get some fish, some lobster and make sure everyone’s got a full belly, everyone will be happy and taken care of….The other night at Tribal Council, Ashley and I got called out as the power couple, that label sucks. I don’t see us as a power couple at all! We are not dating, we are not hooking up, we are not doing any of that kind of stuff…I mean if you are a power couple you might as well be hooking up and being a power couple, know what I mean? Might as well take advantage of everything! So, that connection, I think it’s more on the back burner right now…but, at the firehouse, that’s kind of my position, stay calm, stay patient. I may not be the guy that is out there talking strategy with everybody but I know that I need to clean my rep up and with time that will straighten things out.”

Episode 6 – “I don’t like being in the limelight that much but in this case, it’s good for me in this game because, bottom line, they need me 100%.  Without me, there is no way they would get through any challenges; no way.”

“The immunity challenge didn’t go so well but losing right now for us is just not a big deal; Ali is next and there’s nothing she can do about it; simple as that.”

With so few interviews, JP can’t even be called a narrator but he had to be placed somewhere!  With nothing worth mentioning in the premiere and in the merger episode, I think it is safe to say that JP won’t be our winner.

desiree

Desi

Episode 1 – “I’m fortunate to be a part of the Healers tribe, first and foremost we can communicate. And, as long as we do that in camp life, everything will run smoothly.”

Episode 3 – “Cole told us that Joe has the idol and he wants to blindside Joe if we go to Tribal Council…Joe complains at camp and he chucks food that he doesn’t like…food is scarce.”

Episode 4-  “The swap worked out really well for me, we have 3 of the strongest men, we have Ashley who is a super strong swimmer, so I know, I think that we are in a great situation physically. I don’t think there is any reason we couldn’t dominate.”

“Right now we have 2 heroes, we have Alan and Ashley, 2 Healers, me and Joe, and one, in what I think is the strongest of all the Hustlers, in Devon, in the middle.  It would be easy for the 4 of us to just vote Devon out, but I would rather work with him because he is potentially the swing vote.”

“Joe has lost his mind. He just blew up camp and, in the process, he blew up both of our games. It was an idiotic move. Now, my name is on the chopping block.  I am just pissed off. I’m already devastated and we haven’t even gone to Tribal Council…”

Episode 5 – “Winning the Reward Challenge, we got the sweetest reward. We were divided at first but now it’s time to come together as a team.”

Episode 6 – “Ashley brought up the idea of getting rid of Joe.  I trust Joe to the point that he’ll use me as an advantage for himself in this game.  Beyond that, Joe is arguably the most strategic player out here, willing to do whatever it takes to make himself move further in this game and that’s not always going to benefit me.  So, if the Levu tribe has to go back to Tribal Council, I’m actually considering getting rid of Joe at this point and time.”

Desi’s optimism has rarely been rewarded.  She’s felt good at the start of each of the game’s three stages but each time the tide turned quickly on her.  She’s an obvious good athlete so that will also work against her.

devon

Devon 

Episode 1– “Ryan tells me about this special immunity idol. He said that he’d be willing to use the idol for me. Ryan and I have the same ideas the same plans, the chemistry is perfect.

Episode  2 – “Simone is the weakest tribe member. She proved tonight that she can’t do puzzles; she’s gotta go.”

Episode 3 – “Pat stepped up at the challenge but, if you step up, you better be able to deliver.  It was just Pat choking, and I do believe we lost because of that….Lauren on the other hand, she’s very steady, I trust her, but she doesn’t really fit in with the other tribe members. And, if we keep Lauren around we are more likely to lose the next immunity challenge and we’ve already lost 2 in a row.”  Devon was the one that told Ryan that Pat needed to go.”

Episode 4 – “I don’t know if I can really trust Joe. But, this is really the first time that I have felt, shoot, I might be going home next…so, I gotta figure out my next move.”

“When Joe told me they were trying to vote me out, I had this feeling that I was being talked to like by a car salesman. I was like, this might be a lie. And, now, I think it was…I think I can trust Ash, and Alan seems like a straightforward guy too, so, Joe’s a snake. And, I don’t like having snakes around.”

“We’re about to go to Tribal, and I discover in my bag a secret advantage. If I have a secret admirer, that is a beautiful thing! It could be an extra vote, it could be anything. I have no idea. But, with that, and being the swing vote, I have all the power in my hands.”

Episode 5 – “The reward was great but what’s best for my game is getting rid of Joe

Episode 6 – “The energy is very tense around here.  I feel there’s an immunity idol still out there and Joe’s good at finding idols.  He’s already found one. It’s better than my record.  So, everything that Joe does is suspicious.  We’re always looking out for him, trying to see where he’s looking.  I got to keep eagle eyes on Joe.  He’s got me nervous.”

Episode 7 – Devon:  “I’m running on empty.  There’s not a single calorie left in my body that is usable.  My brain is dead and every one of my limbs feels like it weighs like a thousand pounds.  This game is a lot more real than I thought and going into the next reward challenge, if I don’t get this win, I don’t know…I don’t know what I am going to do.”

Devon, right after walking in the steakhouse:  “OMG, I am in just perfect bliss right now.  To make the merge is such an accomplishment and to go from such a low this morning to being with all these amazing people and then to go eat brings such happiness.  I feel like the king man– this is the life.”

Devon:  “Right now, looking at the twelve we have, I think the strongest people truly made it to the merge.  But the Healers and the Heroes, they’ve seen each other’s strengths this whole game, but us Hustlers, we’ve been kind of flowing under the radar which, coming into the merge, isn’t a bad spot to be.”

Devon:  “Joe knows how to play the game which makes him a threat to others and Cole is a physical threat and if he ends up losing the first immunity challenge, it would be a good time for him to go.”

