The recap started at the swap with Jeff telling us that, at Bikal, the Favorites had a numbers advantage over the Fans but it couldn’t mend an old feud between Corinne and Phillip.
(We heard Corinne saying: “I would like to dump Phillip as soon as possible.”
Phillip was also heard: “Corinne consistently has conversations with Michael and, to me, that’s unacceptable.”)
While the new Gota tribe was riding high, Malcolm was gathering information (we see the part where Reynold told him he had the idol) to plot his next move alongside Erik, Eddie and Reynold.
At the last immunity challenge, Gota continued their impressive winning streak.
After Phillip didn’t deliver a win for Bikal, he claimed losing was all part of his plan to take out Julia, the weakest of the Fans.
(We heard Cochran reacting to Phil’s news: “It’s complete crap.)
We then heard Cochran proposing to split the votes which Corinne refused. “I want Mike to work with us.”
Phillip’s feud with Corinne made him consider taking out her newest ally, Michael.
At Tribal Council, Bikal went along with Corinne and unanimously voted out their weakest member.
Once more, Jeff takes us for fools who don’t remember a thing! Before eliminating Julia, Bikal split the votes. That wasn’t part of the recap and Jeff’s words tended to make us think that Corinne had more influence than Phillip.
Also, does anyone truly consider that Gota was on an “impressive winning streak”? Ever since the swap gave them all the good challenge performers, they’ve been on a pre-determined road to victory and the merge.
The only thing that the recap showed honestly was that Corinne’s problem with Phillip was personal (I want him gone) while the Specialist gave us a good reason to target her, seeing how Corinne was getting so close to Michael. Corinne should have known to be more discreet with her gay friend.
Bikal – Night 19
Michael received congratulations from everyone.
Corinne had the first confessional: “Tribal was this whole rigamarole of splitting votes but obviously, I did my job. I made sure Michael stayed…It was beautiful.”
At least Corinne can say that she had one beautiful TC because she certainly couldn’t feel so happy after this upcoming one! Displaying Corinne’s hubris spoiled the outcome of the vote but we still had a fun episode at her expense!
Phillip asked to talk to Corinne and Dawn so the trio went out for a walk in the woods.
He told them he threw the last challenge.
Afterwards, Dawn and Corinne talked, realizing that embarrassment was the reason behind Phillip’s lie.
Corinne had another confessional where she told us she knew that Phillip was lying. She said he simply blew the challenge. Her confessional ended thus: “It’s time like these that you realize that, yes, he is a very loyal alliance member but he is so cuckoo for Coco Puffs that there’s no question that Phillip has to go.”
Bikal – Day 20
So we have another episode where the first two scenes are at Bikal. That reinforces the idea that Gota isn’t the tribe of interest, the tribe that contains the winner.
The scene started with the tarsier looking down and listening to what Corinne had to say.
She was talking to Phillip: “I don’t think most of the Fans have a brain. I think only Michael does.”
Phillip replied: “I don’t know. I can’t judge them until I get around them.”
We see that, like the tarsier, Cochran is also listening.
Corinne insisted: “I don’t think they are savvy players at all.”
Phillip warned: “Try to avoid any one off conversations…We have a beautiful thing going on right now.”
Cochran nodded in agreement.
Dawn was also present and she then gave us a great confessional (you could hear the tears in her voice and the music was somber): “It’s day 20 and we are anticipating a merge soon. I tried really hard this time to play like it’s a brand new game but this is about the point where I played last time and the game fell apart for me. Within a two day time period, Cochran had flipped and everything changed. It is kinda funny that I cry so much but it’s almost impossible not to cry when I think what a million dollars could do for my family. I have six children, that’s college, that’s life changing for their future. There’s so much on the line. I want to make sure I don’t sit back. Last time I let my game go to heck: I let Cochran flip, I didn’t tell anyone, I didn’t change the outcome for me. You need to be a decision maker in this game, you can’t let the game happen to you. You have to be the one that makes the decisions. Those are the people that win.”
