Survivor Kaoh Rong

Episode 9 – Sabotage

Previously on Survivor:

Brawn and Beauty were in the majority alliance and they were targeting the Brains…

Jason: “The Brains all got to go.”

…but Cydney got tired of the men controlling the game…

Cydney: “Don’t check me; you’re not my damn daddy.  Irritated Cydney will blow the whole game up.”

…so she rallied the women in order to take out one of the men.

Cydney: “If it backfires, oh well!  I’ll be the first person to make a move in this game.”

At Tribal Council…

Tai: “We heard something about a super-idol.”

…Tai made a big mistake, but for Cydney, everything fell into place when the women sent Nick to the jury leaving Scot, Jason and Tai wondering what to do on the bottom.

As soon as I noticed the discontinuity in Debbie’s story, I knew she was in trouble.   Cydney got all the credit for the move but judging by what happened to Debbie it doesn’t seem to be as good as usual to be singled out by Jeff.  Even Cydney appeared ready to see her move backfire.  For one thing, she is now the most wanted on the Bounty Hunter’s list.  He was ready to trade a super-idol to get his way and I don’t expect that he will abandon the chase.  Another thing to note is that Jeff didn’t even touch upon Michele’s predicament about losing a possible ally.  From this recap, we were told that she just rallied to Cydney’s side.

As for the three wankers on the bottom, they did find a way to stay a while longer.  Saboteurs have become fan favorites in the past. so we can’t say that showing all their dirty tricks really hurts their edit.  However, the two big guys had already showed enough negativity to rule them out.  Seeing Tai lose his moral compass was a lot more surprising.  It really doesn’t fit with his character but then again even Mark the Chicken has become more aggressive. 

Sabotage

Night 22

Scot’s interview: “Well, the girls pulled a good one and blindsided us basically.  Clearly the status of the Brawn alliance is done.  It’s now Jason and I, and Tai.”

Tai’s reaction: “At Tribal Council, I said: ‘Jeff, there’s a super-idol’ and oh, no! I opened my mouth again.  So, I panicked and then I vote for Jason but I was so fearful how I am going to explain that Jason vote because I can’t lie too well so I say I vote for Debbie.  There’s only three of us but we have two idols and put together it could be a super-idol.”

That interview was interrupted to show Jason asking Tai about his vote.  He answered Debbie then he confirmed to Jason that he had an idol.  Jason then replied: “I have one; you have one.  The super-idol is real.”

Who do you Think? “Who Do You Think?”[/caption]

Tai never gave Scot, Jason and us a good explanation for that vote but the guys seemed happy with his lie, so I guess it’s useless to ask for more.   (I hope someone will ask Jason who he thought voted for him). Jason would never have given Tai his idol if he knew about this vote so he had to think one of the women threw a vote his way.  He should have realized that left him one Debbie vote short.  

Scot then asked: “What do you guys think about taking away their food?  After they go to bed, the machete and the ax disappear.”

Jason’s comments: “We are going to take the machete and ax and take away their ability to do things just to weaken their soul a little.  It’s like psychological warfare.  I did it in the military, I do it bounty hunting.  We cut off all their ties, mess with their mind, keep them weak, look for the crack, look for the weaknesses, read between the lines and try to strike.  I love psychological warfare.”

Tai’s interview: “I know this is a game, I have to play all the strategies but the way Jason and Scot go at things; it’s so extreme.  When we talk about taking away all the food, all the stuff from the girls… That make me uncomfortable.  It’s not how I approach life.  It’s not how I approach problem-solving and I’m not part of that but I can’t control what they do.”

The game makes you do weird things as we’ll soon see.  I’m sure Tai isn’t a saboteur in his everyday life.  It just goes to show that you aren’t always who you are.

Day 23

Cold-hearted orb that rules the night
Removes the colors from our sight
Red is gray and yellow white
But we decide which is right
And which is an illusion*

Joe was already making fire when the boys got up.

