Survivor Kaoh Rong

Episode 10 – Incongruence

Previously on Survivor:

After a blindside, Jason, Scot and Tai were on the bottom and wreaking havoc around camp.

Tai solo: “Jason and Scot are so extreme.  The evil side of me rarely come out but it does.”

Julia saw their villainous antics as the perfect opportunity to get further in the game…

Julia: “Getting rid of you guys would be a dumb move on my part.”

…but everyone noticed that Julia was playing both sides.

Joe talking to Debbie, Aubry and Cydney: “I think she’s lost to the dark side.”

Aubry’s thoughts: “Julia wants to ride the middle to the end.”

Facing Tribal Council, Debbie exposed the majority’s plan in front of Julia…

Debbie talking to the women: “We split the vote between Tai and Scot.”

Aubry solo: “Debbie completely trusts Julia.  That really scares me.”

…and it put a target on Debbie’s back.

Aubry to Cydney: “Do I have to cut Debbie loose?”  In response, Cydney said: “I’m not against it.”

At Tribal Council, Jason, Scot and Tai showed off their idols to elicit fear…

Jason, standing up: “I’m giving my idol to Tai.”

…and were prepared to play the super-idol which gave the majority more reason to vote out one of their own.

Wasn’t this a neat way to tie up everything in favor of Aubry and Cydney’s decision?  Jeff didn’t bother mentioning that voting for Scot would have flushed the idol.  No, according to our story teller, the two women were given another good reason to eliminate Debbie.   With Joe commenting about Julia being lost to the dark side, the recap gave a role to everyone left in the game except Michele.  She wasn’t even in the picture when Jeff said that everyone noticed Julia’s tactic.  The image shown is Aubry and Cydney fighting against the three guys and they can’t even count on their own allies. 

This episode would show that they didn’t need any of them to find a crack in the guys’ alliance:     

Incongruence

Night 24

Scot’s post-game interview: “Tribal was exciting!  The boys were happy because none of us went home, none of us used their idols so we think Tribal went very well.”

We saw Tai handing back the idol to Jason who gave him a hug to thank him.

Jason’s comments: “Psy-ops! Psychological operations!  It worked and all we did was hide a machete and an ax and put a fire out and they couldn’t handle it. We caused chaos; it fractured them and it made them get rid of their own.  We may not have gotten the person home that we wanted but all three of us stayed, we got Julia on our side and we still have the super-idol.  That’s a win in my book!”

Jason could have been telling us that it will be the only win he’ll get out of Tribal Council.  I don’t see another vote going in his favor.  Instead of rejoicing, maybe the two big guys should have worried about the women’s ability to organize a vote without revealing their plan.  It would have been useful at the next Tribal Council! 

Day 25

Mark was doing its morning stretch while Tai was trying to get the boys to play nice in camp.

Tai solo: “I would love to bring camp life back together.  It’s all about mending relationships again.  I think we need to say, you know: ‘Olive branch is there.’  You got to start somewhere.”

Scot came up with the idea to talk to Aubry.

Hearing Scot’s desire to talk to Aubry told me that the former Brains tribe member would be on the chopping block before the end of the evening but I felt confident that I wouldn’t lose another candidate.

Scot’s interview: “I came into this game not wanting to be the Russell Hantz, kicking over the rice and pouring water on the fire like I did.  I didn’t want to be that guy but I had to make a point that we were the providers and that they weren’t going to eat and succeed without us.  Now we’re being the bigger people; we’re showing our maturity. We’re showing that we can come back in and be like nothing happened.  Hopefully, Cydney continues to show everybody who she really is which is brooding, petty, small.”

In the middle of his interview, we saw Scot taking a stroll with Aubry telling her they like providing and that their real beef was with Cydney who betrayed them.  He added that if Aubry was on board with that, everything would go back to normal.  Aubry said OK, adding that it was a lot to take first thing in the morning.

Aubry’s thoughts: “Scot was telling me that camp life will be normal if he gets what he wants.  It was kind of a soft controlling move:  It was him telling me what he wants and what I will get in return but it was served up with a birthday cake that was very sugary to make it seem a little less domineering.  There is not a shot in hell that I am going to work with him, but I’m willing to let them think I’ll play along with it and when it comes time to get out Scot, I’m ready to fight but it’s a big, scary move.”

