SurvivorSurvivor Caramoan

DECODING THE EDIT: A Poker Game on Survivor Caramoan

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This is how I saw the latest episode:

The recap reminded us that the Fans’ camp was filled with disorder. The only thing coming together was the couples’ alliance.

The Favorites had a clear division: Phillip’s alliance, Stealth-R-Us, was calling the shots, leaving Brandon, Erik and Brenda on the outside, looking in.

Brandon: “He is treating people like garbage and I don’t like that… Inspector Gadget thought he could pull his special agent tricks but you don’t want to fight with me.”

At the immunity challenge, the Favorites won easily.

With the Fans facing Tribal Council, Reynold was vocal about wanting Shamar off the island…but Sherri had other plans.

Sherri: “I want Shamar to keep annoying people because Shamar is my Phillip.”

She recruited Shamar and tried to persuade the tribe into breaking up the couples’ alliance.

<Allie’s name was proposed>

Matt: “I just need to make a decision and it’s not going to be an easy one.”

At Tribal Council, Reynold revealed his idol but it didn’t sway the tribe from voting out his closest ally.

The first thing I noted about this recap was that Laura received no credit for unearthing Reynold’s idol. Jeff didn’t say “Laura forced Reynold’s hand,” he just said that “Reynold revealed” it.

Sherri on the other hand, got all the credit for forming the alliance and coming up with the plan to break up the alliance. The only problem is that I am not entirely sure we should have been rooting for this outcome! Allie was relegated to the role of an extra to make sure we wouldn’t get attached to her (the same can be said for Hope) but there’s still too much negativity associated with Shamar for the audience to be happy with this result. It does tell us that Sherri is a player though. 

What little we heard from Matt wasn’t particularly promising. Maybe one could say that it’s good that he didn’t blindly go along with Sherri’s plan but we had hints of Matt’s indecisiveness in the previous episode and the recap focused on it once more.

Speaking of blindly following Sherri’s plan, we had Michael and the only thing we heard from him was that he was all right with eliminating Allie. Michael is still not portrayed as the mastermind that we were told to expect.  The picture we get from Michael is rather bland. Of course, we’ve had bland “gamebot” winners before but they were shown as making the decisions, not simply going along.   

For the favorites, Phillip isn’t getting any support from the editors because we were told that he treats people like garbage. The one saying that, though, is Brandon, and I’m not sure how much we should rely on Brandon’s point of view, especially this version of Brandon, the one who has stopped talking about God. Instead, we heard him speak in a high-pitched, almost satanic voice to threaten Phillip. The two should have a showdown and we expect that even the victor will come out of it mortally wounded.

A Poker Game

Gota – Night 5

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“I was sweating it”

Returning to camp, Matt had the first confessional: “I was sweating it, coming back to camp, because I was the one that was at the cross-roads of the two alliances and it took less than 30 seconds for things to hit the fan.(!)”

Reynold told Michael, Matt and Sherri: “We are not friends but we need each other to win…So game on!”

Shamar didn’t like that: “I don’t understand that the game just started because I didn’t get voted out!”

Laura then had a confessional: “The camp is totally in chaos. You’d think that since I saved Shamar’s ass, he could do us a favor and shut up, but he’s going nuts right now.”

Matt was now seen suffering from Shamar’s attacks.

Michael: “Shamar is getting more and more amped up. All this stuff that had been building up at Tribal and the few days prior, just started coming out and he was yelling at everybody.”

We saw Shamar going after Julia next.

Laura had another confessional that was presented as a response to the same argument but she had worn her buff around her head the first time while, in the second, she had it around her body. We can assume that she was now talking about another incident. Her confessional: “I know that he has been through a hell of a lot more than the rest of us have been. He’s had two tours in Iraq, I get that, but, at the same time, the part of Shamar that was fun has completely gone.”

Laura’s words contradict and overshadow Matt’s role. If she was the one who saved Shamar then Matt isn’t the only one that was at the cross-roads. Laura also gives us a reason for saving Shamar: He had been fun even if we didn’t see it. It’s slim, but it’s still a reason.  Michael’s confessional was strictly narration since we didn’t hear how he felt about Shamar’s actions or how he will react to him.