Scot’s interview: “The main reason for the sabotage is to weaken them because it could cause somebody to crack and I’m hoping it switches things up.  So, it’s time to make life as miserable as possible for everybody else.”  While Joe wasn’t looking, Scot grabbed the ax and the machete and walked out of camp where his accomplice was waiting. “We took the machete, we took the ax and went into the jungle a little bit and we hid the tools.  Certainly, I’m not just going to lay down and say: ‘Hey!  Good game!’  The only thing we can do right now is fight, so we are going to fight and if fighting means making everybody else miserable in the process… that’s what I’m doing.”

The scene ended with a profile view of Scot’s evil grin.

Well, a good sport does shake his opponent’s hand and says “Good game” after a loss and simply tries to beat them the next time.  On the other hand, Scot Pollard was never a role model despite his long stay in the NBA.

When the sun finally returned the colors to our sight, we saw the two saboteurs sitting innocently by the fire.

Debbie asked Jason to help her by holding a bottle into which she would pour some water from the jug.  Jason obliged only to take a big swig of the liquid before passing it to his wingman who emptied half of the bottle.

Debbie’s interview: “Tribal Council was an absolutely beautiful thing.  The people who thought they were completely in control find out it was all an illusion and now they are pissed off so the feeling is very uncomfortable.  It’s a testament to their character, is what poor sportsmen they actually are.  They are not gentlemen.”

That’s when the group realized that the tools were missing.

Joe’s interview:  “This morning, I woke up and one of the girls– I think it was Michele– was trying to find the machete or the ax: Gone!  They were taken by Brawn.  It’s ridiculous.  You don’t go back and hide tools essential to the whole tribe.”

Joe thought it was sabotage and Debbie agreed.

Michele’s interview: “The boys think that they can break us down and keep us down by doing these things but we just use our smarts and figure out another way.  We don’t need big burly men to do it for us.  We can figure it out.  Within 20 minutes, we figured out a new method.”

Debbie first roasted the coconut and then Cydney used the saw to open it up.

You could see Scot’s jaw twitching when he realized he hadn’t completely sabotaged camp life.  This little scene does fit with a woman winning the season:  They truly didn’t need the big guys to survive.

Figuring it Out

Figuring It Out

Scot’s comments: “So, I’m listening to all the little: “We got this; we’re good.  We’ll just cook the coconuts the old way and we’ll be fine.”  I was mad already but that was the tipping point.  I was like you’re bragging again and now I’m steaming so I’m going to do something stupid.”

Scot is Steaming!

Scot Is Steaming!

So he decided that subtlety was overrated.  He got up and poured the entire canister of water on the fire.  Joe said that they showed their true colors.

Michele’s interview: “I just don’t like that kind of behavior.  I don’t tolerate it in my regular life and I don’t want to tolerate it here either.  So, they can keep the power struggle going on but we are not going to back down.  You know, we are always going to find a way.”

She and Joe managed to get a new fire going but Scot said they would simply put it out again and think of other fun stuff to do.

Michele may not want to tolerate it but she didn’t do anything to stop it.  Making do as if nothing happened is actually an example of toleration.

The Reward Challenge

Aubry told Jeff that the last Tribal Council put an end to the cold war and now they had missiles going back and forth.

Debbie was even more direct: “It is sabotage back at camp.”

Scot told Jeff that he was sending the message that he was tired of being the provider.  That got a reaction from “Irritated Cydney”!

After explaining the challenge, Jeff said they were planning to do a schoolyard pick, but he offered them a chance to choose their own teams.

I wonder if something similar happened in other seasons, in Nicaragua for instance, when all the guys wound up “randomly” together giving a chance to Marty to form a new alliance.

Jeff first needed someone to sit out.  That person would choose a side to encourage and would share the reward if that side won.  Joe volunteered.

Not a bad idea since it would give him a chance at the reward and no blame for the loss.

The three guys stood together and asked if a girl wanted to go with them.

It would have been funny to see a girl volunteer only to sabotage the guys’ efforts by simply sitting down and not budging until the women had won!     

