Survivor Kaoh Rong

Episode 8 – There’s Still Hope

Previously on Survivor:

After the merge, Brain and Brawn were trying to court Beauty over to their side.

Nick told us that it’s nice to have options.

Debbie wasted no time, aggressively trying to secure the numbers…

We saw her offering an alliance to Tai and saying that it was a done deal and we heard her say that she was one of the few people playing on offense.

…but it backfired…

After we heard Debbie making an offer to him, Nick said that Debbie takes strategy in her own hands for the Brains tribe.

…alienating the Brains…

Aubry and Neal are seen alone on the beach and saying that everyone is turned off by Debbie, which meant they were screwed.

…leaving the Beauties with an easy decision…

Nick and Michele agreed to go with Brawn.

…to unite with Brawn.

After doing the math, Jason confidently said that they’d be shoving geeks in lockers.

For the Brains, things went from bad to worse when Neal fell victim to the elements.

Aubry is heard talking about losing her number one ally and that the idol went home with that son of a bitch.

I hope everyone noticed that Debbie was the only player still in the game that Jeff named in his recap.  I’m sure most will fixate on the part where he said her plan backfired but I think we have to consider Jeff’s mindset.   He loves aggressive gameplay and that’s the term he used for Debbie instead of negative terms like recklessly or carelessly.  Some would even have used the adverb “idiotically”.  We must also note that Nick’s comments were quite positive especially if he has to decide his final vote between different Brains tribe members.  We heard him say that he considers Debbie as the Brains’ strategist, a role he tried to adopt with the Beauty tribe.

There’s Still Hope

Unnamed Camp Day 19

The episode started immediately after Neal’s departure with Scot taking over Jeff’s recap duties.

Julia remarked that she would keep her cuts superclean.

Could she be another player pulled from the game?

Looking pensive, Joe shared his thoughts (Note that he was wearing the blue ribbon from the reward challenge so this interview was filmed on day 20).

1

Joe: “Today, I don’t feel very powerful at all that we lost Neal.  With Neal being gone, it totally screws up our numbers.  The Brains tribe is three:  Debbie, myself and Aubry.  So (?)… it’s in a state of flux right now.  I want to see if there are other options; that’s the whole thing now.  I’ve got to put my thinking cap on. ”

During Joe’s interview, we heard Scot’s next imitation:  Forrest Gump talking about Survivor and a box of chocolate.

After the interview, we heard Debbie quoting Yogi Berra: “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

It’s evident that Joe’s interview wasn’t used to put him in the new starring role as the strategist.  It only served to show how bad things were for Debbie and Aubry.  Scot was still having fun, but this episode’s surprise box would bring him quite a hard candy to swallow.  Debbie’s words would resonate throughout the episode.

Jason’s interview: “We are pretty united now, Beauty and Brawn (Cydney was shown on screen right then as a forewarning of events to come.) It’s pretty set in stone that the Brains have got to go.  As far as I know, Neal went home with an idol but if he left it in the game somehow (we saw Aubry with Neal’s jacket in her hands) our plan moving forward right now is to split the vote each time: Make sure if there is an idol, it’s played but we’re always safe because we are seven to three.”

Neal's Jacket “Neal’s Jacket”[/caption]

Jason detailed the plan for everyone:  “Beauty keeps on voting for Debbie until she’s gone; Brawn will now vote for Aubry.  Any objections?”

Aubry was seen coming back to camp, putting an end to the little huddle.

Aubry’s interview: “I can kind of just sense what is going on.  This is totally like high school.  You look at our camp and it’s divided by (Scot shown) the tough guys and around them are (Michele was first shown biting her nails,the camera panned to Julia) the girls who are kind of pretty and get along really well with those people and then the kind of people who are maybe a little shier, (Debbie is shown standing next to Aubry) a little bit nerdy on the outside, but the jocks and the pretty people, (Scot looking goofy with his buff on his head and a smiling Julia were then shown) they are not going to sit pretty forever.  They age (Cydney shown) and get overripe (Jason and his burnt shoulder shown) and then they are done and eventually the misfits get revenge (Debbie shown walking on the beach alone).  If I find a crack or start a little bit of trouble, I may be able to find my way in.”

