Welcome back, everybody. Tonight I feel like going back to my roots. I’ll back up a little bit. It’s the middle of November, close to the anniversary of the JFK assassination. I guess I was a real creepy kid, because the JFK assassination was one of my favorite movies and subjects growing up.
Oliver Stone’s 1991 JFK in my mind is a near flawless film. There were certainly liberties taken by Stone with some of the facts of the story, but as a stand-alone movie it’s a masterpiece. Yes, Kevin Costner like he did in Robin Hood, trots out a just reprehensible accent that at times almost takes you out of the movie, but just about everybody else in the movie is fantastic. Joe Pesci steals every scene he is in as the paranoid, crazy David Ferry. Kevin Bacon is at his most Kevin Baconest in this movie and Tommy Lee Jones sporting a stark white afro is a can’t miss in this movie, along with his full gold body paint, huffing drugs all-male orgy scene. It’s tough not to watch this movie and not think that there was certainly some conspiracy in the murder of JFK.
This season of Survivor reminds me of that movie. We have so much debate about who is in charge, who is making what moves, and how all of this is going to play out. You can make an argument maybe for five different people being in the pole position to win this season even though I think it’s really only three: Missy, Josh and Jeremy.
In the movie, it is basically implied that certain members of the CIA, FBI, and mafia, as well as the Cubans are all involved at some level or another in the assassination of our former president. This season, more so then I can remember over the past few seasons, feels like one giant conspiracy where nobody can be trusted, and you have people working together on a cause that maybe they don’t even know they are a part of, but I will get into that more below with the specific players of this season. What I want you to do is picture former President Kennedy as the Survivor winner’s trophy and all the players as suspects involved in assassinating or winning the game through series of overall moves that will have led them to winning the game. You, the reader or viewer, are going to be New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner), awful accent and all, trying to navigate through the mess of this season to try to figure out who is ultimately going to be responsible for claiming who deserves to be the winner of this season. Hopefully, nobody reading this is a Kennedy or related to a Kennedy, and everyone can stomach me making a metaphor for a reality TV show through one of the worst moments in our country’s history, the murder of John F Kennedy. Keep in mind, that obviously these comparisons are going to be a stretch, but try to be open-minded for your boy here 😉
Alec -Jack Martin
Wes- Guy Bannister:
Played by Jack Lemmon and Ed Asner, these two small-timers, in the big scheme of things, are perfect for Alec and Wes. Basically, can’t you see the both of them stumbling drunk to the camp and then fighting over something trivial like who gets the last coconut or not? In JFK, these two characters were peripherally involved in the conspiracy but completely on lower levels, especially Jack Lemmon’s character who basically was just a drunk who was at the wrong place at the wrong time and happened to witness things he should not have.
Alec is like this in my opinion; he’s been around and seen things but at no point would anybody think that he’s been able to see what is happening around him. His part of this conspiracy this season is basically just to be a human vote, and then when he’s not needed anymore, he will be never seen or heard from again. I think it’s humorous when he thinks he is calling the shots like tonight when he was talking to Keith about the plan to vote out Jeremy. How do people take him seriously? I think Alec’s best case scenario would be to continue to be the biggest douche this season, so much so that he gets taken to the finals by someone who knows Alec has no chance of winning, and then Alec can hope that the final two people spontaneously combust and he wins by default.
Wes, like Ed Asner’s character, is slightly higher up than Alec or his character. In the movie, Ed Asner plays Guy Bannister, a former FBI agent who was associated with the Bay of Pigs incident and also was linked to Lee Harvey Oswald. He also was kind of dumb and a little bit of an alcoholic, which kind of seems to describe Wes. I mean, did you watch Wes pound those margaritas tonight? I think Wes this season has chosen the patch of laziness with Alec instead of really pushing himself in this game. I really don’t think he has applied himself like maybe he could have if he had chosen better friends in this game.
Like Guy Bannister, Wes, I think, has a very minimal knowledge of what is actually happening in this game. Basically, he was given the first blue print, but since then the blue print has been completely updated and changed twelve or thirteen times so he’s really in the dark. I don’t think he’s as oblivious as Alec, but admit it, you have to stop and think about that for a second, right? I think his best case scenario is that he sobers up and realizes that right now he’s not a top target, and so he should be trying to maybe work with his dad and Alec to steal a couple more people to build a little secret alliance. The chances of that happening are very slim, yes.
Baylor- Liz Garrison:
Okay, so there were no video clips of Liz Garrison played by Sissy Spacek, but her character is the wet blanket, fly in the ointment. Liz Garrison struggles throughout the whole movie to be likable on any level, which is snarky, but you could make that argument about Baylor as well. Apparently she doesn’t do much around camp; she complains a lot and earlier in the season she ate too much food. I feel like, if it wasn’t for Missy, Baylor would have already been long gone or best case scenario would be a hostage in this game getting dragged to every Tribal Council until she is no longer needed. I feel like the “hostage” character is something that happens most seasons but goes unnoticed, but maybe one day if I ever go back to school, I will write my thesis on that.