Without asking what the others thought, Julia volunteered.

Even if it worked out for her, it clearly wasn’t very smart.

Irritated Cydney’s interview:  “Julia swoops over there and says she will play with the guys pretty, pretty quickly.  I was like: ‘Hold up! what’s really going on?’”

Julia’s comments: “I decided to go with the boys because, at this point in the game, I know that pulling in Scot and pulling in Jason can be really super beneficial to me.  It’s time for me to start making moves and playing my game.”

Joe decided to pick the girls.

That wasn’t a good bet but still the wise choice.  A display of loyalty goes a long way at this point, something that could have cost Julia dearly.

The women were off to a fast start.

Considering the last part of the challenge required a good arm, they really needed to have a lead after the first segment.

Julia and the boys untangled their ropes first.  Jason and Scot started throwing sandbags.

At one point, Jeff said: “Aubry is the last woman.”

Cydney was the first to throw for the women but that didn’t go too well so she switched with Debbie.

She was probably part of a baseball team at some point because like Jeff said: “Debbie’s got an arm on her!”

The lead proved to be too much so Julia and the boys won the Chinese take-out dinner.

Aubry’s interview: “Julia and the boys won the reward challenge and as soon as I saw she was going with the boys, I knew she was trying to get a better position for herself.  She’s playing both sides, but I see right through Julia.  I can’t trust her as far as I can throw her.”

Aubry tried to do something about the double-dealing Julia but it didn’t work out very well.

Day 23

Jason’s reaction: “In today’s challenge, we won.  It changes on the flip of a dime.  It’s what makes this game so wonderful!  We’re back on the upswing right now.  We’re not on the top of the mountain but Julia’s got us trucking.  We got a prayer.”

Scot’s interview:  “Julia, Tai, myself, Jason, and Mark the chicken ate Chinese food and had a couple of beers.  Everything was really, really good.  The best part about it is getting a chance to talk to Julia and pick her brain.”

They had fortune cookies but they didn’t read any so we didn’t get spoilers from the cookies!!

Julia told Jason that he was still in the picture adding: “Getting rid of you guys would be a dumb move on my part because I would be on the bottom of the Cydney, Joe, Debbie, and Aubry chain.”

It’s interesting that she didn’t mention Michele.  The implication is that Michele is also at the bottom of that chain.

Julia’s interview: “At this point of the game, you really have to be thinking long-term.  I definitely have my other alliance that I feel confident in but keeping Scot and Jason to the end, they have betrayed people, they have caused chaos around camp might be a good idea because at this point anyone on the jury would not vote for them.”

Julia promised the guys that she would communicate with them no matter what.

With the foursome returning to camp, we heard Debbie’s interview saying that despite what the others say about Julia playing both sides, she didn’t have one iota of concern about Julia flipping.

Well, Debbie’s emotional intelligence seems to have deserted her!

Debbie told Julia that it would have to be Scot.  Cydney was right there listening.

Cydney’s comments: “My BS radar was going like this when Julia was talking to Miss Debbie.  You think it’s strategic for you to come from this group over here and come with the first question: What is our strategy for the next Tribal?  I don’t trust her.  She thinks she’s slick?  You can’t slick a slicker in any direction.”

Is that BS Radar for Sale?

“Is That BS Radar for Sale?”

Aubry and Cydney went for a walk to discuss the situation.  They agreed they should vote for Julia next.

Aubry’s interview: “Julia isn’t someone who wants to have alliances.  She wants to ride the middle to the end.  She’s playing both sides, but sometimes the guy in the middle of the road gets run over and I hope it’s her.”

Night 23

Tai’s interview: “I woke up in the middle of the night and I said: “You know what?  I am committed to the boys.  I was upset when Scot put out that big fire, but it’s necessary for me to step back from what I’m feeling compassionate.  I like them but at this point, if this is war, we are going to make the other side uncomfortable.  So, I decided to put out the fire.  Right now, it’s them or us.  The evil side of me rarely come out but it does.”