Despite his rather goofy look, Devon looked surprisingly sharp at some crucial moments of the game but things still didn’t work totally in his favor: He’s the one that put the target on Pat which looked good at the time but Lauren’s attachment to Yawa could have cost his alliance dearly.  He figured that Joe was lying to him so he went with Ashley and Alan only to lose Alan.  Devon’s story shows that there are so many variables at work in Survivor that playing well isn’t always enough.  

lauren

Lauren

Episode 1 – “Today we didn’t win the challenge, but at the same time, let’s not give up. Being hustlers we are very hard workers. That’s just like kick it in gear and this is what we need to do the rest of this game.  ‘Cause really, if we play as a team we will be fine. If not, we’re gonna be screwed.”

Episode 2 – “Patrick’s kind of getting on my nerves. He wants to be in the spotlight…He’s just all over the place, it’s like, Sit STILL…and, he’s just too loud for me. His volume is at a 10, and he needs to be at a volume 2. He is a big kid. He’s a 25-year-old boy, you can look him dead in the face and say, ‘Patrick, do not touch that’, and, he will look at you and touch it. You know when it’s like, really? I just cannot come out and say, ‘shut the hell up!’ just because I am older. I would think that they would want to stick together. It’s very tough for me, I mean, I am not a social butterfly…Being a commercial fisherman, you work alone. You know, I don’t want to be excluded, so I am trying to build a relationship with Ali. Try to get on the same page with her…”

“Patrick is unpredictable, I don’t trust him. And, he doesn’t follow directions and he could hurt us. You know, even though he’s strong. Strong is not always what you need, you know. Simone is not great at challenges, but, you know, Simone at least listens.”

Episode 3 – “I didn’t get any votes except from Simone but I still feel on the outs. I’m the single mom, and they are the high school kids; I feel like the damn teacher. Patrick slipped up at Tribal Council by saying that he didn’t trust everybody.

“We just lost the challenge but Patrick didn’t want to stop, he’s like a one-man show …I’ve been playing centerfield for 25 years. I can hit a catcher in the forehead. And, I think everybody is pretty much over Patrick for the way he performed today and I want to make sure that Patrick is going home.”

“Patrick…he was a one-man team, I would much rather lose as a team than one person lose for everybody. Redheads don’t lie very well. All he could do is grin. I know he’s writing her name down.  When I fish I don’t sit there and wait for the same fish to come by– I try different things and I never throw my hands in the air without trying my hardest.”

“I can be a hot head but at the same time, I know when to turn it on and I know when to turn it off. I feel like I’ve done everything that I can do, but obviously, I’m a hustler for a reason. See them leaving for Tribal Council. So, if it is me going home tonight, I can promise you I am not going to go home without a fight…”

Episode 4 – “Supposedly, Jessica got an advantage in the bottom of her chip bag, which is odd that Cole told us that. It could be that Cole just told us that to make us believe in him…And, if he is, that’s just great. But, I would rather put my faith in my own hands so I will be using your little secret to my advantage.”

“Ben and I are a little outnumbered here. The only way to gain a little bit of control here would be to get Dr. Mike to join us. So, if Dr. Mike doesn’t know that Jessica got the advantage, I’m going to use that against those two.”

Episode 5 – “Cole is gross– he’s a pig. He’s licking his fingers and scratching his crotch. Others see it too.”

Episode 6 – “I think Mike is starting to see Cole’s true colors are which is great for me because Ben and I are at the bottom of this group so we need Dr. Mike.  The more Cole screws up… the more he looks like an idiot… the better off I am.  Cole is digging his own grave.”

Episode 7 – Lauren:  “The Heroes and the Hustlers want the Healers gone and I want no part of that.  I’m sticking with the Healers; You know, I really like Dr. Mike and I made a pact with the last Yawa tribe and it does make sense for the five of us to stay strong.”

Lauren:  “Ben and I’ we have been together since Yawa; he was the only one from Heroes, I was the only one from Hustlers but now we are really in the middle.  This is a whole new game; there is so much to try and figure out in your head and make a great decision.  It’s very hard.”  (Yes, for anyone who can’t do 30*30 !)

Ben’s obstinacy to vote against the Healers left Lauren with few options but she did have one risky move to make: Stick with Dr. Mike. It could have resulted in a 6-6 tie but the Healers’ alliance would have had a 5 out of 8 chance of not picking a rock, probably good enough odds to get either a Hero or a Hustler to fold and switch their vote. If so, then Lauren would have been #2 in that alliance right next to Mike while now, she’s #7 in the Hero-Hustler alliance, someone that no one will entirely trust.

purple

The Players with a Story But Not Much Game

 mikeMike

Episode 1 – “Winning Survivor is like the biggest dream of my life. My wife thinks I am crazy for doing this and my kids are worried I am going to die. But! I am going to rise to the occasion and win!”

“My son told me to look for the idol. He’s 10 years old and he watches Survivor. If my 10-year-old son knows to look for the idol, I should go looking for it. And, so should everybody else. My biggest fear is to be voted out first but this is a crazy game. But, I did not come out here for an adventure. I am out here for a million dollars and be the best survivor player ever. And, so I am willing to do what it takes to win this game.”

“I don’t trust Joe for one second. He’s told me that he’s had man-to-man talks with me to essentially bully me into telling him that I went looking for the immunity idol. I mean like, who is this guy? But, at the same time, it puts me at risk. Perception is 90% of reality. Right? Unfortunately, you don’t want to be having to fight perception.”

Episode 4 – “So, Lauren says, there was an advantage in the game, which clearly somebody from my tribe has then told her. It is clear to me it is Cole…Because Cole, sometimes he can’t keep his mouth shut and those things come back to bite you in the butt…”

Episode 5 – Mike finds the idol after searching around the well with Jessica.  He’s really happy and his kids will be really proud of him.  He now has to trust Jessica but he’s OK with that.