The camera showed us just how domineering Scot could be! 

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He’s not Russell Hantz; he’s Double-Hantz! When Scot said he wasn’t demanding anything from her, Aubry had a cute reaction which matched the words we heard in her interview.

The 3-in-1 Immunity Challenge

What’s up with all the pots during these challenges?  Did production know that this episode would air on 4/20: Pot day?!  Next time an episode airs on April 20, I suggest they do the same challenges while flying a kite 8 miles high!  Cool, mon!

I have to admit, offering three separate rewards was a nice idea but there weren’t enough players to split it effectively.  I think it would have been better to let them all compete and the last one standing would get the first pick of the three prizes, the runner-up gets second pick, and the third place finisher gets the remaining prize.

Julia beat Joe for the letters from home, but did she really have to fight for them?

Michele beat Scot and Jason for the giant burger and beer.

Tai beat Cydney and Aubry for the game advantage.

The valuable comments during the challenge came first from Jeff:

  • Tai and Cydney looking very good. Aubry wavering again.

And later from Aubry:

  • “Jeff, I just want to prove it to myself. This is about proving myself that this is a hard-ass game and I can do it.”

The question becomes:  Did she prove it?  Her detractors will say that she lost to Tai while the others will say she proved she was a hard-ass player.  Even if we heard that it had only been 10 minutes, the first words we heard from the other players were: “Nice job, Aubry”.  The players on the bench are often used to voice the viewers’ thoughts. Even more importantly, Jeff called it a big showdown.  I think Aubry impressed her fellow competitors so that’s really what matters most.

Scot had another post-game interview (Is this ESPN or SeeBS?):  “So Tai wins the advantage.  That’s the best thing that could have happened for our little alliance but most importantly, Cydney didn’t win the advantage, Cydney didn’t eat and Cydney goes home.”

If the most important thing was to prevent Cydney from getting the advantage, one has to wonder about Scot and Jason’s decision to go for the food reward.   On the other hand, we don’t have to worry about Scot anymore.

Day 25

Michele’s interview:  “It felt so good to beat Scot and Jason because I know they wanted that burger more than anything.  It’s a little nerve-wracking that Tai won an advantage because everybody knows he has an idol and it’s scary.”

We had just heard Scot say he was perfectly happy with the result of the challenge, contradicting Michele’s comment but that’s a minor detail.  It could however have been used to show that Michele’s head wasn’t in the game when she made her choice.   Food was more important to her than getting an advantage in a game.  Granted, they are often “bad advantages” but the intent is that the players should look for the reward with the most long-term benefit as Jeff said and Michele didn’t explain why she didn’t go for it.  What we have to see is that this interview narrated the events and had very little importance because the guys didn’t even talk about losing the burger.  Michele’s facial expression when she talked about Tai’s idol indicated that she didn’t really know how to get around that idol.  

That's like solving a differential equation! That’s like solving a differential equation![/caption]

She would eventually rely on Julia’s failed plan and wouldn’t even be told that someone was working on another way around it.

Tai’s explanations: “The note say: Go to tree mail.  My idol right now is kind of out in the open (A lot like that blue chameleon on a brown surface!) it would be nice to have an advantage that would be hidden and no one would know I have it.  It’s like everything:  The more people know, the less power it has…An extra vote? That is a lot of power and I can play it anytime until up to five people left.  I found an idol and I have an extra vote and I’m scared of what’s the right thing to do.  It’s a rich man’s problem but I have to trust myself otherwise I might go home with both of them in my pocket.”

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The advantage was the familiar extra vote, the same advantage that brought Dan down.  Tai should realize that it doesn’t matter that the others know the specifics; just knowing he has an advantage reduces its effectiveness.  I don’t think Tai is used to rich men’s problems.  One thing that surprised me was that we didn’t hear anyone asking Tai about the nature of the advantage.  Scot and Jason were certainly in a position to expect an honest answer, so I think they must have been told.      