By morning, Joe and Aubry could only witness that the fire was dead.  Tai mischievously came up to them asking if there were any embers.

It’s true that criminals often return to the scene of their crimes!  Our FBI agent is not as clever as Columbo!

Aubry’s comments: “There is a part of the sabotage that is certainly childish but Scot and Jason were being deliberate today.  That was to throw us off the scent and to aim votes at them because they probably have idols.  My gut tells me with a big blinking sign that Julia has got to go.”

Talking to Aubry, Debbie was still targeting Scot.  Aubry reasoned that Scot was smart so that he didn’t do all the sabotage because of his temper.  He was trying to shake them up so that they would go after him and Jason.  She told Debbie that they could flush all the idols out of the game if they voted for Julia. Debbie wouldn’t hear it. She told Aubry that she wasn’t going to vote for Julia.

Aubry’s next comment: “It’s killing me that Debbie is going with her emotions right now. Scot poured water on that fire because he wanted a reaction and I want to tell Debbie:“You are being emotional but you have to be logical right now. Deb is putting her foot down and I’ve gone with her on a lot of things, but I believe firmly that Julia needs to go home.”

We know Scot put out the fire because he was angry, but they do have idols, so, even if Aubry is wrong in her estimation of Scot, she is right in her appraisal of the situation.  There would be other weird twists in this vote, not the least of which was about to unfold as soon as Julia won immunity.

The Immunity Challenge

Jeff gave us some comments that sounded like foreshadowing:

  • “Jason is the first to have a total disaster.”
  • “Scot loses everything.”
  • “Tai loses everything. He’s out now.”
  • “Aubry makes a big move and loses everything.”
  • “Cydney completely out of it.”
  • “Suddenly Scot and Jason are back in this, out of nowhere… Jason, for the win…No! Jason can’t do it.”

He also delivered some teasers regarding our contenders.

  • “Scot…is giving Michele a nice opening towards the end.”
  • “It is now Michele, Debbie, and Aubry very close to the end.”
  • “There she goes for the win… She’s good so far…but no! Michele can’t do it.”
  • “It’s Debbie’s to win…She can win it with this block…Debbie is going to give it a shot for the win…Here she goes…No! Debbie falls short!”  (I’ll say!)
  • “Julia for the win…She does it!  Julia wins immunity.”

Aubry had a confessional: “The worst possible thing happened: Julia won and my whole plan that I was positive of went out the window. Just out the window. What do I do now?”

Aubry’s decisions have certainly carried a lot of importance this season.  She’s appeared indecisive at times, but she keeps moving forward.  I think we will hear her asking that same questions a few more times.   

Day 24 Scrambling

Debbie threw it to her group:  Her plan was to split the votes between Tai and Scot because Jason was expecting votes.

Aubry’s reaction:  “Oh, no! Debbie says this is the plan right in front of Julia and that really scares me. In this scenario, the vote would be three for Scot, three for Tai and three that the boys decided but Julia has been playing double-agent pretty well and if one person goes awry the whole things blows up and somebody you didn’t want to go home– totally gone.”

Angry Bird!

“Angry Bird!”

Mark the chicken decided it would be Cydney!

As Aubry predicted, the double-agent went to communicate the plan to the boys.  Scot relayed Mark’s plan to Julia: “Vote Cydney and that’s the end of it.”

So Mark the chicken is the Brains of the boys’ alliance!

Scot’s interview: “If Julia decides to be our little guardian angel and hopefully she votes Cydney, it will go 4-2-3 and Cydney goes home, but if Julia decides to go with the group she’s with we are pulling out all the stops, we are saying we have idols.  We are pulling out everything we can think of to make sure we stick around.  We don’t have an option.”

Cydney and Aubry talked about their predicament.