High School Kids

High School Kids

 

The Misfit getting Revenge

The Misfit Getting Revenge

During Aubry’s interview, we heard Debbie say: “They are all glad to see him go.”

That trace of heartlessness doesn’t reflect well on the people in the huddle.  Anyway, Aubry’s interview really sealed it for me:  A member of the Brains tribe will get the final revenge because they will outlast all of the Jocks and the Pretty PeopleI can imagine a Final 3 scenario where Scot’s words at the beginning of the previous episode come back to take on a new meaning: If it is Debbie, Aubry and Joe at the end then  Scot may write Joe and Aubry’s name and cross them out until he decides which of the three gets the million dollars out of Jeff’s “chocolate box”.

 “Let’s Not Say This Camp’s Name” Day 20

The music was soft, a prelude to a very touching scene.

Jason was telling everyone about his autistic daughter.  Everyone was touched, especially Julia.

Jason’s interview: “I came into this game saying I wouldn’t use my daughters to get ahead, but if someone asks me about my kids, I just tell the truth because I was naïve to autism until we put the pieces together and my daughter got diagnosed with it.”  To the group, he told everyone that every penny he makes goes to her treatments.  He continued his interview: “If anything, it makes people aware that there are families out there that have kids with autism and it’s very expensive and it’s way more widely popular than people believe.  It was never meant to help me out, but I think it made a lot of them realize that I’m not just that devious, dominant muscle but that I’m human too.”

Cydney’s reaction in interview: “Jason chose a nice opportunity to open up about his life.  People have definitely seen a more brawny, angrier, just loud type but I’ve seen all aspects up to this point.  It was good for people to see it but at the same time, hello, you can see how he is being more of a challenge to beat now towards the end.  I mean, I’d give him the money too. At this point, it’s my own game I have to figure it out: who I can trust, who needs to go and who is going to get me further.  You have to think about the big picture now:  Who will you beat?  That’s the question.”

This really shows the evilness of this game.  Just when Jason hits the sentimental chords, the ones that kept him on the contenders’ list despite his bullying tactics, we hear that it will be the reason to vote him out.  The duality of Jason’s portrayal finally receives its explanation:  Production was able to present him as a good father and a caring player because the person that he cared for the most will be the one responsible for his elimination.  Cydney will receive the editing blame for backstabbing her closest ally, freeing the path for the eventual winner.  If this explanation is correct then obviously the “heartless” Cydney cannot win.

The Reward Challenge

Eliza and James broke this challenge during Micronesia, but it seems that the players were instructed that they couldn’t carry the player on the pole…or they simply didn’t see Micronesia and aren’t as smart as Eliza!

As captain of the yellow team, Julia chose Scot, Nick, Tai and Debbie while Aubry, the Blues’ captain, chose Jason, Joe, Michele, and Cydney.

Like it happened with James in Micronesia, Scot and Nick’s strength proved to be the deciding factor because they were able to keep their poles steady.  Aubry was dunked four times into the water before Michele took over.  It didn’t work for her either so Cydney eventually tried her luck.  By that time, the yellow team had reached their platform and from there it was an easy win.

Aubry apologized to her team and Jeff said that Julia clearly made the right choices.

What he didn’t say was that she probably won first pick, chose Scot, and that was it because she was going to get either Nick or Jason with her second pick.  Who was left for Aubry’s second pick?!  Since the challenge was such a blowout, I wonder if production could have edited the images to save the winner from being dunked in the water.  They didn’t have a choice but to show Aubry falling in once or twice but five times?  Michele and Cydney’s plunges in the water could also have been left on the cutting room floor.  It’s just a little thing but still a consideration.

Aubry’s interview: “When people say in Survivor that one bad decision has a snowball effect, damn, I’m feeling the avalanche right now.  I can’t get my head above water:  First Neal is out of the game then I pick the team and apparently it was a big mess up.  It sucks!  I wanted so much more than this and I’m not giving up, but I just feel like I’m making bad decision after bad decision.”

The scene ended with Aubry in tears but, at least, she was shown with her head above water!

Not Drowning Yet!

Not Drowning Yet!