Gota – Day 6

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“Everybody knows that Shamar is freeloading”

Reynold (solo): “I pretty much got blindsided. I thought we were on the same page about voting Shamar off for not contributing at camp. Congrats to them; they got us.”

Eddie, also in interview: “Everybody knows that Shamar is freeloading and is being lazy and I think that Shamar is going to step on too many people’s toes on his own, and they will realize it’s time for him to go. I just want him gone.”

After we heard from his two main rivals, we followed Shamar and Sherri taking a walk in the jungle. She was telling him not to let Reynold and Eddie get to him because they’d be trying to ruffle his feathers.

Shamar told us that this was a childish, immature game.

Sherri: “You don’t run across Shamars everyday but, in my life, you come across people with that kind of attitude. I own several franchises so everybody that works for me is under, say, the age of 24. All I do is deal with snotty, teenage brats all day. I think I’m the closest one that understands how he thinks out here.”

This confessional shows in essence the difference between narration and personal development. Like Michael, Sherri told us how difficult Shamar is to handle but the editors didn’t give us the bland part of her confessional, the description of the problem, but the part that relates to her personal experience and how she reacts to it. She understands how he thinks and since we know he’s her Phillip, then we expect she’ll use him to her advantage.

Shamar then had a confessional: “I feel like I am the black sheep. I got into this game wanting the million dollars, but when I saw how people act, it’s really not worth it to me…I question how much I should be in this game.”

Bikal – Day 6

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“That just left Malcolm and I and we sort of gravitated towards each other.”

Phillip: “I am 54 years old. To be playing Survivor again; I am actually having the time of my life right now. 54 is just a number. In my daily life, I know how to take care of myself. I work out. For my age, to do what I do, is phenomenal. When I go to the gym now and play full court ball, I’m playing with men half my age. I have a little thing…Take a step back and all air baby (sic). I play with guys twice my height but they can’t believe what I do… “You’re playing pro NBA ball.” Not! It’s just that you are not used to the Larry Birds, the Magic Johnsons kind of moves. I’m old school!”

The kooky music theme that accompanied Phillip’s confessional told us everything we needed to interpret this scene. Someone should tell Phillip that the expression is “nothing but net”! Phillip’s Survivor game will end up like an air ball.

To the group, Corinne brought up the question of a swap and then had a confessional: “In our alliance of 6,  there’s an interesting dynamic. Andrea and Phillip have both played together and have a connection. Cochran and Dawn have both played together and have a connection. That just left Malcolm and I and we sort of gravitated towards each other.” We saw them go into the jungle to look for the idol while Corinne’s confessional continued: “He’s super smart, he went to an Ivy league school, he has his head on his shoulders and, you know, it doesn’t hurt to have someone good looking around.” (Tell that to the Fans!)

They soon found the idol which led to Malcolm’s confessional: “I finally got some power in my back pocket. I got an idol. Ha! Ha! I’m not thrilled that Corinne knows I have the idol. Of course, in a perfect world, I’d have it all to myself but Corinne does know about it and she is somebody that, luckily, I did have a good relationship early on in this game. Our wagons are hitched together because of this idol now, so either it’s going to work really well or we are going to burn down very quickly because she doesn’t go down without a fight.”

Giving Corinne a confessional at the start of the hunt for the idol could indicate that it will be more important for her than for Malcolm. However, the music’s theme, while a little more adventuresome than the one used for Phillip, was still was on the lighter side. It suggests that this idol won’t play a dramatic roleWhat makes this scene more interesting is that, in the very next one, Corinne will suddenly become a target. Such a montage isn’t without meaning. So, with Andrea targeting Corinne while Malcolm says that their wagons are hitched together, we have a nice conflict brewing. Will it only serve to build suspense for the Favorites’ next vote or will it be the game’s turning point by breaking up the key alliance?

Bikal – Day 6

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“I get to watch Survivor while I play Survivor.”