Back in the shelter, Julia was enjoying her love letters: “I have gone on a roller coaster throughout this game from figuring out how to get power, to getting power to losing power when I went to Brawn beach.  Coming back and having loved ones’ letters kind of gives you that boost to keep going because that’s who you are playing for… It was a moment for me to step back and realize that I am here to play and the goal is to win and to do that, I got to make good moves.”

I winced when I heard that one of her family members used the word fierce. 

Julia then went for a walk with Michele and Aubry.  She said the guys made a dumb move in showing their idols.

Julia’s confessional continued: “Tai is definitely a threat at this point so what I want to do is flush out these idols but also stay loyal to my alliance with Jason and Scot.”

Julia’s plan was for the women to vote Tai which would either eliminate him or he’d use his idol and Cydney would go out.  Michele was all for it.

Michele’s interview:  “The three guys have two idols.  That is a huge problem and we got to flush out the idols or we got to get rid of the guys, one or the other.”

Note that this interview was recorded at the same time as the part we heard right after returning to camp from the reward challenge.  If her confessional hadn’t been divided into two segments, if this second part had been heard at the same time as the original then Michele would have looked more like a player.  It would have given her a bigger role in the story of targeting the guys but placed here AFTER Julia exposed the plan, it merely becomes narration. 

Aubry appeared to like the idea but we heard her true feelings: “Julia wants to throw all the votes at Tai at the next Tribal and make sure the idol goes.  Julia is duplicitous but at the same time she’s playing a good game.  I can respect that but I don’t know that I want her next to me.  She’s super-shady and people like Michele don’t see through it.  I think Julia is going to wait until the numbers are perfect and she can take out the girls.  If I have to turn on her, I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty.”

Well, that remark must have stung a few of Michele’s supporters!  As we have seen, Julia’s plan is exactly as outlined by Aubry.  The teenager wants to go to the end with the two big guys leaving no place for Michele who doesn’t see it and still wants to be close to Julia.  From this interview, we can also infer that Aubry doesn’t respect Michele’s game.  I suspect her sentiment is shared by the others. 

Day 27

While everyone was sleeping, Aubry was at the water well with Tai, talking about the craziness of the game.

Before we get into it, I want to say that I was truly impressed with Aubry’s social game in this segment.  After seeing right through Julia, she would hit the perfect pitch with Tai.

Aubry first confessed that she cried at night thinking she wasn’t built for this game.  Tai concurred, adding that he thought everyone was playing a better game.

Tai’s interview: “Out here, I really struggle with people taking advantage of other people: all the lying, all the cheating.  I keep telling myself it’s a game but it’s really difficult for me to do that.”

Aubry, talking to Tai, said:  “It’s the heart and the brain constantly fighting all day long in this game and sometimes it’s hard to know when to trust the brain and when to trust the heart and when to stop thinking.”

Tai’s interview continued: “My heart say I like that girl Aubry a lot.  Out here, most people I don’t have much in common with but she has a certain energy that I really like.”

Walking back to camp, Aubry confided this to Tai: “We are going to have to talk at some point because certain girls want to push the vote to try to get idols out.  I want to work with you and I want to show you that you can trust me, that I have your back on this.”

Aubry’s comments: “I went out on a limb talking to Tai but I wanted Tai to know that Julia is gunning for him and that I am an alternative to the way Jason and Scot and Julia are playing this game.”

Tai’s conclusion: “I am excited that Aubry is on my side.  I think she is a good contribution to the alliance.  Together, we can be a great partnership.  I think Scot and Jason are going to like it.  If that’s the case, everything is beautiful.”

This shows just how far on a limb Aubry had to go because Tai was going to reveal this exchange to the big guys but in order to establish a working alliance, she said all the right things.  She didn’t ask anything from Tai, just offered her services and showed that she could be an asset.   Their next discussion will be even more productive.

While we heard Tai and Aubry’s discussion in voice over, the camera showed us an interesting image:  Julia opening a coconut with the machete. 

The machete walked back into camp!

The machete walked back into camp!