Aubry’s comments: “Debbie isn’t listening to any logic. She completely trusts Julia and this far into Survivor I need someone who is logical and I know is not going to change course.”  She found that person in Cydney so she told her she was considering cutting Debbie loose. Cydney was not against the idea. They thought they could even rally Joe.  Aubry’s interview continued:  “This is extremely difficult for me.  I don’t want Debbie to go but when people show me who they are, that’s what I am going to go with.”

The difference in treatment between Aubry’s decision to cut her strategic ally and Michele’s last week is quite noticeable.  We heard at length Aubry’s reasoning and calculations.  We also saw the turmoil the decision caused.  It’s far from the impulsive impression that Michele gave us.  While Aubry was wrong to think she definitely had Joe for this vote, it’s still pretty obvious that Joe will stick with her afterwards.

Cydney’s interview: “Aubry and I are on the same page in terms of Debbie will take us all down before Jason and Scot will.  We can always take them out later.”

Now that will soon become the season’s main question.

Cydney brought the idea to Michele who said she didn’t think she’d see the day where they voted against Debbie.

Aubry and Cydney then brought the plan to Joe who wasn’t as receptive.  He flatly refused to consider it.

Joe’s interview:  “Aubry said: Should we take Debbie out, but there is no need for that because we have such a viable force going.”

Cydney told Aubry that they needed to stick with the plan to get Debbie which meant they needed to get Julia to vote with them.

Aubry’s interview: “Right now, we need to talk to Julia and that’s pretty scary because now Julia, the person I wanted out, is the person I need right now.”

It’s pretty ironic when we consider that the plan to get rid of Debbie originated because she trusted Julia too much and now Aubry and Cydney needed to trust Julia in order to get Debbie out!  Of course, it was easier to get Julia on board because this vote was going to save Scot.  That’s a good example of emotional intelligence.  Aubry and Cydney understood Julia’s motivation, but will they be able to keep her in line for the next vote?

Cydney, Michele and Julia took a walk to discuss the plan.  Cydney exposed it after threatening Julia if she betrayed them.  Julia wondered if Aubry was in so Cydney confirmed it. The three shook hands on the deal.

Julia’s interview: “I definitely feel that having my hand in different alliances has given me a lot of power.  I have the power right now to send Debbie home and I have the power right now to send Cydney home.  Jason, Scot and Tai really want Cydney gone, I consider Cydney as a huge threat because she kind of talks to everyone, but Debbie is someone that I want gone eventually so it’s kind of who I choose to vote for.”

Julia should have realized that the source of her sudden power wasn’t her multiple alliances but that necklace.  It’s certainly good to have different alliances but only when you keep them secret.  At this point, I wouldn’t have left it in Julia’s hands.  Having separated her from the guys’ plan, Aubry, Cydney and Michele should have changed their vote.   The split plan idea was now useless since the guys felt safe with Julia’s vote so the three women could have voted Scot along with Joe and Debbie creating a 5-3-1 situation.   

Tribal Council

Debbie talked about the division in camp and the fact that their lives were on the line since they didn’t have their tools.

Jeff ignored the implied accusation that production was endangering people’s lives by allowing the sabotage.

Aubry agreed with Jeff that the guys were trying to create chaos to open up the game.

Julia said that the alliance that blindsided Nick was OK with her going with the guys.

That’s a poor choice of words. Instead of saying the alliance that blindsided Nick it would have been much simpler to say “my alliance”.

Debbie said she was completely fine with it adding that she was glad Julia had a good meal.

Michele told Jeff that Julia would show where her allegiance lies.

When Jeff went back to Tai about idols, Scot intervened saying they could tell all.  Jason liked that idea.  So Scot happily said: “Tai’s got an idol so he’s staying here tonight.”  Tai then showed his idol.  Jason stood up saying: “Wait a minute! Wait a minute!  That idol’s got a brother!”  Jason and Scot shared a high five. Jeff let out his patented “Wow!”

Joe leaned in towards Debbie asking if they were still voting the same way.  Debbie said yes.

Note that for a Tribal Council where a lot of whispering was needed, the boys were conveniently placed in the middle, blocking any possible huddles.