This type of interview is very polarizing:  Some viewers will find a connection with Aubry thus increasing her potential as winner, but others will say that a winner shouldn’t cry.  She did say that she wasn’t giving up which is a positive, but this is a time for making the hard decisions so her comments don’t look very promising.

The Reward

Ice cream was offered right after the Ice Cream Guy was taken out of the game.  They didn’t have to worry about a critic tasting their ice cream!!

Scot’s interview: “We walk into camp after the reward challenge and the winning group of five got to go to the ice cream parlor.  The other five had to go sit in purgatory and listen to us eating ice cream from fifteen, twenty feet away.”

Was it a coincidence that Debbie was shown in front of the group when Scot mentioned “the winning group of five”?  Of those, she certainly seems like the only one who will be in the winning group at the end! 

No Ice Cream for You!

No Ice Cream for You!

Also, an envious looking Michele was shown when the word purgatory was used.   Sitting on the jury is Survivor’s version of purgatory.

Debbie’s comments: “The ice cream was an awesome treat.  It was fantastic to have a moment of being full, of knowing you are well stocked for tomorrow with glucose.  I didn’t feel sorry for the losers one bit.”

Jason yelled over to the winning group that they didn’t have to be so quiet.

Michele’s interview: “I think Jason does think that he is in charge of a lot of things over at this camp and, you know, Jason is just an assertive person.  He yells over to them: “Guys! you can be a little more loud about it if you want and, honestly, I really respected the way they handled it.”

The group chatted and when Nick asked about Scot’s family, it was the NBA star’s turn to strike the emotional chords, telling them about his mom’s health issues and his problems growing up after his dad died.

Julia’s interview: “The reward was this random group of people so we couldn’t talk strategy but it was the perfect opportunity to build bonds and I think that Scot and I could definitely work well together.  I like having him on my team: He’s awesome.”

Some Beach Day 21

The chicken was still standing tall which seems a good sign for Tai!  If they adopt it as a mascot then maybe Tai can surprise us all!

Another type of bird was stretching out on the beach while Julia, Michele, Cydney and Tai tried to get their boat out into the river.

A Different type of Bird

“What a Beauty!!”

Julia said she’d be horrible as part of a rowing team which makes me wonder if a rowing challenge is scheduled anytime soon! 

With Joe sleeping in the hammock, the three big guys decided it was a good time to talk strategy.  Scot brought up the dangers of an all-girls alliance.  They had to get rid of a girl next, either Debbie or Aubry.

Nick’s interview: “Scot and Jason are worried about an all-girls alliance. Me?  Not so much.  I don’t think it exists but whatever.  After the girls get back I just wanted to be updated with Julia, to be on the same page with Julia strategy-wise.”

Cydney noticed the pair walking off together.

The violins’ nervous chords told us that this would be an important moment.  It’s ironic that Nick was the least worried about an all-girls alliance but his actions started the ball rolling. 

That Look means Trouble

That Look Means Trouble

Nick told Julia about Scot and Jason’s fears but Julia put that quickly to rest, saying there wasn’t an all-girls alliance.

Cydney’s observations: “One thing about Nick– he is the most indiscreet person on this island.  He literally walked maybe fifteen steps where I could turn and see you talking.  How stupid can you be?  My face was starting to flinch and I was going: Oh! My goodness!  You know, I’m going to snap.” As Nick and Julia walked back into camp, the music’s intensity continued to build. “Nick came back and he looked to the side at Jason and he said: She didn’t say anything and I’m like: Burr!”

Cydney confronted the three big guys about sending Nick to check up on her.  The three guys looked uncomfortable so she said they could have simply asked her because she wasn’t plotting against them.

Jason asked Cydney if she would take a walk to the water well.

Jason’s interview: “Scot, myself, and Nick brought up the idea of hope they are not in an all-girls alliance.  Moments later, Nick put it upon himself to go ask one of the girls but that pissed Cydney off.  Paranoia is going to kick in at a certain point with everybody and I think she hit it sooner than we anticipated.”

Jason said that Nick was the one worrying about the girls’ alliance while he and Scot were waiting to check with her.  She didn’t quite like his tone.  She didn’t blow up. She said she just asked a question.