So, either this image was taken before the guys hid the tools and it was shown out of sequence or the guys gave them back as part of their peace offer.  If it’s the former then it’s simply sloppy editing but if the machete and ax are back in camp, it’s interesting to note that production didn’t show the guys returning them.  That would have redeemed them a bit but they weren’t even given that much consideration.  I tried to spot the machete and ax in camp with a time reference (in the same shot as Jason wearing the necklace for example) but I didn’t see any clear evidence.

In the shallow waters, Tai told Scot and Jason what Aubry had told him about the plan to flush idols and that she was a free agent willing to join them.

The two guys didn’t react the way Tai expected because Scot’s first words were: “How about this idea?: At the next Tribal we take Aubry out.”

Tai’s interview explained his troubles: “It seems like I have no say in our alliance and I’m not part of the discussion.  (Right then the camera showed Jason, who was sitting in the middle, turning his back on Tai to talk to Scot, giving us the exact image of what Tai was saying.) I always participate but it seems like they are so forceful.  The two boys are running the show and that’s why I feel like an outsider and I don’t know what to do.”

The Outsider

The Outsider

As Tina told us a long time ago, a good way to spot alliances is to observe the seating arrangements.  Here, the guys showed Tai that they were closer to each other than they were to himEither they had to place Tai in the middle or Jason should have talked facing forward in order to show that he was addressing both equally.  The game is in all these little details.

After exposing his plan to Jason and Tai, Scot told us how much he loved this new plan.  He couldn’t see any reasons for the three guys not to stay truthful with each other so he was sure of making it to the Final Three.  They just needed to make sure Aubry didn’t win immunity.

The Immunity Challenge – More pots!

Julia gave the necklace back without comments.

Sometimes you can tell by the comments if the player will get the necklace back at some key point.  Were Julia’s comments cut out of the episode or did she stay quiet?  There’s no way to know but I’d still bet she was a one hit wonder.

Joe was the first to fall out of the challenge again.  Scot was the next one out and he was followed by Julia and Tai.  The remaining three reached the 45-minute mark.  That’s when Cydney lost her pot, leaving Aubry once more to fight it out against Jason this time.  We had a funny moment:  After seeing Jason spitting, Aubry imitated him, getting a smile from the big guy.  Aubry even gave him a small tribute: “This guy’s been through everything so why would he not get through this?” The two hit the 75-minute mark which impressed our host and Aubry seemed to gain Jason’s respect as well.  She certainly impressed the peanut gallery because we heard their wows when she made a nice recovery.

The effort that Jason needed to win reflects well on Aubry’s performance.  Who is she to fight so valiantly against such a strong guy?  It would fit well in a winner’s edit…and in a hero’s edit if she has to come out of the game for medical reasons.

Jason’s reaction:  “Thankfully, we beat Aubry and we won immunity which lets us play our idol as a super-idol.  So, Scot, Tai and I, no matter what happens, us three are safe and from here on out– we’re unstoppable.”

Day 27 Scrambling

Amidst congratulations, one that stood out was Jason’s:  “She was a hell of an opponent.”

Jason’s follow-up comments: “The Immunity challenge went better than I could ever have dreamed.  We went there knowing that we couldn’t let Aubry win immunity.  Finally Cydney went down and it was between Aubry and I, and I won.  That’s huge!  I have the immunity necklace and we have two hidden immunity idols which combined become the super-idol and what’s great about the super-idol is that we can play it after the vote is read and no one but the three of us knows that.  So Aubry is going home and there’s nothing that she can do.”

While Tai was out looking for seafood, Julia told Jason and Scot that her plan was to get rid of Tai’s idol.

Scot solo: “Julia, our little double agent, is coming over to tell us that the girls are voting for Tai and that’s fine.  We’ll just play our super-idol and save him but what they don’t know is that we’re going after Aubry.  It’s the best strategic move because she is very smart. She is very savvy plus she’s tough and that’s another reason for her to go because she is such a threat in the challenges.”

What a great tribute from a former professional athlete. 

The two guys tried to get Julia off the fence by telling her that they were planning on blindsiding Tai as soon as he doesn’t win immunity, thus offering her the third seat at Final Tribal Council.

Julia’s interview: “I am stoked right now!  The girls and myself are going to vote for Tai and flush his idol and Scot and Jason aren’t too worried about that because at some point they want Tai gone anyway.  They’d rather go to the Final Three with me and that would be awesome because they’ve ruined relationships with almost every single person out here and that’s the kind of person you want to sit with at the end.”