Everyone was laughing at Phillip and his “hat.” Corinne wisely said “All he needs is an audience.”

Phillip explained the cooling features of his new “hat.”

Cochran had a confessional designed to please the producers: “Back at home, I wait all week long for Wednesday night at 8:00 to arrive and turn on CBS to see what’s in store. When you are playing this game, every day is like Wednesday night at 8:00. It’s wild and that’s what I love. I get to watch Survivor while I play Survivor. For a Survivor nut like I am, this is a dream come true. The weird thing is it’s not normal for me to be surrounded by all these beautiful women who are, half the time, just wearing their underwear. That’s some sort of Freudian picnic, I think, but it’s real here.”

Cochran didn’t look smart wearing Phillip’s “hat” but what can we make of this? We know that the confessional was too flattering to pass up, but does it reveal anything about Cochran’s chances? It marks him clearly as a Fan and maybe that’s what will be the story of the season: To win, someone had to have the knowledge of the favorites but still be a fan.  Showing this confessional in voice over while the camera made him look as ridiculous as Phillip is a weird sign, but more on that later.

Andrea talked to Cochran: “Why are they, like, intensely talking?” asked Andrea about Corinne and Malcolm.

Cochran questioned Corinne’s loyalties.

Andrea, in confessional: “I learned from last time I played that you always have to be thinking. Even if you think you have a group and it seems solid, there could be better options and I really want Corinne out.” To an agreeing Cochran, she suggested replacing her with Brandon. Her confessional continued: “I don’t think she’d make a move right now but I want to get her out of here before she can get rid of me.” We then saw Andrea telling an interested Phillip about her doubts regarding Corinne and Malcolm. Once more, we heard Andrea in voice-over: “It’s hard because I don’t want to talk to the wrong person too early and it gets back to Corinne that I am thinking about something and then the target’s on me.”

Almost on cue, we saw Andrea talking to Brandon as Cochran sat next to them, watching Survivor as he’s playing it. Andrea asked if he would want to be with them.

Brandon was interested.

She asked him if he’d do anything?

He said yes, adding he wasn’t playing the same game he used to.

Andrea dropped a name: “Corinne.”

Brandon smiled: “I’m good.”

Brandon then had a confessional: “I’ve been told that I am safe…but it’s really sketchy because there is a voice in the back of my head saying: You’ve been done like this before. You’ve been coaxed along to believe that something is not true. I think that there is a bunch of lying going on” (we had a close-up of a smiling Andrea on screen as he said this) “because if they tell me that ‘Brandon, you are going out, you’re next’ I’ll pee in the rice, I’ll pee in the beans and I’ll burn the shelter to the ground. I’m going to try 150% in each and every challenge but if we lose and my efforts aren’t good enough for them to keep me around? By God! There is going to be hell to pay in camp.”

Gota – Day 6

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“I am not going to be the angry black man on Survivor.”

The scene started with Shamar saying: “My happiness isn’t worth a million. I am not going to be the angry black man on Survivor.”

In confessional, Shamar: “It really sucks if I have to quit this game, but is not quitting worth not being happy? It’s a no brainer to me.”

Laura told Shamar that she’d love for him to stay but that didn’t work.

Laura had a confessional: “I think because we are all such big fans of the show, we are all a little bit thrown back by the fact that Shamar would take it so far as to quit.”

Shamar told his tribe of the dark places he went after coming back from Iraq. Shamar then told us about seeing suicide bombings and friends in body bags while in Iraq. He continued talking to his tribe saying that people there were bringing him back to the angry place.

Sherri told him that he would regret leaving the game.

Sherri had a confessional: “I don’t know what it’s like in Iraq. I don’t know how many people he killed. I don’t know why he’s going to this dark place but I really believe that he is going to look back, if he quits, and, he’s not realizing what he is doing to himself if he quits.”

Sherri then took a different approach, telling him they could be down two members if he leaves and they lose the next challenge. “That’s the thing is that we’ll be down two if you quit.”