Episode 6 – “The first time catching fish with the spear gun; it is amazing!  I can do this.  I can do anything that I put my heart and my mind to.  I am providing for my tribe, I’m so excited to say that I can catch a fish too.  The simple things in life can be so rewarding.”

“Cole is going to be fine; we just have to make sure that he’s fine but Cole has become a liability.  If you don’t feel well enough on day 16, how are you going to feel on day 17? On day 18 or 23?  We’re just going to have to keep pulling him along, and at some points, the scales are going to be like:  We need to get rid of Cole.”

Episode 7 – Mike:  “Lauren tells me immediately that Devon wants to get out all the former Healers.  I am concerned that the Healers can be ganged up on by the original Hustlers and Heroes but the reality is that we are still five Healers strong plus, I’m strong with Lauren and I’m strong with Ben.  So, the lines are being drawn in the sand and I expect a war.”

After hearing Ben saying the vote could go against Cole or Joe, Mike had another interview:  “The Yawa tribe went in saying we would be five strong.  The problem is that Ben now is wavering.  Post-merge dynamics are nothing that I thought they would be:  I imagined that I’m the only person playing this game but it ends up that everybody is playing this game.  That makes my life so much more difficult.  Just because I went in here with a supposed alliance of five, doesn’t mean that everybody is sticking with the alliance of five.”

Mike:  “The first person that needs to go is Chrissy (Let it be a lesson to all aspiring Survivors: Do not let the others know you know that you can do 30 times 30 even if it’s grade school level math.) because in this game you’ve got to get out the really smart ones.  (What’s up with that, Doc?)  They can trick people, so tonight, we are going to be five Healers strong against Chrissy and I think I can trust Lauren to vote with us.  So now we have six people. The question becomes:  Is Ben with us or against us?” (How often have I said that you have to let the swing voter decide which way he wants to vote?  Mike should have asked Ben who he wanted out and assured him they’d all vote with him.  Imposing their decision to vote out Chrissy, Ben’s closest ally, was dumb.)

The merger showed that Mike had some game but even he admitted that he was surprised at the level others were playing.  Before episode 7, Mike certainly looked like a Journey Player, one that was out there to make his children proud so I’ll leave him in this category.  One episode as a gamer doesn’t change his overall role.  Anyway, Mike was the biggest loser of the evening and it was largely his fault. He knew Ben was the swing vote, the key to the Council, so he should have asked him for his choice of victim. Even if Ben had remained adamant on Cole then Mike should have told Ben: “We will vote with you against Cole.” Even without Cole, the remaining Healers could still have gained the numbers over the Heroes and Hustlers if they had kept Ben and Lauren. It would have been hard to keep Jessica in line after sending her boyfriend to Loser Lodge, but since Chrissy and the others were voting against her, what choice would she have had?

If Mike had played it smartly, we could have had 5 votes on Cole, (Ben, Lauren, Mike, Joe and Desi) 5 on Jessica (Chrissy, Ryan, Devon, JP, Ashley) and two votes on Chrissy by Jessica and Cole! I’m sure the ones who had voted against Jessica would have gladly flipped their votes to Cole once hidden idols were out of the way. Now, it will be hard to get Ben and Lauren back with Cole still there.  Having been betrayed by Ben, Mike could very well use his idol against the Marine.

ben

Ben

Episode 1 – “Right now we’re looking at a core four and that’s me, Alan, Ashley and JP. We’re all younger. We’re fit and then we got the 2 moms. We’ve named the 2 moms the mom squad. Winning is the most important thing right now for this tribe. When it comes down to it, we’ve got each other’s back.”

“If everyone had just calmed down and talked it out, we’d be fine. But, here we are, day 3, and we’ve all just blown up.  Yup, at Tribal Council tonight there’s two ways that Alan and I can go…We can go with the mom squad and go straight with Ashley, or we can go with JP and Ashley and get Chrissie or Katrina out. I’m a little worried about JP and Ashley having something going on.  But, as a tribe, we have to stay strong to win, but the two older women are probably the weakest link in our tribe. Whether or not you go with strength or loyalty, in the long run, it’s about Alan and I. Who do we trust the most?”

Episode 2 – “Man, this group is like old paint. It’s cracked and fractured everywhere. I am not sure who I can trust. The core 4 is gone. The perception might still be there in some people’s head; actually, no it’s not. It’s done, the whole thing is shot. Now, it’s every man for himself.”

“Alan and I were aligned from the get-go, but Alan, after he blew up at Tribal the other night, I just don’t know if I can work with him? Chrissy is a smart woman and she has a good head on her shoulders, and that’s going to help me get further in the game….At this point, Chrissy and I are in the driver’s seat and whatever we decide to do is what is going to happen.”

Episode 3 – “So, 7 days into the Heroes’ tribe you could say that Chrissy and I are driving the train. But, moving forward, Chrissy and I need to figure out who is going to be the next target. Ashley is a good hard worker and she’s fun, so the better choice is for JP or Alan.  Alan and I were aligned from day one, but Alan’s a hot head and loose cannon, and JP, he’s walking around here like he don’t know what’s going on. But, JP would be good to have around camp because he does fish and everything, so right now Chrissy and I have not made any decision…”

“Ashley is grouped into a power couple, that’s the whole Alan thing. Now whether or not that’s true, I cannot fully trust Ashley at this point because she keeps pulling for JP to stay in the game which makes me think that JP and Ashley are still working together. And, normally as a power couple on Survivor, it don’t work out good.”

Episode 4 – “Being split up from Chrissy, that’s a shot in the foot right there. Things were well oiled and greased and things were moving…So, I am going to have to put some work in and I am not just going to roll over and die. But, my odds at this point are real low to move forward, I’m scared.”

“First initial impression of our tribe, there is a little bit of comfort in knowing that we work well together, and won that PB & J.  3 Healers, 1 Hustler, and 1 Hero: That’s a target, bang, right on my tail…so I have to earn my way around here and gain trust to keep my butt in the game.”