This is the type of confessional that we had been waiting from Dawn, equal parts emotions and determination. As for its content, we know that decisions can cost you the game more rapidly than earn you the check but, this season, the winner now has to be shown as THE decision maker. It’s interesting that we’ve had conversations regarding Dawn and Cochran’s interactions: They are both shown as making decisions and following the other’s lead almost simultaneously! Let’s keep an eye on this episode’s decision and how in unfolds.
Gota – Day 20
The cameramen had forgotten them but at least Vincent’s captain remembered where they were!
We joined Gota when they saw the boat approaching.
Someone had a confessional: “I don’t know what’s going on but something awesome is about to happen. (I had to see who it was because the voice didn’t sound familiar. It was Erik, yes, Erik was commenting on the situation): “These cool dudes in their Vincent boat just pulled up.
Erik didn’t have many confessionals but this one just had to make it on air. Imagine: His words about the merge were also perfectly applicable to this evening’s vote. Erik didn’t know what was going to happen with that vote but it was going to be awesome too!
On a side note, Brenda’s limp was quite noticeable when she got out of the shelter. She was hopping only on one leg as she cheered the good news.
Andrea’s confessional was chosen to tell us the news: “We’re thinking merge time,. Baby! I’m ready to get back to Phillip, Cochran, Dawn. I haven’t seen them in a while and now that it’s an individual game, I have to worry about everybody. It’s exciting but I have to be on my toes.”
When the boat approached Bikal’s camp, Cochran gave us his thoughts: “Seeing the boat told us that the merge had arrrived. It’s always the part of the game that I get excited about.”
Other confessionals followed:
Corinne: “It’s kind of nice because you’re getting sick of talking to the same people over and over again.”
Reynold: “I didn’t know what kind of welcoming we were going to receive but everyone came running on the beach and they were like friends. It’s ironic because we have been so much at each other’s throats, Fans versus Favorites but we got a nice warm welcome.”
The camera showed very few personal greetings something that has served as clues in prior season. Here, we saw Phillip greeting Reynold, Brenda giving Cochran a hug and Sherri talking to Michael.
Then it was time for the feast.
Confessionals continued with Michael: “The first thing we do is go right for the food. Dawn goes into mom mode and starts making sandwiches, cutting the cheese, literally cutting the cheese.”
Sherri was on screen when Dawn said: “You guys had such a hard first half of the game.”
When Malcolm proposed Enil Edam as tribe name, Andrea promptly reacted by saying it meant “new beginning”.
The name was Malcolm’s inside joke so Andrea and Michael reacting favorably to it made them look foolish. It’s always interesting to see who the editors show falling for the gag. Eliza and Jason were the ones that said they loved Dabu and we know what happened to them. We knew Michael wasn’t an end game player but Andrea? Well, she had been on a good course from the start so maybe a “new beginning” isn’t what she needed. It could be the start of a downhill skid for her.
Malcolm explained that the name was “Madeline”, his mom’s name, spelt backwards: “I wanted to give her a little shout out.”
Corinne: “This is the dumbest name ever.”
(I still think Nobag was worse)
Phillip went into the woods with Andrea and they agreed on their four with Cochran and Dawn.
Phillip added: “When you go to bed at night, pretend you are Boston Rob because that’s what I do. We can win this. One of us four can win this…As long as the powerful men from the Fans side go first. One thing I know about Corinne is that the people she would go to would be the Fans.”
Andrea: “To me personally, this first vote is not a huge deal. I feel secure in my alliance and my alliance within an alliance but it’s just a lot scarier now because it’s individual and people start getting hungrier and they want to start making moves and this is the time. People start scrambling and when you scramble, anything can happen.”
Next, Corinne and Malcolm talked, Corinne saying that Phillip was awful to her.