Shamar realized he had to be loyal to “his girls.” “You guys have been loyal to me so I feel I would be doing you a disservice to just leave you right now… I’ll fight for you guys a few more days.”

Listen to the sad, almost funereal music that accompanied all this segment and you know that the editors want us to feel sad for Shamar and his girls.  Even Eddie was shown giving quiet respect to the soldier. Most viewers don’t like players that yell all the time but we are being told that Shamar is more than just a loudmouth. I think we are being told that he deserved to be saved which would be a good sign for his alliance…even if someone in camp didn’t see it that way:

Reynold, who had observed the scene in silence with a smile on his face, then had a confessional: “I had my hopes up a little bit that Shamar would quit but, deep down, I knew he wouldn’t follow through with it. Then he turned it into this, like, Shamar is all about loyalty and made himself a hero for unquitting the game of Survivor that 50,000 people would line up for days just to get a chance to play. That’s no heroic move in my book. I am just going to play my game and Shamar is just going to be one of the factors in my game and I am going to deal with it.”

This time the music editor gave us nervous chords, violins hurriedly playing to a crescendo while Reynold said his last two sentences with Shamar shown finally laughing and resting quietly in the shelter. It seemed to tell us that Reynold is the one creating the disharmony in the tribe, that if he had handled Shamar differently he wouldn’t be in this unnecessary fight to the death. We can’t really argue against Reynold when he says that many people would line up to play this game until we remember that, by being a recruit himself, he jumped the line of all those who love Survivor. His job as Gota’s narrator only seems to be a part-time one, so maybe we should consider that Reynold can’t talk for the fans. 

Day 7 – The Challenge:

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“Bobby Jon goes crazy”

It wasn’t really highlighted on screen, but Corinne’s reaction at seeing the new Fans tribe was interesting. Holding both arms out, palms up and shaking her head she seemed to ask Allie who?  We’re asking the same thing and we’ve watched the show!

I noticed a few interesting things during the challenge:

  • Both Shamar and Reynold have goggles just before they start running. (Reynold has his behind his head) We cannot see what happened to Shamar’s goggles once he got to the cage. No one else had a pair so he must have simply lost them.
  • Michael slapped Julia’s hand before the race and tried to do the same with Shamar but the big guy ignored him. Michael’s frustration was underlined by a few quick flute notes.
  • Hope was shown a few times as if to make up for her overall lack of camera time.
  • Laura’s weakness during the swim was clearly noted a few times by Jeff. We even had a camera shot to show that Reynold had to go back to help her.
  • Jeff mentioned the weak swimmers on both tribes and we did see Cochran and Dawn having a hard time but Jeff didn’t mention their names.
  • Jeff noted that the fans did a great job moving the chest underwater but he also noted that they would need all nine to carry it on land. As he said that, we saw Laura hanging back, doing nothing.
  • We can’t know if it happened that way or not, but Phillip was successful on his first throw. Does that shed a new light on his basketball story?!
  • Brandon got the last toss in for the faves and, once the last piece of track had been pulled in place, he did a very good imitation of a “Bobby Jon goes crazy” celebration. ( http://funny115.com/v1/5.htm )

Gota:

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“In this challenge, I blew it.”

Shamar got into a fight with Reynold, saying he didn’t give him goggles, but we know Reynold had his own pair. Reynold didn’t take Shamar’s goggles but many viewers will assume he did.

Michael pointed out that it wasn’t the reason for their loss.

Reynold had a confessional: “Shamar goes off…and curses me and calls me names. He is less mature than my nephew…How much does he have to do for them to say enough is enough, let’s just vote him out?”

In the jungle, Laura had a discussion with Sherri and Matt. She told them she sucked at the challenge. Her confessional was inserted here.

Matt told the two women that they needed Reynold and Eddie.

Laura said that they could give the idol to Hope.

They agreed with Laura’s suggestion to split the votes; the three women in the alliance would vote for Hope while the three men vote for Eddie.

Laura’s confessional: “In this challenge, I blew it. I couldn’t swim as fast as everybody else. Frankly, it was pathetic and I know it was but it also means that of the three that are on the outs right now, we need to keep Reynold and Eddie as long as possible to win some of these challenges. That’s why tonight it should be Hope, but, if this game was about physical strength, they would be looking at me.”