Episode 5 – Ben has his confessional about PTSD…it’s a Hell that they live with, his wife and kids saved him and now he’s playing to show them all that the future will save you; the past will eat you alive…”

Episode 6 – “Oh! Mickey!  Ha! Ha! Ha! Poor guy! He is so determined he never gave up.  Through hell or high water, Mike was cooking that fish and eating it.  I’m proud of him:  He is out of his elements and he is doing good. You know, Mike, he caught a small fish and he shared that.  Cole caught a decent size fish and he ate it himself a couple of times.  That shows right there who you should work with in this game:  Someone who is going to share and think about others or someone who is just going to think about himself.  Cole is showing his true colors and they ain’t good.”

“It’s funny how things work in this game: When Cole fell over, he sealed his fate.  I feel bad saying that but it’s true.  I think Lauren and Mike have the same agenda as I do so if we do lose an immunity challenge, Jess’ boyfriend is gone.”

What can we make of this now that Yawa didn’t lose a challenge and Cole is still there past day 18.

Episode 7 – Ben:  “If we go into a merge guns a-blazing, five strong, we’ll do alright but my biggest concern right now is Cole.  Cole and Jess are sitting out there playing patty-cake all night long and it’s just hard to trust that.”

Ben had an interview right after Jeff told the players to drop their buffs:  “This is the greatest feeling ever; you want to make it to the merge because then Survivor starts.  That’s when you start finding your true alliance but you’ve got to be on your game.  The merge is the first step into getting that million dollars.”

Ben:  “Before the tribal swap, Chrissy and I were pretty tight but no one knows we were working together and she wanted to talk in front of everyone and that’s kind of concerning because I don’t want us two to be considered a tight alliance.”  After Chrissy told him he was her number one, Ben’s interview continued:  “Now that we’ve hit the merge, everybody is starting from scratch and you got to anticipate.  There is no team now; it’s about me and my family.  So, moving forward, there is not going to be all this camaraderie.  It’s going to be blindsides, lies and I’m sure someone is going to cry.”

Ben:  “Right now, I am listening to everyone and I can go one way with the old Heroes and old Hustlers or I can see if we can get that Yawa Five working.  The question is:  Do I trust Cole?  He’s selfish and I don’t think Cole respects anyone here.  He just respects himself.  You need help to get to the end, period but right now, I need someone that I can trust.”

Ben:  “Cole came up and apologized to me and I did my little: “Oh, no, bud, we’re good.”  He’s offended me the whole time I’ve been at camp with him.  But separating away from the old Yawa tribe and voting Cole could backfire on me later.  I got to play tactically and not emotionally so, tactically speaking, if I have to work with Cole to get further in the game then I will.”

Ben:  “Chrissy, she trusts me so tonight, am I going to have to break that with Chrissy and vote her out or break away from the Yawa Five and get a Healer out?  I’m sitting in the middle and I having to choose a side is the worst thing you can do in a million dollar game.  One thing is for certain:  Tonight, is going to be battle lines drawn, alliances aligned.  You know, war is not a pretty thing and it’s not going to be pretty tonight either because we are going to war tonight.”

Like Mike, our other Journey Player suddenly became a very tactical player but did he make the right decision?  Chrissy is a much more dangerous player than Mike so I think Ben would have been better served staying with Doc.  In the Yawa Five, Ben would have been in the center of the alliance with Mike and Lauren but now he’s just a passenger in Chrissy’s bus ride to the end.  She’ll even be the one ringing the bell to show him out when his stop comes.  He’ll have proven to everyone that there is life after the Military but not one that includes being Sole Survivor. 

purple

The Gamers

coleCole

Episode 2 – “Jessica is super cute; I could see myself with her.”

“Joe brought me in on the fact that there’s a clue in the back of the woods that I haven’t seen. I can’t believe it! I am beside myself like this is the greatest day so far and this is why I am here to play Survivor. It’s to find the idol and have the power, but I am kind of suspicious that the idol is on the raft, it’s just been out fishing all day, so I am like, dude, I need to see this clue…..Dude, through wilderness therapy and rock climbing, it’s just second nature for me to help people and help them accomplish their goals and that skill set is giving me power in this game. Since Joe would have probably never found that by himself, he probably sees me as a really good resource now.”

Episode 3 – “Jessica keeps showing me more of herself and I like it. She’s my dream girl so I want to share some information with her.”

“Joe complains a lot around camp so he’s already rubbed some people the wrong way. And then, on top of that, Joe has the idol. And, the more I thought about Joe having the idol, the more I realize that Joe has all the power, and I don’t like that at all….The idol is unpredictable especially in an unpredictable players hands and it has a lot of power and I don’t want that power being thrown around without my say in it.”

Episode 4- Jessica just gave me a huge piece of knowledge and knowledge is power in Survivor. When I shared with Jessica that Joe had an idol, instantly her next move was to give me a hug and a kiss on the cheek, and say I trust you now, Cole. So, I plan to use that method with other people.”

“In my head, I am instantly just like, crap crap crap…Jessica is going to look at me and think: Cole, you betrayed me.”

Episode 6 – “I’m not getting enough food at all and it’s stupid. I’m not going to be strong enough at any challenge to guarantee that we will come away winning.  I really need a bigger serving because without me there wouldn’t be any victory for the Yawa tribe.”

Episode 7 – Cole: “I feel really good with my five in Yawa: We trust each other explicitly now because we’ve been through some hard things together.  Ben, he’s a good guy, and Lauren, I think she’s going to stick with us.  Me, Mike and Jessica, we were originally three Healers so we still have that bond carrying over from the last tribe.  So, if this group just stays together we can accomplish so much and I don’t think anyone else is going to have that same unity.”