Malcolm: “I’m not planning on staying a very long time sticking to the six.”
Corinne agreed but said they didn’t have enough people.
Malcolm confidently said he had 4 votes: “I have Eddie and Reynold in my pocket and Erik floats around but he’s on board with the guys.”
Corinne added: “I have Michael.”
Malcolm said: “We have 6”.
His confessional was inserted here.
Corinne continued: “I feel like Sherri is the easiest person to take out and keep everyone happy.”
Malcolm: “Yes, she’s weird. You’ll see it’s not comfortable dealing with her.”
Corinne: “We can quietly take Sherri out first and then take Phillip. He’s the head of this whole non-sense. As long as Phillip goes, this whole organization will follow.”
Corinne then had another confessional.
Malcolm’s confessional: “I haven’t liked this passive, plodding along game I have been playing with the Favorites and I have been looking to make my move. We have a very fragile six person alliance at this point and there is 12 people left in this game. That’s not a clear cut majority. If we can get through one vote and keep our numbers intact then we have the ultimate power to do whatever we want.”
Corinne’s interview: “The most amazing thing about Malcolm is that, in a five minute download, we can get entirely on the same page. We are going…to blindside the Favorites. I have yet to be involved in a blindside. It’s time. Blindside time!”
Irony at it’s best! The editors must have been on the floor laughing when they put this scene together. Just thinking how Corinne feels now that she has been involved in a blindside is enough to make us all chuckle.
Merged Tribe – Day 22
Cochran read tree mail and everyone knew what to expect.
Reynold: “Tree mail comes and what is it? My one weakness: Eating disgusting stuff. It’s going to be a true test and I guess it’s fitting: The time I need it the most, personal immunity, it’s going the thing that’s hardest for me.”
Eddie was thinking that being seen eating gross food will hurt his love life.
Cochran in confessional: “Eddie was worried that this might damage his dating prospects, that he is going to be viewed as someone that has partaken in something that is really gross, potentially alienating women. For me, I need imagery rehabilitation. This would add a wild streak to me, it might make me seem a little more dangerous. I think this is exactly what my love life needs.”
I don’t know Cochran but I think a million bucks would rehabilitate you in the eyes of a fair number of ladies!
We started of with Gervase’s favorite: Beetle larvae.
Andrea, Malcolm, Eddie, Cochran, Phillip and Michael moved on.
We then had ship-worms where Malcolm, Eddie and Cochran were faster.
The 3rd round had Denise’s favorite: Baluts! They got the better of Eddie while Cochran started showing a bit of swagger! Jeff couldn’t believe that Cochran was in the finals. “This is David and Goliath!” he said.
Malcolm replied that it was about eating, that Cochran was like Kobayashi. “What am I supposed to do against that?”
Cochran showed his confidence: “Bring it on.”
Final round was pig brains and Cochran won by a fraction of a second and he did a little Muhammad Ali dance to the crowd’s pleasure. Even Malcolm was applauding,
Cochran said he had been waiting his whole life to get that necklace.
Getting back to camp, Cochran received more praise.
The scene lingered on a little more than usual especially considering that Cochran hadn’t been in a do-or-die situation.
Malcolm called him badass.
Cochran’s confessional was heard here.
Someone then added: “You are a true Survivor.”
They gave him all high-fives.
Cochran’s confessional: “Today’s immunity challenge was a true Survivor classic. The fact that…the final round was between me, this little pip-squeak, and Malcolm, the golden god of this tribe, and the fact that I won! Hi-Hi-Hi! is dream fulfillment. The fact that I had this over-the-top, somewhat obnoxious, victory celebration because I know this moment probably isn’t going to happen again, any other individual having this sort of display of basically bad sportsmanship, it would have rubbed them the wrong way but somehow everybody seemed happy for me.”
Sitting next to Malcolm, Cochran said: “Now I finally know the thrill of victory!”