Right then, production took another little stab at Michele by showing her resting her head on Julia’s shoulder just when the college student was telling us she wanted to go with Jason and Scot to the end. 

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That meant sooner or later, Julia would need Michele’s head and the barmaid was offering it to her.  Julia’s words even made her smile appear wicked.  So fierce some will say, but others are still seeing her as a loser.

Aubry was talking to Cydney, saying that they needed to split Jason and Scot.  Cydney was down for it.

It’s interesting that they showed Scot lurking in the jungle right then, seemingly looking in their direction, probably even listening to them because we could hear them talk while the camera was on the former NBA player. 

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It was just a little trick to make us think the girls were going to get caught.

Cydney’s interview: “With all these idols, the guys are just too damn powerful.  We have to find a way to get one of them out.  I think we should try to blindside Scot just because he’s just so confident. It’s ridiculous.  He’s definitely gotten a lot cockier since he found the idol with Jason and I’m like: ‘Simmer down.’  You would not have that without me so just shut up.”

Aubry said they needed to find a crack, adding that she and Tai were like people on “Missed Connections”.  She would talk to Tai.

This was part 2 of our display of social game excellence as demonstrated by Aubry.

Aubry’s interview: “At this point, the guys are in a really strong position but I feel I have some kind of connection with Tai.  I think Tai is someone who wants to be true to himself and Tai’s natural state isn’t with Jason and Scot and I think he’s smart enough to know that he can’t be that incongruent at the end of the day.”

The episode’s crucial moment was prefaced by images of Michele strolling on the beach and Julia suntanning. 

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The implication was clear:  This was the time to play the game but the two girls were completely unaware of the importance of the moment.

Julia, talking to Tai: “They don’t want me to talk to you at all because they want us to vote five at you but I don’t want you to go.  I want to get out Scot.  I know Cydney would be on board, Joe would be on board and I’m freaking on board like nobody’s business.  Cydney thinks they are despicable people.”

Tai said: “But Scot and Jason… I’m a little bit afraid of that duo.”

Aubry then asked: “So, who do you want it to be?  What’s better for you?”

Tai didn’t know so Aubry added: “I’m relying on you. You’re putting yourself out there so I want you to be comfortable.  This is your game. You’re making a big move and I’m telling you that you have three people behind you.  I’m positive.”

This is a display of sublime social skills.  Aubry told Tai what she wanted but then let him decide what would be good for him.  She didn’t impose her views like we’ve so often seen during alliance offers.  It’s also quite important to note that Aubry only brought in the strict minimum of allies.  She left Michele out of the loop because the Beauty couldn’t be trusted around Julia but also because it was important to give Tai a place in the Final Four.   

In the middle of Aubry’s talk, we heard Tai telling the interviewer how he felt: “I’m very torn about this vote.  The big thing is where it’s going to put me at the end.  My heart says I’d like to work with Aubry and my instinct is to trust her but my brain is telling me to stay with the boys because they have pissed off a lot of people.  If the three of us go to the Final Three, maybe I have a good chance of beating them.”

It’s interesting to note that Tai adopted Aubry’s words about the game’s paradigm, the duality of heart and brain being in opposition but needing to be reconciled.  It shows that she read him perfectly.  Tai’s hesitation showed that he didn’t read Jason and Scot’s intention to vote him out as soon as possible.

Aubry’s interview: “This is a huge vote and Tai holds all the keys in this game but I have no idea what he’s gonna do.”

Aubry told Joe that the girls thought it was going to be Tai but that he had to vote for Scot.  He agreed.

Scot told Tai that he’d probably get votes but that he could play the super-idol.  Jason used the opportunity to give Scot his idol.

Tai had the final interview of the evening: “At this point, I truly don’t know which way I am leaning but I’m not here to make good friends. I’m here to win that million dollars.  So, I have to figure what’s best for me and I have to commit to it, because after that, there is no turning back.”

Tribal Council:  A Moment of Pure Pleasure!

Asked about the display of power at the last Tribal Council, Michele said the question was to know who would have the idol in their hands.