Back in the shelter, Sherri gave the voting instructions to Shamar.

Sherri had a confessional: “I’m the one that is controlling Shamar. I am keeping him calm. I just need Shamar to keep his mouth shut until we, one by one, knock them out. Reynold, Eddie and Hope. Hopefully, it’s Hope tonight.”

Shamar didn’t keep his mouth shut when Hope joined him in the ocean.

She told him she was just trying to enjoy her last moments in the game. Hope’s confessional was placed here.

He told her he’d rather keep her tonight. He added that she wasn’t 99% in the hole though and that he wasn’t voting for her, that she should vote for one of those guys.

Hopes confessional: “You know, I’m concerned that I am on the chopping block tonight. Reynold is safe because he has the idol and I can’t see him giving up his idol just because it’s such a risky move.”

Shamar had a confessional at the end of this scene: “When Hope came down to the water, you know, I get along with her better than I get along with Eddie and Reynold so I naturally want her to stay so I tried to give her a hint at what would save her fate. We are going to split the vote tonight between her and Eddie so I basically said all she had to do was vote for Eddie to save herself but I don’t know if she is going to take heed or not.”

This last scene told us that Sherri doesn’t control Shamar entirely. His mood improved but he didn’t keep his mouth shut, endangering her plan. Will Shamar be Sherri’s downfall, or was this the signal that Sherri needed to see before getting rid of him?

Hope certainly didn’t understand how simple Shamar had made it for her because she went to talk to Julia, telling her about Shamar’s indiscretion.

Julia didn’t miss a gear and quickly told Matt and Sherri that Shamar had spilled the beans to Hope.

Julia in confessional: “Shamar drives me crazy in every sense possible and I couldn’t believe that he blurbed what our plan was, but I don’t think he cares about the game.”

Laura was soon informed of the new development. It led to another confessional: “Shamar, at this point I believe, is a complete wild card. I am in a pretty rough spot because, if those three do have the idol, I am worried that, if something were to go wrong, it’s probably my name that’s on the chopping block.”

Laura showed she was quick on her feet because we saw her talking to Reynold, promising him that she and Julia could vote against Shamar. She added: “There’s three of you and there’s two of us. That makes five and we just need five to get the vote. I’m absolutely in to get Shamar tonight.”

Reynold had a confessional: “This game has changed in the last hour. The latest development, which I have a very good feeling about, is that Shamar is going home. This could be an epic Tribal Council. If anything goes awry tonight, I may have to pull some crazy moves with the idol, but hopefully we send Shamar packing tonight. It would be like Christmas.”

Tribal Council

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“…a sign of what is to come: More dysfunction. Or two, as an opportunity to change your story.”

Reynold told him that he was confused but that he could hear Shamar screaming from a kilometer away.

Put on the hot seat, Shamar said he was yelling directly at Reynold about his failed plan.

Asked if he was often misunderstood, Shamar said he wasn’t usually.

The camera showed us Sherri as if she understood him and then Hope who didn’t.

Asked about the liars, Shamar pointed to Reynold.

Hope told Jeff that Shamar had said she was 99% sure of going home.

That infuriated Shamar because he had said the opposite, that it wasn’t 99% sure she was leaving.

Matt said Shamar gets aggravated really easily.

Julia agreed with that because he screamed at her, saying she was weak.

Shamar denied that happening.

Jeff said Shamar had gotten into a fight with Julia, Matt, Hope and Reynold in the last minute.

Jeff asked Sherri about Shamar.

She told him that she knew lots of Shamars so she gets him. “Once you cross him, you just can’t go back and they’ve crossed him so in his mind, that’s it.”

Changing the subject, Jeff asked Hope if she was concerned about the vote.

Hope said she was the next on the chopping block. She told Jeff that she would vote against Shamar because of his negative energy.

Eddie said he felt a target on his back even if he didn’t get votes the last time.