Malcolm had a confessional: “Cochran, of all people, won immunity today and I’m happy for him. I like Cochran but since, you know, I don’t plan on keeping him around that long, I’m glad we got this out of the way early so he can check one off the bucket list.”
It’s rare that we get to hear someone admitting he did something that lacked sportsmanship. Usually, the editors prefer to let the player look foolish knowing they won’t get the last laugh. Here, it seemed that Malcolm got the bad role being shown overconfident. His confessional showed his arrogance. For Cochran, we saw that everyone was happy for him so that bodes well if he ever needs their votes in the end. We know that winning the game is something he’d have on his bucket list.
Malcolm talked to Eddie, telling them about their numbers.
Eddie knew that Phillip would be gunning for him or Reynold.
Malcolm was stressing over the numbers.
Malcolm’s confessional: “I feel like I have got all my troops in line but the situation is very fluid and the only certainty is that we are going to Tribal Council. There’s a lot of independent, free thinkers out here. They are going to have to fall into line if this is going to work. Luckily, Corinne’s in my corner and she’s definitely a fighter.”
It was time for Phillip and Corinne to talk about the vote.
Phillip started by saying: “We do a split vote between Eddie and Reynold, thereby sending one of the two power bases home. That’s the most prudent thing to do.”
Corinne was adamantly opposed to the idea: “I’m not a big fan of split votes. Let me pitch something else to you: Eddie and Reynold and all of the Fans want Sherri gone. They don’t like Sherri. Why don’t we take Sherri out first and make it an easy first vote and then split the second vote?”
Phillip said he wanted a big fish to go home.
Corinne’s confessional was inserted here while she said she just wanted to have everyone voting together.
Phillip said: “I believe in playing like Boston Rob and getting rid of the power first.”
Corinne had a confessional: “I expected this was going to happen. Phillip’s talking about splitting votes and flushing the idol out but I want to avoid that at all cost because I am going to need Reynold and Eddie if I am going to take control of this game and I don’t want them freaking out. I was furious that he wouldn’t even listen to what I had to say…If I wasn’t already going to turn, that sealed my fate.”
Corinne really piled on the ironic remarks! She wanted to avoid a split vote and an idol flush “at all cost” and she did get it. The cost? Only a million dollars! This talk with Phillip did seal her fate when it could have opened up the road for her. Imagine: Phillip was splitting the vote 4-4 so only 5 votes were needed to take control of the game! Corinne should have realized that the only response to Phillip’s plan was: “You are a genius, Phil. Let’s do that!” Instead, she stayed fixated on her original plan even if targeting Sherri made her secret strategy very obvious. At the merge, you target the strong guys but since she wasn’t then she had to have a plan that included them.
Corinne then talked to Cochran, Dawn and Andrea about her refusal to split the votes adding: “I feel like Sherri’s an easy one.”
Andrea fell for Corinne’s plan, already considering how to convince Phillip.
Cochran was alarmed and he told us about the danger he saw to tribal unity.
Cochran: “Corinne was adamant that we not target Reynold and Eddie which I don’t fully understand but if Sherri goes, no sweat off my back. Sherri’s an easy vote and her elimination would lock the Favorites’ numbers in a way that would be irreversible. What doesn’t bode well is the fact that Corinne and Phillip hate each other and have a suspicion of each other that is unhealthy and, if the Favorites don’t come together, that’s basically admitting to the world, Fans included, that we are a dysfunctional group that doesn’t completely trust each other, that there are openings for them to enter and we’re apt to fall apart given the right catalyst.”
Just then, the camera showed in quick succession Reynold smiling in the direction of Malcolm who came next on screen appearing to nod to the Fan. That image was followed by a very pensive Cochran, his chin resting in his palm. Then we saw the tarsier looking over the next scene: Corinne talking to Eddie and Reynold.
The meaning behind the montage was clear: Even if Cochran wasn’t fully aware of the danger posed by Corinne’s plan to boot Sherri, he was starting to figure it out.