Cydney’s interview: “It’s like the boys can talk to whomever but when I want to talk to somebody: Oh! Is there a girls’ alliance?  I’m like: No, no, no, no, no; you haven’t seen irritated Cydney.  Irritated Cydney will blow the whole game up.  I’m calling out idols. I don’t give a damn.  Our plan is to split the vote between Aubry and Miss Debbie until all the Brains are gone, but if the guys have to go, the guys have to go.”

The scene ended with the image of Cydney lurking behind Jason’s back as if waiting for the right moment to stick the knife between his shoulder blades. 

The Knife will go There!

“The Knife Will Go There!”

For Cydney to get so angry at others checking up on her, I’m guessing some strategic talks happened on that little boat between Cydney, Tai, Michele, and Julia.  The four probably used the time to ask if they should go with the three Brains tribe members.  It’s also interesting that Cydney said she would blow the whole game up by calling out idols.  That may connect to Tai’s disclosure of super-idols at Tribal Council.  If she warned the group of Jason’s idol then that may have triggered Tai’s answer to Jeff. 

While the outcome of the conversation on the canoe needed to be kept secret to blindside us with the vote, I think it is worth noting that we didn’t even hear a word about strategy from that group.  It only looked like an awkward boat ride with Julia having trouble guiding it.  So can any of the four be seen as serious contenders?  The presentation made it look like a very emotional reaction on Cydney’s part and a very impulsive one by Michele when it was probably a well-planned action so it certainly doesn’t help their stock. 

The Immunity Challenge

The first person Jeff singled out as struggling was Tai.  Those early signs of pain really underlined the valiant effort he would demonstrate.  I would caution though that we have no idea if those “early signs of pain” really happened this early for Tai. We only saw him in close up so we have no way of knowing if there were still 10 people standing at the time or if his trouble happened much later.  When Jeff used the word early, he could have been talking about someone else.

Debbie told Jeff this was a little bit worse than what she expected.

We then heard Tai complaining about his back.  Debbie was seen still holding on beside him but no one else was seen at that moment.  It even looked like the person on Tai’s right, Julia, may have already gotten off her perch because we didn’t see a human figure in the shadow of that pole. 

Chasing Shadows

Chasing Shadows

Of course, Julia would drop out soon after but since it looks like the image was placed out of sequence then it may have occurred right before Debbie dropped out and not in the first five minutes of the challenge.

Michele and a smiling Nick were shown when Jeff brought up the idea of a buffet.  Jeff went to serve the buffet to tempt the players off their perch, but Julia couldn’t even wait until lunch was served.  She was the first out.  Jason, Scot, Joe and Michele jumped off to partake in the feast.   Just before Jeff closed the window of opportunity, we saw Tai saying that he would be staying.

We heard a loud belch from Jason right at the beginning of the feast.  The message was clear:  Tai and the others still hanging on were fighters while Jason and the other dinner guests were not.  Seeing Michele getting off her perch could indicate that she already knew about the plan to blindside the big guys.  It’s easier to have confidence when you know what both sides are thinking. 

Tai told Jeff he didn’t consider going down because he wanted to see how far he could push his body and he didn’t want the Brains to win it.

Considering his vote, I think the last part was simply added to give Jason even more confidence.  I think Tai was being very devious here.

Nick told Jeff that it was obvious that the Brains were outnumbered and that Joe, Aubry, and Debbie were on the chopping block.

Cydney’s frown told a different story.

We will see about that!

“We’ll See about That!”

Debbie stepped down soon after that, and when Aubry followed, Nick simply stepped down.

He was probably thinking: “Mission accomplished” which wouldn’t be the first time someone miscalculated the end of a mission.

Nick told Jeff he thought Cydney had it in the bag so he was mostly concerned about outlasting the Brains.  He was excited to go to Tribal Council for the first time but hoped it wouldn’t be bittersweet.  Scot assured him it wouldn’t be to which Nick smiled and replied: “No, I know.”

At the 30 minute mark, Tai couldn’t believe that Cydney was feeling “just peachy”!  Everyone marveled at her posture.

Tai told Jeff that he was like a bamboo while strong people often just break.  He started chanting his belief in Buddha.  His prayers were answered.