Seeing Lauren spit when Cole told the group they will be stronger than the other group gave us a hint of how things would work out for the Healers.

Cole:  “I usually eat, on a regular day, 8000 calories so, just before the merge, I was in survival mode:  I just wanted food.  But, now, after almost three weeks of starving, we have a steakhouse…If Survivor is a mountain, I feel like I’m above halfway and that’s how you conquer mountains: one step at a time.”

Cole:  “The goal was to get to the merge and now, the first step into camp; it feels like we were given new life, a chance to start over.  We have hammers now, multiple machetes; we even have these massive nails so that we can build a great shelter.  At this point in the game, all bets are off; people are going to be out for themselves so the thought crossed my mind that I should be looking for a clue or some type of advantage.”  That advantage was right at his feet in the bunch of nails he was using to build the roof.  He added:  “I couldn’t find anything but I feel I need to keep actively looking just because people are going to be with other people now, talking a lot, plotting and strategizing, trying to build new alliances.”

Cole heard from Mike that he was a target:  “To have my name on the chopping block, I’m experiencing that Survivor paranoia but just like in rock climbing when your gear pulls and doesn’t hold, you’re all the way at the top and now you’re going to be on the bottom and my alliances are my gear.  I just pray that this is going to keep my life in Survivor going.”

Cole:  “I’m very worried; my name has been tossed around bug time.  There’s a solid chance I’m going home tonight.  Apparently, I have rubbed Ben the wrong way with my eating habits so, trying to find a way out and see what I can do.”

Yes, Cole’s role in this story is to be a gamer– a tactician– just not a very smart one!  I think it was appropriate that the clue was placed in the bunch of nails because Cole is dumb as nails!  He has absolutely no chance of winning this game but he will keep coming up with dumb ideas that he thinks will get him further in the game.

 ashleyAshley 

Episode 1 – “The qualities of being a hero are going to help in the game of Survivor because the whole idea of being a hero is that you are putting others ahead of yourself which makes for a really strong tribe. But, game on, the hero cape falls off and automatically you are thinking alliances, conversations need to happen. So, it will definitely start to get interesting.”

“Alan is starting to lose his mind. He had JP strip to check his pants for an idol. So, my mind is literally blown right now. His paranoia is like so bad; I mean, where is this coming from right now? ‘Cause I trusted him and I thought he trusted me, but it’s snap, just like that, trust is out the window. Moving forward with him seems like it could be a liability down the road.”

“Alan created a spectacle out of nothing… In less than 12 hours, everything went from nice, we’re solid 4 to there really is no trust.”

Episode  2 – “The whole spectacle that Alan created tonight at Tribal Council sort of shows how off the hinges he really is. I’m not going to sit back and tell my whole tribe that I am in a power duo with JP, and we are hiding idols. I think he went from a really safe place with the core 4 and now, he’s put a huge target on his back.”

Episode 3 – “JP is getting dreamier and dreamier and I’m pissed because I cannot spend any time with him. I’m ready for Alan to go.”

Episode 4 – “If there was one person out of all 3 tribes that I did not want on my new tribe that would have been Alan.  He’s proven to be this wild card. You know he’ll just call you out and throw you under the bus and he’s already done it to me and so, I was really nervous…Luckily, I think Alan is as nervous as I am. Even though I don’t trust him, I do trust that he doesn’t want to go home.”

“Joe wants to talk about who we are getting rid of, and of course, it’s my name that comes up….This is total bullcrap, I don’t think I am the weakest by any means. I don’t know what Joe’s plan is because he has to know the more he pisses people off, people are going to want to get rid of him.”

Episode 5- At Tribal Council, when Joe decided to play the idol for himself, my entire face just dropped. Everything in my whole world just stopped. I wouldn’t say that I was like 100% team Alan, but he was the one hero on my tribe…Joe made himself a target on purpose, so he tricked us all! It was a scary one.He’s getting crazier and crazier. But, right now, it’s 2 vs. 2, so who knows what’s going to happen?

Episode 6 – “If there is an immunity challenge here shortly with this tribe, I am a little bit nervous.  There is only four of us: two Yellows, Joe and Desi, and then me and Devon who are pretty much like this.  We’re kind of an unbreakable alliance.  In the case of a Tribal Council, it’s looking like it would be two versus two so the plan would be to just get Desi to flip on Joe.”

Episode 7 – Ashley:  “Things have to get better.  Right now we are the broken tribe; it’s two versus two, Devon and I versus Joe and Desi but, on top of all that, physically, we have nothing left.  Our stomachs are empty, you can feel that.  We are out of all food; we have no rice left, we have no chicken left, no fruits, no vegetables.  We have nothing left except a tiny bit of sugar.  Survivor is no joke; I mean we are not joking when we say that, if we do not get food today, we might die.”

Even if she didn’t give us an interview after the merger, I think things definitely got better for Ashley. In fact, I think she’s the biggest winner of the evening:  She isn’t on anyone’s radar yet she knows she can compete with the best of them.  Also, Chrissy and Ryan will need a third vote to get rid of all the jury threats on their alliance and Ashley seems like the obvious choice.  What was best for her is that no one mentioned her being part of a power couple with JP.  She needs to keep away from the fireman and even show Chrissy that she is ready to vote him out.  That alone would prove her loyalty and could be her ticket to the Final Three.  Even if she’s had a modest role up to now, there is a solid case to make for Ashley’s chances of winning the game.  After all, Survivor has proven time and again that they don’t know how to present a female winner who plays a quiet game.

joeJoe

Episode 1 – “I wanted to be in a tribe that I could easily manipulate. When you are a healer, you have a big heart and when you have a big heart, you don’t really think with your mind– you think with your heart. I am a healer because my main job is rehabilitation. But, I’m not a probation officer when I am out here. I came out here to win and I am probably more strategic then everyone all together. So, they are just all my victims at this point.”