Corinne told the two guys about their numbers, adding that even Dawn could join them in eliminating Sherri. She said she hated Phillip and wanted to clean house.
That led to another hope filled confessional from Reynold.
Reynold: “I’ve hitched my wagon to this Malcolm and Corinne counter alliance and they are receptive to the idea of bringing some fans in and overthrowing the tyranny of lord Phillip of the high shelter. I’m just like: This is amazing! Obviously, Eddie and I have been delusionally optimistic through the entire game but, if this vote goes as planned, Sherri goes home, I’ll finally be in an alliance that’s calling the shots and I am definitely back in business.”
We had almost forgotten about Reynold being duped just before a vote! Once more, his optimism wouldn’t be rewarded. The game is rough on Reynold!
Dawn went for a walk in the woods with Corinne who expanded on her plan: “Sherri’s the easiest to get rid of…After this vote, if Phillip keeps treating me the way that he has, I want him gone. (We could almost hear Dawn’s groan) The reason it’s easy to get Phillip is because we can get anybody else behind that. Malcolm will do it…and Reynold and Eddie are ready to play ball.”
Dawn asked: “What about Michael?”
Corinne flatly said: “100% he’ll vote with us.”
Dawn realized: “That’s like 6 people.”
Corinne nodded and then added: “Erik.”
Dawn – “Erik’s in too so that’s like 7.”
Corinne couldn’t contain her smile.
Dawn had a confessional: “Corinne is suggesting that I join up with them and break up the alliance of the Favorites. I’m thinking: Here we go again. The last time I came into this kind of information and I didn’t share it with anybody. That was my downfall last time. I can’t repeat that same mistake.”
As soon as (the camera showed that) Corinne had her back turned, Dawn talked to Cochran: “I just spent time with Corinne…and she wants to blindside Phillip and the rest of the Favorites and she’s got the Fans to do it. Those guys are in her back pocket now.”
Cochran’s confessional started here.
Dawn went on: “They’ll vote out Sherri so we’ll be at 11 and they’ll still have 6. We should’ve been voting out Reynold or Eddie, which is Corinne’s doing. If I had numbers to vote her out tonight, I’d vote her out.”
Cochran simply said: “I’d love that.”
Dawn: “Sherri is a possible vote with us.”
Cochran: “Ok, I think we have Brenda.”
Dawn, counting out names realized: “Then it’s a tie.”
The second part of Cochran’s confessional was heard here.
Cochran: “Dawn just approached me very frantic, saying that Corinne let it be known that apparently she’s rallied this group of troops together that gives her the numbers and gives her post merge control of the game.”
The second half of his confessional: “Corinne, who I thought didn’t have a strategic bone in her body, she’s positioned herself in a way that we have been basically acquiescing to every single demand she’s made, so it’s a sobering situation. If we don’t come up with a plan, it could be devastating to my game and the games of my allies.”
From this scene we note that Dawn talked about the dangers of letting Corinne break up the alliance of the Favorites so, while she’s learned from her mistake, she’s thinking in terms of saving her group. Cochran is also considering the games of his allies but he has his own game in mind first. Up to now, the duo still doesn’t have a plan so no one could be said to have made a decision.
Cochran went to Andrea to tell her about the latest developments: “If we vote off Sherri tonight, it’s five versus six and they are going to vote off Phillip next. If we’re on the wrong side of the numbers, we’re dead.”
Andrea’s confessional was placed here.
Cochran: “Corinne is calling out every vote. If we can get Corinne it would be fantastic. Do you think it’s possible to do?”
Andrea: “If we can get Sherri and Erik, he’s wishy-washy. He could go along with what Malcolm says but he could go along with what you and I say too.”
The end of Andrea’s confessional was then shown.