Jeff marveled at the spectacle, but we’ve had much longer endurance challenges.  I mean, this looked hard but it lasted only 40 minutes. 

Tai ran to get the necklace and a hug from Jeff.

Congratulating Tai, Jeff used some words that sounded like foreshadowing:  Keep fighting until the vote.   At that moment, the camera first showed Aubry and then Debbie, our likely Final Tribal Council combatants.

Tai’s comments: “Tonight, all the Beauty votes for Debbie, all the Brawn votes for Aubry.  I’m safe tonight but who knows.  I won the individual immunity challenge.  I earned that.  It was one hell of a challenge.

So it seems that Tai was still going along with Jason and Nick’s plan but that could have been a pointed question.  The interviewer probably asked him about the original plan and about his own plan.  Producers could then choose to present only the part of the answer that suited the purpose which was to blindside us.

Somewhere in Cambodia Day 22

Everyone congratulated Tai, Debbie even comparing him to some ultra-marathoners she’s seen.  She also applauded Cydney.  She was going to make them dinner.

That’s a nice glimpse of Debbie’s social game.  As unimportant as the scene where she talked to Peter after Liz’s elimination but whose intent could be to show that she will get votes in the end.

In an interview, Nick repeated the plan to split the votes between Debbie and Aubry.  Seeing that Aubry was in a weak position, Nick offered her an olive branch as a way to take advantage of her situation.  He told her it would be in her best interest to vote against Debbie.

The camera was being held at waist-level creating an even bigger impression of Nick’s superiority. 

Killing the Giant!

“Killing the Giant!”

Someone in production had put the interviews together and knew what was going on so he placed an order to present Nick’s overconfidence in a very visual manner.

Cydney called Debbie to have a talk before Nick returned to camp.

Cydney’s interview: “At this immunity challenge, Nick’s arrogance is getting the best of him.  He is so confident it’s ridiculous.  Nick is getting too big for his britches and he just rubs me the wrong way.”

The three women realized they needed to strike right now to give the women the numbers advantage.  Debbie realized that Cydney wanted to take Nick out.

Debbie’s comments: “Lo and behold, Cydney approaches me and Aubry and says let’s take out Nick.  I was still kind of hoping that Nick would come around and we could take out Jason or Scot, but Nick, the early bird catches the worm.”

Debbie told Cydney she was all in and asked Aubry what she thought.  The deal was sealed.

Cydney’s interview: “My best move going forward is to make sure all the girls stay as close as possible.  It makes more sense for me to be in a game with all the women.  If it backfires, oh well!  I’ll be the first person to make a move in this game.”

Next, Cydney went to talk with Michele and Julia in the ocean.  She asked them if they were close to Nick and then if they would vote against him because he was up Jason and Scot’s butt.  She told them that she had already told Debbie and Aubry about the plan.

Michele’s interview: “Cydney would like to get Nick out.  She thinks he’s a threat and I agree but he’s also in my alliance.  I do think that I could work with him a little longer.  I don’t know if that really works for me right now.  The original plan was with Debbie being out, so there are a lot of choices at this point and it’s trying to figure out what’s right for me and Julia.  You definitely feel the electricity in the air before Tribal.  There is a power struggle happening right now.  It’s really evident in camp.  There’s a lot of big ego, a lot of personalities.  I want to make a move that does solidify my title as somebody who earned it (Debbie was shown on camera when Michele said she wanted the title of somebody who earned it) and it’s all figuring out timing.”

I do not make this up!

I don’t Make This Up!

During that interview, we were shown Cydney telling Jason that she was good with the plan while Julia was worried about Jason’s reaction if they wrote Nick’s name but she then said that they’d have to do something at some point to get in power.

Tribal Council

Nick and Michele were instructed to grab their torches to dip in the fire.

Not going to Tribal Council and Neal’s evacuation did Nick no favors.  He would have received some inestimable information if he had entered his first Tribal Council with the immunity necklace.  If the tribe had voted out Neal or Aubry first, it would have been hard to reverse the momentum but if Jason or Scot had been targeted then, Nick would have had time to scramble or to fight for immunity.