“Mike is definitely a player and I am a tad bit concerned that he’s running around and trying to find the idol. So, I think he went and looked for the idol and by now he’s probably got more than one.  I have a great lie detector and I am thinking Mike is not a trustworthy guy.”

(It’s interesting that now, with the merger, Joe and Mike meet again and they both have idols!)

Episode 2 – “I’m liking Mike so much better, but he’s still public enemy number 1.  My accusations have backfired a bit ’cause I’m not able to spend as much time looking for the idol as I would like. I still can find some time.”

“Showing Cole the clue was, like, a major risk, but I needed help. Like, I don’t, honestly think I would have figured it out on my own…..in my mind, if anything pops out of that ground, I am grabbing it! I want it and I ‘m going to find it today…..”Got it!” …I have the idol, I feel good! I feel good! Now I know no one else has it, but I’m concerned because the fact that Cole knows I have the idol could backfire. It’s all about power and knowledge and he has too much knowledge. I don’t think he’s going to use it against me but at the same time, if he does, I might have to put a target on his back.”

Episode 3 – “I’m feeling good! We’ve won every challenge. We are a dominant tribe. Life at camp is great. Everyone is still on the same page with Mike being the number one voted out because I got everyone believing that Mike has the idol. So, I’m cool and collected right now– things really couldn’t go better at this point. The only thing is Cole knows I have the idol so I just, I mean, that is a concern of mine. I don’t think Cole has told anybody, but I am definitely concerned about his relationship with Jessica. They’ve been spending a lot of time together fishing and things like that. You know Cole is like a lovebird and that lovebird disease is dangerous. It’s worse than the flu…”

Episode 4- “Thanks to the swap, it’s a whole new game. When I was with the Healers we won every challenge, so I had no worries. But, now, I am not as confident. I do have an idol but I am not taking any chances. Devon’s a swing vote so I want him on my side.”

“I may be a healer but I am also a strategic player, so I said: ‘Listen, Devon, the two heroes, they want to vote you out, but, I made it up, and I don’t care. You know this is a game of being deceitful so I am gonna do what I have to do…’”

“Devon, he could be playing with me. I think he has this emotional connection with Ashley. He’s a surfer dude and Ashley is all about the water so, I don’t feel confident….I’m gonna have to play the idol, but if they vote out Desi, then I just wasted an idol and I am next, so?  So, if I am gonna get one of them out, I have to make sure that they vote for me.”

“I am kind of nervous, I wanted to create some chaos, but now it’s backfired and Desi is afraid it’s her. I was just like, crap!”

Episode 5 – “I completely blindsided this entire tribe with the idol. I just wanted them to throw the votes to me so I had to play the nervous route. I didn’t want anyone thinking I was overconfident. You know, I had the idol, I put my hands up, my head down– it was all an act. I had the idol, I’m not going home.”

Episode 6 – “I’m not stupid; I know Devon is watching me because I am dangerous.  I am always searching for idols and my game is having power, control and to manipulate.  I’ve been trying to find a clue and get some time alone to find it.  It took four days to find it but I finally found the clue and it’s very similar to the Healers’ camp.  I knew it!  I didn’t give Devon any reaction but I definitely want to get rid of the clue later.  Now, no one is going to know that I have it.  That’s what I wanted initially when I found the first one with Cole, but this time, no one is going to know that I have an idol and that, right there, is true power.  I will be getting that idol tonight… This is not a vacation for me; it’s work.  Finding another idol means moving further in the game and the further I get the closer I get to that million and that I can provide that much more for my children.  I tell my kids all the time: Things don’t come easy.  You have to put in the work.  My kids are my motivation and everything I do is for them.  If I had to dig a hole the length of ten feet then I was going to do it.  This is why you play Survivor.  I’ve been at two camps and this is the second idol I’ve found.  If I move on to the merge, guess what?  I’m going to find the third idol.”

Episode 7 – Joe:  “It was music to my ears when Jeff said, ‘Drop your buffs’.  I think I’m in a good spot; I have more numbers with the Healers.  The Healers are five; there only four Heroes and three Hustlers.  In addition to that, no one knows about the immunity idol that I have, so I mean, right now, I’m excited.”

Joe:  “I’m aware that I may be a target.  I’m a strong player when it comes to strategy and I found the idol and people are terrified from that.  Ben is playing both sides.  My Healer tribe has been compromised.  They’re definitely sipping on Ben’s juice right now but if I’m feeling the heat. I have an idol and if I use it for myself or I use it for someone else at the last minute, I’ll make my final decision.”

Joe has to be the season’s most polarizing character:  Most probably hate him but there must be quite a few who have warmed up to his game style.  Under rough edges, there is a strong tactician and I believe his spat with Mike during this latest Tribal Council was as programmed as was his act to get Ashley, Alan and Devon to vote against him.  He wasted his idol but having played all in to get the votes, he had to follow through.  Chrissy, coming up with Plan B, proved to be just a step ahead of him.  Unfortunately for Joe’s chances of winning the game, this vote increased Chrissy’s lead over him.  It seems unlikely that he will catch up and now he will be at the top of the actuary’s hit list.

ryanRyan

Episode 1 – “Just looking at our group, I hope they are strong and macho… Hopefully, they know how to build a shelter, they know how to crack a coconut… I’m just going to defer to them. I am 125 pounds soaking wet. I don’t drink and I don’t have a girlfriend….Come on, who wants to align with me?”

“I found an advantage on the boat. Nobody knows about it. It’s in my pants, I’m dying to know what it is. For the first time, someone’s dying to get in my pants. I kinda just wait for the perfect moment to get away. I’m just going to the jungle by myself, I’m super excited! I’ve never had a secret advantage my entire life, I’m a hustler. Hustlers don’t get advantages, and the hustler got an advantage!”