Baylor survived a big scare tonight and most likely will be safe now for at least the next three episodes or so. I think Baylor’s best case scenario would be to continue to follow whatever Missy tells her, pipe down, maybe grab a log or two for the fire, and get dragged to the end with her mother. If anyone disagrees with my assessment of Baylor, please share below because I just don’t see it.
Small, but a memorable part for the late, great John Candy. Candy plays lawyer, Dean Andrews, a lawyer who was supposed to represent Lee Harvey Oswald. Spoiler Alert: Lee Harvey Oswald never made it to court, as he was gunned down by Jack Ruby. Dean Andrews, in this movie, appears to have some knowledge of the conspiracy and clearly has some intelligence. I think this is a good fit for Natalie. Natalie is clearly intelligent and appears to have some understanding of what the big picture is this season, but also she is slightly out of the loop. She’s an important piece on the board, but like John Candy, her role this season is of the supporting variety. Maybe in an alternative universe where Jon and Jackie kept Dale or Kelley, Natalie’s role might have been larger, but we will never know now, just like Dean Andrew’s role if Oswald would have lived to see a courtroom.
I think Natalie clearly is towards the bottom of the Missy/Jeremy alliance, so her best case scenario would be Jeremy electing her as his new ride-or-die partner and then at some point, once the rest of the boys’ tribe is wiped out and purged, stab Missy from behind and roll with Jeremy to the finals. Natalie wanted to be a part of the bigger conspiracy, but for whatever reason, has been regulated to a lesser role. Like John Candy, even in a small role, Natalie has proven to be very entertaining to watch.
Played by the star of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, I bring you Kevin Bacon, playing the part of jailbird Willie O’Keefe who was a “tell it like it is” type of dude. In the movie, Kevin Bacon plays a male prostitute who hangs out with a crowd of heavy hitters in the assassination planning. He’s a little crude and super-Southern, but you get the picture that maybe he is not all bad. He helps Kevin Costner’s character fill in some pieces of the conspiracy puzzle, but ultimately he wasn’t anything but a colorful character in a much bigger story. I think you could say the same thing about Keith. Keith might be the most colorful character we have in the season. Like Kevin Bacon’s character, Keith kind of knows what’s going on, but really doesn’t have the big picture or if he does it’s really not being shown to us. With the vote tonight and Josh now gone, the target next week may squarely be on Keith, especially since he temporally went insane and told Missy that he wanted to vote out Baylor. It was not Keith’s best moment this season. Kevin Bacon’s character in JFK tries to do the right thing, but in the end, his character is called into question and really anything he says is disregarded by the jury. Sadly, I think Keith is going to suffer this same fate.
I think Keith wanted to play a bigger role this season, but it’s just not in the cards for him, unless he can figure out a way to leverage his idol into a big move. It looks like next week it gets revealed before Tribal that Keith has an idol, which will probably lead to either his or Wes’s downfall. Keith’s best case scenario is to somehow flip this game on its head. He needs to use that idol and somehow swing Jon and Jackie back to his side to target Jeremy or Missy. Only with both of those players gone would Keith stand a chance. I enjoy watching Keith play the game, but I feel like his boat sailed away the moment Jon and Jackie made their move tonight. I hope I’m wrong.
Jon- Lee Harvey Oswald
Jaclyn- Marina Oswald:
I really think Jon will be our Lee Harvey Oswald, played in JFK by Gary Oldman, who plays the part so well that at times you actually think he really is Lee Harvey Oswald. In the movie, Oswald is portrayed clearly as a patsy in the conspiracy. There are so many questions about Oswald and his past that still linger today, but this is a Survivor blog, and Jon is our Oswald. Jon thinks he is doing well; he thinks he is in control of his own destiny in this game, but I think very soon he is going to be made into the “fall guy”. Can’t you totally picture Jon getting blindsided with a dopey look on his face and his hidden immunity idol in his pocket?
Like in the movie, Jon as our Oswald is getting set up to be the patsy. Because of this episode tonight, pretty much every player in this game can have an excuse to come after him; even Jeremy or Missy can play the “you’re in the middle, waffling and we can’t trust you card”. I don’t think that will happen next week, but I think very soon people in this game will come after Jon and he will be the Lee Harvey Oswald of this season. Jon’s best case scenario is to hope he can stay in the middle somehow unnoticed and pray that Jeremy and Missy turn on each other before turning on him. Then, he needs to win some immunity challenges and not play his own hidden idol until the numbers are down more.
I think Marina Oswald is a perfect fit for Jackie. The character in the movie is just basically a confused, timid mannequin controlled by other people. I don’t think Jackie spoke once on camera for the first three episodes. It was comical how Jackie acted tonight, as she is starting to act a little bratty. To my knowledge, she hasn’t done anything in this game to warrant any respect (game-wise) from anybody. She’s like the girl that, for some god awful reason, your friend brings to a pickup basketball game and says “I want to play” in an awful high-pitched girl’s voice and then proceeds to look severely mentally challenged playing and ruins the fun for everybody else. Yes, that is my Jackie Survivor analogy.