Andrea’s confessional: “Everyone was on board with voting Sherri out and then I heard that Corinne is talking about possibly flipping and if she can pull all these people then we’re all screwed so she’s dangerous.” Later, she added: “It’s ridiculous to think that I’m counting on Sherri who is one of the Fans and even Erik of all people! He’s a huge question mark because he doesn’t talk strategy with anybody which makes me nervous because I have no idea what he’s thinking.”
Andrea talked strategy with Phillip: “Corinne; she has Reynold, Eddie and Micheal. She’s talked people into blindsiding you after Sherri which means that it’s me next. Why don’t we just get rid of her tonight?”
Phillip was on board.
Phillip: “My core alliance came through in a big way. Corinne, she’s running around telling everybody that she has a coalition to vote who? the Specialist! Out of the game. Me! Phillip Sheppard! How dare her try to get me out of the game. I’m the one who originally brought her in and I will not allow Corinne to take control of this game.”
The editors are giving credit for the decision to Phillip! Dawn and Cochran set the wheels in motion, Andrea relayed the information but her role was limited to asking Phillip: “Why don’t we just get rid of (Corinne) tonight? The buck stopped with Phillip! It continues the story that he is the boss of the organization even if everyone is using him.
Phillip then told Sherri she would change her fate if she voted for Corinne. He added: “This will tell me if I can use you again.”
Sherri had a confessional: “Phillip came up to me and said: “If you want to get further in this game, you need to vote out Corinne and come with us. I’m trying hard to stay in this game and I’m willing to make a really big move. The problem is that I can’t stand Phillip. He’s so arrogant.”
Wait…what? Sherri; you were willing to use Shamar as your Phillip and drag him 39 days. The real Phillip is proposing to drag you further and you can’t stand him? I think the lady just prefers being the boss! Unfortunately, she turned out to be a pawn and she was just saved from the game without us seeing anything to support her claim of working hard to stay in it. Too bad, we liked her story for a long time but it just withered at the swap and died at the merge with this confessional. If she was going to be the winner, we would have heard her thoughts before this, we would have followed her while she was socializing with Andrea, Cochran, Dawn and Phillip. Since we didn’t hear her thoughts or follow her actions at all then we are forced to say that she was simply handed a ticket to the next episode. We didn’t see her working hard to stay so we can’t say she deserved it.
We then saw Erik at play: “Just point me to the name” he told Andrea as they were deploying the tribe flag.
Andrea pointed to Corinne and that was good enough for Erik.
It’s true that he is used to customers just pointing to the flavor of ice cream they prefer and he is paid to scoop it up, not ask questions.
Cochran then had another confessional: “It’s quite disconcerting that my fate in this game right now rests in the hands of someone like Sherri, who’s desperate for some sort of footing in this game, and you have Erik, the ice cream scooper, a guy who doesn’t like strategy and someone who has proven himself previously of being incompetent at playing this game.”
Is Cochran underestimating Sherri and Erik? After all, the viewers could certainly say that Cochran previously proved he was incompetent at playing this game. Are we supposed to forget his terrible mistake in South Pacific? Or is this confessional showing some arrogance that will lead to Cochran’s fall? The only reason I can overlook this is by realizing that Erik and Sherri have both been portrayed as pawns in a season where the winner makes decisions.
Malcolm then approached Erik, telling him they have the numbers and will vote for Sherri.
Erik’s confessional: “Malcolm came up to me and said: “Vote for Sherri” but Andrea said vote out Corinne. I have no idea what’s going on but I feel like I’m the swing vote. So, I’m suddenly becoming a valuable player which is so cool. I just wish I knew what I was going to do.”
How “brilliant” of the editors to show only now Malcolm talking to Erik! They must really see us as being dumb enough to think it’s their first conversation in 22 days? Of course everyone now expects Erik to turn his back on Malcolm but if we had seen the two strong Favorites talking previously, even if it was only small talk, then we might have had more doubts about the end of this episode. If we had doubts then the vote could have been even more enjoyable but I guess some would have been disappointed at seeing Corinne leave. We were supposed to want this outcome all along so they turned the episode into a comedy instead of a drama. I appreciate the comedy but we could have had both with just a bit more care.