Jeff asked Tai if he was going to play his idol.  Tai said he would as did Jason who added they would play rock-paper-scissors:  “Winner gets to play the idol.  The loser is on the block.”  He would let fate decide who gets the idol and stays in the game.

Everyone looked confused except Aubry who leaned in and simply said: “Original.”

Stick to the Plan!

“Stick to the Plan!”

Strange that she would call it original since we never heard an alternative once they settled on Debbie.  Could it be that having convinced Julia to vote for Debbie they redid the math and came to the same conclusion I explained above?  If so, maybe they should have followed the guys’ advice, leaving it to faith.  Voting against Scot would have flushed the super-idol…or would have created a wedge between Jason and Tai if the gardener had decided to sit on the idol, leaving Scot hanging.

Michele said that Tai could give his idol to one of the other two guys, so they had to vote wisely.

Each player tried to find an ear that would listen.

Julia told Jeff she loved her necklace.

After “one of the craziest Tribal Councils” according to Jeff, everyone was ready to vote.

When Jeff asked if anyone wanted to play an idol Jason asked for a moment.  He and Scot stood up and Scot’s paper covered Jason’s rock.  However, Jason didn’t give his idol to Scot; he gave it to Tai who simply sat down.

The much talked about super-idol was ready to be played.  The guys had confused the women, but they were about to get a surprise themselves.

Jason, Scot, and Tai voted for Cidney.

Debbie and Joe voted for Scot.

Aubry, Michele, Julia and Cydney voted for Debbie.

As Nick said, the guys were safe for a while.

Jeff ended the evening after saying: “Rarely is there a theme as strong as this season and it’s very clear:  No matter how bad it seems it doesn’t mean you’re out, and no matter how safe you feel, it doesn’t mean you are.”

Indirectly, Jeff gave his seal of approval on the sabotage.  I wouldn’t have expected anything else even if production gives those tools as necessities.  He doesn’t care what happens as long as it’s good TV.

The Story

The super-idol had been explained so many times that it had to become reality before too long.  What’s worse is that the rule about the idol’s possession has been dropped.  The smile that Scot and Jason shared after handing all the power to Tai told us they knew he could not only play it after the votes were read but that he could hand it back to the one that needed it.   Yul and Terry would have been obliged to hand their idol off before Tribal Council if they wanted to protect someone else.  This level of protection is ridiculous.  However, it still would be quite advantageous for Tai to keep the super-idol for himself.  It would be extremely selfish and it would anger the two big guys so it would be very amusing to see.   You may wonder if he could do that in good conscience.  His conscience quickly gave him an excuse to sabotage camp so I think Tai would rationalize it by saying that the guys are despicable.   After every bad act, it’s our conscience that saves us because it gives us a thousand of good excuses of which we are the only judge.  At least this game gives the last word to the jury who will certainly judge those actions from a different perspective.  It’s funny that there are still viewers who complain about bitter jurors…

We saw images that Debbie and Aubry received medical attention during this episode but we didn’t see the doctor.

New Bandages

New Bandages

It confirms that the source of infection was at the original Brains camp but we don’t know if the situation influenced the vote.  If the medic gave indications that he was worried about Debbie’s infection then maybe that played a role in the decision.   Like Neal’s infection, her cyst was on a joint so maybe that worried the doctor more than the one on Aubry’s thigh.  The women could risk losing one player to the idol but not if another ally was going to be removed soon after.

The Characters

The Saboteurs

Scot:  He introduced the plan to make life miserable for everyone in camp and he led the charge.  I think that makes him the first “celebrity” to abandon the idea of being a role model in his quest to win this game.  The previous “stars” all seemed to favor honesty in order to protect their public image.  Hogeboom’s lie certainly doesn’t compare. Then again, Pollard never tried to be a role model for those kids who watch the NBA so why change now?

Jason:  Cydney is on top of his most wanted list and nothing but the immunity necklace can protect someone from an idol that can be handed off after the votes are read.    Of course, that only applies if the three guys are truly sharing the idol.  Will Jason regret handing his idol to Tai?  The next vote depends on the answer to that question.