Asked about the idol, Reynold said it would be a poker game until he either plays it or gets voted out.

The votes were split 3-3-3 and, on the re-vote, the alliance went against Hope as planned.

After Hope left, Jeff said there were two ways to look at the vote: “One, as a sign of what is to come: More dysfunction. Or two, as an opportunity to change your story.”

The Story

Although it was only mentioned by Reynold about his idol, it seems that this whole season is turning into a poker game.  Even if alliances are set, people are checking their hand, raising the stakes, folding or going all in very early. Of course, a few don’t even have a seat at the table, they are only cards held by the real players.

Compared to the first two episodes, we didn’t see Bikal after the challenge. Was Bikal ignored only because there was so much drama at Gota? It’s possible. We’ll have to see what happens the next time Gota wins a challenge: If they are shown enjoying their reward, then we will be able to say that they are the tribe of interest, the one that contains the winner.

The Characters

These Players have Folded: Will they Get a New Hand?

Erik and Brenda: The recap told us that they are both outside the alliance so they could easily be portrayed as underdogs. Both have a fair number of Fans who would get more involved in the season if either was given a role. The fact that neither was heard in this episode should tell us all we need to know: They are not needed to set up the drama. It wouldn’t be surprising to see one leave the next time Bikal goes to TC while we wonder if the alliance breaks up. The editors looked at these two cards and threw them back to the dealer.

Julia: She doesn’t have more of a story, but she is a useful card in Sherri’s hand. Her interventions served only to complain about Shamar.

The Wild Cards:

Brandon: From being the next one on the block, Brandon got a late invitation to join Bikal’s big money table. Andrea thinks he is the card she needs to raise the stakes, but she is close to Phillip, so that tells us that Brandon may not go with her. We heard him say  “I think that there is a bunch of lying going on” and we know that he isn’t comfortable…(let’s say comfortable), following a beautiful woman. Is that why the editors focused on her smile when he talked?

Shamar: He said he would fight for his girls a few more days so the question of quitting will probably return to the surface. What would happen in a swap where Shamar winds up on a tribe with Reynold or Eddie but without Sherri? Even if it doesn’t come to this, I doubt that Sherri will be able to keep her alliance together while “Shepparding” her Phillip. I even doubt that she will want to keep him now that she saw he could make his own plans.

They’re All In:

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Andrea will be a player to watch for the long run.

Reynold: He has made it a personal fight against Shamar, and even if we can agree with him on many points, there seems to be indications that Reynold is also to blame for Gota’s mess. We’ve had many reminders that Shamar is a war veteran, so it’s hard to side with someone who doesn’t respect him. Compare Reynold to Eddie who has shown respect to the soldier and you see why I think Reynold won’t be a long term player. He has put all his money on his idol and his challenge abilities, but his whole story is tied in with Shamar. He has no future without Shamar, but he doesn’t want Shamar to stay!

Eddie: Just by association with Reynold, his future looks bleak, but just like he survived a tie vote, Eddie could reclaim his money after a tied hand! In this case, it would be a tribal swap that would separate him from Shamar and Reynold. That sort of reshuffle is his only hope. Still, Eddie has been shown as a Dumb Player so a reprieve, while giving him more longevity in the game, would probably not lead him to victory.

Andrea: I thought that the 4 votes she received during Bikal’s Tribal Council would frighten Andrea, make her play it safe. I was quite surprised and pleased to see her pushing the issue, using BR rule number 3 to go after someone in her alliance before she could go after her. Unfortunately, the editors let us hear that she was afraid of talking to the wrong person, someone who would take the information back to Corinne and, immediately after, we saw her revealing her plan to Brandon. If he isn’t the wrong person, who is?  Editors love irony and this is a way they set it up. It seems that Andrea risked too much, too soon, but if she wins this hand, Andrea will be a player to watch for the long run.

Waiting for the Flop: Their Hands aren’t Bad but…

Michael: For someone who was supposed to be a strategist, we haven’t heard Michael’s thoughts about his own game for two episodes now. We heard him as the voice of reason only after the challenge which makes him more of a narrator than a player.