Jeff first turned to Michael, asking if a fan was going tonight.
Michael said that the Favorites were sticking together.
Hearing her ally say the words she had told him to say pleased Corinne who smiled.
Corinne then told Jeff that a situation was never hopeless adding: “If you come to me with a good idea, I will listen.”
That caught Cochran’s attention while Phillip put his palm over his face.
Asked about Corinne’s comment, Dawn said “The 12 of us aren’t going to be in the Final 3. It makes sense that we are trying to make decisions that will further us in the game.”
Cochran said he appreciated Corinne’s honesty.
Reynold said that now was the time to start making moves. “You have 4 more chess pieces to play with here.”
The camera showed us that there was a 5th piece, Erik the pawn.
Erik agreed with Jeff that there is always somebody on the bottom.
Andrea told Jeff that she was so much more paranoid this time around: “A lot of these people are really good at deceiving and are really good at lying.”
Corinne quoted Mike Tyson (?): “Everyone has a plan until you get punched in the face.”
Asked if there was anything a Fan could do at this point, Sherri flatly said: “I think the Fans don’t have a shot.”
Reynold said that things hadn’t come out at TC yet but that “the bubble’s about to pop really soon…There’s some shockers on the way.”
Again that made Corinne smile.
Jeff read off quickly 5 votes against Sherri but Corinne didn’t seem alarmed. You’d think that after all these years one would know that those votes were not the ones that mattered. Corinne only showed her concern when she saw a 4th vote against her. Malcolm, Reynold and Eddie also were seen reacting to the popping bubble.
When Jeff asked for Corinne’s torch, we saw a dumbfounded Michael, a smiling Cochran and a disappointed Malcolm. As she walked by we saw that Phillip and Sherri were happy while Reynold was still trying to figure out how he wound up in the minority again.
Jeff left them by saying: “I’m guessing this won’t be the last time someone is surprised at Tribal Council.”
The camera stayed with Sherri as the tribe left, suggesting she may be at the center of some of those upcoming surprises just like she was this time.
It’s rare that “Making Decisions” is a theme that leads us to the winner. Many seasons had opposite themes, just like the last one where we had Lisa’s comment: “We are not in control”. Of course, she was talking about Mother Nature being in charge but we knew it would apply to the game. It told us that being in control wouldn’t work out too well. Indeed all the leaders, Swan, Kent, Peter, Abi-Maria, Malcolm, Lisa and Mike, enjoyed their position on the throne for only a short time. Denise was never in charge but she knew how to roll with the punches, rope-a-doping her way to victory.
This season will be different as the winner needs to make decisions. If that is the case then I must tip my cap for once to the editors who continue to show Phillip as the CEO of the Favorites’ organization. To see the true decision-maker we must look below the surface and three candidates remain, the same three that have been at the top of our list of “suspects” from the start: Dawn, Cochran and Andrea.
They come in three groups:
– Those waiting for directions:
Eddie and Michael: Both were pointed in the wrong direction but this was a really bad episode for Michael. He only gave us a confessional about the merge, telling us that Dawn was in mom mode. We heard nothing of his decision to vote against Sherri, his long time ally. We didn’t hear his thoughts on what had to be an important decision for him. That’s another example that he won’t have an impact down the line.
As for Eddie we didn’t hear his thoughts either but that’s not necessarily due to editing choices: He could have room to rent upstairs.