Scot agreed that what they did was like trash talking and they would do the same this time.  They weren’t going anywhere.

Jason was happy to say that their psychological warfare worked because it brought down Debbie and they’d have to lose another one: “Either they decide or we decide.”

Aubry said that dealing with those three was like running into a wall.

Scot told her that they tried to get her in but she never answered back.

Jason added that they should know what was going to happen because they were always clear about their intentions.

Julia said that Jason was the only one safe but that everyone wanted to play.

Cydney told Jeff that she was afraid it could be her because Jason and Scot weren’t happy seeing her move to another ship.

Jeff noticed that Tai was less talkative and the gardener admitted that he was uncomfortable with the boasting but it was war and he was committed to the guys.

Jason agreed that Tai stepped up for their alliance on numerous occasions and Scot agreed.

When Jeff brought up her effort in the challenge, Aubry explained that this was a unique occasion to go up against an NBA player and a kick-ass army veteran.  She mentioned Jason staring her down and spitting which made her spit back like a deranged llama. “This is never going to happen again.”

Her remark made everyone laugh.

Aubry added: “We were put in these groups of Brain, Brawn, and Beauty but that only scratched the surface of who these people really are.”

Scot said that Aubry has been giving a great effort in every facet of the game.  Jason added: “She’s been kicking butt the whole time…There is as much brawn in her as there is in me.”

Turning to Michele, Jeff said that these challenges are often metaphors for the game.

Michele answered by saying the game can change in a moment and that you had to be on the right side when it happens.

Which underlines the problem of being out of the loop right then.

Jason said it was easy to see which side to choose and that they better hop on their train.

It was time to vote.

We saw Julia voting against Tai, Scot voting against Aubry because she was such a great competitor and Aubry praying that her vote against Scot would work.

When Tai walked to cast the deciding vote, we saw that he was Debbie’s favorite.

When Jeff asked if anyone wanted to play an idol, we saw Julia telling Tai to play his idol while Scot told him the opposite.

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Tai didn’t play it.

Jeff read the votes:

Julia and Michele voted against Tai.

Scot and Jason voted against Aubry.

Aubry, Joe, and Cydney voted Scot.

Tai voted… Scot!

Probably not doing the math, Scot turned to Tai, asking him to hand over his idol.  Instead, Tai turned to Jason who gestured to get him to give the idol to Scot.  The NBA player’s expression showed that he didn’t appreciate being left hanging but, after a moment, Tai ended the suspense:  He shook his head no.  Scot asked: “You’re not doing it?”  Tai simply answered: “No, sorry.”

Forced to get his torch, Scot shook hands with Jason to wish him luck but he didn’t hand back the idol.

It was pretty evident that Scot, having been voted out of the game, wasn’t allowed to hand his idol back to Jason.  So it isn’t a stretch to imagine that the same applied to Neal.  As soon as the doctor pulled him from the game, he wouldn’t have been allowed to hand his idol to Aubry.  Maybe we could also go back to Colton’s evacuation in One World and realize that despite the rules, some scenes are shown simply to create drama and to influence our views of the players.  Now Scot and Neal could have a super-idol in Ponderosa! 

I don’t know if anyone thought Tai would give his idol to Scot but there really was no drama, just a funny moment looking at Scot and Jason’s realization that they just had been stopped.  Having voted for Scot, it would not only have been weird to save the big guy but also it would have been suicidal.  The only votes that would have counted would have been the 2 against Aubry and the two against him.  Who would have gotten voted out on the second ballot?   

After these events, Jeff’s final words seemed insignificant: “Well once again, just when you think you’re safe, oops, there goes another blindside.”

The Story

The super-idol had totally skewed the story, putting the two villains in power even if they didn’t have the numbers.  They had Tai and Julia helping them but from opposing angles but still that didn’t seem to be enough to derail their train.  They really looked unstoppable but that didn’t fit with our analysis of the edit.  It led to an incongruity that could only be resolved by a big move.  That’s a very good example to show that we are right to depend on our analysis instead of game analysis.  The game really turned on two small moments:  Scot’s reaction to Tai’s suggestion of using Aubry as a free agent and Julia’s desire to flush Tai’s idol.  Aubry was the key in both:  First, her strong connection to Tai meant that he didn’t want to go along with the idea of voting her out and, secondly, she was the one that warned him first about Julia’s plan.  Tai knew she wasn’t lying to him when the two guys told him he’d be getting votes.