Tai:  Will he turn into Gollum?  Now that everyone knows he has the super-idol, he will become everyone’s best friend so why would he waste it to save allies he wouldn’t need anymore?  Like his participation in the camp’s sabotage, Tai could find an excuse to keep the idol in his pocket.  This idol is so powerful that someone would have to be willing to fall on his sword like Phillip in order to flush it out of the game.  So the idol practically guarantees its possessor safety up to its expiry date.

The Girl in the Middle

Julia:  It was nice to see her trying to use deception to advance her game but the guys’ guardian angel was much too obvious to everyone but Debbie.  If the women don’t find a way around the super-idol then she’ll be the next to go.  If they are able to get rid of the two big guys then Julia will follow them out the door.

The Guy on the Outside

Joe:  This episode showed us a hard worker who stayed loyal to Debbie but the women talked to him before Tribal Council about their reason to vote against Debbie so I think he’ll stay loyal to Aubry and the women.

The Contenders

Michele:  Her reaction to the sabotage gave her a nice role in this episode but managing the situation with the means available isn’t really telling the guys that she doesn’t tolerate such behavior.  Like Scot said: They’ll just put out the fire again and find other fun stuff to do. Michele has always been in the loop but it’s never really her story.  She was introduced as a member of the Beauty Tribe’s women alliance but that was Anna’s alliance. The swap put her in the swing vote position but she was overshadowed by Nick during that time and her vote was never needed.  Since the merger, we’ve seen her become part of the new women’s alliance but we see that Cydney and Aubry are its driving force.  Michele’s thoughts about the game came into focus before Tribal Council when Nick was on the chopping block but the recap ignored her role in that vote.  In this episode, Julia became a big problem to the women’s alliance but we didn’t hear Michele’s thoughts on the situation.  She was Julia’s closest ally so it isn’t hard to imagine that her input was requested and we did see her joining the discussion but we never heard her comments.

Cydney:  For two episodes, Cydney has been at the center of the strategy so she could be gaining the momentum required to emerge as our winner.   It certainly helps her role in the story that we were told she was at the top of the guys’ most wanted list.  We will have to keep an eye on her but I still feel  that “Irritated Cydney’s” role is to blow up the game, not to win it.

Aubry:  I was so caught up in Debbie’s story that I didn’t give Aubry enough attention.   The Brains tribe was the tribe of interest before the three merged and its two main characters continued to drive the story since then. After being the underdogs, they quickly regained the upper hand only to suffer another reversal of fortune that caused a definitive break between them.  While the saboteurs were the main focus, the underlying story of this episode was Debbie’s folly and how Aubry would react to it. “What do I do now?” she asked. That question is often heard from the person in the swing vote position and we hear them asking it just as the tribe starts its journey to Tribal Council.  But it is also often heard from the eventual winner when they reach a critical point in the game.  Aubry has been asking herself that question from the start.  When Neal, Peter and Liz wanted to align against the older folks, Aubry didn’t actually join in, staying closer to Debbie and Joe than anyone else on the tribe.  When she saw Peter and Liz turning against her and Neal, she joined Debbie’s revolt.  After the swap we saw Aubry struggling with the decision to vote against Peter.  The merger brought Neal’s evacuation and it was presented as a prelude to Aubry’s elimination leading to more questions from our troubled player.  She needed Cydney’s action to turn the game against Nick but that showed her who she could trust and that she had to let go of her former protector, Debbie, who was going to bring them all down.  I might be an episode late in seeing it but Kaôh Rông has been Aubry’s story even if it hasn’t always given her center stage.  The premiere certainly gave us the hints that she would reach the end but the narrative adopted the same roller coaster ride as its favorite nerd, throwing me off the scent.  She’s had so many downs that the season should end with her reaching the pinnacle, the title of Sole Survivor.

*The lyrics are from the landmark Moody Blues album “Days of Future Passed”.

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