In the movie, after Oswald is killed, the FBI or CIA clean her up and reprogram her, and she says all the right things to the cameras and then she’s gone. I think once Jon gets taken out, this will be her fate as well. She will get cleaned up by Missy and Baylor, used to do their bidding and then will be taken out. Her best case scenario is watching Jon win the game somehow.
David Ferrie, played by Joe Pesci, is one of his most underrated roles in his career. In the movie, David Ferrie is one of the more central figures in the conspiracy; he is also the most paranoid and volatile. This description leads us to Jeremy. Jeremy has been one of the central figures in the Survivor conspiracy since he hit the island day one. In the movie, David Ferrie had connections with everybody from the CIA, mafia, Cubans and with Clay Shaw (who we will get to with Missy) who was the big badass in the movie. Jeremy, at one point this season, seemed to have connections with everybody in the game, although clearly now those connections have dissolved.
Jeremy, like Pesci in the movie, has had many moments of explosive paranoia, and I think it has hurt his game as it has made him seem less likable to people in the game and to viewers. It’s so weird how things played out with Julie quitting. It looked like it changed everything as Jeremy appeared to be a dead man. He goes from probably being voted out to winning the next immunity challenge, and now he has numbers on his side.
The thing is whether Jeremy will share the fate of Joe Pesci in JFK, where Pesci gets taken out for knowing too much. Will Missy turn on Jeremy? He is naturally paranoid, so I’m guessing Jeremy will be on full-alert from here on out, sniffing for backstabbing and other nefarious moves by players not in his alliance and players that are in his alliance. The question is whether he will be able to survive even if he knows it is coming. Jeremy’s best case scenario is to ride with Missy all the way and hope she doesn’t turn on him, and then when it gets to the final four, he needs to win a competition and take her out. Jeremy is fully capable of doing this, and I believe with Josh now gone, this season is a two-person race between him and Missy.
Played by Donald Sutherland, Mr. X has two of the most engaging scenes in the whole movie. In this movie, X basically lays out clearly the government’s involvement in the assassination.
He’s someone out of the game, so to speak, in the movie. He’s our human cliff note for Kevin Costner. Josh, sadly after tonight, is our Mr. X. He has known for some time how this game was going to unfold, but he was powerless to stop it. He came close last week, but Julie killed his only hope by quitting. Now Josh will hopefully be our best jury member, the one who will set aside any personal beefs and explain to everybody how and why this season unfolded the way it did. Quality jury members are sometimes at a premium, but Josh has the look of somebody who can help prevent a bitter jury, which is always a black mark on a season. I enjoyed watching Josh play this season and was sorry to see him go at the hands of Jon and Jackie.
In the movie, Clay Shaw played by Tommy Lee Jones is the mysterious villain brought to trial by Kevin Costner. Tommy Lee Jones is superb as the regal New Orleans conspirator. Portraying himself as classy, he also has a hidden side that includes consorting with the government, Cubans, and Lee Harvey Oswald. Missy is our Clay Shaw this season. She, for all intents and purposes, is running this conspiracy.
Missy seems to have the connections with the people most necessary to carrying out the conspiracy this season, and the people against her are not powerful enough to do anything to stop her. Missy is controlling almost every aspect of this game and she has perfect patsies in Jon and then Jeremy to take the fall when needed for her.
The wildcard for Missy is Baylor. The Baylor factor is the only thing that could derail her game. How she handles Baylor’s inevitable demise could determine whether she wins this game or not. She can’t do anything rash when that moment happens, and if she can get past that moment, she should have the ability and the tools to win this season of Survivor. The biggest moves I’m looking for out of her are when she decides to have Jon taken out, and of course, when she decides to turn on Jeremy. Those two moves, if carried out, will cement her legacy as a worthy Survivor champion.
Reed-Random guy walking on the street out of focus:
I don’t know what to make of Reed, because I haven’t really seen anything out of him this season. Reed has been invincible this season and not in a good way. I think Reed is going to be a mannequin for the rest of his time on the island.
The only way I can see Reed standing out is if he becomes the annual Survivor juror who is way too bitter that it becomes confusing for the players and the viewers. You know what I’m talking about: the juror who gets a little too personal, usually a player who didn’t do much in the game but carries himself/herself as somebody that was one backstab away from making real noise in the game. I think that is Reed’s only hope of being remembered this season.
Well, we made it to the end of this. Tonight we saw Josh leave and I am left with a big “what if” with Julie quitting last week. How different would this season have played out if Julie didn’t quit and Jeremy got the boot?
We can’t go back though; we have to play the cards that we have been dealt. In this incarnation of the game, we have a two-person race to the finish with Missy slightly ahead of Jeremy. The conspiracy to win this game is in full swing; the plans have been set into motion and now it’s time to see how the back half of this season plays out, and no matter what, it should be enjoyable.