Everyone was happy to see Neal making his entrance.

Jeff asked Michele about her feelings coming to Tribal Council for the first time.

Michele said that it prevented her from showing what type of player she is.

Debbie told Jeff that Brain, Brawn, and Beauty have stayed distinct but that Brawn and Beauty have actually merged.

Nick confirmed it to Jeff:  The Brains were on the outs and they would split the votes.

Aubry said the seven were tight and she was running around to no effect.

Jeff tried to coerce Julia into making a move.

Julia said there would be time to switch later on.

Jason told Jeff that they would be guaranteed final seven if they stayed strong.

Scot told Jeff that having six days between Tribal Councils doesn’t help the group’s unity but he still thought their seven was strong.

Jeff asked Tai about idols.

Tai said they didn’t know if there were idols until the merge.  He added that they think Neal left the game with one and then he said he heard something about a super-idol.

That caught Jason’s attention!

Tai even explained that combining two idols would turn them into one super-idol that could be used after the vote.

It was Scot’s turn to look uncomfortable.

Jeff told Tai that this was news to Julia.  Tai said he thought everybody knew.

That really worried Jason and Scot.

Aubry said that Julia was out of the loop about the idols so that should tell her where she stood in the alliance.

Debbie confirmed it:  “Somebody was on the bottom and the lack of knowledge about the super-idol should tell you it’s time to make a move.”

Tai tried doing some back-tracking, saying that he may have been told about a super-idol to make him look suspicious.

Debbie told Jeff that she always has hope.  She added: “Often times there are more not revealed here than there is revealed here.”

Aubry said she was expecting to receive votes.

Scot said he was confident the vote would go as predicted.

It was time to vote.

  • Jason and Scot voted for Aubry.
  • Nick voted for Debbie.
  • We had an extremely interesting vote from Tai who wrote Jason’s name.
  • Nick’s name was written on all the other ballots.

That result really pleased Neal whose smile was shared by Debbie.

Jeff sent them back to some unnamed camp after saying: “It is one of the hallmarks of this game:  As long as you keep fighting anything can happen.”

Debbie was shown as the group stood to head back to camp.

The Story

This vote reminded me of many similar ones in Fiji where we were never told about the true dynamics of the group.  That season was presented as if it was Earl and Yau Man against the world, but in reality, they were part of the Shelter Builders’ Alliance.  The show used the excuse of flirting to explain Liliana’s elimination when it was actually all the Shelter Builders in Moto uniting to get rid of the Explorers’ leader!  While Dumas’ Three Musketeers were really four, Fiji’s Four Horsemen were only three!   Here, the group of seven was actually formed by the “little guys” while the three big guys were all alone!

Tai was supposed to vote for Debbie.  Last week he told us he didn’t believe her offer of alliance, but it seems that he changed his mind since that scene.  Despite his confessional after the challenge, I think Tai had abandoned the idea of playing with Jason early on.  I think that on the boat, he guided Julia not only with her rowing but also in her strategy.  I also think his loose lips comment about the super-idol was totally planned: a way to upset Jason after Tribal Council.  His vote against Jason really indicated which way he wanted the vote to go and could be setting the stage for the next one.

Aubry’s confessional before the reward challenge points directly to a Brains tribe member winning.  High school is where Jocks and Pretty People thrive but, as Aubry said, this changes when you get on with life.  Survivor isn’t for high school kids.

The Characters

The Guys

Jason and Scot:  Each received a very touching scene and it isn’t the first time that the show manages to make them look endearing despite their bully tactics.  I think this episode gave us an explanation:  They could be portrayed positively at times because they will be betrayed by Cydney, so the blame doesn’t touch the eventual winner.  They both showed their overconfidence during this episode and we heard that it was actually a weakness.  Jeff’s words of always fighting made them look bad when they quit the challenge to be first in line at the buffet.  The game looked simple because they’d split the votes until all the Brains were gone so I expect we will see a split vote between the two next week.   The irony would certainly fit!