Sherri: Being on the block, a player usually gets a few confessionals so it was quite telling to see that Sherri was being ignored until the very end. Along with all of Corinne’s overconfident confessionals, it didn’t leave much suspense at the outcome. Worse for Sherri’s future prospects, we heard that she was weird and she told us that the Fans had no hope. The lingering camera shot at the end of the episode could mean she is at the center of other surprise votes but she can’t win after such a poor merge episode. Maybe the reason why we heard that she can’t stand the real Phillip is that Phillip will consider using her as his own goat! It would explain why we heard that it was weird dealing with Sherri and why Phillip said he could use her later on. He now knows that no one likes Sherri!
Brenda and Erik: Of the two, Erik had a bigger role in this episode but he looked more insignificant than the cheerleader! We heard he’s wishy-washy, that he hates to talk about strategy and he doesn’t even ask for an explanation when told about the voting decision. You point him to a vote and he gives it to you like a good ice cream scooper.
Brenda, on the other hand, was shown as a more solid ally. “I think we have Brenda” said Cochran and they did as her reactions during TC showed. The problem with Brenda is that her limp is getting worse but no one talks about it. It could be that it is being kept quiet so that it can be presented as a “new” injury that forces her out of the game.
– They saw their bubble burst:
Reynold: He is sure having a tough time. This TC went exactly the same way for Reynold as so many others in the original Gota. Just like when Laura convinced him that Shamar was leaving, he must have felt certain that Sherri was going when he told Jeff that this TC wouldn’t be so shocking but that the next one could very well make the bubble burst. He almost has to be blindsided himself but how can he be tricked once again? At some point he should stop being “delusionally optimistic” but he seems destined to be fooled again. It should be funny!
Malcolm: I think it’s very troubling that we didn’t hear from Malcolm during Tribal Council. On one hand, he didn’t say anything that could be turned against him but it made him look out of touch as if the only important thing was to show that he had been outwitted. His earlier confessional about not planning to keep Cochran for long made him look arrogant so Malcolm’s story is winding down.
Those making Decisions:
Phillip: The Specialist was given the last word as far as deciding that Corinne had to go and she said that the whole organization would crumble without him. That means that Phillip should hang around long enough to make viewers nervous that he could win this thing. We have enough evidence though to know that Phillip isn’t really making the decisions, he just thinks he is! Even when he claims to make a decision, throwing a challenge for example, it’s obviously crap.
Andrea: She is a paradox, being both game savvy and naïve at the same time. We saw her strategic know-how when she quickly countered Corinne’s numbers but she fell for Malcolm’s fake tribe name and she didn’t think the merge vote would be important. I mean, she must remember Murlonio and how Matt’s second elimination cost her, no? The merge boot is one of the most important ones so savvy players cannot let others dictate their choice. Maybe innocence can explain this duality. If she starts to flirt with Eddie next week then we’ll know her story won’t finish in victory but even now we have serious doubts.
Dawn: She certainly corrected the grave mistake she had made last time but the montage made it look as if her role ended once she had relayed the information. It was as if her part of the decision making process was done: She had saved her alliance, her “children” so now the individuals in that alliance could think of their own game.
Typically, the ones edited as moms rarely win Survivor (Tina is probably the only true “Island-Mom” to win) because they are either voted out before the Final TC (Cirie and Holly for example) or their role seems too unimportant to earn a victory (Mama Kim and Cassandra) Some said Denise had the role of “mom” last time but the mom then was Lisa. Denise even said that she didn’t want to act motherly so she wasn’t edited as an “Island-Mom”. Unless next week’s recap credits Dawn with the decision to boot Corinne, I still think she will fall short of victory.
Cochran: Of the decisions-makers, Cochran was the one talking about his game. Once more pictured as an observer, Cochran was often there when the important conversations took place. He knew he didn’t really like Corinne’s plan and, while it took Dawn to tell him about Corinne’s ulterior motives, he reacted quickly and started taking counter-measures with Andrea. The camera showed him often during TC, telling us that this vote was his turning point. His challenge win showed us that he is well liked by everyone out there. That is a hint that he should get the votes in the end. After all, we already heard that he was a true Survivor, the David to Malcolm’s Goliath.