“These first impressions are crucial and I really like having Devon in this group because he’s different than me… He seems like he is someone who is looking for someone that is more strategic…more strategically sound. So, I am waiting for the perfect moment when everybody’s cleared out of camp, so I can build a connection.

“I found this super immunity idol. It’s only good for the first tribal, so I now have to give it to a member of that losing tribe. I can give this to someone that is in the minority and save them tonight and they could take out someone who may be a threat and maybe change the game.”

Episode 2 – “I feel good about the Hustler tribe. We’re owning the Hustler mantra. I bust my ass, and I feel I’m in a good spot socially….Devon and I are really tight, I’m connected with everyone except Simone, who is weird.”

“Chrissy doesn’t know that I gave her the idol. Maybe it saved her and she used it, but I hope she sticks around so I can use that connection down the road.”

“Initially, I kind of wanted Simone out, but, it’s a lot of uncertainty with Patrick. It’s like you got a newborn baby….You want to really like it and take care of it, but it’s really, really annoying ’cause you gotta watch it every single second. He’s really good around camp and he’s great in challenges as well, but he’s unpredictable, and predictability is one of the best things I can have in an alliance. That’s why I like Devon so much– he’s loyal. But, it’s not like I am even dragging along a lemming– it’s Simone. She scares me, she’s really smart. I want to be aligned with predictable people who are really loyal and want to listen to me. And, tonight is about who can we trust more moving forward and who is going to be the most loyal. And, it’s really scary but you put your trust in people in this game but in a 6-person tribe there is no place to hide.”

Episode 3 – Ryan had 4 confessionals, the first about the clothes Simone left behind, the second compared Lauren and Ali, and the third was about Pat looking for idols in front of everyone.  The interesting one was the last:

“Devon and I, we are in position where we can kind of dictate the vote. The options now are vote off Lauren or vote off Pat. This is obviously a big decision and I don’t exactly know what to do yet.”

Episode 4 – The swap brings such anxiety, but I was very lucky that Chrissy swapped onto my tribe because I awarded her the super immunity idol that I found on the boat on day one and I ensured her that she would not be the one going home that night, so I have an in!”

Episode 5 –  “I lost the challenge but I have to stick to my great social game. Everyone has failure; you just don’t want it to be getting voted out.”

“I’m in the middle….The good news is that I am in a position where they all want to work with me. I need to tread lightly not to mess it up.

“I’m the swing vote position. Someone will hate him when it’s over, but I have to do what’s best to advance my game.

Episode 6 – “So Ali just rails into me and it was a really bad look for her… (The cameras had just given us a look into Ryan’s angry eyes and that was a really bad look for him) I was hoping I could still work with Ali at this point but unfortunately, Ali is infuriated with me because I didn’t tell her and it stinks because I can’t have enemies in this game so she may have to go.”

“JP is a tank in these challenges.  I guess being a firefighter he has that strength to him.  He is very athletic and the merge is going to happen very soon and the physical aspect of the game is a big aspect and that raises the threat level of JP and he is also someone that is tough to read because he doesn’t talk much strategy at all.  JP likes to be talking about chicks and bars which is something I don’t know anything about.  He really has no clues what’s going on in this game.  JP doesn’t understand that this is a social game and it’s amazing that he’s still here. So, if we go to Tribal Council, maybe taking out a big physical threat right before the merge could be priority number one.”

“Ali is the obvious next target but JP is a huge physical threat.  He has literally carried us…he’s carried ME through a challenge, literally. Taking a guy like him into the merge– that’s dangerous.  In order to vote out JP, I need to make up with Ali.  I mean she trusted me a lot and I did backstab her.  I need her to get rid of JP, for this vote.”

“JP and Ali are polar opposites yet concurrently, they both want to work with me and Chrissy.  I don’t know why people want to work with me; I think I’m a freaking weasel but the closer you are to somebody they can’t really see you going behind their back and backstabbing them.”

Episode 7 – Ryan:  “I needed this merge so badly:  My tribe was a complete disaster.  There was only three of us left.  Making the merge– that’s what you dream of.  This is the playoffs now.”

Ryan:  “I have been waiting to talk with Devon since we had swapped.  It’s like two old friends coming together.”  Ryan mentioned being tight with JP to Devon but we didn’t hear him mentioning Chrissy’s name.  Still, he added:  “A Heroes-Hustlers alliance makes sense for us because unfortunately, there are only three Hustlers left: Me, Lauren and Devon.  But I know I’m tight with two Heroes:  JP and Chrissy.  It would be a perfect alliance.  I mean the merge vote is like the cream of the crop of Survivor:  This decides who is going to dictate the rest of the game.  A Hustler doesn’t wait; a Hustler goes and makes alliances.”

Ryan:  “Going into a merge vote, it is of great importance to take out a threat and there are so many threats out there.  So, now is the time for this Hustler and Hero alliance to come together and try to take out the Healer tribe.”

The “freaking weasel” is playing a solid game but he never seems to get his way!  First, he wanted to get rid of Lauren but Devon convinced him to vote out Pat instead. Later, he wanted to eliminate JP but Chrissy convinced him to vote out Ali.  Neither were bad moves for Ryan but he’s the one that wound up with the victim’s blood on his hands.  Those aren’t big deals yet since Pat and Ali aren’t on the jury but, to get to the end, Chrissy will probably convince Ryan to betray a few more of his friends.

chrissy

Chrissy

Episode 1- Chrissie was very interesting because she had the FIRST confessional of the show and the LAST confessional of the premiere. “I definitely feel I belong on the Heroes tribe. I had a career, I had my kids, then I came back and got an awesome career. But, I need to really downplay that because I don’t want people to think she already makes a lot of money so we don’t want her to win a lot of money.”