Joe:  The episode started with Joe saying he’d need to put his thinking cap on but we only saw him wearing his sleeping cap.  Scot’s comment about writing his name and Aubry then crossing them out until he comes to a decision makes me think he’d be part of a Final 3 with his two Brains tribe members, but the schedule seemed to point more to a Final 2 right now (We have 9 players left with 5 episodes to go before the Finale. That means we’d enter the last episode with 4 players)

Tai:  The camera showed us that the chicken was still alive and well, so maybe Tai still has a chance.  His vote against Jason is really intriguing because the story didn’t explain it at all.  I’m sure it had something to do with the canoe ride that he took with Julia, Michele, and Cydney.  Either he decided then and there that he’d be voting with them or one of the big guys questioned his loyalty after seeing him talking with the girls.  Like Cydney, that could have angered him into making a move.  I find it fascinating that last week we heard he didn’t want to be used by Debbie but he didn’t vote against her when he had the chance.    While we don’t know for sure if he is in an alliance with the women, we can say that his vote certainly served their cause.  Jason and Scot will be fuming when they get back to camp making it easier for everyone to unite against them.

The Allies

Julia:  It seems that her closeness to Scot was underlined only to put doubt in the chances of the women’s alliance.  Since it looks like the numbers are actually 7 against 2, Julia’s vote wouldn’t matter even in a split vote situation.

Cydney:  Despite a magnificent episode from a strategic point of view, this episode put an end to Cydney’s chances of winning the game.  Production put her evil confessional immediately after Jason’s touching scene about his autistic daughter and that killed her sympathy capital.  Her actions against the group of seven will certainly cause some feelings of ungratefulness from Jason after he pledged to stay with her to the very end.  He considered her part of his family so the betrayal will hurt deeply.   This was supposed to be her big moment, the first move of the game yet it was as if Jeff didn’t even see her sitting there at Tribal Council.

Michele:  As one of the pretty people, in fact, the very first one shown, Michele cannot outlast the Brains women…if like me, you consider that Aubry’s comment was a prophecy.  The camera also showed that Michele is destined for purgatory which in Survivor is called Ponderosa.  Some will say that purgatory is a stepping stone to heaven but one still has to die first.  In Survivor, that means Michele will have her torch snuffed and “try again later”!  Like she said, Tribal Council revealed what type of player she is, and by voting out the person that was perceived as her closest ally, she told her new allies that she can’t be trusted.  She should be an early target once Scot and Jason are gone but then Tai and Cydney will have become the major challenge threats so she could skate by for a little while longer.  The best part of the episode for Michele was that Jeff didn’t harp on her decision to rush for the buffet before closing time but we heard him say numerous times that you should never stop fighting so that still put her decision in a bad light. Anyway, showing her getting dunked in the water during the reward challenge largely compensated.  I’m sure some will still have her as their top contender maybe some will even see her as the only viable candidate but I think we would have heard a different story if she was our winner.  For one thing, I think the canoe ride was more important than what was shown.  The episode’s montage made it look like Michele was very impulsive, voting out someone that could still help her along the way when the move was probably planned much more carefully.

Aubry: She could be our winner.  Her interview about the jocks and the pretty people getting outlasted by the nerds was a powerful statement about the outcome of the game, but I don’t think she’s our winner because she didn’t get to talk to us about the vote, didn’t get an interview after the one where she talked about making one bad decision after another.  This was time for being decisive so it would have been perfect to hear her thoughts.  The deciders were Cydney, Michele, and Debbie:  The emotional one, the impulsive one and…the mastermind, the one who first brought up the idea of a women’s alliance!  If my read on the story is accurate then Aubry should accompany Debbie to final Tribal Council but, like Nick said, the jury will see that Debbie was the one that took it upon herself to guide the Brains’ strategy.  It will be difficult for Aubry to sell her case.

Debbie:  Ha! Debbie…  Everyone underestimates her. All the analysts said that the last episode killed her chances and even I wavered.  This episode brought a new hope and she hasn’t stopped fighting.  The camera winks often pointed to her when someone talked about getting revenge in the end or being worthy of the title.  Jeff’s recaps have followed her story more closely than anyone else’s, we’ve continually seen the game from her perspective, and the idea of a women’s alliance originated from her talks with Cydney and Michele about the desire to see a woman win this season. All this make me think that Debbie will be this season’s Sole Survivor.

Yikes!

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