Matt: He was supposed to be close to Michael, but Matt is always seen with Sherri. Their connection as parents seems to have gelled and it’s good for Matt’s immediate chances, but what about the long run? It’s presented as her alliance; he only got in at the last minute and, when he did, “… it took less than 30 seconds for things to hit the fan.” How can we not see it as a bad omen that he, as a fan, did something that hit the fan?!

Dawn: It’s strange that she was the only one who wasn’t shown talking to Andrea about the plan to eliminate Corinne. It sets up a situation where Dawn will have to decide where her loyalties lie, and she may find herself at odds with Cochran again. Will the new Dawn prevail? The editors wanted to keep us in the dark about her intentions because we didn’t hear from her at all in this episode. That’s worrisome, especially after an episode that wasn’t particularly good for her.

Raising the Stakes:

Corinne: First, she got into the alliance quite easily and now she finds herself with a strong pair in hand. By giving her a confessional during the quest for the idol, we can say it’s almost as much hers as it is Malcolm’s. She may be the one who is saved by the idol, but it’s interesting that as soon as her story took off, she was put on the chopping block. I take this as a sign of a very short story arc because Andrea’s story has received more investment.

Malcolm: Finding the idol gave him new powers, so he’s made an alliance inside the alliance by hitching his wagon to Corinne. He realizes that it’s risky, that Corinne’s temper could cost him, but he is the go-to-guy in the challenges, so he’s not in immediate danger. Since he is the favorite among the Favorites, I find something lacking in his story, though. If he were to go as deep in this game as in the previous one, we would be seeing a lot more of his confessionals.

Laura:  Realizing that her showing in the challenge could put her in danger with the “pretty people,” Laura made a big move and went to Reynold with the idea of eliminating Shamar. Did she ever consider voting against Shamar? I doubt it. I think she only wanted to make sure she wouldn’t receive votes, so she lied to Reynold, giving him, Eddie and Hope false hope. While it was a great tactic for this round, was it sound strategy? Reynold will certainly press her on the issue which would likely lead to everyone finding out about her move. Even if she convinces Shamar that she didn’t cross him, even if she convinces Sherri that she never intended to go against the plan, she’d still stand out as a thinker, a dangerous strategist. She should have stayed with the role of smart observer instead of showing this early that she is a high roller.

The Chip Leaders:

Phillip: As is the rule when someone is chip leader, Phillip is showing calm confidence and he isn’t worried of making big moves. He’s interested in getting rid of Corinne if she is threatening his position. He isn’t afraid of a confrontation with Brandon. Right now, Survivor is fun and he can relax, talk about his prowess on the basketball court, compare himself to Bird and Magic! Could Phillip be too confident? What do you think!

Sherri: At the other table, this chip leader isn’t confrontational. She has her lightning rod and is simply moving forward, collecting the small pots and avoiding the risks since it is way too early to go for the kill. She says she controls Shamar but we were shown that the big guy doesn’t keep quiet. Still, it never came close to threatening Sherri’s game, so we’d expect that Shamar’s indiscretion will hurt Shamar and only him.  As the Fan who seems to be playing with the assurance of a veteran, Sherri looks to go deep in this game.

The Observer:

Cochran: Despite the weird visuals, I liked Cochran’s confessional because it gave him a clear role: He is the Observer. Laura’s opening confessional told us that a strategist needs to be an observer first. We saw the importance of observation when Laura discovered Reynold’s idol. The character who has been constantly shown observing the others’ strategy is our fanatical Survivor viewer, Cochran. We saw him talking to Dawn in episode 1 and he observed that she had become a new player. He participated in the talk between Brandon and Phillip in the second episode and he told us that Brandon was too unpredictable. In this episode, he became Andrea’s sounding board and he observed that Corinne and Malcolm were too close and he questioned Corinne’s loyalties.

Cochran is observing everyone while they play their cards.  What an advantage to know what the others have in hand!  The veteran who plays with the enthusiasm of a fan could be really dangerous down the road…if Cochran plays his cards right!

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