“I was getting ready for tribal and looked in my bag. I see a package. I have no idea what it is. (She pulls out the idol) OMG!  Someone has secretly chosen you to have immense power early in the game. OMG! This is an immunity super idol. This idol can be played after the votes have been read but it can only be used at tonight’s Tribal Council. Wow! How lucky did I get?  I got the super immunity idol and it feels incredible. I think the decision of what I do with the super idol is extremely important tonight, especially since half the tribe is potentially on the chopping block.  Katrina, me, Ashley, Alan, we don’t know. Clearly, if it’s me on the block, I’m using it to save myself. I just want to see what plays out and let the discussion at Tribal Council dictate what happens and for whom.”

Episode 2 – Chrissy got the first confessional of the show, again. “Tribal Council was heated and that is great for me.  I started out on the bottom, but all the little cracks came out…I didn’t use the super idol, but I’m happy because now I can use it as a decoy down the road if I’m ever on the chopping block.  It has no power but it still has power.”

“I needed to get through that first Tribal, and I got through it and now I really do believe that I can go far in this game. I just need to figure out who I can go with because I do believe you need a strong partner to get to the end of the game with. So, what I do as an actuary is analyze data and figure out what is my next best move, given everything that I know. And, here’s what I know. JP can be helpful in challenges but truthfully, he’s not smart.  Ashley is a very good player but I don’t entirely trust Ashley. I am not convinced there is not a power couple.  Then, after Alan had his blow up, I’m concerned about having a twosome with Alan….At this point, the data shows that Ben is a better option for me. Ben has a lot of social charm and I can think several steps ahead strategically so together we complement each other very well.”

Episode 4 – For the third time of the season, Chrissy had the first confessional of the show:  “It’s day 9 and we were all starting to get a little bit comfortable. But, when Jeff says drop your buffs, all of that gets erased, and it’s a brand new game.”

“Ryan, he blew my mind, he totally gave me the super idol and seriously made me feel so loved. I thought what was it that he looked over at me on that ship and thought I looked like a kind person he wanted to play this game with? Maybe he thought that I looked like his mother and he wanted to play the game with his mother. I don’t know?  I am absolutely thrilled, I feel very, very secure because now I have one more person that can help me get further in this game.”

Episode 5 – “I do not feel safe going into tribal, I am having a hard time trusting anyone but I think that I am going to have to go there in order to move forward in this game…You always are nervous in this game and I feel if I am gonna play, I want to play big.

“I wanted to work with Roark going forward but I can’t believe a word she says. And, I wish that I could stop and say to her, you are not the smartest person here, but I don’t want to ruin my game. So, my plan is to create this imaginary girls alliance. If there is a girls’ alliance then clearly I would not be the one voted out and JP might think that he was the next to go.”

Episode 6 – Once more Chrissy has the opening interview: “Tribal Council went exactly as planned.  Ryan did follow through in his word which is amazing.  It showed me that Ryan thinks he can get further in this game with me than with Ali.”

“Ali is telling me that she is very loyal and, going forward, she really wants to work together and we get rid of JP.  I think that JP is a threat but, truthfully, Ali voted for me last Tribal Council so I don’t know if I can even trust Ali moving forward.  The one person I am most closely aligned with is Ryan, and together, we need to make the decision on which of the two goes home tonight.”

Episode 7 – Chrissy once more with the night’s first interview: “I have been playing this game 24 hours a day and I think I am dominating the social game on this tribe.  Both guys are closer with me than they are with each other so that leaves me in a very nice position on this tribe, potentially the power position, and I think that where I am right now is setting me up for a nice future run.”

Chrissy, after hearing Joe say he ordered two steaks and three desserts:  “This is the first time that I have a chance to meet Joe and, my goodness, I am very glad that I have spent all this time so far without Joe.  He’s really loud and totally obnoxious.  So, Joe tells us there was an idol that was played.  The question is: Does Joe have a second idol that he dug up at Levu?”

Chrissy:  “Right now, the discussion is whether to send home Joe or Cole.  The tricky part is we don’t know if either of them has an idol.”  We heard Chrissy push for Plan B which quickly became Jessica.  Chrissy’s interview resumed: “I would be agreeable to voting Jessica out because we think Joe might have an idol or give an idol to Cole.  I think it’s unlikely that Jessica has a Hidden Immunity Idol plus Jessica and Cole have gotten very tight and we want to split them up.  I’ve been applying for this show for sixteen years so I’m a student of this game enough to know that Tribal is live and people do change their votes.  I just hope that I’m on the right side of it tonight.”

Chrissy has been the editors’ choice to get most of the episodes started this season. This editing choice really makes this game feel like Chrissy’s.  She has dominated every Tribal Council she’s attended, eliminating “Ms. Smarty Pants” Roarke and a great social player like Ali along the way while gaining the majority at the merger.  Since she’s often been in a position of self defense, she can’t be accused of being a cold-blooded killer but that’s exactly what she is.  In fact, she reminds me a lot of Tina in Season 2, the one that was nicknamed Benedict Tina because she kept making friends with the people she was about to vote out just to avoid getting their votes on the way out.  It seems that in the next episode, Chrissy will be doing everything she can to avoid seeing an idol falling in the wrong hands, just like Tina avoided getting votes which were just as important as idols back then.  

I was impressed with Chrissy’s ability to keep her tight alliance with Ben a secret from Ryan while keeping her alliance with Ryan a secret to everyone else.  That was genius. Also, the way she presented her plan to the group could have been perceived the same way Michaela’s play with rocks had been with the other Millennials. The difference is that Chrissy explained her plan but let someone else bring up Jessica’s name. That made it a collegiate decision instead of one person’s plan but don’t let that fool you: There is one person in charge and one person alone.

While Ashley, Devon and Ryan’s chance of winning cannot be ignored, I feel that Chrissy will be this season’s Sole Survivor.  

boat2

Become a patron of RHAP