In a strange way, the secrecy of the super-idol’s power caused its failure.  Julia wouldn’t have thought of flushing the idol if she knew how Jason and Scot were planning to use it.  Flushing Tai’s idol meant flushing the super-idol but she didn’t know that.  If Julia doesn’t come up with the plan to flush Tai’s idol, then how can Aubry effectively approach Tai?  We can also imagine that Scot and Jason would have told Julia about the plan to eliminate Aubry if she hadn’t shown them she was trying to take charge.  That could have led to Aubry’s elimination.  Instead, we were treated to one of the best Tribal Councils ever.

The Characters

Joe:  Yes, there is a Joe in Cambodia.  He breaks pots faster than anyone else but besides that?  Well, his vote counts just as much as everyone else… at least those without an advantage.

Jason:  He has been stopped.  Not only did he lose his closest ally, he lost his idol and any hope of playing a super-idol.  His story cannot support the role of underdog, so he should get voted out soon.

Michele:  It seems that this episode ended Michele’s possible winning edit.  Not only was she on the wrong side at the moment when the game changed just like that but we heard that she couldn’t see that Julia was duplicitous.  She was shown strolling carefree on the beach when the game was reaching its decisive moment.  She is a very beautiful narrator but it seems she would make for a very unsatisfying winner.  Of course, she could still impress everyone with a winning streak or with an amazing move but how can she get credit for a move when even Julia is more active?  The way the story is set up, I wonder if we will even see how she reacts at being left out of the loop.

Julia:  The traitor-ass comment we heard from Cydney told us that not everyone respects her duplicitous game.  She is trying hard to play her game but the resulting effect is that both sides are using her.  Jason and Scot used her to get information on the women’s plan while Aubry and Cydney used her to get Tai on their side.  We can say that her emergence is too little too late.

Cydney:  After taking an active part in the first big vote after the merger, Cydney has taken a back seat, letting Aubry take charge.  Her only interview of the episode was to tell us that the boys should shut up and realize that they wouldn’t have their idol without her.  We heard that she was brooding and petty so that’s not very promising if she wants to make her case to the jury.  We know Debbie would have a different opinion, but what did she show Neal and Nick?

Tai:  Aubry said it was his move even if she was the one that mapped it out and he told us that he wasn’t there to make good friends but to win the million dollars.  Therefore, we have to consider Tai as the possible Sole Survivor because those are important ingredients in any winner’s edit.   All along, it seemed that the charismatic gardener was a Player on a Journey but now we hear him talking about his end game.  Could it be that the fan favorite wins this time?  His main problem is that no one would want to sit with him at the end but he has an idol, an extra vote and a good chance to win challenges so it is possible.

Aubry:   She was given quite a panegyric in this episode.  In both challenges we heard Jeff and the other players commenting on her strength. Tai told us that she has a certain energy that he really likes. Scot said she was a real threat in challenges and was very savvy about the game.  Jason praised her even more by saying she had as much brawn as he does.  That certainly paints a great picture for a winner or it makes a fine prelude to what we are certain to hear if she has to be taken out of the game for medical reasons.  Did we hear those comments as praise to an eventual winner or as a eulogy for a fallen comrade?  While we can’t know for sure, it seems that her roller coaster ride should reach a happy conclusion.  She got the medical scare early on; we have heard her constant questioning about the game and she was portrayed as the underdog on a few occasions.  Ever since she decided to get rid of her “island mom”, she has taken control of the game.  Her approach with Tai was a marvelous display of empathy and how to turn it into a successful tactic.  She realized that his personality didn’t fit with the bullies so she offered him an alternative.  Even if he was joining players that weren’t as hard to beat in the end, she gave him an opening to the Final Four by excluding Michele from the group of voters.   It really looks like Aubry is the best player of the season, but will she be rewarded?  I think so, but we will have to wait and see.

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